The Good , The Bad, The Surprises through Week 10 of the NFL Season
The NFL has been nothing less than a roller coaster this year. From the insane amount of talented athletes who have been injured, to the kneeling protests causing the NFL to lose a large amount of viewership and attendance.
All politics aside (because you get enough of that stuff from ESPN and the other outlets) lets get down to the big stories with 7 weeks to go until the NFL playoffs begin.
If you would have told me the Philadelphia eagles were going to have the best record in the NFL under Carson Wentz, while he threw for 23 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions I would have called you crazy. Not only has Doug Peterson taken his success from Kansas City and translated it to one of the best offenses in the NFL but the defense also has proven to be one that cannot be taken lightly. The only reason why this isn’t under the surprises category is because a lot of analysts bought into Carson Wentz last year, I was not one of those people & I still am not all in. Although I do not see the Eagles flying high to a Super Bowl this season Pederson is among the top candidates for COTY easily, and keeping Wentz out of the MVP convos would be disrespectful to a young QB who has seemed to hit the ground running.
I am unsure at what point the entire NFL analyst community hopped off the Seattle bandwagon. at 6-3 and second place in the NFC West only behind the Los Angeles Rams (I’ll get to them later) the team looks like they are in a great position for a playoff run. As I have said before there are Stat QB’s who have the perfect QBR, the TD to INT ration, and the Yards, and then there are QB’s like Wilson who just make things happen. The best part about Seattle is besides two of their games the legion of Boom has kept teams under 18 points. While their three loses come from mediocre teams like the Redskins, Titans (Bad division), and Green Bay, their wins against “Playoff” teams like the Raiders, Rams, and Kansas City show that as long as they make it to the dance they are a team that can compete.
Was it just a couple of weeks ago Big Ben was talking about retirement. Although he has 12 TDs on the season and 10 Interceptions, the Steelers look like they could be headed for a 13-3 or 12-4 season because of how easy the end of their schedule looks. What might statistically be one of Roethlisbergers worst regular seasons in a long time, could end up only helping the Steelers come playoff time. All it takes is 1 game for him to get his confidence back. I do not think its his ability that has taken the fall, I think it’s the idea that they haven’t been actual contenders for years. Partnering that with the type of offense and the amount of playmakers that the Steelers have, I think it would frustrate some of the best in the game. If there is one team I think is going to be boring for the rest of the season, but come playoff time would be the biggest cash in, it would be the Pittsburg Steelers.
Lets Just start by saying benching Tyrod Taylor after a 47-10 loss to the Saints might be the biggest bone headed moment of the NFL season. Not only is does Tyrod have 10 touchdowns on only 3 interceptions this season, but the defense is horrible. Over their last four games the Bills defense has given up an Avg of 30.5 points. Whats even more astonishing is that they have beaten the Falcons and Oakland Raiders. To make it worse they bring in what has been called a “potential Super Bowl QB” Nathan Peterman who is a rookie, picked 171st in the 5th round out of Pittsburg as the replacement. Looking to the end of their schedule it seems this is a tanking moment, I do not see the rookie beating the Patriots, the Dolphins (whom the play twice each) or the Kansas City Chiefs by seasons end. The Bills are tanking rather then letting Tyrod get the chance to finish the season against some good teams in an attempt to keep his job.
To think a team finishing the season against the Titans, Jags, Bills, Broncos, Ravens wouldn’t be making the playoffs is just embarrassing. With rumors of the beloved Chuck Pagano coaching in his last season for the colts, it is hard to put the full weight on his shoulders. Many of us are wondering whether we have watched the best years of what was a potential HOF QB in Andrew Luck, end too soon. If that happens to be the case not only are the Colts in a long and stressful rebuilding process loosing their Head Coach and replacing Luck but the defense looks to be in just as bad of shape as the offense. It will be a very interesting offseason for the front office as a lot of big decisions will need to be made as to what direction they will take the Colts in.
Both the Titans and Jags are 6-3. Both young Qbs are having average seasons and I am not sure if anyone is truly ready for a division to be lead by either team. Seeing as how Huston is in their rebuilding phase with Watson, and questions looming over the Colts continuing to pile up, it just might become more of a reality then a pipe dream for these two teams. What stands out about the Jags is their Point differential which is +92. Considering they do not have an elite QB the defense has done their job and then some. The Titans at this point have beaten some good teams which shows a lot of promise for the young QB Mariota but their schedule has been decently easy compared to Jags who have either won Decisively against good teams or kept is close in their few loses this season. If I had my money on a new King of the AFC south, it seems like the Jaguars might be an actual contender in a couple years.
Watching Goff in college was a privilege, playing for whatever you want to categorize Cal as, they’re probably the 4th or 5th best team in their state. All it took was a new philosophy, and a new coach, and Goff seems to be what I always thought he could be in the NFL, potentially one of the best the league has to offer. Partner that with a Rams defense that has also caught a whiff of whatever Sean McVay is selling and this team is ready to make a playoff push, not next year, not in a couple years, but NOW. Its scary to watch such small changes in the philosophy and coaching staff show such a big return for L.A.’s newest team. The next five weeks consist of the Vikings, Saints, Cardinals, Eagles and Seahawks. It is by no means an easy road to the playoffs for the team that feels like they have “Franchise” written all over them, but If this season has taught us anything about this Rams team it’s this, “The NFL is Back in L.A. and the pressure has been taken as a Challenge”.
I have been waiting to talk about this team. Not only had I picked them to go to the Super Bowl in their own city this year, I’m pretty sure regardless if I have been watching the NFL much, they heard me loud and clear. The Vikings are a who’s who of talent that works. Lead by Keenum, Cook, and Thielen, you’re probably asking yourself what is in the water up there in Minnesota that has this team sitting at a comfortable 7-2. Let’s not get to far ahead of ourselves however their strength of schedule has been one of the easiest of the top teams in the NFL, and the end of season continues that narrative. I can see the Vikings riding the wave to a first round bye and continue it to the NFL playoffs. Actually, matching this team up against potential Super Bowl picks seems like setting them up for failure, only because there at least 5-6 other teams that seem like a Super Bowl run is more of a possibility then the Vikings. There isn’t much that “Stands Out” about this team but over the last few years I have felt a change in philosophy that started at the last three years of Adrian Petersons Minnesota career. All I am saying is although this team isn’t a powerhouse, and isn’t packing Superstars on the offense, lack their of has made sharing the wealth on the offensive side of the ball their most dangerous weapon. Partnered with their solid defense and I still have Minnesota as my NFC pick to get to the Super Bowl this season.