The 2017/18 NFL has reached its midway point, with every team having now played at least half its allotted regular seasons games.
Here, we take a look at which teams are winning, or doing much better than expected – and which teams are having a season to forget, or doing much worse than expected, with our focus being on the NFC – the National Football Conference.
WINNING : PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Eagles have been threatening to breakout for a few seasons now in the turbo charged NFC East – this season, they are doing it in style. Young QB Carson Wentz has been nothing short of a revelation, leading one of the leagues most potent offense (currently averaging 31.44 points per game) to an 8-1 record and having a three game cushion over the chasing Dallas Cowboys in their division. The Eagles are nailed on for a playoff place and have a real shot at being the NFC’s number one seed going into them.
LOSING : NEW YORK GIANTS
As well as the Eagles are doing, their NFC East rival the Giants are having a real shocker. Their offense was looking decidedly ropey before losing star WR Odell Beckham Jr for the season, and their defense, whilst having potential, has fallen apart at the seams, with their season already over, standing at just 1-7 so far. With their schedule looking particularly tough, it seems likely that the Giants will be making some big decisions in the offseason, with franchise QB Eli Manning and Head Coach Ben McAdoo in line for an exit out of New York.
WINNING : LOS ANGELES RAMS
A few eyebrows were raised when the Rams announced that Sean McVay would be their new Head Coach. Not only was McVay a rookie in terms of being Head Coach, having previously been the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, he was the youngest coach appointed in modern history at just 30 years old. But his effect on the Rams has been staggering. They have exploded offensively, with young QB Jared Goff leading the leagues highest scoring offense, and having a reliable and strong defense, the Rams have charged to a division leading 6-2 record and look to be a real force to be reckoned with – not just this season, but for many to come. Great to see from a franchise that has spent way too long in the NFL wilderness.
LOSING : SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
Any fans of the Niners who can remember the halcyon days at Candlestick Park of Montana hooking up with Jerry Rice, will be weeping at the current state of their beloved franchise. Winless at 0-9, the 49ers look to be under real threat to having a barren season – with some more cynical pundits even suggesting they are tanking (losing on purpose) to ensure the get the number 1 draft pick next year. They are certainly doing little to suggest anything opposite on the gridiron, picking up just 13 TDs on the season so far.
WINNING : NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
There are few NFL fans that don’t have a soft spot for the Saints. Representing an amazing city that has endured so much, the Saints are known for their expansive passing offense under Drew Brees – and this season, they are returning to form and a record they are more accustomed to in recent seasons – standing at 6-2 on the season so far and having a real run at the playoffs. Although their experiment with Adrian Peterson didn’t work out, Brees has been more like his usual self, and their pick up of Alvin Kamara has tipped this team over the edge – with their normally suspect defense much stiffer. Another team its great to see back winning.
LOSING : TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Preseason, many of the more cunning pundits were tipping the Buccaneers as real dark horses and a team to watch in the NFC. Well, those forecasts have been proved sadly wrong, as the Bucs look a shambles of a franchise at the moment, and what was a potent, well oiled offense under Jameis Winston, is now a disrupted mess, with the defence even worse. At 2-6 their season is all but done with – and there wont be many Bucs fans looking forward to next season either. The bad old days look back for the Buccaneers.
Honourable Mentions (Winners) : Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings
Honourable Mentions (Losers) : Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons