Buy or Sell: Saints, Ravens and Buckeyes
In an all-football edition of Buy or Sell, RahimAli, Joel and I look at whether a certain aging quarterback could hang it up after the Super Bowl, whether there’s a new answer under center in Baltimore, and whether a college football powerhouse will have to replace its head coach before next season.
RahimAli: Drew Brees Will Win the Super Bowl & Ride Into the Sunset
Joel: It’s tough to buy or sell the Saints winning the Super Bowl. Anything can happen in the playoffs, but I do think the Saints are the NFC’s best teams, so I’ll buy that. Outside of the Rams, I’m not sure anyone in the NFC can compete with the Saints’ offense. They’ve now scored at least 45 points in each of their last three games.
Although I’m buying the Saints winning the Super Bowl, I’m going to sell Brees retiring. It would be ideal for any quarterback to retire after winning the Super Bowl, but I think Brees still has some really good years left in him. He hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. This offense is built to succeed around him. If they do win the Super Bowl this season, they’d still have at least a couple more years in which they could win it again. That could keep Brees around.
Cullen: I’m buying the Saints winning the Super Bowl. I’m still unsure of whether that means Drew Brees will immediately hang them up, though.
As far as the Saints winning it all, I picked them to do so in our predictions at the start of the season. I’m feeling more confident in that pick as the weeks go by, especially after the Saints won their past four games over quality opponents, and all by at least 10 points. They’ve outright slaughtered the Bengals (51-14) and Eagles (48-7) the past two weekends, and in the process forced Cincinnati to fire their defensive coordinator. Brees looks like a legitimate front-runner for MVP right now. If he wins, it wouldn’t be the voters giving it to the old guy over Patrick Mahomes II, Todd Gurley or Jared Goff. He would have earned it.
I agree with Joel that anything can happen in the playoffs, but the gulf between The Haves and The Have Notes is growing, and the Saints and Rams are in a class of their own in the NFC. That would be an epic NFC Championship Game, and I’d take Brees’ moxie and Sean Payton’s experience over the Rams any day.
Looking at the AFC, there’s not a defense in that conference who can slow down Brees, Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram II and Alvin Kamara. Let’s not forget about New Orleans’ defense. That unit is progressing and held Carson Wentz to arguably his worst day as a professional (other than the game in which he was seriously injured).
Looking at whether Brees will retire if the Saints win it all: I doubt it. As Joel also pointed out, Brees should have some good years left. With the new rules protecting quarterbacks, there’s no reason why Brees wouldn’t last as long as, or longer than Tom Brady. Plus, if Payton sticks around, why wouldn’t Brees? That’s a winning duo. While Brees is already a lock for the Hall of Fame, another title would push Payton in, too. With young offensive weapons in Kamara and Thomas, there’s no reason to think 2018 is the last year in which the Saints will compete. Ultimately, I’ll sell Brees pulling a John Elway—this year. He may indeed retire after winning a Super Bowl, but that will be down the line.
Joel: Lamar Jackson Will Run Away with Flacco’s Starting Job the Rest of the Year
RahimAli: I’ll sell Jackson RUNNING away with Joe Flacco’s starting job for the rest of the year. It was nice to see the Ravens come out of the bye week and win a much-needed division game. It was also a their first win in a month after losing three straight games against the Saints, Panthers and Steelers.
With that win, the Ravens are now at 5-5 and tied with several teams like the Colts, Titans, Dolphins and Bengals for the final playoff spot. Of course, we still have plenty of games left. Like Joel said earlier, anything can happen.
I expect to see Jackson start this week against the Raiders, but if he doesn’t take advantage of that weak defense, then Flacco should return for their game against the Falcons. The thing Jackson will need to do is pass more. This isn’t the Bobby Petrino-led Louisville Cardinals, nor is it college football. He was drafted so late in the first round and hasn’t started a game until now.
His stat line was not impressive. He went 13/19 for 150 yards passing with one interception and zero touchdowns. He also ran the ball 27 times for 117 yards. Those are stats that a team’s leading running back should post. But instead, Alex Collins, the Ravens starting running back, got seven carries for 18 yards and the game’s first touchdown. It was nice to see the rookie running back, Gus Edwards, get involved with Jackson, but I’m not sure that’s going to be a six-week situation, especially with them in the playoff hunt again this year.
Cullen: Selling Lamar Jackson taking the job from Joe Flacco.
This has all the ingredients of being another Alex Smith–Colin Kaepernick situation, where Cap took Smith’s job after Smith went down with an injury. Also like in that situation, the head coach in the middle is a Harbaugh–this time John as opposed to Jim back in San Francisco.
A difference: John Harbaugh is most likely coaching for his job, while his brother wasn’t. To me, that means John will be going back to his steady, experienced hand when he’s able to do so, especially with the Ravens still in the playoff mix. I’ve been seeing some articles indicating this is it between the Ravens and Harbaugh. While that may be, I don’t see Harbaugh deciding his last act in Baltimore will be to groom a successor quarterback. It’s going to be to winning. Though Jackson won yesterday, Flacco has a Super Bowl title under his belt. He’s Harbaugh’s guy. If Harbaugh’s going out, he’s going down trying to win it all. Flacco gives him the best shot to do that.
Cullen: Urban Meyer Will Not Be the Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2019
RahimAli: I will sell and say Urban Meyer will, in fact, still be the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2019. Although he and the team had issues with allegations in the beginning of the season that caused him to miss the first three games, his job is safe for 2019. Besides the allegations, the Buckeyes have struggled against inferior opponents, too. Let’s recap their season: they have gone from No. 2 to No. 7 and will likely miss the playoff.
They have one really bad loss to Purdue (49-20) and have had several close calls, like their overtime win against Maryland this past weekend (52-51). They also went head-to-head against lowly Nebraska and barely won (36-31). Let’s not forget they had a slow start against Michigan State before winning that one. All those games have been games that happened after the Purdue loss, but is coach Meyer the one to blame?
The team has clearly lost the motivation to win, but have been fortunate enough to do so. This weekend’s game will be the biggest game of the year for Ohio State. If coach Meyer wants to have his job, he will need to push his team to play the best game they have ever played! I will give you more about how important the game against Michigan really is in my weekly “College Football Games To Watch.”
Joel: I’m going to sell on Urban Meyer not being the head coach of the Buckeyes in 2019. I understand that Meyer has gone through a lot this season with allegations, close games, etc. That can definitely have a toll on someone. While it does seem to have taken a toll on Meyer this year, I think he’s looking forward to the end of the season. He won’t, or at least shouldn’t, be taking time off when the season is over, but it will give him much needed time to recover from the stresses this season has brought.
I believe Urban Meyer’s love for the game will keep him around in 2019, maybe longer. I’m also selling because Meyer has recently said he plans on staying at OSU next year. “I plan on coaching,” was Meyer’s response to questions about his coaching status just last month. Things change, but I believe Meyer will stay.
What do you think?
- If the New Orleans Saints win this year’s Super Bowl, is that it for Drew Brees?
- Has Lamar Jackson supplanted Joe Flacco in Baltimore?
- Will Urban Meyer stay with or leave Ohio State after the season?
Let us know in the comments!