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Unlike AFC and Pats, NFC doesn't have team to fear


FalconMama
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Unlike AFC and Pats, NFC doesn't have team to fear

Never have two wild-card teams met in a conference championship. The NFC seems ripe for that possibility this month.

Unlike in the AFC, where the New England Patriots loom, much as they did in their undefeated 2007 season, as that opponent to be feared, the NFC is wide open. So much so that both road teams this weekend, the Saints and Packers, own victories against their hosts.

Wins for New Orleans at Seattle and Green Bay at Philadelphia hardly are farfetched. Indeed, outside of the Seahawks (7-9) - the first division winner with a losing record - pulling off a monumental upset, the NFC is a five-team grab bag.

"Once you get into the postseason, no one's really interested in how you got there," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "That's been the history of our league."

The history of the league since 2000 has been that wild-card teams have a decent chance of getting to the Super Bowl, and top seeds are anything but a lock. Last year, when the Saints beat the Colts for the championship, it was the first time the No. 1 seeds in each conference made the big game since 1993.

In the last decade, wild-card teams got to the Super Bowl three times; they all won it: Baltimore in the 2001 game, Pittsburgh in 2006 and the Giants in 2008.

Could we have a fifth seed against a sixth seed in a title game this year? If so, look to the NFC.

New Orleans, after all, is the defending champion and should have an easy time with Seattle, which it beat 34-19 in November. Green Bay, plagued by key injuries more than any other contender, defeated the Eagles at Philly in the season opener and has that dangerous look about it reminiscent of the Steelers who won three road games before beating Seattle in the '06 Super Bowl.

"We did not execute at the level we're capable of, but we're 10-6, we're in the playoffs, we're a **** good offense, and we need to get ready for Philadelphia," coach Mike McCarthy said, noting the balance his team can have. "We've lost some games here, but we've been in every single contest. "I've always referred to (the defense) as the thermostat. They control the temperature, they control what's going on every time we compete. It gives us an opportunity to play offense the way we do."

True, the Saints and Packers would need to be road stars to get to the Super Bowl - although New Orleans would get the home-field edge in any meeting with Green Bay, which only could come in the championship.

Even truer, it's senseless to dismiss the teams above them - other than the Seahawks.

Atlanta has the conference's best record, 13-3, and quietly has been the NFC's top team. It might be a bit inexperienced in key contests, but Atlanta has a rapidly developing quarterback in Matt Ryan, an all-time great tight end in Tony Gonzalez, and a stud running back in Michael Turner. The defense has several playmakers, led by end John Abraham.

But the Saints went into the Georgia Dome two weeks ago and, despite their best efforts to give away the game, beat the Falcons. Atlanta's worst game of the season was at Philadelphia, and the Packers also bumbled enough to lose at the Falcons' dome.

As good as they have been, do the Falcons make the opposition tremble? Not quite.

"We better be confident about it," Gonzalez said of the challenge ahead, "but we know it's going to take a lot of hard work and we're going to have to face some good teams that are going to try and get at us. I think if we can play like we're capable of playing, we can beat any team."

And any team can beat them, including second-seeded Chicago, another club that hasn't gotten the attention its turnaround season deserves. Lovie Smith has done a masterful coaching job, with the defense, sparked by the return to health of Brian Urlacher, capable of shutting down just about anybody. The offense, particularly with running back Matt Forte breaking out in the second half of the schedule, can be efficient. Special teams, led by returner Devin Hester, are, well, special.

Chicago also is error-prone, especially when Jay Cutler is pressured. Nearly every potential NFC opponent is capable of doing so to the quarterback.

So the folks in Nawlins who got to celebrate that home victory over the Vikings in overtime a year ago for the NFC championship shouldn't write off hosting another early Mardi Gras against the Packers.

That's how wide open the NFC is.

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Well...two things.

I don't think anybody in the AFC "fears" the Patriots. Teams are going to show up and play, and they could lose just as easily as anybody else.

The other thing.....that comment about the Packers bumbling enough to lose....now that's just typical.

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Anyone think this lack of respect isn't seeping into the minds of our players? Look at Gonzo's quote, "we know it's going to take a lot of hard work and we're going to have to face some good teams that are going to try and get at us. I think if we can play like we're capable of playing, we can beat any team".

This team is confident that they can beat anyone, and I think they are starting to get that chip on their shoulder.

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Anyone think this lack of respect isn't seeping into the minds of our players? Look at Gonzo's quote, "we know it's going to take a lot of hard work and we're going to have to face some good teams that are going to try and get at us. I think if we can play like we're capable of playing, we can beat any team".

This team is confident that they can beat anyone, and I think they are starting to get that chip on their shoulder.

I think Gonzalez just gave a text book canned answer.

