The Huddle: NFL Week Seven

The PTB Crew checks in with a load of chatter for Week Seven!
The PTB Crew checks in with a load of chatter for Week Seven!

Welcome to Week Seven of the NFL! It’s incredible to think we are nearly halfway through the regular season, Place to Be Nation! This week, our guys check in with thoughts on Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Atlanta, the mess that is the Jets, a bit on Matthew Stafford, and then a peek at the week ahead.

Toss on your jersey and get inside The Huddle!

Kickoff Questions:

1. What is your level of concern for the Steelers with the news of Big Ben’s injury?

2. Thoughts on Prescott’s performance against the Packers?

3. Is O’Dell Beckham, Jr. “back” after a big day Sunday?

4. What of Tom Brady’s second game back?

JT Rozzero:

Or was it just the luck of the Irish for O’Dell?

Brian Cullinane:

1. Hosting the Patriots without Roethlisberger is certainly troublesome for the Steelers. Last time we saw Landry Jones play, it wasn’t pretty, and the Pats are not going to let Le’Veon Bell beat them so it’s up to Jones to outscore Brady and I cannot see that happening.

For the long term, it doesn’t seem that he is expected to be out that long, but these injuries are going to catch up to Roethlisberger sooner rather than later, and that is something the Steelers have to keep in mind going forward.

2. I thought Prescott showed a tremendous amount of poise and presence in beating the Packers at Lambeau. I do not see how you can justifiably replace him with Romo, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

3. Beckham put up great stats but did have a fumble in the first quarter and one of his TDs was due to blown coverage. He had a good second-half but against a bad secondary, I wouldn’t say he is “back” yet.

4. Brady was great in the second half yesterday but was rattled early on and his offensive line is an issue. They can only coach up the O-Line to a certain point, as sooner or later you are going to need the talent against elite defenses in the playoffs.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

The Steelers got caught in a classic trap game. They are fortunate that they have a bye week after the Patriot game, which would have been an upset victory even with Big Ben. That whole division is really struggling. The QB position gets all the glory when you win in the NFL.

Obviously Dak Prescott has surpassed any reasonable expectations as a starting QB but Dallas’ dominating offensive line and a surprisingly stout defense are getting overshadowed by Prescott’s stellar play. What about Aaron Rodgers? He has been shockingly mediocre this year so far.

Is the worry about Aaron Rodgers legit?
Is the worry about Aaron Rodgers legit?

JT Rozzero:

I think Rodgers has been worse than mediocre. That pick he threw yesterday was Sanchezesque. They probably would have lost to the Giants too if Eli didn’t somehow play worse than [Rodgers] has.

Brian Cullinane:

Rodgers looked awful yesterday. From the minute the game started, he just looked miserable and his body language was awful. His head does not seem like it is in the game.

Roger Morrissette:

1. As I said from the beginning, the Steelers are just too injury prone and don’t have enough depth to be real contenders. They are still probably the second-best team in the AFC by default. Super Bowl contenders don’t get trounced by Philly and Miami.

I think Ben has a realistic chance to come back after the bye, but will be playing hurt. Their defense is banged up and in shambles. For God-knows-what-reason, they didn’t bring in a competent backup for their oft-injured QB. Landry Jones is a complete stiff. Pats by 20+.

2. Dak won the starting gig long term [against] GB. This was the one matchup where if he imploded, it would have given Jones the ammo to insert Romo as the starter when he comes back. Given that [Prescott] thoroughly out played Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau, there’s no way in hell they pull him. They are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It’s Brady/Bledsoe all over again.

3. I don’t think Beckham ever went anywhere. Like many before him, he’s a supremely talented WR with a terrible attitude. Like it or not, he’s at worst the third best wideout in the NFL. I think it’s a terrible mistake for the Giants’ brass and Manning to keep calling him out in the media. They are a 5-11 team without him and, as evidenced on the field, he doesn’t react well to “slights”. After today’s comments by Eli, it wouldn’t shock me at all for Odell to pop up on the injury report with a hamstring injury. He has a history of those and he may want to teach the team a lesson.

4. Brady is the best in the business and the Pats will continue to run roughshod through a subpar conference.

Rodgers is so used to his WR’s not getting open that he’s missing them when they are. He’s great when the play becomes a scramble drill, but seems to have temporarily lost his accuracy standing in the pocket. I think he’ll figure it out.

How about the Falcons? They are for real. That was a clinic Matty Ice put on in the second half in Seattle with them coming off a bye. They have done nothing but impress me. The Seahawks got a gift with that no-call.

