The Check-down Check-up (2020): Week Thirteen

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

The Packers rocked the Bears on national television, and then took care of business against the Eagles (even with Jalen Hurts at the helm). They might not be great defensively, but this team is going to be so dangerous come playoff time. Aaron Rodgers is fantastic as always, but the run game clicking like it did in week thirteen puts Green Bay over the top. I think they could win out.

Verdict: 8.5/10, Check Up

Chicago Bears

And the Bears continue to plummet back down after a 5-1 start. They’re done crashing down to earth and are now drilling their way through the planet’s crust. Matt Nagy has got to go, and Mitch Trubisky isn’t safe either. This team needs a quarterback beyond badly, and it is showing every single game.

Verdict: 2/10, Check Down

Detroit Lions

Of course, the one week I have finals is the same week Matt Patricia gets fired. I don’t care what the Lions did in week thirteen, I’m using this part of the column to take a victory lap on this one, and every Lions fan should be doing the exact same thing. Get a head coach in here, trade Matthew Stafford for whatever you can get, start completely fresh, and let’s go. I’d love to see the Lions be consistently good at some point in my lifetime, and I’m sure a lot of Detroit fans feel the same.

Verdict: 3.75/10, Check Down

Minnesota Vikings

And here come the Vikings. At 6-6, this team is primed to make a stretch run. It’s improbable, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them. Taking a look at their upcoming schedule, it’s more likely that the Vikings go 2-2 to close out the year with a .500 record. But, if Minnesota can steal a game over either Tampa Bay or New Orleans, they’ll be sitting pretty to back into a wild card spot.

Verdict: 6.5/10, Check Back Next Week

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

This segment will be updated after the Ravens play the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Verdict: 2.75/10, Check Down

Philadelphia Eagles

It was time to get Carson Wentz out of there, even if it wasn’t entirely his fault. Wentz was running for his life on every single play, and at 3-7-1, the Eagles might as well just see what they have in Jalen Hurts. It seems like what they have is a spark, and for the rest of the season, we should probably be seeing Hurts on the field over Wentz. Doug Pederson might not like it, but at this juncture, that’s the right choice.

Verdict: 2/10, Check Down

Washington Football Team

You did it! You took down the final undefeated team, and the NFL (and especially the ’72 Dolphins) thank you for it. That defensive line is stout, Alex Smith is making the throws necessary to win, and the rest of the team is coming up and making plays when they have to. The WFT isn’t a perfect team, they still need a quarterback and a few other pieces, but they might be the most promising NFC East team moving forward.

Verdict: 5/10, Check Back Next Week

New York Giants

Who saw this coming from the Giants? Every week, Joe Judge looks more and more like a great choice at the head coaching position. Even with Daniel Jones gone for the past couple of weeks, the Giants find themselves at 5-7 and tied for first in the NFC East. Whether they keep this up, I’m not sure, but it’s clear that the Giants have improved by leaps and bounds from the start of the year.

Verdict: 4.75/10, Check Back Next Week

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

Taysom Hill is improving every week, and the Brees-less Saints continue to tread water until the future Hall of Fame returns. Brees should be back for a marquee matchup with the Chiefs in two weeks, which means the Saints only have one more game without him. I like Hill to continue his winning ways against the Eagles this week, but without much tape on Jalen Hurts, anything is possible for Philly (should they start him).

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta wrecked the Raiders in week twelve. My lock got embarrassed, and I’m not sure exactly what to say here. The Falcons do this every single year, and I’m out of material. I think the Falcons win this week to further ruin their draft position, but I’m not locking in with them, or against them, for the rest of the year.

Verdict: 4/10, Check Down

Carolina Panthers

Coming off their bye week, the Panthers should be concerned with improving upon what they’ve done this year. They’ve finished their headfirst slide out of the playoff standings after starting 3-2, but this is by no means a bad team. In fact, I really like what Matt Rhule has going on in Charlotte. It’s just clear that his team doesn’t have the talent to truly compete just yet. But if the Panthers can stay in games through the end of the year, it’ll only confirm what Carolina fans already know.

Verdict: 3/10, Check Down

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have, really, a perfect schedule to kick into high gear right before the playoffs. If they can work out the kinks in their offensive system, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. That being said, they have to get there first. Minnesota, Detroit, and Atlanta twice is a nice schedule for Tampa Bay, but Tom Brady and Bruce Arians have to get on the same page.

Verdict: 6.5/10, Check Back Next Week

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle seems to have some real problems here, and it’s costing them games that they should absolutely not be losing. Dropping a game to the undermanned Giants when you have Russell Wilson is not okay, and Pete Carroll needs this team ready. I know they’re facing the Jets, but they cannot overlook this team like they did the Giants.

Verdict: 6.75/10, Check Back Next Week

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are here to stay, and for as unsure of them as I’ve been this season, they seem to “have it together” more than any other team in the NFC West. LA’s been there, done that, and almost bought the t-shirt before, coming up just short in the Super Bowl two years ago. That’s not to say that they’ll be returning to the big game again in February, but it’s definitely a possibility. This team can do some damage.

Verdict: 9/10, Check Up

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers keep fighting to keep their heads above water, and it just isn’t enough. Nick Mullens is not a franchise level quarterback, and all the injuries, plus the COVID-19 cases, are majorly hindering San Francisco. Not to mention, they’ve had to move out of their home city to go play games in Arizona’s stadium, which is probably only throwing them off even more. The dream of all four NFC West teams making the playoffs seems to be well and truly dead.

Verdict: 2.5/10, Check Down

Arizona Cardinals

At 6-6, the Cardinals are slipping downhill, and right out of the NFC playoff picture. Dropping two big games against the Patriots and the Rams is majorly hurting this team, and despite solid play from Kyler Murray this season, Arizona needs more from their quarterback right now. They have a favorable schedule, but it might be too little too late with the momentum shift that comes with losing three straight.

Verdict: 5/10, Check Back Next Week

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