NFL Week 5 Game predictions – He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said

There were 13 games last week, but we don’t predict Thursday games because it’s too much of a lead time for the Sunday games, however we do mention it to ourselves. NO shocker we both chose NE. As far as predictions for the 12 games last week, we each got 10 correct.

Here’s our NFL Week 5 Game predictions:

1:00 GAMES

Titan (3-1) vs Bills (1-3) CBS

Jay: Titans in a physical game.

Jules: sad to say the Titans. Tough to see a rookie QB do well against a pretty good defense.

Giants (1-3) vs Panthers (2-1) FOX

Jay: Carolina off a bye and I think it’s a 2 score game. The Giants just aren’t very good right now.

Jules: Carolina coming off a bye will be healthy and fired up at home.

Dolphins (3-1) vs Bengals (3-1) CBS

Jay: Miami regressed back to reality. I like Cincinnati here because of their offensive options. Close game. Cinco wins by 3.

Jules: I don’t trust Miami’s defense, they were embarrassingly bad against a Patriots team that’s truthfully not that great. However, few teams win in Foxboro.

Ravens (3-1) vs Browns (1-2-1) CBS

Jay: The Browns are tough and they’ll come out swinging, but I think the Ravens are too good and they win a tough, hard fought game

Jules: Ravens. Greg Williams has put together a good defense, problem is Don Martindale has done the same. While Flacco leaves me cold, he’s done pretty well this season. Mayfield has looked good against poor defenses, not sure he can pull this off.

Packers (2-1-1) vs Lions (1-3) FOX

Jay: The Lions are a work in progress. They’re not ready yet to beat Aaron Rodgers (who is getting healthier by the week).

Jules: Packers. I think the Lions have a lot of tools, but aren’t quite done baking, yet. This should be a tight game if Kerryon Johnson can keep on motoring. Would love a Lions win, but I don’t know.

Jaguars (3-1) vs Chiefs (4-0) CBS

Jay: This will be and extremely fun and competitive game and I’m really looking forward to it. I still think Mahomes takes care of the game at home, by a field goal.

Jules: Jacksonville’s pass defense is quite a bit better than Denver’s who kept Mahones to Zero passing TD’s . Bortles is better than Keenum, and KC’s defense is bad – Jags win by hassling Pat, shutting down his receivers and for once can keep penalties under 70 yards.

Broncos (2-2) vs Jets (1-3) CBS

Jay; Broncos. Their defense will give Darnold a tough time, and while the Jets are tough on defense, I see the Broncos winning a game that’s played in the teens.

Jules: Broncos. While the Jets defense isn’t bad, they sure looked that way in Jacksonville. Rookie Darnold will struggle again, but this time should be able to put up more points.

Falcons (1-3) vs Steelers (1-2-1) FOX

Jay: This game is sneaky good and quite possibly a must win for both sides. Pittsburgh in a tight one at home.

Jules: At some point Matt Ryan and his arm should be enough to outscore an opponent. Big Ben has some really bad games. I’m predicting this will be one.

4:05 GAME

Raiders (1-3) vs Chargers (2-2) CBS

Jay: Chargers, even though this will be a home game for the Raiders. Will be a fun one to watch

Jules: Chargers. Raiders won through some questionable calls and it’s tough to see that defense have an answer for Uncle Phil…as long as their kicker doesn’t loose another game.

4:25 GAMES

Vikings (1-2-1) vs Eagles (2-2) FOX

Jay: I like Philly at home but I do see the Vikings as a having their backs against the wall here. I have no confidence, but I’ll take Philly.

Jules: Who would’ve thought a couple weeks ago this game would be ho hum? Neither team’s defense has looked good. Picking Philly because it’s a home game.

Cardinals (0-4) vs 49ers (1-3) FOX

Jay: Bad game. San Francisco at home will give Rosen a tough time.

Jules: Putrid vs bad. Who cares who wins? This division is the Rams’. SF because it’s a home game.

Rams (4-0) vs Seahawks (2-2) FOX

Jay: Rams…where is the 12th man?

Jules: Is this a trick question? Rams.

8:20 GAME

Cowboys (2-2) vs Texans (1-3) NBC

Jay: Anticlimactic night game with those 2 special ones at 1:00. I’ll take Houston in a low scoring affair.

Jules: What a crappy night game. Coin flip says Texans due to the better QB.

Monday 8:15 ESPN GAME

Redskins (2-1) vs Saints (3-1)

Jay: Saints. Saints at home and I don’t usually go against that.

Jules: Hmm. Can Washington catch a pass and not play sloppy? Alex Smith has the talent and smarts to beat NO, but can the rest of the team keep up? It’s all up to Gruden who has a rested team who can win.

Cover 1 simply explained – Football 101

Cover 1 is also called, safety high. The Free Safety is left at the top alone and the Strong Safety moves up like a linebacker. This is used for projected run plays or against dink and dunk quarterbacks. The Jaguars SS is Barry ChurchTashaun Gipson Sr. is the Free Safety.

As in any formation, there are pros and cons and are dependent upon the talent on defense. To leave a safety high, the coach must trust him to cover a huge area, but also trusts the ball never gets there because the front 7 doesn’t give the quarterback time to rip off a pass deep.

*graphic is generic only to show where players could line up on certain basic plays.* Below has two TE’s and two RB’s to show what looks like a run play, but the QB can pass to his TE’s or use the backs as receivers, too.

Cover 1 in a 4-3 defense

 

Teams usually play their CB’s in man coverage, (FS in zone) but they can change from play to play. The FS has the back half to cover and watches the QB so he knows what direction the ball is going. If the QB jukes him out, bad things happen.

The SS is lower in the box to offer run support, but he can still shadow a RB or TE depending on the call. Any of the linebackers could have a specialized blitz plan as well.

In fact, this formation is great to run blitzes from because it is known as ‘crowding the box’ if the SS creeps up even closer. Not only does it make a run play tougher, but it also takes away the short pass, except for the brave or foolhardy – take your pick. This is a good way to force a QB to throw deep.

