With more than half the season officially in the books, the NFC is loaded with good teams, and seemingly barren of great ones. We have two new deaths this week. Let's get to it.
During the preseason, it was believed that it would be the Giants' offense that would eventually ruin their season. Well, for three short-lived games, the Giants' offense was good. Otherwise, not so much. What was not expected was that their defense would be a train wreck, but that's exactly what it has been:
Remember when Giants players talked crap about the Eagles all week and then got shut out? Good times.
The NFL's sack leaders:
I was going to wait until the Saints put a little more distance in between themselves and the Falcons before killing them off, but what's the point? The Falcons are 2-6. They can't get after the passer. They can't stop the run. They can't stop the pass. They're just not good.
This past offseason, the Panthers lost Jordan Gross, Steve Smtih, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn, Greg Hardy, Mike Mitchell, and others. They went 12-4 in 2013. It's possible they may not have more than half that win total in 2014.
The Niners are coming off two really bad losses. First the Broncos destroyed them in prime time, and then they lost to the garbage Rams... at home. Ew. Now they have to travel to New Orleans? The collapse of a very good team could be underway.
The Saints have literally no competition in the NFC South. The other three teams in the division have a combined point differential of -183.
One of the very under-looked things with roster building in the NFL is depth. Fans and media typically look at the starting players on the offense and defense, giving little regard to the players that would have to step up in the event a key piece is missing. Aside from losing the always injured Sean Lee in the preseason, the Cowboys have stayed relatively healthy in 2014. For the first time this year, Dallas is now dealing with significant losses, most notably, obviously, Tony Romo. Over the last half decade, the Cowboys have had plenty of "star power" type players, with nothing behind them. Their depth will be tested starting against the Jags in London. That game is far from a gimme.
The Lions' defense (excluding touchdowns given up by the offense or special teams) have given up just 13 touchdowns this season. Here's how that compares to the rest of the NFC:
The Lions defense is finally playing well. All they had to do was get rid of Jim Schwartz. Who knew?
Oh, everyone? Right.
Over the last four weeks, Seattle has struggled with bad teams.
The Seahawks look... average.
And yes, you can go ahead and diminish the Cowboys' win over them to some degree. I'll allow it.
As noted in my10 awards post after the Texans game:
The Eagles had four turnovers against the Texans. That brings their total on the season to 21 turnovers, which leads the NFL. They're on pace for 42. Last season, they had 19 all season. They are playing incredibly sloppy football.
And yet, despite handing opportunities to their opponents on a silver platter all season, the Eagles are 6-2.
They have the best point differential in the NFC...
And the worst turnover differential...
One of the weirdest teams in recent memory.
Here's an extremely unsurprising statement -- If you have the worst run defense in the NFL, you're unlikely to make the playoffs.
The one anomaly is of course the 2006 Colts, who employed Peyton Manning. The Packers employ Aaron Rodgers.
The "best" team in the NFC is a fraud. I said it said last week, and I'll say it again, The NFC is WIDE OPEN.
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