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October 24, 2023

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 8 edition

Jimmy Kempski ranks the NFC teams heading into Week 8 after a big Sunday night with by the Eagles and a surprising 49ers loss on Monday Night Football.

Eagles NFL
102423BrockPurdy Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

Brock wasn't purdy Monday night.

Week 7 of the NFL season is in the books, and it was a big week for the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat a quality opponent convincingly in front of a national audience, while also gaining some separation from the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and the idle Dallas Cowboys. There are no new obituaries this week.


None this week.





13) Commanders (3-4): Jonathan Allen has been in the NFL since 2016 and during that time the Commanders are 50-69-2 (0.421). He has experienced one "winning" season, when he was a rookie, when Washington went 8-7-1. He has played in one playoff game, in 2020, which he lost, after Washington won the division with a 7-9 record. 

After the Commanders' loss to the sorry Giants on Sunday, Allen's frustration boiled over. NSFW:

It must suck to be a good player with an awful franchise.

Also, for anyone who thought there would be an immediate turnaround with this franchise just because Dan Snyder is no longer the owner... nope.

Last week: 11


12) Giants (2-5): Against the Commanders on Sunday the Giants scored their first offensive touchdown since Week 3. 🥂🍾

Actually they scored TWO offensive touchdowns! 🥂🍾🎉

Of course, their journeyman backup quarterback looked better than the guy they signed to a four-year deal worth $160 million, so, you know, that's not great. But hey, a win!

Last week: 13


11) Packers (2-4): The Packers were down 2 with a 1st and 10 at the Denver 44 with 2:22 left to play. Here's how their drive went from there:

• 1st and 10: A.J. Dillon run for 0. Two-minute warning.
• 2nd and 10: Holding on Elgton Jenkins.
• 2nd and 20: Incomplete pass to Christian Watson, Watson hurt on the play.
• 3rd and 20: Jordan Love prayer is intercepted.

A little dump down to Dillon might have gotten a first down. It would have at least gotten them close. Anyway, whatever. This team isn't serious. After starting 2-1, they have now lost three straight, and two of them were to bad teams in the Raiders and Broncos.

Last week: 10


10) Saints (3-4): During the Saints' loss to the Jaguars on Thursday night, Derek Carr launched a deep ball down the field to Chris Olave that landed way out of bounds and had no chance of being completed. Carr then screamed at Olave, who didn't sprint all the way through his route.

That play became a debated topic in the ensuing days, and Michael Thomas publicly clarified that Olave is not even in the progression and under no circumstances is the ball supposed to go his way.

To translate that, Thomas is saying that Carr's first look is to Taysom Hill (7) on the out route. If that's not there, his next progression is to Rashid Shaheed (22) on the quick in route from the back side. If that's not there, the next progression is to Thomas on the back side 15-yard dig route. He is also saying that Carr only looked at Hill, did not go to his next progression, and then just ripped a throw out of bounds down the field. He also acknowledges that Olave should be busting it down the sideline to clear out more space for Hill to get open on his out route.

To begin, how is Olave not part of the progression at all? Like, what if he has a corner pressed up on him with inadequate safety help over the top, and he shakes his man at the line of scrimmage gets wide open down the field? The quarterback can't decide, "Oh well hey I'll just take the deep shot to my best receiver?" Like... what? That's garbage play design, in my opinion.

But more importantly, the Saints now have a respected veteran wide receiver who has been in the league for eight years who is publicly saying that his quarterback is not properly going through his progressions.

So that's how the Saints' season is going.

Last week: 8


9) Rams (3-4): If the Rams lose Week 8 in Dallas and some contending team loses a quarterback to injury, the Rams should deal Matthew Stafford before the trade deadline while he still has value. Aaron Donald would fetch a big return, too. Do it now, not during the offseason when you'll get a lesser return for either guy.

Last week: 7


8) Buccaneers (3-3): The Bucs have some talent in the passing game, and Baker Mayfield has actually played fine, but their rushing attack is non-existent:

Bucs run game Stat NFL rank 
Rushing yards per game 77.8 29 
Yards per attempt 3.1 31 
Rushing first downs per game 3.7 31 
Rushing TDs T-28 
Rushes of 20+ yards T-27 

It's amazing that there are 5 teams with 1 or fewer rushing TDs this season. 