Cover 1 in a 3-4 defense

Why would a defense want a QB to toss it beyond 15 yards? Because they don’t think the quarterback has the arm to make those throws or maybe he’s uncomfortable doing them.

Cover 1 can give quarterbacks a noose to hang himself with. It also can make a team desperate. They can’t run and the short pass is gone – a powerful tool to use if you want to set up a QB, too.

An example would be If Jacksonville has been taking the short pass away all game, but now wants the QB to throw short, especially in the red zone because they know he’ll target that open guy. So, they play one receiver loose, and then jump in front and have a pick or at least a knock down.

This doesn’t work against good quarterbacks, because he’ll read what’s going on, but it works great against “less than'” quarterbacks.

In addition, the SS can act like he’s playing Cover 1, but drop back into Cover 2. The Jaguars do this often because Church is really good. Or he can do the opposite, show Cover 2 and at the last possible moment, move up to Cover 1.

The bottom line is, when a team has a secondary (and linebackers) as good as ours, it gives the Defensive Coordinator a lot choices. They can play different coverages without losing a beat. The beauty is when you’re so versatile, because you have fantastic talent, there’s little an offense can do against a secondary like Jacksonville’s.

 

Week 4 NFL Game Predictions – He Said/She Said

Last week, we got three games complete wrong, but overall, got 12-15. We don’t pick Thursday games because it’s too far out to predict Sunday/Monday games. Week 4 NFL Game Predictions may be another miss. On the season, Jay is up three wins as Jules tends to pick a long shot each week.

What a crazy season this has been. The NFL wants parity and boy do they have it this year…so far. Which makes picking winners a tough feat, one we’ve been striking out on, averaging a tick under .500.

1:00 Games

Bengals (2-1) vs Falcons (1-2)  CBS

Jay: Beware of teams coming off of long overtime games, especially losses. Close game, but I think Cincinnati pulls off a minor upset here.

Jules: a year ago, who would think this would be a good game? The combo of Ryan still struggling without Kyle Shanahan and no Devonta Freeman has continued to stress their offense. I have no clue who wins this as good Andy has been playing well. Home team. No Freeman, again, think I’ll swap to Bengals.

Buccaneers (2-1) vs Bears (2-1) FOX

Jay: Bears defense will be the best that Tampa has seen. Bears win at home.

Jules: I’m thinking Bears regardless of who plays. We started to see cracks with Fitz last week and Winston is rusty. I could see him either playing conservative or slinging stuff everywhere to match Ryan and some of them are intercepted.

Lions (1-2) vs Cowboys (1-2) FOX

Jay: Cowboys are truly a weird team that is a .500 team that will win some games it should lose and lose some games it should win. I’ll take the Cowboys at home.

Jules: I think the Cowboys are a mess and am going to believe that Matt Patricia and his defense keeps Dak in his conservative ways.

Bills (1-2) vs Packers (1-1-1) CBS

Jay: Green Bay needs this. Buffalo is still Buffalo. Green Bay is better. Wins the game going away.

Jules: Packers. Sure, Josh Allen pulled off a win; however, he’s playing in Green Bay…watching Aaron Rodgers win.

Texans (0-3) vs Colts (1-2) CBS

Jay: This is a regress to the means game. Texans will win this one.

Jules: What a bleh game. The Colts are really beat-up and tough to see the Texans going 0-4, so giving them a thumbs up, to tighten up the AFCS.

Jets (1-2) vs Jaguars (2-1) FOX

Jay: I’m not sure what to make of the Jags after last week against Tennessee. Was that same old Jags who play up then play down? Was that an abberation. I think the Jags will win this one.

Jules: DUUUVAL. There is something about the Titans and Jax that makes them powerless. That won’t be the case this week with Fournette playing and getting back two of their three O-Line that was missing last week. If Bortles has time, he can be good.

Dolphins (3-0) vs Patriots (1-2) FOX

Jay: Right now the better team resides in Miami, but I think we have a regression to the mean here and the Pats win a squeaker.

Jules: if this was in Miami, I’d say the fins without blinking. This year, it’s a coin flip. The Pats* lack of speed across the board gives them losing by a FG. It feels to weird to pick them losing three weeks in a row….caveat—if the refs act like they always do in Foxborough, then NE*, if it’s a fair game–Miami. (Myles Jack wasn’t down)

Eagles (2-1) vs Titans (2-1) FOX

Jay: Philadelphia in a tough, defensive battle.

Jules: Eagles. Titans have fallen into wins and that ends on Sunday. They hold no voodoo doll in Philly or have a healthy QB.

4:05 Games

Seahawks (1-2) vs Cardinals (0-3) FOX

Jay: Seattle gets to .500 to keep their Wild card hopes alive.

Jules: Can a rookie QB pull off a win against a sorry looking Seattle? No clue, but the magic ball says, no.

Browns (1-1-1) vs Raiders (0-3) FOX

Jay: The Browns are the better team (I just shuddered as I typed that). Hue Jackson gets revenge

Jules: yuck. Very little game film for the Raiders to dissect Mayfield, but playing in the Black Hole isn’t a simple excursion for a team on the cusp. I can’t stand Oakland, but this may the win they need to crawl out of the dumpster where they live.

4:25 Games

SF (1-2) vs Chargers (1-2) CBS

Jay: Chargers. Enough said

Jules: Unless Uncle Phil gets hurt, Chargers in a romp. Not even their beat up defense can be that bad to lose against Beathard. Can they? I believe CJ went 0-6 as a starter last season which is why they traded for Jimmy.

Ravens (2-1) vs Steelers (1-1-1) NBC

Jay: This is one of my favorite games to watch every year. I don’t know. Give me the Steelers 27-23z

Jules: This should be a great game, a real slugfest. Whichever QB throws less interceptions wins…the question is do we see good Ben or flukey Flacco? Going out on a limb that the Ravens defense can make Ben take chances he shouldn’t.

