Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Conference and Coolness
Subject: Your Monday Morning Roundup
Subject: Do you approve of Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol
The offseason, camp, and the preseason are all behind us, and the games matter now. How have opinions changed regarding the two guys running the Flyers?
Back at the beginning of September, right before training camp began, we checked in with the Flyers’ fanbase to see how they were feeling about two key figures in the franchise: general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol. We asked a simple question: do you approve of the job that Hextall and Hakstol are doing in their respective roles?
To say that, at the time, Hextall had the overwhelming support of this fanbase would have been accurate. A full 96 percent of the 2,637 voters in our poll said that they approved of Hextall’s performance heading into the season, with only two percent outright disapproving.
Reactions to the team’s coach, however, were more mixed: 22 percent of our voters approved of Hakstol’s work while 32 percent disapproved, but nearly half of our sample cast a vote of “unsure” as the former North Dakota bench boss entered his third NHL season.
Since then, we’ve seen the team go through rookie camp, training camp, the preseason, and five regular season games. And while the Flyers have won more games than they’ve lost so far in this young season, both the general manager and coach have received some scrutiny over the past month.
Hextall was forced to make a couple of tough decisions with his roster at the end of camp, and his choices in those decisions haven’t gone over well with everyone. The decision to demote Oskar Lindblom to the Phantoms was met with skepticism by some, while others thought that Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim should have both made the Flyers. Fans have long been willing to be patient with Hextall as the team’s league-best group of prospects started to migrate to the NHL team, but it’s clear that patience is growing thin in some places.
As for Hakstol, many of the existing concerns fans may have had about him are still present now. Should Dale Weise really have a guaranteed top-9 spot to himself? Why is Andrew MacDonald on the top pair with Ivan Provorov? Has he handled the goalies well so far? And what’s the deal with Brandon Manning playing over Travis Sanheim?
Still, despite these concerns — all of which have some validity — the way the regular season has started is fairly encouraging. The Flyers have had a daunting opening schedule run; their season kicked off with a three-game California road trip, followed by games against the reigning Western Conference champion and then the reigning President’s Trophy winner. And yet despite that, the team has opened up at 3-2, and has rarely at any point during the first two weeks of the season found itself clearly outclassed by its opponent. It’s up to you to decide who you’d like to give the credit to for that — the GM for having the right players in place, the coach for using said players right, the players themselves for going out and doing the damn thing, or some combination of all of those.
With that, you tell us: when it comes to the job performance of the Flyers’ general manager and head coach, do you approve, disapprove, or are you unsure at this time? Cast your vote in the two polls below (before Tuesday night’s game against the Panthers!), and we’ll check back in again some time next month.
Flyers Approval Poll: Previous Editions
Subject: Eric Rowe trade draft pick tracker: Week 6 edition
A weekly update on the Eagles’ 2018 draft picks.
Before the 2016 season started, the Philadelphia Eagles traded cornerback Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. This means the Eagles can receive one of two picks.
1 — Eagles receive New England’s third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if Eric Rowe plays at least 50% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps.
2 — Eagles receive New England’s fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft if Eric Rowe plays less than 50% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps.
Since this is an important pick, I’ll be doing a weekly update on Rowe’s playing time to see if the Eagles will get the third-round selection or not.
ERIC ROWE DRAFT PICK TRACKER
WEEK 1: Eric Rowe plays 37 out of New England’s 69 defensive snaps. That’s good for 54%. If the season ended today, the Eagles would get the pick! It would also be the first overall pick in the third round since the Patriots have the worst record in the NFL right now. ;)
Week 2: Eric Rowe plays 34 out of New England’s 65 defensive snaps. That’s good for 52%. Rowe actually started over Malcolm Butler in the Patriots’ win over the Saints but Butler ended up playing more snaps due to Rowe suffering a groin injury. So far, Rowe has played 71 out of 134 snaps this season, which is 53%. It’s a close margin, but the Eagles are currently projected to get the third-round pick.
Week 3: Eric Rowe plays 0 out of New England’s 71 defensive snaps. That’s good for 0% (duh). Rowe was inactive due to the groin injury he suffered in Week 2. The good news (?) is that Rowe was listed “questionable” after being limited in practice all of last week. Maybe he’ll be able to return this week. The Eagles better hope Rowe gets healthy because now he’s only played 71 of 205 snaps this season, which is 34.6%. One thing to keep in mind regarding the Rowe tracker is that Malcolm Butler still appears to be on the trade block. If Butler gets moved, Rowe’s playing time should receive a boost. The NFL trade deadline is set for 4:00 PM ET on October 31.
Week 4: Eric Rowe plays 19 out of New England’s 63 defensive snaps. That’s good for only 30%. Rowe left the Patriots’ game against the Panthers due to a groin injury, which is what caused him to be out in Week 3. It seems like this might be a nagging thing for Rowe. Not good for the Eagles’ chances of getting the third-round pick. Rowe has now only played 90 of 268 snaps through the first quarter of the season, which is 33.6%. The Patriots don’t have their bye until Nov. 5 so Rowe might continue to miss some games due to injury. The Eagles’ best hope still is that Rowe gets healthy and the Patriots trade one of their cornerbacks (Butler) to open up playing time for him. If it’s any consolation, the Patriots are now 2-2. It’s looking like they might not be picking at the very last spot of the fourth round.
Week 5: Eric Rowe plays 0 out of New England’s 72 defensive snaps. That’s good for 0% (thanks). Rowe was inactive due to the groin injury he re-aggravated in Week 4. Rowe has now only played 90 of 340 snaps through the first five games, which is 26.5%. If you weren’t resigned to getting the fourth-round pick by now, it’s probably time you start. The Eagles really need 1) Rowe to get healthy and 2) the Patriots to give less playing time to Malcolm Butler and/or Stephon Gilmore. For what it’s worth, Rowe is the 111th corner out of 111 corners graded by Pro Football Focus this season.
Week 6: Eric Rowe plays 0 out of New England’s 76 defensive snaps. That’s good for 0%. Rowe was inactive again due to his groin injury. Rowe did not participate in practice all of last week so there’s no indication he’s really close to returning. Rowe has now only played 90 of 416 snaps through the first six games, which is 21.6%. It’s becoming more and more likely the Eagles will get the fourth instead of the third. It’s frustrating, too, because there’s a chance Rowe would be playing enough to get over 50% if he was healthy. The Patriots played third string corner Johnson Bademosi, who is below Rowe on the depth chart, a total of 96% of the team’s snaps this week. If it’s any consolation, the Patriots haven’t looked super awesome. They needed a blown call to beat the Jets. New England’s pick would be ahead of the Eagles’ pick if the season ended today.
