XFL Week 2 – Takeaways

We like to bring you a takeaway Tuesday during the NFL season, so why not extend it for a bit of XFL action? Week 2 is in the books and there are plenty of talking points to get our teeth into. Lets start in Tampa…….


2 Out Of 3 Are Bad


Aaron Murray may have disappointed in the Tampa Bay Vipers opener against New York but its safe to say his stock rose this week as he sat out the loss in Seattle with a foot injury. Backup Taylor Cornelius played even worse, a relief effort that still did not generate an offensive touchdown. Quinton Flowers may well get some plays behind center. Bearing in mind though he is primarily a running back, he is nothing more than a gadget player behind center. This was demonstrated by his screen pass that was picked off just outside of his own end zone. Yes Murray will need to improve, as will the whole Tampa squad, but he is the best QB option that they have. It seems a long time ago he was breaking SEC records but surely generating 1 touchdown pass is not too much to ask?

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ABC ActionNews

Defenders By Name, Defenders By Nature


It only feels right that the first shutout of the XFL went to the team called the defenders. A swarming defense harassed Matt McGloin all night as they recorded 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery. Anthony Johnson who had been traded from the Wildcats during the week made some big plays in limited playing time. You have to imagine once he gets fully up to speed with the playbook this defense will continue to go from strength to strength.

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NBC Sports

Not My Fault Gaffer


Un-rivaled access we were promised, and boy did it deliver on Saturday. Running into the halftime locker room we got to see the pleasure of Matt McGloin spitting his dummy out after an awful first half showing against the DC Defenders. Immature? Ill advised? Or just ultra competitive? Whichever way you want to dress it up, it wasn’t a good look for the Guardians so called leader when he threw basically everyone under the bus, except of course for himself! 

McGloin has proven to be tenacious throughout his football life. From walking on at Penn State to getting picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Oakland Raiders, dealing with tough situations is McGloin’s biggest strength. Expect a bounce back in week 3.

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Fansided

For The Love Of Football


A huge shout out to Eli Rogers who suited up for the Defenders, that despite the loss of his mother during the week. The funeral was actually being held at the time of the game but Rogers took to the field to help his team to a victory. He was heavily involved in the offence too, with several of his catches moving the chains. If anyone was in any doubt about the passion and commitment from the players in this league, then please doubt no more. The league is all about opportunities and Rogers is certainly determined to make the most of his.

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Bleacher Report

Not Exactly Hi-Ho Silvers


Importantly Seattle beat Tampa Bay. In a 10 week season, starting 0-2 is never going to be easy but don’t get too carried away. The Dragons weren’t exactly an offensive powerhouse however. A genuine committee approach at running back and plenty of dink and dunk from QB, Brandon Silvers. Yes he was down a few starters on the offensive line but minus his 68 yard bomb to Keenan Reynolds the aerial attack couldn’t even be described as pedestrian. This will be 1 to watch once the line is solidified.

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Seattle Times

Too Chilled Winston


Winston Moss thought he could do a better job with the LA defense than Pepper Johnson. The controversial firing of a DC after 1 game means the microscope is well and truly under the Wildcats defense. A switch to much more zone coverage, and the benefit of playing a rusty Landry Jones brought plenty of joy through the first 3 quarters, unfortunately a football game consists of 4. In the end the Renegades put up 25 points and more than 400 yards of total offense. There was success to be found both through the air and on the ground and the Wildcats need to find answers, quickly.

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SI.com

Mixing It Up


Talking of Dallas its no surprise to see Hal Mumme employ an offence set up to pass. That was in heavy use in Sunday’s win against Los Angeles with QB Landry Jones throwing for 305 yards while completing 70 percent of his passes after a shaky start. But the Renegades rushed for 158 yards, including 99 yards on 14 carries by Cameron Artis-Payne. If Dallas can continue to run like that, its passing game is going to be even more dangerous as teams have to set up to be able to defend the run.

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DraftKings Nation

Too Early To Talk MVP?


It’s no surprise that 2 signal callers dominate the early discussion after 2 weeks of the regular season. Cardale Jones has moved to 13-0 as starting QB (including his run with Ohio State) and has the defenders looking strong. Cardale has had some NFL exposure however so maybe more love should be going to Roughnecks QB, PJ Walker. 7 touchdowns in 2 weeks, an ability to shift in the pocket and a threat on the ground, he is displaying all of the characteristics you want from a modern day QB. Add in the intrigue surrounding the Carolina Panthers plans at the position and the Matt Rhule connection, I’d say keep your eyes peeled on this one.

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Yahoo News

St Louis Loves It’s Football


We could witness the most passionate home opener when the Battlehawks finally play a home game in week 3. It is looking like a 28,000 sell out in the Dome for the battle with Guardians in the only XFL market outside of a traditional NFL franchise. Of course the Rams were in town only a few short years ago but having your football team taken away does not take your passion for the game away. If TV ratings are anything to go by, the Battlehawks may well be the most loved team in the city, already doubling the viewership of the well established St Louis Blues ice hockey team. Get ready for more noise and atmosphere from the sidelines as the hometown fans look forward to welcoming their new heroes.

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St. Louis Post

2 weeks in and there is no sign of a loss in momentum. The league built on its successful opening weekend with a solid offering in week 2. Superior QB play is already proving to be a difference maker, which should surprise nobody, but it will be interesting to see how the other teams respond. It may only be week 3 but are we already talking about must win games for Tampa and LA this weekend? Do the Defenders and Roughnecks continue to set the pace? Make sure to tune in to the full10yards XFL podcast as myself and Michael break it all down in audio form, and be sure to check out Michael’s in depth game previews ahead of the weekends action.

Foe the love of football – for another week!

