With Packers and Cowboys Both 10-1, NFC Looks to Compete

Kevan LeeSenior Analyst INovember 26, 2007

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a172/dkopek/packers_favre_fallout_rumb.jpgDallas and Green Bay are playing at an elite level, which has done wonders for their storied franchises, but has also raised the appearance of an entire conference.

For awhile now, the NFC has been the little brother to the dominant AFC. NFC teams routinely come up short in interconference matchups and recent Super Bowls have done nothing to dispel their reputation as the weaker conference.

But things are slowly changing and the Cowboys and Packers are leading the resurgence.

As the Patriots continue their undefeated season, talk has turned away from who will topple them in their own conference to who will give them the best game in the Super Bowl. Both Dallas and Green Bay are good suitors and their matchup this Thursday will be a great game.

To boot, there are teams spread across the conference who are having solid years. The Buccaneers are surprisingly good and the Seahawks are regaining some of the form that made them successful a couple years ago. The Giants had a good stretch this season, despite the loss to the Vikings this week (Minnesota had also beaten San Diego).

In fact, every division has a team that is at least three games over .500. The AFC can’t even say that.

Even so, there are some pretty bad teams and divisions in the NFC.

The South and West are slogged with immature, undisciplined squads who scare nobody. Some of the success of the top-tier NFC teams could probably be related to how they beat up on these cellar dwellers.

Really, no one will know just how far the NFC has come until the Super Bowl, but at least the outcome isn’t already decided.

Team of the week: The Eagles.

Too bad Philly can’t get at least half a win for Sunday’s performance.

The Eagles put on quite the show in Foxboro and there was never a point in the game when the Patriots were running away with things. Much of the credit will go to A.J. Feeley, who threw the ball with confidence and accuracy, but the real credit should be shared among the Philadelphia coaching staff.

Andy Reid takes a lot of grief for some of his game plans, but Sunday’s was virtually flawless. Jim Johnson’s blitzing schemes are high-risk, high-reward, and they worked to perfection against Tom Brady’s spread.

If the Eagles can play at this level in their remaining games, they should have no problem catching up to the wild card spot in the NFC despite their difficult closing schedule.

Worst team of the week: Tie between the Giants, Cardinals, Chiefs, and Titans.

These four teams lost games they had no business losing.

The Giants laid an egg against Minnesota with help from Eli Manning’s four INTs. Arizona gave San Francisco its third win of the year by blowing a field goal that would have won the game and then losing the ball in their own end zone for the deciding points. Kansas City let a Daunte Culpepper offense come into Arrowhead and steal a division game out from under their noses. Tennessee, supposedly one of the best non-New England teams in the AFC, managed only six points against the generous Bengals defense.

Kevan Lee’s beverage of the week: Egg nog.

I have no idea what is in egg nog, which is probably for the best. Not knowing is partly what makes it so good. As to whether Nov. 25 is too early to drink egg nog, I say that once Thanksgiving is over, all holiday beverages are fair game.

Nap of the week: Halftime, Bears-Broncos.

Fortunately, I snoozed during the only time of the game when there was no scoring or excitement.

Most misleading stat: Kurt Warner’s 484 yards.

Looking at his big stat line from Sunday would lead most people to believe that the Cardinals won in a rout. Not so.

In fact, all his yardage does is mask the fact that he made two costly turnovers in the first half that led to points and then threw the game away in overtime. Dropping back in his own end zone, he actually pumped and looked to scramble in the pocket, forgetting that he was both in the end zone and a slow, old quarterback. Fumble. Touchdown. Game over.

Painfully true stat: David Carr, 10-22, 95 yards, two INTs.

When the Panthers signed Carr in the offseason to back up Jake Delhomme, they envisioned a dependable veteran to whom they could turn when things went sour. Well, things are sour, but Carr is doing nothing to change it. His performance this season has proved that he is more of a bust than anyone had thought. Sadly, though the Panthers tried to protect themselves against a QB issue, they ended up making things even worse.

Premature MVP Ballot

1. Tom Brady

He might not have had the TDs, but he still led the offense to the points when it counted.

2. Brett Favre

A virtuoso Thanksgiving performance brought back memories of Scott Mitchell.

3. Tony Romo

An ESPN the Magazine cover is a good sign you’ve hit the big time…or are a poser.

Weekly Super Bowl prediction: Jaguars vs. Cowboys.

Defense vs. offense. Garrard vs. Romo. Smashmouth vs. finesse...I could go on.

For more, visit www.kevanlee.com.


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