4th - (from the Minnesota Vikings)
4th - (from the New England Patriots; can elevate to a 3rd)
5th - (from the Seattle Seahawks)
Subject: Hey, Doug, It
Subject: The Eagles
Subject: The Carson Wentz trade continues to age well
A whole lot of teams are about to lose out in musical chairs
A season and a half into the Carson Wentz era, the decision to identify Wentz as a franchise quarterback and then trade up for him continues to age well. Not only is Carson Wentz already playing great, but the opportunity to get one any time soon will be quite difficult.
For the first time since 2011-12, four QBs went in the first two rounds in back-to-back drafts in 2016-17, and at least four could go in 2018, which would be the first time in a decade that has happened. QBs are coming in bunches, and that means reaches are coming as well. Every year a handful of teams needs a QB, but there’s an additional rush coming. A generation of successful QBs are nearing the end of their careers, effectively doubling demand. A few established ones could hit the market and turn the landscape upside down depending on where they land. The need for QBs is going to greatly outpace the supply as none of these teams have viable backup plans waiting in the wings.
Some teams are riding out aging quarterbacks, and the end of the road is nearly here.
Carson Palmer is 37 and, despite a great game on Sunday, he’s not having a swan song season. The Cardinals were position to spend a little bit of draft capital to move up a couple of spots to take either Patrick Mahomes or DeShaun Watson in April to groom behind Palmer. Instead a team with an already good and young defense spent their first two picks on defense. They did talk themselves into Blaine Gabbert being a starter in the long term though.
The three QBs from the 2004 draft and their teams all face the same issue of if 2017 is their last year with their team, or even in the league.
Eli Manning and the Giants are having their worst season and will be in position to draft a QB high, they should hit the reboot button from top to bottom. They did take Davis Webb in the 3rd in 2017, but Webb is behind Geno Smith on the depth chart, he’s not a solution.
The Chargers also started in a winless hole that all but guarantees them good draft position. They haven’t drafted a QB since taking Brad Sorensen in the 7th round in 2013, and were in position to take a QB in April and didn’t, though they did trade a conditional pick to the Bills for Cardale Jones.
Ben Roethlisberger contemplated retirement in the offseason and is playing like a retired QB, as his passer rating is barely above Jay Cutler’s. Backup Landry Jones isn’t a long term solution and 2017 4th rounder Joshua Dobbs isn’t either.
Any of those teams could stick with their QB in 2018, but that won’t reduce their need to draft one. None of these veterans were Week 1 starters their rookie seasons, and their successors don’t have to be either. If their teams are going to ride out their QBs to the sunset, they should take advantage of the luxury of having them mentor the QB they’ll be passing the torch to.
Then there are the free agents to be.
The Redskins can’t franchise tag Kirk Cousins again. The only QB they’ve drafted since taking Cousins in the 4th round in 2012 was Nate Sudfeld, who is now on the Eagles roster. If Cousins doesn’t sign an extension with the Redskins, it’s assumed the 49ers will be his landing spot. If so, San Francisco, who passed on their pick of the 2017 QB litter in the draft, would be prime for another trade back for a QB, putting anyone that wants a QB in play.
Drew Brees is 38, not under contract for next year, and can not be franchise tagged due to a clause in his contract. The Saints might have turned a corner over the last few weeks, but all parties are going to have to make a hard decision about the future. Even if Brees returns, like his peers who are also approaching 40, taking a QB to groom makes sense.
Other teams need a new QB to take a step.
Tom Coughlin is not waiting around for a rebuild, if the Giants want to fully reboot the Jaguars would likely be interested in Eli Manning, who no longer has his brother blocking him from going to the AFC.
The Jets are surprisingly competitive despite their front office trying to tank. That could embolden them to move up in the draft if necessary and add a promising QB to a competitive rebuild. With an extra 2nd rounder this year they have some draft capital to spend.
Nobody has more draft capital to spent than the Bills, who own two picks in each of the first three rounds in 2018. Tyrod Taylor received a new contract in the offseason that shows they aren’t committed to him beyond next year. The Bills are in a somewhat envious situation where they can outbid teams in a trade and not feel the need to rush the QB onto the field.
Two coaching staffs in Denver deemed Paxton Lynch not good enough to unseat Trevor Siemian. Drafting two 1st round QBs in three years might sound crazy, but sticking with what they have again is no less insane.
And the Browns plan to eventually draft a QB in the 1st round might actually come to fruition.
That’s a lot of teams that need a young QB, and nowhere near enough QBs to go around. A few teams are going to lose out on musical chairs and wind up with Sam Bradford, or Alex Smith if he’s cut since the Chiefs also got out in front of the rush with Patrick Mahomes. Someone might talk themselves into Jimmy Garoppolo, and it might be the Patriots if 40 year old Tom Brady decides to retire.
The Eagles decision to get out in front of the crowd and get Carson Wentz has been a great one that will only look better at the end of the season.
Subject: Carson Wentz Report: Week 6
Carson Wentz has the Eagles head and shoulders above the NFC.
There are a lot of narratives that have divided the NFL community when it comes to the opinion of Carson Wentz. This will be a weekly installment that focuses solely on the Eagles’ young signal caller, with analysis, evidence and statistics along with context to provide a deep dive on Wentz’s play.
Welcome back to the Wentz report. For all previous Wentz Reports, make sure to check back here. It’s funny that I open each one of these with the above statement about the NFL community being split on Carson Wentz, but after the slew of games he has put together the last few weeks, that gap is starting to narrow. After back-to-back performances of three or more passing touchdowns, Wentz is moving the needle as it relates to those that didn't believe in him as a franchise quarterback, or even an average quarterback. On a short week, on the road, without his phenomenal right tackle Lane Johnson, Carson Wentz was able to bounce back from early pressure and deliver a performance that capitalized on mistakes.
Interceptable Throws (ITs)
For the second time this year, Carson Wentz played a game in which he had no interceptable throws. The other game was Week 3 against the Giants.
