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NFL 2016-17 Season Discussion

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4-0 BABY!!!!!


Sam Bradford, I should've never doubted you. You stand in the pocket behind our craptastic Oline and throw strikes when we need them. 


And that defense was one Paul Perkins "Beast Mode" run from holding the Giants to 3 points. Also, Odell Beckham was invisible except for when he was throwing a hissy fit because Rhodes was shutting him down. This defense is legit. 


It's too bad that they're going to lose the Superbowl when Blair Walsh misses a 23 yd. FG as time expires. Because they're the Vikings and that's what they do.

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Okay, 2016 is starting to somewhat resemble 2000 in how random and unpredictable this season is looking to be like.  And to my knowledge, none of the experts have been able to even nail these right.  It's true; and it pretty much confirms that there is not script, and no rigging (heck, in the Patriots game last weekend, the refs made up for refs needlessly fixing a game they were never gonna lose anyways by denying a surefire touchdown when their opening play was called back on a really brutal penalty).  So let's try to figure out some sort of sense to be had with this weekend's games (after a 7-8 finish has put me squarely at 31-32 so far this season):


Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers:  Are the Cardinals truly this bad, and we are suddenly becoming aware of this?  Perhaps if anything, the Cardinals hyper-aggressive playstyle has come back to bite Bruce Arians in the rear as the rest of the league have applied their defensive gameplan with the express purpose of punishing said aggressive playstyle.  Perhaps Carson Palmer has finally hit his stride and is slowing down.  Perhaps he has lost his confidence.  If it's any of the latter two categories, then perhaps Drew Stanton might be able to put this team back on track offensively.  The fact that they were able to score 40 points against the Buccaneers shows their offense is still capable of playing at an explosive level.  The 49ers are not much better than the Buccaneers, either.  Ergo, I'm leaning more towards the Cardinals winning.


New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns:  So, what if Tom Brady is rusty?  What if age is catching up with him?  Does it really matter?  The Browns are the last remaining team without a regular season win (trivia:  There are 17 teams in the league so far that are 1-3 thus far, and the Browns are the 18th team with a losing record at 0-4).  Patriots win this one--may it be 42-0 or 24-20 due to rust/age.  Doesn't matter.  Patriots are not gonna get shut out again.  In fact, they're gonna win.  Guarantee it.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions:  Now, an early bye week can prove rather harmful for a football team that looks to be on the rise--particularly when their hot streak comes to a screeching halt because of this.  With that said, I still cannot imagine the Eagles losing to the Lions--not the way they've been playing.  Even if Carson Wentz has an off day, that defense of theirs is one of the very best units in the league (remember:  They humiliated the high-powered Steelers offense 34-3).  Eagles win this one.


Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts:  You know, the Colts offense is still really good, but their defense is even more putrid, especially their scoring defense.  The Bears, on the other hand, suck on both sides of the coin, and only got the edge over the Lions last week because of Matthew Stafford's turnovers.  Until that point, the Bears couldn't stop anybody from scoring on them, and they still cannot score that many points, not even with Bryan Hoyer.  Of course, against the Colts, I am expecting a high-scoring affair.  But I still think the Colts will win this game.  The Bears are simply bad, bad, bad.


Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins:  Something a ton of these 1-3 teams have in common is that they can rack up a ton of points, but they cannot stop anybody from scoring against them.  The Titans and Dolphins are a whole different breed of bad.  Their defenses are pretty good, but their offenses are horrid.  The Titans' offensive line in particular have successfully reduced Marcus Mariota to hurry up his throws to receivers who are sorely lacking in any kind of chemistry or rhythm.  Their offensive schemes call for a conservative approach, which doesn't work when your defense is, at best, a bend-don't break defense.  The Dolphins at least have some degree of defensive aggression.  But Adam Gase is coaching what is essentially a patchwork team when many of the longtime veterans had lost their starting jobs due to their lack of production as well as their priorities in which winning happens to not be on the table.  Who wins?  Well, since I have only gotten the Titans pick right once--and they needed help from the refs in order to win that game--then I'm gonna have to go with the Dolphins.  Though depending on who is reffing that game, I might be willing to change my pick here.


