Week Eight Picks

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So it’s the day of my trip to Wembley, but I just have time (I hope) to get up my picks for week eight and have a stab at the trivia question.

‘What is Browns’ coach Paul Brown credited with inventing?’

Now, as a Bengals fan, who were the second NFL team founded by Paul Brown, I’m aware of a few innovations that Paul Brown was responsible for including team building with being the first coach to use timed forty yard dashes, the first communication to a player’s helmets, but I think what 3D is after with an in invention with the Browns is the creation of the draw play.

As for the theme, we’re still floating round early NFL, but I’ve already tried TWF teams, pre-merger, and the centenary year – I’m blanking on a new one and I am sure I’m going to kick myself when one of us eventually get it right or we get put out of our misery. It might well be the latter at our current rate.

‘I’m thrown by the word ‘Invented’ in this question, and the fact that he’s specifically said that it’s a question about the Browns. My first instinct is to say ‘the Cincinnati Bengals’ as I think he founded them but again, the word ‘invent’ doesn’t really apply. But that’s pretty much all I know about the fella so it’s going to be a guess… Did he invent shoulder pads or something like that? I’ll go with that.

Only possible idea at the minute for theme is first round draft picks, so I’ll go for that too.’

Seahawks @ Falcons (+4.5)

The Seattle Seahawks will be looking to bounce back from last week’s loss to the Ravens and this is the perfect spot to do it as the Falcons were struggling before Matt Ryan got injured and so with Ryan sitting out this game and the Falcons having the league’s twenty-ninth ranked defence by DVOA – I am going to pick the Seahawks in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:        Seahawks

Eagles @ Bills (-1.5)

I am a little confused by this line as the Philadelphia Eagles lost badly last week to the Cowboys, are on the road in Buffalo to face a Bills team who have only lost one game so far this season. Now to be fair, the Eagles do actually rate as the better team by DVOA even after their loss to the Cowboys dropped them from eighth to fifteenth, whilst the Bills rank twenty-first, but I fancy the Bills to edge this one out given the Eagles injuries.

Gee’s Pick:        Bills
Dan’s Pick:        Bills

Chargers @ Bears (-4.5)

This is a tough game to call because the Chargers are really struggling with injuries and had to find whole new ways to lose a close game to the Titans last week. They take on a Bears’ team who are struggling due to the apparent failure of Mitch Trubisky to develop, although they are 3-3 so it’s not a disaster. The Bears are only 6.4% better by DVOA and I’m not sure they should be giving away this many points so I’m going to grab them, but I don’t exactly feel great about it.

Gee’s Pick:        Chargers
Dan’s Pick:        Bears

Bengals @ Rams (-12.5)

So I will be at this game, which is still an exciting thing to say even if the Bengals have been anything but competitive this season. They face an LA Rams team who are struggling but not out of the playoff race at 4-3 and are coming off a twenty-seven point win against the struggling Falcons. The Bengals may be 0-7, but only two of their losses have been by thirteen points or more, so whilst my concern is that Zac Taylor runs the same scheme as the Rams and was on their staff last year plus defensive coordinator Wade Philips is a better coach than anyone on the Bengals staff, I’m going to pick the Bengals to keep it within thirteen. I really hope it is more competitive than that!

Gee’s Pick:        Bengals
Dan’s Pick:        Rams

Broncos @ Colts (-6.5)

I am not sure if I underestimated the Colts as a whole or merely overestimated how injured they were and how good the Texans are, but the Colts got the win to stay atop the AFC South last week. The Texans host a rested Denver Broncos team who having looked like they were pulling things together for a couple of weeks got thumped last Thursday by a Patrick Mahomes-less Chiefs. This is a big line though, and only one of the Colts’ wins has been by seven points or more. I’m hesitant to do it, and the lines suggest I should go for the Broncos but after last week’s performances I can’t bring myself to do it.

Gee’s Pick:        Colts
Dan’s Pick:        Broncos

Giants @ Lions (-6.5)

Oh, how I hate this line! I am perfectly comfortable saying the Lions are a better team than the Giants, but they have now lost three games straight and so are not exactly trustworthy. That said the Giants are on their own three game losing streak after the two game bump that starting Daniel Jones created and the Giants lost to the Cardinals last week. This feels like too many points and I want to run away from this game, but as I have to make a pick I’m going to hold my nose and grab the team whose quarterback was the fastest to forty thousand yards and who are 14.5% better by DVOA.

Gee’s Pick:        Lions
Dan’s Pick:        Lions

Buccaneers @ Titans (-2.5)

This is another game that I really don’t know what to do with as the Tennessee Titans got themselves a win against the Chargers last week and looked a bit better with Ryan Tannehill running their offence. However, I don’t have strong feeling for them and they welcome a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team who are coming off a bye week following their awful performance in London. That said, given the number of times that Jameis Winston gave the ball way, an eleven point loss to the Panthers was not that bad. I really want to stay away from this game as well, but in this one I’m going to grab the Titans at home and hope that the 15.2% difference the other way by DVOA doesn’t make me look stupid,

Gee’s Pick:        Titans
Dan’s Pick:        Titans

Cardinals @ Saints (-9.5)

This is a big line, but the New Orleans Saints continue to play well with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and have a top ten defence by DVOA. The welcome an Arizona Cardinals team who have actually won their last three games but the Saints are a very different proposition to the Bengals, Falcons or Giants and given that I have seen this line as high as -12.5 I think -9.5 is good value.

Gee’s Pick:        Saints
Dan’s Pick:        Saints

Jets @ Jaguars (-5.5)

The New York Jets got embarrassed on Monday night, their offence getting shut out in a 33-0 loss to the Patriots. This week they travel to face a Jacksonville Jaguars who got back on track last week thanks to facing the Bengals, but I’m not sure how good they actually are. That said, I do think they are better than the Jets who have only been competitive in two games this season and so I’m going to reluctantly back the Jaguars.

Gee’s Pick:        Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:        Jaguars

Panthers @ 49ers (-5.5)

This is one of the matchups of the week in my eyes as it sees the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers host the 4-2 Panthers who haven’t looked back since they sat Cam Newton to get him healthy. However, it’s not the play of backup quarterback Kyle Allen that is driving this record but the Panthers defence and Christian McCaffery’s astonishing offensive production. As good as the 49ers have been, and they added Emmanuel Sanders by trade this week, I think this line is too high in what I think will be a very competitive game so I’m grabbing the points.

Gee’s Pick:        Panthers
Dan’s Pick:        49ers

Browns @ Patriots (-12.5)

What do I do with the Cleveland Browns? They have the potential to cover this line and are coming off a bye but only their win against the Ravens looks like a quality result and there are a whopping sixty-nine point one percentage points between them and the Patriots by DVOA. The Patriots have been great against the spread this year despite it frequently being this high. I hate to do it, but I’m going to back the unbeaten Patriots who have only failed to win by thirteen points or more once this season.

Gee’s Pick:        Patriots
Dan’s Pick:        Patriots

Raiders @ Texans (-6.5)

This is tricky game to pick as the Oakland Raiders have been competitive for a lot of the year and won as many games as they have lost. This week they travel to face the Houston Texans, who looked to have found something but lost receiver Will Fuller last week to a hamstring injury and he was doing a great job of balancing the Texans’ passing attack. I do think the Texans are the better team but there’s not that much difference between them by DVOA so I think this line is a little high. I’m going to grab the points and hope…

Gee’s Pick:        Raiders
Dan’s Pick:        Raiders

Packers @ Chiefs (+4.5)

This is a really tricky game to pick as the Kansas City Chiefs are obviously going to miss Patrick Mahomes, but their defence played much better than it had all season last week and they are coming off extra rest having won their Thursday night game against the Broncos. They welcome a Green Bay Packers team who have only lost once this season and last week put up an offensive performance to match the defence that has been playing well all season. Given the problems the Broncos have had this season I’m not ready to say the Chiefs’ defence is fixed, and although this could be recency bias as I have watched the coaching tape of the Packers offence from last week – I’m going with the Packers in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Packers
Dan’s Pick:        Packers

Dolphins @ Steelers (-14.5)

At the start of the season the Miami Dolphins were losing badly enough that teams were covering some ridiculous spreads against them, but having put Ryan Fitzopatrick back in the game against Washington the previous week, the Dolphins started him against the Bills last week and so covered the spread for a second week in a row. The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a bye and so look likely to get Mason Rudolph back from his concussion this week, but let’s be honest, the Steelers have not looked good this season. Their wins have come against the Bengals and Chargers and only against the Bengals have they managed to win by a margin to cover a line this big so whilst I expect the Dolphins to continue their spotless tanking record – this line is too much for me given the Steelers’ play this season.

Gee’s Pick:        Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:        Dolphins

 

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

AAF: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Offence

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For this week’s Amateur Adventures in Film I decided to take a look at Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ offence once I heard how well he had played, and certainly throwing for over four hundred and twenty yards and five touchdowns with a perfect passer rating of 158.3 counts is impressive.

Aaron Rodgers has been recognised as an elite quarterback for a number of years now, one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks of his generation his ability to improvise and throw on the move was great, but he is also a heady player who is also one of the best players at drawing defences offside with the snap count and getting free plays. However, in this game he actually didn’t play up to that reputation of him as a player. Yes, he had to escape the pocket once or twice, but he was only sacked one and for the most part was operating within the structure of the offence. We need to be careful about taking too much from one game, but it seems that the Packers are now finding their way with the first new offence in something like a decade and there was a lot more 21 personnel and Rodgers taking snaps under centre than I remember seeing in previous years.

I like the way the Packers used two running backs as it was not just to plough Aaron Jones into the centre of the Raiders offence. In fact, the Packers would often come out with 21 personnel but line up in a shotgun formation and either motion a running back out to a receiver or bring them in having started that way. That said there were also run and play-action pass with this personnel group and one of my favourite plays was a simple I formation play-action pass where the receiver was fullback Danny Vitale, who the defenders simply ignored as they playing the run while he fake lead blocking, leaving Vitale unmolested to get open and pick up a nice chunk of yardage. That said, a lot of the time in the shotgun formation using 21 personnel it would be fellow running back Jamaal Williams who would be motioning around the formation and both he and Jones ran routes lined up as a receiver. On the Packers’ last touchdown play, Jones ran up the field as the outside receiver whilst Darren Waller ran an out pattern from the slot and then took the ball up the sideline for a touchdown. The reason he scored was because the Raiders were running a rare blitz, sending six and moving their single high safety into coverage and so when Jones turned his route into blocking his corner, Waller was able to get past and into the end zone with no deep safety to stop him.

I came into this game expecting excellence, and I was not disappointed, with the Packers taking shot plays at the right times such as the opening play of the third quarter when they lined up with 21 personnel in the I formation, and executed a play action deep shot with only two receivers running deep crossing routes, but it was enough to get fifty-nine yards. It was the timing of those chunk plays, their use of play action whilst only running for sixty yards, and the way they used their personnel groupings, particularly 21 and 12 that kept the Raiders defence at bay. Aaron Rodgers had all day to sit back in the pocket, and was not phased by the double A gap blitz looks the Raiders frequently used, which only really resulted in one big pass disruption. It was a lovely setup as Nicholas Morrow dropped out of the A gap like he had done many times before to go into coverage, only this time be blitzed round the right guard disrupt Rodgers pass. However, such pressure was rare and the ominous sign for the league is how well Rodgers played and how productive he was without displaying any of his legendary heroics. If Rodgers can be this efficient and so only have to delve into his bag of tricks occasionally then when coupled with their improved defence, well the Packers can go all the way. There are much tougher defences out there, in the league but it would not surprise me at all if this offence continues to improve as everyone becomes increasingly familiar with the way to run it. Now tell me that isn’t a scary proposition.

Competition Thursday: 2019 Week Eight

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A poor week from me saw Dan and his dad close the gap to me, but I still have an overall winning percentage as we go in to week eight.

Gee: Week 7:   6-8 Overall:   56-50
Dan’s Dad: Week 7:   10-4 Overall:   53-53
Dan: Week 7:   9-5 Overall:   53-53

Washington @ Vikings (-15.5)

This doesn’t look like a competitive Thursday night game, but we have had surprises before. However, Washington are 1-6 for a reason and won’t have the weather helping them this week as they travel to the dome of the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are one of the few NFL teams who still seem to have a home advantage and are playing well at the moment, so I expect them to win, but this is a very big line.