Monday 8:15

Broncos (2-1) vs Chiefs (3-0) ESPN

Jay: All aboard the Mahomes train

Jules: Denver hasn’t beaten the Chiefs since September 2015 and their two wins this season were by a combined 4 points. Tough to pick Denver since they most likely will need to score 5 TD’s for a chance.

Cover 0 simply explained, rarely used – Football 101

Cover 0 is the defense is playing man coverage on every eligible receiver. In the Nickle defense, all 5 DB’s are locked in on a WR/Slot/TE/RB. Whatever the offense sends out, the defense is covering man on man. If it’s base defense, then one of the linebackers will likely latch on to the RB/TE.

The 0 formation can be a powerful tool against a poor O-Line, a quarterback who can’t scramble and/or panics easily, or it’s an obvious run play. With it being 5 on 5 from the secondary, it’s 6 on 6 along the LOS with one of their 6 being the QB that the defense is chasing.

Its downfall is if a Defensive Back blows his assignment and his receiver beats him, you can have an easy TD. They’re also susceptible to crossing patterns and any route that the QB can dump the ball off quickly.

If the OLine actually holds up, or the QB has some good scrambling skills, he can dump off a deep pass and there’s no help deep, or if the QB is a dangerous runner he can make the defense pay, too.

A team needs a great defense like Jacksonville’s to pull this off. Not only does it take at least two good pass rushers like Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, but the corners need to be close to Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye, good. They not only must have the speed to follow on this man play, but know which eligible receiver to cover.

The upside is, it stops the run and terrorizes mediocre quarterbacks. They’re running for their lives or panic and dump the ball off too quickly for a bad pass. This formation, is also known as, crowding the box.

The entire idea is to stop the run, sack the quarterback, or take away the short interior pass.

Good quarterbacks/OC’s can pick a part a defense that tries this too often. This coverage is for special circumstances only. It could be third down, the offense is on the 40, and they need seven yards.

As in any coverage package, a defense can show the quarterback one coverage, but change it at the last second. On this, one or both safeties could drop back at the last second if they think the quarterback is going to try a pass. Defenses often show man and switch to zone, or  the opposite. All of it is part of the chess game.

This graphic showcases the man on man function of each of the DB’s locking on one of the receivers. It also shows those not  in man coverage are rushing the passer (they can also stop a back in a run play).

Cover 0, Nickel formation

To note* sometimes a player will be a “spy”. They are to watch a certain player no matter what their assignment was. You hear this term often in reference to spying on a mobile QB. They line up like above, but instead of covering, say a slot, they’re actually keying in on the QB to make sure he doesn’t make a run for it.

NFL Week 3 Game Predictions – He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said

Here’s our NFL Week 3 game predictions. Last week, we each won seven games out of the 15 we picked. Not great. Hoping we do better this time.

As an aside, we don’t pick Thursday games because it’s too far out for Sunday ones, but as I lay out the games this late Thursday afternoon, I’m picking the Browns. I don’t think Sam Darnold has the mental experience, yet to go up against Gregg Williams.

1:00 GAMES

Giants (0-2) vs Texans (0-2) FOX

Jay: In a battle of winless teams, I’ll take the one with the better Defensive Line. Give me Houston here.

Jules: zzz, what? Oh, pick a team. Bleh. Texans, unless more of their roster is hurt. The Giants under their new coaching changes look poor and Eli is struggling. If things don’t improve with that O-Line, they may not have him long. Good luck, Kyle Lauletta

Colts (1-1) vs Eagles (1-1) FOX

Jay: How bad are the Redskins? How good are the Colts? I honestly don’t know. What I will say is that I think Carson gets off to a sluggish start, but the defense brings it home in Philadelphia

Jules: Andy Luck loves his dink and dunk. Philly takes that away, the Colts will be going home shoeless.

Titans (1-1) vs Jaguars (2-0) CBS

Jay: I don’t have enough trust in Marcus Mariotta or Blaine Gabbert. I’ll take the Jags.

Jules: The Titans have a win, but it was ugly and gimmicky. I doubt they can pull off those stunts against a far better defense. Like the game against the Patriots*, this is another grudge match. I’ll be there cheering–DUUUVAL!

Saints (1-1) vs Falcons (1-1) FOX

Jay: I think this might be one of the best games of the weekend. The Saints haven’t played a complete game yet. The Falcons played a complete game against Carolina last week. I have no confidence in this pick, but I’ll take Atlanta at home.

Jules: Drew was stymied a few times by the looks Greg Williams was showing him last week, but don’t see that happening vs an old foe. Ryan looks like he did before Kyle Shannahan, and so it’s tough to pull for him. Will need to see the status of Freeman.

Broncos (2-0) vs Ravens (1-1) CBS

Jay: The Ravens will be highly annoyed after what happened last Thursday. Correction time in Denver. I’ll take the Ravens here.

Jules: The Broncos have stunk on the road since Manning retired. 5 away wins out of 32 games, plus Casey Keenum is ranked 28th (QB rating) among all QB’s. He’s tied with Stafford in 4 INT. Add that up and I think this will be a Ravens win as Flacco has looked better.

Bengals (2-0) vs Panthers (1-1) CBS

Jay: This is a sneaky great game. No confidence in this game, but I’ll take the home team in a hard fought battle by 3.

Jules: This should be a good game. Andy had been playing like the good Andy and the defense hasn’t been too shabby. But the Panthers at home should win in a sneaker.

49ers (1-1) vs Chiefs (2-0) FOX

Jay: High scoring affair coming, but I’ll take the home team here. Mahomes shines for another week

Jules: This is going to be interesting to see. Mahones is playing like DeShaun Watson did last season: go long. The question is, does SF have the CB’s to stop this simple game plan? On the road, in that LOUD stadium, not so sure Jimmy G (last season’s darling) can pull off a win; however, KC’s defense stinks. KC.

