Predicting Winners of Top WR-CB Battles for Week 6

Dez Bryant vs. Sam Shields:

Image result for dez bryant catch

Both of these players didn’t play in Week 5 and are questionable to even play in Week 6, but in this article, I’m assuming that every player that is questionable will play. If both of these players are healthy, then we will see a rematch of the famous Dez Bryant “catch”. Remember that play? He “caught” that ball over Sam Shields. The speed of Sam Shields versus Dez’s ability to high-point the ball should be a joy to watch. At the end of the day, you can be a very fast corner, but all that Dak has to do is toss the ball up, and Dez will come down with it. Dez has built a whole career off of doing that. I’m not about to doubt him now.

Winner: Dez Bryant

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Vontae Davis:

Image result for deandre hopkins

Is it DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller that is the top receiver in Houston? That’s been a pretty hot topic of debate recently, as Fuller has been torching defenses with his speed, and Hopkins has only turned on one 100+ yard day. I’m sticking with Hopkins as the top receiver on this Texans team. He has been for the past two years, so I’m not going to dismiss him supremacy after just five weeks. As far as him versus Vontae Davis, I give Hopkins the edge here. Davis is starting to age, and while he is still a top cornerback, I feel like this is DeAndre’s breakout game this season.

Winner: DeAndre Hopkins

Brandon Marshall vs. Patrick Peterson:

Image result for patrick peterson vs. brandon marshall

It’s hard to think that Brandon Marshall is 32 years old, because he’s playing like he’s still in his prime. The veteran is preparing for life after football, as he has already started a broadcasting career on NFL Network, but the way that he’s playing right now, I don’t think he needs to think about sitting at the booth for another three years. Marshall may be having another Brandon Marshall-type season, but I never bet against Patrick Peterson. He can stay stride for stride with any receiver in the game and is the modern day Houdini, as he makes receivers disappear on the football field. The only way to beat Peterson is to put the ball perfectly overtop of him, an with the way that Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing, I can’t see him being able to do that.

Winner: Patrick Peterson

Amari Cooper vs. Marcus Peters –

Image result for amari cooper vs. marcus peters

Amari Cooper went off against a Jason Verrett-less San Diego Chargers squad. His 138 yards came on 6 catches, and he finally took back the crown of the top receiver in Oakland. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Crabtree is having a fantastic season, but Cooper is and will be the top receiver every time that he steps onto that field. Marcus Peters has given up some big plays this season, but he has also made some huge plays. Peters is prone to give up the big play, but Cooper doesn’t have the long speed to get by Peters, and that’s usually where Peters experiences some issues. Peters will shadow Cooper the whole game and keep him from beating him deep. Advantage: Peters.

Winner: Marcus Peters

Julio Jones vs. Richard Sherman

Image result for julio jones vs. panthers 300 yards

This is the marquee matchup of the week. Of course, there is no guarantee that Sherman will follow Julio all game long, and he probably won’t, because it’s the Seahawks scheme. This has obviously been the big topic of conversation regarding Richard Sherman and his standing among the top corners of the game. In the snaps where he is lined up on Julio, I can’t imagine him getting torched. Sherman will hold his own against Julio Jones, but don’t count on Julio being silent either. This is the closest call of the entire week, but I’ll take Julio Jones. He has a quarterback in Matt Ryan who is incredibly in form, and that is the deciding factor.

Winner: Julio Jones

 

 

 

Top 5 Heisman Contenders After Week 5

Louisville vs. Clemson. Washington vs. Stanford. North Carolina vs. Florida State. All three of these games have dramatically shifted my Heisman ranking, and as fun as they were to watch, who the heck is the top Heisman contender now? Week 5 shook up the Heisman race like a California earthquake, so how do things stand now?

 

Honorable Mentions:

Dalvin Cook – If the Seminoles didn’t have two losses, then you’d see him a lot higher up on this list.