Managing the Pocket and playing against pressure
If you've read the Wentz report the last few weeks, you know that while I’ve liked Wentz’s work in the pocket, I wanted to see how he’d do under more pressure situations, a true test to his progress. After a skittish start in which Wentz was taking hits or facing pressure, he stepped up to the challenge and played the hand he was dealt. When the opportunity to avoid pressure or escape it with subtle movements arose, he took advantage of it.
In the play above, the end result was an incompletion — it would've been a tough throw to make — but the process of how Wentz slide to his left, keeps his feet moving after pressure flashes up the gut is progress in the right direction. This was always going to be a tough play to make work against man coverage. This is the three-level stretch plays, the sail concept that Pederson runs a lot to stress zone coverages. It’s not nearly as effective against man, because the point is to make two defenders pick between three receivers. If there are three defenders in coverage, the play design faces an uphill battle from the start. The act that Went had open area to the right may be pointed out, but this play works to the left side of the field and keeps multiple reads in front of the quarterback. moving to the right would effectively eliminate any opportunity to make a play through the air, and there was no reason to take off and abandon a relatively clean pocket so early. That’s how quarterbacks create unnecessary sacks and it appears Wentz is taking the right steps in eliminating those plays.
Wentz is forced off his spot here after pressure arrives quickly and his reads to the left side of the field don’t open up. While this movement isn't subtle, it really can’t be based on how quickly the pressure is arriving. If he slides, he likely gets sacked. He shuffles to his right, keeps his eyes downfield, resets his feet and throws to hit Alshon Jeffery for a third down conversion right on the money. These are the plays Wentz wasn't making last year.
For comparison, above is Wentz’s interception against Baltimore late last season. Pressure is arriving but his feet sink into quick sand; they don’t move and Wentz throws a bad pass that leads to an early turnover. These improvements are going a long way and they’re manifesting themselves in the way of positive results. Managing the pocket better and eluding pressure allows Wentz to extend plays and drives all while taking better care of the football, and that’s shown with the Eagles’ ability to convert third downs like the one above.
Just another example how managing the pocket completely turns the play around. Wentz sees the edge rusher coming from his right, quickly steps up to his right, keeping his eyes downfield on third and long and hits Mack Hollins for a key conversion on 3rd and 16, all while knowing he’s going to take a hit as soon as he releases the ball. Last year, Wentz likely takes a sack here or just takes off and doesn't secure a first down. In the flow of the game, this was arguably the biggest play on offense, and Wentz’s advancement from year one to year two is what extended this drive that ended in the Eagles final touchdown of the night.
While this is somewhat similar to the Ravens play, it’s different because again, Wentz’s feet don’t stop moving here and he’s not throwing off his back foot with a defender lurking underneath. The way the pocket closed, it would've been hard to maneuver without walking into a sack. If Wentz slides left, the defensive end likely cuts upfield on him. If he steps up in the hole, he gets inside of Jason Peters.
It wasn't all fun under pressure. Wentz took the sack on the fumble of the opening drive, which I’ll talk about in a moment and he whiffed on this pass with a blitzer coming up the middle. Unlike the last few plays which came later in the game, this play occurred early when the Panthers were hitting Wentz and sacking by bringing blitzes and pressure that the offense, without Lane Johnson, couldn't or didn't pick up. Wentz had Jeffrey here on the curl route, but he sailed it high with pressure blistering up the middle.
Here is the fumble. While Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s protection was bad — he failed to get leverage on Julius Peppers by going up high — Wentz does him no favors by double pumping the ball. Coming in, Wentz had to know that the right side of the line was the weak spot, meaning when it’s your blind side on a play, you have a time limit on how a play can or will develop. Double pumping is not an option. If anything Wentz had two options: throw it in the middle on the second pump to Ertz on an anticipation throw or throw it away towards the sideline. It looked like on the second and third — where he was tripped — that he wanted to go to Ertz, but wanted him to flash open and break before throwing it. Wentz’s internal clock has to be more aware in that situation, and again, Vaitai has to do better, as that was pitiful.
Working through progressions and manipulating defenses
Pre-snap, it looks like Carson Wentz is expecting blitz and relays a call to the offensive line and LeGarrette Blount. The Panthers never show blitz, and Wentz doesn't feel comfortable going to his read, Jeffery, on the curl route, so he flips back round to the other side of the field where Nelson Agholor has gained a little depth and uncovered from linebacker Shaq Thompson’s zone. Although Thompson was considered a safety at some point, Nelson Agholor is a ridiculous matchup for any linebacker. Wentz puts it right over Thompson’s head and the Eagles pick up a long first down.
Bunching receivers up is a good way to help your quarterback get through his reads quicker, as they're all in the same general vicinity, but Wentz uses his eyes to open this play just as much as his arm. Alshon Jeffery camps down underneath and Wentz’s head glances over that way, this draws the linebacker up more on Jeffery, forcing the defender to vacate the middle of the field, opening a throwing lane for Carson Wentz to hit Mack Hollins. My only complaint here is I would've like to have seen Wentz lead Hollins into the open area for more YAC instead of forcing him to reach back for a tougher catch.
Diagnosing the coverage is one thing that can make your reads and progressions easier to flip though. Above, the Eagles motions Legarrette Blount out wide and a linebacker follows him. This tips the Eagles that the Panthers are going man-coverage. What it also does is take another body out of the condensed field. Wentz’s first read appears to be Jeffery to his right, running what appears to be a whip route, which is something you see from smaller, quicker wide receivers like Julian Edelman and Cole Beasley. Wentz’s eyes moving that way will naturally move defenders and the underneath player will pull defenders towards the goal line. This allows Ertz to sneak in the back of the endzone one-on-one. After Ertz wins inside, it’s game over and Wentz knows it as he snaps back effortlessly to the middle and finds Ertz to capitalize on a turnover.
This is the second touchdown to Ertz and it’s another beautiful play design. Three receivers to the left and the safety comes up on the two that are running inside crossing routes. This allows an open receiver to slide up the seam but Wentz may not have felt as comfortable throwing that one open. Instead he snaps back and elects to hit Ertz with a bullet. This may have been because Ertz was in a better position to shield the ball with his body, but regardless Wentz puts it up high for him and he hauls it in. Right now the chemistry between Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz couldn't be any higher. Throughout the season, you can tell theres nobody Wentz trusts more than Ertz when it comes to one-on-one situations, or when the offense needs to move the chains. The chemistry between these two has brought out the best in both and that doesn't look to slow down anytime soon.
