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When we last left off the challenge, Rabbitt and Katz qualified for the Final Three to get to the Super Bowl challenge, RC and Skol tied for the 3rd spot. Ross won the 'get back in' challenge of going undefeated in his picks...so many pieces of the puzzle to determine, so we decided to let everyone back in for the finale. All six of us vying for the Super Bowl Pick 'Em title.
The challenge for the Super Bowl is as follows (and the group's chat about the game and props is underneath the prop odds):
(5pts) Winner ATS: (Rams v. NE -2.5)
(4pts) Over/Under: 56.5
(3pts) MVP: ?
(+2pts each win, -2pts each loss) Pick Five Prop Bets (all the props below we'll use)
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS - SONY MICHEL (NE) -- OVER 80.5 /UNDER 80.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS - REX BURKHEAD (NE) -- OVER 22.5/UNDER 22.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS - JAMES WHITE (NE) -- OVER 19.5/UNDER 19.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS - TODD GURLEY (LA) -- OVER 72.5/UNDER 72.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS - C.J. ANDERSON (LA) -- OVER 49.5/UNDER 49.5
TOTAL RUSHING AND RECEIVING YARDS - REX BURKHEAD (NE) -- OVER 37.5/UNDER 37.5
TOTAL RUSHING AND RECEIVING YARDS - JAMES WHITE (NE) -- OVER 75.5/UNDER 75.5
TOTAL RUSHING AND RECEIVING YARDS - TODD GURLEY (LA) -- OVER 105.5/UNDER 105.5
TOTAL RUSHING AND RECEIVING YARDS - C.J. ANDERSON -- OVER 55.5/UNDER 55.5
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - BRANDIN COOKS (RAMS)
OVER 70.5/UNDER 70.5 -- This Season: 9 games OVER 70.5 yards, 8 games UNDER 70.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - BRANDIN COOKS (RAMS)
OVER 5.0/ UNDER 5.0 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 5.0 receptions, 7 games UNDER 5.0 receptions, 2 games with 5.0 exactly.
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - JOSH REYNOLDS (RAMS)
OVER 49.5 / UNDER 49.5 -- This Season: 4 games OVER 49.5 yards, 8 games UNDER 49.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - JOSH REYNOLDS (RAMS)
OVER 3.5/UNDER 3.5 -- This Season: 4 games OVER 3.5 receptions, 8 games UNDER 3.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - ROBERT WOODS (RAMS)
OVER 74.5/UNDER 74.5 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 74.5 yards, 10 games UNDER 74.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - ROBERT WOODS (RAMS)
OVER 5.5/UNDER 5.5 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 5.5 receptions, 10 games UNDER 5.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - TODD GURLEY (RAMS)
OVER 30.5/UNDER 30.5 -- This Season: 10 games OVER 30.5 yards, 6 games UNDER 30.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - TODD GURLEY (RAMS)
OVER 3.5/UNDER 3.5 -- This Season: 7 games OVER 3.5 receptions, 9 games UNDER 3.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - TYLER HIGBEE (RAMS)
OVER 21.5/UNDER 21.5 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 21.5 yards, 10 games UNDER 21.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - TYLER HIGBEE (RAMS)
OVER 2.5/UNDER 2.5 -- This Season: 3 games OVER 2.5 receptions, 15 games UNDER 2.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - GERALD EVERETT (RAMS)
OVER 24.5/UNDER 24.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 24.5 yards, 12 games UNDER 24.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - GERALD EVERETT (RAMS)
OVER 2.5 /UNDER 2.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 2.5 receptions, 12 games UNDER 2.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - CHRIS HOGAN (PATRIOTS)
OVER 40.5 /UNDER 40.5 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 40.5 yards, 10 games UNDER 40.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - CHRIS HOGAN (PATRIOTS)
OVER 3.0/UNDER 3.0 -- This Season: 4 games OVER 3.0 receptions, 10 games UNDER 3.0 receptions, 4 games exactly 3.0 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - CORDARRELLE PATTERSON (PATRIOTS)
