by John Newman
This week I conducted an interview with NFL fan Felix Malamud. I asked him about his thoughts on the NFL and his favorite team. Here’s what he had to say:
John Newman: I’m here with Felix Malamud, who’s here to talk about the NFL. Felix is a fantasy football enthusiast and a die-hard Giants fan. So Felix, what are your thoughts on the Giants this season? How do you think they’ve performed?
Felix Malamud: I think the Giants are performing really well; even though they have a very weak running game I think the defense has really balanced that. Eli Manning is playing at a very elite level, Odell is doing his thing. Sterling Shepard has really shown that he fits into the system as a rookie. Other guys on the offense are stepping up, the offensive line looks a little better. Like I said, the defense has really stepped up, and a 6-3 record is only 2 games back of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, who are probably the best team in football right now. I think we’re in really good shape. I like what I’m seeing from the Giants.
JN: So Landon Collins has emerged as one of the best safeties in the league this year. What do you think his presence means to this defense?
FM: It’s huge. I mean, without Landon, the Giants secondary wouldn’t be as good as they are right now. If I’m correct, he leads his team and the NFL in tackle, sacks, and interception for safeties, which shows how important he is to the team. If you watch that game against the Rams in London, you saw his pick 6. That really defined how Landon Collins has played. Not only does he get interceptions, he really shuts down the top receivers on the opposing teams, so it’s like, the defense needs this guy. Without him, the Giants would not be where they are right now.
JN: Who are your picks for Rookie of the Year? How about Offensive Rookie?
FM: I think it’s pretty obvious that Ezekiel Elliott should win Rookie of the Year, even though I like Dak Prescott; the man is a stud. But, Ezekiel Elliott is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing yards record, and he’s really established himself as a top running back in this league, as a rookie. What he’s done, especially last week against the Steelers, 209 total yards and 3 touchdowns, really show what kind of a player Elliott is. A team player, just a guy that… he looks like a 10 year veteran out there. He’s rushed for, about what? 900 yards already? In just 9 games, I mean. The guy is just unbelievab- offensive rookie has to go to Ezekiel Elliott.
JN: What about Defensive Rookie of the Year?
FM: Defensive Rookie? That’s kind of a tough one. Uh… oh man. Well, considering Bosa did hold out for a contract extension, he still has played well for the time that he did play for the Chargers. And right now, he looks like the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He’s really….. even though they’re at the bottom of the AFC West, which is three teams with 7 wins, the Chargers are really hanging in there. And they’ve been a much better team than we’ve expected, and Joey Bosa’s been a big part of that improved Chargers defense. I think he wins defensive rookie.
JN: What team that had high expectations do you think has been the most disappointing?
FM: That’s a good question. I think the Carolina Panthers, because they’re the defending NFC Champions, you have the MVP in Cam Newton. They made a really big mistake of letting Josh Norman go, which has completely destroyed the Panther’s secondary. While the offense is there, Cam Newton’s still playing well in getting to his receivers, the defense has really let him down in games that they should’ve won. Just this week, they had a 17-0 lead at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, and they lost 20-17. The offense stalled, the defense couldn’t hold up, Kelvin Benjamin had a big fumble, but overall the Panthers have just been a complete mess. Other than the Panthers, I think it’s probably Arizona. A team that had very high expectations, who was expected to win the Super Bowl. Their record right now, they’re improving, but they need to step it up, because the offense hasn’t been great, defense is a little shaky. But those are really the two teams I focus on as disappointments, but right now it’s got to be the Carolina Panthers because of their horrific 3-6 record.
JN: Okay Felix, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to do this interview
FM: Thanks, I appreciate it.
*Brackets [ ] indicate last week’s power rankings
1. Cowboys (8-1) 
With the Patriots’ loss to the Seahawks, Dallas now holds the best record in the league at 8-1. Thanks to help of the o-line, rookie HB Ezekiel Elliott became the first player this season to accumulate 1000 rushing yards. QB Dak Prescott has been phenomenal this season, and with Dez Bryant returning from injury, this offense just became even better.
2. Seahawks (6-2-1) 
As somebody who owns Russell Wilson in fantasy football, I know he wasn’t off to a great start this season. But the reason I decided to stick with him was because the Seahawks always seem to turn it around during the second half of the season. Coming off an impressive performance against the Bills, Wilson continued to play well against the Patriots. Seattle was able to win thanks to a goal line tackle by Kam Chancellor and great defense on a pass to Gronk. Nothing good ever comes from passing on the goal line, you’d think the Patriots would know this by now..
3. Patriots (7-2) 
For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Patriots are no longer #1 in the power rankings. They managed to break the record for most passes thrown without an interception, but that changed when Brady threw his first picks of the season to Jeremy Lane and Bobby Wagner. TE Rob Gronkowski got leveled out by FS Earl Thomas, and he ended up puncturing his lung. Luckily for the Patriots, they play the 49ers this week, so it wouldn’t hurt to sit Gronk for this game.
