Lions Amon-Ra St. Brown is ready to make the leap

Wide receiver is known to be one of the most difficult positions to succeed at in the NFL. Oftentimes, great wide receivers from College Football just can’t seem to make it in the big league. Playing against defenders who are bigger, stronger and faster, along with defensive schemes. It’s a very difficult position to play and have success. You can usually tell the players that are going to succeed early and  they often make that leap in the 2nd year, as we saw with Justin Jefferson and Tee Higgins, most recently. Amon-Ra St. Brown is a talented wide receiver, who came out of USC after 3 middling seasons with just 16 TDs, but has adapted to the next level really well, I think his 2nd season is going to be a big jump. 

In his first season he racked up 90 catches for 912 yards which included 5 touchdowns and a very solid 10.1 yards-per-catch and this was after starting just 9 games. He also had 7 games of 70 or more YDs, where he showed he has the ability to be very explosive when he gets the ball in his hands. 

His ability to bounce around that field on short hitches or quick Slants is lethal, what he can do on the field truly can be a game-changer for the Detroit Lions. He can take a short 3 yd grab and quickly turn it into some big yards up field. St. Brown is loaded with talent, there is absolutely no question to that. The biggest question is, if he’s going to be able to showcase it to his full potential. 

Now of course, having Jared Goff as the quarterback, is truly the cog to how successful he might be. Although Goff isn’t a top tier QB, as he’s just above average, he can certainly complete short yard completions to him and let him attack the field. Goff is likely not the QB that any wide receiver is super excited to catch passes from, but he’s not completely inept, as he showed last year, throwing just 8 picks at a miniscule 1.6% rate, which improved from his prior season. 

And certainly keep in mind that the defenses in the NFC North have not been outstanding, so having to deal with less-than-stellar corners. Detroit and Goff should be able to take advantage of mismatches. 

Minnesota gave up 29 passing TDs in 2021, Chicago was torn up for 31, and the Packers gave up a load in the air as well. As good as DB Jaire Alexander is for Green Bay, he can be aggressive. He has very good timing, and jumps routes very frequently, but he can be beaten. 

From everything I have read and seen, the Lions team staff also has great hopes for him. The first step for success for any player, let alone a young wide receiver, is for coaches to have faith in them and they have shown they have that in him. Having a staff that believes in you and wants to give you a chance to succeed is very important. A player can only be as good as the opportunities that he is given. The Lions and Dan Campbell have something going on in Detroit.

Something good. 

I certainly feel that Campbell has the eye to take St. Brown to another level. He is a player’s guy, who has brought the Lions from scoring 25th in the NFL last season, quietly to 2nd early in this season.

If Amon-Ra St. Brown can stay healthy, he will be a great WR1 for the Lions. I fully expect the 6-0 receiver to elevate his game this season. I don’t think that 1100+ YDs and 10 TDs are out of sight. 

What does resigning Cam Newton mean to Carolina?

Carolina recently resigned Cam Newton back to the team that he started his career with back in 2011. There have been a ton of opinions on the signing. Carolina appears to some, so desperate for a QB, they signed a mediocre guy that played for them once before to take over again as their QB. Some feel they brought back “Superman.”

Firstly, Teddy Bridgewater replaced Cam in 2020 and then they paid Darnold to replace Bridgewater in 2021. So they’re already 2 QBs past Cam at this point. Bridgewater had the highest ceiling and I feel deserved the chance after his awful knee injury. But, if we are being truthful, he’s pretty average and lacks great arm strength but he has shown he’s a capable QB who can win games. Secondly, Darold started playing badly when McCaffrey got hurt, including going 1-4 with a horrible 52.9% passing since week 5. But before that, he was looking like he was going to be the guy the Jets thought he was supposed to be, putting up 297 /game with 67.7% passing, while going 3-1 through the first 4 weeks.

At this point though – it is starting to look like constant 2nd guessing by the GM, which creates a low level of confidence to many. Cam went to the Patriots in 2020 and had a terrible season with just 8 TDs and 10 picks, along with one of his lowest yard passing totals in his career. Newton was awful last year with a very bad TD to Int ratio and throwing for just 177 yards / game, again, certifying to his doubters that he’s a run first QB, and is just not a good pocket passer. Regardless of trends and the “running QB” methodology, that is indeed what a QB should be able to do.

