Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Football?

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Football? Bryan Knowles 13 Oct 2021, 10:20 am

New York Jets-Atlanta Falcons coin flip

Andrew: Hello and welcome to Scramble for the Ball, where the coming week your humble Scramblenauts are stung by the cruelty of live. Last-place Sunday, likely the longest day of the football docket, neither of us was in much of a position to watch the games. While the more hardworking of your Scramble team was evoking the minds of the Joey Tribbiani, hiding in a corner at a funeral and sneaking subtle peeks at his smartphone, this foreign layabout was finally earning his prevent, carrying and packing as I’m forced to move house in the middle of the football season. There are only two days in the season that NFL football is played in the afternoon, my period. It’s only typical that both of those are the two Sundays of the year that I am not available in the afternoon to watch it.

Bryan: So, apologies if your Scramblers are a little more Scrambled than usual the coming week. I was up until six in the morning, my period, catching up on all the action that happened when I was stuck in airfields and rescheduling flights. I see by the end of it, I could swear that Dan Fouts was contributing a comeback against a gaggle of pink elephants in the Chargers-Browns matchup. After getting to watch the final touchdown on a normal-sized screen, with Austin Ekeler doing his best to avoid scoring and the Brown doing their best to thrust him into the end zone, I’m still not entirely sure I haven’t dreamed it.

And there was a lot to catch up on, too. Between the punishingly early London start and the weather delays during the nightcap, there were 15 hours and one minute between opening kickoff and the final whistle; the longest day in NFL history. And I remembered I was tired.

Andrew: I’m kind of surprised that was the longest day in NFL history, if I’m honest. I would have thought it might be the weekend that the Oakland Coliseum was hosting baseball, so the Raiders game was pushed back to kick off after the usual Sunday night game. That play finished around 8 a. m. my hour, so I guess that’s just 14 hours rather than 15.

Bryan: I believe technically, the NFL is only claiming it’s the longest day in “5 0 years, ” but that’s due to a lack of historical data , not some godforsaken 1930 s day where the Portsmouth Spartans decided to play at two in the morning and the Dayton Triangles did a Midnight Madness game or something. But no , not even those double-Monday night games, where the late commencement was after 10 p.m ., were enough to push things over the leading edge without the London game tacked onto the front.

Andrew: At least tacking games onto the front shapes them watchable. Being both a U.K. occupant and a mother of school-age children, I’m accustomed to not catching a full NFL Sunday. My usual routine is to watch the 6 p. m. commencements( that’s the 1 p.m. Eastern plays for you American folks ), compile and edit Audibles from those early plays in the first six months of the afternoon window, then brain to bunked. Back up at 7 a. m. to edit and post Audibles, then catch up on the rest of the games formerly the kids are in school. So for me, with the London games coming during the half-term break, these weekends are usually my only chance to watch the same amount of football that you guys usually get on a Sunday. On the very, very rare occasion that I can get a London game and stay up for Sunday Night Football, I’m generally so tired by then that I would have been better off just watching it in the morning instead. There’s no way I could stay up for a 5 a.m. Raiders-Chargers game now. Dang, I’m getting old.

Bryan: I suppose the whole “children” thing explains why you don’t simply radically change your sleep schedule during the season. Let me tell you, flip-flop to Tokyo Time for the Olympics caused a wee bit of scheduling snafu ’round these components, though I’m used to going to bed well after the sunshine comes up during the season.

Andrew: When my kids were younger, signifying preschool age, I used to handle the night shift with them while my spouse sleep, then she would treat the day shift. That schedule is in no small persona what led to me starting at Football Outsiders. So I can’t precisely bemoan their impact on my viewing habits now that they’re older. I do have to ask, though, do you is my finding that the London games enhance your viewing experience from that side of the Pond, or are they more a nuisance? Is a 15 -hour NFL Sunday a great pleasure, or a bit of a chore? Does it depend on the matchup, as we talked about a bit last week?

