NFL Divisional Round Game Previews

Last week in the game previews, I also gave some game predictions. Although I thought deep down inside the Cowboys would win, I didn’t pick them because they’re the NFC equivalent to the Patriots* – we can’t stand them. The other game I got wrong was the Bears. That was a shocker. Not so much the loss, but not using Khalil Mack to get after an injured Nick Foles.

This week, let’s take a look at the divisional rounds. Every once in a while, two teams face off that the seeding is wanky, this year there are two – the Colts and Chargers. Both had early losses which landed them here and while on paper, usually you’d want to face a 5 or 6 seed, in these two cases, not so much.

SATURDAY

6 Seed Colts (10-6) vs 1 Seed Chiefs (12-4) 4:35 NBC

Referee Crew

John Hussey ref crew

No Walt Anderson for any team this weekend, so they should be cheering (except he is an alternate for this match-up so pray no one gets sick). Offensively, these teams aren’t that far off, especially if you look at the last month, not the first. Defensively, they’re worlds apart.

On offense, you have the veteran QB vs the newbie and the better defense vs the putrid. What Kansas City has going for them is home field advantage. Arrowhead stadium is LOUD. Arrowhead will be cold, snowy/rainy and miserable. Arrowhead on a good day for an outdoor team is a struggle, for a traveling dome team, it’s got to be counted as a 12th and 13th man.

I did see the Colts were outside practicing a little bit in their own nasty weather, so at least they’re trying to get ready. However, this will be their first snow game and it can’t be ignored. In poor conditions, throwing is usually kept to a minimum and the run game rules. This is where Indianapolis can gain some ground, their rushing attack was mediocre; however, over the last month, Marlon Mack and co have turned it on, while KC without Hunt has lost a lot of ground.

If teams go to the air, it’ll be up to the best defensive scheme and I don’t see KC’s man working well when trying to cover guys in a tough to see sky and slippery field.

This is bad news for KC who is ranked 29th with 19 rushing TD’s allowed and 132 yards per game. Indy is ranked 10th with 12 TDs and slightly over 100 yards. Marlon Mack was the leader last weekend in yards, plus he had a TD. This isn’t a good match-up for KC who would’ve had a chance to cream the Ravens or Texans.

Obviously, when it comes to Total points scored and TDs thrown, the Chiefs are leading with 50 TDs and 35 points per game, with Indy in second having 39 TD’s and 27 points per game. However, Luck’s short game is better than Mahones and that will be a big deal this week.

An area Kansas has better defensive stats is in the sack department with 52 compared to Indianapolis’ 38. However, the Colts have allowed a league low of 18 sacks, so something has to give. Mahones was sacked 26 times. When it comes total defense, Indy is 11th, and 10th in points allowed (21.5). KC is 31st in total and 24th in points allowed (26.30).

When it comes to defending the pass, Mahones may have a long day, Indy is tied for third in only giving up 21, but KC is 22nd with 30. As far as stopping the run, the Colts are 10th allowing 12 TD’s and the Chiefs are 29th with 19. The question is, what happens when a team that is tied for third least passing TD’s meets a team that is first in throwing them? KC gains 35 points a game, but Indy allows 21.

Indy gains 27 a game, while KC allows 26.  In bad conditions, will Mahones with Travis Kelce in the short (safe) passing game do slightly better than Andrew Luck and Eric Ebron? No one on the Colts defense can keep up with Tyreek Hill, but in a bad weather game, nature may even things out by negating the deep pass and his chance to streak away for a score.

I like the chances of Indy’s DL vs Mahanoes’ OL more than KC’s vs’s Indy OL. This game will come down to the run game and defense in bad weather – that’s Andrew Luck and Marlon Mack with some doses of TE’s. More than anything though, in a tight clash, I’m not sold on Andy Reid and his clock management skills.

4 Seed Cowboys (10-6) vs 3 Seed Rams (13-3) 8:15 FOX

Referee Crew

john parry referree crew

I don’t watch a lot of NFC games and never seek out the Cowboys, but since the NFL has anointed them, I’ve watched enough to know that the Rams have two jobs if they want to win: stop Zeke and protect Goff.

Dak Prescott needs everything perfect to win, remove one item and he can’t carry this team and I don’t think Jason Garret can, either. I’m not so sure Jared Goff is all that great with missing pieces, either, so this match-up should be a fun defensive one to watch.

Can Wade Philips and his squad draw up some plays to confuse Dak and keep him in the pocket? Prescott on the run is pretty good, in the pocket against good coverage? Not so much, his passes become wild too much of the time.

Not to mention, he’s among the worst for sacks being his fault (56 of them!). Dallas’s front seven is pretty dang good and could see them giving Todd Gurley fits, which in turn will force Goff to throw more. In a throwing match-up, I’ll take the Cali dude, his 10 more touchdowns and better accuracy.

Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliot should be the stars of the game…or why one team loses because whichever defense shuts down the run game, wins. The Rams give up more yards than Dallas, but they’re tied in scores allowed at 22 a piece. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s due to LA’s goal line stance or teams decided to throw in the red zone instead since they stunk at defending passing TD’s. Maybe getting Aqib Talib back in form will help (please).

Meanwhile, Dallas has allowed ten less, so this will be a clash that LA could find itself on the wrong side of. However, when it comes to interceptions, the Rams are killing it and that is very bad news for Prescott. He’s pretty safe with the ball, but this could force him to be more cautious which means a slower release and more chance for sacks.

IF LA can keep him contained. LA has 41 sacks which could equal a very bruised Dak. A better defense facing a better passer on one side with a worse quarterback and worse defense on the other side. This could even out the passing side and as I said above, becomes a run game duel. If that’s the case, I’ll take the team with better rushing stats, more sacks and more interceptions.