Initial Impressions of XFL 2020

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

I retweeted out the following statement over the weekend:

I saw plenty of comments of the caliber, “It’s not as good as the NFL”. Really? Is that the standard we are expecting on opening weekend, or ever for that matter? The NFL has just celebrated its 100th season, has established fan bases, a global audience and obviously the best players on the planet. Throw in 32 rich owners, a truck load of TV money and I’d say its pretty safe to assume the NFL will always reign supreme. 

xfl.com

That is exactly where the original concept of the XFL failed, it tried too hard to compete. When it realized that the main attraction would be the standard of play and it was naturally lacking they tried to pump up on the sex and violence to draw in viewers. Too much WWE and not enough football lead to its quick demise, but XFL 2.0 already feels different. With the opening weekend in the books, lets have some takeaways from my initial impressions.


The Lack of WWE was a Good Thing


Apart from the odd ringing out of the Undertaker’s “gong” between some plays you wouldn’t have known that Vince McMahon was involved with XFL this time around. The only other connection I saw was, Jordan Smallwood celebrating his 2 touchdowns with a Randy Orton style pose. However, when you consider that Gronk and more recently George Kittle have hyped up WWE whilst in the NFL, you could hardly see this as an issue. The focus was very much on the football, no plugs for Smackdown (I thought FOX might go there), no superstars in the crowd or tossing the coin and most importantly, no Jerry “The King” Lawler snooping through the cheerleaders locker room at halftime. 

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wrestlingnews.com

The Halftime Alternative


So if the decision was made to not show half naked cheerleaders at halftime then what exactly were we going to get instead? Well, here is a novel idea…… some actual focus on coaching and tactics. We hear a lot on NFL broadcasts about halftime adjustments but never get to actually see or hear any of it being discussed in the locker room. Thanks to the access that the broadcasters have during the XFL we actually get a view inside the locker room to find out what tweaks the coaches are implementing. A great addition to the broadcast and surely better than listening to the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Phil Simms and company state the obvious for 10 minutes or so.


The Coverage


We were told ahead of time to expect unrivaled access to the teams throughout the broadcast and the opening weekend did not disappoint. Hearing Pep Hamilton talk his offence through an entire play as it developed was a great insight into the headset. Sideline interviews had mixed results with an early “F bomb” being dropped and the sideline reporter trying to chat with a cornerback who was trying to get back on the field providing 2 of the more amusing moments. The general concept however was again good and providing the timing is right and its not overly used it can be a big enhancement.

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the18.com

There wasn’t a horrendous commentary booth to be found, and in fact the crew of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen was a nice surprise. The graphics were slick with FOX continuing the presentation style that they debuted during the Superbowl. Even the preview shows that were available via the XFL youtube channel were good 15 minute updates to get you set for the game. Overall I enjoyed the coverage, even though I wish BT sport would give some opportunities to upcoming media enthusiasts to get in a UK studio (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

Hearing the officials debate calls and the replay booth (armed with an Xbox controller) digesting footage of  plays under review was also another good addition. I’ve always liked Dean Blandino and it was good to see him pop up every now and again to provide some clarity on what had just been called and why.


Crowds


Just before kick off it was revealed that the league has already sold more tickets for its debut season than the AAF did for the entirety of its run. It’s a great sign for the longevity prospects of the league. Playing predominantly in markets with existing NFL teams may have raised a few eyebrows, but there was plenty of passion on display from the stands in week 1.

Playing in smaller stadiums, or only selling portions of the larger venues both seem sensible decisions in the early going. Fans who were in attendance made plenty of noise and seemingly had purchased plenty of merchandise ahead of opening weekend. With 4 teams obviously still to play a home opener this will be 1 to monitor.

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loudontimes.com

Rule Changes


I’m yet to find somebody who doesn’t love the new kick off rule. I really hope that the NFL was paying close attention because one of the most exciting plays in football certainly has life in the XFL. It was strange on the eyes to begin with as the poor kicker stood alone in his own half but the concept worked brilliantly. If safety is the primary concern on this play then I believe we have found a perfectly acceptable answer. 

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CBSSports

The PAT adds an intriguing strategy element and I’m sure it will grow organically over time. The idea that an 18 point lead is only a 2 possession game means again that the original concept has legs. I would probably like to see an option to kick for 1 point included but it has to be for argument sake a 50 yard attempt so that it’s not a “gimme”.

The timing rules inside of 2 minutes are again a good concept to allow for more offence with the clock stoppages opening up the entire playbook. That however brings me to my 1 minor complaint of the weekend, the games took too long. I say that in the context of the league marketing itself as a fast paced game. A continual running clock (outside of 2 minutes), fewer timeouts and a shorter halftime were all intended to shave time off the game.

The reality saw games around the 3 hour mark, with the 2nd game on Saturday actually kicking off before the 1st game had finished. It’s by no means a disaster but if the XFL wants to market itself as the place to see a faster game then it needs to produce 1.


Bring on Week 2


Near enough everything that was wrong in 2001 was put right on opening weekend of 2020. What was seen was some solid, hard-hitting football with some highlight reel plays thrown in. The presentation was excellent and as the league continues to learn will no doubt be refined throughout the season. 

It feels only right as a Browns fan that I decided to root for the team that put up the fewest points in week 1. If it means I now get to be miserable for another 10 weekends every year then I’m all for it. More football is a good thing! Yes, it’s no NFL – IT’S NOT TRYING TO BE! 

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Bleacher Report

We will have game reviews and previews each week on www.full10yards.com be sure to check them out.

