Post NO-MIN game notes...
-- Say what you will about the NFL...there is no drama better on television. Jags-Pitt turned into a pinball game of surreal moments, the Falcons were thwarted at the goal-line Saturday, and then the Stefon Diggs moment to cap off the weekend. I guess, you can add the first 10 minutes of the Titans-Pats game? Great television and drama this weekend.
Keenum, Foles, Bortles, Brady in the Final Four. Is the era of 'Big QB' dead...like 'Big Tabacco'?
You know what the final four teams have in common...
Regular-season ranks: #1 (MIN), #2 (JAX), #4 (PHI), #5 (NE)...almost 1-2-3-4 in points per game allowed in the NFL. The missing member of the top five...#3, the LA Chargers.
Is it a trend? Last year's top 5: NE-NYG-SEA-DEN-DAL (ATL was #27)...only NE made it to the Final Four of that group.
-- I predicted the early line on JAX-NE would be -10.0...it started at -9.0. It will be 9.5 soon, I'd guess. The Computer says -2.0 NE.
Early Vegas line on MIN-PHI is MIN -3.5...unseasonably warm next week in Philly, 50+ degrees. The Computer says MIN -4.6, initially.
The Computer is 2-2 ATS so far in the playoffs, and did get its three-way underdog play to go 2-1 with NO+JAX and losing TEN.
Salary Cap Preview (according to spotrac)...
The Five Teams with the most salary cap space for 2018 (as of what we all know today):
The Bottom Five/Least Cap space for 2018:
31: Eagles (over cap)
32: Chiefs (over cap)
-- Only three playoff teams are over the league average in amount of cap space for 2018 they have: MIN (+$60M space), TEN ($54M), Rams ($46M)
-- And THEY still don't get it with the Jags...
As that Jags win was wrapping up the final seconds...one TV game announcer wondered that the Steelers must have been looking ahead (how do you look past a team that squashed you at home earlier in the season?)...and soon after the other called it the biggest upset of the playoffs (forgetting the Titans defeat of the -9.0 favored Chiefs). People still don't respect the Jags...and, of course, the Patriots are now untouchable after dismantling the Titans.
Whatever the spread is, I imagine I'm taking the Jags + the points next week at NE.
The Computer thinks Patriots by 2.2 right now...I bet the early line is Jags by 10+.
I think, and have thought, the Jags would be the Patriots worst nightmare matchup in the playoffs...the Rams being the other bad matchup.
-- The Head Coaching rumor mill is rocking all over the place...Matt Patricia was assumed to be locked into the NYG job, but now word is he is locked into Detroit...which makes sense because the GM is ex-Patriots. The Belichick tree takes care of its own, as it should, I guess.
If Patricia was so strong for NYG (the last 3 days), but ditches them for Detroit...it puts the Giants in a very weird position -- they've allowed previous favorite for the job Steve Wilks to get crapped on in the media. So, they'll look stupid 'settling' for Wilks now.
If the Eagles get to the Super Bowl and/or win it -- Jim Schwartz could be the Giants panic pick, and that would be an outright disaster. They could also now make a bigger push for John DeFilippo...trying to bite off a piece of the Eagles success that way.
The Giants and the Cardinals are going to look like the uncool kids if/when Patricia and Josh McDaniels go elsewhere.
I would add this -- everyone knows Patricia is leaving the Patriots, so there is no reason for delay for the Lions to have not snagged him by now...which means I think Patricia to NYG is still viable because Patricia-Detroit, if it was super-strong, should've been done by now. I assume Patricia is just leveraging his hot hand for all it's worth...smartly.
-- Josh McDaniels is now strongly linked to the Colts. We thought that was his best fit/choice and now it seems locked in.
The wild card for McDaniels is...what about the Tennessee Titans? If ever a coach had two back-to-back winning seasons, a playoff win and then still found a way to coach himself out of a job because of how awful he is at his job on full national TV display -- it was Mike Mularkey vs. the Patriots yesterday. Tennessee has been solid under Mularkey...they just aren't going to any next level. The Titans either rip the band-aid now or do it this time next year. No one in Tennessee would shed a tear if Mularkey was dumped after the Patriots debacle...and if at the same time Josh McDaniels was coming in.
The Titans' GM is ex-Patriots, so put a nickel on this McDaniels coup happening. The ex-Patriots tend to stick with their own.
-- With Patricia and McDaniels, the long, long time assistants of Bill, both leaving at the same time...and then likely to raid the Patriots lower-level coaches to be their top assistants and personnel people -- so do you really think Bill Belichick is coming back? Come February/after the Super Bowl, every coach worth anything will have landed/committed to a job all around the league and in college. The Patriots will have lost all their coordinators, assistants, personnel people elsewhere...you think Belichick is excited to re-hire a full staff for the final year or two of Brady...WITH all the controversy behind the scenes?
Or is it much more Belichickian...more Breaking Bad for Belichick to know 'it's time' and to be 'insulted' by Kraft/Brady recently...so, the guy that signed a deal to be head coach and quit the next day, the guy always underappreciated by the ownership class for years over his career...you think that guy might drop a nuclear bomb on the Pats organization and let them see how smart they are rebuilding their organization without him?
Belichick is sending his people out ahead of the bomb drop. It's going to be an epic drama...a breath-taking moment when everyone realizes all the chess moves Belichick made to set up his departure coordinating with leaving the Patriots empty.
If then Brady and his new head coach _____ go 7-9 and Brady has a weak season in 2018 -- in the debate of "Was it Brady or Belichick responsible for all this success?" Belichick may have a final SWAY in the argument in 2018. The final laugh/the final mic drop.
I cannot wait.
-- Brian Schottenheimer as the new O-C in Seattle. If there is a difference between he and Darrell Bevell, I'm not sure what it is? Schottenheimer may be better at run game coordination and not having his own players hate him so much, maybe? Other than that, same philosophy.
-- Seattle wanted to reach out to John DeFilippo as O-C if he didn't get a head coaching gig, but they went with B.S. There wasn't a big, hot market for Schottenheimer, so Seattle could've waited. I assume this means DeFilippo had no interest in an O-C job because he feels strong about getting a head gig.
Head Coaching Predictions as of today...
ARI = Steve Wilks or John DeFilippo or Pat Shurmur
DET = Matt Patricia
IND = Josh McDaniels or John DeFilippo
NYG = Pat Shurmur or Jim Schwartz
TEN = Josh McDaniels
NE = Mike Vrabel or Steve Wilks, if Wilks misses out on all the other jobs
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