4. Chiefs (7-2) 
At 7-2, the Chiefs have been very impressive thus far. Their win against Carolina wasn’t the prettiest, but it was very entertaining to watch. They rallied against a 17-0 deficit, with Marcus Peters stripping the ball from Kelvin Benjamin to set up the game winning field goal. The Chiefs will take on the Bucs this Sunday at home.
5. Raiders (7-2) 
Oakland (Or soon to be Las Vegas) has also been very impressive this year. They were on a bye last week, and they are tied with the Chiefs for first place in the division. The Raiders have been undefeated on the road this season, 5-0. They’ll be considered the home team for their game in Mexico City against the Texans, a team looking to make a statement.
6. Broncos (7-3) 
The Broncos move to 7-3 after narrowly escaping with a 2 point victory over the Saints. A PAT attempt by the saints was blocked, and there was a ton of controversy over the play. Some people didn’t think holding down the long snapper was aloud, and many thought the broncos player who returned the kick step out of bounds. Regardless, the Broncos were able to get the win. Unfortunately, they’re still currently 3rd place in the very competitive AFC West.
7. Giants (6-3) 
The Giants played the Bengals on Monday Night Football last week, making it their 4th win in a row. S Landon Collins kept up his stellar play, notching a pick and 5 tackles. He’s made a name for himself this season, and at this rate, he may be in contention for DPOTY. The d-line played great, sacking Andy Dalton 3 times. CB Janoris Jenkins held star receiver AJ Green to just 23 yards on 7 targets. Their offense has been stagnant at times, but with a revamped and improved defense, look for the Giants to make noise in the playoffs.
8. Texans (6-3) 
Despite a point differential of -27, the Texans are still 6-3. Most of their wins have been ugly, and their losses have been blowouts. But they’re still getting it done I guess, so you have to give them some credit. They do lead the AFC South, but with the Titans and Colts fighting for the #1 spot, Houston will need to turn it up a notch over their last couple of games.
9. Falcons (6-4) 
The Falcons played their ugliest game of the season in a 24-15 loss to the eagles. A rare Julio Jones drop on 4th down put the game away. But the offense isn’t to blame for this loss. Atlanta’s defense allowed 429 yards, and something needs to change if the Falcons want to be true contenders. Matt Ryan and Julio can’t do it all on their own. Luckily, it looks like Atlanta will still win their division, and the Panthers’ and Saints’ losses gave them breathing room.
10. Lions (5-4) 
The Lions were on a bye last week, but they still managed to win in a way. The Vikings and Packers both loss, which means the Lions are now winning their division. Stafford has been excellent this season, and he needs to keep it up if the Lions want a playoff spot. Detroit will face the Jaguars this week at home.
11. Eagles (5-4) 
After losing back-to-back games on the road, the Eagles were able to catch a break when they beat the Falcons last week. It marked Carson Wentz’ first NFL comeback win, and it was a must needed one. The Eagles are last in the divison at 5-4, and they’ll need every win they can get if they want a playoff spot.
12. Redskins (5-3-1) 
Just like their division rival, Philadelphia, the Redskins were also able to get a huge win last week. In the extremely competitive NFC East, the Redskins need to get every win possible. A 4-4-1 record would’ve really hurt the Redskins playoff chances. But with the 3rd seed, the Redskins are now in control of their own destiny.\
13. Dolphins (5-4) 
After winning 4 games in a row, the Dolphins have quietly emerged as one of the hottest teams right now. It seems like somebody must’ve flipped a switch, or something, because they look like a completely different team. HB Jay Ajayi had another solid game with 79 yards as he continue to have an impressive sophomore season. The Dolphins will travel to LA this week to take on the Rams.
14. Ravens (5-4) 
At 5-4, the Ravens are leading the AFC North. Their defense has been great this season, ranked #1 by Pro Football Focus.They have a real shot at making the playoffs, since the Browns and Bengals are essentially out of the race. It’ll come down to them and the Steelers, but the Ravens will need to find a way to upset the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday.
15. Vikings (5-4) 
The Vikings have lost 4 straight games after starting 5-0, becoming only the 3rd team in NFL history to do so. Their o-line continues to look like a bunch of helpless kittens. I honestly think a revolving door would be an upgrade at this point; at least a revolving door can’t commit holding penalties. Sam Bradford has regressed to his former self, and the defense just isn’t as dominant as they were at the start of the season.
16. Steelers (4-5) 
Similarly to the Vikings, the Steelers have also lost 4 games in a row. They managed to take it down to the wire against the Cowboys, but they just couldn’t stop Ezekiel Elliott from running all over them Luckily for them, they still have a real shot at winning the division. They get the opportunity to break their drought with a game against the Browns this week.
17. Cardinals (4-4-1) 
The Cardinals managed to get a win against the 49ers, but they struggled to do so, winning by only 3. The Cardinals aren’t likely to make the playoffs at this point. Seattle is going to win the division, and a wildcard seems unlikely with the way they’re playing. It’s a shame, they were supposed to be a Super Bowl favorite. Maybe next year.