OVER 12.5/UNDER 12.5 -- This Season: 7 games OVER 12.5 yards, 10 games UNDER 12.5 yards
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - JAMES WHITE (PATRIOTS)
OVER 55.5/UNDER 55.5 -- This Season: 8 games OVER 55.5 yards, 10 games UNDER 55.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - JAMES WHITE (PATRIOTS)
OVER 6.5/UNDER 6.5 -- This Season: 7 games OVER 6.5 receptions, 11 games UNDER 6.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - JULIAN EDELMAN (PATRIOTS)
OVER 84.5 /UNDER 84.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 84.5 yards, 8 games UNDER 84.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - JULIAN EDELMAN (PATRIOTS)
OVER 7.0/UNDER 7.0 -- This Season: 4 games OVER 7.0 receptions, 7 games UNDER 7.0 receptions, 3 games exactly 7.0 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - REX BURKHEAD (PATRIOTS)
OVER 14.5/UNDER 14.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 14.5 yards, 4 games UNDER 14.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - REX BURKHEAD (PATRIOTS)
OVER 2.0/UNDER 2.0 -- This Season: 3 games OVER 2.0 receptions, 5 games UNDER 2.0 receptions, 2 games exactly 2.0 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - PHILLIP DORSETT (PATRIOTS)
OVER 29.5/UNDER 29.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 29.5 yards, 12 games UNDER 29.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - PHILLIP DORSETT (PATRIOTS)
OVER 2.5/UNDER 2.5 -- This Season: 7 games OVER 2.5 receptions, 11 games UNDER 2.5 receptions
TOTAL RECEIVING YARDS - ROB GRONKOWSKI (PATRIOTS)
OVER 54.5/UNDER 54.5 -- This Season: 6 games OVER 54.5 yards, 9 games UNDER 54.5 yards
TOTAL RECEPTIONS - ROB GRONKOWSKI (PATRIOTS)
OVER 4.5/UNDER 4.5 -- This Season: 4 games OVER 4.5 receptions, 11 games UNDER 4.5 receptions
TOTAL PASSING YARDS FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 300.5/UNDER 300.5
TOTAL PASSING YARDS FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 289.5/UNDER 289.5
TOTAL PASSING ATTEMPTS FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 37.5/UNDER 37.5
TOTAL PASSING ATTEMPTS FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 36/UNDER 36
TOTAL TOUCHDOWN PASSES FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 2/UNDER 2
TOTAL TOUCHDOWN PASSES FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 2/UNDER 2
TOTAL COMPLETIONS FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 25/UNDER 25
TOTAL COMPLETIONS FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 23.5/UNDER 23.5
TOTAL INTERCEPTIONS FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 0.5/UNDER 0.5
TOTAL INTERCEPTIONS FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 0.5 /UNDER 0.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS FOR TOM BRADY -- OVER 0.5/UNDER 0.5
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS FOR JARED GOFF -- OVER 8.5/UNDER 8.5
The Picks: (ATS, over/under, MVP and five props):
RC: LAR, Under, Goff
J Reyn 49.5yd over
C Patt 12.5 rec yd over
Michel 80.5 rush yd under
Rex 22.5 rush yd under
Jwhite rush+rec 75.5 yds over
Skol: NE, Over, Brady
Cooks under 5 rec
Hogan under 3 rec
Dorsett under 2.5 rec
White over 6.5 rec
Higbee under 2.5 rec
Rabbitt: LAR, Over, Goff
Goff over 289.5
Goff over 2 TDs
Jwhite rush+rec 75.5 yds over
Higbee rec under
Cooks rec yds over
Ross: LAR, Over, Goff
Goff over 289.5
Cooks rec yds over
Hogan 2.5 rec. over
White 6.5 rec. over
Brady pass yd under
Savage: LAR, Over, Goff
Michel 80.5 under
Brady 37.5 att under
Brady 25 comp over
White 6.5 rec. over
JReyn 3.5 rec/ over
Katz: NE, Under, Brady
Reyn 49.5 yd under
Woods 5.5 rec. over
Higbee 2.5 rec. under
Everett 2.5 rec. under
Edelman 7.0 rec. over
RC: We'll get into the prop bets in a bit, but I simply wanted to start with the Rams vs. Pats (-2.5)...the game itself. Katz is the lone dissenter among the group...he alone is laying -2.5 and taking Belichick/Brady. The rest are all in on the Rams, and it can be seen in the the overall theme of over/under, the MVP choice, the prop bets. Our group collective is strong with the Rams. My Computer spread came up -2.1 Rams as the favorite.
