Rant Sports 10 NFL Debates After Week 6
10 NFL Topics Debated by Rant Sports After Week 6
We've seen some crazy NFL seasons before, but none as crazy as this one. Seriously, did anyone in their right mind predict the NFC West to be the league's top division after six weeks? That thing has been a doormat for the past half-decade, but now all four of its teams are .500 or better.
How about the AFC East? All four teams are 3-3. No, same dude in the back; you didn't predict that, either.
With all the unpredictable story lines that have delighted football fans everywhere thus far this season in mind, RantSports.com's own Chicago Bear Jew, Jeric Griffin and Dan Parzych have gotten together once again to debate the 10 hottest topics in the NFL:
At 6-0, are the Atlanta Falcons the best team in the NFL?
CBJ: They're the only undefeated team and wins are what counts, so yes, they are.
Jeric: No, they're not. Even after the beating the San Francisco 49ers took on Sunday, they're still the best team in the NFL. Teams don't go undefeated in this league every year like they do in college because it's so evenly matched across the board. The 49ers will rebound and show why they're still the top team with the NFL's best defense and a highly underrated offense.
Dan: The best teams find ways to win no matter what and the Falcons keep finding ways to win games in the craziest ways--so I'm going to say yes. The defense may be inconsistent, but Atlanta makes up for it with their high-powered offense led by Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones.
Have the New York Jets finally found a formula for success?
CBJ: Let's not go crazy here kids. They beat an Indianapolis Colts team that is young and inexperienced. Sure, while Tim Tebow is the league's most overpaid backup running back, this isn't a formula for success. I think the New York Jets are a typically mediocre to bad AFC team. And in that conference, that may be enough.
Jeric: Yes and no. Like several other teams in the league, the Jets stumbled upon the way to win and that's by running the football with a talented running back. However, they won't stick with it, which is why they haven't "found" it.
Dan: The Jets have to win a few more games before anyone can begin talking about a formula for success. This was just one game against a young Colts team and there's no reason to get excited just yet. Give it a few more games to see if New York's offense can stay consistent and then we'll see.
Were the Houston Texans overrated?
CBJ: Yes, the whole AFC is overrated. The Houston Texans play in the AFC. So do the math...
Jeric: Not terribly, but yes. The Texans were not quite good as their 5-0 record showed and they'll continue to prove that with two games against very tough, one-loss teams in the next three weeks. Expect Houston to have a 6-3 record after that stretch, which will include three losses in four weeks.
Dan: Good teams have off nights every once in a while and the Texans happened to catch the Green Bay Packers during a week where they had a chip on their shoulder from all of the criticism surrounding their 2-3 start. It's better to deal with this type of loss now rather than later in the postseason--so Houston will be just fine and bounce back from this loss.
Are the Green Bay Packers "back"?
CBJ: I didn't know they left. They're a dangerous team, but the injury bug is hitting them hard.
Jeric: Yes. Well, at least Aaron Rodgers is. He carried the Packers during their Super Bowl run two years ago, but they weren't able to repeat as champs because of poor defensive play last year. That will continue to hold them back this season, but expect Rodgers to continue his MVP-caliber play.
Dan: Apparently, Rodgers takes his game to a whole new level with a chip on his shoulder and it's safe to say Green Bay is back. When the defense plays that well against one of the league's top offenses like Green Bay did against Houston, this team certainly has what it takes to compete in the NFC.
Are the 4-2 Seattle Seahawks for real after beating the New England Patriots?
CBJ: Yes. Can't discount a 4-2 team. They're a dangerous team at home and seem to have a formula for success. Pete Carroll is doing a great job.
Jeric: The Seattle Seahawks are real playoff contenders, but not real Super Bowl contenders. That may change next season after Russell Wilson has a year under his belt, but they're still too inconsistent to be considered Super Bowl threats this year.
Dan: Defense wins championships and while it may seem unlikely the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl with this young of a team--they do have one of the top up-and-coming defenses in the NFL and enough offense to at least be contenders. They've pulled off some impressive wins against strong contenders in the Packers and the New England Patriots--so this team is certainly for real.
Which division is the best after Week 6?
CBJ: The NFC North. The Packers and Lions, despite their records, are still dangerous teams.
Jeric: Judging by records alone, it's the NFC West, but that's not accurate. The NFC North race is absolutely going to come down to the wire and every divisional game involving its four teams will come fully equipped with a playoff atmosphere. There are definitely three playoff teams in this division, but unfortunately they'll beat each other up enough that only two get in.
Dan: No question it's the NFC North. While the Bears and Vikings have stood out over the last few weeks, the Packers look like they have what it takes to put up a fight after their performance against the Houston Texans. Plus, if the Lions manage to turn things around--this could become a division where all four teams contend for a playoff spot.
Which is the league's best one-loss team?
CBJ: The Chicago Bears. And this one isn't even close. Their defense is dominant and their offense is getting better. I wish the Packers game would have been last week.
Jeric: The Baltimore Ravens. Their only problem right now is their inability to stop the run, but you can bet that will be fixed by the time the playoffs role around. Joe Flacco is playing at a different level and their offense is finally a weapon instead of a liability.
Dan: Right now it's the Texans. They have one of the best overall teams in the NFL with a solid offense and defense, but the loss of Brian Cushing could cause problems throughout the remainder of the regular season. The Ravens could be considered, but they've had too many close games that could have easily turned into losses.
Which non-playoff team from last season has the best shot this year?
CBJ: The Bears. Gotta love the way this team plays defense and runs the football.
Jeric: If all their players stay healthy, it's the Bears. Of course, that's a big "if" considering the condition of their offensive line. However, Chicago's defense is finally playing like the unit for which it's typically been known. The Bears' biggest obstacle is themselves.
Dan: You have to go with the Bears at this point. They arguably have the best defense in the NFL and if Jay Cutler can continue to establish that chemistry with Brandon Marshall--they'll have the offense to get to the playoffs as well.
Is the all 3-3 AFC East really that balanced of a division?
CBJ: Nope. It is just a division of bad circumstances. The Patriots are still a very good and dangerous football team that is struggling on defense. They will be there in the end.
Jeric: Not yet, but it's getting there. The Patriots aren't nearly as good as they used to be and the Dolphins are getting better and better. The Bills are the epitome of a .500 team as they play like a contender one week and then a doormat team the next. If the Jets could ever get their heads on straight, they could easily challenge New England for the division crown.
Dan: The Patriots are on a completely different level from the other three teams and that will show when they square off against them throughout the rest of the regular season. New England is just the unfortunate victim of a tougher schedule at the beginning of the season considering all three of their losses came against playoff contenders.
Super Bowl predictions if the playoffs started today
CBJ: The Giants over the Texans.
Jeric: I'm sticking with my preseason prediction of 49ers over Ravens. It's going to be an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl as the coaching brothers face off for football's greatest prize.
Dan: I'm going to go with Giants over Texans. New York made a major statement in Week 6 with their road win over the 49ers and could be the team to beat in the NFC.