Happy Turkey Day everyone. I’ve been gone for the past couple weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention to the NFL. Instead of a 32 team power rankings this thanksgiving, I’ll give you the contenders and pretenders of this NFL season. I like to call them the Pumpkin Pies and Green Bean Casseroles. Don’t worry; you’ll get the full 32 team breakdown starting next week. Let’s take a look at the top teams for each conference.
New England Patriots
I came into the season very cautious of how to judge this team, and when they traded away Randy Moss, I thought they would be your typical 10-6 team. You know, those ones that look solid in the regular season at times, yet won’t do much of anything in the playoffs. Bill Belichick has this team looking more like those super bowl squads than the glitz and glamour we have seen the past three years. They have no stars other than Tom Brady, yet they keep getting the job done. Danny Woodhead has become everyone’s favorite little brother, and their cast of no name receivers, other than the resurging Deon Branch, leaves little to not like about this team. I don’t think they will be getting to the super bowl this year, but man, will they make things interesting.
As has been said by ESPN’s very own Colin Cowherd, Mark Sanchez is the next Tom Brady. He’s not putting up top fantasy QB stats, but he has that “it” quality that every winner must have. Just take the past couple of weeks for example. Almost any other QB in the league, the Jets would be close to .500 right now. Not with Sanchez. Captain Comeback is making late game comebacks like their going out of style. When you have a team that can get it done on either side of the ball, and win in many different ways, you know you have a potential champion. All year the Jets have been my pick for the super bowl, and until noted otherwise, they will stay that way.
Here we have another team with a young head coach and a young QB. There is nothing spectacular about this team. They just get the job done. I can only find one weakness with this team, and that is their pass defense. Other than that, they are solid. Usually I’d say this points to good football in the playoffs, but if they get home field throughout the post season they’ll be playing in doors, where passing becomes much more of a factor. Can they just knock out that roof? Okay, I need to stop. I’m making this team seem more like a Green Bean Casserole than a Pumpkin Pie. I really like how they can control the ball with their running game and efficient QB. This year Matt Ryan has officially become a star, and if he leads his team to a deep post season run, he will be in that top 5 range with the likes of Brady, Manning, Breese, Big Ben, and yes, I’m saying it, Mark Sanchez.
New Orleans Saints
Okay, you ready? Say it with me. One, two, three… DREW BREES!!! This team looked like they were in trouble earlier in the year, but now they are rolling on all cylinders, taking down anybody in their way. They can’t run the ball, but they pass it with the best of them. They can’t shut down the run, but you sure as heck ain’t passing on them. They have built the perfect type of team to play in a dome, and with the top team in the NFC playing in a dome, they could be indoors for every game but their first. That is, unless they play the Rams.
Green Bay Packers
This team started off hot, then they cooled down, and now they are hot again. The thing that impresses me about this team is that they are doing it with so many of
their stars injured. They kind of have that New England feel on offense. You know, a bunch of average players outside their QB putting up big numbers. That’s no disrespect to Greg Jennings. I love his game, but other than him they don’t have much. Defensively they have one of the best rush linebackers this league has seen in years. Clay Matthews puts fear in the eyes of any QB he faces, because he’ll get to you, and he’ll hit you hard. This team has heart, and they will push the likes of Atlanta and New Orleans hard for that super bowl spot.
Before I get started here, I must say one thing. The NFC officially has more contenders than the AFC for the first time in a while. One thing we see is many strong, young QBs for all of these teams, and very good head coaches. Now, onto the eagles. Fun Fact: Philly is undefeated when Vick is the starter. Can you believe that? I’d have to say, this is the story of the year. Other than the mystery that is Vick, they have a great rushing attack, and a solid defense both against the rush and the pass. I have Atlanta winning this conference, but if Vick continues to play better than any QB in the NFL, other than maybe Phillip Rivers, Philly could definitely sneak in there. How do you like that McNabb!!
The pretenders, or “Green Bean Casseroles” will come on Saturday, because green bean casserole is extra nasty as left overs.
– Brent Mullis