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NFL winners and losers: Ravens surge propels them to AFC North takeover

Monday Night time Soccer Replace

The Ravens have had a curious 2021 that’s largely flown beneath the radar after being written off on account of a season opening loss to the Raiders. Now, 4 weeks later and at 4-1, the Ravens have solidified themselves as maybe one of many solely actual threats to the Payments within the AFC.

Baltimore’s win on Monday night time in opposition to the Colts was far tougher than it ought to have been, however took critical resolve to not fold and as an alternative surge within the last quarter. It was a intestine test the workforce wanted to show it might cope with adversity, and so they handed the check.

Generally inspiration comes from bizarre locations, and a win over Indianapolis on prime time may very well be the occasion that propels the Ravens to new heights.

Winner: Lamar Jackson

Unquestionably one of many best comebacks within the fashionable NFL occurred due to top-of-the-line quarterback stat strains I can ever bear in mind. Jackson completed the sport 37-of-43, 442 yards and 4 touchdowns. He additionally ran for 62 yards, as a result of generally you simply want to achieve 500 yards by your self.

In whole the Ravens completed the sport with 523 yards of offense. Jackson was answerable for 504. That’s completely absurd.

“How ‘bout them Cowboys?” A saying that began with Jimmy Johnson in 1992 has turn into unquestionably probably the most annoying in sports activities for the final three many years. For years it’s epitomized all the things that frustrates 31 different fanbases about Dallas. The over-exposure, the limitless guarantees that “that is gonna be their 12 months,” and the frustration of hitting mid-season and questioning why a 3-5 workforce nonetheless has 4 primetime video games left on the schedule.

I do know there’s a push by numerous followers to disregard Dallas, as if it by some means paying them no thoughts and downplaying their accomplishments will by some means right the cosmic imbalance of being an every-week speaking level — however the reality is, it’s unimaginable to disregard them this season.

This isn’t actually about Dallas beating the Giants on Sunday, I imply not likely. It’s extra about what the Cowboys aren’t doing this season, and what they didn’t do in opposition to New York: Blow it. This has form of been the Cowboys modus operandi for the previous a number of years. They appear supremely proficient and able to take management of the NFC East, then inexplicably play right down to their competitors in dramatic vogue, usually dropping video games they need to have received.

Now sitting at 4-1, the workforce is firing on all cylinders. For the primary time in a really, very very long time it appears like all the things is coming collectively, and there’s no discernible weak spot to their recreation — and that’s what’s so distinctive about this season. Prior to now you’d have explosive offenses in Dallas, paired with horrible protection. Then maybe all of it comes collectively, however the result’s underperformance due to dangerous teaching. This season to date? I can’t actually discover fault with a lot the Cowboys are doing.

It’s actually early, I do know, however I’m beginning to get some critical Andy Reid vibes out of Mike McCarthy. It stays to be seen if the surroundings change may end up in something near the success Reid has had in Kansas Metropolis, and there’s lots extra time wanted to show it — however I dunno, I simply actually like what I’ve seen from a training perspective.

McCarthy got here in and pressured the necessity for Dallas to be extra aggressive on protection and drive turnovers, which is a complimentary scheme to an explosive offense. Should you can merely generate extra offensive collection with a workforce that may rating at will, then it form of goes with out saying that you just’re going to win soccer video games. With a league-leading 10 interceptions this season, the Cowboys are second within the NFL in turnover differential at a +7 on the season, and it’s proof optimistic that McCarthy’s level of emphasis is paying dividends.

Now, it additionally helps whenever you inherit among the greatest offensive weapons within the NFL. Let’s not gloss that over. Dak Prescott is taking part in phenomenal soccer proper now, which is absolutely nice to see following his 2020 season happening the drain with harm, and Ezekiel Elliot is again to being a dominant again the ‘Boys can depend on to provide them 100 yard video games each time their want them. The receiving weapons Dallas has are off the charts too — making it a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.

I’m not totally positive how one can be anticipated to cowl CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper when there’s an rising go catching menace in tight finish Dalton Schultz, an unheralded star for Dallas this season. Because it stands, no one actually is aware of find out how to cease this both, as a result of the Cowboys are averaging 34 factors a recreation.

So, hate on them in the event you should — however proper now if somebody asks “How bout them Cowboys?” you must actually simply say “they’re rattling good,” as a result of anything could be disingenuous.

