In the 2nd installment of our new article series, today’s team for the season review is America’s Team. The Dallas Cowboys, constantly in the news as they always are (usually for scrutinising more than any plaudits) and this season was no different. Let’s break it down and see where it all went wrong.
Entering the season:
The Cowboys opted against handing Jason Garrett an extension prior to the start of the season to see if that brought upon an improvement to the divisional round loss to the Rams from the season prior. Dak Prescott’s contract was not extended despite ongoing talks, with the QB betting on himself to play his way into a huge deal come the end of the season.
With Washington and New York seemingly in disarray, the only competition was the Eagles. Kellen Moore was employed as the team’s offensive co-ordinator for his first year, hoping to install creativity and different looks for a team that had talent all over the offence. On the other side of the ball, a lot was expected on defence with Robert Quinn coming over from Miami to help aid the pass rush of DeMarcus Lawrence and the young, talented linebackers of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Van Der Esch were expected to take a step forward.
During the season:
The Cowboys slumped to a 8-8 season, Jason Garrett’s 5th such time he has had that record (even Jeff Fisher is jealous!) with no playoff football this time around, leading to his unceremonious exit saga. The team were 1st in total offence in terms of yardage including an almost 5000 yard passing season for Dak Prescott, only behind Jameis Winston. It’s fair to say that they were a team with the talent of a 12 win team, but a head coach of a 5 win team as Jason Garrett’s reluctance on 4th downs reared it’s ugly head again, only being aggressive when his job security was as fragile as a china doll.
They started the season hot out the gate with blowouts against New York Giants, Washington and Miami but got found out as soon as they played anyone with a winning record. Very disappointing losses against the Jets, the Bills and the Bears along with some low scoring performances against the Saints, Patriots and most devastatingly in week 16 vs the Eagles with the division on the line, essentially costing them division meant that there were more dips than highs on the season. Yes, this despite being the 6th highest point scorers, having the most yardage and 3rd most 1st downs on the season.
Despite being in control of their own destiny for the majority of the season and chances given to them by the rest of the teams in the division, the team flattered to deceive and did not deserve that playoff spot, even if the same could be said for the division winning Eagles.
Player wise, Michael Gallup has to go down as one of the best players performing on the season. The 2nd year wide receiver went for 1107 yards in the air with 6 TDs and that was with missing a few games with injury. On the other side Amari Cooper had season highs in yards (1189) and TDs (8) and put a case forward for a huge contract next season. Special mention to Travis Frederick who was able to come back from the horrible auto immune disease and pick up where he left off, whilst Zack Martin got yet another nod to the All-pro team.
On defence, DeMarcus Lawrence only managed to muster 5 sacks on the season, but his presence giving help to free agent signing Robert Quinn to conjure up 11.5 sacks.
Brett Maher was released during the season due to his shocking performance in the kicking game.
Jason Garrett has been fired from the Cowboys and ex Packers HC Mike McCarthy is in after signing a new 5 year deal. Among the coaching staff reshuffle, Rod Marinelli and Jon Kitna a few of the names to also head for the exit door. McCarthy brings in Mike Nolan at defensive co-ordinator and Kellen Moore is to return to continue his decent start as an OC (partly the reason for the lengthy divorce of Jason Garrett). The Cowboys future success will depend on whether McCarthy has freshened his ethos and looked at why his offence became stale in Green Bay. Early signs are positive, however.
I would be very surprised if they don’t address the safety position in the draft with a day 1 or early day 2 pick. Long time Cowboy Jeff Heath is an unrestricted free agent so expect him to test the waters but it’s not a position the Cowboys have historically treated with any contempt. Maybe the new coaching setup will change that.
Other areas of priority are Nose tackle, and possibly a LB or CB depending on what they do with Byron Jones.
There will be some contracts to sort out, none more so than Dak Prescott, expect the Cowboys to announce a monster deal with him. The Cowboys must also decide on whether or not Amari Cooper is worth and extension and Byron Jones too. They will have upwards of $100m in salary cap space once players are cut, and have up to 29 potential free agents on the team. The Cowboys also have a franchise tag along with the transition tag available for 2 of those big names.
After a thoroughly disappointing season which led to the exit of Jason Garrett, there are better times ahead for Cowboys fans;
New coach, new ideas and a roster full of talent and plenty of salary cap space. You can expect Dak to not be exercised on those tags and instead be signed to a huge deal over possibly a record breaking number of years (watch out Jon Gruden!). You should fully expect Cooper and Jones to get the combination of the franchise and transition tags.
It would be deemed a failure if McCarthy does not bring playoff football to Dallas next season. The team is young, talented and heading in a new direction, but is that direction heading towards another Lombardi trophy?
Fun fact: Jason Witten had his highest career catch rate (75.9%), at the age of 37. He is now just 23 yards away from totaling 13,000 receiving yards and is 19th all time in terms of receiving yardage for all players (2nd for TE). and remains 4th in the list of all time receptions with 1215. will he be back?
Crunch time! This week we are treated to the NFL being spread out over the weekend with 3 games on Saturday with huge implications as the Rams travel to the 49ers and the Bills try to upset the applecart in New England.
On Sunday, the SkySports offering serves up some fantastic matchups where New Orleans continue to chase for a 1st round bye against a Titans team effectively already in the playoffs. Plus, it’s the battle for the NFC East as Dallas travel to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Eagles in a winner takes all matchup.
Winners progress, losers go home. Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to week 16 in the NFL.
BATTLE FOR THE EAST
Fierce rivals Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia get it on to essentially decide the winner of the #4 seed for the NFC playoffs. Both teams have underwhelmed this year for a variety of reasons, but it all comes down to this 60 minute game of football.
A win for the Cowboys, they are confirmed champions. A win for the Eagles and assuming a week 17 win against the Giants, they are in too. The Cowboys are the healthier, more potent team this season as judged by their week 7 hammering at At&T stadium. They will also be buoyed by their dominant performance last week at home to the Rams but form goes out of the window in these types of games.
