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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Bears at Seahawks Game Preview: Fields vs. Seattle, Thoughts on the Wilson Trade that Wasn’t, Bears Win?!?

| December 23rd, 2021

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And there’s reason for optimism when it comes to the future of this franchise. There is young talent at some key positions, including quarterback. Seeing that young talent continue to develop over these final three games will only build excitement for the 2022 campaign.

Fields vs. Seattle’s Defense

This is still exclusively about Justin Fields, at least for the next month..

  • Seattle currently possesses the league’s worst pass defense, allowing 274 yards per game through the air. This is not a game for Matt Nagy to rely on his “run on first down unless someone pays me not to” strategy. This is a game to put on the rocket right arm of his young quarterback.
  • Seattle ranks 26th in QB hits and 27th in sacks. This is not a week where Fields should expect to be under a tremendous amount of pressure. (Seattle also played a pretty physical game with the Rams on Tuesday so this is a seriously short week for them.)
  • A Tweet from Nicholas Moreano: “#Bears coach Matt Nagy said that “it can be done” to incorporate more fast-tempo offense. That was something Justin Fields mentioned as being one of his strengths in his postgame press conference.” 
    • It’s obvious to anyone watching that Fields thrives in what we used to call “hurry-up” and is now referred to as “tempo”. One reason is because Chicago’s outside weapons are no good and tempo tires out defenders, giving folks like Damiere Byrd a serious advantage. (When criticizing the outside weapons, Darnell Mooney is, of course, exempt.)
    • Can we talk about how insane it is that the Bears have a rookie quarterback who has publicly admitted what he likes to do and a coach who has yet to seriously implement it 15 weeks into the season? Nagy’s 2021 self-implosion has been a thing to behold.
  • Seattle’s approach to the Rams was to limit their deep exposure so Matthew Stafford just peppered them with underneath stuff. This is a week to feature David Montgomery in the passing attack.

Video of the (Christmas) Week: Volume I

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