NFL News & Views @ NFLRT 10/13

This week’s questions…

1) As of right now (10/9) KC’s QB Alex Smith is on pace for 35 touchdown passes and more than 4,400 yards. Both totals would shatter his personal season bests of 23 touchdowns (in 2013) and 3,502 yards (2016). The one thing that was always said about Smith was that he was a very good game manager, this season he seems to be playing with a controlled reckless abandon and if he keeps it up could be a strong candidate for the MVP.

In your opinion, why the big change in Smith’s level of play… What’s the story with Smith?

Alex Smith (11) throws during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Houston. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle)

Chad: I think a big thanks goes to Kareem Hunt for being a force in the backfield to help take the pressure of Smith and open up the field. Plus, the health of Kelce, Hill, and other helps with that as well.

David: Great Question.

If I knew I would be working for a team for a billion bucks a year.

It’s not being pushed- he’s been pushed by talent behind him. It’s not the schedule, he’s faced good coaches, he’s faced good talent, he faced both. I honestly cannot answer that question. I will still say that Andy Reid is still a horrible time-management coach, so lets not book a Super Bowl trip just yet. But to explain Alex Smith? Good luck. 

Joe: Two things in my mind stick out…

One: Kareem Hunt in the backfield… nothing helps a QB more than having a ground force that makes a defense have to check themselves before truly committing to an all out pass rush.

Two: And, nothing says “Ya’ll best step up your game because someone may be breathing down your neck looking to take your job if you don’t, … the name Patrick Mahomes sound familiar?

2) In the SNF game, early in the 4th quarter, Deshaun Watson’s 48-yard touchdown pass got the Texans within six points of the Chiefs before KC QB Alex Smith extended the lead to 32-20 with a TD pass of his own with about 9 minutes to play. About two minutes later, Tyreek padded the lead to 39-20 when he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown which effectively sealed the deal vs Houston. Still Houston showed it can play with the “big guys” with their performance.

How good can Houston be this season and are they a playoff team?

Chad: I think they can get to the playoffs; especially in a weak AFC South. Deshaun Watson is coming into his own with the position and he will use his weapons to help this team take off.

David: J Watt is out again.

I had them at 9-7 to start the season, but I didn’t see Watson being THIS good THIS year. I did see him being this good NEXT year. I can see them taking the AFC South, with the Titans not looking so good, and possibly winning a wild-card battle with Denver or Oakland.

Joe: There is an old saying that goes something like this… live by the gun; die by the gun. Right now, Desauhn Watson sort of reminds of the old AFL gunslinger QBs who would hold all out aerial wars and interceptions be damned. If they were on for a particular day then the TDs would rain. If they were off… well, that is life in the big city. Houston will go as far as Watson’s arm carries them. He gets hurt; they will fall by the wayside. But in that division, I think 9-7 just might win it and I think a healthy Watson just might produce those final numbers for the Texans.

3) The NY Giants are now 0-5 on the season after losing to the LA Chargers on Sunday.

Is it time for co-owners, Steve Tisch and John Mara, to blow the team up and fire both their coach, Ben McAdoo, and GM, Jerry Reese?

Giants lose to Chargers; drop to 0-5

Chad:  Yes, Eli is old and every receiver is hurt so much so that TO and Ocho Cinco reached out through Twitter to the Giants. This team is in disarray. Minus maybe Landon Collins and maybe Gallman who has the potential to be a good RB, obviously keep Odell, but other than that it needs blown up.

David: Depends on what happens in Free Agency. Say they add Drew Brees, or Alex Smith or even Kirk Cousins. Jimmy G or Bradford? Then you don’t start over. Say they get the top pick and add Sam Darnold. Do you trade off that defense ala Buffalo? Or, try and replicate what the Texans are seeing?

The other problem is who do you replace him with? Bill Walsh isn’t walking through that door. You want Marvin Lewis as your coach New York? DO YOU?

Joe: Yes.

Jerry Reese needs to go. The two things the Giants needed this past offseason were offensive line help and a decent runner. Reese got the team neither. And, Eli… an old in his final years QB Eli… is feeling the lack of Reese’s fulfilling his GM duties.

If, Reese goes, then the HC has to go, too. Let the new GM build his own staff. Bedsides I think McAdoo is a little out of his depth as a head coach any way.

4) The Raiders have now lost three straight and while not out of the playoff picture they certainly have not looked as if they are playing inspired football. Just last year it seemed the Raiders had regained their yesteryear persona being hardnosed badasses who “just win, baby.”

With 11 games left can they rebound from their lackluster play and regain their old swashbuckling attitude and compete with the Chiefs and the Broncos in the AFC West?

Chad: Carr’s injury is not a good sign and Marshawn hasn’t been what they hoped. I think they can it going, but Denver and KC will be tough to overtake.

David: I cannot explain the Raiders. Carr has not been what I expected him to be, and BEAST MODE has not been launched. The problem is, no other running back has been worth a squat. So the Raiders can’t run- the QB keeps getting hit- anyone want to guess what the problem there could be?

The other problem, the defense is having issues as well, allowing 21 points per game, and the flipping RAVENS ran the ball at will.

Joe: Beats the hell out of me. Sometimes stuff happens, I guess.

I honestly have no idea because with their personnel I expected them to have, at this point, one loss at the most and to be scoring an average of 30-plus points a game at least. 

5) The Philadelphia Eagles are at 4-1 and lead the NFC East. The Carolina Panthers are also at 4-1 and stand atop the NFC South. On Thursday night they both meet with a chance to make a signature statement of just how good each can be this year.

Who ya got? And, why?  

Chad: I’m taking Philly.

I feel like they have more weapons on Offense with the development of Carson Wentz and Carolina doesn’t have the weapons to keep up.

David: I picked the Eagles to be great this year, and the Panthers to be above average. I have picked against my team the last two weeks and they have bested the Lions and Pats, so I’m picking the Eagles, and will continue to pick against my team until we are again Super Bowl Bound at 15-1!

I do think this game is a toss-up. The Eagles have been playing really well on offense, due to Carson Wentz. Blount has been doing well, but not going to see 18 TDs. Carolina has really been doing well since the Saints game, and as long as that duct-tape secondary holds up, can beat anyone. This depends on Cam. If he shows up, then they can win. If not, or they try and shove the ball to McCaffery, then the Eagles will find enough chances to win. Take the Eagles on a short week.

Joe: Everything in my gut tells me Carolina’s defense cannot keep up their current pace… that Carson Palmer is ready for a piss-poor game and that the Eagles are for real and Carson Wentz is on the precipice of becoming an NFL star… yet I’m picking Carolina in this crazy topsy turvy sideways down NFL season.             

Editor’s note; The Eagles beat the Panthers last night (10/12)… 28-23.

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