NFL talk, and a look into all 32 teams. I am first and foremost at 49ers fan, so they might get the most content, but all teams will be discussed. Also, fantasy football, because it's fun to play and talk about.
The NFL's ratings are down. There's a racist narrative going on that's blaming the anthem protest. Not all of the people who oppose the Anthem protest are racist, some of them just live in the reality of false patriotism. I won't go down the road of what I think false patriotism is, but I will say this much; Most American's only care about supporting Service Members when it's convenient for them. They get to stand for two minutes and hear the national anthem. They get to thank someone for their service. They get to criticize Colin Kaepernick, Brandon Marshall, etc from the comfort of their keyboard. This also has nothing to do with why the NFL's ratings are down. It's just easy narrative.
Football is a violent game. We are starting to learn that people probably shouldn't play it. Concussions are a serious issue. Not too mention the other life altering injuries players run the risk of getting playing the game. In my life I played football for more years than I didn't, and I find myself questioning if I should have. I think it's a great game, and it's valuable for young people but I doubt I'm going to let my kids play. I have doubts about it, and feel guilt when I watch at times. I know I'm not alone, some people stopped watching for the same reasons. Earl Thomas threw a punch this week, connected, wasn't flagged. The game isn't safe. That makes some people tune the game out.
Beyond America finding a conscious for the first time in American history, the NFL is largely just bad. There's a general lack of Great players, and a general lack of story-lines. Here's some of the NFL's top Headlines from the off-season and this season:
Russell Wilson gets married in a London Castle
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick revenge tour...again
Why do the Panthers suck
The Raiders trying to buy a playoff team
Richard Sherman got away with Pass interference to win the Seahawks a game
OBJ's love affair with the kicking net
The Minnesota Vikings defense.
Stop me if any of those made you jump out of your seat with excitement. There are two for me. Brady and Hoodie vs The World. The Vikings defense. That's it. Now let's look at some of the NFL's marquee players:
Russell Wilson-Still not comfortable from the Pocket but he is exciting
Derek Carr-Still making ill advised throws and hasn't beaten a winning team, but hey watch him come from behind against bad defenses
Zeke Eilliot-He's actually as good as advertised
Cam Newton-What's their record?
Calvin Johnson-Oh wait
Patrick Willis-Oh Wait
Marshawn Lynch-Oh Wait
Peyton Manning-Oh Wait
Aaron Rodgers-Playing like ass
The NFL's "stars" aren't exactly stars. Some might think they are, but in 2004 Favre, Manning, Vick, Brady, Warner, McNabb, Culpepper, Big Ben, Eli, Brees (Rivers sitting behind him and now they're two of the best in the game today and ever) Palmer, Hasslebeck were all better than the top 12 QB's in the league today. Daunte Cullpepper threw 39 TD's that year. Big Ben and Eli were rookies. Brees was coming into his own playing with La'Danian Tomlinson. The NFL is a QB driven league, and this group of guys playing today isn't that good. It's leading people to tune out.
One last note on the NFL's decline in quality, and ratings. Mark Cuban said it best; ""Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business." The NFL could be adding casual fans with people jumping onto bandwagons, but they're losing the loyal customers they have had for years. Too many commercials making the games too long. Too many missed calls pissing of knowledgeable fans. Too many games being played on Thursdays.
I'm not Shocked
Raiders lost to a winning team. Still can't defend. Derek Carr still not playing at a level that can carry a team against another good football team. The Raiders are still an over rated football team without a win against a team with a winning record.
The Eagles lost back to back games. The beat the Browns, and Bears then had a fluke win over the Steelers. Carson Wentz and the screen game aren't carrying them any more. Vikings, Cowboys, Giants are the next 3. We can slow down the Eagles hype train finally I think. Kinda like I said a few weeks ago.
Aaron Rodgers is struggling. The Packers run a lot of ISO routes. For those who don't know, an ISO route is when you expect your WR to beat Man to Man coverage. Only the Packers only have 1 WR who can do that, Jordy "Always Open" Nelson. Only teams are aware of this and are playing him in a box coverage and the other guys just can't get open. The Packers NEED to get Aaron Rodgers more WR help, or a better coach calling plays. He's without a doubt the games most talented passer, and if they only get 1 Super Bowl out of him it's a waste. Kinda of the way the Saints wasted Drew Brees and Sean Payton by never getting a defense.
The Cowboys are winning. The tire defense out and then pound the ball second half with the leagues best OLine and a top 5 RB.
I am Shocked
Dolphins beat the Steelers. I thought the Dolphins were going 3-13 the way they've been looking. Guess not, they'll go 6-10 instead. Just good enough to keep not being good in the long run.
Buffalo ran the ball down the 49ers throats. That's what happens when you're down to MLB due to early retirement and two more due to injury and you're forced to play 4th quarter preseason guys. Also, the Bills run game has been worlds better since firing Greg Roman.
The Colts had a 100 yard rusher. First time it's happened in Andrew Luck's career. Luck has been fucked over by a drug addict owner, and idiot GM. It's such Bullshit when I hear people say; "Andrew Luck needs to play better." No, Andrew Luck needs to go to a team that isn't run by people who's heads are so far up their asses they don't know what day it is.
The Panthers have no pass rush. I'm completely blown away.
Week 7 to look for
Colin Kaepernick first start at home in over a year. The fans chanted at one point; "We want Kap. We want Kap." Will there be more cheers than boos this week?
Seahawks vs Cardinals. You can run the ball on the Seahawks if you stay committed to it. Their defense is predicated on speed, not being physical. The Cardinals have the best RB in football in David Johnson. But their coach loves to throw the football, a lot. The Cardinals can win the game if they slow down the Seahawks offense and don't abandon the Run. Either way, this might be a game worth watching, but it also might be a shit show.
Patriots vs Steelers. The Patriots might run away with the AFC now that Big Ben is going to miss extended time. More than a win, the Steelers need to show they can stay afloat while Big Ben misses a lot of time.
Jalen Ramsey vs Amari Cooper. Two of the best young players in the NFL. Ramsey has been as good as advertised at CB while Cooper has at WR. Better match up than it will be played up because the game features two QB's from the same draft.
Geno Smith is starting for the Jest. Maybe it makes a difference, maybe...
Blaine Gabbert sucks, that's not news or cool. Bruno Mars released a new single, and it's really good, that's news and really cool. I really can't rant about Gabbert anymore, if you still think he's better than Kap you hate Afro's or something.
The NFL is getting harder to watch, and it's because there's a serious lack of talent. For now, I'll talk about QB's. These guys aren't that good. Issue is, the traditional stats you're used point to them being good. Completion percentage (which I hate) and QB Rating (which I also hate). These stats completely ignore the way the NFL has changed. Teams are ignoring the traditional run games for conservative pass concepts resulting in easy completions for QB's driving up these stats. If you just look at stats you completely ignore what a QB is supposed to do; make the defense adjust to the offense. In week 1 Kirk Cousins completed 69.8% of his passes, and threw for 329 yards. On the surface it's a good game right? Wrong, he did what the defense wanted him to do. Pittsburgh has a terrible secondary, so they played a cover 4 shell all game, because they wanted Cousins to check down, and he did time and time again. Taking what the defense allows isn't good QB play. Another QB is Derek Carr, and we'll focus on his week 2 performance. This week Carr averaged only 6.6 yards per attempt, for reference 25 QB's were better in this regard that week. He completed over 75% of his passes and had a great QB rating, at 115.0. Yet, in this game he continually checked down quickly. This was another bad performance traditional stats will tell you was good. When you simply "Box score scout" you can't account for game planning, and what the QB is actually asked to do. That's why so many people want to say Andrew Luck isn't playing well, but give him the DC Football team's weapons or the Raider's weapons and see what he can do. Not too mention both teams also have better offensive coordinators.
For some perspective, let's look at who I believe is the most accurate QB ever, Steve Young. We'll ignore his Tampa Years and focus on just his career averages with San Francisco. In SF, Steve Young had a career passer rating of 101.4 and a completion % of 65.8. There are currently 7 NFL players who are performing better than Young's career average. There's no way there are 7 NFL QB's who are better than Young was. Maybe 2 are in the same class, Brady and Rodgers, and that's where it stops. Keep in mind Young's best year came with a young Terrell Owens and JJ Stokes before you say; "He had the greatest WR ever." Young was simply a great QB, top 5 all time, and now players put up similar or better numbers and they aren't close to him. Fantasy Football and 24 hour coverage has warped people's minds into believing players are better than they actually are. It won't stop and will only get worse, but the list of truly great players in the NFL is very small, and it's only going to get worse.
I'd like to write more about QB's, but it's frustrating. There's not many truly great QB's in the NFL right now. 5 maybe 6? Luck, Newton, and Wilson are getting closer but they aren't there. Luck is still ahead of the other 2. Truly great QB's no where their WR is going to be/should be in the face of pressure, they ignore the pressure and throw the ball in time. It looks effortless, and they don't try to escape the pocket or check down when there's a clean pocket. Issue is, Luck, Wilson, Newton, Carr, Cousins, Dalton, etc either can't do this yet or don't. They make flash plays, and have talent around them, but they aren't consistently challenging defenses and making them adjust. Throw all the stats you want out there, but they aren't there. They aren't in the Brady, Rodgers, Big Ben, Rivers class. I know people will go "Rivers HA" QB wins aren't a stat and Rivers has been consistently great on a bad team. That second group isn't close to the first group. That first group might be remembered as the last truly great group of QB's to play at the same time.
Patriots over Browns
This week when Patriots players were asked how Tom Looked, 5 players responded; "Handsome" others responded; "Stylish, Ready, pumped up, handsome again." Tom Brady, welcome back you handsome mother fucker.
Lions over Eagles
I like Matt Stafford.
Colts over Bears
Andrew Luck needs to be rescued from Indy, but he won't be, ever and it's stupid. Meanwhile the Bears have no defense.
Dolphins over Titans
Mike Mularkey is an NFL Coach guys, he sucks.
Ravens over DC Football team
If not for drops, both from their defense and offense against the Raiders last week Baltimore would be 4-0.
Vikings over Texans
This Vikings defense is the class of the NFC, and Zimmer is coach of the year.
Steelers over Jets
I told you guys during the offseason sucks. Now he's proving me right.
Broncos over Falcons
Broncos won't have to worry about Julio as much because of their pass rush.
Bengals over Cowboys
Cowboys usually are better on the Road then home and the Bengals are a better team then their 2-2 record.
Rams over Bills
LA Rams huh? Weird to say, but the Bills are still struggling on offense, and playing Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn won't help.
Raiders over Chargers
I'm still not sold on the Raiders, but the Chargers are bad. They let Eric Weddle go (dumb) Jason Verret is out, and Joey Bosa held out and isn't playing well. Phillip Rivers career has been wasted.
Packers over Giants
Jordy is open, and Aaron will find him. Also, Packers are at home, for a night game.
Panthers over Bucs
Bleeding needs to stop for Panthers.
Take the Rams to cover the 2 point spread against the Bills.
Take the Steelers Jets over. At 48, it seems low. Steelers might score 30+ every week and garbage time helps gamblers on the Jets ends.
Take the Patriots and Browns over. 46.5? I feel like Brady wants to hang 50 this week.
Blaine Gabbert Still sucks. Less than 7 weeks now until I can ignore his play as I'm more in-tune with Coaching Wrestling. Film Breakdown of my Wrestlers on Sunday is better than watching bad QB play from him.
Things You Didn't Notice
Derek Carr threw two dropped interceptions that were entirely his fault. Everyone wants to over look it and talk about how great a game he had and how the Raiders might be for real. First, if either of those are caught, they probably don't win. If both are caught, he's just average. Secondly, the Ravens offensive line did a poor job, and the WR's did Flacco no Favors. The Raiders have the worse point differential of any 3 win team in the NFL at +2. That means they're a few bounces of the ball away from being 1-3. Point differential through the first half is more indicative of a teams long-term success for that year. Don't buy the Raiders yet.
The Rams are the only team with 3 wins and a negative point differential. But if you remove the week 1 loss, their point differential is +15. They might actually win the West. Their defense has already shut down the top teams in their division, one being on the road. Schedule lines up pretty easy. I may have been wrong, their top tier guys might carry them.
The Vikings defense is the second best in the NFL behind the Broncos. The Vikings just dominated Mariota, Rodgers, Cam, and Eli in 4 straight games. I'm here for the Broncos vs Vikings Super Bowl if it happens. All defense. Also, last note on the Vikings defense, Xavier Rhodes just held OBJ to 24 yards. Game's best corner so far this year.
Pittsburgh losing to Philly was a fluke game. Fluke games happen in the NFL. The AFC is a 3 team race. Steelers, Patriots, Broncos. I don't really see an NFC team that can compete with them either.
The Seahawks schedule sets-up for them to be 7-1 without a real test due to Arizona's fall. They have a bye, then Falcons, Cardinals, Saints and Bills. That game when they're 7-1 is the Patriots. If this happens, game will get a lot of Hype. I'm here for it. I don't think the Seahawks are 14-2 pace good, but they might be on that pace come November 13th.
49ers had a young Corner Back from LSU make his first Career Start. Rashard Robinson. He played lights out. In Fact if you combine that game with the preseason he's only given up 10 catches on 20 targets for 78 yards and an interceptions. That's scary good. Silver linings 49ers fans, silver linings.
Bills only managed to score 16 points in a game where they got to play against a backup QB and the opposing team's defense is 22nd in allowing 3rd down conversions. Bills offense is still bad even though they won 2 in a row.
Only 3 teams haven't allowed a run longer than 20 yards all year. Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Minnesota. That's impressive.
Phillip Rivers continues to do more with less than anyone else.
The NFL's top 5 QB's are still: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Big Ben, Phillip Rivers, and Drew Brees. Save me the Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Cam Newton talk. Fantasy Football has ruined people's perceptions of QB play. I love Fantasy Football but hate what it's done to the NFL.
Cowboys are for real. Tony Romo still needs to come back healthy, but that Oline and Run game make them dangerous at home or on the road in the playoffs. Right now, I think only Minnesota's defense can slow them down.
Darrell Bevel called a hell of a game for the Seahawks. Majority of the pass plays were designed to get the ball out quickly. Bevell neutralized the Jets pass rush by design. Coaching matters guys. He should be a Head Coach.
Zeke Elliot leads the NFL in rushing. Jerry Jones laughs at you saying the RB position is devalued.
The Packers had a bye and Jordy Nelson was still open.
The AFC North is the NFL's best division and they carry the weight of the Browns being terrible.
Sam Bradford actually starting playing well near the end of last year, under Chip Kelly. That trend has continued. Maybe Chip was right. But that goes against the popular narrative.
Jimmy Graham has his best game since 2014. He made contested catches and adjusted to the ball very well. He still can't block, but he's a threat in the passing game again.
Paxton Lynch has a cannon.
Jared Goff still isn't a starter. Actually everyone's noticed this but I have to keep pointing it out. He got so much hype all of last year and like I said, he's a bust.