NFL Week 5 Odds: Here Are Betting Lines, Spreads For All ...

Vegas Implied Team Point Totals (Week 3)

I'm back again this week with each team's implied point total based on Vegas oveunder lines. I typically use these to decide between players on tough start/decision decisions by leaning towards players whose teams are projected to score more points. Remember that Vegas sets its lines based on the bets it receives and not necessarily expert football opinion, so these implied point totals represent the betting public's perception of each team this week. There is value to be had if you remember this!
Interesting note: in Week 1 half of the league hit the OVER, while in Week 2 nearly two-thirds of the league hit the OVER. Are offenses ramping up while defenses take more time to mesh? Who knows!
Previous weeks can be found here:
Week 1
Week 2
Anyways, here is Week 3:

Team Implied Point Total Opponent Week 2 Results Season OVER%
Cardinals 30.75 Lions OVER 100%
Seahawks 30.5 Cowboys OVER 100%
Ravens 29.25 Chiefs OVER 100%
Saints 28 Packers UNDER 50%
Colts 27.75 Jets OVER 50%
Patriots 26.25 Raiders OVER 50%
Titans 26.25 Vikings OVER 50%
Browns 26 WFT OVER 50%
Eagles 26 Bengals UNDER 0%
Jaguars 26 Dolphins OVER 100%
Chiefs 25.75 Ravens UNDER 50%
Cowboys 25.5 Seahawks OVER 50%
Falcons 25.25 Bears OVER 100%
Chargers 25 Panthers OVER 50%
Packers 25 Saints OVER 100%
Lions 24.75 Cardinals UNDER 50%
Bills 24.5 Rams OVER 100%
Buccaneers 24.5 Broncos OVER 100%
Steelers 24.5 Texans OVER 50%
Vikings 23.25 Titans UNDER 50%
Dolphins 23 Jaguars OVER 50%
49ers 22.5 Giants OVER 50%
Rams 22.5 Bills OVER 50%
Bears 21.75 Falcons UNDER 50%
Bengals 21.5 Eagles OVER 50%
Raiders 21.25 Patriots OVER 100%
Texans 20.5 Steelers UNDER 0%
Giants 19 49ers UNDER 50%
WFT 19 Browns UNDER 50%
Panthers 18.5 Chargers UNDER 50%
Broncos 18 Buccaneers OVER 50%
Jets 16.25 Colts UNDER 50%
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My Proposal for Detroit's Future

Well, we lost, which means we are back to being bad. Jokes aside, the win last weekend was fun, but as I think today showed, it was merely a mirage. The evidence leans toward Matt Patricia not being a good coach, and I think it will be best that he and Detroit go in separate ways at the seasons end.
And to be clear, Patricia still has a chance to turn the season around and get Detroit into contention. I think people forget that the Titans were 2-4 last year before winding up in the AFC Championship Game. I absolutely do not believe this will happen for Detroit, but rather, just being realistic that Detroit's schedule will ease up here soon enough, and maybe that gives them the confidence they need to make some things happen. But unless Patricia makes the playoffs, I am prepared, even eager I dare say, to move on.
Now, I am obviously not Sheila Ford. But if I were, this is how I would approach this offseason.

General Manager

The biggest question, should Detroit falter is what happens to Bob Quinn. While most would probably assume that Quinn and Patricia's fates are tied together, I think it could be a little bit more complicated than that. Allow me to elaborate on this.
First and foremost, my view of the role of the GM is to work in conjunction with your head coach to create a vision for what the team will look like. The coach then goes about implementing that vision on the practice field and in games, developing and coaching the team to wins in whatever fashion they think they can. The GM goes about implementing that vision in the free agent markets, on the trade blocs, and in the draft room.
In this sense, I think you could actually argue that Bob Quinn has been effective. He has built the Detroit Lions in the image of the New England Patriots, largely by bringing in former Patriots and players with a similar skill set. In terms of swiftly restyling the team, Quinn has arguably done exactly this. He's given Patricia personnel that match the scheme both in the draft and in free agency. As the executioner of this flawed vision, Quinn has managed to reshape them. He is effective in building a wannabe Patriots. Most will focus on the wannabe Patriots, as the issue, and to a large degree, they aren't wrong. But what they miss is that Quinn has done it effectively.
Now, there are surely some poor decisions mixed in there. Quinn missed on some draft evaluations like Jarrad Davis and Teez Tabor. He did ship out Quandre Diggs for pennies and missed the window to extend Kenny Golladay before it could get more expensive. This isn't to say that Quinn is perfect, in fact, I'm not even arguing Quinn is a relatively good GM, just that he effectively executed a vision. Personally, I wish he had embraced a better vision, and for that, I'd have no issue firing him. But rather, just making the case that Quinn could stick around for another coaching hire. After all, it was Quinn who fired Jim Caldwell for his utter inability to beat good teams, only to turn around and hire buddy buddy Matty P who struggles to even beat bad teams.
If Quinn is gone, let's look at some of the names to replace him....

General Manager Candidates

The first name that usually comes to everyone's mind is Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. A widely regarded scout during his time in Seattle, Colts current GM Chris Ballard swiped Dodds away by making him his number two in Indy. He's played a big part in rebuilding the Colts roster, whether bringing in guys like Denico Autry or Kenny Moore, or drafting players like Braden Smith and Darius Leonard. While he's clearly a top option for just about anyone, there are some questions about whether or not he even wants the spotlight of a GM position. From Bleacher Report's Matt Miller: "he doesn't particularly like the attention that comes with being a decision-maker and might not even have the desire to be a general manager." Personally, I don't think someone who is hesitant to take on a general manager role in the first place would be eager to go to the Lions, given our horrid history.
Dodds was from the line of Seahawks GM John Schneider, and he has a few other deputies who could be interesting candidates, notably Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer. Originally a scout himself, he's been in Seattle for awhile now, and was huge piece of the 2010-2012 draft classes that produced Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Bobby Wagner. Additionally, he serves alongside fellow co-director of player personnel, Trent Kirchner, who also figures to be an intriguing candidate.
Detroit may want to consider getting someone with experience running their own show, and if that's the case, Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland could be an interesting name. Ireland was the Dolphins GM from 2008 until 2013, a time when they weren't as bad as they have been the past few seasons. Over his stretch, they peaked in year one with a playoff berth, and proceeded to go 7-9 just about every year following. So why would Detroit be interested in Ireland? Well, he has had time to reflect on the mistakes made during his time, and spent the past few years working in a better organization (the Saints) where you get an idea of new ways to approach things.
I live in Denver, and happen to be connected to a few Broncos employees out here, one of whom would actually have respectable insight, so I texted him and asked "who should Detroit consider for a new GM?". His response was 49ers VP of player personnel Adam Peters who was with Denver for a few years during their Super Bowl run. He ran college scouting in Denver, and now works alongside John Lynch in building the monstrosity that is the 49ers roster. He even made one the "GM candidates to know" lists that people put out, so it seems some others would share the hype.
Looking at other successfully run organizations, the Baltimore Ravens and director of player personnel Joe Hortiz come to mind. Horitz has been in Baltimore under both Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta, so he's clearly seen what a well-run organization looks like, one that isn't exclusively tied to a legendary head coach. He's played a large role in scouting (1998-2016), a time in which Baltimore added stars like Ronnie Stanley, Za'Darius Smith, C.J Mosley, Brandon Williams, Kelechi Osemele, and Jimmy Smith amongst plenty of others.
If Detroit wants to take a wild swing at the television personalities, like the Raiders did with Mike Mayock, the top candidate there would probably be ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who was a pro scout with the Redskins for a few years, and worked as director of player personnel for both the Redskins and Eagles.
One person I just want to clearly rule out is Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. First and foremost, if Bill O'Brien survives the 2020 season as head coach of the Texans, Caserio will be named their new GM. Second, Detroit absolutely needs to avoid another born and raised Patriots executive. So no Caserio. If so, we riot.
I think, ultimately for me, Ireland has too much baggage, Riddick is too much of a wild card, and Dodds isn't likely to leave for Detroit. Therefore, my top target is probably going to be Scott Fitterer, but I'd be thoroughly pleased with Kirchner, Peters, or Hortiz.

