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 17 game previews – TV areas, stats, injury reports, & passing charts.

AFCS Week 17 game previews

This is it, one last game for the Jaguars to pull off a win, tanking be damned. If you want to know why I abhor tanking, READ HERE. This is also the last ditch effort for our three divisional teams to make the play-offs or move up in seeding. Here’s the AFCS Week 17 game previews – TV areas, stats, injury reports, & passing charts.

jaguars:texans tv viewing area wek 17

SUNDAY 1:00

Jaguars (5-10) vs Texans (10-5) CBS

As usual, here’s the refs which I include because we should keep track of the crap since the NFL doesn’t seem to care.

Referee Crew:

Pete Morelli referee crew

Sad to say, but I won’t miss seeing Leonard Fournette. This season, he’s had two games that were ok, the rest were snoozes. Let’s bring on Dave Williams. It’s good to see DJ Chark back. People hate on Jalen Ramsey, but that dude has played almost the entire season hurt and yet Jax’s secondary is still tops.

Jaguars week 17 friday injury report

Have written before, I don’t trust Bill O’Brian’s injury reports, so just ignore them.

texans week 17 friday injury report

Blake Bortles is baaaack, will he play the entire game is the question? They’re dressing out Tanner Lee, so we can guess they’d like to give him reps and if that happens, assume we’re getting creamed.

I’m posting just the cumulative passing charts because Bortles hadn’t started in a few weeks. Clearly, Deshaun Watson is having a good season even if he’s not among the top passing leaders. He’s judicious with the ball and compliments their run game.

As a slight defense of Borltes, his OL has been atrocious, he didn’t have his number one wide receiver, tight end or running back, plus the OC was fired. Not exactly what is scripted for bringing out the best in QB’s.

A quick recap of the last match-up: Bortles fumbled twice which allowed Houston to get a FG and a TD. Cody Kessler played the second half and lobbed in a TD. Yeldon let a pass bounce off him for an interception.

The Texans had less than 300 total yards, they won from sloppy play by Jax. If the Jags truly want to win, they’ll need their defense to do it for them. To do that, they’ll need to sack Watson more than once. Most importantly, they must play a clean game.

Limit penalties, don’t turn the ball over, create turnovers.

Watson only threw 139 yards that day, I could see that again, but the offense must show up. Houston is ranked 29th vs the pass. They’ve allowed 28 TD’s, but they’ve got 43 sacks and with this OL, it’s tough to see that number not jumping a bunch.

Jacksonville has not been good against the rush, that’s the concern. Even though Houston has DeAndre Hopkins (IMHO the best WR in the NFL this season), the Jags may be best to double him and force Watson to throw everywhere else.

Encourage the pass over the run because it makes their time of possession smaller which will be critical for the Jacksonville offense. One, they’re terribly inefficient and will need more chances to score and two, passing keeps our defense fresher.

Houston’s run game is mid pack as well as their passing, but as everyone knows, stats only tell half the story. How and when you get your yards and scoring is what matters. The Jaguars need to have the Texans pass between the 30’s and run in the red zone. With only ten rushing TD’s this is where they are vulnerable.

As far as Houston, all they need to do is play their defense because the Jag’s offense is putrid. The offensive line is a mess, the tight ends are non-existent, Dede Westbrook is the only receiver (although with DJ Chark back, he could help) and with them down to Yeldon and Williams, who knows what the run game looks like?

The keys are:

Jax: Play smart. Sack Watson. Make him throw to anyone, but Hopkins.

Houston: Show up.

8:20 NBC

Colts (9-6) vs Titans (9-6)

Referee Crew:

walt anderson referee crew

Marcus Mariota won’t be playing. Not that he’s had a good year (he hasn’t), but he’s been able to run to keep drives going, plus he’s much better than Blaine Gabbert at reading defenses.

With the Colts being in bad shape health-wise, they need a break and not having to spy on Mariota is that chance – not that Gabbert won’t run, but he’s not a dual-threat.

colts week 17 friday injury reporttitans week 17 friday injury report

There isn’t a cumulative chart for Gabbert, but his stats are: 7 games, 3 TDS, 2 INTS, on 72  attempts. His rating is 80.8 with a 59.7 completion rate. He’s tried to run 6 times, but has zero yards. His most attempts is 22 and most yards is 118.

The Colts won’t have to worry abut Gabbert tearing them up with his legs or arm. Their concern will be stopping the run and having enough offensive weapons to overcome the Titans 7th ranked defense.

Luck has used tight ends like a magician, it’s an area Tennessee has struggled against (as has most defenses), so while Eric Ebron and Ryan Hewitt are beat-up, he does have Mo Allie-Cox.

What’s of concern is their secondary, but with Gabbert playing, it may be a wash. Inman and Hilton also being hobbled is a huge concern. The Titans are third against the pass, not the best time to have hobbled tight ends and wide receivers.

Marlon Mack will most likely be the cog for Indy today. Tennessee is third vs rushing TD’s, but mid-pack elsewhere. If Indy can rely on him to carry the load between the 30’s and use Luck in the red zone, they could do ok.

Obviously, this will be a run and defense day, not only because of injuries, but the game is outside. The Colts are really good at limiting rushing yards, but only so-so in stopping scores. Against the pass, they’re only two TD’s behind the Titans and with Gabbert at the helm, that shouldn’t change.