Raiders (0-2) vs Dolphins (2-0) CBS

Jay: This is a weird game. Not sure what to make of this Dolphins team. But I don’t really like where the Raiders are as a team right now, so I’ll take the Dolphins

Jules: Teams traveling west to east notoriously do poorly, especially for 1:00 games. Don’t see this as a win with Miami clicking and the Raiders looking sloppy. We could very well see another week of undefeated Florida teams.

Bills (0-2) vs Vikings (1-0-1) CBS

Jay: This game requires very little analysis. Hard to find a position group where the Bills have an advantage. Minnesota will take out some anger here.

Jules: I know it’s, On Any Given Sunday, but Buffalo traveling and their team is a mess, tough to see a W.

Packers (1-0-1) vs Redskins (1-1) FOX

Jay: This will be an ugly game for the empty seats at FedEx Field. I’ll take Green Bay on the road

Jules: Washington should’ve won last week, but they played sloppy, their O-Line looked like kindergarteners and their WR’s couldn’t get open. Add their linebackers going MIA for a lot of the game and you have a L. Add Gruden refusing to change his plan when the run game stalled. Packers, unless he tightens things up.

4:05

Chargers (1-1) vs Rams (2-0) CBS

Jay: The battle for LA! I’ll take the Rams but can not wait to watch this game with my popcorn in hand.

Jules: This is going to be a great game. Everyone has the Rams as #1 or #2 in the NFL, but I’m going to take a chance and pull for Uncle Phil. He has beaten a Wade Phillip’s defense before and picked on Aqib Talib.

4:25 GAMES

Bears (1-1) vs Cardinals (0-2) FOX

Jay: The clock has started as to when we’ll see Josh Rosen. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not this week because of the presence of Khalil Mack. The Bears are better. They win here.

Jules: Bears, but am interested to see if simplifying the Mike McCoy playbook works. It didn’t in Denver when they had to do it twice, but then again Sam Bradford is better than Simian and Osweiler. If they don’t look better, time for Rosen.

Cowboys (1-1) vs Seahawks (0-2) FOX

Jay: This game will generate a high rating because of the two teams playing. Not sure how exciting this thing will get. I’ll take Seattle to get off the mat here.

Jules: Yuck. I hope Seattle wins because Shaquem Griffin plays. He and his brother are the only thing I like about that team. Russell Wilson is a far better QB than Dak Prescott, but he’s playing behind a bad O-Line. He needs to throw on the run every play and get a win.

8:20

Patriots* (1-1) vs Lions (0-2) NBC

Jay: You think you saw frustrated Tom Brady on the sideline last week? The Patriots win a bounce back game.

Jules: Another new HC struggling and this time against his former boss. Tough to see NE* lose twice in a row. However, Brady* looked so bad last week. His accuracy was really off on throws beyond five yards, humidity makes balls heavier :). With that said, NE*.

Monday 8:15

Steelers (0-1-1) vs Buccaneers (2-0) ESPN

Jay: This might be the most interesting story-line game of the week. Does Fitzy stay as the qb after this week? Can Pittsburgh’s defense find a pulse? Does Antonio Bryant and Big Ben find some common ground on the field? Can Tomlin steady this ship? I’m not sure, honestly. Very fun game to watch offensively. I’m not totally sold on Tampa and this feels like a game where Pittsburgh corrects itself for a week.

Jules: The Steelers are at a crossroads and if they don’t win this, they’re in serious trouble and it starts at the top. When players are allowed to go to the press to air dirty laundry, there’s serious leadership issues from the HC on up the chain. I don’t think Fitzpatrick can sustain his roll for much longer, but doubt Pit has the defense to stop them. This could be a close one.

The Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars from around the NFL

the buzz about the jaguars

The Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars

Each week we will give you a look around the NFL on where they rank/grade the Jags. Today, the Jaguars are the cream of the AFC crop. Sports Illustrated is at the bottom. Enjoy!

He obviously didn’t watch game because that interception went off his receiver’s hands. If he means he Bortled because it was dumb luck (like one off a cleat), then yes, he Bortled.

#2 Previous rank5

The Jags authored a freaking statement in Florida on Sunday. Jacksonville dominated the first half against the Patriots, then suffocated Tom Brady and the offense when it had to, i.e., when Blake Bortles— who was otherwise quite effective — pulled a Bortles with an ill-timed turnover. Following Bortles’ interception early in the fourth quarter, New England was threatening to claw within one score — when the AFC’s deepest defensive group showed up. Dante FowlerJr., who missed all of his rookie year with a knee injury and who is often viewed as an afterthought among his uber-talented teammates, tore around the edge, pulling off the pass rusher’s hat trick: the sack, the strip and the recovery. People had better start giving Doug Marrone the same kinds of props the Sean McVays of the world get.

The Washington Post

#2. Last Week’s Rank: 5

The Jaguars clearly were the better team Sunday against the Patriots, signaling that they are here to stay as a top AFC contender following last season’s playoff run. When QB Blake Bortles plays like he did Sunday, the Jaguars are next to impossible to beat. But can he play consistently well?

USA TODAY

#1 Previous rank: 5

1. Jaguars: Took NFL royalty to the woodshed — their 11-point defeat of New England wasn’t really that close — without injured Leonard Fournette’s help.

ESPN

2. Jacksonville Jaguars

2018 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: 5

The Jaguars knocked off the defending AFC champion Patriots at home, and they now have won six straight games in Jacksonville by an average of 15.7 points per game. That is their longest home win streak since winning six straight in 2005-06, and they get to host the Titans in Week 3. — Joey Koontz

Bleacher Report

#3, Last week 5.

There’s no question which NFL team had the most impressive outing of Week 2.

It’s not just that the Jacksonville Jaguars avenged last year’s AFC Championship Game loss with an 11-point win over the Patriots at home. It’s how the Jaguars did it—and the fact that the game wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

With Leonard Fournette sidelined by a bad hammy, the Jaguars went with a pass-heavy approach that featured lots of quick throws. The result was a huge outing for Blake Bortles, who scorched the Patriots for 377 yards and four scores.