As well as I thought Wentz played, the defense ultimately saved the day by forcing one last stop after Wentz had an opportunity to end the game. I mentioned above how Wentz is showing the utmost trust in Ertz, but he has to be smart and not force the ball to him. Pre-snap there was nobody on Nelson Agholor in the slot and even Alshon Jeffery had secured enough of a cushion to likely get the first down that would have ended the game. Post-snap Wentz never looks Agholor’s way to see if he’s uncovered — he was — and Wentz forces a pass to Ertz that falls incomplete. The end result of the game doesn't absolve this of being a bad process. Hitting plays like this are what championship teams do, but if Wentz has shown improvement everywhere else, there’s reason to believe he can certainly show it here going forward.
Deep ball accuracy
Wentz’s overall accuracy looked fine in this play. I’ve pointed out some of the incompletions and how pressure forced incomplete passes, but overall I thought Wentz’s accuracy was fine.
The encouraging trend we’ve seen with Wentz the last three games is a rise in the deep ball accuracy. He hit on a couple of those in this game when those plays were given time to develop. I want to start with this one that wasn't called as pass interference, but should have been. Wentz looks the single-high safety off to his left, getting him off balance and Wentz drops a beautiful ball downfield to Alshon. The cornerback gets Alshon’s arm and the pass falls incomplete, but it was perfectly placed, with Wentz doing an awesome job of manipulating the deep help to give Alshon that one-on-one opportunity. Again, this should've been flagged, but we’ve gone over the officiating enough as it is.
Wentz tests his luck with Jeffery again deep and Jeffery runs a beautiful studded step, giving his cornerback that hesi-pull up jimbo. This time the safety doesn't get over in time and Wentz puts the deep ball right on the money to Jeffery. I want to see Wentz continue this deep ball consistency, but hitting two to three of these plays a game opens up the offensive and makes it explosive as I mentioned in last week’s Wentz report. If Wentz continues to hit these consistently, sky’s the limit for what this team can accomplish on offense.
This is one, where I thought the cornerback just did an outstanding job defending the throw. I would've liked to have seen Wentz lead Jeffery a little further downfield, but too far, and the safety may have had an opportunity to make a play on the ball. This throw was similar to some of the ones Wentz made against Los Angeles when he was gunning for Ertz and Torrey Smith up the seam. He was accurate on both, but only one was a completion. On this play, you just have to tip your hat to the corner.
This makes three straight stellar games for Wentz. The completion percentage numbers won’t be there from this game, but the variables and context need to be included.
On a short week, it’s often the team with the better quarterback that wins because it’s hard to prepare and make that turnaround. Not only did Wentz settle in despite being under pressure constantly early, he took advantage of the Panthers mistakes and led the offense to five drives that ended in points. Two of those drives started in the red zone, but they capitalized and came away with touchdowns on both.
In addition to all of that, this is a really good Panthers defense that missed Lane Johnson. The Panthers were able to eliminate the Eagles play-action drops from under center which has been a key component to stretching defenses out, and Wentz still efficiently ran the offense.
We’re really seeing the matuartion of Carson Wentz in just a year and it’s exciting as Eagles fans to watch. This was the game where we were going to see Wentz tested in every way early on and he held his composure, making plays when the team needed him the most.
We’re at a point where it feel like Wentz has the offense operating at such a high level, that they’re going to come off the field with points every drive. That’s how high my confidence level is in Wentz right now based on what he’s put on tape and the maturation he’s shown since the Eagles drafted him.
I don’t have the exact quote, but on the set of Thursday Night Football with NFL Network, Deion Sanders and Steve Smith asked Wentz what the biggest difference in his play was and his response was along the lines of “the game has really slowed down for me and I’m seeing thing much better that I wasn't necessarily seeing last year.”
That statement, thus far, is holding true.
How Sunday’s games impacted the Eagles.
The Philadelphia Eagles had the day off on Sunday after defeating the Carolina Panthers and advancing to 5-1 on Thursday night. But just because they didn’t play doesn’t mean they weren’t impacted by the outcome of Sunday’s games (triple negative alert). Here’s an Eagles slant to NFL Week 6.
1 - The Eagles are tied for the best record in the NFL
Obviously had to start with this one. Isn’t it hard to believe?
I mean, it’s not unimaginable given how well the Eagles have played. It’s just that no one really expected the Birds to be here at this point in the season.
The Chiefs, who lost to the Steelers at home, are the only other team in the NFL with five wins. They beat the Eagles in Week 2, yes, but in the “what have you done for me lately” culture of the league you could make the argument Philly is the best team in the NFL right now. I bet you the Eagles are going to be No. 1 in a lot of NFL Power Rankings this week (spoiler alert). Their four-game winning streak is the longest one in the NFL right now. The Eagles are the league’s hottest team.
And given that their upcoming stretch is relatively favorable (three home games in a row), the Eagles might be able to keep it rolling.
Here’s an overview of the NFC standings.
2 - The Aaron Rodgers injury opens the door for the Eagles
With a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the Packers were clearly the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC. Now he might be done for the season. While that certainly sucks for Green Bay and their fans, there’s no denying the injury has a big impact on the Eagles.
The Eagles are serious contenders for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. There’s still 10 games to be played, of course, but Philly is on a good track. They currently have a 34% chance of clinching home field advantage in the 2018 NFL playoffs. Pretty crazy.
The No. 1 seed would obviously be great. But it doesn’t mean everything — just look at what happened to the Dallas Cowboys last year. They got bounced in their first playoff game ... at the hand of Rodgers.
It’s possible Rodgers might be able to return later this season. But if the Packers struggle with Brett Hundley under center, they might not be able to qualify for the post-season by the time Rodgers is able to return.
3 - The Falcons are not the juggernaut of 2016
Atlanta was really, really good last year. The Falcons were averaging nearly 34 points per game. They could’ve won the Super Bowl if they didn’t infamously blow a 28-3 lead.
This year’s Falcons team hasn’t looked as good as 2016’s group. The Falcons are now only averaging 24.2 points per game. They’ve lost back-to-back games at their new stadium to the Bills and the Dolphins. The Dolphins! Atlanta was favored by 13.5 points on Sunday and they blew a 17-0 lead to lose the game.
I’m not going to say the Falcons are suddenly horrible, but again, they’re simply not the threat they were last year. The Packers and the Falcons were easily believed to be the Eagles’ biggest threats in the NFC. Both teams are less threatening than previously thought.
