Heading into Halloween means we are nearly at the NFL half-way mark and there’s only two things we know for certain. First, the Philadelphia Eagles are having a bigger hangover than the one where we missed our finals in college and our grandma’s birthday all in the same day. (Oh, just me?) Second, defense should be on the side of a milk carton as it’s all but missing in the NFL. With a plethora of rule changes heavily favoring offenses, it may be a long time before we see a defense that is truly innovative and legendary again. Scoring is skyrocketing to the point where the ’85 Bears, ’00 Ravens and even the Legion of Boom wouldn’t recognize today’s NFL. For better or for worse, we are in the glory age of offense.
There is a new helmet rule, new catch rules that would make this rightfully a catch and roughing the passer penalties for seemingly looking at the quarterback the wrong way. The worst of it came, during a Sunday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and Chiefs. The game played out to be a microcosm of the season so far. The game was between arguably the GOAT in Tom Brady versus the guy who is nearly breaking every quarterback record as a rookie in Patrick Mahomes. The Patriots were down and drove nearly the field with relative ease ending in a touchdown rush by Brady. Rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks was in great position for a sack to stop the rush. Instead he lets go leading to a crucial touchdown in a game the Patriots won at the last second 43-40.
Fewer franchise quaterbacks are experiencing season ending injuries. (Don’t tell the 49ers that.) Which everyone wants. Offense and scoring are up and that only attracts more eyeballs. It might be a matter of inexperience versus the greatest of all time, but linebackers can’t be afraid to tackle in fear of a penalty. The rules could stand to be tweaked to level the playing field, but this will always be a quarterback league. Therefore, we might not see a defensive pendulum shift for another generation or more.
The Eagles and other Super Bowl Contenders
Only four defending Super Bowl championship teams have had a worse record through seven games than the Philadelphia Eagles. They still have a shot of reaching the playoffs but that has lower odds than a flip of a coin. They didn’t have their starting quarterback to start the season and Carson Wentz is still getting back the level of his breakout season last year. His best receiver, Alshon Jeffery, is coming back from rotator cuff surgery and having essentially no running game with Jay Ajayi out for the year with an ACL tear doesn’t help. But these are the defending champs and most likely they will get it together and make the playoffs. Nobody thought they would win it last year. It’d be foolish to doubt them now.
But there are plenty of other early contenders that are more legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Including who else, the New England Patriots. After looking mortal for seemingly the first time ever, Tom Brady has led his team back from a 1-2 start to five straight wins. Kansas City finally drafting their own quarterback in the first round since the 1983 draft. He already has 22 touchdowns passing Kurt Warner for most touchdowns in their first eight games making him an early MVP candidate. Look for that Chiefs Patriots rematch in the AFC Championship. The Steelers are awaking from a slow start and Melvin Gordon and the steady and reliable Philip Rivers look to have the Chargers in the playoffs for the first time since their relocation to LA.
The class in the NFC starts with Todd Gurley and the Rams. They are the epitome of this new era of offense in the NFL. Drew Brees is breaking records and Peyton Manning is understandably upset. These team will be the most likely representatives of the NFC championship but don’t sleep on the Vikings, and sure the Eagles for now.
NFL in London is happening
Last week the Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans played in front of a sold crowd. The only way this would happen is if either team wasn’t playing in LA or Nashville. London showed that they might be the only NFL fans that would care about this matchup. The logistics are awful but they could play three to four week stretches in the States and do the same back at home in London. Expanding markets brings in more money for the league and Canada and Mexico could be other detitanations for the league. After the Raiders move to Vegas (which they already seem to be looking forward too after tanking and trading stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper) look for more expansion in the league most likely through relocation. Read here for trades each team should make before the deadline on October 30. The NFL already has another game this week in London. Can the Eagles get their season back on track against the Jaguars who are rumored most to move there? Find out on NFL Network this Sunday at 9:30 AM ET. In 2022 get ready for the London Monarchs or the Megan Markels or something like that.
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|26-Jan||Sun||3:00 PM||NFC||AFC||ESPN||Sling Orange|