Halfway There: What We Know and Don’t Know About the NFC

As we reach the halfway point of the NFL season, the NFC is shaping up to have another extremely competitive season, with many of the top teams fighting for a first-round bye and the Vince Lombardi trophy. The NFC in comparison to the AFC has five teams with records better or within a half a game of the top AFC team (the 7-2 Titans). Each NFC team also has pretty intriguing storylines to their roster to compliment their case to be the best team in the NFC.

We can start it off by looking at the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sitting at 6-2, the Buccaneers are in a great position to make another run at a Super Bowl. Tom Brady is still managing games better than ever, and at the age of 44, he is showing no signs of slowing down. The Buccaneers will be a very tough team to beat come playoff time. 

Another team used to making it far in the postseason is the 7-2 Green Bay Packers. The Packers always have a chance with Aaron Rodgers at the helm, especially with star wide receiver Davante Adams playing at an extremely high level. However, the major controversy that is plaguing the Packers at this point in time is the fact that Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 and lied about his vaccination status at the beginning of the season to the league. While this has caused outrage across the league, it is likely that his punishment will only result in a fine, and he will continue to tear defenses apart for the remainder of the NFL regular season and beyond in the playoffs. 

Another team vying for a top playoff position is the 6-2 Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has a potent offense led by Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb and is looking to make their first Super Bowl appearance since 1996. With an extremely well-balanced offense, the Cowboys are a different team than they have been in the past. If their defense can manage to get them a couple of stops in a given game, they can be contenders for the NFC Championship come January. However, Dallas has more to prove than most other teams included in this article. 

The Los Angeles Rams have looked like an extremely dangerous team this year sitting at 7-2 with an upgraded quarterback and defense from their team last year. The big news for the Rams in recent weeks was their acquisition of star linebacker Von Miller from the Denver Broncos. Miller will do big things for this defense when incorporated into the mix with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. The Rams are a scary team with a veteran quarterback and a star-studded defense and will be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.

The last team making a surprise push for the NFC Championship this year is also out of the NFC West, and they sit atop the league at 8-1: the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were a dark horse team that not many expected to be this good coming into the season. However, with an MVP candidate at quarterback with Kyler Murray at the helm, a revamped receiving corps led by star DeAndre Hopkins, and a rock-solid, balanced defensive attack, they have thrived so far this season. The loss of marquee free agent signing defensive lineman J.J. Watt will certainly be a factor as the team prepares for the second d half of the season, but their most recent blowout win against the San Francisco 49ers when they were missing their quarterback, top two receivers and several other key players show a lot about this team’s ability to win games no matter what the circumstance is. This will go a long way come playoff time.

The NFC playoff race is shaping up to be a dog fight as several teams have a legitimate shot at the conference crown. It is difficult for many fans to trust the Cowboys and Cardinals after both teams have had so many down years in recent memory. Those two teams, combined with the more established competitors in the Buccaneers, Packers and Rams will make this year one of the more competitive and well-followed seasons in history.