4 - The Browns are 1-21 since passing on Carson Wentz
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz is in the discussion for NFL MVP.
Definitely not a top-20 quarterback, though.
5 - Four of the five teams the Eagles already beat won on Sunday
The Eagles have five wins this season. Four of those five teams played on Sunday. (The Panthers obviously did not since the Eagles just beat them on Thursday.)
All four of those teams won.
It’s just one week, and I’m not saying all of these teams are suddenly great or anything. But the narrative that the Eagles “haven’t beaten anyone yet” is silly and needs to stop. The Eagles are legitimately good.
6 - Washington got banged up and barely squeaked by the 49ers
Speaking of that narrative I just mentioned, I’ve seen a number of Washington fans suggest they’re the true threat in the NFC East. Not the Eagles.
If that’s what they want to believe, fine. But they can’t say the Eagles haven’t beaten anyone and then only beat the 49ers by two points and act like they’re the greatest thing ever.
Another thing of note from this game is that Washington suffered some significant injuries. Starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland and defensive lineman Jonathan Allen are undergoing MRIs on Monday. Washington might already be without No. 1 corner Josh Norman (rib fracture) in Week 7. If Breeland can’t play, they’d be without both of their starting cornerbacks against the Eagles in Philly.
7 - The Giants hurt their odds at the No. 1 overall pick
The Giants saved their season by defeating the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Credit where it’s due: New York played well against the Broncos. But this game had the feel of the Giants doing some gimmicky stuff to get a win. They adjusted their offensive line around. Ben McAdoo handed his play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. This reminds me of how a team usually plays well right away for a new interim head coach after the original one is fired (example: the Dan Campbell Dolphins). Then the league adjusts to the new, unexpected changes and catches up to what’s going on.
A win over an AFC opponent was the least valuable win the G-Men could possibly get. They’re still 1-5 with an 0-4 record in the conference and an 0-2 record in the division.
8 - Some of the Eagles’ upcoming opponents don’t look as tough as they once did
I guess I’m mainly talking about the Broncos here. Denver looked pretty awful in their loss to the Giants. Rotoworld’s Evan Silva went as far to call it: “the most pathetic performance by any team in any game all season, all six Browns losses included.” He’s not wrong.
The Eagles’ Week 9 game against the Broncos has had the makings of a tough matchup ever since the schedule was released. I’m still not ready to say it’ll be a walk in the park for Philly. But the Broncos do look beatable. Trevor Siemian has his limitations and now he’s undergoing an MRI on his shoulder so his injury situation will be worth monitoring. Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders also got banged up on Sunday night.
Elsewhere on the Eagles’ schedule, the Raiders are not looking great. They’ve fallen to 2-4 after being defeated by the Chargers. That Christmas game in Philly is looking more winnable.
On the flip side, some of the Eagles’ opponents are looking a little tougher than expected. Take the Rams, for example, who have advanced to 4-2. The Bears probably still aren’t good or anything but they got a win in Baltimore. The 49ers are still winless but they’ve been playing opponents tough and maybe their change at quarterback (from Brian Hoyer to C.J. Beathard) will pay off.
9 - The Cowboys had an awful bye week
Every team in the NFC East won while the Cowboys were on their bye. Making matters worse for Dallas is that Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension might potentially be back on. Oh, and I forgot to mention how Jerry Jones’ national anthem comments caused tension in the locker room.
The Cowboys have a relatively challenging slate over their next five games: at 49ers, at Washington, home against the Chiefs, at the Falcons, and home against the Eagles. There’s a lot of pressure on Dallas to step up. And they might have to do it without their best player.
Subject: Have the Flyers been effective in replacing Brayden Schenn with Valtteri Filppula on the power play?
At the five game mark, let’s check in with how the Flyers have replaced Brayden Schenn on the power play.
The biggest move this past offseason for Philadelphia Flyers’ general manager Ron Hextall was a deal that sent Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a pair of first-round picks and forward Jori Lehtera. For the return of a roster player and two first-round picks in exchange for a player who struggled at 5-on-5 over the last few seasons, Hextall felt the deal made sense for Philadelphia and pulled the trigger.
Despite his subpar even-strength numbers, Schenn has been very productive on the power play over the last few seasons. After he put up 11 power-play goals in Dave Hakstol’s first season as the Flyers’ head coach in 2015-2016, Schenn posted a league-high 17 goals on the man advantage last year. However, with only four of his goals coming at 5-on-5 last season and a contract with a cap hit of $5.125 through the 2019-20 campaign, it’s understandable if Hextall wanted to move Schenn.
With Schenn off the roster, the question became who would play in the middle of the Flyers’ offensive zone 1-3-1 setup on the power play. To start the season, the answer is apparently Valtteri Filppula. With just 24 power-play goals in 11 full seasons in the league, and regarded as a pass-first type player attempting to slot into a shoot-first role, there are definitely concerns about putting Filppula in the slot on the top power-play unit.
The success of the swap of Filppula for Schenn won’t come down to just these two players. Luckily for Filppula, the Flyers hired former Erie Otters’ head coach Kris Knoblauch as an assistant coach to run the power play this season. As illustrated by Charlie’s piece on The Athletic a few days ago about the second power-play unit, Knoblauch has already implemented several changes to the Flyers’ man advantage that has provided results.
Along with Knoblauch, Hextall and the Flyers are banking on the trio of Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Claude Giroux to return to form after ‘down’ years last season. The three look to be back to heading in the right direction this season, as Voracek has nine points in the team’s first five games, while Gostisbehere has eight and Giroux has seven.
Keeping all these moving parts in mind, let’s look at how Filppula has fared in his first five games in the slot on the Flyers’ first power-play unit.
Filppula’s play on the man advantage
Flyers at Sharks, October 4: 3-for-5 on the power play
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Filppula’s first game filling in for Schenn created mixed results. Although the team produced three power-play goals on just five power plays, none of those goals were thanks to Filppula. It was the first of two games where Filppula failed to possess the puck in the slot on the man advantage, but that doesn’t mean he was invisible on the power play.
On the first power play halfway through the opening period, Voracek tried to feed Filppula in the slot but had his pass broken up by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Filppula then jumped on the loose puck and backhanded a shot from just above the goal line that was saved by Martin Jones and cleared by Chris Tierney. He also grabbed a pair of loose pucks to extend power-play cycles in the win and had his best playmaking play at 5-on-4 through the first five games, when he hit Wayne Simmonds while he streaked into the slot. Unfortunately, Simmonds bobbled the puck and couldn't get a shot off.