Obviously, two great teams. Either team could win it and we'd not be shocked. But how strong do you feel about your bets and why did you go the way you went...all you secret Jared Goff lovers!!!
ROSS: I’m not sure we’re all Goff lovers so much as we all thought we’d be slick and play the underdog value bet! My formula came up with Pats -1 so it’s not like I’m a huge Rams fan here. You could play this game 10 times and it’s probably 5-5 at the end. There is no obvious better team, both have a strong case. The winner will likely be decided by luck and two or three plays. It’s simply too close for anyone to claim they can predict it, not with the amount of crazy stuff that can happen in football. In cases like that I’ll take the points every time.
Katz: The Rams are the superior team. It's not particularly close. It just doesn't matter.
Rabbitt: The rams in my opinion are better at nearly every position. Couple that with the fact that the early betting on this game swung it about 4 points made it an easy call for me. However I could just as easy end up a giant loss as Brady and Bill are Brady and Bill.
RC: 2015 playoffs...Denver 20-18 over NE (at NE with Pats -3.0 fave), Wade Phillips as D-C -- Brady 48%, 1 TD/2 INTs.
Meaningful or meaningless? Is this another spot where the D pressure upends Brady unexpectedly a la old Denver, way old NYG? Brady was sacked 3x in a game one time this season -- the 34-10 whooping the Titans put on them.
What position besides QB and kick returner are the Pats the better unit than the Rams?
Katz: Maybe at linebacker. Rams have the better WRs by a lot. Better O line. Better running back. Better secondary. Better pass rush. Better kicker. Better overall offense. The Rams are the superior team and it's not close. In the regular season, on a neutral site, the Rams win this game 7/10 times at least. This analysis is devoid of all logic and reason. The Rams should win this game. But they won't. Because Patriots. There's really nothing else I can say because any actual analysis points to the Rams.
Rabbitt: I think Katz pointed to what we can all agree. Logic points to the Rams. Heck... everything points to the Rams, but I still almost took the Pats.
Savage: How have we gone this long without even mentioning Sean McVay? Its hard to overstate how big this game is for him. While these two teams prepare for the Super Bowl, the rest of the NFL is out looking for "the next McVay" to be their coach or OC, to the point where you're starting to see backlash from the old school media guys. They're ready to turn on him and say he only got here because of a blown call, he's just another Chip Kelly, etc. etc. If the Rams win, they won't really be able to say any of that.
Think back to last week... what was our biggest complaint about the Chiefs/Pats game? It was that Andy Reid screwed up. He knew Belichick would try to take away Tyreek and Kelce, but he didn't come up with any type of counter move. They could have won anyway, but they came up a bit short. And that's the story of the entire Patriots dynasty. 5 Super Bowl wins and everything single one of them was won by a razor-thin margin that Belichick created by outcoaching the opponent. Brady is obviously great, but with a league average coach he'd likely only have 1-2 Super Bowl wins and may not have any. This game might FINALLY be different. We might FINALLY have a coach that can go toe-to-toe with Bill.
I agree with pretty much everything said so far. I think the Rams have the better roster, yet I fear the Brady/Bill mystique. But I think if McVay is who we think he is, the Rams win this game.
RC: On the Sen McVay front...
If the Rams crush the Pats...will the narrative after be: (a) Belichick cannot win the big one anymore (having lost to QBs knew would be terrible, Foles and Goff) and he's lucky that he has the cupcake AFC East every season, and (b) the AFC sucks and that's why Belichick keeps getting to the finals but the NFC has 2-3-4-5 teams better than the best AFC teams?
