Handicapping a wide-open NFC

The NFC is as wide open as it ever has been.

Case in point?  Eleven different teams from the 16-team conference have made it to the playoffs in the past two years.

And with no dominant team in the NFC, anything can happen in 2009.

Still, this is the time of year when we trot out the stuff we think might happen.  So for our latest item, we rank a dozen contenders in the NFC, with the understanding that the difference between the top and bottom team on the list isn’t all that significant this year.

30 responses to “ Handicapping a wide-open NFC

  1. Philly 12th out of 16 teams in the NFC Give me a break Florio and put down that pipe you be tokin on

  2. I totally agree with the Viks just behind the Giants. If they can manage a decent passing attack they’ll be an awesome team. With the additions of Sage and Harvin the passing attack should be pretty decent.
    And for all you nay sayers…… Sage is a much better QB than he’s given credit for. The guy does one little helicopter dive and that’s all he is remembered for. If Chilly (who I hate) can convince him to take a sack once and a while instead of an interception, he will be good. He sure as hell is better than Ferotte and look what the Viks did with him last year.

  3. I respect that you think the hype for the Eagles is way too high, but to rank them as the 12th best team in the conference is ridiculous. If you don’t have them making the playoffs that’s one thing, but being 12th suggests a 5-11 or 6-10 team and I think we all know that they are better than that.
    While I don’t think that the Giants are a terrible team, I don’t think that they should be ranked number 1 either. Sure, their defense is still intact and I’ve heard once or twice that that is what wins championships, but the numbers don’t lie when it comes to Manning. I did some number-crunching and when Eli had Plaxico on the field in 2008 his rating was 91.6, when Burress was off the team it plummeted to 68.6. Over the course of weeks 13 through the divisional playoff loss to the Eagles, he threw only three touchdowns to five interceptions.
    Plaxico Burress not only made Eli look good by being able to go up and grab bad passes that Manning, but he also caught balls that his fellow receivers weren’t able to catch as well. Between the top 5 receivers on the team right now (Hixon, Smith, Manningham, Nicks, and Barden) there is a combined 104 catches for under 1200 yards and just three touchdowns. On top of that, besides Barden, these receivers aren’t very big options for a guy that has questionable accuracy.
    As I said, I respect your opinion Florio, but to put the Giants as the number one overall team in the conference with what can be considered a shaky offense at best just doesn’t make sense to me.

  4. Congrats Florio! You eliminated a quarter of the teams in the NFC from winning the conference! Where can I get your smarts?

  5. “Rankings” are pure speculation. I always laugh them off. I’m a true believer that the best teams make the playoffs. The last time I checked, no teams have played a regular season game since the Super Bowl. So, why aren’t the Cardinals number one in the NFC? I’m, by no means, a Cardinals’ fan either.. LOL @ speculation and bored-ness of sports reporters.

  6. Florio, you’ve got to be kidding. I’m not saying the Eagles should be in first position, especially considering the loss of Bradley and Jim Johnson, but 12th?
    The Redskins??? Put down the pipe!

  7. I agree, preseason, Philly looks like the team to beat.
    South- Atl 12-4
    North- Minn 11-5
    East- Phil 13-3
    West- Ariz 10-6
    WC -Chi 10-6
    WC-No 9-7
    You can flip flop Minn/ should be that close.

  8. I like this! Yeah keep the Eagles off the Radar so we can sweep the NFC! I think Floor-e-oh still has sour grapes in his mouth from when the Eagles kicked the Giants….Oh And the Vikes (#1 and #2 on that list I believe) out of the Playoffs last season. Or Maybe he was sharing some of Juqua Parker’s stash when he wrote this…..Yes Eagles fans pick on their own if you haven’t noticed.

