Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2018 Wild-Card Discussion Thread

Here's the open thread for discussing all of this weekend's wild-card action: Titans at Chiefs and Falcons at Rams on Saturday, then Bills at Jaguars and Panthers at Saints Part III on Sunday.


by Will Allen :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:33pm

My hopes for the weekend.....

The Falcons win 15-14, when the Rams longsnapper tosses the ball over the punter's head 5 times. I don't want the Vikings to play the Rams, nor do I want the Falcons to begin playing consistently well.

The Chiefs beat the Titans 70-3, with Pat Mahomes starting. I'm tired of all Alex Smith conversations.

I want the Jags to beat the Bills 8-0, with 4 safeties, as the Bills bring back Rob Johnson to start at qb. Just because.

I want the Saints to win 24-21, when they get a winning field goal drive in the closing seconds, aided by a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty incurred by the Panthers, when their owner wanders out on the field, and tells the ref that he wants to shave the ref's legs.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:28pm

I want the Bills to lose as Marcell Dareus plays out of his mind, holding them to 11 rushing yards and maybe getting a sack or two so that even the most casual football fans like Bills head coach Sean McDermott can recognize how well he's playing

"Nobody knew how complex defensive schemes are," he'll state in the postgame presser.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:26pm

Wouldn't you want the Panthers to win in OT after kill-shotting Brees all game?

by JudyCroft :: Mon, 02/12/2018 - 9:33am

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by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/05/2018 - 7:45pm

Rooting for titans, ranns, jaguats, andnpamters

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:20pm

Titans are in trouble already. Dropping passes, fumbling...

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:33pm

These days I would think a QB would prefer targeting Revis over Marcus Peters.

If Chiefs pull out to a 3-TD lead I'm switching to Netflix.

by DRohan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:51pm

How many replays of the Derrick Johnson sack of Mariota, and no mention of the helmet to helmet? I thought it was a textbook example.

by billsfan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:52pm

What a nonsensical call: "forward progress was stopped." Mariota was still dropping back when hit!

by Cogitus :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:53pm

It seemed like a textbook fumble and recovery by the Chiefs as well, no idea what was going on that play

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:58pm

It seemed pretty obvious to me: Kelce was knocked unconscious, and unconscious people don't hold on to footballs well.

I was in the kitchen and didn't see if it was "dirty" or not, but I'd think/hope that's a big fine at least

Edit: were you talking about something else? The timestamp suggested the Kelce play

by Anger...rising :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:57pm

And Kelce no more fumbled than Mariota did according to the rules we've just established, wherein getting hit hard and dropping the ball in the process of crumpling to the ground constitutes having one's forward progress stopped.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 6:59pm

Your nametag adds interesting context to this ;)

by billsfan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:00pm

On the naive assumption that rules still have meaning and are applied as written, sure. But it hasn't been that way for a couple of years now!

by TheIdealGrassLaw :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:35am

It's Jeff Triplette; he strikes me as having an insanely fast whistle on "forward progress" that's wiped out many a fumble. However he is at least consistent with that fast whistle, based on the limited number of games I've seen him in.

by billsfan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:15pm

...and now he's retiring!

by Anger...rising :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:06pm

Chiefs really fortunate botched clock management didn't cost them. Could've called a timeout with like 22 seconds and taken three shots at the end zone, but instead got one play that could've just as easily ended with a tackle at the two and a field goal.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:38pm

So has Gruden's commentary today made everyone more or less excited about his return to the sidelines?

I was especially impressed by his astute observation about how valuable Charcandrik West is to KC, because he gives Kareem Hunt breathers. Hunt has 272 carries this year and West has 18. Just think about how worn down hunt would be today if he had to handle all 290 of those runs!

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:58pm

West also has 27 receptions (Hunt has 54). West also missed three games where he wasn't available. (I don't know which games.) It's a reasonable statement.

Gruden is still annoying and much of his commentary would be better filled by silence. I could easily do without it.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:16pm

Okay, fair point. West had 6% of the rushes between the two, but 12% of the total offensive touches. Gruden was twice as reasonable as I gave him credit for!

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:39pm

Mariota throws TD pass to himself, doubling the fantasy point value! (For nobody, I'm presuming.)

by Athelas :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:53pm

For both of the males in my house!

by drillz :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:42pm

(Ten-17 KC-21)(ATL-21 LAR-28)(BUF-10 JAC-24)(CAR-21 NO-27)

by joe football :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:42pm

Time for another season of FO slack gameday chat! For people who are already in, just go to https://kotakuites.slack.com/messages/fo/details/. For anyone that wants to join a star-studded cast of their favorite FO posters for gameday chat, we're getting lazy at this point in the season so just follow https://tinyurl.com/ydyqh626 for an invite

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:46pm

O.K. fuck you play-by-play announcer whatever your name is, Kelce was not "wobbly," he was fucking unconscious on his feet! Don't whitewash that out you fucking psychopath

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:57pm

Sean McDonough.