Now, at the risk of making things overly complicated, I am seeing this line as high as -16.5 so this is a comparatively good number, although it is still over two touchdowns. My first instinct is this line is too big, but my first instinct has sucked on a Thursday so I’m going all in on the Vikings in Kirk Cousins’s revenge game. I just hope that 3D forgives me.

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Washington

Week 8 Trivia

‘It’s Week 7 and the season for me has not yet arrived at a pattern with unpredictability being the only constant in this Curate’s Egg of a year. Normally we would have a gut feel about where the season is heading by now, but I don’t think that is yet clear.

In fairness there are a couple of teams showing great consistency but for all the wrong reasons so I will not intrude on anyone’s feelings. For me the rise of the Vikings, quietly staying in contention is a very competitive division makes for very pleasing reading. However, the season’s inconsistency shows we should take nothing for granted until it is certain – the biggest danger for any team is its next fixture. Don’t forget that just a few weeks ago there was an anger and desperation in Vikings hearts but that has now evaporated, for now. Let’s hope that Kwik-Fit can keep the wheels on.

So, have the wheels come off in the Trivia competition?

I asked who it was that Carson Palmer achieved his first win. Once again Gee’s logic was good, but his luck wasn’t by guessing The Browns. Dan also went Browns and again I could see why. The answer, I’ve been looking out questions where they both have a chance, was The Dolphins and that leaves both tied on 6 points as once again the Theme has remained elusive.

This week I have what should be an easy 2 points each with this question on the Cleveland Browns.

What is Browns coach Paul Brown credited with inventing?

Its over to you’

The Trading Game

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It’s been a long season as a fan of the Bengals, but there is still plenty of entertainment and good football to distract me so onward through week seven of the NFL.

What I Saw

The first game of week seven was a pretty underwhelming Thursday night game that saw the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Denver and beat a confusing Broncos team, breaking the Broncos’ two game winning streak, their own two game losing streak, and proving me wrong for yet another Thursday night game (currently 2-5 this season). What is even more impressive is the Chiefs did this despite Patrick Mahomes being forced out of the game in the second quarter having dislocated his patella during a quarterback sneak. The good news for the team is that the damage is such that he should be able to return with a brace in a few weeks and delay the surgery to the off-season. The even better news for this game was that the Chiefs’ defence was clearly tired of hearing how they couldn’t stop anyone as they held the Broncos to just over two hundred yards of total offence with seventy-one yards rushing on twenty-one carries and one hundred and thirty-four yards passing. whilst sacking Joe Flacco nine times. This was not the high-powered offence overcoming defensive frailties, but a sound team performance that demonstrates how good Andy Reid continues to be at building competitive teams. The Broncos meanwhile, do have problems and I’m not sure how trading away Emmanuel Sanders is going to help, but the real problem is John Elway’s continued inability to find a quarterback outside of signing Peyton Manning. Until Elway finds that franchise QC then a lot of the other problems on the roster will continue to be moot. The reputation that John Elway has in Denver means that even now there does not appear to be a huge amount of pressure on him, but at some point that has to change if the Broncos don’t improve.

The first Sunday game I enjoyed was a tight affair in the first half but the Minnesota Vikings continue to find their form and having soundly beat the Eagles last week, they traveled to Detroit and ran out 42-30 winners in week seven. It would seem that after a slow start the Vikings offence is beginning to find its feet with the new scheme and even losing Adam Thielen to a hamstring injury he picked up making a touchdown scoring catch in the first quarter didn’t slow them down as Kirk Cousins still threw for three hundred yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. The Vikings defence also managed to limit the Lions’ offence enough that although Matthew Stafford threw for over three hundred and fifty yards himself (making him the fastest QB to forty thousand yards in NFL history), he also added in an interception to his four touchdowns and the Vikings looked pretty comfortable through the second half. I’ll be interested to see how the Vikings go the next few weeks, but if they can keep this balance on offence, that combined with the always tough Zimmer defence should make them a team no one wants to face. Meanwhile, the Lions seem to be able to play teams tough for a while, but they don’t seem to be clinical enough when it counts and with a 2-3-1 record, they need to start winning games and soon if they are going to compete for the playoffs.

I watched the next game because it was one of the most important games of the week in terms of its affect on the involved team’s playoff odds, but it was a one sided affair that saw the Dallas Cowboys run out easy 37-10 winners over the Philadelphia Eagles. It seemed like the Cowboys got a lot of injured players back at just the right time and the Eagles gave up costly turnovers on their opening two drives of the game that saw them fourteen points behind before their offence had even got into the opponents side of the field. If you compare the Eagles record with the Colts over the years since the Eagles won the Super Bowl you can see why some are suggesting that Frank Reich made a big difference for the Eagles when he was on their staff, but this is a team that is fighting injuries and just doesn’t look right. I absolutely thought they had one of the stronger rosters on the league, but there only so many cluster injuries any team can sustain. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have given themselves an edge in the NFC East and will be hoping they can build on it in the coming weeks.

The final game I watched, was the Bengals falling to 0-7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and there’s not a lot to say. The Bengals are a bad team, the offensive line is a mess and Andy Dalton threw three interceptions trying to get the team back in the game but the team can’t run the ball or maintain drives. The defence is no better and I get to find out how bad it looks in person this weekend. The Jaguars are only a win back on the division lead, but they need to find some consistency as Gardiner Minshew needs to adjust now that teams have some tape of him, which in fairness is meant to take some time when you are a quarterback selected in the sixth round. The Jags will be hoping that the defence will be better through the removal of the disgruntaled Jalen Ramsey, but it is a very talented player to lose and we will have to see if the Jags can get into the race for the playoffs or falls out of the race in the next few weeks.

What I Heard

One of the big things that is being discussed at the moment is the number of trades we are seeing across the NFL, particularly as we approach next week’s trade deadline. There has been plenty of talk that given the Bengals position they should be looking to trade away some of their talent and get a jump start on the rebuild. There’s been no sign of that, but there has been plenty of movement, including a number of trades this week with the Seahawks grabbing safety Quandre Diggs from the Lions, the 49ers picking up Emmanuel Sanders from the Broncos, and the Patriots trading for Mohammed Sanu to try to improve their passing attack.

The most convincing explanation I’ve heard regarding this increasing number of tades is that the current generation of NFL GMs are much more transactional and prepared to take risks to improve their team than their risk averse forebears, particularly as if they don’t improve the team quickly there’s no guarantee they’ll get to fix the problem given how quickly a team will change GM.

The approach to talent acquisition was also the focus of a discussion between Peter King and LA Rams GM Les Snead who is deliberately chosing to trade for known quantity players rather than risking picking players in the first round of the draft. Now, that’s an interesting approach, and I keep hearing people saying that teams have the cap space to make more of these moves, but I’m not sure how the Rams will stay competitive given the contracts they have given out to Gurley and Goff, and will need to give to Ramsey unless their plan is to not have expensive first-round draft pick second contracts (that’s a mouthful) to pay. Only time will tell if their sums are right and the plan works, but it is reassuring that there is an overarching strategy –  it doesn’t always feel that way and let’s just see if it works in the coming years.

What I Think

We are now getting to the point of the season where there are some teams who are really beginning to separate themselves. We have two unbeaten teams in the Patriots and 49ers alongside a further two teams with only one loss, which is really impressive of the New Orleans Saints who have won the five games that Teddy Bridgewater has started. A team that loses a Hall of Fame quarterback is not supposed to do that. Meanwhile the scary thing about the other one loss team is that Aaron Rodgers just posted his first, I’m still a dragon stat line of the season.

There are more competitive teams lurking in their divisions, including the Vikings who as I mentioned earlier, look to be coming together. The picks competition might be open to anyone, but there’s a gulf between our actual teams.

What I Know

The Bengals are 0-7, which makes going to see them on Sunday a slightly odd proposition – I was told firmly by Dan that I have to wear my AJ Green jersey but it feels odd when Green is still out injured and it seems highly unlikely that they will beat the Rams. After all, the Bengals are ranked thirty-first overall by DVOA, twenty places and 47.6% below the Rams, which is an even bigger gap than the 34.6% the Bengals are supposedly better than the Dolphins. At this rate both teams really could be 0-15 when they meet in week sixteen.

What I Hope

I’m hoping for a dry Sunday and an entertaining experience, and a better week picking games.

2019 Week Seven Picks

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I’m back to my usual form with picking Thursday night, and I shall have to see if I can work out a way to fade my own selections next week, but without further ado let’s get to the week seven trivia question and hopefully better selections for the rest of the games.

Which team did Cincinnati Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer get his first win against?

This is a proper I’m going to look stupid question as Palmer’s first game came a year after he was drafted as this was a time when quarterbacks still routinely sat for their first year, but it was also something like fifteen years ago so there wasn’t the back loading of the season with division games – I’m going to stick in the AFC North, although it could be any one and say the Cleveland Browns. Knowing my luck it will be the Dolphins.

For the theme I’m going for The Wrong Football, as the teams involved all seem to be related to the teams we support or have seen play.

‘I think I’m going to just have to go down the logical route on this one seeing as Carson Palmer will have played the Ravens, Browns and Steelers twice per year, so it’s more likely to be one of those than anyone else. I think I’ll go with the Cleveland Browns.

Still no clue on the theme but now after that clue I feel a bit silly for deleting the old emails with the questions on!’

Rams @ Falcons (+3.5)

I’m really not sure about this one as the Falcons have been plain bad for a number of weeks, particularly on defence whilst the Rams have also been struggling. I’m leaning towards the Rams for the win despite the problems they have been having, but the number does give me pause. In the end I’m going to plump for the Rams but I really don’t feel good about it.

Gee’s Pick:        Rams
Dan’s Pick:        Rams

Dolphins @ Bills (-16.5)

I have seen this line as high as seventeen and I think the Bills are a genuinely good team, but I think this line is too high given the Dolphins are starting Fitzpatrick and the Bills’ highest win so far this season is fourteen. I could be wrong, but I’m not sure the Bills’ offence is going to generate the points necessary to cover this line, even if I expect them to win.

Gee’s Pick:        Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:        Dolphins

Jaguars @ Bengals (+3.5)

The Jaguars may be on a losing streak of two games, but they are still a much better side by DVOA and it’s so hard to trust the Bengals at the moment. I perhaps should be grabbing the points but I’m not sure the Bengals will keep this one within a field goal. I would love to be proved wrong.

Gee’s Pick:        Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:        Jaguars

Vikings @ Lions (-1.5)

I’m seeing very different lines than this one, and my concern is that the Lions have been competitive for pretty much all year, whilst the Vikings have been a bit up and down, but given how the Vikings have played in the last couple of weeks and they’re still getting points I’m going to pick them.

Gee’s Pick:        Vikings
Dan’s Pick:        Vikings

Raiders @ Packers (-6.5)

The Green Bay Packers are 5-1 despite the new offence not quite clicking thanks to a defence that ranks top ten by DVOA and the fact that quietly the offence is also top ten. That said, the Raiders have been competitive all year and have a winning record and whilst I’m not saying they will go into Lambeau Field and win, I do fancy them to keep the game within seven.

Gee’s Pick:        Raiders
Dan’s Pick:        Packers

Texans @ Colts (-1.5)

The Texans have won two games in a row whilst not giving up a sack and receiver Will Fuller actually has more receiving yards than DeAndre Hopkins, which has given the offence some more balance than they’ve had in recent years. They travel to face a Colts team who just beat the Chiefs and so this should be a cracking divisional game, although there is a ten place difference between the Colts and the Texans by overall DVOA and so with them getting points on the road I’m grabbing the Texans.

