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October 19, 2021

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 7

Eagles NFL

Week 6 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have clear separation from the top five teams in the NFC — the Cardinals, Rams, Buccaneers, Packers, and Cowboys — and the rest of the conference. There are no new obituaries this week, so let's get right to the hierarchy.

Obituaries

None this week.

Graveyard

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Hierarchy

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14) Football Team (2-4): The Football Team has allowed at least 30 points in each of their last five games., and after their loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, are now the NFL's leader in points allowed:

Team Record Points allowed 
Texans  1-5172 
Jaguars  1-5172 
Lions  0-6172 
Chiefs  3-3176 
Dolphins  1-5177 
Giants  1-5177 
Football Team  2-4186 


Their two wins this season have come against the Giants and Falcons, and they only beat the Giants because Dexter Lawrence jumped offsides on a missed game-winning field goal attempt, giving the Football Team a second chance and a win.

Their upcoming opponents: At Packers, at Broncos, BYE, and then the Buccaneers at home. If they lose next Sunday in Green Bay (they're 9.5-point underdogs), we can probably kill them off.

Also, just generally speaking, what an absolute disgrace this franchise continues to be:

Last week: 13

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13) Falcons (2-3): Eagles fans will be huge Falcons fans this week, as they'll play the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami. I'm surprised to see that the Dolphins didn't get a bye after playing in London, while the Falcons are coming off their bye Week 6. That feels like a scheduling screw-up that might benefit the Eagles. 

Last week: 14

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12) Eagles (2-4): We laid out where the Eagles stand within the NFC's hierarchy on Monday. They're not as bad as the worst teams in the league and they'll win some games, but they very clearly can't hang with the big dogs, and are still pretty far from being Super Bowl contenders.

They badly need a purging of their older, expensive players, and it's imperative that they hit on their stockpile of super valuable assets in the 2022 NFL Draft.

As for Jalen Hurts, in terms of "stock up, stock down" after each of his first six games, I would score it like so:

  1. At Falcons: 📈
  2. 49ers: 📉
  3. At Cowboys 📉
  4. Chiefs 📈
  5. At Panthers
  6. Buccaneers 📉

He is not on a path toward securing a place as the Eagles' franchise quarterback in 2022 and beyond. There's still time. Six games down, 11 to go. But he has some catching up to do.

Last week: 12


MORE: Eagles looking like future 'sellers,' but should have incredible draft capital | WTS: The Eagles should bench Jalen Hurts and blow it all up | Eagles RT Lane Johnson to rejoin team


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11) Panthers (3-3): Sam Darnold got some folks excited for like 5 minutes.

 Sam DarnoldComp-Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Sacks Rating 
First 3 games 73-107 (68.2%) 888 (8.3) 3-1 99.0 
Last 3 games 64-117 (54.7%) 685 (5.9) 4-6 12 62.1 

In case you forgot, the Panthers traded away the following to get Darnold:

  1. A sixth-round pick in 2021.
  2. A second-round pick in 2022.
  3. A fourth-round pick in 2022.

Just as a bit of trivia, the player taken with the sixth-round pick the Panthers traded to the Jets (who later traded it to the Chiefs) was Trey Smith, who is starting — and playing very well — for the Chiefs at RG.

Anyway, what a stupid, half-measure trade. I mean, imagine looking at this roster and thinking, "We're just a sub-mediocre quarterback away from really making some noise."

Last week: 10

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10) Seahawks (2-4): Can the Seahawks ever just have a normal primetime game?

Last week: 9

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9) Bears (3-3): Chicagoans, they're just like us.

Last week: 8

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8) 49ers (2-3): The Niners had a bye Week 6, so I will exercise my right to not write about them this week. 

Last week: 7

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7) Vikings (3-3): Sunday was something of a must-win against Carolina, because the Vikings have the following slate of games following their Week 7 bye: 

  1. Cowboys (5-1)
  2. At Ravens (5-1)
  3. At Chargers (4-2)
  4. Packers (5-1)

I do think the Vikings are being slept on a bit, and by that I mean that I think they can maybe get a wildcard and a super quick exit in the playoffs.

Last week: 11

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6) Saints (3-2): Again, the Saints had a bye Week 6, so I will exercise my right to not write about them this week. However, this is where I'll note that there is a HUGE dropoff in the NFC hierarchy. The top 5 teams below are far better than any team ranked sixth or worse here.

Last week: 6

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5) Cowboys (5-1): There's perhaps a decent argument to be made that the Cowboys should be higher, and they would be, except all the teams ahead of them keep winning as well.

On a day in which I didn't think the Dallas had their "A game" in New England, they piled up 567 yards. They've won five straight games, despite missing guys like La'el Collins, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Michael Gallup.

The only way they're not wrapping up the NFC East by December is if Dak Prescott suffers some horrible injury.

Last week: 5


MORE: Week 7 NFL odds: Point spread and total for every game, including Eagles at Raiders | Eagles podcast: Lane Johnson's return, the Zach Ertz trade, and more


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4) Packers (5-1): Aaron Rodgers does indeed own the Bears, and rest of the NFC North for that matter. His record against the rest of the division since 2019:

• 2021: 2-0
• 2020: 5-1
• 2019: 6-0
• TOTAL: 13-1

The present-day Packers remind me a little of when the Eagles would destroy everyone in the NFC East and then lose every year in the NFC Championship Game. 

Last week: 4

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3) Buccaneers (5-1): The Bucs scored touchdowns on a pair of easy-looking 75-yard drives to open the game against the Eagles, and then they almost looked kinda bored. When the Eagles narrowed the lead to 6 with about 6 minutes to go, Tom Brady and the gang were basically like, "OK, that was cute. Let's go ahead and kill the rest of this clock and get out of here."

The Bucs have like one hard game left on their schedule, which is Week 14 at home against the Bills. They'll have to try not to get bored. If they take care of business against the rest of the mediocrity along the way, they'll be in a great position to land the 1 seed.

Last week: 3

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2) Rams (5-1): What do all the teams in this top 5 in the NFC hierarchy have in common? They all have good/great quarterbacks with excellent wide receivers.

The Rams have the best pass defense among this top 5 group, in my opinion, and could be in the best position to slow those offenses down in the playoffs. I think that's probably why I have them at No. 2 in the hierarchy here, even though they're the lone team in this top 5 not currently leading their division. 

Last week: 2

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1) Cardinals (6-0): For as emotional as Zach Ertz was in leaving Philadelphia, it has to be reinvigorating to leave a 2-4 team to join a 6-0 team.

Last week: 1


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