Houston Texans @ Minnesota Vikings:  Have the Purple People Eaters truly risen from the grave to succeed where the Vikings legends of the past have failed?  Well, one thing's for certain--even without Bridgewater or Peterson, this team still finds ways to keep winning games.  Meanwhile, J. J. Watt is out for the year, and Brock Osweiller is having trouble with consistency.  This is likely going to be a brutal game for Osweiller as the Vikings roll over to 5-0 to start the season.


New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers:  Steelers are winning this one.  I mean, if the Chiefs can blow out and humiliate the Jets, and the Steelers can do the same to the Chiefs, I can't imagine how the Jets could possibly keep up with that explosive offense.


Atlanta Falcons @ Denver Broncos:  Tough one.  I mean, across the board, this is essentially the best offense in all of football facing one of the league's best defenses.  So long as neither Simien nor Lynch turn the ball over, and the rest of that Broncos team can come out on top.  In fact, after foolishly picking against the Broncos the first two weeks of the regular season, I'm gonna continue to support my Denver Broncos on this one.  It won't be a humiliating win like it was against the Buccaneers, but the Falcons, in my eyes anyways, aren't exactly a huge upgrade over the Bengals or Panthers.


Washington Redskins @ Baltimore Ravens:  Another tough one.  But given that the Ravens started 3-0 against three of the worst teams in the NFL, and then they couldn't finish against a Raiders team on the rise, and now the Redskins are coming in and looking tougher and more convincing as a tough football team.  Close one, but I like the Redskins to win this one.


Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys:  This is perhaps the toughest game to properly gauge.  Specifically, just how good are the Bengals and the Cowboys?  We'll find out after this weekend.  Especially since of all the teams to have beaten the Jets, the Bengals were the one team that came the closest to losing that game.  And then last week's Thursday Night Football, the Bengals reached the end zone exactly once, and then settled for field goals the rest of the way.  I don't think the Cowboys' defense is quite as good as the Dolphins, but that offense can dictate the line of scrimmage, and it can score points against a Bengals team that really only has a single answer at receiver in A.J. Green.  I'm leaning towards the Cowboys on this one--I have a feeling the Bengals have reached the point at this stage that the playoffs are suddenly going to be a given.  After five straight one-and-dones in the playoffs (basically, Marvin Lewis is the next Jim Mora--at least Mora only reached the postseason in consecuvitve seasons once in his head coaching career), I now have this feeling that this will be the final nail in the coffin for Marvin Lewis' head career coaching the Bengals.  Cowboys win.


San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders:  You know, if the Chargers had any capacity whatsoever to finish games, they would have been 4-0.  That's how bad this team is, especially when it comes to the second half.  And on top of that, it seems like they get a new player placed on injury reserve every week.  The Raiders are hot, and if the Chargers couldn't put the Chiefs away in Week 1, why in the world would I even pick them to beat the Raiders?  Raiders win.


Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams:  Both teams are attempting to challenge us--and by extension, the media establishment--just how good they really are.  Both Rex Ryan and Jeff Fischer have a ton to prove, and with their current teams, they haven't done it yet.  To my knowledge, Fischer's on the last year of his contract--and while I heard he may have gotten an extension, this season is pretty much a do-or-die scenario for both teams.  The Bills probably need this win more than the Rams do, but I'm gonna go with homefield advantage here.  The Rams win this one methinks.  Unless something rather drastic happens.


