The San Francisco 49ers (aka the best team in football at the moment) made light work out of the Dallas Cowboys in resounding fashion to highlight Sunday Week 5 action. In some related news, is it December 3 yet? More on that date coming up momentarily.
THE NICKEL PACKAGE – FIVE QUICK HITTERS FROM SUNDAY
1. THE 49ERS PUT THE NFL ON NOTICE: Heading into Sunday Night Football, it seemed we were headed to perhaps the best game of the season as the 49ers hosted the Cowboys. Instead, the Niners handed out a whipping that the Cowboys may not forget anytime soon. The 42-10 romp by the 49ers stamped them as the NFC’s best team and in all likelihood the NFL’s best team. Brock Purdy (prospective MVP candidate) tossed four touchdown passes in the win (three to tight end George Kittle) and the defense intercepted Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott three times.
Ah yes, let’s go back to that date – December 3. That is when the Eagles and 49ers will get together in Philadelphia to possibly decide the NFC’s top seed come playoff time. The biggest question at this point in the NFC is which team will lose first. I’m not saying it’s a mortal lock that we’re getting a 49ers/Eagles NFC Championship rematch…but I haven’t seen much evidence to counter that statement.
Lastly, for those into analytics, Aaron Schatz (formerly of Football Outsiders) revealed that his DVOA metric (measures overall team effectiveness) is tracking the 49ers as one of the best teams in the last 40 years.
2. THE NFL DEALT THE BILLS A BAD HAND IN LONDON: So, the Jaguars flew to London two weeks ago ahead of their game against the Falcons. Then, they stayed last week ahead of their game versus the Buffalo Bills. Guess who played terribly for three quarters and a half quarters? The team that hasn’t been in England for two weeks. Following a resounding and punishing victory over the Miami Dolphins during Week 4, the Bills were equally lackluster for most of the game and probably lost their defensive captain, linebacker Matt Milano, for the rest of the season. Look, Jacksonville undoubtedly deserved to win. The Bills are probably still trying to figure out how to stop Calvin Ridley. However, the Jaguars were given every advantage from a prep standpoint this week. They basically had a residency as if they were Barry Manilow playing Las Vegas. Also, have you ever traveled internationally? It takes a bit to get accustomed to overseas. Allowing a team to stay there for two weeks is a built-in advantage.
3. IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN FOR THE RAVENS: In one of the day’s most bizarre games, the Ravens allowed the Steelers to hang around for three quarters and then, saw their fourth quarter lead disappear. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson signed a five-year deal with $185 million guaranteed but the problem in Baltimore is not necessarily the 2019 MVP. The receivers were incredibly lackluster for Baltimore on Sunday including a terrible drop by wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Overall, Ravens receivers dropped seven passes on Sunday. Baltimore keeps bringing in wide receivers including Odell Beckham Jr., who has done little in his time with the Ravens.
For whatever the reason, no matter who Baltimore shuffles in at wide receiver, it hasn’t worked. Maybe Zay Flowers will be the answer ultimately but until I see it, I’m not sure I’ll believe it.
4. WE PROBABLY SHOULD TAKE THE LIONS SERIOUSLY: The Detroit Lions earned a big win over the Travis Kelce-less Kansas City Chiefs in the opener. That win put them on the map but they’ve backed it up with a 4-1 start with the only blemish being an overtime loss to Seattle. After the meltdown by Dallas in Santa Clara, the Lions are firmly entrenched as the NFC’s third best team behind the 49ers and Eagles. They’ve got an efficient offense with explosive players. Meanwhile, the defense is anchored by Aidan Hutchinson. I’m still a little skeptical of their defensive prowess but they look to be for real and a shoe-in to win the NFC North.
5. WHO ARE THE ACTUAL CONTENDERS IN THE AFC? So, heading into the season, the AFC’s big three was Kansas City, Buffalo, and Cincinnati. Five weeks in, things have changed. Cincinnati is still in a bit of a hole at 2-3. Buffalo has been overwhelming in their three wins but are one game over .500. Kansas City, the defending Super Bowl champion, is still the A student that skates by until money time. Assuming the Chiefs take care of business, that leaves the rest of the conference in question. Miami is setting a historical pace on offense but their defense is a bit sketchy as they await the Dolphins debut of cornerback Jalen Ramsey. As covered earlier, the entire AFC North is a wash. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is likely the lead dog in the AFC South, which appears to be a bit tougher than originally thought. Overall, there are three (barely) Super Bowl contenders in the AFC: Kansas City, Miami, and Buffalo – with the latter being extremely tenuous due to the number of injuries stacking up on the defensive side of the ball.
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan have a few things in common. First, they both have starting tight ends from Iowa (Detroit’s Sam LaPorta and 49ers standout George Kittle). Secondly, they are excellent playcallers. Those two concepts met head on during Week 5. The Panthers and Cowboys were victimized by the same trick play to the same tight end from Iowa.
THAT’S HIS MOMMA:
Dolphins receiver (and my vote if I had one for MVP) Tyreek Hill went off again including scoring a 69-yard touchdown. Following the score, Hill attempted to give the ball to his mom but a rambunctious Dolphins fan attempted to swipe the ball from Hill’s mom. Thankfully, he realized the error of his ways and allowed Hill’s mother to get a souvenir from her son.
SWIFTIES VS. TURF:
Taylor Swift’s boo, also known as Travis Kelce, suffered a non-contact injury in Minnesota during a Chiefs 27-20 win. Despite enduring a scary looking ankle injury, Kelce returned in the second half to score a touchdown in another Kansas City victory. Nonetheless, the mere thought of Kelce getting injured, led to some Swifties voicing their concern online about the NFL’s playing surfaces.
After Kelce returned and scored a touchdown….
Swifties are knee deep in the NFL and I love it.
Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada was unresponsive after he watched quarterback Kenny Pickett toss a game-winning touchdown pass to George Pickens in Pittsburgh’s 17-10 win. Was it because Pickett checked into another play besides Canada’s option? Inquiring minds want to know. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt despite his dubious rep on X.
Regardless of Canada’s intent, he still has some naysayers…perhaps, in his own locker room?
MVP RACE POWER RANKINGS:
- TYREEK HILL
- CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY
- BROCK PURDY
- JOSH ALLEN
- AJ BROWN
CALEB WILLIAMS POWER RANKINGS:
- PATRIOTS – Boy, they stunk yesterday.
OVERREACTIONARY POWER RANKINGS:
NEXT WEEK’S MAIN EVENT: All of a sudden after a beatdown by the 49ers, the Cowboys are reeling at 3-2 and face a very peculiar challenge next Monday night when they take on Chargers on Monday Night Football. Either Dak Prescott will be presiding over a 3-3 team or Chargers head coach Brandon Staley will earn the ridicule and scorn of social media by repeatedly going for it on fourth down. Regardless of the result, America will win.
Categories: Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, The Sunday Nickel