What’s up guys? Thanks for joining me here at The Combine! As I’m sure you all experience, the holidays throw everything off schedule, so this week’s edition is more of a “Tuesday Afternoon-ish Tilt”. Next Tuesday will be Christmas Day, so there won’t be a column up, but I will try to throw something together later in the week. Ok, enough scheduling talk, let’s look at some winners and losers from the weekend.
Chicago Bears – The Bears exorcised some demons Sunday, defeating the rival Green Bay Packers to clinch the NFC North Championship. This was another impressive accomplishment by rookie head coach Matt Nagy and his Bears team. I have to admit, I was one of the people that wondered what the hell Bears GM Ryan Pace was doing when he mortgaged Chicago’s future in order to trade up for QB Mitch Trubisky in the 2017 draft and to acquire Khalil Mack prior to the start of the season. I thought it was kind of weird for the Bears to be in “win now” mode when they had no chance of winning now, but after a home win against the Rams two weeks ago, the Bears have to be considered a legit Super Bowl contender.
Indianapolis Colts – The Colts stumbled into a great hire this past offseason. After New England’s resident prick offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left them standing at the altar, the Colts pivoted to then-Philly coordinator Frank Reich. It appears that Reich was an underrated part of Philly’s success last season and he is doing a great job in Indy. Obviously, the return of Andrew Luck has played a huge part in turning things around and Colts fans have to breathing a huge sigh of relief after things looked touch-and-go with Luck just a year ago. A shutout of the red-hot Dallas Cowboys Sunday draws some attention to this Colts team that has been quietly solid over the past two months. As batshit crazy as Colts owner Jim Irsay is, he made a terrific move by firing Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard.
DeAndre Hopkins – DeAndre Hopkins is having another great season and Saturday he became the second-youngest receiver in NFL history to catch 500 passes, with only Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald doing it at an earlier age. It’s really unbelievable that Hopkins has been able to accomplish this feat with the true and utter garbage QBs he’s had throwing the ball to him over his career.
Here’s the list:
Forget 500 receptions, I don’t know how Hopkins is still in the fuckin’ league! Congrats Nuk, keep doing what you do and hopefully DeShaun can stay healthy for you.
Dallas Cowboys – This season has been a roller coaster ride for Jerry and the ‘Boys. After a slow start, a horrible-then-great trade for Amari Cooper, and impressive wins over the Saints and Eagles…the Cowboys did what they do best Sunday against the Colts: completely shit the bed just when everybody is getting on the hype train. The 23-0 beatdown in Indy proved a couple of things; 1.) Dallas isn’t “there” yet & 2.) Dak Prescott isn’t an elite NFL quarterback. After punching a couple of teams in the mouth, the Cowboys got a dose of their own medicine Sunday. The Colts ran freely against Dallas, while stifling the Cowboys run game. We saw that Dak is unable to carry the offense when needed. Prescott is a serviceable quarterback when things are going well and the run game is clicking, but when he is forced to throw when trailing, the offense falls apart.
Carolina Panthers – Ugghhh. What’s happened in Carolina? Cam Newton doesn’t look like the same quarterback lately and the Panthers have now lost a hard-to-fathom six games in a row. Last night’s loss against the division-rival Saints might be the final nail in Ron Rivera’s coffin. After losing to Denver in the 2015 Super Bowl, Rivera is now 23-23 in games since and is going to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years. We all know that “Franchise QBs” are hard to come by and Cam Newton’s prime years are slipping away.
New England Patriots – The Patriots have been declared “dead” several times over the years, only to eventually win the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again this year, but man…the Patriots look, for lack of a better word, old. I’m convinced that Gronk is held together with duct tape, popsicle sticks, and chicken wire under his uniform and while they’ve won Super Bowls without Gronk before, he plays a key role in keeping their offense humming. There were tons of un-Patriot like mistakes against the Steelers Sunday and it makes you wonder if the end is near. I mean this shit will end at some point right? Right?!?
New York Giants Fans – Congrats Giants fans, you’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent at running back, a top-10 wide receiver, and Eli Fucking Manning. The Giants organization’s loyalty to Manning is something we don’t see much anymore in the NFL and I’m starting to understand why. Football is an ever-changing animal and it really looks like the Giants are severely hindering their future by trying to hold on to the past. Yes, Eli won two Super Bowls for the Giants (though it’s debatable how much those can be attributed to Eli), but HE’S NOT WINNING ANYMORE SUPER BOWLS. I’m sorry Giants fans, I really am.
Fantasy Football Players – Perhaps the biggest “L” of the week went to those in fantasy football league playoffs. What a clusterfuck it was for all the “great” fantasy teams. You know what I have to say? Welcome to my world, motherfuckers! I’ve been living in my own personal fantasy football hell this season and it’s nice to have a little company from you Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon, OBJ owners. How does it feel? I’m hearing a lot of people complaining that after working on their fantasy teams all year, it sucks that it all comes down to one week. Hmmm, that sounds almost like…real football! Suck it up fantasy players. How do you think the team that loses the Super Bowl feels? This isn’t some new-age kid’s soccer league, there are winners and losers in fantasy football.