Head Coaching Candidates

Not even debating it. Matt Patricia is out. Between an archaic scheme, contentious relations with star players, and poor awareness with the media, Patricia hasn't shown he's worth it. We will be parting ways with him, and I'm sure he'll end up with the Patriots, Giants, or Dolphins in some assistant capacity.
The first name to mention is Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. Everyone knows the deal here, I'm not getting too much into it. Same with Michigan-native, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. We'll be discussing less talked about candidates here.
One name that does not get a lot of hype is Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He remains one of the absolute best at tailoring offenses to create dynamic rushing attacks with dual-threat quarterbacks. While Matthew Stafford isn't exactly a dual-threat QB, perhaps a pairing of Roman and OSU QB Justin Fields could be a lot of fun to watch. Roman has called offenses for both Harbaugh brothers, in San Francisco with Jim where he created an offense for Colin Kaepernick, and now in Baltimore with John and Lamar Jackson.
One Kansas City coach who doesn't get as much hype as he probably should is Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub. He's a trusted assistant for Andy Reid, and historically speaking, special teams coordinators actually have a fairly high success rate. He's been highly regarded for his leadership within the Chiefs franchise these past few years.
If Detroit wants to keep a defensive focus at the head coaching spot, then Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is one of the best in the business. Quoting CBS here, "Energetic and disciplined, he's Frank Reich's most well-rounded companion". Eberflus runs a fairly creative defensive scheme that has allowed guys like Darius Leonard to thrive, focusing on getting elite athletes across the board. His defense is so fun, that in Week 3 they actually caught more touchdowns passes from Jets QB Sam Darnold than Darnold was able to throw to members of his own team.
Another defensive mind who should be under consideration is Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale. He's been there LB coach since 2012, and their coordinator since 2018 as the Ravens have continued to roll out good defensive units no matter who they have at hand. Martindale's defense is quite the opposite of Patricia's, they blitz like crazy and they mix up their coverage often.
If Detroit is willing to give a head coach a second chance (the results on this trend are pretty mixed btw), then Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would probably be the most intriguing second chance candidate. Quoting SBN here, "His three-year stint as the Vikings' head coach saw him lead the team to the playoffs in 2012 followed by a sharp fall in 2013. But it's hard to blame him too much when he was choosing between Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassel at quarterback". While Sean McDermott is a defensive-minded head coach in Buffalo already, he's credited Frazier with a major role in turning the Bills into one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Turning to offense, we have another Bills coordinator, Brian Daboll calling the shots on offense. Daboll was with the Patriots for a few years as their tight ends coach, before departing and finding success away from Belichick, winning a national title during his time as Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2017, before coming to Buffalo and molded the raw potential of Josh Allen into the dominant player he has been this year.
Former Lions backup QB Kellen Moore, now the offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys at only 32 years old figures to be a hot name soon. He's helped Dak Prescott continue to build his game, going from a steady game manager to a playmaker himself. Moore's a little young, but is one of the most prolific offensive minds in CFB.
Also in the rising star mold is Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, a former star QB himself. Leftwich has worked under Bruce Arians for a few years now, and helped create an offense that put up prolific numbers with Jameis Winston (and a lot of interceptions as well).
Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni has also gotten some hype from people in coaching circles, as he's helped the Colts manage the unexpected fallout of Andrew Luck's surprise retirement. If he can milk the remaining production out of Phillip Rivers, he'll be an intriguing candidate who has worked under a few quality head coaches already.
Another offensive coordinator that merits some consideration is Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. He played a major role in transitioning the Titans from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill, a move that helped propel them all the way to the AFC Championship game behind the effective duo of Derrick Henry's rushing ability and Tannehill's effectiveness off the play action pass,
Usually teams don't hire position coaches, but it's not entirely out of the blue, especially if that position coach does have interim head coaching experience like Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell. Campbell was Miami's interim head coach in 2015, going 5-7 after Joe Philbin was fired. Campbell also played TE for the Lions back in the second half of the 2000's, posting one of the better seasons a Lions tight end had at that point in 2006. He's considered an exceptional leader in the Saints organization.
The Panthers brought in college head coach Matt Rhule this past year, and if Detroit is looking to do something similar, the three names to watch would probably be OSU head coach Ryan Day, a former Chip Kelly protege who has somehow made the Buckeyes even more deadly and efficient than they were under Urban Meyer, Oklahoma heisman producehead coach Lincoln Riley, who is responsible for getting Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray drafted #1 overall, and lastly Florida head coach Dan Mullen, a former Urban Meyer protege who has had immense success at Mississippi State and now at Florida so far.
There's probably some other candidates I did not dive into. Though similar to Caserio and the GM tree, absolute pass on Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. No need to try that one a second time.
Personally, I like a lot of these candidates. There's plenty of diversity in schemes, backgrounds, leadership styles, etc. My favorite, however, is Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The work he's done with Josh Allen is fantastic, as he's crafted an offense that fits Allen's style, and whether he'd want to keep Stafford or draft his replacement, I'd have the utmost faith that he'd mold that QB in similar fashion.

Current Personnel

For the current personnel, it'll be important to identify which players have a future in Detroit. Whether that's based on scheme fit, age, health, cap implication, etc. Taking a look at the roster, here's my best guess, outside of one position, which is detailed in a separate section below.
Running back is a good spot for Detroit, regardless of what happens to current starting RB Adrian Peterson. I like RB Kerryon Johnson, but I am absolutely against a sizeable contract extension. Personally, I don't think paying running backs anything more than like $5 mil per year is a good investment, regardless of what back it is. So, he's fine for another season under contract, but may end up parting ways after that. Drafting his replacement in RB D'Andre Swift was a wise move. I actually like the idea of taking good running backs (2nd-3rd round) every other season. That way you never have to pay them and always have fresh legs.
Wide receiver will require some effort this offseason. Quinn massively screwed us by not extending WR Kenny Golladay prior to the season. Only leaves more time for larger contracts to be signed. For example, his spotract market value went up from $16 mil per season to almost $19 mil per season because of additional deals being signed. And with a lowered cap, that's gonna be problematic. The Lions should have at least a WR3/4 in WR Quintez Cephus, and WR Geronimo Allison opted out, meaning Detroit retains his contract for 2021. They'll likely need to draft someone early and sign another veteran, maybe even bringing back Jones or Amendola for a 1-year deal.
Tight end is pretty straight forward. TE T.J. Hockenson was a top-10 selection, and is starting to look like a very good weapon for the offense going forward. His backup, TE Jesse James is also simple: his contract is too large to retain him if he continues his mediocre play. If he can more consistently play like he did against the Cardinals, they may keep him. If not, cut for cap space. Bryant and Nauta are sort of unknowns at this point.
The offensive line may be Detroit's best spot going forward. LT Taylor Decker has been earning that contract extension so far, looking very good at this point. C Frank Ragnow will need his own contract extension soon, but he's been performing as one of the best centers in the NFL, and should remain an integral part of the unit. G Jonah Jackson looks promising as well in his rookie campaign. Detroit will have LG Joe Dahl under contract for one more year, and has G Logan Stenberg developing behind him. The bigger question comes with RT Hal Vaitai and RT Tyrell Crosby. If Vaitai continues to play poorly, he'll be cut after 2021. Crosby could easily be replaced with a better player by that time as well, but for now serves a valuable role as a decent enough spot starter.
Defense is almost entirely dependent on who a new head coach would bring in to call the shots. Many of the players on Detroit's roster are scheme-specific to the old Patriot 3-4 scheme that Patricia loves to run. Let's just assume that, regardless of the new coach, it'll be a bit more diverse, modern scheme.
On the defensive line, DE Trey Flowers is pretty scheme versatile funny enough. He can play SDE in a 4-man front or iDE in a 3-man. His contract will also pretty much require the new coach to make it work with him. And who knows, Flowers has had the intentional misfortune of playing under no-blitz Patricia, so chances are a more aggressive scheme could give him some help in pass rushing. DE Julian Okwara is also pretty versatile. He could be a 4-3 WDE or a 3-4 OLB and was a good pass rusher at Notre Dame. His brother, DE Romeo Okwara is frankly just not very good. If Detroit goes to a 4-man front in a new coach, they'll definitely want a replacement for Romeo, who is serviceable depth, but not much more. DE Austin Bryant hasn't shown enough to warrant an opinion one way or the other.
Interior, DT Danny Shelton is probably not gonna fit in a new scheme. He's an inconsistent run defender who offers little in the pass rush department. DT Nick Williams is a bit more versatile, but the issue is that he's just not very good. His career is as a pretty bland back-end rotational piece. One good season in Chicago would appear to be an anomaly. Cutting either of these two (each set to make around $5 mil cap hits in 2021) would save a net $4 mil in much needed cap space. Behind them, DT Kevin Strong is relatively versatile, but not that good. He's still young and cheap, however, so could still find a role as depth. The big question will be DT Da'Shawn Hand, who has had an inconsistent, but promising career thus far. He can fill a pretty similar role to Flowers, perhaps even being able to play as a 3-tech DT in some schemes (cough, Dan Quinn defensive coordinator). He's a piece that could at least find a useful role under a new regime, but expect Shelton and Williams to be purged within 2 years.
Linebacker is where you can pretty much just get rid of everyone. LB Jamie Collins is clearly the best player in the group, but I still wouldn't bet he'd be a for sure keep for a new regime. He struggled outside the Patriots system, during his exile to Cleveland. I think he could find a role as a 3-4 OLB, rather than the 4-3 ILB/OLB hybrid, but it's still hard to peg him in other schemes. He'll be with Detroit regardless in 2021 because of his contract however. LB Jarrad Davis should just walk at this point. Detroit is better when he's not on the field. LB Christian Jones is similar to Collins, in that he's a poor fit for most schemes, but the difference is he's not nearly as good as Collins. Could probably just trade him to whatever team Matt Patricia ends up on.
The hardest part about a transition to a new scheme would be giving up on younger guys like LB Jahlani Tavai. He's shown some flashes, but really isn't much of a pass rusher and is too old school for modern schemes. Trading Tavai this offseason to a Patriots-style team (Giants, Miami, Patriots, etc.) would be best for both groups.
Now, two guys who could be interesting to bring back are LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and LB Elijah Lee. Both are currently fish out of water, as they're not great scheme fits for Patricia's defense. They both are on expiring deals however. I'd probably like to see Reeves-Maybin brought back in a new regime, simply because the chance for him to actually find success would go up in a scheme that fits his strengths a bit better.
At cornerback, you have a pretty good foundation. CB Jeffrey Okudah and CB Amani Oruwariye are both pretty fluid athletes with the ability to thrive in multiple schemes. In fact, Oruwariye could potentially be even better in a Cover 3 scheme, should Detroit find someone who deploys that philosophy. Similarly, CB Justin Coleman is pretty versatile, especially out of the slot. He's excelled in the Seahawks Cover 3 scheme (which is honestly my recommendation for what kind of defense to run), but is still good in man coverage. Those three give Detroit a great start. CB Darryl Roberts is built more for Patricia's scheme, so probably won't be back, but I'd expect Detroit to find another veteran like him to fill out the two deep. CB Desmond Trufant is definitely a man coverage corner, and is also old and with a checkered injury history recently. We always knew Trufant was more of a veteran bridge to Okudah and Oruwariye taking over.
Safety is interesting. S Tracy Walker is a rising star and honestly can play any scheme. He's a baller. S Will Harris is not. Maybe a new scheme gets him sorted out, but at the same time, his biggest issue is that he can't cover in man and he can't tackle. Kind of hard to be a slot safety when you struggle with that. S Duron Harmon is a quality Cover 1 free safety, but he's on an expiring contract. Detroit will likely need to find a new starter there, as Harris isn't ideally suited to free safety, and S C.J. Moore is more of a special teams piece than a starting caliber player. We still need to see more from S Jayron Kearse looks like before making decisions there.
Special Teams will require some investment this offseason. Detroit's punting god, Jack Fox, is an ERFA, meaning Detroit can bring him back for pretty cheap. They may just want to reward him and sign him to a deal for a few seasons (though COVID cap implications may prevent that). Both K Matt Prater and LS Don Muhlbach are on expiring deals, so either new deals for them, or replacements. Lions backup LS Steven Wirtel has gotten some praise as a future NFL LS, so perhaps they hand the reins over to him, given that he'd cost half what Muhlbach would, and the Lions will need every penny this offseason.

