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Who’s Best In The NFC West? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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sara.ziegler (Sara Ziegler, sports activities editor): Week 10 of the NFL season wasn’t quick on drama, beginning with huge damage information. ESPN’s Ed Werder stories that Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints suffered “multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side.” No phrase but on how lengthy the quarterback is perhaps out.

In much less upsetting developments, we additionally obtained frightful climate in Cleveland and New England, and a Hail Mary to finish all Hail Marys.

How did DeAndre Hopkins catch that ball?

neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Well if you happen to have a look at this alternate angle, you possibly can see he jumped barely sooner than the defenders:

sara.ziegler: 🤣

joshua.hermsmeyer (Josh Hermsmeyer, NFL analyst): It was an unimaginable catch, a type of uncommon beasts that can preserve the Hail Mary play alive in coaches’ and gamers’ hearts for one more dozen seasons.

Salfino (Michael Salfino, FiveThirtyEight contributor): The receiver has the sting when it’s only a leap ball. That’s why some groups put a receiver again there on protection in these sorts of performs (although nobody stands out like that for the Buffalo Bills). I used to be shocked to see that 9.7 p.c of Hail Marys are accomplished — that struck me as so much.

neil: “Pass every play” is drained. “Hail Mary every play” is wired.

sara.ziegler: I’ve seen just a few offenses the place that technique wouldn’t harm tbh.

neil: Stop subtweeting the Jets — they didn’t even play this week …

sara.ziegler: That was not the workforce that hasn’t performed (but) this week that I used to be subtweeting, Neil.

joshua.hermsmeyer: It ought to be a giant week for Justin Jefferson and/or Adam Theilen, in keeping with my vast receiver mannequin. Hail Marys may assist. Fantasy gamers, take word.

sara.ziegler: Haha

That win for the Arizona Cardinals, coupled with the Los Angeles Rams’ win over the Seahawks, gave us a really messy and really attention-grabbing NFC West, with three groups tied at 6-Three and the San Francisco 49ers simply 2.5 video games again. Who goes to stroll away with this division?

neil: Our mannequin presently tasks three groups profitable a double-digit variety of video games in that division! And none of them is the defending NFC champion.

Salfino: When doubtful, I rank by the online yards per cross play gained minus these allowed. The NY/A mannequin LOVES the Rams (No. 1 in soccer at plus 1.eight yards per try, and the Kansas City Chiefs are No. 2), likes the Cardinals (fourth-best at plus 1.0) and HATES the Seahawks (tied for 20th at minus 0.3). That’s how I see them. Seattle is a fraud now that Russell Wilson is just not taking part in like a person possessed. The Rams are a real Super Bowl contender.

neil: The Rams and Seahawks are sort of mirror photos of one another: Los Angeles has a nasty offense (21st in Simple Rating System) however a terrific protection (second); Seattle has a terrific offense (first) however an terrible protection (30th). Arizona is simply balanced (eighth/13th).

joshua.hermsmeyer: The rankings by offensive anticipated factors added (EPA) per play go Seahawks, Cardinals, Niners, Rams, with the Hawks and Cardinals very shut at roughly 0.16 EPA per play. I believe the Cardinals have an actual shot now.

So, decide which tea leaves you wish to learn, I assume.

Salfino: I’m shocked by that Rams rating since they’re piling up yards.

neil: They’re solely tied for 18th in factors per recreation.

sara.ziegler: And apart from this win towards Seattle, the Rams have actually not overwhelmed anybody. Their wins are towards the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Washington Football Team and Chicago Bears.

neil: The NFC East quadruple!

sara.ziegler: And they nonetheless have the Jets on their schedule!

Salfino: Their win over the Cowboys has foreign money, IMO — Dak Prescott was nonetheless taking part in then. All the groups within the division are taking part in the identical schedule, mainly.

joshua.hermsmeyer: The Jets, who virtually beat the New England Patriots who simply beat the Baltimore Ravens. SMH, SMH.

sara.ziegler: It’s a league of parity, I’m instructed.

Salfino: The Jets did simply give the Patriots a greater recreation than the Ravens did, tbh.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Well, if Bill Belichick would cease dishonest with the rain machine, issues may need been totally different.

sara.ziegler: Would anybody even be a bit of shocked if Belichick may management the climate?

Salfino: I believe final night time says extra concerning the Ravens than the Patriots.

joshua.hermsmeyer: The Ravens are nonetheless the fourth-best workforce by Elo. (The Jets are nonetheless the worst.)

Salfino: The Ravens are usually not profitable the Super Bowl this 12 months. Lock it up.

neil: There’s a 96 p.c likelihood you’re proper, Mike!

sara.ziegler: And undoubtedly not if it’s raining.

neil: Ooof. Rough night time for Matt Skura snapping the ball.

Salfino: Also, 96 p.c doesn’t appear to imply what it used to.

neil: That’s solely when the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers are concerned.

sara.ziegler: The Patriots’ win retains them within the dialog, however the AFC East is one other fascinating division. Don’t look now, however the Miami Dolphins are only a recreation out of first place. Neil, you’ve been saying to not sleep on the Dolphins.

neil: I really feel vindicated!

joshua.hermsmeyer: I felt dangerous to see Ryan Fitzpatrick go to the bench, however the resolution to maneuver on to Tua Tagovailoa was additionally vindicated.

neil: He outplayed Justin Herbert! Pretty spectacular.

joshua.hermsmeyer: They’re 3-Zero since he took over, and he’s ranked 12th within the league in QBR over that span, simply forward of Josh Allen.

