More Sports:

October 31, 2023

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 9 edition

After the 49ers have lost three straight games, see where they rank among the Eagles, Lions, Cowboys and Seahawks in Jimmy Kempski's NFC hierarchy.

Eagles NFL
103123BrianDaboll Kevin R. Wexler/USA TODAY NETWORK

Brian Daboll should give back his "NFL Coach of the Year" award.

Week 8 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have a new obituary, the New York Giants. We probably could've eulogized them a few weeks ago, but it's time.

Obituary: Giants (2-6)

Each year we pick at the scabs of each the four NFC East teams in our "dumpster fire" series. Sometimes they're challenging to write. Other times, it's pretty easy to identify that a team has no idea what they're doing. This year, in my opinion it was pretty easy to see where the Giants' season was heading. Let's review our 10 bullet points from our Giants' dumpster fire entry, shall we?

1) The Giants hitched their wagon to Daniel Jones 👰

We detailed why it was super unlikely that Jones was suddenly going to make this team a Super Bowl contender, and given those low odds, it was insane to give him a four-year contract worth $160 million.


Sure enough, Jones is 1-4 with 2 TDs vs. 6 INTs, a QB rating of 71.7, and now he's hurt.

2) Saquon is pissed 😡

The Giants made an odd choice to excessively play hardball with their best offensive player. Barkley showed up for work anyway, but it's hard to imagine that there aren't ill feelings there, and there's a pretty good chance he'll leave in free agency.

By the way, the Giants felt so strongly that they couldn't do anything through the air on Sunday against the Jets that they gave the ball to Barkley 36 times in the run game, and targeted him 5 times in the passing game.

Free that man from this trash franchise.

3) They're loaded with No. 3 and No. 4 wide receivers 🗑️

None of the Giants' wide receivers have ever cracked 900 yards in a single season, and (spoiler) that's also not going to happen this year either. Darius Slayton leads all Giants receivers with 257 receiving yards. That's like 1.5 games for A.J. Brown.

4) The OL still stinks 🦨

Yep. They've allowed a league-high 41 sacks.

5) Turnovers are coming 🎁

The Giants only turned it over 16 times in 2022. They're up to 10 in 2023. That's not a crazy number by any stretch, but there was never any doubt in my mind that number was going to increase from 2022 to 2023.

6) Joe Schoen gets rid of good players for no good reason 👋

The Giants could probably use James Bradberry and Julian Love.

7) Their run defense sucked last year 🕳️🚚

It sucks again this year.

8) The Cowboys and Eagles own the Giants 🤠🦅

The Eagles haven't played the Giants yet, but the Cowboys annihilated them in Week 1.

9) The Giants' early schedule looks pretty tough (at least on paper) 📆

It is fair to note that the Giants' first six opponents were the Cowboys, Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Bills, so a bad record to start the season was a strong possibility. But they were never close in most of those games, and they have the worst point differential in the NFL at -92.

10) Teams with negative point differentials that make the playoffs usually don't make the playoffs the next season ➖

That trend is likely to continue.

In the aftermath of that article, as usual Giants fans took offense. Looking back at some of their emails was fun.





12) Commanders (3-5): The strength of this Commanders team over the last few years has been their talented defensive front, headlined by four first-round picks.

• DT Jonathan Allen: 17th overall pick, 2017.
• DT Daron Payne: 13th overall pick, 2018.
• DE Montez Sweat: 26th overall pick, 2019.
• DE Chase Young: 2nd overall pick, 2020.

That defensive line has pretty much been the only thing this franchise could hang their hat on in recent years, and there's a decent chance that Young and/or Sweat will be dealt at the trade deadline in the aftermath of the Commanders' loss to the Eagles.

I get that they're not going to contend this season, but if you're not going to get first-round picks for those guys (and they almost certainly will not), why open up even more gaping holes by dealing a couple of good players with plenty of tread left on their tires? Maybe sign them to long-term deals? 

