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as a non-american i don't understand why they use this division and seed system. This season it is possible that a 7-9 team gets to host a 13-3 team in the first round :rolleyes:
Many years ago the NFL was more split up than it is. Put another way, a great emphasis was placed on division games, when regions of the country were essential battlegrounds. There was tremendous pride in winning a division, with rivalries that stood for years. This has still stood, even though the world is more wired. Each team plays other teams in the division twice, once at home, and once on the road. This makes the value of winning the division great in the minds of many people. As if it is one season, then a second season, a tournament (playoffs) begin.

I do agree with you that I believe the division winners should get an automatic berth into the playoffs, but I don't think they should host a game against a team with a better record. It's an unfair advantage.

I too am surprised Rivera was fired like that.

As to the Patriots, as Mike Tomlin once said about the Steelers when they were struggling mid-season one year, "we can win with the players we have now". I agree with this, as the difference between the best and worst receiver in the NFL is actually not that great. Coaching, practice, communication, execution should be able to overcome that in my mind. Hence, what the Patriots offense needs to do is get it's act together. My first though would be to simplify some things in the passing game, maybe in run blocking as well.

The Ravens lost back to back games early in the season, at KC 33-28, and at home to Cleveland where they gave up 40 points, and Jackson was somewhat contained. A win that stands out is the win over Seattle, who they beat in Seattle 30-16, in a game the Seahawks were very sloppy. The Ravens have @BUF, NYJ, @CLE, and Pitt left. Buffalo may be tough if the weather is sketchy (currently to be chilly and breezy, but between storms). Cleveland may be finished by then and the Ravens may seek revenge. Plus, no Garrett. But the game against Pittsburgh will be tough, as the Steelers are on a bit of a roll, playing excellent defense, and may need to win to make the playoffs. The Ravens may want that win for the #1 seed.

49ers vs. Saints and Pats vs. KC are good games to watch this week. After the Rams finally came to life last week, will this week hosting Seattle be a rebirth, or letdown?

It's that time of year when the NFL playoff predictor comes in handy. Simply pick who will win each game the remaining weeks, and out spits the playoff seeds:

http://www.espn.com/nfl/playoffs/machine
 
as a non-american i don't understand why they use this division and seed system. This season it is possible that a 7-9 team gets to host a 13-3 team in the first round :rolleyes:
To add to that, even the 3rd team in the NFC West would be 1st in the East and i am sure that they even would have 1-2 more wins with a NFC East Team schedule.
In my opinion it is ridiculous that a team benefits from something it can't control. The luck of being in a weak division and therefore getting home advantage. Or the misfortune of being the 2nd best team (tbh they are the best, just unlucky to miss 2 FGs for the win) in the NFC and getting forced to play an away game, only bc the other top team is in the same division.

This wouldn't the first time a below .500 team gets in while a team with a good records goes home. Divisions mean a lot in US (North American) based sports. There is a lot of pride in winning a division and divisions typically have lead to major rivalries that have stood for decades. In the NFL the Pittsburgh Steelers/Cleveland Brown rivalry has not only stood for decades, but with stood the Browns moving to Baltimore and eventually getting a new team that basically restarted the old franchise. Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears is another longtime rivalry. Games against the other conference are only meaningful for overall record and do nothing for any tie breaker. For example for how old MLB is games against the other league is still a relatively new thing. In the NHL until recently as well virtually all the teams made the play offs and the NHL actually had a team in the Stanley Cup finals (Minnesota North Stars) who had a below .500 record. During that time play-offs were determined strictly by divisions. 3 divisions had 5 teams and 1 had 6 teams, the top 4 in each division made the play-offs. During that time the NHL play-offs were divisional round, divisional finals, conference finals, Stanley Cup finals. Division records meant everything after overall record. There is a long history of divisional games meaning a lot more than games outside the division.
 
The Pats have been a great team. The annoying thing to me is that people seem to 'blame' the Pats for their schedule (not pointing at anyone on here really, more at the talking heads).
Just to add to my earlier stats. Guess which Division in the AFC has the most wins over the last decade as a Division. Yep. AFC East.

By my count. Its East 332
West 324
North 323
South 290

As far as wild card places go over the last decade:

Its North 8
West 5
East 4
South 3

North was very strong minus Browns first half of decade, not so much second half.

I think AFC East has been poor in recent seasons, but I think people look back and see how dominant Patriots were and assume that Division was always crap.
 
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And in many instances, they've lost those close games because Rivers was unable to engineer any kind of game winning or game tying drive (remember the last Raiders game). In these situations, he's had plenty of time left, most of his TOs and he ends up throwing a stupid pick, getting sacked or 4 & out with consecutive incompletions, etc. He has no mobility anymore, he's getting old at 38 and even his throwing motion looks weird (somewhat sidearm or something). And too many times Mike Williams has bailed him out with unbelievable acrobatic catches on passes that weren't the best.

