Mark Craig's look at the NFC

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2014 - 6:48 AM

– even possibly too poised – to repeat

Signs say Seattle?

It’s so hard to pick Seattle to repeat as Super Bowl champions because it makes too much sense. And the NFL’s popularity is built on Fantasy Football, gambling and things not making sense.

The Seahawks were a young champion a year ago. They’re amazingly intact. The Legion of Boom secondary is dominant and then some. They can still rush the passer. Their running game is top shelf. And their quarterback is young, poised, elusive, confident, accurate and, oh yeah, underpaid — for now, at least.

But it has been 10 years now since the Patriots were the last team to repeat.

Signs say Seattle. And that’s probably a bad sign in this league.

Jason & Jerry, final chapter?

If Adrian Peterson’s alleged desire to play for the Cowboys includes hangin’ with Jason Garrett, he’s probably out of luck, barring a midseason trade and switch to the defensive line.

Garrett is 29-27 and hasn’t done much besides perfect the art of finishing 8-8 and never reaching the playoffs. His contract is up after this season, which appears to be primed for a lot of passing offense and an even more laughable defense than a year ago, if that’s even possible.

Eli? Is that you?

Is it us or does everyone get that urge to doubt Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning every three or four years? Then they win a Super Bowl and for some reason the feeling goes away.

Well, they haven’t hoisted a trophy since way back in February of 2012. And things could be better for Eli.

Example: In Oakland this week, Matt Schaub lost his starting job to rookie second-round draft pick Derek Carr. This is the same Matt Schaub whose 2013 passer rating (73.0) ranked two spots higher than Manning’s 61st-ranked 69.4.

Manning did complete a lot of passes. But a league-high 27 of them went to the wrong team, including three for touchdowns.

Even Mannings don’t play forever. And this one is only signed through 2015. In other words, now, Eli, would be another good time to win a Super Bowl.

It’s the system, right Chip?

Confidence in your system is getting rid of a DeSean Jackson when the pain in your buttocks becomes too great and then not caring when he ends up with a division rival.

Evidence that your system works is watching Nick Foles come out of nowhere to lead the league in yards per attempt (9.1) while throwing for 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 10 starts.

But you just know that some are probably looking at Eagles coach Chip Kelly and thinking, “Oh yeah, prove it again.” Prove that last year’s 10-6 transformation wasn’t the result of a quirky breakneck offense with a short shelf life. And, while you’re at it, prove that it can be done with Jackson in Washington.

Don’t underestimate Kelly’s offense. Especially if his run defense, which ranked 10th a year ago, can keep the other team from resting its defense.

Lovie, Leslie & Tampa 2

Anyone who follows the Vikings closely has been treated to an almost daily explanation of why Mike Zimmer’s multifaceted defense is the way to go and why the more conservative Tampa 2 scheme that was a team staple since 2006 belongs in a museum next to leather helmets.

Well, there are places where the Tampa 2 still is revered. Look no further than, well, Tampa.

Former Bears coach and current Bucs coach Lovie Smith and former Vikings coach and current Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have teamed up to strike a blow for the Tampa 2. Smith won an NFC title with it in Chicago, while Frazier probably came within a 12th man in the huddle of doing the same thing at New Orleans as Vikings defensive coordinator.

The Bucs have standout playmakers at all three levels of the defense and an offense that might be complimentary enough to help them become the seventh NFC South team to need only one year to go from worst to first.

Milestones ahead

With his season averages of 1,445 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns rushing and receiving, the Vikings’ Peterson would move into the top 18 on the all-time career list. He would go from 27th in rushing yards (10,115) to 16th or 17th, depending on what Steven Jackson does ahead of him this year. He would pass the likes of O.J. Simpson and John Riggins. As for touchdowns, he’d go from 30th (91) to 18th and pass people named Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Franco Harris, Curtis Martin, Steve Largent and Don Hutson.

MARK CRAIG





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    Wednesday September 3, 2014

    In the AFC, the Broncos hope balance between offense and defense yields a titleBroncos ante up on ‘D’Denver’s record-setting offense...