Do Dallas and Jason Garrett have the cajones when it’s all on the line? Usually not, but can they still get the job done against an Eagles team that have been on the ropes more than the Sunday washing.
The coaching and talent on the Eagles are a testament to even be in with a live shout of still winning the division, but it’s also an indictment on how poor the division has been. Still, someone must win it and become the #4 seed for the playoffs, who’s stepping up?
Buffalo-ad of this!
Buffalo travel to Foxboro’ this weekend in another pivotal divisional clashe.
A win for the Bills sees a very interesting week 17 indeed. If Buffalo win out, they will take the #1 seed regardless due to conference record tie breaker and that is one hell of a carrot dangled in front of Josh Allen and Sean McDermott. They will be in bullish (or Billish perhaps?) mood after their win away at Heinz field on SNF and it’s now a question of whether they can step up to the plate once more.
Their week 4 meeting saw the Bills blow their chances a little, Josh Allen left with a head injury and still had a few drives to go and beat them late in the 4th quarter. They’ll certainly have to execute better than they did back in September but I feel this Bills team has come quite far since that game. The Bills match up quite well against New England and we don’t need to go over the offensive struggles that Brady and Co. have experienced this season.
A win for the Patriots will secure the #2 seed too and how many times have we seen before that New England just get the job done? New England have won the last 6 between the sides and you have to go back to 2014 when Buffalo last beat a Tom Brady led Patriots (though he did exit with an injury in that one!).
NFC 1st round bye shuffle
The #1 and #2 seeds have shuffled around between Seattle/San Francisco/New Orleans and Green Bay over the past couple of weeks and the jostling will continue this weekend. The current #1 seeds have a straightforward task against the Cardinals, whilst the 49ers will have to be on their toes against the Rams. New Orleans face a tough trip to Nashville and Green Bay travel to Minnesota in a key NFC North matchup.
If results go their way, the Seahawks could potential have their hands firmly placed on the #1 seed if results go their way which will be huge for Russell Wilson and the members of the 12 to ensure they can create a hostile environment in the playoffs and seal that homefield advantage.
HitchViking a ride into the playoffs
The Vikings with a win in either of their last 2 games secure a playoff berth. Problem is they have to face old foes and divisional rivals in the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. They are at home which will help as they enjoy one of the bigger advantages with homefield.
In the 2 away games against those teams however, they only managed to must 22 points collectively and that is just not going to get the job done. This is what Kirk Cousins was brought in for, paid all that guaranteed money for; games like this.
Without Dalvin Cook who is nursing an injury and resting before helping them in the playoffs or rookie Alexander Mattison who is also struggling to be fit for the game, Kirk Cousins is going to have to step up and lead this team to victory.
A win, an the monkey starts to climb off of his back. A loss, and there is huge pressure on him in week 17 against the Bears.
battle for a top 3 pick
With Cincinnati taking on the Dolphins and the Redskins facing the Giants, the current top 4 picks in the 2020 draft face off on Sunday. It is always interesting to see how the teams down “that end” play and how much they really put in to the game.
Whilst the Bengals can win without affecting their position at #1 overall, the other 3 teams could see themselves cause detrimental ramifications should they win a game. These games will be nothing more than a “look at the result after the game” types of affairs, but for the fans of the respective teams, i guess it’s nice that the fans will still be biting their nails during the game, even if it’s for different reasons.
Three Griers for Will!
Carolina turn to their third QB of the season as 2019 3rd round pick Will Grier enters the fray. Kyle Allen seemingly not the answer for the Panthers front office and David Tepper, Grier has 2 games to show what he can do.
He faces a Colts team that is there for the taking and a New Orleans Saints team which should have something to play for. Quite a contrast in matches will mean ample sample sizes for the team’s scouts and evaluators to see whether he could be the answer and not theoft injured Cam Newton.
Whilst we wont know until late in the offseason who will be the starter, Will Grier has the chance to make a lasting impression and put down a marker for next training camp. At the very least, he can stop the Panthers from drafting a QB or signing one in Free Agency….
the afc #6 a steel?
It seems to be a straight shootout now between Pittsburgh and Tennessee for the #6 seed in the AFC. The Steelers have the easier schedule with the Jets and Ravens to come, the Titans have the better QB but face New Orleans and Houston. Both defences are pretty stout, perhaps the edge going to Pittsburgh but the Titans have the better running game and the healthier team. Pittsburgh have the tie breaker on Tennessee so effectively just need to beat the Jets to punch their ticket to Arrowhead.
Whichever team makes it will be a heavy underdog going in to what is likely to be Kansas City. Considering both teams’ journies this season, I think they will take just the chance to cause an upset in January (the Titans have previous vs the Chiefs!).
you’re quinn denial, dan
Dan Quinn was a hot favourite to be handed his P45 on black monday, but after the handful of decent performances by Matt Ryan and the Falcons including their most recent victory as time expired against the 49ers, it’s now a bit more up in the air.
The Falcons are 5-9, which is still a bitter disappointment comparing it with pre-season expectations, but they’ve won 4 of their last 6 including 3 divisional wins on top of the 49ers victory. divisional wins have slightly more weight put on them due to their importance so if the Falcons are able to beat the 5-9 Jaguars and the depleted 5-9 Buccaneers, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility Dan Quinn comes back next year.
He’ll definitely be getting “Blank” stares until the season and he walks in for his performance review…
is drew a lock for denver qb?
Drew Lock has performed well in his first 3 starts as Denver Broncos QB; A divisional win against the Chargers to go with a road victory against a playoff team. His last start against the Chiefs can be written off due to the weather and uncomfortable surroudings but all in all, the 2nd round pick from this year’s draft has probably outperformed his expectations when coming in, he was quite a raw prospect.
John Elway has never been the most convincing with his selections in the draft so far, especially at QB, but Drew Lock is looking like he fits over in Mile High. Whilst his completion % is low and his interceptions were not pretty, both lending to his gunslinger mentality, there are certainly some tools there for Lock to fine tune over the offseason and potentially be the answer at QB over in Denver.
With the weapons at his disposal sure to be added to during the offseason to compliment the running game, Drew Lock and the Broncos may not be in that bad of a position to challenge for January football come 2020.
