Posts tagged Green Bay Packers
79th and Halas EP 124 - "Green Bay, this is your conscience"

Scott and Flows are joined by the homie Steve to break down the upcoming Bears season!

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As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
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Ball Don't Lie EP. 45 - Giannis World Order

Scott and Dante are in this week to chat about Giannis and the Bucks beating down Harden and the Rockets, the battle for the 8th seed in the East, Boston and Golden State's roads to the playoffs, the Big Baller Brand drama, March Madness, NFL news and much more.

Topics:
Are the Bucks for real?
Playoff battles
Lonzo leaves BBB
Bulls options in the draft
Sweet 16 preview
Gronk retires
Bears/Packers opening night
new rule changes
Eloy's new contract
Goofy Mog of the Week

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!

Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Rep THE MAN just in time for Wrestlemania with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Nearly Canceled: Entourage drops January 2019 exclusively on the Barber's Chair Patreon! Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to Nearly Canceled: Entourage, along with more exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair!
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79th and Halas - "WE RUN THE NAWF"

Flows and Scott celebrate the new Kings of the North, the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears, after their thrilling 24-17 win over the hated Green Bay Packers!

Become a patron of The Barber's Chair on Patreon! $5 a month will get you a thank you on Ball Don't Lie and guarantees you access to exclusive premium content from The Barber's Chair when it becomes available!
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Grab your official Barber's Chair merch as well!
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Follow Scott on Twitter: @Scott_CEOofSUH
Follow Flows on Twitter: @Flowsandolini

Monday Morning Glory: A-A-Ron having his worst season... and I love it!

After every Chicago Bears touchdown at Nisei Lounge, a friendly, comforting little dive bar tucked into Clark and Sheffield in Chicago’s bro-ey Wrigleyville neighborhood, the patrons - many of which donning the orange and blue - happily sing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears”, the proud fight song of the hometown team. Once the song gets to its second verse, however, the song changes from “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” to “Fuck Tom Brady, Fuck Tom”.

Now I don’t participate in the remix because it goes against my hidden-but-not-so-hidden-anymore man crush of Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. But I’m impatiently waiting for Dec. 16th to arrive when the 8-3 NFC North-leading Bears host the arch-rival Green Bay Packers, so I can finally join in on the second verse with some lyrics of my own…

“FUCK AARON RODGERS! FUCK A-A-RON!”

Since breaking Chicago’s hearts in Week One with his improbable comeback in Lambeau, Rodgers and the Packers have gone 3-6-1, leaving them with only a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs. They’re tied for the easiest schedule remaining in football, with their hardest contest being the Bears match-up in three weeks, but while Rodgers thinks “with a little help” his team can win out and make the playoffs, the Packers look dead in the water in 2018, and Bears fans are enjoying every second that Packers fans are in pain.

The scapegoat has been head coach Mike McCarthy, who will likely be fired at season’s end despite a .621 winning percentage, a Super Bowl win and multiple trips to the NFC Championship Game. For years, McCarthy has been accused of running a stagnant offense, and that’s partially true, but McCarthy’s offense doesn’t mask Rodgers’ inconsistencies this year.

From SI:

Yes, Rodgers’s unique style, which few QBs have enough talent to call upon, has led to some of his most spectacular plays. But in the aggregate, it also creates the illusion of dysfunction around him. To television viewers, Rodgers runs around because his O-line breaks down. Or because, presumably, receivers aren’t getting open. And they’re not getting open because the scheme isn’t helping them. Sometimes this is the case. But just as often, the glitches aren’t coming from everyone around the quarterback, but from the quarterback himself.

Has McCarthy’s coaching decisions been baffling? Sure. Here the Packers line up in a jumbo set on 4th and inches and run the ball right into a waiting 10-man box, costing the Packers an opportunity to drive down the field and take the lead, and giving the Vikings the ball back with good field positioning.