SUNDAY GAMES

5 Seed Chargers (12-4) vs 2 Seed Patriots* 1:05 CBS

Referee Crew

ron torbert ref crew

My dearest Ron, America begs on its knees for you to go against every stat in New England and please call a fair game. Amen. The snow Patriot* fans were hoping for isn’t coming. The weather forecast shows sunny and around 25. Not ideal for a warm weather team, but there won’t be winds, so that helps.

Based on the weather, we should see both sides play fairly close to what we’ve seen on offense. My guess is both quarterbacks will play a bit cautious as turnovers will be in their mind. Tom Brady‘s arm lacks the juice it once had, don’t get me wrong, he can still make deadly throws, but he’s tossing far more, what was that?, balls than before.

As far as Philip Rivers, he’s a gunslinger at heart. Taming that (like we saw vs the Ravens) will be a game plan I’m guessing. Let their better defense and close run game lead the way. While NE* does have more yards, their yards per carry are lower and the touchdowns are only two more than LA’s no doubt due to the absence of Melvin Gordon. I’d say these two are about equal in this department.

When it comes to passing, both teams are also very close. Rivers has three more touchdowns. Where the two differ is LA’s offensive line is offensive, they’ve allowed 34 sacks and unlike in places like Houston and Dallas, it’s not on him, they just aren’t good.

That is the key for NE* (in a fair called game), abuse the OL. Of course, the same is true for Brady*, not that his OL stinks, they don’t, but he struggles when pressure is his face. LA has two really good pass rushers, but Gus Bradley will need to find creative ways with some stunts to send them through the A and B gaps, not just the C’s. Or send Joey Bosa up the middle with Melvin Ingram screeching around the edge. Whatever it takes to disrupt Brady*. Rivers is better used to pressure in his face, so for him, they’ll need to actually sack him.

The key to this game is turnovers. The Chargers haven’t been very good in the differential, but the Pat’s have been and maybe last week was a trial run of how much LA can get away with without passing. Anyway, as I wrote, both QB’s are pretty close with Rivers a tad better. Including last week, they are 8-1 on the road and that’s huge. If they make it to the Super Bowl, that will weigh heavily in their favor no matter who they face. The Saints would be the worst though.

The Chargers have 38 sacks, 13 interceptions, have given up 23 passing TD’s, 228 air yards and 11 rushing. New England* has 30 sacks, 18 interceptions, allowed 29 passing TDs, 246 air yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns. In total, NE* gave up 2 more TD’s. This also is close.

Overall, the Chargers are ranked 9th in defense to the Patriots’ 21st, but when it comes to stopping scores (not including kicking ones) they’re really close. Only .3 per game separates them. We’re talking 4 points for the season.

HOWEVER, when you look at their DVOA’s, the Chargers are better – DVOA takes into consideration the teams they played. With all this said, it’s going to be a close game. Hopefully, LA learned last week that if you’re ahead a bunch, don’t take the foot off the gas and NE* is the most lethal to pounce when a team does.

If LA plays a clean game, limits mistakes and pressures Brady* all game they win. If they commit dumb penalties, they lose, that’s how close these teams are.

6 Seed Eagles (9-7) vs 1 Seed Saints (13-3) FOX

carl cheffers ref crew

This game does have the right ranking, the Eagles are the worst of the NFC teams that got in and the Rams, the best. Even so, it’s tough to say this will be a blow-out only because Philadelphia has a way of doing the impossible.

In my predictions above, I picked the most balanced teams to win. Going with that again. The Saints are far and away a better team; however, when it comes to scores against them, Philly isn’t that far behind.

Against the pass, both defenses stink. I can see Drew Brees and Nick Foles having a bunch of air yards. To note though is the Saints have given up eight more passing touchdowns. This game is inside and that will help Foles.

When it comes to stopping the run, New Orleans is a little better, that might not matter much, both teams are keeping offenses under 100 yards. Where the Saints have the run away stats is for that – the run. 26 rushing TD’s, 126 yards a game and 4.3 per rush.

That’s the game right there. If the Eagles can’t stop the run, they’re done. The Eagles are only averaging 98 yards a game, so there’s no break out chance for them in this category – they’re facing a decent run stop team.

If the Eagles want to win, they’re going to need to pass and pass often. When it comes to TD’s they only have four less. They may need to pass because of time of possession. If the Saints go with the run heavy game with short passes, they’ll use up the clock.

To counter that, Philly will need to run more hurry up unless they score first. If they can get a TD up first, now they can be more balanced, but with only 12 rushing touchdowns, not sure how.

Since this game is in the Saints’ dome, crowd noise will make the Eagles go silent snap count and I’m not so sure about that success because getting the defensive line to jump will be tougher. Little things like that will matter. I’m going with the run game and Drew Brees.

AFCS Week 15 Friday injury report and game status.

AFCS Week 15 Friday injury report and game status.

Here is the final report for the AFCS games. There is some additions from yesterday which stinks for the Jaguars, but worse for the Redskins. 

SATURDAY 4:30 NFL Network

Texans (9-4) vs Jets (4-9)

This is a repeat of yesterday since they play tomorrow, so no changes.

 

SUNDAY 1:00 GAMES

Titans (7-6) vs Giants (5-8)

New York added Nate Solder, who hasn’t been all that great protecting Manning as it was. Marcus Mariota is on the list, again. Yes, he’ll play, but he’ll most likely need to arm throw.

titans week 15 friday injury reportgiants week 15 friday injury report

 

Redskins (6-7) vs Jaguars (4-9) CBS

As if the Redskins needed more injuries, they added three today, that’s 7 that are questionable. They’ll play because who else do they have? I know it’s shocking, but the Jags have two OL who will be out. Also, since the Jags brought in a kicker, I’d guess things don’t look good Josh Lambo. Which is bad for Jacksonville since he’s our offense.

redskins week 15 friday injury reportJaguars week 15 friday injury report

Cowboys (8-5) vs Colts (7-6)

Dallas added a WR to their Q list and right now, they’re not looking so great; however, their weapon, Zeke Elliot was a full go.

