Halfway through the weirdest NFL season in the history of football, it’s safe to say, there is NO team that stands out above the rest. With Brady to the Bucs, the New England dynasty appears to be over, and the entire NFL can be thankful for that. Plenty of teams are making their case for the best team in the league but only one will be able to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year… So who will that be?
After an incredible regular season last year and another disappointing playoff performance, the Baltimore Ravens were on track to be an immovable force this season. While the Ravens have shown themselves to be a top contender, they do not look like the same team from last year. Lamar Jackson, who appeared superhuman last season, has come back down to earth. NFL defenses have figured out how to slow him down and it’s exactly how we all thought it would happen. In the air. The Baltimore run game leads the league in rush yards yet their passing offense is bottom 10 in the league. They will need to make some major adjustments in the final stretch if they want to compete for it all. Lamar is an elite player in this league, but he will need to be an elite quarterback if he wants to defeat these top tier defenses in the playoffs.
The Steelers sit at 8-0 for the first time in their long history yet many people are not convinced. After a lucky victory over the 2-6 Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh fans are worried. Ben may be dealing with a rather serious knee injury, Devin Bush is out for the season, and Boswell, who has been close to perfect over the last year, just missed two extra points. On the bright side, their defense is standing strong as the number one defense in the league, forcing turnovers every game, and becoming the defense Pittsburgh is known for. If Pittsburgh wants to win the Super Bowl, this offense MUST change their tune. They are yet to put together 4 full quarters, in fact they haven’t put together more than a half yet, and in a offense-heavy league right now, they will have to run up the score if they want to grab that seventh ring. I think the Steelers have just as good a chance as any to win it this year, but Ben needs to be healthy and their play call has to improve drastically.
Kansas City Chiefs
Andy Reid and this Kansas City team is shaping into a dynasty nobody wants to face in the playoffs. Just when we thought we were free of Brady and Belichick, here comes Patrick Mahomes throwing 50 yard dimes blindfolded. This team’s offense is prolific and nobody in the league is going to shut them down. They have 6 options on every play, each one faster than the next. With the new addition of Le’veon Bell, their passing offense becomes more lethal out of the backfield, and holding them to 28 is a great defensive stand. If you want to beat this team, you are going to have to win in a shootout. Their running defense is worse than lackluster and it may turn out to be their achilles heel. I can’t possibly say that any team is better than them right now, but they are far from unstoppable. They have fought some close games against mediocre teams and if they want to win back to back super bowls, they are going to have to step up on the defensive end.
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers. That’s all. This man is different. After one of the most interesting 1st round draft choices I can remember, Aaron Rodgers has been playing with a chip on his shoulder. In his past 14 losses, he has won the following game with a ratio of 45 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. He is possibly the greatest quarterback of all time when it comes to making adjustments. He hasn’t aged a bit and he’s proving the naysayers wrong every week. Nevertheless, that defense is atrocious. They got picked apart by the poor Minnesota Vikings, thrashed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have snuck out a couple wins while allowing 30+ points. Their offense is legit. But I don’t think they will compete with that defense.
This Seahawks team is fun to watch. With two wide receivers competing for the touchdown race, Russell Wilson playing like an MVP, and a different running back coming in every week and performing, this offense is electric. However, just like the Green Bay Packers, this defense is TERRIBLE. I mean, just terrible. The Legion of Boom is far in the past and I don’t see any way they can become a skeleton of what they need to be. That being said, I can not wait for the Packers and Seahawks to meet in the playoffs. Take the over.
I don’t think that the NFC has a team full enough to compete with the Ravens, Steelers and Chiefs. All three teams are capable on both sides of the ball and dominant on at least one of them. To bet against the Kansas City Chiefs right now would be questionable but I think both teams from the AFC North are ready for the challenge. These playoffs are going to be insane and I just hope every team stays healthy enough to come fully equipped.
The New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills have all shown their stuff… some weeks. Other weeks, they have been quite unimpressive. I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year plays out. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.
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