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.
Overall.
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

NFL SUPER BOWL GAME BREAKDOWN

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

PROS:
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.

CONS:
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.

XFACTOR:
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
10-0.

========================================

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

PROS:
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.

CONS:
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
matchup.

XFACTOR:
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.

Davante Adams is the key for the Green Bay Packers

Green Bay has been the 800 lb gorilla on the mountain in the NFC North for many years –  with division titles and a dominant record vs the conference. And they have also had more than their share of great players walk through their locker rooms. But, as we all know, at the end of the day, there is a guy who has been the standout for the team. The player who has been the one who is the one who always shows up – regardless of who they are playing – what the odds are and when the game s being played. Green Bay has had more than their share of amazing success in the NFL for many seasons, with NFC North division championships, multitude of Hall of Famers, and of course their titles –  they have been very fortunate on the offensive side of the ball, in particular.
The Packers have a legendary history, littered with a ton of great guys who have been explosive playmakers. They have had their fortunate share of historic QBs – and most recently, Aaron Rodgers. But beyond the guys throwing the ball, who make teams pay with the one handed catch and the tough across the middle catch, off double coverage, knowing they are getting drilled when touching the ball. The gutsy guys who spread the game downfield, the ones who break your back, when you think you have the team baked into a corner, make the play.
Davante Adams had a great season in 2016 with his “out of nowhere” 12 TDs and the ability to force coverage’s for other players on the field. The 26 year old WR has not been easy to bump off the line, with his size and aggressive style – especially when he gets moving with his natural physicality. With 72 receptions and 9 TDs so far this season – Adams, has been more than enough to handle at WR for anyone in 2018. While lighting up teams for 95 receiving yd/game, as well as 7 catches/game he is a treat to watch. And is making is it difficult in a feisty division where teams have some quality DBs and strong pass defensive schemes. The 26 yr old has had 221 receptions in the last 3 years of his career with the Pack. He has also chewed up 2835 yards and an awesome 31 receiving touchdowns in those same 3 years.
Adams has given more than his share of fits to opposing DBs to teams. His good route running and gritty competitiveness being his top strengths to get the fans excited and helping lead his team to the ever crucial division wins. He oftentimes, finds himself being the guy that the Pack can look to get the ball in his hands when they’ve got to get something going. Davante has been the sparkplug in that passing offense. Standing out with his ability to crack a double team – as well as his sure handedness when the ball is in his hands. Having had 16 games with 80 or more receiving yards over just the last 3 seasons –  speaks volumes on many different aspects. Most recently, in the 11.15.2018 game vs Seattle, even though they lost with shoddy defense, and playing a top ended unit – when the chips were down, he, of course, came up with the big plays with 166 receiving yards.
Adams has proven that time and time again, when things gets tough and the team desperately needs the sure first down or the big catch deep downfield – he has shown he will always be there for them to get the job done. And his QB always trusts his guy to get the play when needed – as shown by his massive target absorption. Whether its by a quick slant or post – Davante Adams is the real deal for GB. The Packers would love to see that continued leadership and growth out of Davante – and every off-season, he keeps showing himself as a leader and a true professional. He has always shown that for the Green Bay organization. He is a guy who can straight up win games, when someone needs to step up and make the big play to turn the tide of the game, Adams is always there doing something, that opponents were thinking was impossible.

The secret weapon for the Detroit Lions

As a struggling team like Detroit is still trying to get their footing as to who or what their team is. They need to find that spark that can ignite some semblance of a fire to their team. A team that has the right WR can make up for many potential flaws the team may have on other sides – and it can give the team a star on their roster. Truthfully, getting the right WR can take a team from great to lethal. The NFL has become so focused on the aerial game, so the amount of importance at the WR position is vital.
And, as always, many talented players – have gone overlooked and unappreciated by fans and even by the mainstream NFL “experts.”
The first 3 seasons of Marvin Jones’s career had been ok, but they didn’t blow anyone away – mostly due to some “other guy” named
A.J. Green – but when he was finally able to get his opportunity with Detroit – he has exploded with the WR talent that makes the Lions very excited and thrilled to have him catching balls for them.
Detroit has had a slight problem with cultivating WR talent – and haven’t really had a player perform at a great level for them since Calvin Johnson. But it is looking like that disappointing trend is on the quick path to change. Jones has been nothing but excellent for the Lions, with awesome numbers of 16.9 and 18.0 YPC since 2016 – it is hard to argue the WR ability to move the ball downfield. Since Marvin joined the Lions in 2016 – he and Golden Tate had been one of the top WR duos, with 369 receptions and over 5000 receiving yards between them from 2016-2018. A dangerous combination, that had worked for the Lions for the last 2 seasons. But now Tate has been dealt, which leaves a huge opportunity available. Jones matches up well against top DBs and gets open, with “target magnet” Tate gone – leaves more balls for Jones.
Watching Marvin Jones work against Pittsburgh or Minnesota in 2017, was incredible – when he helped to torch their top ranked secondaries for 128 and 109 YDs in those games. And racking up 6 of his 9 TDs in 2017, vs the NFC North division, with top ranking secondary players like Xavier Rhodes and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – was certainly not too shabby.
Players like Jarvis Landry, and Alshon Jeffery have gotten rave reviews, and all the adoration that comes with being a great WR, even TEs get love, but Jones – there just hasn’t been very much about him and his pass catching skills. Marvin Jones has hung numbers up better numbers to Jarvis in the TD:target ratio, and similar numbers to Jeffery in the receptions category. In 31 previous games with Detroit – he has compiled a seasonal average of 105 targets, 58 receptions, 1066 receiving yards and 6.5 receiving touchdowns. In 43 games with the Bengals, from 2012-2015, his numbers were solid – but with only 1 season getting 100 or more targets. If he was able to gobble up another 3-4 targets/game, I firmly believe Jones would be a steady 1200 YD, 10-11 TD WR, year in and year out. Which would put him around the top 5 in the NFL, along with the other top players, so it is shown, again, his WR level is more than just decent – it is excellent. And now Jones has a legit chance to eat up more targets with Tate gone.
Marvin has not had the great pleasure of playing with a monstrous QB, like Brees or Brady either. Playing with Andy Dalton was ok – but he isn’t one of the best QBs in the NFL either. A QB with the numbers that Dalton has put up, and his shakiness when the chips are down, doesn’t exactly make anyone quake in their cleats in fear. Finally, getting to play with 4000 yard passer, Matthew Stafford is a great and fantastic opportunity for the 7 year player, and he has exploited it.
Marvin is an excellent offensive threat that when he lines up, going up against your team – he is always potentially a moment away from busting off a huge game changing play. With 20 catches of 20+ yards in 2017 and another 16 big plays in 2016 – he has repeatedly shown the breakaway ability on the field as well.  This year so far, Jones has put up 387 yards, for a 15 YPC avg, and added a team leading 5 receiving TDs to the team. If they would take advantage more of his speed and height a bit more, Stafford and Jones could be a lethal combination.
It is time for some respect for Marvin Jones and to be recognized for what he is – A weapon.

