Kirk Cousins in prime time would seem to be an advantage for the other team. The other team being the Eagles would seem to be an advantage for Kirk Cousins. Something has to give.
Kirk Cousins is QB purgatory for all
In the spotlight of nationally televised games, Kirk Cousins struggles. Since becoming a full time starter in 2015 Cousins, or rather Cousin’s teams, are 8-16 on Sunday, Monday or Thursday nights, including a nine game losing streak on Monday nights. The worst passer rating of his career is in night games, and in three playoff starts he has just 3 TDs and has been sacked 14 times. It’s unfair to blame a QB alone for a team’s record, but across two franchises Kirk Cousins has a nine and a ten win season, two seven win seasons, and three eight win seasons. His teams are never good enough with him and come up short in big games, but they’re also never bad enough to bottom out and replace him. He is 60-59-2 as a starter. By the end of next season he’ll have made over $230 million. Kirk Cousins is QB purgatory personified.
But he’s playing the Eagles, who he has been successful against. He is 6-3 against them, and his 21 TDs and 2756 yards are the most he has against any franchise (and he’s played five other teams as much as or more than the Eagles). If his entire career was played against the Eagles, he’d have the second best passer rating in NFL history. If he played a full season against them, he’d have 40 TDs and 5200 yards, which are MVP numbers.
The Eagles are not alone in struggling against him, Cousin’s record against division opponents past, present and future is perfectly Kirk Cousins: a great record, a bad record, and everything between, and of course he puts up some numbers.
Kirk Cousins vs divisional opponents
But there is hope! The Eagles are 4-2 following a loss to Kirk Cousins. The rest of the league is 20-28 following a loss or tie to him. Eagles fans are not alone in their Sundays being ruined by Kurt Coupons lighting them up, he puts every team in purgatory.
At least if it happens this week, you can immediately go to bed and when you wake up feel good about the next game.
Rust Does In Fact Sleep
If you want to make the case that resting starters in the preseason leads to a rusty team to start the regular season, there is a bit more than anecdotal evidence for that claim.
”Rested” teams are now 7-13 in openers in 2021-2022, 4-10 when head-to-head matchups are erased, with several playoff contenders (and also the Falcons) getting blown the heck out.
This does not include the Eagles, who didn’t completely rest starters. But the Eagles only barely missed out, after the opening possession in the preseason every key starter on offense and defense did not play again until the regular season began. The first team offense played 8 snaps, the first team defense played 5. Better than nothing is still close to nothing.
And they looked similar to the teams that didn’t play their starters at all. The offensive line looked like it hadn’t fully woken up, which makes sense when you remember that it went through most of the preseason without Jason Kelce. The defense looked discombobulated, which makes sense when you remember that of the 15 players who played 20+ snaps, 5 are new to the team, one hadn’t played since Week 3 of last year, and another who played 100% of snaps wasn’t a starter last year. Jonathan Gannon deserved plenty of criticism, but he’s also working with a lot of turnover that has no real experience playing with each other. And yes, they had joint practices with the Browns and Dolphins, but everyone does this now, and has been doing it for years.
Two of the teams that rested starters last year and lost in Week 1 were the Packers and Titans, who finished the season with the #1 seed. It’s a long season.
Stat of the Week That Might Only Interest Me
Devonta Smith vs Detroit 2022: 4 targets 0 receptions, 0 yards
Devonta Smith vs Detroit 2021: 3 targets 1 reception, 15 yards
Sandwiched around that game last year Smith had 5 catches for 61 yards and 5 catches for 116 yards.
Top 5 MST3K/RiffTrax Episodes
That aren’t Manos: The Hands of Fate or Plan 9 From Outer Space
1. The Final Sacrifice
I wonder if they have beer on the sun
2. The Horrors of Spider Island
The Horrors of Spider Island!
This is absolutely fascinating
5. Time Chasers
Some very limited entertainment