Newton truly has never shown anything to me as a starting NFL caliber QB besides his ability to run. I’ve always been critical of his ability to pass the ball from the pocket and his heart. Another huge question I have is Cam’s durability.
Can he stay upright?
This will be his 11th year and he is 32 years old. I don’t believe his legs will be quite as big of a factor now like they used to be, as his legs were his biggest threat to defenses. I think most would agree, he has passed for 24+ TD passes in a season, only 3 times in his career. Cam will run more than what they had, and he will give the fans some nostalgia. But if we’re being honest, Cam’s heart for the game has been questionable ever since the Broncos put the hurt on him in SuperBowl 50.

He was always arrogant on the field and has always carried himself with a loud brashness and cockiness. Never more than when he had the nerve to come down on his teammates after the loss in the SuperBowl. He was terrible during the game with a 43% passing game, 2 fumbles, and a costly interception. To me, he is an unlikeable player – he just hasn’t ever met a team’s expectations, maturity or consistency. Carolina let him go because they decided they got as far as they could with him. But now they felt they had to resign him because they needed a QB. Which is a common case of desperation.

Carolina resigning Cam Newton is not unlike taking your ex back – it never ends well. It’s like it’s the same thing over again. You know what they bring, you’re kind of comfortable with what you have – but at the end of the day there’s a reason you moved on. I do feel as if all he has to do, at this point, is do a decent job, and Carolina will probably give him another contract. At this point of the season, they seem to want to just try their best to attempt to remain a .500 team.

Newton is, and will always be overrated.
He lacks true QB skills and leadership.

Indianapolis is going to be in good shape with Carson Wentz

The Indianapolis Colts came into the 2021 season with a 10th ranked defense, a strong Oline, and a pretty solid RB duo in Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, those things are going to make the former Eagle QB much more comfortable at the helm. The Colts look to have been built the right way, they have the ability to run the ball, and they can keep their QB upright and not terrified from the snap.

Remember, back in 2017, Carson Wentz was an MVP candidate in Reich’s offense, Wentz’s best seasons were when Frank Reich was the OC in Philly. The 6-5 QB knows what Reich’s game looks like, and he flourished In it. To me, he should bounce back in a big way this year. If we are also being real about things, the Eagles have gotten worse since Reich left back in 2018 – and Carson’s numbers went down since Reich left. In 2017 Wentz put up 33 TD passes with a massive 7.5% TD throwing pct to just 7 picks. Since 2018 Wentz has each and every year gone steadily down in his TD pct, throwing an average of 21 TD passes, and went 17-21-1. There is simply no comparison.

I think the former 33 TD passer could also end up as a Pro Bowler and Indy can be a top 3-4 seed this season. The Colts were 11-5 with Phillip Rivers at QB, Rivers threw for 24 TDs and 4100+ YDs at 39 years old. Rivers was painfully immobile, and Wentz has age on his side, at just 28 years old, and has been shown to be able to move. They struggled in week 1 – I wouldn’t lose my mind if I am a Colts fan. The Hawks are a very good team with a lot of chemistry – it will be ok.

Wentz can lead the team better than Rivers, and Rivers was fine. The deep ball will be there far more, and Wentz brings much more mobility with a career 4.1 YPC, and his better mobility will make things easier on Jonathan Taylor. Carson isn’t Mahomes, but if you don’t think he makes the Colts better, you’re going to be stupidly shocked. This trade was a steal for Indianapolis, pushing them into even bigger contenders than the team from last season.

The Eagles have crumbled into a void due to horrible management and bad coaching. Granted, the Eagles were wrecked with injuries, and for some reason Doug Pederson never wanted to run the ball with their talented RB, Miles Sanders. Philadelphia also had a bottom 10 defense in the league, giving up 26ppg and anyone with a football in hand to throw for 400 vs them, so they were almost always playing from behind. And since, have decided that Pederson was no longer the guy for this team, after going 13-18-1 over the last 2 years.

Wentz’s fall from grace had more to do with the abominations running the Eagles franchise, Wentz had no offensive line or steady WRs for the last several seasons. Their defense previously had been in the bottom half of the NFL for 2 straight seasons, and simply look at who they drafted. JJ Arcega-Whiteside over 1300+ YD WR, DK Metcalf. Jalen Reagor over 1400 YD WR, Justin Jefferson. Nothing in those picks shows proper scouting.

