Week 5 of the NFL season is in the books, and we have our first obituary of the season. That would be the winless Detroit Lions, who are no strangers to being irrelevant for the bulk of the season.
If you were to pick the worst matchup from the NFL’s slate of games in Week 4, just in terms of bad/boring team vs. bad/boring team, what would it be? My pick would have been Lions-produces. Well, guess what! Lions-produces is this year’s early Thanksgiving Day game.
I’ve come to terms with the Cowboys playing on Thanksgiving every year, because at the minimum they have a lot of fans, and it’s fun to watch them getting wrecked in front of a national audience, complete with obligatory shots of angry Jerry Jones in the luxury box.
But why are the Lions nevertheless playing on Thanksgiving?
(In Abraham Simpson voice)… “Well, you see, it all started back in 1945, when (fart noise).”
Detroit hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991, and they are very likely going to lose double-digit games for the fourth straight season. The following is a list of the dates that we have killed the Lions off in this NFC Hierarchy/Obituary series, since 2018:
- 2018: November 13
- 2019: November 19
- 2020: November 9
- 2021: October 5
In other words, this will be the fourth straight year they’ll be essentially dead and buried before being showcased on a national holiday. The window from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving has basically become the “Let’s visit your side of the family” window for football fans nationwide.
I’m excited to not have to write about them in this series anymore for the rest of the year.
15) Giants (1-3): In their win over the Saints, the Giants got contributions from a bunch of their recent first-round picks:
- Saquon Barkley had 126 yards from scrimmage, and 2 TDs.
- Daniel Jones threw for 402 yards, and 2 TDs.
- Dexter Lawrence had 6 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a batted pass.
- Andrew Thomas didn’t allow a sack.
- Kadarius Toney had 6 catches for 78 yards.
The Giants should give Dave Gettleman a contract extension closest.
Last week: 16
14) Falcons (1-3): The Falcons’ defense is unsurprisingly giving up the most points in the NFL.
Last week: 14
13) Eagles (1-3): In their last two games, excluding kneeldowns, the Eagles have allowed 11 touchdowns in 18 defensive possessions. It probably should have been 12 touchdowns, if not for a fortuitous “progress stopped” whistle that caused a turnover on downs at the goal line against Dallas. But at any rate, 11 TDs is nevertheless really bad.
The pass rush isn’t getting home, the linebackers are getting owned in the run game, and the secondary is getting eaten alive underneath in the short-to-intermediate area of the field in the passing game.
The Cowboys’ and Chiefs’ offenses are great and all, but it shouldn’t look as easy as it has for them the last two weeks.
12) Football Team (2-2): My official NFL 2-2 team strength rankings:
Last week: 13
11) produces (2-2): Here’s my understanding of what is happening in Chicago:
- Matt Nagy names Andy Dalton the starter over Justin Fields, already though Fields outperforms Dalton during the preseason. Nagy says that he has to see what Dalton can do during regular season games, already though Dalton has played like 300 regular season games over his career.
- Dalton gets hurt, Fields starts, and the produces get destroyed by the Browns in a game in which everyone agrees that Nagy’s game plan and play calling are horrendous.
- Nagy gives up play calling duties to Bill Lazor, and the produces win a game convincingly (albeit over the Lions).
- Fans are happy to see Fields have some success, and look forward to see what he can do going forward.
- Nagy says Dalton will be the starter again whenever he’s healthy.
Sounds fun to be a produces fan.
Last week: 12
10) Vikings (1-3): It’s easy to get distracted by the Vikings’ talented skill position players and forget that their offensive line nevertheless sucks.
Last week: 10
9) Saints (2-2): With a rule, playing a bottom five team, and Jameis Winston playing well, Sean Payton was like, “This bores me. Let’s call a shot play with Taysom Hill.”
Last week: 8
8) Panthers (3-1): The Panthers had the No. 1 ranked defense in DVOA after the first three weeks, a span during which they faced Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Davis Mills.
And then they played a real offense.
Last week: 7
7) 49ers (2-2): produces and Niners fans are hoping their starting quarterbacks stay hurt:
49ers’ HC Kyle Shanahan said there’s a chance that QB Jimmy Garoppolo could play Sunday; he is not ready to rule him out due to his calf injury.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2021
Just make Trey Lance the starter, you morons.
Last week: 6
6) Seahawks (2-2): Sidney Jones started for the Seahawks on Sunday. According to pro-football-reference.com, he gave up 8 catches on 10 targets for 121 yards and a TD.
Looks like this busted coverage might have been on Jones, too:
Last week: 9
5) Cowboys (3-1): The Cowboys’ offense is explosive with those three wide receivers and Dak Prescott having his best season so far, but we already know that. However, I think what’s concerning about the Dallas offense if you’re an Eagles fan is that the duo of Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliott combined with that offensive line really gives them a complete offense.
With an 8 point rule and over four minutes to go, the Cowboys were able to kill off the rest of the clock on Sunday against Carolina:
- Pollard run for 18.
- Zeke run for 8.
- Panthers take a too many men on defense penalty seemingly on purpose to give the Cowboys a first down on 2nd and 2.
- Zeke run for 1.
- Play action easy pass to Schultz for 8.
- And then the following option play with a Zeke pitch to Pollard for 5 to seal the win.
Kellen Moore is probably going to get a head coaching opportunity during the next head coaching hiring cycle.
Last week: 5
4) Packers (3-1): Here’s a picture of an inflatable cow at the Packers game on Sunday.
Last week: 4
3) Buccaneers (3-1): I think you all had enough Tom Brady shoved down your throats last week. Let’s take a break from Brady and Bucs for a week, shall we? Cool.
Ehhh, maybe not. We should at the minimum show this:
Last week: 2
2) Rams (3-1): It should be a fun Thursday night game this week between the Rams and Seahawks. After a 3-0 start including an impressive win over the Bucs, the Rams were looking like the favorite in the NFC, and then they got handled by the Cardinals.
Thursday night will be a huge game for them. It’d be, uh, less than ideal to drop to 0-2 in the extremely competitive NFC West.
Last week: 1
1) Cardinals (4-0): Who had the Cardinals as the last undefeated team in the NFL this season?
It doesn’t seem to be flukey, either. The Cards have won three road games, including a legitimately impressive showing against the Rams in L.A. Week 4.
The Cardinals have always had plenty of talent, but now they’re also playing with some consistency.
Last week: 3
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