OMFL Blog X - Ep. 2, NFC Breakdown Welcome back to Blog X, the OMFL's first independent blog! A couple weeks ago we broke down the AFC where two teams rose above the rest; The Jaguars and the Patriots. Those two teams are the odds on favorites in the AFC and if anybody else were to emerge from that conference it would be a huge surprise. Since that article we have seen the Jaguars win three times and stay undefeated, while the Patriots showed a crack in their armour by losing to the Jets. Those Jets have a new owner, and now position themselves right behind the big two in the AFC. Today it's time we take a look at my favorite conference, the NFC. Not only do they have the current OMFL Trophy on their side (and two of the three in total), the parity has been flourishing there. Unlike the AFC where two teams have established themselves ahead of the pack, the NFC has a hanful of teams, maybe even more, who could legitimately represent their conference in OMFL Bowl IV. Let's get to the breakdown! All standings are through Week 13, and do not reflect any Week 14 results. National Football Conference NFC West Saint Louis Rams (8-4) - Bruce: These aren't your normal Rams. For the second consecutive year St. Louis has shocked the prognosticators by positioning themselves squarely inside the playoff hunt. Even with a new owner this year, the drumbeat has continued. They have a rocky schedule to finish, and a late matchup with the 49ers looms large. Even with a couple of missteps, a 10-6 record would likely be plenty to get into the playoffs. San Fransisco 49ers (8-4) - Dritsch: Just like the real NFL, this was supposed to be the 49ers division and their beginning of a return to glory. While it certainly hasn't been the cakewalk many of us expected Coach Dritsch has his team in good position to grab one of the six playoff spots. Like usual this team is doing it with defense, allowing only 251 points which is good for fourth best in the NFC. Their offense has struggled to maintain consistency and it could be their Achille's Heel come playoff time. However 49er fans can rest easy for the time being knowing their team should coast into the playoffs. Seattle Seahawks (3-9) - PBates: Once upon a time in a land not so far away the Seattle Seahawks were one of the league's best franchises. Nobody in the NFC West could touch them, and they were perrennial Super Bowl Contenders. This franchise has fallen so far that its going to be hard for them to dig themselves out of the morass they are currently in. The bad news for the Seahawks is that they just passed by a few teams to move out of the #1 draft pick spot and actually into the #5 spot. We know Coach Bates will never (and should never, for fear of the banhammer) intentionally throw games, but the Seahawks could certainly use a top 5 pick. If they keep winning, oddly this might slow the rebuilding process. Arizona Cardinals (3-9) - CoachWest: Since the departure of Coach Frisk, this franchise has been in a tailspin that even the very well regarded CoachWest can't seem to get them out of. Their once all powerful passing attack has been average and their defense has now given up 431 points, which is the second most on the OMFL. There's lots of rebuilding work for Coach West to tackle, and the offseason couldn't approach quicker for the Cardinals. NFC South Carlina Panthers (9-3)- Claven: The word is that way back in OMFL Season 1 the Panthers and Coach Claven had a bit of a late season collapse that cost them a playoff spot. Since that time this franchise has waded in mediocrity struggling to keep pace with the Saints and Falcons in a very tough division. Nobody saw this season coming for Carolina. Not only have they been good, they have been absolutely dominant. It starts on the defensive side of the football where they have only allowed 241 points, which is the third best in the league. Couple that with a potent rushing attack led by DeAngelo Williams and you have a formula that apparently just plain works (Jacksonville anybody?). Not only are the Panthers runaways in this division, but they are very clearly the most well rounded team in the NFC and true contenders for an OMFL Championship. New Orleans Saints (6-6)- Nate: There has never been an OMFL team that has bemoaned their luck like these Saints. After racing out to a 5-1 start injuries started taking their toll, the owner became uninterested, and this once proud franchise has become something of a red herring. Time to break down the facts like we always do here on Blog X. First, there is no doubt that it would be hard to survive with the injuries suffered on the offensive side of the football. There hasn't been an offensive unit more decimated than the Saints. However, their defense has been relatively injury free, atleast compared to the other top teams in the league. Therefore, there is no excuse for a defense that has allowed 345 points and ranks in the bottom half of the league. And remember teams like the Rams, Chiefs, Browns, Jaguars, and Panthers are all winning with sub par talent on the field. Time for Coach Nate to buck up, as his team still has a legitimate show at a playoff berth. It starts this week against the Rams. Win that game and get your confidence back, and then who knows what will happen. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)- PittRocks: The Bucs have been something of an enigma this season. They got off to their usual rough start but have been more than competitive since then, even beating a couple of top teams along the way. This has proven that when he is interested Coach PittRocks can make this relatively undermanned squad competitive with anybody in the league. If this team can win out (a distict possibility) they would likely grab a playoff spot. Even if that doesn't happen there is a very solid base here for an exciting future for Tampa Bay. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)- Obisan: Truthfully there wasn't much that Coach Obisan could have done when taking over this job so late in the season. The Falcons have the pure talent to compete, but the inconsistency in the front office has been too much to overcome. When Owner A comes in, overhauls the roster and implements one plan of action it's next to impossible for Owner B with a difference philospohy to have short term success. Unlike the Bucs, this 5-7 team just doesn't have the weels to make a serious playoff run and they should start looking towards the future. NFC North Chicago Bears (9-3)- SRC: The Chicago Bears started the season with an owner who was good but couldn't abide by league rules and ended up taking an early exit. Enter Coach SRC, who took that already solid foundation and has built upon it to make the Bears one of the most feared teams in all of the league. There was no secret with Coach SRC, he left the AFC East because he saw the writing on the wall and was stuck with a team that couldn't be competitive in that packed division. Now, he has Chicago blasting all of the inferior teams in the NFC North with a balanced offense and a stifling defense that has allowed only 232 points (19.3 ppg). With one of the best in game Coaches controlling things in Chicago, the Bears may be the team to beat right now in the NFC. Minnesotta Vikings (5-7)- Frisk: One thing that we never thought before the season is that Coach Frisk's offensive schemes would be perhaps the best in the OMFL. Starting the season in Arizona and now in the Twin Cities, Frisk has shown he knows how to pass and he knows how to score. The Vikings 377 points scored is good enough for second best in the conference, and remember the coaching change didn't happen until mid-season. It might be too late for a serious playoff run this year, but with a solid offseason Coach Frisk may have his first true contender in the OMFL come next season. However, we can't leave without mentioning the atrocity that is the Vikings defense. . .447 points allowed. . .37.25 points per game. . .worst in OMFL history. Green Bay Packers (5-7)- NDColts: Perhaps the most disappointing franchise in OMFL history has been the Vikings. Not only have they never made the playoffs, or even been close to doing so (something really unthinkable when you look at how loaded the Packers have been over the years), but now their foundation at the top has began to crumble. Coach NDColts is the third owner in two months in Green Bay, and he's made no qualms in saying that his eventual job lies to the East in Indianapolis. For the time being, here's hoping Coach NDColts can somehow find an effective defense (390 points allowed) to go with a very solid offense. If that happens the Packers will be in the mix next year. Detroit Lions (4-8)- Winuvas: These are the anti-Saints, something that New Orleans fan Coach Winuvas might take offense too. But hear me out. This team, while mirred in medioctiry with a roster to match, has a rah-rah optimistic owner that has done nothing but boost the moral in the locker room and city. This 'Pete Carrol Style' is infectious, and Coach Winuvas is already talking about how improved his team will be next season. He may be right. The Lions previous owner made a hell of a trade that made this team much better, even when trading away Calvin Johnson. Coach Winuvas has been known to pull of some great offseasons in the past, and one now would finally put the Lions on the map, something that two time OMFL Champ Jeremy even failed to do. Take a look Saints, because this is what a positive outlook and 'rah-rah' style can get you. NFC East New York Giants (8-4)- SaintsDave: The G-Men are in the fight of their life against the reigning OMFL Champs. Their current one game lead is precarious, and you might imagine that the