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For the moment, another media idol has fallen. The Philadelphia Eagles as ‘the best team in football’ narrative took a hit…probably worse then we’re all considering.
I don’t want to make a big deal out of one game. Anything can happen in one game, but consider two things here:
1: The Eagles really don’t have a quality win in their books, per se. Washington? Beat them a few weeks ago when the Redskins were crushed with injuries. Got to thump Denver when they were in freefall…same for their Dallas win. They were scuffling to hang with Carolina and then Luke Kuechly got hurt in-game and the Eagles turned it on. They beat the Chargers before anyone cared about the Chargers…and it was a win by a missed FG in the end.
The Eagles are good but they’ve had nearly the perfect congruence of circumstances to push them to 10-2. They should be more of an 8-4 team, in my book. Still, really good but not (as they’ve been mislabeled) ‘the best team in football’…a la they Kansas City hype. The Eagles are better than Kansas City (but lost to them earlier this year when they caught the Chiefs at the wrong time).
2: If the Eagles were to be considered a great team, this was a game that Philadelphia should have won…or, at a minimum, lost by fluky circumstances. Seattle has a decimated secondary. They are on their 5th-string RB. They have a discombobulated O-Line.
Instead of handling Seattle, as Atlanta and Washington did the past few weeks, and Arizona and SF played toe-to-toe with…Philly was beaten early by Seattle and were never allowed to get into the game. Cornerbacks who should not be starting in the NFL mostly shut down MVP/media QB god Carson Wentz. I contrast that with Jared Goff who took it at Seattle earlier this year, and it took 5 turnovers, most of them flukes for LAR to barely lose…plus dropping a game-winning TD at the end. The Rams outplaying Seattle in every way back when Seattle had all their secondary.
It’s cheap of me to cherry pick those two Seattle games and compare them for PHI v. LAR, but I have not been unclear this year – I don’t buy Philly as a ‘best in class’ team. Playoff team? Yes. Better than Dallas when Dallas is at full strength? I don’t think so – that’s my opinion of watching these teams…with some bias that I’ve had Dallas as ‘best in class’ all season (before the chaos struck).
Philly still wins the NFC East, but will they get the #1 seed in the NFC? Probably, not. If they lose to the Rams this week, the Eagles will fall to 10-3 and could go 12-4 as their finish. The Saints are a game behind. Minnesota has a number of quality wins at 10-2 and an easy schedule to finish. Minnesota is potentially going to 14-2/13-3…they are the likely #1 seed. If the Rams beat Philly this week they jump to 10-3 and hold a tie-breaker over Philly. The Rams project to finish 12-4/13-3 if they beat Philly.
What very well could happen…
Philadelphia loses this week, then wins their next two (NYG, OAK) and has Week 17 with full-strength (maybe) Dallas. The Cowboys needing to win to make the playoffs. If Dallas wins Week 17 over Philly…that could throw Philly to a #3 seed where they would face…Dallas, again, in the playoffs
If Philly beats the Rams this week…Philly will be a #1-2 seed and the Rams are in-line to face Dallas/Seattle in the playoffs.
Seattle just jumped back into the playoff conversation stronger with this win…actually, they are back in the NFC West title hope again. I thought Seattle was about to lose four in a row…they just won the first of those four. I still think Seattle is on its way to 9-7 and not the NFC West title, and maybe the last playoff spot. This win was a huge step in that direction.
Who wants to take on a #6 seed Seattle/Russell Wilson in the playoffs? If it’s not Seattle, it might be fully-loaded Dallas…if not them then shocking Aaron Rodgers return Green Bay? You don’t want to be the #3 seed in the NFC playoffs this season, I have a feeling.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- You can’t walk away from this game not believe Russell Wilson (20-31 for 227 yards, 3 TD/0 INT) is the league MVP over Carson Wentz (29-45 for 348 yards, 1 TD/1 INT).
If you thought the Dallas-Philly matchup exposed Wentz as better than Dak…then it’s obvious here – Wilson is better than Wentz. Beat him at his own game…Wilson’s mobile ways are just ‘that’ much more jaw-dropping than Wentz…and I’m not trying to pick at Wentz. I just think Wilson is the 2nd best QB in the league when you take everything into consideration…arm, mind, mobility, leadership, ability, experience. Better than current Brady all things being equal (but Brady has the much better organization around him). Aaron Rodgers is the best NFL QB today…Russell 2nd.
I’m not downing Wentz because it was watching this comparison of the two that helped me gain more respect for Wentz (something I seem to be doing the past 3-4 weeks…I’m late to the party). Wentz made some escape-and-throw-on-the-run plays that were out of this world. Wentz had the better ‘wow’ plays…1-2 of them, but Wilson gave you more and more ‘how did he do that?’ plays. When it mattered – Wilson was accurate and poised, and Wentz was inaccurate deep and a little jumpy. Wentz has a fatal flaw – downfield throwing…it’s his weakness, and every QB has a weakness…except maybe Rodgers (his only weakness if Mike McCarthy). When Wentz was kinda contained to the pocket and had big throws to make -- he missed a few…and it cost opportunity.
I’m ‘down’ with Wentz now. I’m not the big detractor I was. I can see – he has trouble from the pocket medium/deep but makes up for that in spades with his escapability and playmaking ability. QBs who aren’t good from the pocket are not my cup of tea. I don’t think they can be consistently great in the NFL. Great moments. Great stretches but not elite of the elites. Cam Newton is an example – he can do things no other QB can do with his size and running ability. He’s an awful passer 50% of the time, but he makes up for that as a razzle-dazzle, mobile playmaker. MVP one year and ‘what the heck?’ the next.
