Brought to you by - Total Football Advisors, LLC
*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
Well, in the battle of great offenses facing great defenses…the defenses won. You can blame the cold, and I believe that was a factor…but the defenses won the day.
The Bears have the best defense in football, and they crushed the Rams best offense in football. The Rams arguably have the best defense in football too…and the pretty well crushed the Bears offense. A week ago, Dallas’s defense humiliated the unstoppable Saints offense.
Wasn’t this the Year of the Offense? May want to put a pin in that theory temporarily.
Do you want to run off a fantasy cliff with this game result? The masses will because it happened on live television…they learned with their eyes that Goff-Trubisky is terrible. Case closed. Will they question Todd Gurley’s terrible performance? Hardly. That’s not the narrative the mainstream football media is pushing…they will go after Goff-Trubisky.
Sometimes ‘things’ happen. Big game/big fight feel, the weather, etc. You get a moment and then the moment is gone…and it’s back to normal business.
Remember when the Jaguars shutout MVP Andrew Luck a week ago? Luck bounces back and knocks off Houston on the road. The Jags defense then rolls over against the Titans on cable television.
Remember when the Dallas defense devastated MVP Drew Brees a week ago? Carson Wentz goes for 3 TDs/0 INTs the following game vs. the Dallas-D…and had a 4th TD stolen from him by the terrible referees. Brees put up 28 points in defeating the Bucs.
I’m supposed to throw out everything Goff-Trubisky have done all year because of this game…facing the best defenses in the league in cold weather? You can if you want…especially if it cost you a fantasy game. The mainstream will…they’ve been gunning for the Rams/Goff to falter, waiting for this moment to pounce…here it is, so they think.
Just like Saints-Cowboys and Jags-Colts from a week ago, you have to shake this off and look over the entire body of work to project/predict the following week. When ‘these’ games happen on national TV/a solo night game the panic only amplifies it for people. I would almost advise erasing this game from your memory banks and deleting it from their game logs/season averages. It happened. It was ugly. There were reasons. Moving on. There have been way more reasons to love these offenses all year, and going forward…so, don’t lose your eyes off the prize. Take advantage of people panicking here, however you can do so.
Both teams were stymied by the other’s defense. The weather and pass rushes made throws happen that you don’t normally see (wobbly passes all night). The QBs had no choice but to force throws at a certain point. Chicago had the home crowd and looked like the more confident team and blocked better (Trubisky hit twice, Goff hit 8 times).
My biggest takeaway here is – the Chicago Bears really can win the Super Bowl. I bet them (and many of you did too) to beat the ‘over’ 6.5 wins this summer, and we got that booked already, but we didn’t stop there. We also took some long shot bets on the Bears to win the NFC North…that’s about to payoff. But some of us also plunked a few bucks on a long shot Super Bowl appearance…suddenly, that bet is not so fanciful. Had they not lost to NYG last week, they maybe could’ve snuck in for playoff homefield this season…and then they would be in a super-strong position for the Bowl.
The reason I picked Chicago (plus points) in this game was…all the Bears’ losses have been narrow/fluky/Bears should’ve won. Many of the Rams wins are too close…shouldn’t be that close but held on to win. The Bears have been the most dominant team between these two this season, before this game. The Bears are playing like champions…the Rams are playing California cool. This game may have cemented that the best team in the NFC really is the Bears, and what is shocking about that is…they are still coming into their own. I feel like we are at ‘peak’ Rams and ‘peak’ Saints…this is the best they will ever be (considering salary cap, etc., ahead) and they are both legit Super Bowl contenders; great teams. The Bears are just starting to figure themselves out…and are right there/past the Rams/Saints already while still on the rise.
Mitchell Trubisky is running the offense at ‘B-’ grade levels…when he hits ‘A’, and he will, the Bears might be unstoppable in 2019+.
Chicago is 9-4, and if the Vikings get popped tonight the NFC North is all but locked up. The Bears should win their next two and we’ll see if Week 17 means anything to them. The Bears will be 12-4 at best, 10-6 at worst. I doubt they do any better than a #3 seed for the playoffs…to face one of 6 to 9 teams still in the #6 seed hunt in the NFC. Minnesota is the one with the edge to be that team, even if they lose to Seattle tonight.
The Rams may have lost the battle and the war. They fall to 11-2 and thus fall behind the Saints for seeding and into the #2 seed. Home field for the Saints may be what pushes them to the Super Bowl, the lack of home field would stop them. We see the Rams finishing 14-2…hoping the Saints fall one more time (and they should). If the Rams win out, they’re fine.
You want to know something cool/crazy? If the playoffs were locked in today and the higher seeds (today) all win in the first round, here would be the second round playoff matchups…
Dallas at New Orleans
Bears at LA Rams
Repeats of the defensive-led bloodbaths of the last two weeks…only the regular-season loser of each game then would have home field this time.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Just one thing about untouchable, uncritique-able, MVP Todd Gurley (11-28-0, 3-30-0/7)…
The Rams three biggest games this season (NO, KC/MNF madness, CHI) – all three games under 70 yards rushing and all under 40 yards receiving with 1 TD. 13-12-11 carries in those three games. The mainstream would say, “Why was the team so dumb not to use Todd Gurley!?” I say…he’s the most overrated player in the NFL, even though he’s very good, and when the Rams are in trouble they go away from him not to him.
