Where Things Stand: 2020 NFL Edition Part 3

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Here at WTS Headquarters, the weather is cold outside, and we shockingly still have football. I’m expecting from when I’m writing these opening lines up on the Tuesday of Week 9 that we’ll get the every-four-weeks-COVID news dumps right before publication.

But that’s not what you wanted! You wanted an early holiday gift with WTS 2020 NFL Edition Part 3, right?

I have some extra humor and snark, and a nice bit of analysis, too.

What I don’t have is my time machine, which I almost finished! Intern Jason damaged it and was put on the “Banned from Lab” List.

We also have a tentative list of who might be the Mulligan Team in the finale come January lying around here somewhere. I cannot express how tentative it is. Things change at a breakneck pace here at WTS HQ.

If you want to catch up on the first two parts, here’s 2020 Part 1 and 2020 Part 2. Please let me know what you like or what can be improved and leave some claps for a little bit of promotion on this.

Right now, here’s the tentative remaining schedule for WTS:

-Part 3, covering weeks 9–12.

-Part 4, a couple of days after the NFL’s Black Monday covering Weeks 13–17 (or a potential Week 18) plus some coaching fires and the reveal of the 2020 Mulligan Team.

That’s enough of me talking shop. As Bill Belichick would say, we’re onto the AFC East.

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AFC East

Buffalo: 4–0 | Part 2: 6–2 | Part 3: 8–3

Miami: 1–3 | Part 2: 4–3 | Part 3: 7–4

Patriots: 2–2 | Part 2: 2–5 | Part 3: 5–6

NY Jets: 0–4 | Part 2: 0–8 | Part 3: 0–11

State of the AFC East

-Buffalo: You guys are something, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. I was very skeptical Josh Allen would make such a big leap this year, and that New England wouldn’t be ruling over all.

You kicked the Seahawks defense while they were down, and then narrowly let an 8–2 record at the time slip from your grasp because DeAndre Hopkins is a badass (more on him later).

Right now, you and Miami lead the Patriots in the New England Invitational Division by a few games. As long as you keep New England out of the postseason, that’s good enough for me.

-Miami: I still believe in Tua and even think if I was an NFL GM back in April, he would have been in heavy consideration for my No. 1 choice during the draft.”

I feel vindicated by what I said in Part 1. Tua absolutely balled out against the Cardinals and did enough against the Chargers. He has shown why I would have considered him for my No. 1 overall pick, albeit with some standard rookie struggles. He’s going to become a fully established star over the next few years, calling it now.

While this is still a tad early for a proclamation, I’m sold on Tua, and this team is in actual playoff position here because of a good defense and competent coaching.

And yes, I know Tua was briefly pulled from the loss against Denver for Fitzception. However, that is a moot point as Belichick potential prodigy/coach Brian Flores says he’s still the starter, though Fitzpatrick started in place of Tua for Week 12 and delivered a key victory, with the latter nursing a hand injury.

Owner Stephen Ross might have finally gotten things right, but I’m unsure he actually deserves this reward after running a mostly inept or irrelevant franchise for several years now.

-New England: I know I initially wanted to bash Bill Belichick for almost losing to The Butt Fumble.

*Almost.*

You remember when I said I can’t declare the dynasty as dead until this year is finished? Beating Baltimore and Arizona is why I said that. Belichick wants to win, and he knows how to win. He’s done a lot of winning!

However, losing to the Texans makes it so agonizing not to say it, but I’m not jinxing anything here… yet.

So for everyone burying the Patriots, I suggest being prepared for Old Takes Exposed coming after you. Delete the tweets my friends!

-New York: You’re a very special kind of disaster… you know that, right? Do I really need to explain what has been going on with the Jets since last time?

I’ll do it anyway.

You almost busted your Tank for Trevor against New England. You showed even more incompetence just by existing.

AND THEN YOU HAD HIDDEN CAMERAS AT YOUR PRACTICE FACILITY LOCKER ROOM DISCOVERED, AND THE PLAYERS ALERTED THE NFLPA!?!?!?

