Barkley, Saturday, Toney shine; Cowboys, Bills give video games away: NFL notes and evaluation

The season is now previous the halfway level, however it’s nonetheless exhausting to differentiate the contenders from the pretenders in a week-to-week league. 

Though a number of groups just like the Chiefs and Vikings have began to separate from the pack, the stunning losses of the Bills and Cowboys make it exhausting to contemplate them heavyweights of their respective conferences. With the Dolphins, Giants and 49ers making noise with strong wins, the stretch run of the common season ought to present loads of fascinating moments. 

After taking a while to digest the entire Week 10 motion, listed below are some ideas and observations from a former NFL scout.

Three issues I appreciated

1. Tua Tagovailoa: MVP? 

The Dolphins’ much-maligned quarterback ought to be in consideration as the highest participant within the league based mostly on his efficiency this season. Tagovailoa is unbeaten in video games by which he has began and completed whereas ringing up a powerful statistical résumé. 

The third-year professional leads the league with a 118.4 passer score on the power of a 71% completion fee and an 18-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Tagovailoa continues to torch opponents with pinpoint throws to a group of world-class observe athletes operating round in house. From the “dink-and-dunk” throws on screens and quicks to the occasional deep pictures thrown excessive of the protection, Tagovailoa’s effectiveness as a distributor ought to silence the critics and skeptics selecting aside his sport. 

Mike McDaniel not stunned by Tua Tagovailoa’s success

Mike McDaniel not surprised by Tua Tagovailoa's success

If Miami’s first-year coach is not stunned, Emmanuel Acho and Pleasure Taylor focus on whether or not we ought to be stunned by Tua’s success this season.

As an MVP candidate, the Dolphins quarterback has constructed a compelling case based mostly on his crew’s success and his particular person numbers. Though Tyreek Hill’s presence has definitely aided his emergence as a franchise participant, Tagovailoa deserves his flowers for guiding an offensive juggernaut that’s the catalyst for a title contender. 

2. Kadarius Toney is the Chiefs’ X-factor 

Don’t look now, however the Chiefs may need discovered the big-play weapon that would assist the offense regain an explosive dimension. Kadarius Toney, a former first-round decide acquired from the Giants, tallied 90 scrimmage yards on six touches (4 catches, two runs) that showcased his potential as a multi-faceted playmaker on the perimeter. 

The second-year professional flashes sufficient pace and quickness to take the highest off protection on vertical routes whereas additionally displaying the operating abilities to make explosive performs on jet sweeps and razzle-dazzle performs. Toney’s dynamic abilities aren’t fairly to Tyreek Hill’s degree, however he offers the Chiefs a flexible weapon that Andy Reid can construct a sport plan round. 

Contemplating how the Chiefs have a knack for maximizing the expertise and potential of their high weapons, Toney is likely to be the X-factor who helps this crew roll by way of the AFC down the stretch. 

3. Jeff Saturday pushes the proper buttons

After going through intense scrutiny all through the week after being named interim head coach regardless of his lack of teaching expertise, Jeff Saturday confirmed the soccer world that he would possibly know a factor or two concerning the sport with a win over the Raiders. 

The Colts’ Ring of Honor member made a handful of key choices that helped the crew get again into the profitable column after a collection of dismissals, distractions and defeats that led to his arrival in its place coach. Saturday reinserted Matt Ryan into the beginning lineup to regular an offense that wanted his expertise and experience as a former NFL MVP. The veteran quarterback responded with a strong effort (21-of-28 for 222 cross yards and a landing) that complemented a robust efficiency by Jonathan Taylor and the offensive line. 

Jay Glazer reveals the backstory of Jeff Saturday’s hiring

Jay Glazer reveals the backstory of Jeff Saturday's hiring

Jay Glazer reveals the thought course of behind the hiring of Jeff Saturday and discusses his potential future with the Colts. 

With Ryan throwing the ball successfully on a wide range of quicks and intermediate play-action passes, the Colts have been capable of make the most of a ball-control method that enabled them to play the sport on their phrases. Saturday’s resolution to prioritize Taylor as the point of interest of the sport plan definitely helped the Colts get again on observe. The mixture of energy runs between the tackles and on the perimeters compelled the Raiders to commit further defenders to the field, which opened up the sector for Ryan’s play-action passes. 

As a former offensive lineman with a observe document of success with the Colts, Saturday helped his franchise get again into the winner’s circle by getting again to the fundamentals. By taking a simplistic method, Saturday coached the sport like a veteran whereas incomes his first win. 

