2017 Fantasy Football Rankings – WRs

Composite Rank Player Team RR GK
1 Antonio Brown PIT 2 1
2 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 1 3
3 Julio Jones ATL 3 2
4 A.J. Green CIN 4 4
5 Jordy Nelson GB 6 5
6 Mike Evans TB 7 6
7 Michael Thomas NO 5 9
8 Brandin Cooks NE 8 7
9 Dez Bryant DAL 9 8
10 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 12 10
11 Amari Cooper OAK 11 11
12 Doug Baldwin SEA 10 13
13 Jarvis Landry MIA 13 12
14 Allen Robinson JAC 15 15
15 Demaryius Thomas DEN 16 16

No QB, No Problem

16 Terrelle Pryor WAS 14 20
17 Julian Edelman NE 18 17
18 T.Y. Hilton IND 23 14
19 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 20 18
20 Davante Adams GB 17 22
21 Tyreek Hill KC 19 21
22 Alshon Jeffery PHI 24 19
23 Keenan Allen LAC 21 23
24 Stefon Diggs MIN 22 24
25 Sammy Watkins LAR 25 26
26 Golden Tate DET 28 25
27 Willie Snead NO 26 32
28 Brandon Marshall NYG 31 27
29 Jamison Crowder WAS 27 33
30 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 29 31
31 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 32 28
32 Michael Crabtree OAK 30 35
33 Donte Moncrief IND 38 30
34 DeSean Jackson TB 35 34
35 Randall Cobb GB 34 36
36 Cameron Meredith CHI 33 38
37 Martavis Bryant PIT 42 29

One of the most polarizing WRs to rank. Talented playmaker with low usage.

38 Devante Parker MIA 36 37
39 Jeremy Maclin BAL 40 39
40 Tyrell Williams LAC 37 43
41 Pierre Garcon SF 39 42
42 John Brown ARI 41 44
43 Eric Decker TEN 47 40
44 Jordan Matthews BUF 43 47
45 Corey Coleman CLE 45 46
46 Sterling Shepard NYG 50 41
47 Adam Thielen MIN 44 49
48 Kenny Britt CLE 46 48
49 Allen Hurns JAC 52 45
50 Mike Wallace BAL 48 50
51 Rishard Matthews TEN 49 52
52 Marvin Jones DET 55 53
53 Nelson Agholor PHI 53 56
54 Zay Jones BUF 51 60
55 Cole Beasley DAL 56 55
56 Corey Davis TEN 54 61
57 Ted Ginn NO 58 58
58 Tyler Lockett SEA 60 57
59 Taylor Gabriel ATL x 51
60 Breshad Perriman BAL x 54
61 Robert Woods LAR 57 x
62 Josh Doctson WAS 59 x
63 Tavon Austin LAR x 59
64 Kenny Stills MIA 61 x
65 Kevin White CHI x 62
66 Tyler Boyd CIN 62 x

He’ll clearly finish above WR54 with all of the targets he’ll see.

2017 Fantasy Football Rankings – TEs

Gronk’s World!

Composite Rank Player Team ROID RAGE GINGER KING
1 Rob Gronkowski NE 1 1
2 Travis Kelce KC 2 2
3 Greg Olsen CAR 4 3
4 Jordan Reed WAS 3 4
5 Tyler Eifert CIN 5 5
6 Jimmy Graham SEA 6 7
7 Martellus Bennett GB 8 6
8 Delanie Walker TEN 7 9
9 Kyle Rudolph MIN 9 8
10 Zach Ertz PHI 10 10
11 Hunter Henry LAC 13 11
12 Jason Witten DAL 11 14
13 Jack Doyle IND 15 12
14 Eric Ebron DET 12 16
15 Evan Engram NYG 17 15
16 Antonio Gates LAC 16 17
17 O.J. Howard TB 21 13
18 Charles Clay BUF 18 18
19 Austin Hooper ATL 14 23
20 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU 19 20
21 Coby Fleener NO 20 21
22 Cameron Brate TB 23 19
23 Julius Thomas MIA 24 22
24 David Njoku CLE 25 25
25 Zach Miller CHI 22 28
26 Jared Cook OAK 26 24
27 Jesse James PIT 29 27
28 Dwayne Allen NE 28 30
29 Jake Butt DEN x 26
30 Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ 27 x
31 Jermaine Gresham ARI x 29
32 Benjamin Watson BAL 30 x