Jacksonville’s defense was, well, Jacksonville’s defense. Tom Brady was held to 234 passing yards with two touchdowns and a lost fumble, and Jalen Ramsey relegated star tight end Rob Gronkowski to milk carton status—two catches for 15 yards.

This was a statement game in every sense of the word, and the statement it sent was clear…

The Jaguars are the best team in the AFC.

Sporting News

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-0 (last week: 5)

The Jags dropped a big statement in dragging down the Patriots. They are the new AFC heavyweights with an offense and defense built to go at least as deep as it did last season.

CBS

 A grade

Jaguars fans were probably having flashbacks to the AFC Championship game when Jacksonville took a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter on Sunday, but unlike January, the Jags didn’t blow it this time thanks to Blake Bortles. The Jaguars quarterback threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and arguable outplayed Tom Brady. One big reason the Jags were able to pull off the upset is because they converted 10 of 14 on third down, which kept Brady and the Patriots offense off the field.

 

And now a quick spin around the internet to see what people are saying about YOUR Jacksonville Jaguars:

ESPN’s Michela DiRocco wrote about how Tony Khan enjoys finding free agent gems

“The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ senior vice president of football administration and technology was calling cornerback Tre Herndon and his agent, hoping to convince the former Vanderbilt player to sign as a free agent. Even though it would be an uphill battle to make a roster that already included All-Pro cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye and former first-round pick D.J. Hayden, Herndon agreed.  Herndon eventually made the 53-man roster and has played 33 snaps on special teams, with one solo tackle and an assist in the Jaguars’ victories against the Giants and Patriots.”–Michael DiRocco

Gene Frenette from Florida Times-Union wrote about greater media presence around Jags nowadays

“Myles Jack was returning to his locker Sunday after getting a shower following a 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots. He scanned the chaotic room full of reporters, and began talking out loud so everyone could hear.
“We got a lot of new media in here,” said Jack, the Jaguars third-year linebacker. “You weren’t expecting to be in this locker room, huh?” Then he paused, adding: “They weren’t here last year. They weren’t here two years ago either. But they’re here today.”
Jack’s spot-on assessment of the Jaguars’ locker room scene — in the aftermath of their first victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots’ dynasty — was a telling sign of how much the narrative for this previously ignored franchise is changing.”–Gene Frenette

Keelan Cole has quickly become the Jags’ go-to receiver now

“Now, in his second season, Cole has the confidence of a savvy veteran and is quickly becoming the go-to receiver for the Jaguars (2-0).

Cole had seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 31-20 victory against New England on Sunday. He delivered the most impressive catch of his career and quite possibly the best one in the NFL this season, a one-handed grab down the sideline that prompted TV analyst Tony Romo to compare him to Odell Beckham.”–via Associated Press and USA Today

Sports Illustrated

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

Last Week’s rank: 6
Points in poll: 250
Highest-place vote: 1 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 3 (1)

 

NFL Waiver Wire Rules – Learn how it applies and the dates

NFL Waiver Wire Rules

When a player is cut, depending on their years of service and the timing of the transaction a few different things can happen.

Unvested Players (players without 4 years of accrued service)

The waiver system allows for a team to claim a player that was released from a previous team.  From the day after the Super Bowl and until the end of the 3rd week (Monday 9/24), the waiver wire priority is based on the previous year’s records/draft order.

When an unvested player is claimed, it removes the guaranteed base salaries from the previous team’s salary cap, and it gives the new franchise his rights/current contract.

Until 9/25, the Jaguars are 28th on the list in waiver claim priority. After that, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games. So, next week, if the Jaguars are the only 3-0 team standing, they would pick 32nd.

Lets say the Browns win a game and the Giants, Bills, Cards all lose again, they would move ahead of Cleveland starting the 25th.

If a player goes unclaimed, he becomes a free agent and free to sign a contract with any NFL team.

Vested Veterans

Until the trading deadline (10-31), a vested veteran — a player who has acquired four accrued seasons– is not subject to the waiver system. If such a player is cut, his contract is immediately terminated. He is then be free to sign with any other team.

Once the trade date passes after week 8 (10-31), any player has to pass through waivers. Every player has to pass through waivers. If an unvested player passes through waivers then the team can place them on the practice squad, if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Waiver wire periods last 24 hours before the player becomes a free agent.

 

Week 2 Game Predictions: He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said
Last week Jay got nine out of fifteen and Jules got eight (went with Raiders just to be different and it bit me). We don’t pick Thursday games because there’s not enough turn around time with injury reports.
Have to say, the NFL choosing the Cowboys 0-1  and Giants 0-1 to play each other for Sunday night football is BS when there are a couple far better match-ups like the Panthers and Falcons, Vikings and Packers, Jaguars and Patriots*. The Dallas/DC rivalry is as exciting and fresh as listening to Chris Collingsworth.

Week 2 game predictions

1:00 GAMES

Panthers 1-0 @ Falcons 0-1 FOX

Jay: I think this has the makings of being a very good game. The NFC South is a crapshoot this year. Give me Atlanta by 5 in a whacky game.
Jules: No clue. I do know that without Kyle Shannahan, Matt Ryan and his offense has been inconsistent. Because Devonta Freeman is out, going with the Panthers.

Chargers 0-1 @ Bills 0-1 CBS

Jay: A kid who begged for a ‘redshirt’ year in his last presser during the preseason is now taking on a team that SHOULD be a playoff contender…give me the Chargers.
Jules: Chargers. Uncle Phil has got to have his receivers catch the ball this week, right? He could’ve had 600 yards and thats not an exaggeration.

Vikings 1-0 @ Packers 1-0 FOX

Jay: if AR plays, I think the offense will be structured in a similar structure as what you saw in the 2nd half against the Bears: quick, quick and quick releases. The Vikings are very good, and this is going to be a fun one to watch. I’ll take the Packers by 3.
Jules: Can Rodgers play again drugged out of his mind? Don’t know, but do know without him, they’re SOL. That Vikings defense is good and will give him fits when healthy, can’t imagine them against a wounded duck. While Kirk Cousins is all right, it’s Dalvin Cook GB has to stop. I’m picking the Vikings defense.

