Of course I just jinxed myself. But last week’s results were certainly encouraging nonetheless. Every week is different, as we know, so 3-10 is just as likely as 10-3 in Week Ten. Actually 3-10 is probably more than likely, but we shall see:
Seattle (-5.5) at Arizona
The Seahawks were on a roll then blew a game against Washington at home last week, thanks in part to their kicker missing 3 field goals in the first half.
Side note: How come probably half of the NFL kickers aren’t very reliable? “Reliable” is probably being kind as well. There are 32 teams in the league. That means there are only 32 kicking jobs available. Out of all the people in this world, how can there not be 32 people who rise to the top of the kicking profession and be essentially just about perfect? Especially when a great deal of the games are in domes or in otherwise ideal conditions?
This has always baffled me. I get it, kicking isn’t always just the field goal kicker. It could be a bad snap by the center. It could be a bad hold by the holder. The line could let someone sneak in and affect the kick. But still. It seems as if once they moved the extra point back, kickers all of a sudden got even worse. It’s not like 33 yards is a tough make. But guys are missing them way more than they should.
One of the best kickers in the league is 44-year-old Adam Vinatieri. How is this possible? It looks like 8 of the 32 teams have used 2 kickers this year. Yes, a couple due to injury, but most due to ineffectiveness. Others seem to be holding onto their jobs tenuously…or won’t get cut for financial reasons, regardless of how shaky they may become (Stephen Gostkowski? Brandon McManus?). Actually, Gostkowski hasn’t been as bad as people think he has been this year. Then again, his kicks certainly don’t go straight down the middle anymore either.
And don’t get me going on college kickers. I don’t watch a ton of college football. But I know that most of those guys are putrid. I know it’s usually some dude walking on the team that eventually ends up being the kicker. But maybe someone on the soccer team would be a better choice? I also know that colleges aren’t exactly grooming kickers for the NFL. But it’s painful to watch. All around.
In any event, I just wrote waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much about kickers. Please accept my apologies. This has been building up inside for years now and it took Blair Walsh shanking three last week to put it all down on “paper”. And I can’t even stomach Walsh in the first place, since he was the guy from Minnesota that blew a 27-yarder in the first round of the playoffs at the end of the 2015 season that should have beaten heavy favorite Seattle and allowed the Vikings to move on. THEN in the preseason this year, Walsh hit a field goal for Seattle against the Vikings and then motioned to the Viking sideline like he was taunting them. PRESEASON! WHAT?!
Ugh…anyway, Seattle will bounce back, Arizona still is starting Drew Stanton. Seattle will focus on stopping Adrian Peterson (they will) and let Stanton try to beat them (he won’t).
Seattle 31, Arizona 13.
Week (against the spread): 10-3
Week (straight up): 10-3
Season (against the spread): 65-67
Season (straight up): 84-48
…we’re talking about both the New England Patriots’ performance last Sunday against New Orleans, as well as the Blowhard’s Week Two pick performance (did anyone notice we predicted the exact score & winner of the KC/Philly game? No? Not surprised…but it happened!).
Now, we don’t necessarily have to go back and entirely analyze the Pats game from four days ago. But it was good to see the team get back to doing things that we know they are capable of doing.
However, I wouldn’t say all their problems are solved. And that’s ok, because it is still September. Plenty of time still to figure things out. But it was disappointing to see the offense kind of sputter a bit in the second half against a historically bad Saints defense. That’s one that stands out to me. They should have put up 50 against that putrid outfit.
Of course, the injuries didn’t help. Looked like Rex Burkhead was going to be a big part of the game plan. He left early. Phillip Dorsett was getting himself involved, then he left a little later. No need to even talk about Gronk…we know he is an injury waiting to happen. Every team has injuries and we will see what happens with these guys…including Danny Amendola and Dont’a Hightower, who of course did not play. As well as Eric Rowe, who also left the game early. But they seem to be hitting the Pats early this year.
More importantly, what is up with the playing time of Malcolm Butler and Alan Branch? Is Butler already starting to be “phased out”, seeing that he won’t be here next year? Is Branch causing problems somehow, as he has been wont to do in the past with other teams? Curious dip in PT for these two. And why did the team even sign David Harris when he has only played three snaps in the first two games…and the linebacking corps is suspect to begin with?
And where is Brandin Cooks? The team dressed only 3 wide receivers and Dorsett eventually went down. Plus, Burkhead apparently was going to play some receiver and he went down early. And Cooks only had 2 catches (4 targets). Seemed to me this was a game to get him involved more.
I won’t even start on Stephen Gostkowski. 3-3 on chip shot field goals, yes, but were any of them straight? Another missed PAT and I’m not sure the other three made PAT’s were straight either. And please recall that the game was played indoors.
