In news that shocked me this week, the Carolina Panthers have fired head coach Ron Rivera after nine seasons.If a guy can coach a team to 5-7 while their star quarterback (Cam Newton) has been out since week 2, is any coach safe in this league?
It seems as if once one team fires their head coach before the season ends, a couple of others decide to follow suit. Who else could be on the head coach chopping block before the end of the year?
The Vikings had a bye, the Bears won, and both the Lions and Packers lost. Yet another lackluster week for a division that I’m reporting on. I think maybe the universe is telling me something. I digress.
But just like in the NFC East, despite the fact that only 1 team won a game, there were still some players that performed well. Come with me as I head around the division to find out who were the top performers.
It’s the official beginning of the holidays, Thanksgiving week! It’s also the beginning of a fantastic week of football, and it all kicks off with Monday Night Football featuring the Los Angeles Rams and the Baltimore Ravens. Let’s take a look at everything coming up this week.
Tonight, the Rams (6-4) take on the red hot (purple hot?) Ravens (8-2) at home in LA. Now, at the beginning of the season, this would have been touted as one of the best games of the season, but the Rams have struggled more than we thought they would this year, and the Ravens…well they have been killing it.
Congrats! For my NFC North article this week, I’m dedicating it to you and your team. Now, as a Lions fan, I’m going to be good, and not give you too hard of a time, but I may slip just a little. So, forgive me in advance, but it’s all in good rivalry fun. I can’t say too much though. At least your team has won a Super Bowl.
But you guys, I am confused. What’s up with your quarterback, Mitch Trubisky? Or as I affectionately like to call him, Mr. Buiscut. I (sort of) feel bad for you.
Yes, I along with many others, laughed when your team traded up to get him in the 2017 draft. He had a typical rookie season, he showed promise, etc. Then came 2018 and you traded for linebacker Khalil Mack. I was admittedly, as the kids like to say…shook. The chances of the Lions sweeping the Bears got a little slimmer, not totally gone, but slimmer.
Matthew Stafford had started 136 consecutive regular-season games entering today, the 6th-longest streak for a QB in NFL history. The last Lions’ QB to start a game other than Stafford was Shaun Hill, in Week 17 of the 2010 season, when he beat the Vikings 20-13.
**Disclaimer: This article was written prior to the Vikings/Cowboys game on Sunday Night Football**
In the 2012 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins chose Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. “RG3” was a dual-threat QB out of Baylor and was pegged to be the team’s franchise leader for years to come. Then in the fourth round of the same draft, Washington made an interesting pick, taking Kirk Cousins, a quarterback out of Michigan State.
Cousins threw for over 9,000 yards with 66 touchdowns against 30 interceptions in his college career. Maybe the Redskins were just covering their bases in case RG3’s style didn’t work well in the NFL. The Cousins pick turned out to be a prudent one. In 2015 after RG3’s three injury-marred seasons, Jay Gruden made Cousins his starting quarterback. Up to that point Cousins was 2-7 in his limited starts. Once installed as the regular starter, Cousins put up solid passing numbers. He completed 67% of his throws amassing over 13,000 yards with 81 touchdowns against 36 interceptions. Despite his numbers, the Redskins managed just a 24-23-1 record and Cousins got the reputation for being unable to win the big games.
I know. You can’t win them all. But this past Sunday, the NFC North laid an egg. All 4 teams went on the road, and all 4 teams lost their games. Sometimes it’s hard to win on the road in the NFL.
But should we start to sound the alarm? And by alarm, I mean, should we start panicking that the team is heading for disaster and this season is totally shot? Well, lets head around the division and see what we find.
It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.
In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.
Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…