Super Bowl LIII

I have spent a lot of time this week reading, listening and talking about all of the different outcomes for this game. I know that I started out this blog being something for the fantasy football reader, but since the playoffs started I wanted to expand a little bit, hone in on some key points/ factors I thought were truly pertinent to each potential outcome for each game. This NFL playoff period I’m 9-1 in predictions so I hope that in the biggest game of the season I get it right again. 

New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams/ Patriots -3 O/U 56.0 

Both teams have come out and played their best football the last two weeks, which from a “momentum” stand point is exactly want you want to see if you are a part of either fan base. 

There are a billion narratives this week, here are the ones that matter to me and what I think will be parts of the outcome: 

The most valuable player, game changer, Todd Gurley. I feel like in the Saints game Todd Gurley was not benched due to performance, he was benched because he is truly hurt. There is now way that I can watch a game or read a summary that looked like this:

  • Gurley – 4 carries, 10 yards, 2.5 yards per carry
  • CJ Anderson – 16 carries, 44 yards, 2.8 yards per carry. 
  • Your best player didn’t even have a chance to show you he was ineffective because he wasn’t on the field. I think Gurley was very hurt and he and the Rams did an unbelievable job masking and treating it so he’s able to play each weekend. Has the extra week of rest help him, good possibility? He took three weeks off leading up to the Divisional Round where all he did was help lead back Anderson run all over the Cowboys defense. If the rest has helped and Gurley is at 70% or better, he will make things very tough on the slower Patriots LB group both on the ground and in coverage. 

    That being said, I think that Bill Belichick’s defense scheme is to focus on that run game. Selling out to be as prepared as possible for both Gurley and Anderson is going to be the focal point for Bill’s defense. That becomes a two-part observation, if Gurley is on the field you need to be prepared for the Rams offensive personnel schemes both running and passing the ball. If Anderson is on the field, playing him straight up is easier because he doesn’t have the hands or route running ability of Gurley. 

    The Patriots secondary needs to be prepared for offensive mastermind Sean McVay’s ability to create plays using play action and forcing your playmakers to step up. I do think last week’s test in holding Mahomes, Hill and Kelce to zero points in the first half of the AFC Championship tells me Bill can get it done. 

    Also keying in on last week’s game against the Chiefs and Belichick’s defensive game plan, my major take away coming into Super Bowl week is this: Jared Goff is nowhere near the type of elite offensive talent that Patrick Mahomes is. Goff is very, very good. Goff however showed weakness at the beginning of the Saints game when it came to crowd noise and managing drives, missing plays and not moving the ball. To Goff’s benefit his defense stepped up in the second quarter and the rest of the game so that the Rams could get back into it. Tom Brady will not let you do that. Bress seemed slow and weak coming into the end of the season and the playoffs, he was unable to put that game away. If the Patriots can defensively come close to accomplishing what they did against the most explosive quarterback this season in Mahomes last week in his building, tomorrow, Goff is in for a long day. 

    Absolutely firing on all cylinders, New England Patriots show up for their 9th Super Bowl in the Brady/ Belichick area. This run that was supposed to end 10 years ago won’t stop. Coming off a Super Bowl loss last year to the Philadelphia Eagles in which, arguably, their best defensive back was benched during the National Anthem forcing 3rd and 4th options to cover players like Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery doesn’t do any team any good ever. Especially in the biggest game of the year. Brady did everything he could last year throwing for 505 yards and being a strip sack away from completing another miracle game winning drive. This year will not be like last year. Those players all walked away from that game angry and those guys that are still here will show you that tomorrow. Tom Brady is a killer. If you think for one second guys like Donald, Suh, Peters or Talibintimidate Brady, you just have a bias and hate New England’s success. 

    Tom Brady is like Rorschach from The Watchman. The Rams will be locked in Brady’s prison and there will be nothing they can do about it. 