I am pretty sure the Falcons aren't going to go into any game in the Georgia Dome expecting anything but a win.

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That article is pure comedy. I hope that they weren't serious when they wrote it. I think the NFC definitely matches up well against the best that the AFC has to offer, no matter who wins the conference. Let them keep thinking the Patriots have a cake walk to another SB win though. Funny.

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This article reminds me of a "troll" post. Especially the opening sentence actually suggesting that the time is right for 2 wildcard teams to make it to the NFCCG. It's practically saying that we won't win one at home.

If you want to stay in that vein and get even more upset, check out this other gem from FOX Sports

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/super-bowl-picks-010411

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But the Saints went into the Georgia Dome two weeks ago and, despite their best efforts to give away the game, beat the Falcons. Atlanta's worst game of the season was at Philadelphia, and the Packers also bumbled enough to lose at the Falcons' dome.

I don't see it that way, nor do have I heard/read anyone else analyze that game that way. That's bordering the absurd.

McClure has a botched snap on a shotgun formation, but the SAINTS tried to give the game away.

Figure of speech aside, that's really stupid analysis.

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What a load of BS.

I doubt that anybody "fears" the Patriots, especially the Steelers. The difference between the AFC and NFC, is that NFC has 7 really good teams at the moment, whereas the AFC has only 2 or 3. The NFC is wide open because it has a lot of quality teams, NOT because it lacks a team as good as the Patriots. In fact, I'm confident that the NFC Champ will win this year's super bowl.

I get the point about the NFC being wide open, and "a five-team grab bag". What I don't get, and what annoys me, is the way that they feel the need to disrepsect us in making the point. It was totally unnecessary and their comments about the Saints and Packers games are laughable.

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I don't know. I think the NFC has the Falcons and the Bears. I see an epic crash coming like what we saw for SB XLII. Remember 19-0? So let's not get so cocky. After all we all saw what happened when the tempt destiny billboard happen - 4 TD billboards - 4 Super Bowl victories.

I've been over at the Bears site and they are all over winning this billboard to help insure a Super Bowl victory. Kicker would be if the Patriots once again faced another NFC team backed by another TD billboard. Now that's a story!

Edited by clawofthefalcon
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If you want to stay in that vein and get even more upset, check out this other gem from FOX Sports

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/super-bowl-picks-010411

Might be kind of a nit picky stat, but has Drew Brees ever won a playoff game on the road? (would have to have been with the chargers)

These guys are going to have to go on the road for the entire dance and without a seroius running threat its comical that people are still picking them to go to the SB.

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I can't disagree too much with him other than the way he wrote the article. Could have been a little more positive. I do think the top 5 teams in the NFC are really, really good. Any of them can make the SB and win it. Whichever team makes it for the NFC will dang sure deserve it...even if by hook Seattle makes it.

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I don't see it that way, nor do have I heard/read anyone else analyze that game that way. That's bordering the absurd.

McClure has a botched snap on a shotgun formation, but the SAINTS tried to give the game away.

Figure of speech aside, that's really stupid analysis.

Not to mention a fumble by us one yard away from scoring a td.

LOL The Atlanta Dangerfield Falcons. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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I don't see it that way, nor do have I heard/read anyone else analyze that game that way. That's bordering the absurd.

McClure has a botched snap on a shotgun formation, but the SAINTS tried to give the game away.

Figure of speech aside, that's really stupid analysis.

You beat me to it, abrahamburger.

I stopped reading right there.

I guess we played our best game of the season and it wasn't enough to beat the Saints :rolleyes:

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Well...two things.

I don't think anybody in the AFC "fears" the Patriots. Teams are going to show up and play, and they could lose just as easily as anybody else.

The other thing.....that comment about the Packers bumbling enough to lose....now that's just typical.

What is funny to me, is that it is always our opponents who are trying to lose or bumbling. Ever notice that the Falcons don't bumble.

Could we be part of the reason our opponents make mistakes? Perish the thought!

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What is funny to me, is that it is always our opponents who are trying to lose or bumbling. Ever notice that the Falcons don't bumble.

Could we be part of the reason our opponents make mistakes? Perish the thought!

No that's impossible, it's everybody else trying to give us the game.

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I'm surprised that with NO RB woes that the media hasn't declared the GB/Philly game the NFCCG 2 weeks early. I think that this is a blessing for the Falcons since they are both the "spotlighted" teams right now.

Edited by Sidious
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The Green Bay game too ... they bumbled enough to lose? That's ridiculous. It was a good game but we were clearly the better team on the field that day.

Did the Ravens bumble it away too? Maybe Smitty's got somebody working voodoo on all those other elite, world-class superb football teams, such that they all come to play us and just bumble things away.

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