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2019 Season Computer Simulation Chat -- RC and XC Discuss the NFC North

June 4, 2019 6:02 PM
June 11, 2019 6:22 AM

NFL Mock Draft guru Xavier Cromartie and I (RC) recently published a daily series we do about this time every year – a computer simulation of the upcoming NFL season based on our inputs on the talent levels of the rosters, the schedule challenge/interpretations, etc.

Now, we are publishing our annual post-simulation chat about each division in the NFL -- looking at our differences and asking various questions about teams in the division. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we’re far apart.

We’ll be publishing our chat, done via email, division-by-division each day and soon after we’ll be publishing our ‘Top 3’ over/under win total bets with a fictitious $1,000 to spend on the three teams and seeing how we do after the season. We’ve both been ‘over/under’ winners for a couple of years now…you could make money following our ideas. Or just sit back and enjoy the free discussion and debate of ideas.

Please note, we were emailing back and forth. There might/will be typos, grammar things, abbreviations…but they’re limited, and you’ll be able to follow just fine, but note this is the raw transcript of our discussions…

NFC North (RC)

GB …. 11 - 5 = 0.688

CHI … 9 - 7 = 0.563

MIN … 7 - 9 = 0.438

DET … 6 - 10 = 0.375


x-CHI … 11 - 5 = 0.688

w-GB … 10 - 6 = 0.625

MIN … 8 - 8 = 0.500

DET … 7 - 9 = 0.438

RC: We're pretty close on the ideology in the NFC North. One game difference on all four team's record. The big switch is, I have Green Bay winning the division and you have the Bears. I don't think a Bears repeat is crazy, but I think Chicago dips (in general) on the schedule upgrade/tough, the loss of Fangio, and the absolute overrated nature of Matt Nagy on this team -- I think he's ripe to be the typical 'hot coach' year one, disappointment year two, everyone waking up wondering what happened year three with rumors of him getting dumped.  

Somewhat by default I have the Packers winning the division. Mostly because the schedule lays out much better, new blood coaching staff with established/great D-C could have a Nagy/2018 effect, plus 'Aaron Rodgers'. However, I'm getting cold feet on the Packers' pick...I'm starting wonder just how good Aaron Rodgers is anymore. Is he an 8-9 (of 10) QB instead of a 9-10-11 we tend to make him out to be? Looking at his numbers since his one big year, he's not been that 'wow'...was it McCarthy or is Rodgers is great but overrated great? I like the Packers' upgrades of the roster and hate what the Bears did this year in personnel, so I'm good with the Pack...but my Aaron Rodgers above all mindset is starting to melt in the last few weeks looking at him/the Packers deeper. He's still great but I wonder if he's top 5-8 in the league great not top 3...in this era of the great young QB.

XC: I don't really like the Bears even though they ended up 11-5 in my projections. It's a combination of an assumption that they can maintain elite defense and that they'll pick up extra wins playing the weak NFC East + the Raiders. I've never believed in Mitchell Trubisky as anything more than an average QB, and I would say that he actually overperformed his talent level last year. Alex Smith overperformed when Nagy was with the Chiefs, and so maybe he can maintain it for a while. The offensive talent is uninspiring. But the defense still has a lot of star power. It's remarkable that they had all of these guys plus Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos last season. Their defense was absurdly good last season. I'm projecting them to still be very good even though Buster Skrine is a serious downgrade.

I've moved Aaron Rodgers down. I don't question his desire to scorch the earth, but I'm questioning his ability to do it. They haven't given him good enough receiving options. They got Jace Sternberger, but I doubt that he'll do much as a rookie TE. Rodgers has to rely on Davante Adams too much. Rodgers would rather throw it out of bounds than to a guy he doesn't trust. It's smart to avoid interceptions but I wonder if he's taking it too extreme on the cautious side now. He also could be worn down from injuries. I'm not sure that "anyone but Mike McCarthy" is going to be a magic panacea, but the Packers' talent level has been higher than their on-field performance for years. Like the Bears, they can rack up some wins against the NFC East + Raiders. In the weak NFC, they should be a playoff team.

RC: I have a feeling this is Aaron Rodgers last real chance at personal greatness/numbers...if that window hasn't passed. I think Alex Smith's blip year was the move of Tyreek Hill to a true WR, nothing more. When Nagy started playing calls late his final season, the first time he'd ever done so...same pattern as Andy Reid. I'm not sure when the NFL is going to wake up to the Andy Reid fraud and thus all his disciples are also from the same ilk. Nagy, I think, will be another failed-former Reid guy soon. Not that they are terrible coaches, but that they don't use what they have effectively and never get to the next level beyond 'good' and always surprisingly lose games in the playoffs, and never surprisingly win them (Reid's last decade in the playoffs is a joke). Nagy doesn't have Mahomes to bail him out...and just like Reid late in season with Mahomes -- they will try to out-coach themselves by using their top talents as decoys or feature the run game when they possess elite passing games.

I think the Bears regress, opening the door for the new look Packers...who will then regress the following year.

Sadly, Minnesota and Detroit cannot take advantage of any 2019 window that might happen if the Bears fall and if Rodgers is fading. The Vikings have the talent to win the NFC North, I just don't believe in betting on Zimmer to take a team to a next level.