But it’s not just McCarthy, or the depleted talent in Green Bay. Much of the Packers struggles fall on their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

Rodgers completed 17 of 28 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown in last night’s 24-17 loss to the Vikings. He hasn’t looked well all season; despite already eclipsing 3200 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and throwing just one interception all year, Rodgers has been wildly inconsistent throwing the football On back-to-back plays late in the game with Green Bay needing 10 points to tie, Rodgers badly missed Equanimeous St. Brown on a throw into the turf, and then overthrew a wide-open Davante Adams in the endzone.

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t normally miss those throws. Those key plays we’ve grown accustomed to Rodgers making, aren’t being made. You can’t blame it on injury; he’s looked relatively healthy since Week Two. It may be the offense, the lack of talent surrounding him, father time, or all three… but you can’t sugarcoat it: Aaron Rodgers is having the worst season of his career, and his poor play will cost a lot of people their jobs after the season.

QUICK HITS

After two-and-a-half years of Hue Jackson (on top of three decades of ineptitude) and an 0-16 season, the Cleveland Browns deserve good things to happen to them. They took a step towards turning the corner Sunday with a 35-20 win on the road over in-state rival Cincinnati. The AJ Green-less Bengals looked like they have every game in which AJ Green has been inactive: terrible. I didn’t think they could look worse, and then Andy Dalton went out with a thumb injury, and the Bengals inserted Jeff Driskel (yes, THAT Jeff Driskel) in at quarterback. All the good things kept happening for Cleveland, and not only did they take advantage of it, they shoved it right back into their former coach's face.

After the ass-whupping, Browns QB Baker Mayfield got up to the podium and let his feelings be known about his old ball coach.

Good for Baker. He dealt with the stupidity of Hue starting Tyrod Taylor over him the first few games before he pulled the franchise out of the darkness in one half. The Browns now have back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. Slowly, Cleveland football is returning to respectability.

And good for them to stick it to Hue. It was obvious during the taping of Hard Knocks that Hue - after one win in two seasons - was not for long in Cleveland. He got canned and went back to Cincinnati, a team the Browns had to play twice this season, knowing all their tricks and personnel, and STILL got blown out. Now there’s rumor Hue could be the one to FINALLY replace Marvin Lewis at the Bengals head coach. I hope I’m apart of the majority that hopes he gets the job, so Baker and the Browns can beat up on Hue twice a season for the foreseable future.

Wilson, Luck ELITE

I would like to personally apologize to two QBs from the 2012 Draft; one I’ve been a big fan of for years, the other I’ve disrespected for way too long.

Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck… I’m sorry.

The both of you are elite quarterbacks.

The Seahawks have battled everything from dysfunction to injury and everything in between to stay in the NFC Wild Card race, with Sunday’s 30-27 win in Carolina being the biggest so far for the 6-6 Seahawks. Trailing 27-20 with under four minutes left in the game, Seattle needed to convert on 4th and 3, or they give the ball back to the Panthers up 7. Forever clutch, Wilson took over, first on this 35-yard bomb to David Moore…

…and then on this huge third down pass to Tyler Lockett that set up Sebastian Janikowski for the game-winning field goal.

Before the season, I was hesitant to put Russell Wilson in that elite QB category with Brady-Brees-Rodgers, but the way he’s willed Seattle this season magnifies his importance to the team and the league. Over Seattle’s NFC dominance, it was easy to forget Wilson’s ability to make special plays on every snap because of the presence of so many other special players - Lynch, Bennett, Wagner the Legion of Boom, etc. - but now that most of those players are gone, Wilson stands alone as the star in Seattle, and he’s shining brighter than ever this season.

Also, he does sweet shit like this…that even the most dedicated Future fan can’t hate on.

Now it’s time for Andrew Luck…

I’ve never found Luck to be a special quarterback. GOOD, for sure, but not special. After a year away, he’s making me eat my words… and quietly inserting himself into the League MVP conversation. Luck completed 30 passes for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, becoming the first to throw for 3 or more TD’s in eight consecutive games since Tom Brady did so in 10 games back in 2007. It was Luck’s 20th comeback win, his tenth comeback of 10+ points. Oh yeah, and he caught a pass Sunday. Probably not ideal for a man coming back from shoulder surgery, but cool as hell.

