Drew’s Review: NFC Rankings

N F C

1. SEAHAWKS Seahawks Icon 96x96 png

With their 6th straight win Seattle sits alone at the top of the conference, with a one and two game lead over the Saints and Panthers respectively. The vaunted Seattle defense is 2nd against the pass in a QB friendly passing league, and still solid versus the running game ranking in at 15th. This team keeps producing field talent like WR Kearse and backup RB Turbin, that they can rely on to make big plays while their starters grab some oxygen and stay fresh. Percy Harvin is finally back and already making plays like we’ve seen in Minnesota. Adrian Peterson himself last year said (of Percy Harvin) ‘He is the best player I have ever seen, and ever played with.’ This guy is a big time game changer and arguably the best team in the NFL is about to unveil their Harvin package. Look out everyone else in the NFC.

2. SAINTS Saints Icon 96x96 png

I was a little reluctant to speak highly of this defense early in the season. Not anymore. They just keep showing up week after week. This Rob Ryan / Sean Payton combo is absolutely amazing. Solid against the run, and 3rd against the pass. The bottom line is the defense is just creating more opportunities for the offense with great field position, and we know Drew Brees will capitalize on points. They beat you with Jimmy Graham in any matchup, and play WR roulette every week it seems to keep teams on their heels. Sproles is still a definite factor returning or receiving and they’ve shown that their run game is still a threat. If the playoffs go through the Superdome this year I can’t see this team losing.

3. PANTHERS Panthers Icon 96x96 png

Everyone who religously watches the NFL already knew that this defense was no joke, but that win against the Patriots showed the world. Carolina showed up and proved they can hang with a high octane offense like New England. Brady and that offense had ZERO touchdowns in the first half, and only ONE touchdown pass the entire game. A beautiul gameplan by Ron Rivera and a huge win for this team. Cam Newton is literally unstoppable when he doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s got a huge cannon of an arm, putting the ball all over the field. He still has some accuracy issues, but he’s balancing that now with his legs. Instead of throwing the INT, he’ll just run for a first down. It’s like nobody can hurt this guy, and he has no fear of anyone hitting him. He’s just bigger and faster than 95% of the defensive guys he faces. Each WR has a role, Steve Smith doesn’t age at all and they run the ball extremely well. If Cam keeps it up are they a Conference Championship contender? Super Bowl? They play the Saints twice still, that’ll show us plenty.

4. LIONS Lions Icon 96x96 png

There are only two players in the NFL that are virtually unstoppable. Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson. You can throw double, triple and even quadruple coverage on Calvin and he will still win that battle. It’s on FILM! Just one of the best talents we’ve seen in the NFL in decades. They have a mean two-headed monster RB combo with Bush and Bell and have found success throwing opposite Calvin with Fauria, Durham and Reggie, and they are still awaiting the return of proven veteran Nate Burleson. The sky is the limit for this offense but Stafford has to stay focused spreading the ball and beating coverages shifting towards his star WR. Defense has been great against the run, 5th in the league, but they need to get out of these shootout games.

5. EAGLES Eagles Icon 96x96 png

I don’t think there’s a hotter team in the league right now. Nick Foles has lit a flame for this offense and this team, and is gaining respect from the locker room with each and every win. Their defense has been better as of late, but still need a lot of work down the stretch to compete with other viable offensive teams. I want to see more quality wins over contending teams before I write more hype, and they’ll have a chance with the Lions, Bears and Cowboys still on the schedule. This offense is creating a pace that is tough for teams to match and defend. Foles is playing the position extremely well in this offense and it helps to have an MVP type RB McCoy to hand the ball off to, and watch him create a highlight reel to the endzone.

6. BEARS Bears Icon 96x96 png

With Jay Cutler sidelined it’s tough to see where this team is headed. They’ve been up and down for a majority of the year, mostly due to injuries in key positions. The offense has hit a nice stride recently and McCown has quietly done a great job filling in for Cutler, and running Trestman’s offense with balance and accuracy. They still need to find ways to get quality wins with him, and this Bears’ defense isn’t helping much. They’re not giving up too much against the pass, but are next to dead last against the run. With Tillman out for the year and Briggs still recovering, Chicago needs to find an answer fast. Bostic needs to be the player they drafted him to be or they can find themselves in a serious hole.