Quarterback 2021 and Beyond

If there is a new regime change, then it's not out of the realm of possibility that they look into the prospect of finding Matthew Stafford's successor. Stafford will be 33-years old in 2021, and while QB's are still able to continue playing at a high level into their late 30's, for example, Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan and Brady and Brees have all put together quality seasons lately, despite their older age. However, 35 is traditionally the drop-off age, and for a QB who relies on arm talent, it is most definitely something to watch and consider.
I'll say this first and foremost, if Detroit ends up in a position to select QB Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson, you pull the trigger on that and sort things out later. The two options behind him are QB Justin Fields, a dual-threat option out of Ohio State, and QB Trey Lance, an athletic, efficient QB out of North Dakota State. Now, personally, I'm a bit skeptical of Trey Lance. I think NDSU sets everything up for him on a platter, and the more film you watch on Lance, the more I find he struggles on full-field reads. If you can isolate his playbook to a half-field read, then I think he crushes it, but the troubles outside of that, added into the large talent gap between NDSU and literally anyone else in the FCS, makes me hesitant. To me, Lance is a slightly higher upside version of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill. In that sense, I don't really think he'd be worth the investment if Detroit is selecting in the top-15.
Now, Justin Fields is growing on me, admittedly. Rewatched a handful of his OSU games and continue to find his ability to dissect coverage to be a lot more advanced than I recalled during the season. He has a big arm, and has one of the most coveted traits nowadays: the ability to make plays when the original structure breaks down. I think, at this point, I'd probably be sold on Fields, but not on Lance, though honestly, if they did hire a competent offensive mind like Bieniemy or Daboll, I wouldn't object to it, as I think anyone who can get such massive leaps out of Josh Allen could probably get the most out of Trey Lance as well.
The bigger issue I do have is whether or not Detroit should move on from Stafford at this point. A few things can all be true at the same time, and four things I'm going to mention all are true.
  1. Matthew Stafford is not playing as well as he was in the first half of 2020, and the issues don't exactly seem to be tied to any injury.
  2. Despite not playing as well as 2020, Stafford is still one of the better QB's in the league, ranking 11th in passing yards (1,017) and 7th in touchdown passes (8). That kind of production wins games with a better defense.
  3. Detroit would be marginally restricted in the ability to build a roster around a large QB cap hit like Stafford's.
  4. The issues holding Detroit back most (its defense) would not be solved with a new quarterback. There are plenty examples of promising young quarterbacks being broken because they were put in less than ideal situations....Sam Darnold in New York being just the latest example. Unless Detroit can build a competent defense, it will not actually matter who the quarterback is.
All that just to say, let's all chill out a bit when dealing with each other's takes on what to do at QB. We don't have to draft a new QB, that denies so many of the bigger issues. We also do not have to keep Matthew Stafford, that denies the reality that plenty of teams have found a new QB can elevate the play of the team, helping them go from good to great (see Chiefs moving Alex Smith for Mahomes), and that even with Stafford, Detroit remains mediocre.
Personally, I think it's better to build a good roster and then make the change at quarterback. Right now, I think Detroit is set-up well for its OL going forward, and probably will be decent at WRB with Golladay and Hockenson and Swift and Kerryon, but the defense will continue to lose us games, and I'd hate to waste the early years of a cheap rookie QB still trying to build the roster around him. And personally, I think every bit as good as Fields and Lance is USC QB Kedon Slovis as a potential QB to target in the 2022 draft class.

2021 Free Agency Complications

Now, truly, I have no clue what's going to happen with this, but Detroit, along with the rest of the league, is not going to be overflowing with cap space. Minimal fans in the stadium means no ticket revenue. Some doomsday predictions have the cap going down as far as $175 million. Realistically speaking, I wouldn't anticipate Detroit entering the offseason with anything more than $15-20 million in cap space. If you're trying to overhaul a new scheme with new personnel, that'll be kind of tough.
Detroit has a few pieces it can cut, however. Some have been mentioned....Jesse James, Danny Shelton, Nick Williams. All could open up a little bit of change (over $10 mil if all 3) which would be majorly beneficial. Another one who could go is CB Desmond Trufant, which would free up $6 million. QB Chase Daniel could easily have a restructured contract to open up in between $1-2 million. G Joe Dahl would save $3 million if he was cut, but I don't see that really happening, as Dahl's a good bargain for a quality enough starting G. Maybe if Logan Stenberg develops into a quality piece Dahl could be traded, but that seems unlikely.

2021 Free Agency Targets

To remake the team, I'm first going to identify a few veterans who could help accelerate a quick turnaround defensively. Assuming I've gotten my wish of Detroit Lions head coach Brian Daboll, then the offense wouldn't need much reconfiguration.
There would honestly be two players I'd want Daboll to bring with him from Buffalo. They are...
Bills G Jon Feliciano - a powerful run blocker, Feliciano could either compete with Dahl outright, or simply serve as the first back-up at guard...the new and improved Kenny Wiggins so to speak.
Bills LB Matt Milano - Detroit will need modern linebackers, and Milano would be an excellent one to start with. He can cover, get sideline to sideline, and make plays in the box. I think Buffalo ends up re-signing him however.
Now, I don't want to simply switch from the Patriots West to the Bills West. But I do generally believe that any new coach should try and bring 2 or 3 players who are familiar, if for nothing more than putting pieces in place that can help introduce the new system to the current roster.
Some others however.
Detroit will probably need another starting wide receiver in free agency, and while I would absolutely love to get Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins to Detroit, he'll probably be a bit out of the price range, given how many pieces Detroit could need on defense. Some of the more financially plausible options would likely be Jags WR Chris Conley, 49ers WR Kendrick Bourne, Rams WR Josh Reynolds, or maybe Bengals WR John Ross.
Similarly, I'd love to go after Bills TE Tyler Kroft as another piece to work with Hockenson, but he'd probably be too pricey, and I imagine Buffalo will retain him rather than let him hit the market. Jags TE Tyler Eifert, Titans TE MyCole Pruitt, or perhaps Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister would all make a bit more sense. This would be dependent on cutting Jesse James in search of an upgrade.
Detroit is set on starting OL, but could use a depth piece with Wiggins and Aboushi both on expiring deals. Chargers G Dan Feeney has starting experience, though most of the options here are pretty mediocre. Could actually argue that retaining Wiggins would be the wisest course of action.
Defensive Tackle will be a MAJOR spot to address, as Detroit currently doesn't have a quality group there, and scheme change could make it worse. There are some big names like Saints DT Sheldon Rankins or Michigan-native Raiders DT Johnathan Hankins, whom Detroit should've brought in awhile ago. Broncos DT Shelby Harris is a good interior pass rusher who can play multiple roles. I'm guessing Detroit doesn't pony up the money for Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson but I wouldn't hate that.
Defensive end would be a need if Detroit went to a 4-man front, as you'd want an upgrade over Romeo Okwara. Assuming Detroit isn't going for the big names like Vikings DE Yannick Ngakoue or Titans DE Jadeveon Clowney, a more sensible option would a stopgap option like Washington EDGE Ryan Kerrigan, who can play really any edge spot well. Colts DE Denico Autry would be plenty of fun, and if the Lions hired someone like Matt Eberflus, I'd want them to for sure make that move. One of the more under-the-radar pieces that could be more fiscally responsible would be Saints DE Trey Hendrickson.
If they go more of a traditional 3-4, then adding an upgrade over Christian Jones would be the move there. Kerrigan would still fit that one well, but other options could be Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram. Perhaps a head coach Martindale would want to bring GVSU grade OLB Matt Judon to Detroit? Though both those options would be pricy. A cheaper option would Jets OLB Jordan Jenkins or maybe Rams OLB Samson Ebukam.
Off ball linebackers, we already mentioned Milano. Bucs LB Kendall Beckwith would make some sense, as would Saints LB Alex Anzalone or Chiefs LB Damien Wilson. None of these guys would be stars, but most teams hang onto good LB's who can play off ball and cover backs, so you're probably looking for a veteran stopgap to hold over until you can draft a guy.

2021 NFL Draft

We're getting deep into this. Depending on where Detroit is drafting and who they pulled in with free agency, these would be the guys I'd be most interested in acquiring.
DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State - Like I said, Detroit needs to be a lot better at DT, and Wilson is a monster.
DE Aidan Hutchinson/Kwity Paye, Michigan - If one of these two could slip to you in the second round, that'd be great. Both very good edge rushers. Would love to grab Carlos Basham out of Wake Forest if Detroit is mid first. I also like Quincy Roche as an OLB in a 3-4.
A starting caliber WR. If they miss out on Ja'Marr Chase, then one of the Alabama wide outs (Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith) would suffice just fine. I mentioned the other day that Waddle is my current preferred choice for the draft at this point. Gophers WR Rashod Bateman could also be a fun addition. If they need to hunt for a starting wide out in the 3rd or 4th, Michigan's Nico Collins is an excellent deep threat, not too far from the mold of Golladay and Jones. OSU WR Chris Olave would be a clean replacement for Amendola in the slot.
I think Detroit could use a free safety like Trevon Moehrig or Andre Cisco to either immediately start, or develop behind a veteran. Moehrig may end up as a late first round option, but Cisco could be a day 2 pick that pays off immediately.
G Wyatt Davis may not stick out as a clear need, but y'all know I am an OL coach, and I think this kid is the best G prospect since Quentin Nelson, so I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger, trade Joe Dahl for a pick, and call it a day. If C/G Josh Myers dropped to the second, I'd also be a very big fan of that move as well. I'm guessing most wouldn't like that, as OL is a relative strength to other spots on the roster, and that's understandable, but if we're truly talking best player available mentality, then Davis has to be considered right after guys like Micah Parsons, Ja'Marr Chase, and Lawrence.
As far as linebackers go, either LSU's Jabrill Cox or LB Chazz Surratt out of North Carolina could be guys who can slide into starting roles quickly. Same goes for Micah Parsons but unless Detroit's drafting top-5, they don't get him.
Few others who have appeal right now as later round prospects...TE Matt Bushman (BYU), WR Dazz Newsome (UNC), LB Dmitri Moore (Vanderbilt), CB Camryn Bynum (Cal), WR Tutu Atwell (Louisville), LB Ventrell Miller (Florida), S Reed Blankenship (MTSU), and LB Rayshard Ashby (VaTech).