The Colts did not have a good day with the addition of three to the list, including their rookie G Quenton Nelson. That is bad news for them because Luck has been doing well since he has had a good OL.

cowboys week 15 friday injury reportcolts week 15 friday injury

That’s a wrap for week 15 – GO JAGS!

Week 11 The Buzz about the Jaguars

Week 11 The Buzz about the Jaguars

The first two weeks, it was great doing The Buzz, now it just sucks having to scroll down and down and down to find us. What’s “interesting” is to see who blames what part of the team. None of the rankers looked at the two halves of the game, which is good and bad I suppose. The first half would’ve dropped us to 32, but the second half up to 10th. The average score was a 23.

Comments in * are mine.

NFL

25 – Previous rank: No. 24

Listened to Doug Marrone after the Jags’ 29-26 loss to the Colts on Sunday. Marrone sounded less like a man defeated and more like a coach who wants to keep his locker room engaged. At 3-6, it would be easy for them to mail it in for the rest of the season. Yet, the Texans are far from unbeatable in the AFC South, while Jacksonville still carries the most talented roster in the division. The more concerning aspect of their record is the 0-3 division standing. What’s really odd about the Jags is that, while the elements that figure into their equation for success (ground game + solid defense = grind-it-out wins) were ready and healthy in Indy, the passing offense was actually what kept them in stride with the Colts. Blake Bortles threw a strike to Rashad Greene to extend a potential go-ahead drive, only to watch Greene put the ball on the carpet. Ruled down by contact, the replay booth overturned the call and Jacksonville flew home with a loss. Next up: Steelers.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)

High: 18

Low: 23

Last Week: 18

Week 10 Result: Lost at Indianapolis, 29-26

The Jacksonville Jaguars—once upon a time—ranked inside the top five in these power rankings.

Given how they’ve played over the last month-plus, that’s hard to believe.

Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts completes a five-game implosion that has taken the Jaguars from a 3-1 Super Bowl contender to a 3-6 pretender who now sits three games back of the Texans with a head-to-head loss to Houston.

The Jaguars are done. There isn’t going to be any trip to Atlanta. Or a trip to the playoffs.

The offense has been wildly inconsistent and prone to mistakes and turnovers. The supposedly stout defense has allowed at least 24 points in four of their last five games.

“This was it,” Davenport said. “Jacksonville’s last stand. A final chance to revive their lagging playoff hopes. Instead, Rashad Greene’s fumble in Indianapolis territory late was the perfect metaphor for this mess of a season. One more turnover. One more mistake. One more unforced error by a team that refuses to get out of its own way.”

Now, the Jaguars slot outside the top-20.

And they earned that ranking.

ESPN

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)

Week 10 ranking: 19

Defining stat: 8. The Jaguars have forced only eight turnovers through nine games. That ranks 25th in the league and puts them on pace to finish with 14 — which would be less than half of their total from 2017. The defense feasted on turnovers last season, finishing second in the NFL with 33, and scored an NFL-high seven defensive touchdowns. Those kind of big plays have been pretty rare this season — the Jaguars have scored just one defensive TD, and that came in the season opener — and it hasn’t helped a limited offense that hasn’t shown it’s capable of consistently putting long drives together. — Mike DiRocco

CBS

team logo26 They are the biggest flop of this season. From Super Bowl contender to 3-6 is not a good look for the coaching staff. ↓1 3-6-0

*that took a lot of thought*

MMQB

20. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-6)

Last Week’s rank: 18
Points in poll: 108
Highest-place vote: 15th (2)
Lowest-place vote: 25th
Last week: Loss at Indianapolis, 29-26
Next week: vs. Pittsburgh

*This took even more brain power and needed multiple people’s input. I need this gig*

The Score

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)

Previous Rank: 20

Currently last in the AFC South, Jacksonville’s shocking decline has been one of the top stories of the season. It doesn’t look like things will get better anytime soon. – Alessandrini

*some people shouldn’t put their name on these things, it’s embarrassing the lack of thought put in them*

Athlon Sports

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week: 24

 

Doug Marrone has to be feeling the heat after going from the AFC title game to absolute afterthought the next season. Already some indications of blowing part of this roster up.

*what indications? The team has been decimated by injuries, the changes we’ve seen are filling holes from them. Trading Fowler wasn’t blowing the roster up, he wasn’t going to be around net season anyway.*

 

AFCS Week 10 Game Previews – stats, ref crews, injury reports, QB charts

AFCS Week 10 Game Previews

The Texans have a bye, so this week there are only two games in this AFCS Week 10 Game Previews. To say that the Jaguars must win and the Titans need to lose is an understatement. There will be no hope of winning a play off spot without wins throughout. If the Texans could stumble, that would best. Duh.

Patriots* (7-2) vs Titans (4-4) CBS

This game is in Nashville giving the Titans a slim chance because the refs should be more fair.

Referee Crew

patriots vs titans ref crew

Notable injury is to Gronk, but Sony Michel is back, so these two are washes. I’ve seen different reports on if Gronk is out, but it’s early, so will wait for an official statement. Also, no one ever believes their injury reports, so take them with a grain of salt.

An already beat-up Marcus Mariota will be down his tackle, which is where NE* will attack.

It’s tough muster up any kind of excitement for this game, I can’t stand either team and despise Brady*. How can anyone cheer for NE*? At this point, the AFC PO roads go through KC, LA (yes, said LAR because they could be the dark horse) and NE*. For Jacksonville, if  they were to win out, Titans winning just this game, wouldn’t be horrid to help knock NE* down.