He's thrown 8 picks in his last 3 games which is unacceptable for someone with his experience. Though in the Denver game he played pretty good in the 2nd half rallying late in the 4th to tie the game, but the Chargers ended up losing anyway on McManus' walkoff FG after the interference call on Drew Lock's bomb that put the Broncos in FG range with 4 ticks left.

So, that leaves the Chargers at 4-8 which is devastating considering this was a 12-4 team just last year. IMO, it's time for Rivers to retire and for the Chargers to move on and select a top QB in next year's draft.

Also, Rivera given the boot:


Owners mean business as Rivera, the organization's most winningest coach, wasn't even permitted to finish the season! Hard to believe Carolina was 11-5 in 2017 (lost WC playoff game to the Saints though), had a setback last season at 7-9 and Rivera is history. So, I guess at 5-7 and the season pretty much lost, that's about all that Tepper could take anymore despite losing Newton for most of the year.
Not that surprised about Rivera but there will probably be about another 6 to follow soon. I don't think the Cam situation helped him. Browns coach needs a miracle I think. Bears coach might survive. Jets coach 50/50. Cowboys coach is done it seems.
 
Oh look, its Hitch posting that common misnomer that Patriots only win because they have an easy division.

Think I posted this before, but over the last 10 years, the Patriots have lost more often against their Divisional rivals than they have against the rest of the AFC or against NFC teams.

Record against AFC East. 47-13
Record against rest of AFC. 48-12

with last season skewing things a little with 3 losses against other AFC teams, the only time in 10 years they have not had a winning record against the rest of AFC. They have only swept AFC East once, but have also swept the rest of AFC once.


Record against NFC teams 29-11, weaker but on average they have a 3-1 win loss average. One losing season 2012 and one season(not including this season) when they swept their NFC opponents.

Win-loss % against AFC East Div 79% - 21%
Win-loss % Against rest of NFL: 77% - 23%

Considering the AFC East is supposedly so easy, those percentages are very close. So is it the AFC is weak or Patriots have just been a great team?
Ive never said they only win because they have an easy division. Ive never shied away from the fact that Pats post 2000 is by far the best team that ever existed.

What I do say is that their easy division gets them the few extra wins every year to get HFA over their main 1 or 2 AFC rivals
 
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Just to add to my earlier stats. Guess which Division in the AFC has the most wins over the last decade as a Division. Yep. AFC East.

By my count. Its East 332
West 324
North 323
South 290

As far as wild card places go over the last decade:

Its North 8
West 5
East 4
South 3

North was very strong minus Browns first half of decade, not so much second half.

I think AFC East has been poor in recent seasons, but I think people look back and see how dominant Patriots were and assume that Division was always crap.
Yes AFC South has been as weak or weaker than the AFC East this decade.

And NFC North and AFC West have obviously been stronger

You say West has had 5 vs East 4 to make it look like they are about even.
Then look at the record of AFC West wildcard teams 12-4, 12-4, 11-5, 11-5 and 9-7. The 9-7 was a 3rd team in the division. Those were all contender teams.

AFC East 11-5, 10-6, 9-7, 9-7.
The 11-5 there is the 2010 Jets which yes was a contender. Problem is that is the last time the Pats did have a contender in the division and it was 9 years ago.

Maybe one of the big reasons why the 2005-14 Pats teams didn't win an SB and the 2014- now have won 3 in 5 years?

Also lets fill the whole wildcard table

AFC North 8
NFC North 7
NFC West 5
AFCWest 5
NFC South 5
AFC East 4
AFC South 3
NFC East 2

Which shows even more that yes AFC East has been an easy division for the Pats. When you compare it to the whole NFL.


Now obviously over 20 years Pats have been infinately superior to anyone else.

But SBs aren't won on 20 year form. They are won on 1 year form.

And time and time again, in years Pats make the SB there are teams that THAT year are just as good or better than the pats. Who have a much harder time to get to the SB.

I mean is this really disputable?

49ers this year, Saints this year, Seahawks this year. the 3 game toughest stretch for the Pats this year is the 3 game easiest stretch for these teams.

Obviously the Chargers last year, goes without saying.

What about the Saints last 2 years? Extremely tough schedule last year, even harder in the playoffs, fight through all of it just to get taken out on an awful call. The year before - NO had to play through a division with 3 SB contenders. The last 2 NFC representatives, and the Saints all fighting it out for one number 3 seed. Put them in the AFC East I don't see how they Don't make the superbowl. Atlanta OR NO. Maybe CAR.