  9. Not only are the Giants EASILY number one in the conference Florio’s biggest mistake is that they will dominate this year. The list should’ve looked more like this:
    1. NYG: Who needs Plax? Best D in the leauge and a ton of underrated WRs who all have #1 potential with a full camp under their belt. We’ll see them in the Super Bowl.
    2. New Orleans: You can’t argue with that O and with the D additions and Greg Williams as the coordinator they’ll pull out the division.
    3. Philly: They’re a very good team until the injuries start… which will happen and they’ll be lucky if they get into the playoffs.
    4. Carolina: Run, run, run. As long as Jake isn’t forced to win many games they’ll be in the thick of things.
    5. Minnesota: Give them a hair better than Chicago in what should be a fun division to watch. Both will have great O, but Minny’s D looks like the difference in August.
    6. Chicago: Cutler will turn Hester into a #1 WR combined with Forte will be a very potent O and the D will do just enough.
    7. Dallas/Wash: Both teams lack a true leader even though Romo is better than pretending than Campbell. One might get in once Philly’s season starts to crumble.
    8-12: The NFC West: Unfortunately one of these teams will steal a playoff spot from someone more deserving. Seattle is good when healthy and Zona had a good playoff run with their D exceeding expecations, but the truth is neither are to be trusted and this division is wide open.

  10. “I totally agree with the Viks just behind the Giants. If they can manage a decent passing attack they’ll be an awesome team”
    nice sentiment…..too bad they have been trying to do this since like the year 2000 and still haven’t figured it out
    “.And for all you nay sayers…… Sage is a much better QB than he’s given credit for. The guy does one little helicopter dive and that’s all he is remembered for”
    seriously? forget about the fumblecopter, there is a reason sage has been a career backup. he will be better than t-jack but if you are expecting some matt cassle-esque step up here you are nuts.
    the vikings QB problems will hold them back AGAIN this year. plus they have serious questions at one of their safety positions.

  11. Eagles…12th…Cowboys, Seahawks, Saints, Redskins above…
    The Redskins have ALMOST NOTHING over the Eagles. Cooley is a machine and you could argue RB and LB but that’s it. The Eagles definitely have a better QB, FB, WR, OL, DL, DB, and ST than the Redskins. That’s not even mentioning Andy Reid, a possible HOF head coach compared to Jim freaking Zorn.
    Try harder, numbnuts.

  12. Congratulations Florio, you have officially proven to the world that you are retarded. Eagles 12th??? Give me a freaking break you jackass.

  13. Love how Iggles fans like to talk about the two close games they won in the playoffs last year and ignore the choke job they pulled against the Cards.
    Perhaps they should be a couple pegs down my rankings considering the injuries have already started. Good luck finding a Mike.

  14. I am printing this out and saving for November.
    The Vikings wouldn’t even finish 2nd in the NFC North much less than entire NFC. But it gives the fans that nice warm feeling, kinda like pissing inside your wet suit, it does nothing to accomplish your true objective but is does give you a warm feeling.

  15. Jeremiah,
    I said decent passing game, not great passing game. Remember, AP makes defenses put 8 in the box. Something any half assed QB should be able to exploit. Unfortunately, T-Jack only had half an ass in some games.
    If the Viks get 200-250 yards of passing a game they will win 11 games and make a run in the playoffs.

  16. Florio, I’m a big fan. I love the blog.
    But this is the biggest joke about anything football related in the past few years. Philly not in the top 2 of the NFC is just ridiculous. I think they should be 1, but there’s at least an equally strong case for the Giants being there.

  17. So i guess now that the eagles are 12 on your list it will ultimately give them the motivation to win it all? clever…………NAAAATTTT

  18. cdnmike,
    like i said, they have been looking for that since 2000. sage will be better, but if anyone thinks the vikings are going to win the NFC, or a superbowl, or a playoff game with sage rosenfels at QB they are kidding themselves. the vikings really screwed the pooch by not trading for jay cutler. for 3+years now the vikings have been “a QB away from being unstoppable” and when a franchise QB becomes available the vikings trade for a career backup. make no mistake about it, the vikings will underachieve this year again.

  19. Prodigy…Whats that you say?? Eagles Won 2 close games in the Playoffs then “Choked” Against the Cards??? Hmmmm Lets Count…..The Eagles beat the Viks (26-14) by a margin of 12 points. The Eagles then beat the Giants (11-23) by a Margin of..Oh Wow..12 points…Following so far?? The Eagles then Lost to the Cards (32-25) by a Margin of 7 points….Well if a 7 point loss is a “Choke Job” then what would you call a 12 point loss?