The Eagles putting everything in the Hurts locker might have been a quick trigger reaction – even though he played pretty darn good in week 1 with 264 and 3 TDs, we still need to see if he can play high quality football for the whole season. They still have some Oline problems, and Hurts can’t rely on running read options every single game in the NFL. The love fest for Hurts and jumping all in was a knee jerk reaction at best. I feel Indy made out in the trade. Indy has a far better line than Philly and, although it didn’t look like it in the first week, they have a better defense as well. He will without question, be much better. The Colts will be making the playoffs, and the Eagles won’t be, and it will likely be like that for the next 4 or 5 years.

Five Coaches on the Hot Seat

The NFL is unique in so many ways and the leash that is afforded coaches is unlike any we see in most of the other professional or even college ranks. Basketball coaches typically receive three seasons (or at least two) to get things back in place unless the results are brutal. Major League Baseball is usually at least two. The NFL is an entirely different animal though as we have seen in recent years with the examples being one and dones Steve Wilks in Arizona and Jim Tomzula in San Francisco. Hell, the Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer in 2006 after he went 14-2.


Today, I want to take a look at the top five NFL coaches who are feeling the heat this season from most likely to be “relieved” of their duties to the least likely.

1-Dan Quinn-Atlanta Falcons

You want to talk about toeing the line, Quinn might be standing on it. The Falcons have a very good quarterback and have surrounded him with weapons in recent seasons but it is always something. They either turn the ball over in the RedZone or don’t get the ball to Julio Jones enough. On the defensive side of the ball they seem to rarely ever stop anyone and this season they let Vic Beasley walk. The Falcons are now three seasons removed from the greatest Super Bowl collapse in history and two seasons removed from their last playoff appearance. Owner Arthur Blank is not going to want to waste his window with Ryan/Gurley/Jones/Ridley for more than one more season.

2-Pat Shurmur-New York Giants

Being from New England, I know a lot of Giants fans and they aren’t happy. Shurmur is 9-23 in two seasons with the Giants and is riding superstar Saquon Barkley into the ground. After the disaster that was the Ben McAdoo era, you have to think that the Giants are ready to make a splash and Shurmur cannot lean on his resume’ for any more leash as his career record coaching record is 19-46.

3-Zac Taylor-Cincinnati Bengals

This one is probably not fair but life isn’t fair and it’s even less fair in the NFL. The one saving grace here is that the Bengals have not been typically quick on the trigger historically. Only Sam Wyche, their first coach, received two seasons or fewer but if the Bengals go 2-14 or 3-13 this season, Taylor is going to be sweating.


4-Doug Marrone-Jacksonville Jaguars

The once-promising window for the Jaguars has been slammed shut over the last two seasons and a 11-21 record leading to two last-place division finishes. This offseason, the organization has shaken up its coaching staff, front office, and scouting department. They have also moved on from Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew and parted with Calais Campbell in the offseason after trading Jalen Ramsey during the season. The winds of change are blowing in Jacksonville and Doug Marrone might swept away if the Jags aren’t able to find a rhythm that led to a first place finish in 2017.

5-Anthony Lynn-Los Angeles Chargers

If you have been reading any of my preseason wagers and projections you already know, I am not an Anthony Lynn fan. If you have watched Chargers games in recent seasons you already know, every game is an adventure with at least one “what the?” call coming from the Chargers sideline and Phillip Rivers absolutely losing his mind about something. Well, Rivers and his Hall of Fame career are now gone and it could get ugly in a hurry. My guess is that unless this team signs Cam Newton or Jameis Winston as a stop-gap, they are going to be one of the three worst in the NFL and Lynn will be gone.


