An Actual Must See Game In The NFC East?
I’ve said for many years now that the NFC East is a Jekyll and Hyde division. I never know which version of the four teams will show up in a given week. Dare I say that may be changing now with the way the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles have been playing this year. For Dallas they are winning games without their star quarterback Dak Prescott. Backup QB Cooper Rush has been solid and the Cowboys’ defense has been among the best in the league. Their dominance was on full display against the Los Angeles Rams this past week, but their biggest test will come against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Not to mention the New York Giants are 4-1, but I’m not quite there with saying they’re contenders just yet. Assuming the Cowboys-Eagles matchup next week lives up to the hype, this will shape the hierarchy for the NFC the rest of the season.
The Game With No Highlights
Every once in a while there is a football game that just doesn’t even get to the level of being watchable. For my sake I wasn’t able to watch this game live, but the thought I had before it started was that it probably wasn’t going to be worth watching. This was the Thursday night game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. So far this season both teams have had stagnant offenses and defenses that have kept them in games they had no business being in nor winning in the first place. If you watch the highlights (I use that term loosely) of this game on the NFL’s YouTube page, the video is 13 minutes long. How the hell did they find 13 minutes of highlights for this game? Yeah, it went to overtime, but only because Denver QB Russell Wilson decided to throw an impromptu interception late in the game when it wasn’t necessary to throw the ball with the Colts having no timeouts to stop the clock. Indianapolis ties the game to force an overtime and in all seriousness this game should have ended as a tie. No one deserved a win. Yet, the Broncos allowed a field goal and actually got to within the Colts 10-yard line where they just needed one yard to get a first down. But Wilson in all his wisdom decides to throw the ball for the end zone to a receiver who is blanketed by the defender. Clearly the game of football is being diluted and there are many factors for why this is the case. In the short term this game is a prime example of why this is becoming more frequent and frustrating to watch at the same time.
The First To Fall
The now former head coach of the Carolina Panthers Matt Rhule has been fired after their latest loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers. He was widely assumed to be the first head coach to lose his job before the season even began and now that has come true. When the Panthers owner David Tepper hired him to a 7-year and over $60 million dollar contract in 2020 I definitely had an eyebrow raised at the time. There was no denying his success as a head coach in college at Temple and Baylor. But would it translate to the NFL? His first season was a 5-11 record with Teddy Bridgewater as the primary quarterback. Last season Carolina had a 5-12 record with Sam Darnold as the primary quarterback, but at one point late in the season he went with a two-QB system adding Cam Newton to the fold. It was a disaster. Now this year they traded for Baker Mayfield and one would think that the third time would be the charm for this quarterback carousel. It has not benefited the Panthers nor Rhule who could not get this ship steered in the winning direction. What this ultimately means is that Carolina needs to shore up that quarterback position for the next decade plus. Yes, they did draft Matt Corral in the 3rd round this last year, but is he the guy for the next head coach? They missed out on getting either Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert in 2020, but could have drafted Jalen Hurts who didn’t get taken until the second round. They passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones in 2021. I’m not saying there would be success, but you wouldn’t be having this weird carousel that has ended up imploding on them. Steve Wilks has been named the interim head coach and has been a head coach before with his lone season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. That was a 3-13 year, but got the raw end of the deal. If Carolina manages to turn this around for a salvageable season, maybe Wilks stays on permanently. However, they’ll have trouble doing that with Mayfield having sprained his ankle and Sam Darnold no where near returning from injury. This could get ugly and I don’t expect that their fan base is looking forward to this.