NFC Strength - example from previous season and moving forward (1 Viewer)

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As a Saints fan for years, I can say this is the most exciting and excruciatingly long off-season I have been a part of. With that being said... the talent in the NFC is extremely scary at this point. I think the NFC is at its pinnacle of talent, and that the NFL is so much stronger on the NFC side than the AFC. With that being said, it got me thinking that even some of the "mediocre" teams that we will/may play (in the playoffs) are loaded with playoff-caliber talent. I've decided to take the 2017 Bucs, Redskins, Cardinals, and Lions (one team from each NFC division) and show that with the talent on each roster, they would have most likely made the playoffs/been in contention for the playoffs in the AFC. This is PURE talent evaluations of NFC teams that were talented enough to make the playoffs, not accounting for poor coaching. My argument is simply that these teams would have made the playoffs in the AFC with the talent they have, and shows how tight the NFC race was/will be this year.

For the Bucs, they had Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander, Brent Grimes, Lavonte David leading their defense while they had Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard and an inconsistent but talented QB in Jameis Crab Legs Winston running a surprisingly poor offense (probably due to the strength of NFC South defenses). If they had competed in the AFC, I personally think they wild-card. You take out 6 games against the Falcons, Saints and Panthers, which is automatically multiple wins replacing losses. Their issue may be coaching, or a lack of discipline, but the talent is undeniable which should be noteworthy to our FO.

For the Redskins, you had an efficient offense in Cousins under center, with an underrated Josh Doctson, solid TE in Jordan Reed, quietly good Samaje Perine, and talented Offensive line with all-pro Trent Williams and guard Brandon Scherff that would IMO, fair much better against AFC defenses. On defense, they sported a stingy secondary with DJ Swearinger, Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. While their D-line and linebackers were average as a unit, Ryan Kerrigan was a consistent, tough outside LB. This team has loads of talent on both sides of the ball, and realistically was not coached well enough to seriously contend for postseason play in the talent-heavy NFC. Put them in a weaker division in the AFC, the coaching may not become as much of an issue if their pure talent can flex its muscles more.

The Cardinals in 2017 were a quietly talented defensive team. They had Chandler Jones, Karlos Dansby, Honey Badger, Patrick Peterson, all as pro bowl caliber players, with young guys Budda Baker and Robert Nkemdiche coming through behind them. On offense, injuries plagued them, but what a David Johnson-Larry Fitzgerald-Carson Palmer trio would have been. Still, if they were in the AFC, their talent level on defense could have made a serious improvement in their win column, as they would have been going against weaker offenses, isntead of facing Goff twice, Russell Wilson twice and Garopollo once. Even with their QB issues down the stretch, they would have competed for a spot in an AFC division through their defensive strength, just as the Bills did.

Finally, the Lions. A mediocre, but highly talented team. Defensively, Ziggy Ansah, A'Shawn Robinson, Jarrad Davis, Darius Slay, Glover Quin... all stars/stars in the making. Offensively, Golden Tate & Marvin Jones JR are talented WRs receiving passes from Matthew Stafford with Abdullah & Theo Riddick out of the backfield. Talent all over this roster, yet they hang in limbo in the usually brutal NFC North. If they were playing against teams like Oakland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, NY Jets, Miami... equivalent mediocre AFC teams, they would have had multiple more wins, catapulting them into the playoffs.

Even though we do not play the Lions or Cardinals this year, it must be pointed out that their is talent all over the NFC and it seems that there are multiple teams in each division that could win their division title, where in the AFC it may be more clear cut who is expected to win each division. Its brutal being in the NFC...

Thoughts ?
 
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The NFC is stronger across the board... no doubt.

For example, 8 of the bottom 10 teams in offensive stats for the entire league are in the AFC.

The exceptions are the Bears, which is understandable with a rookie QB, and the other is an anomaly... the Packers because of the loss of Aaron Rodgers and the futility of Brett Hundley.
 
And the Bears offense could easily be much improved this season with a revamped receiving core... last year their offense was abysmal besides Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. So basically... if the Bears offense is improved, which is somewhat expected, we could be looking at every NFC offense being respectable. In years past there seems to be at least one team per divison with a major quarterback issue and that is not anywhere to be found in the entire conference (barring injuries). The only one I can think of is Jameis... which is awesome.
 
It seems any time we are a relevant team, the NFC is stacked. The same teams also tend to do well when we are in the playoffs, such as Minnesota and Philly.

I've felt since last year that we're to a point in the NFL where it's beginning to resemble that of the early 90's when the AFC was a dumpster fire of mediocrity dominated by one team (Bills) and the NFC had all the contenders. In that time frame, the NFC title game was the real SB while the AFC winner being Buffalo were just sacrificial lambs.

Ever since Manning retired and Denver has fallen back to mediocrity, the Patriots have had no AFC competition outside of a dark horse team that gave them a scare (Jaguars). Many people believe Pittsburgh could give them a run for their money, but don't kid yourself. In all 3 years the Steelers have made the SB in the current era, they've never had to play New England in the playoffs. We've been hearing since 2004 about how the Steelers would supposedly destroy the Pats, yet the opposite happens when they meet in the playoffs. Pittsburgh since 2010 has been an epic disappointment of a team in the playoffs and we all seen that again this year with how they went 13-3 and then their defense got destroyed by the Jags in the playoffs. Look at Pittsburgh's playoff wins since 2010 and how much they've struggled putting away bad teams. They in all honesty, should've lost to the Bengals in the 2015 wildcard.