A big tell will come against the Detroit Lions, as we will see how he responds to that rough game against Kansas and the criticisms he would have endured this week.
Time to head east for the last 2 sets of Half-Term reports. Quite a few teams in these divisions have underwhelmed and then there’s the Patriots. At the very least the NFC equivalent should be a bit more exciting, but that wouldn’t be hard to do when you are comparing against the AFC East.
Nonetheless, Let’s give them some grades:
New England Patriots – 8-0
Buffalo Bills – 5-2
New York Jets – 1-6
Miami Dolphins – 0-7
Midseason Grade: A+
How has it gone so far?
At some point the never ending story of Patriots success has to end, but the 2019 season still has the tale without an end in sight.
The AFC’s only undefeated team at the half-way point Sith Lord Belichick and his cyborg QB Tom Brady are continuing to excel, but the offense is being out-shadowed by a defense that is looking like the 1985 Bears on some old-school steroids. A remarkable statistic to come to the fore after 7 games was that the Patriots would have been 4-2-1 if they had all of their offensive touchdowns removed.
Current Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is still the heartbeat of the offense, catching more balls than a set of snooker table pockets, and the recent acquisition of sure-handed WR Mohammed Sanu from the Falcons will immediately compensate for the loss of Josh Gordon to injury.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Pats go up against the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs to open up the second half of the season, and you read it here first they WILL lose one of this handful of high-profile games. You can run on the Patriots, just don’t turn the ball over.
Ever since the Patriots shut down the Rams in the Super Bowl they flicked on a switch of defensive dominance and 61 points allowed in 8 games is quite simply amazing. The Patriots are a bit of Mahomes magic from yet another trip to the Big Dance. Just give up betting against them.
Regular season record prediction : 15-1 and trip to Super Bowl.
Midseason Grade: B+
How has it gone so far?
One of the genuine surprise units of the NFL, aside from a rather lacklustre loss to the Eagles the Bills have played solid defense to help them to five wins in their first six games. Josh Allen has not exactly lit it up so far but he is now completing 60% of his passes.
Free agent WR John ‘Smoky’ Brown is on target for over 1k and the Peter Pan of the NFL RB Frank Gore is leading the team in rushing with 422 yards.
On their defence, the strongest part of their setup, CB Tre’Davious White and S Jordan Power lead a top 10 secondary. The Bills allowed a maximum 21 points against them in the first six weeks.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Buffalo’s next four are all winnable, before a tougher ending that includes trips to Dallas, New England and Pittsburgh and home against the Ravens.
The Bills could have a rather shiny 9-2 record heading into Week 12 if they continue their brand of bend but don’t break football. Josh Allen does need to reduce the turnovers and rookie RB Devin Singletary needs to get back on the field.
At some point in the next three weeks Frank Gore will remarkably pass Barry Sanders in the all-time rushing table, with just Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith ahead of him.
This is a team on the rise but likely another one and done in the playoffs.
Regular season record prediction: 10-6
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The Jets have won six games so far, oops that’s the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. The New York Jets unfortunately kissed goodbye to a winning season when their QB Sam Darnold went down with mono. The combination of backups Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk were atrocious.
Mega signing RB Le’Veon Bell has been disappointing, and was even allegedly in the shop window at the trade deadline. His 536 total yards in 7 games is not what was expected and his two scores is pitiful.
With the exception of a bizarre upset win over the Cowboys in Week 6 this is a team heading in the wrong direction fast. Trading away DE Leonard Williams (to the same stadium) will not help matters, but the Jets must love namesake DT Quinnen Williams.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The Jets have perhaps the softest schedule in the entire league over the next six weeks, including two contests agains the Dolphins and trips to Cincy and Washington.
They should come away with two wins at least in this tea cake of a period. The Jets came into 2019 with a new uniform, a new superstar RB and even a wild-card buzz, but this is clearly not a playoff team, and its back to the drawing board already for Adam Gase, who may not be in post when St Nick comes down your chimney.
Trying to shop your top assets, such as Jamal Adams S and Roby Anderson WR is hardly inspiring confidence and will only serve to further fracture an already shattered locker room.
Regular season record prediction: 3-13
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
The entire Dolphins team were given a lovely present just before the start of the 2019 season, a one year digital subscription to ‘The World of Tanks’.
With QB Ryan Fitzmagic at the helm Miami are surprisingly competing in games but the feeling is they are told to pump the brakes if there is any danger of actually winning a game. QB Josh Rosen was clearly not the answer, and judging by the trade of RB Kenyan Drake for little more than a handful of conkers, the team is not serious about winning football games.
The ‘Fins trade at the deadline for CB Aqib Talib was merely to get better pick status, and losing CB Xavien Howard to injury is a blow. The tiny ray of offensive light is resurrection project RB Mark Walton who will look for 700 yards rushing.
Anything is better than RB Kalen Ballage, who is averaging less yards per carry than the team’s punter Matt Haack.
Rest of Season Outlook:
This is a team capable of going 0-16, having scored less than anyone else to this point, and only behind the Falcons (who have played one more game) in terms of points conceded. Fitzmagic has shown up in patches, and it’s not beyond belief that the bearded wizard pulls off one or two wins against the Jets (two games) or Giants or Bengals.
Problem is Miami will be desperate to get the number one draft pick. The ultimate irony would be to beat a 15-0 Patriots team in Week 17 if they rest their starters and their backups. It won’t happen, but it would put a cap on a historically Sherman-styled season.
Regular season record prediction: 0-16
Dallas Cowboys – 4-3
Philadelphia Eagles – 4-4
New York Giants – 2-6
Washington Redskins – 1-7
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
Despite a horrendous three-game losing streak the Cowboys are still the class of the NFC East and are atop the division, albeit due to having had a bye week.
The Cowboys had a marshmallow schedule to start, and when they had quality opponents (Saints, Packers) Day and Zeke couldn’t get the W, but a monster 27 point win over the Eagles will have Jerry Jones smiling in the executive box.
