The Achilles heel of every NFC contender
The NFC won just its second Super Bowl in seven seasons last year. The conference's 16 teams hope to continue that trend in 2022, but they'll need to overcome their own potential weaknesses first to advance to the NFL's biggest stage.
Let’s take a closer look at the NFC's top five teams and identify the Achilles heel that could trip them up on their path to glory.
NFC Championship 2021/2022
Sun, January 30 2022, 5:00 PM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints
Washington Football Team
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Being Targeted
It is very rare that a team wins a Super Bowl and then returns most of its roster. Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took that one step further and returned all 22 starters from last season! That makes it hard to pick an Achilles heel for this team.
So, let’s go with the fact that no team has repeated as Super Bowl champions since the 2003-04 New England Patriots. The Bucs will get the best version of every team they play as everyone will be gunning for them. Repeating is no joke, but they do happen to have the last quarterback to do so in Tom Brady.
Green Bay Packers: Morale
It was an intriguing offseason in Green Bay, but that is not unusual for the Packers organization. After dealing with the Brett Favre retirement saga, they have now had to deal with the Aaron Rodgers wants-out saga.
Rodgers demanded to be traded and even threatened retirement after turning down a massive longterm deal. However, after much back and forth, he eventually decided to remain with the team for at least one more season. There was also a lot of talk with Davante Adams wanting out if Rodgers were to leave. The drama may be a hindrance to an otherwise talented roster that made the NFC Championship Game last season.
Aaron Rodgers recently told @peter_king he loves TE6 Bronson Kaufusi.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) August 18, 2021
When Rodgers praised Jake Kumerow last year, the Packers cut him and he’s now on the Bills.@RobDemovsky: “I can’t wait to see what Kaufusi does in Buffalo this year.”
Rodgers’ reaction: pic.twitter.com/rR00YUVBjz
Los Angeles Rams: Turnovers
This can be interpreted two different ways. The first is that the Rams turned the ball over too much to be a true contender. They had 25 turnovers last season, and only six teams had more. Just one of those six teams made the playoffs, and that was the Washington Football Team, who finished with a 7-9 record in a terrible division.
The second interpretation is that the Rams have turnover on offense with a new quarterback and a new quarterback coach. They moved on from Jared Goff and turned to veteran Matt Stafford. They also lost their quarterback coach to the University of Kentucky and lost their previous starting running back to a season-ending injury. That loss of continuity could be lethal for L.A.
San Francisco 49ers: Quarterback Play
The 49ers were on the verge of winning the Super Bowl just two seasons ago. However, last year they went 6-10 and struggled mightily with injuries and turnovers. A big reason for this came from the quarterback position. Jimmy Garoppolo only started six games, and he had five interceptions and two fumbles. Nick Mullens started eight games, and had 12 interceptions and six fumbles.
San Francisco drafted Trey Lance with their first round pick and they have a quarterback controversy on their hands to start the season. The big question will be if they can get consistent play with limited mistakes from that position.
Seattle Seahawks: Pass Defense
Last season, the Seahawks ranked 31st in passing yards allowed. While they did add a little depth to the secondary through free agency and the draft, they did not add talent to the starting lineup. Jamal Adams is a superstar, but he is also a safety, and there are still big question marks at the corner position. Seattle is a long way away from its "Legion of Boom" days.