Someone seems to be very insecure, Adam! I really hope you join the 0–16 club! No “Victory Parade” this year because COVID is still a thing. You’ve Seen Matt Patricia, Bill O’Brien and Dan Quinn (not to be confused with ousted Lions GM Bob Quinn) get booted before you!

I want to put together a video with editor Brandon Lewis on the failings of your franchise with Ode to Joy playing in the background, but that would be too much effort and far too nice, wouldn’t it?

No, no, no! You’ll get a true hell scorching of a narrative in the Part 4 Finale. Nothing will save you (or Adam Gase for that matter) from what I will do.

Carry on!

AFC North

Pittsburgh: 3–0 | Part 2: 7–0 | Part 3: 11–0

Cleveland: 3–1 | Part 2: 5–3 | Part 3: 8–3

Baltimore: 3–1 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 6–5

Cincinnati: 1–2–1 | Part 2: 2–5–1 | Part 3: 2–8–1

State of the AFC North:

-Pittsburgh: As I watched SportsCenter on Monday, November 9, 2020, at 2:33 p.m., the statistic was thrown up on the screen that the last eight teams to start 8–0 haven’t won the Super Bowl.

That’s a comforting fact as I hate heaping praise on the Steelers any more than I have to, for fairness sake.

I know BSR Sports Department staffer Gabe Collura is thoroughly enjoying this, although the Steelers almost choked against Dallas in a trap game before dominating the Bengals.

Now, can someone knock these Yinzers on their asses before the next edition releases… PLEASE? I will hurl if I have to say they went undefeated!

But for a moment here, let’s pray that James Conner returns to health after testing positive for COVID-19. While I loathe the Steelers to my very core, I respect Conner, a cancer survivor who is at higher risk with this virus.

Get better soon James!

-Cleveland: Wait… the Browns are ahead of the Ravens in the division and are 8–3? Is this what it feels like to actually win!?!? THE FIRST GUARANTEED NON-LOSING SEASON SINCE 2007!!??!!

*Sees Kool-Aid on corner of the desk, pushes it away*

Admittedly, the Kool-Aid is tempting, but let’s say Christmas came early for Cleveland fans.

In Week 12, there were only 3 teams with better records than the Browns. They are Super Bowl contenders Pittsburgh, Kansas City and New Orleans. Let that sink in!

While Baker Mayfield, Cody Parkey, Charley Hughlett, Jack Conklin, Chris Hubbard and Andy Janovich all either placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list and missed some time or quickly activated from it, nothing was more devastating than losing Myles Garrett after Week 10 due to COVID. And then Porter Gustin, Joe Jackson and Sione Takitaki joined him on the COVID list, with the coup de grace being Denzel Ward missing some time with a calf injury.

While that may sound like doom and gloom, Nick Chubb came back and has returned to running roughshod over defenses everywhere. Him and Kareem Hunt both gained over 100 yards in Week 10 over the Texans and got past the Eagles.

Chubb also turned Jacksonville into his personal playground with 144 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Jarvis Landry hauling in an 8/143/1 TD statline.

However, from your normal sports bettors to Charles Barkley, many were upset with Chubb stepping out at the one against Houston, and Vegas winning money on a failed spread cover.

I have hope. I really think I was right on Stefanski, and we have brighter days to look forward to.

You thought that was the end, wasn’t it? Nope! I have some unfinished business with the Grinch’s of the Browns fan base.

WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE SO F****** MISERABLE!?!? DO YOU REALIZE THAT THIS TEAM IS ACTUALLY ON THE PRECIPICE OF SNAPPING THE LONGEST ACTIVE POSTSEASON DROUGHT, AND YOU CONTINUALLY LAMBAST THEM EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE WINNING!??! THERE ISN’T EVEN ANY MEDIA FOR YOU TO “BLAME” FOR “CAUSING DIVISION AND CHAOS” RIGHT NOW!!

You miserable lolcows aren’t true fans of this franchise. Get out of here and go find another team in another city to rip on and feel miserable! I get that these Browns aren’t a complete team, but you frauds that call yourself “fans” give Cleveland a bad name!!