Overall, a lot of different ways to go, but this would be my proposal at least. Bring in Brian Daboll, get him a veteran defensive coordinator, and then go about building a modern defense. See what you can get out of Matt Stafford, and prepare for a transition down the road if needed at that point.
submitted by boanerges77 to detroitlions [link] [comments]

[OC] HARM Standings - Home-field Advantage Readjustment Model (a completely trivial thing)

Yeah, that's a forced name. This is a simple look into which teams are harmed the most by having to play to empty stadiums.
Why? We all know the NFL is playing to empty and limited crowds. We also know that home-field advantage is an actual thing. Professional odds-makers use various methods to determine the home-field advantage of each individual team. I, however, am a simple man. Three points. A field goal. That's what I'm saying home teams are missing out on by not having full stadiums this year. Another reason for me doing this is because I wanted to find the most tedious way to spend a few hours, and adjusting scores and learning Reddit table formatting fit the bill.
How? What I did was pretty straightforward. I went through the weekly scoreboards and adjusted home losses by 3 points. Any games changed are reflected in the team's record. I didn't adjust for which teams have limited or no fans. Nor did I adjust for certain teams known for a bigger home field advantage. This three point decision wasn't an arbitrary number either. While trying to decide how detailed I was going to get with this, I read over and over how casual betting discussions say 3 is the advantage. So consider this a casual study.
If for some reason anyone wants to make more precise adjustments using data from people more qualified than I, you might want to use the 2019 lines. The 2020 lines take into account there being limited/no crowds and are significantly lower than 2019 when crowds were present, and after all- that's the whole point.
So what changed?
In Week 1- - The Chargers 16-13 victory over the Bengals becomes a tie. - The Titans 16-14 victory over the Broncos becomes a Broncos victory.
In Week 2- - The Bills 31-28 victory over the Dolphins becomes a tie. - The Chiefs 23-20 victory over the Chargers becomes a tie.
In Week 3- - The Bengals 23-23 victory over tie with the Eagles becomes an Eagles victory. - The Titans 31-30 victory over the Vikings becomes a Vikings Victory. - The Lions 26-23 victory over the Cardinals becomes a tie.
We're on to the standings.
TEAM TRUE +3 +/-
Seahawks 3-0 3-0 0
Cardinals 2-1 2-1 0
Rams 2-1 2-1 0
49ers 2-1 2-1 0
Football Team 1-2 1-2 0
Cowboys 1-2 1-2 0
Eagles 0-2-1 1-2
Giants 0-3 0-3 0
Packers 3-0 3-0 0
Bears 3-0 3-0 0
Lions 1-2 1-2
Vikings 0-3 1-2
Buccaneers 2-1 2-1 0
Saints 1-2 1-2 0
Panthers 1-2 1-2 0
Falcons 0-3 0-3 0
Chiefs 3-0 2-0-1 0
Raiders 2-1 2-1 0
Chargers 1-2 0-1-2 0
Broncos 0-3 1-2 0
Bills 3-0 2-0-1 0
Patriots 2-1 2-1 0
Dolphins 1-2 1-1-1 0
Jets 0-3 0-3 0
Steelers 3-0 3-0 0
Ravens 2-1 2-1 0
Browns 2-1 2-1 0
Bengals 0-2-1 0-2-1 0
Titans 3-0 1-2
Colts 2-1 2-1
Jaguars 1-2 1-2 0
Texans 0-3 0-3 0
Not much has changed in the NFC standings. That one new win for the Eagles is enough to propel them into a three way tie for the lead in the NFC East. The Vikings stay in the NFC North basement, but have a new roommate in the now likewise 1-2 Lions.
Over in the AFC, even with two adjustments, the Bengals record remains the same. They swap the week three tie (now a loss to the Eagles) with the week one loss (now a tie with the Chargers) and remain 0-2-1. The Chiefs narrowly keep their lead as the gap throughout the entire division narrows. The Titans, clearly the biggest losers in this inane experiment, trade two close wins for losses and give up the top AFC South spot to the Colts.
Also, that's a lot of new ties. But that shouldn't be that surprising. After all, "over the past five years, a league-high 14.7% of NFL games were decided by exactly three points".
Something that I did pick up on is that the Bengals, Chargers and Titans are all playing pretty close ball games. Every single one of their games have been decided by single scores. The biggest final score differential in all of their games was the Chargers five point loss to Carolina. Both of their wins were by three. Titans have had one, two and three point wins, while the Bengals have had non-wins of five, three and nil.
If anyone sees any errors, let me know. As the season progresses, I'm sure the HARM standings will vary greatly when compared to the actual standings. Depending on the subs reaction, I've got no problem continuing to do this.
(edited to fix an error with the Dolphins adjusted record)
submitted by AtlantaFailcons to nfl [link] [comments]

Vegas Implied Team Point Totals (Week 4)

I'm back once again with each team's implied point totals for Week 4 based on Vegas oveunder lines. These are useful when deciding between tough start/sit decisions, and I typically lean towards starting players whose teams are projected to score the most points. This week is weird because there are no betting lines for two games: Texans/Vikings and Titans/Steelers. Therefore, those teams do not have data. New this week, I have included each game's oveunder.
Fun Stats:
Highest Implied Point Total - Packers (32.25)
Lowest Implied Point Total - Football Team (15.75)
Highest Game OveUnder - Packers v. Falcons (57)
Lowest Game OveUnder - Broncos v. Jets (41)
Last week 72% of teams scored OVER their implied point total
This season teams have scored OVER their implied point totals 62.5% of the time
The Packers, Seahawks, Bills, Buccaneers, and Falcons are the only teams to have scored more than their implied point total each of the first three weeks
The Eagles and the Giants are the only teams to have scored less than their implied point total each of the first three weeks

Team Implied Point Total Opponent Game Total Week 3 Results Season OVER %
Packers 32.25 Falcons 57 OVER 100%
Cowboys 30.5 Browns 56 OVER 66%
Rams 30.5 Giants 48 OVER 66%
Seahawks 30.5 Dolphins 54 OVER 100%
Chiefs 30 Patriots 53 OVER 66%
Ravens 29.75 WFT 45.5 UNDER 66%
Saints 29.25 Lions 54 OVER 66%
Bills 27.75 Raiders 52.5 OVER 100%
Cardinals 27.5 Panthers 51.5 UNDER 66%
49ers 26.5 Eagles 46 OVER 66%
Bengals 26.25 Jaguars 49.5 OVER 66%
Browns 25.5 Cowboys 56 OVER 66%
Buccaneers 25 Chargers 43 OVER 100%
Falcons 24.75 Packers 57 OVER 100%
Lions 24.75 Saints 54 OVER 66%
Raiders 24.75 Bills 52.5 UNDER 66%
Panthers 24 Cardinals 51.5 OVER 66%
Dolphins 23.5 Seahawks 54 OVER 66%
Jaguars 23.25 Bengals 29.5 UNDER 66%
Colts 23 Bears 43 OVER 66%
Patriots 23 Chiefs 53 OVER 66%
Jets 21 Broncos 41 UNDER 33%
Bears 20 Colts 43 OVER 66%
Broncos 20 Jets 41 UNDER 33%
Eagles 19.5 49ers 46 UNDER 0%
Chargers 18 Buccaneers 43 UNDER 33%
Giants 17.5 Rams 28 UNDER 0%
WFT 15.75 Ravens 45.5 OVER 66%
Steelers N/A N/A N/A OVER 66%
Texans N/A N/A N/A OVER 33%
Titans N/A N/A N/A OVER 66%
Vikings N/A N/A N/A OVER 66%
submitted by leonardbortles to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

Vegas Implied Team Point Totals (Week 2)

I'm back again this week with each team's implied point totals for Week 2 based on Vegas oveunder lines. Some changes I've made: per request I have added each team's opponent, and I have added how each team performed in Week 1 compared to their implied point totals. I included this information because I think it is helpful when determining what teams may be over hyped and what teams are being sold short by Vegas lines. It is important to remember that Vegas lines (and therefore implied point totals) are not set based on how some Vegas experts expect teams to perform, but are instead based on what will get the most bets (and therefore the most money for the casinos). I think there is value to be had in remembering this and exploiting it.
When looking at making start-sit decisions, I often play the player whose team has the higher implied point total because more points = more opportunities for fantasy points. It's also smart to play defenses that are going against teams with lower implied point totals.
My Week 1 post can be found here
Anyways, here are this week's numbers:

Team Implied Point Total Opponent Week 1 Result (OveUnder)
Ravens 29 Texans OVER
Cowboys 28.5 Falcons UNDER
Buccaneers 28.25 Panthers OVER
Chiefs 28.25 Chargers N/A
Packers 28 Lions OVER
Saints 27.5 Raiders OVER
Cardinals 27.25 WFT OVER
Colts 25.75 Vikings UNDER
Titans 25.75 Jaguars UNDER
Browns 24.75 Bengals UNDER
Steelers 24.5 Broncos EVEN
49ers 24.5 Jets UNDER
Seahawks 24.5 Patriots OVER
Falcons 24 Cowboys OVER
Bears 23.75 Giants OVER
Bills 23.5 Dolphins OVER
Rams 23.25 Eagles UNDER
Vikings 22.75 Colts OVER
Eagles 22.25 Rams UNDER
Texans 22 Ravens N/A
Raiders 22 Saints OVER
Lions 21.5 Packers OVER
Patriots 20.5 Seahawks UNDER
WFT 20.25 Cardinals OVER
Panthers 19.25 Buccaneers OVER
Chargers 19.25 Chiefs UNDER
Bengals 18.75 Browns UNDER
Giants 18.25 Bears UNDER
Dolphins 17.5 Bills UNDER
Jets 17.5 49ers OVER
Broncos 17 Steelers UNDER
Jaguars 16.75 Titans OVER

Things I See
I've decided that this week (and potentially going forward) I will include my own observations and analysis from the numbers and how I plan to use this information for fantasy football. I want to emphasize that this is my own personal thinking, and please feel free to use the numbers to come to your own conclusions.
Good luck this week everyone!
submitted by leonardbortles to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