One could go on.
 
as a non-american i don't understand why they use this division and seed system. This season it is possible that a 7-9 team gets to host a 13-3 team in the first round :rolleyes:
To add to that, even the 3rd team in the NFC West would be 1st in the East and i am sure that they even would have 1-2 more wins with a NFC East Team schedule.
In my opinion it is ridiculous that a team benefits from something it can't control. The luck of being in a weak division and therefore getting home advantage. Or the misfortune of being the 2nd best team (tbh they are the best, just unlucky to miss 2 FGs for the win) in the NFC and getting forced to play an away game, only bc the other top team is in the same division.
A lot of us have complained about this before. In 2010, the 7-9 Seahawks got to host the 11-5 Saints in the WC game, and ended up winning it. In 2013, the 12-4 49ers had to go to 8-7-1 GB, and in an ice bowl, barely won on a last second FG. As Alpe says, the NFL should at least let the team with the better record host the game, as they do in the NBA, where division winners automatically make the postseason regardless of their record.

Alpe thinks the WC game involving the NFC W team will be a blow-out. Don't bet your life savings on that. As I pointed out before, Dallas is the only NFL team besides SF--and that's still the case now--in the top 10 in both points scored and points allowed, and yards gained and yards allowed. They actually lead the NFL in yards gained, and even more significant, yds/play, as well as in yds/pass attempt. They're second, barely behind the Ravens, in first downs, and also just behind the Ravens in average yards/drive. They're 4th in % of drives ending in a score. They lead the NFL in % of 3d downs converted, . So their offense has to be doing something right.

So what is their problem? Special teams, for a start. They're last in the NFL in KO returns and near last in punt returns. They're also last in yds/punt. This puts them at a disadvantage in field position. That's a big reason why they're first in yards gained but only 8th in scoring. Another reason for the latter is that they're fifth in offensive penalties, which subtracts a lot of yards from their ball movement. Defensively, while as I said before they're top 10 in points and yards allowed, they're near the bottom of the NFL in takeaways.

But putting all this together, they're third in the NFC in net points, far behind the 49ers, but barely behind the Vikings. If this were baseball, you'd say Dallas has a sequencing problem. They don't score or allow points in a way that maximizes winning. But a lot of that may be luck, In most team sports, point differential is considered more meaningful than W-L record, so by that, you could argue that the Cowboys are the second or third best team in the NFC. That sounds weird, given they're struggling to win what some regard as one of the weakest divisions in NFL history, but by DVOA, amore sophisticated analysis, they're second in the NFC behind SF. if they get it together, they could definitely knock off SE. They would be big underdog to SF, but an upset wouldn't be out of the question.

I'd be less concerned about Philly beating either SF or SE, except that game might be played in sub-zero temperatures and/or snow, in which case all bets might be off.
 
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Not that surprised about Rivera but there will probably be about another 6 to follow soon. I don't think the Cam situation helped him. Browns coach needs a miracle I think. Bears coach might survive. Jets coach 50/50. Cowboys coach is done it seems.
Jets owner Christopher Johnson says Gase is coming back next season "no matter what."


I'm thinking Gase gets another year because Darnold missed 4 games with the illness and the 85 million-dollar man C.J. Mosely was lost for the season after just the first game. But there has to be some results next year as this team is starting to be the laughing stock of the AFC East.
 
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I was in NE and managed to watch the NE Vs. HOU game. It seemed like Brady just can't connect with his offence. At times it seemed like they were running routes from a different playbook to the one Brady was calling from. Brady's movement in the pocket is still great, but he doesn't seem confident passing to anyone but Edelman and White. Anyone else and he only seems confident throwing to them if they're running on a curl. I think the loss of Gronk has been massive to be honest (obvious statement of the year?). Izzo and LaCosse haven't filled that gap and it's reduced the options for Brady down the field. It's maybe not all that surprising considering the short time Harry, Sanu and Meyers have been there, but at the moment I think they'll struggle in the play-offs and I can't see them making the SB.

I wonder if the illness in the dressing room is affecting some of the guys who played? the recievers really seemed to struggle to get away from the defence.

Watson is another QB who can trouble defences on his feet and he has a fantastic arm. HOU have been a bit hit and miss so far, but if Watson plays well they can beat most other teams.


I also managed to watch NO Vs. ATL. Taysom Hill was on fire and Brees is seeing the field well/seems to have options where he needs them. A pretty solid performance, although their special-teams are going to get reamed for those on-side kicks. Saints look pretty good in both offence and defence still, hopefully looking good for the play-offs.
 
A lot of us have complained about this before. In 2010, the 7-9 Seahawks got to host the 11-5 Saints in the WC game, and ended up winning it. In 2013, the 12-4 49ers had to go to 8-7-1 GB, and in an ice bowl, barely won on a last second FG. As Alpe says, the NFL should at least let the team with the better record host the game, as they do in the NBA, where division winners automatically make the postseason regardless of their record.

