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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Guess who’s back. Back again.

NFL: Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Guess what, I write approximately .6 articles per season now, so I’m going to put thoughts in here until I get tired of putting thoughts in here. This means there will be more than ten. Deal with it.

1) Imagine making a magic marker-on-posterboard sign that says “Passing Peyton is a Brees” and thinking you’re clever.

Last week’s ten thoughts image was Drew Brees, and this week’s is Drew Brees. This has inadvertantly become a Drew Brees fan site.

Drew Brees passed Brett Favre last night for 2nd all time in passing yards. This is little surprise, given that the Saints chuck the ball all across the planet. He’ll likely pass Peyton in the near future, and good on him, I suppose. EDIT: While I was writing this, he just went ahead and did the whole damn thing to get to #1. He’s going to make that record untouchable.

Drew Brees is the singular reason that the Saints are always picked as a playoff contender, even though their defense gives up approximately one million (30.6) points per game. That team is going to be garbage when he’s gone.

2) The Cleveland Browns are the new hotness, and I am here for it. They play in a division that doesn’t seem to be very good, and if Baker Mayfield continues to progress (and he’ll definitely have some stumbles) they can use that and a top 12 defense to surprise Cincy, Pitt, and Baltimore.

They still need a head coach, though, so my expectation is that Jackson will be gone after the season.

3) Mason Crosby missed a bunch of kicks. As a Bears fan, it was pretty hilarious. I don’t really have much deeper thought here, it’s just nice to see it happen to Green Bay sometimes.

4) Pittsburgh’s James Conner is really making the Steelers look smart in the Le’Veon Bell saga.

Conner racked up 110 yards rushing, and another 75 yards receiving, along with two touchdowns this weekend, and is 7th in the league for rushing yards this season. A third round pick last year, he’s averaging four yards per carry and catching the ball out of the backfield. He seems to be showing us why the NFL is so hesitant to dump a bunch of resources into the running back position, which leads us to...

5) Saquon Barkley, the 2nd overall pick by the Giants this year, is trying to prove the opposite. He joined rarefied air on Sunday, becoming just the third player in NFL history to earn at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first five games. (The others are Kareem Hunt and Adrian Peterson, if you’re wondering.)

Barkley is on a team that looks to be pretty bad, though. In fact, he’s third on the team in receiving yards for this season. As we Bears fans know, when your running back is a leading receiver, your offensive game plan probably sucks. Barkley is 16th in receptions in the whole league. The whole league! And that is with a 79.5% catch rate

6) Speaking of the Giants, how about that Odell Beckham Jr. huh? Seems like he’s in a good place right now.

For those who somehow missed it, Beckham effectively said the Giants suck (true), that being there has stagnated his career (basically true), the offensive game-planning sucks (true), and that we all know Eli’s not going to run around, and he’s kind of tired of having to catch slant passes and then try and take them to the house (understandable).

The problem with this is all that it’s WEEK 5. He just got $65 milly in guaranteed money, and a contract extension just before the season started. He’s feeling good and comfortable, and the worst (best) thing that would happen to him is to get traded to a contender or released and able to re-sign for a bunch of money.

The Giants played better this week, though they lost to the Panthers, and Beckham had to throw a gosh-danged touchdown during the game just to have it be competitive. So he’s got a point, but the locker room could get out of control quickly.

7) I know you don’t care about my fantasy team, but I’d like to use this public forum to personally apologize to Corey Grant. I picked him up in both of my leagues, as I have Fournette in both and I thought it was a really good idea. I believe my supreme influence on the universe caused him to suffer a lisfranc injury to his left foot and end his season.

8) Those Rams though. 5-0. Big comeback against a divisional rival. So hot right now.

9) On that topic, PLAY TO WIN THE GAME. The Rams did so, and they won. The Cowboys did not, and they lost.

Our friends at Turf Show Times said it best, I think, in giving the coaching staff an A:

When you go for it on 4th down at the end of the game and it works out, you look like a genius. If it hadn’t resulted in a first down and the Seahawks ended up scoring on the next game-winning drive, you’d be looking at a big fat red F above this text. Such is football. I felt that Coach McVay burned his second half timeouts too early, but it didn’t factor into the game, so it’s much ado about nothing at this point. When you look at the coaching in hindsight, you have to respect the gutsy decision to trot Goff out there to sneak the ball over the first down marker.

The Cowboys had 4th and 1, from the Texans 42, in overtime. They chose to punt, and Houston promptly went to field goal range to win the game. Here’s what our good friends at Blogging the Boys had to say about it:

What say you, Bears fans? Nagy seems to have that go-for-it in him. John Fox most certainly did not. Do you want to see the coach play it safe or go for the gold?

10) The Eagles are struggling right now. The margin of victory in each of their five games has been six points or less. They have notable injuries, but they also have the definite whiff of a team in a Super Bowl hangover. The NFC East is still very winnable, so don’t be surprised to see them in the playoffs, but they may not have the legs to go deep again.

11) The NFC North shook out almost how the Bears most wanted yesterday, with the Packers falling to the Lions. While the Vikings won, the Bears still have more wins than anyone else, and that’s always a good position to be in.

In a fun bit of scheduling, the Bears will face the entire AFC East over the course of the next month. While this is the stretch of games that have the least impact overall, it’s not unreasonable to think they could go 3-1 or even 4-0 over that stretch. They’ll face a Dolphins team that has fallen back to earth, a Patriots team that is not a juggernaut, and two rookie quarterbacks. IF they can stay healthy, they should be able to do some serious damage to finish out the first half of the season.

12) Let’s check in on Jon Gruden this week:

13) Goff. Wentz. Mahomes. Watson. Trubisky. Darnold. Mayfield. Rosen. Allen. Well, maybe not those last two.

The future of quarterbacking in this league looks bright right now.

14) Back to the NFC North - remember when we were told that the Vikings had one of the best defenses in the league and were surefire to run away with it? I remember.

Instead they’re giving up over 26 points per game, in the bottom third, and in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed. I’m just saying, they better hope nothing happens to Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, or Stefon Diggs.

15) Speaking of Kirk Cousins, *EXTREMELY SEINFELD VOICE* Why is his name Cousins? He’s only one guy! Shouldn’t it be Cousin? Why does he insist he’s two people?!”

16) Orange jerseys this weekend. Get hyped everyone.

17) Peeking in on the Blackhawks, check out that Toews fellow. He may be going places.

18) Seriously, though, Crosby was awful on Sunday. It was a delight.

You certainly did lose. Please do that roughly 11 more times, please.

What thoughts do you all have after this bye week?