Just so you know where to focus the hate.

by Troppmann :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 7:47pm

Karma for the head shot on Kelce.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:03pm

What’s worse. Blowing a 28 point lead on the road to a colts team that could put up the points...or blowing a 18 point lead at home to the TITANS..?

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:08pm

Gruden: "I call it the quadruple option, you can hand it to Hunt, or Smith can keep it!"

Is Gruden always this dumb?

by Vincent Verhei :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:21pm

Pretty much, yeah.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:26pm

And Mark Davis wants to give him $100 Million.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:37pm

He's channeling his inner Simms

by billsfan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:41pm

Sounds like he hit puberty tonight, too.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:01pm

Hahaha! I actually gave the guy kudos for that call because he made it sound exciting, which is what that moment needed. I also thought it was McDonough?

by billsfan :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:28pm

Is this "QB in pocket down by forward progress" a new rule or new interpretation this season?

"In the grasp" I can understand, maybe, but Mariota was still actively attempting Not To Get Sacked.

by Steve in WI :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:49pm

I did not understand that either.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:42pm

Of course he was down. It's Kansas City. It's January.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:47pm

If you look up "choking dog franchise" in the dictionary, they're should be a picture of the Chiefs' logo. I never want to hear again "NOBODY wants to go to Arrowhead in January!" unless they're talking about Chiefs' fans.

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:51pm

Well, that Kelce injury was bad luck for the Chiefs. Not to mention the bizarre Mariota touchdown. Unfortunately this will make one of the games next week much less compelling, since the Titans are still not a good team. I can't see them making things very interesting against either NE or the Steelers, which KC had a shot to do.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:54pm

I was assuming Chiefs and Jags would win, which would set up two rematches of regular season games where the visiting team had already won in their opponents' stadium.

Sure Kelce was injured, but that does not explain everything that happened here. Cannot collapse like that because of one injury.

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:00pm

In a game that ended up being decided by a point it almost certainly flipped the result, though. Titans got lucky. Actually are lucky to even be in the playoffs, really.

Now if the Bills win then we'll REALLY have a bad pair of games in the AFC, I imagine the worst pair in that round in a while. Of course, it's the NFL, any given Sunday anything can happen, but I would still be penciling in the Steelers and Patriots for the AFC Championship. Both teams would be ten-point favorites at least I imagine.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:02pm

Sure there was luck involved (the Mariota to Mariota TD), but there was nothing lucky about the Titans dominating the LoS in the second half the way they did.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:00pm

What happened was Reid decided to sit on a 21-3 lead and the Titans doing the same thing the Steelers and others have done to the Chiefs - Simply lining up and punching them in the mouth over and over again.

by BJR :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:49am

Chris Jones also left the game. He's a key player for the Chiefs. Without their best interior defender they were unable to create any pass pressure and the Titans were able to run the ball at will.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 8:51pm


How do you lose a game with an 18-point lead at home?

Andy Reid: by giving up the last 19 points of the game.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:08pm

For all the talk about Mularkey coaching for his job today, shouldn't Reid's seat be pretty warm now?

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:16pm

I would think so. Just too inconsistent. Started out the season beating New England and Philly. Ends up losing playoff game at home. After blowing huge lead. Just not a good game day coach. Never has been one.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:38am

Just not a good game day coach. Never has been one.

I can't understand why no team has hired a "Gameday coach" who would be responsible for managing all the things Reid is terrible at, leaving him free to focus on what he's good at. Is that not a stupidly obvious idea? I mean, have you ever seen how awkwardly Reid throws the challenge flag? I would think he'd be eager to be able to delegate that task.

It's not quite simple or straightforward, the guy would have to work closely with the HC and both coordinators. Hardly an insurmountable problem. It would be less work than changing coordinators, for example.

I can't help but think that any team not doing this has only a lukewarm interest in winning.

Edit: after thinking about it, I wouldn't be surprised to learn Belichick's already doing this in secret and has been for years.

by Athelas :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:51am

His name is Ernie Adams.

by rageon :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:51am

Many, many years ago, I noticed something random in a Patriots game that seemed very obvious they should be doing once I realized it, but it was an odd enough idea that most people probably hadn't thought of it before. I posted it on a message board. The very next week, the Patriots did it in a game.

I think it's most likely that Belichick and I (and perhaps many others) both had the same observation arising from a specific situation. But I also think there's a non-zero chance Belichick has a team of people scouring the message boards of places like here on the off chance someone has a thought that can increase their chances of winning by 0.1%.

There is almost nothing you could tell me about Belichick that I wouldn't at least consider being true.

