Over the past couple of years, SB Nation has run a series of polls under the FanPulse moniker. The polling has been expanded this year and includes a name change to NFL Reacts. There is a poll every week during the regular season, and at key points during the off-season that covers things like fan confidence in the direction of the team, the most exciting games each week, and a fan Pick’em where you get to predict the winners of every game on the schedule.
If you’d like to become part of the process, you can sign up to NFL Reacts by clicking here.
You’ll get a survey via email each week that takes just two minutes to complete.
Make your voice heard as part of the SB Nation fan base!
There will be additional articles this week (and every week for the rest of the season), but this one will focus on some of the questions that were asked of all 32 fan bases across the NFL.
The Worst NFL Team of All Time
Man, that’s pretty harsh. The other two choices were the 2017 Browns and the 2008 Lions; both teams went winless through 16 games. I actually changed my vote twice, initially clicking on the Jets, but quickly changing to the Browns. After a minute, I thought that I was letting the fact that the Browns went 1-31 over two seasons and 4-43 over three seasons influence my judgement of how bad the Browns were in 2017. In the end, I voted for the Lions, but 2008 was a long time ago, I guess. I’m not sure how many people remember just how bad they were.
It turns out, however, that the Jets are the sixth team in the Super Bowl era to start the season 0-6 with every loss by more than eight points. They joined Jacksonville (2013), Cincinnati (2000), Indianapolis (1991), Houston (1984) and Buffalo (1971), so maybe they are the worst team ever.
Do you agree with SB Nation fans in general? Are the Jets the worst team of all time, or is this just recency bias?
Obviously, the two games with the most interest to Washington fans are the ones that involve the four teams from the NFCE division. Week 7 marks the first time all season that the four teams each play an intra-divisional game, and, personally, I’m going against the SB Nation crowd this week.
Giants-Eagles on Thursday Night Football
Tonight, the Eagles and Giants play on Thursday Night Football. The Eagles are favored by 4.5 points. I’ve watched four Eagles games and four Giants games this season, including seeing both teams play for the past three weeks. While the Eagles mounted a furious comeback that ultimately fell 2 points short of tying the game in the closing seconds, overall they have looked like what they are: aging, injured and underpowered. I thought they were a 7-9 team at the beginning of the season, but Philly has played worse than that. NFL fans around the league spent the off-season overestimating the Eagles, and the rally on Sunday simply reinforced those misconceptions. The Giants are younger and improving under their new head coach. They got their first win at home this past Sunday. I think the Giants will surprise the NFL tonight in front of a national audience, putting an end to the enthusiasm for an over-rated Eagles team.
Dallas at Washington on Sunday
Come Sunday, of course, the Cowboys travel east to play the Washington Football Team. The Cowboys have, if you count the Travis Frederick retirement, lost their entire starting offensive line this season. Smith and Collins are done for the year. Frederick retired back in March. After Martin’s departure, the Cowboys were playing 2019 UDFA Brandon Knight at left tackle and Williams at left guard. Fourth-round rookie Tyler Biadasz was in at center, playing for veteran Joe Looney who is also out hurt. 2019 third-round pick Connor McGovern – who had played just two snaps on the OL last week – came in for Martin and played next to 2020 UDFA Terence Steele.
After Zach Martin was knocked out of the Monday night game with a concussion, the longest-tenured player on the OL was left guard Conner Williams. There is a chance, of course, that Martin is cleared from concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s game, but given that it happened on MNF, that would represent a quick turnaround.
I said all off-season that the Cowboys had the best roster in the division, and were certain to win the division. This despite the hiring of Mike McCarthy, who represented, to my mind, the worst hiring decision made by an NFL team this year.
But with Mike Nolan’s defense allowing an average of more than 36 points per game (4 points worse than the next rated defense), Dak Prescott gone for the season, and the offensive line in shambles, there simply isn’t enough left for Dallas to put together a winning season.
Add to that the report from Jane Slater this week:
#Cowboys players initially bought into keeping things internal. Now as they sit 2-4 the discontent is leaking out. On the coaching staff “totally unprepared. They don’t teach. They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.” Another “they just aren’t good at their jobs”— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) October 20, 2020
The player discontent has followed Mike McCarthy from Green Bay to Dallas. Jane Slater is employed by the NFL Network, but she has been covering the Cowboys for so long that it often feels like she is part of the Cowboys media relations team, akin to Julie Donaldson’s role in Washington. But this report from Slater is anything but flattering to the team and its coaches. For her to report this kind of rift seems significant, and I can’t help but compare it to the kind of buy-in being reported among Giants players with regard to what new coach Joe Judge is doing.
To recap, then. The Cowboys have the worst defense in the NFL, and that’s been true all season long. They have lost their entire starting offensive line and starting quarterback. They have the worst turnover differential in the NFL at -12, with their starting running back leading the team in giveaways with 5 fumbles. Now players are telling NFL Network’s embedded reporter that the coaching staff is totally unprepared, doesn’t teach and that they simply aren’t good at their jobs.
This Cowboys team was down 31-3 early in the 4th quarter on Monday night. The Cardinals running back scored a late TD, not because Kliff Kingsbury was running up the score, but because the back broke free for a 69-yard run as Arizona was trying to run out the clock.
The Cowboys have to fly east on a short week after a soul crushing loss at home. For the second time this season, I am ready to predict a victory for Ron Rivera’s Washington Football Team. The Washington defensive line should be living in the Dallas backfield. The Washington run game should find life for the first time all season. I don’t think it’s a blowout, but I believe the Football Team gets the “W” on Sunday and gets a needed win against an exhausted division rival.
Other games of interest
Wow! That Steelers-Titans game matches up two unbeaten teams. I picked the Steelers in that one, but, to be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen a Titans game this year, so I have no idea what to expect other than a good game.
Panthers-Saints is a game that interests me because I expected the Saints to run away with this division and the Panthers to be among the bottom-5 teams in the league prior to the start of the season. Both teams surprised me, for opposite reasons. I picked the Saints at home in this one, but, like the Titans, I haven’t seen the Panthers play yet this year. This could well be an upset to remember if Rhule’s team can knock of Drew Brees and his guys in New Orleans.
Another big divisional game is that Seahawks-Cardinals matchup. I’ve seen the Hawks play twice and the Cards three times. From what I’ve seen on the field, I expect a close game, but the Cardinals have been blown out in the two games they’ve played against quality opponents, while Russell Wilson always seems to find a way to win. I’m sticking with Seattle on this one.
The Buccaneers vs. the Raiders looks good on paper but I believe in Tom Brady and I don’t believe in Jon Gruden. I’m going Tampa Bay here.
Monday Night Football should give us a good finish to a good week of football, with the 5-1 Bears visiting the 4-2 Rams. Like most people, I expected the Bears to be worse and the Rams to be better. Both teams have picked up some cheap wins against weak competition, but the Bears have won against two quality opponents while the Rams don’t seem to have done the same. I’m going against my gut by picking the Bears to go to 6-1 with a road win in LA.