The Colts have won five straight, and not only are they in Wild Card contention in the AFC, a loss tonight by the Texans would put them a game behind Houston in the division with one more game between the two teams in two weeks. The Colts are in good position to sneak up and surprise some teams in December.

Finding a Home for Dez Bryant

We are now about to enter Week 5 of the NFL season and Dez Bryant is still looking for a new team. He hinted last week that he should be signing with somebody “soon” but no teams have been attached to these rumors. As we’ve seen, some teams could definitely use the help on offense. Others may not need the help but could be best in maximizing Dez Bryant’s skillset.

Green Bay Packers

Randall Cobb is banged up and Geronimo Allison went down this week with a concussion. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t typically throw the ball to tight ends but they’ve still managed to find ways to get the ball to Jimmy Graham in the red zone. That means they would have no problem utilizing Dez in the same way. As a team that loves to pass it from inside the five yard line, the Packers would provide a great chance for Dez to reclaim his confidence and production.

Indianapolis Colts

TY Hilton is another player that exited this week with an injury. He joins Jack Doyle as another one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets on the shelf. If both guys continue to miss time, Dez Bryant could easily slide into a starting role. Like Aaron Rodgers, Luck loves to throw to his big bodies in the red zone. But if the Colts want to compete, they’ll need more than just Eric Ebron.

Seattle Seahawks

This one would have made more sense during the offseason. When Doug Baldwin became injured in the preseason, Dez Bryant could have greatly benefited from the role Brandon Marshall stepped into. However, that opportunity has passed with Doug Baldwin now back on the field.

San Francisco 49ers

Similar to the Seahawks, I wish this one came with better circumstances. This would have been a better opportunity if Jimmy Garoppolo was still healthy. CJ Beathard gave the Niners a chance to win this week but he’s not in the team’s long-term plans. Garoppolo would have needed to be the guy to build that chemistry with Dez.

New York Giants

When the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, I was hoping they would go out and sign Dez Bryant to complete the offense. With Odell Beckham outside, Sterling Shepard in the slot, Evan Engram at tight end, and Saquon in the backfield, Dez could have served as the opposite outside receiver. Nobody could be double covered and defenses wouldn’t be able to load the box. Eli Manning isn’t as bad as the media is making him out to be. His offensive line just isn’t giving him a consistently clean pocket. If Bryant was added to the slew of talent they already have, defenses wouldn’t have the luxury of blitzing as often as they wanted to.

Buffalo Bills

Aside from the man-handling of the Minnesota Vikings, the Bills have looked like one of the worst teams in football. Just when we had a chance to start taking them more seriously, they went scoreless against the Packers this week. Kelvin Benjamin is supposed to be their WR1 but only had a single catch in a game they were trailing the whole time. Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy may very well be at the tail end of their careers. The Bills could be looking at a total reset next season. I doubt Dez Bryant could fix the Bills but he’s better than what they have now and Josh Allen needs somebody to throw to before he loses confidence in himself.

Arizona Cardinals

Somehow even more hopeless than the Bills are the Arizona Cardinals. Josh Rosen stepped in this week and actually had a chance to win the game. That’s more than we’ve been able to say in recent weeks so there is a glimmer of hope. However, I would be surprised if Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t retire after this season and his successor has yet to emerge from the rest of the Arizona offense. Josh Rosen is going to be in desperate need of help next year if they don’t make some serious changes.

Tennessee Titans

They’re 3-1 but these wins haven’t been very pretty. Corey Davis had a 161 yard performance in their win against the Eagles but he’s not going to do that every week. In their Week 2 in against the Texans, their leading receiver was safety Dane Cruikshank who caught a 66 yard TD on a fake punt. In their Week 3 win, Marcus Mariota only threw for 100 yards. Delanie Walker is already going to miss the rest of the season and he’s been Mariota’s favorite target in recent years. The Titans need a boost on offense if they want to give their defense a rest this season.

