1) Aaron Rodgers is preposterous
I don’t know if people really understand what they are witnessing. Do you? What quarterback has their opponent trailing with ten minutes left in the game and has that team thinking about running down the clock? I’ll answer, one: Tom Brady. I mean as soon as the Cowboys left the Packers 1:13 left on the clock with one timeout, you had to know what was coming:
Rodgers not only had to overcome the clock, but also his coach who for some reason decided to run the ball with 35 second left which burned their final timeout. As much praise as Rodgers gets, I don’t know if it is enough. There is no way in hell this Packers team should be 4-1 right now. But yet again, Rodgers did his front flip, back flip, and sprayed his unicorn pixel dust everywhere for another win.
2) Cowboys aren’t the same team
Before this loss I didn’t think it was time to hit the panic button in Dallas, but now is that time. Listen, we all get it, there defense was been dreadful. In the Cowboys three loses they gave up 35, 35, and 42 points. As stated, everyone knew what was going to happen at the end of that game mostly because of Rodgers, but also because of the Cowboys lack of a defense; specifically their dreadful secondary.
However, as much as most of the blame goes on the D, the offense can’t be left out. Zeke and that offensive line aren’t the same as last season. A lot of people talked about how Dak might struggle now that teams had a year of tape on him; that appears to be the case for Zeke. Last year, this was a team that always found a way to win. Now, they find a way to lose with today’s losing moment coming off the hands of Terrance Williams who should have caught that ball that resulted in an interception.
Here is another problem, there schedule doesn’t get any easier after their upcoming game: at San Francisco, at Washington, vs Kansas City, at Falcons, vs Eagles.
Good luck with that Cowboy fans because your team isn’t making the playoffs.
3) An end of an era in Pittsburgh
How many times do I have to say this? Pittsburgh has been the team for years that will make it to the AFC Championship game just to be the punching bag for the Patriots. They aren’t even getting there this season because of the problem on their team: Ben Roethlisberger. According to ESPN, he is the first quarterback to ever throw at least 55 passes and somehow not earn a single touchdown with five interceptions.
The most telling part of today is what happened after the game. Big Ben was asked if doubt was started to creep in: “Nope…professional shouldn’t have doubt.” He followed that up by saying something to the contrary: “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”
The contradiction is so obvious it hurts. Big Ben is admitting he is done because he is. It is hard to play in a situation that you don’t believe in and after Antonio Brown’s antics last week it was clear from Roethlisberger’s comments that he knows Pittsburgh isn’t good enough this year. And I hate to break it to you, but they won’t be with Mike Tomlin as the coach. He’ll get you to the playoffs, sure, but not a whole lot farther than that.
4) The Chiefs let down isn’t coming…yet
I have been talking about the eventual let down that the Chiefs will provide NFL fans at some point, but tonight, tonight they were really impressive. Alex Smith looks like a MVP candidate, their defense is holding solid offenses in check, and they have a lot of offensive weapons.
I am sure a lot of people will hope on the bandwagon, and I get it, it is really tempting. I will just remind you that this is the same team that won five games in a row last year and ten consecutive the season before that. Get ready, the let down is coming, but right now they look real good.
5) The end of an era at the quarterback position
Quarterbacks come and go, but those who prove to be franchise QBs stay for at least a decade and become household names. Unfortunately for everyone, we won’t be saying the names Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Phillip Rivers or Jay Cutler a whole lot longer.
I know, who could have every seen this coming with Cutler?
I also am not surprised by Rivers or Palmer. However, I am surprised by Roethlisberger and Manning. I said they would both be clearly in decline, but I didn’t expect it like this; especially with Eli. I don’t believe Roethlisberger will be back next season (if he is, it’s his last season) and Manning doesn’t have a whole lot left in him either. Eli turns 37 in several months and looks every bit his age currently.
6) Eagles and Panthers prove they are the really deal…for now
I get it was against the Cardinals, but this was Philadelphia’s largest win since week 3 of last year. This is what good teams do: beat up on subpar teams. Now I will grant you this, their 4-1 record comes against a very weak schedule: Redskins, Giants, Chargers, and Cardinals who have a combined record of 5-14. While they are certainly better this last year, I still have questions about how good they exact are. Their next four games will let us know: at Carolina, vs Washington, vs San Francisco, and vs Denver.
I have to admit, I did not see this coming for the Carolina Panthers. As much as I openly hate to say this after what he said this week, Cam Newton has been unbleivebale over the past two weeks against good Patriots and Lions teams: 77.4 completion percentage, 6 TDs and only 1 INT. Overall, their schedule moving forward is not challenging, but they still have two tough games:
I still have long-term questions about the sustainability of their defense and more importantly, Cam Newton, who’s immaturity and leadership style will eventually cost his team; it’s only a matter of time.
7) Giants nightmare continues
I don’t think, in fact I know, New York fans didn’t even see this coming in their worst dream:
The Odell injury looked back and the result says exactly that: broken ankle. It is not an over exaggeration at all to question if he will get back to what he was. We have seen athletes in the past not be the same after injuries a lot less serious than this.
If that wasn’t enough, the Giants just lost to a Chargers team that literally gave up a safety minutes into the game and looks anemic themselves. Eli Manning looked average, Sterling Shepard left with an injury, Brandon Marshall did the same, and the Giants defense that was thought as a top five heading into the season, looks anything but. Oh and next week, they get to travel to the very easy environment in Denver.
8) AFC East gets back to being boring
After today, this is what the Patriots division…I mean the AFC East looks like:
I hear a lot of people talking about how it is finally an interesting division. Really? Because as concerned as I am about the Patriots, the Jay Cutler led Miami Dolphins look awful, the Bills did the typical Bills thing and lost on the road to an inferior team, and the Jets beat the Browns…barley. If you truly believe that New England won’t only win this division, but win it in decisive fashion, you are probably a fan of one of those three teams.
9) Seahawks win, but the Rams really won
Yes, Seattle won and improved to 3-2 against a team they have struggled against recently, but Los Angeles is the real winner. If it wasn’t for a couple of rookie mistakes from Jared Goff, we would be talking about something completely different. Usually I would say a team like the Rams is a year away from being able to win a game like this, but I really believe when they play again in Seattle they will have a chance.
If the Rams are for real as I think they are, they have to take care of business against their next three opponents: Jaguars, Cardinals, and Giants
10) Raiders problems go well beyond Derek Carr
Last week’s injury to Carr was obviously a big loss; the sky is blue too. However, what should have been more talked about is the problems that went well beyond the QB spot: Marshawn Lynch looking like he should go back to retirement, Amair Cooper’s struggles, and their defense. At this point, with or without Carr, they are going to have a hard time winning the division without some help and will have to try and make it in as a Wild Card team. I, and others, had higher expectations.
Tomorrow: The SWN Show and podcast with more reaction
-Article by Nick Friend