Browns 0-0-1 @ Saints 0-1 FOX

Jay: Saints. Ya think the Saints are gonna be a little salty after last Sunday?
Jules: Saints. Just can’t imagine where the Browns win because Brees rarely turns the ball over, plus Cleveland couldn’t stop Connor, so stymying Kamara seems like a tough task.

Dolphins 1-0 @ Jets 1-0 CBS

Jay: I have no confidence in this pick, but I’ll take the Dolphins here. I think the Jets are very much a work in progress and might end up being the better team at the end of the year, but right now, I’ll take the Dolphins in a close one.
Jules: Dolphins. Rookie QB’s tend to start their first games as heres or zeros, there’s not usually much in between. Based on that, can see Darnold’s star crashing into the aqua sea. But, the Fins lost their Guard who’s pretty good. Tannenhill and company better be prepared.

Chiefs 1-0 @ Steelers 0-0-1 CBS

Jay: you think Pittsburgh is going to be a little pissed off after last week? Look for another steady dose of James Connor and the Pittsburgh defense to show Pat Mahomes looks that he hasn’t seen yet. The terrible towels will play a factor here. Pittsburgh grabs this one by 6.
Jules: Another tough one to call. Chiefs defense isn’t that great, which Big Ben will need to bounce back against. Now that’s there’s some game film out, see Mahones not doing as well as the simple plays will start to get picked apart.

Eagles 1-0 @ Buccaneers 1-0 FOX

Jay: oh-oh Fitzmagic. Oh-oh Fitzmagic. While I think there is some merit to rolling with Ryan this season instead of Jameis (I don’t trust the kid enough to give him a 5 year/$125 million deal in the least), the Eagles go down to Tampa and get to 2-0.
Jules: Eagles. While Nick Foles looked like a hot mess and Ritzpatrick was cake, I don’t see this a good match-up for Fitz. Guys like him rarely put two break-out games like that together.

Texans 0-1 @ Titans 0-1 CBS

Jay: I think these teams aren’t that far apart. I’ll take Watson over Mariota here
Jules: Both these teams are banged up already. Watson is like the other young QB’s: raw and using simple game plans. They work until defenses know what’s coming. I think Houston wins only because of Mariota and Gabbert.

Colts 0-1 @ Redskins 1-0 CBS

Jay: Redskins. I don’t see me picking the Colts to win very often this year
 
Jules: Redskins. Andrew Luck had a great game with five and under passing yards…beyond that, not so great. I think the Hogs will give him fits and take away those short hops, meanwhile Alex Smith will make them work.
 
4:05 GAME

Cards 0-1 @ Rams 1-0 FOX

Jay: The Rams will take care of business here, and the countdown to the Josh Rosen era will officially start.
 
Jules:   If the Rams don’t win this, they’re in bigger trouble than the hapless Cards.

Lions 0-1 @ 49ers 0-1 FOX

Jay: I’ll take the 49ers here. The final score of the Vikings/niners game last week wasn’t indicative of how the game went. 
 
Jules: Yuck. Here’s the thing: it takes a while for QB’s to pick up a Shanny playbook (ask Matt Ryan), so Jimmy G may have stumbled because he’s not quite ready for the full one. Or that’s his real self. As far as Stafford and Patricia, they can’t screw up again that badly can they? This feels like a snoozer that SF wins.

4:25 GAMES

Raiders 0-1 @ Broncos 1-0 CBS

Jay: Oakland does not look very good on offense, period. It’s that simple. Protect the football if you’re Denver and you walk away 2-0.
 
Jules: Oakland doesn’t have a pass rush and the Bronco’s O-Line looked really good giving Keenum plenty of time. IF he doesn’t continue with the head-scratching picks, they should win easily with their defense.

Patriots* 1-0 @ Jaguars 1-0 CBS

Jay: I realize that the Pats usually throw up a clunker in the first 4 weeks, and this might be the game where they lay an egg, but if you’re asking me to trust that Blake Bortles is going to need to go out and win this game, I say no. Pats in a tight one.
 
Jules: SACKSONVILLE. I will be at the game screaming my fool head off and sending good ju-ju down on the field that their receivers CATCH THE DANG BALL! Thats the difference in this game. Without Fournette, or even if he plays gimpy, the win must come from Borltes. He’s not a great QB and he can’t afford another week of the dropsies. Forecast says no rain, 78° humidity so that should help wilt the northern team.

8:20 GAME

Giants 0-1 @ Cowboys 0-1 NBC

Jay: hard to say that a week 2 game is do-or-die, but I think we’re at that point here. I’ll take the Giants by a touchdown.
 
Jules: eh. I’m taking the better QB.

MONDAY

8:15 ESPN

Seahawks 0-1 @ Bears 0-1 ESPN

Jay: The Bears need to learn how to put teams to sleep for good. Seattle has a qb who already knows how to do that. With that being said, I’ll take the Bears to make a few big plays on the defensive side of the ball. Bears by 6
 
Jules: I’m going with the Bears, too. The Hawks have no wings and Chicago looks like they’re close to putting their pieces together.

Under Center Concepts: I-Formation, Ace Set, Pro-set – Football 101

I-Formations

In this installment on Offensive Formations, we tackle formations where the play starts with the QB under center.  Those branch out into various base formations like the I-Formation, Ace Sets, and Pro Set formations the West Coast Offense (WCO) was built on.

Before we get into each of the three, there are some concepts and benefits that each of the three share.

Unlike a RB/FB being handed the pigskin in a shotgun formation, he’s not getting the ball at a standstill.  He’s already moving when he gets it, which gives him more of a head of steam when he hits the LOS. Harder to stop a moving train.

