Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Israel Abanikanda & Other NFL Thoughts
Welcome to Week 15 and our NFL thoughts column. This week, we’re examining pivotal decisions and performances shaping the league. From the Bears’ draft strategy with Justin Fields to Baker Mayfield’s impact with the Bucs, and the Seahawks reality check against stronger teams. We’re also discussing the Patriots future, the Eagles defensive struggles, and some Jets topics. Specifically Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Israel Abanikanda, along with some NFL Thoughts. Join us as we delve into these critical storylines in the NFL landscape
– The Bears are going to drive a lot of what happens in the early part of the draft this Spring. The primary decision Chicago needs to make is if they feel that have their franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.
-If the Bears are going to move forward with Fields, things could get very interesting as teams will be hot in pursuit of the Bears multiple picks. If Chicago plays this offseason right, they could set up their team to be in contention for many years to come.
– Baker Mayfield isn’t going to help anyone win their fantasy league, but he does have the Bucs in the hunt for a postseason berth. Mayfield is in the top half of the league in passing yards, and he has thrown 20 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions. He isn’t what the Browns hoped he’d be when they picked him with the first pick overall in the 2018 draft, but in a down cycle for quality signal callers, he gives the Bucs an advantage over quite a few teams in the league. The best thing about Mayfield is his drive. He has a passion for the game that’s evident if you watch him play.
– The Seahawks have dropped four games in a row after starting 6-3. There is no mystery as to what happened to Seattle. They had to play good teams. The Seahawks had a dream schedule to start the season. Their opponents included the Panthers, Giants, Cardinals, and Commanders. Their four straight losses included two losses to the 49ers and one loss each to the Rams and Cowboys. The Seahawks are who we thought they were. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Seahawks host the very desperate Philadelphia Eagles this week.
– Rumors have the Patriots and Bill Belichick parting ways after the season. It would be odd to see someone else patrolling the sidelines for New England. The failure for the Pats is not the coaching, it’s how their roster has been managed. New England has a dearth of talent and a rising set of divisional opponents to deal with. Nobody outside New England is crying for
– The Philadelphia Eagles are doing some soul-searching this week after getting thumped in consecutive weeks by San Francisco and Dallas. The Eagles were outscored 75-32 in those two games. There are grumblings about the quarterback as there always are from less astute fans after big losses. Jalen Hurts needs to play better and secure the football as do his counterparts. Still, Philadelphia’s biggest issue is a defense that couldn’t get off the field in the second half of the Super Bowl and has struggled against top-tier opponents all season. The Eagles allow 24.7 points per game. There are only four teams that give up more points per game than Philadelphia.
– Zach Wilson’s play was a pleasant surprise on Sunday. Wilson had his best statistical game of the season; he surpassed 300 yards and did not throw an interception. It would be nice to think that Wilson has turned the corner and could end up being a quality starter, but this is just one game. I will need to see more starting this week in Miami. It is nice to entertain the
possibility that the Jets don’t need to add a quarterback in the offseason. I hope this week’s game doesn’t crush that dream.
– It doesn’t make sense for Aaron Rodgers to take the field this year. Emotionally, I would love for him to play at least one game. It was crushing to go through the offseason salivating about how this offense might look with Rodgers under center only to have him leave the field on the first drive. The possibility that he is again injured behind one of the league’s worst offensive
ines is real and just the kind of thing this franchise doesn’t need to endure.
– Israel Abanikanda had three carries against Houston Sunday. I’d like that number to get to double digits this week against Miami. Abanikanda should be the primary backup to Breece Hall for the remainder of the season.
– Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Ruckert combined for seven catches on nine targets. The tight-end duo posted 94 receiving yards. The Jets offense is at its best when the tight ends are a significant part of the game plan.
– If Zach Wilson does not continue his strong play from Sunday, and the Jets are forced think about a backup for 2024 and starter for 2025 and beyond, the Jets need to see what Kyler Murray and Justin Fields would cost them. Murray and Fields may be available if the Cardinals and Bears fall in love with one of the top-rated college quarterbacks. If the Jets can avoid giving
up their first-round pick, either player would be a nice fit as the heir to Aaron Rodgers.
– DJ Reed flies under the radar as the Jets second most famous cornerback. Reed has been second to none this season, and he deserves a Pro Bowl nod if the Jets poor record doesn’t get the team overlooked for postseason honors.