2017 Fantasy Football Rankings – Kickers & DEF

 

….and with the final pick in your fantasy football draft……

Composite Rank Player Team ROID RAGE GINGER KING
1 Justin Tucker BAL 1 1
2 Stephen Gostkowski NE 2 2
3 Dan Bailey DAL 4 5
4 Matt Bryant ATL 6 3
5 Mason Crosby GB 5 4
6 Cairo Santos KC 3 10
7 Matt Prater DET 9 6
8 Steven Hauschka BUF 7 8
9 Will Lutz NO 8 11
10 Adam Vinatieri IND 13 9
11 Sebastian Janikowski OAK 15 7
12 Brandon McManus DEN 10 12
13 Graham Gano CAR 11 13
14 Chris Boswell PIT 12 14
15 Dustin Hopkins WAS 14 15
16 Caleb Sturgis PHI 16 17
17 Nick Novak HOU 18 18
18 Phil Dawson ARI 20 16
19 Josh Lambo LAC 19 19
20 Blair Walsh SEA 17 x
21 Chandler Catanzaro NYJ x 20

Hopefully this moves the needle a little more for ya……

Composite Rank Team DST ROID RAGE GINGER KING
1 Houston Texans 1 1
2 New York Giants 2 3
3 Denver Broncos 4 2
4 Seattle Seahawks 3 6
5 Kansas City Chiefs 6 5
6 New England Patriots 7 4
7 Arizona Cardinals 5 7
8 Minnesota Vikings 9 8
9 Philadelphia Eagles 8 10
10 Carolina Panthers 12 9
11 Los Angeles Rams 10 11
12 Baltimore Ravens 11 12
13 Green Bay Packers 14 15
14 Buffalo Bills 15 14
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 18 13
16 Oakland Raiders 13 18
17 Cincinnati Bengals 17 16
18 Jacksonville Jaguars 19 17
19 Miami Dolphins 16 21
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21 20
21 Atlanta Falcons 20 22
22 Tennessee Titans 23 19
23 Los Angeles Chargers 22 x
24 Dallas Cowboys x 23

FINAL* MOCK DRAFT (ROID RAGE)

Lock-n-load!

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Jamal Adams (LSU) S
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
6 NY Jets Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
7 Los Angeles Chargers O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DE
10 Buffalo Bills Haason Reddick (Temple) LB
11 New Orleans Saints Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
12 Cleveland Browns Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE
13 Arizona Cardinals Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
14 Philadelphia Eagles Marlon Humphrey (Alabama) CB
15 Indianapolis Colts Charles Harris (Missouri) DE
16 Baltimore Ravens Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
17 Washington Redskins John Ross (Washington) WR
18 Tennessee Titans Malik Hooker (OSU) S
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB
20 Denver Broncos Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
21 Detroit Lions Tre’Davious White (LSU) CB
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
24 Oakland Raiders Kevin King (Washington) CB
25 Houston Texans Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Forrest Lamp (W. Kentucky) OL
28 Dallas Cowboys Takkarist McKinley (UCLA) DE
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers TJ Watt (Wisconsin) LB
31 Atlanta Falcons Taco Charlton (Michigan) DE
32 New Orleans Saints Malik McDowell (Mich St.) DT

*As of 5 PM reports have it that the Browns will select Myles Garrett No. 1 overall. While I don’t think the Titans will select Trubisky, it is the ideal spot for a team that wants to trade up for him (I don’t think that team will be the Browns).

