2017’s NFL Midseason Report

Written by :
Published on : November 8, 2017

 

 

In the immortal words of Bon Jovi: “we’re half way there“. The NFL season that is. Week 9 is in the books and the early playoff picture is starting to take shape. Already this year, we’ve seen some wild performances, brutal injuries and some interesting trades. Let’s take a few moments to do some inventory on what was happened so far. This is your 2017 NFL midseason report.

 

Everyone got hurt

There are always injuries in football, that is nothing new but the number of big profile players that have already gone down seems disproportionately high. So far this year we’ve seen major health issues for stars like: Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr, JJ Watt, David Johnson, Julian Edelmen, Andrew Luck, Greg Olsen and Carson Palmer. That’s like one whole fantasy team. And speaking of fantasy, I owned rookie running back Dalvin Cook who was killing it for the Vikings and I until he tore something in his knee and was placed on IR. Bummers all around. By the way, this is by no means the full list of impact players who got hurt but simply the most notable ones.

 

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Wheeling and dealing

Jacoby Brissett left New England’s bench to start in Indy. Adrian Peterson moved from New Orleans crowded backfield to the feature spot in Arizona. Jimmy Garapollo dropped the Pat’s backup clipboard to take over in the San Fran rebuilding project. Wait, if both Brissett and Garapollo are gone then who will play if Brady gets hurt?

 

Then Kelvin Benjamin left Carolina and moved north to Buffalo. And Jay Ajayi departed Miami for Philly. Those guys both know their new stadiums are outdoors right? It’s about to get real cold. But all these moves are real hot.

 

Lions still give me heart issues

Detroit currently sits at 4-4 and have already had their bye week. They started 3-1 and then went 1-3. So it’s hard to say exactly how good this squad is. It’s easy to find positives and negatives on both sides. You hear that the Lions are 3-1 on the road, 2-0 in the division and they sound like they are playoff bound. Then you look at the awful rushing stats paired with the average-at-best pass rush and you think the season is going to be rough. So which is it?

 

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Who knows. The schedule lines up favorably but the Vikings are the current NFC north leaders (6-2) but Detroit beat them once already. A second win over Minnesota (on Thanksgiving!) would go a long way to setting the Lions up for a rare division crown. I can’t bring myself to predict the last 8 games but the schedule has some wins on it for sure. I pray it’s enough for a playoff ticket.

 

It feels like we wait for football all year and then it comes and just flies by. It’s slipping away already, I can feel it. As the last weeks play out and the post season picture comes into focus, my hope is we see some new teams playing in the Super Bowl. Lions vs Chiefs anyone?

 

Glass half empty kind of guy.

 

 


NFL Quarter Season Awards

Written by :
Published on : October 4, 2016

 

 

The 2016 NFL season is a quarter of the way through. Some teams have started slowly, others have flashed brilliance, but all are looking to improve. Let’s glance around the league and hand out some hardware for standout performances both good and bad. These are your 2016 NFL Quarter Season Awards. Or the Quarties as the kids call em.

 

Rookie Award

For the youngbloods who have gone above and beyond their draft status expectations and helped their team in a major way. And the winners are-

 

NFC: QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Many rooks have done well in the NFC this season but none more than Wentz. He is 66 of 102 in attempts for 64% completion percentage. 769 passing yards, 5 TD’s and ZERO turnovers. Beyond a taking a few unnecessary hits, he has played mistake free and has his Eagles 3-0 after their bye week. The future is bright in Philly.

 

AFC: QB Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots

 

He’s only played a few games but this third round pick looked like a pro in his first start. Give Bill Belichick his credit for getting the kid ready but he played with poise and confidence. Oh yeah they beat a solid Houston Texans team 27-0. The Texans were undefeated before that. He lost his second start to the Bills but continues to grow plus there isn’t another AFC rookie that really deserves it.

 

Ageless Wonder Award

In football, 30 is considered old. That’s tough to type because I’m 31. But once you crack that milestone, father time really starts catching up. A few amazing athletes laugh in the face of time and keep kicking ass well past their management created expiration dates. This award is for them.

 

NFC: WR Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens

Steve is ancient in football years at 37 but through 4 games he leads the team in catches, yards and targets. His 281 receiving yards just edges out another oldie but goodie, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Larry is only 33 and sits at 280 yards. It’s amazing these guys refuse to slow down. I hope Smith can keep up his pace and crack 1,000 yards on the year.

 

AFC: RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

33-years-old and doing work. With Le’Veon Bell suspended (again) the first 3 games of the season, the starting running back job went to Williams. He made the most of his time racking up 258 rushing yards, 2 TD’s and zero fumbles in 3 full starts. That’s good for 86 yards a game. Not bad for over the hill. DeAngelo also managed a rushing TD in game 4 with Bell back in action.

 

MVP

This is the award for the best player in the league. Not the best player on the best team. But the single most elite performer playing the game.

 

NFC: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice is killing it right now. Easily the best stats of any quarterback in the league. His 4 starts have seen him rack up crazy video game numbers. 1473 passing yards, 11 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. 368 yards per game is nice but it’s the over 70% completion percentage and few turnovers that have the Falcons flying high at 3-1 and first in the NFC South.

 

AFC: RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

 

The team is 0-4 but at no fault of Crowell. He is running hard. His 394 rushing yards on only 61 attempts is good for 6.4 yards per carry. Which is epic. Crowell also has scored in 3 of 4 games. Maybe if the Browns want to win then they should feed Isaiah the ball. He hasn’t had more than 18 attempts in a game.