    Next on my list is Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The Patriots offensive line is up for O Line of the Year honors. In the last two weeks alone against the likes of pass rushers such as Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Dee Ford and Justin Houston just to name a few, Tom Brady has been sacked zero times, and had have given up one, 1 QB hit. The likes of Donkey Kong Suh, Dante Fowler and DPOY (most likely) Aaron Donald they will be a tall order for the Patriots to try to neutralize. I have heard Suh has turned it on recently, he strikes me as a minimal effort type of guy until there’s a Super Bowl on the line. I think effort like that is too little too late. This offensive line is clicking and they should be able to give Tom the time he needs to get the ball out. 

    Speaking of Tom Terrific, I can’t imagine a world, where Gronkon the edge of retirement, Edelman getting a year older doesn’t go all out and leave it on the field. That to me is something in these games Tom has always done. I think tomorrow he finds a way to get it done. Whether its attacking admitted DPI offender and bulletin board material creating Nickell Roby-Coleman or lining Gronk up on the outside and looking for single coverage Tom Brady should be able to pick apart a defense that has had its missteps all season long. I also can’t imagine a world were Tom Brady losses back to back Super Bowls. 

    The seasoned poise of the defensive minded Bill Belichick is something I’m taking over new hot shot Sean McVay. When I saw the role of the “get back guy”, I said there is no way someone who can’t stand on his sideline without hiring someone to keep him there like a 2-year-old with a pack back leash can beat Belichick. I’m standing by that. Belichick did something two weeks ago he hadn’t previously done which was keep Tyreek Hill in total check. One catch with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter for the entire game tells me this coach, his scheme and his team are ready to get one they may have left out there last year. 

    The pick is in: I am going with the Patriots. SU and ATS. I think the firm of Tom, Bill and Robert take care of business in a way the last 8 Super Bowls have not gone. Leading and controlling the game. Playing on their terms. They have been to this dance plenty of time to have their planning and preparation set. I think the bright lights will be too much for Jared Goff and his wild coach McVay. 

    Thanks to everyone who’s read my updates and predictions so far since I began a month ago. Full Super Bowl recap and the winner of my Fantasy Playoff League blog next week. Follow me on Twitter at @1MoreLeague for new posts.  Thanks for everything!

     

     

    Championship Weekend Recap

    So my league has come down to a two horse race, Team 1 and myself.

    Team 1: He has a point total of 192, four players left to do go and will be tough to get through if I want to take home the bacon. Tom Brady, Sony Michel, Todd Gurely and Steven Gostkowski. The biggest obstacles he’s going to face is Gurley and Michel’s workload in the Super Bowl. Somethings not right with Gurley, I refuse to believe it’s performance based. Michel ran wild in the first half against the Chiefs but ceded massive amounts of time to Rex Burkhead, largely due to Burkhead’s versatility. I am expecting extra points out of Gostkowski, not 3 or 4 point field goals.

    My Team: Going into these game this past weekend, Team 1 had a solid 9 point lead on me. Waking up on Monday, I was able to wash that away and now I am up 8 points. My four players left to go are Brandin Cooks, Burkhead, Gronk and Greg the Leg. Having that 17 point swing to get me into the lead was massive. I think with the guys I have left I have a great chance to pull this off. The Patriots are a 3 headed monster at RB and we each have a piece of it. I said it when I wrote up my draft, anytime I need Sony or James White, here comes Burkhead to vulture the work. Gronk looked the best he’s been all year and another week off will no doubt help him out. I hate to say this but I like my chances. That being said I probably get whipped out in the first quarter. Anyway I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. That and another Patriots Super Bowl win would be great.

    Honorable Mention: Team 4 has the current highest scoring player with Damien Williams at 57 total points. That might not hold because just behind him is Team 1s Sony Michel with 53. Anything can happen, it’s the Super Bowl.

    Going to do some stuff this week about each team and then a final prediction write up.

    If you like what I say or how I put it together shoot me a follow @1MoreLeauge on twitter dot com.

    Thanks everyone! Let’s gooooooo!!!