KC is the team Jax would least want to face since they would have to play there in a tie. A tie vs NE* means Jax at home. Since winning the division is key, that means beating Pitt and so the same applies.

Moving on, the Titans defense has a chance because their defense (on a good day) isn’t bad and Tom Brady* beyond ten yards is looking suspect. His accuracy is very off this season; however, his receivers have been helping him out and he finds ways to pick defenses a part even though the zip isn’t there – like Peyton his ending years. His mind wins over strength.

Tennessee is 6th vs the pass, Jax gave the league the blueprint to beat them and the Titans may have the talent to do something similar in their house. They’re really good vs the rush and with Sony Michel back that may be key. Combine that with having 20 sacks and they have a chance. The way to beat Brady* is get in his face and bump him (I’d sack him, but if they touch him harder than a hip bump, they’ll get flagged).

When it comes to Mariota, his passing charts aren’t stellar, but he’s been hurt. New England is 28th vs the pass which could help him out; however, he’s got two hurt WR’s and a tackle out.

New England is 21st vs the run, but they’ve only allowed 3 TD’s and that’s big since Tennessee has five rushing TD’s and Mariota only has six passing. This offense has been one more of opportunity than a well-oiled machine.

When it comes to NE*, they’re 8th in passing and 9th in rushing. They also create turnovers, 11 interceptions, something the Titans don’t do well, they only have six.

Keys for Tennessee to get a win:

  1. hope their secondary finds a way to cover well enough giving them time to jam Brady*.
  2. they can run the ball
  3. Mariota runs

Keys for NE*

  1. contain Mariota
  2. play Patriot* football

Here’s the thing, NE* isn’t a speedy team, they beat you with their play calling. They love their 21 personnel and matching up Patterson (who is a true flex player) on the slowest linebacker. I don’t think TN is quite there, yet in speed and discipline to beat NE*.

Jaguars (3-5) vs Colts (3-5) CBS

Referee Crew

jaguars vs colts ref crew

The Jags injury report is smaller than it’s been in a while, but after a bye week, it should be. It is disconcerting that both TE’s (neither have more than a combined single game of experience) is on here. I just don’t understand their blasé attitude towards having no TE’s.

The good news is: no OL! Can they stay healthy is the biggest question because with a healthy line, we see good Bortles, without, we see the turnover machine. Combine that with two power backs and we could witness what was envisioned before the season was wrecked with injuries.

Meanwhile, the surging Colts are still dealing with injuries and a few of their players go off a week, only to pop back up the next. What’s to note is although they got Jack Doyle back, their other TE’s are out.

Ok, here’s some brass tacks: Jax run defense stinks, it’s allowing over 125 yards a game and almost a TD per outing. Their bread and butter was in the passing game with AJ Bouye. They were stingy with yards per pass and air TD’s.

These two teams on offense are polar opposites and if Bouye was playing, I’d say this could be a strong win. Also, since Indy is middle of the pack stopping run yards (but even with Jax in allowing TD’s), this would be a good match-up for a strong run first team.

However, do we know how Fournette and Hyde will do? How healthy is the OL, really? That’s what this game will come down to: can Jacksonville be the pass defending juggernaut and Fournette be at 2017 form?

If those two are yeses, then Jax could be on the receiving end of a win.

Must add this. Jalen Ramsey has to be a leader out there. If the DB’s aren’t communicating, missing assignments, he needs to channel some Ray Lewis and get in their face. Someone needs to be the leader of the secondary and it for dang sure isn’t Barry, drink until 4am, Church.

Looking at Indy, they’ve really shored up their pass defense which isn’t good news for Bortles if that OL can’t give him the time he needs. To me, I’d try to come out passing because Indy will be expecting the run.

Test them. See if they prepared for a heavy run defense and maybe Bortles can surprise them because that is going to be crucial if the Jags’ secondary isn’t dominant. Jacksonville can’t be spending seven minutes a drive for a rush TD and Luck throws a TD in two minutes.

The way to stop Indy is for the secondary to play man as often as they can buying time for the DL to sack him, hit him. They’ve got to take away the pass game to even things out.

It would seem prudent to play a safety high and stop the short pass which is where getting DJ Hayden could be a huge help (but keep reading). Luck is among the worst at air yards, Indy’s dink and dunk game is the short pass which is averaging 6.4 air yards. The guy throws 4 TD’s in a game with 156 yards.

He’s a surgeon in reading the field and knowing exactly where to go with the ball. That’s the bad news to leaving one safety, he lulls defenses into playing short and then lobs one deep.

Based on that, Jax will need to get very creative in the looks they show Luck. They’ve got to confuse him.

Even though Jax stinks at run stopping, better that than allowing him to pass. Speaking of which, clearly he’s a GOD in the RZ and that is what must be stopped, letting him get there.

I debated posting Bortles passing charts because they’re pitiful, but they include his running and that should be made a part of the game plan. RPO the snot out of them today. Oh, have to add that the receivers drop a lot and that does affect his numbers.

Keys to winning for Jags:

  1. defense: white on rice for the receivers
  2. DL needs to get in his face early and often
  3. OL needs to block, give BB confidence to throw

Keys to winning for Indy:

  1. pick on injured Telvin Smith
  2. pick on Patmon
  3. play press because Jax receivers rarely get separation

From the Jax coaches, we need to see some aggressive play calling out there. The season is on the line, go for broke.

Jaguars/Eagles and Colts/Raider game preview – stats, reffing crew, passing charts and more

Because the Texans played Thursday night and the Titans have a bye week, this AFCS south Jaguars/Eagles and Colts/Raider game preview is short. In case you’re just dying to read the Texans one, click HERE for the analysis.

Eagles (3-4) vs Jaguars (3-4) 9:30 AM NFL Network LONDON

Referee Crew

jaguars:eagles ref crew

The London games are a big deal to the NFL because they’re a cash cow, so this crew should be fairly good, a change of pace for the mostly bad ones who’ve officiated at all the Jaguars home games.