Season in Review – Baltimore Ravens

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

In another installment of our NFL series looking back at the 2019 season, it’s time to put the Baltimore Ravens under the spotlight.


entering the season


The shiny new toy of the NFL, Lamar Jackson had a full offseason as starter to help aid his progression. After committing to Lamar Jackson the talk of the off season was could the Ravens be sustainable in their offensive style. An excellent end to 2018/19 came crashing down in the playoffs as the Chargers appeared to show everyone how to stop the offence.

Several key pieces left on the defensive side of the ball as the the defensive turnstile gate was in full swing with the likes of Zadarius Smith going out, but Adding Earl Thomas was a major coup to provide some quality play and veteran leadership in the secondary.

The first season in the post Ozzie Newsome era appeared to be one of offensive development and defensive rebuilding.


during the season


59 points in their opening game of the season was a pretty decisive answer to how this offence would look. Lamar Jackson had time in the pocket and threw to wide open receivers and the ground game looked impressive.

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Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The next few weeks saw some close contests with the ravens losing 2 games in that stretch, but the season really got its jolt in week 7. Travelling to Seattle the Ravens dominated by a score of 30-16 and then never looked back.

A demolition job of none other than the New England Patriots followed in the following week as the Ravens staked their claim on being the class of the AFC.

The offence then put up 49 against the Bengals, 41 against the Texans and 45 against the Rams in an impressive stretch of production. A huge week 13 win against the 49ers kicked off December and 3 more routine wins wrapped up the number 1 seed in the AFC for the first time in their franchise history. The stellar play in all 3 phases of the game rewarded the team with an impressive 12 pro bowl selections.

Image Credit – Patrick Smith/Getty

Lamar Jackson unanimously won the MVP award as he broke the single season rushing record for a QB, whilst improving his passing game to the point of being a legitimate dual threat by having the most passing touchdowns in the regular season.  The Baltimore Ravens were 1st in points per game scored and 3rd in defensive points given up.

With a 1st round bye secured, it was a shock to everyone when they fell to the Tennessee Titans at home in the divisional round, with some people questioning whether Lamar Jackson can do it in the big games.


OFFSEASON OUTLOOK

The exciting thing for the Ravens is that they have a young core to continue to build around offensively. Lamar Jackson will be paired with Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown for years to come and young running back Justice Hill has flashed when spelling Mark Ingram for a series here and there. The future of Greg Roman seems to be secure for another season as he was overlooked for any open HC vacancy, which will be music to the ears of Ravens fans. He and John Harbaugh were winners at the NFL Honours night, picking up Assistant Coach and Coach of the Year respectively.

Defensively, the Ravens will look to get some younger pieces into the group as veterans Earl Thomas and Marcus Peters (acquired this season) can’t go on forever. Adding a veteran pass catcher on the outside would also not be a surprise

The Ravens look primed for a sustained few years of ultra competitive football. Defenses have yet to find a way to consistently stop Lamar Jackson and company and until they do it is hard to look past these Ravens.

The obvious concern is an injury to Jackson. He is such a unique player and the ravens deserve praise for tailoring everything around him but could anyone else be successful in this scheme?

Season in Review – Cincinnati Bengals

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Today’s flashback to the 2019 NFL season is through the lens of Bengals fans. Let’s get to it!


entering the season

All off season it seemed as though the entire NFL was on the hunt for the “next Sean McVay”. Well the winners of that race was to be the Bengals as they snagged Zac Taylor to lead the franchise after finally parting ways with Marvin Lewis.

Was this finally the year that Andy Dalton moved out of the definition of bang average to something better than that? Would the offence have more variety and explosion? Could AJ Green stay healthy?

Defensively there was a lack of firepower going in and the Bengals polarised opinion form being basement dwellers to one of the league’s most under-rated teams.


during the season

On the road in week 1 to Seattle is never an easy assignment but the Bengals pushed them all the way and were unfortunate not to leave with a win.

Some further close defeats followed at the hands of the Bills, Cardinals and Ravens as the Bengals failed to register in the win column before making the trip across the pond to battle the rams at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately for UK fans the losing streak continued as the Rams took care of business. Attention started to turn towards the 2020 season and if the Bengals could register a win at all during the campaign.

Image Credit – Wilfredo Lee / AP

A move at quarterback followed the bye week with Ryan Finley, who had been impressive in preseason, given the opportunity to start week 10. His 3 game audition bought 3 more defeats to move the record to 0-11 before the ginger prince was reinstated into the lineup for the week 13 encounter with the Jets.

December 1st was the 1st win of the Bengals season and in the coaching career of Zac Taylor as the Bengals caught the Jets on one of their regular an off days to win 22-6. A return to losing ways followed however and a week 16 loss to the Miami Dolphins secured the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft for the Bengals.


offseason outlook

The excitement will now build for the franchise as we head towards the draft. Most draft analysts will have them slated to take Joe Burrow to become the signal caller on a team that has had 10 years of middling play at the position. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the problems on this team all stem from Andy Dalton.

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Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty

There are issues on the offensive line (seemingly always), AJ Green never saw the field this year and is likely done in the jungle so a new wide receiver is needed.

Upgrades are required throughout the defence and it would be wrong to not at least debate if Zac Taylor is the right guy after a 2 win season.

There appears to be plenty of work ahead in Cincinnati to reshape the Bengals into a competitive unit. I wouldn’t rule out a trade down from number 1 overall if the can find a willing trade partner, with the Dolphins sitting at 5 (and armed with ammo) the most likely candidate in this scenario. 

Season in Review – Cleveland Browns

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Next stop in our whistlestop tour of the NFL 2019 season, today we head to the AFC North and breakdown the laughing stock of the NFL over the last few years, the Cleveland Browns.


entering the season

Has there ever been more hype around a team as there was regarding the Browns this past off season?

