With the news coming out about the Cleveland Browns reportedly turning down the Seattle Seahawks offering up Russell Wilson for the first round pick they used to draft Baker Mayfield, I thought it would be a great idea to look back at other proposed trades that would’ve shaken up the NFL landscape.
How many of these do you remember? If there are any you think are missing, please hit us up over on Twitter @Full10Yards!
Aaron Rodgers to the Oakland Raiders
Back in 2007, Aaron Rodgers was still backing up Brett Farve in Green Bay when the Raiders put Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss on the trade block. Aaron Rodgers for Randy Moss would’ve been a hell of a trade. The reason this trade didn’t go through?
Green Bay wanted a first round pick and Moss for Aaron Rodgers. Moss ended up landing in New England and not only setting multiple records with Tom Brady but going 16-0 in THAT regular season.
Rumours surfacing once again about Aaron Rodgers and whether or not he will start and finish his career at Lambeau Field. Are the Raiders FINALLY gonna get to see A Rod?
Ben Roethlisberger to the Oakland Raiders/St. Louis Rams.
Now this one might be surprising to anyone who doesn’t keep up with the off field stories of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is far from the perfect teammate; he consistently airs team dirty laundry on his radio show, he thinks he’s the GM and not just a player and struggles to get on with most of his star players.
This isn’t just hearsay though, it’s well documented and this is why I think there’s weight behind this trade. In 2010 it was reported that the Steelers organization was fed up with Big Ben and his behavior that was causing trouble inside the organization and were looking at offers.
The Steelers approached Oakland and offered them Ben and the number 18 pick for the number 8 pick. Oakland said no. They also approached the St. Louis Rams and offered to trade Ben for Sam Bradford who had just completed his rookie year…the Rams said no, and that was that. Big Ben stayed in Pittsburgh and continued to annoy and alienate teammates.
Dan Marino to the Oakland Raiders
(I mean seriously? I promise this is the last Oakland one…or is it?)
In 1989, the Miami Dolphins had a very average 8-8 season leading them to another year of missing the playoffs. This wasn’t something Don Shula was happy with so they he thought the best course of action would be to change the signal caller, who was legendary quarterback…Dan Marino.
Shula managed to secure a verbal agreement with Raiders Al Davis but last minute the deal fell through, why? Shula got cold feet and upped the asking price for Marino. Twice. The price was too steep, even for Davis. Miami and Marino still never managed to win a Super Bowl.
It’s one of the one things Marino would be remembered for the one of the best quarterbacks to never win a Lombardi.
Eli Manning to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Going into the 2017/2018 season the Jags were really not happy with their Quarterback situation Blake Bortles wasn’t really cutting it.
The Jaguars needed a solution so they looked north to New York and set their sights on Eli Manning. The 2 time Super Bowl champion had been playing to put it lightly…terrible, but the Jags liked Manning for his Super Bowl experience and his former coach Tom Coughlin was running the Jacksonville front office.
Why didn’t this happen? Blake had a decent season which killed the interest in the trade from the Jags end. Shame Bortles went back to his usual self next season and the “Sacksonville” era was over before it even got started.
Odell Beckham Jr. to The Los Angeles Rams.
A couple of years before he got shipped out to Cleveland for a 1st round pick and Jabrill Peppers the Rams showed serious interest in Odell Beckham Jr.
What did the New York Football Giants want for the spectacular wide receiver? They asked the Rams for two 1st round picks and the Rams only wanted to give them one.
That’s a high price but the Browns eventually paid a similar price giving the Giants a 1st round pick and a 1st round player in Peppers. OBJ has yet to shine in Cleveland would the same thing have happened in LA?
Antonio Brown to the Buffalo Bills
Okay, so this did/didn’t happen but everyone (kinda) remembers where they were when this went down. It was reported that the Steelers had agreed to send AB to the Bills
Twitter did it’s thing once it turned out that this wasn’t going to go through. Antonio Brown ended up being traded to the Oakland Raiders (why always Oakland?) but even then, he didn’t see the field in a Raiders Jersey, being “set free” to eventually wind up in New England for a game before unceremoniously leaving the league and trying to return ever since.
After disappointing campaigns, three NFC East teams –the Redskins, Cowboys and Giants –as well as the Panthers and Browns decided it was time for a new Head Coach. A fortnight after the regular season finished, four of the five had filled their hot seats, and the Browns have since found their man too. Now that the game of musical chairs has stopped, let’s take a look at who’s landed where and how they might fare.
Fired:Jay Gruden Hired:Ron Rivera
The switch: Washington got a two-month head-start on the rest, setting the HC conveyor belt in motion in October. After going 0-5, they decided enough was enough and fired Jay Gruden, who made the postseason just once in his five years in the capital.
A day after they closed out their 3-13 season with a 47-16 humbling by divisional rivals Dallas, long-time team president Bruce Allen was given the order of the boot, not long after he’d told the world the team’s culture was “damn good” (no laughing at the back, please). They swiftly followed that by agreeing to make Ron Rivera, let go by the Carolina Panthers, their new HC.
The pros: Rivera is experienced, respected and no stranger to success, having led the Panthers to three consecutive NFC South titles from 2013. His hot streak culminated in a 15-1 regular season in 2015 and an appearance at Super Bowl L against the Denver Broncos. Having evolved from ultra-cautious to more progressive and forward-thinking, ‘Riverboat Ron’ could be the man to ensure Dwayne Haskins delivers on his early promise. The ‘Skins also need to sharpen up on the defensive side, but Rivera has form here too: he had five top-10 defences in Carolina. Bringing in former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator can only help.
The cons: While his overall record stands up to scrutiny, it’s been tough going of late. Rivera’s last two seasons in Charlotte were both injury-affected and both went south after promising starts. Without Cam Newton, last year’s 5-11 saw them prop up the NFC South and the year before, they also finished with a losing record (7-9). That said, everyone to a man was complementary when he left.