  20. Get off of the Seahawks Florio. You were picking them every week last week too. They are old and horrible.

  21. I am a Cowboys fan, but ranking the Eagles 12th, especially for the reason given, ruins any credibility that the list has. They are a top three team.
    On another note, I think the Cowboys are too low on the list also, but I do agree with part of his assessment. They need a new coach. Wade Phillips is a joke as a head coach, and, although I dont think they need a new owner, they do need a real GM. Romo is ok, he just needs to grow a set. I wish a doctor could transplant Aikman’s brain/leadership/etc into Romo’s head. Talent wise, they are as good as anybody, but with this leadership, another 9-7 season would not shock me.

  22. Do you think it’s possible that Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal’s success could have had just a little something to do with Cutler? I like Kyle Orton and all, but it will be interesting to see what their numbers will be like with his addition to the Broncos.

  23. Vikings at #2 is reasonable, especially considering Florio’s preface that the difference between #1 and #12 is pretty small.
    Camp indications are that Sidney Rice is healthy and looking great and that Harvin is a beast in practice. Their defense was #6 last season. They arguably made a minor upgrade to the QB position as Tarvaris is still improving (in theory) and Rosenfels is better than Frerotte most likely.
    They have a relatively easy division. The Bears D is aging and it is unknown how much Cutler’s success was due to the system around him. The Packers were 6-10 last season and didn’t really do anything to improve unless the 3-4 is a mega hit. They have to double their win total and I don’t see why that would happen for a team that really faltered down the stretch. If they had offloaded some of that 30 mil cap space on some impact FA’s I’d maybe sing a different tune. Lions…
    I see the Vikings defense finally making that top 5 cut this season and the running game again being stellar. I don’t buy all the Harvin-Jaymar-Rice-Shiancoe improvements massively upgrading the passing game hype but I do anticipate a reasonable upgrade in that position. I really do think they are under-rated at the WR position. A lot of people don’t realize that the Vikings passing woes last season were due to the inability to handle the 8-9 man fronts and blitzes, and it was due equally to lack of WR separation, blocking, and QB play. Parts of their passing game were more than adequate, it just had gaping weaknesses that single handedly cost them the playoff game.
    My point is that if they have a breakthrough handling the blitz and 8-9 man fronts, which Harvin was picked for and Rosenfels being taller might help, then the Vikings could potentially have a dramatic improvement in that department and make a run. I’m very excited for this season as a Vikings fan.

  24. Also I kind of question the Eagles 12th. They are one of the few NFC teams that are at least half decent every season. Little suspect. But looking through the list I can think of counter arguments for any way the thing shakes out so maybe I just give Florio the benefit of the doubt here since he’s the “expert” that he speaks so lowly of.

  25. jreed, if you actually watched the games you’d know exactly what i was talking about. the ATL and NY games were very close until very late in the game, which quoting the score doesn’t tell. It took a T-Jax fumble with 2:53 left in the game before they sealed the ATL game and the NYG game was the sloppiest game i’ve ever seen played by both teams. against the cards they managed to fall behind 24-6 at the half before coming back to take the lead in the 3rd and then choked in the 4th quarter. i don’t object to saying the Giants choked either. can’t really say that about ATL since Philly was favored going in.
    besides what happened last year isn’t really relevant. what is relevant is that Florio is completely right that the Iggles have created far too high expectations to meet and the injuries have already started with their defensive leader in waiting already going down. on the flip side while they were trying to secure every position with little depth over the offseason the giants took their strength and added to it while they groom young guys at what are considered their weaker spots.

  26. Mr. Diesel says:
    August 5, 2009 5:07 PM
    Eagles…12th…Cowboys, Seahawks, Saints, Redskins above…
    The Redskins have ALMOST NOTHING over the Eagles. Cooley is a machine and you could argue RB and LB but that’s it. The Eagles definitely have a better QB, FB, WR, OL, DL, DB, and ST than the Redskins. That’s not even mentioning Andy Reid, a possible HOF head coach compared to Jim freaking Zorn.
    Try harder, numbnuts.
    FB? Mike Sellers – Pro Bowl
    OL? How can you tell… both OL’s can’t stay on the field long enough to judge
    DL? If it were a pot smoking contest then sure, but with Haynesworth, Griffin, Carter, Jarmon, and Orakpo… no way
    So maybe you aren’t as superior as you claim Mr. Diesel

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