Willo's 2021 stock report: Week Twelve

By Thomas Willoughby

Housekeeping before we crack on: I’ve a lot on this week, so don’t have the time to really delve into the stocks as deeply as I’d like. That doesn’t mean I’m neglecting it completely, mind. I couldn’t do that to you.

So here, in week twelve, is what’s trending up, what’s trending down, and what’s worth keeping a bit of a glance on moving forward. A short collection of stocks. Or “smol stonks wk12”, as I’ve saved the Google doc as. Let’s go!

Trending Up

Let me tell you about the 2021 Atlanta Falcons. Again. They’re pretty bad. They’ve got maybe a handful of players that you’d consider “starting quality” on most other teams. One of the most fundamentally flawed teams in the entire league. And yet, they 5-6, and somehow in the hunt for a playoff berth. The man making it all tick isn’t their stalwart quarterback, or rookie phenom tight end. It’s a wide receiver that’s played nearly his entire career as a running back, who’s made his name as a kick returner. Cordarrelle Patterson. The best player in the National Football League.

Need proof? In the two games prior to this Sunday’s commute to Jacksonville, the Falcons mustered 3 points across 8 quarters of football. Granted, they were playing two sides with aspirations beyond just being competent. But those three points came with Cordarrelle Patterson on the field. He left the game early in Dallas, and didn’t suit up against the Patriots. Exactly 0 points without him. The Falcons scored a first-quarter touchdown in Jacksonville. Patterson scampered home for the score. Coincidence? I think NOT.

Through 10 games, Patterson has his most ever receiving yards, most ever rushing yards, and most ever touchdowns. He’s having a breakout season in every sense of the word, and he’s 30 years old. His 2021 is enough to make you question what the hell everyone was thinking when they’ve had him over the past eight seasons. If (and that is a huge if, given their remaining schedule), the Falcons make the playoffs, we need a serious discussion about Cordarrelle Patterson being the league’s MVP. I’m only partially joking, too. The fact we’re in this situation is a testament to his performances this season.

Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Keep An Eye On

Here comes the Football Team, I guess. A season that looked to be derailed early on is well and truly back on track. Starting 2-6, and looking listless, Ron Rivera’s side has now rattled off three wins on the spin, including the final nail in Seattle’s coffin. They’re rolling, well and truly. 

I’ve given Washington stick in the past. As recently as week six. Let it be known that the Football Team were in dire straits, both on and off the field. Chase Young, the apple of their eye, was put on injured reserve, spelling an end to his season. Washington should have been dead and buried. But they’ve found a way to get it done, and have found a way to drag themselves back into playoff contention. 

It hasn’t been pretty. They very nearly blew it against Seattle. Carolina played them close. But they made a statement against Tampa three weeks ago. There’s a bit of an aura around them. They’ve no true superstars, but they’re a collective. They’re a side greater than the sum of their parts, and that spirit might well be enough to propel them into a playoff berth. And good luck to them. They’re far better value than some others in that group.

Trending Down

I’m reluctant to say goodnight to them completely, on the basis that my words might come back to haunt me. But they’re certainly being waved to as they head off over the horizon. The New Orleans Saints are pretty bad, folks. They’re 5-6, despite starting pretty well with Jameis at the helm. They’re on a four-game losing streak, and are about to install Taysom Hill as their full-time starting quarterback. This might be it for them.

New Orleans played host to the Bills on thanksgiving. They lost 31-6. The Bills literally thanked the Saints for giving them the win (see what I did there?). And they were awful, too. They had very few answered for a Bills offense in a bit of a hole of late. Their own offense? Didn’t bother showing up. Granted, they were without Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. But they offered next to nothing through the air, and even less on the ground.

The Saints have had it pretty rough all season, with injuries to key players littering their year before it had even started. You just get the feeling this is becoming a bit too much now for Sean Payton to scheme his way out of. The Saints, despite being in that playoff mess, have the feeling of a team heading down rather than up. They host the Cowboys this Thursday. That might be curtains.

Butch Dill - AP Photo

Featured Image Credit: Patrick Smith – Getty Images

Thomas Willoughby