  • Quarterback Nick Foles quickly took to coach Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia, passing for 27 TDs with only two picks.

  • Cowboys coach Jasson Garrett, in the last year of his contract, has delivered exactly zero playoff appearances to owner Jerry Jones.

  • It would behoove Giants quarterback Eli Manning to have a bounce-back season, especially after throwing 27 interceptions in 2013.

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Chicago 24 2nd Qtr 11:46
Boston 37
Golden State 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Dallas 6:30 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Detroit
New Orleans 6:30 PM
Atlanta
LA Clippers 7:00 PM
Houston
New York 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Indiana
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Denver
Memphis 9:00 PM
Portland
Minnesota 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 1 1st Prd 10:59
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 3:00 PM
Anaheim
NY Islanders 4:00 PM
Washington
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Boston
Montreal 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Vancouver 6:00 PM
Columbus
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Florida
Edmonton 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tennessee 53 2nd Half 12:12
Kansas 54
Eastern Ill 40 2nd Half 1:25
NC Central 63
New Orleans 19 1st Half 6:40
Texas A&M 23
Radford 6 1st Half 17:03
NC A&T 4
Butler 1:00 PM
Georgetown
Prairie View 1:30 PM
Brown
Southern U 1:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Santa Clara 1:30 PM
Rhode Island
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2:00 PM
Dartmouth
FIU 2:30 PM
Wright State
Texas-El Paso 2:30 PM
Xavier
Penn State 3:00 PM
Bucknell
James Madison 3:00 PM
Ohio State
Yale 3:00 PM
Providence
Lamar 3:00 PM
Texas Southern
Miss Valley St 3:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Missouri State 3:00 PM
Alaska-Anchorage
Minnesota 3:30 PM
Georgia
Oklahoma 3:30 PM
Wisconsin
Stephen F Austin 4:00 PM
Austin Peay
Norfolk State 4:00 PM
St Francis-NY
USC Upstate 5:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Middle Tennessee 5:00 PM
Cincinnati
Char Southern 5:00 PM
Florida State
Princeton 5:00 PM
San Diego
Drake 5:00 PM
Valparaiso
Rice 5:15 PM
Washington St
Rider 5:30 PM
Georgia Tech
High Point 6:00 PM
Clemson
Emerson 6:00 PM
Hartford
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Jacksonville St
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Maryland
South Alabama 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Boise State 6:00 PM
NC State
Vanderbilt 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
St Johns
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Syracuse
Bradley 6:00 PM
TCU
Alabama State 6:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Delaware State 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Tennessee St 6:30 PM
Saint Peters
North Carolina 7:00 PM
Florida
Memphis 7:00 PM
Indiana State
Hofstra 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Samford 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Cleveland State 7:00 PM
Marshall
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Nebraska
SE Louisiana 7:00 PM
Tulane
Creighton 7:30 PM
Ole Miss
Murray State 7:30 PM
Portland
North Texas 8:00 PM
Arkansas
UNC Greensboro 8:00 PM
Indiana
Michigan State 8:00 PM
Marquette
Western Mich 8:00 PM
San Jose St
Stetson 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Texas-Arlington 8:05 PM
Montana State
Pacific 8:30 PM
Colorado State
Miss State 8:30 PM
Saint Louis
La Salle 8:30 PM
Virginia
North Dakota 9:00 PM
Utah
UCLA 9:30 PM
UAB
Baylor 9:30 PM
Illinois
Long Beach State 10:30 PM
Washington
Mercer 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 17 4th Qtr 14:39