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:23pm

Really? Andy Reid has been a very consistent winner in the NFL for 15-odd years, all without ever having a superstar QB. That's extremely difficult to do. Unless you can bring in Belichick or something like that, firing him would be a terrible idea. The year before he came to KC, they won two games. Since then it's been 11, 9, 11, 12, 10. With a record like that, a coach should only be on the hot seat if, like Mike McCarthy, they have a QB so good that having a losing season would be difficult to do even if you tried.

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:51pm

If your goal is winning the SB, he kinda doesn't seem like your guy. Hasn't even gotten a team to the conference championship game in a decade. Who knows, maybe Mahommes will do for him what Roethlisberger did for Bill Cowher.

by Steve in WI :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:47pm

I think blowing an 18-point lead at home, without extenuating factors like your QB going down or weirdness like your return guy fumbling multiple times, should pretty much be automatic hot seat time. Alex Smith looked great in the first half; the fact that they couldn’t move the ball at all in the second half has to reflect really badly on Reid. (And losing Kelce shouldn’t be enough to explain it).

I will say, after watching that game I am hoping that the very first question the Bears have when they interview Matt Nagy is “WTF?”

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:59pm

I think it makes more sense to judge based simply on the final result. It's irrational to apparently blame a coach entirely for the blowing of an 18-point lead without also crediting him for building that lead. It's not like Reid subbed in a halftime for some other coach who spotted him that 18 points.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:31pm

"It's irrational to apparently blame a coach entirely for the blowing of an 18-point lead without also crediting him for building that lead. "

Good coaches protect leads and finish off opponents. Football games last 60 minutes.

This is twice in five years that Reid has lost a home game in Kansas City after having a large halftime lead. In 2014-15 the Chiefs had a 31-10 lead over the Colts and blew it. It's a problem.

The Chiefs literally haven't won a home playoff game since Joe Montana was the starter. It's getting ridiculous.

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:17am


Of course running effectively would have the side benefit of keeping Brady and co. off the field. I don't think KC was winning twice in Foxboro in four months. Given that this is his second concussion in three months, good chance Kelce wouldn't have been available if they'd won.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:32am

I see no reason why one particular order of points is better than another. If the Chiefs had been horrible out of the gate and gone down 19 before storming back and barely falling short, their performance would've been no better than what we saw.

by RickD :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:15am

Is somebody arguing otherwise?

by Eddo :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:32pm

It seems like you were. You replied to this:

"It's irrational to apparently blame a coach entirely for the blowing of an 18-point lead without also crediting him for building that lead. "

With this:

"Good coaches protect leads and finish off opponents. Football games last 60 minutes"

The first quote is basically saying that the order of points shouldn't matter in the final judgement, just the end result - and you seem to be rebutting that.

by RickD :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:42pm

I wasn't addressing the order of the points being scored. I was talking about the totality of effort. Playing only the 2nd half isn't better than playing only the 1st half. Mixing together good effort with bad effort is bad no matter how you permute it.

I don't see how I "seemed" like I was saying that "the order of points should matter". I was saying nothing of the sort.

Crediting a coach for building a lead which he loses doesn't make more or less sense than crediting a coach for falling way behind, digging a hole that cannot be escaped.

I'm baffled you think this is a relevant axis of discussion.

by Eddo :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 8:04pm

In that case, I agree with you. All I was saying was that you replied, seemingly argumentatively, to someone that was making the same point you just made.

by ChrisS :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:58pm

It can be argued that if a team takes a big lead they have 'proven' that they are better so if they lose they a blew a game to a worse team. There is also the belief that better second half adjustments by the losing coaches also prove that the leading team was 'outcoached'.

by MC2 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:22am

The chances of finding a coach better than Andy Reid are almost nil. The guy has demonstrated the ability to consistently win double-digit games almost every year, and he's done it in two different situations. Coaches like that don't grow on trees.

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:37am

This is certainly true and no doubt what the Hunt family is thinking. That said, I don't blame any Chiefs' fan for being ready to move on from him.

by BJR :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:56pm

That's why teams should not listen to fans when it comes to picking coaches. Good luck finding another coach who is going to win 2/3rds of the games.

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:12pm

Yeah, but we're talking about a franchise that hasn't been to a SB in almost 50 years and whose last home playoff win was with Joe Montana at starting QB. At a certain point, people don't really see the difference between being a perennial 10-6/11-5 type that can't even make it to the conference championship round and missing the playoffs altogether. Mahommes is the big reason for hope there that things will change.

Lost in all this is that it looks like KC's defense needs quite a bit of work this off season.

by Steve in WI :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:30pm

Yeah, the question becomes, do you judge your team by overall winning percentage or do you judge it by winning championships? Reid seems like a guy with a very, very high floor who will coach up almost any team to competitiveness. He also seems unlikely to win a Super Bowl.