Perhaps that is a little nitpicking for the second week of the season. But they are all relevant talking points. In any event, we are happy with the win, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
As for Week Three, here’s where we begin:
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at San Francisco
Another banner Thursday night game. This could possibly be a worse matchup than Texans/Bengals last Thursday night. Sure, the Rams have shown improvement from last year in their first two games of this season, but is anyone buying into them yet? Sure, the Niners played the Seahawks close last week, but they have scored TWELVE points thus far this season. Brian Hoyer is locking down that quarterbacking job at this point, I suppose that explains some things.
It’s a divisional battle, so maybe that’s something to grasp hold onto. The color rush thing is kind of stupid, but if you like it then you can cling to that too. But this sure smells like another Thursday night stinker. Will I watch it though? You bet!!
Los Angeles Rams 17, San Francisco 9.
Week (against the spread): 10-6
Week (straight up): 13-3
Season (against the spread): 16-15
Season (straight up): 22-9
4th preseason game means zero. For the most part. Actually, for the full part. In fact, not even waiting for the end of the game to get this thing going…
Locks: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett
Way Out: None
Comments: Still don’t see Brissett losing his spot. Regardless of how many yards he threw for yesterday.
Locks: Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, James White, Dion Lewis, James Develin, Brandon Bolden
Out: D.J. Foster, Glenn Gronkowski
Way Out: LeShun Daniels
Comments: None of the top six played in the last game. That tells me everyone is in…including, yes, Bolden. Foster has some skill, but there is no room.
Locks: Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell
Out: Austin Carr, Devin Lucien
Way Out: Cody Hollister, K.J. Maye, Tony Washington
Injured Reserve: Julian Edelman (out for the season)
Comments: Thought maybe Mitchell would end up on IR, but he came back to practice this week. So let’s put him back on the squad. Carr is a sleeper, but still see him ending up on the practice squad…or another team.
Locks: Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen
Out: James O’Shaughnessy, Jacob Hollister
Way Out: Sam Cotton
Comments: No reason to think a third TE breaks camp with the team…still…especially seeing O’Shaughnessy playing in the fourth quarter of the final preseason game.
Locks: Nate Solder (LT), Joe Thuney (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Marcus Cannon (RT)
In: Ted Karras (G/C), Conor McDermott (T), Cameron Fleming (T), LaAdrian Waddle (T)
Out: Jamil Douglas (G), James Ferentz (C)
Way Out: Cole Croston (T), Andrew Jelks (T), Jason King (G), Max Rich (T)
Injured Reserve: Antonio Garcia (T) (out for the season)
Comments: No changes. I can’t say I have a ton of insight into the offensive line anyway. Though I am guessing Garcia may have run out of time now.
Locks: Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise
In: Geneo Grissom
Way Out: Michael Bart
Injured Reserve: Derek Rivers (out for the season)
Comments: Grissom goes back a spot, but still think he makes it. He did play a ton in the last preseason game…not usually a good sign. But…another guy whose main contribution is on special teams. And we know how Bill feels about special teams guys.
Locks: Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy, Vincent Valentine, Adam Butler
Out: Woodrow Hamilton, Darius Kilgo
Way Out: Josh Augusta
Comments: Butler apparently didn’t play in this last game. He’s also apparently on the squad because of that. Hamilton got a little banged up. Maybe that gets him on IR.
Locks: Dont’a Hightower, David Harris, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy
In: Harvey Langhi, Marquis Flowers
Out: Jonathan Freeny, Trevor Bates
Way Out: Brooks Ellis, Nick Usher
Injured Reserve: Shea McClellin (designated to return)
Released: Christian Kuntz
Comments: Top 4 did not play from what I could see in the last game. Seem like locks. Langhi was hurt they say. I say he’s in. I can’t even say if Flowers played, but they just traded for him, so he’s gotta be in, right? Freeny played a ton last night…and right until the final whistle…not a good sign. Kuntz lasted a day, but good for him. McClellin? Who knows? Another guess.
Locks: Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones
In: Justin Coleman, Cyrus Jones
Out: D.J. Killings
Way Out: William Likely, Dwayne Thomas
Comments: I don’t remember seeing Coleman playing at all last night. Kind of tells me he made it. But maybe not. If Cyrus’ injury is serious, maybe Coleman makes it regardless.
Locks: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards
Out: Kenny Moore
Way Out: Jason Thompson, Damarius Travis, David Jones
Comments: I don’t think Richards played either. So looks like he gets his third year here after all.
Locks: Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Nate Ebner (ST)
Way Out: None
Injured Reserve: Brandon King (ST) (designated to return)
Comments: King hasn’t been around a while. I’ll just give him the 2nd IR-return spot. For the hell of it.
Practice squad? Sticking with the same 10 as last time: Foster, Carr, Lucien, Jacob Hollister, Douglas, Ferentz, Hamilton, Augusta, Killings, Moore. No reason to change. Because it won’t be these 10 anyway…