The NFL has been full of parity this season, with top teams falling to lowly opponents and mediocre teams beating up on each other. Even the teams considered as the best have been exposed at least once.
The 10-1 Falcons lost to a Saints team decimated by suspensions handed down by the NFL for a bounty program. The 10-1 Texans were taken down handily by the Green Bay Packers, a team with plenty of talent, but one that sits at merely 7-4.
Sure, the Packers are still considered a very good team, but they were just blown out by another 7-4 team — the New York Giants — on national television last weekend.
As the NFL enters Week 13 on the schedule, there is an alarming lack of drama going down the stretch. In fact, the four division leaders in the AFC can clinch a division title, or at least a playoff berth.
In fairness, things remain to be decided in much of the NFC. But many observers believe there are four teams that are a cut above the rest in the NFC and will be the real challengers for the conference title.
The usual intrigue of the NFL playoff race is significantly diminished this year by the large division leads in many of the races.
In the AFC, every division leader has a lead of at least three games, including a four-game lead for the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. In the NFC, the Falcons have a four-game lead, but many believe that the team isn’t as good as their 10-1 record indicates.
Obviously, every team in the NFL can’t be great, but it seems that divisional races and playoff races have been contested late into the season in recent years.
Looking back to one year ago, the Giants had to win their last two games just to get into the playoffs as a wild card before they made their Super Bowl run.
The Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans were in a race for the AFC South until Week 15. And the Titans weren’t eliminated from playoff contention until Week 16 when the Cincinnati Bengals clinched.