The Eagles are in pretty dang good shape because they still have actual starters (healthy ones) in their line-up. Below is a good list half way through the season.

The Jaguars, on the other hand is literally missing 1/2 their starters on IR. To make matter worse, AJ Bouye is out. And they put LB Donald Payne on IR. They added CB Dee Delaney from the practice squad to the 53.

The pundits outside of Jacksonville keep freaking out about the team as is they’re losing with a healthy team. As if Bortles has had his WR1, RB1, TE1 and LT1 to work with. I’m sick of other teams getting a whoa is me for their beat-up teams and Jax, gets a, WHAT HAPPENED IN JACKSONVILLE?!

Injuries are what happened and the players are really bummed because they know neither side of the ball is playing with anywhere near a championship roster. To make matters worse, there’s nothing that can be done, so it’s a helpless feeling.

Their IR list would make any team in the NFL a contender and they know it.

The Jaguars have an excuse for their cliff dive, but the Eagles do not. I’m not sure what’s going on there other than a Super Bowl hangover is real. They’re a team that seems as if it isn’t focused.

The good and bad news is that can be fixed – the bad news is it could happen in London. Philly can afford to miss the playoffs this season because their ring buys them time, for the Jags, their fans got a taste of winning after so long without and they’re not happy.

A win would be huge, keeping them in contention for the AFCS and maybe they go make one big trade by the deadline for A *#ING TIGHT END. If they lose, we could see a fire sale to set up for the draft next season.

3-5 and two games back from the Texans (and in a tie for last if the Colts win) is bleak. 4-4 and getting a bye keeps hope alive with maybe a 10-6 record.

Moving on from the what ifs, to what the is. When it comes to passing TD’s, Philly has 11 and Jax, 10. The difference is, Bortles has 9 interceptions and the Eagles only have two. That’s the game right there.

The rush per yards for Jax is better, believe it or not considering that TJ Yeldon has had to be the leading back, but Philly has 6 TD’s to Jags’ 2. Jacksonville is first at allowing passing TD’s (only 6); however, that was with AJ Bouye and a healthier secondary that’s going to be fielded on Sunday. Not to mention a sober and rested Barry Church.

Meanwhile, Philly has allowed 10, so if the offense can get anything going with new addition, Carlos Hyde, the play-action pass could be where it’s seen. Philly typically plays a safety high and Bortles is able to find the holes left because of it. If the WR’s can catch the ball, they have a chance to put up points.

Philly has kept a low 4 rushing TDs and Jax is at 6. While I’d say the Eagles should take advantage of the Jags poor rushing defense, missing so many in the secondary may make them go to the air and rack up points.

With linebackers now an issue, Jax defense is vulnerable across the board. Actually, with Barry Church and Ronnie Harrison being complete douches and putting fun over the team, I think we lose. Breathing fire as I just read what they did while writing this.

Here’s the bottom line: we could see a role reversal IF the offense cuts out the turnovers, and Jeremy Parnell pulls his drunk head out of his ass because the Eagles defense isn’t tops at anything. They’re a good team for the Jags to face and if Bouye wasn’t hurt, Church and Harrison idiots, I’d feel comfortable in them winning this “home” game.

This week 7 passing chart is sad, but will say, the incompletions were due to many drops over bad throws.

borltes passing charts week 8

Wentz is clearly a better passer, one who would’ve been slowed with the defense from the first four weeks, but this one? Tough to see.

wentz passing charts week 8

Carlos Hyde has the weight of all Jaguars hopes and dreams on his shoulders because without him, this run-first team is DOA. And clearly, the defense doesn’t care based on a night of drinking and arrests in London.

Colts (2-5) vs Raiders (1-5) 4:05 CBS

Referee Crew

colts:raiders ref crew

This isn’t up to date as Cody has been felled with illness (I swear I didn’t give it him), but I believe all the DNP’s are out and Jack Doyle is a go.

For a bunch of senior citizens, the Raiders are looking in pretty good shape. Maybe that’s the key. However, if they had a pass rusher they could win this game, but Andrew Luck without pressure is like ringing the TD dinner bell.

Oakland lost Beast mode and that’s a huge blow since they were already at the bottom for rushing TDs. They have company down there with Indy, but Carr has only thrown 7 TD’s to Luck’s 20.

Yes, 20 and that’s the game. Tough to write more than that. Oakland is 19th in allowing passing TDs and second to last for best QB rating. For those who own Andrew Luck in FF, they must be dancing, it’s tough to see the men in black and silver slowing hi down.

For defense, Indy is tied for eighth in passing TD’s allowed which isn’t good news for Derek Carr.

When it comes to stopping the rush, neither team is burning down the house; however, neither is burning down the house with their backs.

carr passing stats week 8

In between getting sacked last week, Carr threw as far as my grandma can. Luck has receivers who drop a lot of his passes, so these charts don’t show that.

luck passing stats week 8

There’s just not a lot to say about these two teams. Both aren’t very good, but one has a top notch quarterback. The other is dependent on scheme and it’s clear that Carr is struggling with yet another coaching change.

On paper and for the eye test, the Colts have the edge which I wish wasn’t the case because if they win and the Jags lose, which based on recent behavior they should, a Colts win puts Jags in a tie for last.

Everything I wrote about injury excuses goes out the window when at least three starters go out drinking and staying up late before a game. That attitude says they don’t give a damn. That’s a losing mentality and a cancer in a locker room. If Doug Marrone doesn’t cut it out, this season is OVER.

AFCS Week 7 Game Previews – stats, TV guide, Passing charts, injury reports

Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans

Yes, this is late, but was very ill the last few days, my apologies. Because of that, this will be short, just the basics for the AFCS Week 7 Game Previews.