As a fan of a team (the Bears) that had a solid, steady coach who made them competitive but was probably never going to win a Super Bowl, I agreed with them at the time when they fired Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season. Even after the last five years of wandering in the wilderness, I still think it was the right move. I’d rather my team be actively bad for a few years and make wholesale changes to try to win a championship than muddle along winning 9 or 10 games and never really challenging for a title. (Obviously Reid is a better coach than Smith, but I think the point still holds).

by amin purshottam :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:42pm

I don’t think talking about the coach and then talking about the young QB being the hope makes sense. I think the play calling in the second half was a big issue. There were some bad drops. I don’t think Smith should take so much blame. He is no Brady but he is a good QB. This one falls on the coaches.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:50pm

Do coaching trees dream of branching sheep?

by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:12pm

Oh and Revis should've stayed retired. Dude wasn't even trying on that last drive.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:26pm

Why does it always break the Patriots’ way with matchups?

by mathesond :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:32pm


by Steve B :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:54pm

So what would be the best case scenario for TN that doesn't involve Brady or Gronk getting injured? Feed Henry thirty times and get Mariota outside as much as possible? Hope that Logan Ryan can give them tips on Brady?

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:35pm

Clearly they should try to run on the Pats' D, which has not looked great defending the run this season. As for trying to stop the Pats' offense? Not much to say there. Try for turnovers? It's not a great matchup for Tennessee because they're not a complete team. Chiefs would have been much more problematic for the Pats.

Or they could hope the Bills win tomorrow so they face Pittsburgh instead? But they still have the problem of having a below-average pass defense facing an elite corps of receivers.

by El Muneco :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:36am

Take up eight minutes in each of your first four drives. Run the ball a lot. Brady & co. can't score when they're on the sideline. Keep the score under control and hope things break your way again in the second half.

It's not a great plan, but it's not like they can run Derrick Henry through the Ardennes where no one is watching. They're going to be big underdogs for a reason. The uglier they can make the game, the better chance they have.

by Alternator :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:33am

1) Run the ball incessantly; the Patriots pass defense is decent, but with all the linebacker injuries, the run defense is weak and vulnerable. Pass enough to prevent the Patriots from loading the box, and rush as much as possible. This has the side benefit of keeping the clock moving, and should keep the total possessions down, so it's a win/win for the Titans if they can manage it.

2) Let Mariota scramble around to open up the defense, and encourage him to take shots down the field. High variance is good for the underdog, and the payoff for hitting a couple of big passes is larger than usual as a result.

3) Above all else, play recklessly aggressive; a cautious, conservative game plan only wins if the Patriots play poorly. Hoping for the top seed to play poorly can work, but it's not a good strategy, and there's (hopefully, if ownership aren't complete idiots) no downside to losing by twenty instead of by seven if it doesn't work.

by RobotBoy :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 4:19am

The Patriots run defense improved dramatically toward the end of the season, in part because of the young LB's. Belichick asks a lot of LB's in terms of responsibility and scheme and it takes a while for them to feel comfortable (some guys just never are able to grasp it). Marquise Flowers in particular has taken a real leap.
The numbers show it: The pats defense finished the season allowing 18.5 points per game but that went down to 15.3 ppg in the last three games. At home the D allowed 20.9 ppg but over the last three home games it allowed 13 ppg.
In the last three home games, the D allowed only 64 yards per game on the ground to opponents that included the Bills 6th ranked rushing offense. (The Titans are ranked 15th) Not that shortening the game isn't the right plan for Tennessee, it's just that they probably won't be able to hammer away on ground without some trickeration.
Your second and third points are definitely key. Going for it on 4th down, trick plays, maybe an early onside kick. Mariota will need to extend plays by scrambling, run for first downs and exploit coverage breakdowns.
The Titans cannot expect to go to Foxboro, run their regular offense and win.

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:39pm

So the Falcons face a huge task right off the bat in the playoffs, one I doubt they can surmount. But if they can it would arguably be easier the whole rest of the way. Without Wentz, the Eagles aren't great. The NFC Championship game would be difficult, but DVOA believes any of the Falcons' potential opponents are worse than the Rams (ignoring LA's Week 17 result). Same in the Super Bowl, which would be on a neutral site to boot.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:57am

Yeah, the difference in DVOA between the Rams and Vikings is only 2.7%, 1.5% in weighted DVOA.
The Vikings are actually better on defense and offense than the Rams, the Rams lead in DVOA being entirely due to the Vikings middling special teams. If you consider how much more difficult it will be for Ryan to run the offense at the line of scrimmage in what will likely be an incredibly loud stadium in Minneapolis, I think a road game in Minneapolis in two weeks may well be a larger challenge than what the Falcons faced yesterday.

