Here we go, hot off the presses following the Patriots’ 27-13 win over the Cardinals on Monday Night Football:
Okay, the Eagles might really be in the Death Star tier. Now 12-1, they appear to be getting better, actually, which is kind of rare when it comes to these teams that have extremely dominant regular seasons. I remember with the 2007 Patriots, they started out just blowing everyone away, and then as the season went on, their games were closer and closer. It became harder for them to win games as the season went along; they weren’t as dominant at the end of the season as they were at the beginning.
I’m not saying the Eagles of 2022 are on that 2007 Patriots level, but what I’m saying here is that they’re getting more dominant as the season goes on, not less. If you prefer a different example, then the 2020 Steelers, who started out 11-0 and then finished 12-4–they basically ran out of gas towards the end of the regular season. This Eagles team is the opposite: it feels like they’re better now than they were at the beginning of the season.
Also, Miles Sanders just passed the 1,000 yard mark on the season. He is now 5th in the league in rushing yards behind Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley–and he has a lot fewer carries than any of those guys. Sanders is tied for 3rd in the league in rushing yards per attempt among running backs at 5.2 (it’s a 5-way tie between Sanders, Josh Jacobs, Aaron Jones, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Wilson Jr). The only guys ahead of him are Khalil Herbert (6.0) and Tony Pollard (5.7). Miles Sanders is having a phenomenal season–he also has 11 rushing TDs, which is tied for 3rd in the league and behind only Jamaal Williams (14) and Nick Chubb (12). Everyone is raving about Jalen Hurts and the Eagles passing attack, but Miles Sanders has quietly been one of the best running backs in the league.
However, I just don’t think I’ll be able to put this Eagles team up into the Death Star tier this season no matter what they do. They just don’t have enough history, there isn’t a track record of success with this bunch that I can point to and say, “I trust them in the playoffs.” They are still a major question mark when it comes to the postseason.
I guess that covers the Eagles enough, so let’s move on to the other 31 teams, all described in one sentence.
Chiefs: How the hell did they almost lose to the Broncos without Russell Wilson?
Bengals: Joey Burrow doesn’t give a fuck about a Super Bowl hangover.
49ers: I’m stuck between “They’re actually better with Purdy” and “How long until the league gets the book on Purdy and he comes crashing down to earth?”
Bills: People have kind of abandoned the Bills bandwagon but two of their three losses were very close against division rivals, and the third was an impossibly crazy game against the Vikings where Minnesota needed like three actual miracles to win. The name of the game here is just keeping pace with the Chiefs to secure home field advantage and the bye in the playoffs; Buffalo currently has it right now with both teams at 10-3, but they need to make sure they hold on to it.
Vikings: The Lions are a good team but man, the Vikings’ pass defense is TERRIBLE.
Cowboys: Losing a starting offensive linemen for the year, almost getting beat by the Texans at home… not great.
Dolphins: I’m not going to panic here; they lost to two good teams on the road on this California road trip.
Chargers: Justin Herbert had an awesome game, but damnit Joe Lombardi has turned him into a checkdown merchant–and they don’t have a real running game, it’s just dump-offs to Ekeler.
Ravens: This team is in rough shape without Lamar… but they’re winning games!
Jets: Admirable effort by Mike White after getting basically broken in half by Matt Milano, but this Jets team is very limited.
Giants: The clock has struck midnight on Cinderella.
Seahawks: I think the clock has struck midnight on Pacific Northwest Cinderella, too.
Commanders: Bye week.
Lions: The Lions are a good team now and they just got Jameson Williams, who is probably going to turn into one of the best deep threats in the league very soon here, back–look out, folks.
Panthers: Nobody wants to play this team right now; they are playing hard for Steve Wilks and they have nothing to lose.
Jaguars: Don’t look now, but Trevor Lawrence is the real deal.
Patriots: This was true at any point over the past three seasons, but there are lot of people out there that completely fail to recognize it: it is a testament to how great a coach Bill Belichick is that this Patriots team is as competitive as it is given that they only have like two good players (Matthew Judon and Rhamondre Stevenson).
Falcons: bye week.
Colts: bye week.
Titans: They looked pretty good to start the season, but it feels like the wheels are falling off the bus now.
Browns: Man, DeShaun Watson looks pretty damn rusty, although he did have a few flashes of brilliance.
Bucs: This team BLOWS and Brady is outta there.
Cardinals: Appears Kyler has a torn ACL; just brutal, he probably won’t even be back to start the season next year.
Steelers: I know you lost Pickett, but the Ravens didn’t have Lamar and you lost to them at home, 16-14; looks like Tomlin is about to have his first losing season ever.