The outlook: A fresh start was just what the doctor ordered and for Rivera’s sake, let’s hope the toxic Washington set-up is history. With the power to bring the crowds back to FedEx Field and reset the culture within the building, he’s already having a positive effect. Apparently, left tackle Trent Williams – who sat out last year because he lost trust in the medical staff and then the front office – has vowed to return to the fold because of the new HC and the organisational restructure.
The verdict:The pick of the bunch. He’ll have his hands full but with Allen out of the picture, there’s a distinct chance ‘Riverboat Ron’ will turn this ship around and steer the Redskins towards calmer waters.
Fired: Jason Garrett Hired:Mike McCarthy
The switch: The Cowboys were the second team to make their move, eventually parting ways with Jason Garrett after nearly 10 years at the helm and an exit process that seemed to take just as long. Jerry Jones made it clear he wasn’t going to spend time bringing a college coach up to speed so they interviewed two experienced NFL guys: former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and long-time Bengals HC Marvin Lewis. Once Garrett was finally out the door, Dallas took less than 24 hours to announce McCarthy.
The pros: Of our five coaches, McCarthy has the best pedigree, having led the Packers to nine playoff appearances, six NFC North division titles and a Super Bowl win (ironically at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium) in his 13 seasons. Although his relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers deteriorated, it was effective for much of his tenure so McCarthy should be able to strike up a good rapport with Dak Prescott.
The cons: McCarthy was fired midway through Green Bay’s 2018 season and he didn’t work during 2019 so will having a year out of the game hinder him? He has allegedly spent the time studying the latest NFL trends but equally, he might have lost some momentum.
The outlook: McCarthy has also been developing a new playbook, which will hopefully compensate for Dallas’ failures over the last decade. McCarthy needs to hit the ground running and start securing the late-postseason appearances Garrett should’ve achieved with the talent at his disposal. His credibility and reputation are high, but so are the expectations on him to bring success pretty much straight away.
The verdict:The one with everything to prove. McCarthy is a fine choice but the control he might want or expect isn’t up for grabs. In Dallas, Jerry is King: he calls the shots and makes (and breaks) the rules. Where the lines are drawn will decide whether McCarthy leads Dallas back to the heights of old or if he’s just the next guy to be stifled by the Jones dynasty.
Fired:Ron Rivera Hired:Matt Rhule
The switch: In early December, when the wheels were falling off another Panthers’ season, Ron Rivera was released. Owner David Tepper announced that he would be targeting an offensive-minded replacement, and did exactly that in hiring Baylor coach Matt Rhule. As it happens, Rhule was supposed to meet with the Giants (where he spent a year as an assistant O-line coach) after his trip to Carolina but never made it, having been made an offer he couldn’t refuse and the Giants couldn’t match. (For the record, I wouldn’t turn down $60 million over seven years, if anyone’s offering…)
The pros: The size of his contract suggests Carolina are all in on their new man. Rhule is a leader and has a knack for turning struggling teams around in double-quick time. He took Baylor from 1-11 in 2017 to 11-3 just two years later and, before that, transformed Temple from a 2-11 outfit to a conference-winning one.
The cons: It’s important to remember that Rhule has no league experience at HC (a red flag to some). He will need to make the not-insignificant leap from college to the big league if he is to bring the franchise some stability and, eventually, success.
The outlook: Rhule won’t need to repeat the complete turnabouts he managed in his college programmes. He’ll have assets to work with – not least a solid defence and one of the league’s top stars in running back Christian McCaffrey – but there is also work to do, with linebacker Luke Kuechly retiring and tight end Greg Olsen joining the Seahawks. It will also be interesting to see whether he plumps for Cam Newton, Kyle Allen or someone else as his long-term QB. In the draft, he might grab a couple of guys with potential and the right character traits, and take the time to nurture them.
The verdict:The slow-burner. If Rhule can get on top of things in the pro world, the Panthers could be back in the mix again. However, I suspect, as we saw with some of last year’s rookie coaches, we shouldn’t expect results overnight. It took him a couple of years to get to grips with Temple and Baylor, and he’s been afforded ample time to set things up the right way so peg him for a successful rebuild from 2021 and beyond.
NEW YORK GIANTS
Fired:Pat Shurmur Hired:Joe Judge
The switch: Despite a strong finish by Saquon Barkley and a decent showing by young QB Daniel Jones, the Giants had a disappointing 2019 under Pat Shurmur. They could ill-afford to let another season slip by with such talent in their ranks so, after Shurmur’s two underwhelming seasons ended with a 9-23 record, the Giants were next to step up to the plate (to mix my sporting metaphors).
Just minutes after the Panthers announced Rhule, the Giants revealed Joe Judge as their man. Interestingly, New York ran the rule over Rhule too, and were given the opportunity to match Carolina’s massive offer. The Giants declined.
The pros: Judge was a special teams assistant for Nick Saban at Alabama for three seasons and then spent eight years with the Patriots as special teams and wide receivers coach. He won three Super Bowls in New England and has been plucked right off the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Being a special teams guy, he’s used to having close contact with most players on the roster, which will stand him in good stead.
The cons: Compared to the likes of Rivera and McCarthy, Judge is a relative unknown. He also hasn’t held a head coaching role at any level, which to some might make him the weakest candidate on paper.
The outlook: Judge may be a rookie but the 38-year-old is a good communicator, has high standards and a blue-collar work ethic. Judge’s initial press conference suggested that New York have a good fit. He told the media to expect an intense, aggressive, old-school team that will reflect the community in which they play.
The verdict:The left-field choice. I don’t want to judge too early but he comes across as hard-nosed and disciplined. He can certainly talk the talk, so let’s see if he can walk the walk.
Fired:Freddie Kitchens Hired:Kevin Stefanski
The switch: Armed with Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett to name but a few, the Browns were many people’s top tip for a playoff run or even a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. Even Sports Illustrated ran with “Bold prediction! Cleveland’s first division title in 30 years” on one cover. As it turned out, The Ill-Advised Freddie Kitchens Experiment was abandoned after a year, with a disappointing 6-10 season ending with a three-game losing streak. As they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get Kitchens out” (or something) so they did, with GM John Dorsey also sent packing.
