Week 14 of the NFL season has come and gone. As always, Matt Drufke- who watches none of the games- has so many questions. Fortunately, Fancy Boys Football experts Brendan Andreasen and Jack Baker do and are usually happy to answer some of them. Let’s mailbag.
With this being the season of people making lists and checking them twice, let’s start the mailbag with two very simple questions: Who is a player who you did not expect much from and is wildly overperforming? And who is a player who has disappointingly not met your expectations?
Brandon – On this very website on draft night, I wrote about how much Justin Herbert sucked and that no team would ever do anything with him as their quarterback. The Chargers suck. But that isn’t Herbert’s fault. Also, Nick Foles met every one of my expectations because I knew he was terrible, regardless of which offensive system he was in.
In terms of guys I’ve been disappointed by: Henry Ruggs makes one brutal drop every game and doesn’t seem to have spacial awareness when he is running out of bounds and is supposed to get two feet in. Christian McCaffrey had a sadly inevitable run of bad injury luck. Ezekiel Elliott got paid and then immediately reminded people why you don’t pay running backs. Also, Devin Singletary is a guy I drafted early in nearly every fantasy football league I’m in. Needless to say, I’ve lost in those leagues.
Jack – Jaguars undrafted rookie RB James Robinson is third in the NFL in rushing. Granted I had 0 expectations-or had ever heard of him-before the season, but he’s putting together a phenomenal season. He also proves once again why you don’t pay, or draft, running backs.
Robert Quinn has been a huge disappointment. He had a sack on his first play of the first game and then waited 13 weeks for the encore. I thought he’d have a huge season opposite Khalil Mack but he was dead wrong. He’s getting paid a lot more than Leonard Floyd and he’s doing a lot less. And he’s got a big cap hit for next year too. Ryan Pace strikes again!
With the New York Jets winning on Sunday (GASP!), the Jacksonville Jaguars became the most likely team to get the #1 draft pick next year. Jacksonville is bad, and quite possibly worse than the Jets, who’ve we spent more than enough time dunking on here. Is Jacksonville just a good draft away from turning it around? Do they need to clean house? Or should they, as Shakira says in her hit banger, try everything? (I am of course talking about her song “Try Everything” from the Disney gem Zootopia)
Brandon – First, congratulations on shoe horning Zootopia into this column for four consequtive months. I did not think you had it in you. Secondly, Jacksonville is exactly as bad as they were supposed to be. Giving the team over to Gardner Minshew is like asking a four year old to make pancakes: maybe they will get it right, but it’s way more likely a mess will be made and something will end up on fire. They were already in tear down mode and are living up to expectations.
The Jets, on the other hand, were getting “sneaky sleeper status” before the season. The people saying that were of course idiots because the team was still coached by Adam Case. There was a thought that this team would be good. Those people were wrong and deserve to be made fun of forever.
Jack – The best part of the NFL is that every team is just a good draft, trade or free agent signing away. It’s why people still watch the Bengals after all these years. In 2017, the Bears went 5-11 under John Fox. Then they signed Matt Nagy, traded for Khalil Mack and promptly went 12-4 and won the division. The 2008 Dolphins went from 1-15 to 11-5 and won the division. Just in 2017, the Jaguars went from 3-13 to 10-6 and one bad call- MYLES JACK WAS NOT DOWN-from the Super Bowl. The history of the NFL is littered with teams who made big jumps after godawful seasons.
That being said, the Jaguars are bad and will probably be bad until they’re inevitably moved to London.
This is a question I asked last year, but it bears re-asking in my opinion: If the team who wins your division has a losing record, do they really deserve to go to the playoffs? Wouldn’t the NFL do better by booting the Redskins (or whoever) out from the playoffs and letting a better team try and get their shot?
Brandon – Currently, that better team would be the Bears, so I am about that life. I think Jack and I have been railing against anyone from the NFC East making the playoffs since week 2. None of them deserve it, and there is still a very real scenario in which the Cowboys make it in at 6-10. The more infuriating part of this is that whoever wins this canker sore will be the HOME TEAM! You know Jerry Jones will gladly put 100k chicken fried pantloads into Dallas Stadium to watch the Cowboys play Tom Brady’s government bailed out ass.
Jack – The NFC East should never be allowed into the playoffs.
The Las Vegas Raiders are a conundrum to me. They’re the only team to beat the Chiefs this year, and when they’re good, they look right a team who could beat anyone. But as often as they look good, they can turn it around and just look like butt. This is a Jekkyl and Hyde team, and it’s maddening. Why can’t the Raiders be more consistent?
Brandon – Bad coaching. “Jon Gruden should have stayed retired” is a hill I’m willing to die on. Secondly, their defense was ass this season and has been made worse by injuries. They have not hit on early first round picks at a level that makes you confident they have any depth. Also, Derek Carr can have what people are calling “the best season of his career” all they want. Throwing for 381 yards against the Jets doesn’t even out the fact that he threw for 111 against the Browns.
Jack – Their defense is trash, like Brandon mentioned, and they only beat the Jets because Greg Williams made the most inexplicable Hail Mary defense call in NFL history. They used one of the 1st round picks from the Khalil Mack trade to get a RB which shows their front office is bad and dumb too. In the offseason, Gruden will probably finally get his wish to be rid of QB Derek Carr who will somehow end up disappointing Bears fans for the next five years.
There are some interesting games this week, which is stunning because we’re so late in the season and that usually means snooze city. So, let’s see some predictions for the fun matchups: Dolphins-Raiders, Colts-Steelers, Rams-Seahawks, Titans-Packers and Bills-Patriots: who do you like in these games?
Brandon-Dolphins win because the Raiders defense can’t stop anyone. Colts win because the Steelers are disintegrating. Seahawks because I’m currently waiting for the NFL to ban the Rams from playing ever again because they lost to the Jets. Packers so they have nothing to play for in Week 17. And Bills, because they might be the second best team in the NFL.
Jack – I’m taking the Dolphins, because it’s Tua Time, the Steelers because I hate Philip Rivers, the Rams because maybe they were looking past the Jets last weekend, the Titans because they have Derrick Henry, and the Bills because the Patriots are secretly tanking so Bellicheck can draft Trey Lance and win more Super Bowls.