Saints coach Sean Payton said over the weekend that the NFL has only 10 or 11 relevant teams at any given time. If he’s right (and he is), the challenge becomes identifying the 10 or 11 relevant teams.
It’s easy to peg six or seven of them. It’s harder to identify the last few, at the exclusion of others that are close to being in the group of relevant teams.
My own list consists of these no-brainer franchises: Chiefs, 49ers, Patriots, Ravens, Seahawks, Saints, Eagles, Steelers, Packers. That’s only nine; the last spot or two could go to the Rams, Cowboys, Buccaneers (as long as Tom Brady is there), or Vikings, or the Bills, Colts, Texans, or Titans.
If it’s that hard to identify teams No. 10 and 11, maybe there are, for now, only nine relevant teams. Regardless, even though the league wants fans and media to think that every team has a chance to make the playoffs and that every playoff team has a chance to win the Super Bowl, folks inside the league regard roughly a third of the teams as legitimate threats to make it happen.
So which are your 10 or 11 teams? List them in the comments.