    AFC Championship Prediction

    Patriots at Chiefs in Arrowhead/ Chiefs -3 and 56 O/U

    The double decade dominate New England Patriots are packing their bags and heading to Kansas City to play on the road in their 8th straight AFC Championship game. They are trying to make it back to the Super Bowl and would be the first team to do this since the 1994 Buffalo Bills. The last two games have been at Denver, both loses, which is also a very difficult place to play. Since their week 11 bye Tom Brady posted a 4-2 record with both losses coming on the road. Tom Terrific had a 12 TD/ 4 INT ratio. The Patriots during the entire regular season posted a record of 3-5 on the road as opposed to 9-0 in Gillette. Last weekend against a very talented LA Chargers defense that had playmakers up and down that side of the ball, the Patriots used a run heavy game plan and when Tom did need to pass he completed 24 of them to safety nets Julian Edelman and James White. The Patriots ran all over the Chargers, but White did not receive one carry. Not surprising at all was the Ghost of Gronk only saw one target but converted it for 25 yards, dragging a few Chargers for some extra YAC that made me think of Gronk from days past. The Chiefs defense is the 4th worst against the tight end position and this appears to be the healthiest Gronk has been since week one. In last week’s Chargers game, he was manhandling defenders in the run block game which is always fun to watch. I look for Gronk to make a much bigger impact this weekend because of matchup and the need for #EverythingWeGot. After the week 16 suspension of square peg in a round hole, Josh Gordon, the Patriots went back to incorporating Chris Hogan and Philip Dorsett more into the offense. After week 17 and the Divisional round they have both posted similar numbers. Dorsett in two games had 9 catches on 14 targets for 75 yards and 2 scores. Hogan was 9 catches on 16 targets for 77 yards and 1 score. Hopefully the time they wasted on Josh Gordon and acclimating Dorsett and Hogan back into full time roles pays off. The Patriots defense will need to play its best game of the season and for some players, the best game of their lives, to compete and beat the number one scoring offense and almost certified lock for MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The huge advantages the Patriots have are two of the most obvious in history, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Belichick, in the post season, is 5-1 against teams with the number one offense, holding teams to around 19 points per game. Scheming for Mahomes and burner Tyreek Hill will be one of Belichicks biggest challenges and potential accomplishments for the 2018 season. The Patriots will need all of Brady’s heart and Belichick’s brains to get through this juggernaut.

    Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are not sneaking up on anyone. Mahomes posted a likely MVP season in his first full campaign throwing 50 TD and 12 INTS. He’s led the Chiefs to have the highest scoring team in the league this year. He’s done it in so many different ways too. He can extend plays, make circus throws for big gains and has a cannon for an arm. All of this is no secret. He lives for the mayhem. It’s all Chiefs, Chiefs, Chiefs. Those Chiefs are 7-1 at home this year. The one loss came to the Chargers that the Patriots just demolished. Somewhere else the Chiefs rank really high and not in a good way is in defense yards allowed, which is 31st and passing yards per game, also 31st. Rushing yards is better at 27th and points per game they sit at 24th. The Chiefs defense has been the opposite of a strength for this team. They have been better at home, allowing around 19 points per game, but I find it hard to believe at age 41 Tom Brady will let the location of a football game in the playoffs totally take over what he will do on Sunday. I am not going to go detail about how bad the dome road Colts were last weekend because that should have been a given. This defense of the Chiefs can be exploited and the Patriots should be able to do it.

    The prediction: I am not an “expert”. I am not an Xs and Os guy. What I am is a Patriots fan and I hate to fan boy on this one here but I’m going to. I am taking the Patriots. Every time I think this team, or this quarterback or this coach aren’t going to do something they do it. They do it convincingly. They played their best game of the season when it mattered the most, in the playoffs. Belichick wipes out MVPs like it’s his job. Oh wait it is his job. Sunday night, doesn’t matter the temperate, venue or officiating crew, this team will be prepared to take down another Goliath. I like Brady in the David role, at 41 whatever it takes to be hungry I support. My pick for the AFC Championship Patriots +3, Patriots SU.

