NFL 2017 Playoff Team Rankings: NFC Edition
What’s up football fans? Playoffs are finally here and with everyone giving their two cents on who they think are the best teams from each respective conference, I figured hey why not me too! All six of these teams have something special about them and truly have a shot at winning the conference. However, like in most sports there are favorites and the clear underdog. Where do I have these six teams from the National Football Conference ranked? Well in order to find out that’s for you to keep reading and for me to continue typing. Let’s break it down worst to first.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: Record 13-3; #1 Seed
- Life without Carson Wentz has been somewhat rough for the Eagles during the last couple of games of the regular season. Back-up Nick Foles hasn’t been able to follow up on his spectacular debut as the starter against the Giants as he’s looked sub-par versus the Raiders and Cowboys the final weeks. In a pool of teams where half the teams’ quarterbacks that’s been to a Super Bowl already and the other’s outside of Foles are making their first playoff appearance, Foles is clearly a huge drop off from the rest of the pack. It’s sad to see this team go from Super Bowl contender to a potential first game loser in just a couple of weeks. Nick Foles is not the play-maker Carson Wentz was, nor will he ever be. If the Eagles want any chance at even tasting the Super Bowl this season they’ll have to rely on their trio of running backs Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount as well as their defense creating turnovers. The fact that the Eagles have home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs help as well, but I personally don’t think it’ll be enough to to get them where they want to go with the most important position not playing at a high level. They are my worst ranked NFC team in the playoffs.
5. Atlanta Falcons: Record 10-6; #6 Seed
- This is where ranks two through five can arguably be flip flopped all day long. They’re all good teams and deserve to be in the playoffs. In my eyes though the Falcons just aren’t consistent enough to be highly ranked among these teams. Earlier in the year we were all wondering what was wrong with this team and why the major drop off in production? Well it was the departure of Kyle Shanahan and his offensive play calling. Around mid-season new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian changed a few things up, but still not the dynamic offense that we all saw last year. The Falcons inconsistency on offense will be the team’s eventual downfall in post-season play. The Falcons have the talent to make it the the Super Bowl, but I don’t think they’ll be able to outscore some of the teams within the bracket with the offense I’ve watched this year.
4. Los Angeles Rams: Record 11-5; #3 Seed
- What a turn around for the Rams this season. First year head coach Sean McVay and his inspiring offensive wisdom created a juggernaut in it’s own division. The Rams led the league in scoring after being in the bottom five in almost every top offensive category a year ago. Jared Goff’s sophomore season compared to his rookie year has been night and day. Goff made the biggest improvement from his play this season and it’s all because of Sean McVay. The Rams were able to give their play-makers the ball frequently and it transpired into points on the board. Todd Gurley is an MVP candidate for a reason. Shoot he’s the hottest player in the NFL right now and he didn’t even play week 17. Let’s not forget an underrated move that McVay did in the off-season was bringing in veteran defense coordinator Wade Phillips. Phillips’ defense has been a stout unit and have created turnovers all season long; their intensity should only increase in the playoffs. Because the Rams are one of the youngest clubs in the post-season as well as inexperienced, I think the fourth spot is a perfect place for them. Jared Goff improved a lot this season, but team’s were still able to find ways to make him make mistakes when they bring the pressure and most of the teams have top defenses on this side of the bracket. NFC championship is doable, Super Bowl is still a goal for the future.
3. Carolina Panthers: Record 11-5; #5 Seed
- Oh boy, Cam Newton and the Panthers are back in the playoffs after their year hiatus. As a fifth seed they’re a pretty scary team to face and oddly enough Cam Newton has played better away from home this season which can make things even more interesting for opposing teams. The Panthers have the most post-season experience from this group and it will surely show. The defense is playing at a high level and with the Panthers running game getting to a hot streak, no one will want to face this team. Cam Newton has been up and down this season, but when he’s in that zone he plays like one the best athletes in the game of football. The Panthers can beat you in so many different ways on the field whereas some teams have to be one dimensional. We’ve seen a wildcard team ride its’ momentum into the playoffs on its way to a Super Bowl victory and out of the four wildcard teams this season I think Carolina has the best chance to do it this season. If they can get past the team that swept them in the regular season in round one, the rest of the NFC better watch out.
2. New Orleans Saints: Record 11-5: #4 Seed.
- The notorious team for going 7-9 the past few season finally got over their hump. The difference? A much improved defense and the addition of rookie sensation Alvin Kamara. The Saints have the best running back duo arguably in NFL history and it’s just getting started. Both backs amassed over 1500 total yards and made future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees’ life easy this season. The defense has it’s first pro-bowl player since the early 2000’s and really found a gem with shut down corner Marshon Lattimore in this year’s draft. This team has a winning recipe and the only team with a head coach and quarterback with a Super Bowl trophy already. They know what it takes and how to get it done in January. The Saints can beat anybody in the playoffs, but the question is can they beat the Panthers a third time this season? That’s their biggest threat to a playoff loss at the moment.
1. Minnesota Vikings: Record 13-3; #2 Seed
- Super Bowl LII is in in the Vikings very own stadium. No city has hosted their own team in the Super Bowl in history, but these purple Vikings could be the very first. They’ve lost their starting quarterback Sam Bradford and stud rookie running back Dalvin Cook among some other players, but still continued to play at a high level to tie the league’s best record at 13-3. Case Keenum stepped in for the injured Bradford and played like he’s been the starter since day one, some say he should even be the MVP. This team has it all; really they do. A top tier defense that’s stacked at all three levels. A quarterback and strong offense line playing at a high level and a big part of their success this season. Also can’t forget the depth and play-makers at the running back position to go along with their two stud wide receivers. This team is stacked and could be the most complete team in the NFL right now. Realistically, the Vikings potentially have one road game at the Eagles keeping them from having an all home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Yes, you guessed it, including the Super Bowl. The stress of being the first team is there, but the Vikings have done a swell job at handling adversity this season and I don’t see why this team couldn’t go on to win every home game they have the rest of the season. If I’m an AC team I’m hoping someone can knock out this team before the Super Bowl.
Well folks that concludes the six teams in the NFC bracket. Check back a little later and you can catch my thoughts on the AFC side of the bracket. If your team is still playing kudos to them and I wish them good luck. Let me know your rankings down in the comment section as well as your Super Bowl predictions. Like always have a great day and we’ll see you next time.
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