Cleveland interviewed a host of candidates – Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, Ravens OC Greg Roman, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, 49ers DC Robert Saleh, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz, Uncle Tom Cobley and all – but in the end, they plumped for Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.
The pros: Part of the furniture in Minneapolis since 2006, Stefanski is a schemer, an analytical thinker and someone who can maximise offensive talent. The Vikes had a 10-6 season and a Wild Card win over the Saints, and their attack was largely effective under Kirk Cousins.
The cons: Initial reactions to the hire were mixed at best, not least because he wasn’t McDaniels – seemingly the fans’ preferred choice – and because of Minnesota’s poor offensive performance in their playoff loss to the 49ers. He’s untested as an HC, and was second choice when Kitchens was ultimately hired 12 months ago, which makes him feel like a consolation prize.
The outlook: Only time will tell whether this was the right move, but Cleveland seriously need an experienced, attack-minded guy to take their offence by the scruff of the neck and sort it out. But hiring an unproven Head Coach won’t give the long-suffering fans in Cleveland much confidence that they’ve got one right for a change.
The verdict:The jury’s out. How many times have the Browns been primed to turn things around at last, only to fail? They haven’t kept an HC for more than four seasons over the last 20 years. Stefanski may succeed where others before him have fallen by the wayside but he isn’t a safe bet. It’s a coin-flip for me but at least he shouldn’t be any worse than Freddie…
In a decade that included earning their fourth Vince Lombardi trophy the New York Giants only won a single NFC East crown and had 4 winning seasons. How would they finish the 2010s?
Entering the season
Having finished dead last in their division in 2017 and 2018 it was time for some significant changes if Big Blue was going to emulate its predecessors.
In possession of the 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkey, a top three fantasy pick, the Giants were looking to begin the NFLs 100th season in a much better way than 1-7 (as they did in 2017 and 2018).
The Giants bid farewell to a number of big names, WR Odell Beckham Jr and LB Olivier Vernon going to Cleveland by trade and S Landon Collins departing in free agency to divisional rivals Washington. The only veteran names of any significance coming into the team were WR Golden Tate and G Kevin Zeitler.
Without doubt the biggest offseason transaction for the G-Men was their first round draft pick (#6) Daniel Jones. Ridiculed by draftniks across the globe for selecting the former Duke standout so early, head coach Pat Shurmer and GM Dave Gettleman knew the writing was already on the wall for veteran QB Eli Manning.
Ending up with three first round selections, the Giants made two more conventional early picks, grabbing DT Dexter Lawrence at #17 and CB Deandre Baker at #30 to try and immediately improve a weak defense. They also picked up WR Darius Slayton in the 5th round.
Reggie White Jr, son of legendary Hall of Fame DE Reggie White was signed as an UDFA but was cut before the season started, before earning a place on the Giants practice squad.
Would this be the final season we would see double Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning suiting up in the Big Apple? Could Saquon move onwards and upwards? Could the Giants find some defensive consistencey?
During the season
Despite going undefeated in the Preseason the Giants began the 2019 regular season in familiar fashion with two consecutive losses. In both defeats Saquon rushed for over 100 yards.
With the season outlook already starting to turn dark Coach Shurmer made the bold move to bench Eli Manning for only the second time in his career (the first being for Geno Smith in 2017).
In Eli’s place was rookie Daniel Jones, who despite harsh criticism, managed to win his first two NFL starts against Tampa Bay and Washington. Jones threw for 336 yards and two scores in his debut, but had a tougher outing against the Redskins, tossing two picks.
The small taste of success was then turned into as much fun as licking an Amazonian tree frog for Giants fans as the team went on a nine-game losing skid, a franchise record defeat streak, last performed in 1976 when the team introduced the word ‘Giants’ on the sides of their helmets.
Saquon Barkley missed Weeks 4-6 with an injury, and didn’t have his third 100+ yard rushing performance until Week 14, which coincidentally happened to be the next time the Giants won a a game, having not won a single contest in October or November.
The two December wins, against the Dolphins at home and then on the road in Landover, Maryland was enough to leave the Giants with a 4-12 record, and the smallest of moral victories, having finished the season 3rd in the NFC East.
A few side notes on another season without a sniff of the postseason included Eli Manning, in his final contest of the season, and his career, leaving the league on a winning note, a week 15 triumph against Miami, and the cutting of CB Janoris Jenkins for calling a fan a ‘retard’ on social media.
After their 12th loss, a Week 17 defeat to the Eagles, Giants brass sacked head coach Pat Shurmer, who accumulated a poor 9-23 record in two seasons in charge.
Team leaders for the Giants included Markus Golden (10 sacks), Janoris Jenkins (4 interceptions), and rookie Darius Slayton (receiving yards – 740 and touchdowns – 8). Kicker Aldrick Rosas did himself no favours missing 29% of his field goal attempts and failing on 4 point after touchdowns.
Much in the same way that NFL experts were scratching their dandruff ridden scalps after the Giants selected QB Daniel Jones at 6 overall in the 2019 draft there were similar flake inducing moments when they announced Joe Judge as the new head coach.
Judge, only 38, has an astonishing track record, winning two College championships with Alabama (2009 and 2011) and three Super Bowl winners rings as a special teams coach with the New England Patriots. This will be his first ever head coaching job.
In other franchise altering news Eli Manning retired in late January 2020, ending 16 seasons of NFL gameplay, taking with him two rings, the same number as his big brother Peyton.
The Giants have lots of work to do everywhere in 2020 having failed to muster a single Pro-Bowl player for the 2019 season, the first time they failed to send someone somewhere sunny since the mid-90s.
Building blocks will include QB Daniel Jones, who rode out a torrid rookie season with three wins and over 3,000 yards passing and DT Dexter Lawrence (pictured above), who made the PFWA All-Rookie starting lineup.
This is a very young team, with no big names on defense, no 1,000 yard receivers, no Pro Bowlers and no big prospects in 2020.
They do pick high again, this time at #4 overall and will likely be targeting a playmaking speed rushing defender or the best CB or S available. The team need to target WR, CB and LB in free agency.
The jury is out already and the verdict is not good for Coach Judge in 2020.