The Bear truth: how will Chicago overcome the week 1 Tragedy

Yeah....that shit happened.....

The heart of Bears fans were ripped out of their chest by the one legged Aaron Rodgers who rallied the Green Bay Packers from a 20-point deficit to a win over the Chicago Bears. If you watched this game, you witnessed a historic NFL Films moment. This was by far the most amazing thing that football Jesus, aka Aaron Rodgers, has ever done.

 But enough of praising that cheesehead, let’s talk about these dam Bears.....

What in the entire fuck happened after halftime? Did everyone forget that this was a road game at Lambeau Field? Did they really think a 20-point lead was all that it took to beat one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time!?

There’s so much to be said about Sunday’s loss, but the real question is how can the Bears bounce back from this L?

Game Management

In the end, it all starts from the top. As a new head coach, Matt Nagy has to learn how to effectively manage the game from a coaching perspective. The Bears ran a underwhelming total of 21 designed rushing plays throughout the entire game. In which, six of these runs came in the the third quarter after the Packers were only down by one score.

That’s so fucking unacceptable. Why wait until it’s a one score game to burn the clock out? Especially when you have one of the most effective running backs in the NFL....

Execution

It’s the first game of the season and many players are still shaking off the rust from a long offseason. It’s still not an excuse to play beneath your full potential. The Bears defense played beyond expectation in the first half (Khalil Mack...say less, Sheesh....)

The second half, not so much....Granted, there wasn’t much that the defense could do on certain plays (I.e. that gorgeous fucking pass from Rodgers to Geronimo Allison could not be defended.)

But a dropped interception by Kyle Fuller that could have sealed the game is unacceptable. Giving an injured, immobile Aaron Rodgers nearly six seconds in the pocket to expose the blown man coverage by Prince Amukamara that led to a 75-yard Touchdown by Randall Cobb is UNACCEPTABLE!

Offensively, Mitchell Trubisky has to play better. He looked like a franchise quarterback in the first half, passing 18 for 21 with one rushing touchdown. In the second half, he looked like a rookie, blindly running around the pocket and overlooking a WIDE OPEN Trey Burton. Running into your own offensive linemen and causing your own fumble is UNACCEPTABLE. I understand that this was probably the biggest game of Trubisky’s short career, but you have to develop nerves of steel  and maintain your elite level of play. Step that shit up Mitch.

Perseverance

In the words of the late Dennis Green, the Bears are who we thought they were. They’re young and make rookie mistakes, but they are very fucking good. The defense is a force to be reckoned with, and once the offense begins to truly click, score boards will light up like Christmas trees. You don’t just walk into Lambeau and dominate the Packers with shear dumb luck.

They can’t allow this loss to destroy their season. Learn from the past mistakes and perfect the craft of winning, Chicago. Green Bay is in the past. Seattle is next.

A Letter to Bears Fans: Pick Ya Head Up

Over the course of the offseason, the Chicago Bears looked like a team that was ready to make some moves toward the future. Naturally, I was a little more invested in watching a Bears season opener than I would have been in previous years.

Unfortunately, this ended up being a game that will likely end up being mentioned in Aaron Rodgers’ Hall of Fame speech.

I’m here to tell you, Bears fans: better days are right around the corner.

I previously wrote about Chicago’s playoff hopes and how the rest of the NFC is so stacked. However, the rest of the NFC didn’t show up in week one. The Cowboys, 49ers, Saints, Giants, Seahawks, Cardinals, and Lions all lost. The Panthers and Eagles showed up on defense as expected, but the door was open for both teams to score a lot more. Neither team even cracked 20 points.

The bad news is that Kirk Cousins already looks acclimated with the division rival, Minnesota Vikings. The good news is that everyone else in the NFC looked so poor that the NFC North has a chance to send three teams to the playoffs. The Detroit Lions are not one of them.

