…so it was an interesting Divisional Round weekend. “Interesting”, meaning, the picks here sucked again.
But then again, who saw the Titans beating the Ravens? I’m not sure many did. And if they said it after, I am sure they were lying. Glad the Ravens players had been working on their Super Bowl plans. That always goes well. Sigh…
I guess most people thought the Niners would trounce the Vikings. I was convinced it would be closer. But that’s just me being an idiot.
Packers/Seahawks went as expected…for most. The Pack were 4.5 point favorites and won by 5. Funny how Vegas hits that number pretty good a ton, eh?
And everyone in the world knew that Houston was not keeping that 24-0 lead against Kansas City for long. The Chiefs are explosive after all. And Texans coach Bill O’Brien also predictably wilted. I know, the Chiefs helped the Texans build up that lead in the first place. But O’Brien helped the Texans give it back…and then some.
The fake punt call? Atrocious. Yeah, it would have been genius had it worked. And BOB probably knew he had to score as many points as possible to have a chance, I will allow for that much. But seeing that the Chiefs defender seemingly sniffed it out (the claim is that he didn’t necessarily, but was just trying to be ready just in case and is something he had been doing all year apparently), perhaps a timeout was necessary to change the play? Or take a delay of game and then actually punt and pin the Chiefs back? I’m no NFL coach, not even by a longshot. But once that play happened, I said that is the type of play that changes games (duh!). Like everyone else said as well.
But holy crap, to offer NO defensive resistance after that? Seems impossible, doesn’t it?
In any event, looks like we have a couple of good ones on tap for this weekend.
And yeah, it still feels weird that the New England Patriots are not involved in Conference Championship Sunday. The rest of the country is surely overjoyed at that fact. But even they have to feel weird the Patriots aren’t playing in the game.
Tennessee at Kansas City (-7.5)
I am actually not sure we can call this one a “good one”. I mean, the Chiefs look like the team to beat here. After they shook off some early rust, they outscored the Texans 51-7. They overcame a 24-0 deficit in less than a quarter. To say the Chiefs offense is explosive is perhaps not even doing them justice. But the Titans are rolling, especially on the ground. Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill has thrown, what, like 12 passes in the entire playoffs? I know, hyperbole. But it’s probably not far off. Titans RB Derrick Henry is steamrolling defenses. And the KC defense, though improved during the year, still kind of stinks. The Titans are a great story. But let’s also face it: The NFL wants no part of this team in the Super Bowl. Not sexy enough. That won’t win the Chiefs the game. But it won’t hurt perhaps having some “extra” home cooking from the zebras.
Kansas City 34, Tennessee 24.
Green Bay at San Francisco (-7.5)
Seven and a half points seem a little excessive here. I am not all in on the Packers for sure. But even with the Niners at home, it’s hard to lay that much against Packers QB Aaron Rodgers I would say. I also think Niner QB Jimmy Football may be a little bit of an X-factor here. Big spot for him and the team, who I would guess most of have never been to this point before. Jimmy G as a starter no doubt. If the Packers can stop the run and make Garoppolo beat them through the air, that could be a good thing for the Pack. In fact, this is what I think is going to happen. I’m guessing SF is going to have to wait one more year to take that next step.
Green Bay 27, San Francisco 24.
Week (against the spread): 1-3
Week (straight up): 2-2
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 10-7
Season (against the spread): 134-130
Season (straight up): 169-95
…took it on the chin last week. Thankfully, there is time to recover this season.
Once again, no sense in covering last week’s New England Patriots game. Although the two turnovers for TD’s killed the sure cover and with it also killed the undefeated hopes of the “Lock Of The Week”. In reality, the Pats should have won that game by 40-50 points, injured receivers or no injured receivers. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.
I really don’t have much to say about the Patriots upcoming game against the undefeated Buffalo Bills either, but we will get to that with the rest of the games.
For now, let’s just get through the normal Thursday Night stinkfest…
Philadelphia at Green Bay (-4.5)
…or will it be? The Thursday tilts have not been great thus far this season. We’ve been through that already. But for some reason, I have high hopes for this one. The Eagles are banged up but hope to get wide receiver Alshon Jeffery back. That can’t hurt. It also wouldn’t hurt if receiver Nelson Agholor was a little more consistent as well. I guess Nelson invited that dude that ripped him on social media…you know, the dude that was apparently catching babies from a window to help save them from a fire. Nice work, Hakim Laws! Laws won’t be at this game I don’t think, but maybe it will light a fire under Agholor. See what I did there? Ok, maybe that was somewhat in poor taste, but I couldn’t resist. In any event, Philly is too good a team to go 1-3. And I am not sure the Packers are that good a team to go 4-0. The Pack has only given up 35 points this year, but haven’t exactly played stout offensive teams thus far. Not to mention the offense has only scored 58 points. Doesn’t seem like typical Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers fireworks, eh? People who watch the Packers say something is missing so far as well. New coach, new system, I suppose it is bound to happen. Just a gut feeling with the Eagles on the road here.
