Part II: NFC Outlook

By Zack Cimini

This is part two from the AFC outlook story posted on Monday. The NFC may have looked ugly all season long, but the wild card teams are loaded with talent and could shock people. Philadelphia and Atlanta definitely have a better shot at being knocked out than do New England or Pittsburgh.


1. Philadelphia
The Eagles may have lost on national tv, but there appears to be no apparent danger in front of them. Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a touchdown on his only drive, and the majority of the players on the field from then on were second and third stringers. Andy Reid realizes has figured out a strategy after being in the NFC championship game many of times. You can tell that the Eagles have a swagger of confidence but yet are fully focused on their goals.

2. Atlanta
All of the talk in preseason was about Matt Schaub, and on Sunday he couldn?t get the job done against the Saints shaky defense. It just goes to show that Vick is this offense, and the whole DVD (Dunn, Vick, Duckett) package is going to need to be there for the Falcons to succeed. Even though they?ll get a bye, their playoff ride may be short lived if they have to face Green Bay or Minnesota.

3. Green Bay
Many people forget that this team was 1-4 at one point. It looked as if Brett Favre would finish this year on the pine, instead of having a competitive chance in January. The defense has been improving, and as long as Brett Favre limits his mistakes this team can beat any team. Favre gets a lot of the credit, but the truth is he is surrounded by tremendous talent. There isn?t another team that can say they have all three components like Favre does. He has a great offensive line, an All-Pro running back, and three top quality receivers. Their wild card matchup against Carolina or the Saints will be scarier than if they play the Falcons in the divisional round. For some reason you have the feeling that Favre and McNabb will get another shot at each other.

4. Seattle
It took awhile for the Seahawks to get in the playoffs but they did it, and now it?s a whole different ball game. In order for any advancement to be made, the Seahawks will need a fully healthy Matt Hasselbeck. Trent Dilfer may have been able to get the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but this defense isn?t even close to the ability of the 2000 Ravens. The luxury of having Shaun Alexander as their back may pay huge dividends in cold weather games. There isn?t a team that can?t stop him, and he has proved that with the most consistent year of any back.

5. Minnesota
The Vikings control their own destiny and shouldn?t have a problem defeating the Redskins to clinch the fifth seed. If it were to happen, we all know that their wild card game against Seattle will be a shootout. Randy Moss is back to his old form, and Michael Bennett is even getting involved with the offense. This team is always in games until the end, and that is always a beneficial plus come playoff time. As long as they have a healthy Randy Moss they are unlimited in what they can do.

6. Carolina
The winner of the Panthers or Saints game will get the last spot, and have a nice matchup against the Green Bay Packers. The Panthers are on a roll, and would present problems to any team with their defense. After starting 1-7, this team must feel that they?ve earned new life to respond to last year?s results. What was thought to be an improbable task could end up happening. It took this team awhile to make the transition of being without Stephen Davis or Deshaun Foster? so just imagine where they could have been? They would likely be in Atlanta?s spot with 11 to 12 wins. Never count out the heart of a champion as Rudy Tomjanovich has said, because this team is relentless.


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