What I learned from week 8

Jameis Winston is a what I thought he was.

I have been preaching this for the last two seasons, Jameis Winston is a talented player that will never be a winner. He is the definition of a loser as a player and a person.  When you choose a player #1 overall you are expecting to get a great talent that is going to progress into a potential Hall of Famer.  It doesn’t always work out that way but in this case he has been the exact opposite of what you are looking for. Winston has gotten worse year by year and continues to just hurl the ball all over the field whether or not it makes sense or not.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will take over in week nine for the Bucs and hopefully the organization realizes that if you are forced to put in Fitzmagic mid-way through a season the guy he is replacing is most likely not the answer to your organizations future.

My advice for Jameis is to drop the I from his name and go by James Winston and hope that most people don’t realize who he is.  Maybe then he will get a chance somewhere else.

Redskins are the class of the NFC East.

The NFC East was up for grabs and the Redskins have grabbed it a locked it away.  Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson have given them leadership on the offensive end while the defense has quietly been very underrated.

The most surprising aspect of Sunday’s matchup with the Giants was that Washington was only favored by 1.5 points! The final score was only 20-13 but the score didn’t show the true dominance of the Redskins.  The Cowboys and Giants are flashy, the Eagles are the champs, the Redskins are the best in in the NFC East.

The Saints are legit contenders.

The Saints are good.  They are very good.  Week 1 they were tricked by the Fitzmagic but since that lose they have won 6 in a row in impressive fashion. The return of Mark Ingram has given them another weapon to use along with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.  Drew Brees is known for spreading the ball around, whenever you think that you have them figured out they find a new star in the making.

The Saints have had three impressive wins versus winning teams the Ravens, Vikings and Redskins.  The Saints will continue to be tested as their schedule doesn’t get much easier down the stretch of the season. The are looking at matchups against the Rams, Eagles and Bengals over the next three weeks.  The Saints have the ability to run, throw and the defense has stepped up holding down the run.  I think they take down the LA Rams this week and the rest of the NFL realizes this team is for real.

The Steelers may not need L-Bell.

James Conner continues to roll along as the premier back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conner has the support of the locker room and the fans.  146 rushing yards, 66 receiving yards and  two touchdowns are LeVeon like numbers.  The Steelers have pulled off three straight victories including two in the division.  With the Ravens loss this weekend to Carolina they have been put right back in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.

So what happens if Bell returns from his hold out?  Does the team really play as hard for him?  If he is in shape and ready he can be a difference maker for them.  At this point how can they turn the backfield back over to Bell.  Conner has earned his playing time and the team is winning.  James Conner is for real and he wants to be there.  Trade Bell and get yourself something for him before it is to late.  Bell is great, but sometimes its time to cut the cord.  The time has come for the Steelers.  This is James Conner’s team.skysports-james-conner-nfl_4469320

Wild Card Playoff Preview

Playoff time has snuck up on all of us, Matt Boeding and James Caldwell have broken down their picks for what should be a fun wildcard weekend.

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams -9

The Los Angeles Rams will make their first appearance in the playoffs since 2005.  The new kids on the block will face off with the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons in a match up that looks like the most intriguing of the weekend.

The Rams are rightfully the heavy favorites coming into this matchup, they have the most high powered offense in the league, potentially the best runningback, best defensive player and they are at home…sort of.  The Rams are young all over the field, including the sideline, they have not felt the pressure that a playoff game can bring.  It will be up to the Rams to set the tempo of the game,  McVay will want to score early and often to set the tone for the game. If the Rams jump out early, they can just hand the ball off to Todd Gurley and let him finish the game. Of the Falcons six losses five of them have come when the opposing teams runningback surpasses 100 yards

The Falcons come into this game with less pressure then they have felt all year.  No one expects the Falcons to beat the offensive juggarnaut that the Rams have become.  Quietly Atlanta has made it into the playoffs with a defense that is ranked in the top ten in yards per game this season.  That being said they have still been giving up the big play as they only rank  15th in PPG allowed.  The defense will have to find a way to slow down Todd Gurley and force Jared Goff to make the difference.  Offensively the Falcons will need Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to be Matt Ryan and Julio Jones of 2016.  The Falcons have to put the pressure on the Rams by making plays on 3rd down.  Don’t let a young team gain confidence.

