With the season winding down and playoff games / end of season awards coming up soon, the headlines are all over the place.
For this article, I evaluate the most hot-topic debates that are taking place across the NFL this week and decide whether or not I am going to buy or sell those takes.
Is Jalen Hurts the Eagles QB of the future?
After leading the struggling Eagles offense to an extremely quality victory against the 11-2 New Orleans Saints team that had won nine in a row, people are already crowning Jalen Hurts as the QB of the Eagles future over Carson Wentz. While I think Wentz is not a viable starting QB in the NFL, at least not right now, the Eagles really aren’t in an optimal situation to let go of him.
Let’s just say hypothetically that the Eagles decide to cut Wentz next year. If they do that, they would owe him just about 60 million dollars. This is self-explanatory but paying anyone 60M to not play for you is not a strong business move and likely isn’t something that GM Howie Roseman would opt to do from a roster-building perspective.
Now let’s get into Jalen Hurts’ first start. I do believe that he played well against arguably a top-five defense in the NFL, he wasn’t groundbreaking. Stats don’t tell the whole story but I believe that after re-watching the game the Saints lost this game more than the Eagles won it. With no full game tape to scout Hurts and his tendencies they weren’t fully prepared for him. Also, it’s almost as if they had no idea that Hurts could run. They weren’t containing him in the pocket and allowed him to break contain and pick up yards with his legs way too easily. Combine that with a poor performance in the running game and they didn’t deserve to win this game.
It is too early to determine on what Hurts can be at the NFL level, but this offseason you likely have to pick between HC Doug Pederson or Carson Wentz. Given how much money Wentz would cost in comparison to his 2020 performance it is unlikely that you find any willing trade partners without giving up some hefty draft capital. You likely won’t cut him, so the goal is going to be to find a HC that thinks they can fix Wentz. For what it’s worth I think Hurts is your best bet going forward, but there is a business side to the NFL that you can’t just forget about.
The Chiefs are the favorite to win the Super Bowl
I’ve been saying it since the beginning of the season that the Chiefs are going to go back to back(I know, how noble of me) but their win against the Dolphins this week just further cemented that notion.
With Patrick Mahomes playing arguably the worst game of his NFL career against probably the best defense they will play all year they put up 33 points. Mahomes threw three interceptions and took the worst sack in NFL history – repeatedly putting his defense in sub-optimal positions throughout the game. Sure, the Miami Dolphins offense isn’t anything to brag about but the story here is the offense.
The Dolphins defense is notorious for causing turnovers and keeping opponents from scoring a lot of points. They had let up 30+ points twice this season coming into week 14 to the Bills and the Cardinals – both games in which they had only caused one turnover. In this game the Chiefs turned it over three (!) times and the Dolphins still allowed their highest point total of the year (at home nonetheless).
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are all way too good and there is literally no way to stop this offense. If the Dolphins (who match up against the Chiefs better than anyone in the league) couldn’t do it, no one can.
Sorry NFL fans – The Chiefs are going back to back.
Aaron Rodgers should be the frontrunner for MVP
While Mahomes and Rodgers have been going back and forth all season as to who should win the Most Valuable Player award, I think Rodgers has held up a much higher quality of play throughout the season and last week just further cemented that notion.
Here are the stat-lines for both QBs through 13 games this season
- 340/497 (68.4%) | 4208 yards | 33 TDs | 5 INTs | 84.7 QBR
- 312/448 (69.6%) | 3685 yards | 39 TDs | 4 INTs | 84.9 QBR
Obviously these two stat-lines are similar enough to say they should be neck-and-neck (which they are) it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Mahomes is throwing to (arguably) the best receiver in the league in Tyreek Hill and the best tight end in the league in Travis Kelce. I attest that is a very narrow way of thinking but any above-average QB in this offense can put up MVP-like number (i.e. Alex Smith in 2017). That is not me saying Mahomes isn’t elite, he is sensational in every sense of the word. But the level of play should factor in the weapons around you. He has had the best INT luck of any QB in the league, he should have at least 9 INTs on the year (I’ve seen multiple drops against teams like NE).
Rodgers has a lower bad throw % and higher on target % than Mahomes despite throwing to the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Robert Tonyan among other average talents for most of the year. Yes, Rodgers has Davante Adams who has my vote for best receiver in the league, but that’s just one guy. Oh, not to mention in the three games that Rodgers has played without Adams for a full game he has been a cleaner quarterback with 9 TDs and 0 INTs.
Rodgers hasn’t missed a beat all season even without his top two weapons in Davante Adams and Allen Lazard for a good chunk of it. These last few weeks will determine the winner but if I had a vote, I’m writing Rodgers and not thinking twice about it.
While there are a plethora of other storylines out there, these are the three that I had the most to say about. Oh, and before I sign off, that Ravens-Browns MNF game last night was the game of the year, just peak NFL beauty all around.