Instant Analysis:  The hardest thing in sports isn’t hitting a fastball, it’s predicting the NFL Draft!  See that, it’s April and I’m already slipping in the baseball references…..Speaking of baseball, let’s not forget, the guys calling the shots for the Browns are moneyball guys, whom report to a truck-stop guy that specializes in corruption, fraud, any bribery.   So, do I have faith they will get this pick/draft right?!

Okay, so the baseball equivalent of a quarterback is like your entire pitching rotation…and maybe even your closer and No. 3 and 4 hitters!  You have to have one to win….you have to have one to even compete.  The better your quarterback, the better your chance of winning.  Now, we don’t know how Mitch Trubisky’s game will translate to the NFL…nobody does… but the Browns don’t need him to be an All-Pro to justify this pick.  If he can be a top-15 quarterback, that’s a HELL of a lot better than anything on their current roster (a statement that has been true for the last 15 years or so).  If you can get “Alex Smith type” production from him, with upside for more, than you have to take him first overall.  At that level, his WAR will be significantly higher than anything Myles Garett can provide you.

I also don’t think they want to use all the ammo they’ve painstakingly collected, just to blow it by trading back up into the Top 5.  They can still land an impactful type player at No. 12 and build their roster through the rest of the draft.

I think San Francisco goes one of three ways….(note: don’t google “San Francisco three-way”)…Trubisky, Thomas or Adams.  And I’m not buying into the “John Lynch was a safety” narrative; but I believe Adams has the goods on and off the field.  He is a dynamic safety and has team-captain written all over him.

The Bears would love to add to their secondary, but Garrett falls into their lap in this scenario.  This draft is LOADED with Corners and Safety’s, so they can snag one in Round 2.

The Bills would be thrilled to add a versatile linebacker to lead Sean McDermott’s defense, they’ve got their pick between Reddick and Foster.  A corner is in play, but similar to the Bears, they can land one later in the draft.

Marlon Humphrey hasn’t been talked about much in the Mock Draft community.  He is a very good all around corner that will go higher than most people are expecting.

It’ll be fun to see how disastrous the Redskins draft is.  Without a GM, who is calling the shots?  Bruce Allen? Dan Synder?  Goooooood luck with that.

Similar to Ginger King, I’ve given Big Blue an offensive linemen.  In this case, they land the best mauler in the draft.

DeShaun Watson could go second overall or slip to the second round.  I don’t love his game, but I’ve mocked him to Houston, who like Cleveland, is desperate for a QB.

In the bizarre world that we live in, Joe Mixon, who knocked some girls lights out, gets drafted in the first round, while Gareon Conley, who faces borderline ludicrous allegations (multiple witnesses corroborate his side of the story) slips out of the first.  He could land in the bottom of Round 2 or even Round 3.  It’ll probably cost him $5+ million.  I mean, if he’s guilty forget everything I just said and lock him up (right next to Hillary)!

Check back in for the Annual Big Red Sports Machine NFL Draft Drinking Game and post-draft analysis!

Kevin Costner, you’re on the clock!

Mock Draft 2.0 (Roid Rage)

Mock Draft Monday!

We are coming down the homestretch and the rumors are a swirling!  The latest, Mitchell Trubisky to the 49ers (nailed it)!

I could be falling for the Reuben Foster smokescreen (pun intended); I don’t worry too much about the failed drug test, or the meltdown he had at the combine, but his medicals are a bit concerning given his style of play.  He is an absolute missile on the field, so I believe he will still go early on Day 1 but Top-10 is probably too risky.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
6 NY Jets Jamal Adams (LSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Malik Hooker (OSU) S
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE

Fournette to the Jags seems like a foregone conclusion.