These two teams are so close in what you see and get. They’re built differently, but they find ways to win. How injured Indianapolis really is, will be the difference. If it’s just normal bumps and bruises, they should win with Mack and Luck leading the way and just enough defense to stop Tennessee.

If the Colts are as bruised as their injury reports suggests and the Titans can get to Luck, it will be a long day. Both teams have 38 sacks which could be a big key for both teams. If Indy can get to Gabbert, game over, he’s not the calmest guy under pressure.

Andrew Luck is getting rid of the ball much faster this season, which has helped his great OL keep him at a league low of 17 sacks (wow). That will be the Titan’s task: sack Luck or at least cover his receivers long enough he has to hold on to the ball.

The keys:

Indy: Protect Luck. Rush Gabbert. Stop the run.

Tennessee: Derrick Henry must ball out. Sack Luck. Stop Mack.

This concludes the AFCS Week 17 game previews. Hope everyone has a good New Year’s, and none of our hated rivals get a play off win.

As always, GO JAGS!

How to fix the NFL Referee problem: 10 simple and common sense solutions.

NFL referee problem

Don’t know about you dear readers, but it seems to me we’ve seen some truly bad reffing this season. Full-time refs were supposed to be the answer, but that hasn’t happened. It’s because it was done half-assed. There is a NFL Referee problem and I’ve got a list on how to fix this.

*I write “he” for ease, but assume there will be females here or there in a crew. Also, I use the word referee to encompass all the officials*

  • Draft referees from the NCAA like the NFL does.
  • House them in a non-Pro football city that’s in the central time zone like Birmingham, Alabama. Since Birmingham has three, maybe four college teams (and a couple top notch high school teams) within fairly close proximity, they can use their players and facilities for practice.
  • They will act like players – practice or watch film during the week. This way all referees are on the same page. In addition, during practices, players will fake penalties and supervisors will watch and rank how the refs do
  • They draft enough refs to have two crews at every NFL game. This way if a ref or line judge, etc. stinks during a game, his replacement is there. Just like players. There will also be a crew of third teamers left in the home city to fill a “B” team crew due to any benchings (see below). for future games.
  • Like the NFL, have awards for best refs at each position. They will get bonuses and get to officiate the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Refs who officiated throughout the season, but receive no votes, get the heave-ho.
  • If a ref has two failed challenges in a game, he is benched during the game and suspended from reffing the team(s) he messed up on for the rest of the season and/or the next one. His calls will also be under review to see if he needs to be benched for other games.
  • If a ref has more than one game with two overturned calls, he’s fired.
  • Each year, refs will go under a review board made up of members of the NFL officiating committee, an owner rep, a HC rep and a player rep.
  • Top ones get a raise and are kept. Bottom ones are sent back to the NCAA.
  • Each year a referee is kept, he gets more perks, like his choice of what games to call, a 401 type savings plan and better living quarters.

The plan is find the cream of the crop, and make it pay to do their best.

As far the current referees, the review board I suggested weighs in on them. The top ones (the non-NFL staff decides on how many) are given seniority for 2019 and can be the instructors (with an additional bonus) at the training city.

They are also given choices on whose crew they want to be on or pick the crew they want of the current refs, but no more than two per crew. After officials are drafted, they will be parceled out to be as balanced as possible.

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business and can afford to do this. Especially since bad NFL referees can and do cost franchises millions when games are lost.

It’s time they become serious about this and get tough. The NFL this season feels like the officiating crews, not the teams, are deciding who wins, which in turn makes the NFL seem corrupt. It’s tough not believe this has come about for two reasons: legal gambling and ratings.

Actually, I believe gambling is why viewership is up – bettors want to see how their players are doing. With the NFL now in bed with gambling organizations, they absolutely want certain endings, to think otherwise is naive.

Give fans competent and impartial refereeing and you’ll grow the fan base by having butts in seats. How many stadiums are selling out? That should be the measuring stick, not who’s watching their money perform on their TV’s.

Soapbox over.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans Game Preview. Barry Church & the Refs are the keys.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans Game Preview. Barry Church & the Refs are the keys.

Round Two match-up is about to go down and if the Jags can pull off a win, they could shatter all hope the Titans have to make the play-offs and that’s worth a whoop. Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans Game Preview. Barry Church & the Refs are the keys.

What’s Important to know is this: will this ref crew be fair or be the same crapfest we’ve seen most of the year?

Referee Crew: 

The last time the Jags faced the Titans, we saw a couple of bad calls that helped Tennessee get their win and the worst call helped them get the FG that made all the difference.

As far as injuries go, no surprises except for Abry Jones who’s managed to stay off the injury report all season until now. This might hurt because the best way to bother Mariota is right up the middle.

Tennessee looks beat up, but really they’re in the same boat. Sure, Mariota is hurt, but so is our NT. Marcus been really good at eluding pressure from the sides and making a run for it, so pressure up the middle is key. Good thing starting NT Marcel Darius is off the injury report or Jax would be in deep trouble.

Several of their names are like the Jags, off and on you see the many of the same players – sometimes the same injury, sometimes a different one. Both teams are about what most franchises look like in terms of injuries. The difference is the size of the Jaguars Injured Reserve List. That’s a phone book.

When these two teams faced off back in week 3, they looked fairly similar and I’d say the same is true. Defenses that are unpredictable and offenses that are crap.

Jax defense is third in least amount of points allowed and Tennessee is fifth. When it comes to allowing passing TD’s, The Jags are tied for first with Minnesota at 15 and the Titans are right behind with 16.