New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers:  Simply put, I don't think this is a slam dunk.  Both of the Packers' victories actually came in spite allowing their opponents to rally to less than a touchdown away from completing the potential comeback.  Even after they were humiliating the Lions and Jaguars, both teams still came awfully close at knocking at the door to an upset.  Not to mention the Giants have been far more effective at finishing games than the Packers have been so far this year.  But the Packers have been successful at finishing games in spite of this.  But I think the odds favor the Packers when you take these stats into consideration--although don't rule out the Giants to potentially pull the upset.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers:  It's possible Cam Newton might not even be able to play this game.  Not that it really matters; after an upset win that put the Buccaneers squarely on the path to potentially compete for a playoff spot, they have stunk it up considerably.  Two weather delays in back-to-back weeks, late in both times (including against the Rams where they had an opportunity to win), and the head coaches couldn't even be bothered to make the proper readjustments on both sides of the ball in order to lead a comeback?  Even against a team going through Super Bowl loser's fatigue whose starting quarterback might not even be able to play due to concussion protocol, how does anybody even expect a Bucs team to even pull off an upset if their head coach can't even properly motivate their team to get out there and play their hearts out?  Even in misery, the Panthers have better morale, are better coached, and are the better team.


Now, contrary to past weekends, I'm gonna actually keep tabs on what is going on throughout the week and try to cross-examine each team statistically.  One of my problems is that I simply haven't been given the opportunity to watch games.  I've lost interest ever since the NFL started making a huge deal off of these National Anthem Protests, and even if that wasn't a factor, I've had to work during these games anyways.  I've only ever really got the opportunity to watch Thursday Night games rather closely, and the rest were simply glanced at during NFL RedZone (which I won't be able to watch this weekend because a change of my work schedule, anyways).  So I actually will have to really study up from here on out in order to make the proper weekly predictions since these 17 1-3 teams are all killing me, and it simply isn't fun watching these teams make an ass out of themselves.

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The NFL's first 4 weeks of ratings are down 11% across the board. Speculation is that the presidential election is the cause. The worries revolve around if this is a longer term trend, which no one will know until after 2016. Personally, I don't think the NFL should be too concerned, but that being said, it wouldn't surprise me if all of the issues it's faced in the past two years during Goodell's reign are starting to etch away at the casual fan base. PEDs, domestic violence, the Tom Brady soap opera, concussions, and the National Anthem stuff is enough to make many casual fans that I know tune out. The owners aren't going to be thrilled with this. Football (sports) is escapist entertainment, more so than most forms of entertainment, because it offers no tangible narrative on game day that keeps viewers interested other than the play of the sport itself. Once you taint the image of the entertainment, as baseball did with its PEDs era in a sport heralded as 'American's Pasttime,' you're gonna take a hit. Goodell's mission to pursue expanding football's reach to the luke warm casual fan might be part of football's undoing, because the ad revenue generated by the casual fan's viewing habits is temporary and fluid. I'll be fascinated to see how the NFL front office spins decline in viewership if those numbers don't significantly pick up once the election season is over next month.

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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Bonus NFL thread prognostication:


At some point, Jim Irsay drops GM Grigson for being the hack that he is; takes too long to find the right fit replacement GM to build a team around Luck; Luck's reliability drops with his confidence; Irsay trades Luck in his prime (for greatest value) to rebegin the rebuilding process, freeing up the necessary $$$ to build around a stout base defense; Andrew Luck never leads the Colts to a Lombardi trophy; still suffering from a P. Manning hangover, the Indianapolis fans publicly come out against Luck as their franchise QB; Andrew Luck goes down as one of the greatest missed opportunities in Colts history, and eventually has a winning career in another franchise.


Does this happen in 2018? 2019? 2020? Not sure, but I've got a feeling it's coming, and prior to the end of Luck's sixth year contract renewal. In three years, Luck won't be the highest paid QB anymore, and other teams will value a trade for him being far more reasonable than it is today, incentivizing Irsay to ship Luck and get the most bang for his buck.

Edited by Maynard_G_Krebs

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Interesting factoid:  Colts have never won at Indianapolis against Bears.  Last time they beat them at home was 1983 - in OT (22-19) - at Baltimore.



Picks:  Bal, Pat, Eag, Indy, Tit, vikings, Pit; Talib; Dak, Rams, Rai; Pac; Panthers


Edited by Bolt

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Okay, I won my Week 5 pick with the Arizona Cardinals.  But, I've switched a couple of my picks.


