The New Orleans are trying to pull away from the rest of the NFC after 8 straight wins, but the top dogs in the conference aren’t going down easy.
With the imbalance going on in the NBA right now between conferences, is the NFL experiencing the same in 2017? Basketball is suffering from most of its talent and top teams residing in the Western Conference. Only 2 of the top 25 or so players are in the Eastern Conference, leading to much better teams top-to-bottom.
That may not be the exact case in the NFL. It’s certainly not that lopsided. However, this season, the NFC is clearly the better conference.
Sure, the AFC has the defending Super Bowl champions (New England), and they’re on a roll (8-2, first in the conference). That’s the one true advantage they have over the NFC. And the NFC even has a better number one seed (Philadelphia at 9-1).
After New England, the AFC is looking shaky, and then bleak. Pittsburgh is second at 8-2 as well, Jacksonville third at 7-3. But Pittsburgh has a bad loss to Chicago and they’re susceptible. Meanwhile, Jacksonville still has Blake Bortles as their starting QB, so that can go downhill quickly.
Then,it’s the underwhelming Chiefs and Titans (both 6-4), followed by 8 teams either 5-5 or 4-6.
Different conference, different story
Unfortunately, for the 8-2 Saints, the NFC is not as kind. New Orleans sits as the third seed, and has the same record as the Vikings, who are dominating with their third-string QB. The Eagles may be the only team with more momentum than New Orleans. And that’s who the Saints have to catch.
Following the Saints is the most improved team in the league, the Los Angeles Rams. Both teams square off this Sunday, surely creating a very important tiebreaker. Rounding out the playoff seeds are two teams in the Saints’ division, the NFC South. Carolina (7-3) and Atlanta (6-4) sit at 5 and 6 in the conference.
Carolina, who the Saints have to play again this season, is just one game behind. And New Orleans’ tiebreaker over them could get thrown out the window. New Orleans also plays Atlanta twice in three weeks during the tail end of December, and who knows how that can turn out.
Teams 7-10, all fighting heavily for the playoffs currently, are as follows: Detroit (6-4, competed with New Orleans in Week 6); Seattle (6-4, well-coached and very talented); Green Bay (5-5, nearly beat the Saints during Week 7); and Dallas (5-5, finished 13-3 last season with same roster, and will get better with Elliot’s return).
The most baffling part of the NFC’s success is the current win streaks: Philadelphia also has 8, Minnesota with 6, Detroit with 3, Carolina with 3. The Los Angeles Rams had 4 before last week, and Atlanta began the season 5-0.
These stats aren’t meant to be pessimistic. They’re here to show how tough New Orleans’ schedule has been, and will be, and gives credit to their success thus far. But the road looks to be almost unfair for the Saints. The AFC is a much easier path to the playoffs and even a Super Bowl run. The Saints will have to buckle down and just win games to avoid these great NFC teams from stealing playoff position.