Let's just start off with my horrific record this year: I went 7-6 this week....and now I'm 69-44 for the season. Aarg!!
This week, instead of recapping the games...I want to recap the divisions, just to kind of step back and look at the entire landscape.
NFC EAST: The Giants [5-2] are the surprising leaders of the division. Surprising?? How, since they are the defending champs and brought back the same team? Right now, they are the hottest thing in the division and have won in Philly and in Dallas already [plus a home win over the Redskins]. The Cowboys [4-3] are as up-and-down as they come. A week after stinking up the joint against the Giants, they go into Carolina and just spank the Panthers. And that's not just because of the QB change. The Eagles [4-4] should be ashamed of themselves. After starting the year 3-1 [the lone loss was a meltdown to the Giants], they have turned to 1-3 and the once mighty offense has struggled the last two weeks. The NFC East race should be a battle of those three teams to the death, as the Redskins [2-5] have laid down and died. The offense has had its dead spots....but the defense has been a huge disappointment. And they are already 0-2 in the division with the Cowboys coming to town Sunday. My division pick: Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins
NFC SOUTH: This division is totally flipped upside down. The Saints [5-2] have already topped their 2005 win total and look like a team that can rustle with anyone. But will their two rookies [Reggie Bush and Marques Colston] plus rebuilt stars [Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister] hit a wall late in the season?? Right with them is the Falcons [5-2] who look like one of the best teams in the NFC. Michael Vick is looking like an MVP candidate as he is running and throwing the football with confidence. The defense has played tough all year long [with some lapses] and boasts wins over the Panthers, Steelers and Bengals on their resume. The Panthers [4-4] are so hard to figure out. They lost their first two...but Steve Smith was out, so it's okay. They then ran off 4 wins, including one in Baltimore and one over the Saints. Since then, they've dropped two and are two games back in the division. The Buccaneers [2-5] fell on some bad fortune early on, but are trying to dig their way out of it. Unless they pull off a memorable run [and with this division, that's doubtful], they will miss out. The defense hasn't been up to snuff and the Cadillac can't get out of his own way. My division pick: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers
NFC NORTH: The Bears [7-0] are the class of the NFC and are just bowling over everyone. They have played great in all facets of the game and are just choking teams like a python. But, remember, this is the same team that nearly were waxed by the Cardinals...so anything can happen. The culture with the Vikings [4-3] has changed so much in a year. They aren't the most talented team, but they have grit and they've improved everywhere. Their run defense has been stellar which, usually, keeps them in games. Don't look now, but the Packers [3-4] are right there....well, close to right there. Despite the lack of overall talent, this team fights hard and rarely plays themselves out of games. The Lions [1-6] are better than their record...but that accounts for nearly nothing. My division pick: Bears, Vikings, Packers, Lions
NFC WEST: This division is about as bad as it gets. You can cut the Seahawks [4-3] some slack as they have been without Shaun Alexander and will be without Matt Hasselbeck for a while. Still, this isn't the NCAA where voting matters...it's the scoreboard...and the Hawks can't afford to lose too many more of these games or they are losing their home field advantage...if it isn't already gone. The Rams [4-3] are right there and can give Seattle a run for their money. They are good enough to take advantage of Seattle's misfortune. They're the only ones. The Niners [2-5] and Cardinals [1-7] are as done....with the Cardinals teetering on mutiny. My division pick: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Niners.
The AFC to come later....