Having said that, neither the Saints or Panthers will be an easy contest for the Vikings, especially given the uncertain health status of the Vikings o-line, and, as you note, the Rams DVOA is skewed by the week 17 game.

by greybeard :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:39pm

Kareem Hunt has a lot of of production but for whatever reason he never gave me the feeling that you can put a game on him or he would be the difference maker when the game is close.
I think had Spencer Ware not been injured Chiefs would have a lot better results this year. I don’t know why but Chiefs front office made a dump decision to not improve over West even though Ware got injured before the season started. The could have Ajai or some other player. There are probably twenty unemployed runnnjnh backs better than West.

by Cogitus :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 9:59pm

I don’t know if it’s just me but the quality of play of this NFC matchup seems levels beyond the earlier AFC game (besides from pharaoh cooper)

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:37pm

Definitely agree.

Falcons look a lot better than the team that lost 3/4 to AFC East early in the season. Rams look as good as I expect the #1 DVOA team to look. My pre-game thoughts here were "Falcons are best road team this weekend, but unfortunately face the best home team."

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:34am

Outside of a few isolated plays (mostly by Gurley), I didn't think the Rams looked the #1 team at all tonight. Clearly resting everybody on such a green team playoff experience-wise was a mistake by McVay.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:38am

That's not really clear at all. Saying that is similar to assuming that icing a kicker was a wise decision because it worked in a particular case. Good process can have bad results.

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:41am

They clearly weren't ready to play tonight.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:05pm

They just showed Snoop Dog. Are the Rams games becoming like the Showtime Lakers with celebrity sightings?

by dbostedo :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:11pm

I wouldn't be surprised if they really, really hope so.

Of course, Snoop isn't the most loyal fan out there : http://steelerswire.usatoday.com/2017/06/10/twitter-reacts-to-snoop-dogg...

by Cythammer :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:08pm

So the No. 2 DVOA special teams unit for the season turns it over twice in the very first quarter. That's nuts.

by Hextall_27 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 1:35am

Wally Henry
Kyle Williams
Pharoh Cooper

Welcome to the club.

by dbostedo :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:10pm

Alex Mack is awesome. That is all.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 10:33pm

"Their best player and it's not even close is Todd Gurley ... and it's not even close." It's that type of commentary why Cris Collinsworth is the best NFL color commentator.

by RickD :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:38pm

Agree, but at least Romo is providing meaningful competition.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sat, 01/06/2018 - 11:57pm

Mahomes 2018?

by Anger...rising :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:06am

Leading by 12 with 5:48 left, and you're not going for two? Football coaches are just...

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:11am

I can't believe the Falcons didn't go for two. Another posted mentioned earlier in the thread about how Andy Reid should have a gameday manager to help him with clock management and the like. Apparently Dan Quinn need that too.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:17am

There's hardly a team that wouldn't benefit

by Anger...rising :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:14am

These two-yard passes in the middle of the field with the clock winding down are killing them.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:20am

I just can't get over that decision to kick the XP. Still a long way from it mattering, but 5 minutes is plenty of time for two TDs. Any coach should see the advantage of being up 14 rather than 13 there.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:26am

Clearly the Rams stars were rusty from sitting out last week. It's probably Fisher's fault somehow. L.A. air pollution?

Dammit Rams. I guess it's down to the Jags, Vikings, and Saints to keep the Pats or Steelers from winning again

by Steve in WI :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:35am

I thought the Chiefs were the lock of the weekend and I felt pretty sure that the Rams would at least score a ton of points even if they lost 38-35 or something.

Folks, I’m going with the Jaguars and Saints tomorrow, if anyone wants to make some money betting against what I think...

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:35am

Surprising result. With no Wentz, are the Falcons actually the favorites next week? I like their chances.

by JustAnotherFalc... :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 12:48am

I, personally, will be glad to avoid playing the Rams again until next season's NFC Championship game. Their defense was absolutely scary for the first twenty minutes, but it looked like they wore down some in the second half.

I thought Quinn's decision to call a timeout late in the first half in hopes of getting the ball back was even worse than the decision not to go for 2, especially given the historic skill of the Falcons defense to give up first downs on third and long. Other than that, I thought the defense played well (and took advantage of the ref's tendency to let the DBs harass receivers).

Didn't hurt that the Falcons got the turnover breaks as well, especially since that was the opposite of the season-long trend to give the ball to the defense in the most embarrassing ways possible (buttception, anyone?).

As for next week and the Eagles, their defense absolutely killed us last year in late October, and my concern is that playing them in January will be at least as bad.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:29am

I was surprised at how poorly the Rams secondary tackled in the 2nd half. When you don't get guys on the ground in the 2nd half, and you give away two possessions on special teams, deep in your own territory, early in the 1st, you'll likely get beat.

by roguerouge :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:14pm

Honestly, I think that the Bills can win this game. The Jags are way over-rated. Great defense, sure, but a low-scoring game plays into the under-dog's chance where fewer lucky breaks can win them the game.

by Cogitus :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:47pm

At the very least nine-point favorites was kind of ridiculous. Bortles is bortling up this game hard to start

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:53pm

That nine-point line said more about how bad/mediocre the Bills have been after their hot start to the season.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:58pm

Of course the Bills can win this game, but it doesn't have anything to do with Jax being overrated. How do you figure that anyway?

by roguerouge :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:58pm

The whole "The Jaguars have the playoff secret sauce of rushing and defense" discussion the last few weeks.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:21pm

On that first Jags punt - Did the ref stop the play because of a fair catch signal, even though the ball bounced? I don't recall that happening ever. I can't think of another reason to blow the whistle.

