And… we’re off! It took the Jets and Bucs about 45 seconds to fire their coaches, and all indications are that the Cards and Broncos will quickly follow suit. There is evidence the Bangles will join them, and possibly Minnesota (far less likely).
Some got a holiday reprieve. Despite badly under-performing, it appears the Panthers, Jags and Fish will keep their GM / coach combos in place. The Giants, Bills and Falcons played well enough in December that they probably won’t change. All told, it’s not the dire situation Jason California or whatever his name is reported last week, that as many as 11 coaches were going to get canned. More likely, it will be 6 or 7, which is fairly normal.
Internet experts unite, Part I. For most of the first quarter, it looked like the Older Browns were going to demolish the Newer Browns. The Twitter-verse exploded with “you see, I told you all along that Gregg Williams sucked and the Browns won’t hire him” hot takes from people who never said any such thing. But then Cleveland fought back, and until an interception in the last minute, the Browns were poised for the upset and a winning record. The hot takes mysteriously vanished. This is why fans should never be consulted by teams. The Browns owner should already know that, what with the whole listening-to-the-homeless-guy-and-drafting-Johnny-Manziel thingy still fresh in everyone’s mind. Williams, and OC Freddie Kitchens, have more than earned having “interim” removed from their titles.
Internet experts unite, Part II. There were way too many Panthers “fans” screaming in protest at the team breaking its 7-game losing streak and dropping out of the top 10 in the draft order. Stupidest crap I’ve ever seen. The win dropped them from 9th to 16th in the draft order, which had a lot of people believing that we would get another McCaffrey or Kuechly at 9, but at 16 we’re going to get stuck with Ryan Leaf or Sean Gilbert. I reminded these fools that Tom Brady was picked in the 6thround. You can get impact players everywhere if you have smart enough people doing the drafting.
1. New Orleans – The favorite, by a mile. Ugh.
2. LA Rams – Looks like they have righted the ship. Still have to solve the Superdome.
3. Chicago – Do they have enough offense to beat NO or LA?
4. Kansas City – See #2 above, except it’s New England they have to solve.
5. LA Chargers – Good record, but inconsistent in December.
6. New England – For a minute there, everyone thought the dynasty was done. It’s not done yet.
7. Houston – Got the absolute worst possible matchup for the playoffs.
8. Baltimore – Going to the playoffs on a roll. Not a fun matchup.
9. Seattle – See #8 above.
10.Indianapolis – See #9 above, but in bold print and with exclamation points.
11.Dallas – Also drew a too-difficult matchup for the playoffs.
12.Pittsburgh – Too inconsistent down the stretch
13.Philadelphia – Keep changing QBs and keep winning.
14.Tennessee – Still need a little more on offense.
15.Minnesota – Not sure what happened here. Should have won several more games.
16.Cleveland – Sign Williams & Kitchens to 5-year deals!
17.Atlanta – Should be in contention next year after all those injuries heal.
18.Washington – Not the same luck as Philly with injured QBs.
19.Carolina – Should spend all 7 draft picks on interior linemen.
20.Miami – Really need a new QB.
21.Green Bay – They will remain irrelevant if they hire an enabler who will bow before Erin every day.
22.Buffalo – Have to keep the QB healthy and find a real backup.
23.Detroit – Do they need playmakers or more help on defense?
24.Cincinnati – Need a new coach. And a new owner, really.
25.Denver – First back-to-back losing seasons in 45 years. Seems to justify firing the coach.
26.NY Giants – See #20 above.
27.Jacksonville – Not sure why the owner doesn’t want any changes. They obviously need some.
28.Tampa Bay – They’re keeping their QB. Good luck with that.
29.San Francisco – Should be in excellent shape in ’19 with a healthy QB and another top 5 pick.
30.NY Jets – Will be interesting to see if they can get some QB guru to coach the young kid.
31.Oakland – Many, many holes to fill. Need to find 3-5 long-term starters in this draft.
Arizona – See #30 above.