10 Buffalo Bills O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
11 New Orleans Saints Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
12 Cleveland Browns Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
15 Indianapolis Colts Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
16 Baltimore Ravens Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
17 Washington Redskins Taco Charlton (Michigan) OLB
18 Tennessee Titans Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
20 Denver Broncos Kevin King (Washington) CB
21 Detroit Lions Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants TJ Watt (Wisconsin) OLB
24 Oakland Raiders John Ross (Washington) WR
25 Houston Texans Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB

QBs are the wild card this year (just like every year!)

26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
28 Dallas Cowboys Obi Melifonwu (UConn) S/CB
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Forrest Lamp (W. Kentucky) OL
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB

Instant Analysis:  Ginger King lays out a compelling argument for why the G-men will draft Tight End David Njoku.  While that makes perfect sense, I still have Big Blue adding an Edge defender that can terrorize NFC East QBs for years to come.  The Giants will add a ho-hum TE later in the draft (whom will be a fantasy football asset playing with such an elite QB).

I’m having trouble finding a home for Dalvin Cook.  His college production was so good, yet his combine numbers were so pedestrian.  TB at 19 makes some sense, but I believe we’ll go late in Round 1, if not slip into the second Round.

The Raiders double down in true Al Davis fashion, first by moving the team and then by selecting the faster player in the Draft.  Injury history be damned!

Mock Draft 1.0 (Roidrage)

I know I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch up with Ginger King, but don’t be fooled, despite the 1.0-tag this is like my 17th rough draft.  The Big Board is set, but there is so much fluidity and fragility in sorting out the noise and honing in these mocks.  Let’s get right to it:

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
6 NY Jets Jamal Adams (LSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE

The future Face of somebody’s Franchise

10 Buffalo Bills Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
12 Cleveland Browns Malik Hooker (OSU) S
13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
15 Indianapolis Colts Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
16 Baltimore Ravens Kevin King (Washington) CB
17 Washington Redskins Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
18 Tennessee Titans Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
20 Denver Broncos Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
21 Detroit Lions Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S/CB
24 Oakland Raiders David Njoku (Miami) TE
25 Houston Texans Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB

HYBRID

26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
28 Dallas Cowboys Obi Melifonwu (UConn) S/CB
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Takk McKinley (UCLA) DE
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB

Instant Analysis:  Why wouldn’t the 49ers take Mitch?  New GM, new Coach who fancies himself a QB-guru and a Depth Chart populated with the likes of Brian Hoyer and Matt Simms.  Yikes.  What, I’m suppose to believe they are going to wait around to hopefully land Kirk Cousins.  Yeah, no.  They lock up their Franchise QB right out of the gate and have the rest of the draft to go BPA.

Obviously, I’m not a big believer in Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore;  he plays too stiff and I will struggle with faster WRs at the next level.  That said, he could easily land in the top-10.

I have no idea where to slot Jabrill Peppers.  He is a tremendous athlete and a really good pure football player.  But where exactly do you play him?  I think he’ll go in the 20-30 range as a luxury pick for some team.

If you’re keeping track at home: that’s 2 RBs in the Top 10 (4 total in the 1st Round);  1 QB in the Top 10 (3 total in the 1st Round).

Oh, this guy sneaks into the backend of the first:

Go down swinging!

There’s no sugar-coating this.  This is disgraceful.  Just awful.  If a team drafts him, regardless of the round, or signs him as an UDFA, there is going to be a backlash.  Your PR department will be working some overtime.  Buuuut, our attention span is short and talent has a way of helping us “forgive and forget”.  Talent-wise, Mixon is a Top-10 pick, so I feel the end of the first already has a hefty discount baked in.