The quarterback and back move towards each other, and as soon the hand off is complete, each head in separate directions. This way the QB isn’t in the way for the back. In addition, if the QB is scanning the field because he’s pulled the ball down and about to throw a play-action pass, he doesn’t want the back there.

It’s a dance that requires practice to get the timing right and handoffs must look the same as his fake handoffs, each and every time.

In a recent trend, some quarterbacks spend the majority, if not all of their college career in the shotgun/pistol formations, so NFL QB coaches are having to teach, and to an extent, waste time on teaching concepts. Ones that should have been drilled into their head from when he first started playing the game. Therefore, there is an adjustment to taking snaps for some.

Ace/One Back/Single Back/Lone Back:

The Ace/One Back set is discussed in greater detail here, but it is simply a single back set that offers an abundance of options for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to dial up. He can filter through various groupings (See Chart below) of  3WR/4WR sets and then go back to a 2TE set.

The team’s base set of running plays will be able to be run out of most, if not all of the looks. Personnel can change from 4WR to 2WR/2TE but the same dive play can be run up the gut from any of the looks.
Ace set formations

  1. 11Set 1RB, 1 TE, 3WR with the TE split out.
  2. 12Set 1RB, 2TE, 2WR with the WRs in a Twins Left look.
  3. 12Set 1RB, 2TE 2WR with the LTE split out in a Twins look with the X.
  4. 10Set 1RB, 0TE, 4WR with a Trips Right look.
  5. 10Set 1RB, 0Te, 4WR with a Trips Left look.

2-digit offensive formation chartWhen Blake Borltes is under center this season, variations of the Ace set will likely be the primary concepts that are used.

A huge stable of the quarterback dropping back is the play action pass. Even teams that use an Air Coryell system with the QB is shotgun will use the PAP. Teams think he’s dropping back to hand off for a run, but instead, he keeps it and tosses it deep because the defense sucked up for the run. Or he keeps the ball himself if he’s got wheels. They don’t know what they’re getting because every play starts off looking the same. That’s its greatest asset.

West Coast Offense/WCO: 

For a West Coast Offense, most of the snaps historically came from under center however, the offense has continued to evolve from Bill Walsh’s base concepts. Coaches have added and meshed other concepts and today quite a bit of it is run from the shotgun as well.

A WCO, quickly, is a scheme that capitalizes on short quick passes, as an alternative to an underperforming running game. They dink and dunk down the field with runs and short passes and then hit a go type route when the coverage loosens to stop the short. This eats up clock so the opposing offense has less time. If a team can score in these slow marches down the field, it’s a good scheme. If they can’t, they just ate up a bunch of clock with nothing to show for it.
bill Walsh west coast offense formation

  1. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Pro Set
  2. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Far/Weak (TE/RB Opposite Side)
  3. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR Near/Strong (TE/RB Same Side)
  4. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR FB in a Wing Left position
  5. 22Set 2RB 2TE 1WR Double Tight

A coach can use boot-action in a spread to employ a FB and keep a defense guessing.

I Formation:
The I formation is a formation that every NFL playbook has a chapter on.  It is a bit more friendly to the pass/run ratio. The I-formation comes with the QB under center and a Fullback and Tailback, sometimes called the I back, behind the QB. It can come in variations that have 3WR, or 3 TE, or 2 of either 1 and one of the other. It’s not exactly as dynamic as the single back set above, but it is still versatile and offers more running options with the pair of backs in the backfield.
I-Formations

  1. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR with more of a spread out look.
  2. 23Set 2 RB 3 TE with a Tight/Heavy look.
  3. 21Set 2RB 1TE 2WR  with more of a tight look.
  4. 22Set 2RB 2TE 1 WR with one TE positioned on the wing.
  5. 23Set  2RB 3TE 1 WR with a Heavy unbalanced line to the right and the 3TE in a wing on the left.

It’s a big component of a team’s short yardage and goal line package simply because of the fullback. They are the battering ram that open holes and occupy defenders for half/tail backs to pick up extra yardage. Often, a FB with be in front of a RB to clear a path. It’s a lot easier if the QB isn’t in his path, which is why in the shotgun, the FB lines up differently. He’s useless if the QB is standing in his way.

 

Ace Set: a staple in every offense.

ace set

The Ace Set is a common name for an offensive formation that uses one running back. It is run with the QB under center. The running back generally lines up behind the QB but can be staggered off to one side.

Each of the generic sets shown  are variations of the Ace Set, which are also known as single back sets, lone back sets and obviously the 1-back set.  These sets have been utilized in a lot of proficient offenses from Joe Gibbs running it with the Hogs in Washington, to more pass happy versions utilized by the top quarterbacks over the last two decades . Each team has variations of it as staples in their offenses.
Ace set formations

  1. 3WR/1TE set with a four-wide look
  2. 2WR/2TE with the 2WR in a Twins left look
  3. 2WR/2TE with the LTE and X in a Twins look
  4. 4WR Trips right look
  5. 4WR Trips left look

ace set

6.   3WR Twins on the right

7.   3WR with the Y in a wing/slot opposite the TE to even up the formation

8.   2TE/2WR

9.   4WR with 3WR in a bunch/trips set to the left

10.  4TE Heavy set

The Ace Set is a very dynamic formation system since it allows the receivers to line up multiple places, giving the defense various looks. However, they can run the same routes, same play same call, just based on the various formation and where they are positioned.
Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.41.58 PM
11.  3WR/1TE with 2WR in a tight wing formation on the right hand side

12.  3WR/1TE with the back offset to the left and 4 receivers on the left hand side of the offense

13.  3WR/ 1TE with the TE/Z stacked in a “Queens” look and the back is offset to the right

14.  4WR and TE in the back field

15.  2TE/WR with the back offset to the right. The TE/WR are stacked in a “Queens” look.

 

Week 1 NFL Predictions: He Said/She Said

NFL Week 5 Game predictions - He Said/She Said

A fellow writer and I give our week 1 NFL predictions in a head to head match-up of the sexes. He’s a former coach, so he’s got the leg up on me, but I’ll be giving it the college try.