James Caldwell: Falcons           Matt Boeding: Rams   (Bet Falcons +9)

Tennessee Titans at  Kansas City Chiefs -9

The Tennessee Titans enter wildcard weekend as the most perplexing team in recent memory.  A preseason pick by many to win their division, they have been underwhelming at times but somehow made the playoffs despite giving up more points then scoring this season.  The Titans defense has played the run solid all year only allowing three 100-yard rushers the entire season.  Stopping the run against an Andy Reid offense gives the Titans some hope to pull off the upset.  The Titans also feature a line that has 4 guys with over 7 sacks.  The Titans want to keep this low scoring, if they do they have a chance to pull off the upset at Arrowhead.

The Chiefs come in with a four game win streak.  With mid-season struggles behind them the Chiefs have rediscovered how to win.  Alex Smith will have his work cut out for him as the Titans stingy run defense will force him to make plays. Travis Kelce  and Tyreek Hill will be a huge factor for the Titans, short dump off passes to these two playmakers will make the difference, they will ned to turn 5 yard routes to 12 yard gains.

The Titans offense doesn’t scare anyone unless your are scared of inconsistency. The Chiefs homefield advantage will also be a huge factor for another young team.  While we think the spread is a bit much, this seems like a route.

James Caldwell: Chiefs       Matt Boeding: Chiefs     (Bet Titans +9)

Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars -9

The 2017 season started about as different as you humanly possible for these two teams.  The Jaguars were the up and coming team that was going to make that next big step, while the Bills were “tanking the season”.  As the season played out these predictions were right on one end and ridiculous on the other.

The Jaguars enter this game as 9 point favorites and in the eyes of most that may have been to low.  The Bills can’t stop the run and the Jaguars would prefer Blake Bortles only throws the ball during warmups .  The Jaguars are 6th in the league in rushing at home while the Bills front is ranked at the bottom half of the league run prevention.  Play calls will most likely be 2-1 in favor of the run.

LeSean McCoy is a game time decision for the Bills, without McCoy this entire offense has to change itself.  McCoy’s ability to not only run but help the passing game with his bootleg ability.  Tyrod Taylor’s ability to scramble will be a huge asset against “Sacksonville” but with out the threat of McCoy containing Taylor should become much easier.

James Caldwell: Jaguars   Matt Boeding: Jaguars .  (Bet Jags -9)

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints -7

The third matchup is suppose to be the difference maker, unless one team has dominated the other both matchups.  That’s the case Sunday when the Panthers travel to New Orleans

The Panthers are a team that gives you no confidence, do we give them a chance? Ofcourse, you have to give a guy like Cam Newton a chance, is he shows up on Sunday the Panthers can turn from wild card to Superbowl contender.  Problem is when you have to say “if he shows up” you have a problem.   Carolina ranks 31st in yards over the last three games in a season where they actually beat the Patriots and the Vikings. This team is to confusing to trust, but then you see they are first in the league against the run you have to wonder ….”What if they can shut down Kamara and Ingram?”.

The Saints have Drew Brees whom is the opposite of Cam Newton, you know he is coming ready to play.  The Panthers tend to play alot of zone defenses that I look for Drew Brees to pick apart.  If Brees can make plays in the zone it will open up lanes for his two dynamic backs.  While I like the Saints offense, the defense will have guys spying Newton all game while rookie Marshon Lattimore will be best friends with only real wide receiver option Devin Funchess all game.  Greg Olsen has shown flashes of his pro bowl ability but still seems to logged with rust after missing most of the season with a broken foot.  New Orleans just has more weapons then a confusing Carolina team

James Caldwell: Saints      Matt Boeding: Saints   (Panthers cover +7)