Bears: The sweet spot would be to play hard, lose close games, but Justin Fields keeps on improving, and your reward will be either Will Anderson or Jalen Carter (although if Fields keeps improving, it will be harder and harder to lose games).
Broncos: Did Nathaniel Hackett’s new goatee spark this team?
Rams: It’s a good thing that Baker appears to be a decent football player once again, as the Rams don’t have a draft pick.
Packers: Bye week.
Saints: Bye week.
Raiders: I like this Raiders team individually; they have so many likable players–unfortunately as a group, they’re not great.
Texans: At least they’re still fighting hard.
This last part is an idea I’m stealing from Ryen Russillo. On his podcast last week, he did a segment called “NFL QBs as NBA players” where he tried to find the perfect NBA analogy for a bunch of NFL quarterbacks. I thought he got a lot of them right, but I wanted to do my own list because I think it’s a fun exercise.
Here’s what I came up with:
I want to explain my thinking on some of them.
Tom Brady = LeBron was easy. Tom Brady is the GOAT, LeBron is the GOAT. I’m sorry if that offends you, but it’s true. One day I’ll write a really long post about it, or maybe even a book. They’re both old as shit but still playing great. Nobody has ever been as good as Tom Brady at age 45, and nobody has ever been as good as LeBron is at age 38.
Mahomes = Steph is a good comparison, but I think it might be a little too lazy. Because here’s the thing: Mahomes has GOAT potential, but I don’t think Steph does. Steph has top-10 all-time potential, and he may already be there. So I might honestly be selling Mahomes a tad bit short here. I don’t mean to disrespect Steph, but that’s just how good Mahomes is–he is truly one of one. But I do think it’s a decent comparison because both guys basically revolutionized their sports, both are incredibly fun to watch, both have fathers who were professional athletes, and both kind of came out of nowhere in the sense that they were not expected to be anywhere near as good as they’ve become.
Honestly, a better comparison for Mahomes might be Giannis, because they’re closer in age while Steph is 7 years older than Mahomes, and I think both Giannis and Mahomes are at that point where they’ve got their MVPs, they’ve each won a ring apiece, and now they’re both at the point where they are widely recognized as the best players in their respective sports.
However, I still went with Mahomes = Steph because I’ve been saying for years now that the Chiefs have become the Warriors of the NFL.
I think Aaron Rodgers = KD is a layup; they’re both supremely talented but probably too “in their own head” to be on that Tom Brady/LeBron level. Brooding, narcissistic, overly concerned with the opinions of others and overall just missing that “something” that would enable them to become the best to ever do it. Maybe it’s work ethic, determination, dawg, fire, juice, grit–there’s an intangible mental quality, or personality trait, missing in both KD and Aaron Rodgers that prevents them from being as great as LeBron and Tom Brady. Physically, both KD and Rogers might be the most talented ever at their respective sports, but they just don’t have that “it” factor.
Joe Burrow = Jayson Tatum: I originally had Jalen Hurts as Jayson Tatum, but then I realized Joe Burrow was a better comp. Both guys are young but made it to the Championship and lost last season. Both are fan favorites because they’re good dudes who play the game the right way. Both are especially popular with the ladies. But the reality is that both guys are insanely talented and could very well become the best players in the league in the next 3-4 years. One thing I would say is a major difference here is that Joe Burrow is an absolute dawg, while Jayson Tatum maybe doesn’t have that quality in spades.
Jalen Hurts = SGA: Both having massive breakout seasons, although there are some lingering doubters out there as to whether these guys are for real. Obviously Jalen Hurts’ team is having a lot more success than SGA’s team, so that kind of dampens the comparison here, but both guys kind of came out of nowhere. Or, I should say, nobody really expected either guy to be as good as they have become.
Josh Allen = Joel Embiid. Both massive human beings, both overpowering beasts in terms of play style, both physically dominant. Both in the conversation for MVP every year but always come up short. Both have some high profile playoff heartbreaks in their past, and both in improbable fashion (for Embiid, the Kawhi game 7 buzzer beater in 2019, and for Allen, the Chiefs getting a game-tying field goal in just 13 seconds). I think this is a spot-on comparison.
