“Don’t Look a Gift Win in the Mouth”: CHZCON Threat Assessment – Week 4

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Don’t look a gift win in the mouth.

For most of the game, it wasn’t pretty. The run game was non-existent, receivers couldn’t get open and questionable penalty after questionable penalty allowed Brady and his M*A*S*H unit to stay in the game all the way until the very last minute. So in essence, it was a normal game vs Tom Brady.

Except the Packers did just enough-just enough to beat Brady and the Bucs on the road. I don’t care if Jojo the Dogface Man was his WR1; a win on the road vs that quarterback is a win no matter what.

Give our best to Giselle, whether that’s directly or through legal representation.

Let’s see this week’s report.

Chicago Bears – CHZCON Level 5

The Lord watches over babes and fools. And the Chicago Bears too, apparently.

We know about the week one win which took place in the SeaWorld splash zone before seeing the true blue Bears  last Sunday night vs the Packers. Some teams would remain reeling from a performance vs their biggest division rival, but Chicago got their first of two bye weeks early as they played host to the Texans.

The one constant across all three of these games: Justin Fields, or maybe the lack thereof. Take a look at his stats from the first three games and try to tell me he’s actually contributed in a net positive way.

After three weeks, Fields is being sacked once for every two completions. When he steps back for a pass, he’s more likely to throw an incompletion, an interception or get sacked. This is far beyond how completely garbage the Bears are as a team because the offense actually does one thing good, ironically the only part that requires the smallest amount of input from Fields: running the ball.

Khalil Herbert has rushed for 240 yards already this year, which is only 57 yards less than Fields has passed the ball. If you subtract sack yards from that, Herbert is the Bears leading yards producer. And yet…

You’re right, Erik. Throwing the ball shouldn’t be this hard. But here we are.

If you’re reading all this and still asking “so how did the Bears get a win Sunday?”, you’ve obviously never been introduced to the Houston Texans, or Southern Detroit as some (read: me) call it. Very few teams are able to inexplicably look good for three quarters of a football game before turning on a dime to run face first into a brick wall.

The Bears go on the road next week to the Giants. Which Giants team decides to show up is the real question, but there’s a decent chance could actually go into their week five trip to Minnesota 3-1 when their team is playing at a 1-3 level. Not for lack of trying.

Detroit Lions – CHZCON Level 5

I’ve lived around Detroit for just over half a decade. Through those years you learn a lot about the area and culture, things like:

  • What a “Michigan left” is (stupid)
  • Where the best Coney dogs are (Lafayette Coney, though temporarily closed by the health department #FreeLafayette)
  • How they let Kid Rock become a thing (*projectile vomits*)

The biggest thing you learn up here, though, doesn’t involve food, driving or “music”. It’s a simple phrase, only three words long: S.O.L.

Same

Ol’

Lions

Nothing sums that up better than this Sunday vs the Vikings, a game in which the Lions gave up not one, but TWO separate 10+ point leads, one in each half. Twice, it looked like this was the “brand new Lions” people had been talking about since Hard Knocks. Even I, with my knowledge of how this franchise always finds a way to tie their shoelaces together, thought that while they would still be terrible, it wouldn’t be “Kid Rock concert” level terrible (seriously, screw that guy).

But lo and behold, they took off the Scooby Doo villain mask on Sunday to remind us all that nothing has changed.

For once in his career, Jared Goff was not one of the core reasons his team lost a game. No, instead this time is was Dan “3 Toes 1 Asscheek” Campbell who got in the way of his team’s success. Poor play calling in crucial moments and suspect game management allowed the Vikings to mount their 4th quarter touchdown drive.

Can you start to see the transformation? Sometimes it’s slower than others, but it doesn’t matter who it is, every Lions coach succumbs to the heavy haze of mediocrity that permeates that stadium. It’s like The Shining: no one goes up to the Overlook planning on going insane, chopping down doors, but there’s an evil there that no man is immune to.


Defensive captain Tracy Walker is out for the year with a torn Achilles and RB D’Andre Swift will “miss time” with a bruised shoulder. Welcome to the SOL experience.

Minnesota Vikings – CHZCON Level 4

As you saw above, the Vikings benefited greatly this week in their matchup with the Lions that they were playing the Lions. Minnesota did nigh on everything they could to help Detroit escape their black hole of self-destruction, but as mentioned, nothing trumps the SOL card.

Two missed field goals, a rare fumble from Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins existing. Still nothing could help the Lions from snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The vaunted pass rush we saw playing like it was the third act of an inspirational Disney movie in week one was non-existent again this week, managing only two total QB hits and no sacks on an offensive line that is middle of the road at best. Lions receivers DJ Chark and Quintez Cephus combined for nearly as many tackles (2) as Za’Darius Smith (3).

Am I being slightly unreasonable continuing to rag on Z in each report? Yeah.

Do I look ultra-petty doing it? Maybe a bit.

Could I easily find similar stats each week for the Packers? Probably.

Will I continue to cherry-pick stats like this every week to make Smith look bad because it’s funny? You bet your ass.

The Vikings travel across the pond this week to take on the Saints and warm up Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the Packers the following week, and may or may not have Dalvin Cook when they do. Justin Jefferson still exists, though, so until I see Joe Barry can figure out how to stop him, the Vikings stay at a 4.

New England Patriots – CHZCON Level 4

Another week, another break for the Packers.

You might not think the Patriots losing Mac Jones is on the same level as the Bucs missing Mike Evans this past week, until you see the quarterback depth chart.

Yeesh. Just another example in the “Why It’s Smart to Draft Jordan Love When They Did” folder I keep in my file cabinet.

Jones was hurt on literally the last offensive play for the Patriots, an interception on a deep ball while the Patriots tried to mount a desperate comeback. Now, they’ll rely on Brian Hoyer, who returns to Lambeau for the first time since he broke him arm on Clay Matthews helmet.

Regardless of who’s throwing the ball around, this New England offense can’t be completely overlooked, with pass catchers like DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. However, even with Jones in, they’re one of the most turnover prone (-4). Joe Barry and his defense have an opportunity to feast this week.

So why are they garnering a level 4? This is a classic trap game. Back at home, coming off a emotionally draining win on the road vs a big rival, taking on a veteran back up QB, before going on a big road trip the following week. Can’t take this for granted.

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