Gee’s Pick:        Texans
Dan’s Pick:        Texans

Cardinals @ Giants (-2.5)

Don’t look now, but the Cardinals have won two games in a row and are travelling to face a Giants team who have come back to Earth a little after Daniels Jones’s first two games yielded wins, having faced the Vikings and the Patriots the last two weeks. There is not much between the Cardinals and Giants in terms of DVOA and so I’m finding this a difficult game to pick, particularly has home field advantage seems not to be as strong these days. In the end I’m going to fall on the home team given how young the Cardinals are and I just can’t see them winning three games in a row. Well, until tonight that is…

Gee’s Pick:        Giants
Dan’s Pick:        Giants

49ers @ Washington (+9.5)

Washington got their first win of the season last week as interim head coach Bill Callahan took over the team and focused on running the ball, but it is one thing to beat the Dolphins when they are in full tank mode and another when facing an unbeaten 49ers team. This is a lot of points for a home underdog, but this is also the second ranked team by DVOA facing the thirtieth and given Washington’s lack of home field advantage I’m backing the 49ers to cover.

Gee’s Pick:        49ers
Dan’s Pick:        49ers

Chargers @ Titans (-2.5)

This is one of the trickier games for me to pick as the LA Chargers have been massively hit by injuries, but the Tennessee Titans have just sat their supposed franchise quarterback having fallen to 2-4 and been held scoreless last week by the Broncos. It has been confirmed that Ryan Tannehill will get the start this week, but given the form of both teams I’m finding it really hard to come down on a side for this game. If left to my own devices I would likely just stay away but given I have to make a pick I am going to grab the points and hope that the experience of Philip Rivers wins out.

Gee’s Pick:        Chargers
Dan’s Pick:        Titans

Saints @ Bears (-3.5)

As impressive as the Chicago Bears’ defence is, and they are coming off a bye week, I don’t like this line for them as the offence has not clicked at all and the New Orleans Saints’ defence has been playing well, whilst Teddy Bridgewater has been doing enough to win. I’m not saying the Bears can’t win this game, but I like the Saints to keep this one to within a field goal.

Gee’s Pick:        Saints
Dan’s Pick:        Saints

Ravens @ Seahawks (-3.5)

The Baltimore Ravens looked good against the Bengals last week, but playing a defence whose weaknesses are right at the perfect place for Lamar Jackson to exploit and the Bengals sputtering offence might have masked some of the concerns they’d shown in the previous couple of week. In week seven they travel to Seattle to face a Seahawks team who are 5-1 for a reason, and mostly that is the efficiency of Russell Wilson. The line gives me a slight pause, but Seattle have a genuine home-field advantage and I think they are the better team – this should be a cracking game and I could well look foolish by the end of it but I’m taking the Seahawks in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:        Seahawks

Eagles @ Cowboys (-2.5)

I really don’t like this line at all as neither team are healthy or give me a huge amount of confidence with both of them having lost last week. Whilst the Eagles’ secondary got exposed by the Vikings who have one of the better receiving duos in the league, the Cowboys have struggled to move the ball through the air on offence, have injuries at receiver, and have in fact lost three straight. It’s not much to go on but I’m going to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:        Eagles
Dan’s Pick:        Cowboys

Patriots @ Jets (+9.5)

The New York Jets were another team who got their first win last week as the return of Sam Darnold made a huge difference. This week they welcome a Patriots team who continue to beat big lines despite the offence not quite clicking thanks to a league leading by DVOA defence and having played Thursday night will be well rested for this one. It was one thing for the Jets to beat a beat up Cowboys team whose form is going in the wrong direction, but the Patriots are a much tougher proposition and I’m going to back the Pats to continue their impressive run in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Patriots
Dan’s Pick:        Patriots

 

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

Competition Thursday: Week Seven

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I had a great picks week despite the lack of time that saw me go 11-3, but I’m still lost with the trivia theme so here are our records:

Gee: Week 6   11-3 Overall   50-42
Dan’s Dad: Week 6   7-7 Overall   44-48
Dan: Week 6   8-6 Overall   43-49

Chiefs @ Broncos (+3.5)

The Kansas City Chiefs have a problem in that the defence they overhauled over the off-season has not improved, in fact their rushing defence ranks thirty-first in the league by DVOA. This is a problem as it opens up a game plan to defeat them by running the ball, dominating time of possession and trying to force the Chief’s offence to be super-efficient. This wouldn’t have worked last season because of how good Patrick Mahomes and the offence was, but with injuries across the offence and Mahomes himself struggling with an ankle injury the Chiefs have lost their last two games. A trip to the thin air of Mile High stadium in a short week is not what the Chiefs need right now and particularly given that whilst the Denver Broncos started slow, their defence is getting somewhere near what you expect with Vic Fangio as your head coach. In fact the Broncos are looking for their game plan to be play good defence and run the ball anyway. I’m not sure whether the Chiefs are actually going to lose three in a row, but I don’t expect them to run away with it and getting three and a half points at home is just too tempting to miss.

Gee’s Pick: Broncos
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs

Week 7 Trivia

‘It would seem that my improvement in the Picks competition last week was a false dawn, and I’ve seen a few of those over 60 years. For much of Sunday I was looking good but late scores by teams including Cincinnati and Miami didn’t net them a win but did close the spread to deny me the points. Clearly my time will come but I’ll have to console myself with another strong Vikings performance, so vital in what is becoming a very tight division that could go all way. Great effort by Gee and Dan anyway!

It was 11 years ago, almost to the day, that Dan and I saw the Bears see off a strong Vikings team in a really high scoring game at Soldier Field. Seeing the number of Peyton 34 jerseys being worn by fans proved the high regard in which this legend of the game was still held.

So, with both Dan and Gee correct this week, as I expected both are tied on 6 points. As a side order on this one I’m reminded of another 34 ( and the shirt I bought for dan on a visit there a few years before) one Ricky Williams of the Dolphins – not forgetting that it would once again be appropriate for Dan come February!

No sign of the theme being cracked here – so here is one clue. Think less about the answers than the root of the question.

OK, we now arrive at week 7 and my question is about the Bengals. With Mr Propeller Head to contend with I needed something testing but not unfair to Dan at the same time.

Here goes:     Which team did Cincinnati Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer get his first win against?

Catch you next week Hup Hup’

NFL Tankapalooza 2019: Who Wants the Prize?

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We are already a third of the way through the regular season and each conference has only one unbeaten team left, but the league’s two winless teams reside in the AFC as the Bengals join the Miami Dolphins in NFL Tankapalooza 2019. The difference is that the Dolphins were built with this in mind whilst the Bengals were planning to compete before the roster fell apart, but more of that later. For now, let’s make a start on rounding up NFL week six.

