As the second half of the NFL season starts, teams with championship aspirations begin to start their trek to the playoffs. Within the NFC, those in the best positions to make a run understand the road ahead. Led by veteran quarterbacks, these squads fully grasp the gravity of the situation. Now, the quarterback may not be an obstacle, these teams, in one way or another possess a potential flaw that could ultimately derail their season. With the Kansas City Chiefs primed to represent the AFC, the NFC looks less certain.
Sackless in Seattle
Blessed with a prolific offense and MVP-level quarterback, the Seattle Seahawks pose a serious threat. Yet, if you look to the other side of the ball, there seems to be quiet the issue. The Seahawks, after eight games, can only claim nineteen sacks. While that averages out to over two per game, look deeper. Jamal Adams, a safety, and Jarran Reed, a tackle, own seven of them. Where is the perimeter pressure? Additionally, subtract the number of non-blitz sacks, that number hovers st 11.5. Granted, Seattle picked up Carlos Dunlap to bolster the rush, but where are the other ends? Seattle drafted DE LJ Collier in the first round last year. In nineteen career game, Collier tallied exactly one sack. If Seattle needs to blitz to create pressure, Brady, Rodgers and Brees will inevitably pick them apart. Getting home with just four alleviate so many defensive issues.
A Robin in Green Bay
We all know what Aaron Rodgers accomplishes. Some argue that he’s the greatest passer of this generation. That remains up for debate. However, what isn’t up for dispute is his ability to make a valuable talent out of many receivers. Davante Adams gives Rodgers his best receiver in years. Adams’uncanny ability to replicate routes without telegraphing is unparalleled. The issue resides with a true number two. Green Bay tried to swing a deal for the Texans’ Will Fuller, to no avail. On the other side of Adams, teams don’t really need to show any degree of fear or concern. Granted, Allen Lazard and Marques Valdez-Scantling post quality numbers, but do they profile as the kind of wideout to take the heat off Adams. Valdez-Scantling possesses a world of talent, but his hands often fail him. Through eight games, the former USF standout leads the team with five drops. That number jumps out due to Valdez-Scantling’s eighteen receptions.
Seattle and Green Bay look poised to make a strong postseason run. In the end, these two issues could surface at the most inopportune moment. Teams know the excellence of Davante Adams. Yet, without a bookend, it may be difficult for him to get open in crunch time. Meanwhile, teams like Tampa Bay and New Orleans feel comfortable with engaging in shootouts with Seattle. Brady and Brees can sit back in the pocket all day, without the fear of the defensive line. The NFL is the type of league that shines a light on weaknesses. As a result, the NFC could prove a mighty problem for these teams.