Buoyed by an encouraging end to the 2018/2019 campaign and the acquisition of a certain Odell Beckham Jr, big things were expected of Baker Mayfield in his second season behind center.

The trenches on both sides of the ball were a concern going in but the volume of quality skill players meant a first winning season of the decade was the absolute minimum expectation with playoff football being the realistic aim.


During the season

It unfortunately unravelled pretty quickly. The Titans trounced the Browns in week 1 at home was a sign of things to come.

Despite evening up their record at 2-2 with a huge road win against the Ravens no less, the inconsistencies on the team were obvious. Cue a 4 game losing streak and all of a sudden the Browns were in a hole.

Playoff hopes were reignited after wins over the Bills and Steelers but that November 14th game effectively ended the Browns season.

Myles Garrett was suspended for the rest of the 2019 season, at least, in response to the fight he participated in on Thursday.
Image Credit – Ron Schwane / AP

With the game wrapped up a mass brawl ensued on a meaningless garbage time play. It ended with Myles Garrett, who had been the Browns stand out defender on the year, swinging his helmet at Mason Rudolph. An indefinite suspension followed and with it, any realistic hopes that the browns retained of the playoffs vanished.

Further inconsistent play, riddled with baffling coaching decisions and play calling mean the Browns finish the decade as the only NFL team without a winning record. 


offseason outlook

It feels like it is said every off season, but make no mistake this is a huge one for the browns. A coaching change already in the books with Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski replacing Freddy Kitchens. Not quite the veteran presence to control the locker room and stamp out the indiscipline that is required but we’ll wait and see.

They still have unquestionable young talent throughout the roster in the likes of Nick Chubb (NFL rushing leader), Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and assuming no trades, they will bring back OBJ and Jarvis Landry again.

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Image Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty

The bigger question is who is Baker Mayfield? The cocky and arrogant gunslinger who let his play do the talking in year 1, or the often sulking, off target and off timing thrower we saw in year 2.

The offensive and defensive line should be the priority in the off season. The tackle positions on the offensive line have been a liability all year and 2 quality starters are required there. On the defensive side, it is a case of adding quality depth to the 4 starters, assuming Myles Garrett is reinstated into the league. The browns are likely to move on from a few higher earners in Damarious Randall and Christian Kirksey so look for another aggressive off season from the front office.

Many of the reasons for optimism at the start of this campaign roll over into next year. The Browns have a young core to build around and with the right guidance and additions on the lines, should be primed for a nice bounce back campaign.

This is the Browns though, so please, don’t quote me on that!

Full10Takeaways – Week 10

By Shaun Blundell, Tim Monk and Lawrence Vos

Week 10 saw shocks, drops and stops as the 49ers tasted their first defeat, the Saints got pummelled by the Falcons and the Browns won!

Here are 10 takeaways from week 10 in the NFL:


Baker Mayfield Feeling More at Home

Image Credit – John Kuntz / cleveland.com

A first home win of the season for Baker Mayfield emphasised his improved play over the past 3 weeks. Riddled with turnovers and poor decision making the 2nd year QB had tossed 11 interceptions and committed 3 fumbles in the opening half a dozen games of the season. Fast forward 3 weeks and games against good pass defences in New England, Denver and Buffalo and Mayfield has only added 1 takeaway to those numbers.

He looks more decisive in the pocket and his completion rate of 68.4% on Sunday was a season-high. He regularly looked for his top 2 targets in Jarvis Landry and OBJ whilst leaning on a stout run game. The entrance of Kareem Hunt into the offence gives the Browns a new dimension and with a favourable schedule on tap a winning streak is a realistic possibility.

The Browns #6 seed credentials will be key to any such possibilities.


Big Man Rumbling

Image Credit – Frederick Breedon / Getty Images

“Never judge a book by its cover”. The age old phrase that continually catches all of us out. Derrick Henry is a home run hitter! His scamper for 68 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday marked his 4th touchdown run of over 65 yards since 2017 which is the most by any player in the NFL over that span.

His almost customary plunge from 1 yard away was tacked onto his big day as he gashed the Chiefs woeful run defence to the tune of 23 carries for 188 yards with 2 touchdowns. Henry has often been used in a timeshare during his time in the league but Mike Vrabel appears to have figured out that he gets better with more usage.

The only player outside of a few Tannehill scramble to carry the ball on Sunday, Henry is on pace for 1300 yards plus on the campaign for a Titans team that are as unpredictable as the British weather.


Just Win Baby

Image Credit – AP Photo

“Knock on wood if you are with me”. Who would have thought that when Jon Gruden continuously barked those words throughout hard knocks that his Raiders team would be in with a realistic opportunity of competing for a division title?

Thursday night football was a huge victory in the division that put the Raiders right on the heels of the Chiefs. A performance that saw yet another Derek Carr 4th quarter comeback win moved the Raiders to 5-4. Josh Jacobs continues to look like the runaway winner of offensive rookie of the year, scoring the game winner in this one.

Winnable games upcoming against the Dolphins and Jets next on the schedule have the silver and black primed for a late season playoff run. Maybe, just maybe that bloke who used to commentate on Monday Night Football can actually still coach?


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You spin me right round baby right round like a record

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Image Credit: Frank Victores / AP

If you have seen a better spin move this season than the one made by Lamar Jackson on his TD run this weekend you will have either been at the World Yo-Yo championships or at some kind of ice skating Olympic qualifier.

In 2018 we were running out of superlatives to describe Patrick Mahomes, and this season the same is getting said about the Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who is now getting MVP type chatter beyond his own appreciative teammates.