Christian McCraffrey – Stanford suffered a terrible loss to Wisconsin, and while McCaffrey is amazing, he can’t be this entire Stanford offense.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. – This is your official dark-horse Heisman contender. He’s got Nebraska at No. 12 (AP Poll) in the nation with his arm and his legs.

 

5. Jake Browning – QB – Washington

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I’m absolutely in love with this Washington team, just check out my last article. While this defense is what really makes me believe in their chances as a Top 3 team, Jake Browning is absolutely fantastic under center. He isn’t draft eligible until next year, but Browning is already a lock to be a Top 5 pick in next year’s NFL Draft. Browning hasn’t topped the 300-yard passing mark in any game yet this season, but the Huskies are 5-0, and greatly because of him. The number one trait among Heisman winners: They win games.

4. Greg Ward Jr. – QB – Houston

Image result for greg ward jr. 2016

Not only can Greg Ward Jr. get it done through the air (over 1,300 passing yards thus far), but he also has the running ability of a running back. At 5’11”, Ward will probably never make it in the NFL, but he has certainly made his mark on College Football. Houston is currently ranked at No. 6 (AP Poll), and with only Louisville as the only real threat left on their schedule, Ward should be able to put up huge statistics and the Cougars should keep on winning games.

3. Deshaun Watson – QB – Clemson

Image result for deshaun watson vs. louisville

Last week, I didn’t even have Watson in my Top 5, as he’s thrown way too many interceptions for a Heisman contender and his team struggled in their first two games. After a huge win against Louisville, he jumps up my list in a major way. He threw 3 interceptions, but in a game like the one we saw on Saturday, when you have two Top 5 teams going up against each other, winning the game matters a lot more than statistics. Watson willed his team to win, so he gets a big bump up the rankings. Although he won, I’m not ready to forget about those first two games where he should’ve posted a lot bigger stat lines.

2. J.T. Barrett – QB – Ohio State

Image result for jt barrett 2016

It seems like people have just stopped watching Ohio State and Alabama. There is clearly a VIP section in the Top 25 rankings, and it’s at No. 1 and No. 2. Fans just assume that Ohio State and Alabama will consistently win, so J.T. Barrett seems to not get as much hype as he deserves. Barrett doesn’t have the stats that the other candidates do, and that’s because the Buckeyes have blown out every opponent that they’ve faced, so they take him out once the believe that they don’t need him anymore. Fun Fact: Barrett has only thrown SIX, yes six passes in the fourth quarter this season. Ohio State is winning and J.T. Barrett has done nothing to move him down the rankings.

  1. Lamar Jackson – QB – LouisvilleImage result for lamar jackson vs. clemson

I know that this is controversial, but it really shouldn’t be. With 2,313 total yards already this season, Jackson is putting together a historic season. Let’s put his stats into perspective. If Lamar Jackson were his own team, he would be the 30th best offense in College Football, above Ohio State and only 4 yards behind Clemson. Are you freaking kidding me? The fact that people had Lamar Jackson as the unanimous top Heisman contender before Week 5 and then fault him for losing to Clemson is insane. Jackson played an incredible game, and it wasn’t like Louisville struggled. It was an instant-classic type game that anyone could have won. I know that I’ve said that winning is the most important thing in these types of games, but Jackson willed his team to win, and maybe if James Quick had pick up the extra yard on that fourth down, we would be talking about one of the best players in college football history. Jackson is still the best in College Football by leaps and bounds.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Lamar Jackson gets choked out by Ben Boulware, doesn’t get a flag

http://www.cleveland.com/osu/index.ssf/2016/01/jt_barrett_ohio_states_heisman.html

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Deshaun+Watson/Clemson+v+Louisville/OFNY-TZYKGD

Greg Ward Jr. out for Houston, Kyle Postma will start

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/jake-browning-and-uw-offense-have-plenty-of-room-for-growth/

Time to Change NFL Schedule System

If anyone wants to check 14 of your favorite teams 16 games for the next 30 seasons in the NFL, you can. Does that bother anyone else but me? Is it stupid for me to be annoyed that I can look up all but 2 of the Chicago Bears opponents for the 2032 season right now? How can that be, you ask? Well, for those who are not acquainted with how the NFL makes their schedule from year to year, it goes like this.

