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NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 2 edition


Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and it did not lack drama, as there were upsets, major injuries, and some big performances. We have no new obituaries this early in the season, so let’s just get right to the hierarchy.

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16) Falcons (0-1): With 1:40 left in regulation against the Saints, the Falcons held a two-point lead, and they had the ball at New Orleans’ 42 yard line, facing a 3rd and 1. The Saints had no timeouts, so if the Falcons could gain a yard… ballgame. On third down, Marcus Mariota fumbled the center exchange (ugh) but he was able to gather the ball and at least get back to the line of scrimmage, and possibly even gain a foot.

On fourth down, the Falcons decided to just let the play clock run all the way down, take the delay of game penalty, and punt. The result of the punt was the Saints taking over at the 20 yard line, for a net of 22 yards. They would eventually drive 47 yards before kicking a game-winning field goal.

That is just incredible loser football by Atlanta.

To begin, the Falcons had moved the ball all day. They had 416 yards of offense and 26 first downs. Trust your players to get a yard and win the game. But even if the Falcons were intent on being cowards and punting, they still had all three timeouts! They didn’t want to take one with 1 second left on the play clock, line up, and see if they could draw a defender offsides? Or maybe call a play, and only run it if the Saints’ defense appeared to be ill-aligned to defend it?

But to just let the play clock run out? Holy crap, you’re making it incredibly easy on the other team. 

In summary, the Falcons lost Week 1 because they’re losers. 

Last week: 16

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15) Panthers (0-1): The Panthers did a lot of complaining about the officiating after their home loss to the Browns, namely this helmet to helmet hit by Brian Burns on Jacoby Brissett on the Browns’ final game-winning drive.

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At times fans may not like the way quarterbacks are protected with kid gloves these days, but that’s a pretty clear penalty in today’s NFL.

Last week: 11

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14) Cardinals (0-1): The Cardinals were the early-season juggernaut in 2021, getting out to a 7-0 start before losing 7 of their final 11 games, including a feeble first-round exit in the playoffs during which Kyler Murray reportedly quit. 

LOL’s ensued this offseason when Murray signed a contract this offseason that included a homework clause. Anyway, this was the “bad vibes” team this offseason, and there will be no juggernaut start in 2022, as they got their asses handed to them Week 1 at home against the Chiefs.

Last week: 9

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13) Lions (0-1): I had a chance to chat up some Lions fans at my hotel, and some folks who work with the team in the press box, and the common sentiment among them was that they were drinking the Kool Aid, but sorta knew that the Kool Aid was bad for them.

And yeah, the Lions are very likely to have a losing season in 2022, but if they get the kind of effort from their players that they showed against the Eagles on Sunday, they’ll at least be an enjoyable team to watch.

The offense has some pieces. The offensive line is good. Running backs, good. Decent enough tight end. Some capable receivers. If they hit on a quarterback in the 2023 draft (they have two first round picks, as a reminder) and they can convince some good free agent defensive players to sign in Detroit, they might have something there. But they’re still a couple years away.

Last week: 12

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12) Bears (1-0): No matter how badly the Bears’ season goes, they’ll at least have this:

Last week: 15

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11) Seahawks (1-0): The Seahawks always seem to be involved in the weirdest primetime games, and Monday night was an instant classic, when Nathaniel Hackett and the Broncos decided that attempting a 64-yard field goal was a better option than allowing their $242 million quarterback the opportunity to extend a drive by converting a manageable fourth down and then attempting a far more makeable field goal.

Anyway, congrats to Seattle on their Super Bowl.

Last week: 14

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10) Cowboys (0-1): The Cowboys are in last place in the NFC East after their abysmal offensive showing against the Buccaneers Sunday night:

NFC East  GB 
Eagles  – 
Giants  – 
Commanders  – 
Cowboys 

But that’s the least of their concerns as they lost Dak Prescott for a while with a hand/thumb injury that requires surgery. We’ve spoken at length here about the Cowboys’ incomprehensible lack of preparation for this season, roster-wise, along their offensive line. Welp, you can probably apply that unpreparedness to the quarterback position, too.

Prescott was literally the only quarterback on the roster at initial 53-man cutdowns, and Cooper Rush was only added to the practice squad thereafter. (The Cowboys made him a temporary active roster callup for Week 1.) That’s how much they cared about Rush potentially drawing interest from some other team out there.