Yes this was the 0-9 Bungles L-Jax faced, but if you have not seen the move he made mid-run against Cincy then find it online and start to drool. Fantasy fans were left a little bit sore after the Ravens had such a ridiculous lead they let Lamar sit for the fourth quarter whilst former running QB phenom Robert Griffith III performed mop-up duties.

Talking of RG3 Coach Harbaugh’s decision to line up the former Baylor superstar as a running back in a split-backs formation was a treat, and then watching L-Jax pitch to him on an outside run was masterful. 


Falcons D rises from the ashes

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Image Credit: Rusty Costanza / AP

It’s supposed to be a Phoenix that rises from the ashes, but after NFL alignment some years ago there is no longer a team in that said city. Instead we have to make reference to another feathered friend that has arisen from the depths of despair.

The Atlanta Falcons beating the 7-1 New Orleans Saints was the biggest upset this season since Darnold and the Jets downed the Cowboys.The Falcons defense had 6 sacks including 2.5 from Grady Jarrett.

This by itself is not headline worthy, but considering the team had 7 sacks all season before this point showed that sticking a rocket in places rockets should not be placed sometimes works. The Saints offense was held without a touchdown and Alvin Kamara the so-called fantasy stud had 74 total yards, including just 24 on the ground.

We all know it’s too late for the Dirty Birds to resurrect their season, but sometimes wins like this can turn around fortunes in the long term. One question to quietly ask is ‘was it right to bring back Brees considering Teddy’s hot streak?’


Anti-tank missiles spotted in Miami

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Image Credit: Bobby Ellis / Getty

Maybe they are not red hot, but the Miami Dolphins are on the boil after securing their second consecutive win in a season that was supposed to be all about displaying ineptitude not grizzly bearded attitude.

Ryan Fitzmagic may not win another game in Miami but he will forever be remembered for bringing some respect to a franchise that has been written off more than a scrapyard full of old bangers. The contrast in styles between Lamar Jackson’s mesmerising TD run and Fitzmagic’s plough through the field for his score was like chalk and cheese, but both ended up in exactly the same result – six points and the extension of a lead.

Sympathies do go out to the team Miami beat in Week 10 as the Indianapolis Colts are akin to a M.A.S.H. unit, especially at WR, so this was a great time for the ‘Fins to paddle their way to a victory. Miami now have their sights set on at least a third win in Week 17 when they face Tom Brady and the Patriots. 


Steel-ing another W

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Image Credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty

If you listened to the F10Y Week 10 look ahead podcast Lawrence predicted a Steelers win against a Los Angeles Rams team that is looking like a shrivelled balloon, the type you might find on the floor when sweeping up from say a Super Bowl party.

The Steelers are using gorilla glue, frog tape and any other legally sanctioned substance to patch together wins against half-decent opponents and despite the criticism Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph is hanging in there. It’s a little reminiscent of Big Ben Roethliberger’s rookie season when he led the team to a 15-1 record despite performances that were not exactly pretty.

The Steelers now boast a four-game win streak, and their first above .500 record of the season. With Cleveland twice, the Bungles and the Cardinals ahead we could be looking at a rather strong 9-4 Steelers team a long time before Rudolph the Kyle nosed reindeer takes to the skies. 


Vikings run and plunder a win

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Image Credit: Michael Ainsworth / AP

He can’t win in prime-time, he has a routine he can’t break, he crumbles under pressure. Three common perceptions of Vikings QB Kirk ‘you like that’ Cousins in big and important games. Three perceptions that were proven to be untrue on Sunday night as Minnesota came away from Jerry’s world having pillaged a big ol’ bag of booty including a big shiny W.

To be fair this was not a game dominated by clutch Cousins passes, as the Vikings ran, ran and ran some more, including one 10 play touchdown drive that was on the ground from start to finish.

The MVP conversation as usual is dominated by special quarterbacks and a dash of Run CMC, but at the pace he is going and the rate he is being fed the ball, don’t be surprised if Dalvin Cook makes a ’late run’ for the NFL’s most valuable player.

The Vikings remain one game behind the Packers in the NFC North, but things can change quickly. 


HEY mr wilson!

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Image Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks dealt the San Francisco 49ers teir first loss of the season. No surprise that current MVP favourite Russell Wilson was the main culprit for the defeat.

In what was a Monday Night Classic, the performance of Russell Wilson may have left the thoughts of “what if” for 49ers fans as Jimmy G on the other side was many classes below the Seahawks signal caller.

The 49ers and Jimmy G had a chance to seal it in overtime where perhaps a better thrown ball to Deebo Samuel on the sideline in stride would have seen a walk off touchdown. The ensuing drive saw Wilson take the Seahawks 40 yards in 81 seconds (no timeouts) to allow Jason Myers’ to score from a 42 yard field goal with 4 seconds left on the clock.

With Full10Yards favourite Tyler Lockett being taken to hospital, I’m sure Russell Wilson will be able to overcome any time that he may miss to add to the long list of adversities he’s been able to overcome in this offence.


Ryan tanne-hero

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Image Credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty

It was billed as the second coming of Patrick Mahomes but it was the otehr Quarterback at Nissan Stadium that took the plaudits.

Ryan Tannehill completed his 3rd 4th quarter winning drive this season in just 4 games as the starter. That is only 1 behind the season leaders Josh Allen and Russell Wilson.

The drive, which started with 1:21 on the clock, ended just 58 seconds later with a 23 yard touchdown throw to big off season free agent WR signing Adam Humphries also included a 18 yard scramble on the first play

The decision to bench Marcus Mariota may be a game or two too late and could potentially cost the Titans a playoff berth this season, the redeeming factor though, is that they may not have to go searching for a QB in next year’s draft.

