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September 25, 2018

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 4 edition

Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books, and there is only one remaining winless team left in the conference. That would be the Arizona Cardinals, who learned the same lesson as the (formerly) St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Minnesota Vikings – Never hitch your wagon to Sam Bradford.

And so, the Cards are our first obituary of the season. Oh, and the Niners too.



The Cards have averaged 190.3 yards per game, 6.7 points per game, and have turned the ball over seven times. They are dead last in the NFL in all three of those things. As a result, they benched Sleevie Wonder, which was about as predictable an outcome as there was when they signed him. 

Honestly, it's hard to think of a dumber front office move over the last five years than the Cardinals' signing of Sam Bradford for $20 million. Like, how did those negotiations go?

• Bradford's agent: "We'd like $20 million, please."

• Cardinals: "But didn't he just miss last season with some mysterious, undefined knee injury, and doesn't he have two additional ACL tears?"

• Bradford's agent: "He was the No. 1 overall pick once. $20 million."

• Cardinals: "How many career wins does he have? 34? And never more than 7 wins in any one season?"

• Bradford's agent: "Did you not see his pro day in 2010? $20 million."

• Cardinals: "But didn't he make $18 million per year on the last contract you negotiated for him? That's less than what you're asking for now. And since then, he had that mysterious knee injury that we just mentioned, no?"

• Bradford's agent: "Completion percentage. $20 million."

• Cardinals: "Well you drive a hard bargain, but this is a player we MUST have. Deal. Sheila, now get me Mike Glennon's agent on the phone. Let's sign him too."

And the funny thing is, some team is going to sign him next year to be their starter. Fans of that team will be extremely pissed at first, but they'll eventually talk themselves into him, only to see it end badly. It's fascinating. Watch it happen. 


With Jimmy Garoppolo suffering a torn ACL, C.J. Beathard is once again the Niners' quarterback. They're done.





14) Giants (1-2): Hey, the Giants won a game! That was their first win with Odell Beckham in the lineup since this: 

(They had previously lost seven straight with OBJ in the lineup.)

Last week: 14


13) Lions (1-2): Week 1, the Lions lost to the Jets by 31, at home. Week 3, they easily beat the Patriots. The NFL is so weird sometimes.

Last week: 15


12) Cowboys (1-2): Look, I get that the receivers and tight ends aren't any good, but...


Last week: 11


11) Seahawks (1-2): Seattle won a game against a terrible Cowboys offense, which will simmer things down for a hot second, but they still have major issues:

Watch that video. I mean, he just sat down in the middle of practice was like, "I'm done?" Good God.

Last week: 13


10) Bears (2-1): As we noted last week, the Bears' defense looks very, very good. That's great, but at some point Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to start looking like he belongs as a starter in the NFL. The "John Fox sucks" excuses aren't there anymore.

Last week: 7


9) Vikings (1-1-1, should be 1-2): The Vikings got blown out by the least talented team in the NFL, and now DE Everson Griffen, one of their best players, is being mentally evaluated in a hospital.

The Vikings go on the road to face the Rams and Eagles the next two weeks.

Last week: 6


8) WASTEAM (2-1): They're going to be the annoying "not good but also not bad" team that is impossible to pick (or pick against) because you don't know which one is going to show up from week to week.

Last week: 10


7) Packers (1-1-1): As noted above, the Vikings play on the road in LA and Philly over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the Packers' next three opponents are the Bills (home), Lions (road), and 49ers (home). If they can get through that stretch of bad teams with three wins, they'll be in great shape in what is beginning to look like a lackluster NFC North.

Last week: 5


6) Panthers (2-1): The Panthers are in a position to stack some wins while waiting for starting TE Greg Olsen, starting RT Daryl Williams, and starting LT Matt Kalil to heal up from significant injuries.

Meanwhile, they'll also be getting LB Thomas Davis back from suspension in a week.

They have the Giants at home this week, and should move to 3-1, assuming they can take care of business against a bad team.

Last week: 8


5) Falcons (1-2): The Falcons' offense didn't show up against the Eagles, and their defense didn't show up against the Saints. For a team that has some nice continuity, that inconsistency is alarming.

Last week: 2


4) Saints (2-1): The Saints have scored the second-most points per game in the NFL (34.7), and have given up the most points per game in the NFL (34.3). That's nothing new for them.

However, looking at this team, which is more likely? That the offense will cool off, or that the defense will settle in and not be so awful? I'd bet on the latter.

Last week, I had them way down at 12th. That was a dumb overreaction.

Last week: 12


3) Buccaneers (2-1): The Bucs had their first bump in the road Week 3 in a loss to the Steelers, but they were still very much in a game in which they lost the turnover battle 4-1. They also battled back from a 30-10 halftime deficit, and were in a position to win the game with a little over three minutes to go, until they quickly went three-and-out.

Despite the loss, I thought they actually built on the case that they are for real. Week 4 will be a good test on the road against the Bears' defense. 

Last week: 4


2) Eagles (2-1): The Eagles' offense does not look anything close to what it looked like a year ago. Obviously, the Birds have had to deal with significant absences, such as Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Jason Peters, Mike Wallace, and Mack Hollins. 

Phase 1 was to play without those guys. So far so good on that one, as they've gone 2-1 despite dealing with major injuries. Phase 2 will be overcoming the rust, and getting everyone back on the same page. To be determined if and when they can get back to Phase 3, which we'll call the 2017 version of this offense.

Last week: 3


1) Rams (3-0): After the Rams got off to a 2-0 start, skeptics pointed to the fact that they played the Raiders and Cardinals, which remain two of the three winless teams in the league. Week 3, they dominated a talented Chargers team, more than doubling them up on first downs, 33-16. Is anyone impressed yet? I am. 

Last week: 1

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