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September 10, 2019

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 2 edition

Eagles NFL
091019DrewBrees Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports

"Drew, tell the RG to purposely break their DE's fibula, and then hit Michael Thomas over the middle on a drag route."

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and contrary to the typical first slate of games, there wasn't anything too out of the ordinary, results-wise. Let's just get right to it.





16) Washington (0-1): For a half, Washington was way better than we all thought they would be, when they quickly built a 17-0 lead. In the second half, they were exactly who we thought they were, when they blew that lead, and trailed by two scores just 5 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost second-year RB Derrius Guice to a knee injury, and iDL Jonathan Allen to an MCL sprain.

They remain a solid bet to be picking in the top 5 in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Last week: 16


15) Buccaneers (0-1): In a span of four plays against the Niners on Sunday, Jameis Winston had the following four plays:

  1. INT (not really his fault)
  2. Coward's kneeldown to close the first half
  3. Fumbled snap
  4. Pick-6

Here's the pick-6:

So that's how things are going in Tampa. Still, down six with a little more than two minutes to go, Winston had a chance to engineer a game-winning drive, until he threw his second pick-6 of the game, and this one was even uglier:


Last week: 14


14) Giants (0-1): Here are three of the touchdowns the Giants surrendered Sunday afternoon.

My conclusion: Their defense is very, very bad. A week ago, I thought the Giants might eke out seven wins somehow this season. I can admit when I'm wrong.

Last week: 12


13) Cardinals (0-0-1): I'm already out on Kliff Kingsbury. In overtime against Detroit, with the score tied at 27, facing a 4th and 7 from the Lions' 46 yard line with 1:10 left to play, at home, the Cardinals were faced with an obvious "go for it" situation. If you punt, the best you can hope for is a tie, which does little more than give you a tie-breaker at the end of the season if you end up with the same number of wins as another team.

If you go for it and get it, you're very, very likely going to just win outright. But also, you're telling your players that you believe in them to win, which can be a strong message sent that stays with your guys the rest of the season. If you go for it, and don't get it, you can still just play good defense, keep the opposing team out of field goal range, and still preserve the tie.

Kingsbury punted. What a gutless, cowardly, not-ready-for-the-big-leagues decision. If I'm a player who played my ass off for 70 minutes in that game, and my coach would rather preserve a tie than take a reasonable chance on getting an opening week W, I'd be furious.

Last week: 15


12) Lions (0-0-1): With 2:47 left in the game and the Lions holding an 8-point lead, they ran a little swing pass on 3rd and 5 that would have picked up a first down, except... offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (on the orders of Matt Patricia) called timeout just before the play because they didn't think Matthew Stafford would get the ball snapped before the play clock expired.

Oops! That first down would have all but wrapped up a win. Instead, Stafford threw incomplete on the ensuing play, the Lions would punt, and the Cardinals would tie it up and send it to overtime. 

Understandably, Stafford was piiiiiisssssed.

That ended up being a pretty fun game between two teams that are going nowhere.

Last week: 11


11) 49ers (1-0): Unfortunately for the Niners, they can't play Jameis Winston every week. 256 yards of offense isn't going to cut it against better teams.

Last week: 13


10) Falcons (0-1): Against the Vikings on Sunday, Matt Ryan went 33-for-46 for 304 yards, 2 TD, and 2 INT. That doesn't sound awful, but it definitely does not capture how poorly he played. Ryan was inaccurate early, with some forced throws, and this disaster in the third quarter:

The positive numbers that Ryan did put up were mostly in garbage time in the fourth quarter.

Last week: 9


9) Panthers (0-1): Leading up to their Week 1 game against the Rams, the Panthers patted themselves on the back for surprising a 12-year-old kid who is saving money for college by mowing lawns, with, um, a lawn mower. Wooooo!