Alpe thinks the WC game involving the NFC W team will be a blow-out. Don't bet your life savings on that. As I pointed out before, Dallas is the only NFL team besides SF--and that's still the case now--in the top 10 in both points scored and points allowed, and yards gained and yards allowed. They actually lead the NFL in yards gained, and even more significant, yds/play, as well as in yds/pass attempt. They're second, barely behind the Ravens, in first downs, and also just behind the Ravens in average yards/drive. They're 4th in % of drives ending in a score. They lead the NFL in % of 3d downs converted, . So their offense has to be doing something right.

So what is their problem? Special teams, for a start. They're last in the NFL in KO returns and near last in punt returns. They're also last in yds/punt. This puts them at a disadvantage in field position. That's a big reason why they're first in yards gained but only 8th in scoring. Another reason for the latter is that they're fifth in offensive penalties, which subtracts a lot of yards from their ball movement. Defensively, while as I said before they're top 10 in points and yards allowed, they're near the bottom of the NFL in takeaways.

But putting all this together, they're third in the NFC in net points, far behind the 49ers, but barely behind the Vikings. If this were baseball, you'd say Dallas has a sequencing problem. They don't score or allow points in a way that maximizes winning. But a lot of that may be luck, In most team sports, point differential is considered more meaningful than W-L record, so by that, you could argue that the Cowboys are the second or third best team in the NFC. That sounds weird, given they're struggling to win what some regard as one of the weakest divisions in NFL history, but by DVOA, amore sophisticated analysis, they're second in the NFC behind SF. if they get it together, they could definitely knock off SE. They would be big underdog to SF, but an upset wouldn't be out of the question.

I'd be less concerned about Philly beating either SF or SE, except that game might be played in sub-zero temperatures and/or snow, in which case all bets might be off.
Don't forget the 2011 season where the 8-8 Broncos hosted the 12-4 Steelers beating them in OT on that Tebow to Thomas TD strike. That was a terrible AFC West with the Broncos, Chiefs & Raiders all going 8-8 and the Broncos getting the tie breaker.

On Dallas: One of the main problems is their turnover differential which currently stands at "-4." The top 10 teams which range from an unbelievable +18 (New England) to +4 (Arizona) are all, with the exception of AZ, above 500.


Dallas has 16 in the giveaway department with 11 picks & 5 fumbles. Prescott is responsible for 12 of those (11 picks & a fumble). In fact, Prescott has the 4th highest picks so far this season behind Rivers (15) and Goff & Ryan with 12 each. Contrast that with Rodgers and Mahomes with a measly 2 each. Turnovers are costly and can lose games for you regardless of yardage thrown, pass completion percentage, etc. They can be momentum breakers and create friction between the receivers & QB (no surprises there). DP has got to play better and quit turning the ball over. He even thinks he needs to play better:

 
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Yes AFC South has been as weak or weaker than the AFC East this decade.

And NFC North and AFC West have obviously been stronger

You say West has had 5 vs East 4 to make it look like they are about even.
Then look at the record of AFC West wildcard teams 12-4, 12-4, 11-5, 11-5 and 9-7. The 9-7 was a 3rd team in the division. Those were all contender teams.

AFC East 11-5, 10-6, 9-7, 9-7.
The 11-5 there is the 2010 Jets which yes was a contender. Problem is that is the last time the Pats did have a contender in the division and it was 9 years ago.

Maybe one of the big reasons why the 2005-14 Pats teams didn't win an SB and the 2014- now have won 3 in 5 years?

Also lets fill the whole wildcard table

AFC North 8
NFC North 7
NFC West 5
AFCWest 5
NFC South 5
AFC East 4
AFC South 3
NFC East 2

Which shows even more that yes AFC East has been an easy division for the Pats. When you compare it to the whole NFL.


Now obviously over 20 years Pats have been infinately superior to anyone else.

But SBs aren't won on 20 year form. They are won on 1 year form.

And time and time again, in years Pats make the SB there are teams that THAT year are just as good or better than the pats. Who have a much harder time to get to the SB.

I mean is this really disputable?

49ers this year, Saints this year, Seahawks this year. the 3 game toughest stretch for the Pats this year is the 3 game easiest stretch for these teams.

Obviously the Chargers last year, goes without saying.

What about the Saints last 2 years? Extremely tough schedule last year, even harder in the playoffs, fight through all of it just to get taken out on an awful call. The year before - NO had to play through a division with 3 SB contenders. The last 2 NFC representatives, and the Saints all fighting it out for one number 3 seed. Put them in the AFC East I don't see how they Don't make the superbowl. Atlanta OR NO. Maybe CAR.

One could go on.
The NFC is currently stronger than the AFC and your suggestion could be applied to any AFC Division currently(Ravens aside this year), not just the AFC East, but you do not see the Steelers, Chiefs, Colts,Texans in the Superbowl frequently. Why is that? Why just the Patriots?

But here is the thing. When you look at how Superbowl teams perform in their Division, there is a clear pattern. These are the stats for the recent Pats SB run.