There are 32 teams that fit ever so nicely into 8 divisions. In order to show how a schedule is made each season, lets take the 2017 New England Patriots. The Patriots play teams in the AFC East (their division) TWICE in a home an home series, so that’s 6 games.

The rest of the Patriots schedule in 2017 is filled out by facing a division in their own conference (AFC) and a division in the NFC. In 2017, the AFC East plays the AFC West and NFC South. Home games and away games are determined by rotation. For example, the last time the Patriots played the AFC West as a division on their schedule was in 2014. That season they played the Raiders and Broncos at home and the Chiefs and Chargers on the road. For 2017, they switch and play the Raiders and Broncos on the road, and the Chiefs and Chargers at home. That brings the number of games played up to 10.

In 2017 the NFC division that the Patriots play is the NFC South (the other conference schedule is also done on a rotating basis). The previous time the Patriots played the NFC South in 2013, they played the Saints and Buccaneers at home and Falcons and Panthers on the road. For 2017, they play the opposite facing the Saints and Bucs on the road and the Falcons and Panthers at home. That brings the number of games played up to 14.

The final 2 games on the Patriots 2017 schedule have yet to be determined, as they are based on where the Patriots finish in their division in 2016 and how the two interconference divisions the Patriots aren’t playing (the AFC North and South) finish. For instance, if the Patriots finish first in the AFC East, they play the first place teams in the AFC North and South. If they finish 2nd in the AFC East, they play the second place teams in the AFC North and South, etc..etc…

NFL Schedule Maker
Total Games
Teams in own division TWICE 6
Interconference Division ONCE 4
Intraconference Division ONCE 4
Interconference Position from other 2 divisions 2

For those who love competitive balance, this schedule looks like a good idea. All of the teams in the same division play just about the same exact schedule minus 2 games that are left to how the team finished the season before. I certainly think its a nice and neat way to organize the leagues schedule for the next 5-30 years, but I question how much it really helps the competitive balance overall.

If you are a last place team in the AFC East (say the Jets) and you go 3-13, it’s got to be a hard revelation that the next season you are basically playing the same exact schedule as the 14-2 Patriots. How is that a good idea? Sure, in some divisions the difference between a 10-6 division winner and a 7-9 last place team isn’t that much, but how about for the example of the AFC East? An 11 game difference is pretty big in a season where only 16 games are played. So, how can we make this better for all teams and guarantee, like most of the European Soccer leagues, that success the year before means a tougher schedule the next season.

Here is my suggestion, and its pretty simple. Teams opponents the next season, outside of their division of course, are determined by the place they finish in said division. For instance, if the Colts finish 1st in the AFC South, they play their division opponents twice (6 games), each of the teams that finished first in their conference twice (6 games), and all 4 teams that finished first in the other conference (4 games). The opposite conferences will rotate on a season to season basis for what plays what division at home and on the road (AFC East winner plays at NFC East winner one year, then flips the next season).

If you think its crazy that you would play teams outside of your division twice in a season, think again. The NFL used to allow that in earlier schedule diagrams. From 1978 to 1995, the NFL, due to its unbalanced divisions with a four-time division and two five team divisions in each conference, had a 5th-place schedule where a team would play the other 5th place team in their conference twice.

With my schedule you don’t penalize the last place team by making them play a schedule equal to that of a first place team. This also creates a large number of entertaining games for every season, guaranteeing that just about each week you will see a pair of first place teams from the year before matching up against each other.

If you are a last place team this gives you a healthy chance of having a successful next season without having to worry about being overwhelmed with facing just as many playoff teams as the teams that finished 1st and 2nd in your division the year before. I never really understood why the NFL wanted to make each team in the same division basically play the same schedule. To me. that creates a much more generic NFL season.

