Sports Column: The panic button: NFL edition


Hello there, sports fans from all around campus. I came upon a sad but very real truth last Sunday: the NFL season is almost halfway over.

This can be daunting and somewhat traumatizing; however, it made me realize that we should appreciate what we have and live every day as if it were our last.

This epiphany also brought the age old question to my mind: “Which teams are hitting the ol’ panic button?” It’s a simple question with very complex answers. However, that’s why I’m here. Let’s look at a few borderline teams and see if they’re hitting the panic button at this point in the season.

Dallas Cowboys: Yes

They literally just did. The Dallas Cowboys have officially traded a first round pick for Amari Cooper. I had actually already decided that the Cowboys were hitting the panic button pre-trade, but this confirms it 100 percent.

Cooper is a good receiver, but Dallas doesn’t play the type of football to compliment his game. They have a run-heavy offense and a quarterback that is iffy at best. Dak Prescott hasn’t proven that he can be accurate at all from a game to game basis, and they just traded a first-round pick for a deep threat receiver? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

If Cooper can somehow prove to be a Deandre Hopkins-type guy that can make any quarterback look good, then sure, it’s a great move, Jerry Jones, but for now, the move seems dumb. Now they’re putting him with a worse passer and a less pass-dependent offense than the Raiders and expecting him to produce more. What are you doing Cowboys?

Yet I guarantee you that all of their fans think they’re going to the Super Bowl. They’ll see in due time how much they’ll be missing that first round draft pick.

Baltimore Ravens: No

The Ravens are good somehow. When you look at their numbers offensively, you’ll see that their best receiver right now is John Brown and that their most productive running back is Javorius Allen.

You would think “Oh, so the Ravens are bad,” but the thing is, they’re not. Their defense gets most of the credit for this. They lead the league in total defense rank, allowing only 281 yards per game. The Ravens don’t have a lot of outstanding players on that side of the ball either. They just have a plethora of really solid guys who get the job done.

Even though they lost last week due to Justin Tucker’s first extra point miss of his career, they held the Saints to 24 points. That was the second time that New Orleans had been held under 33 points this season.

This defense does enough to give Joe Flacco and his ragtag group enough tries to eventually score a few touchdowns. On a more serious note, elite quarterback Flacco is having a really good season and is playing within himself to make for a fairly efficient Ravens offense. Having some bigger targets to look for downfield compliments his game.

Willie Snead IV has been a solid third down guy for them, and Michael Crabtree paired with Brown are two great sets of hands to have downfield. Allen is a great pass catching back as well that has proven that he can make guys miss in the open field.

They’re definitely not a big play team, but they’re very methodical and move down the field slowly but surely. They sit now at 4-3 in third for the AFC North, but don’t be surprised if they overtake the Steelers and the Bengals for that first place spot by the end of the season. Whether it’s by winning the division or by taking the wildcard, I think we’ll see them in the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars: No

Ok, this defense is good. I don’t know why they suck now, but they’re good. Give me 20-1 odds on the Jags to make the playoffs and I’ll put $100 down right now. If I were to make a prediction, I would say that Leonard Fournette comes back week 9 and starts running all over the league.

This allows Blake Bortles to assume his prime form, being the secondary option, and throw the ball much better and more efficiently. Then the very skilled but immature Jaguars defense gets out of this rut and starts locking up once more.

As of right now, things look bad. However, I think they have all the tools to turn things around and become a force in the NFL once more. It will most likely all be tied with Fournette’s return. I kept it short and sweet Jags fans, don’t panic just yet.

Thanks for reading everyone and I’ll have more to say in a few weeks. In the meantime, be good and watch some football.

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