What I Saw

The Thursday night game was a bit of an odd one in week six as the unbeaten New England Patriots neat the New York Giants 34-14 but their offence still does not look in sync. In fact the opening score of the game was caused by the Giants’ punter hitting his own player and the Pats recovering and scoring a touchdown, but that said the Patriots’ offence ranks top ten by DVOA through week six and have we not learnt by now not to question Tom Brady? Even if there is no way he should be performing as well as he is this far past thirty-five, yet alone forty. When you pair this institutional success with the number one ranked defence you can see why people are already talking up another Super Bowl appearance for the Pats. There is still a long way to go though. This can also be said for the Giants who on top of starting a rookie quarterback, had a number of skills players injured and were never really going to compete in this one. It will take time to improve the roster and you can still make an argument that Daniel Jones would have been there at pick seventeen, but the Giants would argue that if Jones is a franchise quarterback there is no price too high to pay. It is too early to tell and somehow they are only one game back in the NFC East and whilst I’m really not expecting them to make a playoff push, they will be looking to play spoiler in the division and develop their young talent.

The first game I watched from Sunday was the second London game that saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become the second team to host at the new Tottenham Stadium as they lost 37-26 to the Carolina Panthers. The big takeaway from this game was that bad Jameis Winston turned up and gave away the ball seven times. He threw five interceptions, lost two fumbles and had a further two recovered by the team. You know it is going to be a bad day when your first pass is intercepted, and Winston managed to begin a second quarter drive with an interception as well as fumbling two plays in a row in another to make sure the opposition got the ball. It doesn’t matter if you throw for four hundred yards if your touchdown to interception ratios is 1:5 and it feels like we have the answer about one of the can’t miss quarterbacks of the 2015 NFL Draft (spoiler alert, the other features later). The steady play saw the Panthers win out eventually as Kyle Allan continues to keep the team in the race as Cam Newton focuses on getting truly healthy. There is already some talk of there being a controversy when Newton is healthy given the Panthers have done nothing but win since Allen got the start. The other things that struck me about the Panthers in this game was the depth of their defensive line as having put Kawann Short on the injury list they still had Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe to play in the middle. It might be lazy to suggest that McCoy might have had a point to prove against his old team, but two and half sacks with four quarterback hits is a good day and the team finished with seven sacks.

Having seen that the New York Jets had won the first game of the season and with them being one of the few teams I haven’t seen yet I made a point of watching them heap further problems onto the Dallas Cowboys. It was an impressive turn around for Gang Green with Sam Darnold having his first three hundred yard passing day that included several beautifully placed balls and a ninety-two yard touchdown pass. The Jets are not suddenly a playoff team but it just highlights what a difference a starting quarterback can make and we now have eleven games to more fairly judge where they are as a team. The Cowboys however, will be very worried by a result that doesn’t doom their push for the playoffs but certainly doesn’t help. There seems to be less motion pre-snap to my eyes and Ezekiel Elliott is struggling to get going in the run game. This won’t be helped by injuries to both starting tackles, nor receiver Amari Cooper leaving the game early in the first quarter so you can perhaps expect some regression from the offence, but the defence is relatively healthy and currently ranked twenty-fifth by DVOA. I can’t pretend to have a huge amount of faith in Jason Garrett to turn things around but to do so the Cowboys need to get back to the formula that was working in the first three games,. Whether they can depends on health and coaching, but one to watch in the coming weeks.

The final game I watched this week is the latest loss for the Cincinnati Bengals who started the game with a kick-off return touchdown that sadly represented 41% of the Bengals total points as they lost 23-17 on the road to the Baltimore Ravens. I’m not sure how much this tells us about the Ravens given how the Bengals’ offensive spluttered and how Lamar Jackson is the perfect running quarterback to exploit the issues the Bengals have at the edge of their defence. This season is a lost cause for the Bengals and there are some worrying injuries to the Ravens secondary, which could be a problem for a defence that uncharacteristically languishes in the twenties by DVOA but the Ravens have a two game lead in the AFC North so remain the team to beat in the division.

I have a little addition for this week courtesy of Fran Duffy, an Eagles media employee who does several really good podcasts and watches a lot of film – there was really good breakdown of quarters coverage during this week’s Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast and a breakdown of the play on this video.

What I Heard

I’ve already mentioned the big news of the weekend in terms of the Jets, but at the other end of the quarterback performance spectrum Jared Goff threw for only seventy-eight yards in the Rams loss to the 49ers. The Rams have reacted to the problems they are having on defence by trading away two first round picks to the Jaguars for Jalen Ramsey, who should certainly help their secondary. However, the problem with that is the combination of offensive line play and the injury restriction of Todd Gurley is hampering their offensive. This is compounded by the contracts they have given both Gurley and Goff when neither of them are carrying the offence right now. I understand going for it when you have a quarterback on a rookie deal but with the likes of Aarond Donald, Gurley and Goff all having big contracts this could become a real problem, particularly as Gurley’s knee is not going to improve massively given that he is suffering from an arthritic condition. The Rams could really miss those draft picks in the coming seasons.

The other quarterback I should mention is the other 2015 quarterback that will always be paired with Jameis Winston, namely Marcus Mariota who was pulled for Ryan Tannehill on Sunday and who has lost his starting position for this week’s games. This is a timely reminder that high drafted quarterbacks don’t always work out and a quarterback needs a lot of infrastructure around them to succeed. I think you can rebuild a team through a roster reset, but I don’t know it is a sure thing and whilst I like accumulating draft talent through getting more picks – if I was a Dolphins fan I would be worried about the talent that has left and whether one of those high draft picks is definitely going to be a franchise quarterback.

The other big topic of conversation has been the standard of officiating with the end of the Monday night game coming in for particular condemnation, but there was also a flurry of flags towards the end of the Jets and Cowboys. It’s too easy to rip the refs, particularly as football is very complex game to referee and the speed of the game has only got faster but there have been some pretty bad non-calls or ticky-tacky pass interference decisions. That said, it’s not the small calls that really annoy but the egregious ones and it seems pretty clear from the success rate of coach challenges that only those kind of pass interference calls are going to get overturned so can we get a memo to all head coaches to stop throwing the challenge flag unless someone actually got mugged and it was missed.

