The Dallas Cowboys are kindling for any sort of overreactions column, and so we start this week with their inexplicable loss to what’s left of the Philadelphia Eagles. In a sport that would have clinched the NFC East after a irritating season of stops and begins, the Cowboys failed to attain a single landing. The Eagles begged them again and again to take the sport and the division, and Dallas simply stored turning it down.
Astoundingly, the Cowboys will not be lifeless but. The Eagles nonetheless must beat the Giants — a horrible group, sure, however a group the Eagles wanted time beyond regulation to beat at residence two weeks in the past with their backup quarterback beginning — or have the Cowboys lose to Washington to assert the division title.
However what we do know, after Sunday, is that the NFC East winner this season will likely be both a 9-7 Eagles group or an Eight-Eight Cowboys group. And by advantage of being a division winner, that group will host a playoff sport in opposition to a group that has received not less than 11 video games and probably 12.
In a sporting day and age when so many individuals clamor so desperately for equity, that is seen by many as some form of outrage. How can an clearly inferior group be granted a house playoff sport in opposition to an clearly superior one just because it was one of the best of 1 explicit dangerous four-team bunch? Some will name for the entire system to be overhauled, and it will not be, as a result of NFL house owners nonetheless consider the division title ought to imply one thing and carry a reward.
So, as a result of there’s not a ton to say that hasn’t been mentioned about this Cowboys season or this Eagles season, I believed we might begin this week’s Overreaction Monday column — for extra, try NFL Stay at 2:30 p.m. ET Monday on ESPN and within the ESPN App — with this little ditty:
Neither the Eagles nor Cowboys ought to get a house playoff sport in opposition to a group with a greater document
The decision: OVERREACTION. You may ding these stodgy NFL house owners for lots of issues, however they’re proper on this one. Every year in coaching camp, as groups lay out their targets for the season, one is to win their division. It’s because they understand it carries the reward of a house playoff sport, sure, nevertheless it carries that reward due to the best way the season units up.
You play every of the opposite three groups in your division twice every season, and the opposite 10 video games in your schedule rotate based mostly partially on the earlier yr’s standings and partially on a easy rotation. However so long as the schedule is about up that approach — so long as 37.5% of your video games are in opposition to division foes — there needs to be some significance to profitable the division.
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You construct your group, partially, with an eye fixed towards defeating the opposite groups in your division, as a result of you realize that is the surest path to a postseason match that’s one thing of a crapshoot anyway. And possibly I am simply saying this as a grumpy outdated man who has been preaching it to his sons for the previous decade and a half, however … sufficient already with “It is not honest!” Life is not honest. Our job is not to regulate the world round us to make it honest, as a result of that is futile anyway. Our job is to resolve the puzzle we’re given — to evaluate our circumstances and one of the simplest ways to succeed inside them.
Whichever group wins the NFC East may have performed what it got down to do when it made its plan for how one can make the playoffs this season, and it’ll deserve the identical rights and rewards that the opposite division winners get. And if the Seahawks or Saints or Packers or 49ers or Vikings do not prefer it, then they need to do higher in opposition to the opposite groups of their division subsequent yr.
The Titans had been sensible to sit down Derrick Henry on Sunday
As soon as the Texans received Saturday, the Titans knew they might not win the AFC South, and their solely path to the playoffs was by way of the No. 6 seed within the AFC, for which they have to beat out the Steelers (and Raiders, who nonetheless have a slight probability).
They knew they wanted the Steelers to lose considered one of their final two video games to have an opportunity, and that, as a result of the tiebreaker the Steelers held over them coming into the weekend was their document in opposition to AFC opponents, a victory over the NFC Saints would not assist. In order that they determined to relaxation Henry and his sore hamstring within the hopes that he’d be at full energy to assist them beat the Texans subsequent week in a extra essential sport.
Ryan Tannehill discusses the significance of Derrick Henry and the way it will likely be good for him to play subsequent week after sitting out in Week 16.
The decision: NOT AN OVERREACTION. The Titans misplaced, positive, however they’d loads of probabilities to win this sport even with out their most significant offensive cog. Extra importantly, the Steelers misplaced to the Jets, that means the state of affairs the Titans envisioned has come to cross. In the event that they win in Houston subsequent week, they qualify for the postseason because the No. 6 seed within the AFC, it doesn’t matter what Pittsburgh does.
