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.
At this point the NFL season the best part of the Fall so far is the new Bruno Mars album. It's amazing. I'd rather sit and listen to that than watch a full NFL game. Even if the NFL wasn't a defective product this might still be the case. Also, Goldberg beat Brock Lesnar which was cool because I hate Brock Lesnar. I'm also three weeks into Wrestling Season as a coach, which is my favorite part of Fall/Winter But, you don't read this for my thoughts on the WWE and this generations most amazing Male star, or High School Wrestling, so to Football we go.
Top Teams and Their Flaws
Seahawks: They still can't cover TE's. If not for a stupid "Illegal procedure" penalty, yesterday was a one score game heading into the 4th quarter. Richard Sherman is actually washed. (Washed is a shorter version of "washed up") Also, the Seahawks red zone offense is horrid. They get inside the 20, and you can count on it ending in a field goal. It's so bad, they turned to a trick play in the Red Zone. Good teams don't do that, they line up and beat you. They also don't have a Running Back. They have failed to score a TD in 3 games this year, and in another they only scored 1 TD. That's putrid offense.
Patriots: This defense is washed. They have zero pass rush, and they've had zero pass rush all year. Their safeties are also playing softer than a Drake single. Trading Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones has hurt them for this year, but they think Tom Brady will play forever, and he might, so they don't feel the need to go "All-In."
Dallas Cowboys: Their defense isn't the best. It's actually pretty average. But, we haven't seen because they run the ball so well that the defense doesn't see the field a lot. Against the better offenses, one has to think this gets exposed.
New York Giants: They play down to the level of competition. They have this years DPOY in Landon Collins. They have a good pass rush. A good QB, and are finding a running game, they also have a GREAT WR in OBJ. The issue is the let teams who aren't good hang around. That's a bad habit. Also, their Oline isn't great at all. But, Eli in the playoffs is as Elite as it gets. So who knows...
Pittsburgh Steelers: They won't be able to just out score everyone. They need a their pass rush to come to life because their secondary is washed. Actually, they aren't washed because none of them were ever good, they're just bad. In a playoff game they are very dangerous because they have a top 3 QB, and the leagues best RB and WR. But the secondary is arguably the leagues worse.
Baltimore Ravens: Who is going to catch passes? It seems like a new guy each week. Is Steve Smith Sr. the go to guy in the red zone and 3rd down? Seems like it. That's not ideal, Steve is Canton bound, but he can you count on him to be the same guy week in and week out he once was? I don't know, either he steps up and does it, or someone else does, but it's a need. Scary team to play against in the playoffs but they need a go to guy.
Oakland Raiders: They play a lot of close games. A lot of those close games have been against average teams. That's a bad sign for a 9-2 team. Point differential is a good indicator for playoff success. The reason those games are close, the Raiders secondary isn't very good. The Raiders Linebackers aren't very good. Their best plan on defense is Khalil Mack making a play. If you neutralize him, they can't stop you. Against the Steelers, or Patriots in the playoffs, Mack might find himself neutralized, and I don't think Carr can beat Brady or Big Ben in a shootout.
KC Chiefs: This is a very good football team, who got better recently with Justin Houston back. But, they don't really have a go to guy on offense. Travis Kelce is their best offensive weapon, but working the middle of the field gets congested. Tyreek Hill put on a show against the Broncos, but quick screens, and slants won't always work. This team scores because Andy Reid draws up some unbelievable plays, and game plans. When they need a guy to step up, who will it be? That's their weakness.
You see, the NFL is just a magic show, teams hide their weakness like Magic and pull wins out of their hat.
Things Happening Quietly
Very quietly there are a few things going in the NFL many are noticing because it goes under covered, or not covered at all. Here are some I've noticed:
Andrew Luck having an MVP type year on a very bad team. Currently sitting at 2,900 passing yards, 19 TD's and only a 2.1 Interception %. His team is also sitting at 5-6 and a shot at the playoffs. If they win their division how does he not win MVP? Oh yeah, the narrative is Luck isn't that good. Fuck Off Narrative, kid is a baller and the NFL's best QB under 30 this year.
Aaron Rodgers has been GREAT all year. I know when they lose it's "What's wrong with Aaron Rodgers..." I hate that. He's already over 3K Yards passing, and has 27 TD's and an insanely low 1.66 Interception % He is also his teams leading rusher. He's probably going to have over 4,500 Passing yards, and 450 rushing yards and over 40 total TD's. He's been on fire, if you're an opposing defense you don't want to see him right now.
Russell Wilson has been no more than a game manager this year. He's sitting at 11 TD's 13 total if you count his 1 Rushing and 1 Receiving. The issue is two fold, one the injury slowed him a bit, but his two best games came when he was still hobbled so that's a poor excuse. The 2nd is teams can rush just 4 and mix zone/man behind that. Wilson doesn't diagnose the open man pre-snap like an Elite QB should, and this makes him hold the ball too long. It's a bad mix when the offensive line can't hold. Games against the Rams, Panthers, Cardinals, and Packers won't be easy wins for them. All 4 of those teams can rush just 4 and they're in must-win situations, it's going to be interesting. When will they talk about how he's having a bad year? Never, he's the media's darling. Remember when him dancing with his grandma was a story on Sports Center? Vomit...
Eric Weddle is very good. In fact he's the leagues best Safety. Look at how much better the Baltimore secondary is with him this year. He hasn't missed a tackle since 2012, and he has an incredible beard. He was the best defensive player on San Diego for a long time with a bad front 7. Now, in Baltimore with a good front 7 he'll start to get notoriety.
Eric Berry is the NFL's second best safety. He beat cancer. That alone makes him a bad ass, but he is Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas (the most popular media safeties) combined in one player.
A great Catcher does more for a Baseball team than a great Quarterback for a Football team.
Tackles are a meaningless stat. If a LB makes a tackle 5 yards downfield on a run play that's meaningless, they let the Running back gain 5 yards.
Quarterback Wins are not a Stat, it's a magic trick designed to make some QB's look good and others look bad. ESPN needs Stars to market as does the NFL...
AFC 1 Seed= Patriots. AFC 2 Seed=Chiefs. AFC Seed 3 Seed= Steelers AFC 4 Seed= Colts AFC 5 Seed=Raiders AFC 6 Seed=Ravens
Steelers over Raiders Wild Card weekend. Ravens over Colts.
I hate it every time I hear it about a Quarterback; "He has a ring" or "Look at the win loss record" these are not Stats. Dan Marino was better in his prime than every NFL QB today except Tom Brady, and it's not close. Never Won a Super Bowl, because he never played on a good team. He made the Super Bowl once, and he ran into the Buzz Saw that was the Pre-York Family 49ers. Dan Fouts never won a Super Bowl, but I would take him in his prime over all but maybe 5 Quarterbacks today.
I looked at twitter this morning, saw some "Russell Wilson is better than Phillip Rivers talk" and almost threw my fucking phone. How does someone come to this conclusion? Do people not watch games? This isn't to say that Russell Wilson isn't a good QB, he is a good QB. He's probably the 8th or 9th best QB in the league right now. Don't think so, here are all the QB's who are better and have been better all year; Brady, Rodgers, Rivers, Big Ben, Brees, Luck, Stafford, Matt Ryan. Only Big Ben and Ryan can be argued to have better supporting cast then Wilson. Spare me the "He was hurt and couldn't scramble" fuck off. Then he should throw from the pocket if he's an elite QB. "His Oline isn't good" fuck off again. Luck, Brees, Brady, Ben, and Rivers all have below average Olines and they throw the ball amazingly from a congested pocket, something Wilson Struggles with. Their are stat scouting individuals, and then there are people who actually know and understand the game of football. Then there's the narrative driven media who will push players down your throat that are better for ratings. The media pushing narrative of players down your throat is how some NFL players get too much credit, and some not enough. That's Wilson at QB. He's good, he's not the QB the media will make you think. When the Packers lose it's "what's wrong with Aaron Rodgers?" When the Seahawks lose, it's "What's wrong with the Seahawks" as an example. The NFL media won't criticize players they need to prop up for views and clicks.
The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010. They started the year struggling due to injuries, much like this year. Clay Matthews and Casey Heyward are their best defensive players and they haven't played much. When Matthews was healthy they had the NFL's best run defense. Also in 2010, they didn't have a RB until James Starks came out of nowhere. The just picked up Christine Michael off the Waiver. Michael was having a decent year. The Seahawks cut him because they thought he was only getting what they Oline gave him. Remember the Seahawks also waived Spencer Ware a few years ago. Not saying Michael is Spencer Ware, but on a team with a good Oline and Aaron Rodgers he will be better than he was in Seattle. Matthews is practicing, and the Packers might have picked up a competent Running Back. They'll beat Washington this weekend, get to .500 and look out. Aaron Rodgers has been playing lights out, if the team catches up, they'll be winning games again.