And would anyone here think about it? Would you have taken the Saints, Eagles, and possibly the Bears (had they won their playoff games they'd have huge momentum and that defense) over the Patriots in this Super Bowl?
ROSS: Are we all forgetting that the Patriots have been beaten in the Superbowl twice by the 9-7 Giants? They are not invincible. Very good? Yes. Very lucky? Yes. Completely unstoppable because Belichick is a magical unicorn that farts rainbow pixie dust? Hardly. And yet that will be the narrative if the Pats win this game. Did Belichick coach Malcolm Butler on how to stop that goal line pass from Russell Wilson? Yes he did, but he did not teach Butler to make such an amazing break on the ball and go after it harder than the receiver. He didn’t teach Vinatieri how to kick really good field goals. He didn’t teach Brady to move his arm forward when he fumbled so the play would be ruled an incomplete pass. There are dozens of individual plays just like these every single year that we all forget about after the fact or don’t take into consideration, and it took each and every one for the Patriots to be 6-3 in Superbowls under Brady/Belichick. It’s not magic.
Belichick is damn good and easily the best coach of all time. He creates tiny advantages that his teams use to consistently win games and make the playoffs. But those advantages are magnified when you’re playing the Bills and Jets versus playing an actual good team in the Super Bowl. Every little bit helps, but let’s not pretend Belichick alone turns this from a 53% chance the Rams win to a 65% chance the Patriots do. At the end of the day the Patriots are extremely lucky they aren’t 4-5 in Superbowls, or maybe 4-3 and they made two less. Things have gone their way an awful lot, partly because they work hard and are well coached, but also because sometimes things happen and there’s no reason why. I want to reiterate that my analysis has the Patriots as 1 point favorites, so it’s not like I’m denigrating them. I just want to see this all kept in perspective.
RC: OK, that's one. Who else wants in on the Belichick is good in a great/favorable situation to get to Super Bowl? When Denver got good...they kinda handled them for a few years, didn't they, Rabbitt? It wasn't 'wow' the Broncos beat the Pats...we started expecting THAT Broncos team to beat them. He's had to deal with the good Broncos team, Andy Reid, and Mike Tomlin...not a bad scene to coach through. When the Ravens were good they would push them too.
Rabbitt: Any notion that bill has had it easy is just silly. Before this round of good teams you have Manning's colts, early big ben pittsburgh, Marty ball chargers...want to know why the AFC east is terrible? They are all trying to catch bill. The guy has adapted his offense and defense more times than I can count. How many times has he traded away the "most talented guy on the defense" or just grabbed cast offs from elsewhere and made then work. He is the best coach in the history of the nfl. Hands down and it's not close. Is that enough to win. I hope not! But I'm probably wrong
RC: I agree Belichick is more talent than circumstance. But pick sides for this week/now -- Is Belichick 2019 a better football coach than Sean McVay or McVay/Phillips combo? If you got to re-do 2018 season as owner of the Chicago Bears, would you rather, for just one season/2018, have Belichick or McVay/Phillips as your coach to get you to and through the Super Bowl?
Rabbitt: One season, one game, one play call- Give me Bill. Without a doubt. My Rams bet is entirely based on the strength of the Rams roster. I am of the opinion there is Bill, then there is everyone else.
ROSS: Seconded. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying Bill is the GOAT and so there’s no discussion, but even if you step back and examine things in the present, I’d still take Bill over McVay right this second because even though McVay is incredibly sharp and innovative, he’s shown he can make simple mistakes like mishandling the clock and timeouts. Bill doesn’t do that. The man is that strange mix of old and new, traditional and steeped in history and yet flexible and open to new ideas. He’s still at the cutting edge of the game despite his age but also has a nearly limitless repository of experience and knowledge to draw on. McVay will get there someday I think, but Bill has been doing this for sooooo long, he’s seen and done everything. Right this second, any situation I take Bill.
