Brought to you by - Total Football Advisors, LLC
In-season, I’m pumping out content faster than editing can keep up with. I don’t want to hold the recaps for hours waiting on perfection. We will correct errors after the fact, but for now – forgive any of my gaffes. I dictate some of my notes, and the computer software or Siri interpretation can be comical. I try to correct them all before publishing it, but I miss it sometimes…in the 50,000+ words I pen each week during the season (not including all the emails). I’m moving fast, and want to get the product out there ASAP at 98% ‘good’…vs. big delays trying to get to 99.9% craftsmanship. So here you go…
If Dallas had won this game, would anyone question the team…or Dak? They lose a hard-fought game on the road on MNF, and society is ready to ignore the 11-game win streak because of a close loss. Seattle gets embarrassed and the masses are all “Green Bay is back!” Why isn’t everyone calling for a QB change in Seattle?
There are players who are single-handedly changing/winning games. I think Tyreek Hill should get MVP votes. He has won at least two games for KC this season. No Tyreek…KC doesn’t even make the playoffs potentially this season. There’s the opposite of that…players who are killing their teams, but they have ‘status’ so they keep getting opportunities…wasted opportunities. I thinkDez Bryant is starting to do the Cowboys as much harm as good.
People are blaming Dak for no chemistry with Dez. I think the problem is Dez Bryant is only good for deep balls anymore. He’s becoming hot garbage in traffic/over the middle. He’s become ‘that guy’. The player paid way too much money and is a little older, more content and less concerned with rah-rah football…and is more concerned with his health and what he’s doing in the off season or after football or after practice. I don’t blame any player at all for that mindset, but with Dez (if I’m right) it’s hurting Dallas in small ways.
You want to know how brilliant Dak Prescott has been – he’s succeeding with one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL.Jason Witten WAS great. He’s now the slowest TE in the league I think. I see power walkers moving quicker than Witten is this season. Terrance Williams is a joke…he wouldn’t start for most teams. Cole Beasley is OK, but not as a #2 WR. Dez Bryant has gone diva – deep routes only, please. Alley-oops in the end zone are good too. Over the middle…not so much. Is Janoris Jenkinsreally that great…or Dez a lot easier to play now?
Dez Bryant’s percentage of catches on his targets since his rookie season (rounded): 62%-61%-67%-59%-65%-43%-48%. Dez is playing with a 66% passer and is catching 48% of his throws.
Dallas is probably the best team in the league, but not hands down. That’s why this season is so great. There are probably 6+ teams with a legit chance to get hot and win the Super Bowl right now. You could make an argument for several teams as better than Dallas right now, and it would be a legit argument. Dallas wins one more game, and they probably sew up the #1 seed which really helps their cause — they must not go to Seattle during this journey.
The Giants – maybe they are the best team in the NFC? Better WRs than Dallas. A more experienced QB. Decent O-Line. Equal/better defense than Dallas. If you mention ‘bad run game’, I say ‘who cares’. Offensive and defensive lines + quarterback means more. Having Odell Beckham is better than having Ezekiel Elliott, I think.
If Dallas loses this week, and NYG wins…man, is this going to be a wild finish to the NFC East. The Giants still have a chance to not only win the division but also grab the #1 seed. Ben McAdoo has to be up for Coach of the Year.
This was a great, hard-fought contest. The Giants won, but both teams played equally well. It more legitimizes the Giants as opposed to de-legitimizing the Cowboys.
— If Dallas loses in the playoffs/doesn’t reach the Super Bowl, Jerry Jones’s meddling will probably be to blame. Don’t we all want to see Jerry intervene and screw this up? I think there’s a 50-50 chance if Dallas loses to Tampa this week that he goes withTony Romo Week 16.
There is such a microscope on the Cowboys that there will be nonstop chatter about replacing Dak right now. People are already whining that Prescott has thrown for under 200 yards the past three games. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for less than 225 yards in three of his last four…is it time for Landry Jones?
Dak is fine. In fact, I’d use this time to acquire him in dynasty for those who can still trade. The media is going to hammer Dak and gin up the doubt people naturally have. All Dak owners in fantasy secretly fear he will turn into a pumpkin at midnight.
