Heading into the final week of the 2019 regular season, here’s an all-too-short take on all 32 NFL teams from a gambler’s perspective. In today’s Part 1, we take a look at the 16 teams in the NFC.
There’s still one more week left to play in the NFL regular season. In fact, next weekend, 11 of the 16 games will matter in the sense they could, in some way, impact the playoff breakdown and conference seedings.
Six of eight division winners have already been decided — including New Orleans, Green Bay, New England, Baltimore, Houston, and Kansas City. Ten of the 12 playoff-bound teams are also known. In the NFC, this includes Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. In the AFC, this includes New England, Buffalo, Baltimore, Houston, and Kansas City.
In a year filled with surprises, here’s the first installment of a short analysis of all 32 teams, each breakdown done in 32 words or less. Today’s focus is on the NFC.
Philadelphia Eagles — Battered and banged up all season, the Eagles are, remarkably, primed to win the NFC East with either a win or a loss by the Cowboys. The Eagles have won ugly, going just 6-8 ATS.
Dallas Cowboys — Misguided fans are screaming for head coach Jason Garrett’s head when, instead, they should be demanding owner/G.M. Jerry Jones get — and stay completely — out of football decisions.
New York Giants — This team is a total mess. Only the fact that the Redskins, whom the Giants beat twice, are in the same division keeps the G-Men out of the cellar.
Washington Redskins — Another season, yet another coaching change for the Redskins. Washington remains a team desperately in need at just about every position.
Green Bay Packers — A soft schedule helped the Packers get to double-digits in wins and, likely, the NFC North title. The year’s biggest surprise was the vastly improved defense. As long as Aaron Rodgers is taking snaps, Green Bay remains dangerous.
Minnesota Vikings — The Vikings will get the wild-card spot, and could be in for a real quagmire in the final game. Win and play Seattle (dangerous) or lose and play Philadelphia (preferable).
Chicago Bears — What will the Bears do at QB? Until this question gets answered, it’s hard to have much faith Chicago will shake off another disappointing year. The Bears are also stuck in a tough division, which doesn’t help their prospects for 2020.
Detroit Lions — The Lions didn’t lose a game until the fourth week, then they crumbled the rest of the way, largely due to injuries. Coach Mike Patricia had very little to work with, so it will be interesting to see what moves Detroit makes during the off-season.
New Orleans Saints — Are the Saints the NFC’s best team? The 49ers might argue, but New Orleans is experienced, loaded at skill positions, and on a mission. They’re also a stellar 10-5 ATS this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Arguably the NFL’s biggest quagmire. The Bucs have a solid coaching staff and lots of explosiveness (30 ppg, third-best in NFL). But QB Jameis Winston has been a turnover machine.
Carolina Panthers — Looks like a major rebuilding during the off-season. Big decision coming on QB Cam Newton’s future. The Panthers faded and then quit down the stretch, going 1-5-1 ATS in the second half.
Atlanta Falcons — Just when it looked like head coach Dan Quinn would get canned, the Falcons won three straight and covered in six of their last eight games. This unexpected turnaround probably earns him another season.
San Francisco 49ers — What an amazing job by coach Kyle Shanahan. He turned around a 4-12 team into a possible top seed and Super Bowl contender. The scariest prospect is — youthful San Francisco may be a very good team for a long time.
Seattle Seahawks — On paper, the Seahawks shouldn’t even be a playoff team. But they’ve managed to win at least 11 games, largely on QB Russell Wilson’s arm and legs and some powerful motivation from Pete Carroll.
Los Angeles Rams — What a bust year by the defending NFC champions, who will miss the playoffs. The Rams were very good to bettors, however, going 10-5 ATS.
Arizona Cardinals — The young Cardinals are an exciting five-win team with a bright future. They overachieved in 2019, posting a 9-5-1 ATS mark. In perspective, that’s a better spread record than either the 49ers or Seahawks.
Coming Tomorrow: The AFC
Note: For those who were counting, I did exceed 32 words a few times. Please send all angry e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.