2020 Lions Fan Guide to Bandwagoning

After last season/the Bears loss/the Packers loss, it’s become clear to all of us that the 2020 Lions are a completely unsalvageable pit of despair from which there is no escape.
Patricia should have been fired at the 50 yard line of Lambeau and then beheaded for his crimes against humanity.
Quin should be exiled from the land by a pack of ravenous hounds that chase him back east across Lake Huron.
Hopefully Stafford can catch a ride on a ship to the Undying Lands and get a fat contract from a QB-needy team before he retires. Killing Barry and Calvin AND Stafford is more than I can handle as a fan, let somebody be happy for the love of god.
That said, what to do for the rest of the 2020 season? Time to pick a team to bandwagon! It’s important to pick a good bandwagon team now if you want to have a chance at riding another team’s coattails all the way to the playoffs. Let’s go through the list (by last week’s power ranking) and discuss.
The Top 5
Here’s where you go for your best bet at sure-fire contenders. This section is for bandwagoners who want to see their team go to the Super Bowl in order to get some semblance of the shine of the Lombardi trophy on your face, even if you know in your heart you cheated to get there by becoming an imposter in the fanbase of a foreign team from foreign lands.
  1. Chiefs – Last year’s super bowl winners with the new hotness Patrick Mahomes at QB and lovable BBQ-eating Andy Reid at HC, plus Travis Kelce. Historic underdogs finally having their moment in the sun is a perfect fit for a Lions fan to root for. This is bandwagoning on easy mode, the clear pick in my opinion. Number one in the rankings, number one in my cold dead 2020 heart.
  2. Ravens – The only better pick than the Chiefs is the Ravens. Lamar Jackson playing QB is probably the most fun thing you can watch on television right now period. I bandwagoned the Ravens all through last season while dreaming that Stafford’s back healing up might make a difference in 2020 (oh how young and naïve I was) and it was a great time! They imploded a little bit in the playoffs but hey, this could be their year!
  3. Seahawks – This is a nice pick for some history, familiarity, and stability. The Seahawks are always in it as long as they have Russ and Pete Carroll, and last night we watched them go 2-0 against the Pats in a serious nail-biter finish. You know you’re at least going on a deep playoff run if you bandwagon the Seahawks.
  4. Saints – Watching Brees continue to cement himself as a top all-time QB, potentially in his final year, with an actual defense, Michael Thomas, and Kamara? It’s sure to be a fun ride! Plus, the Saints are another team that knows a lot about long droughts of success, hanging around the bottom of the league, kicked while they’re down, nobody ever believing in them. They’re soul mates in pain, and it’s fun to watch those teams succeed.
  5. Packers – No. Never.
The Middle of the Pack
So you’re not looking for a sure thing, you’re interested in a bumpier bandwagon ride. The middle of the pack of is for you! These teams will have ups and they’ll have downs, and if they make it to the Super Bowl, or even the deep playoffs, the victory will be all the sweeter.
  1. 49ers – After Sunday I believe every single player on the 49ers has a torn ACL or something like that, but hey, they made it to the SB last year and they could do it again! 49ers are historic and who doesn’t like to root for a classic franchise?
  2. Bills – A true sister-ship team of the Lions. Forever frustrated and disappointed fans now getting their chance to root for a QB who throws over 400. I like Josh Allen because to hear his bio it really sounds like he just found himself in the NFL by accident and is somehow pulling it off. Plus now he’s got Stefon Diggs, who is no longer our divisional problem. Classic underdog pick, go Bills.
  3. Steelers – Roethlisberger is back, JuJu is great, and the Steelers are always in it. If you want that authentic “we’re more blue collar than you” experience, Steelers are a solid pick. Bonus: revisit the days of Ebron and watch him brick-hand pass after pass, and feel some semblance of relief that out of all the problems the Lions have this year, he’s not one of them.
  4. Titans – A great pick for the Lions fan who wants a long-shot with good odds. If Tannehill keeps his breakout alive and Derrick Henry keeps trucking people, they’re a tough team to stop. Plus now they have Clowney (how could Patricia not go after Clowney Jesus Christ are you kidding me he had a chance to grab an elite DE in free agency and shore up in pathetic pass rushers and we didn’t even hear about him trying to land him how fucking pathetic can you believe this guy… wait no don’t think about that!) Titans are a sleeper for the SB and I think they’ll continue to surprise everybody this year.
  5. Patriots – No Brady, no problem. Patriots still look great as always, plus Cam Newton is way more fun to root for than Brady ever was. Watch Belichik potentially use his evil powers for good and get Cam a ring. Patriots can feel dirty to root for but it’s also like eating a whole chocolate cake after you’ve been on a years-long diet. Sometimes it feels good just to give in.
  6. Rams – This is the team you want to root for if you’re a big NFL conspiracy theorist and think hidden capitalists are pulling the strings behind the scenes to rig games. “The NFL wants LA to succeed because it’s a huge and largely untapped market of a city. For that to work, either the Rams or the Chargers have to go deep every year until LA is turning out their pockets for that sweet football merch.” Maybe it’s true, maybe not, maybe who cares! Also a great team to watch if you want to see Aaron Donald wreck people every single play. Remember, Donald could have been ours but instead we drafted Ebron. I’m just kidding, I know you didn’t forget. How could you?
  7. Cardinals – Kyler “Calamari” Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald pulling this team out of the depths and into something respectable would be a fun ride to watch. Another franchise with historic pain, a dark horse long-shot, it speaks to my Detroit-hardened heart.
  8. Cowboys – Rooting Cowboys is like going after the dumb hot girl. She’s not going to amount to much but she sure does get a lot of attention. If you want to watch a lot of primetime games and hear about your bandwagon team in sports media constantly, may as well pick the Boys. Win, lose or draw, for some reason we all have to talk about them all the time. Also, it’s fun to root for Kellen Moore, and it’s fun to watch Zeke be a wrecking ball. Successful run game teams actually exist!
  9. Vikings – Ew. I guess. Kirk Cousins can play football and Dalvin Cook is a running back. Riley Reiff used to live here. Kyle Rudolph has a fun name if you’re a big Christmas person. I don’t know. This seems like a pointless bandwagon unless you really like the color purple.
  10. Buccaneers – Never count Brady out. Love him or hate him (hate him) Brady is historic and worth watching. If you want to watch Belichick-less Brady in his final year(s), reunited with Gronkowski, tearing up the ground with Fournette, this is a solid band wagon pick.
  11. Texans – Another great fit for the Lions: watch an incredibly talented QB get hamstrung by his incompetent coaching staff and wasted in his scheme, all while his good-on-paper defense continues to let him down on the field. JJ Watt is still fun to watch, and moreso if you close your eyes and pretend is 2013 and we all still love him.
The Bottom Half
Bandwagoning to win is for pussies, you’re here to bandwagon a team that is either an extra-super long-shot, or another team with no chance to pair with your Lions heartbreak. You sick son of a bitch, I respect it, but I don’t think it’s good for you.
  1. Eagles – Good pick for It’s Always Sunny fans who want to root for Jim Schwartz.
  2. Raiders – Cool uniforms, cool fans, another chance at an NFL conspiracy team due to the move to Vegas
  3. Falcons – If you can’t watch Stafford succeed, you may as well watch his buddy Matt Ryan also not succeed.
  4. Bears – Chicago is cool and nearby, and the Bears haven’t been successful in a long time, so it doesn’t feel completely gross. Any win they can get with Trubisky at the helm they damn sure deserve.
  5. Chargers – Actually looked legit good against the Chiefs with their new QB Justin Herbert, plus you got Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on defense. This is probably as far down the list as you can go and find an actual contender. This is your longest long shot for the true masochist who still wants hope involved.
  6. Broncos – Good pick for big South Park fans. Also I guess if you’re still high on Von Miller.
  7. Colts – Their colors are similar to ours and Indiana is pretty close. This strikes me as a particularly hopeless bandwagon pick, but they do have a running back, which could be fun to watch.
  8. Jaguars – Minshew Mania makes this a solid pick. Plus it’s another cat team.
  9. Washington – Chase Young, oh what could have been.
  10. Lions – "Bandwagon? Bandwagon?! We don't need no stinking bandwagon!" Ride or die motherfucker, it's Lions Only for your fandom. You're a captain going down with the ship, you're gonna sit here and watch Patricia waste another year of Stafford's career, fail at the run game, fail to adjust, fail on defense, fail at everything all season long. Because when we go 0-16 again, you'll be able to look back and say you were there. You'll bear witness to our heroic Tank for Trevor Lawrence, and the pride that comes before the fall of the house of Quintricia. And when we see flashes of greatness from Stafford, 100 yard rushers from AD, interceptions from Okudah, and long-yard FGs from Prater, you'll be there to cheer on the Lions as always. Win or lose, rain or shine, Detroit vs. Everybody.
  11. Bengals – Root for Joe Burrow. Plus it’s another cat team.
  12. Panthers – Blue cat team.
  13. Dolphins – Tank for Tua actually happened and honestly good for them. Plus a little dose of Fitzmagic in your life.
  14. Giants – Daniel Jones is an Eli clone and honestly that kind of science should be studied. Might be worth checking out.
  15. Browns – Great pick if you’re done with the Lions but don’t want to improve through bandwagoning in any way shape or form. A true historic and present lateral move, a decision forged in Midwest hopelessness and gallons of beer. Godspeed to anyone choosing to bandwagon the Browns this season.
  16. Jets – The "just let the pain flow through me" option.
Comments analysis after 24 hours
The names I'm seeing the most after 24 hours and 48 comments are Seattle, Buffalo, Arizona, and Chargers. So 3 outta 4 you guys are goddamn gluttons for punishment! Lions fans through and through, you won't even bandwagon a sure thing, it's gotta be a long-shot underdog story of a long-suffering franchise that MIGHT have some success this year. Goddamn, never change guys.
submitted by livingthedream666 to detroitlions [link] [comments]

Studs & Duds: NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Predictions

Originally posted here:
Every NFL week, we'll go game by game and name a Stud and a Dud for each contest. Studs and duds are relative to their consensus rankings and salaries on DraftKings and FanDuel. Meaning the Stud will not always be the player I expect to have the most fantasy points for a given game and the Dud will not always be a player I expect to get zero snaps.
Editor's Note: Optimal DFS is the #1 app for building fantasy lineups for DraftKings and FanDuel in Apple's App Store. Download Optimal DFS in the App Store to build customized optimized lineups and get breaking news before everyone else in your league.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Stud: Joe Mixon

The usage was there for Joe Mixon in Week 1. 19 rush attempts and 2 targets. Unfortunately for him, the game script was garbage. That will not be the case in Cleveland. I see them moving the ball down the field on the back of Mixon Week 2. He also has Joe Burrow who looked impressive for a rookie QB with no preseason action.

Dud: Odell Beckham, Jr.

There is still time to fade OBJ and be contrarian. People are going to look at his 10 targets from Week 1 and see potential, but it will end in frustration. There is zero chemistry between Baker and Beckham. I'm avoiding him in Week 2 even with his embarrassingly low salary on DK and FD.

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

Stud: Allen Robinson

Mitchell Trubisky attempted 36 passes and targeted 11 different receivers in Week 1. Allen Robinson scooped up 9 of those targets for 5 receptions and 74 yards. He's the best offensive talent the Bears have and I'm expecting more looks to go his way Week 2. I'll be surprised if he doesn't score a TD against the Giants.