2018: Pats 5-1 Div record. Rams 6-0 Div record.
2017: Pats 5-1 Div record, Eagles 5-1 Div Record
2016: Pats 5-1 Div Record, Falcons 5-1 Div Record
2014: Pats 4-2 Div Record, Seahawks 5-1 Record

From that it is clear that the best teams dominate their Division regarless of who is in it. This is not selective either. A 5-1 Divional Record is the most common record for any Div winners over the last 10 years followed by 4-2. So I am wondering where is this big advantage the Pats have within their Division, over rival teams.

Pats are on the way out, cannot see them win this year, they were mediocre regular season last year yet beat every play off team they met whilst losing to mediocre/poor teams.

The year before, they played 8 games against teams with a winning record, 5 who had 10 or more wins, 5 play-off teams. They played the NFC South who sent 3 teams to the play-offs, Pats beat them 3-1. They still reached the Superbowl.
Patriots have just been a winning team, who seemingly could win when needed. Even though they are now average, not writing them off yet.
 
Browns coach needs a miracle I think. Bears coach might survive. Jets coach 50/50. Cowboys coach is done it seems.
Gase isn't going anywhere. Nagy, that's an interesting question. The Bears have a real QB issue. They look like a team that will bring in a former starter/back-up vet next year to "support" Trubisky, then have him start when Mitch again plays sub-par. This usually leads to average seasons to follow, until they get the position figured out.

I've said before I think Freddie Kitchens was a mistake to hire as HC. He's popular with the players, and fans, and his gruff look and mindset fit the franchise. But he's really a former RB coach, who did well as an OC last year. As I said before Garrett was tossed, the team has discipline issues. I was commenting on mistakes, bad decisions, not egregious ones, but the root cause is the same. I'm not saying if the team had hired a Tom Landry type... but I don't see Freddie as a playoff winning HC. Regular season winning HC at this point.

The Cowboys are an enigma. Is Jason Garret really that bad? So bad they know they can replace him with someone better? See Merckx post above on some numbers. But my thought is the same as before. Do they have in idea who they are going to bring in? I wouldn't bounce Jason until I have a couple of guys in mind I really want, and think are interested.

Coaching changes in the NFL tend to work best when the team wants someone, thinks they can get that person, but has a couple other people they are up for interviewing as well. I think of how Seattle got Pete Carroll, for example.
Alpe thinks the WC game involving the NFC W team will be a blow-out. Don't bet your life savings on that.
Rest assured, I will not be doing that. :)

In fact, if you look at my predictions this year, I've been more than a bit off from recent years. In the past I felt I had a pretty good grasp on trends, while I still got some games wrong for certain. This year I'm making more poor assumptions. I'm not much worse than some of the media pundits, but that's not saying much, is it?

I like your numbers and find them telling, however as I look at the games Dallas has played, and won, a few things stand out. They had three big early wins, mostly on offense, against the Giants (with Eli at QB), Washington, and Miami. The other wins were over Philadelphia, the Giants again, and Detroit. Each of those games the offense put up over 30 points. But the only one of these teams with a chance of making the playoffs are the Eagles, and that's only if they win the division over Dallas. All the others have losing records, and as of this week, a combined record 18-52-1 . This same Dallas offense only managed 9 points against New England, and 15 against Buffalo, at home, with their last TD coming in garbage time. Put another way, their best game may have been a loss against the Vikings 28-24.

If we look at Dallas schedule though, they play at Chicago, host the Rams, go to Philadelphia, and host Washington. Only LA has a winning record, at 7-5. If they go 3-1 in these games, they will finish 9-7 and very likely host a playoff game. There, as you say, they would have a chance, and only a fool would bet their life savings at them losing there.
I was in NE and managed to watch the NE Vs. HOU game. It seemed like Brady just can't connect with his offense.
This goes back to my previous post. I think the issue with NE isn't one where they need AB, or Gronk for that matter. It's an issue of coaching, preparation, communication and execution. Brady can most certainly make the right decisions, and the throws needed. They can win with the players they have, they just need to all get in sync.
I also managed to watch NO Vs. ATL. Taysom Hill was on fire and Brees is seeing the field well/seems to have options where he needs them.
I would agree with this, they are almost quietly 10-2. They not only move the ball well, but can also stop teams when needed. I also like teams with stellar veteran QB's and coaches when it comes to the playoffs. They have made some mistakes, like special teams, but good coaching can overcome that. However, they had that ugly loss to Atlanta, struggled to beat Carolina. They too haven't played a lot of winning teams. So this week's game hosting SF will be real telling. After that they host Indy, at Tenn, and at Carolina.