SUNDAY GAMES

1:00

Bills v Ravens CBS

Jay: I’ll take the Ravens.  Look for more offense than you’ve seen from the Ravens in the past few years.  While I think Peterman is going to be a backup qb in this league for a long time because he can understand and teach the game at the next level, I see the Ravens being too good for Nate in his 2nd start.

Jules: Ravens. It seems Flacco is pulling an Alex Smith and awakening from a slumber with the addition of Lamar Jackson behind him. Meanwhile, the Bills are starting Peterman against a Baltimore defense. Yikes.

Steelers v Browns CBS

Jay: Sorry Cleveland, even without Bell, Hue Jackson is going to 1-32 in his career as the head coach of the Browns

Jules: Pitt. no offense to Tyrod Taylor, but I think he’s only had four games in his career with more than 300 yards, against the Steelers, he’s going to need all that.

Bengals v Colts CBS

Jay: I’ll take the Bengals because their roster is just better.  Andrew is the better qb, but I’m not sure where he stands yet.  I’ll take the Bengals here

Jules: Cincy is one of those teams that is always, eh. Andrew Luck is rusty and the Colts are, eh. Only giving Indy the edge because it’s a home game.

Titans v Dolphins Fox

Jay: I see a very low scoring game here.  I’ll take Vrable here to get his first win, but have very little confidence in this pick.

Jules: I love Vrable, but he’s a first time HC and Mariota has been sporadic. Going with Gase and Tannehill finally getting on the same page down in Miami.

49ers v Vikings Fox

Jay: I’ll take Kirk Cousins because I think with his defense leading the way, he will manage the game and not put the 49ers in advantageous positions.

Jules: First game that should be good to watch. Going with MN because I think Jimmy G against that defense won’t hold up.

Texans v Patriots* CBS

Jay: This is going to be a very good game to watch.  I’ll take the Pats, but that Houston defense is legitimately a top 5 defense in this league, and Watson gave the Pats (and every other team he played) hell.  I’m not sure there is a gameplan that Belichick can implement to totally stop Watson, but the book on Watson’s first reads, his drops, his tendencies…the book is out.  Look for the Pats to take away his first security blanket from the jump.

Jules: Not a fan of NE*’s defense, but also think Bilichick knows that Watson had eight plays, six involved throwing deep and he’ll find a way to disrupt him. Pats in a squeaker.

Buccaneers v Saints Fox

Jay: Saints…this pick is extremely self-explanatory

Jules: Saints. Fitzpatrick against their defense and Brees abusing theirs, going to be a long night for the Bucs.

Jaguars v Giants Fox

Jay: I think the Giants have some special players on the offensive side of the ball, but I need to see that O-line compete before I buy in. Jags win on the shoulders of their defense and Leonard Fournette.

Jules: #Duuuval! Eli moves like I do and I’m walking wounded. He has a new coaching staff, too. I’ll take King Ramsey over OBJ and Calaias Campbell over their OL. With that said, I can see smart Mr Manning targeting the linebackers early often for a lot of success between the 30’s. Not nearly as fortunate in the RZ.

4:05

Chiefs v Chargers CBS

Jay: Give me the Chargers at home (although this is the type of game they lose every year).  Too strong on defense and Mahomes is going to throw interceptions.

Jules: The Chiefs defense hasn’t shown much, almost rookie Mahones has been rookiesh. I’m going with Phillip Rivers and the Chargers, they’re the most complete team.

4:25 Games

Redskins v Cardinals Fox

Jay: Alex Smith manages his team into another win.  The playbook will be wide open and Alex is walking into the same type of offense he has been playing in with Andy in KC.

Jules: Choosing the team without a new coach and walking wounded QB, both defenses leave me yawning, so see this as a battle of offenses.

Cowboys v Panthers Fox

Jay: I need to see the Cowboys passing game before I get behind this team.  I think Carolina wins a tight one here.

Jules: I was never on the Dak train, think it was Jason Garrett and a fantastic OL/RB. With 1/2 that equation missing, more is on Prescott’s shoulders and I don’t think he can pull it off. However, Newton isn’t all that great either, but it’s a home game for them.

Seahawks v Broncos Fox

Jay: When in doubt, take the better QB.  Give me Seattle in a hard fought game.

Jules: Denver has a habit of winning its first games on luck, or good QB play or teams not having enough film on the ever-changing QB rosters. I know everyone is down on the Seahawks, but Denver has Vance puking Joseph and Case Keenum in a new offense. Seahawks because of Wilson unless Justin Simmons makes a pick.

8:20

Bears v Packers NBC

Jay: Even with the signing of Mack and the drafting of Smith, I’ll still take AR in Green Bay.

Jules: Bears in a squeaker. Shocking, but I think Chicago has a better overall team and while AR12 was the best QB in the league, I need to see him play a few games to see how healed he is…plus, there’s the Danica factor.

MONDAY

7:10

Jets v Lions ESPN

Jay: Welcome to the league Sam Darnold.  You’re going to see some things in this game that you haven’t even thought about Sam.  Look for Patricia to force Jim Bob Cooter to run the football and keep Stafford’s attempts below 40.  The signing of LeGarrett Blount was the indicator that they aren’t screwing around anymore in MoTown.

Jules: My father was born in Detroit and while he became a rabid Dolphins fan, his heart never left the motor city and he taught me all about Barry Sanders. Can Blount give Stafford the Sanders treatment? I’m betting he does. Normally I don’t pick new coaches, but I’ll take their defense over a barely 21 year old kid.

10:20

Rams v Raiders ESPN

Jay: Bright lights, big city.  Oh that’s right, this game is being played in the hole.  Doesn’t matter…the Rams are clearly better and will win this game.

Jules: Oakland has a new coach, no Khalil Mack, a roster on AARP benefits, so no one should pick them. I’m going to only because we’ve been agreeing too much.