Here’s the run down for the AFCS Week 7 Game Previews

Below is the viewing map for the early games, Green is Jags/Texans, Purple is Colts. I believe the whole country (minus a couple black out areas) get the Titans game.

Titans (3-3) vs Chargers (4-2) CBS 9:30 AM LONDON

Referee Crew

The Chargers are 6th in total offense, 13th in passing and 6th in rushing. Tennessee is 30th in total, 31st in Passing and 20th in rushing. Where things get interesting is quietly the Chargers are 12th in total defense, while the Titans are oddly down in 27th. LA is 16th vs the pass and TN 8th vs pass, 12th vs rush, 27th vs rush

It’s clear the Titans will have their work cut out for them, even if Melvin Gordon is a question.

Who’s not on this list, which is amazing, is Marcus Mariots after he was sacked a record 11 times and that doesn’t even count QB hits. Wondering how he’s feeling on a “short” week? Even though the game is on Sunday, all that traveling takes away from physical therapy.

titans week 7 friday injury report

 

chargers week 7 friday injury report

Texans (3-3) vs Jaguars (3-3) CBS 1:00

Referee Crew

Jax is 16th in total offense. If the Line could be healthy like week 2, they’d be higher, but that’s not case. 14th in passing and 17th in rushing. Hopefully, next week with Carlos Hyde, both numbers move up.

Houston is 10th in total offense, strangely. 12th in passing and 13th in rushing. Texans don’t have a good offense despite their numbers, it’s because a lot of the numbers don’t really reflect what was going on in the games or the teams they played.

On the defensive side of the ball, Houston is 13th total, 14th against the pass and 11th vs the rush.

texans week 7 friday injury report

Jacksonville’s injury report is sad, and especially so if you could see the IR list. Jacksonville is one beat up team and that will decide this game because Jax is better, but without key places all over the place, it doesn’t matter.

JAGUARS WEEK 7 FRIDAY INJURY REPORT

Bills (2-4) vs Colts (1-5) CBS 1:00

Referee Crew

CBS should pay people to watch this game. Derek Anderson vs a Colts team of the walking wounded. For any team without their starting QB going down this would be a slam dunk. While Josh Allen wasn’t winning any rookie trophies, he knew the playbook and could run. Anderson has had a week.

Passing chart for Derek Anderson doesn’t exist, so there’s only Andrew Luck’s.

Buffalo is 8th in total defense, 10th vs the pass and 9th vs rush. Buff is 18th for rushing. Not including passing because its irrelevant.

Indy is 24th in total defense, 27th against the pass, 16th vs the run. In total offense, Indy is 16th, 10th in passing, 29th in rushing.

bills week7 friday injury report

The Colts aren’t good and they’re beat up, but they’re facing a team with Anderson. However, the Bills defense is pretty good and the Colts have zero game film on Anderson. Tough to see Buffalo doing anything intricate besides handing the ball off and taking some shots downfield.

colts week 7 friday injury report

As always, lose Titans, Texans, Colts and GO JAGS!

 

Tight End: quick way to right Jacksonville’s listing ship?

Jacksonville Tight end

Jacksonville fans are looking for answers to stop another week of sub-par performance. Maybe another tight end is the answer? Two teams who recently made last minute winning drives, used extra protections.

In the case of New England*, they employ extra running backs and in Green Bay it’s using three tight ends. Those two teams have a common issue – a need to help their quarterbacks.

Tom Brady no longer can toss the ball longer than ten yards and be consistently accurate and Aaron Rodgers needs an extra body to protect his.

Why say tight end instead of running back? Because an experienced tight end gives the biggest bang for the buck.

Blake Bortles needs help and getting Leonard Fournette back won’t solve everything because the offensive line is so banged up. Not to mention, I think if they play him too soon, he’ll end up on injured reserve. While a good running back can aid in his OL doing better, they still need to be healthy.

Enter the tight end. He can block, catch and did I say, block? We also saw a tight end act as a running back Monday night in Green Bay and run with the ball. The beauty of tight ends is how versatile they can be in the right plans.

The chicken or the egg?

Does a tight end help an offense/quarterback or does the quarterback make the tight end? When Phillip Rivers was learning, did he make Antonio Gates or did Gates help him succeed? That can be debated for a while, but what we do know is Jacksonville hasn’t ever had a stud tight end.

Mark Brunell has been the closest quarterback that could be called successful and even his completion percentage rarely went over 60%. Maybe tight end should be a higher priority?

Tight End Stats

There is one TD from TE’s in Jacksonville. One. The three tight ends combined, have 240 yards, 17 first downs. Two of them, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul account for the TD and 11 of the downs – both now on Injured Reserve. Did they add anyone to the 53 man roster, except bringing up David Grinnage from the practice squad? No. That leaves only James O’Shaughnessy and Grinnage.

Patrick Mahones has Travis Kelce and his 468 yards. Vance McDonald and Jesse James in Pittsburgh have 548 yards and 24 first downs. Of the top five offenses, only the Rams and Chargers have used their tight ends little and that’s because their receivers and catching running backs are tearing it up.

However, they are out there blocking, giving their QB’s time, plus they do add an extra wrinkle. It’s tough for defenses to defend good TE’s. If a team double teams them, it leaves an open wide receiver.

Gronk has 405 yards, and 17 first downs. As Carson Wentz eases back in, he’s targeted Zach Ertz 67 times, racking up 24 first downs. Tampa Bay has OJ Howard and Cameron Brate in the top 20 and they have 5 TD’s. The Colts have a losing record, but without Eric Ebron, they’d be 0-5 and not given any team a run for their money. He has 16 first downs, six TD’s and 326 yards.

