Posted on Leave a comment

Coach Belichick; “Make that phone call Monday”!

The City of Angels:

Los Angeles, located on a broad basin in Southern California, the city is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, valleys, forests, beautiful beaches along the Pacific Ocean, and nearby desert. It is the home to the World Champions; Dodgers and Lakers. 

Home of World Champions:
Only the NFL is missing a World championship team. And it won’t be the Rams with their quarterback, Jared Goff. An NFL team needs to start with two things. A successful and innovative head coach and a franchise quarterback. The Los Angeles Chargers will fire their coach Monday and whomever takes the job will inherit an upcoming franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. 

Enter Bill Belichick:

He’s doesn’t have the time nor the patience to search for the next Tom Brady. Why should he? It’s sitting 3500 miles from him in sunny warm California.  All Bill has to do is “make the call”, throw away his winter clothes and grab his shades and head to the airport to join the Dodgers, Lakers and his new LA Chargers team. And if I was Owner Dean Spanos, I’d take my $18M home in La Jolla and give it to Coach Belichick. It’s no easy task filling up a 70,000 seat stadium with the competition coming from the Rams, Lakers, Dodgers and USC. That calls for marketing out of the box skills or one incredible hire. 

Belichick’s opinion on Herbert:
“He’s impressive – very talented player, tall, sees things well, has a good arm, can certainly make all the throws,” Belichick said of Herbert. “He’s athletic, can escape the pocket, smart. They do a number of things at the line of scrimmage – you’ve seen him check plays, audible against pressure, change plays against check-with-me type situations.

Furthermore:
So, it looks like he’s going be a good quarterback for a long time, a lot to work with and I know he’s a smart, hard-working kid that likes football and I’m sure he will continue to get better, as he has this year throughout the course of the season. He’s improved from the early games that I’ve watched, and like I said, has a lot of good skill players to work with – good tight end, good backs, good receivers. So, yeah, he’s a good player.”

Will he; Should he:
While Belichick highlighted all of his strengths, his notorious for exploiting rookie quarterback’s weaknesses. Maybe he didn’t notice any or maybe he’s headed west and doesn’t want to mess with his head. There’s no denying that Belichick would garner some buzz in the City of Angels. Belichick, who has a proven track record of winning, would be in a situation where he has the pieces to make a big run.

Bottom line:
They’ve got a star quarterback and they’re in a crowded sports market. Justin and Belichick would sell tickets for a franchise who can’t sell tickets. Quarterback Justin Herbert would have a coach that helped a guy develop into one of the best at his position, with that being Tom Brady.

Season tickets, going fast:
They get someone to help sell tickets. It sounds like an exhausting argument, and it is, but the goal of upper-management is to make this team as successful and profitable as possible. There definitely is an added benefit to having Herbert and Belichick together to sell tickets. And having a defensive minded coach is exactly what the Chargers need to put with their offense.  

Posted on Leave a comment

COLLEGE BASKETBALL’s TOP ELITE TEAMS

Gonzaga vs Iowa Round One

In an anticipation of last Saturday’s matchup between Gonzaga and Iowa, it looked like taking the points were the way to bet. Iowa was blowing everybody out averaging over 100 points per game and looking like the 1990 UNLV Runnin Rebels. To solidify this notion, because of Covid, the Zags we’re entering the arena with multiple days off due to postponements. No. 1 Gonzaga took control midway through the first half at the Sanford Pentagon and held off a late flurry by the No. 3 Hawkeyes to win a marquee December hoops matchup 99-88. That was a shocking score as it really was worst during the final 10 minutes. Iowa center Luka Garza gave it everything he had to finish with 30 points, relishing his chance to tangle with perhaps the most talented team he’ll face all season. Joe Wieskamp added 20 points. The Zags (4-0), coming off a two-week break due to COVID-19 issues, were a step ahead of the Hawkeyes (6-1) throughout the game. Gonzaga got 27 points from point guard Jalen Suggs and 13 from senior wing Corey Kispert, a preseason all-American like Garza. Kispert fouled out of the game. Joe Toussaint is the quickest Iowa player, and that was vital in a game like this, with Gonzaga applying pressure and trying to get transition baskets. Incredible guard play is necessary for any team to make a respectable outcome against Gonzaga. Gonzaga had 11 fast-break points in the first half, which is the same rate it had in its first three games. Joining in as other teams to watch early this year in addition to Gonzaga and Iowa, Baylor and Villanova will not disappoint college basketball aficionados. 