Lamar Jackson = Giannis. I think Giannis is a better basketball player than Lamar is a football player. But the reason I matched these two up is because before Giannis won his ring, they were both kind of talked about the same way: athletic freaks, no actual skill just pure athleticism, great in the regular season but can’t win in the playoffs. Obviously Giannis winning in the playoffs invalidates that part of it, but I think the comparison still holds because people still talk about these guys similarly, like they have nothing else but off-the-charts athleticism and outlier physical traits. Russillo had Ja Morant compared to Lamar, but I think that’s actually disrespectful because Ja Morant has never even sniffed an MVP. Obviously their play styles are more similar than Lamar and Giannis, but I think the media and fan perception of Lamar and Giannis is very similar: neither guy really gets the respect he deserves because people just dismiss their success as a product of winning the genetic lottery. Maybe this is an outdated comp, and maybe Giannis = Mahomes is a better fit, but I’m going to leave this as it is.
Justin Herbert = Luka. This might be a bit unfair to Luka, because he’s like a top-3 player in the NBA while I don’t think I would put Justin Herbert into that range quite yet. But I do think Herbert absolutely has the talent to get there, and I think he has similarities to Luka in the fact that they are asked to do so much for their respective teams. Luka has had more playoff success, Herbert has never even been to the playoffs. Honestly, not the best comparison the more I think about it, but I can’t really think of a better match for either guy.
Trevor Lawrence = Zion: Both went #1 overall, both considered generational prospects, both went to teams that are considered poverty franchises that should be relocated to new cities. Both kind of had rocky starts to their careers, although for different reasons (Lawrence because of Urban Meyer, Zion because of injuries). But both guys are now having great seasons and really showing why they were so hyped up. Probably neither guy will fully live up to the hype (Zion as the next LeBron, T-Law as the next Peyton Manning), but they are both going to be really, really good players.
Russell Wilson = Chris Paul: Probably the two most hated players in their respective leagues, wouldn’t you say? People hate CP3 because he’s the dirtiest player in the league, people hate Russell Wilson because the corniest, fakest player in the league. Both are viewed almost like “politicians” where they’re popular with the media and in a ton of commercials, but in reality are snakes and scumbags behind the scenes. Oh, and both are washed up.
Jared Goff = Jamal Murray: This one might be a stretch, I freely admit it. But the similarity is that both guys were considered “fake good” after early success in their careers. Jared Goff was considered “fake good” because all of his success was attributed to Sean McVay, while Jamal Murray was considered “fake good” because his breakout was in the bubble. Jamal Murray missed a lot of time due to an injury, while Jared Goff had a few down years at the end in LA and last year with Detroit. But now both guys are having impressive seasons and showing that they were not just “fake good” because of special circumstances.
Kirk Cousins = Paul George: This one is also kind of a stretch but I think there’s one major reason why it’s valid–both guys are considered chokers, and both guys have derogatory nicknames due to their lack of success in big moments. Paul George is mockingly called “Playoff P,” while Kirk Cousins is mockingly called “Primetime Kirk” because of his history of failures in night games in front of national audiences. However, both are very good players and probably get more shit than they deserve. And they’re not actually as bad in big moments as they’re made out to be–Paul George got all the way to the West Finals in 2021, while Kirk Cousins went down to New Orleans and won a playoff game against Drew Brees in 2019. Also, both guys have bounced around their leagues a bit. The bottom line is that neither guy will get the respect he deserves until he wins in the postseason.
Dak Prescott = James Harden: Empty stats, overrated, never win in the playoffs, arguably washed. Don’t read much more into it than that. Otherwise, Dak is a much better teammate than Harden is. Dak has a much more wholesome image, too.
On the idea that some colleges produce great pro quarterbacks and some don’t.
This is one of the most idiotic social media arguments I’ve ever seen.
It’s pretty much all luck. No college has produced more than like 2-3 all-time great quarterbacks.
Peyton Manning went to Tennessee. Does that mean Tennessee is a school that produces great quarterbacks? No, it does not. It just means that one great quarterback went to Tennessee.
After Peyton Manning, you had Tee Martin as the Tennessee QB. He led them to a National Championship, but didn’t do much in the NFL. Then they had a guy named Casey Clausen–remember him? Didn’t think so. Erik Ainge, Rick Clausen, Jonathan Crompton, Tyler Bray, Justin Worley, Josh Dobbs, Jarrett Guarantano, and then finally Hendon Hooker, but we don’t even know if Hooker is going to be good in the NFL.
So since the mid-1990s, there have been 10 starting QBs for Tennessee (not including Hooker, because he hasn’t even been drafted to the NFL yet). Only one of them, Peyton Manning, was great in the NFL. In fact, he was the only one that even had a real NFL career at all–the other guys didn’t do anything, really. I guess other than Josh Dobbs, who I believe is still a backup.
1 out of 10 for Tennessee. Is that a good enough success rate to consider Tennessee a school that produces great quarterbacks? Of course not.
If you go to the bar ten weekends in a row and only bring home a girl once, does that mean you pull? Of course not.