Flyers at Kings, October 5: 0-for-5 on the power play
In the second game of the season, Filppula had a pair of strong chances from the slot, but neither were in the mold of the Giroux-to-Schenn we saw so often last season. The first came late in the first power play for the Flyers, where Gostisbehere set up Filppula in the high slot for a one-timer that Jonathan Quick saved through traffic. The other one started when Voracek possessed the puck at the right point and threw the puck through the slot, where Filppula got more of his stick on the shot-pass than a usual redirection and sent the disc over the net. Filppula also nearly benefited from a Knoblauch wrinkle, as Giroux attempted to hit the Finnish forward with a pass from below the goal line.
Unfortunately, Drew Doughty read the play and got a stick on the pass attempt just before Filppula connected on a one-timer. Filppula also successfully jumped on two loose pucks that followed a pair of Voracek dump-ins. Overall, the forward saw the puck more than the Sharks’ game and his teammates looked for him more, but it didn’t result in anything on the scoreboard.
Flyers at Ducks, October 17: 0-for-5 on the power play
Of the first five games this season, this was probably Filppula’s worst so far on the man advantage. He failed to register a single shot attempt and mishandled a few prime opportunities despite seeing over three minutes of power-play time. With six offensive zone touches outside of a faceoff win, Filppula had a pair of turnovers and missed on a pair of one-timers. His best play on the power play in the win was when he redirected a Gostisbehere shot from the point that hit bodies in front and went wide of the net on Philly’s fourth power play of the evening. Filppula saw more chances to produce in the win, but he fumbled away a good portion of those chances and failed to find space in the slot for Giroux to set up a one-timer.
Flyers at Predators, October 10: 2-for-5 on the power play
Obviously, the loss in Nashville was Filppula’s most successful game so far on the power play. He scored a goal in the slot on a rebound and converted on a chance that was created from a Giroux pass from below the goal line. On top of a pair of goals from the slot, Filppula also registered a third shot, as he redirected a point shot from Gostisbehere, that created a rebound down low that Wayne Simmonds was unable to jump on to continue the cycle. The redirection was caused after Filppula pressured Alexei Emelin with the puck behind Nashville’s net and forced the Preds’ blue liner to turn the puck over to Gostisbehere at the point.
Unfortunately, there were still a handful of negative plays to go along with Filppula’s two power-play goals that came on the Orange and Black’s final two power plays in the loss. He once again had a pair of turnovers with the puck in the offensive zone on the power play and he also led Giroux into a turnover as the pair of forwards had a miscommunication just inside Nashville’s blue line late in the third power-play opportunity. All in all, this was a game Hextall and company were probably happy to see, as it showed that moving Schenn in the summer could not be as detrimental to the Flyers’ power play as once predicted.
Capitals at Flyers, October 14: 1-for-2 on the power play
It’s difficult to judge Filppula’s power-play production in this game, as he saw under 1:30 of power-play time spread out over two fragmented chances. On the first power play, Filppula hit Voracek with a cross-ice pass at the point that led to Voracek passing to Gostisbehere, who sent it right back to Voracek for a one-timer that missed wide of the net.
On the second power play, Filppula bobbled a pass from Giroux as the captain entered the offensive zone, which led to Filppula circling back into the neutral zone. This led to the team exiting the offensive zone, which led to Voracek streaking into the zone to start his highlight-reel assist to Simmonds. Filppula only had three offensive zone touches on the power play in the win, one of which was an unsuccessful attempt to corral a pass from Giroux, which somehow led to a power-play goal just seconds later.
Compared to Schenn
It’s only been five games, but here are how Filppula’s stats stack up to Schenn’s first five games from last year at 5-on-4:
- Filppula’s five games: 2 goals, 0 assists, 5 shots on goal, 6 shot attempts, 18:54 time on ice
- Schenn’s first five games in 2016-17: 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots on goal, 11 shot attempts, 22:49 time on ice
Schenn threw more pucks towards the net, but recorded one less shot on goal in nearly four more minutes at 5-on-4 in his first five games last season. Again, very small sample size and Filppula has a long way to go to duplicate Schenn’s power-play totals from last year, but he isn’t off to the worst start.
By season’s end, Filppula will most likely not produce as much on the power play as Schenn did last season. However, thanks to a few new tactics on the man advantage and possible bounce-back seasons for three players on the team’s first power-play unit, the orange and black may still have a threatening power play after the departure of Schenn.
Subject: Former Eagles cornerback is working out for Washington Redskins
Washington’s interest in Carroll likely stems from the fact that both of their starting cornerbacks are injured. Josh Norman suffered a fractured rib and a lung puncture in Week 4. Bashaud Breeland injured his hamstring against the 49ers in Week 6 and is set to have an MRI today. Washington could potentially be without both Norman and Breeland against Philly in Week 7.
Eagles fans sure won’t mind if Washington trots out Carroll at corner on Monday night. The 30-year-old defensive back is certainly prone to getting beat in coverage, as seen below (click here if you can’t see the video).
The Cowboys signed the guy they used to burn
He's the Cowboys' problem nowPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Sunday, March 12, 2017
We’ll keep you updated if Washington decides to sign Carroll. Maybe they just wanted to work him out to get some extra information on the Eagles. Revenge for Nate Sudfeld.
Subject: You Can Now Sign A Petition To Keep Pete Morelli Away From The Eagles
Subject: Sixers Notes: Joel Embiid Will Start the Season on a Minutes Restriction
Subject: Philadelphia Eagles reportedly work out 3 free agent linebackers
The Philadelphia Eagles recently worked out three free agent linebackers, according to ESPN.
Source: after LB Jordan Hicks left Thursday's win with an ankle injury, Eagles worked out LBs Donald Butler, Jelani Jenkins & Sean Spence.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2017
While this news may cause concern regarding Jordan Hicks, it’s worth noting that Doug Pederson said the Eagles’ starting middle linebacker will be able to practice this week. From Friday (October 13):
Jordan's going to be okay. And we'll expect him this next week in practice.
Here’s a little more info on the players the Eagles worked out.
Butler, 28, is the most interesting name on this list. The 6-1, 244 pound defender was a third-round pick by the then-San Diego Chargers in 2010. Butler started in 62 of his 71 games with the Chargers. He logged 279 tackles, 14 passes defensed, seven sacks, six fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles, three interceptions, and one defensive touchdown in that span.