Posted on Leave a comment

NO TANKING IN THE NFL, HERE’S WHY.

THE FANS BELIEVE THIS

In the NFL, there’s is no tanking to improve for draft positions. Many have thought so but it’s doubtful it’s gone from average Joes setting up a scenario for their team to justify whatever they wanted to fit their own agenda. “Please lose so we get the Number One selection”. 

ORGANIZATION RESET

Let me explain what is real and is very much defined by the teams actions. It’s call an “organization reset of assets”. That’s a fancy term for dumping players; not games. That’s a slick and smart way to dump salaries and clear cap space. This is management’s and the owners way of moving forward. 

LAST YEAR MIAMI FOR TUA

When the Miami Dolphins we’re dumping and trading their best players for their own organization reset, they not only lost games but we’re getting blown out. One couldn’t have a discussion without hearing how Miami was setting themselves up to draft Alabama’s quarterback, Tua. It was a sure bet as the losses piled up. Then what happened? They began to win. They actually finished the season with five (5) wins. What happened? They reset and properly allocated their organization’s assets. They dumped huge contracts. 

2019 to 2020 RESULTS 
They NEVER lost a game on purpose. They reset for this year. If you look at the success of what they managed to do in a year; few would have believed they’d go from 0-10 last year to winning five games to eliminating New England from the playoffs last week to themselves at even money to make it into the wild card arena of the NFL playoffs. Cincinnati ended up choosing Joe Burrow as the first selection. 

THE JETS WIN
This brings me to 2020 with the race of becoming this years worst team. The word was that the Jets had a firm hold on first place. But the head coach wouldn’t sign off continuous losing. And why would he? He’s 99% for sure fired in two weeks. Why leave what he needed as a franchise quarterback for the new head coach to walk into? Why would Sam Darnold want to lose so that he would lose his job as the Jets starting quarterback? He may not get another chance after this job. 

THE COWBOYS 
If someone was to tank and trade up, the Cowboys could not renew Dak Prescott at $35M and lose the past two weeks. But they didn’t. In fact, they went winner winner and still could make the playoffs. 

THE TALENT IS UNPROVEN 
Keep in mind the there are many talented players in the top six draft spots coming out of college. And none are guaranteed to be the next superstar. Who knows where the next Patrick Mahomes will come from? Or the next sixth round pick as in Tom Brady. What about the next Dick Bukus? There’s always that next one. Or play, reset and get into the first six picks. 

PLAYERS PLAY TO WIN
This is why players won’t go 0-16. No matter what and it’s not proven that the coach or management have asked for that. Did you see the celebration for the Jets after Sunday’s defeat on the road against the Rams as a 17 point dog?  They did not want to be in the same all time losers category as only two other teams are presently into. Did you see the clips of how much it meant for Cincinnati to defeat the Steelers as a 13.5 underdog? Maybe the Jacksonville Jags will win a game in their last two weeks. But they won’t try to lose!

WILL THE JAGS HOLD ON
Only two games remain, but the Jaguars’ horrendous season can’t end soon enough. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took to Twitter Sunday, writing that the New York Jets delivered an early Christmas present to Jacksonville. Indeed, the Jaguars are now in the driver’s seat to land Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft because of the Jets upset the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 Sunday to notch their first win of the season.

