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.

Does Odell Beckham change the AFC North

The Browns were the laughing stock for the last several seasons, especially from 2015-2017, where they only won 4 games total, before their 7 wins in 2018. This year, even after their lackluster start thus far – seem poised to be on the hyped train in the AFC North, by many. I never thought I would see the day, after having 7+ Wins in a season only 2 times since 2003, not counting 2018.
The OBJ move made the Browns the talk of the football world this off-season – the Giants weren’t winning with him, even with his 88 YPG. The Browns are hoping they found a winner.
Questions are still there – Beckham has known to be a problem, at times – will he destroy Baker’s team?
Is Odell a team player?
Will the Browns regret this move after a season?
All these things we should be asking – and only time will tell.
But, if we are going to be honest, Eli didn’t utilize Beckham for what he could have done with him. The Giants were wasting OBJ’s skills – Eli Manning is an aging, soft armed QB, who at times, chucked the ball in his direction, with desperation – and I feel Beckham made Eli far more than Eli making Beckham better. Just a few years ago, Derek Carr was thought of as the next big thing for the NFL – now, Baker Mayfield is looked at as the next big thing after his 64% completion rate and 27 TD passing season in 2018 and they got him a great new toy. The Browns gave up a 1st & 3rd for OBJ, for Mayfield to have an top 5 weapon at WR – with this, they are looked at by many as the team in the AFC North.
The Browns needed something big and the Giants needed picks to start the much needed rebuild, so this worked out for both teams. As we know, teams that look great on paper don’t always translate to success on the field. Look at the 2015 Detroit Lions coming off an 11-5 season in 2014 and the thoughts of a team on the rise, or the “Dream Team” 2011 Philadelphia Eagles – both flopped. The other concern I have with the Browns, is they could run into issues with Beckham and his temper tantrums, Odell seems to be happy as long as he gets the ball – that has to be put on the backburner here. There are a lot of skilled players who need the ball. Beckham is your typical diva WR – which can be a bit tough to swallow at times –  but there is no discussion that his on field ability isn’t incredible. 5400+ YDs, 390 receptions, and 44 TDs over the previous 5 seasons certainly confirms that.
Cleveland is looking stacked across the board, between defense and offense. Mayfield, Landry, OBJ, and David Njoku – they have a ton of promise this year. They looked awful vs the Titans – giving up 43 and turning the ball over as Mayfield didn’t look very sharp – but I think a lot of the problems they had – were based on the expectations that have been tossed onto their shoulders. Nick Chubb is a really good RB too – a new face of the North might be built for the next 5 years, the Browns, could be running the AFC for years to come. We all know, regardless of what we want to pretend, QB is the position on the field – it is the engine that drives the train, and is the most important position on the field. 24 year old, Baker Mayfield has changed the attitude of Cleveland and their city. Baker needs to make sure he keeps OBJ on the same page as the team, as a whole, he brought heart and hope in 2018 – he has been unimpressive so far this year with his timing and throwing 3 picks – and he needs to get himself in check if they want to get the train rolling.
Cleveland could still be the favorite – with no Leveon or AB in Pittsburgh, and no pressure behind Lamar Jackson, to keep him motivated to better himself, if he fails. Beckham has a better QB in Baker than what NY had – so it’s honestly a big upgrade for Beckham – with the moves they made this offseason – the Browns may have become the team to beat in the AFC North.
The Browns now have 2 of the best handed WRs in the league along with a talented TE – with a deadly deep threat in OBJ and smooth route running WR Landry, they now have the skills to be most dangerous duo in the NFL. The Browns made some noise with the offseason. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham are probably some of the most sure handed WRs in the league, as both players have made numerous big time catches during their 5 years in the NFL – Jarvis and Odell were amazing together at LSU back in 2011- 2013, with 280 receptions 4,149 YDs, and 27 TDs combined between them. It will be fun to see how they do teamed up in Cleveland.