Let’s talk about the positives from Sunday’s game. Every new offensive weapon in Chicago already showed some flash of potential. Allen Robinson still has vice grips for hands and Taylor Gabriel is still as quick as ever. Trey Burton only had one catch but was targeted six times. That connection will improve with time. Anthony Miller also chipped in with two catches in his NFL debut.

The run game looked absolutely fantastic. Jordan Howard averaged 5.5 yards per carry and was more involved in the passing game than I expected. Tarik Cohen added another 5.0 YPC with three catches of his own. They were the perfect compliment to each other. Mitchell Trubisky left a little to be desired in his accuracy and decision-making, but showed the ability to move in the pocket and a willingness to run.

I don’t even need to say much about Khalil Mack. Although this game ended in a loss, I’m sure every Bears fan is looking forward to the next few seasons with him coming off the edge. Roquan Smith wasn’t on the field as much as fans hoped but his first play alongside Mack ended in a sack.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers immortalized himself to an even greater extent in this game, but I didn’t see it as an indication of the lack of talent on the Bears. Aaron Rodgers is capable of doing this to every team. The Bears just so happened to be in his way on this particular week.

Even before the Aaron Rodgers injury, Chicago was getting stops and pressures on the Packers offense. The Randall Cobb touchdown to put Green Bay ahead was just a perfect example of a quarterback knowing his receiver after years of playing together. If you look across the NFL, you wont find chemistry between a QB and receiver like Rodgers & Cobb unless you’re talking about Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowksi or Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.

The one piece of advice I’ll give to fans: the Bears were up 20-17 with 2:47 left in the game. It was 3rd &1 and the Packers had no timeouts left. Jordan Howard had just ran for 12 yards on the previous play in an incredible effort. With all of that apparent, the Bears still decided to pass the ball for some reason. It ended up being incomplete, which stopped the clock. The Packers scored the game-winner soon after.

I’m still trying to figure out why they couldn’t trust their best offensive player to get a single yard. Even if he doesn’t pick up the first down, you still give less time to the Packers to work with. If they can identify what went wrong on that specific play, the Chicago Bears should be able to compete with anybody this year.

Even if they finish this season around 7-9 or 8-8, their games will remain close. All of the new additions mean it will take a little extra time for everyone to gel together. As deflating as the outcome was, there was more to be optimistic in that Sunday night game than not. Be patient.

79th and Halas EP 103 - Fuck 12
2018 NFC Playoff Outlook

Every season we tend to see around five new teams emerge during the season and make their way into the playoffs.  Most of them are surprises too. 

Last season the Rams and Eagles took two giant premature steps forward.  I didn't expect much from either team last year but now they both have the appearance of perennial contenders.  An injury to Aaron Rodgers allowed for three NFC South teams to book a playoff ticket. 

A lot can happen so let's take a look at a few certain contenders along with some of those potential surprises.   

Tier 1: Locked In

New Orleans Saints
Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Rams

The Saints were one Stefon Diggs touchdown away from having a real shot at winning the Super Bowl last year.  No more wonders of how Adrian Peterson is going mesh with the offense. Mark Ingram will be suspended for the first four games but they have no problem making Alvin Kamara the focal point of the offense until then. Michael Thomas, Cameron Meredith, and Ted Ginn Jr. are already a solid foundation but rookie Tre'Quan Smith adds even more raw speed.

Speaking of rookies, first round DE Marcus Davenport makes his way onto a stout defense led by sophomore CB Marshon Lattimore. 

The Vikings made all the way to the conference finals on the back of Case Keenum before getting embarrassed by the Eagles. They've been contenders for the past several seasons thanks to their elite defense so they have no concerns on that side of the ball. Their offense has gotten better every year and now it takes another step forward.

Replacing Keenum is Kirk Cousins, who's is a more willing runner and deep ball thrower. Dalvin Cook returns from an injury that derailed his rookie season after four games.  He possesses the best traits of both Jerick McKinnon and Latavis Murray and was actually on pace to lead the league in rushing at the time of his injury. 

