Staley Should Be Gone, Danny Drops Dimes: Recapping a Wild Wildcard Weekend

| January 17th, 2023

This was one of the more memorable wildcard weekends I can remember. And picks wise, I went 7-5, with Brett Maher keeping me from a more respectable 8-4.

49ers 41, Seahawks 23

From the prediction: “This feels like a game that is 13-13 early in the second quarter, and gamblers start getting nervous, only to see it completely unravel for the Seahawks after a costly turnover or two.”

That’s the game it was. There will be plenty of time to discuss the 49ers – a team that couldn’t handle the 2022 Chicago Bears – but what a tremendous season for Pete Carroll and Geno Smith. Seattle’s over/under win total this season was 5.5. They won nine games, and Smith’s play creates off-season flexibility for them. If they identify a franchise quarterback in this draft, they’re well-positioned to select him. But it’s not a necessity for them in 2023.

Jaguars 31, Chargers 30

From the prediction: “Doug Pederson is a big game guy and Brandon Staley has absolutely no in-game feel. The latter will make a head-scratching decision (he always does) to decide this contest.” 

Analytics should be a complementary tool in football. They should not be the primary tool. Football is a game of emotion, coached with feel. The numbers may say “go for two here” but as a coach, you have to know if your team has struggled in short yardage, or if your quarterback is struggling with confidence issues, etc. Brandon Staley received heaps of praise from young football writers because they saw him as an analytical savior, going for every fourth down even when it cost his team games. Staley has zero in-game feel and that was evident Saturday night. After going up 27-0, the Chargers called eight run plays. Eight. Staley is a coach that will win games, and constantly be in the postseason, because he’s got one of the best quarterbacks in the sport. But in the postseason, where every decision is magnified, he’ll always be outmatched.

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Wednesday Thoughts from Around the League

| October 19th, 2022

We are entering the seventh week of the season and it’s an opportunity to take stock of the league. It might be the strangest beginning to a season in recent memory.

  • MVP: He’s averaging 330 yards passing per game. His TD/INT is 17/4. His passer rating is 109.1. His team is 5-1. Josh Allen is already +150 to win the MVP and I recommend betting him now because in a few weeks the bet might be off the board. The best team in the league also has the league’s best player.
  • Coach of the Year: Brian Daboll has done a wonderful job reinventing the culture in New Jersey, but their wins have been mostly smoke and mirrors. What Arthur Smith has done through six weeks in Atlanta is a legitimate revelation. The Falcons are 3-3, in first place in the NFC South, and they’ve actually been better than that. Their three losses are by a point, four points and a ridiculous roughing the passer penalty that deprived them the opportunity to beat Tom Brady. But even more importantly, Atlanta is one of the most entertaining teams in the league and that’s because of Smith’s offense.
  • When one watches the Packers, there is a bizarre trend. About five times a game, Aaron Rodgers just floats a ball deep down the field into double and triple coverage. The pass has almost zero chance of being completed but he doesn’t seem to mind. It’s as if he’s trying to prove a point as opposed to get a first down. Green Bay letting Davante Adams leave town is proving to be one of the worst personnel decisions a contender has made in recent memory.
  • The Raiders are good. They just don’t win.
  • The Vikings are not. But they don’t lose.
  • Are the Eagles a bit overrated at 6-0? Probably. Their games share a theme: get out to a big lead and hang on for dear life. But man, looking at their 11 remaining games, they’re unlikely to be underdogs a single time. Does that mean they’ll go undefeated? No. But they are headed to 13-14 wins minimum and the top seed in the conference.

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