Bryan: Oh, it emphatically depends on the matchup. It’s a duty when that early game is Jets-Falcons, but if you could spread things out so I could catch all the biggest and brightest plays in their own window, rather than starting multiple-screens to try to catch everything? I have no problem with longer days. A RedZone octobox of eight games is fun for a while, and the frantic finishes when everything comes to a psyche at one time can be exciting, but it means that you either miss something or get paid simply partial attention to everything. If the conference wanted to parcel some of that out a little bit more, I could stand it. Maybe not every week, and I’m sure if there was a 9:30 a.m. play week-in and week-out I’d end up skipping it about half the time, but the option is nice if the options are nice.

Andrew: That’s also an issue with the planning in general, though. I have had it explained to me why the league prefers to keep fewer plays in that second slot, and I check the reasons for this even if they are I disagree with it. A quieter late window establishes for easier Audibles editing, but I simply can’t follow an eight- or 10 -game early window. I can’t even watch RedZone when there are too many games on. It’s too psychotic, like football for the TikTok age.

Bryan: Easy there, old-timer. I have always get RedZone on one screen when I’m at home; it’s the best way to quickly find out if something big happens, which aids if you’re writing a general column that week! You can’t follow the ebb and flow of any one game that space, which is a loss, but if you need to see, say, a Game-Changing Play or a Confusing Coaching nod, it’s pretty much the best way to do it live and in the moment. Plus, the moments when everyone’s scoring in the final five minutes is likely to be thrilling to watch; an incredible high-wire act whether you’re watching Scott Hanson or Andrew Siciliano. It’s just one screen, and I recognize that most people out there do not have four different screens moving during a typical NFL early window, but I do really, really like RedZone.

Andrew: Ah, consider, compiling Audibles scratchings that itch for me. I get the majority of members of the big happens without feeling like I’m going to miss 16 different important event if I dare to visit the restroom. That’s another reason I like the individual games such as London, Thanksgiving, and the playoffs. When there’s merely one play on, and that play takes a break, it’s an actual break.

Bryan: Another argument for parceling out more games like the London game or the Monday night doubleheader, then. Putting a game that might get lost in the shuffle into its own window lets people watch it as a game rather than as a series of highlights.

Andrew: Right. I adoration Monday night doubleheaders. Thursday night football has some very specific issues, and I despise the idea of Monday night playoff games, but Saturday football is glorious.

Bryan: It’ll never happen as a regular thing, as the NFL doesn’t want to step on the NCAA and high school’s toes, but I’d much rather have an NFL game on Saturday darkness than a college play. Maybe not Jets-Falcons over Georgia-Kentucky or something, but in general. I understand the NFL’s position here, and moving head-to-head with the SEC is a great way to hurt everybody’s ratings, but boy, I’d love to have more windows for games that don’t necessitate excessively quick turnarounds for the players.

Andrew: Or overly early or late starts for the observers. That’s a touchy issue to balance for a tournament that’s pushing hard to go global–see the further news on Germany today. 9:30 a.m. Eastern is great for us Europeans, but I can imagine it would rather suck as a Seahawks or Rams or 49 ers fan.

Bryan: I can confirm that yes, it does, especially as a 49 ers fan who typically works nights! Merely like video games that starts after midnight in the U.K. is rough for a Saints fan. If the NFL does want to become a world athletic, there’s literally no way to please everyone. And so long as the NFL will not stake a claim to Fridays and Saturdays, and doesn’t want to establish the Monday night doubleheader a regular thing, there was still few more world-wides to conquer here. We’ll have to save seven-window weeks for special moments like Thanksgiving, for better or for worse.

Andrew: I hold out hope that, as the league pushes toward a apparently inevitable 18 -game regular season, some of those options will become more palatable. The biggest issue with Thursday evening, for example, is the punishment that imposes on the players, but with two byes per squad, one can be a full-on bye and the other can be almost a semi-bye, where the team plays on Sunday or Monday, then has an 11 -day “bye” until the following Thursday night, then another nine-day gap before their following Sunday night game. All the benefits of Thursday evening, with none of the downsides. Heck, you could even justify Tuesday or Wednesday games with that planned, and those are very difficult as things stand right now, world health crisis notwithstanding.

Bryan: That would be another argument for adding Friday and Saturday plays, frankly. Starting Sunday-Thursday is a nightmare, but if you travelled Sunday-Saturday, Saturday-Friday, Friday-Thursday? Ease-in to a mid-week schedule, and then ease back out? I could get behind that.