So what went wrong? Well, Butler’s play declined. The former defensive captain was accused of quitting on the team after receiving a big contract. Butler also dealt with some injury issues.
The Chargers cut Butler in 2016. He signed with the Chargers last offseason before getting cut and then landing with the Dolphins. In five starts and 14 games played with Miami, Butler logged 17 tackles. He wasn’t re-signed.
There’s some talent here, but the Eagles would have to have some level of desperation to bring Butler in.
Jenkins, 25, measures in at 6-0, 243 pounds. He was selected by the Dolphins in the fourth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Jenkins has made 34 starts in 53 career games played. He logged 163 tackles, five passes defensed, 3.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles during that span. Jenkins has dealt with some nagging injury issues in his career. The Eagles may have wanted to work him out to check his health status.
The 27-year-old Spence is 5-11, 231 pounds. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Spence has made 19 starts in 49 career games played. He’s logged 97 tackles, five sacks, three passes defensed, and one forced fumble. Spence most recently spent time on the Colts’ roster before being waived in final cuts. He was brought back only to be released again earlier this month.
The hope is that Hicks and Bradham are both healthy and the Eagles don’t have to sign any of these players. But if they do, at least there are some players out there with starting experience.
Subject: The Silver Lining of Markelle Fultz Coming off the Bench
Subject: Titans vs. Colts: How to watch Monday Night Football, game info, live streaming, odds, more
Watch MNF here.
The Titans are 2-3 through their first five games. The good news for Tennessee is that starting quarterback Marcus Mariota is back in the lineup tonight.
The Colts are are also 2-3 through their first five games. Indy is trying to stay afloat while Andrew Luck prepares to return.
This game doesn’t really have much interest to the Eagles. It’s an AFC tilt between two teams they won’t play this season.
Philadelphia will be playing the Washington Redskins on next week’s edition of Monday Night Football.
Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears TV Schedule
Game time: 8:30 PM EST
Date: Monday, October 16
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Location: Nissan Stadium | Nashville, Tennessee
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Indianapolis Colts +7.5 (-130)
Tennessee Titans -7.5 (+110)
Open thread: discuss Monday night’s game in the comments below.
Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Brandon Manning is your king now
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*It’s game day! Get pumped for tonight’s match against the Panthers by watching Jakub Voracek deke a bunch of Washington Capitals out of their skates over and over again. It’s fun. Puck drops tonight at 7PM, GO FLYERS. [ProHockeyTalk]
*Talent and depth have fueled this team’s pretty uncharacteristically fast start. It’s a nice change. [Philly.com]
*Being able to roll four actually-good lines is definitely a new thing for this team, and the fourth line has been an absolute delight. Also a delight? What they’re calling themselves. [The Athletic]
*Another big change for this team is the amount of speed we’ve seen out of these guys. Think they can keep it up? [Courier-Post]
*The coaching staff has primarily been using Valteri Filppula in the power play spot vacated by Brayden Schenn. Craig takes a deep dive in to see how that’s working so far. [BSH]
*Let’s check out how the kids did this weekend! [CSN Philly]
*And finally, we here at Broad Street Hockey like to keep a finger on the pulse of the fan base, so do us a favor and let us know: do you approve of the job Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol have done? [BSH]
Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia has the NFL
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/17/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Eagles CB Patrick Robinson off to hot start in 2017 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles CB Patrick Robinson has quietly jumped out to a tremendous start to the 2017 season, and is currently the highest graded cornerback in the NFL with an overall PFF grade of 92.6. Making his performance even more surprising, is that his elite level of play this season is on the heels of his worst season as a pro in 2016, in which he finished with an overall grade of 45.1.
Top 5 cornerbacks by playmaker index - PFF
1. Patrick Robinson, Philadelphia Eagles - Playmaker Index – 31.8 percent - With the amount of plays Robinson has made on the ball this year, it’s no surprise though five weeks of the season he is PFFs top graded CB at 92.6 overall.
Petition to ban Pete Morelli from Philadelphia Eagles games reaches over 40,000 signatures
Update: this thing has over 58,700 signatures now! Add yours if you haven’t already.
Eagles are all alone atop the NFC - PhillyVoice
With Brett Hundley filling in for Rodgers, the Packers' offense was ineffective, as Green Bay fell to the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers managed just 227 total yards and Hundley was intercepted three times. Meanwhile, the Eagles already beat one of the other 4-2 teams on the road (Panthers), one is quarterbacked by Case Keenum and/or Sam Bradford (Vikings), and the other is a team that hasn't had a winning record since 2003 (Rams).
A Different Kind of 5-1 - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles are 5-1, their best start since they were 5-1 back in 2014. You’ll hear that phrase a lot for the next week. I remember the 2014 team peaked at 9-3 after crushing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. That might have been the peak of the Chip Kelly era. Life seemed so good, but the team went 1-3 down the stretch and didn’t even make the playoffs. Before that peak, the Eagles had been 5-1 earlier in the season. I was curious to see how that hot start stacked up against the current 5-1 start.
Resetting the NFC playoff picture after Aaron Rodgers' injury - ESPN
Carson Wentz ranked 21st over the summer in our 2017 QB Tiers survey of 50 NFL coaches and evaluators, but there was every expectation he'd be climbing up the list in a hurry. One general manager even thought Wentz in 2017 could join the top tier, reserved this year for Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan (barely). A defensive coach said he thought that was tremendously premature. "My eyes work better than my ears," this coach said. "Philly is good because they have an offensive-oriented head coach [Doug Pederson] who turns the entire defense over to a really good defensive coordinator [Jim Schwartz], they pressure the passer, play nasty D and have a young quarterback who has really made some strides." It's less ambitious to say Wentz is making the jump from the third tier into the second, which is generally reserved for quarterbacks who carry their teams some of the time but not consistently -- guys who can contribute significantly to a championship formula.
Eagle Eye: Panthers Recap And Redskins Preview - PE.com
Fran Duffy and Greg Cosell go back to the tape and break down what they saw from the Eagles big win over the Panthers before previewing the tough division matchup against Washington on Monday Night Football.