-Baltimore: I’m honestly shocked you’re behind the Browns in the standings! So much so that I’m not sure what to write here.

You had a comeback win versus the Colts, but Lamar’s regression versus a crippled Patriots team and giving up a double digit lead against the Titans hurts. You guys are not explosive like you were last year, nor can you close out games. Lamar is stuck in Tier 2 of the quarterback ratings and not getting out until further notice.

Do you want to know another reason you’re in Tier 2, Lamar? Opposing defenses know exactly what plays you’re going to run, and they know about your over reliance on Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, which is glaringly apparent.

And now you guys have a whole coronavirus outbreak to deal with! First J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, and then the avalanche of names came down! This included Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson, Calais Campbell, Willie Snead and at least 14 other players testing positive.

This outbreak is being potentially traced to a strength and conditioning coach not abiding by the guidelines. This outbreak forced a move of the Thanksgiving Day nightcap not once, not twice, but three times to a Wednesday!! This seemed to be in response to a potential wildcat strike by Ravens players.

That coach better be fired if they were being that cavalier and caused THIS DEBACLE!! Oh, and the Steelers were plenty pissed with your organization for messing up their schedule like the Titans did to them earlier in the 2020 campaign. Yet you almost won. It feels better knowing they crushed your spirits in the end.

-Cincinnati: Well, this narrative changed on a dime. Joe Burrow tore his ACL, MCL and sustained other structural damage in his left knee against Washington in Week 11. He’s done for the year.

Your future is still bright if the right pieces are laid in the foundation, and by foundation, I mean investing in an actual offensive line to protect Burrow! Upgrading the defense is secondary to the offensive line after Burrow’s injury. At least Tee Higgins looks like a top five round fantasy wideout next year.

As much as I’m going to love to hate Burrow because of how uber-talented he is, let me say this with his rookie campaign now over: He is a great player, and I am scared of him! If he had that 2012 Andrew Luck roster talent, the Bengals would be in the playoffs.

I will run under the assumption he comes back healthy in year two and along with Cleveland, they will overthrow one of Baltimore or Pittsburgh. Heck, let’s be bold and go for knocking off both in 2021!

AFC South

Tennessee: 3–0 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 8–3

Indianapolis: 3–1 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 7–4

Houston: 0–4 | Part 2: 1–6 | Part 3: 4–7

Jacksonville: 1–3 | Part 2: 1–6 | Part 3: 1–10

State of the AFC South:

-Tennessee: You managed to beat the superfraud Bears without Derrick Henry being an absolute wrecking ball, but remember what I said last time?

“And yet, we have to mention your recent losing streak now. You lost to the Bengals and now are barely ahead of the Colts based on tiebreakers. Like Buffalo, tread carefully.

The Colts are very flawed and you need to snap out of your funk quickly. I will not hesitate to make you the mulligan team if the stars align perfectly.”

The Titans lost to the Colts in Week 10 as they usurped Tennessee for first place.

However, King Henry came in to save the day once again! 178 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, and a few catches to absolutely crush the life out of the Colts. 140 of those rushing yards came in the first half. ROLL THE HIGHLIGHT REEL!!

Derrick Henry destroying NFL defenses…again!

Still, sinking Baltimore two years in a row might be enough to get you off the hook from being the mulligan team barring a huge collapse.

-Indianapolis: Okay, I’ll admit I’ve been a bit unfair. While you did cough up a win to the Ravens, you got a much needed Thursday Night win over the Titans to take first place… and then got spanked in a revenge matchup two weeks later, as Derrick Henry proceeded to crush yet another team’s hopes and dreams.

The last sentence has become a recurring narrative.

Not even Andrew Luck could have saved you from Henry this time (It’s Grigson, Pagano and Irsay’s fault!!).

You played tough against pissed off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, winning that game on a Rodrigo Blankenship kick coming off of a forced fumble in overtime.

Speaking of Blankenship, I’m really happy for the guy. If anyone remembers the College Football Playoff against an Oklahoma team led by Baker Mayfield, he was receiving death threats for missing a kick for Georgia (though Georgia won in the end).

