Refreshing, isn’t it? We have finally made it through the long months of no football, and have reached the beginning of the new season. Now, I will give you that this is only preseason, but there are still some important things to take notice of during each preseason game. Will each of these notes come to be important during the regular season, probably not. Still, they are important to observe which is why we are writing about it! In this article, we will look at the four biggest notes in the NFC, one per division, for the second week of preseason games in the NFL.
NFC East: QB’s Are Lacking
The NFC East did not represent in a good way through the second week of preseason. Eli Manning did not look very sharp despite a combined 6/9 on pass attempts. He was also sacked badly twice, and lost a fumble. The Eagles have also started the preseason rather slowly. Nick Foles who had 2 interceptions all last year, threw 2 in his first game against the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys offense is not lacking necessarily because of shortcomings, but more due to injury. Tony Romo is still out and while Brandon Weeden did look good against the Chargers this week, he will no means be the starter come week 1. RGIII is supposed to be 100% healthy and looking to tear apart the NFC East, but against the Patriots he did not show that. Easily outplayed by Kirk Cousins, Griffin went 2/4 for 9 yards. He did not run at all, and on his two missed throws he looked rather rusty. None of the offenses, besides the Redskins, stood out in the NFC East and the quarterback play only stood out because of how poor it was. It can take some time for quarterbacks to get back into the groove of things, but so far, the NFC East looks like it will need a lot of time for that to happen.
NFC North: Shoot Out Waiting to Happen
Now when I say that the NFC North will be a shoot out, I am not including the Minnesota Vikings. So far the Vikings have only shown that they are still rebuilding with none of their quarterbacks close to decent. AD sat out, and the only stand out for the Vikings was Patterson. With that said, the rest of the NFC looks to be a shoot out. The Packers did not play very well, and were losing the ball all over the place with 5 fumbles. They were without many of their key starters and will easily be one of the better teams when they get those guys back. The Lions have always been a good team, they just needed to figure it out. They have not only added good depth, but under Jim Caldwell do not expect the Lions to fall asleep in the second half anymore. While these two teams have been what they are, the real big story is the Bears. Having one of the worst defenses in the NFL, the Bears were able to get 4 takeaways and they were able to combine that with an offense that is leading all others in preseason. With the Bears looking on the rise, the NFC North looks like it will easily be one of the most exciting divisions in football this upcoming year.
NFC South: Saints Division to Lose
So far through the second week of preseason the NFC South has looked suspect, except the Saints. The Falcons looked good were they should have, in the passing game. Ryan completed all his pass and this was without Jones, and White doing little. The issues with the Falcons are in the run game and defense, which neither impressed. The run game only went for 84 yards total this past week and the defense was streaky and ultimately lost to the Dolphins. The Panthers are another team that did not impress this week. They lost a lot of talent all over the field and so far the replacements have not done great. The Panthers did not have Newton, but even still the new offensive line gave up 3 sacks, the running game went for 69 yards and they had 3 turnovers on the night. The other team is the Bucs, who did not hurt or harm their status much. They played decent enough but with many key players still working back from injury, a new head coach and a very young quarterback the Bucs should not be a huge threat. It is with all this that the Saints look to be well ahead of the pack in the NFC South. They did not play with many stars, but had a few players show potential of being one, such as Ingram, Cooks and Hill. Along with a solid defense display the Saints are the ones to beat in the NFC South.
NFC West: Best Division in NFL
If this past weekend of football has shown us anything, it is that the NFC West should easily be the best division in the NFL with potentially four playoff teams. Everyone knows that the 49ers and the Seahawks will be there, but no one knew if the Cardinals could repeat and how good the Rams would be. The Cardinals showed off this past week like they were going to win the division. They threw up 32 points on the Texans, and also held them to zero points. Palmer and Fitzgerald looked to be in mid-season form, while the defense looked explosive and hungry. The Rams also played really well, barely losing to the Saints. They did not play Bradford, but that did not stop the receiving core to go off for nearly 300 yards. Combined with the Rams RB’s running for 150 yards, including some great performances by Mason, Reynolds, Cunningham and Stacy, this team is no slouch. The teams that needed to prove themselves in this tough division did, and that is why we should expect great performances week in and week out from the NFC West.
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All stats and information courtesy of espn.com and nfl.com