When it comes rushing TD’s, the Titans have allowed eight and the Jaguars, ten. So, almost mirror images of each other on defense.

Defense is the key for both teams

As far as offense, I usually put passing charts, but this would be a waste of space and time. Cody Kessler is in his second start and Mariota has been all over the place due to a season long injury.

When it comes to Total Offense, they’re ranked 17 and 18. To me, yards don’t matter a whole lot, it’s points that do. Case in point is Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing hundreds of yards in a game and not a single TD. 

Based on that, when it comes to passing TD’s, both teams are tied for 14; however, that was with Bortles. Kessler threw zip. I’d say advantage TT, just because that’s all we’ve got to go on.

As far as rushing, the Titans have eight TD’s and the Jags have six. To note though is Leonard Fournette will be playing and he usually is good for a score. I’m going to give the advantage to Jax here because he is a better rusher than what Tennessee has.

Bottom line is these two teams are an evenly matched mess. But, here are my keys:

For the Jags:

*Pray, bribe and beg for fair reffing. This isn’t a joke, I’m dead serious. This game will come down to them as is often the case with two teams that are similar.

*Keep Barry Church reps down to a minimum. Last week, Church was hurt, so Ronnie Harrison took the helm and boy the defense looked good. That happened because it seemed like they were pulling the same way and had good communication.

*Because they were doing their jobs, Luck had to hold the ball a touch longer which allowed the DL to get after him. As I’ve written before, when the secondary was disjointed, QB’s could get rid of the ball quickly which is why sacks were down.

The secondary must be white on rice, so the DL can get to Mariota and harass him and hope the refs call a fair game.

*Finally, which is a big DUH, Jacksonville must win the turn over differential.

For the Titans:

Screw y’all, hope you lose and if your readers want to know how to defeat Jacksonville, it’s pretty simple since we have a back-up QB. That’s all I’m saying.

*On a side note – Jay believe the Jags will lose because the locker room is a mess.

I say Jags win with fair reffing, yes, I’m a broken record. If it’s the usual bad reffing, they’re not good enough on offense to overcome and will lose.*

GO JAGS!

AFCS Week 12 Scouting Report – Injury Reports, Stats, Passing Charts, Referee Crews, TV Viewing

AFCS Week 12 Scouting Report

Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans are featured in this AFCS Week 12 Scouting Report – Injury Reports, Stats, Passing Charts, Referee Crews, TV Viewing.

Mathematically, Jacksonville still has a chance to make the play-offs (don’t laugh), so until they’re eliminated, we’re going to treat this as a normal week. Once they do get the ax, then we’ll switch to 2019 and draft watch mode.

The first game up is of course the Jags as the lone AFCS 1:00 game.

Jaguars (3-7) vs Bills (3-7) CBS

As an aside, if Walt Anderson ever refs another Jaguars game, I may need to jump on the field and kick his ass. I’ve never been arrested, but might as well add it to my bucket list. My guess is I won’t be alone as he’s lucky the field wasn’t stormed last week by infuriated fans carrying torches and pitchforks.

Referee Crew:

Walt Anderson referee crew

This game is going to sooo exciting, just like the KC/Rams aerial-fest we saw this week. Not sure how the tens of millions watching will be able to contain themselves. I’m sure history will be made for all the primetime viewers to witness. I’m thinking 9-3.

Only posting their last games to make a point and one it’s clear to see what it is.

I wanted to get the ugly out of the way before moving on the injury reports which look better than those outstanding passing charts.

For Jags fans, the big, oh crap, is DJ Chark because he’s the fastest guy on the team and while he’s raw, he’s made gains. However, since Bortles doesn’t need a fast receiver to get downfield for all those deep bombs, he may not be a big missing key.

These two teams are top of the boards in total defense, each have only allowed 14 passing TDs. As far as rushing TD’s, Jags have allowed eight and Buffalo nine. Buffalo is averaging 99 yards to the rush and Jacksonville 109, so these teams are very close.

As far the offenses go, when it comes to the run, the Bills have seven scores to the Jaguars’ four; however, Jax is averaging .2 more yards a carry (woohoo).

Here’s the one and only stat that matters: Buffalo has a grand total of 5 passing TD’s. As anemic as Bortles has looked, he does have 13.

That’s the key for Jax to win.

  • Contain the run
  • don’t turn the ball over.
  • Score on defense

For Buffalo

  • force Bortles to throw deep or to the outside
  • contain the run
  • don’t let Bortles run to the outside

It’s tough to get excited about two teams who have pitiful offenses and you hold your breath each time the ball is thrown. I believe the Jags will win because their defense is much better than Buffalo’s offense.

Normally, I have a lot more to write about Jacksonville, but there’s not much to say because it’s obvious the key is for the defense to give a damn. The game lies on them.

Dolphins (5-5) vs Colts (5-5) 4:25 CBS

I don’t like the Dolphins, but we sure need Adam Gase to find a way to win.

Referee Crew

Clete Blakeman ref crew

The Dolphins are a wreck injury-wise, adding one more reason their work is cut out for them. The Colts real concern is two TE’s that are questionable, since they are Andrew Luck’s favorite targets.

Once again, not posting the full passing charts because Ryan only played a handful of games before getting hurt. In his five games his completion percentage was pretty good, that’s what the Dolphins will need to win.

