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December 04, 2023

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 14 edition

Is Jimmy Kempski burying any teams this week?

Eagles NFL
120423DeeboSamuel Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers are the new No. 1 in the NFC hierarchy.

Week 13 of the NFL season is in the books (in the NFC, anyway), and we have a shakeup at the top of the NFC hierarchy after the San Francisco 49ers' stomping of the Philadelphia Eagles. There are no new obituaries.





10) Buccaneers (5-7): How bad is the NFC South? Well, if the Buccaneers beat the Falcons next Sunday, they will be in first place.

On a side note, after posting 162 receiving yards on Sunday against the Panthers, Mike Evans has now topped 1,000 yards in all 10 of his 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 61 1012 16.6 10 
TOTAL 744 11437 15.4 91 

That's pretty remarkable consistency.

Last week: 10


9) Saints (5-7): Derek Carr got hurt again.

That's like the third or fourth time he has taken a huge hit this season and gotten hurt. I don't know, I've lost count. 

Meanwhile, Michael Thomas, who is on IR with a knee injury, was live tweeting about the game, and seemingly criticizing Carr. That's not the first time Thomas has gone after Carr on Twitter this season. He deactivated his account after the game.

That situation reminds me a little of Alshon Jeffery criticizing Carson Wentz, in that his criticisms were probably right, but also detrimental to the team. I guess the main difference here is that at least Thomas isn't doing it anonymously.

On an Eagles note, if the season ended today, the Saints' second round pick, owned by the Eagles, would be 44th overall.

Last week: 9


8) Falcons (6-6): There were some pretty ugly home losses around the NFL Week 13:

• Falcons 13 at Jets 8
• Chargers 6 at Patriots 0
• Dolphins 45 at Commanders 15
• Cardinals 24 at Steelers 10
• 49ers 42 at Eagles 19

A lot of joyless rides home for Jets, Patriots, Commanders, Steelers, and Eagles fans.

Anyway, I don't have anything to say about the Falcons' 13-8 win over the Jets. 21 total points and 16 punts? I'm sure it was awful and I'm glad I didn't watch it. This trash Falcons team is the current leader in the NFC South, by the way.

Last week: 8


7) Vikings (6-6): The Vikings had their bye Week 13, so I'll take a moment to address the Rams, who we put in the graveyard when they were 3-6. They have now won three straight games, and would be the 8 seed if the season ended today (it doesn't). 

So are we pulling them out of the graveyard? Hell no. I don't want to write about them and you don't want to read about them. 

Maybe if they make the playoffs.

Last week: 6


6) Seahawks (6-6): On the one hand, the Seahawks' defense stunk against the Cowboys on Thursday, just as they have stunk against other recent quality opponents such as the 49ers and Ravens.

However, they also reminded us all that they have some premier playmakers at wide receiver, notably DK Metcalf, who went off in Dallas.

Yes, the Seahawks lost to the Cowboys and yes they have dropped three straight and four of their last five, but they also showed that their offense can be dangerous, even if they're sometimes inconsistent.

Last week: 5


5) Packers (6-6): Jordan Love's last three games:

• Chargers: 27 of 40 for 322 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 108.5
• At Lions: 22 of 32 for 268 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 125.5
• Chiefs: 25 of 36 for 267 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 118.6

The Chargers' and Lions' pass defenses stink, but Love has now had an exceptional game against a legit Chiefs defense.

Last week: 7


4) Lions (8-3): The Lions' rookie draft class had quite a day against the Saints:

• RB Jahmyr Gibbs (12th overall): 8 carries, 60 yards
• LB Jack Campbell (18th overall): 9 tackles, 2 for loss
• TE Sam LaPorta (34th overall): 9 catches, 140 yards, 1 TD
• S Brian Branch (45th overall): 7 tackles, 1 INT

Having four picks in the first two rounds and using none of them on a QB, WR, OL, DL, or CB sounds like amateur hour drafting, but at least those guys are all playing well and making significant contributions to the Lions' success as rookies.

Last week: 4


3) Cowboys (9-3): In the Cowboys' embarrassing 42-10 Week 5 loss in primetime to the 49ers, Dak Prescott was intercepted 3 times and Dallas had just 8 first downs.

In the Cowboys' 7 games since, Prescott has thrown 21 TDs vs. 2 INTs, he's completing 70.5 percent of his passes, he has a passer rating during that span of 121.5, and he has started to become a threat as a runner once again, rushing 29 times for 129 yards and 2 TDs. He's kinda crushing it. 🤷‍♂️

Last week: 2


2) Eagles (10-2): The Eagles' linebackers had a brutal day against the 49ers, but I thought the defensive backs were almost equally as bad. Before the game, the 49ers interrupted their drills, and nobody did anything about it.

And then during the game, not one defensive back or linebacker got a hand on a football. No INTs, no PBUs. Here's a look at how many times Eagles DBs and LBs got hands on passes against each opponent this season:

Opponent INT PBU 
49ers 0 

Add in that the defensive backs also couldn't tackle, and that helps explain why the Niners scored touchdowns on six straight possessions.

Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Reed Blankenship, and Kevin Byard all played 79 snaps in the regular defense against the Chiefs, 95 snaps against the Bills, and they got beat up against the 49ers. 

Slay turns 33 in 27 days, while Bradberry and Byard both turned 30 in August. They need rest, and that's not coming for a while.

Big picture, sure, the Eagles got their asses handed to them by the Niners and they have some things to figure out before they face that team again, but they have also beaten the Dolphins, Chiefs, Bills, and Cowboys, all within the last 42 days. It's probably not yet time to panic.

Last week: 1


1) 49ers (9-3): The 49ers outscored the Cowboys and Eagles 84-29 this season. 

They lost three straight games in the middle of the season and the Eagles still have a better record, but there's little question that they are the best team in the NFC right now.

Last week: 3

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