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October 15, 2019

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 7 edition, Falcons are dead

Eagles NFL
101519MattRyan Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons aren't just bad. They're also old.

Week 6 of the 2019 NFL regular season is in the books, and the Washington team now has company in the graveyard, as we have one new obituary this week. That would be the Atlanta Falcons.

Obituaries

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Falcons

The Falcons have lost four straight games. They are now 1-5, and five games behind the Saints in the NFC South. This team has steadily gotten worse each subsequent year since they choked in the Super Bowl.

2016: They made it to the Super Bowl, and led 28-3 mid-way through the third quarter. And then, we all saw what happened.

2017: They still had a strong roster, made the playoffs with a 10-6 record, won a road playoff game, and went toe-to-toe with the eventual champs before a pass to Julio Jones in the closing seconds fell harmlessly to the turf. But clearly, their offense wasn't the same powerhouse as it was the year before.

2018: It starts to really fall apart, as the Falcons experience some injuries, and can't overcome them. They begin their season at 4-9, but a three-game winning streak to close the season only provides false hope for 2019.

2019: Six games into the season, they're already dead.

They aren't just bad. They're also old. There's a rebuild a'comin', or at least there should be.

Graveyard

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Hierarchy

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14) Giants (2-4): It's too bad the Philadelphia market will never truly know Mike Francesa, long-time afternoon drive radio host at WFAN in New York. Among his many quirks, Francesa has the tendency to repeat himself over and over and over again when he's making a point.

Here he is complaining about Daniel Jones' "Danny Dimes" nickname:

Lol. I went ahead and tallied Mike's remarks about it.

• It's awful: 6

• The worst: 4

• I can't stand it: 4

• Don't know who started it / where it came from: 3

• I hate it: 3

• Makes my skin crawl: 2

• Don't know if he likes it: 2

• It's terrible: 1

• I don't like anything about it: 1

• It's hideous: 1

To be clear, he's not wrong. It is indeed a terrible nickname.

Also, "Danny Dimes" has come back down to earth after one good game.

Last week: 13

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13) Buccaneers (2-4): Jameis Winston threw five interceptions on Sunday, which, hang on, checking my math, is a lot of interceptions. That's nothing new for Jameis. Since 2015, here is a list of the quarterbacks with the most multi-interception games:

 QuarterbackMulti-interception games 
 Jameis Winston18 
 Blake Bortles16 
 Eli Manning16 
 Philip Rivers16 
 Ben Roethlisberger15 


And a list of quarterbacks with the most three-interceptions games since 2015: 

 QuarterbackThree-interception games 
 Jameis Winston
 Cam Newton
 Ryan Fitzpatrick


And what the hell... Let's go ahead and do the most four-interception games since 2015: 

 QuarterbackFour-interception games 
 Jameis Winston 
 Andy Dalton
 A buttload of quarterbacks


#JimmyAnalysis: Jameis Winston has a lot of really bad games. 

(Also, it might have just been easier to say, "Since 2015, Jameis Winston leads the NFL in two-INT games (18), three-INT games (8), and four-INT games (4)," but you will read my graphs and like it!)

Last week: 12

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12) Cardinals (2-3-1): Kyler Murray wasn't a stud through the first month of the season by any stretch, but he was awesome against the Falcons on Sunday:


Their fans at least have a reason to watch.

Last week: 15

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11) Cowboys (3-3)With a little more than five minutes left in overtime Week 5 against the Texans in 2018, Jason Garrett faced a 4th and 1 at Houston's 41-yard line. That's a no-brainer go for it situation, especially given that the Cowboys had previously been successful on 18 of 19 attempts on fourth-and-1 since Ezekiel Elliott's arrival. Instead, Garrett punted. 

From the opponent's 41. 

On 4th and 1. 

Sure enough, the Texans took advantage of Garrett's cowardice, put together a 72-yard drive, kicked a field goal, and won.

On Sunday, bad game-management Garrett was back, as he actively hurt the Cowboys' chances of beating the Jets. The Cowboys' expectations-exceeding season in 2018 is hurting them in 2019, because the Cowboys opted to keep Garrett aboard for (at least) one more year.