Super Bowl 51: Why the Patriots will win

“Hilariously, Roid Rage has to tell you why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl.  For a devout Buffalo Bills fan (is there any other kind?) that must be the most painful experience since the Music City Miracle”

That’s me quoting Ginger King.  And while it’s true that I had to get 7 or 8 Genny Lights deep before even powering up the laptop, at least I’m not delusion.  I’m mean, the Falcon’s beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl?!  Only if Jacoby Brissett is playing (is that dude even still in the league, or is he bagging groceries in the Midwest somewhere?!) [Editor’s note: despite being activated from IR for the playoff run, Brissett will likely be a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl.  But he’ll still get one of those big ass Super Bowl rings after the Pats dismantle the Dirty Birds!]  Thanks for the note editor, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The argument for the Falcons is laughable.  The hot young quarterback—that’s never played in a Super Bowl—leading a “high-powered” offense against (future HOF coach) Bill Belichick and (future HOF QB) Tom Brady?  What could possible go wrong?  Do you know who doesn’t care that the Falcons have the reigning MVP on their team?  Or that the rest of the league has had a hard time stopping their offense?  Or that Julio Jones seems to be a cyborg dressed in a football jersey?  That’s right, this guy…..

Can his Canton bust please be wearing a hoodie

Guess how Bill is going to crack Matt Ryan?…..Pressure.  Guess what his plan will be for taking Julio out of the gameplan?….double coverage, bracket coverage, bump-and-run with safety help.  Guess where they are going to catch the Falcons underprepared?….special teams.

While the Falcons have built themselves an awesome football team, it’s the exact OPPOSITE of the kind of team that gives the Patriots fits.  If there is a “blue-print” to beating the Patriots, what is it?  The ’08 Giants and ’16 Broncos should come to mind?  No, you don’t need a Manning under center….or a miraculously stupid catch (or two)…..Those teams had dominate defensive lines that could generate consist pressure (up the middle) with 4-guys, while dropping 7 into coverage.  The Falcons can’t do that.  If anything, their defensive line, especially up the middle, is a liability.  To generate pressure they’ll be forced to send a blitzer.  And blitzing Brady is like playing with fire, you’re bound to get burned Napalmed. The guy doesn’t miss a beat.  He checks every play at the line, aligns the blocking assignments and never misses a hot read.   It’s not like they are going to throw something at him he hasn’t seen (which is exactly what BB will do to Matty Ice btw).  Oh, Dan Quinn’s defense.  Yeah, played against that…..in a Super Bowl none the less….oh, and won that game.  Yawn.

This guy

This guy

Trust me, I want Brady to get clobbered and throw an interception on EVERY pass attempt.  That’s what I root for when they play against the Bills….or the Dolphins….or the Jaguars for crying out loud.  But it just doesn’t happen.  The guy is averaging 335 yards and 2.5 TDs in the postseason this year.  He wakes up (next to a supermodel) and pisses excellence.  True, he only eats baby seal liver on a bed of Kale and goes for blood palette therapy like you or I go to the barbershop, but such is the life a rockstar.  As much as it pains me to say it, he is the greatest quarterback of all time.  Don’t take my word for it; all of these boners lined up on media row to say the same thing this week.  You could argue the Texans (easily) and maybe even the Steelers have a better defense than the Falcons.  Those teams didn’t have any answers for TB12 and company, so how exactly are the Falcons going to slow down them down? Not gonna happen.

No Gronk?  No problem!  Brady will spread the ball all over the field, exploiting match-ups and throwing his guys open.  Seriously, Brady can take any other teams third WR and turn him into a star.  Hello Wes Welker Chris Hogan.  Edelman seemingly can’t be covered within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.  It’s death by a 1,000 paper cuts when you play the Patriots.  If they need 6-yards for a first down they get 8.  3rd-and-1: QB-sneak for 2 yards.  First-and-goal, here comes the battering ram LeGarrett Blount.  Wait until they get Dion Lewis matched-up against a linebacker.  Think Brady won’t exploit that?