What I Think

I was glad that Mason Rudolph was able to go straight back to practice and the Bengals have announced today Cordy Glenn has been cleared to practice. These are grown men who are making their own decisions, but as someone who’s had his own issues with head injuries, I really hope they are listening to their doctors and are being duly careful. It seems to be the repeated sub-concussive blows rather than the big hits that cause a lot of the problems, but Glenn has been out for a couple of months now and as a linemen he is exposed to a lot of those sub-concussive blows. The Bengals could really do with a healthy Glenn, but the world could do with a healthy Glenn a lot more.

What I Know

I have really struggled to get to coaching tape this year, and even my re-arranged plan didn’t survive my work week and I have another series of interruptions coming this week. I’m not giving up on getting something done, but hopefully things will calm down in a couple of weeks, but that said I will be down in London to watch the Bengals in week eighth and suddenly we’ll be halfway through the season. Man is it slipping by quickly this year.

What I Hope

There is talk that AJ Green could be coming back soon and it would be really great to see him play live again and for the Bengals to be at least competitive against the Rams. In the meantime I hope that I can stay competitive in the picks competition as it looks like the only football based season win I’m going to get this year.

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

2019 Week Six Picks

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Apart from work eating my time, I’ve also had a somewhat terrifying memory stick failure so whilst I have rescued over 30 000 words of a novel and pretty much all of my files – I am massively behind so I’m putting up our picks and trivia and will have to try to find time to get back on an even keel during the upcoming week.

‘I’m looking at Chicago who, you will recall have retired the most jerseys (14) but what number did Walter Peyton wear so proudly for the Bears. 2 points available here.’

For once I’m feeling confident about the basic part of the trivia competition because I can see in my mind Peyton running the ball wearing number 34 – although it would be a bit embarrassing if I’m misremembering. I’m still lost on the theme though as I can’t make anything fit.

‘Well, I know the answer to this week’s question is 34 – I remember seeing hundreds of people wearing his Jersey when we went to see the Vikings get heated by the Bears in Chicago almost exactly 10 years ago (sorry Dad!).

But I’m still none the wiser when it comes to the theme. My guess this week is “Things which have nothing to do with each other whatsoever”.’

Panthers @ Buccaneers (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Panthers
Dan’s Pick:       Panthers

Bengals @ Ravens (-11.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:       Ravens

Seahawks @ Browns (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:       Seahawks

Texans @ Chiefs (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Texans
Dan’s Pick:       Chiefs

Washington @ Dolphins (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:       Dolphins

Eagles @ Vikings (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Vikings
Dan’s Pick:       Vikings

Saints @ Jaguars (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Saints
Dan’s Pick:       Saints

Falcons @ Cardinals (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Falcons
Dan’s Pick:       Falcons

49ers @ Rams (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:       Rams

Cowboys @ Jets (+8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:       Cowboys

Titans @ Broncos (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Titans
Dan’s Pick:       Broncos

Steelers @ Chargers (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Steelers
Dan’s Pick:       Steelers

Lions @ Packers (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Lions
Dan’s Pick:       Packers

Competition Thursday: 2019 Week Six

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A losing week sees me did back to .500 but holding a narrow two point lead on Dan’s Dad, but there is still plenty of time for changes and Dan is not out of it, although he will be hoping not to make it a third week in a row scoring only six points.

Gee: Week 5   7-8 Overall   39-39
Dan’s Dad: Week 5   9-6 Overall   37-41
Dan: Week 5   6-9 Overall   34-43

Giants @ Patriots (-16.5)

You should never say never, but I have a feeling that tonight’s Thursday night game won’t live up to the previous two as we see the New England Patriots host a New Your Giants team who got something of a reality check last Sunday. In Daniel Jones the Giants may well have a quarterback for the future, but there are still a lot of problems with the rest of their roster and this is obviously not an easy game. The unbeaten Patriots have been ominously good again this season and even though their offence has not looked at its best, and Tom Brady is beginning to look like a forty-two quarterback, it stills ranks in the top ten by DVOA. Even more scary is the Patriots stellar defence that ranks number one by DVOA, which I think is going to limit a rookie quarterback quite easily. This number of points is obviously going to make me pause but given the Pats have beaten several lines like this already this season, I can’t quite bring myself to pick the Giants. I could look very foolish tomorrow.

Gee’s Pick:       Patriots
Dan’s Pick:       Patriots

Week 6 Trivia

‘With the season now 5 weeks old, and the bye weeks started, the only things of which I’m certain is that the Picks game is unpredictable, and that Dan and Gee will continue to overthink my devious questions.

It was pleasing that The Dolphins didn’t lose thanks to being on a bye but Dan did wonder what the spread on them would have been for the bye. The Vikings returned to form at the Giants but sadly the Bengals did less well, going down against the Cardinals. Oh well, there’s a long way to go yet.

Right onto this week’s devious question which concerned the Carolina Panthers and asked How many rushing yards did DeShaun Foster run in the 2002 regular season?

Well, I do have a conscience and having set the question I did feel a little guilty as I heard the Random Number Generators being dusted off.

Why? Well while DeShaun Foster was expected to be the elite running back for the Panthers, but never started a regular season game due to injuries. So the answer was a big fat Zero and unsurprisingly both Dan and Gee got the same result.

Yet again we have no sign of either spotting the theme. Better luck in Week 6.

Guilt has kicked in and I’d expect to see 2 correct answers this week where I’m looking at Chicago who, you will recall have retired the most jerseys (14) but what number did Walter Peyton wear so proudly for the Bears. 2 points available here.’

Still Looking For a Win

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Welcome to a look back at week five in the NFL that featured upsets, a horrible concussion and our first coach firing of the year so let’s get started.