Despite a strong showing from QB Matt Ryan, the Falcons fell to 4-2 after a close loss to Seattle this week.
Despite a strong showing from QB Matt Ryan, the Falcons fell to 4-2 after a close loss to Seattle this week.

Chad Campbell:

The Falcons have impressed the last two weeks. Their defense is creating much more pressure with Beasley finally starting to live up to his potential. Trufant is also one of the best corners in the league. Their defense only has to be adequate for them to contend this year with the way the offense is playing.

Roger Morrissette:

With Carolina falling off a cliff, it should be a cakewalk to the division title. It was pretty clear the Falcons were frauds last year with their hot start, but that is not the case this year. Honestly, to me they are the odds-on favorite to come out of the NFC right now. As you pointed out Chad, the defense is just good enough and the other prime contenders (Minnesota, Seattle, Dallas) don’t have the goods to beat them in a shootout.

Chad Campbell:

The NFC is interesting in that each division has a big frontrunner and then it could be a huge scrap over the wild card slots.

Roger Morrissette:

Agreed, huge game for the Cardinals [Monday night against the Jets] to keep pace.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Seattle has some type of magic in their house. Atlanta was going for the kill and then an interception off the hands of the best WR in the NFL. All Atlanta needs is to get the playoff rematch in their house.

Joel Barnhart:

What’s next for the Jets after an awful showing against the Cardinals [on Monday]?

Brian Cullinane:

They might want to look at a new coach. That defense has been awful and they shouldn’t be with the [talent] they have.

JT Rozzero:

Can’t restart every two years. The roster was a mess due to years of bad drafting and they did a patch job to cover for now. They need stability and let Bowles learn the craft while [GM] Maccagnan rebuilds from the inside out.

The worst thing that happened to them was winning ten games last year because it inflated expectations.
Anyone that looked deep enough could see this coming because their schedule was much harder, they were due for injuries, and there was big time regression for Fitzpatrick coming.

The worst thing they could do is overreact, fire Bowles, and start over yet again.

Brian Cullinane:

They cannot do a thing on defense and [Bowles] is supposed to be the defensive guy. Plus, they are playing like a team that doesn’t care.

JT Rozzero:

You can only do so much with what you have to work with. There is a clear divide there based on some tweets that came out last week. I think they will clean house on some veterans at the end of the year, Revis included. I think judging him on the last six weeks, when they had a very tough schedule and a turnover machine at QB, doesn’t make sense. The defense kept them in the Cincy and KC games, while Fitzpatrick just about singlehandedly cost them those games.

The D hasn’t been great but outside of busted coverage early on, last night was their sole embarrassing performance.

By your critique, Dan Quinn should have been fired last year. Their D sucked, they shit the bed, looked lost, and choked away some big games.

I think he is doing OK now.

Brian Cullinane:

Quinn did not start off 1-5 and had arguably less talent on D than Bowles does now.

JT Rozzero:

They started 6-1 and then lost six in a row to: Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Carolina.

Not exactly a Murderers’ Row.

Not pictured: Football players.
Not pictured: Football players.

Brian Cullinane:

More importantly than the coach is their situation at quarterback. It is a complete mess.

JT Rozzero:

The Jets’ secondary was a big concern coming into the season and they have faced: Andy Dalton, Tyrod Tayor, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethelisberger, and Carson Palmer.

And the D kept them in the games against the lesser QBs on that list.

My argument before the season was to let Fitz walk–and I think they wanted to–but the veterans were pressuring, and once Fitz caved, they were kind of stuck and had to do it. Again, it’s more of a rebuild then it seemed [at that time] and they have years of bad personnel decision to unwind.

The Idzik draft (in 2014) set them back years, but overall, for the last ten years they have failed at building depth late in the draft. They have hit on some studs here and there but the shallow rosters bite them.

Brian Cullinane:

They should have made up their mind if they wanted to rebuild or contend in the offseason. And with an offense that terrible, the D is going to give up like they did in the second half [against Arizona]. And Bowles’ play-calling hasn’t been impressive either.

JT Rozzero:

I’m not denying he hasn’t had a questionable season, but looking to fire a second-year head coach after 22 games seems a bit hasty especially after he went 10-6 a year ago.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Buster Skrine woo hah, gotta get all those penalties in check.

Brian Cullinane:

I’m not saying fire Bowles now or anything but if he loses this team……..

