Who Are The Best Teams In The League?: NFC
As week eleven comes to an end, we are beginning to get a good idea of which teams are legitimate contenders in each conference. In a season full of injuries, the teams that we expected to be on this list at the start of the season are wildly different from how it actually turned out. Today we’ll go over the three best teams in the NFC.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
This seems to finally be the Eagle’s year, as they are currently bolstering a league-best 9-1 record. The team has drastically improved since last season, and much of this improvement can be attributed to the play of quarterback, Carson Wentz. Last season, Wentz showed flashes of a great player, but this season he has been the best quarterback in the league.
While Wentz has certainly made improvements in his game, the additions of Legarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Alshon Jeffrey and the improvement made by Nelson Agholor surely have helped Wentz find this success. The lack of offensive weapons was the team’s biggest weakness last season, and that problem has now been made into a strength, as the team currently has the top offense in the league, averaging 32.7 points per game.
On top of having the league’s best offense, the Eagle’s defense is just as elite as it was last season, as it currently leads the league in rushing defense, allowing only 71 yards per game. Barring any injuries that might occur, the Eagles have everything needed to take home the Super Bowl come February.
2. New Orleans Saints (8-2)
After week two, just about everyone wrote the Saints off, as they were 0-2, and looked like a very bad team. The team was struggling on offense as it tried to figure out how to feed all three of their running backs. The team decided that they needed to move on from Adrian Peterson, and the offense then took off.
As the season has gone on, the Saints offense has become one of the best offenses in the league. They currently lead the league in yards per game, at 415.7.
While the team’s offense has greatly improved, it is the defense’s improvements that have made all the difference. After the first two weeks, the Saint’s defense looked like the worst in the NFL, but now they are far from that. The Saint’s defense is currently top ten in points allowed per game and passing yards allowed per game.
Much of the team’s defensive prowess, especially against the pass, can be attributed to rookie cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, who has been the best corner in the league this season. Pro Football Focus has Lattimore as their top ranked cornerback this year, with a 93.1 grade on the season. With a strong passing defense, run game, elite quarterback and great coach, the Saints have what it takes to succeed in the playoffs.
3. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
Conventional thinking would say the Vikings should have been a bad team this year, considering both of their top two quarterbacks have been unavailable, but conventional thinking didn’t account for Case Keenum becoming a great player.
The Vikings defense is just as daunting as it has been for the past couple of years, and now they have the offense to match. They are top ten in both points and yards per game, averaging 24.1 points and 372.5 yards.
This potent offense is not only because Keenum has played so well, but also due to the emergence of Adam Thielen as a top-tier wide receiver. Through eleven weeks Thielen has 916 yards on 62 receptions, along with 3 touchdowns. These numbers have him second in the NFL in yards, only behind Antonio Brown. It is very unfortunate that running back, Dalvin Cook, went down with a torn ACL in the beginning of the season. If he was still playing, this Vikings team would be even more terrifying than it currently is.
Other possible contenders
These three teams fall just short of cracking the top three, but they are all very respectable in their own right and have a legitimate shot come playoff time.
Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Seattle Seahawks (6-3)
Carolina Panthers (7-3)