RC: There are three 4 vs. 2 things in all our group picks...Four of us taking:
Rams +2.5. The 'over' on 56.5 total pts. Goff as MVP (the other two votes for Brady).
With all the Belichick love...we're 67% for Rams cover, high scoring (favors LAR winning?), and Goff as MVP (meaning BB couldn't thwart him).
I'll ask two questions and take whichever or both...why did you play the over or under/how confident are you and why? All the Goff'ers for MVP...the Pats defense squashed Mahomes/KC offense, to a degree, has been good-great 2nd-half of the season, Bill has two weeks to prepare -- and Goff leads the way?
Savage: I think if you like the Rams you have to like the over too. The Rams defense is solid, but they don't seem capable of a complete shutdown of Brady. They'll need to score, probably 30+ points. And if the Rams can score, we know the Patriots will respond by putting the ball in Brady's hands and letting him throw 50+ times. They always, always, always do this in an elimination game where their defense can't get stops.
RC: Besides Rams + 'Over' + Goff as MVP, the thing the group really seems to like -- James White props for catches and/or yards. I'm in that camp...I like his 'over' on yards, because I am seeing the Rams dialing in on opposing run games (held Dallas to 50 rush yards, Saints to 48) this playoff run and James White in the passing game is the answer. I'm so sure this is a big James White game, I also too Sony Michel as the rushing under 80 yards and Rex Burkhead rushing under 22 yards -- there's no way they thrive in this game. This has to be a James White game, no?
Rabbitt: I almost went straight james white overs on my props. Bill uses him in the playoffs. Tom trusts him. The biggest weakness of the rams is linebackers and safeties... seems like a lock for a big big game from white.
ROSS: When I ran the numbers I came up with 30-29 Patriots so I felt like the over/under was dead on. Again it’s probably 50/50 on who wins and by how much. I took Goff because the QB is most likely to get the award if their team wins the game, and since I like the symmetry of the Rams knocking off Brady after he launched his dynasty against them, I’m going to roll with “young Brady” for the upset.
I do love the James White prop bets as well. Right there with Rabbitt that he is very likely to abuse the Rams linebackers/safeties. A 10 catch game would not surprise me in the least, and I also nearly took him as the outright mvp. Honestly didn’t expect so many others rolling Goff. Thought I might have had a monopoly there. Guess that’s what happens when you bet against a group of sharks...everyone is trying to play one step ahead too!
Katz: I agree that Goff is the overwhelming favorite to win MVP if the Rams win. But let's not act like Goff had this amazing year. His performance tailed off considerably after Cooper Kupp tore his ACL. And overall, Goff was just an above average QB. He led the NFL in interceptable passes and was in the bottom third of QBs in play action completion percentage, red zone completion percentage, and pressured completion percentage. He was 26th in true completion percentage. The more I look into Goff's efficiency and performance metrics, the worse his 2018 seasons looks. Goff did lead the NFL in money throws. He is certainly capable of making the big time plays and fitting the ball in tight windows in big spots, but he wasn't that good this year and I feel like the group is acting as if Goff is on this rapid ascent to near Brady levels (I mean vintage Brady, not 2018 Brady). He'll still be the MVP if the Rams win, but he was far from a regular season MVP candidate.
ROSS: I wasn’t actually suggesting Goff is the next Brady. I have some doubts about him too. The young Brady thing was a reference to RC’s early scouting of him. However, I do think he had a pretty good year. I would chalk at least some of the play action completion percentage and regular completion percentage to how often the Rams used play action and how often they were throwing medium and deep. It wasn’t like Goff was dumping crosses and option routes Brady style. He was looking for bombs quite often and made plenty of them. True they tailed off pretty hard, but again some of that was teams adjusting to the heavy use of play action and just not biting on the run fake. My biggest criticism of McVay this year was him not adjusting to that in response, at least quickly enough. I believe that the heavy run game with Anderson was finally his answer to teams selling out to stop Goff.