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The Top 5 Defenders in the NFL for 2019

What counts as great defense? There are so many factors when anyone is ranking defense and defensive players. Do you rank on sacks, tackles, interceptions, passes defended, or the overall value that the player brings from their respectable position and the value to the NFL winning team they play with?
So many players, younger and veteran, who have had exceptional defensive play in their careers. Some more recently, some a few years back, but I will look at and rank, who is the best playing in the league right now. Unfortunately, this will mean we will not be including some really good players, like underrated Shaquil Barrett, the 27 year old LB from the Bucs – with 15.5 sacks and 2 passes defended in his 2019 campaign.
I am also moving passed Matt Judon – who is having a career year with 8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He brings a great future to the team and should remain the core and the foundation of a strong defense for the organization.
But he won’t be on the list.
The talented Minkah Fitzpatrick – who is by far one of the league’s better pass defenders with 5 picks and 9 passes defended, and steady active hands in a very solid young career, he also brings a lot of talent to the tackling in Pittsburgh – and will be terrorizing QBs for years in Pennsylvania. But none of these men will not be making this list.
So let’s get to it, let’s take a look at the best of the best. The absolute cream of the crop, the peak of the big top.
Here are your elite 5 playing right now in the NFL 2019.
5. Za’Darius Smith – the 27 year old DE formerly from the Ravens, has been terrorizing QBs with 10 sacks on the year, which is very good – but it doesn’t show just how much he is in the backfield of teams. He has been such a menacing force with attacking QBs – he carries a league leading 18 QB knockdowns and is 4th in QB pressures this year, and also has gotten the Packers 12 tackles for loss, putting him tops on the team. He has great ability with size at 6-4 and 275lbs – his natural strength keeps opposing teams unprepared for when he gets moving against the Oline. His relentless QB attacking has been more than enough to shake teams to the core.
4.  TreDavious White – the  195lb DB from Buffalo – who has racked up 10 passes intercepted and astonishing 41 passes defended over the last 3 seasons, he is a highly valuable asset for Buffalo. At only 24 years old, he has shown excellent patience and skills that typically only vets show, he has been able to read coverages with meticulousness and will continue to do so. He has great control of his body – an incredible ability to read QBs eyes and feel the body of the WR he is lined up against – helping the Bills to their very highly ranked defensive pass team this year, giving up just 12 TDs in the air.

3. T.J. Watt – the 3rd year, 6-4 LB for the Steelers – T.J. Watt is one of the names that doesn’t always comes to mind when someone thinks of one of the elite defensive players in the NFL.
They would be wrong.
Here is why he is on the list, his instincts, and simply put, he has been an outstanding QB attacking machine for the last 2 seasons, in particular – and he has been the one guy who has always shown up, getting 13 sacks in 2018 and 12.5 already this season, with still 3 games left. His quick eyes also has gotten the Steelers 41 combined tackles and a never ending motor on a regular basis. He will be the heart of this teams defense for years to come.
2. Stephon Gilmore – has had 105 passes defended in 8 years and has been the tops in the NFL for many seasons. Gilmore is the real deal, and when anyone thinks of the top DBs in the NFL, his name is typically what comes up. He shuts down teams, and takes away elite talent, each and every game. With teams only completing 50% of their attempts vs him – he takes guys out of the game – every team knows very well what they are going to be dealing with when they look to go up vs his brilliant physical tenacity. He has helped to carry the Pats in pass coverage with his ferocity and ball hawking ability, he means an awful lot to the success of the team.
1.  Cameron Jordan – has pounded teams for 85 sacks in 9 seasons.
His sack total is something that greats are made of. He has had a career best season with 13.5 sacks – he will likely hit the 100+ mark when all is said and done, probably ending up with around 115 or so for his career. There should be no question as to why this guy is at the top of the list for his play this year. He has been one of the best defensive ends for his entire career, and once he got full time snaps in 2012 – he quickly showed why he was drafted 24th overall the NFL by the Saints. Jordan brings a mindset to a team the minute he steps on the field, he is a sure tackler, and brings leadership on the field with an incredible instinct for where the play is going. There is no team in the NFL who wouldn’t love having this guy on their team.
So any way you slice it, dice it or dissect it, those are the guys that you absolutely cannot go wrong with. You know what you’re getting with anyone of them. You are getting a top of the line player; you’re getting pressure on enemies QBs and making plays across the field.