pressure of a first playoff run for Coach Dave may get to him. However there are two things working in his favor. First they do have a one game lead over the Eagles and two over the closest wild-card contender. This gives the Giants a bit of wiggle room to make a mistake or two. Secondly, their defense has been spectacular with only 223 points allow, second in the OMFL only to the undefeated Jaguars. We aren't sure if the Giants have the gas to hold off the Eagles, but we would be shocked if we don't see New York come playoff time. Meanwhile, it's time that Coach Dave takes a good look at his offensive schemes, as right now the Giants have the worst offense of any playoff contender in either conference. Without improvement there it's hard to see them advancing very far in January. Philadephia Eagles (7-5)- Vishal: Is there a scarier thought than the defending champs and Coach Vishal controlling the best offense in the OMFL? Perhaps only if they make the playoffs. They have positioned themselves nicely ahead of the Saints for the final playoff spot, and have started to even surge in the NFC East. There is no doubt how Coach Vishal is doing it. He uses a wide open vertical passing game with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. If you don't have speed at the corner and safety spots you are toast, there's just no other way around it. Most teams have been forced to outscore Phidelphia, which has proven to be at times a fairly easy task. The Eagles defense has been awful, giving up nearly 35 ppg. Even tho the offense may scare the heck out of defensive coordinators, it would be a major upset if the Eagles can win another OMFL Bowl if they continue to give up that many points. Dallas Cowboys (5-7)- Wajomatik: Big D this year has meant 'Big Disappointment'. With the early struggles in Philadelphia we were waiting for the Cowboys to turn it on an grap ahold of this division. That certainly hasn't happened and now they face a must-win against Philadelphia this week. If they lose that game, and odds are they will, then it will be a long offseason for Coach Wajy to ponder just what went wrong. Don't ponder too long, we can tell you. It's the offense that was supposed to be one of the best in the league that has been one of the worst. Whether its a new scheme or new players, something must change in Dallas next season if they want to turn the corner. Washington Redskins (2-10)- Coach KO: For some reason the Redskins seem to be a team that just can't turn the corner. What needs to happen is a dedicated owner to come in, clean house, and start building towards the future. . .and this owner needs to be dedicated to staying in Washington for many seasons. Nothing against Coach KO, we know he is a fine owner and will be successful in this league. However, we wonder if his heart is truly in Washington. **BREAKING NEWS- It has been reported that Coach KO has been told by Redskin management that he will not be back next season. Inside reports say that Coach Gaddy has been seen inside Washington headquarters and may have a tentative deal in place to coach the Redskins next year. Stay tuned as we continue to update this story** PREDICTIONS NFC West - 49ers (11-5): A return to glory may indeed be happening for this franchise, as a playoff berth is almost assured. However we see the 49ers not just coasting in, but also taking the NFC West crown with them. NFC South - Panthers (12-4): This is the Panthers division as the Saints are down and out. Carolina and Coach Claven can start resting soon and preparing for a deep playoff run. NFC North - Bears (13-3): We see the Bears winning out and becoming a serious title threat. Shades of 1985 with this defense. NFC East - Eagles (11-5): The Eagles are just on a roll, and nerves will get to the Giants allowing Philly to claim the division crown. Once the Eagles are in, everybody is going to begin to get a bit nervous about Coach Vishal's team. Wild Card 1 - Rams (10-6): Just a brutal finishing schedule for the Rams as they play the Saints, Chiefs, and 49ers the next three weeks. If they can come away with just one victory from those, then they should seal up a wild-card berth. Wild Card 2 - Giants (9-7): By the skin of their teeth the Giants are going to get Coach Dave his first playoff berth. This one may come down to tiebreakers however as the Saints, Vikings, and Bucs all look like they may make a run. NFC Champion - Eagles: This race is a bit more open that the AFC, as we can seriously see the Bears or Panthers representing their conference in the OMFL Bowl as well. However until somebody proves they can beat the Eagles when it counts, we will give the nod to the defending champs. Their offense has been maybe the best we've ever seen in the four year history of the OMFL. If that unit continues to click, we may see a Eagles-Jags rematch for OMFL Bowl IV.