Winner: Russell Wilson’s MVP Stocks
Patrick Mahomes, the league’s reigning MVP, has – for good reason – been almost
unassailable at the top of every NFL player power ranking you’d have been
likely to read in the last 18 months. However, after another home loss to an
AFC contender – Kansas City’s second in consecutive weeks – there’s good reason
to suspect he may have been vaulted by two separate upstart NFC contenders.
If Russell Wilson wasn’t on your MVP radar prior to today then you
haven’t been watching football at all this year. His brilliance was on full
display though in Week 6, as against a perplexing Browns team the diminutive
Seahawks QB threw for 295 yards, two touchdowns (plus another on the ground)
and no interceptions in a 32-28 win. He also led his team down the field in the
final minutes to ensure the game-winning touchdown.
Wilson has 14 touchdowns and no interceptions this season; a
historically great start to the year. His 117.6 passer rating on Sunday
actually brought down his rating for the season. He came into Sunday with a
league-leading 128.4 rating; the NFL’s single-season record is 122.5 by Aaron
Rodgers. If Wilson continues at even half this rate for the remainder of the
season, he is going to set a host of records and will be almost impossible to
shake from the MVP conversation.
Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey is similarly building his impressive
portfolio. The Panthers’ jack-of-all-trades was well-held statistically in
London – he finished with just 31 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards on 26
total touches of the football – but still managed to chalk up 2 TDs and a host
of highlight-reel plays.
He now has a ridiculous 618 yards on the ground (at 4.9 per
attempt) and 305 through the air so far this season to go along with 9
total TDs. Carolina are now on a four-game winning streak, and you’d be a brave
pundit to argue that they would have won any of those games if it wasn’t for
Mahomes, on the other hand, was out-played by draft-class peer Deshaun
Watson on Sunday, throwing for three TDs but also uncharacteristically missing
16 of his 35 pass attempts and tossing a rare interception.
We’re not saying Mahomes won’t still win the MVP, but it’s fair to say
it’s going to be a lot tighter than most of us expected.
Loser: the 2015
NFL QB Draft Class
After another horrendous outing against the Denver Broncos, Marcus
Mariota’s brief career as an NFL starter looks like it might be over.
Trailing 13-0, the Titans replaced Mariota in the third quarter after a
woeful start that saw him complete just seven passes in 18 attempts with 63
yards, two interceptions and a frightful 9.5 rating to show for it.
Ryan Tannehill came on to replace him, and finished 13-of-16 for 144
yards and a late interception as the Titans were shut out 16-0.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Mariota’s fellow
2015-draftee Jameis Winston was absolutely horrific as the Buccaneers fell to
the Panthers. The former Florida State star turned it over on the first play of
the game, and couldn’t stop giving the ball back to the Panthers all day.
He finished with a frightful five interceptions and a lost fumble and,
per ESPN Stats & Info,
Trevor Siemian, Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty, Sean Mannion
and Garrett Grayson were the other 5 QBs taken in that infamous 2015
draft. It’s fair to say that none of achieved anything of note, or really
anything at all.
With Mariota and Winston’s NFL careers hanging by a thread, it may not
be long before we see no 2015 QBs starting in the league at all.
Kingsbury & the Arizona Offense
Just 12-months ago, the Arizona Cardinals offense was the worst in the
NFL. Unimaginative coordinator Mike McCoy was sacked after just seven games,
and his replacement – Byron Leftwich – was arguably worse than his
Kliff Kingsbury – the “Air Raid” extraordinaire – was brought to
the desert to remedy the ugly predicament. Six games in to the season – with
the help of number 1 pick Kyler Murray – he’s done exactly that.
The Cardinals are 10th in the NFL for total yards so far this season,
It seems the entire NFL world went early on the Cowboys.
At 3-0, with wins against the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins, they’d been
installed as one of the premium NFC Super Bowl contenders; in fact they were
outright favourite with the bookies to represent the NFC on the biggest stage.
Three losses later – to the Saints, Packers & Jets – America’s Team
are now in serious danger of missing the playoffs. The New Orleans Saints, the
San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings and the
Philadelphia Eagles all officially now have better odds of making the Super
No doubt, injuries have been a factor. The offense was already
without offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collin and veteran wide
receiver Randall Cobb before top wideout Amari Cooper suffered a first-quarter
quad injury on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, though, that’s no
longer going to cut it as an excuse. It certainly doesn’t explain why the
defense has just three takeaways in their last five games, or why in the last
month QB Dak Prescott has thrown more interceptions (five) than touchdown
All is not lost – the NFC East is arguably the worst division in pro
football – but if the Cowboys fall to the Eagles next week and fall a game
behind them in the divisional standings, it’s frankly almost impossible to see
them making the postseason.
That would be a disaster of epic proportions.
We – like many pundits out there – had a sneaky suspicion the Saints’
season was going to be derailed completely after they lost QB Drew Brees to
injury earlier in the season.
Stunningly, though, Teddy Bridgewater – replete with glove on each hand
– has stepped in to the breach with aplomb, not only keeping the Saints’
playoffs hopes alive but letting them flourish.
In the last two weeks we’ve seen two completely different Bridgewaters.
Last Sunday in a 31-24 win over the Buccaneers, Bridgewater showed off his
ability as a passer, racking up 314 yards and four touchdowns through the air.
This Sunday, his 240 passing yards and one touchdown won’t leap off the
page, but he showed off his ability as a game manager. The Louisville product’s
capacity to keep his wide receivers, tight ends and running backs involved in
the passing game and move the chains against a formidable Jaguars defense was
That’s now four games in a row the Saints have won under Bridgewater’s
stewardship, and it keeps them a game clear of the Panthers in the
surprisingly-competitive NFC South.
With news breaking today that Drew Brees may be able to return as soon
as Week 8’s game against Arizona, Bridgewater’s watch has nearly ended. He’s
done it brilliantly, and if the Saints do manage to go all the way this year –
as many believe they can – he will be a hero in New Orleans for life.
Yes, in spirit at least, the Redskins actually won this week. But in the
longterm they may look back and realise this week was the one they lost the
On Sunday the 0-5 ‘Skins played the 0-4 ‘Fins in the Tank-For-Tua Bowl.
In the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, down seven, Miami scored a
touchdown to pull within one point of Washington. Rather than kick the PAT and
play for overtime, the Dolphins went for two. A completely bizarre decision for
a team playing at home. Check out the genius play they drew up.
Haha. Yeah. Even in the event Kenyan Drake caught that
eminently-catchable ball, the six Redskins defenders parked between him and the
endzone would have ensured the attempt failed.
Now, we’re not trying to suggest the Dolphins deliberately bungled that
final play… But we’re also not not suggesting that. Because, of course,
finishing this NFL season in last place overall will give one lucky team first crack
at whichever QB they want out of a STACKED 2020 draft class.
Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow or any number of others are
in the frame, and now Washington will be forced to take whoever the Dolphins
The Redskins are bad, but on Sunday they weren’t quite bad enough. It
may end up costing them dearly.