With week 12 in the books, let’s look at some of the biggest takeaways from the week that was.
1. There are some very clear tiers of teams
When watching the NFL each week, it’s become abundantly clear that some teams are above the rest. The first tier is the Saints, and they are in a tier of their own. They look absolutely unstoppable. Their offense is red hot and their defense is improving each week. The second tier would be the Rams and Chiefs. They are deeply flawed teams but their offenses are so dynamic that they are able to win any game. Tier three would be teams like the Bears, Patriots, Texans, and Chargers. They are solid teams but they may not be able to necessarily keep up with the first two tiers. The next tier would be basically all the 4-6 to 6-4 teams in each conference. A few will make the playoffs but none of them have any chance of going anywhere.
2. The 2017 QB class was very underrated
Remember how much everyone raved about the 2018 quarterback class? Well I personally thought it was overrated outside of Baker, Rosen, and maybe Darnold. However, this 2017 quarterback class is looking very impressive. The three first round quarterbacks were Trubisky, Watson, and Mahomes. Mahomes is 9-2 and one of the frontrunners for MVP. Trubisky is 8-3 and on pace to beat every Bears franchise record. Watson has won 8 straight games and looks better and better each week. All three teams are leading their divisions and all three are in the running for a first round bye. In a few years, we may look at the 2017 QB class as one of the best in a long time.
3. The NFC East race will be tight
While some may think that the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat, I think the Eagles are in prime position to take this division. The Eagles get to play the injury-laden Redskins while the Cowboys have to play the Saints. If everything goes as expected, both teams will play in week 14, which will be crucial in deciding the division. The Eagles have two tough games after that with the Rams and Texans and then finish with the Redskins. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have the Colts, Buccs, and Giants. One thing’s for sure, this final five weeks for the NFC East will be very interesting.
4. The Colts continue to roll
The Colts have now won 5 in a row and sit at 6-5, which is currently good for seventh (same record as Baltimore who’s sixth). Andrew Luck has looked like his old self again. He’s thrown 3+ TDs in 8 consecutive games. The defense has improved each week. It’s clear that the return of Andrew Luck and the hiring of Frank Reich has clearly helped make this team a contender. And with their last five games being against the Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Giants, and Titans, we could easily see this team finish the season 10-6.
5. It may be time for the Jaguars to move on
After manhandling the Patriots week 2, it looked like the Jags were ready to build off their impressive 2017 season. However, they have been on a downward spiral ever since. Bortles has been as inconsistent as ever, leading to the defense shouldering more of a load. This has lead to the losses piling up, which has lead to fighting in the locker room. And now, Bortles has been benched for Cody Kessler. In the offseason, the Jaguars signed Bortles to a 3 year extension. Many people thought this was a weird decision, especially considering they could’ve exercised Bortles’ fifth-year option. Now, it looks like they are going to move on from Bortles and hope to get back to where they were in 2017. So, either they trade Bortles (unlikely given his contract) or release him and take a huge cap hit. Either way, they need to do something fast so not to risk wasting all that young talent on defense.
-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)
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