The Patriots haven’t lost many games in 2018

With a 7-3
record Youth
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, they’re still on pace to win the AFC East
handily. But unlike years past, when this New England team loses, it spirals out
of the stadium like an out-of-control oil rig, destroying the earth around it in
a display of unwatchable football.That new tradition continued in Week 10, where
the Pats cooked up their third double-digit loss of the season. The franchise
had three such losses from 2015 to 2017 combined. And a big part of those
struggles can be chalked up to a suddenly-mortal Tom Brady.In three losses this
fall, Brady has completed just 57.8 percent of his passes for 621 yards, three
touchdowns, and one interception. That shakes out to an 81.4 QB rating — the
rough equivalent of what CJ Beathard had been doing in San Francisco before
being replaced by the immortal Nick Mullens.Those are bad numbers in any year,
but especially one where 14 different quarterbacks have a triple-digit rating.
Brady should be thriving in an NFL where offense comes first. Instead, he seems
to be backsliding at age 41. Which makes sense, but still seems impossible for
Tom Brady, man who time forgot.Panic index: It’s Tom Brady. He won last year’s
MVP at age 40. He also hung 340 yards on the Chiefs and threw for 294 yards the
week prior to beat the Packers. Nothing is over until he says it is.The rich
(Rams) get a little poorer The Rams became the first of the three remaining
one-win teams to suffer a significant injury to their offense, losing wide
receiver Cooper Kupp to a torn ACL last week. It’s a blow. Kupp was their
leading receiver in 2017, and even though he’s only played eight of 10 games
this year, he had already accumulated 566 yards and six touchdowns. Week 11
huddleDenny Medley-USA TODAY SportsOffense is all that matters. The power
rankings prove it. Panic Index: Tom Brady doesn’t look like Tom BradyThe 5 most
fireable NFL coaches after Week 10Week 11 picks: Experts are taking the Rams
over the Chiefs this weekWhy did the NFL move the Chiefs vs. Rams game from
Mexico City to L.A.?Worst call of the week: Where’s the consistency, refs?Did
Le’Veon Bell change player holdouts forever?MVP watchlist: It’s Drew Brees’
award to losePatrick Mahomes returns to ‘Fortnite,’ only to get killed by
someone in his jerseyWhen you’re scoring 33.5 points per game, every
contribution matters, and Kupp was on pace to top his impressive rookie numbers
from last year. Kupp did his best work in the slot for the Rams, where he took
more than 75 percent of his snaps. He’s been quarterback Jared Goff’s safety
valve in that offense, a reliable set of hands that Goff could count on when he
needed him. Last season, Kupp had the fifth best rating of any NFL receiver on
third and fourth downs, according to Pro Football Focus. This season, 25 percent
of his catches have come on third downs, six of those on third downs with 6+
yards to go. With Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods as the No. 1 and No. 2
receivers and Todd Gurley in the backfield, it’s hard to look at this roster and
see the Rams hurting too much. However, Sean McVay is going to have to find a
way to fill Kupp’s role. Panic index: It should be fine. Josh Reynolds will get
more work without Kupp Womens
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, and Woods will probably do more from the
slot. On top of that, you can expect tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett
to fill some of the void, as Turf Show Times explains here. Where’s your luck
now, Seahawks?For a few years, it seemed like a horseshoe had taken permanent
residence up the Seahawks’ butt. Everything always seemed to go their way.
(Well, except on the 1-yard line in Super Bowl 49, because if any team has been
tighter with Lady Luck than the Seahawks, it’s the Patriots.)In 2012, it was the
replacement refs giving them a touchdown on “Fail Mary.” Two seasons later, it
was the onside kick in the NFC Championship, again against the poor Packers. The
next year, it was the infamous illegal bat game. A couple months after that,
then-Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed what should’ve been a piece of cake field
goal in the playoffs that sent the Seahawks to the next round. Even last year,
in a season when they barely missed the playoffs, they found ways to snatch
victory from the jaws of defeat, courtesy of Bill O’Brien ruining what turned
out to be Deshaun Watson’s final game as a rookie.Now, it looks like their luck
is starting to run out (or it transferred over to the Chargers in some form of
karmic osmosis). The Seahawks are 4-5, and all five of their losses have come in
one-score games:That includes Week 10’s 36-31 loss to the Rams, a team so good
that they can clinch the division in Week 11. That was also the Seahawks’ second
loss to the Rams this year. The first came by an even slimmer margin, 33-31. The
Seahawks had a chance to pull it out Sunday — and even benefitted from the refs
not calling Russell Wilson for intentional grounding — but Aaron Donald
barreling toward Wilson was too much for Seattle to overcome. So for the second
straight week, the Seahawks came up short at the end of the game — and they’re
not a fan of it happening to them for a change. “I’ve been here for a while now,
and we’ve had a lot of games where we’ve pulled it out, so to be on the opposite
side, it sucks,” Bobby Wagner said after the game.Pete Carroll also thinks it’s
strange, and if something fits the Pete Carroll definition of strange, then you
know it must be:Panic index: The reason those Seahawks teams always managed to
find ways to win wasn’t simply good fortune. It was because they were
really Womens
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, really good. Once the Seahawks got rid of
almost their entire defense this offseason, it looked like they were headed for
rebuilding mode.But this year’s team is better than it should be. They’re
hanging with the Rams and Chargers — two of the best teams in the NFL right now.
