ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 11: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on after the Buccaneers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

One week down. And it was not a very pretty one for the NFC. Only two teams from the NFC who made the playoffs last year got a victory in the opening week of the NFL. The Rams, Packers, 49ers, Cardinals, and Cowboys all lost. Some in very ugly fashion. And even those two teams that won, didn’t look great. Eagles fans left the game vs the Lions on Sunday a bit nervous, but we all likely felt a bit better after watching the rest of the conference.

The NFC saw a decent amount of talent depart it this off-season. Russel Wilson went from Seattle to the Broncos. Khalil Mack went from the Bears to the Chargers. Davante Adams from the Packers to the Raiders. Matt Ryan from the Falcons to the Rams. Amari Cooper from the Cowboys to the Browns. Among other moves. Of course, there was some talent coming to the NFC, but for the most part the NFC got worse this summer.

And that showed, at least in week 1. The NFC seemingly lacks a truly great team. The AFC has the Bills and the Chiefs who both feel like trie contenders. But it’s a bit harder to point out a true favorite in the NFC. The Rams may be defending champions, but it is much harder to repeat, just ask the Eagles who went from the Best team in the league in 2017 to a few years of being average to mediocre.

But even if the NFC looks a bit weak this year, who is the best of the underwhelming bunch? Did a week 1 victory push our Eagles to the cream of the crop? Let’s take a look at the state of the NFC after an ugly week 1.

  • 16) Atlanta Falcons (0-1)

    That is the Falcons we all know. And but that I mean they imploded and blew a game they seemed to be close to winning. They led the Saints 26-10 in the 4th quarter. And then they lost. The Falcons roster isn’t devoid of talent, but it may be close to it. Tight End Kyle Pitts has the makings of a star, but he may not reach that status with Marcus Mariota under center.

    Perhaps if promising rookie Desmond Ridder gets in there at some point things will change. But after watching the Falcons fall apart vs another mediocre team in the Saints, it is hard to have much faith in them.

  • 15) Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

    Man, it is hard to imagine a rougher past few weeks for any NFL team. First Tyron Smith goes down. Then they look like crap to start the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday Night. And now Dak Prescott is out for what they project is 6-8 weeks. With no Dak Prescott and no Tyron Smith, they aren’t winning any games.

    By the time Dak gets back, it may be too late to be a hero. And it is not like they looked any good with him in. I resist the urge to say any team should panic after one week. But Cowboy fans can panic. This is a disaster for them. This was already a far worse roster than last year, and now they are down their two most important players.

    Oh and some of their fans also threw some trash at Dak as he left the field. This is after they threw trash at the refs after the Cowboys stupidly ran a QB scramble with no timeouts at the end of their playoff game vs the Niners. While I don’t think it is representative of a whole fanbase, it would be the lead story on ESPN if Eagles fans did that, so it’s worth mentioning. If they want to throw trash they should start throwing the jerseys off their back instead.

  • 14) Carolina Panthers (0-1)

    Baker Mayfield is eventually going to run out of excuses. He was not bad Sunday vs his former team. But he also wasn’t good. Mayfield is what he has always been. Average. And you don’t win with average QBs. He talked a big game about showing up his old team and came out flat. The team around Baker isn’t any less average.

    Matt Rhule had a ton of promise as a coach. But his continued failure to find a QB is going to be his downfall. This team has never looked like anything more than mediocre in his tenure. At this rate, he may not last the season.

  • 13) Detroit Lions (0-1)

    The Lions have a chance to surprise people this year. They have a great O-line and a strong D-line. That is a formula for success. With Jared Goff at QB, they aren’t going to be good enough to make real noise. But the roster around him is solid. And D’Andre Swift is a true star. And they even have some decent weapons in the passing game.

    The Lions are finally building a team the right way. If they can find a QB, he should have something Matthew Stafford never had there. A decent supporting cast.

  • 12) New York Giants (1-0)

    The difference a coach can make. This team still isn’t very talented. And it is beyond clear Daniel Jones is not the guy. But Brian Daboll was extra impressive in week 1. He showed something by going for the 2 to win the game that Joe Judge never showed his whole time in New York New Jersey, that he is actually tough. Judge masqueraded as a tough guy. With the treating player like they are in high school and the embarrassing tough talk. But his whining and his cowardly coaching always showed his true colors. But Brian Daboll doesn’t need to tell people he is tough. He shows it.

    Eagles fans could count on the Giants being embarrassing every year while Dave Gettleman was in charge there. Unfortunately, they finally moved on. And while I still don’t think this will be a good year for the G-Men, they are on a good track now. And by next year’s time, they may be back to being the consistent and impressive organization they used to be. Well, at least the Commanders and Cowboys are still run by incompetent boobs.