That’s why I’m happy for him. Also, because he’ll likely make more money than any of those fraud UGA “fans” and laugh at them for eternity.

-Houston: You got your second win… by barely beating Jacksonville. After that, you faced the Demolition Derby via Chubb and Hunt before knocking off the Patriots and putting their season on life support. You get some kudos there.

Now comes the part where I actually DEFEND Romeo Crennel for faking a field goal which ended up as a punt in the game against the Browns.

An actual smart move for anyone from Cleveland or Ohio in general.

You see, that day had hellish winds and where they were at, it could have been far worse turning the ball over rather than downing it inside the 10 yard line.

I get those potential points could have tied the game, but Crennel has been the head man in Cleveland before. He also had the benefit of having Phil Dawson as his kicker.

Don’t argue with me here. You’ll end up losing that battle.

-Jacksonville: Is Jake Luton the next Minshew Mania?

Nope.

Has he almost destroyed their tank twice?

Yes, and he barely lost to Houston and Green Bay. Mike Glennon almost did the same with Cleveland.

Also, I had yet another fantasy player’s touchdown negated (James Robinson) on a holding penalty. A.J. Cann for this squad and David Moore of Seattle have pissed me off to no end in fantasy football this year.

Your tank for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields is still intact, but the Indy win doesn’t help you out at all. The Jets would need to actually win twice (a herculean task) for you to have a shot at the №1 pick.

Be ready to say goodbye to Doug Marrone any day now. You’ve already fired Dave Caldwell after losing to the Browns with Mike Glennon (who looked better than he should have).

AFC West

Kansas City: 4–0 | Part 2: 7–1 | Part 3: 10–1

Las Vegas: 2–2 | Part 2: 4–3 | Part 3: 6–5

Denver: 1–3 | Part 2: 3–4 | Part 3: 4–7

LA Chargers: 1–3 | Part 2: 2–5 | Part 3: 3–8

State of the AFC West:

-Kansas City: “I will reconfirm what we all now know to be truth and gospel: Patrick Mahomes is a cheat code. He can decimate a defense without having to blink.”

I said that when the first ever WTS NFL article came out. It’s still true. This narrative has been reinforced time and again. Following a close fireworks show against the Panthers, he went out and effortlessly drove 75 yards for a score to pull off a comeback win against the Raiders on this touchdown.

Follow that with Tyreek Hill’s absolute demolition of Tampa Bay with seven catches, 206 yards and two touchdowns IN THE FIRST QUARTER!!!! He finished with a 13/269/3 stat line.

That’s pretty good for a guy who thought his quarterback was trash the first time he saw him in Chiefs training camp.

It’s Mahomes’ AFC now baby! And it will be that way until he retires.

-Las Vegas: “I’m still very tempered with my expectations because you exploited the one weakness of the Chiefs at the moment, pushing the ball downfield with the long throws.”

I’m glad I didn’t drink the Vegas Kool-Aid! They WERE winning and now that same collapse that happened last year when they dropped to *checks notes* 6–5 is happening again… at 6–5!

It seems that those victory bus laps around Arrowhead earlier this year came back to bite you in Week 11 at home. Call it Karma.

Now you’re on the outside looking in but if you manage to play the Chiefs in the playoffs, you are the only team to have beaten them and almost managed it twice! You’re also the only team I think that could prevent them from repeating as Super Bowl champions.

I look forward to seeing that scenario unfold or a possible self-destruction.

-Denver: I had a whole different narrative for you guys, but let’s play this-actually-came-true hypotheticals!

What would happen if all of your quarterbacks were barred from playing in, I don’t know, Week 12 as a close contact for COVID-19?

Would you forfeit, try to use running back Royce Freeman as your quarterback, ask the NFL to move your game, or rely on a practice squad wideout who played quarterback at Wake Forest to man the position without any preparation and only complete one of nine passes?