Unless another dark horse team comes out of nowhere like Jacksonville or if the Patriots lose in the first round (2009, 2010), then I don't see anyone in the AFC stopping them from reaching the SB again.

Last year no one believed in the Eagles. Even before Carson Wentz went down, there were articles about how overrated they were and then after Wentz down, we heard over and over how they would be a one and done team. Fans underestimated the depth that Philly had built up and forgot the fact that Nick Foles in 2013 was one of the best QBs that year. 2013 Nick Foles eventually woke up and found a rhythm.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the NFC North. Minnesota had it made last year without Rodgers and now they have to prove last year wasn't a fluke after their defense fell apart in the second half of the divisional playoff and got rolled in the NFC title game. Kirk Cousins also has one of the worst QB records in the league of a QB vs teams above .500. The jury is still out on Minnesota being a real contender and it comes down to how they perform this year.

I'm not high on Tampa Bay at all. We hear this story every year about how they've added so much talent yet they lack chemistry and it always falls apart. Winston is clearly not their answer at QB. Even if they were in the AFC, I doubt they muster 8-10 wins and make a wildcard.
 
As a Saints fan for years, I can say this is the most exciting and excruciatingly long off-season I have been a part of. With that being said... the talent in the NFC is extremely scary at this point. I think the NFC is at its pinnacle of talent, and that the NFL is so much stronger on the NFC side than the AFC. With that being said, it got me thinking that even some of the "mediocre" teams that we will/may play (in the playoffs) are loaded with playoff-caliber talent. I've decided to take the 2017 Bucs, Redskins, Cardinals, and Lions (one team from each NFC division) and show that with the talent on each roster, they would have most likely made the playoffs/been in contention for the playoffs in the AFC. This is PURE talent evaluations of NFC teams that were talented enough to make the playoffs, not accounting for poor coaching. My argument is simply that these teams would have made the playoffs in the AFC with the talent they have, and shows how tight the NFC race was/will be this year.

For the Bucs, they had Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander, Brent Grimes, Lavonte David leading their defense while they had Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, OJ Howard and an inconsistent but talented QB in Jameis Crab Legs Winston running a surprisingly poor offense (probably due to the strength of NFC South defenses). If they had competed in the AFC, I personally think they wild-card. You take out 6 games against the Falcons, Saints and Panthers, which is automatically multiple wins replacing losses. Their issue may be coaching, or a lack of discipline, but the talent is undeniable which should be noteworthy to our FO.

For the Redskins, you had an efficient offense in Cousins under center, with an underrated Josh Doctson, solid TE in Jordan Reed, quietly good Samaje Perine, and talented Offensive line with all-pro Trent Williams and guard Brandon Scherff that would IMO, fair much better against AFC defenses. On defense, they sported a stingy secondary with DJ Swearinger, Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. While their D-line and linebackers were average as a unit, Ryan Kerrigan was a consistent, tough outside LB. This team has loads of talent on both sides of the ball, and realistically was not coached well enough to seriously contend for postseason play in the talent-heavy NFC. Put them in a weaker division in the AFC, the coaching may not become as much of an issue if their pure talent can flex its muscles more.

The Cardinals in 2017 were a quietly talented defensive team. They had Chandler Jones, Karlos Dansby, Honey Badger, Patrick Peterson, all as pro bowl caliber players, with young guys Budda Baker and Robert Nkemdiche coming through behind them. On offense, injuries plagued them, but what a David Johnson-Larry Fitzgerald-Carson Palmer trio would have been. Still, if they were in the AFC, their talent level on defense could have made a serious improvement in their win column, as they would have been going against weaker offenses, isntead of facing Goff twice, Russell Wilson twice and Garopollo once. Even with their QB issues down the stretch, they would have competed for a spot in an AFC division through their defensive strength, just as the Bills did.

Finally, the Lions. A mediocre, but highly talented team. Defensively, Ziggy Ansah, A'Shawn Robinson, Jarrad Davis, Darius Slay, Glover Quin... all stars/stars in the making. Offensively, Golden Tate & Marvin Jones JR are talented WRs receiving passes from Matthew Stafford with Abdullah & Theo Riddick out of the backfield. Talent all over this roster, yet they hang in limbo in the usually brutal NFC North. If they were playing against teams like Oakland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, NY Jets, Miami... equivalent mediocre AFC teams, they would have had multiple more wins, catapulting them into the playoffs.

Even though we do not play the Lions or Cardinals this year, it must be pointed out that their is talent all over the NFC and it seems that there are multiple teams in each division that could win their division title, where in the AFC it may be more clear cut who is expected to win each division. Its brutal being in the NFC...

Thoughts ?

One of the top 5 offseasons posts. Great stufff. thx much
 
Bucs are suffering from bad coaching imo.
 
All I want is NFC championship Minn & NO. That’s all. (And a super bowl to follow ;))
 

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