For Tannehill, frequently lambasted at his poor quarterback play, will rightly get the plaudits in this one though, which is an incredible feet considering the jumping Patrick Mahomes was clearly in the spotlight. Questions now turn to Adam Gase, who coached him in Miami, as to why he looked so average in a teal jersey.

Full10Lookaheads – Week 10

By Lawrence Vos and Tim Monk

Sunday night football


Massive game for those chasing the division titles in the NFC and NFC North as the Dallas Cowboys host the Minnesota Vikings.

With Philadelphia on a bye, the Cowboys need to win to keep their heads just in front of Philadelphia and it’s looking fairly likely that the 2nd placed team in the East could miss out on the playoffs.

Minnesota at 6-3 still sit one game behind Green Bay over in the North and whilst, this one is possibly less important for the #SKOL army, they don’t want to run the risk of running in to the cowboys for the wildcard and losing on the head to head tie breaker.

It may be a tight, cagey affair on Sunday Night Football, and that’s just Kirk Cousins we are talking about. Whilst Kirk most recently won vs the Redskins on Primetime television on TNF, it is more than well documented that Cousins can have the tendency to be a rabbit in the floodlights when push comes to shove.

Can Captain Kirk pull his socks up and lead his Minnesota team to a victory this week? His current record of 6-13 in primetime games suggests not.


Life after Cam

Image Credit: JEFF SINER

It’s going to be interesting watching how Kyle Allen performs down the stretch now that he is going to be starting from here on out.

Cam Newton has recently landed on Injured reserve, leaving us to wonder whether Cam Newton will ever be seen in a Carolina jersey again (look out for an article on that coming your way) but now you have to debate whether the pressure is now more on Kyle Allen to perform as he is “the guy” or whether there is less pressure on him as he no longer has to look over his shoulder or live in Cam’s shadow.

Kyle Allen does have the pressure of getting the Panthers to the playoffs though as they are right there in the thick of the wildcard race and that adventure makes it’s next stop at Lambeau Field.


Lights, Kamara, Action!

Image Credit: SI.com

Some of the NFL’s biggest superstars should be returning to the field this week with Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara should be available to suit up for their respective teams.

It’s fair to say though that the rest of the roster and the Head coaches has performed admirably in their absences over the past few weeks.

It says a lot about the adaptability of these teams to be able to read off a different script and still pull out the level of performances that they have. Unfortunately now for the rest of the league, two of th most potent and high octane offences get arguably, their main cogs back.

Everyone beware!


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Will Wilson win in the West?

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Image Credit: John Bazemore / AP

MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson and the Seahawks travel to Levi’s stadium to face the last undefeated remaining team in the 49ers.

A win for the Seahawks here and the NFC West is all to play for. A win for the 49ers, and the NFC West is pretty much all wrapped up. Russell Wilson is coming off a 5TD performance vs the Buccaneers last week so confidence couldn’t be much higher, and Josh Gordon has just walked through the door.

However, he will need to be at the peak of his powers once again as he faces one of the best defences in the league away from home to stand any chance of picking up the win on Monday Night Football.


Nowhere for haters to Hyde any more

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Image Credit: Ian Walton / AP

We are just over the half-way point of the season and the general trend for feeding a lead back seems to be on the rise from twelve months ago, or maybe there has simply been less injuries at the RB position.

Standing at number eight in the 2019 rushing charts is a back that has bounced around the league and is now on his fifth team. This season, based on current projections, Carlos Hyde will break all of his own personal rushing records, and easily have his first 1,000+ season.

Hyde had two monster runs at Wembley last week, even if the longest resulted in a fumble on the goal line. His opening carry was as important as it was a tone-setter for the Texans – a 9 yard dart. That drive ended with Houston taking a 3-0 lead. Hyde ended the game with 160 yards rushing and the respect of over 80,000 fans.

For someone who never settled in Cleveland or Jacksonville, and didn’t even make it to the regular season in KC, this is a genuine comeback player of the year candidate. No need to Hyde in the shadows any more Carlos.


We’re all going on a Chubb-Hunt

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Image Credit: Ron Schwane / AP

Two seasons ago Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards, outpacing Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell as a rookie.

Fast forward to Week 10 2019 and Hunt finally makes his season debut for the Cleveland Browns. His last NFL action was over a season ago in the game of the season as the Rams beat the Chiefs 54-51. Hunt was cut by the Chiefs for lying, when questioned, about an incident of domestic abuse that was recorded and went on to be shared on TMZ.

Many people are still divided as to Hunt’s ability to pick up his career after a half-season suspension, and the majority of teams would have stayed away from signing him because of what they saw. It does seem that in the U.S.A. and especially the NFL that players in the main get a second chance despite committing acts that are completely unacceptable.

Hunt has been out a year and starting Browns tailback Nick Chubb is no slouch, but Cleveland do need to snap out of their nightmare stretch and Hunt could offer that spark in the red zone.


Steelers storming back? 

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Image Credit: Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports

With Big Ben Roethlisberger out for the season it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Following an abysmal 0-3 start Steelers are on a three game win streak and beyond the Rams face the Browns twice, Bengals and Cardinals weeks 11 to 14. Mason Rudolph has been streaky but is hanging in there. The Steelers run game has been a bit under par and James Connor is ruled out of this weekend’s contest. Another big dose of Swiss army knife Jaylen Samuels is expected. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has been underwhelming 33-459 and 3 touchdowns and the #2 and #3 WRs Dionate Johnson and James Washington have been uninspiring.

Despite all this adversity the Steelers are on a three-game win streak and have only lost once, in an epic tussle against the Ravens, since the start of October. 1-4 to a genuinely possible 9-4 record will save Mike Tomlin his job and put the Steelers in an improbable playoff position. Enjoy Sunday’s game it will be a barnstormer. 