Christian McCaffrey the best all purpose RB in the NFL

Without Christian McCaffrey – the Carolina Panthers are a pretty average and far less dangerous team to watch on a Sunday. The Panthers need him…big time. The only RB who can compete with McCaffrey in the backfield is the Vikings RB, Dalvin Cook. McCaffrey has been absolutely outstanding – and can make plays on his own, even if their big men up front aren’t playing as good as they normally can. We can see what 23 year old RB has done with a good Oline this year, in particular. The Panthers offensive line has been pretty solid for the season – and seems to have even gotten a little better. McCaffrey is more than just an amazing scat back – he can run between the tackles, run to the outside, run hitch routes and screens. He has proven to have the ability to be able to take on a full season as a RB1 – and I don’t think many ever though he would be a top 5 RB in carries or rushing yards. But here we are – sitting at 3rd in carries, and 2nd in yards.
McCaffrey has also faced his share of loaded boxes – and has still produced a league leading 12 rushing TDs and 1167 rushing YDs. When he joined the team in 2017 – he immediately showed his great all around RB ability with 80 catches and 1086 yards from scrimmage. As we all know that durability is definitely important, and McCaffrey has been that as well. His explosion this season verifies something very good for Carolina and Carolina Panthers fans. The one season in 2017 when he didn’t have 1000 YDs in rushing – he only got around 7 carries/game and was really used as a gimmick and was doing the majority of his damage as a receiver. It is extremely hard and very difficult to consistently run for 100+ YDs in a game when defenses are stacking up the box – because they want to contain a dangerous weapon like Christian McCaffrey. Yet he has still been running for 97 YPG, and has six 100+ yard games this season, out of 12 games played. That is absolutely ridiculous – and if we include games for combined total yards – his number goes to 10 games of 100+ YDs.
The Panthers running game is all on Christian McCaffrey – as there is no other RB on the team that can hold the team together with his vision and calm to get to his holes. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are legitimate targets for the Panthers QBs to get the ball to – but McCaffrey is the one who the team looks to move the ball when needed. Christian McCaffrey is the one defense are most concerned about on gameday – and is impressing everyone with his dual threat ability and 75 catches. McCaffrey has a different style than big name guys like Ezekiel Elliot or 11 TD rusher, Derrick Henry – they are both built on brute strength – RBs that blow a LB over and rip off 40+ yards to a TD. Christian is more of a take your ankles and juke out anyone else who’s in front of him. Dalvin Cook has that kind of finesse as well, but CMC leans to that kind of ball play even more – with his quickness he has had since his days playing in college at Stanford.
It is often thought by many in this generation is that in the modern era – a RB isn’t the one who is going to carry a team to the SuperBowl.
And that QBs do.
I disagree.
QBs are obviously a very large part of things – but having that lithe RB who can break a back and take off with the 15 yard run on 3rd and 2 when things are winding down or when you need that big 1st down is crucial. They are the oil to the machine.
McCaffrey blocks and catches as well as any back in the league – he is the most complete package. He has shown his full potential this year with 5 YPC, 16 combined TDs, and an awesome, league leading 1811 yards from scrimmage – we can say I full confidence, he is the best RB right now. He has been the heart and focal point of the Carolina Panthers team and rightfully doesnt look to be slowing down at any time soon.