  • 11) New Orleans Saints (1-0)

    I have a hard time seeing the Saints be very good this year. In the offseason, they lost their star Safety, star LT, and long-time head coach. And then they traded away their nickel corner to the Eagles at the end of camp. And then Marcus Maye, the Safety they brought in to replace Marcus Williams, got arrested. Maye is still playing for now, but those legal troubles could impact his playing time later in the year.

    Are they going to be terrible? No. But a week 1 win over what may be the worst team in the NFC isn’t going to make me any more confident in this Saints team. Jameis Winston is good enough to keep them out of the gutters. But you look up and down this roster, and it all feels worse than last year, where they weren’t all that great either.

    They don’t even have their first-round pick to look forward to because they made a somewhat baffling choice to give up a large package of picks to the Eagles to get an extra first in the teens this year. They will probably throw a parade for the team when they go 8-9 anyway. But it was an impressive week 1 win, even if against the Falcons.

  • 10) Chicago Bears (1-0)

    It was an impressive performance by the Bears in week 1. Their play was as sloppy as the playing conditions, but they pulled out a gutsy performance vs the 49ers. It’s hard to put them any higher than this until we see them play an actual good game in normal conditions, but I do like Justin Fields. And good Qbs can make a big difference.

    Are they ready to compete? Probably not. Fields supporting cast is not very good at all. Years of mismanagement have left the cupboards very bare in Chicago. But in Fields, the locals have at least one thing to look forward to. They may not be quite as bad as last year. They got rid of Matt Nagy which, as I said with the Giants, can make a huge difference. Nagy insisted on misusing Fields. I’m not as convinced on Matt Eberflus as I am with Brian Daboll. But he got his team to win a tough game in week 1. So it’s a good start.

  • 9) Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

    Color me shocked, but the Seahawks looked impressive in week 1. That was a great win over the Broncos and Russell Wilson. I don’t know how much of that was the energy of facing off with Wilson who forced his way out over the summer. The energy in the building was electric and the team clearly fed off that. I don’t think it will all carry over to the following weeks. But maybe they can be better than we thought.

    Most people would have guessed they’d be last place in the conference, myself included. And with Geno Smith at QB, the ceiling is super limited. Things started well for him and the Seahawks offense, but they got flat real quick. But it’s not like the NFC is all that strong. And they played well vs the Broncos. I think a fallback to Earth is in order, but kudos to the Seahawks for the gutsy performance. The defense might actually be pretty good.

  • 8) Washington Commanders (1-0)

    The Commanders debut performance was slightly better than their name. I don’t know what to think of them. At some points, Carson Wentz looked great. He did also make some mistakes though. So which is the real Wentz? Likely somewhere in between. I am not going to shower them with praise for pulling out a win vs the Jaguars. I still think this is a middling team. But Wentz is an improvement from what they had last year, though that isn’t saying much.

    And he does have some real weapons to play with. Terry McLaurin is a threat to break one every time he runs a route. And Jahan Dotson looked the part in his first NFL game. Throw in a decent core of RBs, and Id expect a team somewhat similar to what we saw with the Colts last year. They could be in it for a Wild Card spot, especially given the state of the NFC.

    Everything off the field is a disaster for this team. The owner is being investigated by Congress. Their new team name is awful. The stadium is literally falling apart. They are selling merchandise with Washington State on it, not Washington D.C. And let’s not forget the serious sexual harassment allegations that for some reason barely anything came of for them. But the on-field product should be fine.

  • 7) Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

    I am very tempted to put them down further than this. They’re at 7 not because of anything they did, but because the teams below them just aren’t impressive enough. So as a team that was in the playoffs they get the benefit of the doubt, for now. But every year at least 5 teams who made the playoffs, fail to the next year. And my money is on the Cardinals to be one of them.

    Kyler Murray is super inconsistent. Sometimes he looks like a star. Other weeks you wonder if he is a starting QB. His supporting cast feels like it is getting worse. The head coach is way over his head in the NFL and even back in College has next had a winning record in the second half of any season. In fact, he is now 17-45 after game 7 in his career. I honestly just don’t think he is a good coach. Cardinals had some promise when he got there, but things always fall apart.

    And now they got the falling apart started early with a horrible game vs the Chiefs. Granted the Chiefs are very good. But at this point in the Kinsbury era, the Cardinals should be very good. They are fine at best.

  • 7) San Francisco 49ers (0-1)

    Like the Cardinals, the 49ers are getting the benefit of the doubt. Unlike the Cardinals, there is reason to have faith in the Niners. At this point, they have a track record. Under Shanahan, they have made one Super Bowl and another NFC Championship. They are still looking for a parade, but they remain a reliable team. Granted around those successes, there were two somewhat ugly seasons. But both of them were due in part to crippling injuries.