Godwin and Evans epic season wasted

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Image Credit: Mark LoMoglio / AP

What a shame that easily the best wide receiver combination in the NFL at the half-way point, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, are on a 2-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.

The Godwin/Evans combo has 104 catches, 1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns. Outside of this pairing any other WR combined have 14 catches for 145 yards and one score. Evans and Godwin have moved the chains 82 times between them to date and together are averaging 100 yards in the air each per game.

Under normal circumstances this pairing would equate to wins, but they are getting thrown the ball from an erratic Jameis Winston who goes from a 5 interception game (at Tottenham v Panthers) to a zero pick impressive display on the road at Seattle.

The Buccs offensive line is part of the problem, with Winston already on the receiving end of 30 sacks. It will be fun to watch this combo battle it out for the most impressive stat line. Who said both are going to the Pro-Bowl – I did right here! 


Doggedly avoiding a cat-astrophe 

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Image Credit: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports

In a sports league filled with bears, lions, Bengal tigers, jaguars, broncos, rams, panthers, and colts it took a four-legged friend to stroll across an NFL field last week to create a media furore akin to a niptastic Super Bowl reveal.

Some of the best social media and digital activity includes a mocked up Madden 21 cover featuring the black cat along with the Panini Huddle digital trading card app that issued a special cat card with a paw-print autograph. There has been previous animal hijinx on NFL fields before, a simple YouTube search will reveal squirrels and pigeons causing chaos in recent years.

Reality is that there are canines that make it into the seating areas of every NFL stadium every week, even when teams play in London, after all where would we be without a delightful half-time hot dog !!!! 

Full10Takeaways – Week 9

By Tim Monk, Shaun Blundell and Lawrence Vos

Week 9 in the NFL saw the an undefeated team lose, an unsuccessful team win and Houston Texans demolish Minshew Mania in the final game of the International Series in London.

Here’s what else to take away from the weekend’s action.


And then there was one

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Image Credit: Getty Images

With the Ravens beating the Patriots on SNF, that leaves just the San Francisco 49ers as the last undefeated team. The 49ers themselves were run close on TNF by Arizona and as well all know, anything can happen on any given Sunday.

With the schedule toughening up slightly down he stretch, it’ll be a tough ask to expect the 49ers to go the distance, but i am sure their main priority will be to clinch the division and a 1st round bye in January.

They’ll be kept honest from here on out as the Seahawks and Rams are not too far back so the pressure will be on all the way to week 17.


Kiss my butt-ker

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Image Credit:Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

In a slobberknocker from the early slate, the game between 2 of the better teams in the NFL got in on and the Chiefs were able to come away with the win due to the boot of Harrison Butker.

We all know about the fragility and volatility of kickers, their jobs and reliability but the Chiefs kicker put in a textbook effort that even Johnny Wilkinson would have been proud of.

With his perfect performance of 4/4 on FG (including a 54yard long) and his 2 XPs, Harrison Butker has surpassed HOF Jan Stenerud (356) for the 2nd-most points scored through a player’s first 3 seasons in Chiefs history (trailing only Cairo Santos).

I wonder what price Chicago would pay for him…


Bears Down

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Image Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

Talking of Chicago, there are some real troubles in Illinois. The first half was. not. pretty.

The last time these two met, it was in the divisional round of the playoffs last year (#doubledoink) and ever since that class, it’s all been downhill since.

Mitchell Trubisky had just 2 passing yards at the end of the 1st quarter, the Bears gained their first down INSIDE THE 2 MINUTE warning of the 1st half. Whilst they gained some traction in the 2nd half, if you can call it that (Trubisky ended up with just 10 completions for 125 yards) they were out of sight at that point with no hope of winning the game.

Nagy, Trubisky and even the defence which committed more offsides than a Fillippo Inzaghi masterclass, are all under fire for their performances to date this season.

What made matters worse, returning former Bears Alshon Jeffrey and touchdown scorer Jordan Howard enjoyed a good day on their new teams. They would have gained plenty of pleasure from heaping more misery on their former employers.

For Chicago, they must all be feeling like grizzlys with sore heads.


lockett and load it

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Image Credit: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times

With the 12 currently enjoying the prospect of Josh Gordon joining the wide receiving core imminiently, it’s another of their wideouts that is stealing the show.

The Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett connection is pure poetry in motion and it’s no flash in the pan.

Last season Wilson enjoyed a perfect passer rating when throwing to #16 and it’s easy to see that this has carried forward to this season.

Since the start of last season, Lockett has hauled in 103 receptions from 124 targets, averaging over 14 yards per target and a healthy 83% catch rate. For a team that use a run heavy approah, you could say that Lockett is just as important to the team as QB Russell Wilson and Chris Carson.

Lockett, a former 3rd round pick in 2015 is still searching for his 1st 1000 yard season with the Seahawks but with 615 receiving yards at the half way point, he looks certain to accomplish that achievement. He’s turning into one of the league’s best wide receivers and certainly one of the most reliable.

That will be music to the ears of Pete Caroll, Russell Wilson and the 12 as they make a push for the postseason.


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The Tank Continues…..

Image Credit – Mark Brown / Getty Images

We have been witnessing a team intent on losing in South Florida for what feels like the entire season. That continued this weekend, but not from the Dolphins themselves who chalked up their first win of the season. The narrative has been that Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them the best opportunity to win and he had himself a nice afternoon, throwing 3 touchdown passes with preseason darling Preston Williams finding the end zone twice.

