Poore: NFC Road To The Superbowl

Many pundits covering the NFL have their own beliefs on which teams will make it to the postseason in 2006. Some of them actually know what they're talking about. Patriots Insider Jim Poore, who has followed the NFL through the eyes of the oddsmakers, understands there are other factors at play. Poore shares his thoughts on how each NFC division will play out in 2006.

The NFC looks like it will once again have its share of very good teams this year, and maybe even the best team in all of football. Several teams look to be contenders, which is good because the conference hasn't had a Super Bowl winner in several years. A lot of fans think that is going to change this year. But the which team it will be is still in question.

NFC EAST

The NFC East might be the best division in football. All four teams should be pretty decent. The Philadelphia Eagles are probably the worst of the bunch, and they could still go 8-8. The best team is probably Dallas, with their huge offseason signing of Terrell Owens making the difference. He has missed most of the preseason, but that hasn't stopped Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn during the preseason. The combination has looked fantastic. Dallas will need big things from Owens in order to win the division over the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. New York will be highly competitive again, but Eli Manning needs to mature even more for the Giants to make a push deep into the playoffs. The Redskins are a little tougher to figure out. They should battle for the division crown, but inconsistency has hurt them. Clinton Portis' injury in the preseason isn't going to help, although he should miss very little time in the regular.

After being the best in the division for quite some time, the Eagles will likely be at the bottom this year. They still have Donovan McNabb, but the talent around him is mediocre at best. They will be competitive, but not nearly to the point that they have been recently.

NFC NORTH

If the NFC East might be the best division in football, then the NFC North might be the worst. The Bears are the class of the division and only because their defense should be very good. Their offense will struggle, and Rex Grossman really isn't the answer at quarterback. The best quarterback in the division might very well be Brett Favre, who is well past his prime. Favre is coming off of a disastrous 2005 season, a season so bad he contemplated retirement. He might want to rethink his decision. The Packers are not going to be good, but neither will the rest of the division. The Minnesota Vikings are basically starting from scratch after a terrible 2005 season. Daunte Culpepper is gone, and Brad Johnsonhas taken the reigns. Johnson can still play, but the Vikings need a lot of help everywhere. It doesn't help that their first round draft pick, Chad Greenway, is already lost for the season. And finally, the Detroit Lions have little hope this season. It is a wonder when this team is finally going to improve. I don't think it is going to be this year. If they do improve, it isn't going to be by much.

NFC SOUTH

The best team in the NFC ( and maybe all of football ) might just be the Carolina Panthers. After losing the Super Bowl three years ago, the Panthers have come close to returning, but injuries throughout the season have come back to haunt them in the post season. If they remain healthy, the Panthers are the team to beat in the NFC. They are loaded on both sides of the ball. Steve Smith is possibly the best receiver in football. Their defense is very good, and they have an excellent head coach in John Fox.

The rest of the division should be ok. Tampa Bay and Atlanta should compete for second place, but neither team is likely going to the playoffs. These two teams will be spoilers come December, but the Buccaneers seem to have more overall talent. The Atlanta's entire persona is based around Michael Vick, and so far that has not been good luck for the Falcons. Hopefully, the Saints will be able to play their entire season in the Superdome, which can only help them. They should be better. They brought in Drew Brees to be an upgrade over Aaron Brooks at quarterback, and the drafting of Reggie Bush is going to put people in the seats. New coach Sean Payton has his work cut out for him, but he does have some players to work with. Just being in the Superdome for all of the home games will be a big plus.

NFC WEST

The Seattle Seahawks have been the class of the NFC West for the last couple of years, and this year is going to be no exception. They did get to the Super Bowl last season, but this time that achievement is going to be a little tougher because of the competition. Not from their own division though. The Seahawks will once again be very good, but the rest of the division is bordering on weak. The second best team in the division is probably St. Louis, and their glory days are well behind them. They still have a potent offense, but their defense is subpar at best. The Cardinals will be right behind the Rams, if not passing them by year's end. There is a new attitude in Arizona, partially because of a brand new dome stadium scheduled to open for this season. The signing of Edgerrin James will help an already good offense, and the Cardinals have their quarterback of the future with the drafting of Matt Leinart.

The San Francisco 49ers are once again going to be the bottom dwellers. There is some promise though, as second year quarterback Alex Smith has a year of playing under his belt, and he now has stud tight end Vernon Davis to throw to. After that, there isn't much there, and might not be for another couple of seasons.

The NFC is going to have some very strong teams, most notably Carolina and Dallas. The Giants are also in the mix, as well as the Seahawks. I think the Panthers will win the conference title. The possibility is always there that a surprise team might emerge to be a contender, but for now, these are the contenders. One of these teams might end the NFC's drought and finally win the Super Bowl after years of AFC dominance.