Time to head east for the last 2 sets of Half-Term reports. Quite a few teams in these divisions have underwhelmed and then there’s the Patriots. At the very least the NFC equivalent should be a bit more exciting, but that wouldn’t be hard to do when you are comparing against the AFC East.
Nonetheless, Let’s give them some grades:
New England Patriots – 8-0
Buffalo Bills – 5-2
New York Jets – 1-6
Miami Dolphins – 0-7
Midseason Grade: A+
How has it gone so far?
At some point the never ending story of Patriots success has to end, but the 2019 season still has the tale without an end in sight.
The AFC’s only undefeated team at the half-way point Sith Lord Belichick and his cyborg QB Tom Brady are continuing to excel, but the offense is being out-shadowed by a defense that is looking like the 1985 Bears on some old-school steroids. A remarkable statistic to come to the fore after 7 games was that the Patriots would have been 4-2-1 if they had all of their offensive touchdowns removed.
Current Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is still the heartbeat of the offense, catching more balls than a set of snooker table pockets, and the recent acquisition of sure-handed WR Mohammed Sanu from the Falcons will immediately compensate for the loss of Josh Gordon to injury.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Pats go up against the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs to open up the second half of the season, and you read it here first they WILL lose one of this handful of high-profile games. You can run on the Patriots, just don’t turn the ball over.
Ever since the Patriots shut down the Rams in the Super Bowl they flicked on a switch of defensive dominance and 61 points allowed in 8 games is quite simply amazing. The Patriots are a bit of Mahomes magic from yet another trip to the Big Dance. Just give up betting against them.
Regular season record prediction : 15-1 and trip to Super Bowl.
Midseason Grade: B+
How has it gone so far?
One of the genuine surprise units of the NFL, aside from a rather lacklustre loss to the Eagles the Bills have played solid defense to help them to five wins in their first six games. Josh Allen has not exactly lit it up so far but he is now completing 60% of his passes.
Free agent WR John ‘Smoky’ Brown is on target for over 1k and the Peter Pan of the NFL RB Frank Gore is leading the team in rushing with 422 yards.
On their defence, the strongest part of their setup, CB Tre’Davious White and S Jordan Power lead a top 10 secondary. The Bills allowed a maximum 21 points against them in the first six weeks.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Buffalo’s next four are all winnable, before a tougher ending that includes trips to Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh and home against the Ravens.
The Bills could have a rather shiny 9-2 record heading into Week 12 if they continue their brand of bend but don’t break football. Josh Allen does need to reduce the turnovers and rookie RB Devin Singletary needs to get back on the field.
At some point in the next three weeks Frank Gore will remarkably pass Barry Sanders in the all-time rushing table, with just Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith ahead of him.
This is a team on the rise but likely another one and done in the playoffs.
Regular season record prediction: 10-6
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The Jets have won six games so far, oops that’s the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The New York Jets unfortunately kissed goodbye to a winning season when their QB Sam Darnold went down with mono. The combination of backups Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk were atrocious.
Mega signing RB Le’Veon Bell has been disappointing, and was even allegedly in the shop window at the trade deadline. His 536 total yards in 7 games is not what was expected and his two scores is pitiful.
With the exception of a bizarre upset win over the Cowboys in Week 6 this is a team heading in the wrong direction fast. Trading away DE Leonard Williams (to the same stadium) will not help matters, but the Jets must love namesake DT Quinnen Williams.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Jets have perhaps the softest schedule in the entire league over the next six weeks, including two contests agains the Dolphins and trips to Cincy and Washington.
They should come away with two wins at least in this tea cake of a period. The Jets came into 2019 with a new uniform, a new superstar RB and even a wild-card buzz, but this is clearly not a playoff team, and its back to the drawing board already for Adam Gase, who may not be in post when St Nick comes down your chimney.
Trying to shop your top assets, such as Jamal Adams S and Roby Anderson WR is hardly inspiring confidence and will only serve to further fracture an already shattered locker room.
Regular season record prediction: 3-13
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The entire Dolphins team were given a lovely present just before the start of the 2019 season, a one year digital subscription to ‘The World of Tanks’.
With QB Ryan Fitzmagic at the helm Miami are surprisingly competing in games but the feeling is they are told to pump the brakes if there is any danger of actually winning a game. QB Josh Rosen was clearly not the answer, and judging by the trade of RB Kenyan Drake for little more than a handful of conkers, the team is not serious about winning football games.
The ‘Fins trade at the deadline for CB Aqib Talib was merely to get better pick status, and losing CB Xavien Howard to injury is a blow. The tiny ray of offensive light is resurrection project RB Mark Walton who will look for 700 yards rushing.
Anything is better than RB Kalen Ballage, who is averaging less yards per carry than the team’s punter Matt Haack.
Rest of Season Outlook:
This is a team capable of going 0-16, having scored less than anyone else to this point, and only behind the Falcons (who have played one more game) in terms of points conceded. Fitzmagic has shown up in patches, and it’s not beyond belief that the bearded wizard pulls off one or two wins against the Jets (two games) or Giants or Bengals.
Problem is Miami will be desperate to get the number one draft pick. The ultimate irony would be to beat a 15-0 Patriots team in Week 17 if they rest their starters and their backups. It won’t happen, but it would put a cap on a historically Sherman-styled season.
Regular season record prediction: 0-16
Dallas Cowboys – 4-3
Philadelphia Eagles – 4-4
New York Giants – 2-6
Washington Redskins – 1-7
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
Despite a horrendous three-game losing streak the Cowboys are still the class of the NFC East and are atop the division, albeit due to having had a bye week.
The Cowboys had a marshmallow schedule to start, and when they had quality opponents (Saints, Packers) Day and Zeke couldn’t get the W, but a monster 27 point win over the Eagles will have Jerry Jones smiling in the executive box.
Ezekiel Elliot is gunning for a third rushing title, with 602 and 6 scores in 7 weeks. WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are stretching the field – 65 catches, over 1,000 yards and just under 16 yards a catch between them.