Ezekiel Elliot is gunning for a third rushing title, with 602 and 6 scores in 7 weeks. WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are stretching the field – 65 catches, over 1,000 yards and just under 16 yards a catch between them.
Rest of Season Outlook :
HC Jason Garrett has been in the corner quite a lot this season, clapping to himself as no-one will even give him a high-five. Somehow Garrett is still in post, but this is an appearance in the NFC Championship (most likely as the road team) or bust for the guy who has been in Dallas for 10 seasons.
The Cowboys have a quality roster on both sides of the ball, but they cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel again for the rest of the season as they did in the shocking loss to the Jets in Week 6.
Look for Zeke to get fed more than Eddie Hall did on his tour of American eateries.
Regular season record prediction: 11-5 and trip to NFC Championship.
Midseason Grade: B-
How has it gone so far?
The Eagles are a hard team to gauge, so can the real team please stand up.
Losses to the Lions and Falcons and wins over Buffalo and Green Bay is a clear sign that there is a lack of consistency.
QB Carson Wentz has been OK (1,821 yards and 14 touchdowns) and he has sorely missed the deep threat of DeSean Jackson, who returned to Philly after five seasons away. Jackson hasn’t suited up since Week 2 leaving WRs Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor to average under 10 yards a catch combined.
Rookie RB Miles Sanders has played second fiddle to Jordan Howard who leads the team with six scores.
Rest of Season Outlook:
Philadelphia’s second half has five very winnable games including three in-division contests, but New England and Seattle games will be season defining matchups. The Eagles defense has regressed and their secondary is their weakness so they will struggle against superior passers like Russell Wilson and an evergreen Tom Brady. Just two seasons away from lifting a Vince Lombardi Trophy this Eagles team is arguably underperforming, and judging by the 4-4 record to date its not clear which team is coming out of the locker room each week.
Regular season record prediction: 9-7
Midseason Grade: D-
How has it gone so far?
This season will go down in New York history as the end of the Eli Manning era and the start of the Daniel Jones one.
The Giants made a bold move to draft Jones early and doubled up when they inserted his in the starting lineup in Week 3. Jones did come out the gate on fire gaining the Giants two wins on the bounce, but that has been followed by four consecutive losses. Jones is on target for around 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Stud RB Saquon Barkley has already missed three games and only has three touchdowns in the five contests he has played in.
The only other half-decent offensive performer is TE Even Engram who has 38 catches to lead the team.
Rest of Season Outlook:
With the Jets, Dolphins and Redskins on their second-half slate the Giants should equal their first half win total. Daniel Jones is growing in confidence week by week and the recent return of WR Golden Tate from a suspension will be a big boost.
The Giants need to improve pretty much everywhere on defense and also they need to get better performances from their offensive line. It is a real shame that Saquon is on such a poor team as he has All-World potential.
Another season of frustration in the Big Apple and an emotional farewell to double Super Bowl winning QB Eli Manning in December.
Regular season record prediction: 4-12
Midseason Grade: E
How has it gone so far?
It’s no surprise the Redskins are cellar dwellers;
Their best offensive piece T Trent Williams has held out to this point and the team only announced this week that they are willing to trade him.
Veteran QB Case Keenum has been serviceable as a bridge passer, and will likely see more snaps than expected as rookie Dwayne Haskins has been the proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’ in his limited appearances.
The biggest surprise has been rookie WR Terry McLaurin who leads the team in anything meaningful. The biggest move of the season in Washington was the removal of head coach Jay Gruden, who failed to win a game before the locks were changed.
Interim replacement Bill Callahan won (barely) in his first outing, and has changed the mentality of the team on both sides of the ball. In his three games in charge the Redskins have fed Adrian Peterson the ball and played solid defense, only allowing three touchdowns in three games.
Rest of Season Outlook:
The season was a lost cause from Week 1 when the Redskins had Coach Gruden in charge. With 8 games left the Redskins will play tough, but their lack of offensive weapons will cost them dearly.
The only achievable target will be trying to finish above the equally woeful Giants in the NFC East. There are two potential Pro Bowl candidates, rookie WR McLaurin and a very under the radar CB Quinton Dunbar, who has shone on a defense that has underperformed considering the early round picks they have spent trying to build a competitive unit.
If they do trade Trent Williams that could at least bring a good pick in the 2020 draft.
I’m worried for the Rams. Behind in the NFC West, injuries piling up and an offensive scheme that seems to have been found out.
The activity and negotiating that has been conducted this
week just adds to the worries;
First, they traded away Marcus Peters to the Ravens and then
very shortly after, gave up 2 1st round picks and a 4th
rounder for star CB Jalen Ramsey, who comes over from the Jags (I hope his back
will be ok on the flight).
Considering there are a few needs on this team, it’s quite
surprising that they’ve mortgaged their future for a CB. Fellow CB Aqib Talib
is on IR and their options are awfully thin at the position, but there are
glaring needs at offensive line and linebacker, which now will not be replenished
high in the next 2 years NFL drafts.
Add to that, their top 5 paid players now account for $108m
of the salary cap, even free agency signings will be hard to come by.
There is a lot of talent on this Rams team, but I am a firm
believer in that you should always build from the inside out. Sort the lines
out first and then everything follows. The Rams have taken a massive gamble, I’m
not sure it’ll pay off.
NFC Easton Primetime
Big game in prime time between the nose diving Cowboys and
With both teams 3-3, the winner takes a big step to a
division title and the loser seriously having the prospect of no January
football. Plenty of positives and negatives to talk through with both teams,
plenty of injuries both side of the ball and plenty of questions being asked of
these teams right now.
Can Dallas’ offensive line hold up against a decent Eagles
pass rush or can Dak and his weapons exploit the gaping holes in the Eagles
secondary? Will the Dallas defence be able to get some pressure and pin down
escape artist Carson Wentz and will Doug Pederson outsmart Jason Garrett? Whilst
the answer to the last question is a bit easier than the others, it should be a
great game on Sunday Night Football.
