I’m hearing all this chatter and reading all these blogs about the Atlanta falcons being an elite team. To me, that is a prime example of hyping up a team too early and demeaning the term “elite.”
The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers are prime examples of elite teams in the AFC. The only 2 teams that come to mind in the NFC when using that word, are the returning Champions, Green Bowl Packers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Of those 4 teams I consider “elite,” only the eagles ahve not won a ring. But, they are consistently in the playoffs and have greatly improved this off-season.
Falcons Flying Onto The Radar?
As far as Atlanta goes, a team that has not proven anything, except that they can make the playoffs. Green Bay just played themselves back to the “elite” scene again. Philly has been a consistent contender, despite their championship shortcomings.
We all think Green Bay will be up there again, as will Philadelphia, but Atlanta? They need to show some consistency before I call them “elite.”
The odds are usually against the Superbowl Champions from repeating. In this case, the situation is a little bit different, since Green Bay improved this offseason, by simply getting their injured players back (not just players, but starters). My personal choice (although, you may debate is biased), is the Eagles. They make the playoffs every year basically (9 out of the last 12), and we all know they have been the talk of the offseason with their new additions.
That doesn’t mean that Green Bay didn’t improve, because they did as mentioned before. I do expect the Packers to be the unanimous favorites of the NFC, but just let the Falcons prove to be consistent first, before you mention them with the Champs and the consistent Eagles.
Look, I realize they resigned 2 of their offensive linemen and drafted Julio Jones. In my eyes, they have improved to the point of where the Packers and Eagles have been. They have the power running game that you might say is better than the other 2, But, no matter how you look at it, Philadelphia was ranked 4th in rushing and Green Bay stay balanced on offense to win it all. LeSean McCoy led the NFC in all-purpose yards, and throughout the playoffs, the Packers ran the ball behind surprising rookie James Starks (now they get Ryan Grant back too).
Let’s not even mention the defenses in Green Bay and Philly in comparison to Atlanta, but the special teams of those 2 teams is superior to the young Atlanta Falcons as well. The Falcons are good, and I think they will be in the playoffs again this season. Although nothing is a given and injuries always come into play, are you going to bet that they can win more games than the former champion and consistent New Orleans Saints? If they do not, they have to get a wildcard berth to make the playoffs. At the same time, I understand the excitement that fans have for their team, but let’s allow them to grow rather than call them underachievers if they don’t go as far, or if they take a step back (they are not the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NFL…yet).
GB & Philly
Consequently, Green Bay will be and should be the odds on favorites to represent the NFC for the second straight year, but I would go as far to say that the Eagles are 1B in that discussion.
Here’s to an exciting season! The countdown is on to opening night, Thursday September 8th when the last 2 Superbowl Champions (both in the NFC), Saints and Packers, kick off a long-anticipated season.
Not mentioning your team or other teams that are debatable of being elite is an early prediction. More to come about thoughts and predictions for this upcoming season, as opening night approaches!