Obviously, this will have to be a defensive game for Miami in order to give Tannenhill a chance to keep up. I’m not going to use Miami’s passing stats because Asweiler isn’t playing.

Miami only has 3 rushing TD’s compared to Indy’s seven, but some of that is due to the QBing. It’s tough to run if teams can load the box because there’s not a fear of the pass. However, not sure Tannehill is that much of an upgrade. It may be up to Amendola (who’s hurt).

When it comes to stopping the run, Miami is bad. They allow 142 yards a game and are tied for 19th in TD’s given up. Indy is tied for 7th for TD’s and give up 105 yards game.

The grits come down to passing defense. Indy has given up 16 TDs, Miami, 18. That’s the ball game. If Miami’s defense can’t have the game of their season, this is a done deal for Indy. The bad news is Miami ranks down at 29th for sacks while Indy is 16th.

The good news is Indy is down to only two TE’s from the four they had just two weeks ago. This will limit Luck which Miami will need since they’re not great at stopping TE’s.

As far as Miami’s TE’s, Indy isn’t great stopping them, either. In fact they’re down in 26th.

Keys for Miami to win

use their TE’s

force Luck from the pocket

Indy to win

Luck just needs to throw no picks

Yes, simple. On paper, Miami needs to do more than they have in a road game and Indy play the same.

 

Titans (5-5) vs Texans (7-3) Monday 8:15 ESPN

Don’t like either team and if they tied, I wouldn’t cry. I wish they had Walt Anderson and his crew so the fans could have freak-outs all game.

Referee Crew

 

Craig Wrolstad ref crew

While Tennessee is very healthy, the same cannot be said of the Texans. Here’s the deal, if the Jags lose, then I’m pulling for the Titans to lose, too. Considering that Marcus Mariota is like a box of chocolates, that could happen.

An injured Mariota (again) behind an OL that also has some injuries may not be a recipe for success. However, Deshaun Watson has his own OL issues that have left him a battered soul, too.

This game could end up in which QB lasts the longest. Neither offense is tearing up the NFL, but Watson has 18 TD’s to Mariota’s 7. For these two, I am posting more charts because there wasn’t a chart for Mariota with all his throws. Odd.

The Titans haven’t won from a passing attack, which is obvious since they have the second worst TD amount and overall are 30th. As far as rushing, they’re mid-pack in TD’s and yards.

When it comes to Houston, they’re tied for second worse with only 4 TD’s and an average of 4 yards. Both QB’s will run, but Mariota is the dangerous one when he does.

On the passing side, Houston is 15th and Tennessee is 31st. Bottom line, it means that these teams are dependent on their defenses which is a great thing for Tennessee who’s third best in not allowing passing TD’s.

The Texans aren’t far behind with only three more. In stopping the run, both teams are aces in only allowing 5 (Houston) and 6.

The keys for both defenses is the same, but feel bad to say, it’s to hit the QB’s since they’re so beat-up.

Keys for Texans:

  • Keep Mariota in the pocket
  • Rush from the edges
  • Throw to the edges

Keys for the Titans:

  • Spy on Watson
  • Rush him up the middle
  • Play man

May both teams lose.

AFCS Week 11 Game Previews – stats, injury reports, referee crews, passing charts

AFCS Week 11 Game Previews

Week 11 marks what could be the end of the road for a few teams and Jacksonville is one of them. If the Colts lose, their ice will be as thin as the Jaguars. The AFCS Week 11 Game Previews will go into stats, injury reports, referee crews, and passing charts to give the reader an idea where these teams win and struggle.

This AFCS chart shows where everyone is and why the Colts need to win to help the Jags, plus the Texans need to lose. If the Jags win out, and the rest of the AFCS drop another game, we make the play offs. Yes, lots of “ifs”, but it is what it is. Win Sunday and go from there.

The turnover differential tells the story and that’s what Jacksonville must fix right now.

W L T PCT HOME AWAY DIV CONF PF PA DIFF STRK
Texans 6 3 0 .667 3-1 3-2 2-1 5-2 216 184 +32 W6
Titans 5 4 0 .556 3-1 2-3 2-0 3-4 168 151 +17 W2
Colts 4 5 0 .444 2-2 2-3 1-1 3-4 260 239 +21 W3
Jaguars 3 6 0 .333 2-3 1-3 0-3 2-4 160 199 -39 L5

Titans (5-4) vs Colts (4-5) 1:00 CBS

Referee Crew:

This is a game the Colts need to win for the Jaguars because it would tie these two teams up and Titans need a division loss. Taylor is still dealing with turf toe and Conklin remains under the concussion protocol. They look pretty healthy which isn’t great for Indy.

I believe a couple of the DNP for the Indianapolis Colts were due to rest, not ability to dress out especially since their game status isn’t given a designation.

When it comes to points allowed on defense, Tennessee is #1 least. Indy is down at 20. The question will be can Andrew Luck put up more than the 16.8 points the Titans are giving up? Indy is allowing 26.6 which is very Mariota-friendly.

Titans are also first when it comes to passing TD’s allowed at only 11 and that will hurt the Colts since they pass the ball. Indianapolis has given up 15. TN has given up 4 rushing TD’s, Indy, 7.

The Colts are averaging 28.9 passing points a game, so we see the first match-up. One would think that this number could be 22 as a split between 16 and 28. Luck has a few less, but not below Tennessee’s average.

Mariota is throwing 18.7 points, Indy giving up 26.6. So, if we split that, too, that would give Mariota 22, as well (rounding the numbers).

