Every Wednesday or Thursday during the NFL season (and offseason), Joe Caporoso will break down the upcoming week of NFL action. Unfasten the belts and prepare to gorge on another weekend of fandom, fantasy, gambling, tweeting, cheering, complaining…and complaining.
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NFC Power Rankings
1 – Philadelphia Eagles: The defending champs put together a productive offseason and saved us from more Brady/Belichick misery and yet what will be more insufferable than Philadelphia sports fans this summer? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
2 – New Orleans Saints: They had no business losing to the Vikings last year and would have given the Eagles a substantially tougher game. If Drew Brees is still himself, the Saints remain nearly impossible to stop on offense. The Marcus Davenport trade up was surprising but if you are going to be aggressive, be aggressive for a pass rusher.
3 – Minnesota Vikings: Dalvin Cook is back. Kirk Cousins will be an upgrade over Case Keenum but the NFC North won’t be as easy with Aaron Rodgers back and an improved Bears team. Despite the upgrade at quarterback, some slight regression feels likely here for a team who was 6-2 in one possession games last season.
4 – Los Angeles Rams: Their defense is going to be a sight to see and if Jared Goff keeps developing, they could very well be the team most likely to knock Philly off their throne. The Rams will also benefit from playing the Cardinals and Seahawks (how times have changed!) four times this season.
5 – Carolina Panthers: DJ Moore will finally give Cam Newton some help on the outside and the Panthers should have a better understanding of how to use Christian McCaffrey in year two.
6 – Atlanta Falcons: Get Steve Sarkisian up out of here! The Falcons have to deal with a brutal division but have a well balanced roster that should have beat the Eagles in the playoffs last year if it wasn’t for their inept play calling in the final series of the game.
7 – San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy G is legit and served the 49ers well as a recruiting tool this offseason as they landed Jerrick McKinnon, Richard Sherman and Weston Richburg. It will be fun to watch them battle the Rams for NFC West supremacy.
8 – Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers has carried worse rosters deep into the playoffs and it is probably premature to put them behind San Francisco but what the hell? The Packers were smart to invest so heavily in corner during the NFL Draft and Jimmy Graham was an interesting enough flier. How about Dez Bryant in the slot now too?
9 – Detroit Lions: They still feel third in the NFC North pecking order behind Minnesota and Green Bay. I’m not sure why there is any reason to think they finish ahead of those teams, unless Rodgers goes down again or Cousins flames out on his big contract. (This Jets fan may enjoy that slightly).
10 – Seattle Seahawks: The Russell Wilson show. Seattle still has questions to answer on the offensive line and their defense is far from what it used to be. Wilson will keep them respectable but it is rebuilding time.
11 – Tampa Bays Bucs: One of the most disappointing teams in the NFL last year is stuck in the league’s best division. Unless Jameis Winston finds his 2016 form and improves on it, the Bucs will have a tough time cracking the NFC’s playoff field.
12 – Chicago Bears: An exciting offseason that netted Trey Burton, Allen Robinson and Roquan Smith among other pieces. It is all about Mitch Trubisky, though. Matt Nagy will try to turn him into Alex Smith 2.0 and if he does, maybe the Bears pass up the Lions this season.
13 – Washington Redskins: Speaking of Alex Smith, the Redskins decided to get older and less talented at quarterback. This is still a fairly talented roster but the general cloud of dysfunction over this organization drags them down.
14 – New York Giants: Giants fans will have a coronary over this but Eli Manning is in the midst of a troubling decline and if he isn’t substantially better (or the Giants offensive line isn’t much better), none of the shiny toys around him matter.
15 – Dallas Cowboys: The Redskins, Giants and Cowboys are all interchangeable. One of the three of them will probably be around .500 while the other two will be closer to 5-11 or 6-10. Dallas has not done a good job building around Dak Prescott heading into this season. Take advantage of that rookie contract!
16 – Arizona Cardinals: Likely basement dwellers in a fairly loaded division. PLAY ROSEN WEEK 1!
New York Deli Shout Of The Week
Sarge’s, 548 Third Avenue – As I move out of NYC, I have to shout out my favorite deli which single handily added 5-10 unhealthy pounds to me over the past few years. It is rare to find places that do all meals, all times of the day equally well. Sometimes a menu the size of a small novel can be a red flag but not at this place. Get yourself a massive chicken salad sandwich with fries and one of their ridiculous deserts…then sleep for 11 hours.
Random NFL GIF Of The Week
Who doesn’t miss TO?
What Do I Watch Now?
Westworld, HBO – A mid season check in since they have truly went full LOST at this point. We got a HATCH last episode…now all we need is a weird hippy commune initiative, some numbers and a donkey wheel that carries people through time. More seriously, the extra time off served this show well because they’ve made it exponentially more watchable than season 1. Ed Harris is also flat out awesome. HATCH FLASHBACK!
Who Do I Read Now?
Big Sur, Jack Kerouac – The first Kerouac book I read after On The Road and one that should put you in an interesting state of mind for the summer. All of his books are unique, rambling and sometimes flat out bizarre. It is a different type of read and you will either absolutely love it or absolutely hate it. This is a good starting point after you read his classic.
Gambling Is Legal!
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What a perfect time to read our Jets wagers article!
What a perfect time to listen to my interview on The Score 1260!
Photo Credit: NFL.com