NFC Overview: Week 7

The NFC playoff picture is beginning to clear up as teams are becoming more predictable.  With 10 teams at .500 or better, it looks like even the Wildcard teams will have 10 or 11 wins. Here is how each division stand after the sixth week of action, followed by the conference power rankings at the end. 

NFC NORTH

1. Green Bay Packers (5-1)

The Packers came out slow on Monday night and looked rather sloppy for most of the game.  On the final drive two very questionable “Hands to the Face” calls against the Lions helped extend the drive to set up the game-winning field goal.  The Packers won but looked outplayed.  At the end of the day, a win is a win and a division win is even sweeter for the Packers. Next week Green Bay welcomes the Raiders to Lambeau field.

 2. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

The Vikings exploded on offense against the Eagles.  Stefon Diggs caught 3 touchdowns and the Eagles couldn’t overcome the poor defensive performance.  Right now the Vikings are looking like a playoff team, just two weeks removed from their dismal loss in Chicago where they scored 6 points.  A huge divisional game in Detroit awaits this Sunday.

3. Chicago Bears (3-2)

The Bears took Week 6 off and got plenty of injury updates. Wide Receiver Taylor Gabriel and Defensive Lineman Bilal Nichols are healthy.   Lineman Kyle Long went on the IR and Akiem Hicks looks to be out for a few weeks.   Mitchell Trubisky returned to practice and looks like he will play.  With the Saints coming to town, it is a big opportunity for the Bears to reassert themselves in the elite conversation.  A loss would hurt the Bear’s playoff hopes tremendously in a cluttered NFC.

4. Detroit Lions (2-2-1)

Detroit came out firing against the Packers, going up 13-0 in the first half. At some junctures of the game, the Lions looked a bit stagnant and complacent kicking field goals.  That being said, they played a pretty good game Monday night and if not for some “iffy” calls on the last drive, they would have three victories.  Bouncing back won’t come easy though as the Vikings come into Ford Field after an impressive win in Week 6.

NFC WEST

1. San Francisco 49ers (5-0)

The 49ers continued their dominate start to the season by easily handling the Rams on the road.  The ‘Niner’s defense looks dominant and the offense has many weapons.  The return of Tevin Coleman has been noticed and Nick Bosa is making his presence felt every game.  This week the 49ers head across the country to Washington D.C. to play the Redskins.  Although Washington earned its first victory this past week, the 49ers look like an unstoppable force right now.

 2. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

The Seahawks put together an impressive comeback win against the Browns in Week 6.  This team is looking more and more capable of representing the NFC in the Super Bowl with each game they play.  A tricky home game against the Ravens  is up next in Week 8. Even with a playoff spot likely locked down, the Seahawks would much rather win the division and (most likely) get a first round bye in the playoffs, so every game is important to keep up with the 49ers.

3. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

The Rams have lost three in a row, matching their loss total from last year.  The team looks completely out of sync, and securing a playoff spot seems more and more unlikely with each week.  the Rams made headlines this week trading two first round picks to receive Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars.  Ramsey will add even more star power to the Rams’ defense, but they have not looked as dominant as advertised lately.  Maybe Week 7 will be the turning point for L.A. as they travel to Atlanta.

4. Arizona Cardinals (2-3-1)

The Cardinals have put together two in a row, and Kyler Murray is no longer looking like a rookie quarterback.  A trip to play the Giants and fellow rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones, is up next for Murray and the Cardinals.  A win would bring the Cardinals to .500 just under halfway through the season.  Although a playoff appearance seems like a reach, crazier things have happened.

NFC EAST

1.Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

The Cowboys have dropped three straight and do not look playoff worthy.  A road loss against the winless Jets is definitely an eye opener, and now Jason Garrett’s seat has warmed up a bit.  Failing to make the playoffs would almost certainly be the end of Garrett’s time in Dallas. The first step to avoiding  this letdown is this Sunday at home against the Eagles.  

2. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

The Eagles performed rather poorly in Minnesota last week coming off of two consecutive wins. Although the Vikings played very well themselves, some fans still consider the Eagles Super Bowl contenders and playing like they did this past week isn’t going to get the job done.  Week 7 brings us the long awaited matchup in Dallas.   With both the Cowboys and Eagles sitting at 3-3, it looks like the division winner may be the only playoff team from the NFC East.  Expect a tight one in Dallas with playoff like atmosphere.

3. New York Giants (2-4)

The Patriots were too much to handle for this young Giants’ team in Week 6.  Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are the future in New York and getting back to the winning tradition may be closer than we think in  New York.  With the Cardinals coming to town in Week 7, getting to 3-4 would leave the Giants just a game out of first place.  Even with the early season struggles, the lack of dominance in the NFC East will leave the door open for the Giants for quite a few weeks; it will be their job to seize the opportunity.

 4. Washington Redskins (1-5)

The Redskins won the tank bowl against the Dolphins 17-16.  The team is still without a (permanent) head coach, and Case Keenum is starting over Dwayne Haskins.  The Redskins’ organization is in shambles, and trading away players for draft picks would be the ideal approach to rebuilding this historic franchise.

NFC SOUTH

1.New Orleans Saints (5-1)

The Saints won an ugly game in Jacksonville, 13-6.  Teddy Bridgewater didn’t look very sharp, but the defense led them to a road victory which is never easy in the NFL.  This week the Saints head to Chicago where Khalil Mack and the Bears’ defense awaits.  With both defenses playing well, it looks like a big turnover or special teams play could be the deciding factor.  This is a big game for the Saints as the Panthers are just a game back.

2. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Kyle Allen has led the Panthers to four straight wins as the starter and the murmurs are beginning to spread that even with a healthy Cam Newton, the Panthers should go with Allen at quarterback.  With a bye in Week 7, the Panthers are expecting Newton to be healthy for their Week 8 matchup in San Francisco, but that does not mean he will be the starter.  Whatever the Panthers decide, they will have Christian McCaffrey running the ball out of the backfield, building on his MVP type season.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

The Bucs are trending in the wrong direction.  Jameis Winston threw FIVE interceptions against the Panthers in London this past week and the Bucs may have now lost any playoff hopes they had heading into Week 6.  Tampa Bay will take Week 7 off to rest up and prepare for a trip to Tennessee in Week 8 looking to get things back on track.

4. Atlanta Falcons (1-5)

The Falcons’ Week 6 loss summed up their whole season. There is nothing more frustrating than missing a potential game-tying extra point in the final few seconds.  For a team that was expected to be competitive, these losses prove why the Falcons have lost four straight.  This week the Falcons host the Rams who have been on a losing streak themselves, in a battle of hungry teams dying to get back in the win column.

NFC POWER RANKINGS (Week 6 Ranking)

  1. New Orleans Saints (1)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (4)
  4. Green Bay Packers (3)
  5. Chicago Bears (7)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (10)
  7. Detroit Lions (5)
  8. Los Angeles Rams (6)
  9. Carolina Panthers (11)
  10. Philadelphia Eagles (9)
  11. Dallas Cowboys (8)
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12)
  13. New York Giants (13)
  14. Arizona Cardinals (15)
  15. Atlanta Falcons (14)
  16. Washington Redskins (16)
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