Last week: 7

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10) Lions (2-2-1): The Lions got absolutely screwed by the officials repeatedly on Monday Night Football, but no call was more egregious than this "hands to the face" penalty on Trey Flowers, in which it looks like LT David Bakhtiari purposely arches his head back to bait a dumb official into a bogus call:

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That was on 3rd and 4 with 1:45 to play, and the Lions holding a 2-point lead. Had no garbage flag been thrown, the Packers would have been facing a 4th and 4, they surely would have attempted a field goal, and the Lions would have gotten the ball back for one last drive. Instead, from there, all the Packers had to do was kneel it a few times, bleed the rest of the clock, and then kick a chip-shot field goal for the win. A phantom call completely sucked the life out of that game.

Officiating remains an absolute disaster, and the NFL will make little tweaks each year, but somehow continues to refuse to do anything of significance to fix it.

Last week: 10

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9) Rams (3-3): I didn't see any of the Rams-Niners game, but, lol: 

101519JaredGoff

The McVay-Goff magic is fading.

Last week: 6

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8) Eagles (3-3): OK, so my quick list of the Eagles' biggest issues:

  1. The corners. Duh.
  2. The formerly great pass rush is no longer great. It's fine, which isn't good enough for the scheme.
  3. Sans DeSean Jackson, the receivers can't get any separation and most throws by the quarterback have to be fit into tight spaces. They also drop way too many passes, and almost never make any plays you wouldn't reasonably expect them to make.
  4. The slow starts remain a big problem, and it's fair to question the offensive staff's game-planning for each opponent.

That said, in the two weeks before the Eagles' ugly loss to the Vikings on Sunday, they had a huge come-from-behind win in Green Bay, and they beat the Jets by 25. The sky isn't falling. Yet.

Last week: 5

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7) Panthers (4-2): While visually unimpressive, Kyle Allen has yet to throw an INT through four starts after taking over for Cam Newton. Not sure I buy this, but Mike Freeman says that a GM told him that as many as 10 teams would be interested in trading for Newton if the Panthers hitched their wagon to Allen.

I could make a case for three -- the Colts, Broncos, and Titans, and even the Broncos and Titans are stretches, given their records.

Last week: 11

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6) Bears (3-2): Ehhhh, it's getting close to 9:00 a.m., and I have to publish this soon, so I'll observe my right not to write anything about a team coming off their bye.

Last week: 8

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5) Vikings (4-2): OK, so I liked this from Mike Zimmer: 

The Vikings have a lot of talent, but ultimately, unless they face the Eagles in the playoffs, I don't like their chances of their quarterback beating anyone good.

Last week: 9

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4) Packers (5-1): You can certainly question the merit of the Packers' win over the Lions Monday night, given the lopsided officiating in their favor, but the end result is that Green Bay is now 3-0 in their division, with wins over each of their divisional rivals. They have also played just one team so far with a losing record. 

Last week: 3

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3) Seahawks (5-1): Seattle is 4-0 in games decided by 4 or fewer points this season. (They did lose one game by 6, but it wasn't that close, as they got a garbage-time TD with no time left.)

There are two ways you can look at that:

  1. They're just a really competitive team with a quarterback who makes plays in big spots.
  2. The results in those close games will eventually "regress to the mean."

Probably a little of both.

Last week: 2

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2) 49ers (5-0): As noted above, I haven't had a chance to watch the Niners-Rams game yet, but the Niners' defense impressed me a whole lot last week, and here's what they did Sunday against a talented Rams offense:

  1. They gave up 157 yards of total offense, and just 48 passing yards.
  2. They gave up just 10 (!) first downs.
  3. They gave up 3.1 yards per play.
  4. They possessed the ball for almost 39 minutes.

I kinda view the Niners right now the same way the Bears were viewed this time last year, in that I'm certain that the defense is awesome, but I'm not so certain yet about the quarterback. The Niners hope that Jimmy Garoppolo isn't Mitchell Trubisky. If Garoppolo can prove to be a more effective player than Trubisky, the Niners are dangerous.

Last week: 4

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1) Saints (5-1): The Saints' defense has stepped up in a big way with Drew Brees out. In their last three games, the Saints have allowed a grand total of 735 yards, or 245 yards per game. To put that in perspective, the Eagles have allowed at least 245 yards in the first half in three of their games this year.

Last week: 1


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