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September 22, 2020

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 3

Eagles NFL
players_pray_carson_Wentz_Eagles_Rams_NFL_Kate_Frese_092020 Kate Frese/PhillyVoice

Good idea.

Week 2 of the NFL regular season is in the books. The Cardinals are legitimate contenders, the Falcons are the chokiest bunch of chokers to ever choke, the Football Team came back down to Earth, and the Eagles stink. Let's just get right to it.

16) Panthers (0-2): Facing a 4th and 2 from the Tampa 36, down 14-0, the Panthers sent the punt team onto the field, lol, and then proceeded to do this:


Lol. The Bucs... weren't fooled. Just go for it. The one thing that you do have is Christian McCaffrey. At least have him on the field maybe in a high-leverage situation?

McCaffrey, by the way, could be out for more than a month with a high ankle sprain.

Last week: 16

15) Giants (0-2): It was confirmed on Monday that Saquon Barkley is done for the season with a torn ACL. In the past, running backs have had mixed success returning to form after ACL tears, though treatment of them has improved over time. Additionally, Barkley's tear occurred early enough in 2020 that he'll be ready for the start of the 2021 season, barring setbacks. 

Adrian Peterson is of course the most commonly cited ACL success story at the running back position, after he led the league in rushing the season after rehabbing a completely shredded knee. Peterson was a physical specimen, and so is Barkley, so I like his chances of coming back and getting close to being the player he was.

Still, this is obviously a huge blow to a team that is already nearly barren of high-end talent, and it's yet another reason why you don't draft running backs second overall.

Last Week: 15

14) Lions (0-2): Matt Patricia's record with the Lions:

• 2018: 6-10

• 2019: 3-12-1

• 2020: 0-2

Total: 9-24-1

They've lost 11 straight, and 14 of their last 15 games. The following is a list of head coaches fired in-season since 2010. It happens more often than I thought.

  1. 2010: Wade Phillips, Cowboys (1-7)
  2. 2010: Brad Childress, Vikings (3-7)
  3. 2010: Josh McDaniels, Broncos (3-9)
  4. 2010: Mike Singletary, 49ers (5-10)
  5. 2011: Jack Del Rio, Jaguars (3-8)
  6. 2011: Tony Sparano, Dolphins (4-9)
  7. 2011: Todd Haley, Chiefs (5-8)
  8. 2013: Gary Kubiak, Texans (2-11)
  9. 2014: Dennis Allen, Raiders (0-4)
  10. 2015: Joe Philbin, Dolphins (1-3)
  11. 2015: Ken Whisenhunt, Titans (1-6)
  12. 2015: Chip Kelly, Eagles (6-9)
  13. 2016: Jeff Fisher, Rams (4-9)
  14. 2016: Gus Bradley, Jaguars (2-12)
  15. 2016: Rex Ryan, Bills (7-8)
  16. 2017: Ben McAdoo, Giants (2-10)
  17. 2018: Hue Jackson, Browns (2-5-1)
  18. 2018: Mike McCarthy, Packers (4-7-1)
  19. 2019: Jay Gruden: Football Team (0-5)
  20. 2019: Ron Rivera, Panthers (5-7)
It's really not a question of if Patricia gets fired. It's only a matter of who will be first among Patricia, Adam Gase, and Dan Quinn.

Last Week: 14

13) Washington (1-1): See? They're bad.

Last week: 12 📉

12) Eagles (0-2): The window is closed. This team is not a Super Bowl contender. Most of the team's best players are older and in decline, and there's very little in the way of good, young players to get excited about, at least compared to other teams around the league.

The best thing that can happen for the Eagles is for the Cowboys to just run away with the division, and quickly, or you're going to see the same pattern, yet again:

  1. The rest of the division sucks, and the Eagles just kind of hang around.
  2. They light a future draft pick on fire for a player at the trade deadline who doesn't help in any way.
  3. They maybe win the division (but probably not this year).
  4. They make offseason moves designed to compete in 2021, mostly centered around the nucleus already in place that has long since run its course.