Two weeks ago, against a top defense in Minnesota…at Minnesota…Dak won in a slugfest. He only needed to throw 18 times for 195 yards. He also ran for 37 yards. Who’s putting up big passer numbers on Minnesota? Dallas scored 31 points when Dak threw for only 195 yards against Washington Week 13. Dak hadn’t thrown an INT in five games prior but had two picks in this game. About every QB in the league had 2-3 picks this week. Why is Dak a special case?
Dak’s picks were (1) when Dez slipped and fell and the ball went right to Janoris Jenkins. (2) On 3rd & 15, from midfield, Dak bombed an ‘up for grabs’ throw to Dez…a deep throw on purpose. It gets picked, it’s like a punt. Maybe he’d get lucky and connect. Maybe Dez wouldn’t be such a stooge…but he was — as he hesitated and then ran away from the ball in flight and the Giants made the easy pick.
Nothing is wrong with Dak. He’s the one winning the games for Dallas. He has limited pass game weapons, and he has led them to the best record in football…and one of the best passer ratings in the league. The best QB since like Week 3. Dak is fine. Dallas is fine today. Jerry Jones will find a way to screw this up.
— Eli Manning (17-28 for 193 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) doesn’t seem like a sexy QB1 name, but he’s thrown 2.5 TD passes per game the past 6 games. Oddly, he has less than 260 yards passing in all of those games as well.
The problem, maybe: All cold games the rest of the way – home vs. NYG and then at Philly, and at Washington.
— Rashad Jennings (15-45-0, 2-12-0/2 targets) did his usual get hot for a few a week and then fall off the face of the earth routine a few weeks ago. Paul Perkins (15-45-0, 1-10-0/2 targets) showed up well in this game as Jennings floundered. Perkins always looks better to me, but their results are usually about the same/not that exciting.
Shane Vereen (1-10-0/2 targets) made his return from missing several weeks with injury, and on his first touch was slammed into the ground and left the game with a concussion.
None of the Giants’ RBs are very useful for fantasy right now.
— Rookie IDP Romeo Okwara (8 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1.5 TFL, 1 PD) seemed to show up on every other defensive play of the game for the Giants in this contest. Okwara drew his first start in place of the missing Jason Pierre-Paul, and he looked like he’d been there for five years.
After re-watching it, I wasn’t as jacked as the game announcers got me. He did fine. He showed nice closing speed in the game, but he wasn’t the force I was bracing myself for upon a second review of the game. On his sack, he beat an extra lineman who came into the game for that specific play. He didn’t beat a starter. He had the benefit of being in the area of action – Dallas tried to run at the rookie several times.
Early on in the 2016 NFL Draft process, Okwara was projected to be a mid-draft pick prospect…because ‘Notre Dame’. He had 9.0 sacks in his senior season, including 8.0 sacks in his final 8 games. The numbers seemed decent, but when you crunch them a bit more they are ‘wanting’. He faced top-ranked teams Ohio State, Clemson, and Stanford in 2015 and was shut out of any sacks in those 3 games. He killed off his draft stock at the NFL Combine running a 4.90 40-time at 265 pounds…not good for a DE prospect.
Okwara seems to be more of a ‘wait until they come to you’ defensive end. I wouldn’t buy into him just yet until he proved himself more. I wouldn’t bet on the come here.
— Sometimes I see ‘stuff’, and it’s right, but my emotions or pre-bias won’t let me accept what I am seeing right away. Early on, I thought I saw something with this Giants defense, but I wouldn’t allow myself to buy in (see more on this in the section below). The Giants defense is now 7th best in PPG allowed on the season (18.8 PPG), a blip away from the Broncos (18.6).
Only two defenses have equal to or more interceptions than TD passes allowed this season to date. The Denver Broncos (10 TD/12 INT) and the NY Giants (13 TD/13 INT). The Giants have done this facing Prescott twice, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, and Big Ben within their schedule. That QB group is averaging 1.2 TD/1.0 INTs against NYG this season.
The Giants face fading, hurt-finger Matt Stafford in the cold this week, and then Carson Wentz…this is a DST you can trust for fantasy if needed. They are the #10 DST in fantasy scoring YTD.
Here’s a slice of my Week 1 DAL-NYG game recap…
The story of this game was missed by me, and many others, after the live viewing on Sunday.