New Schedule System
Play each team in division twice 6 games
Play each interconference division place twice* 6 games
Play each Intraconference division place once* 4 games
*Based on finish from previous season 16 games

I’m open to other suggestions. Please let me know yours.

Why the Washington Huskies Are A Top 3 Team in College Football

          After a dominating, and I mean dominating, performance against Stanford, Washington should be expecting a huge jump up the rankings. Just how high should they be put? I don’t care if it’s an overreaction, but I like them as a Top 3 team. They obviously will never be put there, as the winner of Louisville vs. Clemson will gladly fill that spot, but if that weren’t an issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them right up there.

          Where do you start when talking about this team? Let’s start a Quarterback, where we have the pleasure to watch true-sophomore Jake Browning. In watching Browning, I noticed three things. First, his accuracy, particularly on the deep ball, is impeccable. Second, his decision-making is his best attribute. Third, he has NFL size. The only flaw that I noticed with him was his lack of arm strength, but that is something that can be fixed in the year-and-a-half that he has before he is draft eligible.

Image result for jake browning

          At the running back position, Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman have both had their breakout games, and both of them are capable of torching defenses. Receivers John Ross and Chico McClatcher combine to form one of the speediest receivers duos in college football.  Let’s also give some love to the offensive line, who kept Jake Browning’s jersey clean the entire game against Stanford.

          The offense is great to watch, but the defense is something else. Two years ago, it was the year of Shaq Thompson, Marcus Peters, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Danny Shelton, and after they left for the NFL, Washington had trouble reloading on defense. Well, Consider them reloaded, as their defense boasts several top names. They have two Senior Defensive Ends in Psalm Wooching and Joe Mathis. If you watched the Stanford game, you should already be acquainted with these two, as they were practically living in Stanford’s backfield.

          Azeem Victor is a tackle machine at linebacker, as he has 42 to his name. Jo-Jo McIntosh is another impact player on that defense as well, although the stat sheet may not show it.

          How could I talk about this defense without mentioning Budda Baker and Sidney Jones? Baker is the classic in-the-box type safety, always around the ball, and even though he is a little on the shorter end, it’s never been an issue when quarterbacks throw to him. Sidney Jones is a lockdown cornerback on the outside, and he is likely to be first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The same goes for Budda Baker.

Image result for budda baker

         Now, a team can have great players but not perform. That isn’t the case for this Huskies team. Playing out West, many people are already asleep by the time that Washington is playing, so they won’t get that recognition that they deserve. The best thing that could’ve happened to them was playing Stanford in Friday Night Primetime. People were finally able to watch the Huskies play, and like me, they liked what they saw.

          Washington has their signature win, along with the players, to succeed. Facing Oregon next week looks to be their only big test for the rest of the season, so Washington looks like it could roll to the College Football Playoffs. I could see them winning it all too. Quote me on that.

Photo Credits:

http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/story/university-of-washington-ready-to-cook-with-budda-baker-040716

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/like-cals-jared-goff-uws-jake-browning-has-a-unique-feel-for-the-game/

Thursday night recap

The New England Patriots  (3-0) defeated the Houston Texas (2-1) by nearly 4 tds in the Texans first shut out since 2003. To be fair, I did not watch most of the game due to not caring about either team. However this is what I did pick up from both teams from the 45 minutes I did watch.

New England: Offense proved that not only is Tom Brady a Top 2 qb of all time, there is also a system in place that will boost any qb whose willing to listen to Bill. Defense proved that being stingy can cost you. In the very little time I watched the defense missed about 5 pretty easy ints. Although they did destroy the offense and held them to their own side of the field for the most part of the game, there is some slight growing pains. Special teams well two turnovers is all u need to know about their nastiness.

Houston: The offense proved Brock was still an overpaid back up qb. I mean you don’t have a trio of good WRs and a decent RB, and still not score. You have to wonder what they will do to adjust for just the division games. The defense well was absolutely invisible. Watt who? I have to give credit to Bill for that though. He’s known to prepare well enough to eliminate players. Special teams needs a lot of work.