Anyways there’s definitely still some questions about Goff: is he Brady or Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler or something else entirely? Hard to say. What we do know is his season was impressive. I wouldn’t call it merely above average. Let’s not forget he’s still just in his third season. What did Brady look like that young? Everyone still thought he was a game manager. He didn’t really start to announce his presence as an elite QB until, what, 2005 or so? And that despite already having a couple of rings.
Katz: Brady was mostly a game manager until Moss got there. It's not that Brady wasn't always capable of being this Brady, but he wasn't asked to be. I do think the parallel with Goff is there in that regard. Goff can do it, but just isn't asked to much. With that being said, comparing the NFL in 2018 to the NFL in 2005 is largely meaningless. The game is so different. The average QB is so much better. Goff's 2018 would've been MVP caliber in 2005. While his final numbers are quite good, he did have seven games with one or zero touchdown passes and added two more like that in the postseason. I'm not saying Goff's 2018 wasn't very good, but merely that he clearly outperformed his peripherals. Does that mean regression in 2019? Probably. But that's neither here nor there for this one remaining game. I do think Goff is capable of making all the throws and coming up big when needed. I'm just trying to put some perspective into this before we anoint Goff.
ROSS: I almost made the point about 2018 vs 2005 myself. It is a whole different game, and the numbers are far different. I do think it’s important to note that Goff is still young and theoretically has room to grow and improve. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. He’s going to have some downs for sure though. Nobody comes in, has a breakout year, then just puts up better and better numbers every year. We may not know what we have with Goff for another 4 or 5 years. Hell, has anyone figured out how good Ryan is or isn’t yet? I’m completely on board with not crowning him yet, but I’m still impressed with his 2018. RC isn’t wrong that he had a LOT of passes stopped at the 1-2 yard line that could have easily gone for TD’s. Those were all given to Gurley because reasons. That could explain some of the abnormally large number of zero or one TD games.
RC: Here’s what could be amazing and really ignite a debate on Goff’s greatness or not...
What if he goes on the biggest stage and just goes wild as he has shown the ability to do — like goes 400+ and 3-4 TDs with plent of bombs, as he does.
Would the maturation/prove it moment against the Saints crowd and early deficit followed by a destruction of Belichick mean Goff is now top 3 best QB in the league? He would have done this with a good not ‘wow’ WR group and no real tight ends and CJ Anderson.
His main crime of 2018 season...playing bad in frigid game at Chicago. We remember that game and forget the magical night v. Mahomes. We underplay the brilliance of what he did in New Orleans two weeks ago.
He loses this game and is put in the corner again. He wins this game as MVP...who’s better going forward? Mahomes and who else?
Skol: After a crazy week I will get involved tonight...I can’t wait to read how we got to “Rams win, Goff is crowned!” The Patriots defense is not great...I think Goff can certainly have a good game.
ROSS: I’m not a fan of “crowning” moments even though the media does. That’s how you fall into short term traps and constructed storylines. It’s more a slow process getting there, and it’s hard to tell in the moment because there’s always ups and downs. Goff is certainly in the conversation, but even if he goes off here he’s still probably behind Mahomes and Mayfield for me going forward. Trubisky is mostly potential still. Dak feels good not great. Russell is amazing and still has upside even though he’s not young.
Katz: There is nothing Goff can do on Sunday to surpass Rodgers, Brees, Russ, or Mahomes. He's not better than Brady from a pure winning standpoint. He probably can't get past Luck either. And there are a whole host of other QBs that you can argue are better than him: Ben, Baker, Watson, Rivers, Ryan, Cam. Not saying they're all better than him. But it's a discussion.
Skol: I haven’t heard anyone mention the highest paid QB in the league?!...great signing Vikes.
ROSS: Don’t get me started on Cousins. The warning signs were all over. Racks numbers against awful teams and can’t beat anyone with a good record. He’s exactly what I thought he was coming out of college. Better than a backup but not good enough to be a top tier starter. That is why you don’t pay any QB that isn’t utterly elite. I could argue that guys like Flacco/Cousins are the single biggest waste of money and impediment to teams winning Superbowls and yet the media scares every team and fan base into signing these guys because “what if you can’t find a better one?”