Andrew: I guess the challenge there is you’d need to do that with multiples games to get enough teams on that planned to attain the Thursday work, cos it’s not going to be the same two teams playing each other each time. Maybe as a special three-game intradivisional slate or something.

Bryan: Well, working out complicated scheduling like that is the kind of stuff a very particular type of nerd genuinely enjoys. I know, for it is me. I am that very particular type of nerd. I will admit to having a bit of merriment trying to figure out how to reroute all my flights this past weekend, and helped a friend do the same, and just trying to attain everything connect and link up was actually a hell of a lot of fun … or would have been, if it hadn’t been happening when I was stuck in an airfield, but that’s neither here nor there.

Andrew: That’s the funny thing about airports. They genuinely are neither here nor there.

Bryan: Maybe we’re overcomplicating things somewhat.( Us? No. Never !) Maybe, instead of thinking of this as a regular thing, trying to slice out brand-new windows every week, the NFL could try to create something like this past week as a special event. If you thought 15 hours was long, what about a special 24 -straight-hours day of football; six different windows back to back to back to back. Make it an event, throw the two parties, et cetera et cetera.

Andrew: Are we talking about playing all the games in the U.S .? Doesn’t that make a bunch of logistical troubles? Or are you trying to relocate the Chargers to Tokyo again and send the Bengals to Bangladesh?

Bryan: Well, at least there are actual Bengal tigers in Southeast Asia. More than in Cincinnati, at the very least.

I think if you were to do a 24 -hour slate, you’d have to tie it in with a number of international plays, yes. Get up for a 2 a.m. game is tough enough; having it be in a stadium is beyond even my craziest logistical imaginations. And it would certainly suck for the teams asked to kickoff at four in the morning. So it’s maybe not the world’s best notion, though that certainly “ve never” stopped the NFL in the past!

Andrew: I’m mentally parsing out the time zones and trying to figure out how that would even work. Obviously “youve had” 1 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Pacific, then I guess the next time zone that would work to the west of that is probably Canberra or Brisbane, unless you want to play games in Honolulu.

Bryan: I intend, they held the Pro Bowl there for ages!

Andrew: Yes, because the Pro Bowl is a glorified holiday , not an actual competitive game.

Bryan: And what, 24 -Hour NFL Day wouldn’t become a praised holiday? My greeting card thoughts, devastated!

Andrew: Genuinely, that’s your biggest issue. You have to somehow reconcile realistic neighbourhood commencement periods with the somewhat sizeable gap in time zones from Seattle to Sydney. Heading east through Europe and Asia employments just fine, because there is land there, with mobs of people on it. You aren’t playing games in Kiribati with the most wonderful will in the world, though it would be ridiculously cool in a nerdy sort of way to see one play kick off an hour before another, but the earlier kickoff technically occur a full day later.

Bryan: Now I need to look into whether it’s more economically viable to build an NFL-quality stadium in Vanuatu or to weld a couple of battleships together and create the first swim battleground in league history. We’ll call that a project for the future.

Andrew: Now you’re getting into the sort of fantasy realms that fuel my Football Manager obsession. Can I plant an academy in the Cook Islands and get the fellows from Rarotonga to the World Cup? Is that more or less realistic than a Rest of the World Pro Bowl crew?

Bryan: We’re treading dangerously on rehashing last week’s international clause, but hey, it’s the direction the NFL wants to go!

Andrew: Alright, getting things back on topic then, I envisage I’d say that 15 hours is well beyond the limits of how long a sensible NFL day should last. For the ideal “long day, ” I feel like Thanksgiving is a strong template: a somewhat earlier early game, a decent crack between the slots, and the final play ideally a headline behave that entices you to stay up for it. That’s typically about 10 or 11 hours, start to finish. It’s similar to the formula for the playoffs, but a bit more relaxed: the shorter crack and higher stakes of the playoffs necessitate I often haven’t quite finished processing the first game before the second is underway.