 

The Worst

Like the MVP but in reverse. The Anti-christ of playing well. The bottom of the barrel. Pray your name isn’t listed below.

 

NFC: WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Tate used to be a huge part of the Lions’ offense. He posted career years playing with Matt Stafford but is off to a dreadful start. He hasn’t topped 41 yards in any game and only has 14 catches and zero TD’s. He is on pace for 56 catches. For reference, he had 99 and 90 catches the last two years. And he is dropping the ball and running the wrong routes. What happened to this guy?

 

AFC: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

 

Fitz is only completing 55% of his passes and has 4 TD’s and 10 INT’s. There is nothing else to say about this. He should have never trimmed his beard.

 

The Best

This is for the best units in the league.

 

NFC: Minnesota Vikings Defense

The hands down, greatest D in the league. They average only 9.5 points allowed per game. They swarm on tackles and have playmakers at every level. This unit is the main reason the Vikings are 4-0. If they keep playing like this then a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

AFC: Denver Broncos Defense

This crew is giving up 16 points a game but is once again leading the way in the AFC West. This franchise is undefeated in 2016 trying prove they don’t need Peyton Manning to be dominate. It honestly doesn’t matter who is under center as long as Von Miller and company keep up their intensity.

 

 

That’s it for the Quarties. Congratulations to the winners. Unless you won the Worst award. Better luck over the next weeks. Till then, champagne kisses and caviar cars.

 

Glitz.

 

 


Understanding Why the Patriots are so Damn Good

Written by :
Published on : September 28, 2016

 

 

The New England Patriots are 3-0. That isn’t much of a headline because the Pats always seem to be good. Why is that? Why does one franchise seem immune to all the regular pitfalls that every other teams falls into? Are they lucky? Or magic? Or are they just cheaters? They are 3-0 with out suspended QB Tom Brady and have wins from the backup and third stringer. They have mostly been without super-monster tight end Rob Gronkowski. Did I mention the third string QB, Jacoby Brissett, is a rookie? And his first start ever was against JJ Watt and the Texans? Where they won 27-0?  It’s kind of insane. Let’s look at all the angles and figure out why New England is so damn good. Those winning jerks.

 

The System

They run a tight ship over there in Foxborough. They believe in a team first philosophy. Most squads preach some version of this idea but it is gospel in the Patriots locker room. That means, each player is a cog in a larger machine and no one is more important than the machine. If a cog stops being effective (or gets hurt) then it’s replaced. Do your job and you look like a star. Anyone remember Matt Cassel? The Pats don’t give huge paydays to free agents who threaten to leave. They draft well and find talent wherever they can. Often giving vets new life in a stripped down role where they can shine. Players like Randy Moss, Aqib Talib and LeGarrette Blount all thrived in Boston because the system only asks them to do what they are great at.

 

 

Competitive Advantage

The Patriots exploit every facet of the game for maximum returns. This hyper-aggressive efficiency has gotten them in hot water more than a few times. Some call this cheating. They broke the rules so yes, it is cheating. Spygate and Deflategate come to mind. Also, we need a new name for scandals, this constant “gate” bullshit is tired. The league issued their punishments and (for the most part) we’ve all moved on. But even in scandal we can see how the team uses each inch and thread available to them. They push right up and sometimes past the edge. This drive is incredible and responsible for their success and their failures.

 

The Coach

Time to stop pussy-footing around and get to the real answer to why the Patriots are so good. It’s coach Bill Belichick. It’s always been Belichick. And the franchise will continue to be successful as long as he is in charge. SBS’ Alex likes to refer to the coach as Emperor Palpatine. Cruel, funny and accurate in terms of his masterful planning prowess but even that is an oversimplification of Belichick’s amazing football mind.

 

Most teams focus on their strength and work to build that identity. This is how they know they can move the ball. New England doesn’t do this. They obliviously have plays and things they like but the basic ideology is different. Bill’s magic is that he molds his team into the exact creature perfect for hunting and killing your team. They change their identity week-to-week. Not only is it difficult to plan for them but they become your worst nightmare. If you can’t stop the run, then they will transform into a power back system and pound the rock. Weak or young cornerbacks? Deep shots all day. Rookie QB? How about a steady diet of all-out blitz? It’s like playing Rock-Paper-Scissors but Belichick knows what you are going to throw and changes his answer to beat you. It’s almost not fair.

 

 

Why doesn’t every team do this? Some try but most aren’t deep enough or well disciplined enough to pull it off. That’s why the Pats have such high standards about who they draft. Bill Belichick is a guaranteed Hall of Famer. Those silly scandals don’t stack up against 190 wins and 4 Super Bowl Championships with the Patriots franchise. He literally changed the game. It’s a trite saying but it legit applies. I take my hat (or hoodie) off to him.

 

The Pats play the Buffalo Bills at home this Sunday. Jimmy Garoppolo may be back from injury and will be looking for his third win on the year. Jacoby Brissett hurt his thumb in the last game and may be unavailable. If neither can go then wide receiver Julian Edelman will start under center. Which sounds bonkers but they would probably win. Either way, they get Golden Boy, Tom Brady, back for week 5 against the Cleveland Browns. I kind of feel sorry for the Browns because Tom is going to go ape all over their secondary in his return. Each touchdown will be a fuck you to Commissioner Roger Goodell and I expect it to rain f-bombs that afternoon.

 

A fully healthy and stocked roster means the Patriots should be the favorite in every game for the rest of the season. Don’t be surprised to see them stay nearly undefeated the entire year and probably win the Super Bowl. Again.

 

Gold Standard.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


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