Rest of Season Outlook :
HC Jason Garrett has been in the corner quite a lot this season, clapping to himself as no-one will even give him a high-five. Somehow Garrett is still in post, but this is an appearance in the NFC Championship (most likely as the road team) or bust for the guy who has been in Dallas for 10 seasons.
The Cowboys have a quality roster on both sides of the ball, but they cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel again for the rest of the season as they did in the shocking loss to the Jets in Week 6.
Look for Zeke to get fed more than Eddie Hall did on his tour of American eateries.
Regular season record prediction: 11-5 and trip to NFC Championship.
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
The Eagles are a hard team to gauge, so can the real team please stand up.
Losses to the Lions and Falcons and wins over Buffalo and Green Bay is a clear sign that there is a lack of consistency.
QB Carson Wentz has been OK (1,821 yards and 14 touchdowns) and he has sorely missed the deep threat of DeSean Jackson, who returned to Philly after five seasons away. Jackson hasn’t suited up since Week 2 leaving WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to average under 10 yards a catch combined.
Rookie RB Miles Sanders has played second fiddle to Jordan Howard who leads the team with six scores.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Philadelphia’s second half has five very winnable games including three in-division contests, but New England and Seattle games will be season defining matchups. The Eagles defense has regressed and their secondary is their weakness so they will struggle against superior passers like Russell Wilson and an evergreen Tom Brady. Just two seasons away from lifting a Vince Lombardi Trophy this Eagles team is arguably underperforming, and judging by the 4-4 record to date its not clear which team is coming out of the locker room each week.
Regular season record prediction: 9-7
Midseason Grade: D-
How has it gone so far?
This season will go down in New York history as the end of the Eli Manning era and the start of the Daniel Jones one.
The Giants made a bold move to draft Jones early and doubled up when they inserted his in the starting lineup in Week 3. Jones did come out the gate on fire gaining the Giants two wins on the bounce, but that has been followed by four consecutive losses. Jones is on target for around 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Stud RB Saquon Barkley has already missed three games and only has three touchdowns in the five contests he has played in.
The only other half-decent offensive performer is TE Even Engram who has 38 catches to lead the team.
Rest of Season Outlook:
With the Jets, Dolphins and Redskins on their second-half slate the Giants should equal their first half win total. Daniel Jones is growing in confidence week by week and the recent return of WR Golden Tate from a suspension will be a big boost.
The Giants need to improve pretty much everywhere on defense and also they need to get better performances from their offensive line. It is a real shame that Saquon is on such a poor team as he has All-World potential.
Another season of frustration in the Big Apple and an emotional farewell to double Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning in December.
Regular season record prediction: 4-12
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
It’s no surprise the Redskins are cellar dwellers;
Their best offensive piece T Trent Williams has held out to this point and the team only announced this week that they are willing to trade him.
Veteran QB Case Keenum has been serviceable as a bridge passer, and will likely see more snaps than expected as rookie Dwayne Haskins has been the proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’ in his limited appearances.
The biggest surprise has been rookie WR Terry McLaurin who leads the team in anything meaningful. The biggest move of the season in Washington was the removal of head coach Jay Gruden, who failed to win a game before the locks were changed.
Interim replacement Bill Callahan won (barely) in his first outing, and has changed the mentality of the team on both sides of the ball. In his three games in charge the Redskins have fed Adrian Peterson the ball and played solid defense, only allowing three touchdowns in three games.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The season was a lost cause from Week 1 when the Redskins had Coach Gruden in charge. With 8 games left the Redskins will play tough, but their lack of offensive weapons will cost them dearly.
The only achievable target will be trying to finish above the equally woeful Giants in the NFC East. There are two potential Pro Bowl candidates, rookie WR McLaurin and a very under the radar CB Quinton Dunbar, who has shone on a defense that has underperformed considering the early round picks they have spent trying to build a competitive unit.
If they do trade Trent Williams that could at least bring a good pick in the 2020 draft.
It’s the first of 4 London games this weekend as part of the International Series, so let’s take a trip down memory lane at 5 memorable moments in the history of the game played this side of the pond.
5. Allen Hurns TD vs Buffalo
Despite 4 punts in the opening 5 drives, this game came alive shortly after as Buffalo and Jacksonville traded blows. In what was supposed to be an easier assignment than other years at “home”, the Jags raced out to a 27-3 lead. Then 28 unanswered points from Buffalo, led by EJ Manuel saw the Bills take the lead inside of 5 minutes left in the game.
Blake Bortles then escapes the pressure, rolls to his left and throws a pinpoint 31 yard bomb in to the front corner of the endzone where Allen Hurns managed to dive, touch his elbow/shoulder in bounds on the slide for one of the best touchdowns seen at Wembley stadium.
4. The tied game/Missed field goal
Washington and Cincinatti produced a decent matchup in this International Series game but it was a game full of turnovers and missed field goals.
Kirk Cousins threw for 458 yards (might take him a whole season to accomplish that this year!) in a game that was nip and tuck all game.
In overtime, Kirk Cousins drove 67 yards to the Bengals 16 yards line for Dustin Hopkins to miss the 34 yard field goal, leading to the first ever tie in London.
3. Matt Prater field goal
The Detroit Lions found themselves 21-0 down at half time in this one despite being the favourites. They were still 21-10 down going in to the 4th quarter.
Deep in the 4th, the Lions managed to score a touchdown but FAIL the 2pt conversion, leaving the score at 21-19 to the Falcons. The Falcons were unable to run the clock down and left 1:38 on the clock after pinning the Lions down inside their own 10.
Matthew Stafford drove the Lions down immediately, with big plays to Golden Tate and Theo Riddick. After a Stafford spike, there was :04 left in the game. Matt Prater steps up and misses from 43 yards. However, due to a delay of game penalty, Prater got another shot 5 yards further back. Of course, he nails it straight through and the comeback is complete.
2. Titans Tried for 2
In a strange game between the Titans and the Chargers, the trend for going for two at the death may have started here.
Down for the majority of the game, the Titans thought they found the endzone on 3rd and goal on a Mariota scramble but was overruled. On 4th and goal, they go to Luke Stocker on the run fake with 35 seconds left on the clock.
Mike Vrabel and co decided to get out with the win by trying to go for a two point conversion.