Bryan: If I want to pay close attention to every play, I think you’re right; more than three play windows in a day is probably a bit much. I’d like to see the stats on just how many people woke up for last week’s London game and stayed tuned all the style through the end of Sunday Night Football without being paid for it. But during the regular season, I don’t inevitably need to pay close attention to everything, and having football on, even in the background, is typically better than not having football on.

Andrew: That is the other point, and perhaps the most important. You and I, for all our hardcore fandom, are not truly the NFL’s target viewer. We’d watch anyway, whether they were playing at 6 p. m. in Vancouver or 6 a.m. in Vanuatu. The question is whether they can get enough eyeballs on 9:30 a.m. in Tottenham, either on TV or paying at the gate, to justify the investment. The reality that they have been doing that for 15 seasons now mean we probably have our responses. Hopefully, those early early commencements remain tied to the London( and Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, or Munich) games as a special treat rather than an every-week event. Cos you’re right, I do make a point of tuning in right now. I probably would not if they happened every Sunday.

Bryan: If they stirred it a regular thing and not a originality, they’d have to give us higher-quality plays. A plenty easier to hop-skip Dolphins-Jaguars than it would be to skip Chiefs-Bills. Heck, for all I have talked in this article about craving higher character plays, there was still weeks where TNF or MNF becomes background noise because of the, shall “theyre saying”, less than appealing matchups.

Put a good play on, and I’ll wake up at 5 in the morning or stay up till, well, 5 in the morning to watch it. But maybe that’s only me.

Andrew: I suspect the viewing figures would demonstrate that it is not, in fact, just you. Not by a long shot.

Weekly Bestows

Keep Choppin’ Wood Look, there’s simply one correct answer here, and that is Jon Gruden, but this is supposed to be a lighthearted bestow and there’s absolutely nothing lighthearted about the attitudes and language attributed to Gruden. Even his acceptance proclamation merely conveyed his longing not to be a distraction, rather than actual regret or repentance. It takes a lot for a chief coach-and-four to come out searching worse than Urban Meyer this season, but Gruden has achieved that and then some. The last period Gruden left a coaching post, we ever supposed he’d come back eventually. This time, we truly don’t expect to ever check him back on a sideline in the NFL.

So instead of Gruden, this week’s award is dedicated to all the league’s placekickers. NFL players missed 12 extra degree attempts in Week 5, which ties the conference record, with a further 12 missed field goals, including 5 straight in the Packers-Bengals play( more on that in a minute ). Packers kicker Mason Crosby was the overall woodchopper for his three missed field goals( including a 36 -yarder and a 40 -yarder) and a missed extra degree against the Bengals, narrowly fringing Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn’s two consecutive missed extra phases against the Patriots. NFL kickers are currently converting merely 92.4% of extra levels, the lowest rate since 1979, so really this could just be a group award, but Crosby’s fourth-quarter antiheroics genuinely stole the show.

Herm Edwards Award for Playing to Win the Game Our Scramble fact-checkers have scanned the injury reports and are scandalized to learn that Chargers kicker Tristan Vizcaino was not hurt against the Browns. That cannot be true. Surely no NFL coach would attempt to convert fourth-and-4 and fourth-and-8 on a drive in the middle of the fourth quarter unless he either was trailing by multiple scores or had the ready-made “injured kicker” excuse. And that after also converting on fourth-and-2 deep in his own area and on fourth-and-7 from the Cleveland 22 on a touchdown drive in the third quarter. Brandon Staley’s aggressive fourth-down decisions immediately led to an additional seven phases for his squad( a miscarried two-point conversion after one of the touchdowns blotted the copybook slightly) in a game the Chargers won by five. We love to see such aggressivenes rewarded, especially when it leads to Andrew’s firstly Lock of the Week success since Week 1.

John Fox Award for Conservatism Andrew is now in his eighth season compiling and editing Audibles at the Line. Over that date, one of the constant refrains–particularly from our favorite editor( hi, Vince !)– has been that teams need to stop taking long field goals for granted. Nowhere was that better indication than in Cincinnati last weekend: with the scores tied at 22, Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor settled for six straight field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime, of which five were from 40 gardens or longer, and of which five in a row were missed. Those included a 57 -yard attempt on fourth-and-2, a 40 -yard attempt on third down in overtime, a 49 -yard attempt on fourth-and-1, and eventually a 49 -yard game winner also on fourth-and-1. Long field goals are never gimmes. Head coaches need to stop treating them as though they are.