Don't miss part one: AFC Contenders

Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:


Talk about it in the Forums
URL: http://mb.scout.com/bpatriotsinsider

 


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The NFC looks like it will once again have its share of very good teams this year, and maybe even the best team in all of football. Several teams look to be contenders, which is good because the conference hasn't had a Super Bowl winner in several years. A lot of fans think that is going to change this year. But the which team it will be is still in question.

NFC EAST

The NFC East might be the best division in football. All four teams should be pretty decent. The Philadelphia Eagles are probably the worst of the bunch, and they could still go 8-8. The best team is probably Dallas, with their huge offseason signing of Terrell Owens making the difference. He has missed most of the preseason, but that hasn't stopped Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn during the preseason. The combination has looked fantastic. Dallas will need big things from Owens in order to win the division over the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. New York will be highly competitive again, but Eli Manning needs to mature even more for the Giants to make a push deep into the playoffs. The Redskins are a little tougher to figure out. They should battle for the division crown, but inconsistency has hurt them. Clinton Portis' injury in the preseason isn't going to help, although he should miss very little time in the regular.

After being the best in the division for quite some time, the Eagles will likely be at the bottom this year. They still have Donovan McNabb, but the talent around him is mediocre at best. They will be competitive, but not nearly to the point that they have been recently.

NFC NORTH

If the NFC East might be the best division in football, then the NFC North might be the worst. The Bears are the class of the division and only because their defense should be very good. Their offense will struggle, and Rex Grossman really isn't the answer at quarterback. The best quarterback in the division might very well be Brett Favre, who is well past his prime. Favre is coming off of a disastrous 2005 season, a season so bad he contemplated retirement. He might want to rethink his decision. The Packers are not going to be good, but neither will the rest of the division. The Minnesota Vikings are basically starting from scratch after a terrible 2005 season. Daunte Culpepper is gone, and Brad Johnsonhas taken the reigns. Johnson can still play, but the Vikings need a lot of help everywhere. It doesn't help that their first round draft pick, Chad Greenway, is already lost for the season. And finally, the Detroit Lions have little hope this season. It is a wonder when this team is finally going to improve. I don't think it is going to be this year. If they do improve, it isn't going to be by much.

NFC SOUTH

The best team in the NFC ( and maybe all of football ) might just be the Carolina Panthers. After losing the Super Bowl three years ago, the Panthers have come close to returning, but injuries throughout the season have come back to haunt them in the post season. If they remain healthy, the Panthers are the team to beat in the NFC. They are loaded on both sides of the ball. Steve Smith is possibly the best receiver in football. Their defense is very good, and they have an excellent head coach in John Fox.

The rest of the division should be ok. Tampa Bay and Atlanta should compete for second place, but neither team is likely going to the playoffs. These two teams will be spoilers come December, but the Buccaneers seem to have more overall talent. The Atlanta's entire persona is based around Michael Vick, and so far that has not been good luck for the Falcons. Hopefully, the Saints will be able to play their entire season in the Superdome, which can only help them. They should be better. They brought in Drew Brees to be an upgrade over Aaron Brooks at quarterback, and the drafting of Reggie Bush is going to put people in the seats. New coach Sean Payton has his work cut out for him, but he does have some players to work with. Just being in the Superdome for all of the home games will be a big plus.

NFC WEST

The Seattle Seahawks have been the class of the NFC West for the last couple of years, and this year is going to be no exception. They did get to the Super Bowl last season, but this time that achievement is going to be a little tougher because of the competition. Not from their own division though. The Seahawks will once again be very good, but the rest of the division is bordering on weak. The second best team in the division is probably St. Louis, and their glory days are well behind them. They still have a potent offense, but their defense is subpar at best. The Cardinals will be right behind the Rams, if not passing them by year's end. There is a new attitude in Arizona, partially because of a brand new dome stadium scheduled to open for this season. The signing of Edgerrin James will help an already good offense, and the Cardinals have their quarterback of the future with the drafting of Matt Leinart.

The San Francisco 49ers are once again going to be the bottom dwellers. There is some promise though, as second year quarterback Alex Smith has a year of playing under his belt, and he now has stud tight end Vernon Davis to throw to. After that, there isn't much there, and might not be for another couple of seasons.

The NFC is going to have some very strong teams, most notably Carolina and Dallas. The Giants are also in the mix, as well as the Seahawks. I think the Panthers will win the conference title. The possibility is always there that a surprise team might emerge to be a contender, but for now, these are the contenders. One of these teams might end the NFC's drought and finally win the Super Bowl after years of AFC dominance.

Don't miss part one: AFC Contenders

Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:


Talk about it in the Forums
URL: http://mb.scout.com/bpatriotsinsider

 

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