By Tim Monk and Lawrence Vos
Rams to the slaughter?
I’m worried for the Rams. Behind in the NFC West, injuries piling up and an offensive scheme that seems to have been found out.
The activity and negotiating that has been conducted this week just adds to the worries;
First, they traded away Marcus Peters to the Ravens and then very shortly after, gave up 2 1st round picks and a 4th rounder for star CB Jalen Ramsey, who comes over from the Jags (I hope his back will be ok on the flight).
Considering there are a few needs on this team, it’s quite surprising that they’ve mortgaged their future for a CB. Fellow CB Aqib Talib is on IR and their options are awfully thin at the position, but there are glaring needs at offensive line and linebacker, which now will not be replenished high in the next 2 years NFL drafts.
Add to that, their top 5 paid players now account for $108m of the salary cap, even free agency signings will be hard to come by.
There is a lot of talent on this Rams team, but I am a firm believer in that you should always build from the inside out. Sort the lines out first and then everything follows. The Rams have taken a massive gamble, I’m not sure it’ll pay off.
NFC East on Primetime
Big game in prime time between the nose diving Cowboys and the Eagles.
With both teams 3-3, the winner takes a big step to a division title and the loser seriously having the prospect of no January football. Plenty of positives and negatives to talk through with both teams, plenty of injuries both side of the ball and plenty of questions being asked of these teams right now.
Can Dallas’ offensive line hold up against a decent Eagles pass rush or can Dak and his weapons exploit the gaping holes in the Eagles secondary? Will the Dallas defence be able to get some pressure and pin down escape artist Carson Wentz and will Doug Pederson outsmart Jason Garrett? Whilst the answer to the last question is a bit easier than the others, it should be a great game on Sunday Night Football.
AFC Wildcard eliminator in Nashville
Not a game that will be watched by many people outside their respective fanbases (do the Chargers have one?), but the game between Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans could be a loser goes home in terms of playoff aspirations.
Both teams are 2-4, struggling to get any offence going and are not impressing anyone in the league. With the loser going to drop to 2-5, you have to assume that the losing team does not have any way back from the defeat to play football in January.
Even if they do find their way back, they could be ousted by the head to head tie breaker. All to play for in this one in Nashville.
Talking of the above game, Ryan Tannehill has been named the starter for Tennessee.
Whether or not this was to try something different and try something to invigorate the team to get that win we don’t know for sure. It can be argued (and some people do) that Tannehill is an improvement on Mariota and this was a long time coming.
Tannehill was serviceable enough in Miami under center through his 6 year career there (when healthy) despite having only 1 winning season and an overall losing record. When playing full seasons, he hits around the 4000 passing yard mark with 25ish TDs and 12INTs.
Comparing that to Mariota, Tennessee fans shouldn’t be too disillusioned with the fact that it is infact, potentially an upgrade on what they’ve had since he was selected at no.2 overall in 2015.
Quinn-tessential to get a few wins
Dan Quinn needs a win…and fast.
Problem is their next 4 fixtures don’t give me any enthusiasm that they’ll find one.
Home games vs the Ramsey Rams (Julio not loving that!) and the Seahawks before their bye are not teams you want visiting to try and get that all important win. If Atlanta get embarrassed to the same tunes that are currently bellowing from the record player, Dan Quinn wont even make it to the Saints game in week 10.
On defence, they’ve conceded the 2nd most points, 7th worst in yardage given up, worst on 3rd down conversion % allowed along with a bottom 3 in turnovers created. Yes, they’ve had injuries of similar ilk to last season but unfortunately, that’s only going to get you excused for a period of time.
With Quinn being a defensive minded HC, the writing is on the wall for him.
K.C. and the not very sun-shining backfield
Four weeks in and we were all drooling over the Kansas City Chiefs and their MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Everything Mahomes was passing to was turning into on-field gold. This was an offense buzzing through the NFL like a lumberjack’s chainsaw.
Two weeks later and two losses later the Chiefs are looking mortal, and the chainsaw is now a handsaw that is looking a little bit rusty. Mahomes is looking out of sorts but he is being hindered by a running game that is blunt. Zero hundred yard rushing performances and some shocking lead performances.
Three out of six games has seen the Chiefs leading rusher go under 50 yards, and since Week 1 the top output has been 62 yards by Darrel Williams. Kansas City will be trying desperately to get some traction with the ground game tonight against the Denver Broncos. LeSean McCoy has a healthy 5.4 yard per carry average which may surprise some, but the hottest RB in last season’s playoffs Damien Williams has been a non-factor so far in four games, with a longest run of just 6 yards on 32 carries.
If the Chiefs want to get back on track offensively they need to get back to basics and get control of the time of possession. A loss to the surging Broncos will be a big blow to those ambitions to do one better than last season and reach the Super Bowl.
Pats perfect possibility?
The dominance of the New England Patriots has going on for that long that it no longer registers as anything remarkable. 6-0 is not seen as anything special, it is expected, it’s normal.
Thing is it’s not normal it’s a feat, it’s an achievement and it is certainly worth talking about. Tom Brady is for once not hogging the headlines as the Patriots defense is dominating the coverage in the papers and dominating the coverage on the field. The defense is producing stats that are mind-boggling. Allowing 8 points a game, 234.7 yards, 161 in the air and 73.7 on the ground. They travel to the Big Apple on Monday night to face a Jets team with one win, albeit one they achieved in the last week.
This does not look like the hardest task for the Patriots, who will be looking to go 16-0 in the regular season before repeating as Super bowl champions. Weeks 9 and 11 – travelling to Baltimore and Philadelphia will be a clearer indication if this is another fine vintage or not.
One little crumb of comfort and one thing that must cause Bill Belichick to lose 5 minutes from his probable 3 hour daily sleep routine was that Frank Gore and his 36 year old legs ran for over 100 yards for the Bills in their Week 4 loss to the Pats. In other words feed LeVeon Bell the ball early and often.