NFL News & Views @ NFLRT 12/1


This week’s questions and discussions…

1) After being all but shut out in a 28-6 thrashing by the LA Chargers, are the Cowboys now toast for the playoffs?

Cowboys toast for the season?

Chad: The Dallas Cowboys will not make the Playoffs, period. 

Dan: The Cowboys look absolutely lost right now without Zeke in their line-up and Dak Prescott can’t get anything going at the quarterback position either. Granted they’ve been without Tyron Smith as well, but this team is not going anywhere. The playoffs are over for them. While I don’t agree with the suspension at all, at this point it is what it is and it’s going to cost them a playoff spot.

David: The Cowboys are poorly coached and poorly ran right now. They have been floated by a MONSTER offensive line and a great running back. Now they are without both for the short term, plus Sean Lee has been missing (but underreported) as well. You can blame injuries for a lot of this, but great teams overcome.

Toast? Depends on if they can pick up a few wins here and there, I’m not scared of them if I’m New Orleans or Carolina- but Seattle R1 and Rams R2? Could be scary if Lee and Smith are there.

Joe: They got the NY Giants, Oakland, Seattle and Philadelphia left on their schedule. Maybe they win two of those games. Maybe.

I’ll give them the Giants. and they might beat Oakland. Yeah, I know Zeke comes back for their final two. But in playing form? I really doubt it. Best  I see them doing 8-8.

They are toast. 

2) Sticking with the Cowboys for question 2…

Is it fair to say Ezekiel Elliott is that important to Dak Prescott’s and the Cowboy’s fortunes? Why or why not?

Ezekiel Elliott runs away from the defense

Chad: Yes.

Just look at the body of the past few games without him the Cowboys become a different without him

Dan: Yes, I believe he is.

While they’ve also been missing Tyron Smith on the offensive line, I think Dak needs Zeke in order to be the quarterback that he is. Since he’s been suspended, the offense hasn’t been able to move. Dak looks horrible in the pocket, threw his first career three interception game and was basically shut down against the Chargers on Thanksgiving. They have no run game. Which won’t open up the pass. But there is no pass to open up since Dak can’t seem to throw the ball without Zeke. He’s important to the entire offense as shown in the past two weeks and he’s important in the passing game as shown in the several weeks leading up to his suspension.

David: Elliott is important to any team he plays for. Top 3 back by any measure. 

Joe: In a word? Yep. 

Dak ain’t the same QB as he was last season… or even earlier this season… without Zeke. Let’s not go crazy with his performance against Washington. OK? Washington… although I thought they would beat the Cowboys on TNF… are their own version of ineptitude. Come on two INTs and three fumbles, two lost? Please, even the Giants might win if you keep giving them ball.  A

The Cowboys in a away are a throwback to another time when running backs were sometimes more important than QBs were. The Cowboys run the ball to set up the pass. They do not have anyone as good as Elliott at RB on their roster right now and it shows.

Although.. On TNF  did you notice Dak didn’t exactly set the world on fire… 11/22 for 102 yards? The Cowboys ran the ball. Successfully. They successfully ran the ball  for 182 yards. I don’t see that continuing… three of their last four opponents against the run… Oakland 12th, Seattle 9th,  and Philadelphia 1st. Washington? 29th.

3) In what was the first, and what may be the only, college showdown between QBs Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, Rosen made the “NFL Big Time passes” and posted the big passing numbers, but Darnold delivered in the end as USC won the game versus UCLA 28-23.

You’re the GM on the clock and you need a QB, who you going to take? Why? 

UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold

Chad: Probably Sam Darnold… I just feel like he has the physical tools but also has the mental tools and the swagger to succeed at the next level.

Dan: Josh Rosen. The only reason why is because he’s looked like he can make those NFL passes and looks more poised to be an NFL quarterback overall. While Sam Darnold has been very good this season while being the leader on a very good USC team, I really have liked Josh Rosen this season and think that he’s been more consistent along with looking more like the correct NFL quarterback with pocket presence and composure in big games. 

