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October 02, 2018

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 5 edition

Week 4 of the NFL season is in the books, and while the Detroit Lions and New York Giants are now both 1-3, we'll give them one more week before we kill them off, so there are no new obituaries this week.


14) Giants (1-3): As we questioned in our Giants dumpster fire piece this summer, the Giants hired Pat Shurmur, why, exactly? Because the Minnesota Vikings were halfway decent offensively for one season with a journeyman quarterback? Uh, ok. Apparently, one reasonably successful season makes up for a track record that has been less than awesome over Shurmur's career as a head coach and/or offensive coordinator.

As a head coach in Cleveland, Shurmur went 9-23. Here are the offensive rankings of the teams Shurmur coached when he was either the HC or OC:

Pat Shurmur  Team, titleYards Points 
 2009 Rams, OC29 32 
 2010 Rams, OC26 26 
 2011Browns, HC 29 30 
 2012Browns, HC 25 24 
 2013Eagles, OC 
 2014Eagles, OC 
 2015Eagles, OC 12 13 
 2016Vikings, OC 28 23 
 2017Vikings, OC 11 10 

His average ranking in yards was 18.6. His average ranking in points was 18.3. In fairness, he didn't have a lot to work with talent-wise when he coached the Rams and Browns. On the other hand, he didn't really have much of a hand in Chip Kelly's offenses in Philly when they were racking up misleading, inflated offensive stats from 2013-2015. So maybe those two things even out.

Anyway, that is not exactly a stellar résumé.

After a 1-3 start in which the Giants' offense still looks like crap even after drafting Saquon Barkley and getting Odell Beckham back from an injury, Shurmur is already being called "McAdoo 2" up in North Jersey.

Last week: 14


13) Lions (1-3): Detroit gave up over 400 yards and 26 first downs to the Cowboys' trash offense.

Last week: 13


12) Seahawks (2-2): The Seahawks eked out a narrow win over perhaps the worst team in the league in the Arizona Cardinals while losing Earl Thomas in the process. Clearly, Seattle should have traded him while teams had interest. Now, Thomas is going to walk in free agency, the the Seahawks might have nothing to show for it.

Ooooops. That's what can happen when you're unrealistic about your own players' values.

Last week: 11


11) Cowboys (2-2): There were a lot of tweets like this one floating around last week: 

On Sunday, Dak had a pretty good game, going 17 of 27 for 255 yards (9.4 YPA), 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and a passer rating of 118.6. Ultimately, that kind of occasional performance is exactly what Eagles, Giants, and Redskins fans should be rooting for so that Jerry Jones talks himself into Dak as a long-term answer at quarterback.

Last week: 12


10) Vikings (1-2-1): The Vikings went from the No. 1 defense (yardage-wise) in the NFL last season to 21st so far in 2018. They just don't look the same without stud pass rusher Everson Griffen creating pressure from the edge.

Last week: 9


9) Buccaneers (2-2): They are who we thought they were.

Last week: 3


8) Falcons (1-3): Atlanta has lost a star linebacker in Deion Jones, and both of their talented starting safeties. The result? They've given up 80 points over the last two weeks. The Falcons' 1-3 start is one of the big surprises of the start of this season.

Last week: 5


7) WASTEAM (2-1): Hey look, WASTEAM is in first place in the NFC East. After their bye Week 4, they face major challenges the next two weeks against the Saints and Panthers. Those matchups should let Eagles fans know if they should fear another team in this division.

Last week: 8


6) Eagles (2-2): For varying reasons, the Eagles are under-performing relative to preseason expectations at the following positions: QB, WR, the OL as a group, LB, CB, S, and K.

Last week: 2


5) Panthers (2-1): Normally, you don't want to have your bye week this early in the season, but with so many important banged up players (like Greg Olsen and both starting offensive tackles out), it's not the worst thing for the Panthers to heal up for a week.

Last week: 6


4) Bears (3-1): The Bears might have the best defense in the NFL, led by Khalil Mack, who will be the NFL Defensive Player of the Month, by a landslide. On the season, Mack has 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and a pick six. That trade is looking more and more like a steal for Chicago after every game.

Last week: 10


3) Packers (2-1-1): This is a team I don't even like all that much, and yet they sit here at the No. 3 spot because the NFC hasn't been the juggernaut conference we all thought it might be, with teams like the Eagles, Vikings, and Falcons falling well short of expectations thus far. Green Bay will probably soon be 4-1-1, with the Lions and 49ers upcoming on their schedule. 

Last week: 7


2) Saints (3-1): In previous years, the Saints played poorly in their first couple games before turning it on and putting up big numbers offensively. It appears that once again, that's all that was this season as well, as they had consecutive impressive road wins against the Falcons and Giants.

Last week: 4


1) Rams (4-0): My perception of the Rams entering this season was a team that added very talented-but-temperamental players, with a quarterback who was good, but not necessarily great. Well, four games in, those player additions have been more talent than temper, and the quarterback has been great. 

If this is who the Rams are going to be all season, then they are way ahead of the rest of the pack in the NFC.

Last week: 1

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