The Daily Illini

Column: Power struggle

By Jon Gluskin

Is the NFC really that bad? Is the AFC really that good? I know it might be a little premature to draw such large conclusions from one week of action, but there does seem to be a clear divide between conferences. The AFC has the talent.

There’s not one dominant team in the NFC. The AFC, on the other hand, has four – the Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Chiefs.

I would be utterly shocked if when all is said and done, the Super Bowl Champion is not one of those four teams.

What can you say about New England? They don’t have the best players, but they’re simply unstoppable. There’s no offense that genius Bill Belichick can’t find a way to contain. In the NFL opener, they made Randy Moss a non-factor with the exception of one play.

The Colts? They’re even better than they were last year. They played a terrific game both offensively and defensively against arguably the best defense in the NFL, the Ravens.

Big Ben Roethlisberger showed that the Steelers didn’t have a fluke season last year, and that they’re ready to make a run for the Super Bowl in their manhandling of the Titans.

Who would have thought the storyline of a Chiefs game would ever be its defense? Well, against the Jets, it was. They forced six fumbles from quarterback Chad Pennington. Granted, he recovered five of them, but still, it was impressive. With their sick offense led by the dynamic duo at running back of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, they are a force to be reckoned with.

There are a handful of other competitive teams in the AFC, loaded with talent and ready to make the leap to the playoffs, like the Jaguars, Bengals, Bills and Ravens.

The AFC is scary.

Then, there’s the NFC.

It’s a conference full of bad teams, with a couple decent teams.

The preseason favorites didn’t even play decent in Week One.

The Vikings were one of the favorites to make the NFC Championship game, but their dismal performance against the Buccaneers showed that maybe losing the best wide receiver in the NFL doesn’t make its team better. There might not be life after Randy.

The Rams looked equally as unimpressive as Minnesota in in their loss to the 49ers. They somehow managed to make Tim Rattay look good.

The Panthers, highly touted as a conference favorite lost their game too. Granted, everyone was happy to see the Saints give hope to their city with their last-second victory, but they were still a disappointment.

The Monday Night game featured a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between the Eagles and the Falcons, with Atlanta coming away with the win.

However, neither team looked overly impressive. Not only did Donovan McNabb get hurt, but the Eagles showed they have a lot of explosive personalities. Jeremiah Trotter getting tossed prior to their game might have cost them the victory. And of course, a Terrell Owens meltdown is imminent.

Michael Vick dazzled the crowd once again with his feet, but still showed he has issues throwing the ball. If the game’s on the line and he needs to complete a crucial pass, he’s never proved he can do it. And if he can’t do it, the Falcons can’t make it to the Super Bowl.

Maybe I’m being too critical. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on one game.

Maybe the Cowboys are a Super Bowl contender; they struck an upset over the Chargers.

Maybe the Giants are a powerhouse in the making; they crushed the highly publicized Cardinals.

But I’ll believe it when I see it.

Parity is running rampant in the NFC.

When you combine the two conferences together, this parity is lost.

It becomes varsity versus jayvee.

Yes, the NFC is that bad.

Yes, the AFC is that good.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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