Not catching passes from EJ Manuel sure has its upside

Not catching passes from EJ Manuel sure has its upside

I do like what the Falcons have going on the offensive side of the ball.  Matt Ryan is peaking at the right time.  He isn’t necessarily locking onto Julio (which is exactly what I’d be doing), and spreading the ball around.  They’ve done a nice job bringing in complimentary pieces to bolster their attack, mainly Mohammad Sanu.  Perhaps there best way to attack the Patriots is their one-two punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.  Both are excellent receivers out of the backfield and both possess game-breaking speed.  New England’s linebackers struggle in pass coverage.

New England’s defense does give up chunk plays; and have long been regarded as a bend-but-don’t-break defense.  But they are so well coached that they always seem to be in the right place at the right time.  They always seem to punch the ball loose just before the runner’s knee hits the ground.  Or get their hands up just in time to deflect a ball for an interception.   Julio will have to work for everything he gets in this game.  He’s such a physically dominate player he could go off despite New England’s efforts to shut him down.

At the end of the day [narrative alert] this is a legacy cementing game for BB and TB12.  A win here…..better yet, a beatdown here…. and they’ve both blasted the GOAT conversation out of the water.  You know Tom wants to force Goodell to hand him that Super Bowl MVP trophy (and shitty Nissan truck that he’ll give to Jackie Slater for making a key tackle on punt coverage).  And there is a little part of me (okay, all of me and the entire Bills Mafia) that wanst Brady to give Goodell the ultimate FU and retire!  Yeah, that’ll show him Tom!  I mean, Brady and his agent  are forming their own league.  Said league would draw a much bigger audience if they had the greatest quarterback in the world running the show.  Just thinking out loud here!

GOATCITY

GOATCITY

So get your popcorn, chili, nachos, smoked wings, 18-layer bean dip and whatever other goodness you’re going to cram into you face ready, because it’s SUPER BOWL SUNDAY BABY!!!

New England 24, Atlanta 18

***(Yes, hammer the under!)***

 

AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

logo01Pittsburgh @ New England (-6), Sunday, 6:40 pm

The Playoffs are back!!  Hot damn!  Those Divisional Games were awesome.  Aaron Rodgers moved from ‘Elite’ to ‘Legendary’ status with one throw.  Seriously.  Moving to his left, throws a 37 yard rope along the sidelines to a sliding/kneeling Jared Cook.  Nice catch too…but that throw!

The Steelers-Chiefs game was compelling in its own right; what with the touchdown, made-two-point-conversion-called-back-due-to-holding followed by a failed two-point conversion in the last two minutes.  Good stuff.  But the highlight came about 7 minutes after the game, when Antonio Brown (genius) decided to Facebook Live the Steelers lock room.  Thanks for this gem AB:

It’s mostly just AB running his hands through his hair, flashing the “call me” sign and showing teammates bragging, dancing, swearing, undressing and just goofing around.  15 of the 17 minutes basically goes like this….”God is good man….we at fucking 42k…..bang bang bang….we live…God is the greatest”…Oh, and Antonio thought it’d be a great idea (which it was) to keep the video rolling during coach Tomlins postgame address.  You know, the one where he calls the Patriots a bunch of assholes (more on that in a bit) among other things.  But the best part is Tomlin literally telling the guys to “keep a low profile….be cool on social media” and “keep your mouth shut”.  At one point LeVeon Bell turns to Brown and snickers something about keeping it cool on social media.  Brown is unfazed, continuing to stream away.  It’s ridiculous and glorious at the same time.  Social media is going to be a torn in the NFLs side for a long time to come.

Tomlin, Brown and the Steelers went to work on damage control.  But honestly, the comments were pretty harmless and much ado about nothing.  Seriously, how can that be considered “bulletin board material?”  The Patriots are assholes!!  I know it, you know it, hell even they know it. Tom Brady is a giant asshole, but he’s just following the lead of his lying, cheating asshole coach.  But it starts at the top; Bob Kraft is a walking, talking live-action asshole.  Come to think of it, the city of Boston is filled with only assholes.

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

With all that said, on to the game!