The New York Giants aren't afraid to go on the Road in the Playoffs to win games. They won two Super Bowls that way. They also won behind Eli's arm and a great pass rush. They have both of those things right now. Also, Jennings and Paul Perkins as a 1-2 at RB isn't bad. A New York Giants vs Patriots Super Bowl is in play everyone.
The Chiefs are 7-2. They've gotten their without their best player, Justin Houston who by the way is coming back soon. The Raiders are a "talk of the town team" and the Chiefs beat the Brakes of them when they played in Oakland. This is the 2nd best team in the AFC, and might be the best if they're at home.
Andrew Luck is the MVP. He has his team at 4-5. Not ideal right? I don't care. He's going to find a way to go 6-1 down the stretch or 5-2 and get them to 10-6 or 9-7. I think either wins the division too. A win over the Colts this weekend, and one over the Texans later in the year will make this happen. Texans will lose 4 of their remaining games.
The Seahawks offense will look bad again on Sunday. They looked good against a Patriots team that can't rush the passer or stop the run. The Eagles do both of these things. The biggest addition for the Eagles was Jim Schwartz as Defensive Coordinator. Everyone he's been a DC he's had a good defense.
Steelers vs Seahawks Super Bowl is also in play. Steelers can sneak in as a Wild Card again and just out score everyone. Seahawks getting home field isn't out of the question. They'll need it to win in the playoffs as they're 2-2-1 on the road this year. I would put this as the 5th most likely matchup right now.
The most likely Super Bowl scenario I see right now is Patriots vs Falcons. I don't think the Falcons will have an issue beating anyone on the road in the playoffs. They'll put up points, and they're suddenly finding a pass rush. Next most likely to me is the Patriots vs the Seahawks. Funny thing about this is I think Hoodie put out a weak game plan on purpose in anticipation for a rematch. I know everyone remembers the bad slant pass, but Hoodie's defense made the Seahawks QB look pedestrian all game long in that Super Bowl. 3rd most likely to me is Cowboys vs Patriots. Play Romo and it goes higher. 4th is Patriots vs Giants. See above comments. 5th is Steelers vs Seahawks. See above. 6th is Chiefs vs Packers. Oh man the 2005 draft story lines, don't think Roger Godddell hasn't thought about this. Also, McCarthy vs Reid. They can do a Rib eating contest at media day.
I was wrong about Marcus Mariota after he was drafted. I thought he would be Joey Harrington 2.0 and he's not. Mariota is really fucking good. Insanely accurate and mobile.
Luke Kuechly's concussion last night is exactly why my kids won't play football. That was scary. He's a really good player and one of the better guys in the NFL. I hope he's ok.
Now that Obama is free from his duties of being the leader of the free world, can he replace Roger Goddell? He'd do a better job, and he's a more likeable person.
The NFL's product is trash still. The officiating is terrible, and the games have too many commercials.
Bills fans through a Dildo on the field on Sunday. The ref didn't pick it up, he just kicked it off the field. This is the NFL in 2016, dildos on the field being kicked around. Take that how you want it. Also in that same game Tom Brady showed he's still the NFL's best QB. He's 39. He's also one of the nicest guys in the league. If you still don't like Tom Brady, you need to get over yourself, it will be a while before you see another player in the NFL as great as he is.
Speaking of Tom Brady, he's clearly the NFL's best QB. I'd say he's the leader of the top tier guys. But how do other guys stack up? Let's take a look.
Tier 1: Elite QB's
Tom Brady: I don't know how many other ways it can be said. There's no one better right now. He plays in a timing offense that requires pin point accuracy and that's what he plays with. He also operates a different style offense from week to week. It's hard to watch 2-3 Patriots games and see the same "staple" play you do with other teams. That's because Tom Brady is the NFL's smartest QB and doesn't need "staple plays."
Aaron Rodgers: R-E-L-A-X. Over the last two weeks Rodgers showed everyone he's still the best QB in the league not named Brady. His supporting cast isn't very good. Doesn't matter. His team has lost 3 games this season. Still don't care. He's still the most dangerous player in the NFC. Eventually his GM and coach will give him weapons. If he didn't play in a bad division for so many years, he'd be wasted like Phillip Rivers.
Phillip Rivers: It amazes me how often he's over looked. Many want to put Cam Newton or Russell Wilson above him, and they aren't even close. What Phillip does week in and week out with WR's no one has really ever heard of is beyond me. Yesterday he threw 3 interceptions, 2 weren't his fault. He also got the Chargers to the 2 Yard line with a chance to tie, but what does the coach do? He threw 4 times despite Melvin Gordon's dominance at the goal line this year. He also made them go for 2 from the 7 yard line after a River's TD a drive earlier. Making it an 8 point game instead of a 7 point game. What I'm pointing out here is that Phillip over comes ineptitude from his coach while elevating the games of average players. Put Rivers on the Raiders and they are 8-0. Put him on the Seahawks, same thing. Panthers, would lead their division. Phillip is a Hall of Famer, and has been playing like this for years.
Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben throws players open further down the field than any QB I can remember. He's also the hardest player in the league to sack. His accuracy on deep throws is the best I've ever seen. If his defense were any good, they would have won the Super Bowl last year.
Drew Brees: As the Saints have come down from a perennial playoff contender, people have forgotten how good this QB is. Part of that is because the NFL is trying to force the young guns down our throat, and part of that is he plays on a bad team. But you don't lead the league in passing yards year in and year out without being an elite QB. Brees is the short QB everyone claims Wilson is. He manages to throw from the pocket with the presence of a bigger guy, and it's being generous to call him 6'0 tall. His play isn't the level it was at 4-5 years ago, but it's still better than a lot of guys. Luckily the Saints got him a Super Bowl ring before the bottom fell out or he'd never have won one. His team is terrible, and they can't fix it. Luckily for them Brees is good for 6-7 wins a year on his own so he will always compete.
Tony Romo: Very few QB's can make all the throws that Romo can. Very few QB's could have gotten the Cowboys teams to 8 wins that Romo did over the years. Romo, if he's healthy is better than Dak. Romo if healthy is better than most QB's. The Narrative against Romo is wrong, and it's bullshit people fall for it. But that's the way it goes in today's NFL. The players with the most commercials are the "most popular" and looked at as better. This was only true with Peyton. Romo is elite, if you don't see it you're wrong.
Tier two. Some Over/Under Rated Guys
Matt Stafford: He's criminally under rated. Playing in Detroit doesn't do him any favors. Playing with Calvin Johnson people said "It's because of Megatron," well what do they say now that he's having his best year ever? Nothing. It's just going over-looked. A few national guys mentioned it last week, but that going to slow down as he played the Texans and then the Vikings next. He will give his team a shot but won't put up video game numbers, and that's the issue people only see stats when evaluating NFL players. Probably under rated.
Andrew Luck: In his career, Andrew Luck has had a 100 yard rusher ONCE. Just once. This came recently from the 33 year old Frank Gore. In 2014, Luck defeated the Bengals and then the Broncos in the playoffs to make the AFC title game. He lost to the Patriots, and the Colts were on the cusp of the Super Bowl, and what did they do to make the team better? Sign 31 year old Frank Gore and now retired Andrew Johnson. No team does less for there young Stud QB then the Colts. Remember the big move they made was trading a First for Trent Richardson. Luck is definitely under rated. He's on pace to throw for 4,500 yards 32 TD's and run for over 400 yards with a supporting cast that can't even be called average. Somehow, he's become under rated.
Matt Ryan: I thought Ryan was going to be cut this next off-season after he had an average year this year, and I was wrong. He's leading the league in passing yards, and winning games. If not for a missed pass interference call against Seattle he would have beat that defense (looked as the best) on the road, in the rain. Matt Ryan still needs a signature road win though. Doesn't have it, and dome QB's usually aren't as good outside the dome. Probably under rated
Cam Newton: Makes all the throws. Makes them from the pocket or on the run. Deep Ball accuracy. Short and intermediate accuracy. Doesn't run as much on passing plays as people think. He just hasn't been as good consistently this year. He also missed a game because he didn't just run into the end zone, and he wanted to showboat. That cost his team the game against Tampa Bay. Probably that Atlanta game too. Elite QB's don't make that mistake. Probably rated correctly because it's a mixed bag.
Russell Wilson: He's definitely injured right now. But I've seen Big Ben play effectively with the same injury, so fuck that excuse. What his injury is really showing us is that he isn't comfortable from the pocket. That's been his Achilles heel his entire NFL career. If you can contain him in the pocket, he's only an above average QB. If you can contain him in the pocket and cover for 3 seconds, you stop the entire offense because his oline can't hold that point for longer. Wilson is a good QB, but he's not close to Elite. He's won just a single game in his career where the defense gave up more than 24 points. In his fifth year now, he will definitely grow still, but he was prematurely crowned. Probably Over-rated.
Tier 3: Tale of Two QB's
Joe Flacco: Here's a QB who is great when he has a reliable deep threat, a pass catching TE, and a WR who will body Defensive back to get the ball. He no longer has that. He has Mike Wallace as his deep threat, no real TE, and Steve Smith is too old to really body anyone consistently. Drops and lack of a creative play caller hurt him, but Flacco is hot or cold. He's probably a little under rated because no one wants to admit he can actually play, but he's definitely fallen off since 2014.
Derek Carr: Thing about Derek Carr is he can make all of the throws. He just doesn't far too often. On one drive yesterday he threw a dropped interception, and missed a wide open Amari Cooper for a would be TD. In the same game he threw for over 500 yards. He also played a below average defense. He's played poorly against better defenses (Titans and Chiefs) and has one of the all-time average games against Atlanta. The MVP and Elite talk are premature. If he throws for 250+ and beats the Broncos next week, he'll be Tier 2, but knowing Rivers and Rodgers would do more with his offense, he's not Elite. He's not better than any QB in the above Tier's either. He's probably a little over rated right now, but he is good and will just keep getting better. Just too much praise for a guy who has had all his best games against bad defenses, and bad games against good defenses. His team is a few plays from 4-4 or 3-5.
Alex Smith: Game manager deluxe. He won't lose you games, and in a pinch he can win you a few. He still can't throw the deep ball with consistent accuracy, and sails it too much. But he's accurate on short throws, and runs Andy Reid's offense very well. Not under or over rated by any means. he is what he is.
Carson Palmer: Elite level arm talent. But he's regressed to the turnover prone QB. He can sling it with the best of them, but last year was a career year and he's back to his self. Palmer could have been an all-time great if not for injuries early in his career, but he's a QB that can play you in or out of a game. He's probably a little over rated if only because last year is still in people's minds.
Week 8 Notes
I said it to a friend earlier in the week, but Richard Sherman should start transitioning to safety after this year. He's lost a step, and isn't covering quite as well. A week after giving up 4 catches on 7 targets for 86 yards against the Cardinals he gave up 4 catches on 5 targets for 74 yards against the Saints. Sherman has never been able to cover the slot. Teams aren't asking him too, but they are shortening the WR splits on his side to attack him in a more slot style. Add this too Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones torching him, and he's not nearly the player he was last year when he was the best player in that secondary, by a lot. Teams are no longer avoiding him. Bigger corners play at elite level's for shorter times, this might be the start of his decline.
The Patriots are the NFL's only good team. They are 7-1, and are destroying everything in their way.
The best coach on the Jaguars staff is coaching their oline. Doug Marrone. They just fired their OC and rather than promote him, they promoted the QB coach who is allowing Bortles to play with bad mechanics. This team is a special kind of stupid. If the owner doesn't fire the head coach this off-season fans should revolt.
The Browns have a legit shot at going 0-16. They couldn't beat the Jets.
The Texans should trade DeAndre Hopkins for a 1st and 3rd round picks right now. He's not being used after they spent a ton of money on a bad QB, whom the owner said "He's basically a rookie" about. They are 5-3, but it's not the passing game.
Dak showed last night why Tony Romo needs to be the starter. Yes the Cowboys won, but he made multiple red zone mistakes. Luckily the Eagles are an average (at best) team and the Cowboys won, but if you're still singing the praises of Dak, you're wrong.
Carson Wentz has been pretty bad. He's managing games, but not winning them. That team is winning (when they do win) beacause the defense coordinator. Someone explain to me how he attempted 43 passes and barely broke 200 yards. A 4.69 Yards/Attempt doesn't get it done in the NFL. That's 3 yards less than what's considered average. Not saying he won't be good, but the hype train was full-steam ahead and it was pre-mature.
Let's check in with Jared Goff...still sucks.
The Colts need to fire their Head Coach and the GM. They lucked into Andrew and have done nothing to help him since. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, it won't be long until he's the Phillip Rivers of his generation. Under rated and under appreciated because of dumb ownership and management.