AFC Wildcard eliminator
Not a game that will be watched by many people outside their
respective fanbases (do the Chargers have one?), but the game between Los
Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans could be a loser goes home in terms of
Both teams are 2-4, struggling to get any offence going and
are not impressing anyone in the league. With the loser going to drop to 2-5,
you have to assume that the losing team does
not have any way back from the defeat to play football in January.
Even if they do find their way back, they could be ousted by
the head to head tie breaker. All to play for in this one in Nashville.
Talking of the above game, Ryan Tannehill has been named the starter for Tennessee.
Whether or not this was to try something different and try
something to invigorate the team to get that win we don’t know for sure. It can
be argued (and some people do) that Tannehill is an improvement on Mariota and
this was a long time coming.
Tannehill was serviceable enough in Miami under center
through his 6 year career there (when healthy) despite having only 1 winning
season and an overall losing record. When playing full seasons, he hits around
the 4000 passing yard mark with 25ish TDs and 12INTs.
Comparing that to Mariota, Tennessee fans shouldn’t be too
disillusioned with the fact that it is infact, potentially an upgrade on what
they’ve had since he was selected at no.2 overall in 2015.
to get a few wins
Dan Quinn needs a win…and fast.
Problem is their next 4 fixtures don’t give me any
enthusiasm that they’ll find one.
Home games vs the Ramsey Rams (Julio not loving that!) and
the Seahawks before their bye are not teams you want visiting to try and get that
all important win. If Atlanta get embarrassed to the same tunes that are
currently bellowing from the record player, Dan Quinn wont even make it to the
Saints game in week 10.
On defence, they’ve conceded the 2nd most points,
7th worst in yardage given up, worst on 3rd down conversion
% allowed along with a bottom 3 in turnovers created. Yes, they’ve had injuries
of similar ilk to last season but unfortunately, that’s only going to get you
excused for a period of time.
With Quinn being a defensive minded HC, the writing is on the wall for him.
K.C. and the not very sun-shining backfield
Four weeks in and we were all drooling over the Kansas City Chiefs and their MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Everything Mahomes was passing to was turning into on-field gold. This was an offense buzzing through the NFL like a lumberjack’s chainsaw.
Two weeks later and two losses later the Chiefs are looking mortal, and the chainsaw is now a handsaw that is looking a little bit rusty. Mahomes is looking out of sorts but he is being hindered by a running game that is blunt. Zero hundred yard rushing performances and some shocking lead performances.
Three out of six games has seen the Chiefs leading rusher go under 50 yards, and since Week 1 the top output has been 62 yards by Darrel Williams. Kansas City will be trying desperately to get some traction with the ground game tonight against the Denver Broncos. LeSean McCoy has a healthy 5.4 yard per carry average which may surprise some, but the hottest RB in last season’s playoffs Damien Williams has been a non-factor so far in four games, with a longest run of just 6 yards on 32 carries.
If the Chiefs want to get back on track offensively they need to get back to basics and get control of the time of possession. A loss to the surging Broncos will be a big blow to those ambitions to do one better than last season and reach the Super Bowl.
Pats perfect possibility?
The dominance of the New England Patriots has going on for that long that it no longer registers as anything remarkable. 6-0 is not seen as anything special, it is expected, it’s normal.
Thing is it’s not normal it’s a feat, it’s an achievement and it is certainly worth talking about. Tom Brady is for once not hogging the headlines as the Patriots defense is dominating the coverage in the papers and dominating the coverage on the field. The defense is producing stats that are mind-boggling. Allowing 8 points a game, 234.7 yards, 161 in the air and 73.7 on the ground. They travel to the Big Apple on Monday night to face a Jets team with one win, albeit one they achieved in the last week.
This does not look like the hardest task for the Patriots, who will be looking to go 16-0 in the regular season before repeating as Super bowl champions. Weeks 9 and 11 – travelling to Baltimore and Philadelphia will be a clearer indication if this is another fine vintage or not.
One little crumb of comfort and one thing that must cause Bill Belichick to lose 5 minutes from his probable 3 hour daily sleep routine was that Frank Gore and his 36 year old legs ran for over 100 yards for the Bills in their Week 4 loss to the Pats. In other words feed LeVeon Bell the ball early and often.
Draft selections: 1st Round traded last season for Amari Cooper WR (via LA
Raiders), Trysten Hill DT (2.26), Connor McGovern G (3.26), Tony Pollard RB
(4.26), Michael Jackson Sr CB (5.20), Joe Jackson DE (5.27), Donovan Wilson S
(6.41). Mike Weber RB (7.4), Jalen Jelks DE (7.27)
Morris RB, Jason Witten TE (came out of retirement), George Iloka S, Randall
Offseason key departures: Allen
Hurns WR, Scott Linehan Offensive Co-ordinator, Geoff Swain HB, Cole Beasley WR
Super Bowl odds: 20-1
The Cowboys rose to the top of a murky NFC East bloodbath with a second-half
surge, winning seven of their last eight regular season games by just 35 points
in total. This was the Zeke Elliot show most of the season as he led the league
in rushing. If Zeke can tear himself away from the fajitas and Margaritas in
Mexico then he stands a decent chance to repeat this feat. If Zeke is still
holding out in September then the Cowboys will lean on rookie Tony Pollard. Dallas’s
greatest strength is the offensive line, stacked with Pro Bowlers and led by
All Pro Tackle Tyron Smith. The biggest in-season trade last year saw Amari
Cooper move to Dallas, and he immediately made an impression, leading the team
in receiving yards five times in the second half of the season. With a full
off-season in Texas under his belt Cooper is primed to have his best output
ever as a pro. Elsewhere Jason Witten has un-retired and will continue his
journey to Canton with another season at tight-end. His return will stunt the
growth of Blake Jarwin who looked a potential breakout candidate. The Cowboys
defense is jam-packed with studs and if the core group can stay healthy this is
going to be the first time the Cowboys can legitimately return to the Super
Bowl since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.