Dud: Saquon Barkley

Saquan Barkley is an incredible talent, but he has not been living up to expectations. In Week 1 against the Steelers, he started the game with 8 rushes for -8 yards. 8 rushes for -8 yards. Figured I'd write it a 2nd time to let it sink because I had to check multiple sources to confirm that stat. He's really good, but his consensus ranking is higher than his production. The Giants offensive line needs help.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys

Stud: Calvin Ridley

Which Atlanta Falcon WR had 9 receptions on 12 targets in Week 1? All of them, essentially... Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage all had 9 receptions and 12 targets! However, Ridley was the only player to score a TD and did so twice. There is potential in this game for another shootout. I'm a big fan of Ridley season long and love him Week 2.

Dud: Russell Gage

Yes, Gage is coming off a 12 tgt / 9 rec / 114 yrd showing. Although I think we're going to see another shootout here for the Falcons, I'm selling that he sees the same volume Week 2.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Stud: Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams tore up the Minnesota Vikings defense. An absolute monster game for Adams tallying up 17 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards, and 2 TDs. Aaron Rodgers looked as crisp as ever and Davante Adams will continue to benefit.

Dud: TJ Hockenson

I had high hopes for TJ Hockenson Week 1. Especially with Kenny Golladay out. 5 target, 5 receptions, 56 yards, and 1 TD. It's a good game on paper, but it felt to me like this was TJ's ceiling. I worry he's shaping up to be a touchdown-dependent TE start week in and week out. The targets went to the WRs Quintez Cephus (10), Marvin Jones Jr. (8), and Danny Amendola (7).

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

Stud: Jonathan Taylor

I was a seller on Jonathan Taylor coming into Week 1. I wasn't buying that he won the starting job from Marlon Mack, which did appear to be the case. Now that Mack is out with a torn Achilles, the backfield will be in the hands of Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor. Hines made the noise with 2 TDs, but they both got a lot of play. 9 carries and 6 targets for Jonathan Taylor and 7 carries and 8 targets for Nyheim Hines. I like both of them, but coming into Week 2 I like Taylor as the higher value play. Phil Rivers is truly proving to be Captain Dump-off. Bold prediction: Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor can turn out to be this year's Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon.

Dud: TY Hilton

The targets were there for TY Hilton, but he didn't do much with them. 9 targets, 4 receptions, and 53 yards for TY. I'm staying away from him until I see a little bit of chemistry with Captain Dump-off.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Stud: John Brown

John Brown is always overlooked and consistently produces. The new addition of Stefon Diggs to the receiving core added to the low valuation of John Brown. I see Diggs and Brown as 1A and 1B options for Josh Allen. 10 targets, 6 receptions, 70 yards, and 1 TD for John Brown in Week 1. He was wide open for a 2nd TD, but Josh Allen spazzed and could not hit him. Josh Allen did look good outside of that 1 pass and both fumbles.

Dud: Ryan Fitzpatrick

0 TDs and 3 INTs for Fitzmagic in Week 1 against the Patriots. The Pats are the Pats, but the Bills defense is pretty good too. A hammy issue for DeVante Parker isn't helping his cause. I'm waiting for the "Tuaaaaaa" chants before I take a chance on Fitz. He's always good to muddy the waters with a good game as soon as he's counted out.

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

Stud: Raheem Mostert

He's the best talent in the 49ers backfield and it's NOT EVEN CLOSE. The 49ers rode him through the playoffs and will continue to do so this season. He has the possibility for multi-touchdown 150+ all-purpose yardage week in and week out.

Dud: Jimmy Garoppolo

I like Jimmy G in general, but I think the 49ers run away with this one and don't have a need to pass the rock. He'll have to get his in during the 1st half if he wants to have any fantasy value.

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Stud: Jared Goff

This one is going to be a beat down and Jared Goff is going to be the benefactor. I see him spreading the football around and tallying up 3+ TD. Dwayne Haskins Jr. had what I consider to be a good game last week against the Eagles (for him). A win and 0 INT. This should be a piece of cake for the Rams and Goff.

Dud: Carson Wentz

The Los Angeles Rams just held Dak Prescott in check. This isn't going to go well for Carson Wentz. He's coming off of a 2 pick game against the Washington Football Team. The jury is still out if Washington's DEF is good or if the Eagles offense made them look good. Week 2 should shed some light on the answer.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

Stud: Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben was doing Big Ben things on MNF. He looks fully recovered from his surgery and has a lot of weapons to throw to. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, and Diontae Johnson. Good luck picking the WRs/TEs that will hit... Put Roethlisberger in your Week 2 lineup with confidence.

Dud: James Conner

I liked James Conner coming into the season and tried to steal him (unsuccessfully) in my draft. Turns out I'm happy I didn't get him. He looks stuck in the mud and now has an ankle injury he's nursing. Benny Snell looks Jr. spry. I'd think twice about firing him up in your Week 2 lineups against the Broncos if he gets clearance to play on the ankle.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stud: Christian McCaffrey

Alvin Kamara just ripped the Bucs for 2 TDs (should've been 3) in Week 1. Christian McCaffrey is prime for a monster game here. Anything less than triple-digit yardage and multiple TDs is a letdown.

Dud: Rob Gronkowski

This is a crowded receiving core in Tampa Bay. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and Rob Gronkowski. The chemistry between Brady and Gronk I'm sure is still there, but OJ Howard is the youngefresher talent. I liked him to lead Buc's TEs season long before Week 1. Week 1 that proved to be the case and I think the pattern continues.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Stud: Derrick Henry

He's unstoppable and Vrabel knows how to use him. The Titans are going to control this game on the ground. No TDs Week 1 was disappointing, but he'll get in the endzone in Week 2.

Dud: Gardner Minshew II

I caught a case of Minshew Mania, so it pains me to mark him as a Dud, but it's going to be extremely difficult to maintain his Week 1 efficiency. 19 completions on 20 attempts with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. With little help in the backfield, Minshew will most likely struggle to move the ball Week 2 against the Titans defense.

Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals

Stud: Washington DEF

I'm a buyer of this Washington defense. Chase Young came out of the gates hot Week 1 and lead The Football Team to a big win. I'm not expecting Washington to shut down the Cardinals, but I am expecting them to keep this game close and cover the 6.5 point Vegas spread.

Dud: Antonio Gibson

Later this season Antonio Gibson will be the guy, but Washington isn't ready to give him that role yet. I fired up Antonio Gibson Week 1 in my 14-team season-long league after Miles Sanders was ruled out. It started off promising as he was getting the early work. Then after 1 goalline series, it all went downhill. Gibson got stuffed on the 1st goalline carry. In came Peyton Barber who eventually pooonded it in. Barber finished with 2 TDs and appeared to the main RB for the latter half of the game. Barber is the safer play heading into Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

Stud: Marquise Brown

This game will be a little more competitive for the Baltimore Ravens compared to their Week 1 beatdown on the miz Cleveland Browns. Lamar Jackson only had to throw the ball 25 times, but Hollywood Brown was still able to tally 6 targets, 5 receptions, and 101 yards. Mark Andrews and Willie Snead took the 3 TDs thrown. I'm expecting a big week from Brown here in Week 2.

Dud: JK Dobbins

A lot of excitement after Week 1 for season-long JK Dobbins. Yours truly is a Dobbins owner. Unfortunately for me, I only felt pain Week 1 because I am also a Mark Ingram owner and had Ingram locked in as the starter. 4 total TDs vultured from my Week 1 starters Mark Ingram and Antonio Gibson. Dobbins is the future for the Ravens, but I think his 2 TDs were flukey in this blowout game. When push comes to shove I'm betting on Ingram over Dobbins and will keep Ingram in my Week 2 lineup.

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Stud: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

CEH is a lethal weapon for the Chiefs and they know it. He put up big fantasy points in the opener without catching a pass and while getting stopped multiple times on the goalline. I'm not worried about his goalline abilities. Week 2 he'll continue to smash. It'll be tough to compete with McCaffrey season-long, but I can see CEH as the #2 overall RB when it's all said and done.

Dud: Austin Ekeler

The fantasy world is panicking about Austin Ekeler's usage in the passing game Week 1. He only saw a single target. He did have a respectable game on the ground picking up 84 yards on 19 carries. I am indeed pressing the panic button as well. Austin Ekeler is not a ground and pound RB. He's a scatback and Captain Dump-off is no longer in town. Maybe things change when Justin Herbert inevitably takes control. We're looking at a lot of 3 and outs with Tyrod trying to force the ball down the field as the Chargers play from behind in this one.

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

Stud: Julian Edelman

Cam Newton only threw 19 passes Week 1. Julian Edelman was targeted on 37% of those pass attempts and put together an OK game in PPR. He was also used once on a successful end-around. The game script Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks will be different and the Patriots will need to pass to keep up.

Dud: Sony Michel

(See thoughts above on Julian Edelman). The Patriots came in against the Dolphins wanting to pooond the rock. And Sony Michel was still lackluster. He had a fantasy saving TD, but only registered 10 carries for 37 yards. This is a low-floor low-ceiling touchdown-dependent situation for Michel.

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders

Stud: Latavius Murray

Alvin Kamara stole all the TDs, but Latavius Murray lead the team in carries Week 1. 15 carries for Murray compared to 12 for Kamara. The game script here calls for a Saints blowout. I'm expecting Latavius Murray to put the finishing touches on this one with a lot of pooonding the rock in the 2nd half.

Dud: Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs is no dud, but his Week 1 numbers are going to be hard to replicate. Especially against a New Orleans Saints team that held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to under 100 yards rushing and only 1 rushing TD (Tom Brady). I see the Raiders playing from behind in this one making it difficult for Jacobs to perform for fantasy purposes.
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Ranking all 32 NFL teams in tiers pre-2020 season

Now that we have passed the opt-out deadline and are only about three weeks away from the Chiefs and Texans kicking off the 2020 NFL season, I wanted to put together my pre-season power rankings and put all 32 teams in separate tiers, to give you an idea of where I see them at this point.
When putting together this list, I considered the talent on the roster, coaching staff and what will be a more important factor coming into this season than it has been in previous – the continuity as a franchise, since the COVID situation has limited the amount of preparation and ability to build chemistry as a team. That will be especially tough for new head coaches and inexperienced teams.
With that being said, this is how I would group them:

Super Bowl contenders:

This group of four represents what I think are the four elite teams in the NFL. They all feature complete rosters, excellent coaching and continuity as a franchise. I think these are the franchises that will most likely square up against each other in the conference championship games on either side of the bracket.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
We have heard this many times over the course of the offseason – the reigning Super Bowl champs bring back 20 of 22 starters (actually 19 now) on offense and defense combined. They have the best player in the league, the most dangerous receiving corp, above-average O-line play and a still improving defense, that just added some much-needed speed at the second level, which will allow DC Steve Spagnuolo to even more versatile. So at this point I can not have anybody unseat them. I think Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) will be a star in that offense, they get a couple of guys back that missed their playoff run and there are plenty of young, developing players on that roster. What general manager Brett Veach has done this offseason in terms of securing Patrick Mahomes for the next decade and still opening up cap room to also sign their best defensive player in Chris Jones is amazing to me. My only two concerns for Kansas City at this point are a lack of depth in the secondary and the fact they will have to go on the road when they face the four best teams on their schedule – Baltimore, Buffalo, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, which has me favoring the second team on my list for the number one seed in the AFC and which this year means having one more game in the playoffs on their road to another Super Bowl for Andy Reid’s troops.

