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December 07, 2021

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 14

Week 13 of the NFL season is in the books, and you may notice below that we killed off the Washington Football Team after they got out to a 2-6 start this season. But after winning four straight games, they're now the 6 seed placeholder in the NFC playoff race. We're going to have to bring them back from the grave if they beat Dallas Week 14. 

There are no new obituaries this week.





11) Falcons (5-7): The Falcons passed the Lions on Sunday for the worst point differential in the NFC.

Team Point differential Team Point differential 
Cardinals +119 Saints -2 
Buccaneers +107 Seahawks -10 
Cowboys +86 Panthers -17 
Rams +66 Football Team -51 
Eagles +46 Giants -62 
Packers +41 Bears -86 
49ers +25 Lions -113 
Vikings +3 Falcons -116 

By the way, the Eagles have a better point differential than the Packers, Chiefs, Ravens, Titans, and Chargers.

Last week: 11


10) Panthers (5-7): The Panthers had their bye Week 13, so we'll exercise our option not to write about them. I will just quickly note here that the Panthers and Falcons play each other Week 14, so we'll kill off the loser of that game.

Last week: 10


9) Saints (5-7): If you think the Eagles overvalue some of their players at times, that's nothing compared the Saints' insane overvaluing of Taysom Hill, who just signed a four-year, $40 million contract with New Orleans a couple weeks ago.

Hill is a nice "jack of all trades" guy who can play running back, wide receiver, tight end, and contribute on special teams, but he's not a standout at any offensive skill position. He can also kinda play quarterback, in that he can fill in an emergency or as a backup if need be, but he should never be the starter by choice.

And the Saints seem to know that, given that Jameis Winston won the starting job out of training camp, and then after Winston tore an ACL, they initially went to Trevor Siemian instead of Hill. They also reportedly tried to trade for Teddy Bridgewater at the trade deadline:

Hill's contract pays him like a starting bridge quarterback, though, as CBS' Joel Corry points out

The only way for the Saints to get tremendous value from the new contract extension is for Hill to be the long-term replacement for Brees. $10 million per year is the current going rate for a bridge quarterback. Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick signed one-year, $10 million contracts to be stopgap or short-term quarterback solutions for the Bears and Washington Football Team... The base value of Hill contract is the equivalent of him being a bridge quarterback for multiple seasons.

Corry also made an interesting comparison to Cordarrelle Patterson, a similarly versatile player (minus the quarterbacking ability), who is playing on a one-year deal worth $3 million this year.

There aren't any other NFL players with Hill's versatility. Cordarrelle Patterson is excelling this season as a running back, wide receiver and kick returner with the Falcons. He leads the Falcons in rushing yards (411) and is second in receptions (41) and receiving yards (500). Patterson is fifth in the NFL with 1,238 all-purpose yards (combined rushing, receiving and return yards). He is playing under the one-year deal worth $3 million he signed with the Falcons in April as a free agent after rushing for 232 yards and catching 21 passes for the Bears last season. Patterson also earned first team All-Pro honors as a kick returner in 2020. 
Hill started for the Saints against the Cowboys on Thursday night. He ran for 101 yards, but was 19 of 41 for 264 yards, 2 TDs, and 4 INTs, one of which was a pick six. 70 of those yards came via a little dump down to Deonte Harris who weaved through the Cowboys' defense for a score.

The Saints' front office has put the team in an extremely difficult salary cap position, and yet is still giving out big contracts to gadget guys. They are typically regarded as one of the best front offices in the NFL, but, uh, remind me why that is, again?

Last week: 9


8) Vikings (5-7): They lost to the Lions. 🤦‍♂️

In a weird way, there's almost something to be said for being that horrible team that finally gets a win and for one moment gets to celebrate like they just won the Super Bowl.

Last week: 7


7) Eagles (6-7): Heading into Week 15 in 2020, the Eagles were without the following players:

  1. Lane Johnson
  2. Brandon Brooks
  3. Jason Peters
  4. Andre Dillard
  5. Jack Driscoll
  6. Darius Slay
  7. Rodney McLeod
  8. Avonte Maddox
  9. DeSean Jackson
  10. Davion Taylor

And others.

Heading into Week 15 in 2019, the Eagles were without the following players:

  1. Lane Johnson
  2. Derek Barnett
  3. Nelson Agholor
  4. Jordan Howard
  5. DeSean Jackson
  6. Alshon Jeffery
  7. Malik Jackson
  8. Darren Sproles

One of the under-discussed things about the Eagles' 2021 season is that they have remained a relatively healthy team this season. The Brandon Graham injury hurt, but otherwise, the Eagles have been fortunate to have injuries occur at positions where they happened to have good depth.

If you're an optimist, you might say, "Hey, maybe the medical/training staff is finally performing well." If you're a pessimist, you might say, "Cool, they've stayed healthy and are still only 6-7."

Last week: 8


6) 49ers (6-6): The Niners had 1st and Goal with a chance to tie the game in Seattle with under a minute to go. They ran it on 1st and 2nd down, followed by a pair of incompletions on 3rd and 4th down. Game over.

If only they had a big, fast, tackle-breaking quarterback who could be a major weapon in those goal-to-go situations. Oh wait.

I mean, not that the Niners should have suddenly inserted Trey Lance into the game after a 95-yard drive at the end of a game. But mayyyybe they should have just had Lance in the lineup from the beginning of the season, let him get invaluable experience, and maybe be playing at a high level by now?

In fairness, Jimmy Garoppolo has at least gotten them to 6-6, so who am I to second guess?

Last week: 6


5) Rams (8-4): Who ya got?

Rams at Cowboys, wildcard round

Last week: 5


4) Cowboys (8-4): The Cowboys got a much needed win over the Taysom Hill-led Saints on Thursday night, but their offense looks nothing like it did earlier this season.

Fortunately, their defense is playing way over their heads. By the way, I don't think I've mentioned Micah Parsons here all year. Just to put it on the record, he's good.

Last week: 4


3) Packers (9-3): The Packers had their bye Week 13, so again, I'll exercise my right to not write about them, but will quickly note that if the season ended today, the Packers would be the 2 seed in the NFC. If the Eagles make the playoffs this year, more likely than not they'll get in as the 7 seed. Under the new playoff format, the 2 seed plays the 7 seed in the wildcard round. Please don't make me travel to Green Bay in January, football gods. Thank you in advance.

Last week: 3


2) Buccaneers (9-3): Cut this idiot.

But also, as a lesson for everyone, if you owe someone money for services rendered, pay them.

Last week: 2


1) Cardinals (10-2): The Cardinals will try to fend off the Bucs and Packers the rest of the way for the ever important 1 seed and first round bye. Here are their remaining schedules:

Cardinals Packers Buccaneers 
Rams (8-4)Bears (4-8)Bills (7-5)
At Lions (1-10-1)At Ravens (8-4)Saints (5-7)
Colts (7-6)Browns (6-6)At Panthers (5-7) 
At Cowboys (8-4)Vikings (5-7)At Jets (3-9)
Seahawks (4-8)At Lions (1-10-1)Panthers (5-7)
28-32-1 (0.467) 24-35-1 (0.408) 25-35 (0.417) 

A combined opponent winning percentage of 0.467 sounds good, but when you factor in that the Lions are really the only easy game left on their schedule, they're going to have a tough time staying in first place in the NFC. 

The Cards looked like locks to make the playoffs a year ago, but they dropped their final two games and were out. We'll see if they can avoid a choke job in 2021.

Last week: 1

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