NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 5

Week 4 is in the books, and we allllllmost had our first obituary of the season. A couple of decent candidates are the Giants and Falcons, but we’ll hold off for now. Let’s just get right to the hierarchy.

16) Giants (0-4): The Giants have scored 47 points this year, or 11.8 per game. The next-closest team to them, scoring-wise, is the Jets, who have scored 65 points.

The Giants were always supposed to be really bad this year, but their extreme offensive futility was unexpected. They have good skill position players, at least on paper, with Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram, to go along with an improved OL (a low bar for improvement there, to be clear). With Barkley out, the entire offense has become flat.

Daniel Jones has been bad, by the way. He has thrown 2 TDs vs. 5 INTs, he’s been sacked 14 times, and lost 2 fumbles. He’s been Carson Wentz, minus the occasional good play.

Last week: 14 📉

14) Falcons (0-4): The Falcons dropped to 0-4 against the Packers on Monday night. At least in this game, they got dominated instead of another soul-crushing fourth quarter comeback. 🎉

With Bill O’Brien’s surprise firing in Houston out of the way, there’s a decent chance other teams follow suit. Dan Quinn should have never been able to keep his job this past offseason, given that his side of the ball (the defense) has been the underperforming unit on this team for years:

Falcons defense  Yards  Points 
 2015 16  14 
 2016 25  27 
 2018 28  25 
 2019 20  23 
 2020 31  31 

He could be a goner this week. 

Last week: 13

13) Lions (1-3): Staying on the “should be fired” front, there’s Matt Patricia. At least Quinn says the right things. Patricia, not so much.

The “There was a lot of work to do when I got here” excuse? Lol, what? Since Patricia took over as the head coach in 2018, the Lions are 10-25-1, with a point differential of -146. His predecessor, Jim Caldwell, got fired after a 9-7 season. In his four years in Detroit, Caldwell had a 36-28 record, with a point differential of +19.

Last Week: 10 📉

12) Eagles (1-2-1): The Eagles’ win over the Niners on Sunday Night Football must have given Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz, and Howie Roseman a huge sigh of relief, as this season was looking like it could go really badly. And, well, it still very well could, but they were able to at least temporarily quiet the storm.

Not to be Debbie Downer here, but the turnover battle aside, the Eagles still got outplayed on Sunday:

 Stat Eagles  49ers 
 Total yards 267  417 
 Passing yards 174  301 
 Rushing yards 93  116 
 Yards per play 4.5  6.0 
 First downs 18  25 

The Eagles currently hold sole possession of first place in the NFC East, but let’s be honest… The Cowboys remain the crystal clear favorite to win the division, and by a significant margin. According to, Dallas is -120 to win the division despite not being in first right now. The Eagles are at +130.

Last week: 15 📈

11) Cowboys (1-3): The Cowboys have allowed 146 points this season, which puts them on pace to allow 584 points on the season. That would be a new NFL record for points allowed in a season. More alarming is that it hasn’t just been one game. They have allowed at least 38 points in three of four games, and in the fourth, a 20-17 loss to the Rams, the Rams played a ball-control style of offense, and were able to do what they wanted against Dallas’ defense. 

What has gone wrong defensively? Well, this was all very predictable, as we laid out in our Cowboys dumpster fire piece back in June:

Their new defensive coordinator shouldn’t be a defensive coordinator.

The Cowboys have a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan, who has been coaching in the NFL since 1987. The last time Nolan was a defensive coordinator was from 2012 to 2014, when he ran the Falcons’ defense. His unit went from the 24th ranked defense in 2012, to 27th in 2013, to 32nd in 2014. Or if you prefer DVOA, his defense was ranked 12th in 2012, 29th in 2013, and 32nd in 2014.


They lost three really good starters on defense.

  1. Byron Jones (Dolphins)
  2. Robert Quinn (Bears)
  3. Maliek Collins (Raiders)

Leighton Vander Esch is the new Sean Lee.



They don’t create turnovers.

For example, from 2015-2019, they have averaged 8.6 interceptions per season. They were in the bottom six in that category each year. That hasn’t changed, as they only have one INT so far this season.

Last week: 9 📉

10) Vikings (1-3): Justin Jefferson watch: 16 catches, 348 yards, 21.8 YPC, 1 TD. Two straight games over 100 yards. 

Last week: 12 📈

9) Panthers (2-2): The expectation here was that the Panthers’ defense had a chance to be the worst in the NFL this season, but they’ve actually held their own. In the last two weeks, they have held the Chargers and Cardinals to 16 and 21 points, respectively. 

Last week: 11 📈

8) Bears (3-1): Nick Foles’ numbers through two games look very close to Mitchell Trubisky’s.

QB  Comp %  YPA  TD:INT  Rating 
 Mitchell Trubisky 59.3%  6.5  6:3  87.4 
 Nick Foles 59.2%  6.2  4:2  84.1 

Last week 7 📉

7) Cardinals (2-2): Let’s check out Kyler Murray’s numbers from his Week 4 loss to the Panthers.

24 of 31 for 3 TDs, and a 116.7 QB rating. Huh. That’s pretty good. Wonder why they lost.

Oh. Only 133 yards and 4.3 yards per attempt. The Cardinals drafted Murray to replace Sam Bradford, not to be him.

Last week: 4 📉

6) 49ers (2-2): During the telecast on Sunday Night, it was pointed out repeatedly that the Niners had some injuries. Lol. The Eagles were missing the following, on their offense alone:

  1. Their starting LT.
  2. Their replacement starting LT.
  3. Their starting LG.
  4. Their starting RG,
  5. Their starting RT (for parts of the game).
  6. Their top 3 wide receivers.
  7. A starting TE.

There’s no excuse. That was a really bad loss.

Last week: 3 📉

5) Buccaneers (3-1): The Buccaneers’ defense led the NFL with 3.26 yards per rushing attempt allowed last season. So far in 2020, they’re allowing just 2.71 yards per rush. 

Last week: 8 📉

4) Saints (2-2): In the first five minutes of the Lions-Saints game, the Lions jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, and I’m sure many were excited that the Saints’ run near the top of the NFC could be done. Nope.

They’re definitely fading, but we’re not there yet.

Last week: 6 📈

3) Rams (3-1): The Rams beat the Giants. Who cares? Here’s a quick history of the Jalen Ramsey – Golden Tate feud, via Ryan Dunleavy and Steve Serby of the NY Post, that led to punches being thrown after the game on Sunday.

Last week: 5 📈

2) Packers (4-0): Aaron Rodgers has thrown 6 INTs in his last 38 games. In 2020, he’s completing over 70 percent of his passes, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, over 300 yards per game, he has 13 TDs vs. 0 INTs, and he’s only been sacked 3 times.

Last week: 2

1) Seahawks (4-0): 24/34 for 360, 2 TDs and a pick for Russell Wilson on Sunday in Miami. Down game for him.

Last week: 1

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