This game, he’s guilty of something else -- the same thing Jared Goff was…bad body language in defeat. When things aren’t going Mitchell Trubisky’s way…you can’t really tell. He’s ready to play with a smile and enthusiasm. Goff-Gurley just slumped their shoulders and disappeared in this game…bad optics from the supposed leaders.
Brady…Mahomes…Mayfield would never give such accepting of defeat body languages. Goff does, and it might haunt him his entire career…as great as he will be. He has a mild Jay Cutler ‘who gives a ___ vibe’ that he doesn’t intend to, but it’s not rallying the troops.
Before everyone screams about Goff or Trubisky being such a stupid letdown (statistically), that critique better have the same rigor for Mr. Gurley.
Side note…Justin Davis (1-19-0) took a carry on the very last play of the game. Meaningless, right? Probably, but it was Davis not John Kelly sent in…if you think that gives a clue on who the Gurley handcuff might be. If it ever came to it, I think it would be a Davis-Kelly split favoring Davis as a runner, Kelly in the passing game.
-- Mitchell Trubisky’s (16-30 for 110 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs, 6-23-0) shoulder didn’t look like it was bothering him at all. He was fine.
Couple thoughts, as some of you damn him to Hades for his terrible picks he threw…
1) Make sure you hold Drew Brees and Jared Goff to the same standards…they’ve had bad games for two weeks now. Should we throw them all in the trash?
2) This game was a neat visual reminder that Trubisky is more physically gifted than Goff, or anyone at the QB position. His arm strength, release, accuracy, feet/speed combo are second-to-none. He makes Goff look like a sickly teenager playing QB by comparison of this one game.
However, it’s also a reminder that Trubisky isn’t ready for the Mahomes-Mayfield-Goff-Trubisky Mt. Rushmore of new era QBs just yet -- as a passer. He lags the group. He’s still trying to put it all together to go from ‘B-’ passer to ‘A’ passer. I still see Trubisky make a strange throw followed by throws almost no one else could make and vice versa. He’s still not fully taken command of his superpower, but that day will come. Give it time for a guy who started one year in college, then had to deal with John Fox for his first NFL season.
-- Jared Goff (20-44 for 180 yards, 0 TD/4 INTs) had his worst game in 2+ years…in the cold, against a great defense. Let’s not write him off just yet.
You can write his MVP candidacy off. He lost any hope of that in this game. He was never going to win it anyway.
If the media slams him today for this one game – shame on them. Actually, I hope they do…as fantasy profiteer. I will buy all your Jared Goff stock on a discount here. Happily so. I’ll just make sure not to start him in 20-degree weather on the road versus the best defense in the NFL games…I’ll just start him in all the other games he plays. No problem.
The national football media hates Goff and Trubisky for reasons I have theories on, but don’t really know. I think they just favor certain QBs/players and hate others for random/dumb reasons, and THEY all sign on to it and then write every story/make every comment to fit the narrative no matter what happens. When those QBs are going good/great it’s because of the play calling. When they’re bad, which is rare, it’s because they suck and even the great play calling couldn’t save them.
Don’t fight it in chat rooms or bar rooms, let the babies have their bottles. It’s their day to gloat over how they knew Goff-Trubisky sucked. I want them to think that. I need them to think that for fantasy and betting etc.
-- Allen Robinson’s (5-42-0/8) value is really tanking. If you saw the Roto-note today/last night on him…that’s the sentiment I want/have been sensing on him to make in a deal in dynasty. Basically, he’s a WR3 vibe because his last few games are low output…which I agree. I’m not overrating him week-to-week right now, I just want in on that down sentiment for a dynasty deal long-term. I want in on cheap ARob. for 2019.
Xavier Rhodes, Chase Daniel, this LAR-CHI cold/top D event has hidden how much Robinson has progressed from his injury last season, and when he missed a few games midseason.
Green Bay should be a better event for him Week 15, as well as vs. SF in Week 16. I don’t know that his valuation will get any lower in dynasty than this week.
-- Under the radar a bit…Gerald Everett (4-29-0/7) had a career high 7 targets in this game. His usage and targeting, and output, keeps inching forward.
What really caught my attention…the first time I’ve seen him play more snaps than Tyler Higbee (36-27), granted we know why/game flow. Still, it’s creeping upward. You want to take the TE of note on the best offense (when not in the cold or vs. the Bears) in the NFL a little seriously.
I’m not ready to trust, but I’m watching.
-- My worst sit/start call…not starting the Bears-DST for fear of the Rams offense. Obviously, it was the wrong way to play it…but I’d do it again tomorrow. I went mostly into the Lions-DST v. ARI, so I did just fine. I would not have guessed the Bears to crush the Rams into a fine powder.
All this game does is confirm…Bears-DST vs. Rodgers/GB this week isn’t even a question. Bears-DST all-in; all the way.
-- The great Bears performance/win overshadows that the Rams were near as-good as the Bears-DST. The Rams are loaded with talent as well. You could argue either of these defenses as the best in the NFL. I have no fear starting the Rams-DST vs. the Eagles this week.
-- Fantasy Playoff Notes for these two teams…
The Rams have no more weather excuses ahead. Hosting PHI this week and at a dome/ARI Week 16. All clear for all the weapons and no more questions on the Rams ‘resting’ people. They will have to play right through Week 16. Week 17 may be in question if they can’t catch the Saints, but likely it will be a race through Week 17 between LAR-NO.
The Bears get GB at home and then on the road to SF…I like them both for all Bears personnel for fantasy.
Snap Counts of Interest:
39 = Howard
30 = Cohen
06 = Mizzell
36 = Everett
27 = Higbee