2. Baltimore Ravens
Right behind the Chiefs, as the biggest competitor for the AFC is Baltimore. They were the best team in the regular season from this past year, but the Titans handed them only their third loss of the season in the Divisional Round at home. While they did lose what to me is a first-ballot Hall of Fame guard in Marshal Yanda, outside of that the Ravens to me have an even better roster. The reigning MVP Lamar Jackson is only entering his third season in the league, the Ravens just added a top prospect in J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) to a backfield that set a league-record in rushing yards and some of these young receivers will continue to develop. On defense, they addressed the two areas that needed some help, when they brought in Calais Campbell to boost their pass-rush and two top-six linebackers on my board in the draft (Patrick Queen & Malik Harrison). They may not have as many superstar names as some other teams, but without a full offseason to prepare for it, that Greg Roman offense could be even tougher to stop if Marquise Brown becomes a more dependable deep threat (now fully healthy) and I love how multiple Wink Martindale is with his defense, combining the different pressure looks to go along with more versatile pieces up front and one of the elite secondaries in the game. You combine that with a rising young special teams coordinator in Chris Horton and a great motivator and in-game decision-maker in John Harbaugh – I just can’t find a lot of L’s on their schedule.

3. San Francisco 49ers
Obviously the Super Bowl hangover will be brought up a lot of times with the loser of that contest, but unlike a lot of these teams coming off the big game – yet similar to the actual winners in the Chiefs – John Lynch did a great job re-tooling for the few losses they did have and didn’t overspend on some of their talented guys. Kyle Shanahan to me is the best offensive play-caller and game-designer in football, with a diverse rushing attack and the type of personnel to match it, while Jimmy G, despite some issues, is coming off his first 16-game season in his career. Defensively, they are losing what I thought was their best player in DeForest Buckner, but they did replace him with a top ten prospect in Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) and Fred Warner is an emerging superstar. Their Seattle-based scheme under Robert Salah may not be very complex, but the Niners have a ferocious pass-rush, fast-flowing linebackers and a great safety tandem to be very sound in their execution. The Deebo Samuel injury is definitely a concern for me and if he doesn’t get back a few weeks into the season, I might drop San Fran a spot or two, plus I don’t love what they have at that second cornerback spot, but as for now I see the recipe that made me predict them winning the NFC West ahead of 2019 and what allowed them to be up double-digits in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

4. New Orleans Saints
One of the themes this offseason for me has been how loaded this Saints roster is and that they just need to win this year. This is the final season with Drew Brees at the helm, they are already in a horrible place with the cap – before that even goes down in 2021 – and to be honest, a lot of their key contributors are getting pretty old now. While I have seen a significant drop-off in the arm-strength of Brees, other than that I don’t see any offense with this Sean Payton-led offense – the front-five is elite, Alvin Kamara should be back to 100 percent as a dynamic dual-threat back and they finally found a number two receiver in Emmanuel Sanders. When healthy, that defensive line is a dominant unit, I think third-round pick Zack Baun (Wisconsin) gives that linebacker group some versatility and they have a lot of experience in the secondary, including a guy I thought would be a future star on the outside in Marshon Lattimore. Before anything else, they need to take care of divisional-rival Tampa Bay – which is a very tough challenge already – but if they can do that, they are fairly in the hunt for the NFC’s top seed. There’s a lot of pressure on this group because of the cap situation, their all-time great QB having his “Last Dance” and brutal playoff losses in recent years, but they have all it takes to finally break through all the way.

Playoff contenders:

This second tier consists of eight teams that to me have only or two holes on their roster, while their coaching gives them an advantage over the majority of teams in the league and they bring back most of their pieces from a year or at least improved in those areas. I expect all but one of these squads to make the playoffs in 2020, as long as they don’t suffer significant injuries along the way.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Number five in the entire league seems pretty high for a team that finished below .500 last season, but this is not just about Tom Brady coming in, but rather the roster Tampa Bay has built around him. To me Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the top receiver duo in the league, the Bucs arguably have the best tight-end room in the league and the offensive line only got better with superhuman Tristan Wirfs (Iowa) playing one of those spots on the right side. I have talked about this a lot over the offseason, looking at the match between Bruce Arians’ vertical-based passing attack and what Brady is used to, in terms of spreading the field and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. My bet is they go to a bit of hybrid and figure things out. Maybe more importantly, I don’t think people realize what they have put together on defense. Last season the Bucs finished number one against the run, they forced the fifth-most turnovers (28) and tied for sixth with yards per play (5.1) in the league. Todd Bowles is excellent defensive mind, who now enters his second season with as much talent as he has had since his Arizona days. Jameis turned it over 35 times last year (12 more than any other player in the league), while Tom didn’t even crack double-digits once again, and he immediately improves their situational football awareness and overall execution. This is a very dangerous squad.

6. Dallas Cowboys
When you talk about some of the most talented rosters in the league, the Dallas Cowboys come to mind right away – especially on the offensive side of the ball. Dak Prescott now has one of the premiere receiver trios with the selection of Ceedee Lamb (Oklahoma) in the draft, still probably a top-five offensive line and Zeke looking to re-establish himself as a top-tier back, after looking a step slow for most of last season. Defensively they are getting back Leighton Vander Esch, whose energy they desperately missed for stretches last season, and they have a very deep rotation at the defensive line (even though nobody knows what we’ll get from a couple of guys that were out of the league), while Mike Nolan will change things up a little more and get his guys into the face of opposing receivers. We have yet to see how much Mike McCarthy will want to have say in the offensive play-calling, but I like that they retained a young and creative OC in Kellen Moore, and as far as in-game control and CEO duties go, I certainly believe McCarthy is an upgrade. There are some questions with the secondary after the loss of Byron Jones and losing Travis Frederick to retirement hurts, but I think those are things that can be overcome. Something that I think should not be overlooked is the signing of former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein and his special teams coordinator John Fassel, after converting only 75 percent of their field goal attempts last season (6th-lowest in the league) and missing a couple of crucial kicks.

7. Philadelphia Eagles
Right behind the Cowboys, I have their division rivals from Philadelphia. I think the Eagles actually have a better quarterback, the best defensive player among the two teams in Fletcher Cox and a more experienced secondary. However, with Brandon Brooks out for the season and maybe the worst group of linebackers in the NFL, I could not put this group ahead of Dallas, even though they have come up victorious against them in the big games recently. Last year Carson Wentz carried a group of skill-position players from the practice squad and a banged-up O-line to a division title. This upcoming season he will go from already wasn’t an overly dynamic receiving crew to a group of track stars, most notably with first-round pick Jalen Reagor (TCU) and a hopefully healthy DeSean Jackson, plus Miles Sanders I think is ready to emerge as a star back for Philly. The defense did lose some long-time stalwarts like Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham, but I loved the addition of Javon Hargreave in the middle to free up the other guys to attack upfield and with Darius Slay as their new CB1, not only does that move everybody one spot lower on the depth chart, but it also finally makes more sense for Jim Schwartz to be as aggressive with those zero-blitzes, since he has the guys to cover. Those two newcomers also fit perfectly when matching up against Dallas, because of an improvement interior run defense and having a guy who can match up with Amari Cooper, after the other guys got toasted for the most part.

8. Buffalo Bills
For the first time in about twenty years, a team not named the Patriots will enter a season as favorites in the AFC East – and it’s actually not that close for me. Buffalo made a switch last season offensively to more 11 personnel and quick-tempo with Brian Daboll moving to the booth. This offseason they finally got the big-armed Josh Allen a dependable deep threat in Stefon Diggs, who averaged 12.0 yards per target last season (second-highest in the league), which – similar to what I just talked about with the corners in Philadelphia – moves everybody else down one spot in the food chain. And I love what they do defensively, with Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s game-plan specific zone pattern coverages, with a versatile secondary to execute those, to go with a deep D-line and two super-rangy linebackers. Even outside the Diggs trade, Buffalo has made some sneaky-good deals since losing that Wildcard game at Houston in such heart-breaking fashion. Whether that is Mario Addison as double-digit sack guy in four straight years, added depth on the O-line or a really solid draft class to complement what they already had. I don’t want to crown them at this point, but to me they are the favorites for the AFC’s number three seed as for right now, since I think the South doesn’t have that clear front-runner to win the majority of their divisional games.

9. Seattle Seahawks
I would have probably had the Hawks as the final team of this group or right at the top of the next one a couple of weeks ago, but after acquiring Jamal Adams, I think they have re-established themselves as that second team in the NFC West, since I had them very close with Arizona originally, I did not love what they did in the first two days of the draft (somewhat of a trend with them), they lost their second-best defensive player at that point in Jadeveon Clowney, I’m not sure if they upgraded on the offensive line and we don’t even if know if Quinton Dunbar will be suspended at this point. With that being said, Seattle has finished above .500 every single year with Russell Wilson under center and while I’m not a fan of their conservative approach offensively, where they don’t allow Russ to throw the ball on first downs and push the tempo a little at times, they are one of the most effective rushing teams and they have two lethal weapons to catch those trademark rainbow balls from the Seahawks QB. Defensively there are still some questions about the edge rush and at second corner spot, but Pete Carroll at least has what he wants most in a team at those positions – competition – and you already saw them go to more two-high looks in coverage than we are used to, telling me they utilize Jamal’s versatile skill-set more than what that strong safety mostly does in that system.