A look Mike McCarthy’s post-game speech to the team: 

Last week: 6

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9) Giants (1-0): With 1:06 left in regulation against the Titans, the Giants scored a touchdown to bring the score to 20-19. I think that most head coaches would kick the extra point and play for overtime. Brian Daboll went for it, which is a move I approve of in most cases, but especially in the case of this bad Giants team that needed their coach to believe that they could make a play and win a game. They went for it, and got it, and the football gods rewarded them with this missed field goal on the ensuing Titans drive.

Oh, and Saquon Barkley might be good again.

Last week: 13

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8) Commanders (1-0): Lol…

The Commanders and their fans are feeling really good after they eked out a Week 1 win over a team that (checks notes) hasn’t won a road game since 2019, and picked first in the draft each of the last two years.

“Back to back passes thrown to the other team, that’s on me,” is the most accountability Carson Wentz has ever taken. So it is at least a step in the right direction!

Last week 10

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7) 49ers (0-1): As you saw in the video above under the Bears’ section, Soldier Field was basically flooded. One might think that a tough, run-heavy, tone-setting team like the Niners would thrive in that kind of environment. But nope, the Bears just made more big plays. Yes, the abnormal weather served as an equalizer between a good team in the Niners and a bad one in the Bears, but there’s no good excuse for losing to the Bears.

Last week: 5

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6) Saints (1-0): Through the first three quarters in Atlanta, Jameis Winston was 10 for 18 for 66 yards. In the fourth quarter, he was 13 of 16 for 213 yards and 2 TDs. I imagine we’ll see streaky Winston moments (good and bad) all season long.

Last week: 7

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5) Vikings (1-0): Justin Jefferson: 9 catches, 184 yards, 2 TDs.

My #analysis: He’s good.

Last week: 8

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4) Eagles (1-0): The Eagles gave up 35 points to the Lions Week 1, and while they survived with a win, many are concerned about the direction of the defense, and understandably so.

I think we would all agree that the 49ers had a good defense last year, right? I mention them because they too had a big lead on the Lions Week 1 last year, before the Lions made it interesting. At one point San Francisco was up 38-10 in that game before the Lions, from about mid-way through the third quarter on, scored 23 unanswered points and actually had a chance to tie it with one last drive that ended with a turnover on downs. The Lions had 430 yards and 31 first downs in that Week 1 game last year. They had 386 yards and 23 first downs against the Eagles on Sunday.

Does that make anyone feel any better? No? OK, well I tried.

Last week: 4

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3) Packers (0-1): The Packers got smoked 38-3 Week 1 a season ago, so I’m not going to overreact to one loss. That said, here’s what Green Bay wide receivers did against the Vikings: 

Player  Rec  Yards  YPC  TD 
Romeo Doubs  37  9.3 
Christian Watson  34  17.0 
Sammy Watkins  18  6.0 
Juwann Winfrey  17  17.0 
Randall Cobb  14  7.0 
 TOTAL 12  104  8.7  0 

Sooooo, they combined for 104 receiving yards. Davante Adams had 8 games last season in which he had at least 104 receiving yards on his own.

Last week: 3

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2) Rams (0-1): The Rams got blown out on opening night of their title defense season, losing 31-10 to the powerhouse Bills, and really, the Rams only got in the end zone because the officials let them run a play on 4th down even though they very clearly committed a delay of game penalty. 

You can point fingers in a lot of different directions, but the biggest culprit was the offensive line, in my opinion. They could not open up any holes in the run game, and they failed to adequately protect Matthew Stafford, who threw three picks.

Von Miller is obviously a great player, but going from Andrew Whitworth to Joe Noteboom at LT is, um, a downgrade.

The Rams are going to have trouble giving Noteboom help, too, because the interior of their line also got wrecked all night by the Bills’ interior linemen.

But the biggest big picture concern has to be Stafford, who just didn’t look right. After his final pass attempt of the night, he appeared to say to Sean McVay, “I can’t hold the ball.” 

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Pain gripping the football sounds a lot like tennis elbow to me, which you know sucks if you’ve ever had it… and it takes forever to go away.

The Rams’ reported interest in Jimmy Garoppolo is pretty good evidence that the Rams have serious concerns about Stafford’s health.

Also, it’s probably worth noting that Los Angeles is a terrible sports town.

Lol.

Last week: 1

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1) Buccaneers (1-0): Todd Bowles is awesome. If he has your offense figured out, you’re in for a long day, as we saw in Dallas Sunday night.

Last week: 2


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