This lack of tight end depth in Jacksonville should be addressed. The Oline is hurt, Fournette isn’t going to make everything all better. He has as much power as a bandaid on an arterial bleed. Adding some beef that can block, catch and maybe even run will help.

Many have mentioned trading Donte Fowler, Jr., for a few different positions, maybe TE could also be an option? There are a few teams with serious issues on defense who might be open to that thought. Give up some offense for more defense, which in turn would make them need less offense.

The NFL is about acheiving the right balance, teams that do, are still playing through January. At this moment, the Jaguars are listing and a tight end may help right the ship.

 

Week 7 Buzz around the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Week 7 Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Before reading Week 7 Buzz about the Jacksonville Jaguars, grab a box of tissues, a beer or a teddy bear, whatever you need to brace yourself for some bad reviews. Am I the only one sick of hearing – the Patriots are back? They played the Colts who are missing half its team and a KC defense ranked at the bottom. Lets see Brady against a defense that’s healthy and at the top –oh wait, we did and they lost.

The only “good news” is most sites have the Titans, Texans and Colts ranked lower than us.

I decided to start with this insightful ranking from

Barstool Sports 

12What is going on with the Jaguars? They have gotten their teeth kicked in in back-to-back weeks, the offense is a mess and their strength, the defense, got worked by the Cowboys this past Sunday.

*such a deep take*

ESPN

11. Jacksonville Jaguars

Record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 5

Playoff chances: 35.3 percent. Blake Bortles has faltered since shredding the Patriots for 376 yards and four touchdowns in Week 2. Since then, Bortles ranks 30th in QBR and has thrown six interceptions, tied for the most in the league over that span. — Xie

*35.3% chance – is sucky in case math isn’t your strong suit*

CBS Sports 

17

Jaguars

This team has looked awful the past two weeks. Even so, they are tied for the division lead with a big division game this week against the Texans.

 

*how much time do they put into these thoughts? A nanosecond?*

Sporting News

18. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-3 (last week: 7)

What was that? Jalen Ramsey literally had no words after another rout on the road in which the defense sprung leaks. This team is off when it puts Blake Bortles needs to throw more often than it wants.

*someone was paid to write that last sentence – I am not including a link because it doesn’t deserve any clicks. With all the ads on your site, go hire a proofreader*

Washington Post

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) | Last Week’s Rank: 7

That 3-1 start and the notion of having an overpowering defense dissipated with consecutive road losses to the Chiefs and Cowboys in which the Jaguars surrendered 70 points. The offense continues to struggle without injured RB Leonard Fournette. If the Jaguars are going to be the excellent team they were expected to be, they need Fournette to be healthy and productive and the defense to return to its dominating form.

*this person at least looked up a stat, so kudos to the newspaper writer over the actual guys who “write” for a site dedicated to football and can’t come up with more than an eye blink of thought*

NFL.com

Rank 15, drops down 9 spots.

Previous rank: No. 6

How do you characterize the Jags’ showing in Big D? Dreadful? Demoralizing? Or typical?Is this what this squad is sans Leonard Fournette? Jacksonville is not built to come from behind — a notion repeated on the broadcast and in highlight shows over and over again — because the Jaguars have an issue at quarterback. When Blake Bortles plays well, it’s usually in concert with the running game and a solid defensive effort. Take Fournette out of the offensive equation, and suddenly the Jaguars can’t move the ball — which in turn means Calais Campbell and the boys on defense are playing too many plays, defending short fields and ultimately going down with the ship.

*Elliot Harrison writes an analysis worth reading and it can’t be argued with…except he does leave out the injuries – ‹‹read Jules take on that*

USA Today

21. Jaguars (8): Jalen, how could Dallas shred y’all? “I don’t know.” How do Jags not own AFC South? “I don’t know.” Y’all about to splinter? “I don’t know.”

*oh good, more deep thinking going on here – not including a link for same reason as above – you suck*

Pro Football Talk

17. Jaguars (3-3; No. 7): In their desire to get another crack at the Pats in the playoffs, the Jaguars apparently forgot that they first have to qualify.

*glad Mike Florio didn’t hurt himself coming up with that profound thought*

Ending this on the best ranking and a better thought out analysis.

Bleacher Report

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

22 OF 32

High: 9

Low: 14

Last Week: 5

Week 6 Result: Lost 40-7 at Dallas

That crashing sound you hear is the Jacksonville Jaguars plummeting down these rankings.

A couple of weeks ago, the Jaguars were considered by some the best team in the AFC—a team that thumped the New England Patriots a few weeks back.

However, over the last couple of weeks, the Jags have gone from thumper to thumpee. Last week, it was a 30-14 waxing on the road at Kansas City.

Sunday, it was much, much worse.

That the Jaguars were blasted 40-7 by any team is cause for concern. That it happened at the hands of a flawed Cowboys team that entered the week near the bottom of the NFL in many offensive categories?

We knew that the Jaguars offense could be prone to inconsistency. We did not know that Jacksonville’s defense was suddenly going to fall apart.

Not that long ago, it looked like the Jags were going to cruise to the AFC South title.

It doesn’t anymore. Cruise became crash in a hurry, as Gagnon will attest to:

“The Jags have problems. Big problems. That defense has struggled the last couple of weeks. And while that unit has too much talent to stay down, I’m not sure any defense can be consistently dominant enough to compensate for the fact Blake Bortles is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in professional football.”

*And yet, they have the teams of Mariota, Luck and Watson ranked lower*

There you have it, the Jags are somewhere between 11th and 21st.

 

Man vs Zone coverage, learn when to use one or both – Football 101

Anyone who has watched football has heard the terms: Man and Zone coverage. This article will try to explain what man and zone is and when/why one is used over the other.

Because Jacksonville’s base is a 4-3 defense (click here), that’s the formation below. Also, this is 101, so will keep it simple and focus more on what the DB’s do.

Zone vs Man.

