Zwiller: Reacting to NFL Week Seven
Thomas Zwiller | Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Game: Chiefs 3, Titans 27
Chiefs Reaction: The Chiefs will miss the playoffs.
In the preseason, I never, in my wildest dreams, thought we would be here. However, the Chiefs are 3-4 with only one win against an above .500 team.
Their worst loss came last weekend against the Titans, a game in which Derrick Henry had more passing touchdowns than Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs are third in the AFC West, and they trail the Steelers, Patriots and Colts for the seventh wildcard spot. Can the Chiefs miss the playoffs?
Result: Not an Overreaction
My NFL projections model ZLO currently has the Chiefs sitting at 8-9, which is good enough for third in the AFC West.
But do not just take my word for it: FiveThirtyEight has the Chiefs finishing with a 9-8 record and only a 43% chance to make the playoffs.
Titans Reaction: The Titans are the best team in the AFC.
The Titans are currently 5-2 holding a 34-31 win against the Bills and now a 27-3 win against the Chiefs. Derrick Henry has reinserted himself into the MVP conversation after a slow start. Are the Titans the best team in the AFC?
Do not forget: this is a team that lost to the Jets. I understand they were missing their wide receivers, but that defense gave up 24 points to a Jets team that averages 12.8 points per game.
The Titans’ offense is good, but their defense prevents me from saying they are the best team in the AFC. The Bills were a fourth-down conversion away from winning that matchup.
Game: Falcons 30, Dolphins 28
Falcons Reaction: The Falcons can make the playoffs.
The Atlanta Falcons started the season 1-3. Since going to London and taking on the Jets, they have been 2-0.
The Falcons are 3-3 in the NFC South, where they should beat the Panthers twice and possibly split with the Saints. Their remaining strength of schedule ranks 23rd.
The Falcons competition for the spot, the 49ers and the Vikings, appear to be struggling. The 49ers lost a crucial game to the Colts this past Sunday, and the Vikings are approaching the more challenging half of their schedule.
Do the Falcons have a shot at making the playoffs?
Let’s slow down for a second. The Falcons’ last two wins came against teams that are a combined 2-11. Add in their other win against the Giants, and it is 4-16.
The Falcons have a chance to be .500, but this team is not good enough to make the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight gives them just a 19% chance at the playoffs and their average record is 8-9.
ZLO has them with a chance of making the wildcard but falling short with a record of either 8-9 or 9-8.
Dolphins Reaction: Trade Tua for Deshaun Watson
The Dolphins are now 1-6 and on a six-game losing streak.
Their last two losses are particularly tough, a 23-20 last-second loss to the Jaguars in London and a 30-28 last-second loss to the Falcons.
Fellow second-year quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have looked fantastic, while Tua has seemingly lagged.
All the while, Deshaun Watson sits completely available for trade. All the Dolphins need do is send away a minimum of three first-round draft picks.
First, it needs to be said: Deshaun has 22 civil lawsuits alleging either sexual assault or sexual misconduct. In my opinion, that is reason alone enough for teams not to trade for Deshaun.
The NFL needs to place Watson on the commissioners’ exempt list as soon as possible. The longer he is not on there, the more problematic.
That fact aside, I do not understand why you would trade away Tua. In the last two games, Tua has played well, throwing for six touchdowns, three interceptions, and 600 yards on a 75% completion percentage.
Furthermore, acquiring Watson does not save the Dolphins season. It might help in the future, but the Dolphins are still 1-6.
The best course of action, in my opinion, is to continue to evaluate Tua and see what you have. He has essentially played three games this season. That is not an adequate sample size.
Game: Colts 30, 49ers 18
Colts Reaction: The Colts will make the playoffs.
Way back in February, I wrote a column detailing the trade of Carson Wentz from the Eagles to the Colts. I explained how I thought Wentz could make the Colts a playoff-caliber team.
Wentz is projected to throw 25 touchdowns to two interceptions and close to four thousand yards at a 64% completion percentage.
In February, I said that Wentz would go 25-6 throwing at 65% and have 3750 passing yards. He is on track for my projections, but the Colts are not.
They sit at 3-4 but have won three of their last four. They currently sit tenth in the AFC.
Could they sneak into the playoffs?
Result: Not an Overreaction
The Colts are by no means a lock for the playoffs, but I genuinely think they have a chance.
FiveThirtyEight gives them a 50% chance of making the postseason and a 19% chance of winning the AFC South. Their average simulated record is 9-8.
ZLO is a little less optimistic; it has the Colts finishing at 8-9 and eighth in the AFC.
The Colts face the Jets, the Jaguars twice, and the Texans, which feels like four automatic wins in their remaining schedule.
They also face the Buccaneers, the Titans, and the Cardinals, which feels like three automatic losses (to be fair, I think they have a shot against the Titans, but I still favor the Titans).
That puts them at 7-7, with just two games being the difference-makers: the Patriots and Raiders. The Patriots game, in particular, seems to be the game that could dictate the AFC seventh seed.
So while it may not be a great chance, the Colts certainly have a chance.