Jeff Fisher Award for Confusing Coaching Late in the game against Tennessee, the Jaguars faced a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard pipeline. They did not have Trevor Lawrence attempt a sneak. They did not have the hard-running James Robinson punch it in. Instead, they decided to try to run Carlos Hyde into the line, despite Robinson being second in DVOA and Hyde, uh, very much not.


: Watch #TENvsJAX on @NFLonCBS t3YGKXVN8n

— Tennessee Titans (@ Titans) October 10, 2021

Normally we wouldn’t spend too much time talking about this–bad crew does bad things, movie at 11 — but Urban Meyer’s explanation after video games was bizarre. He firstly said that Lawrence isn’t comfy with the sneak just yet( which Lawrence denied later ), and then said that, uh, he doesn’t “micromanage who is in the game.”

I’m … not sure I’d call choose who carries the ball on fourth down “micromanaging.” It seems larger than that. Like, merely, “managing.” Or even “coaching.” You know, like a brain tutor is supposed to do? If you’re going to pass the buck to your offensive coordinator, the question becomes what exactly you do here, Urban, and you probably don’t want to fall back on “leadership” after the past few weeks.

‘Rookie Sensation’ Fantasy Player of the Week

I have no idea if Davis Mills speaks Scramble, or Loser League, or any of the other zillion sections “thats been” written this week about how dreadful and terrible he was against Buffalo, and how dreadful and awful he would be against New England. Whether he does or not, he threw all of us in our home the coming week. A 312 -yard, three-touchdown game was far and away beyond even our wildest best-case promises, and while I would argue he didn’t play as well as his statline would indicate, you don’t get style points in fantasy football; at least , not in my conferences. I doubt many around the league started last week’s QB6, and I wouldn’t advise many people to do so against next week, but for one day, at least, Davis Mills was the toast of the city … in every route but winning video games, of course.

Chris Moore 67 -yard catch-and-run.

Davis Mills hurls his 2nd TD of the half! @Millsions #WeAreTexans

: #NEvsHOU on CBS: NFL app yttKvgh0vf

— NFL (@ NFL) October 10, 2021

Garbage-Time Performer of the Week With basically everybody in the Giants’ lineup hurt by the end of their 44 -2 0 loss to the Cowboys, it was up to the backups to try to keep the score at least somewhat reasonable. That included a healthy dosage of work for Devontae Booker, superseding the injured Saquon Barkley. Much of that work came early enough that it actually doesn’t count as garbage time, per se, but Booker’s touchdown reception with 3:17 left in the game, thrown by backup Mike Glennon, definitely does. A backup, throwing to a backup, at the end of a blowout between one crew almost assuredly going to the postseason and another almost assuredly staying home? We may have found the least relevant touchdown of the 2021 season, in terms of win probability, playoff possibilities, and fantasy success combined.

Extra effort

@NFLonFOX& Giants App 27 ddHPpdAR

— New York Giants (@ Giants) October 10, 2021

Comfort in Sadness Stat of the Week The Monster lost far more than a football game in Dallas on Sunday night. They also lost their starting quarterback, Daniel Jones, to a concussion; their sun running back, Saquon Barkley, to an ankle harm; and their producing receiver, Kenny Golladay, to a knee trauma. That’s a whole lot of additional sadness to absorb from a 24 -point divisional loss. However, those losses opened the door for their top select from April’s draft, and Kadarius Toney responded by breaking Odell Beckham’s franchise record for receiving gardens by a rookie. Toney’s day could have been even more impressive had he not been ejected for punching an opponent during a fracas. Toney is now merely 1 garden behind Golladay for the team lead–a yard he are certainly gain during Golladay’s likely absence, even with everybody’s favorite ball-throwing giraffe attain his return as a starting quarterback.

