Does the NFC have a favorite?
In just a little more than two months, the champions of the American and National Football Conference will get together for a little matchup known as the Super Bowl. Anyone at the game surely will be blinded by the amount of camera flashes going off and ticket prices may cause some to take out a mortgage on their house to afford to go.
However, before we can get to SB 51, we have to first determine who is going to be in NRG Stadium on Feb. 1 in Houston, Texas.
Coming out of the NFC right now appears to be (and I hate myself for saying this) the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones’ boys are riding an 11-game winning streak and appear to be the best team in the conference. Yes, I know they are doing it with a rookie quarterback and running back in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott but those two are setting up shop behind the best offensive line in the pros.
Dallas has the second-best point differential in the league and have already clinched a playoff spot. The playoff berth should be particularly worrying because it means they can rest their starters down the stretch. They also probably have the number one seed locked down as the Seahawks are 2.5 games behind them at the moment.
Three other teams have a shot in the NFC in the Giants, Seahawks, and Lions. New York is playing well on the defensive side of the ball but its big flaw is the offense still appears to be figuring some things out. Eli Manning has a problem consistently getting the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. and the running game hasn’t exactly been lighting things up.
Next up, Seattle was struggling on the offensive line earlier in the season but they appear to have gotten things straightened out and Russell Wilson can once again be, well, Russell Wilson. Unfortunately, the ‘Hawks just lost their defensive leader (Earl Thomas) for the season with a broken leg.
The NFC North squad has a favorable schedule the rest of the way as they face four opponents with .500 or sub-.500 records to close out the season. Green Bay (6-6) may be the toughest game left on the schedule as the Rams, Cardinals and 49ers have a combined record of 10-25.
Finally, the Lions defense has been the talk of the NFL and Jim Caldwell, who was once thought to be on the hot seat, is safe for the time being. The Lions have to find a way to win games in the first 58 minutes as well as they do in the last two in order to develop into a legit Super Bowl threat.
Wow, it really is amazing how quickly 500 words can creep up on you sometimes. Stayed tuned for later in the week as I break down the Patriots and Raiders in the AFC favorite column.
Contact Joe Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org