When the Eagles were listed as the best team in the NFC at the beginning of the year I was OK with it. As was I when throughout the start of the year the Vikings, Skins and Panthers have all held that honor, but something just does not feel right saying Seattle is the best. It is kind of like when Tampa Bay starting winning a number of years back. To say that Tampa Bay has won a Super Bowl still feels a little odd. Is it just me?
Here is a break down of the top two teams as of right now in the NFC, Seattle and Chicago from this article.
Strengths: The Seahawks might have the best offensive line in football. Certainly they have the top left side of the line with tackle Walter Jones and guard Steve Hutchinson. The line helps make running back Shaun Alexander an MVP candidate and also protects quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. There are dimensions to the offense along with a great coaching mind in Mike Holmgren.
Weaknesses: The defense is improved but still isn't championship-caliber. San Francisco put 25 on them Sunday. The secondary, in particular, is filled with veterans of questionable skill. Poor salary management meant they had to let Ken Lucas go. Then there is that tricky question that no one wants to ask: Does this bunch have the heart of a champion?
Playoff outlook: Graduation day is way overdue in Holmgren's seventh year in Seattle. The Seahawks have advanced to the playoffs three times in that stretch, including each of the last two seasons. There are no excuses this season. They should win the NFC and make the Super Bowl. Failure to win a playoff game means Holmgren packs it up and starts somewhere else.
Remaining schedule: Giants; at Eagles; 49ers; at Titans; Colts; at Packers.
Strengths: The top-ranked defense in the NFL is a championship-caliber unit that features speed and ability at all three levels. The front seven is a dangerous bunch with a nice rotation on the line and two world-class linebackers in Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. The secondary struggled early in the season but has arrived of late as the pass rush has kicked in. This young team is getting better and more confident.
Weaknesses: They can run the ball on offense, but without a productive passing game, it's difficult to score points. Rookie Kyle Orton has done a remarkable job, especially for a fourth-round pick. But he will be perceived as the worst quarterback in the playoffs if the Bears make it, and he's still starting. Same goes for Rex Grossman.
Playoff outlook: They may win a game, but it's difficult to imagine a sustained run without the ability to score points. Relying strictly on defense to win creates a miniscule margin for error. One bad turnover and you're done.
Remaining schedule: at Bucs; Packers; at Steelers; Falcons; at Packers; at Vikings.