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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

The NFL Stock Exchange: What teams to buy, sell, or hold after weeks 1 and 2.


NFL teams are like stocks. As fans, we watch every Sunday and evaluate their increasing or decreasing value, like anxious Wall Street traders watching their portfolio. We watch whether they are progressing or regressing, whether they’re meeting expectations or falling flat, and whether they have upside potential or will crash. At the beginning of the season are when these stocks are at their most volatile, as teams make their first impressions and we make our early judgments and predictions. With the first two weeks in the books, here are two teams to buy, two to sell, and one to hold off on.

BUY: Miami Dolphins

Apart from Tua Tagivilioa’s injury history, the biggest area of concern for the Miami Dolphins has been their placement in a stacked AFC conference. Many thought they wouldn’t cut it. Well, the rest of that stacked AFC conference is struggling, and the Dolphins look better than ever. The Dolphins have defeated  the Chargers and the Patriots, the former a talented offense and the latter a top-tier defense, both in away games no less. With nine home games yer to be played on their schedule, it only goes up from here.

This should surprise no one. If you have a great and young QB in Tua Tagovailoa, the two fastest receivers in the league in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the fastest running back in the league in Raheem Mostert, and an offensively brilliant coach in Mike McDaniel pulling all the strings, you’re going to win games. It’s a linear equation.

Defensively, the Dolphins have made large strides with the hiring of Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio. And with star cornerback and offseason acquisition Jalen Ramsey slated to make his Dolphins debut in December, their defense will only improve. Tua Tagiviloa’s concussion history is noteworthy, but it shouldn’t stop you from considering the Dolphins  top-tier Super Bowl contenders. They look as complete as ever. If you hadn’t bought in before, buy now.


SELL: Chicago Bears

Turbulent seasons are familiar territory for the Bears, but it feels like they’ve imploded in record time. With the offseason acquisition of star receiver DJ Moore, and an eruption of Justin Fields hype, many of us had hopes for a legitimate playoff push. It’s clear now that is not going to happen.

Bears are 0-2, and against teams that were meant to be easier stops on the schedule. They have lost to the Packers and the Buccaneers, and neither game has been close. The first was an outright blowout and the other was a constant playing of catch-up. I had a lot of excuses for Fields after the opener against the Packers, but a blatantly bad performance against the Buccaneers made me defenseless for the young QB. Fields just isn’t seeing the field like he needs to. There’s a million camera angles now, there’s no hiding it. There’s guys wide open and he’s taking sacks. He doesn’t look comfortable or natural in the pocket, an area the Bears (and himself) aimed to improve. There are bursts of great drives, but their offense is sterile. Don’t be fooled, this team isn’t much better than the one that went 3-14 last season. The offensive line is horrible, the defense is completely powerless, and the play calling from Head Coach Matt Eberflus and Offensive Coordinator Luke Getsy is flat at best, and legitimately shocking at worst. No quarterback would thrive in this, but there’s concrete evidence of Fields falling short on opportunities that any QB worth his salt should capitalize on. He’s thrown as many pick-sixes as touchdowns with two a piece.

On Tuesday, Fields blamed his ‘robotic’ play to the coaching, an unprecedented level of openness. He would try to walk it back later, but the damage is done. Under mysterious circumstances, the resignation of defensive coordinator Alan Williams followed. The Bears are in pandemonium. I’m not ready to write off Fields as a whole, but the Bears clearly won’t be going anywhere this season. Panic sell.


HOLD: Philadelphia Eagles

There’s no doubt that the Eagles are a good team, that’s non-negotiable. But is this the NFC juggernaut that everyone was expecting?  They’re off to a 2-0 start with wins over the Patriots and Vikings, but neither  has been impressive. Jalen Hurts is averaging 181.5 passing yards per game, not even breaking into the top-25 so far. While Philadelphia has found some compensation with their ground game, DeAndre Swift won’t have another 175 rushing yard game like he did against Minnesota, it isn’t sustainable. The Eagles offensive line has allowed 7 sacks on Hurts, tied for the 8th most in the league. The Eagles have allowed a total 652 passing yards, the second most in the league, to Mac Jones and Kirk Cousins.

Coming off a narrow Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, we’ve been sold the Eagles as the team-to-beat in the NFC in spite of Super Bowl hangover superstition, but they look like they’ve regressed. If you look at the other top-contenders of the NFC, the Cowboys and 49ers, they started their seasons with statement wins. The 49ers blew the Steelers out of the water 30-7, Cowboys shut out the Giants 40-0. The Eagles are getting outyarded by the Patriots and Vikings.

Maybe it’s just offseason rust, as Head Coach Nick Sirriani implied when he admitted he would’ve played the Eagles starters in the preseason looking back. But maybe it is something much more serious. If the Eagles don’t start shaping into mid-season form soon, it might be time to sell. In the meantime, hold your stock in the Eagles.


BUY: Los Angeles Rams

A great quarterback and a great coach will make it work, even if that means Puka Nacua getting 20 targets a game. Nearly everyone expected the Rams to dwell at the bottom of the NFC this season, but they look reinvigorated. The Rams began their season with a shocking 31-13 win over the Seahawks, and followed it up with a close game against the San Francisco 49ers, the best team in the NFC. It’s not a fluke, this is a legitimately good team.

While Cooper Kupp remains out until at least week 5 on the injury reserve, the Rams have been utilizing a grassroots arsenal of offensive weapons consisting of almost all young and unproven players. Among the notable ones are WR Tutu Atwell and RB Kyren Williams, but most surprising is fifth round draft pick and rookie Puka Nacua who has put up 266 yards and 25 receptions over their first two games. On the defensive side of the field, the Rams defense isn’t anything to write home about but anchored by Aaron Donald, they get the job done.

Stafford and McVay are working with scraps, and it’s a testament to both of them that they are making it work. The NFC is top-heavy, but wide open. Once Kupp returns, there’s no telling what their ceiling is. Buy now.


SELL: Los Angeles Chargers

As the Rams are succeeding with scraps, the Chargers are falling flat with one of the most expensive and star-studded rosters in the league. This season is a crucial crossroads for Los Angeles, as they commit to QB Justin Herbert with a massive 5-year 262.5 million dollar extension in hopes to finally get over the hump. Well, they’re off to an 0-2 start, with two straight overtime losses. The Chargers home opener 34-36 loss to the Miami Dolphins raised some concerns about the team’s defense, but considering Miami’s offensive ability, many didn’t think too much of it. But as the Chargers dropped their second game to the Tennessee Titans, Chargers fans and football observers nationwide were quick to sound the alarms.

The Chargers allowed the Titans to score 27 points, an amount the Titans only reached once all last year. This is a team with the highest-paid safety in Derwin James, and the third and sixth highest-paid edge rushers in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. This is baffling. When you’re failing to meet expectations like the Chargers have, the fans need to point their pitchforks at someone, and it’s been Coach Brandon Stalley. Rightfully so. The majority of the problem lies with his poor coaching ability, but maybe we oughta look at Justin Herbert. Losing two straight overtime games, both of which the Chargers got first possession, is absolutely an indictment of your ability to lead your team, especially when you have Keenan Allen and Mike Williams as your targets. All in all, his performances thus far haven’t been anything disastrous, but when you’re getting paid 52 million a year, you need to be able to close out games especially when you’re going head to head with Ryan Tannehill.

The entire team’s performance has been inexcusable. It’s just not clicking. They might fire Stalley and try to turn things around, but I’ve seen too many red flags to consider this team a legitimate force in the AFC, at least for this year. Sell before it gets ugly.

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About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

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    J.R. DababnehSep 22, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    Solid piece Sam