Last week: 6


7) Falcons (4-3): Division leaders, and their point differentials:

  1. 49ers, NFC West: +92
  2. Ravens, AFC North: +74
  3. Chiefs, AFC West: +73
  4. Dolphins, AFC East: +53
  5. Eagles, NFC East: +45
  6. Jaguars, AFC South: +27
  7. Lions, NFC North: +23
  8. Falcons, NFC South: -18

The Falcons feel like a way worse version of the 2022 Vikings.

Last week: 8


6) Vikings (3-4): A lot of folks like to goof on Kirk Cousins (self included 🙋‍♂️), but he was legitimately awesome Monday night against the 49ers. He was under pressure for most of the night, and he still completed 35 of 45 passes for 378 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and somehow he wasn't sacked. A lot of those throw were strikes down the field with pass rushers in his face, and none of them were to Justin Jefferson, who is out with a hamstring injury.

The hard part of the Vikings' schedule is over, as they have already played the Eagles, Chargers, Chiefs, and 49ers. Here are their next six games:

  1. At Packers
  2. At Falcons
  3. Saints
  4. At Broncos
  5. Bears
  6. At Raiders

Four of those games are on the road, but those are all below average teams. If they had lost to the 49ers, they might've been trade deadline sellers at 2-5. Now? Likely not.

Last week: 12


5) Seahawks (4-2): "Separation Sunday™️" alert! 🚨🚨🚨

The Seahawks won Week 7, and all three of their divisional rivals lost.

Last week: 5


4) Lions (5-2): The Lions had four straight wins by at least two touchdowns, and then... holy crap did they get annihilated against the Ravens. They have now had two absolutely putrid pass defense performances this season:

• Week 2: Geno Smith was 32/41 for 328 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, 116.3 passer rating.
• Week 7: Lamar Jackson was 21/27 for 357 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, 155.8 passer rating.

The games they played in between were against Desmond Ridder, Jordan Love, Bryce Young, and Baker Mayfield. So I guess the big question with this team is whether or not they can slow down good passing offenses. I'm sure Lions fans would be quick to point out their Week 1 win over the Chiefs, though it's worth noting that Kansas City did not have Travis Kelce in that game, and, you know, Week 1 games are weird.

Last week: 3


3) Cowboys (4-2): The Cowboys had a bye, and watched the Eagles extend their lead on them in the NFC East by 1.5 games. The Eagles also picked up a key win over a common opponent in the Dolphins. Each week in our "non-Eagles rooting guide," we show the NFC East's common opponents outside of the division, and results so far:

Common Opponent PHI DAL WAS NYG 
49ers  Loss  Loss 
Cardinals  Loss Win Win 
 Seahawks   Loss 
 Bills  Loss Loss 
 DolphinsWin   Loss 
 JetsLoss Win   
 PatriotsWin Win   

I've been asked a few times why we show that. Good question! I'll clear that up here. It's the third breaker behind head-to-head matchups, and divisional record.

The Eagles and Cowboys have split 8 of the last 10 seasons, and they've had the same divisional record in four of the last six. 

Last week: 4


2) 49ers (5-2): If you watched the Monday night telecast you heard Troy Aikman call Brock Purdy "outstanding" for three quarters. (He was fine, certainly not outstanding.)

In the fourth quarter, Purdy had two separate chances to lead the 49ers to a game-winning TD, but instead he threw a couple of INTs. The first one:

That was simply a way-off-target throw. Not shown above is Kyle Shanahan mouthing the words "wide open" after the play in regard to Purdy's intended receiver on the play, Jauan Jennings. INT No. 2 was even worse. This was a bad decision:

We gave Purdy a pass after a bad performance in the 49ers' loss Week 6. But this is now two games in a row the Niners have lost because of him. Is he turning into a pumpkin just before Halloween? Eh, I don't know, but let's just go ahead get this potential costume ready in case he looks bad for a third straight game against the Bengals next Sunday.


Last week: 1


1) Eagles (6-1): For all the handwringing over the Eagles' offense this year, here's where they rank after seven games compared with where they ranked after seven games in 2022: 

Eagles offense 2022 2023 
 Points per game
Total yards per game 
Passing yards per game 10 
Rushing yards per game 
Time of possession 

There are some legitimate gripes to nitpick, but the 60,000-foot view is that they're fine.

Last week: 2

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