JAGS FINAL TWO GAMES
Now all they need to do is lose the final two games against Chicago Bears this upcoming Sunday at TIAA Bank Field and the Indianapolis Colts in the season finale. Although the Jaguars and Jets now have identical 1-13 records, the Jaguars own the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker for the No. 1 overall pick. Will they tank or are they just bad enough to lose while playing and giving 100%?  I say there’s no tanking at all. But in the upcoming months, the Jags will get Trevor Lawrence on a cheap five year contract and use cap space to protect their investment with some offensive lineman picks a big backfield blockers. Now that’s an organizational reset of assets. If they can only hold on and gain two more losses. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Week 14, NFL NEWS, RESULTS and INSIGHTS

Highlights, Questions and Comments 


Philadelphia owes him $62M.🤷‍♂️

In five seasons under Coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles are 11-3 in games not started by Carson Wentz (including the playoffs) and 35-33-1 with Wentz starting. Hard choices can be costly. 

Drew Brees to start or wait??

Taysom Hill passed for a career-high 291 yards, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble. With 11 cracked ribs, let him heal. 

We knew he’d be a great one!!

Washington’s rookie defensive end Chase Young put on a show with six tackles, a sack, two passes defended, two quarterback hits and a 47-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Defense Defense Defense. 

Strong case for MVP🤷‍♂️

Derrick Henry is leading the N.F.L. with 1,532 yards rushing this season — just 8 short of the total he led the N.F.L. with last year — and he has run for 100 or more yards in his last nine road games. Honor a running back that fee want to even tackle head on. 

NFC-East picks up interest!!

The severity of Alex Smith’s injury was not immediately announced. With the Giants losing last week, combined with wins by Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas, kept things interesting in the N.F.C. East, which is making up for its lack of quality by having all four teams in the division race with three games remaining. 

Vikings kicking themselves?

Dan Bailey missed an extra-point attempt in the first quarter and proceeded to miss field-goal attempts of 36, 54 and 46 yards, with each sailing wide right. Vikings kicker is having a mental meltdown?  Dan also missed two extra points and a 51-yard field-goal attempt last week, making him 1 of 4 on extra points and 2 of 6 on field goals. 

Throw out the game stats!!

Tampa Bay had the ball for less than 21 of the game’s 60 minutes, and while Minnesota had the game’s leading passer, leading rusher and leading receiver. Final score: Bucs 26–Vikings 14

I’m baaaaack Chicago fans!!

Mitchell Trubisky had a terrific game against the Houston Texans, completing 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Chicago managed to keep the Bears very much alive in the race for the N.F.C.’s third wild card.

Could they finish 0-3; or

1-2??

Green Bay controls its own destiny as far as a first-round bye is concerned, and the Packers will close their season with winnable games against Carolina, Tennessee (in Green Bay) and Chicago.

Need linebackers in a hurry!!

The Steelers looked lost trying to slow down quarterback Josh Allen, receiver Stefon Diggs and the Bills’ offense, losting, 26-15. As a result, the Steelers will go into Week 15 trailing Kansas City for the top spot in the AFC. Defense is leaking fast. 

Tom Brady’s Christmas wish!!

Tampa Bay improved to 8-5, and is on its way to its first playoff appearance since 2007. He has his offense set for a playoff run!

The next John Elway??
Drew Lock finished the day with a career-high four passing touchdowns leading the Broncos to an unlikely win over Carolina.

The Buffalo Bills are complete now.
Stefon Diggs had 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He is the first player this season to reach 100 receptions. It’ll be Allen to Diggs in the playoffs. 

Posted on Leave a comment

BETTING OPPORTUNITIES WITH THE DREADFUL NFC-EAST IN WEEK 15-17

The NFC East ATS thru Week 14

The NY Giants are 8-4 ATS. 

S/u 5-8 and 2-4 at home


The Football team is 6-5 ATS

S/u 5-7 and 4-2 at home. 


The Eagles are 4-8 ATS 

S/u 3-8-1 and 4-3 at home. 