Surely Adam Gase will be one and done in New York and that should signal the end of his NFL head coaching opportunities for the foreseeable future. The supposed quarterback whisperer oversaw a performance from Sam Darnold that lacked any explosion as short range passing to Jamison Crowder, Lev Bell and Ryan Griffin dominated the game plan. Much optimism in the preseason feels like a distant memory and give me the Dolphins right now to finish with a better record at season end than the men in green.


Same Old Browns

Image Credit – Eric Fox / Getty Images

Remind me next year to not buy into any hype. Another Sunday, another defeat for the Cleveland Browns and the likelihood is that you can “stick a fork in them” when it comes to playoff aspirations. A team that has preached the importance of discipline and execution every day of the week, once again fails to deliver that mantra on Sunday. This weekend it was Jarvis Landry and OBJ wearing cleats which violated the leagues uniform policy. Not to be outdone the starting free safety then had a twitter meltdown and threatened to fight and kill anyone who rightly criticized his awful performance.  

This is a team that looks lost and unfortunately the captain of the ship appears to be all at sea also. Freddie Kitchens continues to make puzzling play calls and personnel decisions such as having Nick Chubb on the bench for 2 running plays inside the Broncos 5 yard line. That sequence led to a turnover on downs and the Broncos marched the field to all but ice the game. In truth, it never felt like the Browns would do anything other than find another way to lose on Sunday.


Backing Up The Backup

Image Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar

Jacoby Brissett has played so well this season that the Colts haven’t had to mourn the loss of Andrew Luck on the eve of the season too much. Brissett has proven to be a more than capable starter who has marshalled the troops to a respectable position. Check the injury news this week though as he suffered what appeared to be a nasty looking injury when one of his own lineman first stood and then fell on his leg.

The initial look didn’t look good, but there was encouragement that he walked off the field under his own power, and remained on the sidelines throughout. The Colts will be desperate to get him back as soon as possible but will be fearing the worst as Frank Reich explained it could be an MCL sprain. Brian Hoyer came in and looked pretty much as he always does and proved why he was signed to fulfill the role of backup. The Colts will be hoping in a competitive division that they don’t have to play the backup to the initial backup for very long. 


Double Dolphins celebrations

Image Credit: USA Today Sports / SI

Not only did Week 9 witness the Miami Dolphins win their first game of the 2019 season on Sunday, their legendary 1972 undefeated team remain the only squad to go through a whole season without a loss.

Baltimore Ravens second year QB Lamar Jackson not only got the win against the New England Patriots, he managed to personally elevate himself into the running for NFL MVP in the same game. LJax and the dominant running game stomped all over the Patriots for another team 200+ yards on the ground, and three rushing scores.

Mark Ingram went over 100 yards and LJax scored twice on the ground and once in the air. The scorer of the Ravens passing td was none other than Nick Boyle, a backup tight end, and five year veteran of the NFL, who up until Sunday had bizarrely never scored a touchdown.

I hope he didn’t get too excited and throw the ball into the crowd. At his current rate he won’t get another leather souvenir of that type until 2024. 


Minshew Mania mangled at Wembley

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Image Credit: Alex Davidson / Getty Images

The 80,000+ crowd on Sunday were treated to plenty of replica moustaches, and even some authentic ones, along with an assortment of bandanas and handkerchiefs wrapped around fans heads as they dressed up in respect of Jacksonville Jaguars rookie QB sensation Gardner Minshew III.

Unfortunately the real Gardner Minshew failed to board the plane from Florida last week as fans were left watching a sixth round rookie perform like a sixth round rookie. Minshew Mania misfired for 60 minutes, including two interceptions, three sacks allowed and two fumbles lost, as the Houston Texans, in large part thanks to two seismic runs from Carlos Hyde, dominated a game that was billed to be a shootout. The 26-3 win for the Texans would have likely been even bigger if their All-Pro DE J.J. Watt would have been playing.

I know its not Halloween anymore but Nick Foles will be smelling blood after Minshew’s misfires. Napoleon Dynamite v Minshew Mania – for the Jaguars starting QB –  sounds like an ITV PPV wrestling matchup. 


Living up to their Bill-ing as an easy scalp

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Image Credit: John Munson / AP

The Washington Redskins are trying, trying fans patience that is, after a third consecutive game without a touchdown. 0, 9 and 9, points per game, consisting of six total field-goals, is not going to earn Bill Callahan a shot at the permanent head coach position at the end of the season.

This was the first official start for rookie QB Dwayne Haskins, who looked uncomfortable all game once forced out of the pocket by the likes of Bills DE Jerry Hughes. To his credit Haskins lasted the whole game and did not commit a single turnover, which is a positive sign, but without any offense aside from Adrian Peterson and fellow rookie Terry McLaurin to move the sticks the prospects for the team in burgundy and gold look bleak. Even punter Tress Way who was leading the league in punt average had an under par game.

Thankfully the Redskins were on the road, against a Bills fanbase that were aggressively booing their own QB Josh Allen despite his team having an 11 point lead at one point in the contest.

Right now Redskins fans don’t care if they deliver 10 yards of offense per half (incidentally more than the Chicago Bears did in the first half of Week 9) if they get a few more wins. 


One for the road…


Chargers now finally plugged in


No-one expected the Packers to lay an egg against Los Angeles this weekend.

Aaron Rodgers and the high flying packers have stormed to an NFC North divisional lead on the back of 4 straight wins.

For the Chargers though, this win puts them at 4-5 and right back in the wildcard hunt.

Mainly down to the dynamic and destructive duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers defence had it’s way with the Packers offensive line and Aaron Rodgers who turned in a Chicago Bears impersonation in the first half.

Whether the firing of Ken Whisenhunt had anything to do with it, we’ll unlikely to ever find out, but the Chargers, notoriously slow starters, are now giving themselves a chance at playing January football.

For their fans, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get fully charged.