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November 23, 2021

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 12

Eagles NFL
122221PeteCarroll Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

Do we even need a witty caption here?

Week 11 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have our fifth obituary of the season. That would be the Seattle Seahawks, who are headed toward their first losing season in almost a decade.

Obituary: Seahawks

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The Seahawks aren't a bad team, really. They have a great quarterback, a super talented duo at wide receiver, and a couple of elite players on defense. Maybe it's long overdue karma for being a dirty, headhunting team (examples herehere, here, and here), but they lost Russell Wilson for three games, and since his return, they have scored 13 points in two games combined.

The Seahawks have played a schedule this season that has included just one team that currently has a losing record. The combined record of the teams they have faced is 60-43-1 (.582), but ultimately, nobody cares, and there are surely teams around the league that are enjoying watching them suck. 

The Seahawks have the longest active streak of seasons with a winning record, at nine. Now sitting at 3-7, that streak is in severe jeopardy, and to add to their bad overall record, they're 1-5 in games against NFC teams, with head-to-head losses to wildcard contenders like the Vikings, Rams, and Saints. 

As far as playoff contention goes, Seattle is done. For me, there are only two remaining questions:

1) Will Wilson continue to struggle, and how much will that hurt his trade value?

2) Will Seahawks fan dorks that wear "12" jerseys continue to pack that stadium when the team isn't good anymore?

Answer key at the end of this article.


MORE: The Eagles are legitimate playoff contenders | Eagles LB Davion Taylor likely headed to IR; RB Jordan Howard could miss Giants game | Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Saints game


Graveyard

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Hierarchy

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11) Falcons (4-6): Over their last two games, the Falcons have been outscored 68-3. In their 25-0 loss to the Patri*ts Thursday night, Troy Aikman pretty much ran out of ways to say how much Atlanta's offensive line sucks by the start of the fourth quarter. It was the second straight game that Matt Ryan got pulled because of a blowout. In those two games, Ryan was 28 of 49 for 270 yards, 0 TDs, and 4 INTs, for a QB rating of 38.7.

His replacements — Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks — were a combined 2 of 10 for 19 yards, 0 TDs, and 4 INTs, for a QB rating of...

This is a bottom five team, I think. They've had two of the ugliest single-game performances of the season, and they have a point differential of -110. They're only still alive here because they have somehow managed to win four games. How'd they ever win four? It's a miracle.

Last week: 12

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10) Panthers (5-6): There was a funny sequence at the end of the Panthers - Football Team game on Sunday in which the Panthers were down by 3, and were facing a 4th and 3 at their own 32 yard line with 3 minutes left in regulation. Matt Rhule sent the punt team out, which led to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. He then called timeout, sent the offense back out on the field, went for it, and didn't get it.

Rhule is thought of by many as a good NFL head coach. If someone could explain to me why, I'd appreciate that, thanks.

Last week: 10

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9) Saints (5-5): On Sunday in Philly, the Saints were without their best player (Alvin Kamara), their starting quarterback (Jameis Winston), their best receiver (Michael Thomas), their elite duo of starting offensive tackles (Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk), and their starting LG (Andrus Peat).

As such, it's understandable that they lost their third straight game, and were really only effective once the game was in garbage time.

However, their defense is mostly healthy, and there's really no excuse for failing to stop the Eagles' rushing attack, especially when their run defense was the one thing that they could hang their hat on this season. 

Winston and Thomas are out for the season, and this team just isn't going anywhere with an offense led by Trevor Siemian and a wide receiver trio of Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway, and Tre'Quan Smith.  

Last week: 6

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8) Eagles (5-6): Oh hey look, the Eagles are legitimate playoff contenders!

This season is reminding me a little of 2018, minus the expectations.


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7) 49ers (5-5): A game of heavy interest to the Eagles this week will be the Vikings at the Niners. If the Eagles beat the Giants this Sunday, they'll pass the Vikings-Niners loser in the wildcard race, assuming that game doesn't end in a tie.

Last week: 8

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6) Vikings (5-5): Kirk Cousins is quietly having a really good season. 21 TDs, 2 INTs, and a league best 0.5 percent interception rate. He has also only been sacked on 3.6 percent of his dropbacks, as opposed to 7.0 percent a year ago. I believe that they are the best team outside of the "power 5" in the NFC.

Last week: 7

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5) Rams (7-3): The Rams had their bye this past weekend after a pair of bad losses to the Titans and 49ers. The game of the week in the NFC is the Rams at the Packers. 

If the Rams lose, they'll be 2 games behind the Cardinals, with a head-to-head loss to Arizona already in the books. Because they're 1-2 in the NFC West, and the Cardinals are 4-0, the Cardinals only need one more NFC West win or a Rams loss to clinch a head-to-head tiebreaker over them. In other words, the Rams can't afford to fall two games behind, because it's really more like three.

Matthew Stafford is 0-3 in the playoffs during his career, all on the road. The Rams are highly likely to make the playoffs this season, but it's looking more and more like Stafford will be tasked with trying to get his first playoff win on the road once again.

Last week: 5

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4) Cowboys (7-3): I don't think it's much of a coincidence that the Cowboys are 1-2 with Tyron Smith out of the lineup. For example: 

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And:

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It feels a lot like Smith is in the "mid-30's Jason Peters" stage of his career, in that he's still a good player, but you know he's going to get hurt. He'll likely be back for the Cowboys' Thanksgiving game, but for how long?

Dak Prescott aside, Smith is the guy that team really has to fear losing for the playoffs. It's a different offense without him.

Last week: 2


MORE: Week 12 odds: Point spread and total for every game | Eagles sign T.J. Edwards through 2022 | Eagles 'if the season ended today' draft pick tracker


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3) Packers (8-3): Aaron Rodgers played through a painful toe injury that is apparently worse than your garden variety turf toe.

I'm curious what Joe Rogan recommends for toe injuries. Leeches? Crystals? Salt water flush? Lavender oil? Cranberry juice? Or is Rodgers listening to actual doctors on this one?

Last week: 3

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2) Buccaneers (7-3): With their easy win over the Giants Monday night, the Bucs improved to 5-0 at home. They have outscored their opponents 192-84 (+108) in those games. 

The Bucs had to win in Washington, New Orleans, and Green Bay to get to the Super Bowl last season. They'll be an even tougher out if the NFC playoffs have to go through Tampa.

Last week: 4

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1) Cardinals (9-2): Zach Ertz had 8 catches on 9 targets for 88 yards and 2 TDs on Sunday.

Eagles shouldn't have traded him.

(Kidding.)

Last week: 1

Seahawks question answer key:

1) Yes. Perhaps considerably.

2) No.


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