The NY Jets deserve a Star QB

The Jets have had their share of screw ups with drafting QBs over the years. Drafting Geno Smith in 2013 at the 39th overall spot, less than 6000 YDs and a 58% completion rate later – he is gone. Smith drudged up good pocket passer comparisons – but he suffered with – not being able to complete passes. Chad Pennington back in 2000 at the 18th position, who was weak armed and injury prone. Mark Sanchez and 5 spot – he is no longer there. “The Sanchise” helped the Jets to the playoffs – but he of course faded away as the team did. And of course, Christian Hackenberg in 2016. Do we need to go there?
Having a true franchise QB could change them immensely
The Jets love the laid-back, Sam Darnold personality, and they don’t have to worry about him ending up across the headlines in tabloids and they have some good things around him. They have Le’Veon Bell at RB now, Jamison Crowder at WR, who brings steady hands and good route runner, and they have a Head Coach that believes in his future and his ability.
Bell can help the New York offense – and he can help dictate coverages a bit. Making Darnold’s job a bit easier, his ability to get open underneath on routes and as a check down option should immensely help Sam – last year, he didn’t have a RB who could be a threat in both the run and pass. Now he has arguably one of the best in the league with Bell being added, and Darnold struggled with underneath throws – Bell was supposed to upgrade that with his soft hands. Bell catching passes on the outside with some guys who should be able to make plays. Ty Montgomery and Jamison Crowder should be able to help open up the box for him – Crowder has the biggest upside to do that, as he brings a major slot threat.
Over the last 20 years, removing Darnold from the equation – their QBs have thrown a total of 248 TD passes to 232 ints. New York has had just 2 guys throw 20+ TDs in a season, and that was only done 2 times.
In 20 years.
They have suffered longingly and painfully at that position. Darnold has been put into the position to have a huge chance to try and reverse their “curse.” But, the organization needs to continue to build around him.
The last QB the New York Jets had that was even considered in the top 15 QBs of the league – was who?
Vinny Testaverde?
Boomer Esiason?
Ken O’Brien?
Many feel he is very talented and now he has been able to get his feet wet – and get that valuable experience. At this point, with just 17 games under his belt, 3682 YDs, 22 TD passes, and a low completion rate – what kind of promise are we really looking at? Last year, Darnold was ok at times – but from what I’ve seen on the field – I am still not sure he’ll be a great QB in the league. I just don’t know if I am ready to believe in Sam Darnold quite yet. With 9 games of 230 YDs or less passing – 8 games of 1 TD pass or less and 7 games having completed 58% or less of his attempts. He brings some moxie to the position – but also brings some real questions – he obviously lacks experience and the veteran leadership that the Jets need, although he has demonstrated quick decision making, and is able to move the ball around some.
I want Darnold to be successful for the Jets – they need to have someone to give them hope on that team. They deserve it, after the Mark Sanchez’s and the Geno Smith’s they have endured. New York hasn’t really been a competitor for their division for years – 12 years of being in 3rd place or worse in the last 20 years, winning the division just 5% of the time. Of course, playing in a division with Tom Brady and the Pats doesn’t help – but they have finished 2nd only 35% of the time.
Still not good.
Sam needs to keep learning, and not keep making the same mistakes – any young QB should get better by playing in games – he is making some strides for the Jets – but there is a lot on his 6-3 shoulders. How much he is to be believed in – is a question only he can answer for.

Can the Vikings succeed with Kirk Cousins at QB

The NFL’s 2012 QB draft class was headlined by Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson, and Kirk Cousins. 2012 was a very good QB class, that had several guys that many thought could takeover a game anytime at all. At one point, Cousins was looked at, as a pretty good QB coming out of Michigan State with 3316 YDs and 25 TD passes – as his tools were all there, as he has shown over his 7 seasons in the NFL.
The 6-3 QB took the league by surprise during his 2015 season, when he was given the keys to the car – becoming an instant eye opener and exciting guy to watch, with a 70% completion rate, while throwing 29 TD passes – Cousins looked like he would be around for quite a while in Washington.
But, it wasn’t to be.
Cousins has had a history of not winning on a consistent basis with a poor 26-30-1 record in his 6 years in Washington. The Skins gave up on Kirk after the 2017 season, after his 3rd straight 4000+ YD passing season – but, Cousins was not out of NFL chances. As the Minnesota Vikings decided to land him for 84 million….guaranteed.
Kirk Cousins has been criticized for his rancid play during the season, with just 3 TD passes and just 183 YPG. Seemingly with a fear to push the ball down the field, has been a problem this season, with just 27 first down throws this season. Cousins is placing his imprint on the Vikings, in an unimpressive way. Cousins has not responded this season after his good inaugural Vikings season in 2018 – to the tune of just an 18th ranked offense in the NFL. Cousins is currently on pace for under 3000 yards over 16 games, which easily would be the lowest for his up and down career as a starter.
Minnesota has had some rough patches in their early games this season, and if we are going to be honest, Cousins has not fought his way through with great showings – and their weakest level of play has been their reeking passing game. A team that had gone from 13-3 and looking at a “soon to be” Super Bowl push in 2017 toppling down to a middling struggling team in 2019.
The Vikings have 2 top notch WR options, with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, throw in TE, Kyle Rudolph, and the rookie TE Irv Smith Jr. – their passing game should be something to be coveted by the majority of teams. In 16 games last year, Thielen had 113 catches for 1373 YDs and 9 TDs on 153 targets. This year, he has bumbled along on 13 catches, on 22 targets, and under 45 YPG. If you project that over a full season – Thielen could be looking at just 52 catches for about 700 yards, He has not benefitted from Kirk this year – and has just not gotten the opportunity to explode, like the NFL knows he can do. Kirk’s deep passing has not been good, hitting 20+ yard throws with dominance and mastery has not been his strength – and if we are being honest, he has not been as good as advertised for the Vikes. Lacking calmness in the pocket to find his guys on the field, is reflective of how poor Cousins has been.
There’s no doubt that even with a slightly better game-plan – would dramatically improve this Minnesota Vikings team and make them a winner. Zimmer wants to push the team to be a run first team with Dalvin Cook pounding the rock – but the whole point is to be able to pull the D in and then have a QB who can rip it for 300 and lead his team if the running game is ineffective. Seattle has been successful with a similar game plan – and Russell Wilson is still putting up 281 YPG and a league leading 12 TDs. The Vikings can succeed with Kirk Cousins leading their team, right now – but their passing game has to get way better. It has been nothing less than a huge disappointment for Vikings fans. If Minnesota plans on getting better, they need to get their heads straight, and get work done with their passing attack and sometimes hopeless looking offense that has had a problem putting up points vs the better teams this season.
Kirk Cousins is one of their biggest problems on the field – and for what they paid for him – they should be expecting a much better return – he was hired to be their franchise QB not an 84 million dollar game manager


