The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Power Shifts to NFC

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We've become accustomed in recent years to seeing most, if not all, of the league's best teams in the AFC.

Not this season.

At least not so far.

Just look at what happened over the weekend to the would-be AFC heavyweights. The Colts lost at home to an NFC team, the Bears. The Chargers lost at home to an NFC team, the Panthers, and linebacker Shawne Merriman today abandoned his attempt to play this season with two torn knee ligaments. The Patriots suffered an even bigger loss, with Tom Brady suffering a season-ending knee injury Sunday. The Jaguars are 0-1 and have big problems on their offensive line.

The leaves the Steelers, at least for now, looking like the best team in the AFC. The Jets, with Brett Favre, or Bills could overtake the Brady-less Patriots in the AFC East.

But it's an NFC team, the Cowboys, that is almost unquestionably the league's best right now. The Giants, Eagles and Saints probably are among the NFL's top half-dozen clubs as well a week into the season. The Packers looked good on Monday night with Aaron Rodgers taking over for Favre, and even the quarterback-challenged Bears sent a message with their win in Indianapolis that they could be a force.

It's always risky to draw too many conclusions based on one weekend of games. There's a long, long way to go and the Colts, Chargers and Jaguars probably will get well. The Patriots' season probably won't unravel completely even without Brady in the lineup. But the notion that the AFC is the far better conference, top-heavy with most of the league's best teams, suddenly appears outdated.

By Mark Maske  |  September 9, 2008; 10:42 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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