On paper, this game is easier for Indianapolis than it is for Tennessee because it’s at home and the Titans being passing-shy, helps them. When it comes to rushing, Indy pounds out more yards, but less scores than Tennessee, but neither team is setting the world on fire with their rushing.

Plain and simple, the Titans have relied on their defense to shut down their opponents and Mariota to do just enough when it matters. With Luck having 26 passing TD’s, and Mariota 7, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

The bad news for the Colts is I don’t think Tennessee has given up a single TD to a TE and they also are stingy with yards. With that said, the Titans haven’t had to shut down three tight ends. It’s one thing to shut down one TE, maybe two on a few plays, but three?

I normally include passing charts for the last few weeks, but NexGen was not working right, so can only include the overall chart.

Marcus Mariota Qb-grid Chart

Overall, Indy has a better chance only because it’s tough to keep the mental stamina needed to play against a big passing offense and one with three tight ends. Mark Vrabel is a good defensive coach, can he scheme up the D to negate the tight ends? He can if he can push Luck around.

Andrew Luck Qb-grid Chart

Texans (6-3) vs Redskins (6-3)  1:00 CBS

Referee Crew

This game will have the rest of the AFCS in agreement: the Texans must lose even though they’d still be in first due to division wins.

Another team that has halved its report is the Texans, it’s not coincidence both are winning.

Washington, We NEED YOU, this report doesn’t give Jags fans a lot of hope. Although (since hope springs eternal), the skins did get several players in full; however, Friday’s are walk-throughs, so it’s not as if they’re actually doing anything.

Washington is one of those teams where you look at their record and watch them play and think, huh? It’s not as if they have a great coach, scheme, QB, defense or one thing you can hang your hat on and say, that’s why.

The skins have seven rushing TD’s to Houston’s 4 and that’s the match-up. Can Peterson carry more a load with Thompson still out?

Washington has 10 passing TD’s, Houston has 17. Neither team is lighting up the NFL with those numbers. Where DC has an advantage is turnover differential.

Both defenses are mid pack or so in giving up passing touchdowns; however, when it comes to shutting down rushing TD’s, Houston is tied for second with 3. Can Washington keep their rushing attack up against a top defense?

Washington is going to need its receivers to catch the ball, something they struggle with. When that happens, Alex Smith can’t get in any rhythm and the offense just stalls out. That’s what they’re going to have to do win: catch the ball. With Houston having two banged-up CB’s, Smith will know where to target, but they’ve got to catch the ball (repeat).

Alex Smith Qb-grid Chart

As you can see, Watson is having a good season since his first stumbles at the beginning. Not to mention, he’s healthy now. Speaking of health, he’s been sacked 30 times and that’s where Washington must pounce, go after his OL. They are ranked 13th (tie) with 25.

Deshaun Watson Qb-grid Chart

As beat-up as the skins’ OL is (Jacksonville sympathizes), Smith may be grateful that Houston hasn’t done a whole lot of sacks at 23 considering they have JJ Watt. Smith is a fairly athletic guy, so his agility may save them.

At this writing, the status of Coutee was still in doubt, which helps Washington. As an aside, Smith has seen Demaryius Thomas many times as a former AFCW rival, he may be able to give his DB’s some intel to shut him down. That could be a 1-2 punch that limits Watson.

Without a great run game, it could be the deciding factor.

Steelers (6-2-1) vs Jaguars (3-6) 1:00 CBS

Referee Crew:

The Steelers look so damn healthy it’s disgusting, they make me want to punch them for this report.

What a surprise, OL players with D or Q status. The, oh crap, is Dareus being Doubtful. The DL hasn’t been bringing down the house, so this is bad news. What else is bad news is this game will be full of Steeler fans. Jax season ticket owners sold a bunch of theirs to the enemy, so there will be no home field sound advantage.

Ben Roethlisberger got his old coach back and this season, he’s made huge strides. That’s bad news for Jacksonville, the guy who Todd Hayley stifled, is gone. While the Jags have been Ben’s quicksand, the defense we’ve been seeing this season will be a red carpet.

Jacksonville’s run defense has been mediocre and that may actually be the real issue. Pittsburgh has 12 rushing TD’s. 12, that’s 4x more than Jax, who ranks dead last. Which does come down to the walking dead offensive line.

If the DL (with a hurt Dareus) can’t channel some #Sacksonville, the game won’t be winnable. Period. All those interceptions Ben threw vs Jags was in large part due to him being hurried all game(s). With a run game and time to throw, there’s nothing stopping Pittsburgh unless we see the defense that showed up last week during the second half.

Even then, they weren’t that great, just lots better than previous weeks. I know, I’m a downer, but this is based on stats. Right now, there’s only one stat that Jax is better at and that’s the passing defense. Can they keep Pitt to 200 yards and only an average of 1.3 TD’s?

Ben Roethlisberger Qb-grid Chart

No center and LT #6, one wonders how Blake Bortles will make it through this game. Jag fans know that for most of the season he didn’t have his star WR, TE or RB, so the last game to judge on an almost full starting crew was vs New England. In that game, he had his LT (1/2 the time), RB and TE.

Last week, we saw two tight ends appear and make catches. James O’Shaughnessy returned from injured reserve and a guy off the street, Blake Bell also surprised fans. Can those two make up for issues to the LG, C and LT? Tough to see. What must happen is Leonard Fournette, Carlos Hyde and TJ Yeldon go out there and shove the ball down Pittsburgh’s throat.