The Super Bowl is on its way, along with all the hype and analysis
that comes with it. We get the New England Patriots, who are in their
4th Super Bowl in the last 7 years, vs the LA Rams, the team that has
gone through 13 losing seasons since 2004, but now have a new winning
and confident culture led by 33 year old Head Coach, Sean McVay.

New England has shown faith and resiliency with their aging QB, yet
again. The Rams are the hot young team with a flashy Head Coach, and
their young QB. What we are going to do, is a breakdown of each team
with their best attributes and possible weaknesses. To take a good
look at what they bring to the game, and who has the potential upper
hand in this seasons finale.

New England Patriots / 11-5
HEAD COACH: Bill Belichick
PPG / NFL RANK: 27.3 / 4th
OPPG / NFL RANK: 20.3 / 7th

They have the man who fights all comers and wins, they have a player
who just keeps churning out W’s and still keeps putting up 4000 YDs
and 30TDs / year in Brady. Any team with Tom Brady on their roster has
a better chance to win than most.

New England has been in 16 postseasons over the last 18 seasons, this
is their 4th big game in the last 7 seasons. Regardless of if you like
them, hate them, or feel complete apathy towards them, this is still
their league, until they are buried for one and for all. At least
until Tom Brady retires, will the rest of the league feels like they
are the team to beat.

Away from their home, the Patriots have not been great. With a 3-5
record and putting up just 21ppg, 6 below their average, and giving up
24ppg, 4 more than average. Although this game wouldn’t be considered
an away game, no more than away for both teams, and New England likely
have a larger fanbase than the Rams – but they still aren’t in in
their own stadium.

The run defense of New England is a very real problem. This season
having given up 4.9 YPC, and 6 games of 130 or more on the ground to
opponents, and the Rams certainly have a brutal running attack with
Gurley and Anderson running the rock. Which makes strength vs weakness
a classic and intriguing story to watch here.

James White and his sneaky ability to run for key yards and be able to
move the ball with surprising ease is going to be key. White is a guy
with great ability to get into open pockets and a smooth ability to
make big plays vs defenses, and Belichick loves to use him when teams
are on the backpedal. When White has 5 or more carries the Pats are


Los Angeles Rams / 13-3
PPG / NFL RANK: 32.9 / 2nd
OPPG / NFL RANK: 24.0 / 20th

The balance between passing and running the ball is a distinct
advantage Los Angeles has here. With 2 WRs with 1200+ yard receiving
years, an aerial attack with a QB who can light it up for 300 in a
flash, along with a running game that ranked 2nd in the league with 23
TDs on the ground and had over 2200 YDs on the ground.

The brutal RB tandem of Todd Gurley and 230lb RB, C.J. Anderson is
awesome. Gurley is a really special back, who has produced double
digit TDs on the ground for 3 of the last 4 seasons, and had a total
of 1831 yards, including 580 in the air. Anderson has been a fantastic
find for Los Angeles – Anderson brings the punishment factor, that can
beat on or run through a weakened and tired Dline.

