This game is barely worth writing about. 17-0 NE at the half. 30-0 going into the 4th-quarter…and it wasn't that close. It was obviously bad enough that Jack Del Rio fired his defensive coordinator…something he should have done last season. Del Rio is living on borrowed time. There is a defensive player rebellion, those loyal to the old D-C…so this team could really fold now.
This game got me thinking – last year everyone swore that Derek Carr was the future and the Raiders were soon-to-be Super Bowl contenders. Look at them now. Nothing’s really changed personnel-wise, per se…except they suck this year. The lesson – sometimes mediocre NFL teams can get on a roll…the right schedule, playing opponents at a certain time (they have a key injury, etc.), a referee’s call goes your way, a fumble or tipped pass lands right and turns a game. There are a lot of 8-8 teams roaming around the NFL, and they spike up an down on favorable circumstances and a little luck.
So, when I bailed on the Raiders after their hot start last year…and didn’t like them this year back to the preseason – I was right (today). That’s why it’s healthy to be a skeptic on Philadelphia or Minnesota, for me (for some, the Rams and Jags). The NFL is a murder mystery to be dissected and interpreted. It’s not black and white. There are several false leads. Hot and cold streaks are a way of life in the NFL.
Only one team has won its division three years in-a-row – the New England Patriots. Only one team will be able to claim that again after this season…the New England Patriots, assuming they win the division this year (insert chuckle here). If they do win it this season it will be the 9th time in a row. How unbelievable is that in this era? It will be the 14th division title in 15 seasons (the Matt Cassel year as the outlier…they finished 11-5 and in 2nd place).
The Raiders are ‘committed to excellence’, but it’s just a meaningless punchline. The Patriots are real, ‘sustained excellence’. The ‘real’ excellent team dismantled the fake ‘committed to excellence’ one in this game.
How could you bet against the Patriots winning the Super Bowl again this season?
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- High hopes for Rex Burkhead (5-16-0, 4-21-0/6) coming into this game, as it seemed he was wresting control of the backfield, in a sense, away to be more of the main guy when it mattered – goal line and passing game. He had a fumble early and left the game for a stretch on ‘punishment’.
Rex still led the RBs with 6 targets in this game, giving him 5.3 per game the past three games. He’s a for sure RB3 each week with RB 1-2 upside if he pops a TD.
-- Rob Gronkowski (3-37-0/3) has become ‘disappointing’ the past 4 games…3.8 rec., 54.5 yards, 0.25 TDs per game the past 4 games. He’s fallen behind Travis Kelce in PPR PPG this season and is just 0.1 PPG ahead of Zach Ertz. He’s not having a bad season, but he’s not the top TE and his numbers are sagging of late.
They haven’t needed him, and they should rest him to keep him safe for the playoffs.
We think Gronk is a TD monster by he only has 5 TDs this season…on pace for 8 TDs this season. Not the Gronk we’ve come to expect, no?
He’s due for a 2 TD game…
-- The Patriots DST is back in play after a very rocky start to 2017. I’ve pointed this out a few times this past week so no reason to re-harp on it. The only thing to mention is – I think the Pats DST goes as far as Stephon Gilmore is healthy -- if he goes down or is out this week…not as a solid a DST play.
Check out the Patriots yards allowed in games (net) this season, starting with Week 1: 537-429-417-444-409-408-343-349-339-344. You can see the improvements and adjustments happening every week. Points allowed in games, starting with Week 1: 42-20-33-33-14-17-7-13-16-8.
-- Brandin Cooks (6-149-1/9) continues to heat up, per my instructions to him.
In his last 8 games, Cooks has averaged: 11.3 FF PPG (16.3 PPR) on 5.0 rec., 82.7 yards, 0.50 TDs per game. He’s #10 in PPR PPG YTD, top 7 the past 8 games. He’s #6 in nonPPR PPG YTD, top 6 in the past 8 games.
This is only getting better as the chemistry between he and Brady has been visible for several weeks, and the output keeps inching higher. Two games each against MIA and BUF in the next 5 games isn’t going to hurt either.
-- Amari Cooper (3-28-1/7) had that crazy game vs. KC with 201 yards and 2 TDs. In his other 9 games this season, Cooper is averaging: 4.5 FF PPG (7.8 PPR) on 3.3 rec., 32.1 yards, 0.22 TDs per game.
Likely the same coach and QB combo next season. What’s going to turn this around for Amari? A trade away…I have a feeling. A trade to New England.
Snap Counts of Interest…
67 = Amari
59 = Roberts
58 = Crabtree
25 = Cordarrelle
56 = Cooks
35 = Amendola
28 = Dorsett
26 = Lewis
19 = Burkhead
17 = White