The narrative I have seen described the most from this game – “Ha ha, overhyped rookie QB Dak Prescott failed. You can’t expect the Cowboys to win with the rookie QB. The sky is falling.” Everything is from a Dallas perspective. Did the Giants even participate in this game? Opponents never beat Dallas – Dallas just loses games because Dallas didn’t do something right. It’s ridiculous. I’m glad this bias exists, because it allows so many stories to run right under ‘their’ noses that we can capitalize on for fantasy football and gambling purposes.
One of my two main items of note from this game you know was coming. The other one is pretty breaking news, so let’s start with that one…
— Sure, I’m going to hit Ezekiel Elliott (20 carries for 51 yards and 1 TD, 1 rec. for 1 yard on 2 targets) for a flimsy performance, because that’s what I do. However, I made the same mistake that you probably did, and I know that all the media did. Just like focusing on this game too much from the Dallas quarterback perspective, we focus too much on the Elliott’s bad day from Ezekiel’s point of view. You know what we missed? The New York Giants defense might be fantastic.
I make fun of Ezekiel Elliott, but he’s not that bad. My whole shtick is that he’s promoted as an ‘A++’ when he’s just a ‘B’ talent. He’s not horrible. But he did get absolutely stuffed by the Giants…fantastic Dallas offensive line and all.
I know what you’re thinking. “Well, the Giants probably stuffed the box like Gurley-SF.” That’s what I thought, initially. So I started looking at it from that perspective – I was amazed to watch the Giants dive in and out of heavy run fronts. I think they started out that way, and then quickly realized they didn’t need to. It was a very nimble and aggressive front seven.
You might also be thinking it’s because Dak Prescott (25-45 for 227 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) was so flimsy, dinking and dunking. I don’t know that that was the case either. Prescott is not Tom Brady, but he actually played a really nice game. He just missed on a couple of medium-length TD passes to Dez Bryant (1 rec. for 8 yards on 5 targets). I thought Prescott played really well. When you discount the Giants defense as a joke, then Prescott’s performance is seen as a ‘Prescott problem’. But if you saw what I think I saw – the Giants have a really good defense, or at least had a great one in this game… Then you have to applaud Prescott for navigating into Giants’ territory so often. Trevor Siemian, Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz, and Jimmy Garoppolo all played about the same exact game this week (only Garoppolo much better, better coached). The media went bonkers for Siemian and Wentz, and are laughing at Prescott, and not acknowledging Garoppolo. I don’t want to hear about Dak dinking and dunking, because the whole league is dinks and dunks now. Don’t give me any yards per throw or per completion garbage from this one game – Prescott took what the Giants gave him, and it wasn’t much. Sure, he narrowly missed a couple of the balls to Dez, but it was not egregious. It was a near-miss…and if one of them had hit, there might be a whole different narrative on this game. Winning cures everything.
Look at this… I’ve meant for this to be a whole segment promoting the Giants defense, and it turned into Ezekiel and Dak discussions. The power of ‘the star’.
I noted that the Giants looked better on defense in the preseason, but I did not go overboard with it. I governed myself, assuming this was probably the same old tired Giants defense. It was not. This Week 1 was not like any Giants defense I’ve seen in years. Remember, they overhauled most of this defense in the offseason, including new coaching staff. Janoris Jenkins added. Olivier Vernon added. Jonathan Casillas is now a captain and was playing linebacker. Eli Apple gave them good snaps. Rookie Darian Thompson played well. Damon Harrison is in the middle, a jump from the NY Jets this offseason. I was shocked when I watched this defense the second time around. Once I shed my whole ‘looking through Dallas-colored glasses’ at this game, I could see the light of the Giants’ defense.
This is not necessarily a signal to drop everything and go get the Giants’ defense immediately. It might be, but I’m not ready to fully commit to it after just one viewing. Maybe I’m still stuck on ‘Giants’. You’re going to have time because no one else is in on this, and NYG faces the Saints this week… No one is picking them up. Let’s see how they handle the New Orleans offense.
I’ll say this: if they handle Drew Brees, everyone’s going to connect the dots that they stuffed the almighty Dallas Cowboys, and then the Saints… It helps make excuses for Ezekiel Elliott. People will go bananas because a New York-based team that stops the magical unicorn must be phenomenal.