I’m keeping you guys on your toes. I usually am writing about the NFC East or the NFC North. Because it’s the playoffs, I decided to switch it up and venture to the AFC side of the League, to talk about the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts Wild Card game.
After quarterback Tom Brady left the division in the offseason, I don’t think anyone was happier than the Buffalo Bills to see him leave. With Brady out of the division, it was pretty much a given that they would win the AFC East, at least on paper.
Despite the Miami Dolphins having a pretty successful year, the Bills finished 13-3 and got to host their first playoff game in 25 years. They were even given permission to allow a “small” amount of fans to come and cheer on their Bills. The Colts, on the other hand, finished their division tied with the Tennessee Titans with an 11-5 record. Quietly, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor lead the way with over 1,000 rushing yards.
Week 17 is done, and the playoffs are upon us! I’m always excited because that usually means stress-free football for me. Nothing quite like watching games and not being stressed out. Though, to be honest, this season didn’t stress me so much.
But let’s recap the NFC North and how they got to where they are now. Because outside of the Detroit Lions, it was all pretty interesting.
Dayna O’Gorman covers the NFC West. And she has long contended that because of the talent in the division, it always comes down to the last few weeks of the season to determine the division winner. That always makes for an exciting finish and the division games that much more interesting. And when you could get 3 of the 4 in the playoffs, you know things are coming up roses.
Because of the season that the teams in the NFC East are having, I’ve got the opposite going on!
The NFC North has pretty much shaped up the way we thought it would preseason, though I’m not sure that people thought the Green Bay Packers would be as impressive as they were.
Instead of breaking down where teams stand as we enter the last two games of the season, this week I’m going to focus on the rookies in the division. They’ve done a good job, and deserve to get a little shine. So let’s help them get their shine on!
Many things have changed since I last wrote about the NFC North. Namely, the Detroit Lions are now in the market for a new GM and head coach. The Chicago Bears have come crashing back down to Earth, the Minnesota Vikings seem to remember who they are, and the Green Bay Packers… remain the Green Bay Packers.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I like to be a little creative when it comes to my articles. It’s fun that way. So, for this article, I asked one fan from each team in the division to describe their season so far in three words. A little bit challenging, but it can also be fun!
Going into halftime, Green Bay was enjoying a 20-3 lead and in under 90 seconds, a fourth-quarter field goal gave the Eagles the opportunity for back-to-back touchdowns, and most the team was nowhere to be seen.
Luckily, the Packers have quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He’s having one of his best seasons in years, almost solidifying his slam-dunk MVP/HOF placement. It’s reminiscent of 2014, which was the last time Green Bay led the NFL in scoring and Rodgers had another award-worthy season.
Now that my life is somewhat less complex, let’s talk some football, shall we?
The NFC North has been a division that has surprised me. At the beginning of the season, if you had told me that the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers would start off the season tied for first, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But (H)alas, they did. (See what I did there?)
The Bears were what really surprised me at first, but it seems like they’re starting their descent back to Earth. After starting their season 3-0, they’ve gone 2-4. Now, losing running back Tarik Cohen certainly doesn’t help, along with uncertainty at the quarterback position, but their offense just isn’t getting it done. Sunday’s loss to the Titans pretty much showed us that.
I apologize for not getting this out last week, but you’re getting it now, so I hope this makes up for it.
You all will remember that I do my power rankings a little differently. This go ’round, I’m going to rank the biggest surprises in the NFC North after the first 5 games. And there are quite a few surprises…