Mariota’s pass to Tajae Sharp was incomplete, but due to defensive holding, they get another go from the 1 yard line. Give it to Derrick Henry. No, don’t be silly. They try another play deep in the tomfoolery playbook to Taywan Taylor but Adrian Phillips was able to tip the pass, giving the Chargers the win.
1. Landon Calling
Couldn’t get through the article without a pun (and it’s a beauty to be fair!) but here is one for the defensive guys!
In a cold Autumn evening in Twickenham, there was a red hot play on the defensive side of the ball.
In what was a pretty poor game overall, the one highlight was with the Giants 10-3 behind, Landon Collins picking off Case Keenum at the 45 yards line and literally going through the whole Rams team into the endzone.
This helped the Giants facilitate a 17-10 win at the home of Rugby and is regarded by many as the single greatest play in London to date.
As Thursday Night Football kicks off, most teams are now a quarter way through the season. Don’t forget to check out Thursday’s podcast for more of a preview on the weekend’s games including the London game between the Bears and the Raiders. Look out for a piece by Lawrence on that game specifically in a day or too.
Back to the rest of the week 5 games….
Dak and Pack
This is usually a highlight on any gameweek in the season. Recent matchups have been thrillers including the famous #dezcaughtit game but the game on Sunday Night is actually quite an important one.
Both teams coming off a loss to NFC rivals, both teams have
been asked a question for the first time and it’ll be interesting to see how
they respond. Teams in their division have made up the ground in what initially
looked like 2 teams that should comfortably see January football.
Dallas stymied by New Orleans and Green Bay outgunned at
home vs Philadelphia, the loser of this game at AT&T stadium could end up
having to do a bit of soul searching.
A doubtful Davante Adams for Green Bay could prove pivotal,
though Rodgers usually gets production from whoever is on the field.
Defences should both enjoy decent nights but the better QB
and playcalling combination should see this one through.
A win for either team and their troubles should dissipate
for the short term, but the team taking the loss will be starting to feel the
West about to get wild
Hawks vs Rams go into their NFC West tussle on TNF with quite a lot at stake.
Not only is it a fiercely contested matchup, where a win will help with the tiebreaker that may come in to paly come week 17, but both teams will be trying to catch the currently unbeaten 49ers! The Seahawks get homefield advantage and face a Rams team that were just embarrassed at home by the Bucs and the Seahawks have been anything but convincing thus far despite being 3-1.
It’s fair to say the Rams have not reached their peaks of 2018 and the cursed Super Bowl hangover seems to be there. Todd Gurley isn’t Todd Gurley, jared Goff is quite frankly not a great QB which is epitomised by an awful 500 yards passing performance.
Chris Carson has had a case of the fumbles early on, though managed to avoid that bug last week against the Cardinals and the Seahawks defence as a unit aren’t what they were a few years ago in prime legion of boom time.
How will the Rams respond? Can the Seahawks finally put in
an assured performance? Plenty of storylines heading in to TNF and if last year’s
games are anything to go by, should be a pretty good game for those staying up
to watch it.
Daniel Jones first real test
Daniel Jones to date has faced the defences of Tampa Bay and
Washington. Pretty vanilla stuff.
Next up on the docket is a Vikings defence that have only
given up a 5th best average of 15.75 pts so far this season and a 6th
best 312.75 yards per game.
Jones through his 2 games as starter is 46/67, 561 yards 5
Total TDs and 2INT. Is that good vs the defences he has faced? Probably not,
but he is a rookie and you can’t expect him to be putting in Tom Brady type performances
(he’s already at Eli Manning level).
The same can be said for the Giants’ offensive line too. It
will certainly be interesting to see how Jones copes with the opposition this
early on in his career, especially with no Saquon Barkley for a while.
AFC South is up for grabs
For the first time since the AFL/NFL merger (and this blows
my mind), all teams within a division are all 2-2 through 4 games.
That means it’s all to play for and looking at week 5, the
Jags face Carolina, the Colts travel to Arrowhead, the Texans are at home to
the Falcons and the Titans travel to Buffalo.
As the records suggest, there’s a lot of inconsistency in the
division and it’s very hard to predict who will come away with the division
title and likely be 1 and done in the playoffs.
Houston are the front runners purely as they have the best
QB in the division (though he is getting VERY beaten up), despite Minshew Mania
taking the league by storm. Titans haven’t won the division in over a decade
and are strong on defence but aren’t putting up a great deal of points and then
the Colts are very hot and cold on both sides of the ball.
It will only take a couple of wins to be strung together by
one of these teams to steal a march on the rest. Who can achieve that though is
anyone’s guess. Houston are the bookies’ favourites at around 13/8, but in a 4
horse race and with all the other teams around 3/1, it’s a wide open affair.
Dan Quinn’s hotseat starting to burn
Matty Ice and the Falcons travel to Houston this week
currently sitting at 1-3 and you cant but help thinking, what a waste of talent
on this team. Yes, they’ve gone to the Super Bowl (anyone remember that game
for any reason?) but this team should have achieved far more than they have.
Head Coach Dan Quinn has had his ups and downs with this
team but even at this early stage, they seem up against it to make the post
season. Consequently, you have to wonder whether Quinn will be back. After
hosting the Super Bowl last year in their back yard, to not make the playoffs
was actually quite embarrassing for the owners.
The offensive line is shoddy despite having 2 first rounders
plugged in to the right hand side and Matt Ryan’s attempts through 4 games are
as high as they ever have in his career. For god’s sake, Austin Hooper is
They’ve had a hard schedule thus far against the Vikings,
Eagles, Colts and Titans but I’ve got more bad news, they’ve not even had a
divisional game yet and this is a division that will be hard to get wins from.
Talking of divisional games, how in the hell can a team not
play a divisional game until after their bye in week 9?
Regardless, you can forgive Falcons fans for thinking that it’s going to take a huge overhaul here to change their fortunes as it just seems to be the same story every year and unfortunately, their Super Bowl run seems to be the anomaly.