    NFC Championship Prediction

    Rams at Saints in the Superdome/ Saints -3.5 and 56.5 O/U

    The Rams go to the Superdome for the second time this season. In the first game they were down just a field goal with 4 minutes to go before Brees and the Saints uncorked the game clinching 72 yard bomb to Michael Thomas. In that game Jarred Goff had the services of one Cooper Kupp which isn’t the case this week. In that week 9 matchup Kupp went 5/89/1. That type of player hasn’t been replicated between the services of Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everette since Kupp torn his ACL in week 10. The Rams finished the season as the number two scoring offense. What you wouldn’t expect is that Jarred Goff had 6 passing touchdowns in his last 6 games since their bye week, including last week vs the Cowboys. What makes that number concerning for the Rams going back into the Big Easy, 4 of them came in Week 17 vs the 49ers. The offense has literally been run since the Rams snagged CJ Anderson’s resume off of Indeed.com. He’s averaged 22 carries and 140 yards per game, including vs the Cowboys last week. The Rams at this point seem to have two powerful RBs to lean on that can produce at the highest levels and take pressure off of Goff and co. If that formula can hold this week the Rams almost neutralize one of the Saints best defenders in Marshon Lattimore. Sean McVay seems to be one of the smartest offensive head coaches today, so I would be very surprised if he wasn’t well aware of this. This seems to be lining up as a very Jekyll and Hyde much up. The Rams CBs have graded out in the back third of the league, but the Saints offense has been struggling for consistency since ESPN dubbed Drew Brees the MVP back in week 6. The Rams defense is 20th in the league giving up 24 points per game and the Saints are the 3rd best scoring offense. What will be key for the Rams on defense is getting Aaron Donald going early and often. He needs to create that havoc that will throw the timing off of the Saints pass catchers routes.

    The Saints come into this game barley beat the high octane Philadelphia Eagle and future Hall of Famer Nick Foles, LOL. Actual future Hall of Famer and newest QB in the 40 year old club, Drew Brees missed on a bunch of throws that could have put this game well out of reach. He missed Ted Ginn at the beginning of the game which should have been a big play and he missed Taysum Hill (throw up) on a long possible touchdown catch. I said this in my predictions last week, the Saints need to continue to lean on Mike Thomas and Alvin Kamara. They are the arguably the most dynamic WR/RB tandem in the league. The Rams will not be forgiving to an overthought out playbook that takes a third string QB and try’s to out gimmick its opponent. Donkey Kong Suh will gladly eat that man for lunch. If Drew Brees continues to look more and more human than an age defying superhuman the Saints will have a long day. The Saints defense played almost a complete game starting at about the 5 minute mark in the 1st quarter last week. They must have woke up and said they won’t be Nick Foles next victim. The Saint rush defense held teams to 80 yards a game good for 2nd in the league, but the Rams rush offense finished 3rd at 140 yards per game clip. This will decide this game.

    Prediction: I think the Rams win. Sean McVay is the new Sean Payton and Drew Brees just feels like he’s slipping just enough to not get this one done. Rams run and control the game flow and Goff does enough when needed. I would love to see a Brady/ Brees Super Bowl, it should have happened last year. I think we have a better chance of seeing a 2001 rematch. Rams +3.5, Rams SU.

    Divisional Round Recap

    After Wild Card Weekend ended I wanted to write up some predictions for this Divisional Round to see if I had a real feel for coaches and coaching, game locations, weather, point spread etc. I was 4-0 straight up, picking all the 1s and 2 seeds. Wasn’t sexy but it was spot on. I was 3-1 ATS, the only game I missed was the New Orleans Saints who couldn’t figure out how to cover vs Nick Foles and the Eagles. I said it in my write up they keep doing this Taysum Hill nonsense when they have guys like Ginn, Smith and ALVIN KAMARA they are digging their own grave here. Anyway take that as a preview of my championship predictions. On to my Playoff Fantasy Team.

