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November 13, 2023

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 11 edition

The 49ers, Lions and Cowboys all won while the Eagles were on bye. Jimmy Kempski ranks the NFC's teams in his conference hierarchy.

Eagles NFL
111323CarsonWentz Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz = ☠️

Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have one new obituary. That would be the Los Angeles Rams, who we are whacking on their bye week.

Obituary: Rams (3-6)


Let's keep this short. The Rams were on their bye this week, and we don't usually kill of teams after a bye, BUT, they signed Carson Wentz, so they're done. It doesn't even matter if he plays, or not. 🤷‍♂️





11) Commanders (4-6): Back in Week 4, the Commanders scored a TD against the Eagles with no time left on the clock in regulation down 1, and they had the chance to "slay the giant," so to speak, by going for 2 and winning the game right then and there. Instead, citing a tired offense, Ron Rivera made the insane decision to kick the PAT and go to overtime. There wasn't an Eagles fan, coach, or player in that stadium that wasn't thrilled with Rivera's decision. In OT, as you all know, Jake Elliott kicked a field goal for an Eagles win.

Against the Seahawks Week 10, Rivera found himself in a similar situation. With 52 seconds left, Dyami Brown scored on a 35-yard TD pass from Sam Howell, putting the Commanders down 1. Once again, Rivera opted to kick the extra point. On their ensuing possession, the Seahawks drove 50 yards to the Commanders' 25-yard line and kicked the game-winning field goal.

The decision not to go for two, to me, was again the wrong one. The Commanders were the clearly inferior team, on the road, and their kicker had already missed a PAT. By extending the game, they put the ball back in the hands of the more talented team with a tie score. With 52 seconds remaining, barring some disastrous turnover or awful Seahawks clock management, the Commanders were not going to get the ball again in regulation, which left the Seahawks with two likely outcomes in regulation:

  1. Win with any score.
  2. Go to OT.

Now, I know that the argument here is something like, "The Seahawks would have won with their field goal anyway even if the Commanders had gone for 2 and gotten it." Eh, maybe. We won't know. With a tie score, the Seahawks had the luxury of taking what the Commanders gave them, knowing that overtime was something of a worst case scenario. With a one-point deficit, there's a pretty good chance that Geno Smith is forcing the issue down the field instead of dumping the ball down to Zach Charbonnet on the first two plays of their final drive, for example. Maybe their need to press in that scenario would have led to something bad down the field? Again, who knows? 

All I know is that kicking the PAT gave the Commanders a low percentage chance of winning the game, even if it extended it briefly. It's like staying on 13 with the dealer showing a face card. You might not bust immediately, but you're just delaying the inevitable instead of making the higher percentage play overall.

Last week: 11


10) Packers (3-6): I was reading through some of the reviews of Green Bay's loss to the Steelers, and the consensus opinion seemed to be that Jordan Love did some really nice things and it was a game that the Packers could build on. 

A week ago, Cowboys fans, players, and even the owner were outwardly pleased with the way the team played in their loss to the Eagles in Philly.

So apparently this is where we are in 2023. Moral victories are now fine in Green Bay and Dallas.

Last week: 10


9) Falcons (4-6): The Falcons lost to the Cardinals.

They've lost to a trio of "bottom 10-caliber" teams — the Commanders, Titans, and Cardinals. The Falcons suck, and the hype that they were getting before the season began was always weird.

Last week: 8


8) Buccaneers (4-5): Mike Evans had 6 catches for 143 yards and a TD. As you may know, he has topped 1000 yards in each of his first nine NFL seasons:

 Mike EvansRec Yards YPC TD 
2014 68 1051 15.5 12 
2015 74 1206 16.3 
2016 96 1321 13.8 12 
2017 71 1001 14.1 
2018 86 1524 17.7 
2019 67 1157 17.3 
2020 70 1006 14.4 13 
2021 74 1035 14.0 14 
2022 77 1124 14.6 
2023 43 737 17.1 
TOTAL 695 10662 15.3 83 

He needs 263 more yards to make it 10 straight.

Last week: 9


7) Saints (5-5): In case you missed it, Michael Thomas got arrested this week, allegedly for throwing a brick at a construction worker's truck because he didn't like where it was parked.

That reminds me of this: 

Thomas had 1 catch for 9 yards on Sunday.

Last week: 6


6) Vikings (6-4): The Vikings got out to a 27-3 lead, and then they just kind of stopping playing, almost letting the Saints climb all the back in what would have been a disaster of a blown game. But, before they decided to pack it in for the day, Josh Dobbs was pretty damn good again.

Dobbs was 18 of 22 for 220 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs in the first half, for a QB rating of 123.5. And as long as we're talking about Dobbs, we should probably note that habitual liar Jonathan Gannon lied to Dobbs, evidently. 

Good for Dobbs getting out of Arizona.

Last week: 7


5) Seahawks (6-3): Jason Myers made field goals from distances of 45, 43, 33, 45, and a walkoff from 43:

The Seahawks needed all of regulation to beat the Commanders. That's the kind of game you lose when your kicker sucks.

Last week: 5


4) 49ers (6-3): We haven't yet brought up the following stats about Kyle Shanahan-coached teams in San Francisco:

If their plan is working — like it was against the Jaguars on Sunday — they'll bury you. You don't want to be on the wrong end of a Niners beatdown.

That said, they're frontrunners. If their plan isn't working, they typically don't have another answer up their sleeves.

Last week: 4


3) Cowboys (6-3): The Cowboys would be the best football team ever if they got to play the Giants every week.

Last week: 3


2) Lions (7-2): On the one hand, the Lions' offense looked incredible on Sunday. They rushed for 200 yards, and Jared Goff was 23 of 33 for 333 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs (122.4 QB rating). They're creative, explosive, and physical.

On the other hand... if I'm a Lions fan, I could never be totally comfortable with Goff as my team's quarterback, and an example of why occurred in the second quarter against the Chargers. Facing a 4th and Goal from the 1, Goff didn't see anything he liked so he threw the ball away:


Lol. We've actually seen him do this before against the Eagles in 2021: 

I don't much like the Lions' chances of winning on the road in the playoffs against the Eagles, 49ers, or Cowboys, but there's certainly a path to the 1 seed. If they can get that, they'll be dangerous.

Last week: 2


1) Eagles (8-1): It was a bad bye week for the Birds, as the Cowboys, 49ers, and Lions all gained a half game on them. Let's update the NFC standings:

Seed NFC standings Record Conf record 
Eagles 8-1 6-0 
Lions 7-2 4-1 
49ers 6-3 4-1 
Saints 5-5 2-3 
Seahawks 6-3 4-1 
Cowboys 6-3 3-3 
Vikings 6-4 6-2 
Buccaneers 4-5 3-3 
Commanders 4-6 2-5 
10 Falcons 4-6 3-4 
11 Packers 3-6 3-3 
12 Rams 3-6 2-4 
13 Bears3-7 2-4 
14 Giants2-8 2-4 
15 Cardinals2-8 2-5 
16 Panthers1-8 0-6 

Even while ceding some ground while resting, the Eagles are still in a pretty comfortable position atop the NFC.

Interesting opening line in Kansas City next Monday night, by the way: Chiefs (-2.5).

Last week: 1

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