Katz: The problem is what do you do when you're a team with a QB better than anyone else you're going to get, but not good enough to win?
ROSS: Sell him to some sucker and acquire new ones. Hell, trade a couple of ok guys and you could get enough draft capital to even trade into the top 10 if you had to, although I don’t think that’s always necessary. Or else you build the team with a couple of cheap ok QBs and spend the money elsewhere. Keep drafting and trading them every few years until you find a beast.
Skol: ok, sorry again for being late...all caught up. I picked the Pats because I think the game will start slow scoring wise and once the pace picks up it won’t stop. In that scenario I took Brady. However a Rams win would not surprise me at all. Regular season Goff doesn’t matter much to me...what he did vs the Saints after the no PI call was awesome. It was reminiscent of Brady...we talk about luck for the Pats but Brady’s MO is not to be great and dominate...it’s capitalizing on second chances. Think about his playoff career...when the fumble against Oakland wasn’t, he won the game...all the way to last weeks 3rd INT wasn’t an INT and he wins the game. I remember a playoff game vs the Chargers where Brady threw a pick with the game on the line and Troy Brown hit the defender and caused a fumble and the Pats got the ball back...and Brady then won the game. What Goff did last week was classic playoff Brady!
Also, my James White love is because he is the hot read to slow down the pass rush and if the game turns into a shootout then he is the trusted RB to be in the game of every play is a pass.
RC: I don't think anyone took the Gurley bait on over/under — don’t you think he bounces back here or do you now all agree CJ Anderson is their lead back of the future?
I’m the only one who took Cordarrelle over 12.5 yards!!! Which I’ll probably lose by 12.5 yards.
Skol: Like everyone else I stayed away because of the uncertainty. If I had to bet I would go over the current depressed rushing yard total in the 60s. I heard on a podcast that the Rams key to success running is attaching the outside and that would have to be Gurley vs Anderson. Not actually betting it though because who can figure out why the heck he stopped playing last game.
**The Chat is on-going, so the next phase will post Sunday/Super Bowl morning**
ROSS: Anyone for an Aaron Donald Super Bowl MVP?
Rabbitt: I would have went Donald if I would have known so many people were on the rams/goff.
SKOL: I heard Donald opened at 70-1 and was bet down to 15-1...no interest after that!
ROSS: I’d take a piece of Donald at 70-1!
RC: Donald is a god of sacks...Brady never gets sacked. Which one wins?
In their three losses this season...to Brees/Foles/Trubisky...Donald had 0.0 sacks and 1.0 TFLs. In the playoffs, after two games, Donald has 0.0 sacks vs. DAL-NOR.
Looking at the game log...a lot Donald's sacks came against the worst O-Lines/teams he faced...
Rabbitt: for me its about tfls. If Donald gets 6 or 7 tfls and a turnover like he has a few times this year he is in the MVP mix.
RC: Two prop player things I'm intrigued by...
1) If you had to pick one or the other for most total yards -- Gurley or CJA?
2) Is this a bigger Chris Hogan game taking advantage of Marcus Peters (assuming that's the matchup)
ROSS: The Rams usually leave their corners on the same side, so I imagine Hogan will be lined up against whoever the Pats want. I kind of doubt Hogan is a big part of the plan though. I expect the Pats will attack the Rams linebackers more which means James White on short passes and lots inside runs although the trouble there is making sure Donald doesn’t destroy the play. They will also likely try to get Joyner matched up in man coverage on a wide receiver, Edelman if possible.
For the Rams I’m not sure, but I’m more inclined to think there’s a heavy dose of Gurley coming, at least to start the game. No clue what the Patriots will try to stop because the Rams haven’t really run their outside zone in a few games, but that’s been their bread and butter all year. If the Pats shut down the stretch run early then the Rams could shift to Anderson up the middle although I wouldn’t be surprised if McVay stubbornly stuck with Gurley. Personally I’d come out and try to get my big guys on the Pats and smash Anderson up the gut. I still say he looks fantastic. Whatever happens with the run game though I think NE is going to try and force Goff to beat them. He’s the key so we’ll see if he can come up big. My bet is he can.