The NFL MVP Race

There are 3 real front-runners in the NFL for league MVP right now. There is Patrick Mahomes, and his ridiculous ability on the field, Todd Gurley getting an incredible amount of touches and scoring ability out of the backfield. And, of course, Drew Brees and his mind blowing play so far are the elite top players playing right now in the league. Let’s take a snapshot of where these players stand in the race. VTD’s big-3 in the NFL MVP race. This is a fun time to examine who the top leaders for the MVP award are, and then see if they can maintain their daunting play throughout to hold onto that prestigious award.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
This season, Mahomes has gone beyond nuclear putting up 41 TDs, and a whopping 327 YDs per game. And the 23 year old QB has also not been afraid to push the ball with a 9.3 YPA. The Mahomes-led Chiefs are in strong position right now looking at the playoffs, at 10-2, and tops in the AFC West division. Last year, they fought through the season and ended up with a 10-6 record. The cannon armed slinger has gripped the reigns and led the Chiefs to a top spot at this point in the season, making them a potential favorite in the AFC. Their team has been ravaged by off the field issues and they have below average production from their defense, as they have had almost no positive contribution from their D – yet here they are, still fully in charge. And that is on Mahomes’ shoulders.
Mahomes has been shining like a diamond in every aspect of the passing game. If you think about what Mahomes could be going forward, after having a full season under his belt, you realize it’s not crazy to think he has a chance to become one of the best QBs in the league for many, many years to come. It looks like Mahomes is going to crush KC records with ease, but he could become the first Chief to win the MVP award.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
The consistent brilliance of Drew Brees sticks out like a sore thumb. His passing performances this 2018 season have been nothing but spectacular to watch play out. The competition for the MVP award includes fellow QB, Patrick Mahomes, of Kansas City, who is by far the most outstanding QB under 24, so far this season. And he too, easily, belongs in the MVP discussion, in the constant, age old battle of young vs old, past vs present.
But, here we are, 12 games in, and the guy who started the season white hot, by not throwing a pick over the first 6 games – has continued his dominance, and has pushed the Saints to the next level this year leading them to a 10-2 record. Brees leads the NFL in QB rating, and while having thrown just 3 ints, and is the genuine centerpiece of the unstoppable Saints offense. And for the 39 year old QB, Drew Brees, what else is new?  Brees has taken the Saints and has carried the lions share of the load of the teams offense – that hasn’t put up a bad version of offense, except for their recent 13-10 loss to Dallas. It’s just astounding to think about Drew Brees ending the NFL season with possibly 34-35 TDs along with a 75%+ completion percentage – but I think he is going to do it. Brees can pass the ball with the best, and always has been able to with his ability to never panic and his quick arm.
Todd Gurley, RB, LA Rams
The talent and high ceiling for Gurley have never been in question. The arguments for Gurley includes his athletic skills and also how incredibly valuable he’s been to the Rams with his ability to slice open an opponent pretty much anywhere from the field. And the Rams feel comfortable putting him anywhere on the field for them, behind the QB, split him out, toss him in the slot. He is a devastating weapon for HC Sean McVay.
Gurley is chasing some bigtime goals, his on field ability is never in question, so a 25 total TD, or another 2000+ total yard season is not out of the question. Gurley has had 8 games running for a TD for the Rams and that’s his mastery, including 5 games of 2 TDs or more – but he has a ton of skills away from just running the ball – his pass catching is awesome as well, as he is 3rd on the team, as a RB. It opens up the teams method of attack, and uses his speed and his vision for him to use his football IQ on how to attack what he sees in front of him. His individual brilliance running the ball is even better with his partnership with the Rams WRs, who have been nothing but astounding, as well. Gurley is hands down, one of the best players who also happens to be on one of the best teams in the league.
Drew Brees is still showing the rest of the NFL who is the top of the crop and DBs have been on high alert all season. He’s kept the Saints alive with his cunning eyes and QB trickery, he has been phenomenal. Drew Brees is just amazing, as he precisely demolishes teams weekly, giving the Saints constant hope, keeping teams never feeling safe on the field when he is out there. He almost has come out of nowhere, after last seasons pedestrian season, when some were thinking he was starting to fade – he came back this year, and has played out of his mind, with heart and precision. Oh, and he also has 30 TD passes with just 3 interceptions.
There are some big games to go in this season still, of course, but seasons like this, when such great individual play, reminds us, as fans, of just how entertaining and unpredictable the NFL can be. No one thought Drew Brees would still be slinging the ball quite the way he has…still.
But, here we are, with Drew as the likely NFL MVP.

NHL Hockey Preview 2018-19

The NHL season is close to having the puck dropped on October 3rd of this year. However, which team is going to come out on top and which teams should you avoid? Well, that is about to be discovered here as we are going to cover the NHL season in a nutshell with our pick to win the Stanley Cup this year.

 

Eastern Conference

The Eastern Conference proved it is a powerhouse last season when it brought home the cup. However, the Capitals are a year older and unfortunately, Ovechkin is a going to have some problems this year as he slowed down quite a bit in the playoffs last year. The Bruins and the Lightning are both teams, along with the Penguins, who could be seen as a favorite to win the conference as well, but the Lightning had a powerhouse offense that struggled in the playoffs and ended up getting bounced early on. One upstart team that could surprise some people in the East would be the Blue Jackets. The Sabres, though, have not done much in the offseason to show any marked improvement and they could be competing with the Islanders and the Rangers alike for the basement.

Western Conference

Wow, can anyone believe the season the Golden Knights had last year? This year it should be much of the same with the Golden Knights able to dominate on the year, but the Golden Knights have had some issues as the Western Conference, most noted the Jets and the Predators will be ready for them again. However, look for the Predators and the Jets to have a good run on the year and potentially pick up quite a bit of confidence, but one upstart team that has the talent that should compete if they put the talent together would be the Oilers, who were projected last year to be a cup favorite just fell apart last year and could not get on the ice well enough to play as a team.

Pick – Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights shocked a lot of teams last year and even overcame a lot of the critics about how the expansion club could play. This year, everyone will know what to expect, but the Golden Knights will have had a full year to come together as a team on the ice and they should be able to pick up a nice year and avoid the sophomore slump that is common with a lot of expansion teams.

 

Originally published on Vegastopdogs.com