Wonder covers the NFC, Part 2 of coverage around the NFL. See random comments after the 16 teams below for more color on what is making these teams do well or underachieve.
PHI– Exceeded expectations, should win the NFC East
DAL– Jerry Jones should clean house, starting with himself
NYG– Start Eli for 1 series, pull him out, repeat in Week 17. (more comments below)
WAS– Everything in the NFL is team cohesiveness. Despite some good players, total dysfunction.
CHI– Could not make the playoffs, or could be tough out in playoffs. Trestman gets a lot of kudos, given that the Defense w/o Briggs and Urlacher is horrible. O is excellent.
GB– Wouldn't want to play them if Rodgers is back. Lacy is the real deal.
DET– How can such a talented team be 0.500?? Ya gotta be kiddin me.
MIN– I do not agree w/ people calling for Les Frazier's head. Lost 5 games they could have won, team held together w/o a QB and injured RB.
NO– Cannot be forgiven for losing in St. Louis. Cannot go on the road and win, particularly in Seattle, or in snow of NJ XLVIII. Underachieved.
CAR– From the outhouse to the penthouse. Just ask Ron Rivera. Star Lotulelei and Luke Kuechly great draft picks. If they had Norv Turner or Ken Whisenhunt as OC and a fast slot receiver, they could be the most dominating team in football.
TB– Hard to believe, but Schiano is holding the team together.
ATL– I do not think Mike Smith should lose his job. White and Jones meant too much, too big a loss.
SEA– The PED champs of the NFL. Russell Wilson is the most overachieving QB I have seen. With homefield, they have pole position. Plus this Super Bowl location helps SEA enormously.
SF– Second best team in the NFL. Had a major loss last week that no one is talking about- FB Bruce Miller
AZ– Has anybody noticed how good a job Bruce Arians has done with the Cardinals, and that Pittsburgh is now where they are at?
STL– The worst team in the best division in football. Great defense. Unfortunately, predraft fears about Bradford's durability are coming true.
Wonder offers a few more comments on our gmen: The NFL is a win now league, which is why Coughlin and Reese have to go. The Giants have lost their identity. I do not recognize them. What happened to tough defense and smashmouth physical Northeast football? At some point the players have, to one degree or another, tuned Coughlin out. LT is right, go out there and played like crazed dogs, it's the only way.
Re the Lions, Cowboys, and Redskins, these 3 NFC teams are in varying degrees of dysfunction. WAS has a solid OL, QB, great RB, pretty good WRs, avg+ DL, and yet they s*ck. How is that possible? We get the fact that the QB situation is a mess this season. The NFC L-East should be embarrassed for itself, because they have a lot of good ball players in that division. Kerrigan, Orakpo, even Fletcher is solid despite his age. DeAngelo Hall has not been great but he has been good. Garcon, Moss, Fred Davis, How can they have only won 3 games? This is a reflection on RG III. Francesa is right that Shanahan cannot have the owner having a direct relationship with the QB. It undermines who is boss on the field. Garrett is a gelding. Jones has cut his balls off. Schwartz became one of the guys, forgot to be the head coach. He got off to a great start and got the franchise off the (0-16) mat, but he lost control because he was the players' friend.
Football is about continuity, scheme and brotherhood. It requires sacrifice, bone crushing hits, you have to buy into team unity and play for one another. It is not about 7 basketball players where 2 stars can plug in the rest. It is 53 players who must help each other, play hurt, raise the level of their game when another player is playing hurt. Lawrence Taylor is my favorite football player of all time, and I am a Jet fan. Would I want LT as my next door neighbor? No. But I sure as hell want him to lead my football team. LT gave 125% and he would not tolerate any of his teammates delivering less than that kind of effort. Michael Strahan deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer because of his character beyond his ability. He was a natural leader, and that leadership was on full display vs the Pats in Super Bowl XLII, when they beat a team that was better than them (on paper).
Bruce Arians is the exact opposite of what has gone on in DET, WAS, and DAL. He has done a hell of a job. He has brought back Carson Palmer to respectability.