    So weather played a big part in my squad not having a bigger showing than it could have. Turns out dome teams can’t play outside of a dome, at all. Andrew Luck had like 5 passing yards before the 2 minute drill at the end of the first half. They decided to try a field goal which playing in Arrowhead seems like an awful idea 100% of the time, but that’s why I’m on my couch typing on an iPhone right now. What do I know? Zeke got in the endzone again but that was about it. His yards and catches were very underwhelming. Road Dak tried but they couldn’t get it done as LA Rams ran for 10 miles against the Dallas “defense”. The Ghost of Gronk managed a 25 yard catch avoiding a zero and Burkhead fell into the endzone after Sony Michel had already ran 2 scores in. So have posting no zeros, and all my players getting at least two games, a Rams vs Patriots Super Bowl would put me in serious contention for a win. But we need to get through Championship Weekend first. Here’s where the league stands now.

    Team 1: 140

    Me: 131

    Team 3: 80

    Team 4: 121

    Team 5: 89

    Team 6: 122

    Team 7: 93

    Team 8: 80

    The ups: Team 1, running the league right now has 3 Patriots and 1 Ram, so similar scenario to me in regards two best case Super Bowl opponents. Team 4 is only 19 back, but only has Kamara, D. Williams and Watson left. If the final scores for the Saints and Chiefs fall the right way this weekend those two stud RBs might just enough to climb out of that hole.

    The downs: Team 6 has a decent current score but that’s not going to change because his whole team is eliminated except for Gerald Everette. Thanks for the donation.

    I should have my Championship Weekend predictions up in a few days. Thanks for reading, as always if you have some feedback shoot me a message.

    Let’s gooooooo!!!!

    Divisional Round Predictions

    Divisional round pregame predictions. Lets get it…

    Colts/ Chiefs at Arrowhead has the highest game total of the weekend at 57 currently. Andrew Luck and the Colts defense have been on an absolute heater, 8-1 since their bye week. First year head coach and a year removed from the Super Bowl winning Eagles coaching staff, Frank Reich absolutely knows what it’s like being an underdog all winter long. Colts offensive line is one of the best in football and that helps Andrew Luck pick apart defenses because his sack rate is the lowest in the league. Now it’s going to be a challenge for the Colts defense because the best offense they have seen recently was the New York Giants. Yes that’s a real sentence. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are the best offense in football. This kid always seems to be making big plays downfield that look effortless. His TE, Travis Kelce, finished as the TE1 this year and his matchup against the Colts is a favorable one. The Chiefs D is suspect but being at home and having Mahomes to build you a cushion is something they should benefit from. I’ll take the Chiefs -5.5 and the over 34-27.

    Saturday night, Cowboys/ Rams. Cowboys head to LA to face the second best offense in football on their home turf. The Cowboys will have to rely on their defense here because it seems, so far, that Dak is a different player outside of the JerryDome. Cowboys defense was 5th in the league this season for opponents yards per game on the ground. Stopping even a part of the Rams run game will go a long way if they are going to keep this thing close. If they can slow down Todd Gurley even a little bit they could put themselves in position to steal a win. The Rams defense wasn’t even close to lock down this year giving up 24 points per game. That number should/ could be worse because when they played the Arizona Cardinals they pitched a shutout and in the second meeting gave up only 9 points. Dallas should feed Zeke to try to win this game because I don’t think that Dak can do it on the road. I’ll take that rested, home team that drops 30 plus a game versus a QB that has trouble winning on the road. Rams -7

    Sunday. Foxboro. Philip. Rivers. Tom. Brady. The closest line of the weekend, Patriots -4, will take place at 1pm Eastern Standard Time. Temperature will be around 20 degrees for an LA team flying west to east for the second time in as many weeks. The Chargers are nomads. They are 8-1 on the road because they are the NFLs most homeless team. Soulless Los Angeles can’t cheer for two teams and the Rams have been better there longer. On paper the Chargers have the more complete team, but the Patriots have the highest graded CB and 6th highest CB in the league and Rivers is an old school pocket passer. If the Patriots can bring just enough pressure I think the secondary can stick long enough to make some plays and make the afternoon hard on Philip. I will never count out the tandem of Bill and Tom and that doesn’t change for Sunday’s game. Patriots -4. Send it.

