Week 9 Overreactions and Reality Checks: The Eagles' Best Team in the NFL?  The Rams miss the playoffs?  Geno Smith extension?

Week 9 Overreactions and Reality Checks: The Eagles’ Best Team in the NFL? The Rams miss the playoffs? Geno Smith extension?

Of all the NFL’s exciting weeks in this 2022 season, Week 9 may have topped them all. Ten of 12 games finished in Week 9 were within a score (eight points or less) in the fourth quarter with four teams (Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets) erasing deficits of more of 10 points.

The Vikings, Jets, Los Angeles Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each had a winning score in the final two minutes of regulation time. All of these games have turned wild division races across the league as fewer and fewer teams begin to separate themselves from the pack.

This will all take shape for a wild second half of the year, but first, the Week 9 overreactions need to be dealt with.

The Rams will miss the playoffs

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Los Angeles picked up a victory over Tampa Bay in the sack before allowing Tom Brady to run down the field, making six plays for 54 yards in 35 seconds. Brady threw the game-winning touchdown pass with nine seconds left.

The win would have allowed the Rams to pace the Seattle Seahawks at 4-4. Instead, Los Angeles is 3-5 and sits 10th in the NFC standings, 2.5 games behind the Seahawks in the NFC West.

Los Angeles isn’t dead in the water, but has two games with the Seahawks and will face the Kansas City Chiefs and Chargers on the schedule. Going 2-2 against these teams might not be enough. The Rams are going to need a few teams in front of them to crumble at this rate.

Geno Smith deserves a long-term extension in Seattle

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Think it’s time to have a serious discussion about Geno Smith’s future with the Seahawks. After throwing a six pick to Zaven Collins to give the Arizona Cardinals a 14-10 third quarter lead, the 32-year-old Smith led Seattle to touchdowns on his next three possessions – making 10 of 12 for 123 yards and a touchdown.

The Seahawks are 6-3 and Smith has been excellent, completing 73.1% of his NFL-leading passes and throwing for 2,199 yards with 15 touchdowns for just four interceptions – and a passer rating of 107.2 (fourth in the NFL). Seattle has its quarterback for the foreseeable future – it’s Smith.

It’s time to sign it.

Justin Fields will rush for 1,000 yards this season

Overreaction or reality: Reality

What Justin Fields did for the Bears offense in Year 2 (first year in Luke Getsy’s system) was remarkable. Not only has Fields developed as a passer, but he’s becoming the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL.

Fields has 91 carries for 602 yards and four touchdowns in nine games, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. After Sunday’s NFL regular season record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game (178), Fields needs to average 56.9 yards per game to hit the 1,000 mark. yards.

He’s averaging 66.9 yards per game, so Fields is on pace to become the third quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Tyreek Hill will have 150 catches and 2,000 receiving yards

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

I don’t feel like Tyreek Hill is slowing down anytime soon. Hill finished with seven catches for 143 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Bears to cross the 1,000-yard plateau in just his ninth game. The Miami Dolphins wide receiver had 76 catches for 1,104 yards halfway through the year – an average of 8.4 catches and 122.7 yards per game.

If Hill keeps up that insane pace, he’ll finish with 144 catches and 2,085 yards this year. Hill is on track for 2,000 receiving yards, but needs to average 9.3 receptions per game the rest of the year to reach 150.

The task is big, but if anyone can do it, it’s Hill.

The Eagles are the best team in the NFL

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Philadelphia is the only undefeated team in the NFL, sitting atop the NFC East (a division with two teams at 6-2) with an 8-0 record. The Eagles are among the top five teams in points and yards per game and points and yards allowed per game. They didn’t trail in the second half and led by double digits in every game.

Teams that can challenge the Eagles for the top team title are the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but Buffalo was upset by the Jets on Sunday when Josh Allen had 42 passing yards. The Bills are also 2-7 in one-scored games the past two seasons.

The Minnesota Vikings are 7-1, but the Eagles knocked them out in Week 2. The Dallas Cowboys suffered two losses, including one to the Eagles. They are combined 13-3 – with two losses against Philadelphia.

At the halfway mark, the Eagles are the better team.

The Dolphins will win the AFC East

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Hard to discredit what Miami is doing, as the Dolphins are now 6-0 in games Tua Tagovailoa starts and finishes this year. Tagovailoa is also playing great, leading the NFL with a passer rating of 115.9. Tagovailoa completed 69.9% of his passes for 1,980 yards with 15 touchdowns on just three interceptions in seven games.

Can the Dolphins win the division? Miami is third in the AFC East with a 6-3 record, having a head-to-head tiebreaker against Buffalo and a head-to-head loss against New York. Both teams are half a game behind Buffalo for first place.

The Dolphins don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, but Miami will need to beat Buffalo at Orchard Park in December to win the division. They also need to beat the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers before that.

Miami is a playoff team, but the Dolphins still have some way to go to win the division.

The Vikings are the Eagles’ biggest competitor in the NFC

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

Minnesota continues to win close games, improving to 6-0 in one-point games this year. The Vikings have won six straight by one possession and have a 33+ point differential in the fourth quarter – so they’re good late in the game.

Is Minnesota Philadelphia’s biggest challenger? The 7-1 record says yes, but the Vikings also played three games in an NFC North that has a combined 8-18 record (not including them). Two of these games were one-score contests.

One team the Vikings have defeated currently has a winning record, and that was the Miami Dolphins without Tua Tagovailoa. Minnesota has four straight games against teams with winning records ahead. Let’s see how good the Vikings are.

The Patriots are a playoff team

Overreaction or reality: Overreaction

New England are 5-4 and sit last in the AFC East, showing just how tough the division is. The Patriots sit half a game behind the Chargers for the final playoff spot heading into their bye week.

Why can’t the Patriots make the playoffs? They have three straight games against teams with winning records and six of their last eight games have been against teams with winning records. They face the Bills twice and the Dolphins – a team they’re struggling to beat – once again.

New England needs to be better on offense to keep pace with these teams, even if the defense and special teams are playoff caliber. The passing game must come to life in stride.

Tom Brady can still play at a high level

Overreaction or reality: Reality

Brady had his 55th career winning workout Sunday, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history. The Buccaneers quarterback finished 36 of 58 for 280 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions (79.7 rating).

Was the performance impressive? No, but Brady went 5 of 6 for 54 yards and a touchdown on a final drive that took 35 seconds to win the game in the final 44 seconds (and the incompetition was a spike).

Brady has completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,547 yards with 10 touchdowns for a single interception (90.5 rating) this season. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 10.0 (the best in the NFL) and he has an NFL-leading 373 pass attempts without an interception (the second-best in NFL history).

Is Brady the same quarterback he was the last two seasons? No, but he’s still playing well for a 45-year-old quarterback. He can still win games for his team.

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