The Cowboys are 2-9 ATS

S/u 4-9 and 1-5 at home. 

S/U against winning teams 

NY Giants win over Seattle last week was the first win over a team with a winning record thru week 13. On week 14, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New Orleans Saints for the NFC division’s second win over a team with a winning record. That was my Pinnacle Bet of the Year (now 13-3). But let’s bet with the point spread and like the perception they give the masses. After all, the oddsmakers do this every week. 

Making money week 15-17

We can make money from week 15 to week 17.  Three  weeks of value and most bettors giving up on them. The oddsmakers know that.

The straight up record for this division is 17-32-1. But with the point spread, it brings us to 23-28.

A confident vote AGAINST Dallas 

The biggest culprit is Dallas; America’s team. The oddsmakers realize this. The public is ingrained to believe that. The bets continue to flow in on them. If we never bet on Dallas, the worst division in the NFL would now be 20-18 ATS. 

Adapt your thinking

In gambling at sports, sometimes one needs to adapt and change betting philosophies. It’s daring and risky but we sports bettors are risk takers. If we bet on the Ny Giants, Washington and Philadelphia but bet against the Dallas Cowboys, our ATS numbers would change to 30-21 ATS. 

Going against Dallas makes sense

It’s not out of character to adjust to these situations. Their starting quarterback is out for the year. Their backup got hurt for a few games. At four (4) wins, and needing one of the many college quarterbacks preparing for the NFL draft, why would they now be able to win? I don’t see the Cowboys playing for Texas pride. I don’t see them laying it on the turf for their coach. At times, even tho their paychecks are on autopay, I don’t even see most playing for Jerry Jones money. With injuries, lack of attitude and focus, a bet against the Cowboys and bets on the other three are the money makers. The oddsmakers know everyone has given up on this division and will make their opponents over-priced wager opportunities for the masses. 

Making money ATS in the NFC-East 

I will concentrate on more NFC EAST bets in week 15-17 to finish the season. I’ll be on for the most part, NY, Washington and Philadelphia and against Dallas. 

Posted on Leave a comment

SURPRISE COMING TO TEXAS FOOTBALL?

Texas is huge in everything they do. They’re bigger than life! FOOTBALL IS KING Thursday thru Monday. Junior High football brings them in droves as their introduction. High School football sells out 50,000 seat stadiums and comes with pointspreads. College football is bloody to die for between the different loyaltists and alumni. The two teams in the NFL stink but are beloved throughout Texas and one as America’s Team. With 270,000 sq miles and 29,000,000 people, what can one person do to change the entire State of Texas football scene? We’re talking about getting excited about the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys. Gamblers bet like hell on Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. The University of Texas has always been king until recently. The Pony Express, SMU, was up there years ago paying huge dividends and the new kid on the block is U of Houston. Don’t think that they don’t support TCU,
Rice, Texas St and UTEP for a minute because they do. So what is apparently lacking? I say it’s one thing that could collectively put Texas back on the football map. A much needed wrangling in of a football stranglehold. A huge cattle man? Probably not. An oil baron wouldn’t hurt but there’s better. A close source to me told me that Shelley Meyer is in Austin shopping for a residential palace.One Texas size mansion big enough to hosts Texas size boosters. In case you are not familiar with her, that’s football legend Urban Meyer’s wife. It seems that University of Texas is unhappy with Coach Tom Herman. That’s football Texas talk that he can’t win nor cover the spread as a favorite. It’s speculation on my part (haha) but we know when Texas goes ALL-IN, it’s not always about no limit Texas hold em poker. The spirit of all longhorn cattle or every Texas graduate is saddling up for this campfire miracle. It’s amazing that one person could change an entire industry in that State but Texas Football, whether College and Pro, requires the biggest name available and his name is Coach Urban Meyer.

Posted on Leave a comment

YOU THINK YOU HAD A BAD DAY? Read this football bet.

