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September 26, 2017

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Giants and 49ers are dead

Eagles NFL

In the past, our "NFC Hierarchy/Obituary" series was a weekly feature, and I'd typically write in excess of 2000 words on the teams around the rest of the NFC. I just don't have the time for that anymore with all my other beat reporter duties, so beginning last year, we published these a little more sporadically. 

This year, I think the plan will be to just do a Hierarchy post whenever we kill off a new team. This week, we have two obituaries.

Obituary: Giants

As you may or may not know, every year I publish my "dumpster fire series" in which I lay out 10 reasons each team in the NFC East could be a dumpster fire that season. They're meant to point out all the flaws of each team (every team in the NFL has them), in sort of a fun way.

Every year, without fail, there is severe backlash from fans who do not like hearing the negatives about their team. More often than not, the Cowboys fans are the whiniest of the bunch. This year, Giants fans ran away with that designation, as they dominated my hate mail that week.

Anyway, let's take a quick look back at the 10 reasons we gave for why they may be a dumpster fire this year:

  1. Eli Manning was bad last year -- He was better Week 3, but bad the first two games. Check.
  2. (2a) The Giants might have the worst set of offensive tackles in the NFL, and (2b) actually, the Giants' offensive line as a whole is bad -- Check.
  3. The Giants still can't run the ball -- Check.
  4. Actually, the Giants' offense in general wasn't very good -- It still isn't. Check.
  5. The Giants' one star weapon on offense is an immature baby -- Check.
  6. The Giants won a lot of close games last year -- They've only had one close one this year, and they lost it. Check.
  7. Who is this kicker? -- Well, he hasn't hurt them yet, to my knowledge. I'd look up the kicker's stats, but the Giants are done, so who cares?
  8. The defense is likely to regress to some degree -- Check.
  9. The Giants stayed improbably healthy last year -- They missed some key players so far this season, and have not been able to win with their depth. Check.
  10. The Giants have to face four teams coming off their bye week -- We haven't even gotten into that part of the schedule yet, and they're already 0-3.

If I were a more petty man (and maybe I am), I'd go back and reply to all my Giants fan hate mail.

Anyway, here's where the NFC East stands after three weeks:

 TeamOverall record Conf record Division record 
 Eagles2-1 2-0 2-0 
 Cowboys2-1 2-0 1-0 
 Redskins2-1 1-1 0-1 
 Giants0-3 0-3 0-2 

At -33, the Giants have the worst point differential in the NFC. As you can see above, they are not only two games behind all the other teams in the division in overall record, they're also 0-3 in the NFC and 0-2 in the division. It's going to be extraordinarily difficult for them to win any tiebreakers. 

The Giants are done.

Obituary: 49ers


Prior to the start of the season, I had the Niners picking third in the 2018 NFL Draft, so I was pretty much going to have an itchy trigger finger killing them off anyway. But with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, this team isn't overcoming an 0-3 start.


14) Saints (1-2): They'll put enough points on the board on occasion to win some games like they did Week 3 against the Panthers, but that trash defense is going to be impossible to overcome on a week-to-week basis.

13) Bears (1-2): Congrats to the Bears for ruining a number of fans' survivor pools when they knocked off the Steelers last week. Unfortunately for them, their quarterback (for now) is still Mike Glennon.

12) Cardinals (1-2): Arizona is the oldest team in the NFL, and it looks like it.

11) Rams (2-1): The Rams sit atop the NFC West (for now), and credit them for beating garbage teams in the Colts and Niners, but they still have a long way to go.

10) Vikings (2-1): Their defense is good, and while Case Keenum played well Week 3, I certainly don't trust him, or Sam Bradford's knees.

9) Buccaneers (1-1): The Bucs have been on both ends of lopsided games, but now they are loaded up with injuries on defense.

8) Seahawks (1-2): The Seahawks' offensive line stinks, which really isn't anything new. This is a team that typically starts slowly, but their defense will always keep them as the favorite in the crappy NFC West.

7) Redskins (2-1): The Redskins put it on the Raiders Sunday night. There's no other way to say it than that they were extremely impressive Week 3. I might have to re-think if this team is good or not. They showed me something.

6) Eagles (2-1): The Eagles just won a divisional game with Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, and Darren Sproles missing almost the entire second half. 

5) Cowboys (2-1): That Cowboys offense looks nothing like the juggernaut it was at times last year. 

4) Panthers (2-1): Carolina gave up 6 points the first two weeks before the Saints did some damage against their defense Week 3. Still, I generally trust that Panthers D, and think Cam Newton will eventually get healthy and start playing better football. 

3) Lions (2-1): Matthew Stafford might be the most underrated quarterback in the NFL.

2) Packers (2-1): They still employ the best football player on Earth.

1) Falcons (3-0): So much for that Super Bowl hangover. The Falcons are 3-0, and have beaten two solid teams in the Packers and Lions.

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