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December 03, 2019

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 14 edition

Week 13 of the 2019 NFL regular season is in the books, and while the Philadelphia Eagles would be eulogized if they played in literally other division in the NFL, we have no choice but to keep them alive in this atrocious NFC East.


None this week.





9) Eagles (5-7): What a boring, emotionless, underachieving team the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles turned out to be. It's really hard to think of a more disappointing Eagles team than this one. I don't even think the 2011 "Dream Team" matches it. Fewer than 22 months after they won a Super Bowl, the Birds are 5-7, and are wasting what should have been a relatively easy run atop an absolutely awful division.

They're really better off losing the rest of this season, because they if they can't even beat arguably the least talented team in the NFL, they sure as hell aren't going anywhere in the playoffs.

Actually, pardon me. We probably shouldn't even be publishing the word "playoffs," even if the Eagles aren't out of them yet.

Last week: 7


8) Bears (6-6): The Bears have won their last two games, and are now a pair of games behind the Vikings, who they've already beaten this season. They are also one game behind the Rams, who beat them, so maybe it's more like 2 games. It's not completely out of the question for the Vikings and Rams to choke down the stretch. I could see that. However, the Bears face a very difficult schedule the rest of the way:

  1. Week 14: Cowboys
  2. Week 15: At Packers
  3. Week 16: Chiefs
  4. Week 17: At Vikings

I'm basically just waiting for the Bears to lose another game before we kill them off.

Last week: 9


7) Cowboys (6-6): Dak Prescott is really, really good against bad teams. Against good teams, he's not quite as good.

 Dak PrescottComp-Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT QB rating 
 vs. teams with losing records 170/242 (70.2%)2138 (8.8) 16-4 112.6 
 vs. teams with winning records128/205 (62.4%) 1650 (8.0) 7-7  84.4

Against the teams with losing records, the Cowboys are 6-1. Against the teams with winning records, they are 0-5. 

Last week: 6


6) Rams (7-5): One week after getting obliterated by the Ravens in front of a national audience, the Rams bounced back, with its offense looking like it used to, piling up 549 yards (!), 27 first downs, and 34 points.

Jared Goff threw for 2 TDs (no INTs) and 424 yards on 9.9 YPA, while Todd Gurley ran for 95 yards (5.0 YPC) and a TD. Yay!

In 2018, the Rams averaged 421 yards per game. Unfortunately, in 2019, they have broken 400 yards just four times. Those four times were against the aforementioned Cardinals (32nd ranked defense), Bengals (31st), Seahawks (24th), and Buccaneers (17th).

The Rams' chances of making the playoffs as a wildcard team will depend on if they can catch the Vikings. The Rams' and Vikings' remaining schedules:

 WeekRams (7-5) Vikings (8-4) 
 14Seahawks (10-2) Lions (3-8-1) 
 15 At Cowboys (6-6) At Chargers (4-8)
 16 49ers (10-2) Packers (9-3)
 17 Cardinals (3-8-1) Bears (6-6)
 Opponents' combined record 29-18-1 (.615)  22-25-1 (.469)

Last week: 8

MORE: The evolution of this gross Eagles season, week-by-week, in stick figure form | Report: Eagles could make 'significant changes' to staff if team doesn't go on playoff run


5) Vikings (8-4): Hey, remember above when we noted that the Cowboys are 0-5 against teams with winning records? Well, guess what... Here's the full list of teams with no wins against teams with winning records this season:

Giants, Washington, Jets, Cardinals, Bengals, Lions, Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys, and guess who! Kirk Cousins and the Vikings!

Also, remember last year when all the Vikings needed to do was beat the Bears, a team already locked into their playoff seed, and they would be in the playoffs? And they choked? Hey football gods, can we please let the Rams still be alive Week 17 so we can see how the Vikings will fare in the same situation this season?

Last week: 5


4) Packers (9-3): The projected quarterbacks the Packers will face the rest of the way:

  1. Week 14: Dwayne Haskins
  2. Week 15: Mitchell Trubisky
  3. Week 16: Kirk Cousins
  4. Week 17: David Blough

If the Packers win three of their next four games, even if the one loss is to the Vikings, they will win the NFC North.

Last week: 4


3) 49ers (10-2): While everyone is (rightfully) pointing out how bad the NFC East is, either the 49ers or Seahawks will get screwed by playing in the excellent NFC West. Here's a look at NFL records and point differentials, by division:

Division Combined record Combined point differentials 
NFC West 30-17-1  +139
 NFC North26-21-1  +80
 AFC East26-22  -7
 AFC South25-23  -4
 AFC North23-25  +53
 NFC South23-25  -59
 AFC West22-26  -40
 NFC East16-32  -162

The 49ers are 10-2, with a point differential of +166, best in the NFC. The next closest team is +77. If the season ended today, the Niners would be playing a wildcard round game in Dallas, a team with four fewer wins.

Last week: 1


2) Seahawks (10-2): Because the Seahawks play so many close games (only two outcomes were more than one score this season), they have a point differential of just +36, which is only 11th in the NFL. To put that in perspective, the Titans have a better point differential, at +42.

I don't know whether to see that as a good thing in that the Seahawks are tested in pressure-cooker games, or if they just aren't that great, and it's not sustainable for these close games to keep going their way.

Last week: 2


1) Saints (10-2): The Saints haven't looked super impressive this season so far, but they have a 10-2 record and remain the only team in the NFL that has clinched a playoff berth, playing in the otherwise terrible NFC South. If the season ended today (it doesn't), the Saints would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

Last week: 3

MORE: What they're saying: What the hell is wrong with the Eagles? Everything.

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