What a matchup.  Two prolific offenses.  Two HOF quarterbacks.  Two dynamic running backs.  Two bend-but-don’t-break defenses.  While everyone is expecting a shootout between the Packers-Falcons, this one certainly could go down that road.

The matchup to watch

The matchup to watch

This game will be a rematch of Week 7….sort of.  The Patriots won, 27-16 in convincing fashion.  Much has been made this week that Belichick used Malcolm Brown to shadow, and contain Antonio Brown (57.4 passer rating when thrown to, 0 TD, 1 INT ….@NFLReasearch).  I’m going to go ahead and take that game- and those stats- with a giant Himalayan rock crystal of salt for one reason: Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play.  Landry Jones was on the other end of those AB throws.  And Brown still finish the game with 7 REC for 106 YDS.  More impressive however was the Patriots containment of LeVeon Bell, whom only average 3.9 yards per carry.  Bell did most of this damage through the air (as a result of playing from behind), adding 10 REC for 68 YDS.  Meanwhile, Tom Brady was his ever efficient self, going 19/26 for 222 YDS and 2 TDS.  LeGarrette Blount carried the mail with 27 carries for 127 YDS and 2 TDS.

Like I said, the Steelers were without Big Ben.  And the Patriots had Gronk in that game.  Week 7 was a long time ago.

12 to 11, all day

12 to 11, all day

The Patriots have had an easy playoff run so far: bye week and a cakewalk past the Texans.  On the other hand, the Steelers faced a feisty Miami team and a tough Kansas City team in hostile territory.  The Patriots are going to try to wear the Steelers defense away with their intermediate passing attack that features Julian Edelman and a healthy Dion Lewis.  I’d be shocked if Edelmen doesn’t catch 10 balls this week.  Blount could be in for another heavy usage game if the Patriots can build an early lead.

The Steelers do have weapons galore on offense, so they should be able to keep it within striking distance.  But they aren’t going to beat the Patriots by settling for FGs like they did against the Chiefs.  I’d expect Tomlin to be aggressive all day, particularly in the redzone.

We’ve been crowning the Patriots the AFC Champs for 3 weeks now (it makes us nauseous too).  It seems like a forgone conclusion.  Bettors agree, pushing the line to NE -6.  I think it’ll be much closer than that and I won’t be shocked if Pittsburgh wins this game outright!

Pittsburgh 25, New England 27

Who ya got?

Who ya got?

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – AFC (SUNDAY)

KCPITTHey, what do ya know, an AFC Playoff game that actually looks good on paper!  The Steelers high-power offense travels to Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City’s Chiefs dynamic defense.  What could possible go wrong?  Oh, maybe just a giant fucking Midwestern ice storm!  I’ve been to Kansas, it’s a terrifying place on the best of days.

You say "Ice Storm", we say "Good Football weather"

You say “Ice Storm”, we say “Good Football weather”

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (-1.5), Sunday, 8:20 pm

The Steelers walked all over the Dolphins last week.  Bell, Ben, Brown, they all got theirs.  To that point (rant alert!) how the hell do guys like Anthony Lynn and Sean McVay score head coaching gigs and Todd Haley can’t even get an interview.  Sure, he’s got a great quarterback and weapons to work with, but that’s not held against Josh McDaniel’s, whom is everyone’s favorite “hot” coordinator.  Haley does a great job of involving and maximizing the players’ talents on the roster, not to mention he has head coaching experience.   He must be a giant dickhole.

HALEYNAABAnyways, the Steelers avenged their Week 6 loss to the Dolphins.  As we mentioned last week, that game was the turning point of the Steelers offense.  Similarly, the Chiefs turned their season around after their Week 4 dismantling in Pittsburgh.  In that game, which KC lost 43-14, Ben Roethlisberger tossed 5 TDs before the Chiefs found pay dirt.  Since that game, the Chiefs went 10-2.

