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NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 3 edition


Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books, and there were wild finishes and surprise outcomes all across the NFL. We have no new obituaries this early in the season, so let’s just get right to the hierarchy.

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16) Panthers (0-2): Matt Rhule was a good college coach, and this makes sense:

The Panthers have lost nine straight games, the longest losing streak in the NFL. It’s time.

Last week: 15

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15) Seahawks (1-1): The Seahawks got a blocked field goal for a TD against the Niners Week 1. Otherwise, they got dominated on both sides of the ball against a team that lost their quarterback for the season in the first quarter of that game. “Bad O, Bad D” feels like a bad combo:

They are a sneaky contender for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Last week: 11

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14) Falcons (0-2): The Falcons have shown some feistiness the first two weeks of the season. In Week 1, they squandered a 16-point lead against the Saints, but at least looked like a competent team until late in that game. In Week 2, they mounted a comeback that put a big scare into the Rams after trailing 31-10 at one point.

Kyle Pitts has been an odd no-show so far. He has 4 catches for 38 yards on 10 targets so far this season. Compare that with Dallas Goedert, for example, who has 142 receiving yards on the same number of targets.

Last week: 16

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13) Bears (1-1): Nine individual NFL players have as many receptions through two games as Justin Fields has completions (15). That I have the Bears ranked above three teams says all you need to know about how bad the basement of the NFC is.

Last week: 12

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12) Commanders (1-1): Lol…

The Commanders gave up 36 points to the Lions and Jared Goff Week 2. Their loss was accompanied by some significant injury pain:

Roullier is good. Big loss.

Last week 8

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11) Cardinals (1-1): If I were running an NFL franchise, I wouldn’t want to be married to Kyler Murray for $230 million, but there’s no question that he’s talented, and his frenetic style of play is fun to watch. 

The Cardinals as a team had something of a loser energy for much of the offseason, and it felt a little bit like their season could be quickly heading down the toilet. We’ll see if their insane comeback win over the Raiders can give them some positive momentum.

Last week: 14

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10) Cowboys (1-1): Perhaps dancing on the Cowboys’ grave was a bit premature. Dallas reminded everyone on Sunday that their defense is still very good, and Micah Parsons is a superstar player. Any win they can steal until Dak Prescott returns is huge for their 2022 playoff hopes, obviously, and knocking off the reigning AFC Champs was, uh, unexpected.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that in something of a best case scenario Prescott can return Week 7 against the Lions. The Cowboys have the following slate of games: 

• Week 3: At Giants

• Week 4: Commanders

• Week 5: At Rams

• Week 6: At Eagles

They should be heavy underdogs in Los Angeles and Philly, but those two other NFC East games Weeks 3 and 4 are very winnable.

Last week: 10

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9) Lions (1-1): The Lions and Chiefs are tied for the league lead with 71 points scored through two weeks. Anyone see that coming? In Week 2, the Lions got out to a 22-0 halftime lead over the Commanders, and every time Washington pulled to within one score, the Lions answered with points of their own. On a day in which teams all across the league blew huge leads, the Lions kept their foot on the gas, and won because of that.

Oh and D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown are both very good.

Last week: 13

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8) Giants (2-0): The Giants’ win in Tennessee Week 1 doesn’t look as impressive after the Bills embarrassed the Titans on Monday night. The G-men weren’t exactly impressive in their win over the Panthers either, particularly on offense.

BUT… results are results, and the Giants are 2-0. Heading into the season, they had the worst record in the NFL since 2017. That’s no longer true. 🍾

Last week: 9

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7) Saints (1-1): Jameis Winston’s throw chart against the Bucs:

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If you’ll notice, Winston was 1 for 8 with 2 INTs on throws over 25 yards (there’s red dot way down the field that is kinda-sorta being cut off by the top of the pic), and a lot of those throws were way off the mark. Winston reportedly has four fractures in his back.

I’m not a doctor, but maybe he shouldn’t be playing with four fractures in his back? Winston was no doubt affected by that, and if he can’t throw down the field effectively his best attribute is negated.

Last week: 6

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6) Vikings (1-1): As noted above, it was perhaps too soon to write off the Cowboys. Similarly, it was a little silly to pretend that a team led by Kirk Cousins was some sort of juggernaut. Week 2 was a reality check for Minny.

Last week: 5

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5) 49ers (1-1): While the loss of Trey Lance for the season is a devastating blow long-term for the Niners, they are a rare team that can sustain that kind of injury and remain contenders in the short-term. 

Finding out whether Trey Lance is good is postponed another year.

Last week: 7

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4) Rams (1-1): The Rams got blown out Week 1, and they nearly blew a game at home against the craptastic Falcons Week 2. 

Matthew Stafford has thrown five interceptions. That would be alarming if we didn’t already know that he is a streaky quarterback. Take last season, for example:

• Weeks 1-8: Stafford throws 22 TDs vs. 4 INTs, and posts a QB rating of 118.0. His name gets tossed around as an MVP candidate.

• Weeks 9-12: The Rams lose three straight, as Stafford throws 5 TDs vs. 5 INTs.

• Weeks 13-15: Stafford gets back on track. 10 TDs vs. 1 INTs, and the Rams win three straight.

• Weeks 16-18: Stafford struggles to close the season, throwing 6 TDs vs. 7 INTs. The Rams are fortunate to win two of those final three games anyway.

• Playoffs: Stafford is excellent, the Rams win the Super Bowl.

In other words, never get too high or too low on this Rams team.

Last week: 2

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3) Packers (1-1): The Packers’ ideal formula this season might be to lean on Aaron Jones. Against the Bears, Jones had 15 carries for 132 yards and a TD, to go along with 3 catches for 38 yards and a TD. 

They have a good defense, a good rushing attack, and a quarterback who almost never turns it over. Would Aaron Rodgers accept a role in which he yields to those other two entities? 

Last week: 3

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2) Eagles (2-0): Monday night was a statement game in front of a national audience. The Eagles have a loaded roster and a quarterback who has very clearly made significant strides from Year 2 to Year 3. They can win on offense in a wide variety of ways, and there’s a reasonable enough argument that as the season progresses, the defense — with its fair share of new pieces added to the mix — can continue to gel and frustrate opposing offenses.

This is shaping up to be a fun season for Eagles fans.

Last week: 4

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1) Buccaneers (2-0): It’s hilarious how much Mike Evans hates Marshon Lattimore.

Anyway, Tom Brady finally got a regular season win over the Saints, but it was because of the Bucs’ defense. If your quarterback is flawed when you face the Bucs, Todd Bowles has a knack for exposing weaknesses.

Last week: 1


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