DOUBLE BAD BEAT

Tulane 53.5 vs Tulsa -5.5
———————-
Bet Tulane
Bet Under
————
Halftime score is: 0-0


Points are ok getting 5.5
Under is incredible at 53.5
————
End of 3rd quarter


Tulane 14–Tulsa 0
Points are looking great
Under is 39 points from winning; So lock it up
————
Start of 4th quarter


Tulane. Tulsa
    14—7
    14—14    1:51
    21—14.    0:06 left

Tulsa has ball with .06 seconds left. QB throws 37 yard pass to tie and send to OT at 21-21
———-
First OT


Tulsa scores FG first 21-24
Tulane scores FG 24-24 to tie
———-
2 OT
Tulane gets ball. Throws a 94 yard pick-6
Final
Tulane 24
Tulsa 30

Final Results

Tulane bettor had + 5.5 to lose by the hook
Tulane bettor also had under 53.5 to lose by the hook. 

And you think you 

had a bad day?

Posted on Leave a comment

Big Ben and the Heisman winners: Sizing up QBs in the NFL’s best division

Originally Posted by NFL NationESPN

When it comes to the best division in football, few can compete with the arms race in the AFC North.

When the NFL season began, it became the first division ever to start three Heisman Trophy winners to open a season.

Nearly halfway through 2020, Lamar JacksonBaker Mayfield and Joe Burrow along with two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger have their teams reaching for the record books once again.

Roethlisberger has rebounded from last year’s season-ending elbow injury and has guided the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) to their best start since 1978.

Jackson has helped the Baltimore Ravens to a 5-1 mark for the third time in franchise history, matching the starts of their two Super Bowl championship teams (2000 and 2012).

Mayfield has lifted the Cleveland Browns to a 5-2 record, which hasn’t happened since Bill Belichick was the coach there in 1994.

Burrow has produced only one victory for the Cincinnati Bengals (1-5-1), but this year’s No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft is on pace to become the league’s most prolific rookie passer.

Overall, the AFC North has the second-best winning percentage by a division’s top three teams (16-3, .842) through Week 7 since the 1970 merger, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. The only division that was better was the 1975 AFC Central, which featured the Steelers, Bengals and Oilers all winning 10 games.

Here’s a look at how these quarterbacks will shape the AFC North going forward:

What has your quarterback done thus far? What kind of first half has he had?

Jamison Hensley (Ravens): Jackson’s playmaking ability has carried an offense that isn’t as strong along the offensive line and hasn’t received much from the wide receivers. He’s just in a difficult situation because he isn’t playing at last season’s off-the-charts, MVP level. Jackson remains a special dual threat, ranking 10th in QBR (76.1) and first in rushing average (6.9). But he’s regressed as a passer and hasn’t been crisp in throwing the ball. Jackson is 26th in completion rate (63%) and 27th in passing yards (1,135). If Jackson can become a more consistent passer, Baltimore will be extremely dangerous.

Ben Baby (Bengals): The top overall pick in the 2020 draft has established himself as a top candidate to be the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. Burrow is on pace to shatter Andrew Luck’s record for most passing yards as a rookie (4,374 in 2012) and is coming off his first 400-yard performance in the NFL. But more important, Burrow is steadily showing improvement in how he sees the field and has naturally stepped into a key leadership role.

Brooke Pryor (Steelers): It’s hard to overstate the kind of start Roethlisberger, 38, has had this season. The Steelers are undefeated, and his return is a big reason for that. Before Sunday, the veteran had thrown only one interception. He threw three more against the Titans, but only one was the product of a poor decision. His surgically repaired elbow is holding up, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. He’s also showing a willingness to work on his deficiencies, taking extra time to practice his footwork, build relationships with his younger receivers and throw at stacked trash cans to improve the placement of his deep ball.

