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NFL Mailbag: Surprise Upsets and Deciding the League’s Best


The questions have been pouring in from readers regarding the most popular league in the country – the NFL. Our first NFL Mailbag answers your questions surrounding the entire league. If you would like to submit your questions about the NFL or any other sport, feel free to do so right here.

Question: The Raiders have the worst NFL record but are they really the worst team in the league? -Bobby

Oakland Raiders Smart To Start Derek Carr

Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Answer: No. Oakland picked up their first win of the season a few days ago against a Kansas City Chiefs team that was tied with the Denver Broncos for the division lead and the no. 2 seed in the AFC. When you look at Oakland this season, their 1-10 record doesn’t show how competitive they’ve been in their games. They went on the road in Foxboro and lost to the New England Patriots by just seven points, and went to the 12th man and lost to the Seahawks in Seattle by just a 30-24 mark. In an unpredictable NFL this season, the Raiders haven’t laid down in many matchups, with six games this season decided by just one score.

When it comes to the worst team in the NFL this year, it’s a tall order to say what team is actually the worst. In my opinion, the Washington Redskins hold that title. You could make a case for the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars, but with such a young team (and a good defense), they are slightly ahead of the Redskins.

Washington does have a Monday Night road win over the Dallas Cowboys under their belt, but a 20 point loss at home to the one-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a 31 point home loss to the New York Giants has the Redskins at the bottom of the totem pole in my opinion.

Question: NFL.com ran a story about the possibility of Richard Sherman at WR for Seattle. Could that really happen? -Tim

Why Hate Richard Sherman But Love Tim Tebow?

Photo: Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times

Answer: Richard Sherman did play wide receiver while attending Stanford, catching 81 passes for 1340 yards and seven touchdowns in three season at wide out. Seattle’s offense has been propelled by their rushing attack, which ranks no. 1 in the NFL. However, with the October departure of Percy Harvin, the Seahawks passing game ranks 30th in the NFL as quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards in four consecutive games.

Head coach Pete Carroll said it would take an emergency situation for Sherman to play receiver, right now with the Seahawks ranked as low as they are in the passing game, I don’t see what other emergency could arise.

I would say Sherman seeing time on the offensive side of the ball is a good possibility with how good his hands are, as we’ve seen on defense.

Question: Is the AFC West the most confused division? -William

Answer: As of Thursday Night’s Chiefs loss to the Raiders, the AFC West has to be considered the most confused division… in the AFC. In the span of just five days, we saw the division’s top two teams (Denver and Kansas City), lose to the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders, who had a combined record of 3-16.

5 Signs Peyton Manning Retires After 2014

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kansas City has their fans baffled this year, with a 27 point win over the New England Patriots and a victory over the defending Super Bowl champion under their belt, to come out and lose to a winless Oakland club and a two-win Tennessee Titans team, it’s simply head scratching.

The San Diego Chargers have been one of the more confusing teams in the NFL. After starting 5-1, the Chargers dropped three consecutive games against over 500 teams, but one of those losses was to the tone of a 37-0 beat down against the Miami Dolphins. They did beat the Oakland Raiders twice, but by a combined margin of just five points. After averaging 29 points per game at home going into last week, they could only manage 13 points against Oakland. Uhhh…no answers.

However, this division did have three teams in the playoffs last year, and all three teams are going to be in the playoff conversation for the remainder of the season.

When you look at the entire NFL, it’s hard to not select the NFC South as the most confused division. When there is a team sitting at 2-8 like the Buccaneers and yet they are just two games out of the division lead, you’re mind is officially blown. This was a division with two teams with 10+ wins a season ago, and now they have the lowest combined record out of any NFL division, only yielding 13 wins thus far.

Question: There were a bunch of upsets last week, who are the most likely to get upset this week? -Bummed Denver Fan

Answer: It has been one of the craziest NFL seasons in recent history with big upsets nearly every week. Last week it was the Rams knocking off the Broncos with Shaun Hill under center and holding Peyton Manning to just seven points. This week, we’ve already seen the winless Raiders knock off the seven-win Chiefs, but there is more possibilities of upsets on the horizon for Sunday.

LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles

Rich Schultz /Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles could very well be put on upset alert this week. Facing a 2-8 Tennessee Titans team at home, it’s the perfect trap game for an Eagles team that has a Thanksgiving showdown with division-rival Dallas looming in just five days. The Titans were absolutely shredded on the ground in their week 11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, allowing over 200 yards on the ground. With the Eagles, LeSean McCoy is undoubtedly one of the leagues best, but he isn’t having the 1,600 yard season he had a year ago.