Philadelphia 27, Green Bay 23.
Week (against the spread): 6-10
Week (straight up): 10-6
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 2-1
Season (against the spread): 23-25
Season (straight up): 34-14
…bummer. But you know what that means?
THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS BACK!!
Ok, I’d kind of like a little more summer. But I guess there is nothing I can do about it, sssssooooo…
The defending champion New England Patriots do not actually open the season on Thursday Night Football. That honor belongs to the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Hey, they’ve been playing each other for almost 100 years, and the NFL is 100 years old this season, so I think we can all live with that.
We will get to that game in a smidge. But let us follow up on the recent Patriot roster projection columns with some random comments on what the final roster actually looks like. Not to mention other random NFL thoughts as the season gets set to begin. Once again, in no particular order:
*3 years, 12 mil (9 mil guaranteed) for Brian Hoyer in Indy?? Yikes!! Throw in the Colts jacking up Jacoby Brissett’s salary, that is…crazy. Welp, guess they had to spend Andrew Luck’s salary on someone.
As mentioned in the last projection, I would’ve cut Hoyer too. No way did I think the Pats would do it though. And Tom Brady seems a little upset about it, judging by his comments in recent days. When is Brady going to realize that he can’t play forever and that the Pats will need to get younger at QB someday? And the sooner the better. Sometimes he seems to just act like a big baby over stuff. Once he retires and is running the whole TB12 nonsense he will have to manage people himself, no? Then he may really understand what it is like to “run a business”. Can’t wait for that.
In any event, the Pats wouldn’t be winning a Super Bowl with Hoyer if something happens to Brady. They won’t with Jarrett Stidham either. But wouldn’t you rather give the experience to the kid anyway? Seems like a no-brainer to me. Then you get someone of Hoyer’s ilk off the street to back Stidham up. Guys like that are a dime a dozen out there.
Which makes Indy’s contract to Hoyer kind of silly, no?
Good for Brissett to cash in a little now that he is the starter. But a jump that huge may be a little much.
Wait…if Brady gets hurt, they can always bring back Matty Cassel right? Will that make Tommy happy??
*Speaking of Luck, kudos to him for leaving the sport if that’s what he wanted to do to help maintain his long term health. Honestly, he could have just been placed on Injured Reserve and missed the whole year…thus collecting his entire salary for the year. And then retired at the end of the season. But he passed all that dough that up. Gotta give him some credit for that.
But boy, the timing left a lot to be desired, no?
A part of me doesn’t blame the fans for being pissed that he retired a couple of weeks before the season. They will get over it. But it would have smacked me right in the face as well.
Wonder what his teammates think? They probably have seen him suffering over the years. And they also know what it’s like to play in the league. The sacrifice it takes. So even though the Colts’ chances decreased after Luck left, my guess is that the players are ok with it.
Maybe not the front office though…and perhaps the coaches. But again, they will get over it too.
And maybe Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels saw the writing on the wall when he ended up declining the Colts gig a year and a half ago? That may be a stretch. But you never know…
*Speaking of retiring early, is anyone else sick of seeing Rob Gronkowski now?
Kudos also to Gronk if he retired thinking about his health and his future as well. And if “football was bringing him down” as he said last week.
And now that he is outside of the strict hand of Bill Belichick, he can act however he wants. Good for him.
But PLEASE stop with the whole “I could come back if I wanted to…” thing. I hated when Roger Clemens would pull this crap every year. Take the year off, do your CBD thing and if you want to come back next year, do it. Already tired of the “will he or won’t he come back” talk. Not to mention his pimping of the CBD stuff. But I guess he needs something to do.
Though the Pats could use him, no doubt. None of the 27 tight ends they brought to camp inspired anyone…
*Was anyone really surprised that Demaryius Thomas was cut and immediately brought back? Shouldn’t have been. That was a done deal all along.
It allowed the team to put receiver N’Keal Harry on the injured list in-season. Meaning he can come back if the team deems him ready about halfway through the season. And with the injury uncertainty with Julian Edelman, the suspension uncertainty with Josh Gordon, the “what does he have left in the tank” uncertainty with Thomas, along with the very average Phillip Dorsett and the two kids after that, it buys the team time to get Harry fully healthy, while evaluating all else above.
Thomas didn’t show much last year. Then he hurt his Achilles. Sure, he played well in the last preseason game against guys that aren’t playing anymore this week. But there was zero chance of flight risk.
*Speaking of the two kids at receiver, I fully expect Jakobi Meyers to be a healthy scratch every week, despite his huge preseason.
