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.
It has been said a lot this week that the NFC West could be one of the most competitive divisions in the league. With San Francisco being undefeated, both Seattle and Los Angeles right in the thick of it, and Arizona beginning to shine, the NFC West isn’t a division anyone else in the league wants to face anytime soon.
Looking at week 8, two of the teams face opponents that are struggling to find wins, the other two face teams that will give them some serious competition. By the end of the week, will we still believe in the strength of the division? Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups.
The first quarter – four weeks – of the 2019 NFL season is in the book and the NFC South division is wide open.
Leading the way at 3-1, the New Orleans Saints might be heavily favored to keep the top spot, but the injury to quarterback Drew Brees leading to Teddy Bridgewater under center doesn’t make that a sure thing. Tied for second place at 2-2 are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cam Newton-less Carolina Panthers.
That leaves the Atlanta Falcons in last place at 1-3 which may be one of the biggest surprises at this point of the season.
On Saturday all 32 teams finalized their 53-man roster, releasing and waiving players in a surprising frenzy. The big news, of course, was the blockbuster trade of Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Texans were willing to pay roughly half of Clowney’s $15.9 million salary for 2019 despite the franchised tag they placed on him. I would call that a win for Clowney and he gets to be a part of a newly built Seahawks front defense that now consists of Clowney, linebacker K.J. Wright, DE Ziggy Ansah, defensive lineman L.J. Collier, and LB Bobby Wagner.
Week 3 of the NFL Preseason may just be an indication of how the entire season will finish up in the NFC South.
The New Orleans Saints had a commanding victory, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeaked one out with a game-winning field goal and both the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers struggled to find any offense at all.
Panthers QB Cam Newton suffered a foot injury and while x-rays have come back negative, seeing him in a walking boot has to put quite a bit of fear into the hearts of Carolina fans!
This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.
I don’t believe any entity in sports knows how to create hype for seemingly innocuous events quite like the NFL.
This week they released the 2019 schedules in prime time. Social media was on fire with love/hate from each fanbase. And some teams spared no expense on video excellence in sharing their schedule with everyone.
Perhaps it’s just because so many teams don’t have a first-round pick in next week’s draft – Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans – or maybe fans are just so hungry or anything football related, but the excitement surrounding this year’s reveal was amazing.