I’m not sure if Bortles doesn’t trust his dropsy WR’s or he’s nursing another injury, but he’s check-down Charlie and avoiding the deep throw. Against the Steelers, that may not be a bad thing because they allow about what Bortles is throwing, anyway.

They’re giving up 2.1 TD’s and 6.9 yards, Blake is at 7.0 yards and 1.33 TD’s a game.

Blake Bortles Qb-grid Chart

Here’s the bottom line for this match-up: the Jags offense has got to win the turnover battle and score first. The run game must appear and same for the run stop.

I don’t think there’s some special key the Steelers need to win, just play as they have been. If Roethlisberger doesn’t turn the ball over, tough to see the Jaguars finding a win. The last two match-ups, Pittsburgh won almost every good stat, from time of possession to first downs, etc, but it was the interceptions at the worst time that doomed them.

Jaguars musts:

  • get after Ben
  • get after Ben
  • don’t turn the ball over
  • show you care

I’ll be there amidst a sea of terrible towels screaming my fool head off, I better damn well see the same passion from the guys in black and teal. If that mindset happens, they can pull off a win.

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.

AFCS Week 8 Game Previews – stats, referee crews, passing charts, injury reports

AFCS Week 8 Game Previews

Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts have bye weeks, so this preview is only the Texans and Titans. Unfortunately for the Jags, based on stats and watching the two teams, it looks like the Texans will win in this AFCS Week 8 Game Preview.

Texans (5-3) vs Broncos (3-5) CBS

Referee Crew

Texans week 9 ref crew

The Texans are still beat-up, but somehow still find ways to win. Clowney has been on a tear lately, so his injury hurts. Pun intended.

The Broncos have a couple of key injuries that Watson should be able to use and tear the Broncos up.

The Broncos operate efficiently off their run game and while Lindsey has been their bell cow, Freeman hasn’t been a schlub, but add him with a banged up Janovich and more just got dumped on Case Keenum.

That’s a bad thing if you know stats and his is ranked 29th for TD-INT ratio. The last thing Denver needs is more throwing from their $25M man. In addition, they’re down a starting and back-up CB and their starting SS.

For the Texans, their secondary is also banged up, but Keenum shouldn’t strike fear, he’s thrown an INT in every game he’s played, ranking him dead last in that dubious category.

Denver is third in rushing, Houston 5th; however, the Broncos have 9 rushing TD’s compared to the Texans’ 4. That’s the ball game right there. Keep them out of the red zone where they score and game over.

Houston is 15-7 in TD-INT, so Denver’s secondary is going to have a long day. Strangely, the Texans’ defense is the exact same. They’ve allowed 15 passing TD’s and intercepted 7.

Bottom line, this is a bad match-up for the Broncos because Houston has only allowed two rushing TD’s, the very motor Denver must have to win. In fact, their OC this week said he wants to run the ball even more.

In addition, Demaryius Thomas was recently dumped and one can imagine he’s not too happy and won’t mind pumping the Texans with everything he knows which is everything.

Sure, the Broncos know all about DT, but who are they going to put on him? He may be a little slower in his step, but he’s good route runner, he’s big and if they cover him, that’s an open guy elsewhere.

Denver is ranked 28th against the run and 16th against the pass. With their secondary gasping for breath, doubtful that number increases. This is bad news for Jaguar fans who need a Texans loss.

No comment on these passing charts because they tell the story of who’s safer with the ball and maybe a harbinger of the day to come.

Titans (3-4) vs Cowboys (3-4) Monday 8:15 ESPN

Referee Crew

The Titans look pretty healthy sad to say.

Cowboys are a little banged up, also sad to say.

This is another game the Jags need some help with a loss by the Titans. Fortunately, this one seems more doable than the Texans game. While Dallas will be short-handed, their secondary, which is second against the pass is healthy.

They’ve only allowed 8 passing TD’s. Not to be left behind, TN has only allowed 9, so the passing defenses on these two teams are evenly matched.

When it comes to stopping the run, both teams are also close – TN has allowed 3, Dallas, 4. Both teams are also behind the curve when it comes to giveaways. Each are in the negative.

Which means this game will truly come down to who turns the ball over, least.

When it comes to total offense, both teams are way down in the dregs of the awful. Both teams are 30 and 31st in passing – they like to pass to the other team. Prescott is 50-50.

Tennessee is worse, but they had Gabbert for a couple of games and a hurt Mariota.

The only difference that separates these teams is Zeke Elliot and even he isn’t burning up the charts. I like to use TD stats over yards because who cares if you can throw and run between the 30’s if when you get in the red zone, you get a FG or zip?

Some teams have a lot of empty yards, so it’s the points that’s worth looking at. The cowboys have five rushing TD’s and Tennessee has three. Kind of pitiful.

In case you were wondering, both teams have missed two field goals and made all their XP’s, so the kicking game may not be a factor.

Neither QB is tearing it up, but with the game in Dallas and Dak doing better with the ball than Mariota, the edge goes to the Cowboys.

 

 

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 8 Preview – Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins

AFCS Week 8 Preview - Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins

We do scouting reports on our enemies to keep track of injuries, games, stats so we have an idea of what we may face when playing our divisional foes and common opponents. Lets dive in to the AFCS Week 8 Preview – Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins, as this is late.

Below are passing charts, stats, referee crew and injury reports.