Why? Well, he didn’t really mesh with Brady in their short stint together in the third preseason game, for one. He did return some kicks in the preseason, but I don’t think he is much of a special teamer overall. He came out of college a little raw. Probably needs some more time to develop.
It actually wouldn’t shock me to see the Pats try to quietly move him to the practice squad at some point when they need a body elsewhere.
You heard this here first.
*…and GUNNER!! Great story. Actually surprised he ended up making the team. Looks like another team would have claimed him and he would not have snuck down to the practice squad. Hard for me to believe even that. But that has to be why he made the final 53.
I hope they use him as a returner. Especially a punt returner. No need to subject Edelman to that abuse (unless it is a “gotta have it” moment). I will say this though: If I see Gunner Olszewski doing anything on the football field other than returning kicks and other special teams tasks, I will be very, very, very, VERY nervous.
Maybe he turns into something in the future. But as great a story as he is, he is not ready to be an NFL receiver yet. Or certainly an NFL cornerback either.
Because, you know, I am an expert!!
*Melvin Gordon wants money and Ezekiel Elliott just got paid. Good luck with that. I know, I am a Patriots honk. But I will never understand why teams spend money on running backs. Elliott is AWESOME. But doesn’t Dallas ALWAYS have a great offensive line? Hmmmmm…Gordon? He’s good? But whatever.
I know. The Pats spent a first round pick on Sony Michel last year. And he was good last year. Think he will be GREAT this year. But still. By the time his rookie contract is done, he will be discarded. Make no bones about it. Take that to the bank. The Patriots will use him up and let someone else give him a fat second contract. And let’s not forget about the bad knees going back to college…what will they look like in 3-4 years.
*Houston!! Keep doing what YOU do!! Is it this bad while you wait for Nick Caserio to take the reins next year?? Jadaveon Clowney for 20 cents on the dollar. Then overspending on Laremy Tunsil? AWESOME!!
By the way, where is that Dolphins “revolt” after the trade of Tunsil?? What a joke. The ‘Phins are tanking and everyone knows it. Including the players. There will be no revolt.
Good luck Brian Flores.
*Antonio Brown. Has this loser found a helmet yet? Yes, loser. One of the most dynamic receivers of this era, this guy is pretty much a laughingstock right now.
Sure, he can come out and make Derek Carr look a lot better than he is this year.
But would it surprise anyone if he went even more off the reservation?
I really don’t have much else to say. His actions speak louder than anything else.
*Final Patriot roster thoughts…in the secondary. Surprised that Keion Crossen got dealt. The team seemed to think of him highly. Not only in the secondary, but as a potential “Matthew Slater replacement”.
Ok, a Slater replacement should not be hard, with all apologies to Bill and his special teams’ cronies across the world.
On the opposite spectrum, Duke Dawson.
Yet another failure for a second round defensive back in the Billy Belichick drafting queue.
Ras-I Dowling, Cyrus Jones, Patrick Chung (1st time), Eugene Wilson, Darius Butler, Terrance Wheatley, Jordan Richards, Tavon Wilson…and yes, I just looked some of them up.
Some of the other second rounders leave a lot to be desired as well. But this focus is on defensive backs because this seems to be a real bugaboo for Bill.
Dawson didn’t even play a down for the team.
Let’s just hope Joejuan Williams breaks the mold this time.
I’m not counting on it though.
The chatter on local talk radio this week was that the Patriots swing for the fences in the second round. Also meaning that they play it safe in Round One. Then get value in Rounds Three through Seven.
Kind of makes some sense.
But there have some BIG misses in that round.
Gronk, Jamie Collins, Sebastian Vollmer, Matt Light, Deion Branch were hits. But the aforementioned DBs and some offensive players like Chad Jackson and Adrian Klemm have been big strikeouts. More K’s than hits.
So maybe there needs to be some change in philosophy?
Ok, I guess they have six rings, so what do I know??
Anyway, the actual Thursday Night game to open the season?
Green Bay at Chicago (-3.5)
I have no idea, really. Aaron Rodgers and his new coach, Matt LaFleur, already seem to be at odds on play calling. But who knows how much of that is actually real? We do know Chicago still has Mitchell (or is it Mitch?) Trubisky at QB…a good thing? Don’t think so. Chicago is at home.
Again, I don’t know.
But one thing I do know? The Bears had some kicking problems last year with Cody Parkey. And they replaced him with who?
No idea. But my feeling on this night is that will actually matter.
Green Bay 24, Chicago 23.
2018 Season (against the spread): 147-120
2018 Season (straight up): 171-96
Career (because I love numbers!) (against the spread): 290-244 (54.3%)
Career (straight up): 351-183 (65.7%)