And Then There Were 3
“Any given Sunday” that is definitely the mantra when it comes to a teams chances in the NFL. As we pass the quarter mark of the season only 3 teams remain not knowing what a defeat tastes like.
Many would not have been surprised to see the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs as part of this exclusive club but hands up those who had the San Francisco 49ers as the only NFC undefeated team at this stage?
Of course a bye in week 4 (how ridiculous) helps anyone’s quest to stay undefeated but all 3 open up as favourites for their week 5 matchups, so will anyone be on the wrong end of a result this week?
Can The Ravens Rebound?
After 2 weeks of dominant performances against inferior opposition followed by 2 weeks of poor displays the Baltimore Ravens hit the road to face old foe the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This has been a matchup down the years with huge implications on the destination of not only the AFC North crown but also playoff and tie breaker implications. The Steelers are trending upwards after notching their first W of the season on Monday Night Football as Mason Rudloph and co get to battle the wobbling Ravens defence.
Having given up over 500 yards in back-to-back games for the first time franchise history it’s that side of the ball that the Ravens need a kick start from, regardless of how good you think Lamar Jackson is or isn’t at quarterback.
A quarterback currently wearing a walking boot, a quarterback who hasn’t played or practiced since training camp or a rookie quarterback who threw 2 picks on debut last week.
That is the dilemma facing Jay Gruden as he prepares to select his starting quarterback for week 5. Not exactly an ideal situation so fingers crossed that the schedule falls kindly……ooops.
Whomever gets the nod will have the leagues leading defence in the New England Patriots to combat. Having given up their first touchdown of the year last week it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see them pitch another shutout as they travel to the nation’s capital, a popular daily fantasy play again this week for sure.
Defences Matter Too
I make no apology for admitting I love a bruising defensive battle in today’s day and age of high scoring, heavy offence NFL.
A hard hitting, turnover hungry, physically intimidating defence sets the attitude of a team and the Buffalo Bills @ the Tennessee Titans pits 2 such units against each other. Buffalo made even Tom Brady look ordinary last week so expect Marcus Mariota to struggle to move the Titans. Buffalo is likely without Josh Allen and this represents a really tough start for Matt Barkley if that is indeed what ends up happening.
It’s a game not likely to spend much time on Scott Hanson’s read zone coverage Sunday, but expect a tight and tense battle that will likely be a 1 possession differential as the clocks hit zeroes.
A certain contributor to this regular article dubbed them the San Francisco “Phoney”Niners, this week is a true test for what they really are.
The Browns finally put it all together last weekend and head over to the West coast to close out the weeks action on Monday Night Football. This is a great barometer for both of these sides with the undefeated niners favoured at home.
It’s a bet that I will gladly take though as last week felt more of a statement than it did just a win for the men in orange and brown. The production as mentioned should continue to come from Nick Chubb on the ground but the attitude undoubtedly starts with the polarizing quarterback Baker Mayfield.
To use his own words, he “plays better with a swagger” and he is certainly portraying that as he looks to lead the Browns over 500 for the first time since Brian Hoyer was playing quarterback.
By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y), Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) and Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)
Get your binoculars out folks, it’s time to look ahead to week 3 in the NFL.
Up 2, No good?
2 weeks in and we only 9 teams are left chasing the perfect 16-0 season.
There are some familiar names there with the Chiefs, Patriots, Rams and Cowboys all sitting pretty, but heading into week 3 there are 5 other teams who have yet to taste defeat. Looking ahead to the week 3 slate of games I predict that the Ravens perfect start ends against the aforementioned Chiefs and despite the Saints QB worries I see them handling the Seahawks who have won their 2 games by just a combined 3 points so far. The 49ers, Packers and Bills however, open their matchups with great chances to all move to 3-0.
You would have had pretty good odds on these teams all being undefeated after 3 weeks and maybe it’s just a reminder that sometimes you have to look past stats because I’m not confident that any of those teams are particularly good.
The $84 Million Mistake
What is up with Kirk Cousins?
After a week 1 performance where he threw for less than 100 yards on just 10 pass attempts, he was nothing short of woeful in week 2. After throwing 2 interceptions and fumbling twice against the Packers the pressure is on for a bounceback performance against the Raiders. Cousins has even admitted himself that if he continues to play so poorly he will not stay the starting quarterback for much longer. That seems unlikely though considering he is guaranteed $60 million over this year and next as the only way out of that contract is to find a trading partner.
Just checking the market for an overpaid below average quarterback…….yea, not that hot.
The Vikings need to continue to pound the rock and wish away the next 15 months until they can stop overpaying at the QB position.
Primetime in Cleveland
The Browns took care of business on MNF but it’s safe to say that the level of competition increases quite dramatically for SNF.
If you want an indicator of how bad the Browns have been in recent times, Sunday will mark their 1st appearance on Sunday Night Football for 11 years. The home opener against Tennessee saw the hyped up Browns completely fall flat ahead of high expectations and although expectations for Sunday are somewhat tempered in comparison they will not want to put on a show in the national spotlight. It’s a tough assignment against an impressive Rams team however, and Aaron Donald will be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on the Cleveland offensive line.
It could be a rough night for Baker Mayfield and company for the 2nd time in 3 weeks or could it be the offseason hype begins to be released on the biggest of regular season stages?
Game of Jones
Here we go, first NFL start for Quaterback Daniel Jones, the
#6 overall pick out of Duke in the 2019 draft.
Much scrutiny over the offseason on the selection and now it’s
time to see whether or not the pick was justified.
Can the Jones be a competent enough QB at this early stage?
He performed well in his pre-season action; on 34 passes he
had416 yards at a 85.3% completion percentage, 2TDs and 0 INTs. That’s even
with the wide receivers at his disposal.
The boy has some wheels and is actually and under the radar
athlete, something which may help unlock a bit more production out of this
offence that is leaning so heavily on Saquon Barkley, their 2nd overall
pick in 2018. But we don’t need to talk about that.
This is probably the end of the road for Eli Manning, now
being benched for the second time after the Geno Smith debacle in 2018. The 2
time Super Bowl winner, with a current
starting W/L record of 116-116, will probably not see the field unless there is
an injury to Jones.