    Last and possibly least is Philly/ New Orleans. I say this for two reasons, first if I have to watch Nick Foles play further into the playoffs again I’m not going to be happy. Call it old wounds from last seasons Super Bowl whatever, I won’t be having a good time. Second is how average Drew Brees has looked over his last 3 or 4 games. It all started when Dallas shut them down during week 13. If Brees can come out, spread the ball, find his two most dynamic and dangerous weapons in Mike Thomas (who has like a 90% catch rate on the SEASON) and Alvin Kamara and out Philly away early they cruise. The opposite scenario is Sean Payton uses Taysom Hill more than zero times and then the Saints deserve to lose. This is the playoffs not time for gimmicks. A player that I feel like he loves to disappear is Zach Ertz. I don’t know if that’s a thing Foles hates to do, throw to Ertz, but I feel like in big spots that’s how it ends in the box score. I’m done with Philly. I’m done with Foles. Give me all Drew Brees and zero Taysom Hill. Saints -8.

    Thanks for the time… Let’s Goooooooo

    Wildcard Weekend Recap

    Wildcard weekend is in the books which means the players from Houston, Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago all got the boot.

    I could not have been happier with those results. Looking at my competition Hopkins, Coutee, Baldwin, Carson, Tucker, Cohen, Robinson, Mitchell, Burton, Howard, Parkey, Lamar Jackson and Miller and Gus Edwards are all GONE! Multiple teams lost 2 and 3 players. No one lost more than that. Only two teams have all of their players remaining, my team being one of them.

    The score board is as follows:

    Team One: 31

    Me: 55

    Team Three: 6

    Team Four: 63

    Team Five: 46

    Team Six: 77

    Team Seven: 33

    Team Eight: 21

    Highlights from round the league:

    Team Four’s point total came at a loss, as he had Trubisky and Coutee that were 47 of his 63 points. If you’re guys are going to get bounced out at least they gave him a cushion to work with. Team Four still has Kamara and Damien Williams coming up in the Divisional Round to add to that team total. Team Six came out leading the field with 77 points. He had Allen Robinson drop a 30, who is currently the highest scoring player. That number is going to stay just like that because of Cody Parkey. Team Six drafted 4 Chargers and boy has that paid off so far because they’re all going to get another game at New England on Sunday. His highest scoring Charger is Bagdley with 19 points. Sometimes it’s the crazy moves that payoff.

    Lowlights from around the league:

    Cody Parkey. Well that’s the real NFL. In this playoff league the only one who has a real hill to climb is Team Three. A 6 is not at all what you wanted to see. Jordan Howard and Trey Burton did him zero favors. Chicago’s RBs couldn’t get anything going at all, definitely something I think that falls on the coaching but what do I know. And Trey Burton getting hurt right before the weekend burns a lot too.

    Where I stand:

    So far so good with my draft strategy. Luck, Hilton and Zeke all get another game. Luck and Hilton have to go to Arrowhead which is a nightmare to play at with weather possibly being a factor. The good thing going for both of my guys is the point total for the game opened at 55.5 and is now up to 57. Zeke goes to the LA Rams, which has two scenarios for me. First is I have Cooks and Greg the Leg and the Rams get a win and I get at least two games from those boys. Second is I get for three games for Zeke. Rams are a 7 point favorite but Dallas shut down New Orleans when the Saints were a big favorite.

    I’m going to write up some predictions for the games just for fun. I was right with the Colts and Cowboys. At work Sunday morning I changed my pick from the Ravens to the Chargers because they were the most complete team in that game. The Bears was my only real loss and that because Nick Foles mIgHt Be GoOd.

    Thanks for reading. More to come! #Letsgoooooo