In addition they could make it as an Eight-Eight wild-card group in the event that they lose however the Steelers and Raiders lose, too. If per week off helps Henry’s hamstring and he dominates the Texans in a victory that places Tennessee into the playoffs, this may appear to be a genius transfer.
The Payments are the playoff group nobody desires to face
Buffalo took the Patriots all the way down to the tip Saturday in a sport that would have stored them alive within the hunt for the AFC East title.
Dropping ensured that they’d be the No. 5 seed as a substitute, however the truth that the Patriots’ victories over the Payments this season had been by six factors and 7 factors cannot make the Pats snug with the concept of dealing with them once more — even in Foxborough, the place Saturday’s nail-biter was performed. Buffalo is 6-2 on the street this season, so being a wild-card group would not essentially kill their probabilities.
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The decision: OVERREACTION. Look, they’ve proven they will cling with good groups. Their protection is nasty. Their quarterback has no concern, will strive any throw, can run like loopy and is a nightmare to deal with. John Brown can burn any protection. The Payments completely can win a playoff sport in opposition to one or two of the AFC’s elite, and it will not be any sort of beautiful upset in the event that they do.
However in the event you’re an AFC playoff group, the concept of attempting to cease Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes needs to be scarier at this level. And as disjointed as New England’s offense has seemed, who’s going to really feel as if they’ve Tom Brady crushed till the ultimate rating exhibits it? Buffalo is a group on the rise, and a worthy playoff group. However there are scarier ones within the AFC area, for positive.
Joe Burrow will likely be a Cincinnati Bengal
Regardless that they performed the ultimate couple of minutes of regulation like a group that does not need the No. 1 total choose within the 2020 NFL draft, the Bengals did lose in time beyond regulation to the Dolphins to make sure that they are going to be on the clock first in late April.
Burrow, the Heisman Trophy-winning LSU quarterback who took over school soccer this season, is considered the front-runner to be the primary participant taken within the draft.
The decision: NOT AN OVERREACTION. Andy Dalton has another yr left on his contract, nevertheless it’s not assured, and he was already benched as soon as this yr for fourth-round choose Ryan Finley.
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And it is laborious to consider Finley is the reply, since they benched him for Dalton late within the season as a way to attempt to keep away from going Zero-16 (and have not gone again to him since getting the win that ensured they would not).
The Bengals employed Zac Taylor as their coach final offseason partially as a result of they noticed him as a man who may assist develop a younger quarterback. They’ve the primary choose. They’d be silly to not apply it to a quarterback, and at this level there is no purpose to assume Burrow is not the man. He would possibly as nicely be house-hunting in Northern Kentucky.
Daniel Jones is the long-term reply for the Giants
Sunday’s sport in Washington was a battle of Three-11 groups taking part in completely no protection, however the two beginning quarterbacks had been Jones for the Giants and Dwayne Haskins for Washington — two rookie first-round picks.
Giants common supervisor Dave Gettleman took a whole lot of grief for taking Jones at No. 6 total with Haskins on the board and one other choose to return at No. 17, however he took him as a result of he believed Jones can be the long-term franchise quarterback the group must succeed Eli Manning.
Jones on Sunday seemed the half, finishing 28-of-42 passes for 352 yards and 5 touchdowns in an time beyond regulation victory. It is the fourth time this season he has thrown 4 or extra landing passes in a sport.
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson recap the weekend’s video games with prolonged highlights and evaluation.
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The decision: OVERREACTION. Form of just like the Payments’ one above, proper? Too quickly to say this for positive. Jones has all the power he must make it as a long-term starter within the league, and his good video games have been considerably off-the-charts good. However Sunday was the primary time Jones has began an NFL sport and never dedicated a turnover in it. He has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled 16 instances (misplaced 10) in 11 video games.
The shortage of turnovers Sunday was much more encouraging, in the event you’re excited about Jones’ long-term prospects, than the gaudy passing numbers had been. We all know he can throw and run. We have to know if he can get his turnover downside mounted, or else the best-case state of affairs is a Jameis Winston scenario. And by the best way, he missed the earlier two video games due to damage — one thing Manning by no means did as soon as in 16 years.
The requirements for franchise quarterback in New York are excessive. Jones, at instances, seems to be the half. However he has extra to show.