The AFC may have won 11 out of the last 19 Super Bowls, but that trend is about to change. It started with Philadelphia’s 41-33 victory over New England on Sunday, but for the better part of the 2000s, the AFC has dominated the NFC. The defenses were better and the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were unmatched in the opposing conference. I don’t want to take anything away from Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, and Drew Brees but they did not stack up next to this two-headed monster in the AFC. And when I think of defense, I will always remember the Ravens and Steelers defensive dynasties of the early 2000s before anyone else. Seattle’s defense had a good run from 2012 to 2015, but it is now teetering off. As they look to rebuild, the rest of the NFC has done their part in overpowering the AFC. Despite very little help from Green Bay, the NFC’s record vs the AFC in 2017 was a combined 41-23. So in case you didn’t already know, the NFC is loaded.
The NFC’s .641 win percentage last season was the highest it’s been since 2012 (.609). Only the fifth time the NFC’s win percentage has reached sixty percent since the AFC’s inception in 1970.
When comparing records and rosters, it becomes clear that this is not an anomaly. I’ll take the NFC’s bottom four playoff teams (Atl, LA Rams, Car, NO) over Tennessee, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Jacksonville any day. Three of those teams aren’t even sold on their starting quarterback at the moment.
It indeed appears the NFC has turned their wrist over in the arm wrestling match for who is the better conference. If you wish to argue the AFC’s past two pro bowl wins I will listen to a conversation regarding individual talent. However, don’t expect me to entertain this as some sort of new found testament toward the AFC’s reign. The game itself is less competitive than any game played during the NFL preseason.
When I look at the top-rated offenses and defenses, I see my point further substantiated. 10 out of the top-15 ranked offenses belong to the NFC. Also, seven of the top-10 defenses are in the NFC’s favor as well.
Green Bay’s record vs the AFC in 2017 was 2-2. It’s hard not to believe it would have been 4-0 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. Next year the Packers four AFC opponents will be New England, Buffalo, Miami, and New York. The only game that should give them trouble is a highly anticipated Brady-Rodgers shootout. Outside of that, the Packers need to be apprehensive of a stacked NFC.
The importance of playoff seeding is only growing being that the Packers will want to avoid traveling through Atlanta, Minnesota, or the twelfth man in Seattle. Their path to a number one seed will be daunting when they face Seattle, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Rams, and of course the Minnesota Vikings (twice) in 2018. Given the fluctuation of NFL rosters, we won’t know how positive or negative the outlook of this schedule will be until the season nears. The Packers need to make proper use of this offseason closing up any holes that a primed NFC opponent could exploit.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.