2021 Season: Week 10 Sunday Storylines

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Nate Polvogt (@JeNateJackFF)
The Lateral Contributor

We're almost through ten full weeks of NFL football folks. It's crazy to think that just two-and-half months ago we were bright-eyed and oblivious to the insanity that was before us. We had no idea what madness this 2021 season would hold, but that's the fun of it, right? How boring would life be if we already knew the outcome? With that madness has come adversity, frustration, confusion and elation, sometimes all within minutes of each other. The best part? We're barely halfway through. 

After another insane week, some things became clear and some more foggy. The Chiefs calmed our collective fears, for now, in a blow-out win against the Las Vegas Raiders, Mike White showed us why he has been a third-string quarterback most of his career, the Cowboys seem to have righted the ship, and Miami exposed the Ravens defense for what they are: mediocre. What else can we take away from this past week's action? I've got you covered! 

New England Is Dangerous

Heading into the 2021 season a lot of people, myself included, we're wondering what exactly New England was up to. In the off-season, they signed two marquee tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith and "overpaid" for free agent wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Then, to top it off, they released Cam Newton during training camp and named the rookie from University of Alabama, Mac Jones, the starting quarterback. It seemed as though the franchise was unaware of what we all knew; it was time to go into rebuild mode after a mediocre 2020 season. 

Fast forward to today. We are now ten weeks into the season and maybe, just maybe, head coach Bill Belichick knows what he's doing. The Patriots, behind the leadership of Jones, are 6-4, have won four straight games, and are only a half game behind the Bills for the AFC East division lead. Sure, of those four consecutive victories, two were against the Jets and Panthers. A win, however, is a win, as they say. 

Anyone who knows me knows I am no fan of the Patriots. I am, however, a fan of Mac Jones. What this kid has done for this team this season is undeniable. During the four game win stretch, Jones is the overall QB 9. In that same stretch, Damien Harris is the RB8 (he missed Week 10) and Rhamondre Stevenson is the RB19, Kendrick Bourne is WR12 and Hunter Henry is the TE1. This is a team with a realistic goal of winning their division. They are rolling and it's been great for your shares of these players in fantasy. This isn't going away any time soon. Rest of season, New England has the 11th toughest schedule on paper, but with two match-ups against a Buffalo team that has come back to earth, Atlanta, Miami, Tennessee, and Jacksonville ahead, there will be plenty more opportunities for these guys to keep shining. 

Jared Goff Is Not Dangerous

Not only is Jared Goff not dangerous, he's become downright awful. Since Week 5, he is the overall QB33. Davis Mills, Mike White, Geno Smith, Sam Darnold and Trevor Siemian all rank ahead of him. In that same span, Goff is averaging a meager 6.85 fantasy points per game. He has looked confused, rushed, and like he is completely lacking confidence. I suppose it's hard to feel any sort of confidence behind the 25th ranked offensive line in football. 

This team is all around bad, as indicated by their 0-8-1 record. This past Sunday, Goff managed 114 passing yards in a tie against Pittsburgh. Yes, it was raining, but in the NFL, that's no excuse. Steelers back-up quarterback Mason Rudolph managed 242 yards on the same field in the same conditions. Because of Goff's ineptitude, he has made wide receivers Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown almost irrelevant. Tight end T.J. Hockenson, while the TE5 on the season, has been the TE13 since Week 5. It seems the only player on this team not affected by him, yet, is D'Andre Swift. 

There is little hope Goff and this Lions squad turn things around this season. It's not that their schedule to round out 2021 is especially tough, it's that this team is especially bad. They were blown out by a mediocre Philadelphia team in Week 9 and handled by a so-so Chicago roster in Week 4. With an absolute lack of confidence at quarterback, a terrible offensive line, and a questionable-at-best defense, count this as a lost season.

Jalen Hurts?

I cannot say I haven't been hard on Jalen Hurts this season. For all the rushing upside he has provided , he hasn't looked like an NFL-caliber passing quarterback. The stats, however, don't seem to back that up. While he's averaging just 215 passing yards per game, he does have 13 passing touchdowns to only 5 interceptions and is completing 65.9 percent of his passes. Could it be that head coach Nick Sirianni just isn't asking him to do as much?  

As of Week 10, Hurts ranks 19th among all quarterbacks in passes attempted with 296. Philadelphia ranks second to last in pass play percentage at 52.15 percent, ahead of only Chicago. Hurts has run the ball 97 times so far this season, behind only Lamar Jackson among quarterbacks. There is no question this is a run-first team. Hurts simply isn't being asked to throw much. 

There have been debates as to Sirianni's ability to lead a team effectively which I find unfair. The expectations for this team were realistically unrealistic. With a first year head coach, a quarterback in Hurts that is getting his first crack at being the undisputed starter for a full-season, and a very young receiving corps, this team is in growth mode. Based on that, I think this young team is right where it needs to be, Hurts included. Magic doesn't happen overnight. 

Heyo! Thanks for reading along for my Week 10 takeaways. You can find me and more of my work on Twitter @JeNateJackFF. Got questions? Shoot me an email at natepolvogt@gmail.com. See you next week!

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