    They took a chance by moving on from the consistent yet unimpressive Jimmy Garropolo for a wildcard in Trey Lance. Lance has a much higher ceiling, but also a lower floor. But the move had to happen. It had been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt they got as far as they could with a mediocre Qb like Garropolo. He had elite supporting casts and came up small. They needed a potential difference maker.

    It went poorly in week 1. But you could chock that up to the horrid playing conditions. Chicago was getting hit by a monsoon, and Soldier Field was a swimming pool. Many QBs would struggle in that situation. Lance is the key to whatever the 49ers do. But the team overall deserves the benefit of the doubt because of the success they have shown they can have.

  • 5) Minnesota Vikings (1-0)

    The Vikings beating the Packers was probably the most impressive performance in week one by an NFC team. They have a chance to compete because they have one very sure thing going for them. The weapons around Kirk Cousins are elite. Justin Jefferson has a strong case to be the best WR in the NFL. Adam Theilen may be the best WR 2 on any team. And Dalvin Cook is dangerous as well. It is Kirk Cousins, and Kirk Cousins often finds ways to mess things up. But the pieces around him will make it a tough challenge for him to do so.

    A new head coach will help too. I was very high on Mike Zimmer when they first made that hire. But the longer he stuck around, the more apparent it became that he was not going to live up to the hype. I don’t know if Kevin O Connell will work out better. But his offense with the Rams worked, and he has some great players to work with. They deserve credit for a good win. And should be considered a team to look out for.

  • 4) Los Angeles Rams (0-1)

    And the award for ugliest week 1 in the NFC goes to the Rams. The Bills crushed them. The vaunted Rams offense looked, pedestrian. And Matthew Stafford was a mistakes machine. Following up a Superbowl win is tough. The Eagles showed that with the 3 years following their Super Bowl. On paper, this team is still very good, but there is a hangover effect from winning it all. And that was evident in week 1.

    Cooper Kupp is an elite WR, and with someone with an arm like Stafford they will put up points. But there is reason to be concerned. They did lose talent in the off-season. Their o-line got dominated by the Bills and Stafford was a sitting duck all night. It’s not time to panic. But it may be time to start stocking up the panic shelter just in case there is a reason to panic in a few weeks.

  • 3) Green Bay Packers (0-1)

    The Packers were just narrowly beaten out for the ugliest performance of the week in the NFC. It feels like Aaron Rodgers is good for a stinker like this every now and then. Granted it is usually in the playoffs, but he decided to get it out of his system early this year. The regular season track record is too strong for Aaron Rodgers to bail on them after one bad game. This defense still has talent. The running game is still going to be very good. And Rodgers is still a back-to-back MVP. If they suck again next week we can talk.

    Time will tell if losing Davante Adams will hurt them. Rodgers has done a lot with mediocre WRs in the past. He turned Jordy Nelson into a star. But week 1 is not the best of signs.


  • 2) Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

    This may seem high after a so-so performance in week 1. But among the teams thought to be NFC contenders in week 1 they were the 2nd best. That’s how bad the NFC looked. A true test will come in week 2 vs the Vikings. It is tough to tell if this was the Eagles playing down to the Lions, or if the Lions just improved more than we thought.

    The Eagles defense was a disaster in the 2nd half. Let’s hope that is because of a lack of conditioning from not playing much in the preseason. But there were also things to like. AJ Brown is a true star. He was the best player on that field all day, and there is no reason to expect that will change. Hurts showed progression, but there are still things there you want him to improve. He was still too quick to pull the ball down and take off. And outside of Brown, there wasn’t a lot else going on in the passing game.

    But Hurts legs make him a true weapon. He is elite running in the endzone. Hurts added a rushing TD on Sunday, and leads all QBs in rushing TDs since last year.

    This offense will put up points. And the defense is too talented to be that bad. But spirits are certainly lower leaving week 1 than they were going into it.


  • 1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)

    It would be hard to argue for putting anyone else at 1 right now. They had their issues Sunday Night vs the Cowboys. That offense did not look like it was operating at the level you would expect. But the defense played great, and they have Tom Brady. Until Tom Brady is retired I can’t bet against him. His weapons are all banged up, and I can’t say this team is better than last year when they weren’t good enough to get it done.

    Still, with how weak the NFC is this year, slightly worse than last year may be good enough to win the conference. We await word of Chris Godwin’s status. It seems like he will miss time, and with hamstrings, you never know how long that will be, and what they will look like when back. Even without him they still have Mike Evans, so it’s not like all is lost.  This is still a good team, that until they prove otherwise, is the team to watch in the conference.

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