Five of the eight teams that represented the NFC last season in the playoffs have started 1-2 or worse, 0-3. Atlanta, Green Bay, and San Francisco have started their seasons 1-2. Minnesota and Washington, also playoff teams from a year ago, have started their 2013 campaigns 0-3.
Why such a slow start for teams that were contenders a year ago? Well each team has their own problems that I’ll address, but one problem I see across the board is an overconfidence stemming from last years playoffs. For instance, the Vikings had every reason in the world to believe they’d beat the Browns this past weekend. They were probably confident they could handle a Trent Richardson-less Browns team. They were wrong.
The same goes for the other teams listed above. The Falcons probably felt they had an easy win over Miami, a team that struggled a year ago (wrong). The 49ers probably thought they’d bounce back at home against the Colts after a blowout loss in Seattle (wrong). Green Bay has had a relatively tough draw to start the season, but still did not expect a 1-2 start. Washington had to have thought they could win their first two home games against Philadelphia and Detroit, but fell to both.
Though the upsets have not had as bad an impact as they would near the end of the season, they still hurt nonetheless. Now, it’s time for these teams to correct their most glaring problems in order to get back to postseason play.
Atlanta needs to score touchdowns in the red zone, not settle for field goals. Sunday, the Falcons were deep in Miami territory six times, but could only settle for two touchdowns.
San Francisco needs to realize that Collin Kaepernick has only started in 14 NFL games dating back to last year. Defenses are learning game-by-game how to stop Kaepernick and the read-option offense, maybe its time for a change in scheme.
Green Bay and Washington both need their secondaries to step up on defense. The Packers defense is giving up 311 passing yards per game, 27th in the league. Washington is giving up 333 yards per game, 31st in the league.
The Vikings need to get back to what made them a playoff team a year ago, running the ball. After Adrian Peterson took the first play of the season 78 yards for a score, he’s only generated 203 yards rushing.
Each team has problems they need fixed, but before they do, each must look in the mirror and realize its a new season, every team at this point has a chance.