Dolphins (4-3) vs Texans (4-3) THURSDAY 8:20 FOX

Here’s the Referee crew

dolphins vs texans referee crew

At first glance, Miami looks to be in bad shape, but most of their players were FP. Missing tight ends could hurt though because they’re the perfect safety net and an additional wall against a pass rush.

dolphins week 8 wednesday injury report

Looks like Jacksonville helped do a number to the Texans. I’m trying to care.

texans week 8 wednesday injury report

Deshaun Watson is the kind of QB teams hate – he’s not a guy who you can plot out and say here’s where to attack him because he plays by the seat of his pants. He’s a slippery guy who makes or extends plays off his legs.

Miami is 28th in total defense and 30th against the run. What does Houston do well? Run the ball.

Watson is one beat up mess having been sacked a 1,000 times, but guess what? Miami is way down in 29th in sacks. Which means, he may get a chance to breathe (literally).

Watson isn’t tearing it up with his arm, far from it, but during games, he finds a way to make crucial strikes during over times (yeah, that’s a snarky remark). Seriously though, just when you count him out, he pops up like a gopher and delivers a strike.

deshaun watson week 8 passing charts

Not much on Osweiler passing charts, but what’s to know is this guy thinks he’s the greatest coming of all QB’s. He said he’d pick himself to win a game over John Elway and Peyton Manning. After being benched by the former for the latter.

Because of that, he always screws up – his arm can’t deliver what his ego thinks it can. This Houston team knows that. I could see them playing Man2 or starting off in zone playing loose, let him get a rapport with just one WR and then in the second half, play press. Then they can start jumping routes on desperate throws.

This about when the wheels start to come off for him. He begins to look like a competent QB and super man wants to burst through. That’s when he starts taking chances he shouldn’t. Houston is 16th against the pass, which is ok, but they have JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney who can seriously wreck your day.

While they may not be great at keeping catches down once they’re released, or really high in sack totals, Houston tries to make you hurry up. That’s when mistakes are made.

brock osweiler week 8 passing charts

Not sure I’ve seen a chart where one has flipped so radically like above. I believe the green area from 2017 was targeting Demariyus Thomas because he had 3 TDs during Osweiler’s three games. With his favorite target, Albert Wilson gone, Amendola may be his go to guy.

There’s the key to beating the fins: give him Danny in the first, take him away in the second. Adam Gase can make the most of what he has, but then it’s up to Osweiler to stay in his lane – the average lane. He will chafe at it, especially if he has to play from behind and he will make cringe worthy mistakes.

What the Dolphins have going for them is Texans’ injury report. Their defense is pretty banged up which could make it tougher to implement what they need to do. If any team knows how to stop the former Texan QB, it’s the Texans.

As you can tell, I’m not an Asweiler, er, Osweiler fan. But I also despise the Texans, so it’s tough to think the Texans, even with Bill O’Brian often making some really stupid game calls, can win.

If the Dolphins want to win, they must run the ball, make Osweiler get rid of the ball quickly for the boring yards and be content to dink and dunk. Don’t turn the ball over. While Watson and the Texans aren’t quite yet firing on all cylinders, other teams giving them the ball is why they’ve won.

Houston and Miami are tied at 11th for differentials, making this a big key. The Texans are 14th in total defense, so check mark there.

Houston is better at quarterback and running, so more checks. When it comes to points scored, Miami is 20th and Houston 18th. Hence, if Miami wants to win, it has to come down to taking the ball away from Houston.

Not rocket science, but there you go.

For Houston:

  • force Osweiler to be his own enemy
  • watch Kenyon Drake

For Miami:

  • Hit Watson to force turnovers
  • Try to slow DeAndre Hopkins

Maybe they’ll both lose. I won’t shed a tear.

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!

 

AFCS Week 6 Preview – TV areas, stats, injury reports, reffing crews and QB charts.

Included below are the TV areas, stats, injury reports, reffing crews and QB charts in this AFCS Week 6 Preview. Add it all up and maybe it helps you pick a winner or at least get a feel for our enemies.

The first map is for the 1:00 games, if you’re interested. There may be a mistake though because further down is the map for the Jags game and it doesn’t match up for the areas they show for the Denver game, both of which are at 4:25.

Image result for tv viewing chart for week 6 nfl

Bills (2-3) vs Texans (2-3) 1:00 CBS

The Bills are pin the nose of the donkey. Who knows what is going to be a hit and what’s not? This game may come down to which quarterback survives. These two have been sacked a combined 40 times.

Last week, a doctor was listening to Deshaun’s heart and breathing. If I were the parents of Josh Allen, I’d be worried about the 22 sacks he’s taken, too . Both teams have dished out a lot of them, but not as many as they’ve allowed.

Referee Crew

ref crew

Injury reports

Obviously the health status favor the Bills, every player was full. I’m envious, they could win just from these.

texans injury report week 6

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Passing Charts

NexGen doesn’t add rushing charts unless a QB has done a few. Watson is running for this life. Hey, Jets, Watson will pass, a lot and run a bunch, get your track shoes out.

deshaun watson passing charts

Dear Houston, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Bills are a run-first team (even though they’re mediocre at 3.5 yards a carry). That’s where you need to beat them. Since the Texans kill in the run game with only one allowed score and 3.4 yards per carry, it’s going to be a long day for the Bills, if Allen is off.

josh allen passing charts

Houston is tied for 14th against the pass for yards, but when it comes to allowing passing TD’s they’re way down at the bottom at 28th. They’re also third worst at QB rating, so this is a chance for Allen to show more.