Jake Trotter (Browns): Mayfield’s first half has been up and down, especially against AFC North competition, with a pair of sterling performances against the Bengals and rough outings against the Ravens and Steelers. Altogether, though, he has improved from his dismal 2019 season and currently ranks inside the top 10 in the league in QBR. Mayfield will need to show more against somebody other than the Bengals if he is to prove he’s still in fact Cleveland’s quarterback of the future.

What is one cause for concern or troubling trend you have observed about your QB and why?

Hensley: The lack of a deep passing game. Defenses are going to drop safeties and load up the box to stop the Ravens’ running game until Jackson makes teams fear his ability to throw over the top of them. On passes of 15 yards in the air or longer, Jackson’s 14 completions ranks 26th in the NFL and his 36.8 completion percentage is 27th. Baltimore has the potential to stretch the field. Jackson frequently hit speedy wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown on long throws in training camp. It just hasn’t happened as often in the regular season, and this has to become among the Ravens’ top priorities on offense going forward.

Baby: Burrow’s biggest issue has been his knack for holding on to the ball for a little too long. His tendency to let a play drag out as he looks for a receiver downfield has played a role in a number of his sacks and is something he’s readily admitted. At LSU, Burrow was known for his ability to extend plays, and that was one of the reasons the Bengals loved him during the pre-draft process. However, he’s still finding the balance between risk and reward in the NFL.

Pryor: Roethlisberger’s passes are being tipped at the line of scrimmage more often this season, including one against the Titans that led to an interception. That’s a product of the run-pass option (RPO) offense, Roethlisberger said Wednesday. And while that’s not ideal, the quarterback said he isn’t concerned. “The ball is going to have to come out quick because it’s a run kind of play,” Roethlisberger said. “You have to get the ball out quick. Sometimes the blocking is not there. Sometimes when you’re throwing a lot of the underneath stuff and quick routes, the ball has to come out of your hands quick, and it’s going to, obviously, be a lower pass.

“Coach [Mike] Tomlin says all the time, ‘If you’re not going to get home, get your hands up.’ I think that’s what we are seeing a lot from defenders when they think they’re not going to get home or they think the ball is going to come out quick, they’re just getting their hands up. That’s creating some tipped balls, but we’re not too alarmed with it yet.”

Trotter: Mayfield has really struggled against the better blitzing defenses. On Oct. 18 against the Steelers, for example, he went just 2-of-6 against the blitz for 11 yards and an interception; he also took three sacks, a career high for him against the blitz. Mayfield was much better against the Bengals on Sunday, going 6-of-8 for 94 yards and a touchdown, with the one pick, against the blitz. Cincinnati’s blitz, however, is rather toothless. Future defensive opponents with more prolific pass rushes are sure to study the Pittsburgh film.

What is the most telling stat of your quarterback’s performance thus far?

Hensley: Completion rate. Jackson is 4-0 when he connects on more than 55% of his throws. It’s been a barometer for success throughout his three-year career. He’s 22-1 as a starter when completing more than 55% of his passes, and he’s 3-3 when he fails to do so. This shows that Baltimore wins as much with Jackson’s efficient play as his electric moves.

Baby: Burrow leads the league in passing attempts and completions, which indicates what the Bengals are putting on his plate as a rookie with no preseason or OTAs. Burrow has responded by throwing for 2,023 yards, which ranks third in the NFL behind only Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson. Burrow’s completion percentage is 5.1% over the expected rate, according to NFL Next Gen Stats data, so he’s been effective despite all the attempts.

Pryor: Roethlisberger’s air yards are way down from previous seasons. He’s averaging 6.68 air yards for the season, the lowest through the Steelers’ first six games of a season since the stat was first tracked in 2006. That doesn’t mean that Roethlisberger can’t throw the deep ball with his repaired elbow, it just means the Steelers are running a different kind of offense than in previous seasons. Roethlisberger is getting the ball out of his hands fast, throwing quick slant passes and letting his playmakers do the work.

