NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 7

Week 6 of the NFL season is in the books, and we almost pulled the trigger on writing another obituary, but resisted the temptation. Meanwhile the NFC East further cemented its awfulness, and one of the two unbeatens finally dropped a game.

None this week.

13) Vikings (1-5): If the Lions were 1-5, it would be easy to write their obituary, but this Vikings team has some actual talent, and their horrid start to this season is kind of hard to figure out. 

They have a bye Week 7, followed by a matchup with the Packers in Green Bay, If they drop that game, they’re done, but we’ll wait until then.

Last week: 12 📉

11) Cowboys (2-3): The Cowboys play in primetime a lot, because, well, people watch them. As such, their biggest failure games are often on display for the world to see, like their Monday night loss to the Cardinals was. My five favorite Cowboys primetime losses of the last five years:

  1. 2016 playoffs vs. Packers: The Packers got a big early lead, the Cowboys came back, Aaron Rodgers hit on an amazing throw/catch with Jared Cook, and Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal looked like it was going to miss for a split second, but then corrected itself and went through. One-and-done after going 13-3. That Cowboys loss was particularly satisfying on a personal level, because Cowboys fans on Twitter had unearthed my “Cowboys dumpster fire” post from that offseason, and mocked me relentlessly for two weeks leading up to that game. I quietly took it, favoriting each and every mean tweet hurled my way, bided my time, and replied to every single one after the Cowboys’ loss. It took me about 2 hours, and it was glorious.
  2. Thanksgiving last year vs. the Bills: It looked a little bit like the Cardinals loss Monday night (the score wasn’t as bad), but with a fully healthy team.
  3. Overtime loss to the Texans in 2018: They punted in overtime on a 4th and 1 from the Texans’ 42, lol. Predictably, the Texans drove the field on the subsequent drive and kicked a FG for the win. This really should have been the game that clinched Jason Garrett’s firing, but he hung around for 27 more games.
  4. 2017 Thanksgiving vs. the Chargers: The Chargers just ripped them apart, complete with an “insult to injury” pick-six to seal it.
  5. The Cardinals debacle Monday night: The final score was 38-10, but it wasn’t that close.

Last week: 10 📉

12) Eagles (1-4-1): The Eagles lead the NFC East with a point differential of -34. Boom. 💥

The NFC East as a whole has a combined point differential of -184, with all four teams in the bottom quarter of the league in point differential.

 Team Point differential 
 Jets -110 
 Jaguars -56 
 Football Team -54 
 Giants -51 
 Cowboys -45 
 Vikings -37 
 Texans -36 
 Eagles -34 

My conclusion: We already knew the Cowboys’ defense was garbage, but after watching how bad their offense looked on Monday night with Andy Dalton and a makeshift offensive line, I have the Eagles as the favorites to win this awful division (they still technically trail the Cowboys, with a +130 chance to win the NFC East according to TheLines.com consensus odds), which could actually be viewed as a bad thing.

Last week: 11 📉

10) Lions (2-3): Does anyone care about the Lions’ win over the Jaguars? No? Cool, moving on…

Last Week: 13 📈

9) Panthers (3-3): Robby Anderson is on pace for 107 catches for 1,509 yards, while D. J. Moore is on pace for 72 catches and 1,264 yards. They’ve been one of the best WR duos in the league this season, and I almost kinda feel like this team will be less fun whenever Christian McCaffrey returns. 

Last week: 8 📉

8) 49ers (3-3): Jimmy Garoppolo is a classic “I told you so” quarterback, in which it’s a constant seesaw battle between his supporters and detractors. There will be some games in which it’s just easy for him, whether that be because the run game is working or the good offensive staff is scheming up the opposing defense. That’s when you’ll see him carve teams up, like he did against the Rams on Sunday (23 of 33 for 268, 3 TDs, 0 INTs).

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And then there are other times when maybe everything isn’t perfect, and Garoppolo has to make plays in order to win. That’s when you see performances like the one he had against Miami the previous week (7 of 17 for 77, 0 TDs, 2 INTs).

It’s constant battle of both sides claiming they’re right about the guy.

Anyway, if you’re a Super Bowl contender, you don’t want the seesaw quarterback. 

Last week: 9 📈

7) Rams (4-2): Did we maybe get a false positive on the Rams? They’re 4-0 against the NFC East, but they’re now 0-2 against real teams.

Every year, Baylor schedules three cupcakes to start the season, like Northwestern State, Rice, or UTSA or something and they’ll beat them each by 40, before eventually getting thumped by Oklahoma. The Rams are Baylor this year.

Last week: 3 📉

6) Buccaneers (4-2): Oh hey look, Tom Brady shook hands with the opposing quarterback after the Bucs’ win over the Packers!

102020TomBradyGif

102020TomBradyGif

Actually, Brady was Mr. Social Butterfly after the game. Here he is with a quick hello for a former Michigan guy.

102020BradyHandshake1

102020BradyHandshake1

Oh hell, “I’ll even chat up the kicker!”

102020TomBrady2

102020TomBrady2

Brady’s new personal football deflator in Tampa hasn’t yet learned not to acknowledge him in public yet, so Brady makes a mental note to scream at him later for trying to get a fist bump:

102020TomBrady3

102020TomBrady3

The new “supplement” guy is cool though:

102020TomBrady4

102020TomBrady4

Sportsmanship!

Last week: 7 📈

5) Cardinals (4-2): Watching the Cardinals Monday night, it started to become clearer why this team can look really good one week, and then lose to the Lions the next week. Kyler Murray is obviously really talented, with his arm strength and what he can do as a runner, but for a player who (I think?) many consider to be an accurate passer, he throws more than his share of off-target passes. It’s probably the difference between him being merely a really good quarterback, and Russell Wilson.

That said, you can win with Murray, but I think they’re still a year away. 

Last week: 6 📈

4) Saints (3-2): I will exercise my right not to write about a team coming off a bye.

Last week: 4

3) Bears (5-1): In our Week 6 rooting guide, we pointed out what is looking like a reasonable path for a Carson Wentz – Nick Foles wildcard round showdown.

That’s pretty much a beat writer’s wet dream. Let’s will that to happen.

Last week 5 📈

2) Packers (4-1): It feels like whenever the Packers get out of Green Bay and go somewhere fun, they get pounded. For example, they got smoked each of the three times they traveled to California in 2019, and they got wrecked this Sunday in Tampa. 

Aaron Rodgers is playing at a high level. They’ll be fine.

Last week: 2

1) Seahawks (5-0): Only undefeated team left in the NFC. They’ll lose games. This isn’t a juggernaut. I’m smelling a 12-4 one seed this season.

Last week: 1

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