Winner: Davante Adams

I’m undecided Packers followers could be snug with the phrase “extra time shootout with the Cincinnati Bengals,” I imply, it’s not precisely a confidence-building phrase. That stated, the Bengals actually aren’t a nasty workforce and I kinda thought this one was going to be shut.

The hero in all this wasn’t Aaron Rodgers as most individuals anticipate, and completely on the brilliance of Davante Adams, who regardless of being Inexperienced Bay’s solely actual receiver, by some means was uncoverable. Adams put the workforce on his again with 11 catches for 206 yards and a landing. That’s merely an outstanding charge that Cincinnati had no reply for all afternoon.

To his credit score, Ja’Marr Chase was phenomenal on the opposite facet of the ball and deserves some props too — however the edge goes to the winner, and a participant who had his quantity referred to as over, and over, and over once more, and didn’t falter.

Loser: Carolina Panthers

I noticed this one coming, however it doesn’t suck any much less for Panthers followers. Once we had been speaking about there being 5 undefeated groups left within the NFL after Week 3 I listed Carolina’s blistering begin because the workforce being a “pretender.” They received on the again of some nice play, positive, but additionally actually dangerous opponents.

After taking part in the Cowboys shut final week I believed there was a glimmer of hope I used to be incorrect. Perhaps this workforce was legit and able to cling with the NFC’s elite … then they lose 21-18 to the Eagles after giving up 15 factors within the second half, after kind of shutting out Philly within the first.

Yeah, it positively doesn’t assist when Sam Darnold throws three picks, however the points with Carolina’s roster have gotten extraordinarily pronounced. Particularly: They haven’t any offensive line. Actually, the Panthers have kind of been ignoring the o-line for the higher a part of a decade, and now their chickens are coming residence to roost.

I don’t see this ship turning round for the Panthers. Their run was enjoyable whereas it lasted.

Winner: Kyle Pitts

The No. 4 general choose has been superb this season, however till this level there was nothing actually to make you say “rattling, that’s why he was a good finish taken with the fourth general choose.” Pitts’ recreation in London modified all that.

Ending with 9 catches for 119 yards and a landing, it felt just like the nook has actually been turned on this workforce studying simply how explosive the rookie may be. Till this level it felt like there had been some trepidation from the Falcons in simply unleashing him and making Pitts a focus of the offense, and now that’s modified.

I can’t assist however really feel like this was simply the primary in an extended, lengthy string of 100 yard video games to come back in his profession — and extra importantly: I believe Atlanta and Matt Ryan now know they will put the sport on Pitts’ shoulders and are available away with an excellent consequence.

Loser: Jon Gruden

By no means one to be upstaged, it’s like Jon Gruden noticed City Meyer’s disastrous week and stated “I’ll have what he’s having.”

As an alternative of specializing in soccer for the back-end of the week, Gruden was mired in controversy as emails from 2011 surfaced that exposed the Raiders coach making a racist remark about NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith. It put Gruden on the again foot, apologizing a number of instances to his workforce earlier than the sport on Sunday, then apologizing to them once more after their 20-9 loss to the Bears.

Las Vegas appeared listless, and performed with out an edge or function. This was the polar reverse than what we’ve seen from them this season — and one has to think about the e-mail performed a task this week in distracting the workforce from their focus.

Now we’ll wait to see if Gruden’s racist comment will trigger sufficient discord to derail the Raiders’ season.

Loser: City Meyer

City Meyer is a loser.

Sorry, that’s a bit transient. City Meyer is a loser who enjoys blaming different individuals when he loses.

This got here in response to a query about why the Jaguars gave the ball to backup working again Carlos Hyde on a 4th and 1 when beginning again James Robinson was gashing the Titans for 8.3 yards per carry.

Right here I’m pondering it’s exactly a head coach’s job to query personnel choices in probably game-altering conditions, however what do I do know?

Winner: Justin Herbert

Herbert is making a house on this facet of the ledger each week, and deservedly so. At this level he’s ascended from “nice rookie QB,” to only “nice QB,” and there’s no manner of arguing it.

The Chargers recreation on Sunday in opposition to the Browns was a slug fest. Neither workforce had been ready cease one another on offense, inflicting a ludicrously enjoyable 47-42 Chargers win through which Herbert was damn-near good. He completed the day 26-of-43 for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns.

The one quarterback higher this week was Tom Brady who was on absolute fireplace, however I made a decision to omit solely as a result of “Tom Brady doing Tom Brady issues in opposition to Miami” is a bit too previous hat to gush over.

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