Salfino: The Dolphins did such an excellent job on the rebuild, and wasn’t even pushed by the quarterback — and even the offense, actually. They did it although the protection. They are very very similar to the Patriots. I believe they’re within the scrum of groups within the AFC beneath the Chiefs. And I believe they’re clearly higher than the Bills proper now — the perfect workforce within the AFC East.

neil: The Bills’ close-game tendencies lastly caught up with them.

That mentioned, we nonetheless give Buffalo a 75 p.c likelihood to win the division (to Miami’s 19 p.c) due to the one-game cushion and tiebreakers.

Salfino: The Dolphins are displaying everybody within the NFL how briskly you possibly can rebuild and exposing some myths about five-year plans and the way all the things focuses on the QB place. I like this dialog they’re forcing.

neil: Brian Flores can be an excellent coach. They’re taking part in sturdy protection, have the perfect particular groups EPA within the league, and doing plenty of issues we would attribute to a well-prepared workforce.

joshua.hermsmeyer: I’m unsure the place this Dolphins defensive love is coming from. They’re ranked 17th in yards per play allowed they usually spent a excessive first on a QB. Seems like the usual NFL formulation for wins.

neil: Well, they do have the No. 1 EPA cross protection per recreation within the league after adjusting for power of schedule.

Salfino: I’d disagree that they’re utilizing the usual formulation for wins as a result of their wins have little to do with their QB now. Tua is a recreation supervisor, which is ok (and good).

And they only completely shut down Herbert, which nobody has been in a position to do. They had been in management towards the Chargers, who haven’t misplaced a recreation this 12 months by greater than eight factors.

neil: Right. This was the uncommon Charger loss that couldn’t be chalked as much as the universe hating the Chargers.

sara.ziegler: LOL

joshua.hermsmeyer: I imply, Tua has a better QBR than Herbert and Joe Burrow over the previous three weeks. I give him extra credit score than being only a recreation supervisor, I assume.

neil: He’s definitely bettering in a short time.

Salfino: Tua feels just like the early model of Tom Brady. One day, he may have the ability to do extra. The Dolphins could find yourself being a bit of just like the 2001 Patriots, too. Not saying they’re going to win the Super Bowl, however they’re getting noticeably higher each week.

sara.ziegler: It’s enjoyable to see!

neil: The Pats have a down 12 months, and immediately the floodgates are open within the AFC East.

sara.ziegler: The floodgates had been open final night time, anyway.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Those had been simply Ravens followers’ tears.

neil: LOL

Salfino: Should we be taking the Pittsburgh Steelers extra significantly? No one appears to think about them a favourite, though they’re unbeaten. Wins are descriptive and never predictive, after all, however nonetheless.

Maybe it’s as a result of the AFC has so many good groups?

neil: They, um, improved their Pythagorean profitable proportion towards Cincinnati.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Yeah, they’ve the second-highest level margin within the league at 100 factors, simply behind Kansas City. (The Jets are final at -147).

neil: And but nonetheless have the largest hole between precise wins and anticipated within the league. No workforce is actually of 9-Zero high quality, I suppose.

(Thanks for that Jets replace, LOL.)

Salfino: BREAKING NEWS: The Jets are dangerous.

joshua.hermsmeyer: The individuals want context, Mike!

Salfino: Josh doesn’t appear to grasp how little I care proper now concerning the Jets’ report, although I put on my fandom on my sleeve proudly. We all needed to get into this nice recreation indirectly.

neil: The scary factor concerning the Steelers is that Ben Roethlisberger is beginning to play higher these previous few weeks.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Roethlisberger was making a play to by no means observe once more with that efficiency.

Salfino: I assume Roethlisberger has been higher? He’s simply so basically totally different now. It was once that the play didn’t begin till somebody bumped him within the pocket. Now he eliminates the ball faster than anybody.

sara.ziegler: How quarterbacks change as they age is so attention-grabbing. We’ve seen that this 12 months with Brees, too, although who is aware of how lengthy his ribs have been damaged.

Salfino: Roethlisberger has overwhelmed up on dangerous defenses and continues to be fairly mediocre in effectivity (as measured by yards per try), which had been his defining trait prior to now.

neil: It could have been towards the Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bengals, however this can be a fairly good pair of video games:

Getting the ball out fast helps you’re taking zero sacks on 88 cross performs.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Can’t argue with that. I want they pressed their edges extra on offense (play-action, movement, and many others.), however Ben can nonetheless spin it.

Salfino: And sacks might be thought-about mini-turnovers, so that is vital.

sara.ziegler: Could the Steelers run the desk? They nonetheless have a rematch towards the Ravens and video games towards the Bills and Indianapolis Colts left.

Salfino: Just eyeballing it, it looks as if their odds of going 16-Zero are about 10 p.c at finest. If they did and obtained the Chiefs at home, I wager they’d be underdogs, which might be hilarious.

(Note that the 1972 Dolphins had been 1-point favorites within the Super Bowl towards Washington, which was simply OK.)

neil: We give it a 14.9 p.c likelihood in our simulations. It helps that Pittsburgh has one of many best remaining schedules of any workforce: The common Elo ranking of their opponents down the stretch (1474) ranks sixth-lowest within the league.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Last week, one e-book had it at 19/1, which is 5 p.c.

Salfino: The big-brain books are nonetheless giving Trump higher odds than that.

neil: Big Brain Roethlisberger.

Salfino: Like it. I additionally need Kyler Murray to be nicknamed “Scooter.”

sara.ziegler: And we formally renamed the Hail Mary to the Hail Murray, proper?

Salfino: That’s superior. It’s just like the “Fail Mary” in that Seahawks recreation years in the past:

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