Why SF@ NO isn't the flex game, but SEA vs. LAR is, I don't know. Both games will be good, but NO is one of the more popular teams nationally, and SF doesn't get as much national exposure as they could, should.
On Dallas: One of the main problems is their turnover differential which currently stands at "-4." The top 10 teams which range from an unbelievable +18 (New England) to +4 (Arizona) are all, with the exception of AZ, above 500.
I've never liked this stat, even though broadcast people and some analyists like to bring it up. I especially dislike the term "takeaways". Why? Because this is one of the most intangible numbers, and each turnover needs to be put into perspective to understand it's value. For example, tipped balls intercepted are not the same as an errant throw. Blind strip sack fumbles aren't the same as a fumble on a running play or special teams play. Also, many interceptions happen late in games when the team behind is desperate to find a way to drive the ball down the field, while facing dime defensive packages knowing they are going to throw the ball, very likely more than10 yards, likely outside the hash marks.

As to tonight's game, I'll take Dallas over Chicago, but in a fairly close game. Weather should not be a factor. Chilly with light winds.
 
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To Alpe's point, I don't really like any stats anymore. I think that is a HUGE part of the sloppy football we see now. Coaches (maybe GM's too) are playing the numbers instead of playing the game. Also, the only 'stat' that means anything is a W.

We can play semantics with words like "takeaways" (I agree that's not the best description), they can indicate why a team has 500 yards of offense but only scores 10 points. Is driving 130 yards (after penalties) only to miss a 30 yard field goal a takeaway? Its no better than a fumble or a pick. A 130 yard drive is a nice stat pad for the QB who never gets in the end zone. Ramble...Ramble...

Back to what I said about Dak, he needs stick to the play called more until he learns to read the field better.
 
To Alpe's point, I don't really like any stats anymore. I think that is a HUGE part of the sloppy football we see now. Coaches (maybe GM's too) are playing the numbers instead of playing the game. Also, the only 'stat' that means anything is a W.

We can play semantics with words like "takeaways" (I agree that's not the best description), they can indicate why a team has 500 yards of offense but only scores 10 points. Is driving 130 yards (after penalties) only to miss a 30 yard field goal a takeaway? Its no better than a fumble or a pick. A 130 yard drive is a nice stat pad for the QB who never gets in the end zone. Ramble...Ramble...

Back to what I said about Dak, he needs stick to the play called more until he learns to read the field better.
At the moment I put Dak a level above Wentz, Trubisky and Rivers which isn't very flattering. Goff at about the same level as well but the Cowboys with the players they have are probably one of the worst performing teams. It's obviously not just a QB and coaching issue. Dak just doesn't perform against the best teams. The Jets loss will be seen as one of the first signs that things were not going in the right direction. The Cowboys and Eagles are pretty much the same team at the moment performance wise.
 
At the moment I put Dak a level above Wentz, Trubisky and Rivers which isn't very flattering. Goff at about the same level as well but the Cowboys with the players they have are probably one of the worst performing teams. It's obviously not just a QB and coaching issue. Dak just doesn't perform against the best teams. The Jets loss will be seen as one of the first signs that things were not going in the right direction. The Cowboys and Eagles are pretty much the same team at the moment performance wise.
Trubisky looked 10X better than Dak tonight. Dallas' player look lazy most of the time tonight.
 
Trubisky looked 10X better than Dak tonight. Dallas' player look lazy most of the time tonight.
Yes, I thought most of the time they looked like an unmotivated mess. From their lack of tackling to posture on the sidelines. "Shellshocked" I think is what Aikman or his sidekick said they looked like on the sideline. To have their talent and be unable to respond. How much longer can Jason Garrett hold his job? Or maybe OC Kellen Moore gets the boot (I don't think Moore would get promoted)? Philly must be loving last night's outcome, but maybe they hope Garrett stays put.
 
Pat McAfee had a funny this morning: "Zeke is absolutely slashing the D...let's quit giving it to him."

Dak and Dallas did exactly what we discussed, they piled up great numbers, but not until garbage time when it didn't matter (not counting the opening drive).

I'm going to stick with what I've danced around several times: I think that Dak is the problem (with the O). Does JG need to go? Probably. Does KM need to go? I don't think so (but a new HC will likely want their own OC). Does Dak need to do what he can do and stop trying to be something he is not? YES!

I'm not saying that Dak can't be a very good QB. In fact there is no one available in the NFL/NCAA as good as Dak, but...

I don't know what to say about the D. Without J. Smith there was no D last night really.
 
This goes back to my previous post. I think the issue with NE isn't one where they need AB, or Gronk for that matter. It's an issue of coaching, preparation, communication and execution. Brady can most certainly make the right decisions, and the throws needed. They can win with the players they have, they just need to all get in sync.
Definitely agree on this. I wouldn't be surprised if, come play-offs, they're suddenly clicking and walk through to the SB.

I would agree with this, they are almost quietly 10-2. They not only move the ball well, but can also stop teams when needed. I also like teams with stellar veteran QB's and coaches when it comes to the playoffs. They have made some mistakes, like special teams, but good coaching can overcome that. However, they had that ugly loss to Atlanta, struggled to beat Carolina. They too haven't played a lot of winning teams. So this week's game hosting SF will be real telling. After that they host Indy, at Tenn, and at Carolina.

