NFL: Which Team Is the Second Best in the League?

Steven LiaoContributor IIINovember 29, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates his touchdown with  Jimmy Graham #80 against the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 28, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are the best team in the NFL. No one can argue with that, right?

Well, now comes the question of which team is the second best. And indeed, this is a merit that's truly up for grabs.

The San Francisco 49ers were the consensus just last week, but after losing to the Ravens, does that make the Ravens the second best?

But then again, the Ravens have some pretty mind-numbing losses to anemic teams like the Seahawks and Jaguars.

Then which team is the second best?

Well, let's look at the contenders.

San Francisco 49ers

They could be a one-year wonder, but I see the 49ers as a consistent force in the future with new head coach Jim Harbaugh. They have a marvelous defense and the best record out of the contending teams at 9-2.

However, can you really say they're better than the Ravens after outright losing to them?

Baltimore Ravens

Before I continue, I must note that these Harbaugh brothers are really something, eh?

The Ravens defeated the 49ers, who were widely considered the second best before the loss. They are 8-3, tied for third-best record in the league.

The Harbaugh Brothers
The Harbaugh BrothersRob Carr/Getty Images

But losses to the Seahawks, Jaguars and Titans set them back, as well as almost losing to the Cardinals. The Ravens seem to struggle a bit against 4-3 teams.

New England Patriots

The Patriots have the best quarterback and head coach tandem of the bunch—the two most important aspects to winning. However, their defense has been notoriously bad statistically this season.

Still, the defense seems to be managing well in limiting points, which has led their 8-3 record. One has to wonder whether this defense will be able to keep it up though? It helps that they're improving drastically without three integral defensive starters in Brandon Spikes, Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty.

Another bash on the Patriots has been their inability to win games against elite teams. None of their victories this season have come against truly impressive teams, with their losses coming at the hands of Pittsburgh, the Giants and the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The proven warriors are still in it at 8-3. The Steelers have transitioned to a more explosive offense than in previous years, even if their defense hasn't been as firm as before.

The Steelers, however, are set back by the fact that they've lost two games to the Ravens and haven't delivered any truly earth-shattering victories yet that are often indicative of elite teams.

Still, these Steelers could be going under the radar. They are perhaps the least respected of all the teams on this list.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are not receiving much media hype, but tonight's assertive victory over the Giants is bound to give them some. Drew Brees is playing terrifically, but he's not getting as much love as some other players. 

Keep in mind, the Saints were very close to perhaps knocking away an undefeated season for the Packers. The Saints were at the Packers' 1-yard line with three seconds left to play but failed to score and lost 42-34.


I think those are all the contenders for the second-best team. The Texans have won eight games, but their team just took a big hit at the quarterback position. These teams listed are the only teams that are truly second tier.

So who's the best of this second-tier group?

I personally say the Saints. They had a head-scratching loss to the Rams, but other than that, they've played pretty consistently this year. They have a dependable quarterback, unlike the Ravens and 49ers. They've played well against elite teams, unlike the Patriots. They've won in elite fashion, unlike the Steelers.

But certainly, opinions will vary. After all, this is the NFL. Remember when the Lions and Bills used to be in this discussion?

As always though, the cream rises to the top. Now let's see which one of these teams is the "cream" of the second tier.


    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    NFL logo

    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    Maurice Moton
    via Bleacher Report

    LAC Scout Was Why Lamar Didn't Run 40

    NFL logo

    LAC Scout Was Why Lamar Didn't Run 40

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    NFL logo

    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    Green Bay Packers
    via Green Bay Packers

    Does the NFL Have a Referee Problem?

    NFL logo

    Does the NFL Have a Referee Problem?

    Mike Florio
    via ProFootballTalk