Last week: 13


11) Packers (2-5): NFC losing streaks:

• 5 in a row: Cardinals

• 4 in a row: Packers

• 3 in a row: Buccaneers, 49ers

Remember a few weeks ago we were wondering if the Packers and Buccaneers might not be that bad? Well, they are.

Last week: 11


10) Rams (3-5): There are going to be a handful of quarterback changes in the NFC this week. 

• The Cardinals (RIP) are benching Josh Dobbs in favor of Clayton Tune. 

• Kirk Cousins has a torn Achilles, so the Vikings will have to replace him. (More on that below.)

• Matthew Stafford has a UCL (thumb) sprain, so he might not play next Sunday.

Did you all want to actually read something more substantive about the Rams here? No? Cool, thanks. Let's just move on then.

Last week: 9


9) Vikings (4-4): As noted above, Cousins' season is over. He was replaced on Sunday by rookie Jaren Hall, one of the lesser-known quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL draft. In his last two season at BYU, Hall threw for 52 TDs vs. 11 INTs. He can dial up good velocity, and as you'll see in the below video he can feather throws in with impressive touch. He can also throw on the run and make plays with his legs.

The Vikings beat the Packers on the road on Sunday, and we moved them back to 8 because they lost their starting quarterback for the season, but I don't think you can put a fork in them quite yet. Their next five games are against the Falcons, Saints, Broncos, Bears, and Raiders. 

Of course, any slim chances the Vikings had of contending for a Super Bowl in the NFC are gone, but I'm curious to see what Hall can do, assuming he starts next Sunday.

Or maybe they'll trade for Jameis Winston or some other crappy vet who won't take them anywhere. 🤷‍♂️

Update: 🙄

Last week: 6


8) Buccaneers (3-4): If you're a regular reader of mine, you know that I pick who I think will win every week, as well as a handful of games I like against the spread. I am hyper competitive with my picks against the spread and do not like losing on those. I don't normally complain about "bad beats" on those, as they even out over time, but I've had my share this season, the worst of which was Thursday night in the Bucs-Bills game.

I correctly identified that the Bills should smash this team, and for the most part they did. Still, I stayed up late so that I could witness my cover of the 8.5-point spread. In the fourth quarter, with the Bills basically doing whatever they wanted to the Bucs' defense, Sean McDermott had a chance to completely put the game away, but he punted twice in Bucs territory. One was a 4th and 4 from the Bucs' 42. The other was a 4th and 2 from the Bucs' 44. Just unbelievable cowardice. 

Nevertheless, I was still in decent enough shape, as the Bucs had the ball at their own 8, down 14. They slowly drove into Bills territory, when a whole lot of pure nonsense ensued: 

• On a 4th and 10 from the Bills' 46, Baker Mayfield threw incomplete to Chris Godwin. Cool, I got my cover. But, nope, weak illegal contact call. First down, drive continues.

• On a 4th and 8 from the Bills' 39, Mayfield was sacked by Jordan Phillips. Cool, got my cover. But nope. Phillips inexplicably grabbed Mayfield's facemask while Mayfield was going to the ground. First down, drive continues.

• On a 4th and 10, Mayfield threw a ball deep down the field, that bounced off the helmet of a Bills defender and into the arms of Mike Evans — who is owned by the guy I was playing in fantasy this week, by the way — for a touchdown. My cat Butters was subsequently scared by the expletive that I yelled from bed.

So now I'm rooting for the Bucs to recover an onsides kick and get a miracle touchdown to punish McDermott for being a coward. But nope, that doesn't happen either. 

Sometimes I really hate football.