What I Saw

The week five slate of games started with a second excellent Thursday night game that saw the LA Ram lose by one point to the Seattle Seahawks costing all three of us a point in the picks competition. This was a back and forth game that saw five lead changes and the Rams could have very easily won it as Jared Goff drove the team into position for a last second field goal but Greg (the Leg) Zuerlein was unable to convert the forty-four yard field goal to get the win. The Rams offence looked pretty good in spurts, with Goff finding his tight-ends and in particular Gerald Everett who led the team in receiving yards but Goff is still prone to throwing dangerous passes and whilst he was only intercepted once in this game, it definitely could have been more. The other problem is that even with more carries this week, Todd Gurley was unable to recreate his form from last season and this is a real problem for an offence built around his skill set and play-action off the run game. That said, if you want strange things, how about the Seahawk’s defence currently being ranked twenty-second in the league by DVOA? I knew that they were not looking as strong as they have historically but I hadn’t expected them to rank quite this low. That said, their offence is ranked third in the league by DVOA and is beginning to look good doing it. This may still be one of the remaining run heavy offences (forty-three carries in this game) but the Russell Wilson is playing really well and is being incredibly efficient in the passing game as well as doing his usual heroics in avoiding the oppostion’s pass rush. In fact both his path and Tyler Lockett’s catch in the first quarter demonstrate at what level of precision this Seahawks offence is capable of. The Rams defence actually has the exact same overall ranking by DVOA right now as it did at the end of the 2018 season so whilst some of the personnel changed, it’s the problems on the offence that are holding the Rams back, but a close loss against the Seahawks is a step in the right direction but they could really regret their loss to the Buccaneers in week four and they’ll want to turn things around soon.

I only managed to watch one other game this week thanks to things going on at work. On Sunday I did get my first Amateur Adventures in Film post of the season up, where I took a look at Khalil Mack’s play against the Minnesota Vikings ahead of the Bears taking on the Raiders on Sunday. You can read AAF: Khalil Mack here, and I will only add that the Raiders got a really good win and the Bears on Sunday but I did check in on the game Sunday and it is a little odd to see a game that so looks like a normal NFL game but played in the UK. The stadium definitely looks like it works, but I’ll have to let others be the proper judge of that.

The only upside of being so far behind on the games watched is that I’ve not had to put myself through the Bengals loss to the Cardinals, which I followed Sunday night whilst at my in-laws.  All I will say now is that it seems there’s a very good chance the Bengals will be 0-7 when I see them in London. That could be a very strange day indeed.

The final game I did see this week was the New Orleans Saints hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a contest that finished 31-24 to the Saints. Perhaps the score line flatters to deceive a little as the Saints led for all of the second half and the Buccaneers didn’t get closer than seven points after the Saints took the lead. It was a better game for the Teddy Bridgewater who finished the game with over three hundred passing yards and four touchdown although he did throw an interception. However, more importantly it appears that Sean Payton is increasingly adapting to his new starting quarterback who threw the ball down field more successfully in this game. There’s not going to be a controversy once Drew Brees is fit again, but it bodes well for the future of both Bridgewater and the Saints that that they have managed to maintain such a strong start to the season without their starting quarterback for three games. The other part of the formula that drove this is that the Saints’ defence looks much better than their ranking of twentieth by DVOA would suggest. They limited the Buccaneers to under one hundred yards rushing and just over two hundred yards whilst sacking Jameis Winston six times and harassing him for most of the game. This was a difficult contest for the Buccaneers who struggled to move the ball and were unable to keep up with the Saints in the second half. In fairness to Winston he didn’t turn the ball over but the Saints outgained them by over two hundred yards. A special mention also ought to go to Bruce Arians’s bad challenges, which is partly do the referees as a whole seeming not to want to overturn calls but five weeks in perhaps you have to adapt when you throw the challenge flag. However, between Arians and his coordinators the Buccaneers already look a very different team to last season and only the loss the New York Giants looks like a bad one. The Bucs have wins against the Rams and Panthers already as well as three road games played so far and whilst I’m not saying they will compete for the playoffs, I feel confident that barring injury they will do better than the five games they won last season.

What I Heard

There have been various discussions going on this week, but I’ve not had the chance to consume as much NFL media as usual. There were two big talking points this week. The first was the firing of Jay Gruden that even in only week five seemed a question of when not if. That said, it is pretty vindictive to call a coach in at five am to fire him, but there were more problems in that building than just the coaching, and it is strange to see how far a franchise that was once the centre of the city’s sportiing life has fallen. They are playing in front of crowds that regularly have almost as many if not more road fans present and given the dysfunction of the franchise I am not sure it will change any time soon.

The second of the headlines coming out of Sunday was the horrible looking concussion suffered by Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph. Having been in denial for a number of years, the league are trying to make the game safer, but it is still a dangerous sport and whuilst it looked like a football play, it is never good when a player is unconscious before they hit the ground. It was the kind of hit that make people tell their sons they are never playing the game. I’m just glad that Rudolph was back at work on Monday but we know the effects of concussions are cumulative and recovery is important so I hope he is given as much time as possible before he plays again.

Speaking of which, the other things I wanted to mention is something I hinted at when picking against the Jets on Sunday, which was just how badly Adam Gase handled his quarterback decision last week. After a scan early in the week showed that Sam Darnold’s spleen was still enlarged, Gase still had him taking reps during the week, but Darnold was not cleared to play and so Luke Falk got the start. I’m not sure if it would have made a difference, but given the nature of Darnold’s injury it seems madness not to get Falk every first team rep possible and wait until Darnold was definitely cleared to play before getting him to practice normally.

What I Think

There are now only four winless teams, and I would say that the Bengals look the most competitive of them but that is not a mycg consolation. The Patriots look pretty ominous at 4-0 despite not playing that great and the San Francisco should definitely be respected given their 4-0 start and a record that has them top the league in DVOA, although we’ll see how that lasts through the next few weeks. I am obviously impressed with all the four win teams, but the Raiders have a winning record despite all the off-season noise and I may well have been wrong about them.

What I Know

That thanks again to work I don’t have time to watch an entire game of coaching tape this week, but I’m working on an idea for an alternative format for a coaching tape feature. I don’t know if it will work, but plans are afoot and I have already been looking at play design applications. I’ll see if it gets past the TWF testing team but watch this space.

What I Hope

I hope that the league’s concussion numbers continues to fall as they did last season and I am interested to see just how long Vontaze Burfict ban stays after his appeal as it is clear that the fines have not stopped his behavior.

If the Bengals could get a win on the road this week that would also be nice.