For example, after carefully examining how the Dolphins and the Titans compare statistically, I decided to switch over from my Miami Dolphins pick to the Tennessee Titans.  Because statistically speaking, the Dolphins look like they are quite possibly the worst team in the entire NFL across the board (even compared to the Cleveland Browns, who at least rank number 1 overall rushing).  Then again, the Carolina Panthers seem to rank number 4 in total offense and in the top ten in total defense so far this season, while the Rams have the absolute worst offense in the entire league and a marginal (at best) defense statistically speaking, and yet the Rams have a much healthier starting record than the Panthers.  So what do I know?  Heck, the Raiders rank dead last in total defense so far this season, and they took the upset victory against the Baltimore Ravens, who had the number 1 ranked defense.


Speaking of which, I also decided to switch my Washington Redskins pick over to the Baltimore Ravens when I learned of the Ravens' number 1 ranked defense.  It's probably fools gold though since they barely lost to a Raiders team whose defense so far is virtually nonexistent, and they piled up their stats against the Bills, Browns, and Jaguars.  Although to be fair, it's not like the Bills are a terrible football team (at least not yet).  But, it makes my Redskins pick seem a bit premature for the time being.  Especially since those other offenses (except the Browns' running game) were not very good, and only the Raiders had a very good offense.


The gutsiest switch that I'm gonna make is that in spite the unanimous pick for the Green Bay Packers from the "experts," I'm gonna go with the Giants with the road upset.  Why?  Well, their offensive and defensive stats look appalling (although in the latter's case, it could be argued that their defensive woes are merely the product of garbage yards they were so willing to surrender in the second half).  In stark contrast, the Giants statistically actually looks like a fairly confident pick to make.  Ignoring the Packers' recent history as well as the Giants, the Giants look like a superior statistical team in virtually every meaningful way than the Packers.


So after my switches, the easy picks suddenly became Eagles, Vikings, Steelers, Raiders, and Panthers.  I'm also fairly confident in the Patriots and Broncos winning their games as well (even though they are nowhere near the shoe-in that others may opine--maybe Brady merely serves as a middling improvement on the team's offense, and the Browns compete with them until the bitter end; meanwhile, Paxton Lynch could potentially have a bad day and the Falcons take the opportunity to cash in the victory).  But my picks for them will not change.  Ultimately depends on how Paxton Lynch and Tom Brady play.


The toughest picks this week are as follows:


Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts

Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams


And no, recent NFL history is not a valid statistic to go on in making your picks.  Of the last seven meetings between the Bears and Colts, the only time the Colts had won was in Super Bowl XLI.  As ugly as the Colts defense looks, do you honestly trust Brian Hoyer to beat Andrew Luck in a shoot-out?  I doubt it.  I also have confidence in the Cowboys to continue winning games the same way they've been winning them the last three weeks, especially since A.J. Green is literally the only offense the Bengals have (and their defense is pretty much on the average side of things).  The brutally difficult pick would be Buffalo vs. Los Angeles Rams, and in spite what the experts may say, I wouldn't put any money down for either team to win (neither would I for the other two games, especially if the betting odds are skewering more favorably in one direction over the other.


So, my new picks for Week 5 (with my Arizona pick having been correct):


New England
Los Angeles
New York Giants

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4 hours ago, Maynard_G_Krebs said:

Having spent four weeks in a carbonite prison, Tom Brady is thawed out by his BFF to rain TDs on the NFL once more.



I'd like to see Brady try to carve up the elite Vikings defense rather than a bunch of storm troopers like the Browns. . 

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On 10/9/2016 at 8:24 PM, Bolt said:

At this point, there are really only 7 good teams (in no particular order).  They are:










I'd maybe lump in the Packers.  Also I think the Falcons are not as good as many believe.  Their defense is still terrible and so far they've beaten a bunch of struggling teams, with the only great win against Denver (Paxton Lynch's first start and he played like a sloppy rookie as expected).  I really think it will be back to earth for the Falcons as they are likely going to lose 2 of their next 3 games to Seattle and Green Bay.

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14 hours ago, BO FB Offtackle Left said:

Oh look, the Raiders are tied with the Broncos atop the AFC West with a 4-1 record. How did that happen?

And the Raiders are a great team now.

The only problem is their defense, they receive so many points.

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