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:54pm

Bortles will have to throw the ball up field more than 10yds if Jac wants to win!

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:02pm

But if Bortles is throwing downfield more than 10 yards, Jax won't be able to win!

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:11pm

So Bortles should only throw exactly 10 yards every play?

Given his difficulty passing 3 yards to an open receiver even that might be hard.

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:11pm

give or take a yard or two!

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:28pm

Based on this most recent sequence, maybe he should just run and give up the passing thing entirely.

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:33pm

I feel like either of these teams could just kneel out every possession and hope their defense does something.

by billsfan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:16pm

It's just going to come down to who wants it less...

by DEW :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:16pm

This goal-line sequence has featured Romo discussing time-out usage (twice), play selection, and an analysis of WR push-off technique. It feels so weird watching a game and having the color commentator provide actual insight into the game of football instead of "That guy was a MAN! on that play!!" or "The coach is smart for doing the statistically stupid thing that's conventional wisdom!" or "Because of the last play, MOMENTUM! has shifted."

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:48pm

uh oh, bortles threw farther than 10yds, where are the wise guys at now?

by erniecohen :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:26pm

Has anyone ever done an analysis about whether passing with a 1st down inside the 2 is actually a good idea?

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:28pm

You'd have to pass at least some of the time otherwise the defense would have an easier time defending the run. Probably should run the majority of the time though.

by Steve in WI :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:38pm

I think when you factor in the increased likelihood of penalties to push you back, running is far better. Yes, being predictable makes it easier to defend the run, but when you are talking about less than 2 yards to gain for the TD, even a good defense is liable to give up a yard here and a yard there.

by erniecohen :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:35pm

Let me put that differently. You are against the #26 rush D, and #1 pass D, first down at the 1.5. Do you run or pass?

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:39pm

Well I think throwing to Benjamin in single coverage is also a good option. If they didn't get the OPI they would have been able to run the next down.

by BJR :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:45pm

Benjamin on Jalen Ramsey is not a good matchup. There are also creative ways to run without just slamming it up the middle, especially with a back like McCoy and a QB like Taylor. The play call there was really not a good one.

by Yu Narukami :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:42pm

When you have a QB like Taylor and RB (hobbled buuut) like Shady.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:43pm

OPI is a very rare call. Even with a failed play, the odds were the Bills would still have two more cracks at running it from the original spot.

by Yu Narukami :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:44pm

The read-option offense with Bortles-Fournette at the end of 1st half was effective. They should stick with that and avoid BB5 to throw at all.

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 3:49pm

see what happens when he throws behind the Los?

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:11pm

Hahaha Romo has such a great sense of humor. In contrast try imagining what Troy Aikman's laugh sounds like. I bet you can't do it without your brain exploding

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:13pm

how many air yards was the bortles td?

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:21pm

I'm pretty sure it was exactly 10. They were at 1 yard line and he caught it about 9 yards deep in the endzone.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:35pm

Look at that, we were right! This proves it. As long as Bortsmack throws exactly ten yards, they're as golden as the backside of their helmets

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:17pm

Koyack apparently had only five catches all year. Quite a call to go to him on fourth and goal.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:26pm

I decided early this week that I'd be rooting for Jax in the AFC, but as soon as I started watching today I've been cheering for Buffalo, and I finally figured out why. Those Jaguars uniforms are the ugliest I think I've ever seen. It starts with the helmets halfway dipped in vomit, but it doesn't end there. How can the players have any confidence or self respect in those pants? Yeeeuugh, that is ug-lee

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:31pm

It's Jacksonville so those uniforms are still the most stylish things anywhere in the area.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:51pm

Nice run by Bortles for the first down, but he should've tried to stay in bounds.

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 4:59pm

it appears since Romo has been in the booth, more and more color analysis are following his style , at least not many have caught mt attention like the great one, Madden

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:06pm

I wish Romo was doing Panthers@Saints. Listening to Buck & Aikman after Romo & ? really shows the difference between the top CBS v FOX announcing teams.

by Athelas :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:03pm


by Steve in WI :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:10pm

How was that not a penalty on the Jags defender who jumped on Taylor after Fowler had already tackled him?