If you look at the the consensus odds from, assuming all goes to plan, the Eagles are positioned to be tied atop the garbage NFC East once again:

  1. Bengals at Eagles (-6.5)
  2. Cowboys at Seahawks (-4.5)
  3. Washington at Browns (-7)
  4. Giants: Who cares?

What an injustice that would be after the way this team has played so far this season. I know that it would be hard to watch for some of the diehards, but a loss to the Bengals would go a long way toward ending the aforementioned pattern of mediocrity that just isn't going to work.

Last week: 10 📉

MORE: Wentz, Eagles have been really bad — but Pederson’s excuse for why might be even worse | Eagles LG Isaac Seumalo headed to IR | What was it like photographing an Eagles game, with no fans, during a pandemic?

11) Falcons (0-2): If you cover this sport long enough, you'll get a few things right here and there. From my picks column last week:

Falcons at Cowboys (-4.5): The Choke Bowl. Give me the Cowboys to be less chokey in this one.

Lol. 🎯

Last week: 13 📈

10) Vikings (0-2): The Vikings were already without Danielle Hunter (neck, IR), and now they also lost Anthony Barr for the season with a pectoral injury. The only team that has given up more points so far this season is the Falcons, and it might only get worse.

Last week: 5 📉

9) Bears (2-0): In each of the first two weeks, the Bears held four-point leads over bad teams, and survived last-ditch throws into the end zone. Week 1 vs. the Lions:


And Week 2 vs the Giants:


The Lions and Giants are a combined 7-28-1 since last season. The Bears jump from 12 to 9 here in the hierarchy, because it's hard to justify putting any of the teams behind them ahead of them, but losses are coming their way soon.

Last week 12 📈

8) Buccaneers (1-1): Yes, the Bucs picked up their first win, but the Panthers outgained them by almost 100 yards, they had more first downs, and they controlled time of possession. The Panthers just turned it over four times, including two gift INTs by Teddy Bridgewater, plus they had the ridiculous fake punt shown above. I remain unsold.

Last week: 9 📈

7) Cowboys (1-1): The Cowboys made a ton of mistakes early, including a four-drive stretch in which they lost three fumbles and couldn't convert on a fake punt.

Give them credit, though. They never quit, and their offense caught fire, scoring 30 second half points on 6 drives.

Last week: 8 📈

6) Rams (2-0): They're not a very complicated team. If you stop their run game and get them into long down/distances, Jared Goff isn't going to carry them. If they stay on schedule with their rushing attack, all that boot action and jet motion crap makes the game so much easier for Goff, and they can be effective.

Last week: 7 📈

5) 49ers (1-1): Here is the Niners' looooong list of injuries, via David Lombardi of The Athletic:


Those "feared" ACL tears for Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas have since been confirmed.

Last week: 4 📉

MORE: Week 3 NFL betting lines: Point spreads for every game, including Eagles vs. Bengals | A too early look at Eagles trade deadline candidates if they're sellers

4) Saints (1-1): A lot of people have been hoping Drew Brees would be cooked for years now, but he kept on producing. Last night, though, in a domed stadium...


He just didn't seem to willing or able to throw the ball down the field. I'm not calling him cooked yet, but...

Last week: 1 📉

3) Cardinals (2-0): Kyler Murray is ninth in the NFL in rushing yards (158), first in yards per carry (7.5), and second in rushing TDs (3). 

Last week: 6 📈

2) Packers (2-0): Aaron Jones is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. Look at these yards per carry numbers over his career.

Aaron Jones Rush Yards YPC TD 
 201781 448 5.5 
 2018133 728 5.5 
 2019236 1084 4.6 16 
 202034 234 6.9 

He can run inside, outside, catch passes out of the backfield, and he scores a buttload of touchdowns. Here's what he did Week 2 vs. the Lions:

Last week: 3 📈

1) Seahawks (2-0): DK Metcalf, first 2 games this season: 8 catches, 187 yards, 23.4 YPC, 2 TD.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, 18-game career: 10 catches, 169 yards, 16.9 YPC, 1 TD.

Last week: 2 📈

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