Trotter: Against the Bengals, Mayfield is 5-1 in his career with a scintillating combined QBR of 87. But against everybody else? He’s just 12-18 with a QBR of only 51. Beating up on the Bengals won’t be enough for Mayfield if he’s to become a top-half-of-the-league quarterback. So far in his career, Mayfield is just 5-12 against opponents above .500, with a QBR of just 46. That isn’t good enough.

This season will be considered a success for your QB if …

Hensley: He wins a playoff game. Jackson could finish out the regular season with a 15-1 record and he will ultimately get judged by how he fares when it matters the most. The lack of a postseason victory is really the only disappointment in Jackson’s short run as Baltimore’s starting quarterback. He’s led the Ravens to two home playoff games and lost by a combined score of 51-29. While Jackson shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame for the playoff flops, his five turnovers have fed the narrative that he can’t win in January.

Baby: Burrow finishes the season healthy. Because of Burrow’s playing style and the offensive line’s shakiness, the rookie is prone to a lot of contact. While some of that is acceptable because of his playmaking ability, the weekly progress Burrow makes will immediately cease if he’s out for any period of time. If he can stay on the field the rest of the season, he will gain valuable reps as he builds toward a 2021 in which expectations will be much higher.

Pryor: The season is already a success for Roethlisberger. Returning to the field after significant elbow surgery was hardly a given, but Roethlisberger has done that and then some. The season will continue to be a success if he finishes it the way he started — throwing 13 touchdowns to four interceptions with a 68.2 completion percentage. With Roethlisberger back and playing so well, the Steelers don’t just hope to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017, they hope to make a deep run in them.

Trotter: The Browns finally snap the NFL’s longest active playoff drought and make the postseason for the first time since 2002. Mayfield’s individual performances in between are sure to be dissected. But if Cleveland makes the playoffs, especially out of the rugged AFC North, that will be a clear sign Mayfield has taken a step forward as well, while giving him, the new front office and first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski a foundation to build off of moving forward.

Posted on Leave a comment

Experts predict NFL Week 8 upset picks, fantasy football sleepers and flops, plus trade deadline offers

Originally Posted by ESPN NFL Experts

Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season sees a pair of huge divisional matchups, one in the AFC North and one in the NFC West.

The visiting Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0) will put the league’s only unblemished record on the line against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and later the visiting San Francisco 49ers will try to close the gap on the Seattle Seahawks.

Meanwhile, in another divisional game, the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills will play host to the reeling New England Patriots, who are two games under .500 for the first time since 2001.

We asked our experts for their thoughts on the Patriots’ fortunes, as well as biggest potential upsets, fantasy football flops and potential sleepers.

What’s your top upset pick for Week 8?

Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: Raiders (+2.5) over Browns. With Derek Carr pushing the ball down the field in recent weeks, coach Jon Gruden can scheme up vertical throws versus a Browns defense that lacks urgency and ball production in the back end.

Kevin Seifert, national NFL writer: Raiders (+2.5) over Browns. The Raiders will see the film of Baker Mayfield‘s season, see that he has really struggled when pressured, and adjust accordingly. When under duress this season, Mayfield ranks No. 27 in NFL QBR (50.5). When not under duress, he ranks No. 8 (79.2).

Seth Walder, sports analytics writer: Lions (+3) over Colts. Detroit came through for me last week (thanks Todd Gurley II!), so I’ll roll with them again. Kenny Golladay is catching absolutely everything. His 71% catch rate is almost 19% above expectation given the targets he has received, per NFL Next Gen Stats, so I’m banking on him to win a tough matchup against a resurgent Xavier Rhodes.

Field Yates, NFL analyst: 49ers (+3) over Seahawks. Coach Kyle Shanahan remains a treasure of an offensive mind, and despite a host of injuries and Jimmy Garoppolo‘s at-times unsteady production down the field, the team can scheme up ways for players to put together chunk plays consistently. I expect this game to be close, perhaps with some of the typical 49ers-Seahawks drama, but ultimately believe San Francisco can pull off the upset in Seattle.