When Matt Patricia hired Darrell Bevell as his O-C, that's all the confirmation I needed to know that the Lions aren't going to step up. The Lions aren't bad, they just have the worst offense and defense in the division and not a coaching staff that can smoke & mirrors their way to the top. I know you like the Lions a little. I just don't think they can have that 'everything goes right' season in 2019 with three other talented teams ahead of them. Do you want to make a pitch for the Lions as a sleeper here?

XC: The Chiefs were foolish when they didn't utilize Tyreek enough. But I'd say the Bears' Cordarrelle Patterson and Tarik Cohen aren't close to Tyreek's level. The most effective way to generate points is with throws to TEs and WRs. Anthony Miller is going to be critical to how successful their offense will be. He didn't do much as a rookie. If he's not any better then their passing game is nowhere near elite.

I've supported the Vikings in previous years, and they've been pretty good those years. But I think that this season could be disappointing. They look like they drafted for offensive needs instead of taking the best players available. The guys they drafted didn't add value to the team. They're assuming that Zimmer can maintain a top-10 defense no matter what. The talent level isn't that great. If they didn't have Diggs and Thielen at WR, this team might be a disaster. Kirk Cousins has always been an 8-9 win type of QB.

The sleeper appeal of the Lions was (formerly) that they didn't lose anything of value in free agency. They had most of their starters settled. But between January and now, I think that the team has made almost no improvements. Their draft was a big nothing. And so everyone else who made good free agent signings and draft picks has moved ahead of them. The Lions are a middle-of-the-pack team on talent. Matthew Stafford over the last eight seasons has a record of 63-65. All the data suggest that they'll be a 7-8 win type of team. They never win in the playoffs if they get there.

RC: NFC North questions. to play with...

(1) First coach fired from the current group is who and why?

(2) If you got to pick the coach/make roster decisions/directed play calling overviews today...what roster of these four teams would you want to try to win it all with?

(3) Who will be the last coach standing of these four and why?

(4) You found out from Marty McFly that one of these teams won this season's Super Bowl...who would you bet a million dollars it was?  

(5) Why would a team loaded with various WRs draft Riley Ridley?

(6) Would David Montgomery have been drafted before the 5th-round if not for the Bears?

XC: None of these coaches are in danger right now. Mike Zimmer is the only veteran of the group, and so he's probably in the worst spot. Some people may have unrealistic expectations of the Vikings. They're still feeling the sting of getting crushed by the Eagles in the NFC Championship. They expected Cousins to get them over the top. And so, if they miss the playoffs again someone will have to take the blame. Matt LaFleur will probably be around the longest. He's the youngest (39), he's the newest hire, and he gets to work with the best QB of the group for the next few years. Green Bay is a good organization to go to. The Packers have the most talented roster. They could have been a dynasty if they didn't waste all of Rodgers's prime years with Mike McCarthy. I'd easily bet on the Packers as the potential Super Bowl winner from this division. I don't think the other three QBs have Super Bowl potential.

Presumably the Bears saw Riley Ridley as a good value at pick 126. Scouts expected Ridley to go around the 3rd round because of his alleged route running. He's slow both physically (4.58 40) and mentally (9 Wonderlic). He steps in if one of their top guys gets injured. Based on analytics, he has no chance of NFL success.

When I went through my top 100, I thought that there was a good chance that the Bears would use pick 87 on David Montgomery, and they traded up to 73 to get him. After Josh Jacobs, scouts had five RBs bunched pretty close together in the round 3 area. Montgomery was definitely going in round 3. It was a much better pick than the Vikings' Alexander Mattison pick.

RC: NFC North questions. to play with...my answers

(1) First coach fired from the current group is who and why?

I think it's Zimmer and after this year if they go 7-9 or worse. He's unlikable and ready for management to turn on him as 'not good for the offense/Cousins'

(2) If you got to pick the coach/make roster decisions/directed play calling overviews today...what roster of these four teams would you want to try to win it all with?

I take the Bears because I believe in Mitch Trubisky...and they have a loaded group of underappreciated weapons to play with -- Tarik, Cordarrelle, Mike Davis is vastly underappreciated, Javon Wims should be starting at WR, two solid TEs, a nice O-Line, solid defense. I'd trade for the Ravens' backup kicker and win the division.

(3) Who will be the last coach standing of these four and why?

I think it could be Nagy, because of his relationship with GM and team is good. I'm not a Nagy guy but this team won't fall far. LaFleur makes sense, but I see the potential if Rodgers is fading and things get ugly 2019 and then 2020, and backbiting begins...LaFleur gets chucked by Mark Murphy fast.

(4) You found out from Marty McFly that one of these teams won this season's Super Bowl...who would you bet a million dollars it was?  

I'm with the Packers like everyone -- because 'Aaron Rodgers'

(5) Why would a team loaded with various WRs draft Riley Ridley?

I was just watching some 2016 tape on Jacob Eason....and there's #8 dropping passes all over. I'm like...is that Ridley back then too? Yep. He's so overrated.

(6) Would David Montgomery have been drafted before the 5th-round if not for the Bears?

I maintain Montgomery was falling out of top 100 because scouts were onto him, except the brilliant Bears of the Ridley-Montgomery haul of 2019 stepped in. This is why I don’t trust the Bears' future with this management team, but the rest of the division may not be able to step up either.


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>