Look out for: The unfolding situation
regarding Zeke holding out. This is nothing to worry about now, but if this is
still the case in two weeks then start praying to the fantasy gods. If the
Cowboys start 3-1 they have the tools to go to the Big Dance. Rookie running
back Tony Pollard, a fourth round pick, will be well worth monitoring in the
pre-season. A dark-horse tip for fantasy success is Randall Cobb, who can suck
up all the slot catches. Demarcus Lawrence is an unadulterated beast and will
be pushing for an All Pro season.
Draft selections: Andre Dillard OT (1.22), Miles Sanders RB (2.21), JJ Arcega-Whiteside
WR (2.25), Shareef Miller DE (4.36), Clayton Thorson QB (5.29),
Desean Jackson WR (returning back), Eli Harold DE, Jonathan Cyprien S, Zach
Brown LB, Jordan Howard RB, Malik Jackson DT, Andrew Sendejo S,
departures: Golden Tate III WR, Nick Foles QB, Jordan Hicks LB, Jay Ajayi RB.
Analysis: The talisman is gone, Nick Foles earned
himself a monster monster FA deal in the sunnier climate of Jacksonville,
leaving Carson Wentz atop the depth chart with no real challenge (backup Nate
Sudfeld broke a bone in his hand in pre-season week 1). The Eagles went for a
future replacement for stud T Jason Peters in round one, but the biggest impact
rookie will be second-rounder Miles Sanders who will fight tooth and nail with
FA signing Jordan Howard for starting snaps. The Eagles have quietly added to
their defense with some solid but not headline grabbing signings. Malik Jackson
will compliment All-World DT Fletcher Cox, and Zach Brown is a tackle magnet
who the Redskins will sorely miss. Zach Ertz is arguably the best TE in the
league as long as you are not a Chiefs or 49ers fan. Ertz will not match his
2018 output as Dallas Goedert will be looking to establish a bigger target
share. The Eagles weakness is the secondary that will be a mixed bag in 2019,
after suffering more injuries than a Saturday night at Holby City Hospital.
Philly used 15 defensive backs last season and whilst Malcolm Jenkins and
Ronald Darby return they are not a top 10 pairing.
Look out for: Desean Jackson will be tearing down the flanks
and will be odds on to lead the NFL in yards per catch as well as being a YAC
(yards after catch) madman. Providing the chemistry with Carson Wentz melds
together early this could be enough to win a few games alone. The way that
Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders work together will be key, and expect both on
the field at the same time in certain situations. The season will rest on Wentz
staying upright, and that is where the offensive line will determine their
destiny. Lookout for a swansong from pocket rocket Darren Sproles, who has the
biggest heart in the league.
New York Giants:
Draft selections: Daniel Jones QB (1.6), Dexter Lawrence DT (1.17), Deandre Baker CB
(1.30), Oshane Ximines DE (3.31), Julian Love CB (4.6), Ryan Connelly LB (5.5),
Darius Slayton WR (5.29), Corey Ballentine CB (6.7), George Asafo-Adjei OT (7.18)
Chris Slayton DL (7.31).
Tate WR, Markus Golden LB, Jabrill Peppers S, Kevin Zeitler G, Antione Bethea
S, Cody Latimer WR, Olsen Pierre DT, Rod Smith RB.
Analysis: Is it finally here? Is the Eli Manning era
finally over when the Giants controversially selected Duke’s Daniel Jones at 6th
overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones looked efficient in his pre-season debut
against the Jets, but this is not real football. We all know RB Saquon Barkley
will be over-worked like an Egyptian donkey but he simply cannot take defensive
snaps and is powerless for half of every game. The Giants must have a curse
over their pass catchers as Golden Tate is suspended four games (pending an
appeal), Corey Coleman is lost for the season with injury and Sterling Shephard
has a broken thumb. And some other no-name guy left to go and work in a dog pound.
The best option Manning has is to find TE Evan Engram early and often (after
all he is on my Full 10 yards staff fantasy roster). The Giants went heavy on
defense in the draft with a DT and CB in round one. Both will likely move into
early starting roles. This is not a dominant defense by any means, arguably one
of the weakest in the NFL, with no big names and two new safeties in the form
of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea. If you play the Giants go deep and do it
Look out for: The betting line is not going to be about
wins in the Big Apple, it’s going to focus on the week that Daniel Jones gets
the starting gig. The Giants and Redskins will compete for overall ineptitude
in the entire NFC conference, so apart from Barclay I can’t see much to get
excited over. After all who drafted Wayne Gallman, Rhett Ellison, Russell
Shepherd or Bennie Fowler onto their fantasy rosters – nobody !
Draft selections: Dwayne Haskins QB (1.15), Montez Sweat EDGE (1.26), Terry
McLaurin WR (4.10), Bryce Love RB (4.10), Wes Martin G (4.29), Ross Pierschbacher
(5.15), Cole Holcomb LB (5.35), Kelvin Harmon WR (6.34). Jimmy Moreland (7.13),
Jordan Brailford EDGE (7.39)
Collins S, Case Keenum QB, Jon Bostic ILB, Dominic Rogers-Cromartie CB, Ereck
Flowers OT, Donald Penn OT.
departures: Zach Brown LB, Preston Smith OLB, Jamison Crowder WR, Ty Nsekhe OT,
Ha-Ha Clinton Dix S, Maurice Harris WR, Mason Foster LB.
Analysis: Remarkably just after the half-way point of
the 2018 season the Redskins were 6-3, leading the NFC East, watching two
grizzled veterans (Alex Smith QB and Adrian Peterson RB) having outstanding
seasons, and then one missed assignment and one hit later and the whole season
went to hell in a handcart. Once Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg break the
season went on a downward spiral that would have even been too much for Jamie
and his magic torch (look him up on YouTube). Two new quarterbacks, Case Keenum
and rookie Dwayne Haskins, will battle it out for starts during the season, but
the bigger problem is who will be catching the ball. The Redskins probably have
the weakest set of wide outs in the entire NFL, and will be hoping rookies
Terry McLaurin or Kelvin Harmon can step up. The offensive line is currently
without All Pro Trent Williams who wants to leave, and the running game is
questionable with projected starter second-year back Derrius Guice yet to take
a regular season handoff. Jordan Reed at tight end simply can’t stay on the
field, but at least the supporting cast of Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle
offer some hope. The mega-bucks signing of safety Landon Collins from the
Giants will be under the spotlight. Collins grew up loving former Redskins superstar
Sean Taylor, if he can be a quarter as good as #21 then this is a winning move.