All-22: On Fletcher Cox's power and how the Eagles' offense got on track - The Athletic
“[Having Fletcher Cox back] changes a lot, especially in a game like [this] where you’re facing a quarterback that is kind of dynamic,” said defensive end Chris Long. “[Newton] doesn’t necessarily slow you down on the outside, but he makes you rush balanced. To have that push in the middle to kind of keep them honest and keep Cam honest, it makes a big difference. I mean if you look at some of his errant throws, some of his interceptions, that pressure in the middle is what creates that.”
Eagles rookie DE Derek Barnett finally records a sack; could more come in bunches? - Inquirer
It took Derek Barnett 355 minutes into his NFL career to finally record a sack, and the joy of the Eagles’ first-round pick was apparent. The sack came at a crucial time late in Thursday’s 28-23 win over the Carolina Panthers. Barnett rushed deep into the pocket, pushed through the left tackle, and dived at a slipping Cam Newton’s feet to knock one of the NFL’s strongest quarterbacks to the turf. Defensive tackle Justin Hamilton jumped on Newton to finish the play – both were rewarded with a half-sack — and the Panthers were left with a deep third down. Barnett didn’t celebrate with a planned sack dance. He hugged Chris Long, the veteran end who told him while he was sackless to keep playing as he was and he would be rewarded.
Roob's Random Points, part 1: Eagles' power ranking, playoffs, I-95 traffic tips - NBC Sports Philadelphia
A big theme on Twitter since Thursday night has been fans saying, "Calm down, don't get carried away, settle down, it's only six weeks." You know what? This team hasn't done anything since 2008 and they're now 5-1 with four straight wins, a hot quarterback and the best run defense in the NFL. There's nothing wrong with getting excited!
Redskins injury news: Jonathan Allen out 3-4 weeks with Lisfranc injury, Dustin Hopkins will miss Eagles game - Hogs Haven
The Redskins got the win yesterday against the 49ers, but also lost at least two players for next week's game against the Eagles. Rookie DL Jonathan Allen had an MRI for a foot injury today, and Head Coach Jay Gruden said Allen suffered a Linsfranc injury. He could miss 3-4 weeks according to Gruden, but that injury can linger. Anthony Lanier will be active with Allen out. The Redskins will be working out kickers today after Dustin Hopkins injured his hip. Hopkins last kick yesterday was a missed extra point.
Week 6 Quick Reads - Football Outsiders
Technically, "deep" passes are those that travel more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, but if we extend that to throws that traveled more than 13 yards past the line of scrimmage, we get these numbers for Carson Wentz this week: 7-of-9 for 146 yards.
What do the Packers do without Aaron Rodgers? - SB Nation
The two-time MVP broke his collarbone, but Green Bay can still contend.
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Subject: Your Tuesday Morning Roundup
Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 7 Edition
Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.
Week 6 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule is in the books. Now it's time to see where all 32 teams rank. For reference purposes, here is a link to last week's NFL Power Rankings.
BLG's WEEK 7 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 3) - Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Eagles have a strong case as the best team in the NFL. They’re the league’s hottest team with four wins in a row. Carson Wentz is an MVP candidate. Philly’s offense can put up points and their run defense ranks No. 1 in the league. Yes, the Eagles lost to the Chiefs earlier this season. But how could I not move KC down given how they struggled in Week 6? With their next three games all being played at home, the Eagles have a big opportunity to secure their lead and remain on top.
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1) - Take away the Chiefs’ running game and all the pressure is on Alex Smith to perform. Smith couldn’t get much going against Pittsburgh’s defense. Down goes the consensus No. 1 team in the NFL.
3 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 10) - Pittsburgh bounced back from a bad loss at home to beat the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team on the road. Props. The good news is that Le’Veon Bell looks great. The bad news is that Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t look as good.
6 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 2) - With Aaron Rodgers potentially done for the season, the Packers’ streak of making the playoffs (currently eight years in a row) is in jeopardy. Brett Hundley didn’t look so great filling in for Rodgers.
7 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 5) - Cam Newton’s hot streak came to an end against Philly’s defense. The Panthers’ running game needs to take some pressure off his arm.
9 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 12) - Quality win for the Rams to travel across the country and beat Jacksonville. L.A. is on top of the NFC West right now.
10 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 6) - 17-0 is the new 28-3. This team is just really good at blowing big leads.
11 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 11) - Bye week. Buffalo could advance to 4-2 with a home game against the Bucs up next.
13 - Denver Broncos (LW: 8) - Rotoworld’s Evan Silva most accurately described the Broncos’ effort this week: “the most pathetic performance by any team in any game all season, all six Browns losses included.”
17 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 13) - The Jags are a roller-coaster. Win, loss, win, loss, win, loss. They’ve shown some positive flashes but they’ve yet to been able to play with consistency.
19 - New York Jets (LW: 21) - The Jets lost due to a bad call. That’s a shame for them because they could’ve been on top of the AFC East with a win. This team is showing a lot of fight despite expectations they’d be the worst team in the league. Props to them.
20 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 20) - Bye week. Still in the mix in the AFC North despite a bad start to the season.
21 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 24) - Things were looking ugly for Miami as they were down 17-0 in Atlanta. But then they fought back to beat the defending NFC champions. Impressive.
23 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 27) - Who knew a 32-year-old Adrian Peterson was the missing piece for the Cardinals?
24 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 26) - The Bolts are showing some signs of life after starting out 0-4.
25 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 18) - All three of the Ravens’ wins have come against bad teams. They’ve been beaten soundly by good teams. This squad just isn’t that impressive.
26 - Chicago Bears (LW: 29) - Want to hear a depressing stat? Chicago’s win over the Ravens was their first road victory since 2015. The Bears announced an extension with Fox.
27 - Oakland Raiders (LW: 23) - It felt like the Raiders turned a corner last season, but here they are with a 2-4 record. They’re actually last in the AFC West now. Yikes.
28 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 22) - It feels like the Bucs have been the “oh they’re actually going to be good this year!” team for quite some time now. The only problem is they’re never actually good. Jameis Winston hasn’t been awesome and now he’s dealing with a shoulder injury.
29 - New York Giants (LW: 31) - When you remove context, beating the Broncos in Denver was a great win for the Giants. When you add context, all the Giants are doing is blowing their shot at the No. 1 overall pick.
31 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 30) - The 49ers probably aren’t as bad as their winless record suggests. They’re the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or less. They have to catch a lucky break and win at some point. Right?
32 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 32) - Going to be here all season.
The Browns are 1-21 since passing on Carson Wentz. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) October 15, 2017