Zone – The linebackers cover the intermediate zones, the safeties cover the deep zones and the Cornerbacks cover the flats. No matter the play or who comes into his zone, his job is to shut that guy(s) down.

Man is when a DB is to cover only one designated player. Jalen Ramsey mirroring Tyreek Hill could be a good example. Whether Hill lines up on the outside or slot, Ramsey is on him.

Zone takes smarts and good communication. If A.J. Bouye lets his receiver leave his zone, he has to trust that strong safety Barry Church knows to pick him up. We’ve all seen plays where the WR runs right by a CB and the safety is picking weeds. He wasn’t prepared to cover him.

When Ramsey and Bouye line up on the line of scrimmage across from the wide outs, and they stick to them white on rice, that’s man. Free safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. could be tasked with the slot (if there is one) or a third WR or a TE. Church could be assigned a running back or tight end. Sometimes two DB’s could be used on one guy (double coverage).

It’s important to know that once the ball is being carried or has been thrown, all assignments to go out the window and the DB/LB’s should go to the ball.

Teams can play both man and zone because they want the CB’s to play Man, but want the safeties in Zone. And in any play, the DB’s could show one look, but do another. But boy, they’ve got to be on the same page.

When to play man or zone

For teams with slow corners, it’s tough for them to play man against speedy WR’s, so they could be forced to play zone. Or a team doesn’t have two safeties good enough to cover a WR in their zone forcing the CB’s into man.

The play of the linebackers can also dictate. If the backers can shut down the center of the field, that can make the work of the DB’s easier and a coach has more choices.

If a team has decent DB’s and can pick, then they’ll decide on the play or the team. If a quarterback telegraphs, or doesn’t like to throw deep, or isn’t very accurate, they could choose man.

Say the team is KC who has speedy WRs and RB’s, and a QB with a great arm, it’ll have to be decided play by play. Needless to say, when a defense has to change back and forth, it can lead to mistakes and mental exhaustion. The DC and his assistants better be on full alert.

Above only addresses the secondary and not what happens with the linebackers in man and zone because this article would run 1500 words. Just know that how a team plays zone and/or man can be made easier if they have good linebackers.

AFC South Week 5 Preview – Injury reports, refs, passing charts, stats

AFC South Week 5 Preview

In this AFC South Week 5 Preview we cover the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots*, Tennessee Titans

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

Referee Crew

Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 52 Bill Vinovich 13 San Diego accountant, former NFL officiating supervisor
U 102 Bruce Stritesky 13 * Embry Riddle airline pilot
DJ 90 Mike Spanier 20 Parry St Cloud State middle school principal
LJ 9 Mark Perlman 18 * Salem teacher
FJ 31 Mearl Robinson 2 Cheffers Air Force instructor
SJ 60 Gary Cavaletto 16 * Hancock general manager, agricultural operations
BJ 17 Steve Patrick 5 Blakeman Jacksonville State owner, supply company
  • Replay official: Mark Butterworth
  • Replay assistant: Alton James
  • Crew and position change: Spanier (swing official) replaced McKinnley during preseason and into the regular season until further notice (LJ→DJ)

The mediocre vs the mediocre. What’s to say about this game other than whichever QB shows up, wins? Now that four games have passed, there”s enough game film for defenses (and offenses) to make statements. Here on out is when (barring injuries) we see team identities – what they do well and not too well.

Which brings me to the Texans defense who are ranked 20th. What is going on there? Dallas is fourth. That’s the tale here. Dak Prescott has become the Alex Smith of yesteryear, but he will face a team that gives up 8.1 yards a pass and 2.75 TDs a game. 11 ELEVEN TDs so far.

In comparison, Dallas has surrounded 5 TDs, 7.5 yards a pass. This makes the task for Deshaun Watson and his stable of good receivers a little tougher than the other teams they’ve faced. When it comes to the run game, both teams are fairly close in yards allowed per carry, but Dallas has Zeke the Freak.

However, while the boys are ranked third in rushing yards, they’ve only scored 2 TDs. Considering the Texans have only given up 1, this is where Houston can win. Elliot is their best player – take him out and Prescott collapses. We’ve seen it enough times to know that without Zeke, the Cowboys offense stalls out.

When it comes to passing TD’s, Dallas is down in the bottom – only Denver, Arizona and Buffalo is worse.

Dak is still hesitant to throw beyond 10 yards. Lots of disturbing red areas.

I can’t help but wonder if Houston, as awful as they are against the pass, are better to give them some run? Then swap in the red zone. Better a little movement from rushing, than a lot from passing.

These teams are evenly matched, but for opposite reasons. Dallas can run the ball, throwing? Nah. Watson has thrown 7 TDs, plus he’s gotten a little more accurate as the weeks go by. Most likely due to getting back into a rhythm and getting over a lingering fear of injury.

With Houston being ranked evenly with Dallas in rushing TD’s, but tons better in passing, the edge goes to the Texans pulling off another win based on quarterbacking. With his back against the wall last week, Watson rose to the occasion to pull of an overtime victory.

Titans (3-1) vs Bills (1-3)

Referee Crew

Yrs 2017 crew College Occupation
R 99 Tony Corrente 24 Cal State-Fullerton retired educator
U 76 Alan Eck 3 * Bloomsburg State tax manager
DJ 13 Patrick Turner 5 * Cal State-Long Beach plant manager
LJ 47 Tim Podraza 11 Morelli Nebraska banker
FJ 7 Keith Washington 11 Parry Virginia Military Institute program financial analyst
SJ 25 Ryan Dickson 2 * Utah commercial real estate developer
BJ 30 Todd Prukop 10 * Cal State-Fullerton medical sales representative

Rookie QB vs good defense, not a match-up Buffalo wants to see. The Bills are a mess right now and only a little bit goes to QBing because the entire team looks sloppy.