Aaron Donald and his relentlessness is coming, beware New England. The
27 year old DT brings a pass rush that the Pats will struggle to stop,
he is a game changer, and is a huge problem to deal with for any team,
and will be here vs the Pats. Bringing his league leading 20.5 sacks –
he will be awfully tough to control at the line.

The Rams team with big named DBs, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib lack a
great passing defense. Giving up 31 TDs in the air this year they have
shown a lack of discipline when defending WRs. Which if you are a Pats
fan, you are ecstatic to have Julian Edelman and Brady clicking the
way they have been over the last 2 games. 16 catches, 247 YDs, and
15.4 YPC is going to be awfully hard for the Rams DBs to handle.

Sean McVay and his 24 year old QB, Jared Goff, can get pass heavy at
times. With 5 games where he threw 40 or more times, and 6 games of
running for less than 95 yards, they are not true to form and lack the
punch when they don’t move the ball on the ground. When they fall into
basing their offensive game scheme behind Goff and throwing the ball –
they are 2-3, the Rams and Goff need to run the ball. Gurley is still
the heart and soul of this team, and will be key here in this huge

How the Rams and Wade Phillips defend the run game is going to be
enormously important. When they give up 110 or less on the ground,
they are 11-0, if they keep the running game of the Pats to those kind
of numbers or less, lock this in, the Los Angeles Rams will roll. But
if the Pats start dictating the pace and the Oline here with White and
Sony Michel, the Pats will likely be holding the trophy at the end.

Why Baker Mayfield will be the Rookie of the Year

As annoying, immature and disrespectful as Baker Mayfield can be at
times, with his cockiness or crotch grabbing – his play on the field
and skill cannot be looked down on. He led the Cleveland Browns to a 7-8-1 record

this season after the Browns won just 1 game the past 2 years.

Saquon Barkley has the game skill
and the attitude that everyone loves, including myself. But looking at
what they have each brought to the NFL and their teams is an
interesting conversation.

Cleveland has just about the same talent as they had on the team last
year and they fumbled to 0-16. What was the only major change on that
team? One name – Baker. Giants were 4th in the NFC East last year, at
3-13 this year they went to 5-11. Now take a good hard look at the
Browns this year compared to last year. It doesn’t take a genius to
see who improved more. This can mostly be contributed to Baker and his
play on the field.

Browns would not even have sniffed .500 without Mayfield, as they
finished 7-8-1 this year, up +7 games from 2017. If anyone has paid
any attention to the Browns the past few seasons – with records of
0-16, 1-15, and 3-13 since 2015, the Browns have been more of a train
wreck than any other team in the NFL. The impact on a team from a
player has everything to do with the success they bring to the team.
Without Barkley – the Giants are worse – they win 1 or 2 less games,
they still have WR, Odell Beckham who can lead them to a few Ws.
Baker’s value to Cleveland has been phenomenal – and they win because
of what he does, they win because of their faith and trust in him.

Barkley, has done a ton for his team without a good defense – that
ranked 21st vs passing TDs. And the Giants had one of the worst Olines
in the league, a line that had given up 47 sacks on the year, 10th
most in the league, and ranked 29th overall as per FootballOutsiders.
Barkley had carried the Giants on his legs – with 8 games of 80 or
more rushing yards, and an awesome 126 total YDs/game.

Barkley is going to be one of the most dominant RBs in the NFL for
many, many years – as long as he stays healthy. But, as far as impact
this season, Mayfield has impacted the Browns the most. The overall
impact made by Mayfield on his Cleveland Browns team is bigger, he
changed the Browns mentality of his team to a winning mindset. A
mindset that he is to be handed the keys, he will get them a win when
backed into a corner. And if we remove both players from their teams,
the Giants are pretty much the same team – the Cleveland Browns on the
other hand are staring 2-14 down the barrel.

I feel if Baker had started from the beginning and didn’t play for Hue
Jackson he would have even more than his 27 TDs and 3725 YDs. He
probably would have ended with 30 and 4K – and maybe the Browns would
have even made the playoffs this season. During the time he wasn’t
getting the nod and dealing with his rough relationship with Jackson,
Cleveland lost to the Oakland Raiders, 45-42, a team that they very
well should have beaten, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If they win
those games, that would have put them at 9-6-1 and directly in the
thick of things in the postseason.

They’ve both proven themselves on the field this season – I just think
#6 has done more for his team to win the award this season.