We made it to week 5, which is more than can be said for some head coaches in the NFL, but what overreactions are fans having at this point?
We’ve made it through five weeks by the skin of our teeth. By now, most teams know where they stand. Some have shed their head coaches in hope that a mid-season shake-up breathes life into their franchises, and others are settling with what they have, praying that things turn around all by themselves.
Good franchises stay good, and bad franchises get worse. With that in mind, let’s turn to some of the storylines we are overreacting to after week 5.
I’ll get this one out of the way early. For the 2nd time this season, Covid-19 has prompted a game to be cancelled and moved to later in the season. As well as this, the Bills and Titans played the first Tuesday night football game since 1946. This has led to a whole host of reschedules that will affect a number of teams in the coming weeks.
This probably isn’t the last time Covid-19 will have an impact on the NFL season. However, many parts of the world are seeing a resurgence in cases, with the UK now implementing new lockdown measures. It is amazing that we have had a season at all, so now we have to have faith in the powers that be in the NFL to keep players safe and ensure that this season goes the distance.
The Jags Really Are Tanking?
In lighter news, the Jacksonville Jaguars might actually be tanking. It doesn’t appear to be by design, as they won their first game and almost beat the Titans in week 2. Since then, however, it has been very poor. The play-calling on Sunday was questionable at best (check out the James Robinson trick play disaster if you haven’t already). The Jaguars are the only team in NFL history to lose three consecutive games to winless teams. They are the ultimate team to face if you are in a slump, and they face the struggling Matt Patricia this coming week. If Dan Quinn’s Falcons had have played the Jaguars last week, he might still have a job.
This is just a little bit of an overreaction. After all, Jacksonville does have a win, which is more than can be said for Atlanta and the two New York franchises. And, like many, the Jags have been plagued by injuries, with most of these coming on a defence that was already thin to begin with. Moreover, four different kickers have donned boots for them this season, with little success and plenty of injuries between them. Expect Jacksonville to be more competitive than they have been the past few weeks, but don’t expect them to win many more.
Panthers Fur Real?
With other big cats struggling, the Panthers are purring. Three wins in a row and McCaffrey isn’t even playing! The unlikely combo of Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Davis, and Robby Anderson are playing very well in September and October. Many will point to the coaching talent of Matt Rhule as a reason for their success. It appears as though the Falcons thought so as they cleaned house following a loss to the Panthers on Sunday.
We shouldn’t speak too soon with the new regime in Carolina as things can change very quickly. It’s impossible to base too much on a small sample size. Many head coaching jobs started off with the same promise only to end up going bad. For now, the signs are good for Matt Rhule and the Panthers.
Browns Back in the Big Time?
Speaking of new head coaches, how about Kevin Stefanski and the Cleveland Browns? It is easy to talk about the talent that the Browns have at their disposal as a reason for their recent winning form, but that talent hasn’t amounted to much in the past. With much the same cast of characters last year, the Browns slumped to a 6-10 record. This year they are above .500 for the first time since 2014, and now stand a real chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2002. A win against a strong Colts side this past weekend shows that they aren’t the same old team.
That being said, Browns fans will be wary. They don’t want their team to make the same mistakes they have before. We are less than a year removed from Myles Garrett marring a big win against the Steelers with a moment of madness, and Baker Mayfield is still appearing in more commercials than TD celebrations. For a franchise that has been the butt of many jokes over the years, I hope they can stay the course this season.
Life Without Dak
I have to mention Dak Prescott and the reactions that the Cowboys fans must be having. Dak was incredible during the first four and a half weeks and his injury will be a huge loss for the Dallas offence. It was a horrible injury and thought has to go out to Dak Prescott, playing in a contract year with hopes of becoming one of the highest-paid players in the sport. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.
Cowboys fans will be left wondering if their season is over too. More often than not, a major injury to a quarterback derails playoff aspirations. But let’s not overreact. Dallas is in the worst division in football. The NFC East is up for grabs, and no one seems to want it. Their stiffest competition will come from Philadelphia, but the Eagles are riddled with injuries as well. If Andy Dalton can keep this offence moving, they might still stand a chance.
Foles is Brady’s Kryptonite?
Fans of Tom Brady look away now. Nick Foles didn’t exactly set the world alight last week against the Colts, or last season with the Jaguars for that matter. Nevertheless, the former Super Bowl MVP seems to have something over future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. On paper, Brady is a better QB than Foles and the Buccaneers are a better team than the Bears. Yet this didn’t stop Foles and the Bears from besting the Bucs on Thursday Night Football. Moreover, Brady even seemed to lose track of downs on his potential game-winning drive, as he gestured to the officials following a 4th down incompletion believing he had one more down left. Very odd for someone so experienced.
Of course, we all remember Foles Super Bowl performance against Brady and the Patriots, when the Eagles backup QB led his team to a shock upset over the dominant dynasty of New England. Truly a fantastic and memorable night, and one that seems to play on Brady’s mind even now. Luckily for him, he doesn’t have many losses to keep him up at night.
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