I mean, it's a nice gesture and all, I guess, but do you really have to film that? If you're giving a kid a lawn mower, just give it to him and keep your social media team out of it. And if you're going to use this kid to promote the generosity of your organization along with that of a corporate partner's, at least maybe sweeten the deal a bit? Like, maybe just use your billions of dollars to pay for the kid's college, or at least throw in a weed whacker or something.

Anyway, the Panthers lost to the Rams. 

Last week: 10


8) Bears (0-1): Mitchell Trubisky was heavy criticized after an obviously bad performance, in which he was booed several times throughout the game. And frankly, it should have been worse!

Trubisky aside, Matt Nagy was just another in a long line of coaches who played like cowards this week. Faced with a 4th and 3 from the Packers' 41, down by four in the second quarter, Nagy punted! Lol. 

Then later, in the third quarter, faced with a 4th and 10 from the Packers' 35, which should be a fairly obvious field goal situation for any NFL kicker, Nagy had some sort of kicker PTSD moment, and went for it, with Mitchell Trubisky easy being tackled on a scramble well short of the line to gain.

Also, just a thought here — Given the offensive production his team showed in the opener, I'm wondering if Nagy would have been better served worrying about something other than just his kicker this offseason.

Last week: 4


7) Packers (1-0): Credit the Packers' defense for putting the clamps down on the Bears' woeful offense, but if I'm a Packers fan, I'm concerned about (a) the seeming lack of creativity from the offensive game plan, (b) the play of the offensive line, and (c) the ability of the skill position players to help Aaron Rodgers out.

Last week: 8


6) Seahawks (1-0): The Seahawks were nearly double-digit favorites at home over the Bengals, and they needed a couple of Cincy fumbles and a missed field goal to pull out a narrow one-point win. 

I did not watch this game (can't get to them all before Tuesday), but I'd say it's pretty safe to assume the Seahawks weren't very impressive Week 1.

Last week: 5


5) Vikings (1-0): The Vikings and Falcons played sort of an odd game Week 1. The Vikings blocked a punt deep in Atlanta territory after the Falcons' first drive, scored on the ensuing possession, and then again on their next drive. 

They had their comfortable lead, and then they just ran it all day. 38 rushes, 10 passes. It was Mike Zimmer's game from heaven.

While they won't be able to play that way every week, they did legitimately look good. Dalvin Cook looked great, and they have a rookie RB2 named Alexander Mattison, who went in Round 3 of the draft who looked good as well. I didn't know much about him coming out of college, but he can play. Minny's backs have always kinda stunk. They don't this year, and combined with that WR group, their offense could be really good if their OL is improved.

Of course, we won't know if their OL is improved until they're forced to throw the football.

Last week: 7


4) Cowboys (1-0): As noted above, the Giants' defense was awful, which makes it easy to dismiss the Cowboys' win over them. However, Dak Prescott made a number of very good throws. If second-year receiver Michael Gallup (7-158-0 vs. NYG) can consistently perform anywhere near the level he did Week 1, that's going to be a difficult offense to stop.

Last week: 6


3) Rams (1-0): Who cares what they did Week 1? Week 2, it's Saints at Rams. Game of the week. Frankly, I'm not exactly sure how Eagles-Falcons is in the prime time slot.


2) Eagles (1-0): The grossness of the Eagles' alarming first half against Washington was offset somewhat by their dominance in the second half. 

On the positive side, once they got clicking, Carson Wentz and the Eagles' offense looked like they could be very good this season. On the not so positive side, the pass rush was suspect, and the secondary allowed receivers to get wide open when the quarterback had time to throw.

There's a lot to be corrected before Week 2.

Last week: 2


1) Saints (1-0): I assume you all saw it, but in what was easily the game of the week, the Saints withstood an extremely impressive performance by Deshaun Watson, and pulled out the win, breaking a string of five straight Week 1 losses.

Note to the rest of the NFL — If you have Drew Brees on the ropes, don't just concede a series of 10-15 yard throws down the field until they get into field goal range. He'll take that all day.

Last week: 1

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