A quarter of the way through the season let’s consider The Good, The Bad, The Ugly in the NFC.
The New Orleans Saints emerge from the first four games of the regular season unscathed as Drew Brees continues to add paragraphs to his lengthy Hall Of Fame resume. The return of Shawn Peyton along with Jimmy Graham’s meteoric rise to super stardom and the arrival of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan and rookie safety Kenny Vaccorro have combined to produce the class of the NFC. Not even a loss in the fifth game at the hands of Tom Brady in Foxboro can erase the fact that New Orleans is the best team in the NFC right now, apologies to the Seattle Seahawks. Their offense is methodical in its effectiveness. Brees seems to always have a receiver to throw to either by offensive design or by improvisation on his part. Getting the ball to receivers where they can catch it seems very simple but the best in the game waste very few passing attempts due to inaccuracy or failing to read the defense for pressure or coverage. The way the offense and defense are clicking makes every Saints game a pleasure to watch.
The Atlanta Falcons ended last season just a failed completion away from the Super Bowl. This season was supposed to be the redemption of a team denied the chance at a title. Instead, it has been misfortune in abundance. The offensive line has struggled mightily, narrowing the margin for error Matt Ryan had in terms of connecting with his talented teammates. As the offense sputtered, particularly in the red zone, injuries began to mount on both sides of the ball. One win through the first four games of the season leaves Atlanta with an incredibly difficult route to a winning season, yet alone the playoffs. A season ending foot injury to Julio Jones, a gimpy Roddy White and a not quite right Stephen Jackson only add to that difficulty. A defense made to protect leads and pounce on predictable passing offenses is now faced with the prospect of winning games as a unit. This pre season favorite is now faced with the surviving the 16 game schedule.
The New York Giants are winless. I choose not to write hopeless because there is just too much talent on that team to go 0-16. They will win games but at this point, Giants are for all intents and purposes the worst team in the NFC. Some say you are what your record say you are. I tend to believe that you are what the film says you are. They may very well mean the same thing. The Giants offensive line struggles MIGHTILY to provide Eli Manning the time he needs to find his talented trio of receivers. The running game (or lack thereof) makes the passing attack the only means of generating scoring opportunities. Opposing secondary’s are basically waiting for passes to come their way. In the NFL it is impossible to avoid passing into coverage when you cannot disguise your intentions. No defense the Giants play this season will respect the run. Especially not when the Giants find themselves in must score situations. They will lean on Eli. Eli will press the ball up field. Defenses will continue to feast. The only silver lining here is that I firmly believe Tom Coughlin will find a way to make the defense into a unit that resembles the ones he has had in years past. As they improve so will this team. Right now the onus to win is solely with the Offense and they are not equipped to handle such pressure.