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 7 3rd Qtr
Iowa 10
Western Ky 42 2nd Qtr 6:00
(19) Marshall 35
UCF 14 3rd Qtr
So Florida 0
Houston 7 2nd Qtr 0:03
SMU 9
Akron 7 1st Qtr 5:40
Kent State 7
Ball State 7 1st Qtr 5:58
Bowling Green 21
Buffalo 0 1st Qtr 0:54
Massachusetts 0
Toledo 14 1st Qtr 6:05
Eastern Mich 0
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Michigan 66 2nd Half 4:11
Washington St 53
Green Bay 55 2nd Half 10:17
Georgia Tech 38
Eastern Kentucky 69 2nd Half 1:41
Western Carolina 58
NJIT 53 2nd Half 3:56
Florida Atlantic 47
Fordham 36 1st Half 3:04
Incarnate Word 15
Furman 27 1st Half 3:43
Florida State 41
Illinois State 20 1st Half 3:58
Miami-Florida 35
Eastern Michigan 18 1st Half 3:29
Cal State Fullerton 35
George Washington 24 1st Half 3:14
NC State 22
Ohio State 15 1st Half 8:50
Wichita State 22
Western Ky 1:00 PM
Tulane
La Salle 1:00 PM
Long Island
Binghamton 1:00 PM
St Johns
UNC-Asheville 1:00 PM
NC Central
North Florida 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Akron 1:00 PM
Belmont
Miss Valley St 1:00 PM
UMKC
Liberty 1:00 PM
Penn State
Colgate 1:00 PM
(21) Rutgers
Mercer 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Northeastern 1:30 PM
No Dakota State
(10) Maryland 1:30 PM
James Madison
Villanova 1:30 PM
Arizona State
Tulsa 2:00 PM
Buffalo
Boston College 2:00 PM
Brown
Wyoming 2:00 PM
Iowa State
Weber State 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Texas Tech 2:15 PM
Purdue
Washington 2:30 PM
Hartford
Fla Gulf Coast 2:30 PM
Clemson
Drake 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
UNC Greensboro 2:30 PM
Navy
(15) Nebraska 3:00 PM
UCLA
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Hofstra
Austin Peay 3:00 PM
Southern Miss
(17) Iowa 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Cal-Irvine 3:00 PM
Bowling Green
Samford 3:00 PM
Georgia State
Siena 3:30 PM
Denver
Abilene Christian 3:30 PM
George Mason
Towson 3:30 PM
Rhode Island
Howard 4:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Houston 4:00 PM
Idaho State
IUPUI 4:30 PM
Texas Southern
East Carolina 4:45 PM
Wisconsin
USC 5:00 PM
Sam Houston St
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kent State 5:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Montana 5:00 PM
Princeton
(9) Kentucky 5:00 PM
Oklahoma
Arizona 5:00 PM
FIU
Northern Ky 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Stetson 5:00 PM
Marist
American Univ 5:30 PM
Gonzaga
UAB 5:30 PM
Loyola Marymount
Oral Roberts 5:30 PM
NC A&T
Stony Brook 5:30 PM
(8) Duke
TCU 6:00 PM
Colorado State
(5) Stanford 6:00 PM
(11) North Carolina
Monmouth 6:00 PM
Wagner
Portland 6:00 PM
Nevada
Stephen F Austin 6:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Alcorn State 6:00 PM
Rice
Lafayette 6:00 PM
(12) Louisville
Florida 6:00 PM
Georgetown
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Oakland
SE Missouri St 6:05 PM
Southern Ill
Florida A&M 7:00 PM
SMU
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Montana State 7:00 PM
CS-Northridge
(22) Syracuse 7:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Dartmouth 7:00 PM
Cal Poly
Utah State 7:00 PM
(13) Baylor
Toledo 7:00 PM
Virginia
Christian Brothers 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
South Florida 7:15 PM
Illinois
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
(3) Connecticut
Wake Forest 7:30 PM
Charlotte
San Jose St 7:30 PM
(14) California
Central Michigan 8:00 PM
Oregon
Fresno State 8:00 PM
San Diego
Boston U 8:00 PM
New Mexico
Missouri State 8:30 PM
Colorado
Ole Miss 8:30 PM
Utah
Prairie View 8:30 PM
Hawaii
Army 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Cincinnati 9:30 PM
Creighton
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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