NFC Week 16 Hot Takes

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: I’m guessing Jerry Jones didn’t see what happened around the league over the weekend with injuries to other young star quarterbacks. The Cowboys owner (owners also shouldn’t be making decisions like this in case you were wondering) already said the Cowboys will play all their starters in a meaningless Week 17 game in Philadelphia. Star left tackle Tyron Smith had a scare at the end of the Detroit game, but that wasn’t enough to get Jerry’s ego in check. Literally nothing good can come from playing your starters this weekend, yet it appears that is what the Cowboys will be doing. People this stupid shouldn’t even be allowed outside let alone running an NFL franchise. – Randy Haines

New York Giants: I’ve been telling anyone who would listen to me for weeks that the Giants are a fraud and they finally showed their true colors in Week 16. Not only did the Giants look bad on both sides of the ball on Thursday night, but the underlying numbers tell you how much this team has overachieved this season. There are currently 6 teams (7 if you count Washington who hasn’t clinched yet) who are out of playoff contention that have a better point differential than the Giants and there are 12 teams who are eliminated from playoff contention who have a better turnover differential than Big Blue. Unfortunately for me and the rest of America, we will have to watch this joke of a team in the playoffs and have the announcers make constant comparisons of this team and the Giants two Super Bowl teams. Don’t be fooled, those Super Bowl teams were actually good in at least one phase of the game. This team is not good at anything. The defense that was supposed to carry them couldn’t bring down Carson Wentz on Thursday and allowed the worst player in the league (Nelson Agholor) to run through their secondary for what ended up being the game winning touchdown. They still cannot run the ball and the only way they can pass the ball effectively is to force feed the ball to OBJ regardless of how many defenders are on him. This team is bad. – RH  

Philadelphia Eagles: This team still needs playmakers at wide receiver and their corners are average at best. Getting Lane Johnson back made a big difference, but they still have several major holes that need to be filed. The good news for Eagles fans is that they have now beaten the Giants in 14 of the last 18 games the two teams have played. This is mostly due to the fact that the Giants are terrible. – RH

Washington Redskins: Hope is alive! The Redskins were almost left for dead after their terrible performance on Monday Night Football, but after a win against the Bears, they have a decent chance of sneaking into the playoffs. They just need to win against the Giants (who have already clinched) and then have Green Bay and Detroit NOT tie. Sounds easy, but it never is with the ‘Skins. – Nick Bair

NFC North

Chicago Bears: The real Matt Barkley finally showed up. There is a reason this guy was 3rd string on an average Eagles’ team, before becoming backup to Jay Cutler. Barkley showed a few flashes this year, but he isn’t the long term answer for the Bears. They need to get a QB in the draft and rebuild about him. – NB

Detroit Lions: As predicted the last few weeks, the Lions are sliding out of the playoffs right on schedule. I can’t wait for them to get blasted by the Packers this week at home, and then watch the playoffs on TV the rest of January. This poor franchise should never get their hopes up. – NB

Green Bay Packers: Well, as good as it felt to beat the Vikings, all eyes are on the Sunday Night game with the Lions for the division. On top of everything else he’s been the last few years, Aaron Rodgers is officially a psychic. They’ve gone unbeaten to finish the season and put themselves back in a place to advance to the postseason. Rodgers has been incredible, Jordy Nelson looks like his old self and even the defense occasionally has shown signs of life (before giving up and rolling over in the second half). One more game to make it all count. – Jordan Curet

Minnesota Vikings: LOL. The Vikings have quickly turned into a complete mess. They are almost definitely handing over a top 15 pick to the Eagles at the end of the season and they have a 38 year old way past his prime corner (Terence Newman) telling their young stud pro bowl corner (Xavier Rhodes) who to cover. Well done Minnesota, well done. – RH

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are baaaaack. HOTlanta sealed the division this weekend and give themselves an extra week to get healthy for the playoffs. That’s fortunate because Julio Jones is nowhere near 100% at the moment. This team could make noise with its high powered offense in the playoffs, but the defense is doing them no favors. Every game is going to be 40-35. I dig it. – JC

Carolina Panthers: Playing for pride was enough last week, but the Panthers couldn’t do enough to be a spoiler this week. Instead their division rival will head to the playoffs in their place after handling them easily on Saturday. I guess Carolina takes solace knowing the Broncos are also sitting on their couches watching the playoffs with them in two weeks. Watch party, maybe? – JC

New Orleans Saints: The Saints kept the Bucs out of the playoffs and pushed the Falcons into the playoffs. Cool I guess? I’m still mad about Brandin Cooks though. – NB

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are young and good, but they’re just a little too young and just not quite good enough. If Tampa has another solid offseason and Jameis Winston can clean up just a few things, this could be next year’s Raiders. – RH

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: A nice win over rival Seattle in an otherwise forgettable season. Hopefully they use it as a springboard to get back on track in 2017. Also, David Johnson is very very good. I just hope they don’t wear him down too quickly by giving him 30+ touches a game.  – NB

Los Angeles Rams: The Rams lost to Niners twice this season. Jared Goff went 11-24 for 90 yards and was picked off twice against maybe the worst defense in the league. At least for one weekend, this was the worst franchise in the league with both Cleveland and San Fran winning. – RH

San Francisco 49ers: I’m not sure the team got the memo about keeping it close but losing in the end. Maybe this win saves Chip’s job? Management is always antsy in SanFran, especially with the new stadium. There will be a good bit more change this offseason for the 9ers and a true restart is exactly what’s needed. – JC

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks can’t stay healthy. A brutal injury to Lockett this week means one less playmaker on a team that was already thin. Despite making the playoffs, Seattle is in trouble and is in danger of going out in the first round at home. – JC

-Nick Bair, Jordan Curet, and Randy Haines

Photo Credit: Winston-Salem Journal

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