Week 5 was the bye week. The Seahawks now lead the NFC West. The Cardinals (2-3) beat the 49ers (1-4). The Los Angeles Rams (3-2) lost to the Buffalo Bills (3-2).
Are the Rams Practice for the Vikings?
During week two, the Seahawks lost to the Rams in a fashion only the Rams could create. There were many reasons to ignore this game, one being that the Vikings—in the first week of the Sam Bradford experiment, where Adrian Peterson rushed for only 31 yards on 19 carries—were in 8-8 territory. Fast forward to week 5 and the Vikings are 5-0. If a playoff rematch is in the works, the Rams defense might be the only real warm-up the Seahawks get. Being the glutton for punishment I am, I decided to watch week two again.
Christine Michael Needs Assistance
Christine Michael’s contributions in 2015 were an immediate relief after the sudden loss of Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. During the wildcard round, Michael put up 21 carries for 70 yards; however, only 27 yards came from under center snaps and 47 from out of the shotgun. He ran on third down only three times (one being 3rd and 23). During week two against the Rams, all of Michael’s snaps were from the shotgun (due to Wilson’s ankle). Michael put up 60 yards on ten carries and was utilized on two third downs, one being 3rd and 21. Michael’s production is due to being the second option in a passing attack. Also, he’s bad at picking up the blitz.
Jimmy Graham Will Be The Difference
The Rams secondary frequently played eight to ten yards back, preferring to crash on underneath throws. Granted, this strategy caught them napping on two big plays to Lockett, but only Jimmy Graham’s attack on the middle put fear in the Rams defense. His ability to deflect defenders would’ve forced the Rams into an uncomfortable decision. (I say “would’ve” because Graham wasn’t fully cleared to play). If Graham lined up in the slot, would they have had a defensive lineman give up the pass rush to chip him? If he lined up outside, would they have had a linebacker chip him? Would they have put a safety on him exclusively?
Graham is the weapon that can break the Vikings.
The Falcons and the Panthers
Since the Seahawks have yet to play the Panthers and the Falcons, I decided to continue using my blog to justify my football addiction, I mean, to scout the Panthers/Falcons week four match-up.
The Falcons are frightening. Leaning early on wide receiver Julio Jones, Jones destroyed the Panthers scheme. Once the defense was broken, quarterback Matt Ryan started on the ball distribution. He hit a variety of players, both in scripted plays and improvisations. This weekend, the Broncos defense held the Falcons to 23 points, and it will be a miracle if the Seahawks defense can reproduce that number. As much as I love Richard Sherman, I don’t think one man can account for Julio Jones if the pass rush isn’t there. The big boys on the defensive line will be crucial.
A lot was made of the two-point conversion that led to Cam’s early exit. To me, it was the slight helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter that got Cam. After it, he made poor throws and was so atrocious at the read-option he couldn’t handle the exchange properly. When a non-concussed Derek Anderson entered the game, the Panthers scored two quick touchdowns. It was hard to judge the offense, but the defense did appear to be regressing. The unit was often confused and, for the season thus far, have failed to generate turnovers. Leading the league with a +20 differential in 2015, the 2016 defense is in a tie for 26th (-3) with the Chicago Bears.
Coming into the season, I thought the Falcons were toast on the road. (And I still do). The Panthers were circled but now feel manageable.
What’s Going on with the Cardinals?
I watched the Cardinals play the Rams during week 4 and then the Thursday night game against the 49ers. I realized two things. 1) Chip Kelly’s offense is a joke. 2) The Cardinals are discombobulated but still dangerous.
Carson Palmer is Carson Palmer Again.
2015 Carson Palmer transformed into Tom Brady and put up an MVP-caliber season. 2016 Carson Palmer is completing only 59% of his passes with 6TDs/5INTs. This sluggish performance explains some of the funkiness in the offense. The group has yet to score in the first quarter, and wide receiver Michael Floyd apparently cannot catch a football any longer. Currently, Palmer is in the concussion protocol, but I think he will play Monday night and he will get right at some point this season.
Fixable Mistakes Are Killing Them
This touchdown was called back on a holding call. The Cardinals eventually got a field goal.
It’s hard to argue with their roster.
The range of throwing weapons in this offense is enviable. The loss of running back Chris Johnson was negated by the ascension of running back David Johnson. Even with Drew Stanton completing only 39% of his passes—please tell me I can’t use a calculator and this didn’t happen in an NFL game—the Cardinals were able to put up 33-points against the 49ers. Hell, the week before Stanton went 4 for 11, completing only 36% of his passes—do they know Matt Flynn is a free agent?—and the Cardinals only lost by four points. Of course, this is due to a solid defense. They’re giving up only 20.2 points/game, a marginal regression from 19.6 points/game in 2015.
My life is now football and wondering if I can move out of my share before the neighbors call the cops because these parties are going to 5AM and I’m living in a drug palace. I don’t get it. Why not have the acid parties at someone else’s house? It’s been a long time since I was in high school, but as I recall, when you’re the one hosting the acid parties, you’re the unpopular kid everyone is taking advantage of. Though, I do wonder if they’re providing drugs to Rams coach Jeff Fisher. That guy never met an incompletion he wouldn’t challenge. Have some standards, dude! Also, apparently the NFL’s TV ratings are down. Take it from me, it’s because Peyton Manning retired.
Thanks for reading!
In case you missed it…
Week 1, On One Leg | Week 2, The Spread Will Save the Seahawks, Exactly Like It Did Last Year | Week 3, Could Trevone Boykin Be The Future? With Doug Baldwin, He Might. | Week 4, Kam Chancellor’s Modified Role Improves Entire LoB, Takes Defense to New Level