One of the things I find annoying about the way the media covers the league is how everything must be “a story.” Reporters, writers, commentators, studio hosts; everyone tries so hard to give meaning to every game, every statistic, every “milestone.” It’s as if the actual games being played by the best players in the most popular spectator sport in North America just aren’t enough.
So, you end up hearing things like, and I’m paraphrasing, “Tonight we have Seattle facing Pittsburgh in a rematch of Super Bowl forty,” which is something that actually happened to me. In case you don’t remember, don’t care, or struggle with Roman Numerals, Super Bowl XL was played in 2006, over 15 years ago. The only player on either roster from that game who is still playing is Ben Roethlisberger. Not even the Kickers or Punters from that game are still around.
Rematch? Sure, whatever.
In Week Seven, there are a couple of games in which high profile players are playing against their former teams for the first time. One of these is Houston at Arizona. This one is not as big a deal, because it features former Houston stars Deandre Hopkins and JJ Watt, but not in front of a partisan Houston crowd. The other, Detroit at Los Angeles, is probably a bigger deal, not because it’s a competitive matchup, but because it’s the first time these two teams will meet since they swapped starting QBs.
The Detroit-LA game makes me feel a bit sad, as well as a bit annoyed, because most of the talk is going to be about how Matthew Stafford is such a huge upgrade over Jared Goff. Sure, Stafford has a stronger arm and more experience, and I think most would agree that he’s the better QB. That doesn’t mean that Goff is terrible, however.
LA, and particularly Sean McVay, would have us believe that Goff was responsible for LA’s offensive regression over the past two seasons. I’ve heard McVay mention in interviews how much better things are this season now that he’s not “limited” in what he can do with the offense, and he has gone into detail as to what Stafford is better at than Goff. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to forget that LA drafted Goff first overall, that Goff QBed LA to a Superb Owl, and that the team signed Goff to a massive contract extension only TWO YEARS AGO. We’re also supposed to forget that LA hasn’t had a first round draft pick in FIVE YEARS due to the team’s constant efforts to buy a championship. Stafford has 12 seasons under his belt, while Goff had four seasons as LA’s starter with a constantly changing roster. Stafford IS better, but he SHOULD be better.
Sean McVay is one of these self-styled offensive geniuses that are a dime-a-dozen. He wants you to think that Matthew Stafford has unlocked his (McVay’s) stunted-by-Jared Goff offensive genius. Don’t believe it. LA’s offense is better because Stafford is a top-tier QB. There’s nothing special about McVay.
NFL history is littered with talented players, especially QBs, who never lived up to their potential due to bad coaching, organizational mismanagement, or a combination of the two. I’ll never be the president of the Jared Goff Fan Club, but I’ve watched him for the past two seasons stand in the pocket and take punishment to try and make plays, surrounded by an ever-changing supporting cast. Despite this, he posted a winning record in both of those seasons.
Sean McVay wants you to think that Jared Goff wasn’t good enough. What’s McVay ever done that measures up to what Goff accomplished in his last two seasons under McVay?
Week Seven Picks
Winners in Bold
Carolina at New York G
It’s only Week 7, and we’re already starting to see games that have little-to-no importance with regards to postseason eligibility. Both teams’ offenses are prime examples of not knowing how good they could be due to injuries. New York has the extra added handicap of bad coaching.
New York J at New England
New England’s offense has shown some gradual improvement as the season has gone on. Mac Jones looks like he has a bright future. It’s harder to tell what Zach Wilson’s future holds, mostly because he plays for such a terrible team.
KC at Tennessee
These teams have a lot in common. Both had high expectations entering the season. Both have underperformed. Both have terrible defenses. Both are entering this game with injuries to key players. A high-scoring game would not be a huge surprise here.
Washington at Green Bay
Green Bay is just cruising along at this point. Washington is an absolute mess.
Atlanta at Miami
Miami is one of the biggest disappointments of this season so far. Atlanta is mediocre, but no one really expects much from them anyway.
Cincinnati at Baltimore
Cincinnati’s dismantling of Detroit last week is an illustration of the difference in this Cincy team compared to ones in the past; they don’t look past “soft” opponents. Baltimore is hot right now, coming off a big win over the Bolts, but they’re also a bit banged-up. This is a huge opportunity for Cincinnati to slay another dragon and move into first place in the AFC North.
Detroit at Los Angeles R
Detroit is bad. LA is good. That’s the real story here. If I was building a team, I’d take Dan Campbell as my coach over some blow-dried wanker like Sean McVay.
Philadelphia at Las Vegas
Jon Gruden’s ouster might be the best thing to happen to Vegas this season. It’ll bring the team together.
Houston at Arizona
I’m glad that this game is in Arizona; Houston’s fans have suffered enough watching their once-promising team gutted by organizational incompetence.
Chicago at Tampa
Healthy, Tampa is the most talented team in the league. Health has been an issue for them, unfortunately.
Indianapolis at San Francisco
Indy has been getting steadily better as the season has gone on. San Fran’s injury woes from last season seem to have carried over into this season.
NO at Seattle
I’m not saying that Geno Smith COULDN’T beat New Orleans. Jameis Winston is just as likely to throw four INTs as he is to throw four TDs in any given game, and Seattle home games can get pretty loud. New Orleans’s defense has some playmakers, and Seattle’s defense is kind of terrible. A sloppy game would not surprise me, and who knows what can happen in one of those.