They just need to figure out how to close out games again. They have a few
chances left to get a signature win, with games against the Panthers, Vikings,
and Chiefs on the horizon. That’s a daunting slate to face, so even if things
start coming together for the Seahawks, it might not be enough to make the
playoffs this year. It’s not implausible, though; currently, there are only six
NFC teams with winning records.For now, they just need to get over the hump. And
if anything can get them back in luck’s good graces, it’s a date with their next
opponent: the Packers.Jalen Ramsey wants out of JacksonvilleThe Jaguars have
lost five straight and there’s pretty much nothing else that could be worse than
that, right? Wrong! Now, the best, young player on the team, cornerback Jalen
Ramsey, is posting cryptic tweets about an eventual departure from
Jacksonville.A day later, he calmed things down by reminding everyone he said he
wants to finish his career with the Jaguars:But his frustration has — according
to at least a couple analysts — resulted in him freestyling and playing man
coverage while the rest of the defense is playing zone. That could’ve been why
the Jaguars’ usually strong pass defense was ripped to shreds by Andrew Luck in
Week 10.Ramsey’s trash talk has been fun for Jacksonville for most of his time
with the team, but it’s not quite as enjoyable for the Jaguars now that it’s
blowing up in their face.Panic index: Ramsey going rogue is a problem, but he’s
still a top cornerback in the NFL. The Jaguars can keep him under contract for a
few more years via his fifth-year option and the franchise tag. He’s not going
anywhere. Reining in and redirecting his frustration might not be as easy,
though.The Giants might have cost themselves a shot at the first pick in the
draftWith the Giants’ 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers, which was the best
game of Week 10 by the way, they may have cost themselves a chance at the number
one overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants desperately need a new face
at quarterback and as it currently stands, Oregon’s Justin Herbert seems to be
the only clear-cut franchise quarterback prospect in the draft and it’s
imperative they get a chance at him with a few pieces in place already on
offense. Right now, the Raiders own the first pick in the draft over the Giants
and they have some quarterback issues of their own to sort out.Panic index: This
season is over for the Giants. At 2-7, the Giants currently hold the third pick
in the draft behind the San Francisco 49ers. They would never admit to it, but
losing out and securing the first pick in the draft would be the best plan of
action for them. If not, they could be looking at another season of Eli Manning
with the Giants...enough to make any football fan panic. Olympique Lyonnais are
fun to watch because they play a wonderful brand of soccer:
Fast-paced ,
possessive, and direct, with the fullbacks allowed the freedom to join the
attack, and their young attacking players — Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir, Moussa
Demb茅l茅, and Bertrand Traor茅 — allowed the freedom of movement and expression.
Against Hoffenheim, Lyon played a 3-5-1-1 formation, with Depay as the highest
player; Fekir beneath Depay (Demb茅l茅 came in for Fekir in the 74th minute);
Ferland Mendy and Raphael as the two wingbacks; Tanguy Ndombele (Pape Cheikh
Diop came in for him in the 88th minute), Lucas Tousart, and Houssem Aouar as
the three midfielders; and Jason Denayer, Marcelo (the other one), and J茅r茅my
Morel as the three defenders above the goalkeeper, Anthony Lopes. Often, and
especially in the first half, Lyon’s attacks involved wingbacks acting as
wingers, with the attackers switching positions with one another while playing
quick one-twos and dribbling past defenders. Depay, not a standard striker who
sticks to the middle of the pitch, would often peel off to one of the wings,
which allowed Ndombele to make runs to fill that space. Fekir, given a free
role, was all over the field doing Cruyff Turns and creating opportunities for
teammates. Most of Lyon’s players are young, and their inexperience showed in
the second half of the game. After going up 2-0 in the first half and
comfortably outplaying Hoffenheim, they conceded two goals to ten-men Hoffenheim
in the second half, with the equalizer coming in the 92nd minute. Lyon was
disappointed by the outcome, but there was a lot of fun to be had in watching
players so young and talented. It felt like watching up-and-coming artists play
shows in small venues. Lyon feels like the PSG teams of the early 2000s that had
the likes of Ronaldinho, Jay-Jay Okocha ,
and Mikel Arteta, or recent Ajax teams where many of the players were named
targets for big clubs. In a few years, if things go right, players like Fekir,
Depay, Traore, Ndombele, Tousart, Demb茅l茅, Denayer, Lopes, and Mendy will be
playing for big teams all around Europe. They might move to PSG, or go to
England, Germany, or one of the two big teams in Spain. Their futures could take
a number of turns, but what is evident now is their talent. Lyon is the proving
grounds for these young players, not their final destination. It’s a club that
allows them to play against high-level competition in the Champions League, but
where the pressure to succeed isn’t such a burden that they don’t feel free to
express themselves or make mistakes. Depay for example has the space to learn
and be creative at Lyon that he never had at Manchester United, where he
admitted that he struggled to be himself. None of this means that Lyon doesn’t
expect to do well, just that those expectations encompass the reality of what
the team can achieve, and that young players are not finished products. There
are some young players who can thrive and grow in those big teams, players who
can succeed under pressures that require them to be near-perfect every game. But
most young talents need a team like Lyon to be their stepping stone, a team that
welcomes the totality of youth, where players can explore who they are and work
toward who they want to be. Lyon is a place where Fekir can score the first
goal, and then make the wrong decisions on several counterattacks that would
have given them a near-insurmountable lead. Not because losing a two goal lead
against Hoffenheim is ideal, but because there’s an understanding that sometimes
growth is painful.
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