7. PACKERS Packers Icon 96x96 png

Green Bay is kicking themselves in the foot right now with three straight losses and they know exactly where they went wrong. With so much of this offense on Aaron Rodgers’ shoulders, they didn’t care enough to invest in a reliable backup. With so many teams climbing up the standing the Packers will be in a dog fight for a playoff spot when Rodgers comes back. With a healthy team they have a top tier offense. Eddie Lacy has been a beast this year and their WR talent keeps everyone guessing, but they need Aaron Rodgers healthy to make it all come together. If losses keep piling up they might be inclined to rush Rodgers back, which could be dangerous if that game turns out to be Thanksgiving Day against the Lions, with Ndamukong Suh and all his dirty laundry.

8. COWBOYS Cowboys Icon 96x96 png

Switching up their defensive scheme has been a nightmare for this squad. With all the injuries piled up it has been tough to get progress out of this cover 2 scheme. They’ve given up way too many 400 yd games in the air, and RB’s are able to find wide open gaps in the trenches. They’re completely lost without Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware. Dez Bryant has been seeing double coverage lately and Romo is clearly having trouble without a healthy Miles Austin. Terrance Williams has been a great surprise this season and deserves more looks. Dallas is always best when finding balance with DeMarco Murray, but they’ve been shying away from the run again. This roster is running out of time to get to the big game, and who knows if they’ll find an answer.

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9. NINERS 49ers Icon 96x96 png

What in the world is going on in San Fran? The 49er fans are getting restless and they need wins now. Colin Kaepernick is really being exposed in the pocket. His natural instinct is to scramble and teams now know that after a whole year of film is in their hands. His accuracy a clear issue, along with his decisions to force balls late to the sideline or over the middle. San Fran sits dead last in passing but are still producing well on the ground, 5th in the league. Defense is cleary not the issue, still in the top 10 overall, they just cant find ways to convert 3rd and long situations. Now fans are questioning the teams decision to let Alex Smith walk, and there is a clear argument there with the way that the Chiefs are winning.

10. GIANTS Giants Icon 96x96 png

Eli and this offense are slowly finding a rhythm now that they have balance in the run game with Andre Brown back from injury. Randle is coming into his own, getting ready to replace Hakeem Nicks as the outside receiver next year. There’s a lot of work to be done but if one team can do it, It’s the always sneaky Giants.

11. CARDINALS Cardinals Icon 96x96 png

With the help of a stout defense in Arizona, the vision of a vertical offense is starting to come into play. Palmer looks more comfortable behind center, they have downfield threats in Floyd and Roberts and there’s Fitz being Fitz. They need to find a way to get even targets for all their WR and more touches for young RB Andre Ellington, who is a highlight waiting to happen.

12. REDSKINS Redskins Icon 96x96 png

Washington finally went back to what worked for them so well last year. Griffin needs to be seen as a running threat for this offense to strive. He’s using his athleticism more each week, and they’re getting big plays down the field with their WR carousel. Alfred Morris is becoming one of the most consistent backs in the NFL and that’s great for RG3. Defense needs to give up less big plays get off the field, to give more opportunities for this offense to finish games on the ground.

13. RAMS Rams Icon 96x96 png

Like a typical Jeff Fisher team, St. Louis is in a fight for wins every week. They’ve become a run-heavy ball control offense and it seems to be keeping them in games. Their defense is a bit up and down, but when playing well is as good as any. Robert Quinn is looking like a star on the rise, unstoppable when he’s after the QB and Zac Stacy is making a huge argument for the starting role next year.

14. BUCS Buccaneers Icon 96x96 png

This team seems to have the best RB depth in the league. They lose Doug Martin and Mike James and Bobby Rainey both have huge games in feature roles. Their offensive line is finally healthy and playing very well. Glennon is showing a lot of promise for the future and their finding playmakers opposite Vincent Jackson. Their defense has been doing the job lately, 9th against the run, middle of the pack versus the pass. A lot of upside for Tampa fans next year.

15. FALCONS Falcons Icon 96x96 png

Atlanta can’t catch a break this year. They lose Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson early and it goes downhill from there. Their offensive line isn’t doing anything and Matt Ryan is having one of his worst years. It’ll be a miracle if Tony Gonzalez comes back next year for another Super Bowl push.

16. VIKINGS Vikings Icon 96x96 png

You have Adrian Peterson and no proven QB. Run AP all day, it’s your only chance at points. Duh!