Many have their picks for the AFC representative in Super Bowl 54. Kansas City or New England, maybe Baltimore, but of course that is only half of the Super Bowl representatives. The NFC pick for top team changes week by week, Dallas, Green Bay, LA Rams, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Each team from the NFC has a case to be the champion of the conference, but they all have drawbacks which any team has in the NFL.
America’s team was expected to take a big step forward, especially after resigning their star running back Ezekiel Elliot. Many fantasy football players saw the upside in Dak Prescott who is set to be a free agent during the upcoming offseason and thought he’d throw for 300-350 yards each game. Us Prescott fantasy owners were WRONG! Opening the season with 405 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Giants, everyone thought Dak was on the attack against the NFL. Prescott started to come back to earth during the week 2 matchup against the rival Washington Redskins and since that game he has had at least a pick in each game including three against the Green Bay Packers.
As the season continues, the Cowboys will have to face some talented defenses including Minnesota, Detroit, New England and even Buffalo. The Cowboys offensive line has given Dak Prescott just under three seconds to throw the ball which is 4th in the NFL.
In the near future, the receiving corps may need some help. Jason Witten who was retired last season has 17 catches on 20 targets for 173 yards which has earned him a couple of touchdowns. Amari Cooper has been talented for Dallas with 512 receiving yards, but after that the team is incomplete. Randall Cobb has played 5 games but only has 210 yards while Michael Gallup has missed a couple of games. Defensively, is you take out the games against Miami and Washington, the Cowboys have given up 388 rushing yards in three games including a 4 touchdown performance given up to Aaron Jones. The Cowboys will be the Cowboys, start off hot against questionable competition, hit a bump in the road and have the wheels fall off at the QB spot and on defense.
The Packers and Bears set the NFL back 50 years after their season opener, but that game showed that the Green Bay Defense is respectable giving up 18.6 points a game good enough for 9th in the NFL and 4th in the NFC. The Pack are also tied at the top of the NFL for turnover differential with seven interceptions, as do the New England Patriots. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have been problems for offensive lines with the two combining for 10.5 sacks so far this season.
Offensively, Aaron Rodgers looks like he’s happier playing in Green Bay after the coaching change after last season. The starting QB has 1307 yards through five games with 6 touchdowns and an interception. With an established running game thanks to Aaron Jones, the Packers can play a little more balanced offensively while last year, the team was dealing with an injured QB from the start so they had very few options to put points on the scoreboard. Coming up, Green Bay has tough games including games at Kansas City, at the Chargers, and at San Francisco, plus ending the season with three straight against division foes. Green Bay has historically been a team that falls off the tracks at some point, and their record will show before the end of the season.
There are two undefeated teams in the NFL, the Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers!? Yes, the 49ers have started a season off 4-0 for the third time in team history. Defensively, the team stifled the dumpster fire known as the Cleveland Browns to three points on 180 yards of offense. San Fran has allowed the second fewest yards per game only behind the Patriots (257.5 ypg). Nick Bosa has been explosive in his rookie season with 8 tackles in three games (49ers had a bye week last week)
Offensively, Matt Breida has a big upside after taking advantage of playing time with the absence of Jerick McKinnon who will be out for the season. Breida has 340 yards on 52 carries which opens up the playbook for head coach Kyle Shanahan. Jimmy G has his favorite receiving target in tight end George Kittle who has 235 yards with a TD. Actually the 49ers have seven receivers who have a TD reception which makes opposing defenses play more honest and in single coverages.
Sorry to disappoint Richard Sherman, but the 49ers despite their 4-0 start won’t go far. The teams they’ve won against? Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Cleveland. San Francisco still has the meat of their schedule to come with games against Baltimore, Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta and two games against both Seattle and the Rams. Nice start, but expect a tough finish.
This is my pick for the top team in the NFC. Drew Brees continues to miss time with a thumb injury but Alvin Kamara is still playing for the Saints and he is showing it with 342 yards and a TD, but he has some help with Latavius Murray who as a touchdown on 94 yards and 24 carries. Teddy Bridgewater took over for Brees and his career may be revitalized with 849 yards passing in 3+ games with 6 TD and 2 INT. Michael Thomas has been the popular target of Bridgewater with 543 yards and 3 TD. Just like Jimmy G with the niners, ball distribution is key for the Saints who have 6 players with at least one touchdown.
Defensively, Marshon Lattimore has been playing out of his mind with 28 tackles including ten solo against Seattle. Lattimore has puzzled many QB’s dealing with tough receivers including Amari Cooper, Mike Evans. If Lattimore can stay locked in all season, the defense could be a top 10 D and the offense may not miss a beat when Brees come back.
The Saints have played some big games against Houston, Seattle, LA and Dallas. By the time Drew Brees comes back the team could be up by a few games in the standings and in position for a possible bye. The Saints are deep, they’re talented and they’re my choice for the top of the NFC.