Carson Wentz is the better Cam Newton…and that means he’s going to be great in the NFL. I just don’t think he’ll be sustainably elite, but we’ll see. I think his arm is too weak from the pocket (with a troublesome hitch), and too inaccurate from the pocket…but that’s nitpicking a comparison of him and Brady, Rodgers, etc.
Of the two, I’d take Russell Wilson over Wentzfor next week in fantasy, and my NFL team. Long-term/dynasty, I’m not sure. Assuming Pete Carroll and his awful O-C aren’t going anywhere, then it’s a coin toss.
-- I might have undersold/been wrong about how good Carson Wentz is in the NFL, but was I right about Mike Davis (16-64-0, 4-37-0/4)? If you watched this game, you know I’m very right.
You also would then have to ask…how could every NFL team ignore this guy sitting on the Seahawks practice squad all season? Did anyone watch/scout the preseason in the NFL? A free pick-up for any team – like…instead Buffalo is getting Travaris Cadet off the streets, and Dallas held Darren McFadden, and Arizona traded for Adrian Peterson, and the Chargers promoted Andre Williams at one point, and…how about Seattle? The worst RB situation in the league – and they answer is working with them every week!!
Mike Davis clearly the best RB Seattle possesses, and kudos to them for not dipping their toe in the water on it…Davis started the first week he was called up, and then here…after a week off with injury. Obviously, Seattle sees ‘it’ now.
Davis is also better than Chris Carson.
Hopefully, you followed us all preseason and knew all this and secured Davis last week (or in the preseason in deep dynasty) in order to be ready from here on in. You have a legit RB2 week-to-week the rest of the season here.
-- I probably write this every week, but I can’t help…sometimes I’m in love with myself on contrarian predictions gone smashingly ‘right’… But was I right about Jay Ajayi (9-35-0, 3-11-0/4) or was I right?
When this deal happened EVERY non-Miami fan and highly-paid football analysts thought this was the deal of the century for Philly...and guess what? The Eagles are learning what Miami knew when they tossed them that hot potato – Ajayi sucks and is a malcontent. The off-field stuff is already started with Ajayi mad about playing time. I wouldn’t be shocked if Philly just outright cut him before the playoffs…his presence is forcing them to use him and he is costing them in negative runs and drops.
Corey Clement (3-7-0, 3-33-0/3) may end up mattering Weeks 15-16…he’s their best all-around RB right now.
But rule #1 of Philly RB Fight Club – “Don’t have Philly RBs for fantasy with Doug Pederson coaching.”
-- Zach Ertz (2-24-0/4) got hurt in this game Trey Burton (4-42-0/7) finished it out.
For my money, Burton is better than Ertz, but that’s just me. Ertz is established. However, if Ertz is down/out, Trey Burton is going to be a TE1 candidate this week. He’s a Jordan Reed-like TE…and not in the ‘he catches passes’ way – I mean…catches passes, highly athletic for the position, not super tall but tall enough, and can block.
Do you have Ertz and a crappy/sketchy TE2…and you’re going to the playoffs? Burton as a ‘handcuff’ is worth considering…the only TE combo I can think of worth handcuffing because of the backup TEs talent.
-- I thought Paul Richardson (2-8-0/4) was going to be in-line for a nice game as the Eagles focused on Baldwin-Graham. Wilson spread the ball around and no one was off the charts…but PRich was the least impressive (stat line wise) of all. I’m still a fan of his opportunity in this offense, but fading on him a bit…and now he likely gets shutout some by the Jags this week.
This sounded like a great idea last week but it’s not looking so good.
-- No one confuses me more than Nelson Agholor (7-141-1/12). God bless him, he’s one of the worst technicians at WR in the league and not even that great of an athlete…yet, every time I turn around he’s the one catching the Wentz ducked and escaped five hits desperation throws.
Agholor has been mostly garbage the last few weeks, and all season…but sprinkles in those ‘lucky’ TDs to make himself viable. People respecting/revering Agholor…and Tyrell Williams cannot get the time of day…it drive me nuts.
-- Anytime I’m watching a game live and an athlete just jumps off the screen at me, it’s rare…and I always make note of it. Several times in this game, I saw a defender come flying in for a tremendous tackle with such closing speed and I’d exclaim “Who the hell was that?” And it was always Mychal Kendricks (9 tackles, 1 TFL). He’s so good…been good since day one but screwed over by ever-changing Eagles coaches. He’ll make them regret it in free agency.
That’s why I’m not a big Eagles fan from watching how they’re run by the GM and coaches…
Not using Mychal Kendricks until injury forced it.
Trading for Jay Ajayi.
Just now paying big bucks to Alshon Jeffrey…they’ll live to regret that. No need for that in this era.
The dicey decisions are going to catch up to them. I don’t think they can hold a candle to what the Dallas Cowboys are building.
-- Bradley McDougald (12 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PDs) gets better every week filling in for Kam Chancellor. 7.0 tackles, 0.60 PDs per game the past five games.
Snap Counts of Interest…
31 = Ajayi
28 = Clement
14 = Blount
52 = Richardson
43 = Baldwin
29 = Lockett
45 = Mike Davis
09 = McKissic