Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers and NFC dominate AFC - sports debate Part two

 

The NFL’s top division is a stalemate, so lets blow things up. One conference must take the crown as this seasons’ best. It’s the AFC vs NFC for top dog in part two of this week’s sports debate. Dan Salem and Todd Salem tackle this topic head on. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate sports.

 

TODD:

After the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos here are the next four big boys in each conference:

 

NFC
Carolina Panthers (+128 point differential)
New Orleans Saints (+82)
Detroit Lions (+39)
Dallas Cowboys or Philadelphia Eagles (I personally prefer Philly +19 at the moment)

 

AFC
Cincinnati Bengals (+76)
New England Patriots (+61)
Indianapolis Colts (+11)
Baltimore Ravens (Probably the second wild card favorite at the moment at +14 point differential)

 

Take a look at those eight squads. No one anywhere is playing any better than the Panthers right now. The Saints are elite; we’ve both consistently ranked them as a top four team all year. Philadelphia is also red hot. And the Lions are…hanging on. Three for four ain’t bad.

 

On the other hand, the AFC playoff teams all peaked too early, with the exception of the Ravens, who’ve gone from terrible to mediocre as the season has progressed. Cincinnati hasn’t looked good since mid-October. They’ve managed to scrape together some wins still, but they don’t emote confidence. The situation with the Colts is even worse. They haven’t played a good game since they beat Denver before their bye week. Trailing by double digits seems to be some sort of handicap Andrew Luck is trying to defeat to prove he’s better than Peyton Manning.

 

As for the Patriots, the conference’s rock for years, I think beating Denver by three after that epic comeback is a net positive that is entirely zeroed out by narrowly edging the putrid Texans last week.

 

So if it’s the playoff teams we’re looking at, I will take the NFC squads over their AFC counterparts. If you want to argue that the middle of the AFC is better, go ahead. Let’s see where it gets you by claiming the Miami Dolphins or New York Jets are better than someone like Chicago.

 

DAN:

That New England Patriots vs Houston Texans game was a complete trap game for New England, coming off the monster win the week before against Denver. And did they fall into the trap? No. No they did not. I hate to be a staunch AFC defender, but if you want to talk AFC vs NFC this season, there is no comparison at the top. You can have your Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. Last time I checked the Saints lost to my New York Jets. Case closed. I’ll take the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots any day of the week. Especially on Sunday!

 

With only a couple of weeks to go, only the top teams matter at this point. Sure, sure you can remind me how often a wildcard team has won its way into the playoffs and onto the Super Bowl. Not this season. The top is WAY too heavy and its practically overflowing in the AFC. Take a quick look at the home and away records of our respective top teams. In the AFC my three squads are a combined 17-2, with only Kansas City losing at home. That bodes very, very well come playoff time. And they are 12-6 on the road. In the NFC your guys fall in at 17-1 at home and 12-6 on the road. Pretty damn even if you ask me. So what’s left? Quarterbacks and Defense. I love, love my AFC defenses and the quarterbacks are no comparison. Throw in playoff experience and this debate is over.

 

TODD:

You opened up a can of worms here. First of all, the two best home teams in the NFL are the Saints and the Seahawks, but that is neither here nor there.

 

You want to talk about quarterbacks, defenses and experience?

The very best defense in the NFL belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. The second best defense is Carolina. New Orleans checks in at number eight on the list of total defense, putting all three of my NFC squads inside the top ten.

Curious as to where your AFC teams fall? It ain’t pretty. New England is 20th, Kansas City is 21st and Denver is all the way down at 27th in total yards. But okay; I know what you’re going to say. What about points allowed per game? That is a better indicator of defense. Well…

In points per game, number one is Carolina! Seattle is second! And New Orleans is actually better in this category, ranking sixth overall. While KC (fourth) and New England (10th) are respectable here, Denver again falls flat, ranking 26th.

To compare the defenses is a joke. The NFC dominates.

As far as experience goes, I call it a wash. New Orleans has won a Super Bowl with this group of coaches and quarterback; so has New England. KC and Carolina are inexperienced while Denver and Seattle have both made playoff runs recently. So that brings us to quarterbacks, where the best you can salvage is a tie in this little experiment.

 

Here are the six quarterbacks from these teams, in order of who I would want running my team this season.

1. Peyton Manning (AFC)
2. Drew Brees (NFC)
3. Russell Wilson (NFC)
4. Tom Brady (AFC)
5. Cam Newton (NFC)
6. Alex Smith (AFC)

Not only does the NFC have two of the top three, Alex Smith is so much worse than the other five guys, it ruins your whole argument. And don’t even get me started on who we would want for the future. In that debate, the NFC would be one, two and three, unless of course Drew Brees gets four neck surgeries this offseason.

 

DAN:

Let’s just call it a tie and move on…

 

[If you missed Part one - AFC west vs NFC west]

 

Tags: AFC Carolina Panthers New England Patriots New Orleans Saints NFC Seattle Seahawks

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