Overall Grades:

New England:

Offense A- Defense B+ Special teams A

Houston:

Offense C- Defense C Special Teams D

System Quarterback

We all know the story about how when Tom Brady went down with an injury, Matt Cassell stepped right in and won 11 games even though he hadn’t played a game since high school.

We know that before the NFL allowed Brady to start bringing his own balls on the road and changed the rules to benefit him  in 2007, he averaged 3,593 yards a season. Since they helped him out, he has never thrown less than 3,900 yards.

We also know that in the seasons the Patriots won the Super Bowl, New England relied more heavily on their run game and defense, which resulted in Brady averaging 1,000 less yards and 10 less touchdowns than in seasons they didn’t win a ring.

Brady plays for the most genius coach in the NFL, who has developed offensive systems that other coaches won’t even attempt to instill into their offenses.

Now, right in front of our very eyes, we watched Jimmy Garrapolo, walk into Arizona, and make the same dink and dunk passes, carve up the middle of the field on a regular basis and throw the same long balls, against one of the toughest teams in the NFL on the road.

Everything looked exactly the same as if Brady was under that helmet.

The next week Garrapolo goes down, and now people are panicking; who the hell is Jacoby Brissett?

The answer; another guy that  just so happens to fit perfectly into the system. That came out of nowhere and magically appears to be playing as if he was the greatest of all time…

Further proof that Bill Belichick makes the Patriots and the Patriots make Tom Brady.

Brock Osweiler must prove that he is bigger than “The Moment”

By: Michael Eccleston

The Houston Texans (2-0) signed young quarterback Brock Osweiler to a massive four year, 72 million dollar deal this past offseason for big Primetime games like tonight. Houston has had a running game with stars such as Arian Foster and now Lamar Miller, along with one of the better defenses in the NFL for years now led by one of the greatest defensive players ever in J.J. Watt. They’ve had solid receiving cores led by top receivers such as Andre Johnson and now DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans have had some of the best all-around teams in the league, yet they just haven’t seemed to be able to get over the hump when it’s mattered the most.

What have they been missing? Houston has always been considered to be a quarterback away from contending for a Super Bowl.

Well, now they have one. 72 million dollars is a lot of faith in a quarterback who had only started seven games and had thrown 10 touchdown passes. If Osweiler left the Broncos because he didn’t want to deal with the pressure of succeeding Hall of Fame quarterbacks such as John Elway and Peyton Manning, or the pressure of becoming the next quarterback for a team that just won the Super Bowl, well, believe it or not, he’s come to the wrong place. Whether it’s fair or not, the 25 year old is going to be under fire immediately because he’s behind center for what has been considered to be a very good football team.

This isn’t a newly up and coming team, this is a team that many have lost faith in over the last few years because they just seem like the kind of team that isn’t big enough for “the moment”. They’ve been the biggest tease in the NFL. Well, people are starting to believe that the Texans will take the next step this season because of Brock Osweiler, and if they are going to do so, they NEED Osweiler to prove that he is the guy who can take them there. Hopkins said earlier in the week that tonight’s Patriots game is just another football game. IT IS NOT. This game in New England against a banged up 2-0 Patriots team is the kind of game Houston has to win in order to be taken seriously as contenders coming out of the AFC South. It’s a statement game that “this isn’t that same first round exit team we’ve been in years past”.

This is considered a must win game for the Texans because of the fact that the Patriots are throwing third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett out there, and even if tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) plays tonight, he most likely won’t be out there for every snap. And if Houston wants to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, they will need to go through New England in order to to get there, and if they can’t beat them tonight, I can only imagine what’s going to happen if they have to play a playoff game at Gillette Stadium against Tom Brady and a fully healthy Rob Gronkowski led Patriots team. I don’t care if it’s Week 3 or Week 16, this one is huge and Houston needs to capture the moment.

But, if they lose and Brock Osweiler doesn’t play well, what does that say about them? What does it say about him? Same old Texans. Overpaid Osweiler. Just not big enough for that moment.

The pressure is on.