Buffalo is tied at 11th for giving up passing scores, 18th for yards. Based on that, Watson should have a good day (if he survives it). In addition, Buffalo has given up 5 rushing TD’s. Bottom line, unless Watson is hurt, it’s tough to see the Bills winning, healthy roster or not.

Colts (1-4) vs Jets (2-3) 1:00 CBS

Not sure what to say about this match-up. The Jets aren’t good, but Indy is an ER waiting room on a Saturday night.

Referee Crew

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 5.49.20 PM

Injury Reports

Did you think, good God, do these lists end? Cody (who made them) said he got writer’s cramp – I can see why. Truly don’t know how the Colts have a chance unless the Jets just roll over and play dead.

Passing Charts

Clearly the veteran, Andrew Luck, is far and beyond rookie Sam Darnold, but I post these for readers to see trends.

andrew luck passing chart

What’s to note is Darnold is at 60% which is pretty good for a rookie, especially with few weapons. You can also see that his coaches don’t quite trust him, yet. 22 attempts with 3TDs – they may want to open things up a bit against Indy – if any team should be tested, it’s the Colts.

sam darnold passing charts

Indy’s defense is ranked 22nd total, 26th against the pass for yards, but tied for 11th in allowing score. Against the run, they’re ranked 18th for yards, but 22nd for scores. So, the Jets need to pass down the field and run it in for touchdowns.

The Jets are mid pack in giving up yards and TD’s against the run. Something to note – Denver has a really good run game and they still lost, so not sure how much that matters since Indy’s game plan is for Luck to throw until his arm falls off.

As poor as Indy is against the pass, they’re among the best at not allowing big plays. In fact, they’re first at that – 38 yards was the longest. Considering last week, Darnold was bombs away against the Broncos, it could be interesting to see how that ends up.

Where the Jets have a chance to win is on defense, believe it or not. They have 14 sacks, 7 interceptions and Luck’s Oline will be his undoing. Edge goes to NY.

Jaguars (3-2) vs Cowboys (2-3) 4:25 CBS

Referee Crew

(once again, we get a crew with newer guys)

ref crew jags

Protect Bortles, win the game. It’s that simple. Jacksonville has a third team starting LT (which is why Ereck Flowers was signed) and the other four on the OL have been on the injury report for the last three weeks.

Blake Bortles doesn’t release the quickly and when he does get it out fast, it’s often wobbly. He’s not a QB who can toss a beauty downfield while his feet or legs are wrapped up. Good Blake needs time.

Injury Reports

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Sigh. The “good” news is Dallas isn’t in any better shape and Lawrence being iffy should help against a pass rush.

Passing Charts

blake bortles passing charts

dak prescott passing charts

Oiy. Dear Jamal Charles, #DUUUVAL begs you to do good things so Bortles doesn’t have to throw 61 times. And really, there were like 70 passing plays called (sacks, penalties included) which is absurd.

Jacksonville and Dallas are ranked very close with 17.2 and 19.2 points given up a game; however, when it comes to yards given up, Jax is first and Dallas at 8. When it comes to giving up passing scores, Jax is first and 4th for least QB rating.

Basically, when it comes to passing, Jax is King, stopping the run is where they slip and why stopping Ezekiel Elliot is a must. The Jags are giving up 100 yards average a game, to the rush, but same as TD’s for passing – only three.

Dallas has allowed four rushing TD’s, and six passing. If the line can give Blake any kind of time against Dallas’ tied for 7th sack rate, he could do well. If not for last week, this would be a confident win for Jax. Best guess is the first drive for the Jags will say the day we’re in for.

The game may boil down to Zeke vs Jags’ DL because Dallas is 4th in rush. Stop him, could be game over because Prescott hasn’t shown he could do well against a secondary like Jacksonville’s.

See all that red? That’s who will be watching this game. The blue is for the Ravens/Titans. Jags must win this game.

Image result for tv viewing chart for week 6 nfl

Ravens (3-2) vs Titans (3-2) 4:25 CBS

This could be a good game or a snooze fest. In some areas each are very good and in others, fairly bad.

Referee Crew

ref crew ravens

Injury reports

week 6 ravens injury report

About even with injuries for both teams, neither looks great for their defenses.

week 6 injury report titans

Passing Charts

joe flacco passing chartsmarcus mariota passing charts

Joe Flacco is passing the ball everywhere, but not getting a lot of traction with 8 total TD’s, however; injured Marcus Mariota has three. Not sure this is a good match-up for Tennessee.

Tennessee and Baltimore are very close in passing defense (5/6). Against the rush, the Ravens are kicking it, allowing only two TD’s and 3.9 yards per carry. Considering that Tennessee is a run-first team, that’s not great for them. The Titans have only allowed one TD, 4.4 yards per carry.

In passing, Flacco is 9th vs the 27th ranked Titans. Will say though that their stats aren’t good at painting the picture because they had Blaine Gabbert and an injured Marcus, who is looking better.

In rushing, 15th (Titans) and 25th (Ravens). This game will come down to the Ravens stopping the Titans’ rush because while Marcus is doing better, don’t think he he’s ready for a Raven defense and their 15 sacks, especially with both their tackles having been on the injury report.

This could be a low scoring good defensive game to watch and rushing wins the game. (Go Ravens)