5-at-10: A NFL heavyweight showdown, NFL powerpoll, CFP questions

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts scores during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts scores during the second half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

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A true title fight

What a game. I mean seriously, how often to do you look forward to an NFL clash of the current titans (lowercase T, because very few folks — other than opposing teams — look forward to clashing with the Titans, big T) and it turns into a snoozer.

Take the Jets for instance, and yes, Aaron Rodgers' injury completely wrecked the NFL's grand plans of featuring arguably its biggest star in easily its biggest market, but the Jets are everywhere in high-profile, nationally telecast, prime time spots.

And blahs-ville.

Last night's 21-17 Philadelphia win at Kansas City had a whole lot of everything — other than Travis Kelce's girlfriend that is.

Two elite QBs. Two stout defenses. And the difference simply put was the Eagles were way better on the perimeter offensively. DId you know that the Chiefs lead the league in drop passes with 26, and for those of us with K.C. tickets, well here's hoping ol' Butterfingers Scandling gets nothing but icky casseroles and canned ham on Thursday.

NFL Power Poll

Let's get to a truly interesting collection of comps from the best in the league to the worst.

Powerful

1. Philadelphia (9-1). Any questions? And for all the people saying "blah-blah-blah, the tush push/brotherly shove should be illegal" don't hate the play. Hate your inability to stop the play.

2. Baltimore (8-3). Man, the fight for home-field edge in each conference is going to be paramount, especially in the AFC. Because while I think any of the top three-to-five teams in each conference could defend homefield and get to the Super Bowl, I don't think Baltimore or any other AFC team has the ability to go to K.C. and win in late January.

3. San Francisco (7-3). Yes, 49ers barely ahead of K.C., because of the weapons comps. Kittle and Kelce are elite. Mahomes clearly better than Purdy, but Christian McCaffery is a complete game-changer for the 49ers. And while the Chiefs defense looked great last night, the 49ers pass-rush is now elite with the addition of Chase Young. Man, the upper crust in the league is impressive right now, which is one of the reasons we are seeing more and more double-digit point spreads.

4. Kansas City (7-3). Maybe this is too low for any team with Patrick Mahomes — and could be for the rest of the 2020s — but dude can't throw AND catch it. Side question: If you are the Chiefs and you see the QB starved teams (more on that in a moment), do you break your bank and spend a ton of draft capital to move up to get a shot at Marvin Harrison Jr. or Malik Nabors?

5. Dallas (7-3). Dallas or Detroit here? Or what about AFC East-leading Miami? What about the AFC South-leading Jags? I go Dallas for this main reason: Dan Quinn has that defense playing lights out and Micah Parsons is him. That said, in our conversations about the desperation for home-field, none of these teams want to traverse the rocky roads of postseason away games.

Powerless, and yes, they all have QB issues we will discuss

28. New York Giants (3-8). There are two types of QB disasters. There's the "We don't have the dude" disaster that teams like Atlanta and a few others have, so that becomes a draft priority ASAP. Then there is the much more dire "We don't have the dude, but we have paid a faux dude QB1 dollars" disaster. The Giants, who gave Daniel Jones that fat-daddy second contract, are the poster-franchise for this unfortunate scenario. And by unfortunate, I mean that the same way the priest presented Navin R Johnson with a video of the horrifics of cat juggling in native land. Oh the humanity. (Truly is anyone outside of the nation's biggest city sad when any of the New York teams stink? I say no.)

29. Chicago (3-8). This is easily the most interesting QB disconnect in the sport right now. Justin Fields has bona fide flashes of brilliance, like Sunday when he ran for more than 100 yards, completed almost 70% of his throws and had a passer rating north of 105 against a good Detroit defense. The Bears lost because of coaching malpractice on Sunday, not because of Fields, who continues to play through injury, too. But it's clearly broken between the Bears and Fields and there simply is no way they can give him the monster second deal that first-round QBs demand. Best case scenario for the Bears: Fields continues to show flashes and they continue to lose (and Carolina continues to lose, because the Bears have the Panthers No. 1 next spring). They deal Fields — who will be heading into his fourth and final team-friendly season in contract terms in 2024 — for a second-rounder and start clean with Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye.

30. New England (2-8). And while all the chatter rightly should be about whether Bill Belichick is hanging his hoodie on the back of a scorching hot coaching seat, in our stinky QBs = stinky teams equation, the Pats surely look ready to part ways with former first-rounder Mac Jones, who has 34 picks in 41 career games and is 18-23 as a starter. Under the best coach ever.

31. Arizona (2-9). The Cardinals have a lot of that Giants vibe — they paid Kyler Murray a mint and who knows if he's anything more than a valuable fantasy option — but I also wonder if Kliff Kingsbury and Urban Meyer sit around lighting cigars with $100 bills from their buyouts comparing notes on who was the worse NFL HC.

32. Carolina (1-9). Maybe the most confusing and franchise-confounding QB issue for a stinky crew out there, because Bryce Young — who the Panthers traded up to get as they by-passed bona fide QB1 CJ Stroud — does not look the part. And this is less about size than it is about how many poor throws that were poorly timed he delivered in the Panthers blowout loss to Dallas.

Bowl projections

Tonight the college football ranking will be released.

The biggest question in everyone's mind is what does the committee do with FSU, which lost star QB1 Jordan Travis to a gruesome injury?

Which begs the question for us sideline sleuths: what should they do?

Keep FSU, which before the injury looked like an almost assured 3 seed behind Georgia and the B1G Ten winner?

Or drop the 'Noles, who assuredly are not at the same level without Travis?

Do wins mean more the projected ability to compete, because FSU is a 14-plus-point underdog in a CFP semifinal without Travis, and one-loss Oregon or Alabama would be viewed as far more competitive from conjecture?

This is the question UCF should have been asking a few years ago to be honest.

Thoughts?

This and that

— You know our rules. Here's Paschall with a look at the looming future decisions for the UT seniors.

— Pretty clear AA and the Braves are focused on making the bullpen a strength, huh?

— Golf's crazy year continues. The facility that was to house the indoor virtual league sponsored by Tiger and Rory suffered so much damage, the start has been postponed until 2025.

— Speaking of Travis Kelce's squeeze, here's betting Taylor Swift wishes she was following the Chiefs amid all the controversy of her heat- and controversy-marred concert series in Rio.

Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Morning, Ernie.

True or false, if two teams you have no connection to are playing — like Washington-New York this weekend — you find yourself cheering against the New York teams.

True or false, NFC playoffs will be more intriguing than the AFC playoffs.

True or false, Dan Quinn deserves another shot as an HC.

True or false, FSU — if it wins out — deserves a spot in the college football playoff.

As for today, Nov. 21, let's review.

Wow, "Rocky" was released on this day in 1976.

While I find myself concurring with FatVader on the claim that the original installment is a bit overrated, man, the Sly Stallone boxing series truly is an all-time cinematic icon.

Think of the Rushmores that it could be included on. Best sports movie. Best instrumental song. Best original song with "Eye of the Tiger." Best rivalry. Worst sports villain, because at the time, Drago was a bad and hated man.

But I will ask this: Best sports movie series, and you have to have at least two installments but bonus points for length and quality down the line.

Go.


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