How Khalil Mack has changed the Bears

The Chicago Bears picked up the 27 year old Khalil Mack – to bring to their roster. When they grabbed him – the Bears immediately thought Mack would be the answer to their unsuccessful and poor season woes. Mack went to a team with a proud history, and Mack has an amazing track record, that has immediately brought a great defensive presence to the Chicago organization. With 231 tackles and 40.5 sacks with the Raiders, and an incredible head for the game, over the previous 4 seasons – it was something the Bears certainly wanted to have on their struggling team.
The Bears had played many of the previous seasons without great offensive threats, with a low ended offensive team – but then they brought in Mack to immediately upgrade their already high ranked defensive squad to improve an already solid defense. Khalil has been playing great for the Raiders – and was contributing immensely for them, before being traded to Chicago.
The Chicago Bears have lacked a truly powerful presence on the defensive side of the ball for numerous seasons. Getting Khalil Mack was almost like a dream come true. Khalil brings a very real, and very serious threat to their opponents.
The Bears have only had 2 seasons of 10+ wins since 2007 – and that isn’t a good thing for any team to have hanging over their heads.
With that, the Bears haven’t been able to finish games with overwhelming defense and a bad offense. Since 2007 they have only had 4 seasons ranking in the top 10 for opponents ppg defense. And the Bears haven’t had a truly dominant defensive player since the likes of Richard Dent, Steve McMichael or a LB like Brian Urlacher. For a proud and gritty team like Chicago that has always had an enterprise for defense and brought fear to opponents, that is unacceptable.
They desperately needed a serious option for the team to look to – to make the big play, the big stop when needed – Chicago had just 1 season of 42 or more sacks since 2013 – adding Mack will immediately help them improve that and be able to terrify opponents for years to come. The team is already expected for 50+ sacks for this season. Khalil has gotten the Bears team ready to take the next steps, with great energy and an amazing motor. They have not always made the best defensive adjustments for the team recently,  but Mack brings excellent defensive leadership and a great leader to the team. Chicago can now change things up by picking up their pace or even by throwing in an unexpected blitzes through the game.
There’s something very hopeful about a team that makes the big moves, has a healthy roster, and has a new young coach in Matt Nagy who knows the game more for today’s style, and is much more open to ideas, that has to get teams more concerned. When the Chicago Bears are invading opponents on the field teams pay attention. Khalil Mack is going to instantly change the culture of Chicago Bears – and the Bears defensive system is built for his aggressive style.
There is really is no other way to win the big time game unless a team goes for the jugular; with Khalil Mack and a new offense with some spark, they will now be able to. This team is one that was slightly better than its 5-11 record in 2017, and given the supporting cast around their young QB, Mitch Trubisky – adding Khalil Mack to their already good D is going to get them over the hump, and fervently make the move to get to the postseason for the first time since 2010.
Mack is one of the best defensive players in the game – and very dangerous to offenses and any other player he goes up against. Teams will not be able to handle his speed and his power and will not be able to match up vs his skills. The 6-3 DE is a silky smooth player who brings great talent and a proud game back to the Chicago Bears. With a defensive TD, 4 forced fumbles, and 5 sacks over 5 games this year, Mack has delivered a truckload of abuse and has been monstrosity to a middling team that has needed a defensive leader for some time. The other teams in the division are in for a tough time dealing with Da Bears and their dominant pass rusher for years to come.
Mack has found a fantastic landing spot for himself, going to Chicago – I fully expect Mack to bring a great future to the Chicago Bears – in a very short time.  This is a positive move for Chicago – as they have put up just an average of 7-9 record since 2011, and haven’t won a division title since 2010. Simply put, Khalil Mack has and will, deliver when the pressure gets at its greatest for this team.