Game-Changing Play of the Week When you miss five field goals in a span of eight minutes, one of them is going to show up here. Mason Crosby is condoned because he intent up hitting the game-winner. Evan McPherson’s first attempt is condoned because it was a 57 -yarder that hitting the posts. That leaves us with his 49 -yarder in overtime. You know, the one where he started celebrating because he thought he had won the game, only to be rudely awakened a few minutes later? Yeah, that highlight’s getting played on blooper reels for some time.

Evan McPherson from 49 gardens …

No Good! You have got to be kidding me !!! #Packers #Bengals #NFL V9eS9v3ZvV

— Allen Lively (@ AllenLivelyLOF) October 10, 2021

That delivers back some awkward high school memories.

Flip the results, and the Bengals would actually be on top of the AFC North at the moment thanks to their handy divisional win over the Steelers; the Ravens haven’t opened their divisional slate yet. The Packers, meanwhile, would fall out of the NFC North lead–the Bears would have the better record in common games, because they beat the Bengals back in Week 2. Two departments flip based on … well , not only one missed kick, but you know what I intend. Home playoff games flipping back and forth wildly as the kickers put one over a clinic.

Weekly Prophecies

Bryan: No fright whatsoever in Double Survival! Oh, sure, I needed a massive come from behind win for my Baltimore pick to come through, and both of us were saved by Minnesota kicking a last-second field goal to beat the Lions, but there were never any uncertainties. No doubts whatsoever! Sure, Andrew likewise got a Falcons win over the Jets, but where’s the drama in that? If you’re not winning with verve, are you really living?

… slightly better doubts abound in the Lock of the Week as I was left pulling for Geno Smith to pull off a miracle comeback, which is not where I hoped to be on Thursday evening. I’m bound to get better, like, statistically speaking, right?

Money-Back Guarantee Lock of the Week

All pickings are made without reference to the FO+ picks, while all cables are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing.

Records to Date Andrew: 2-3 Bryan: 1-4

Andrew: The Seahawks had a bad nighttime on Thursday, losing to the Rams and losing their starting quarterback for what could be quite a long time. Geno Smith is nobody’s hypothesi of an ideal quarterback to be starting for a month in 2021. However, if any team in football can host an adversary with a bad defense, starting Geno Smith at quarterback, and play down to their level, it’s the Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers. No team is more notorious for playing down to bad adversaries, and that was true even before Ben Roethlisberger’s arm was overboiled spaghetti in a mustard-colored sauce. Pittsburgh may still win, but it won’t be comfortable. Seattle (+ 5) at Pittsburgh.

Bryan: I’m going with Washington (+ 6.5) against Kansas City, and if I had any bowels at all, I’d take them to have the straight-up upset. Kansas City’s protection has moved from Achilles heel to fix, turning them from Super Bowl favourites into wild-card challengers. Mind you, that’s still better than Washington, but I’m not persuasion the Chiefs defense could stop anyone right now; at least , not anyone in the top half in offensive DVOA. That includes Washington, and while Taylor Heinicke isn’t precisely a gunslinger out there, he should be more than capable of taking advantage of the Chiefs’ nonexistent secondary. Now, mind you, the Washington defense isn’t precisely an iron curtain itself, so the real lock of the week here is the over at 55.5, but I’m going with the Football Team to put up Football Points against a Non-Football Defense.

Double Survival League

Records to Date Bryan: 7-1 Andrew: 7-1

Teams employed: Bryan: BAL, CIN, CLE, DEN, GB, MIN, NYG, WAS Andrew: ATL, ARI, CIN, DEN, GB, MIN, NYG, WA

Bryan: I’m going to take some bitter drug this week to establish future weeks that much easier. There really isn’t a gimme on the following schedule , no clear blowouts or obvious favorites to clamp onto. The closest you get are the Colts, Ravens, and Broncos, and, well, I has so far been use Baltimore and Denver, so my selects are limited. So I’m taking two games I’m not at all confident in from a pair of crews I’m not at all confident in, and face the possibility of swallowing two losings. Love picking two teams in Week 6 who are worse in DAVE than their opposings!

