NFL Nuacht – Week 5 NFC State of Play
The Eagles are in command after clinically dispatching the Cardinals this week. They have become big play specialists with Wentz chucking it down field and connecting with born again receivers Agholor and Torrey Smith, while Ertz is delivering on expectations. Blount might not push them forward as contenders at season end, but they’re in position for playoffs. If you’re not in, you can’t win.
Which is also true for the hapless Giants, who won’t be making the playoffs. 0-5 and Eli looking dazed and confused. The loss of Beckham now compounding problems with the receiving corps, void of the services of Marshall and Shepard. The line is atrocious and NY can only hope that they might have an RB for the future in Gallman.
The Redskins are 2-2 with their “franchise” QB, Cousins. Who knows what they are thinking with him, and this uncertainty seems to be a factor in how they are playing. Chris Thompson is a shining light who leads the team in receiving and rushing (alright I’m cheating by a yard here).
The Cowboys’ back to back losses have really dented their hopes for the season, and pushing the lost Zeke season down the line might have backfired. Dak Prescott continues to impress with his athleticism, but the receiving numbers are still not where they should be to challenge.
Aaron Rodgers is the greatest QB out there. You can have your Tom Brady. Green Bay are battlers with the greatest General on their side. They have ejected Eddie Lacy, lost Ty Montgomery for a spell and unearthed a gem in the late rounds of the draft in Aaron Jones. Davante Adams continues to impress and Jordy hasn’t right got going yet!
Matt Stafford is playing well in Detroit and Abdullah is showing flashes, well glimpses, that he can do “A” job running the ball. He’s not the answer here, but he’s not holding them back too much. Eric Ebron might well be though, and reports that he’s not a happy chappy give some pause to whether he can start moving the chains in the manner we all hoped he would this year.
The Vikings are about to be tested by the Packers in the coming week, and now start Case Keenum at QB, with Bradford struggling mightily with his dodgy knee. Rookie RB Dalvin Cook is alas also an injury casualty for the season, leaving perennial hopefuls Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray vying for the starting spot….not ideal. They have receivers who can go the distance on any play in Diggs and Thielen, and this season could fall to what might have been.
The Bears are down at 1-4 and have abandoned their splashy free agent QB, Mike Glennon, for their splashy Draft QB, Mitch..ell Trubisky. Having no wide receivers of note, it’s not an easy job to have, but Chicago will soon find out what they got for all the capital they spent in April. The running game works though and Jordan Howard continues to prove a bargain while they might have found another bargain in Tarik Cohen.
Teams in this division perennially fancy their chances of success and this year was no different.
Cam Newton and Co. in Carolina currently hold pole position, and Cam is playing with more of a swagger with each passing week. The running game needs work but the passing game is functioning even with the loss of Pro Bowl TE, Greg Olsen. Who knew Devin Funchess would become a thing?
In Atlanta, there is a whiff of Shanahangover, Sarkisian is unable to recreate the offensive force that was evident last season with Matt Ryan regressing to the mean, but the talent is there in the offence and the defence is becoming a solid outfit.
New Orleans have just abandoned the Adrian Peterson project. In reality, it never left the ground. Alvin Kamara has shown an able body in the Saints plan, while Willie Snead now comes back into the conversation after the Bye week. Drew Brees can still move the ball so it’s never dull when you watch them.
We all watched the Buccaneers in Hard Knocks this off season (you gotta love Gerald McCoy) and they came out of it with high hopes under Dirk Koetter. Jameis Winston is still prone to tossing it up when he should be throwing it away, but can you blame him when Mike Evans can catch most things. Watch out for DeSean Jackson playing more of a role going forward with the return of Doug Martin adding steel to the run game.
Outside of the 49ers, the rest of the division haven’t read the script. Seattle are leading the division, you might say that’s not off script. Pull back the curtains and the Seahawks aren’t really value for it. The offence is struggling and it’s taking all of Russell Wilson’s powers at times to avoid the oncoming rush. The bright side got extinguished fast when Chris Carson went down and for whatever reason, Thomas Rawls sees himself in competition with Eddie Lacy for the ground game share. They will probably start balling soon though as usual…. Will they?
The LA Rams should really be 2 games clear in the division. The Seahawks game is probably a game they would have won with a bit more guile and experience both on the field and on the sideline. The year has been somewhat of a triumph thus far though with the reinvention of both Goff and Gurley and the play calling under Sean McVay.
Bruce Arians’ Cardinals are just not the same without David Johnson in the backfield. They will be hoping that the move to Peterson can somehow put linebackers on their toes and allow Carson Palmer to find Larry Fitzgerald et al. a bit easier. He has tried enough to this point with 227 pass attempts through 5 weeks…Wow! Getting John Brown on the field at 100% can only help too.
Kyle Shanahan has brought a whole load of excitement and hope to the Bay area. The players picked in the Lynch/Shanahan first draft offer a lot to be hopeful for in the future. That’s just it though, this is a rebuild project and any expectations for this season are tempered by same. It’s disappointing that Reuben Foster hasn’t been able to see the field more thus far, as he is fun to watch and would definitely make it easier viewing on us poor 49er fans. I can wait though as the tide will eventually turn and will see them as a force on the West Coast once again.
This OTI Piece was written by Eric Flynn. Eric is a San Francisco 49ers fan from Cork, Ireland. Huge fantasy focus on game weekends. He has been playing Fantasy Football for over 6 years in all types of leagues, having started out in IDP leagues. Check him out on Twitter @EricJohnFlynn