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:12pm

I thought he was pushed from behind or stumbled or something

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:28pm

He kind of tripped over the bills player who was on the ground

by Steve in WI :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:02pm

Ah...I missed that part of it and only saw the hit. Makes sense.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:11pm

If Peterman works hard at improving his game, one day he could be the next Bortles!

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:31pm

Maybe he can get Osweiler style contract where one team pays him to be on another team.

by Steve B :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:41pm

Or the next Taylor! I lost count of how throws he missed today.

by Rocco :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:16pm

I was told weeks ago that if you're going to the ground and the ball touches the ground and moves it's incomplete. Jalen Ramsey went to the ground, the ball touched the ground and moved and it was upheld. /shrug

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:17pm

That only matters if the Patriots need the call to go their way in order to win.

by JIPanick :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:19pm

Patriots or Packers

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:33pm

Packers get more calls for than against. I can admit that. But not at the level of NE

by Alternator :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:21pm

You expected competent refereeing? You poor, naive fool.

by jonsilver :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:14am

+1 for entire 138, 140, 145, 168 sequence (complete disclosure: Lions/Jets fan)

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:16pm

The rules regarding the ball touching the ground on a catch are a mess.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:19pm

That was a tense, dramatic game. Proof for me at least that a game can have very little offense and still be compelling.

by billprudden :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:24pm

Blake Bortles' game today was very Tebow-in-Denver-esque.

Which, today, was enough.

by drillz :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:31pm

the last thing Pittsburgh wants to hear is very "Tebow-in-Denver-esque"

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:53pm

I misread Pittsburgh as Philadelphia at first and I think your comment works just as well that way. Maybe better. I laughed, anyway

by billprudden :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:15pm

Yeah, I winked at myself as I wrote it.

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:34pm

The Spam filter is terrible. Almost every post I make is flagged. It wouldn't be so bad if I could just fill out the captcha on the first attempt instead of having to do after the initial attempt fails.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:56pm

There's a fix for that but I don't remember what it was. It was something standard like rebooting, clearing browser cache, etc.

by deus01 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:22pm

I have the same issue on a number of difference devices though so I feel like that can't be the problem. It's just obviously poorly designed, I even sometimes have to use it again if I edit an existing comment.

by RickD :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 5:46pm

I feel like I made the correct decision to skip the first two hours of the early game.

by jtr :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 6:15pm

Both Carolina and New Orleans have used a 2-tailback shotgun package today. Haven't seen that come up all that much before.

by amin purshottam :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:14pm

Seriously, CAR is going to keep kicking field goals while NO scores TD’s. Yes that’s going to end well. Ron, you do know there is no game next week if you lose right?

by BJR :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:16pm

Brees looks great tonight. Would enjoy seeing him in another Super Bowl, his career deserves it.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 7:33pm

Well at least one game this weekend is working out like it's supposed to!

Wait a minute, when did I become old?

by Cythammer :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:49pm

I like that fourth down decision, though it didn't work out. Just two yards to clinch the game.

by MC2 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:10pm

I agree. And it's not like punting from there would gain all that much field position.

by turbohappy :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 4:21am

Definitely. It's madness if they only need a FG to win, but needing a touchdown I like the call. However I think it's a mistake not to run it the first time...go up there and hard count a bunch so it looks like you are just trying to draw offsides and then actually snap it with 2 secs left on the play clock.

by ChrisLong :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:52pm

How did the replay official not call for a review of the interception on 4th down in the Saints game? It was a turnover so they're all reviewed, and it was inside two minutes. Cost the Panthers 20 yards!

by morganja :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 8:57pm

Complete breakdown by the refs there at the end of the game. That interception is not a catch. It is called incomplete every other time. At the very least, it is supposed to be reviewed.
The intentional grounding call was ridiculous. I've seen Tom Brady do the same exact throw numerous times and never get called once for it.
Next week Saints - Vikings is looking like the one good game left in the playoffs this year.

by Cogitus :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:05pm

I think that intentional grounding call shows more about the Pats and Brady than it actually being a messed up call by the officials

by MC2 :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:15pm

Yeah, I think not just Brady, but all the top QBs get way too much benefit of the doubt on intentional grounding. I'm glad they called it by the book this time, although I can see how it might seem a little unfair to Panthers fans.

by PatsFan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:38pm

I was amazed they didn't review it. It should have been reviewed and overturned.

