Man, the Seahawks kind of stink. If I didn’t talk about them last week, they’d be an easy shoo-in for a faller this week. I’ll stay away from them though, just know — they’re in trouble.
Aside from Seattle, here’s what else went on around the league.
Riser: Arizona Cardinals
At the beginning of the season, I picked the Cardinals as my sleeper team from the NFC to make the Super Bowl (we can just ignore who they were going to play, *cough* *cough* Denver Broncos *cough* *cough*). But hey, it looks like I was right about one of them, and I’ll take that. Kyler Murray has blossomed into an absolute superstar, and trading for DeAndre Hopkins has to be one of the most immediately impactful trades in recent memory. I can’t remember a trade that completely transformed an offense right away as this one has.
Do I even need to say why they’re here? They just beat a very good Buffalo Bills team (although I’m still not convinced Buffalo is a real contender) by pulling off one of the most miraculous Hail Mary plays of the last couple of years. Kyler showed off his freak athleticism to extend the play and then put it right where it needed to be for Hopkins to Moss not one, not two but three defenders. Absolutely spectacular. Arizona is going somewhere this season, and I think I speak for all football fans when I say Kyler, please get Larry Fitz a ring.
Faller: Baltimore Ravens
I feel like the Cardinals are this year’s version of the Ravens from last season. The current Ravens certainly aren’t anything like they were a year ago. I’m not going to put all of the blame on Lamar Jackson; I still think he’s one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL. Yes, he’s not the best passer, but his overall playmaking ability at the position still puts him in the upper echelon of signal-callers.
But overall, the offense itself has just gotten kind of stale. There’s no reason they should have lost to the Patriots on Sunday, the same team that barely escaped with a win against the Jets a week prior. The offense has gotten predictable and they need to find a way to mix it up. They’re uber-talented, but talent isn’t everything that’s needed. They need some better playcalling and fast.
Riser: Daniel Jones
He was a faller a couple of weeks ago after he got tripped up by a couple of blades of grass, but he’s since strung together a couple of really solid performances in a row. Last time I talked about him I said I just didn’t think he was the quarterback of the future for the Giants, and to be honest I still don’t. But, there is a positive upward trend that needs to be acknowledged. Last week, against the Washington Football Team, Jones had his first turnover-less game of the season. He threw for 212 yards and a touchdown — nothing spectacular — but he didn’t lose the Giants the game. He did get away with a couple of mistakes though, fumbling twice but not losing one, so he still technically had no turnovers. This week, though, he had his first truly clean game of the season. No interceptions. No fumbles. He threw for 244 yards, and while he didn’t pass for a touchdown, he also rushed for 64 yards and reached the end zone once on the ground.
Now, Jones has the Giants in a spot to make a playoff push. Yes, they by no means should be in a position to make one, but thanks to the incompetence of the NFC East, they are, and that’s really all that matters. The Giants (3-7) are still a bit behind the Eagles (3-5-1), and I’m not saying it’s likely they win the division, but the door is open. Without Jones stringing together back-to-back clean games for the first time in his career (and two of only now-three total clean games he’s had), it wouldn’t have been possible. The Giants’ surprisingly solid defense is the reason these games are close.
Faller: Drew Lock
John Elway drafted Drew Lock to be the next great Denver Broncos quarterback. After his rookie season, there was some optimism he could become just that. This year, though, has been a complete disaster for the second-year quarterback. He’s already missed a couple of games this season with an injury, and in the six games he played prior to Sunday he was averaging just over 200 yards passing per game with just six touchdowns to go with six interceptions. Then on Sunday, he had his worst game yet.
The Broncos got absolutely pummeled by Las Vegas Raiders, losing 37-12. Lock was essentially the reason why, as he threw the ball to the other team a whopping four times. He was just brutal, and it’s time to start questioning if Denver should take a quarterback in this upcoming draft. They’re going to have a relatively high pick, so it’s by no means out of the question that they could have the opportunity to land one of the top QB prospects. Lock hasn’t lost his job yet, but he’s running out of time to save it.