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Last year Fitz-Magic energized and galvanized the whole team, but this year he’s had the opposite effect as Fitz-Tragic has sucked all the life out of the team. Even their vaunted defense is suffering as David Johnson was barely touched on his three TDs and this is supposed to be the best defensive line in the NFL. With that, there next four games are winnable and it wouldn’t surprise if they got to 5-5 or 4-6, which still keeps them relevant. They drew an incredibly tough draw on the schedule, but it’s shocking how non-competitive they have been–even Cleveland has been more competitive in their losses!

Roger Morrissette:

I think the better comparison [for the Jets’ situation] would be firing [Carolina’s] Ron Rivera, as he exceeded expectations last year, [he’s0 1-5, [with a] defensive coach whose defense has been considerably worse than the Jets. I think it would be a silly, knee-jerk reaction to fire either Bowles or Rivera.

JT Rozzero:

That’s why blowing those games to KC and Cincy hurt so much, because their schedule opens up quite a bit now.

Joel Barnhart:

Thoughts? http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2016/10/18/stafford-might-nfls-best-qb-analyst-says/92359216/

Roger Morrissette:

I think Stafford has improved tremendously under Cooter, but I would put him around 10th as far as QB ranking.

Brian Cullinane:

Stafford has had a Pro Bowl season but no, he is not the best in the league.

JT Rozzero:

Sounds like Geno Smith will be named [Jets’] starter later today per Schefter.

Geno Smith will take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Jets.
Geno Smith will take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Jets.

Brian Cullinane:

Are they going to let him fail again before turning to Petty? And what do they do with Fitzpatrick? I do not know his contract details, but if they can cut him without eating too much of his deal, they probably should at this point.

JT Rozzero:

Petty has been hurt all year and just started practicing last week, it probably would be a rush and setting him up to fail by shoving him out there. I think Geno starts for a bit, and if he does well, he will keep playing because they need to evaluate him. If he sucks, we see Petty to close out the year.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Jets/Ravens [on Sunday] is turning out to be an intriguing matchup. Desperate Jets with Geno versus a Ravens team optimistic about a wide-open division with Big Ben out.

JT Rozzero:

Rumor now is Flacco didn’t practice today and Harbaugh said they would “discuss everything later”.

Brian Cullinane:

There is a report out now that Roethlisberger might be out 4-6 weeks.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Ryan Mallett taking over makes that matchup a lot less intriguing.

Roger Morrissette:

I think the game is a toss up even if Flacco plays, since the Jets are home and the Ravens aren’t very good. If anyone can capitalize on a Steelers collapse, I think it’s the Bengals. Their schedule really opens up over the rest of the season.

J Arsenio D’Amato:

The Jets and the Bengals had the two toughest schedules by far in the first six weeks.

Roger Morrissette:

Agreed – and the Bengals are only two games back with a 98% chance of cutting that to one by beating the Browns at home and having Landry lose to the Pats. Not a bad spot for them at all.

Brandon LaFell and the 2-4 Bengals hope to pick things up with a lighter schedule coming up.
Brandon LaFell and the 2-4 Bengals hope to pick things up with a lighter schedule coming up.

Brian Cullinane:

Here are a few more questions:

1. Since we brought up coaching changes, which coach do you think will be the first to get fired?

2. What player do you see breaking out this week?

3. Upset of the week?

JT Rozzero:

John Fox is DOA

Mike Mularky should be gone too but I don’t know what to think about the management in Tennessee.

I think Jeremy Maclin finally has a big day against the Saints.

And a minor upset but I think the Niners beat Tampa.

Roger Morrissette:

1. Agreed on Fox. Mike McCoy and Gus Bradley also possibilities.

2. With the news about Doug Martin, I think Jacquizz Rodgers goes off against the historically bad Niners run defense.

3. I like the Eagles to hold serve at home and beat the Vikings.

Also – how bout O’Dell popping up on the injury report?!?! Right on queue. Nice work Eli!!

J Arsenio D’Amato:

Chuck Pagano’s days are numbered in Indy.

JT Rozzero:

How about this bullshit Burfict fine? How much bad stuff does this guy need to do?

Roger Morrissette:

Evidently the Pats are fair game to Big Roger…

Brian Cullinane:

He’s an ass and his coach does not seem to care if his players act like this on the field.

Roger Morrissette:
Burfict is a real talented player… Just a total lunatic.

That’s it for this week! Enjoy the games and check back next week for our midpoint takes!

Author: Joel Barnhart

A big-time baseball nerd, Joel is currently teaching English as a Second Language in San Antonio, Texas. In addition to his MLB passion, he enjoys good whiskey, good music, good movies, and good friends. He is currently engaged in an ongoing 12-year online debate over the merits of bubble wrap.