Wednesday Thoughts from Around the League

| October 19th, 2022

We are entering the seventh week of the season and it’s an opportunity to take stock of the league. It might be the strangest beginning to a season in recent memory.

  • MVP: He’s averaging 330 yards passing per game. His TD/INT is 17/4. His passer rating is 109.1. His team is 5-1. Josh Allen is already +150 to win the MVP and I recommend betting him now because in a few weeks the bet might be off the board. The best team in the league also has the league’s best player.
  • Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll has done a wonderful job reinventing the culture in New Jersey, but their wins have been mostly smoke and mirrors. What Arthur Smith has done through six weeks in Atlanta is a legitimate revelation. The Falcons are 3-3, in first place in the NFC South, and they’ve actually been better than that. Their three losses are by a point, four points and a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty that deprived them the opportunity to beat Tom Brady. But even more importantly, Atlanta is one of the most entertaining teams in the league and that’s because of Smith’s offense.
  • When one watches the Packers, there is a bizarre trend. About five times a game, Aaron Rodgers just floats a ball deep down the field into double and triple coverage. The pass has almost zero chance of being completed but he doesn’t seem to mind. It’s as if he’s trying to prove a point as opposed to get a first down. Green Bay letting Davante Adams leave town is proving to be one of the worst personnel decisions a contender has made in recent memory.
  • The Raiders are good. They just don’t win.
  • The Vikings are not. But they don’t lose.
  • Are the Eagles a bit overrated at 6-0? Probably. Their games share a theme: get out to a big lead and hang on for dear life. But man, looking at their 11 remaining games, they’re unlikely to be underdogs a single time. Does that mean they’ll go undefeated? No. But they are headed to 13-14 wins minimum and the top seed in the conference.

  • Brandon Staley might give a nice press conference but his slavish devotion to analytics will limit what the Chargers can be. Understanding the percentages is essential. Every coach should. But coaches also need to have a feel for the flow of the game and Staley lacks that.
    • Also, every Chargers “home game” is an absolutely embarrassment for the league. Los Angeles is a big city but it’s an awful sports town. It didn’t need one NFL franchise, let alone two. They need to get the Chargers back down to San Diego.
  • Kirk Cousins is one of those golfers that knows how to rack up top-25s but never wins. He’s going to make a ton of money in the league, but his trophy shelf will be empty.
  • If the New England Patriots were in the NFC South, West or North they’d be favored to win their division. And if Tom Brady were still on the team, they’d be among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
  • Last week I thought the Steelers were the worst team in the league. This week I think they might win the AFC North. Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia is the most interesting game this week.
  • Allen Robinson is averaging about three catches a game for 29 yards. Feels like only yesterday the Bears were criticized for ONLY offering Robinson a contract worth potentially $85 million. They were offering him twice what he was worth.
  • I don’t know how Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill looks at Kliff Kingsbury on the sideline and Kyler Murray on the field and thinks he’s got the right answer in either spot. But if he wants to salvage the latter’s career, he needs to fire the former.
  • Nate Hackett is the worst coach the NFL has seen since Ray Handley.
  • Here’s the question that faces the Seahawks over the next 11 weeks: is this Geno Smith stuff real? It is a wonderful story but is the club just waiting for midnight? Seattle has receivers, a good young back, a young offensive line, etc. If Geno can simply provide stability at quarterback, the team might not be rebuilding after all.
  • With Aaron Donald’s career winding down, Micah Parsons has ascended to the game’s best defensive player. And it is silly to rule the Cowboys out of any potential run. Their pass rush is one of those game-wrecking units that can carry a club through January.
    • Cooper Rush = Matt Flynn. Don’t pay him, NFL team. Just don’t do it.
  • Tua was knocked out cold against the Bills. Stumbled around like a cartoon drunk. Whole world knew he was concussed. He blamed his back. People bought it. He went back in. Four days later, concussed again. Some doctor got fired. Concussion protocol got changed to include ataxia, or “stumbling around like a cartoon drunk.” This is Roger Goodell’s NFL.
    • But I will reiterate a point I have made on Twitter countless times. The NFLPA is the most feckless union in America. The roll of the union starts with two primary objectives: wage fairness and workplace security. How can a union continually allow their players to be put in these situations?
  • The Bears are currently the longest shot to win the NFC at 500-1. It’s that kind of season.

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