What Happened To The Once All-Powerful AFC?

Eddie RossellCorrespondent INovember 9, 2008

Remember the old AFC, when it was by far the more dominant conference in football? It seems like it was just last year that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and LT were passing and running all over teams in the NFC.

In fact it was just last year, but with an injury and two slow starts, these three once MVPs are not having very good seasons. Their teams, with the exception of the Pats, are not doing well either.

The Chargers are 3-5, but they are in the AFC West, so they are in second place with that record. Technically they are still playoff contenders, but unless they pick up their game, they won't go farther than the first round.

The Colts are 4-4 and still second in the AFC South. Peyton Manning did not play in the preseason so that may have attributed their struggling start in a division they were once dominant over year after year.

The Pats are 5-3 following a recent loss to the previously mentioned Colts. They are also second in their division. As everybody knows, Tom Brady went down with a leg injury in Week One, leaving Matt Cassel, who hadn't started a game since high school, to lead the once undefeated Patriots. The Pats have so many weapons that the loss of Brady has not been as crucial to his team's performance as many would've thought.

With these teams not playing to their potential, the NFC has risen from the lower ranks and is slowly becoming the dominant conference.

And with hotly contested divisions like the NFC East and NFC South, it leads me to question which conference is better right now.

With teams like the Super Bowl Champion Giants and the Redskins playing in the same division, and the Panthers, Falcons, and Saints all rising in the NFC South, its hard to decide which conference is the elite.

The NFC East has been thought of as the best division in football this season. It is one of the most hotly contested divisions in all of football with the Giants, Skins, Eagles, and Cowboys, all four teams in the division, fighting for a playoff berth.

The NFC South in particular has gone from one of those divisions where you say "Well, someone has to win it," to "whoever wins this has got to be good."

The Saints are 4-4 and in last place in the NFC South. They are slowly rising up in NFC South because of Drew Brees' play. He is a serious MVP candidate and has New Orleans ranked first in pass yards per game and yards per game. They've got the Falcons on Sunday and if they can get a win in Atlanta, it may show their true ability.

The Atlanta Falcons are 5-3 and third in the NFC South. They have a really great rookie in Matt Ryan who has passed for over 1500 yards and nine TDs so far. They also have a pretty good wide receiver in Roddy White, who has almost 50 catches for over 700 yards and five touchdowns. The Falcons could be a serious contender in the NFC in they can pick it up.

The Buccaneers are 5-3 also and placed second in the division. They have production from almost everyone. Jeff Garcia has five touchdown passes while Brian Griese has four. Ernest Graham has 560 yards on 131 carries while his counterpart Warrick Dunn has 423 yards on just 89 carries. If the Bucs can continue to work well as a group, they also can be a serious playoff contender.

Finally, the Panthers are atop the NFC South at 6-2 and one of the biggest surprises on the season so far. Jake Delhomme has played well and the one-two punch of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart has translated into their great first half.

So with once great teams in the AFC not playing to their potential, and NFC teams playing beyond their potential, which conference is better right now?

Honestly, I do not know anymore. There are really only two or three great teams in the AFC now while there is an abundance of mediocre teams. And now in the NFC there is an abundance of great teams with fewer mediocre teams.

Who do you feel is the better conference, the AFC or the NFC?