David: DeShaun Watson. Said that last year. 

To be honest. I wonder how far I can drop and get Lamar?

As a GM. Depends on my coach and how much I trust him. As a GM, I’m all for letting my coach pick the groceries to a certain extent – have to be honest, and I know if the Coach picks Manning – we both stay employed for a decade, if he picks Ryan Leaf, we both get fired. My Coach is going to have to design a system around the QB, and I need to pick the one he wants.

Joe: Ya know what… I guess it really depends on which team I represent… If, I’m the Browns or the Giants I gotta take the guy I think can play right away… and I’m going to bet on Rosen.

If, I’m the 49ers… it depends on how Jimmy G is doing. If, I like what I see (and I’m thinking he will do just fine as their QB) then I trade down for the best package I can get.

If, somehow either the Broncos, Bears or Colts sneak in there with a chance to get either QB, see Giants and Browns.

4) It seems this question is always a topic around this time in the NFL season… Can the Cleveland Browns win a game this season?

Chad: With the schedule left and their performances in week 12, I believe their only hope is the end of the year against the Bears.

GB will do enough to win, San Diego is getting good at a good time and the Ravens and Steelers are divisional game that I don’t see either losing.

Dan: I don’t think so, at this point in time. The only team, in my opinion, they have a chance against on their schedule are the Chicago Bears. But I highly doubt they beat them.

That leaves the remaining chance of a win against Pittsburgh in week 17. That only relies on if Pittsburgh has a playoff spot locked up and can’t move up or down so they sit Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. If they don’t sit their three superstars on offense, there’s no way Cleveland will beat Pittsburgh.

So no, I don’t see Cleveland getting a win and joining the Detroit Lions as the only two teams in NFL history to go 0-16 in a season.

David: Sure, why not? Teams give up every week, and the Browns do seem to try. 

Joe: Maybe they can eke out a win versus the Bengals or the Bears. They have been close in at least five of their losses by a margin of three points versus the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Titans and by a margin of four versus the Lions. So, maybe.

5) The Buffalo Bills find themselves right back in the thick of the AFC playoff picture after beating the freefalling Kansas City Chiefs 16-10 on Sunday.

If, you had to make a choice right now, which team would be your favorite to make the playoffs… Buffalo or Kansas City? Why?

Note: If, the Baltimore Ravens win on Monday Night Footballs versus the Houston Texans, they tie Buffalo for the second wild card (6th seed) and are also thrust into the playoff picture.

Or, if the Texans win, then the Texans, Ravens, Raiders, Chargers and Bengals will all have the same 5-6 record and will be in a veritable tie for the 7th seed and next in line for the second AFC playoff spot, if Buffalo should falter. 

Just food for thought when considering your answer.

Chad: On paper you have to say the Chiefs just based on the fact that the Bills play New England and Miami twice down the stretch.

Dan: I think, right now, as long as Tyrod Taylor remains the starting quarterback, Buffalo will make it in over Kansas City.

The Chiefs offense just looks sluggish, slow and completely over-whelmed. They can’t do anything with their offenses because the defenses have already figured out their mis-directions and counter plays. The biggest problem, as pointed out in a recent column I read by Andy Benoit, shows how the lack of the big play is killing the Kansas City offense. But, the biggest question with them remains: will Alex Smith be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season? Or will Patrick Mahomes get a start instead?

I like the Bills more-so overall, but with how the AFC West is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kansas City get in via division. But, head-to-head, and the Wild Card, the Bills have the advantage.

David: No. The Bills quit when they swapped QBs. They meant to suck, get good picks, and move forward. They did better, and I think the message came on high they didn’t want to miss the playoffs by a game, or get rolled by a 4 seed.

KC is trying, they just got Alex Smithed.

Joe: I said this last week and I repeat it here… I predicted the Chiefs would suck this year and I am finally beginning to see that I wasn’t wrong after all. I think the Chiefs are so bad I am even picking the Jets this Sunday.

Bills make the Playoffs and the Chargers win the AFC West. Sorry, KC.

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