I’m going with Detroit over Cincinnati because, I mean, eventually one of these tossups got to go their way, right? The Lions probably “should” have a couple wins by this level; how do you lose two plays in four weeks on last-second 50 -plus-yard field goals? That seems unpossible. It truly feels like Dan Campbell’s humen are firmly on the right path, even though they are that footpath is fitted with potholes and debris at this point in time. I’m not in love with the pick–I’d rather take the Lions over the Eagles in Week 8, but Week 8 lookings much more filled with mismatches of the Buffalo-Jacksonville and Kansas City-N.Y. Monster variety. I envisage the Bengals have trouble focusing after the crushing loss to Green Bay, and that ultimately passes the kneecap-biters a win.

Andrew: I’m joining you with the Detroit pick, but for slightly different reasons. As I may have mentioned once or twice, Detroit’s schedule is murderous. It’s so rough that they could be just slightly below average and still end up with a five-win season. Instead, they’re bottom-six in DVOA, and that could well result in a two-win season. Before the year started, I pegged Cincinnati as the most likely victory. Now that it’s underway, I would add Atlanta as a prospect. Nonetheless, I have other matchups I’m prioritizing for Week 16, meaning this is my shot for Detroit. It’s a painful selection to construct, as the Bengals are better than I thought they would be. But like you, I think there’s a potential hangover from Green Bay in play, and I’m comfortable taking the loss on a crew that I have in play for the No. 1 select if it gives me greater freedom down the road.

Bryan: I’m taking New England over Dallas in my other select, and I detest it. I do like the Pats to draw the disturbed, but it’s like, 12 th out of 14 in terms of confidence? At best? But I’m already applying Detroit. I have already applied Baltimore, Denver, and Cleveland in previous weeks. I don’t like picking teams along the road, so that knockings out Buffalo, Miami, Tampa Bay, and the L.A. Rams. I’m not touching CHI-GB or WAS-KC considering the Packers’ near-loss and the Chiefs extermination on Sunday night. That leaves me with New England, Carolina, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh. I’m not taking Pittsburgh against any halfway competitive team, Geno Smith or no Geno Smith , not when the NFC North and the Tennessee Titans still beckon. Real Sam Darnold returned to Carolina, so I’m waiting on them, and likely will continue to wait until they play the Falcons. That leaves the Colts and Pats. Colts over Texans is the most obvious pick of the week, I feel, but the Colts likewise get the Plane and the Jaguars( and, frankly, the Texans again ). They have the 29 th-ranked schedule in terms of DVOA; they’ll have easy picks again. So here I am, picking the likely double-digit-win Cowboys to fall to a team that only struggled against Davis Mills. This is the patented yearly Massively Overthinking It pick from yours truly.

Andrew: You’re right, “youre ever” massively overthinking it. I’m taking Indianapolis to beat Houston because the Colts looked like they might eventually have figured some things out before collapsing against the Ravens, and the Texans are still starting Davis Mills, Patriots performance be damned.



I’m surprised neither of them took the Jags this week. Miami feels vulnerable.


Longest Day

I suppose technically, the NFL is only claim it’s the longest day in “5 0 years, ” but that’s due to a lack of historical data , not some godforsaken 1930 s day

That “5 0 years” figure could be accurate if the NFL is counting this 1971 9:00 p.m. Pacific Bills-Chargers Saturday night game in San Diego as a midnight Eastern Sunday morning game for Buffalo spectators( the only place that game can be obtained from TV ). If so, that day was about 19 hours long, though with a 10 -hour break between games.


“”everybody’s favorite ball …

“”everybody’s favorite ball-throwing giraffe give his return as a starting quarterback.”

How dare you make fun of the matchless, remarkable Mike Glennon.


bad even by FOA “didn’t work so bad 4th down see! ” ‘standards’

So James Robinson is now a Good Short Yardage Guy and Carlos Hyde a Bad Such Guy because of the first 5 weeks of the 2021 season ?!

( when Jacksonville signed Hyde, everyone figured it was to take on the short yardage role)


Agreed. Watching the video ,…

In reply to by BigRichie

Agreed. Watching the video, I anticipate the bigger error here is not the choice of RB( although Hyde appears to be washed ), but extending up the middle with 12 personnels when the Texans patently have nine guys hastening immediately. No matter what play they extend or who they use, they’re starting with a numerical drawback at the line.

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