The Saints can score faster than Bradley Cooper during a speed-dating cycle. It’s All Saints Day again in Tiebreaker.com’s NFC power poll.
New Orleans Saints
Two weeks ago, Saints receiver Michael Thomas answered a phone planted at the base of a goalpost. Last week, Saints coach Sean Payton smashed a blaring fire alarm in their locker room in Cincinnati to shut it up. Then his offense went out and put 51 points up on the Bengals. These guys are high in entertainment value.
Los Angeles Rams
Imagine being the Rams last weekend. A mass shooting takes place in a town five miles from your training camp. Disastrous, deadly fires are destroying homes and lives in and around where you live. And yet, your muster the strength and concentration to win a tough game when everyone would have understood if you didn’t. Ram tough, for sure.
As of today, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is No. 40 on the list of the University of North Carolina’s greatest players, a list naturally topped by Lawrence Taylor. If Trubisky becomes the first QB in Bears history to throw for 4,000 yards and/or 30 touchdowns, do you think we can at least move him up over Andy Bershak, Octavus Barnes and Jonathan Cooper?
Vikings fans will be happy to know you can buy your own Gjallarhorn on Amazon for less than $70. Think of what a wonderful Christmas present it would be for your uncle, the one who always wears his Joe Kapp jersey on gameday. But you might want to give it to him before Sunday’s big game with the Bears. Just warn the neighbors before you do.
Not every coordinator is wired to be a head coach. For every Bill Belichick there is a Charlie Weis. Consider Norv Turner. He’s been given three shots (Washington, Oakland and San Diego) and got to only one conference championship game, in 2007 with the Chargers. But that doesn’t mean he can’t teach. Just look what he’s done with Cam Newton as the Panthers offensive coordinator. But guys, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously after getting blown out at home by Pittsburgh.
The Redskins defense held Tampa Bay to three points. Not since 2008 had any Washington team limited an opponent to three points or less. If you want to know why the Redskins lead the NFC East by two games, that might be a good place to start. In fact, it’s only place to start. The offense is blah. The Redskins scored only 16 points against the worst defense (34.0 per game) in the league. It’s a good thing George Allen isn’t around to see this.
Look, we totally understand the way the game plan against the Rams was developed. Run the ball. Churn the yardage. Control the clock. And when you gain 273 yards rushing and score 31 points, you tip your hat. Job well done! There’s only one thing: The Rams still had enough time (29:23) to throw for 307, gain 456 and score 36. Maybe next time.
The Falcons scored 456 points in 2016 and played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. They built a 25-point lead with Matt Ryan leading the charge before losing the game. The Cleveland Browns were 1-15 in 2016, allowing 452 points. Did you ever think it would take only two seasons before the Browns would beat the Falcons? Look it up: Browns 28, Falcons 16. The Falcons are officially grounded.
We salute the Cowboys after their fine effort against the Eagles. Dak Prescott (270 yards passing) looked good. Zeke Elliott (151 yards on 19 carries) looked great, especially when he hurdled that defender in the open field. That was very cool. But they are still 4-5 and Jerry Jones is still the de facto general manager. And until that changes, “The Curse of Jimmy Johnson” will sap the power from this franchise forever.
Hmmm, let’s try to think of something nice to say. Carson Wentz has a great future. And it might be time to include Zach Ertz among the list of top tight ends. But a defending Super Bowl champion can’t be 4-5, can’t gain only 71 yards rushing and can’t watch a rookie, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, no matter how great a player he is, dominate a game defensively (13 tackles). Hey, it’s not all bad, Philly fans. The Sixers just traded for Jimmy Butler.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers had a redeeming day against the Miami Dolphins, pounding The Fish at Lambeau Field. But there remains something very much off-kilter about this team. Aaron Rodgers should have been able to decimate Miami’s secondary and he ended up with only 199 yards passing. If it wasn’t for Aaron Jones (145 yards), the game might have been much closer. The snow is approaching. Tundra is about to be frozen. See you in 2019.
It seems like just a minute ago the Lions were 3-3, Matt Patricia had beaten the Patriots and everyone was all excited about the possibility of at least competing for a wildcard. Well, hold on there, Baba Looey (loving reference to Quick Draw McGraw – look it up, kids). The Lions have been outscored 86-45 in three straight defeats and Golden Tate is now with the Eagles. Caution: Thanksgiving dinner watching the Lions-Bears may lead to GERD.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Remember what we were saying before how gifted coordinators often become subpar coaches? We present Dirk Koetter. Only Ryan averages more passing yards a game than Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bucs lead the league in total offense and passing yards per game. And look at them, foundering at 3-6. What’s more, they have given up on Jameis Winston in favor of Fitzpatrick, who will be a free agent. It won’t be long before some guy with an eye patch escorts Koetter to the plank.
New York Giants
The Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers! The Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers! Calm down, Big Blue. The Arizona Cardinals beat the 49ers twice. We will say this, however, if the offensive line protected Eli Manning every week, like it did on Monday Night, and Manning had the time to get to the ball of OBJ, like he did on Monday Night, and Saquon Barkey ran with abandon, like he did on Monday Night, we wouldn’t be making such a big deal of a team getting its second win.
We congratulate the Cardinals for staying to close to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. We do not advocate wagering here at Tiebreaker.com, but if we did, we would have gone hard on the Mahomes Boys putting up more than 26 points. Hey, it took them only 50 seconds to score their first TD. What Josh Rosen wouldn’t give to be Mahomes right now.
San Francisco 49ers
We kind of like Nick Mullens. For a third-string QB, he has a lot of energy and spunk. We like spunky QBs. The kid broke Brett Favre’s records at Southern Mississippi and that’s something he’ll be able to tell his grandchildren someday. But he might want to skip over the fact that he played for the 2018 49ers. That might make the kids cry.