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Zwiller: Week 10 Reactions

| Wednesday, November 17, 2021

As I always like to do, I want to go over a few storylines coming out of Week 10. We have lots to talk about, so let’s get to it!

Kansas City Chiefs 41 Las Vegas Raiders 14  

The Kansas City Chiefs are back.

The Raiders, who had come into the game with control of the AFC West, struggled mightily. Carr went 25/35 and had 261 yards, but also had an interception. 

Kansas City has seemingly returned. Mahomes completed 35 of his 50 dropbacks, picked up 406 yards, and tossed five touchdowns as the Chiefs rolled their divisional foe. There were moments when it felt like Patrick Mahomes was back, like when he turned what looked like a loss on third down into a 38-yard prayer to Darrel Williams.

So, are the Chiefs back? 

Result: Overreaction (for now).

I know that the flashy Mahomes play is incredible and a sight to behold. I was right there with you celebrating and texting people, “Did you see that” excitedly. But let us be honest: That is the same play that has cost the Chiefs points this season. That play likely should have been an interception if played a little bit differently by the DB. 

What excited me a lot more than the miracle out of a broken play was the Chiefs’ first half. 

The Raiders used their two high shells and prevented Mahomes from going for the deep pass. And for what feels like the first time this season, the Chiefs were okay with that; they simply took the under and let the receivers get the YAC. The Raiders decided they could not allow that and changed to their three high sets, the defense that they are more comfortable playing, and Mahomes made them pay for it.

I think the Chiefs are on the right path, but they are not “back” yet.

Seattle Seahawks 0 Green Bay Packers 17

The Green Bay Packers’ defense is legitimate.

On the “Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny,” Geoff Schwartz said that he typically gives a defensive unit 8-10 weeks to sort itself out. Players need to learn their system and how they need to play with each other. 

In their last three games, the Packers have beaten the Arizona Cardinals 24-21, lost to the Chiefs 13-7 and beat Seattle 17-0 (the first time Russell Wilson has ever been shut out in his career). 

Result: Not an overreaction. 

I do want to say while I think the Packers’ defense is legitimate, I am not saying that they are by any means the best in the NFL. 

The fact that the Packers held the Chiefs to 13 is impressive but not as remarkable as in past years. And while they made history by shutting out Russel Wilson, again, it comes with a sort of asterisk. This was Wilson’s first time playing live football in nearly a month. And if he did not throw a red zone interception, the Seahawks would have had at least three points. 

However, the Packers are good. They have allowed the seventh-fewest yards in the NFL and are the sixth-best in defending the red zone. The Packers also rank fifth in interceptions and sixth in turnovers. With Aaron Rodgers as your QB and that defense, I like Green Bays’ odds. 

Atlanta Falcons 3 Dallas Cowboys 43

The Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFC.

If you think the Cowboys were okay with losing to the Denver Broncos, you missed their abuse of the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys came right out of the gates and put together an eight-play 73-yard touchdown drive. After a Falcons’ field goal, they never really looked back. Dem’ ‘Boys put up 29 in the second quarter alone and, just for good measure, added a two-point conversion while up 34-3.

Result: Not an overreaction.

In a season in which every NFC team has had some weird loss, I think the Cowboys have fared the best. I know they lost to the Denver Broncos 30-16, but that also was the weekend immediately after their backup quarterback went on the road and beat the Minnesota Vikings. If Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson get a rust excuse, so does Dak. 

According to ProFootballReference.com, the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the NFC with an SRS of 10.9. The only team better in the NFL? The Buffalo Bills with an SRS of 11.4 but, the Cowboys have had the more challenging schedule. 

For all the things said about Jerry Jones being a poor GM, he sure did put together a complete roster.

Carolina Panthers 34 Arizona Cardinals 10

The Panthers will make the playoffs.

As a Panthers fan, I could write a whole column about the emotions I felt on Sunday. 

Watching Cam Newton be the first QB in 30 years to score a rushing touchdown on his first rushing attempt and throw a touchdown on his first passing attempt was incredible.

It was a better return than I dared let myself hope for. And it made me happy that I had purchased a Cam Newton poster and hung it up while he was still a free agent. 

But it is one thing to have Cam as a red zone/goal-line weapon where he freaks out defenses, and it is another to have him as your designated starter. So, will the Panthers make the playoffs?

Result: Not an Overreaction.

Feel free to dismiss this as a take that is purely my bias leaking through to my analysis. You likely are not even wrong.

But facts remain that the Panthers are 5-5 in an NFC South that is led by the 6-3 Buccaneers, who seem mortal. 

The New Orleans Saints (who the Panthers have a head-to-head win on) only lead the Panthers by one loss. 

The Atlanta Falcons are 4-5, but after playing the Cowboys, their 4-5 is very different than the typical 4-5. 

If Cam Newton can merely play like his 2018 self, 68% passing, 200 yards per game, and most importantly not turn the ball over, the Panthers are without question a dangerous playoff team. 

The Panthers’ next three games will be telling: They play the Football Team, the Dolphins and the Falcons. 

If Newton can play well and the Panthers secure two wins, their playoff odds jump from 36% to 63% (538). 

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About Thomas Zwiller

Thomas is a sophomore currently in attendance at Holy Cross College, and is a Business major and Computer Science minor. He is from Saint Joseph MI, and went to high school at Saint Joseph High School SB, playing both varsity football and hockey. Feel free to contact him about all things NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, particularly if you're a stathead.

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