The Redskins traded back up to the end of the first round to grab Montez Sweat
a DE/OLB hybrid, who will learn a lot about how to survive in the NFL from Ryan
Look out for: This season should hold no expectations for
Redskins fans as the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin and
Kelvin Harmon will be playing their first games in the pros. Late round fantasy
tip is Trey Quinn WR, one of my slot machines. CB Josh Norman is now Josh
Normal at corner, and S Landon Collins is new and will need to make a big
impression in his first month to garnish fan respect. The defensive line is the
Redskins only real strength, with high profile draft picks Jonathan Allen and
Darron Payne looking for end of season award recognition. Look out for the
lesser known DT Matt Ioannidis, he is emerging as a star and has 10 sack
With the offensive line intact, and the
cornerback duo of Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, along with Demarcus Lawrence
wreaking havoc and Leighton Vander Esch tackling everything in sight I simply
cannot look beyond the Cowboys, who I can realistically see representing the
NFC in the Super Bowl this season. This only happens if Zeke Elliot is back,
and if Dak Prescott keeps his focus. The Cowboys got off to an awful start last
season and they cannot afford to do the same this time. The Eagles will be a
quality team again, but Carson Wentz simply cannot stay fit for 16 games.
Philly’s running game will be a nightmare for fantasy owners and the pocket
rocket Darren Sproles will want to go out on a high. The Giants will wrestle
between giving Eli a respectful farewell tour or giving Daniel Jones regular
season game reps. I suspect Jones will be starting by Week 10 at the latest.
The Redskins will simply be a hot mess. This is one of those years that you
simply have to take on the chin if you are a Washington supporter. With no
proven wide receivers, a brittle tight end and an offensive line whose best
player (Trent Williams) may be gone before the end of pre-season don’t expect a
6-3 start like 2018.
The National Football League is meant to be one of parity (tell that to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots). In 2018 the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts all reached the playoffs after having losing records in 2017. It is one of the great things about the NFL, the possibility of going from being the worst team to lifting the Lombardi trophy is real. So who are our candidates this year? Let’s look at four teams that finished at the bottom of their respective divisions.
New York Giants
The Giants had an awful 2018 season with a 5-11 record but the emergence of Saquon Barkley was a big plus with his 1307 rushing yards and 721 receiving yards. The play of Eli Manning was much maligned but when you look at the stats, he may not have been as poor as advertised. Eli’s QB rating was 92.4 which was the forth best of his career and his 66% completion ratio (for 4,299 yards) was the highest of his career. (http://www.nfl.com/player/elimanning/2505996/careerstats). There is no doubt that Manning has lost some mobility though. He was sacked 47 times in the 2018 season (a career high) and the offensive line needs some attention but it is fully expect that the Giants will be a run heavy team in 2019. Barkley is primed for another phenomenal season and with the addition of Golden Tate at wide receiver they still have weapons even without Beckham Jr. In 2018, the Giants lost eight games by 7 points or less and lost their final two games of the season by just a single point! When you look at their 2018 season in more detail, they weren’t far away from a 9-7 record which could have seen them reach the playoffs!
The Giants also have two big advantages in 2019. Their strength of schedule is ranked as the 27th most difficult and the NFC East is wide open. Whilst the Philadelphia Eagles should improve (as long as Wentz stays healthy), the Dallas Cowboys may go backwards and the Washington Redskins are potentially starting a rookie quarterback. If they can upgrade the pass rush (which ranked 30th in sacks) they should have a great shot at reaching the playoffs in 2019!
The Bengals have a talented roster that have been under-utilised for years but with new head coach Zac Taylor now at the helm, could the Bengals improve of their 6-10 record in what is normally a tough division? The AFC North has lost a huge amount of talent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, has gained a mass of talent in Cleveland and has a seemingly sketchy playbook and an ageing defence in Baltimore. There doesn’t appear to be a clear favourite in the division and this may open the field up for the Bengals to surprise a few people. For this to happen the Bengals will need to improve massively on what was one the weakest defences (yardage wise) in NFL history, ranking fifth all time in yards allowed (https://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny.fcgi?id=xNW3M). Cincinnati will be hoping that the coaching change can address this situation. There is plenty of talent of the offensive side of the ball with the serviceable Andy Dalton throwing to A. J. Green, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Eifert as well as having Joe Mixon in the backfield, they seem to have a balanced attack if it can be exploited to its full potential.
With the AFC North in a stage of transition its very easy to see the Bengals finishing at the top of the pile, however, it is also very easy to see them finishing in last place once again!
New York Jets
The New England Patriots may have won the AFC East in 16 out of the last 18 seasons but they can’t win forever, can they? Coming off of a 4-12 season, Adam Gase is now the head coach (replacing Todd Bowles) and the team have made some great moves in both free agency and the draft. Le’Veon Bell is a stellar running back with his patient style but questions remain over whether sitting out the whole of last season will have impacted him in any way. Then there is second year QB Sam Darnold who, at times last season, looked very much like the franchise player that the Jets needed. Darnold did have his struggles (as most first year QB’s do) but if he does make the transition to the second year, similar to that of Mitch Trubisky at the Bears, the Jets are well primed to cause teams problems. With the drafting of Alabamas Quinnen Williams (defensive tackle) ‘Gang Green’ may have found a run blocker to play at nose tackle in a 3-4 defence that’s Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is reportedly staying with.
