Each week, Hall of Fame wide receiver and Westwood One Sunday Night Football analyst James Lofton tells you about the teams, players and trends that are on the way out and those that are on the way up around the NFL.
OUT: Out of the playoff hunt. WAY out. The Oakland Raiders are 0-10 and over the next six weeks the only hunt they’ll be part of is the hunt for a win to avoid 0-16, the hunt to secure the #1 pick in the 2015 Draft and the hunt for another new head coach.
IN: Believe it or not, the Atlanta Falcons — who at one point had a five-game losing streak — now find themselves tied for first place with the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Basement. Sorry, that’s the NFC South. In fact, Atlanta has the tie-breaker thanks to a 4-0 record in the division. Yep, you did the math correctly. The Falcons are perfect against the Saints, Bucs and Panthers – and 0-6 against everybody else.
UP! As in, next man up. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton stepped back in for Carson Palmer and did enough. With a little help from his defense, Stanton has these birds flying high at 9-1.
SMASH: In route lingo, the smash is a combination route with a corner being run from the slot position and a drive route from the outside. The drive route settles against zone and stays on the move inside at five yards depth against man coverage. The New England Patriots offensive line smashed the Colts defense into a corner as Jonas Gray posted a 201-yard, four touchdown game.
HOOK: That’s what the Washington fans want applied to RGIII. The Washington faithful was chanting for Colt McCoy in their team’s loss to the Bucs. While it is an election year, and democracy is wonderful, head coach Jay Gruden holds the veto power on this one.
DOUBLE MOVE: Back-to-back 50-point home outings by the Green Bay Packers make me think it would be a good idea to just post a Packer in the stands; that way they would save their legs from all that leaping. Speaking of legs, Packers kicker Mason Crosby kicked off 20 times (!!) in the last two weeks. Has a kicker ever made the Lambeau Leap? Crosby might be worthy of one.
– James Lofton
Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton is the analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of Sunday Night Football. This weekend you’ll find James in New Jersey, where the New York Giants play host to the Dallas Cowboys. Coverage begins Sunday at 7:30 PM Eastern.