Three issues I didn’t like

1. Dennis Allen is prepared to go down on the Andy Dalton ship

Perhaps the Saints coach will likely be rewarded for his loyalty to his veteran quarterback down the highway, however I can not perceive why Allen continues to stay with Dalton amid the crew’s struggles. 

The Saints have misplaced 5 of his seven begins, with Dalton posting a passer score of 89.6 whereas finishing 65% of his throws with an 11-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. These middling numbers are definitely not sufficient to make him an untouchable starter on a crew that has underachieved mightily this season. 

Though the unique starter, Jameis Winston, has additionally struggled with turnovers (5 giveaways in three video games), the offense is extra explosive and dynamic beneath his course. As well as, Winston provides a deep-ball dimension to the offense that might create extra space for Alvin Kamara as a runner. 

With seven video games remaining and the Saints fading quick, it’s truthful to surprise how lengthy Allen will stick together with his struggling beginning quarterback. 

2. The Cowboys give away an necessary sport

To win large video games, most NFL coaches stress the significance of avoiding self-inflicted errors. In a league by which video games are continuously determined by one rating, essentially the most constant groups keep away from the self-inflicted errors (turnovers, large performs allowed, penalties and kicking sport errors) that reward wrap wins to their opponents. 

The Cowboys handed the Packers a win by repeatedly violating this precept in a 31-28 extra time loss that would influence Dallas’ playoff probabilities. Dak Prescott dedicated two turnovers, together with a pricey crimson zone interception that robbed the Cowboys of an opportunity to take a two-score lead early within the sport. The egregious error breathed life right into a Inexperienced Bay crew that was teetering on the brink after its personal pricey miscue. 

With the protection compounding the error by permitting rookie receiver Christian Watson to sneak previous the protection on a 58-yard bomb, the Cowboys price themselves dearly with their lack of self-discipline and a spotlight to element. 

Cowboys blow large lead in Mike McCarthy’s return to Inexperienced Bay

Cowboys blow big lead in Mike McCarthy's return to Green Bay

The Cowboys blew a 14-point lead within the second half and dedicated 9 penalties of their 31-29 OT loss to Inexperienced Bay. Colin Cowherd breaks down why this implies the Cowboys are the identical crew that may’t win in large spots.

Mike McCarthy additionally contributed to the implosion with a head-scratching extra time gamble on fourth down that gave the Packers the ball in prime subject place. Furthermore, the failed fourth-down conversion ensured that Inexperienced Bay might win with any rating on its subsequent possession because of the extra time guidelines. Given the chance to try a subject aim from an affordable distance, McCarthy’s resolution results in extra concern concerning the Cowboys’ capability to win high-pressure video games down the stretch. 

The self-inflicted errors and suspect teaching choices replicate poorly on a crew with title aspirations. 

3. Josh Allen‘s errors are killing the Bills

Allen is an MVP-caliber participant, however his errors are torpedoing the crew’s title probabilities. The fifth-year professional has tossed at the least two interceptions in every of the previous three video games as a part of a turnover spree that has halted Buffalo’s momentum. 

Though Allen’s freewheeling methods have reworked the Bills offense right into a juggernaut, the recklessness displayed by the gunslinger is problematic for a crew that values the ball and profitable the turnover battle. Perhaps Allen’s current turnover woes are merely a case of an elite participant making an attempt to do an excessive amount of to assist his crew win, however the Bills want their No. 1 playmaker to curb his errors earlier than it prices the crew a strong seed within the playoffs. 

Josh Allen’s late-game struggles proceed

Josh Allen's late-game struggles continue

The Bills misplaced in heartbreaking vogue to the Vikings 33-30 in OT. Josh Allen’s late fumble led to a Minnesota TD, and he additionally threw a game-clinching interception to seal the loss. Colin Cowherd shares his largest takeaways, together with Allen’s struggles and why his crew wants to offer him extra assist.

As the perfect participant on the sector in most situations, Allen has been inspired to push the envelope as a playmaker. Nonetheless, he should weigh the risk-reward issue when placing the ball in hurt’s means, notably within the crimson zone. 

My high 10 groups

1. Philadelphia Eagles: The NFL’s lone unbeaten crew is essentially the most full squad in soccer. Whereas Jalen Hurts & Co. get a lot of the credit score, the Philly protection has emerged as a disruptive power beneath Jonathan Gannon’s tutelage. 

2. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs: Andy Reid has his crew peaking on the proper time. The Chiefs are firing on all cylinders on offense with the protection routinely arising with key stops and well timed takeaways. 

3. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have repeatedly discovered methods to win with out enjoying their greatest soccer for 60 minutes. Though the nerve-racking nail biters aren’t for the faint of coronary heart, the Vikings’ collective confidence and resilience will make them a tricky out within the postseason. 

4. Miami Dolphins: The M-V-P chants cascading on Tua Tagovailoa are warranted with the third-year professional directing essentially the most explosive offense within the sport. The Dolphins are able to placing 40-plus factors on any opponent, and that firepower offers them an opportunity to make a run on the title.

5. New York Giants: It isn’t all the time fairly, however the Giants have mastered the artwork of profitable video games with a complementary soccer method that prioritizes the operating sport, ball safety and stingy protection. Though there are extra proficient groups on this listing, the Giants deserve a spot as a consequence of their profitable methods. 

6. Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh’s crew might be the perfect within the AFC if it learns the way to correctly end video games. The Ravens had blown double-digit leads in three of their first six video games earlier than reeling off three straight wins previous to the bye week. If the Ravens repair their closing abilities, this crew might vault to the highest of the charts as a title contender. 

7. New York Jets: The Jets have found a profitable method (run sport + protection = wins) that would make them a tricky out down the stretch. If second-year QB Zach Wilson takes care of the ball, the Jets will make life depressing for his or her opponents in November and December. 

8. Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen’s miscues and the crew’s general complacency have led to a string of losses which have price the crew the within observe to home-field benefit and the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Whereas there’s loads of time to get again on observe, the Bills’ stunning hunch has put them behind the eight-ball within the AFC race. 

9. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys might remorse making a gift of a winnable sport in Inexperienced Bay. The loss not solely dropped the crew to 3rd within the NFC East, however it might power them to turn into highway warriors within the playoffs. 

10. San Francisco 49ers: The return of a number of key gamers might spark a late-season run that places the 49ers again in title competition. The addition of Christian McCaffrey to an offense that’s loaded with firepower makes the 49ers downright scary as a contender. 

Week 10 Sport Balls

Most Helpful Participant of the Week: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota’s playmaker extraordinaire dazzled towards the Bills, totaling 193 receiving yards and a landing on 10 catches regardless of everybody realizing he was the Vikings’ No. 1 goal. Jefferson outmaneuvered, outworked and out-jumped defenders to snag a wide range of balls everywhere in the subject. With Jefferson’s spectacular ball abilities and hand-eye coordination, the soccer world is able to anoint him because the No. 1 wideout within the sport. 

Justin Jefferson’s jaw-dropping catch propels Vikings to OT win

Justin Jefferson's jaw-dropping catch propels Vikings to OT win

Late within the fourth quarter, Justin Jefferson made an unbelievable one-handed catch on fourth-and-18 that saved the Vikings alive. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe discuss Vikings-Bills.

Offensive Participant of the Week: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Regardless of not reaching an settlement with the Giants on a long-term contract extension this week, Barkley enhanced his worth to the crew with a spectacular efficiency that showcased his abilities as a workhorse again. Towards the Texans on Sunday, the fifth-year professional logged a career-high 35 carries for 152 yards and a rating. The heavy workload not solely confirmed the soccer world that Barkley’s abilities are again, however it supplied affirmation that he nonetheless possesses the stamina and endurance of an old-school RB1. 

Defensive Participant of the Week: Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

White deserves the award after taking up the sport towards the Seahawks. The ultra-quick linebacker totaled 9 tackles with a pair of sacks and a compelled fumble. The stat-stuffing efficiency sparked a Bucs protection that lastly performed to the usual set by Todd Bowles as a defensive-minded head coach with a fame for constructing elite items. 

Unsung Hero of the Week: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Tennessee Titans

The Titans aren’t identified for his or her passing sport, however Mike Vrabel would possibly contemplate opening issues up after Westbrook-Ikhine’s breakout efficiency towards the Broncos. The third-year receiver posted the second 100-yard sport of his profession with a five-catch, 119-yard effort with two scores vs. Denver. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound playmaker blew previous the protection on a flea-flicker and put one other ball within the paint on a textbook nook route that showcased his exact route-running abilities. Though Derrick Henry is the Titans’ undisputed No. 1 offensive weapon, Westbrook-Ikhine’s spectacular displaying ought to transfer him up the precedence listing. 

Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports activities. He recurrently seems on “Speak For Yourself” and likewise breaks down the sport for NFL Community and as a cohost of the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Comply with him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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