Why SF@ NO isn't the flex game, but SEA vs. LAR is, I don't know. Both games will be good, but NO is one of the more popular teams nationally, and SF doesn't get as much national exposure as they could, should.
I initially wrote that I thought NO were the best overall team in the NFL, then deleted it as I decided I hadn't seen enough games and relying on highlights isn't great. Worth remembering that the loses belong to Bridgewater, which isn't a criticism as he played well once he got his eye in, but losing Brees for that window likely had an effect. Very interested to see how they go against SF.
 
Definitely agree on this. I wouldn't be surprised if, come play-offs, they're suddenly clicking and walk through to the SB.



I initially wrote that I thought NO were the best overall team in the NFL, then deleted it as I decided I hadn't seen enough games and relying on highlights isn't great. Worth remembering that the loses belong to Bridgewater, which isn't a criticism as he played well once he got his eye in, but losing Brees for that window likely had an effect. Very interested to see how they go against SF.
A loss for SF looking at their schedule will be a blow. As good as SF has turned things around this season they might be a year or two short. Be interesting to see how they go in the playoffs wherever they are seeded.
 
Gase isn't going anywhere. Nagy, that's an interesting question. The Bears have a real QB issue. They look like a team that will bring in a former starter/back-up vet next year to "support" Trubisky, then have him start when Mitch again plays sub-par. This usually leads to average seasons to follow, until they get the position figured out.

I've said before I think Freddie Kitchens was a mistake to hire as HC. He's popular with the players, and fans, and his gruff look and mindset fit the franchise. But he's really a former RB coach, who did well as an OC last year. As I said before Garrett was tossed, the team has discipline issues. I was commenting on mistakes, bad decisions, not egregious ones, but the root cause is the same. I'm not saying if the team had hired a Tom Landry type... but I don't see Freddie as a playoff winning HC. Regular season winning HC at this point.

The Cowboys are an enigma. Is Jason Garret really that bad? So bad they know they can replace him with someone better? See Merckx post above on some numbers. But my thought is the same as before. Do they have in idea who they are going to bring in? I wouldn't bounce Jason until I have a couple of guys in mind I really want, and think are interested.

Coaching changes in the NFL tend to work best when the team wants someone, thinks they can get that person, but has a couple other people they are up for interviewing as well. I think of how Seattle got Pete Carroll, for example.

Rest assured, I will not be doing that. :)

In fact, if you look at my predictions this year, I've been more than a bit off from recent years. In the past I felt I had a pretty good grasp on trends, while I still got some games wrong for certain. This year I'm making more poor assumptions. I'm not much worse than some of the media pundits, but that's not saying much, is it?

I like your numbers and find them telling, however as I look at the games Dallas has played, and won, a few things stand out. They had three big early wins, mostly on offense, against the Giants (with Eli at QB), Washington, and Miami. The other wins were over Philadelphia, the Giants again, and Detroit. Each of those games the offense put up over 30 points. But the only one of these teams with a chance of making the playoffs are the Eagles, and that's only if they win the division over Dallas. All the others have losing records, and as of this week, a combined record 18-52-1 . This same Dallas offense only managed 9 points against New England, and 15 against Buffalo, at home, with their last TD coming in garbage time. Put another way, their best game may have been a loss against the Vikings 28-24.

If we look at Dallas schedule though, they play at Chicago, host the Rams, go to Philadelphia, and host Washington. Only LA has a winning record, at 7-5. If they go 3-1 in these games, they will finish 9-7 and very likely host a playoff game. There, as you say, they would have a chance, and only a fool would bet their life savings at them losing there.

This goes back to my previous post. I think the issue with NE isn't one where they need AB, or Gronk for that matter. It's an issue of coaching, preparation, communication and execution. Brady can most certainly make the right decisions, and the throws needed. They can win with the players they have, they just need to all get in sync.

I would agree with this, they are almost quietly 10-2. They not only move the ball well, but can also stop teams when needed. I also like teams with stellar veteran QB's and coaches when it comes to the playoffs. They have made some mistakes, like special teams, but good coaching can overcome that. However, they had that ugly loss to Atlanta, struggled to beat Carolina. They too haven't played a lot of winning teams. So this week's game hosting SF will be real telling. After that they host Indy, at Tenn, and at Carolina.

Why SF@ NO isn't the flex game, but SEA vs. LAR is, I don't know. Both games will be good, but NO is one of the more popular teams nationally, and SF doesn't get as much national exposure as they could, should.