All told with your two props I would say Hogan doesn’t go off, and Gurley has more yards than Anderson because he’ll catch 4-5 passes.
SKOL: 1. I’d go with Gurley. As I understand it the Pats D is pretty good against the run up the middle...need to attack the edges which = Gurley. If either will get Rec yards it’s clearly Gurley. Also being home in GA I think helps whatever was ailing him if it was something other than his knee and he could have a nice game I’m starting to believe.
2. No idea, but at no time in this week did I think that Hogan could be sneaky. I could be missing something but that seems like a tough guy to count on. I think I’d rather bet on Dorset’s getting behind the Rams D.
I can’t wait for this thing to start already’
Skol: It’s going to have to be a very low scoring game for Donald to have a chance at MVP. Brady is going to get 5-10 votes just for showing up
RC: We've had a few comments on the Rams' linebackers...I think the Rams defense is peaking at just the right time and chuck out the regular-season data because Aqib Talib was out for most of it and they seem to be hitting stride as the season goes on. Corey Littleton is playing great at LB...Darius Leonard-ish.
First 11 games: 25.6 PPG allowed, 372.5 yards allowed per game
Last 7 games, post BYE, including playoffs: 21.0 PPG allowed, 319.5 yards allowed per game
Playoffs: 22.5 PPG allowed, 299.0 yards allowed per game
Elliott and Kamara/Ingram shutdown in playoffs.
Skol: The Rams shutting down Ingram and Kamara is the most underreported football story of the year. I didn’t get a great number because I just saw it posted for the first time this morning but took C.Littleton tackles over 8.5 (-115). I also have him at (+300) for most tackles for the game. With all the running and passes to White I’m hoping for the best!Also considering Michel under rushing yards...that’s a big number...
RC: I took Michel and Rex under for rushing. Something has changed/lit the Rams defense, especially run defense of late.
I think it started Week 14 vs. Bears when they were brutalizing the Rams...it's forgotten the Rams were crushing the Bears' offense in that game as well. When Philly beat LAR the following week, Foles was 0 TD/1 INT and had a lucky bomb hit to push his yardage to 270. Then they squashed Arizona, as expected. Then they obliterated the 49ers Week 17...getting up 28-3 2nd Q and pulling players and gave up a late frenzy of scores. Then they've bowed up their two playoff games. The Rams defense may be the MVP of this game...and confirms Wade Phillips as a Hall of Famer, and possible best defensive coach of our time.
Skol: If that’s true...please let this Hail Mary cash...Rams D/ST scores twice...100-1! I woke this morning and it hit me that almost nobody (line wise) seems to be accounting for the possibility that the Rams come out and ATL or PHI the Pats D. The Patriots have played from ahead both post season games and the defense still hasn’t been impressive with the little time they have been on the field. Everyone is aware that Bill is the genius and I love the guy...but aside from the Giants games it seems to be the offenses that figure the Pats D out in the second half of these games...not the other way around.
RC: Gutsy. For this reason, I went 'under'...just a hunch a peaking Rams D meets not-his-best Brady (but still awesome), weaker WR weapons, and a 'meh' running game, and a broken down Gronk.
The best defenses the Pats have faced this season: CHI and TEN...should have lost both, killed by TEN, Brady under 300 yards passing. 38 pts scored v. CHI, but a D TD and a KR TD...the offense scored 24. NE posted 16 pts scored v. TEN when they got stomped.
Brady vs. the ace pass D of the Bills...1 TD/2 INTs total, 225.0 yards passing per game in two games. The Pats had a D TD vs. BUF, 21.0 scored per game otherwise vs. them. I just have a feeling the Rams hold NE to 21-25 with a chance they hold them under 20. Only Cordarrelle Patterson can save them!!
Playoff Brady is a different QB, so I'm not betting anything real on it. But am taking the Rams for the outright win.
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