Of course, if the CAR player had his head in the game enough to remember it was 4th down and to just knock the ball down it wouldn't have mattered. But the refs certainly did blow that call.

by Cogitus :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:51pm

Can you review intentional grounding? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before but it seems like it should be something you should be able to

by jtr :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:45am

You can't review intentional grounding. PatsFan was talking about the fourth-down INT by Carolina.

by PatsFan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:40pm

SB46 says "hi".

by PatsFan :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 9:42pm

Certainly in that round all the NFC teams were miles better than the AFC teams.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:26pm

True, but there are only two good AFC teams and neither of them played in that round. I think the NFC is a much higher quality conference overall, but the AFC champion should probably be favoured in the Superbowl.

by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 10:05pm

4-0 straight up
4-0 ahgainst the spread
2-2 in teams I rooted for )rooted for pantehrs and rmams but did npt think they would win but had Pnathers keeping it close)

by amin purshottam :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:10pm

Looking at next week:
The Pats roll over the Titans
Steelers I think will beat the Jags unless the defense plays like crazy
Falcons beat Philly
I can’t predict the Saints and Vikings, Saints playing so well but Vikings have that defense. I think Vikings by 3.

by Sixknots :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:29pm

"Steelers I think will beat the Jags unless the defense plays like crazy"

No, Steelers will beat the Jags unless Bortles morphs into a real QB*.

*Very rare but he has done that for a few quarters this year.

Next question: What the hell are the Jags gonna do about their QB situation this off season?

by amin purshottam :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:13am

I think someone like Alex Smith, Bradford or Keenum would be a good fit and what they need.

by Alternator :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:57am

Strong running game, strong special teams, offense just needs to provide basic competence and not turn the ball over much? This is a team tailor-made for Alex Smith.

by Will Allen :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:26pm

Devin Funchess really should have caught the ball on that toss into the end zone. It wasn't an easy adjustment, but it was an easy catch, if that makes any sense.

by ChrisLong :: Sun, 01/07/2018 - 11:41pm

Yeah he really didn't play that ball well at all. Looked as if his momentum had him off kilter or something, because he made little move to get back to it.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:02am

Good receivers, or even perhaps average receivers, make that play, which leads me to suspect that he isn't either.

by voytron :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:51am

I love watch Cam Newton lose. What a douchebag.

by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:21am

I'm no Panthers fan, but why?
He was arguably the best (probably 2nd best) QB playing this weekend.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:54am

You don't know any of these people. He isn't the best qb in the league, but he's good, and really entertaining, and he is a tough sunuvabitch. That'll do for this football fan, who doesn't really care all that much who wins.

by morganja :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:20pm

Cam Newton is a great guy. What he does for kids around the Carolina's is amazing. Giving the touchdown football to a kid every time is typical of him, and just the tip of the iceberg of what he does in the community.
The only criticism I can see of him is that he doesn't give great interviews after big losses, but I don't see how anyone who is a fan of Belichick can throw stones at that.

by voytron :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 12:59pm

Since this is the internet I probably shouldn't even try to clarify but here goes:
1. He was absolutely the second best QB playing in this game, no argument here.
2. I certainly don't know his innermost soul. This comment was confined to sports dislike and nothing greater. The reason I dislike him is I think he's the definition of a bad sport. I don't mind if you whoop it up if you win, or can't handle it well when you lose because we want our athletes to care and he absolutely does, but Cam does both and to such extremes that it makes him a hypocrite. Because Losing-Cam would absolutely pick a fight and have a major problem with Winning-Cam who would be laughing and dancing and rubbing it in his face.
3. I don't know if Cam Newton is a great guy any more than I know he is a douche off the field. And since I don't like him, the giving the kid a football (which isn't even Cam's property) feels more about Cam than anything else.
But all this is confined to the field. I don't want him hurt or sick or out of the league. We get a great QB who people can root for or root against, and the kid gets his football either way. The league is definitely better for having him in it, but I'm still going to think he's a douche.

by morganja :: Mon, 01/08/2018 - 2:05pm

It's interesting that he rubs some people the wrong way. I have always found his exuberance refreshing, both ways. It's nice to see someone who cares so much.
But some people I work with are Panthers fans, and simply can't stand him. I don't quite get it. When I played I definitely adhered to the old school-show little to no emotion. But I appreciated the exuberant, demonstrative players who could do all that without being mean-spirited about it.
There was one player I remember in particular who talked non-stop and had both teams cracking up the entire game.
To me, Cam Newton shows tremendous emotion, but is not mean-spirited. He talks a lot, but nothing malicious.
To me, he is a refreshing contrast to the Patriots, who show little positive emotion despite winning so often, and what little they say, or do, is mean and disrespectful.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:03pm

norm a,lly do not like immature, flamboyant tupes. c. newton one of exceptions. don'
t think he does things to get under skin of opponents and don't find his "look-at-me" superman shield thing to be reomltely as obnoxious as t. owens' antics or o. belcham jr's dog pee dance and kicking net love making or M. bennett's male strip cluib routine and stufu like that. See stuff like that and think if I was opponent, would be looking to tackle those guys real hard. like extra hard. always played spoprts calmly an d nice until an opponent had some sort of clown. clown would get tackled harder, not helped up if layiong on ground, pushed hard near sidelines just to send message. all within rules. there afe ways to send messages within rules.
anywyay, so c. newton cool in my book