I've never liked this stat, even though broadcast people and some analyists like to bring it up. I especially dislike the term "takeaways". Why? Because this is one of the most intangible numbers, and each turnover needs to be put into perspective to understand it's value. For example, tipped balls intercepted are not the same as an errant throw. Blind strip sack fumbles aren't the same as a fumble on a running play or special teams play. Also, many interceptions happen late in games when the team behind is desperate to find a way to drive the ball down the field, while facing dime defensive packages knowing they are going to throw the ball, very likely more than10 yards, likely outside the hash marks.

As to tonight's game, I'll take Dallas over Chicago, but in a fairly close game. Weather should not be a factor. Chilly with light winds.
It's a stat that does have some meaning and is more influenced by "giveaways" than "takeaways." For example, out of the 16 teams currently with a negative turnover differential, only one team, the Rams, have a winning record (7-5). The vast majority of teams with a positive differential all have winning records. In fact, the 5 teams who all have a double figure positive differential (NE/+18, GB/+11, NO/+11, Pit/+11, SE, +10) have a combined record of 46-14.

The giveaways are heavily influenced by interceptions - so that goes on the QB to limit costly turnovers (even late in the game when teams behind are desperate to drive the ball down the field - see Rivers' stupid picks in those situation this year. Lol).

And tipped balls don't happen that much. Some hit the receiver right on target in the hands and it's tipped - granted that's on the receiver. But when the receiver is smothered or double covered and the QB forces the ball, and it's tipped - that's on the QB. Also, DL deflecting passes that are tipped and picked off - that's on the QB for not seeing the DL or not throwing the ball high enough. Obviously, taller QBs have the advantage here.
 
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I initially wrote that I thought NO were the best overall team in the NFL...Worth remembering that the loses belong to Bridgewater.
This is not correct. The team was 5-0 with Teddy as a starter. His numbers were plenty good. 67.7% completion, 9 TD's to 2 picks, and a 98.9 passer rating. He first appeared in the Saints week 2 loss to the Rams, where he had to step in early to replace Brees and didn't play very well, but wasn't terrible, the whole team was let down at that point. The next two weeks the Saints won at both Seattle, and home against Dallas, where the play calling was fairly conservative, but he didn't make many mistakes, and managed the team to wins. After that came wins against Tampa, Jacksonville, and Chicago, where he played quite well. He played so well in that last start in Chicago, I'd even argue if Brees went down again, and they had to rely on him, he could definitely lead the team well into the playoffs. His 5 game stretch was so strong, he has to be considered the top sought out QB free agent next season in the entire league (unless Brees retires, and Teddy stays in NO).

Dallas sure laid an egg last night. They hardly look like a team fighting for a playoff spot. Everything I criticized them for in my previous post, about how some of those stats Merckx mentioned needed to be more closely examined with their schedule and opposition taken into account, turned out to be even more telling than any sage thoughts I could have had. This team looks finished, and I'll be surprised if at this point the Eagles don't take the decision, and the entire coaching staff is turned over on black Monday.

Big props to Mitch Trubisky, who everyone has been railing against (including me to some degree) putting together another very good game.
 
This is not correct. The team was 5-0 with Teddy as a starter. His numbers were plenty good. 67.7% completion, 9 TD's to 2 picks, and a 98.9 passer rating. He first appeared in the Saints week 2 loss to the Rams, where he had to step in early to replace Brees and didn't play very well, but wasn't terrible, the whole team was let down at that point. The next two weeks the Saints won at both Seattle, and home against Dallas, where the play calling was fairly conservative, but he didn't make many mistakes, and managed the team to wins. After that came wins against Tampa, Jacksonville, and Chicago, where he played quite well. He played so well in that last start in Chicago, I'd even argue if Brees went down again, and they had to rely on him, he could definitely lead the team well into the playoffs. His 5 game stretch was so strong, he has to be considered the top sought out QB free agent next season in the entire league (unless Brees retires, and Teddy stays in NO).

Dallas sure laid an egg last night. They hardly look like a team fighting for a playoff spot. Everything I criticized them for in my previous post, about how some of those stats Merckx mentioned needed to be more closely examined with their schedule and opposition taken into account, turned out to be even more telling than any sage thoughts I could have had. This team looks finished, and I'll be surprised if at this point the Eagles don't take the decision, and the entire coaching staff is turned over on black Monday.

Big props to Mitch Trubisky, who everyone has been railing against (including me to some degree) putting together another very good game.
If DB decides to play another year, would TB be willing to wait it out and stay in NOLA?
 
Incredible that one of the two bang average teams in the Cowboys and Eagles will make the playoffs against what is quite a stacked NFC play-off picture . Not a lot separating the Niners, Hawks, Vikings, Saints and Packers so far.

Bears have started to find some form, but the last three games against Packers, Chiefs and Vikings will be tough and they need to win out.

Sad to see Rivera go from my Panthers, he always seemed a genuinely decent guy but it’s a results business and the new owner understandably couldn’t stomach another losing season. It’ll be interesting to watch the situation with Cam play out over the coming months. If he’s fit and healthy, I still think he has to stay.
 

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