The NFC continues to show it's the JV of the NFL, which is a good thing for teams that want to make a Super Bowl run (Carolina, Chicago, Seattle are three recent examples). But teams in the conference fall as quickly as they rise. Case in point: Chicago and New Orleans, the two conference finalists from a year ago.
Following Week 3 action that saw both teams lose big at home, the Bears and Saints are a combined 1-5 and have quarterbacks that have become turnover machines. Rex Grossman is almost certain to lose his starting job for the Bears after his horrendous game against the Cowboys (three interceptions). The Saints' Drew Brees, the 2006 Comeback Player, has been just as bad. Monday night against Tennessee Brees threw four interceptions (three to Keith Bullock) and fumbled once as the Saints fell to 0-3 in a 31-14 loss to the Titans. I bet two friends in New Orleans $20 each that the Saints would win eight or fewer games; it looks like the easiest $40 I ever made.
Meanwhile, the AFC is the land of the giants. The last three Super Bowl champs -- New England, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis -- are a combined 9-0 and are clearly the top teams in the league. Their dominance makes it harder for new teams to rise. Take the AFC South, for example: All four teams are above .500 and none has lost outside the division. But with the Colts leading the pack, it will be tough for Jacksonville, Tennessee or Houston to break out; in the NFC, any one of those three would be a Super Bowl contender. --Jim Buzinski