The Jags plummeted after reaching the 2017 AFC Championship Game finishing last season with a 5-11 record. However, there is no last-place team that is better equipped to rebound. They still have a talented defence that finished fifth in the NFL in 2018 (http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=2&defensiveStatisticCategory=GAME_STATS&conference=ALL&role=OPP&season=2018&seasonType=REG&d-447263-s=TOTAL_YARDS_GAME_AVG&d-447263-o=1&d-447263-n=1) and they have upgraded where they needed it most, quarterback! For the last two seasons many people have wondered what this team could be with more functionality at QB. Nick Foles has shown that he can produce on the biggest stage and the 2017 Super Bowl MVP can also call on running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had a poor 2018 season that was hampered by injury, suspension, and by his own admission, being in ‘sub-optimal shape’. With a healthier o-line and improvement in fitness, the LSU man will need to produce with more consistency for the Jaguars to have a chance.
Head coach, Doug Marrone has also had a big change up of his coaching staff with 8 coaches either joining the Jags or being promoted from within (https://www.jaguars.com/news/official-defilippo-named-oc-staff-finalized). One major problem for the Jaguars could be the strength of the AFC South. The Texans, Colts and Titans all had winning records in 2018 with two of the three making the playoffs. Whilst the division is relatively open, it’s up for grabs because all of the teams are good. However, if Foles can reproduce his performances from Philly and Fournette can get back to his 2017 form, the Jaguars should get back to the playoffs.
For my money, the Giants and the Jaguars have the best chance but what do you think? Will any of these teams even make the playoffs or is there a better candidate out there? Let us know @Full10Yards
is in the books and the dust has settled. But how well did your team do in the
We are taking a look back at every selection in the first round and giving you
the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal? We’ll tell you and
give you the impact for fantasy football….
By: New York Giants
Lawrence was draft a few spots behind teammate Christian Wilkins (13); I wonder if they had a side bet on that. This was the pick in the trade deal with the Browns for OBJ.
Lawrence was ranked the no.2 recruit in his class when coming in to College in 2016 and was a highly sought after DT. That was backed up when being named the 2016 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and recorded 4 tackles when winning the National Title vs Alabama for Clemson.
His whole college production was good, but you have to wonder the reasons as to why his production dropped in his Junior year (doesn’t help he missed the playoffs after testing positive for PEDs, a requisite for entering the NFL).
So what does Lawrence bring?
Size, length, power and versatility; his athleticism allows him to fit in a 4-3 or a 3-4 front. His strength will obviously be a run stuffer for the Giants as long as they can rekindle his production from his 1st year in College. He isn’t going to be a guy that feasts on the flesh of the QB that often judging by his pass rush abilities but he will certainly do a job for the New York Football Giants.
The jury is out as to whether he was worth the pick here and whether he is a 3 down guy in the NFL (and wont have the luxury of having the talent around him like he did in the Clemson D), but he is a guy that will warrant double teams, be a disruptive menace in the gut of the defensive line and is a Gettleman guy in terms of big and strong on the D line.
At the very worst, he is someone that can be built around in the next few years.
Similar to most other teams in the top half of the draft,
defences will not be taken for most of these teams in fantasy unless it’s a
stream or a deep league.
Lawrence will probably not trouble the top end of scoring in
IDP and screams a real life decent player, but not for the stat sheets.
The Draft is in the books and the dust has settled. But how
well did your team do in the first round?
We are taking a look back at every selection in the first
round and giving you the lowdown on the pick; Was it a reach? Was it a steal?
We’ll tell you and give you the impact for fantasy football….
Drafted by: Washington Redskins
Considering the rumours (which I believe were smokescreens from the Redskins
fwiw)that the Redskins were looking
at trading ahead of the Giants to take Haskins, this is a great value for a
team in deep doodoo at the Quarterback position both in terms of quality, cap
space and the future.
To not give up any draft capital at all and still come out
with the 2nd best QB (arguable as to what the yardstick is though)
in this year’s draft is a right result for them.
We’ll get the “open training camp battle” talk all off
season and who knows when the Redskins will announce the week 1 starter, but at
least Haskins fits the mould, will suit this type of offence and could easily
succeed with his skills and attributes in the big boys league.
The Ohio State QB didn’t over exert himself at the combine
and why should he considering the overrated QB , sorry, 1st overall
pick in this year’s draft only decided to paly football a short while before it
(thanks for the honour of gracing us with your presence, moron) but was 3rd in
the Heisman Trophy vote, led the nation with 4831 passing yards, 50 TDs (sound
familiar?) and 8 INT in his final year and had a decent 70% completion rate.
This is going to be a run first team, make no mistake about
it. Look at the depth (?) they have in the backfield. They wont be asking
Haskins to great a deal and the Jay Gruden system should be one to suit him. He
is a QB with below average mobility, a powerful arm and has good pocket
presence so there are enough credentials there to say Haskins will be an OK QB
in this league. The weapons around him are questionable but 2 new faces join
Haskins from the draft in McLaurin and Butler to join Jordan Reed, Trey Quinn
and Josh Doctson. Excuse me one second…. *PUKING NOISES*. It’s hard to say who
will be the apple of Haskins’s eye if he starts this season so keep your ears
to the ground around training camp.
That being said, the defence should be decent and should
carry on from where it left off last season and the offence have opportunities
to be successful in terms of gamescripts barring yet another season of an
injury list longer than Darren Anderton’s CV. Let’s not forget that the
Redskins were in the driving seat for a poor NFC East last year until Alex
Smith went down.
For me, I think Case Keenum should start under Center for
the Redskins and give Haskins a bit of time to develop and learn though that is
a luxury no longer afforded to rookie QBs it seems (see Lamar Jackson and Josh
Rosen). But in Haskins, they have a mid tier QB who can do a job, and that;s
all he may need to do with this style of offence and the strengths of the team
being the running back talent and the defence.
Dwayne Haskins should only be taken as a late round dart at
this point in bestball and you’ll get him late in dynasty startups. Due to the
QB depth, you wont need to select him in redraft leagues but those living the
stream, he will grace your lineups at some point no doubt.
On immediate first looks, he wont have the plethora of
weapons that Kyler Murray has and Jay Gruden will employ a ground and pound
type of approach for the Redskins, not akin to lots of fantasy points. Unless
he pummels one guy with targets that he gets on well with, no WR will be viable
options either, even with Jordan Reed playing a full season…*PUKING NOISES*