The marquee game on Sunday's NFL slate will feature a battle of 7-1 teams in Chicago. The Bears host Houston in what many will call a potential Super Bowl preview. Chicago has won six straight dating back to a Thursday night loss in week two at Green Bay. The Texans lone setback also occurred against the Packers. Pundits will tell us how closely matched the two teams are. However, one team has been playing varsity opponents while the other is enjoying a cozy JV schedule.
From 1982 until 1997 the NFC dominated the AFC. We all remember John Madden and Pat Summerall broadcasting nearly every big game. At times the NFC Title game was for the league championship, the Super Bowl a foregone conclusion. NFC teams won 15 of 16 Super Bowls with San Francisco's five titles and the Cowboys three championships leading the way. After the AFC won eight of 10 big games between 1998 and 2007, the NFC has returned to glory.
The NFC has won three straight and four of the last five Super Bowls. This year 36 games have been played between the two conferences. The NFC has dominated going 23-13. The Texans are 7-0 against the AFC and 0-1 vs. the NFC. Chicago has played three AFC teams and beaten them by a combined score of 133-44.
This past weekend the NFC went 3-1 against the AFC. The NFC outscored the AFC 144-90. The four AFC division leaders, in theory the four best teams in the conference, have gone 3-5 against the NFC including New England's loses against Seattle and Arizona. The NFC's elite quartet has been virtually untested against the AFC mustering a stellar 10-1 mark.
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Imagine if the AFC and NFC played a mid-season “challenge” where the top seeds in each conference played each other. One seed against one seed, two seed vs. two seed and so forth. The five highlighted match-ups would be Atlanta vs. Houston, Chicago against Baltimore, San Francisco meeting New England, the Giants battling Denver, and Green Bay tackling the Colts. New York, Chicago and the Packers would be significant favorites while the other two games could go either way. The NFC would have a good chance at a 4-1 or 5-0 record.
The Super Bowl is still three months away. Houston will have a chance to buck the trend Sunday. David beats Goliath occasionally but it is called an upset for a reason.