Saints or Sinners
Talking of QB changes, there will be one in New Orleans in
week 3. Of course, not by choice. Drew Brees right thumb got Donald’d and will
now miss the immediate future.
We mentioned in our takeaways about Teddy B’s offseason
decision bearing fruits, but now it’s time to put up or shut up for the 2014 32nd
overall QB out of Louisville.
Not an easy game to start with as the Saints travel to Century
Link field to face the 12 and then the Saints have a home game to face the red
hot Cowboys in Week 4.
Bridgewater needs to lean on Kamara and Thomas, as the
saints have done in recent times and try and get out of the stretch without Brees
at .500 in order to stay in contention.
Myles better than anyone else
The Cleveland Browns have been known to make some truly godawful first round draft picks, but this has changed over the past two seasons with some big names who are helping transform a franchise from a Sports Illustrated side note to a front cover pin-up.
Part of that turnaround is thanks to 2017 number one pick Myles Garrett, who to date has recorded 5 sacks in two 2019 games. If he keeps up this phenomenal pace he could reach a record-setting 25 sacks in a season. Garrett joined Redskins defender Ryan Kerrigan to pay tribute to the WWE legend Shaun ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Michaels with his post sack pose. Garrett may be a wrestling fan, but the XFL can only dream they will attract a defensive superstar that performs at 10% of the rate of Garrett.
NFL legend Lawrence Taylor was a participant in a WrestleMania back in day, and who would put it past the chiselled torso of Garrett one day stepping inside the ring.
Frank-ly I’m speechless
There is a scene in Rocky IV when late on in the fight a deflated Ivan Drago turns to his trainers and says: ‘He’s not human, He’s like a piece of iron.” Quite an apt description of Buffalo Bills running-back Frank Gore, who at 36 is still churning out fantasy relevant performances.
His 19 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown (his first since the end of 2017) in week 2 against the Giants proved that Gore will actually out-live cockroaches if there was a nuclear holocaust tomorrow. 14,836 yards rushing from someone who was drafted with a reputation for being fragile is remarkable.
Gore is going to be a solid fantasy waiver wire pickup, as he is on a team that likes to run the ball, and has teams dedicating time using a spy to cover Josh Allen. Gore can realistically top 75 yards against the Bengals in week 3. The single most awe-inspiring stat we have to ponder though is, that with 434 more yards, this season he will pass Barry Sanders, just stop to think about that.
Is overtime a crime?
When you are in an era where a current NFL head coach is nicknamed ‘Riverboat’ then you know that teams are taking more risks than they used to.
Week 2 saw two games take more twists and turns than Jeremy Wade trying to reel in an arapaima. Two games in particular saw both head coaches gamble (in one case due to a penalty) and go for two point conversions to take the lead in games:
One worked (Flacco to Sanders) and one didn’t (Fournette running in quicksand) but in both cases an extra-point would have tied the game.
We know that the extra-point is no longer automatic, but it appears there is a trend to try and kill games off early without going for a fifth quarter. With speculation rife that the NFL move to an 18 game regular season the chips-in attitude will get even greater. Overtime is a great spectacle and can bring some truly memorable plays.
The trend by coaches to try and end a game in regulation in week 2 may come back to bite them. In the case of Jaguars head-coach Doug Marrone it could be a decision that costs him his job.
What a lovely Spread!
There have only been 11 occasions in recent times where an NFL team is favoured by 20 or more points against the spread. Those teams are 2-9 in terms of covering. Beware if you are betting these games!
The Cowboys face the Dolphins at home, who were whooped by
New England by 43points in week 2 and are now even more talent poor after the
exit of their 2019 1st round pick, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
New England have another opportunity to whoop another
division rival after beating the Dolphins as the Jets come to town and are down to their 3rd
string signal caller.
Regardless, you should be able to get through your survivor and last man standing picks this week comfortably with both Dallas and New England.
So there you have it folks, week 3 is on the horizon and you are all filled in on the latest stories making the headlines. If you enjoy these articles or if there is something you think we can improve on, we’d love to hear it so let us know via DM @full10yards on Twitter or using the contact form on the website.
Sailing into Super Bowl Sunday – By Lawrence Vos – (@NFLFanInEngland)
I was 13 when I was transported into a magical world of razzmatazz and shoulder pads and helmets as it was the time I watched my first ever Super Bowl. I was not alone, my viewing friend was my gerbil ‘Bodkin’ who scratched and gnawed on a cardboard toilet roll tube as I witnessed the New York Giants take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI in 1987. I had a tray with a bag of peanut M&Ms lined up around the edge, and a can of regular Pepsi. It was the start of a tradition I followed for 30 years before giving up chocolate and pop in 2017.
I don’t have more than a handful of memories from the game as I regretfully fell asleep at some point in the second quarter, recalling the game was on a knife-edge and woke up in the fourth with the Giants having a significant lead. Turns out it was one of only two Super Bowls I have watched and fallen asleep in, the other being Super Bowl XXIX another 49ers stampede, this time against the San Diego Chargers.
The few players I remember are Mark Bavaro the Giants tight-end and Phil McConkey the Giants wideout. I have memories of their eye black contrasting against their pink skin. I’m also convinced it was McConkey’s fourth quarter touchdown that woke me up. Turns out McConkey is an incredible story of his own.
He was a 27 year-old NFL rookie having served four years in the Navy. He got his shot with the Giants after Bill Belichick’s dad, Steve, an offensive coach and scout for the Midshipmen, recommended McConkey to his son who had recently been promoted to defensive coordinator at the Giants.
It turns out that even aged 13 Bill Belichick had an influence over my football memories. I remember the grandness of the National Anthem being sung (but had no recollection it was sung by Neil Diamond) and the balloons and the fact the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
I know I had school in the morning and I was fine, I was buzzing having watched my first ever live NFL game on quite a bulky TV set that was surrounded by a wooden exterior. Back then where I lived we hadn’t even had Channel 4 that long, and even that was quite novel. Just imagine it, the internet didn’t exist, there was no such thing as fantasy football, no HD, no mobile phones. Just Phil Simms and his 88% completion rate.