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Ten Thoughts on the NFL and the Bears

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Check out Lester’s Thoughts on the NFL this week and leave a few of your own in the comment section.

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

1) Is Frank Gore a Hall of Famer?

The Buffalo Bills’ running back crossed the 15,000 rushing yard mark on Sunday against the New England Patriots, which something only three men have done before, so does that automatically get him into Canton? The three men in front of Gore, Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders, are all in the Hall, but each of those three players were considered all-time greats during their playing days and dominated for most of their career. I don’t think of Gore in the same way I think of those Hall of Fame backs.

He’s made five Pro Bowls during his 15 years as a pro, but when I think of Gore I don’t think of him as being one of the best players of his generation. I think playing at a high level and starting for as long as he has deserves some praise, but I’m not sure about the Hall of Fame.

2) Arizona Cardinals wide out Larry Fitzgerald, who is in his 16th year, is now up to 1,326 career receptions. That total is one more that Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez has which is good for second all-time behind fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s 1,549. There’s no question that Fitzgerald, an 11 time Pro Bowler, will make it to Canton on the first ballot.

3) Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett looked for a long term contract this offseason after racking up 14 sacks in four years with the Denver Broncos, but he didn’t find any takers. He settled for a one year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $4 million, but with 9 sacks, 1 interception, and 3 forced fumbles in his first four games this year, I’d imagine he’ll find some long term security for 2020 and beyond.

Barrett is also a guy that our lead draft analyst, EJ Snyder, wanted the Bears to go after since he was a UDFA in 2014.

4) Speaking of the Bucs, I have no idea what got into them and quarterback Jameis Winston in beating the Los Angeles Rams 55 to 40. With as much talent that the Rams have on defense, they sure do give up big scores every now and again.

5) The Cleveland Browns also had a mammoth win in knocking off the Baltimore Ravens 40 to 25. Just when it looks like the Browns were over-hyped, they come out clicking in all phases of the game.

6) Do the Carolina Panthers go back to Cam Newton at QB when he’s healthy, or stick with second year man Kyle Allen?

What about the Jacksonville Jaguars and Gardner Minshew II? Does he keep the job when Nick Foles comes back from his injury?

7) The Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs had a fun back and forth game on Sunday, something I was not expecting. Detroit is playing well for second year coach Matt Patricia, and it looks like he may buck the trend of former Patriot assistants flaming out on their own.

8) With as good as the Chicago Bears’ defense is playing, I think the Patriots’ D is being overlooked. Check out this nugget the NFL shared.

New England joins the 2012 Chicago Bears as the only teams since 2000 with at least 15 sacks (18) and 10 interceptions (10) in their first four games of a season.

The two stats that really stand out to me about the Pats are their league leading 6.8 points allowed per game and their league low 13.5% third down conversion rate allowed. They haven’t faced many good offenses, and with a trip to Washington up next they should build on all these numbers.

9) Washington meanwhile has turned to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and he looked every bit like a rookie on Sunday against the New York Giants by going 9 of 17 (53%) for 197 yards and three interceptions. Patriot defensive back Devin McCourty, who has an interception in every game this year, has to be licking his chops with the thought of facing the rookie.

My guess is that New England will stay as the top defense in the NFL for at least one more week.

10) Then again, with Khalil Mack really excited to face his former team, the Oakland Raiders in London this Sunday, he could boost the Bears to the top spot all by himself. He told Deion Sanders on the NFL Network, “I can’t lie. It’s going to be a big one for me.”

A highly motivated Mack facing off against the team that didn’t want him means more of this.