1. The Bears need to move on
So in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Bears fan. I’ve also been a huge Trubisky defender. Every game this year, I had an excuse. The line is bad, they need to run more, they need to incorporate his mobility, the need to use more short throws to get him into a rhythm. The list of excuses goes on and on. But at this point, I’ve run out of excuses. Sure, they could still run the ball more (they had 7 total rushing attempts for the game) and their offensive line has been bad. But there’s just no excuse for how Mitch played. Last season, Trubisky would often missing wide open throws. However, those misses were sandwiched by some really good plays, so they weren’t a big deal. They were just part of the growing pains of a young QB. But now, those missed throws are sandwiched by even more missed throws. It seemed like the gameplan early was okay. A lot of short throws for Trubisky to shake off the rust. But anytime a throw needed to go more than 10 yards downfield, he was wildly inaccurate. I don’t know if the answer is to roll with Chase Daniel or trade for someone (Cam Newton and Nick Foles seem to be the current names talked about) but the Bears need to do something fast so that they don’t waste their Super Bowl caliber defense.
2. The Bengals need to tear it down
The Bengals might be the best 0-7 team of all time. Five of their seven losses have been by one score or less. They aren’t terrible to watch because they are actually fairly competitive. But this team just isn’t winning. Maybe that’s on Zac Taylor. I mean, the Bengals WERE 5-3 last year and in the thick of the division race before Dalton went down. The offense still has solid pieces, even with AJ Green missing half the season. The issue is, even if this team has the talent to win games, they are likely at least two years away from competing for a playoff spot. At that point, Dalton and Green will be in their mid 30s, and you’ll likely need to reboot again. With that in mind, it’s best that the Bengals just tear it all down and start fresh. They’ll have a high draft pick (likely top 3) and if they can accumulate some more, they could start putting together a good young core of players. I’m sure they could get a first round pick for AJ Green or probably a second or third for Dalton from a team that’s desperate for a QB (*cough* Chicago *cough*). They could even get some draft capital for Mixon, since running backs are a dime a dozen in the draft. It’s something they need to consider if they want to build a truly great team that can get this city it’s first playoff victory since 1991.
3. What are the Chargers doing?
While Melvin Gordon was holding out, Austin Ekeler was one of the best backs in football. He was a fine runner and a tremendous receiver. But just because Gordon comes back, they feel the need to stop including him in the offense? Before Gordon came back, Ekeler was average 20 touches per game. The last three games with Gordon, he’s averaging just 13 touches. The last two games, he has 8 and 12 touches respectively. The worst part is, Gordon has been atrocious. He’s averaging just 2.3 yards per carry. If the Chargers want to take advantage of the fact that the Chiefs don’t have Mahomes, they need to start winning. And to do that, they need to make Ekeler their starter.
4. Rodgers is heating up
Aaron Rodgers is starting to look really good. He seems to finally be getting comfortable in the new offense. Some people will point out that it’s just the Raiders, so there’s no need to get overexcited. But if you actually watch Rodgers, he just looks more comfortable. He’s making incredible throws and making plays on almost every play. The scariest thing is, this is all without Davante Adams. The Niners may be undefeated, but I think the Packers are the team to beat right now in the NFC.
5. Lamar Jackson is a dark horse MVP candidate
Say what you will about Lamar Jackson’s future as an NFL QB, but right now, he’s playing like an MVP. His passing game is much improved from last year and has been a pretty solid part of his game. His running game however is on another level. Every knew that Lamar Jackson was a great runner, but to see him have this kind of success at this level is unreal. It’s also incredibly fun to watch. The Ravens aren’t typically known for flashy QB play. The two Super Bowls that they’ve won have been with Trent Dilfer and Joe Flacco, two of the most vanilla QBs of all time. But with the defense not being what it once was, it’s up to the offense to carry the load, and they’ve been doing well so far. This team is in pretty good shape to win their division, so it’ll be fun to see how far this high octane rush attack can take them.
-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)