If you guessed the last one, scratch that off your 2020 list! Yes, Kendall Hilton started Week 12, and no, the Broncos didn’t win. However, I have to ask why didn’t you move this game to a Week 18, Roger Goodell?

I mean, really! What did Denver do to piss you off that Baltimore didn’t? Was it because the quarterbacks slipped up and you made an example of Denver, as Broncos safety Kareem Jackson hypothesized?

2020 is going to 2020. That’s all I’ve got to say.

-LA Chargers: There are things I want to say, but damn, how much pain do the Chargers have to go through?

They are the definition of insanity with their glutton for punishment and pain. Screw the Browns 20-plus years of incompetence for ten seconds! Knowing that this team chokes yearly and could easily be a playoff contender right now if not for said chokes, would drive me crazy.

The Chargers in a nutshell.

SOMEONE PLEASE GO IN AND SAVE JUSTIN HERBERT!!!

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I finally get to shred a few teams in the NFC East! Things didn’t feel right after not tearing this division down. My editor and residence Eagles fan Brandon Lewis is not immune from the pain I am about to inflict today. He (by my mandate) is writing a short analysis around my Eagles narrative for what happened in the Browns game, especially since he was there.

— — — — — — -

NFC East

NY Giants: 0–4 | Part 2: 1–7 | Part 3: 4–7

Washington: 1–3 | Part 2: 2–5 | Part 3: 4–7

Philly: 1–2–1 | Part 2: 3–4–1 | Part 3: 3–7–1

Dallas: 1–3 | Part 2: 2–6 | Part 3: 3–8

State of the NFC East:

-NY Giants: I need a shredding victim. You get to be shredded for winning three in a row. Daniel Jones is a glorified running back for the moment. I know he can throw the ball, but be honest, is he really the answer for this franchise?

You’ve likely taken yourself out of range for Justin Fields. There is Trey Lance from North Dakota State though. I’m not saying he’s bad, but you took yourselves out of the running for the top two quarterbacks here.

Also, Dave Gettleman really doesn’t know what he’s doing, does he? Well, he at least extended Graham Gano after he sunk a game-winner (and then Gano proceeded to test positive for COVID-19!).

If you keep Gettleman, I will eviscerate you in the 2020 finale.

Wait, you’re in first place?! You’re not going 2007 and 2011 Giants on us, right? Ah… nope! Seems like Jones suffered an injury before publication.

-Washington: I think these statements from Part 1 and Part 2 respectively need highlighted:

“Washington, start Smith if you want a shot at the playoffs and let him earn his comeback player of the year award already!!”

“Now, Ron Rivera just needs to realize that if he wants to win, he needs to start Smith over Kyle Allen. It will happen, but it probably will be too little, too late.”

It is finally the Alex Smith show in Washington (again). While Kyle Allen’s injury forced the issue, they now have a legitimate chance to compete for the division crown. They even won two games with Smith and are so close to first in this incomeptent division.

Blowing out Dallas on Thanksgiving gave us some hearty laughter at the Cowboys expense while even pulling off a fumblerooskie.

I was right about Smith. His teammates have praised his calm demeanor as being a stabilizer on the team and getting this team to resemble some levels of competency. Washington actually may look to extend him.

Comeback Player of the Year. Enough said.

-Philadelphia: You are no longer the least incompetent team in your division. Hell, this division is a joke. I’m honestly all for shutting down Carson Wentz for a week after all the hits he’s taken to get his head right.

And things have gotten so bad that Doug Pederson had to defend Wentz from comments made by Brett Favre. Yikes!

Also, Justin Jefferson not being selected over Jalen Raegor continues to look foolish. Raegor is talented, but Jefferson is something else!!

Now ladies and gentlemen, since the Browns only face the Eagles once every four years, here is Brandon’s short game analysis for Week 11!

“To me, the play that changed the game was this play.

Baker Mayfield’s forward progress CLEARLY should not have been stopped! The ball was coming loose and no body part of Baker’s was on the ground, and the Eagles CLEARLY recovered the ball, but because the referee’s ruled forward progress, the play was unchallengeable, causing me to lose my mind inside FirstEnergy Stadium. Kareem Hunt would wind up scoring a touchdown in the next few plays to put the Browns up 19–10 to essentially end the game.

But watching the game high up from section 511, row 22, seat 5 in FirstEnergy Stadium, two factors stood out to me.

  1. The Eagles COULD/SHOULD HAVE won the game!
  2. The Eagles are a beat up, not good football team.

The offense turned the ball over three times, twice in the red zone. That is unacceptable. They left at least six points on the board, which would have been enough to win the game.

Carson Wentz has not been good this season, but it’s NOT his fault. It’s very clear the Eagles have a wide receiver and an offensive line problem. Jason Peters was getting mauled all day by Olivier Vernon, and the receivers were not beating man coverage.

Wentz is pressing, and it is concerning, but I’m hoping a healthy Andre Dillard, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson next season solves the offensive line woes, and that the Eagles do add another wideout in the draft.

It’s not the playcalling of Doug Pederson, who still is a very good head coach in the NFL. It’s not all about Wentz, who still, to me at least, is a very good NFL quarterback. It’s everybody involved, and with the Eagles projected to be at least $60 million over the cap next season, life is not looking all sunny in Philadelphia.

The good news? The Eagles are still in first place in the NFC LEAST, and they have a chance to make a run and get some valuable playoff experience in January.

2007 and 2011 Giants, here we come!”

Thanks Brandon! Now onto the most incompetent of the NFC Least squads.

-Dallas: IT’S TIME TO SHRED THE HACK THAT IS MIKE MCCARTHY!!!

~But first, congratulations for winning a single game since you lost Dak Prescott! This would have been more impressive if you hadn’t been on a bye, the Vikings were not a fringe playoff contender most of the year, and you actually had competent coaching.~

Speaking of competency, Thanksgiving Day showed you how much of a hack McCarthy is. I thought I saw shades of Freddie Kitchens with a piece of hardware on that sideline with the gadget trick plays, and then THIS abysmal attempt at a fake punt! OH MY LORD ROLE THE TAPE AND LAUGH!!

Jerry Jones is going to be far too loyal to Mike McCarthy and not fire him, isn’t he?

Well, enjoy more pain Dallas fans. The only folks who are possibly enjoying this right now are Dak Prescott and his agent. A $160 million contract AT MINIMUM will be coming his way from some team… likely to be Dallas.

NFC North

Green Bay: 4–0 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 8–3

Minnesota: 1–3 | Part 2: 2–5 | Part 3: 5–6

Chicago: 3–1 | Part 2: 5–3 | Part 3: 5–6

Detroit: 1–3 | Part 2: 3–4 | Part 3: 4–7

State of the NFC North:

-Green Bay: The Packers have made up for the last edition by being able to shred any notion of the fraud label (at least for me).

Now then, the only loss they’ve suffered in this edition is to the Colts on Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) getting the ball punched out for a fumble in overtime, and the Colts winning on a field goal.

MVS then proceeded to incur death threats on social media. To those who made those threats, do you really think you could do his job and take the criticism? I don’t often say a damning statement like this, but there’s a special place for you people to end up when you reach the end of the road. He even had Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur back him up during the post game pressers.

If it weren’t for MVS, the Packers wouldn’t have even made it into overtime, with said video of his crucial fourth quarter catch here (and I apologize for the video quality. It was the best I could find).

I hope he saved some screenshots of some of those threats, but it looks like he’s taking the highroad.

We’re moving on from the Packers and now turn our attention to another team in the NFC North. I just so happen to owe someone for this next team an apology.

-Minnesota: Are the Vikings back from the dead?

Mmm maybe.

Is Dalvin Cook the best running back in the NFL?

Possibly.

Did you destroy the Packers and Lions and win three of your last four?!

Yes, yes and yes.

First off, my sports coordinator Quentin Griffin did indeed get to say “I told you so” as he yelled in a rush of pure excitement following a Week 9 touchdown by Dalvin Cook on a phone call related to our BSR Madden Tournament. You might be right in my calling for the Vikings death early, Q.

The Vikings destroyed the Packers in Week 8 and blitzed the Lions before making a comeback statement over Carolina with Adam Thielen Sidelined under COVID-19 protocol. You also saw Kirk Cousins win his first Monday Night Football game in 10 tries. I’d be more optimistic if you hadn’t laid an egg against Dallas.

I thought the BSR Madden Tourney victor was supposed to have their favorite team suffer more than this after Quentin beat Brandon Lewis for the title this year. Let’s see if we have an outlier.

-Chicago: Folks, we lost a storied meme. Big Dick Nick is out for a little while (with a potential return in the offing).

He has brought us joy for everyone outside of New England and is likely the greatest reliever in NFL history.

To honor him, here is the whole Super Bowl LII Montage displaying his greatness and to annoy Patriots fans once again.

Now onto the actual snark and analysis

Did I not tell you the Bears were frauds? I did, didn’t I? Yes I did, and I will make sure that is what the record says. They even started Mitch Trubisky again against the Packers and things didn’t end well.

You are frauds, super frauds even. Enough said.

— — — — -

Congratulations if you made it this far without cheating! If you got here, you get to learn who the *tentative* finalists for the Mulligan team are (in no particular order). They are Baltimore, New England, LA Rams, Minnesota, Miami, Las Vegas, Chicago and Carolina. Again this is tentative, with Tampa Bay on the outside of the bubble (barely, might I add). Leave a reply saying “I read the intro” on the article if you found this. Now keep reading since you’re so close to the end! There’s a lot more fun to be had here!! :-)

— — — — -

-Detroit: WTS CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY AGAIN! The Lions fired failed Belichick experiment/coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn. I think I want to get the whole highlight reel of the Texans obliterating a whole city here.

Nah! Detroit already suffered enough with their now-fired regime. I’ll partially spare you.

For a defensive coach, Patricia didn’t ever seem to actually have a defense, more like a sack of flour at every spot. He doesn’t have missing Matthew Stafford to blame like last year. No no no nooooo! Stafford bailed you out so many times this year, but the axe finally came down.

It’s funny that two of the three teams with both coaching and general manager vacancies come from the Belichick tree.

~I wonder if it’s a good idea to avoid Belichick coaches as your head coach?~

Save for Brian Flores and Joe Judge right now, the former doing well in Miami and the latter in a too early to call situation with the Giants, I think you know the answer here.

NFC South
New Orleans: 2–2 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 9–2

Tampa Bay: 3–1 | Part 2: 6–2 | Part 3: 7–5

Atlanta: 0–4 | Part 2: 2–6 | Part 3: 4–7

Carolina: 2–2 | Part 2: 3–5 | Part 3: 4–8

State of the NFC South:

-New Orleans: The Saints destroyed Tom Brady on Sunday Night Football. That’s where the good news stops for a moment.

Drew Brees is now injured with multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung.

Taysom Hill did well in passing the ball in his first start and rushing for two scores, but that’s about it. He ran for two scores against a quarterback-less Broncos team too.

Just survive until you get Brees back. You did it last year so you can do it again, right?

-Tampa Bay: Drew Brees blew “Tompa Bay” the hell up.

Tom Brady responded by blowing up Carolina, with Ronald Jones delivering a 98-yard touchdown run to atone for committing the sin of fumbling the football on the first drive that led the opponent to score a touchdown.

AND ANTONIO BROWN WRECKED A SECURITY CAMERA BEFORE JOINING THE BUCS!! LOL THIS GUY!!!!!!

In any case, I think it’s a safe call that the Bucs grab a wild card even after the Kansas City game. Your hopes of grabbing the division are barely alive, but at least you finally get your Week 13 bye week.

-Atlanta: The Fall Down Falcons almost choked a game away to Denver in Week 9 by giving up 3 touchdowns at the end. The Broncos even had the ball last before a fumble ended up in the Fall Down Falcons’ hands, and they held on for the win.

In good conscience, I can’t applaud them here. This team wins a decent number of games in the second half of the season and proceeds to slip down the draft board from the top to around the middle. See last year and that they’ve gone 2–1 the last four weeks.

I guess Matt Ryan and these guys have to keep Falling Down by winning instead of losing and trending up.

By the way, this meme sticks until at least 2021. It’s not going away quite yet.

-Carolina: You got Christian McCaffery back AND… now he’s out again.

These Panthers aren’t good, but they play hard each and every week for Matt Rhule, who has my respect.

Just make sure you don’t screw this up, Matt.

NFC West

Seattle: 4–0 | Part 2: 6–1 | Part 3: 8–3

LA Rams: 3–1 | Part 2: 5–3 | Part 3: 7–4

Arizona: 2–2 | Part 2: 5–2 | Part 3: 6–5

San Fran: 2–2 | Part 2: 4–4 | Part 3: 5–6

State of the NFC West:

-Seattle: Seahawks fans, as much as Russell Wilson is amazing and a great quarterback, we need to talk about what you guys call a “defense.”

Wilson and the offense have carried this squad every week. Even with a few guys like Bobby Wagner, Jamal Adams and K.J. Wright, you’ve given up 25 points in every single game through Week 10.

Look, I’m not expecting the old “Legion of Boom” to re-emerge, not in the slightest! However, you will not win the Super Bowl without actually limiting the damage. Buffalo absolutely decimated you, and if you were to face the Chiefs, you’d stand no chance. It’s the reality.

-LA Rams: After their Week 9 bye, the Rams suddenly stepped up to the plate with my ultimatum from Part 2 to go 11–5.

They briefly shed the frauds label by knocking off Seattle and sending them into third place for a week after the DHop Hail Mary catch in Week 10. Also beating Tampa Bay helps here. Losing to a banged up San Francisco? Not so much.

You’ve now won two games outside of the superfraud Bears and the entire NFC East. Will you go 11–5?

I guess we’ll find out in Part 4.

-Arizona: Kyler Murray lost to the Dolphins in an awesome duel against Tua and came up short in the rematch versus Seattle and Russell Wilson.

Between those losses was a pick-me-up moment, with DeAndre Hopkins making the Catch of the Year on this Kyler Murray 42 yard Hail Mary and continuing to make Hack O’Brien and Houston look dumber by the day.

However, Kliff Kingsbury, Kyler Murray and co. fell to New England on a walk-off field goal, meaning you’ve lost three of your last four.

You are seriously flirting with danger here! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that we’ll catch the Cardinals in the playoffs but get your act together!

The Cardinals aren’t shredding material, as even I realize there were bound to be some hiccups for this team. But a scolding? That could be in the cards.

See what I did there?

-San Francisco: The 49ers are on life support. They have incurred the wrath of the injury plague from MetLife Stadium earlier this season.

At varying points, they have lost Jimmy G, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa, Jeff Wilson Jr. and practically every wideout. You get it.

They also will be playing outside of Santa Clara county, where their facility and stadium are, after the county issued a ban on contact sports for at least three weeks and being given no heads up as they flew to Los Angeles.

There isn’t any shredding for the 49ers. As I have said, it seems to be an injury onslaught instead of sluggish play from a Super Bowl hangover. They sold off Kwon Alexander at the trade deadline to recoup draft capital.

For now, the focus for this organization is on 2021. I trust John Lynch and Kyle Shannahan to adjust. You guys have my respect, hence the lack of shredding.

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The 2020 Finale is going to be a doozy! Will I have a working time machine? Who becomes the 2020 Mulligan Team (can confirm it’s not the Cowboys!)? And what new narratives will be written to set up for next season? I guess you’ll have to read to find out. Part 4 may take a bit longer with coaching fires being involved and a potential Week 18.

Also, go follow me on Twitter and get me above 500 Followers before Part 4 and I’ll consider the Jets Ode to Joy shredding video.

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Sean Fitzgerald is the sports director of the Black Squirrel Radio Sports Department. He co-hosts Pass the Mic Sports Talk. Follow him on Twitter @fitzonsportsbsr for insights and occasional livestreams, as well as here on medium.com.

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