If the Titans are able to contain McCoy and fellow running back Darren Sproles, it will cause Mark Sanchez to have to win the game. The Titans sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times last Monday, they have recorded three or more sacks six times this season and could cause problems to Sanchez if he has to throw the ball a lot.

Also, watch for rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger to possible have himself a day against the Eagles. Philadelphia ranks 28th in the NFL against the pass, and Mettenbeger looked his best against the Steelers in week 11.

Question: JJ Watt has been great, but should he really be more likely to win MVP over a QB or RB? -Wes

AFC South Report Card Mid-Season and Awards J.J. Watt Houston Texans

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Answer: No. Watt is putting together one of, if not the greatest season by a defensive lineman in the history of the NFL, scoring four touchdowns (most by a lineman since 1948) in three different ways. However, the Texans sit at 5-5 with shaky play from the quarterback position. When you look at the other notable MVP candidates: DeMarco Murray, Le’Veon Bell, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, they have their respective teams in a favorable position for a playoff birth, Houston is not. This just proves how valuable these QB’s and RB’s are to their teams, and though Watt is putting together such a phenomenal season, you can’t build a team around a defensive lineman.

Watt has been fantastic, and is a lock for defensive player of the year, but he shouldn’t be considered for the league MVP.


Sports Grumble Mailbag

Jonathan Newton/Washington Post


Question: DeMarco Murray is getting all the praise, but isn’t Le’Veon Bell just as impressive? -Dan

Answer: One Hundred Percent, yes. Murray has been getting all the intention and here’s why:

Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Mailbag

Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Murray has led a Cowboys team to a 7-3 record, rushing for 100 or more yards in eight consecutive games and nine out of 10 games this season. However, Le’Veon Bell has been just as impressive. Overall, Murray has 1,514 yards from scrimmage this year, Bell is right behind him with 1,435 yards from scrimmage. Bell’s 57 receptions this year is 2nd in the NFL, trailing only Matt Forte‘s 67 catches.

Bell hasn’t gotten the praise because of his lack of touchdowns. Bell recorded just his second rushing touchdown of this season (1st since week one) in their Monday Night win over the Titans. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s outstanding play recently has also took attention off of Bell, throwing for back-to-back six touchdown games.

Bell got his chance to shine against the Titans when Big Ben struggled. He ran for a career high 204 yards and averaged over six yards per carry, practically winning the game on the Steelers final drive that finished off the final seven minutes of the game.

Question: Who are the best QBs right now? -Len

Answer: This is an interesting question considering the recent struggles of Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. But right now, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are playing at a different level, with each of their teams going on recent tears.

AFC East Full Season Projections Tom Brady

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Brady: Since losing 41-14 to the Chiefs in week four, Brady has been on an offensive rampage. He has led the Patriots to six straight wins, and has New England averaging 40 points per game in that span. Also in that six week stretch, Brady has thrown 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions, averaging 310 yards passing per game.

Rodgers: Much like Brady, Rodgers and the Packers‘ offense has looked like a team playing a video game on easy difficulty. Since starting 1-2, Rodgers has led the team to a 6-1 record, and are tied with the Lions for first in the NFC North at 7-3. After averaging just 18 points per game in their first three games, the Packers have increased that average substantially to 39.4 points per game in the last seven match-ups. Rodgers has been lethal every time he drops back, throwing 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions in that seven game span, while averaging just under 300 yards per game.

[Side Note- These two teams meet in week 13, which plans to be one of the most epic shootouts this league will ever see.]

 

Have a question you want answered? That’s simple, ask away right here!

 

Cover Photo: Getty Images

Shelby Dermer

Shelby Dermer

Editor-in-Chief at Sports Grumble
Shelby is a junior studying Journalism at Ohio University. A graduate of Waynesville High School, Shelby did football and baseball play-by-play for Waynesville and had his own sports column in the WHS Spartacus Newspaper while also playing basketball for the Spartans. Now at Ohio, Shelby covers Ohio University Volleyball, Basketball, Baseball, and softball for Speakeasy Magazine where he is the sports' editor. He is an enormous fan of the NFL and MLB and writes Cincinnati Bengals/Reds articles as editor-in-chief of RiverfrontGrumble.com. Find Shelby on SportsGrumble.com, as well, where he also serves as editor-in-chief. Shelby is a frequent commentator on wellroundedpodcast.com discussing sports-related news. Follow Shelby on Twitter @scdermer4
Shelby Dermer

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