18. Titans (5-5) 
Mariota and Murray are the future of this team, and they shined this week in a blowout win over the Packers last week. Murray even threw a touchdown pass to TE Delanie Walker, making fantasy owners everywhere happy. Don’t sleep on this team, they’re right behind the Texans and they’ll be fun to watch for years to come.
19. Packers (4-5) 
The Packers got blown out by the Titans last week,47-25. Aaron Rodgers looks nothing like the MVP we’re used to seeing. Mike McCarthy is likely to be fired if they miss the playoffs. They don’t have any real HBs on the roster right now, so their offense is very predictable. We’ll see if they can turn it around when they face the Redskins this week.
EDIT: The Packers have signed HB Christine Michael, he should be a big help to this offense
20. Saints (4-5) 
The scoreboard may say they lost by 2 to the Broncos last week, but they won in my heart. They managed to keep it close against one of the league’s top teams, and they lost due to a bad call by the refs. That’s something they shouldn’t be upset about. The Saints will take on the Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
21. Bills (4-5) 
The Bills looked like they were off to a great start this season, and it actually looked like they could’ve been in the playoff race. Unfortunately, they won’t win the divison as long as Tom Brady is around, and the AFC West 2nd and 3rd place finisher will likely take the wild card spots.
22. Chargers (4-6) 
It was a tough loss to the Dolphins last Sunday that ended their playoff hopes this season. This team is just unlucky with injuries, they definitely have the talent to win.They’ll have their bye this week to get some rest. Hopefully nobody tears an ACL sitting or something like that.
23. Colts (4-5) 
The Colts aren’t out of the playoff race yet, but they’ll have to compete with the Titans and Texans in order to win the division. They were on a bye this week, and they’ll be ready to face the Titans in a must win division game.
24. Bucs (4-5) 
They did manage to beat Chicago last week, but the playoffs is unlikely with Atalanta at 6-4. Winston and Evans have been playing great this season, and they’ve been fun to watch. These two have a bright future together. If the defense improves, this team could be very good in a year or so. They’ll play the Chiefs this Sunday in Kansas City.
25. Bengals (3-5-1) 
In a loss to the Giants last Monday, the Bengals’ o-line failed to do their job. They watched Dalton go down 3 times to a team who is ranked bottom 5 in sacks. It’s looking like the Bengals will miss the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. Marvin Lewis may be out of a job because of his horrible play calling. With all the talent they have on their roster, you’d wonder how much better this team would be with a different coach?
26. Panthers (3-6) 
The defending NFC Champions continue to have a disappointing season, after choking away a 17-0 lead to the Chiefs at home last week. The loss of Josh Norman this offseason has severely hurt the Panther’s secondary, and their offense hasn’t been so hot either. If they keep it up, they’ll keep their streak of not having back-to-back winning seasons.
27. Rams (4-5) 
With a win over the Jets, the Rams kept their small playoff hopes alive. They’ll have to compete with the teams like Redskins, Lions, Cardinals, and Eagles for that last wildcard spot. Jared Goff will start his first NFL game this week, so we’ll see if LA’s offense improves. Look for Todd Gurley to get a lot of touches.
28. Jets (3-7) 
The Jets are coming off a loss last week to the Rams. QB Bryce Petty looked impressive in the first half, but that was it. Coming out of halftime, the Jets reverted back to playing awful. They’ll get to save Jets fans from suffering for this week, at least, on their bye. Their next game is against the Patriots in two weeks.
29. Jaguars (2-7) 
Going into this season, I thought the Jaguars were going to be a sleeper team that would finish around 8-8. Doesn’t seem like that’s the case. QB Blake Bortles has been awful this season. His throwing mechanics are completely off and he’s been inefficient…. except for the 4th quarter of hames. He’s thrown 9 TDs and only 3 picks in 4th quarters this season, compared to 7 TD and 8 picks in the first 3 quarters of games.
30. Bears (2-7) 
In a blowout loss to the Bucs, QB Jay Cutler looked absolutely awful. Kyle Long got hurt. Alshon Jeffery got suspended. Nothing seemed to go right for Chicago this week. Or this season, for that matter. It’s obvious that big changes need to happen this offseason in order to rebuild this team. They’ll take on the Giants this week at Metlife.
31. 49ers (1-8) 
Although they haven’t won a game since week 1, the 49ers didn’t look that bad in a loss to the Cardinals this week. They managed to keep it a 3 point game, and they held David Johnson to under 100 total yards. Despite Kaepernick’s improvement, 49ers fans know he’ll be gone at the end of the season. The 49ers will also need to make a lot of changes this offseason if they want to rebuild.
32. Browns (0-10) 
The Browns continue to suck. At least watching them play will be tolerable when they draft Lamar Jackson next year. At least, that’s what Browns some fans think. Jackson won’t be eligible until the 2018 NFL Draft, which means another year of misery for Cleveland. The success of the Cavs and Indians are hardly enough to balance out the pain of rooting for this team. At least next year can’t be much worse than this, right? R-right?