The Chiefs remind me quite a bit of the Broncos from a season ago.  Aggressive defense that pressures the quarterback and takes the ball away (first in the league in interceptions).  Their offense, led by the perpetually underrated  Alex Smith, has been well-balanced.  Travis Kelce is a match-up nightmare over the middle and down the seam.  The Chiefs find creative ways to the get the ball to Tyreek Hill, who is as explosive and creative in the open-field as he is on Twitter! Hill has also made a significant impact on the return game.

KCs dynamic duo

KCs dynamic duo

Big Ben tweaked his ankle late in the game against the Dolphins.  Like, really late when the game was out of hand.  I like Tomlin and all, but when are these coaches going to use their damn brains?  Protect your assets!

Speaking of assets!

Speaking of assets!

Offensively, the Steelers average almost a full touchdown less on the road this season; while KC allowed less than 16 points on average at home.  KC’s defense is more than capacble of hanging with Ben & Co.

This game is going to be close and probably come down to the final few drives.  I give a slight edge to Kansas City due to their defense, the extra week of rest and special teams.  Either way, one of these teams will be on to Foxborough!

Kansas City 18, Pittsburgh 13

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – AFC (SATURDAY)

nfl01The playoff games are going to get more exciting, competitive and fun to watch; I promise.  After Wildcard Weekend kicked off with a thud….the Machine did go 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS)….the Divisional Round has much more enticing matchups…..the exception being this dud:

Houston @ New England (-16), Saturday, 8:15 pm

Is it me, or does it feel like New England has finished the last 15 seasons with a 13-3 record (or better), with a first round bye, with home field throughout and inevitably end up hosting the AFC Championship.  I’m not even going to bother looking up how close I am, and not because I’m lazy (well, sort of because I’m lazy), but mostly because I know I’m close.

So instead of doing an analysis of both teams, and how they match-up, and who will defend whom and yadda yadda yadda, I just want to focus on one thing: -16.

Can this Patriots team really cover 16 points?!  Can the Texas keep it within two freaking touchdowns?!

I’m taking the points, because it is too many.  The Patriots will win, make no mistake.  But even if they win 27-12, it’s not enough to cover.

money-throwingLook, we all know the storylines, right?  The 9-7 Texans basically slept walked through their game against the reeling Raiders, who were down to their third string rookie quarterback making his first ever start.  Not exactly a confidence booster.  Speaking of third string quarterbacks, it was the Jacoby Brissett (remember him, yeah, me neither) lead Patriots that shutout the Texans earlier this year in Foxborough.  The betting public hasn’t forgotten that game, and has wagered a considerable amount of bank on the Pats this week.  Nearly 85% of the money has come in on NE -16.  So, if the Patriots do win big and cover the spread, Vegas will take a beating.  It’ll be a bloodbath.  Guess what, the only thing more bankable than the Patriots in Foxborough in January is Vegas winning money all the time.

This is getting old

This is getting old

I’m picturing a cold, frozen field.  The Patriots win the coin toss and Hoodie defers, because he always freaking defers.  Osweiler looks lost and the Texans go 3-and-out.  The Patriots start with excellent field positions, because they always have excellent freaking field position.  They dink and dunk, complete their first 7 passes, flawlessly execute a hurry-up quarterback sneak on 3-and-1 picking up 3 yards and eventually score a touchdown because they always freaking…..okay, you get the drift.  But after they build their two TD lead they start hammering away with Lego Blount.  They are effective at running the ball, which shortens the game (and makes a significant blowout less likely).  Now, all we need is one or two scoring drives from Brock.  I know, it’s a tall task, but not unreasonable.  Maybe the Texans defense didn’t forget their embarrassing Week 3 performance and manage to get some pressure on Brady.  Maybe they score a special teams touchdown.  There are plenty of ways they can be down by 20 points and come up with a backdoor cover (hey-oh).

So there it is.  Any given Sunday (or Saturday Night).

New England 31, Houston 17

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