Last week: 8


7) Saints (4-4): The Saints got to face Gardner Minshew instead of Anthony Richardson on Sunday. They might also get to face backup quarterbacks in each of their next three games as well:

• Week 9, Bears: Tyson Bagent
• Week 10, Vikings: Jaren Hall? Some other scrub acquired at the trade deadline?
• Week 11, Falcons: Taylor Heinicke, maybe? (This might be an upgrade)

Last week: 10


6) Falcons (4-4): Desmond Ridder left Sunday's game against the Titans and did not return. It was later revealed that he was evaluated for a concussion, but cleared to continue to play. However, he did not go back in, as the Falcons continued to roll with Taylor Heinicke, who was 12 of 21 for 175 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, and only 1 sack.

Postgame, Arthur Smith said that Ridder kept on the bench out of caution, and not because of performance reasons. Lol.

If the Falcons have aspirations of winning the NFC South and then getting blown out in the wildcard round — their ceiling in 2023 — they should stick with Heinicke.

Last week: 7


5) 49ers (5-3): Brock Purdy threw a couple of fourth quarter INTs with the game on the line last week. In Week 8, he threw a couple more late INTs that helped seal the Niners' fate.

INT No. 1:

That's an oddball INT for sure, and a great play by the defender, but also... get it out quicker! That should have been a TD.

Aaaaand INT No. 2, on the first play of the Niners' next possession:

He actually threw three INTs, but this one didn't count:

That INT wiped out by an absurd roughing the passer call. Better view here:

On that play, as the tweet above notes, Purdy hit his head hard on the turf, and he grabbed at his head after the impact. He played through a concussion last week, and may have done the same on Sunday. Is the 49ers' concussion spotter on strike or something?

Purdy threw for 365 yards and ran for 57, so many of the San Francisco locals are forgiving his growing tendency to throw it to the other team with the game on the line, instead focusing on the play of the defense, which is fairness, has also been bad during their three-game losing streak.

Last week: 2


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

In Week 7, the Seahawks won and all three of the other teams in the NFC West lost. 

In Week 8, again, the Seahawks won and all three of the other teams in the NFC West lost. 

They'd be the 3 seed if the season ended today (it doesn't).

Last week: 5


3) Lions (6-2): Jahmyr Gibbs had 152 yards on the ground and 37 through the air on Monday night. This is an impressive run:

The Lions' remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of 0.420. They feel like a bigger threat for the 1 seed than the 49ers right now.

Last week: 4


2) Cowboys (5-2): When the Cowboys are good, they're really good.

  1. 40-0 Week 1 at the Giants
  2. 30-10 Week 2 vs. the Jets
  3. 38-3 Week 4 vs. the Patriots
  4. 43-20 Week 8 vs. the Rams

When the Cowboys are bad, they're really bad

  1. They lost to the Cardinals Week 3.
  2. 10-42 Week Week at the 49ers

What will they be against the Eagles Week 9?

Last week: 3


1) Eagles (7-1): The Eagles have had eight different starting five combinations in their secondary in eight games.

Opponent CB1 CB2 CB3 
Patriots Darius Slay James Bradberry Avonte Maddox Reed Blankenship Justin Evans 
Vikings Darius Slay Josh Jobe Avonte Maddox Justin Evans Terrell Edmunds 
Buccaneers Darius Slay James Bradberry Josh Jobe Reed Blankenship Justin Evans 
Commanders Darius Slay James Bradberry Josh Jobe Reed Blankenship Terrell Edmunds 
Rams Darius Slay James Bradberry Mario Goodrich Reed Blankenship Justin Evans 
Jets James Bradberry Josh Jobe Bradley Roby Reed Blankenship Terrell Edmunds 
Dolphins Darius Slay James Bradberry Josiah Scott Terrell Edmunds Sydney Brown 
Commanders Darius Slay James Bradberry Sydney Brown Reed Blankenship Kevin Byard 

That reminds me a little of 2020, when the offensive line had like 12 or 13 different starting combinations. 

The defense overall has had some good games and some bad ones. That's probably to be expected with little continuity on the back end.

Last week: 1

MORE: Eagles trade Kentavius Street to Falcons

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader