Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books. Matt Drufke has questions. Fancy Boys Football expert Jack Baker has the answers. Let’s mailbag.
Let’s start in New Orleans, where the Saints beat the 49ers on Sunday but at a price, as Drew Brees was sidelined with a rib injury. Jameis Winston filled in (with another series helmed by the exciting Taysom Hill), but he’s not Drew Brees, who is one of the best quarterbacks of this generation. The Saints are in a divisional fight with the Bucs and a playoff spot is nowhere close to guaranteed, but they also have a very good running game and solid defense. How many weeks can New Orleans afford to be without Brees, and is Winston good enough to back up in the meantime?
I think the Saints will be fine. Last year, they went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater filling in at QB. Drew Brees hasn’t been the same this year and there may be a drop off in decision making, but Brees does not have the same arm as he used to.
Jameis Winston is a talented QB who makes terrible decisions, both with the football and with consent. He will turn the ball over more, but will also probably make more big plays. He still has Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas to throw to. He chose to play for the Saints for a reason. He’s going to rebuild his reputation just like Bridgewater did last year, and parlay that into a new contract and starting job next year, probably with the Broncos or Steelers if Rapelisberger retires.
Every now and then, the NFL gives you a play like Deandre Hopkins game-winning touchdown catch for the Cardinals. (Insert clip of catch) So many questions: how great was that catch? Was it the play of the year? And how dumb do the Texans feel letting this dude go?
Last question first, the Texans are NFC East level bad. They fired the only female running PR for an NFL team, likely because she’s no longer a “cultural fit” AKA her tweets are a little too Pro-Democrat. They traded away their best player and didn’t get a first round draft pick back. They’re one of the worst teams in the NFL but won’t pick in the first or second round this year because they already gave those picks away in other shortsighted deals. They’re drowning and should have to give Deshaun Watson to the Bears as penance.
This is the play of the year so far. If the Cardinals go on to win the Super Bowl, you will probably have to recreate this play if you start playing next year’s Madden before its finished installing on your next gen console.
Off the field, Green Bay made David Bakhtiari a very happy man. Not only did he return from a rib injury and help Green Bay win, but he signed a contract extension worth up to $105.5 million dollars. This is wildly impressive for an offensive lineman, and even moreso for a dude I have never heard of. Jack, who is this dude? Is he worth this kind of scratch? And what does this say about the future of how o-linemen get paid?
The fact that you’d never heard of Bakhtiari says a lot about how you watch, or don’t watch, football. He’s been the best pass blocking lineman in the NFL for years. He’s been an All-Pro each of the last four years, so it’s not exactly like he’s been flying under the radar.
It was already a great time to be a Left Tackle in the NFL, Laremy Tunsil reset the market for tackles thanks to the Texans stupidity not that long ago, and Bakhtiari resets its again. The NFL is a passing league. The most important player on the field is the QB. The second most important player on the field is the Left Tackle. Pass blocking lineman are going to get PAID. Hell, Charles Leno Jr. can’t block anybody and he still makes $9 million a year.
If there’s a fun division race with great teams, it’s the NFC West. There’s currently a 3-way tie for first between the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Rams. Shakira, in her hit jam “Try Everything”, sings about how she won’t give up and won’t give in. Fuck, that song slaps. There really hasn’t been a song in a Disney movie as compelling as that song, and it also has a great beat. Shakira is totally underrated and I’d love to see a Christmas album from her with a fun dance feel. Anyways, who’s winning the NFC West?
My heart says the Cardinals because their Kliff Kingsbery led offense with Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins is so fun. My head says the Rams, because they’re the only one of the teams who plays defense. So it will probably be the Seahawks because Russell Wilson is still the best QB in the division.
Kudos for you for going 2-1 in your predictions this week, so let’s look at next week’s games, where I think the most interesting non-NFC West game is Titans-Ravens. Both teams need this game, so who do you think comes out on top?
This is the least exciting playoff rematch from last year. Both teams are absolutely reeling. I think the Ravens will get the bounceback win they need because they have Lamar Jackson and the Titans defense is terrible (playing the Bears not withstanding). The Ravens haven’t been able to throw the ball like they did last year, but they still have a great rushing attack. I think Lamar gets loose for a big play and their greatly helped by not having to play in a monsoon.