Sean McVay was the blessing that Jared Goff and Todd Gurley needed. New life was injected into the Rams' passing game and the addition of Andrew Whitworth at left tackle gave Gurley some actual lanes to run through. Sammy Watkins was a great asset in the red zone but I think Brandin Cooks is an upgrade for the type of uptempo offense they run.

The defense lost Trumaine Johnson but added Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Sam Shields, and Ndamukong Suh so they should be all set. 

Tier 2: Not Far Behind

Philadelphia Eagles
Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers
Atlanta Falcons

The only reason I have the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles right here is because Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffrey are currently working their way back from injuries. If they're forced to missed time then that may cost them a couple of games. Regardless, their defense alone should win them games. I'm not concerned.

The Carolina Panthers have one of the most consistently disciplined defenses in the league regardless of who they plug in there. The offense tends to be a tad on the inconsistent side but everything is currently aligning. Greg Olsen and Curtis Samuel are back and healthy. Christian McCaffrey is expected to take a big leap this year as the projected three-down back.

On top of that, first-round rookie receiver DJ Moore was viewed by many as the most talented prospect in his position's draft class. If everything clicks, they could beat anybody.

Green Bay still had a chance to make the playoffs even with all of the time that Aaron Rodgers missed. Ted Thompson is no longer the GM so now they'll actually participate in free agency going forward.  Brian Gutekunst made that apparent with the signings of Muhammad Wilkerson and Jimmy Graham this offseason.  Graham has surely lost a step but he'll have no problem hauling in all those red zone targets that Jordy Nelson left behind.

From a fantasy perspective, their RB situation is messy. From a real-life perspective, they have three guys (Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams) that can start and produce on any given week. We all know their offense is a threat but their defense is sneaky good and is loaded with talent at all three levels. 

The Falcons' offense looked watered down in 2017 as they transitioned from a Kyle Shanahan offense to a Steve Sarkisian-led side.  Despite the step down, they still made the playoffs in a difficult division.  If they can get a better grasp on Sarkisian's scheme then they have all the pieces to return to form.  

Tier 3: Don't Be Surprised

New York Giants
Chicago Bears
San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals

In 2016 we saw the emergence of a stingy Giants defense that paved a way to the playoffs.  We didn't see that same defense in 2017.  The offense couldn't help them at all.  The entire receiving corps was depleted with injuries and there was zero semblance of a run game.  Now that 2016 team gets Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley.  I'm sure they're excited about a healthy Odell Beckham too. 

The Bears had a top 10 defense last year which a lot of people don't realize.  It's pretty impressive considering their offense was at the bottom of the league in terms of total plays ran. Jordan Howard has managed to be successful in vanilla schemes but now the training wheels are off in Matt Nagy's new offense.

Just like the Giants, they didn't have anybody to throw the ball to last season. Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller hope to aid Mitchell Trubisky make a leap similar to Jared Goff with his revamped team.

If I wrote this a couple months ago then I might have had the 49ers a tier higher. The hype surrounding them has been immense so I've tried to temper my expectations recently. The once elite defense has been a place mat in recent years but the front seven is young and promising. Richard Sherman also provides a type of intelligence and star power the team hasn't seen since Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman were together. Jerick McKinnon isn't as good between the tackles as Carlos Hyde but has a better knack for catching the ball which is what Kyle Shanahan is looking for.

The Cardinals could hover around 8-8 or even 9-7 this season, but they face a similar problem to the other teams in their tier. If everything goes right for the previous teams then the conference may be too crowded to let everyone into the playoffs. The Cardinals are probably one more year out from returning to prominence.

Their defense always lands in the upper half of the league, David Johnson is back, and they have a Hall of Famer in Larry Fitzgerald at wide receiver. The glaring problem is the quarterback situation. Sam Bradford is talented enough to lead a playoff team but can never stay healthy for a full season.  Even if he is healthy, they may be too eager to get Josh Rosen on the field. Rosen will probably have the QB position set in stone by next season but Larry Fitz may be gone by then.