10. Green Bay Packers
The whole Aaron Rodgers-Jordan Love drama has been looming large over the offseason and that has brought us some interesting discussions, but let’s not allow this to take away from the fact Green Bay just had a first-round bye in the playoffs and made it to the NFC title game. While they were 8-1 in one-score games and should regress more towards the mean in terms of the success rate in those close games, the North is still wide open and they have a few things going for themselves – they have the best quarterback in the division, the best offensive line, the most versatile and effective pass rush and a lot of young talent in the secondary. The first-round selection of a future signal-caller aside, I wasn’t too fond of what they did in the draft. Even though I liked Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara and can see what they want to do with him as H-back/move guy in this offense, I thought they did not get Aaron Rodgers help in the receiving corp, which has no proven commodity outside of Davante Adams. Their defense got absolutely steamrolled in two games against the eventual conference champion 49ers, but I hope to see Rashan Gary develop in his second season and I think Christian Kirksey was a very under-the-radar signing as a run-stopping linebacker. I think schematically with Matt LaFleur’s offense based on what they did under Sean McVay and Mike Pettine being very creative himself they are one of the better coaching staffs in the NFC, but I would like to see them open up the offense more for Rodgers and break tendencies more often with their coverage calls.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Another very dangerous squad for me is the Steelers. I have talked many times about how bad the Steelers quarterback situations was last season, as both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges finished near the bottom in air yards per attempt, percentage of throws beyond the marker and many others. We have only seen Big Ben throw in some short clips on the internet, but if he is just 70-80 percent of what he was in 2018, this team is bound for a playoff berth. There are some question marks with this group of skill-position players, but I expect Juju to bounce back in a major way with a capable QB and being healthy himself, I have already picked Diontae Johnson as a breakout candidate for this season and I like the diversity of this group of backs. Pittsburgh’s defense was already elite last year, finishing top five in both yards and points allowed, tied for first in yards per play (4.7), the most takeaways (38) and sacks (54). If former Raven Chris Wormley can replace Javon Hargreave as a two-down run-stopper at least and rookie Antoine Brooks Jr. (Maryland) can fill a very specific role as their second sub-package linebacker in place of Mark Barron, I think they will one of the scariest units in the NFL once again. So the best all-around defense for my money and an offense who I would say has top ten potential at the very least is a tough match-up. Maybe not quite battling with the Ravens for the North, but the top Wildcard spot for sure.

12. Indianapolis Colts
If there is one team in the AFC that could go from finishing sub-.500 to making it all the way to the conference championship game, the Colts would be my pick. I thought Philip Rivers had a really rough 2019 campaign, in which his arm looked rather weak and his decision-making hurt the Chargers on multiple occasions, but he will play behind by far the best offensive line he has ever had and they will run the heck out of the ball. Indy already had a pretty good back in Marlon Mack, but Wisconsin superstar Jonathan Taylor, who they selected in the second round, will be one of the front-runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year if given the chances in combination with what I believe is the best front-five in the entire league, plus their other second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) will be that Vincent Jackson/Mike Williams type target for Rivers. More importantly, with the trade for a top 50 player in the league in DeForest Buckner, this entire Colts D immediately takes a step forward, since he is a perfect fit as that 3-technique in their front and help them disrupt plays at a much higher rate, to go with range in zone coverage behind that, including the “Maniac” Darius Leonard chasing people down. I’m a big fan of Frank Reich and the coaching staff he is has put together, in terms of in-game decision-making, offensive gameplans and just the intensity his team plays him.

Fringe playoff teams:

This middle tier is made up from all those teams who I expect to be at .500 or above, firmly in contention for a Wildcard spot at least. They can be some areas of concern, but overall they have the roster ready to compete with the big dogs and/or feature above-average coaching. With a couple of these there is a change at quarterback and head coach respectively, but they have enough around those to overcome that.

13. Tennessee Titans
This definitely seems a little low for a team that is coming off an AFC Championship game appearance, but people seem to forget the Titans were 8-7 ahead of week 17 and if it wasn’t for the Steelers losing their final three games, this group wouldn’t have even been in position to lock down the six seed. Things were also made a lot easier by their division rival Texans, who sat most of their starters after beating Tennessee two weeks prior. So as impressive as their playoff run was, you have to think of what happened before that and put it into perspective a little. With one more playoff spot in each conference, their chances of making it to the tournament should be at least equally as good, but I believe the Colts are the favorites to win the South and for me the Steelers are the favorites for the fifth seed. With all that being said, there is plenty to like about this team still – they can pound you with the Derrick Henry and the run game, Ryan Tannehill at least gives them the threat of pulling the ball and going deep off play-action, they have some young weapons catching the ball and defensively they are very versatile in how they set up gameplans. I also like the mind-set Mike Vrabel installs in these guys and I was impressed with what OC Arthur Smith did in 2019. If there are two spots that could decide if this group is fighting for a division title or that final playoff berth, it will be their rookie right tackle Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) and recently signed edge rusher Vic Beasley.

14. Cleveland Browns
While I don’t see them competing for the AFC North – just because of how loaded the Ravens are – the Browns are pretty clearly the most talented team that is considered to be third in their division. In terms of their group of starting skill-position players at least, they are near the top of the NFL, the O-line to me already just made my top ten ranking with room to move up, if healthy they are at least in the conversation for that with the D-line as well, with a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Myles Garrett, and I like how they have assembled their secondary. Now, they have some unproven guys at the linebacker level and Cleveland’s potential is largely dependent on which Baker Mayfield we will get. With Kevin Stefanski coming and installing an offense that will be built on the zone run game and bootlegs off that, where his quarterback is put on the move, I could see much more efficient play and more comfort in that system. Something that really jumped out to me on tape was how many times Baker seemed to not be “on the same page” with his receivers, expecting routes to break off differently and unfortunate drops in certain situations. Even though the preparation for the season does look a lot different and QB & WRs haven’t been able to spend too much time together, I expect this to improve and more suitable roles for those pass-catchers overall. And if they are ahead in more games, that pass rush will be a problem.

15. Arizona Cardinals
There are certainly still some issues here, but the Cardinals are probably the most exciting young team in all of the NFL. Kyler Murray was a one-man show last season and is due for a big jump, with DeAndre Hopkins being added to a receiving corp that severely lacked dependable weapons, to go with some other youngsters fully healthy, Kenyan Drake looked like a different player once he came over from Miami and the O-line should at least be marginally better. Defensively they transitioned a little up front, with big gap-pluggers on the line and Isaiah Simmons being that ultra-rangy player on the second level, who can run guys down on the edges, if those ball-carriers forced to bounce outside, plus they have maybe the most underappreciated edge rusher over the last four years in Chandler Jones. I don’t think they are very deep in the secondary, but Budda Baker is an absolute baller, Jalen Thompson emerged late last season and I already predicted Byron Murphy would have a breakout second season. With Kliff Kingsbury and Vance Joseph, Arizona has creative play-calling on both sides of the ball and they now have the personnel to execute at the needed level as well. Like I mentioned, I was ready to have the Cardinals at least go toe-to-toe with Seattle for a playoff spot, but the addition of Jamal Adams has shifted the balance again to some degree. And if you just go based off my rankings, two NFC Wildcard spots already go to teams from five to seven.

16. Denver Broncos
A team that has been getting a lot of love this offseason is the Broncos. They have pretty much all the pieces that you usually see with those rising squads – a promising second-year quarterback with a lot of weapons surrounding him, a ferocious defensive front and having shown signs late last season. My belief in them has taken a bit of a dump unfortunately since I thought they did well to improve the offensive line, with Garrett Bolles on the left end being the only weak-spot, but now that Ja’Wuan James won’t be available at right tackle for the second straight year (injury last season and now opting out), their duo of OTs is a concern for me. Defensively you have to love what they have in the front seven, with Von Miller and now again Bradley Chubb coming off the edges, Jurrell Casey added to the interior to go with Shelby Harris and Alexander Johnson being an under-the-radar standout at linebacker. I’ve always been a big fan of Justin Simmons, but that second corner spot is still up in the air. I like Vic Fangio and that coaching staff they have put together in Denver, with Pat Shurmur providing a QB-friendly offense, the game’s best O-line coach in Mike Munchak and most of the people that have helped Fangio put out elite defenses at multiple stops before. So the Broncos are still the most dangerous opponent of the Chiefs in the AFC West, but now I’m not sure if they can add some drama over the fourth quarter of the season.

17. Minnesota Vikings
At the same time, a team that has been a little overhyped to me this offseason is Minnesota. While I don’t love how the Packers have operated since February, what have the Vikings done to really improve? They traded away the best deep threat in the league last season in Stefon Diggs, stalwarts on the D-line in Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph are now gone, their entire group of corners has combined for less than 1500 career snaps and their offensive coordinator is now in Cleveland. I’m intrigued by the combination of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who could be pretty interchangeable in their roles and I like their 12 and 21 personnel groupings, but they lack depth at the receiver position. And the defense will be relying on several inexperienced pieces to step in. I mean their three starting corners from last year are off the team now. So I don’t really get how most people all of a sudden put them ahead of the Packers. With that being said, I like the offensive scheme and always thought Gary Kubiak was a huge factor in their success on the ground at least. On defense there are certainly question marks – especially in the secondary – but Minnesota could easily have a top five player at their respective position at all three levels, with Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris, plus they still have some promising young guys like Ifeadi Odenigbo, Mike Hughes and a deep rookie class. Their only true shade nose Michael Pierce opting out hurts though.

18. New England Patriots
This offseason must have been a rollercoaster for Patriots fans. First, Tom Brady leaves and everybody goes crazy. Then people start getting onto the Jarrett Stidham hype train and talk about how good the rest of this team still is. Out of nowhere they sign Cam Newton for the veteran minimum basically and they are back in the conversation for the top teams in the AFC all of sudden. And now, they lead the league in players opting out of the season, with key defensive pieces like Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, to go with a couple of role players on offense at least. So now they are right at the bottom of these fringe playoff teams for me, because purely based on the roster, they are not even in the top 20 league-wide, but they still have maybe the greatest defensive mind in NFL history in Bill Belichick and one of the best offensive play-callers right now in Josh McDaniels. Obviously a lot of this will come down to what version of Cam Newton we will get and even if he is and can stay totally healthy. Not only is New England the most adaptable team in terms of how they can adjust to personnel and how flexible they are with their game-plans, but Cam is a great fit in that offense, where he can spread the field and make decisions based on defenses adjusting. The one area that took the biggest bump – outside of quarterback I’m guessing – is the offensive line, because they lost a legendary position coach in Dante Scarnecchia and their probable starter at right tackle in Marcus Cannon. While the Pats do have some young players, who can replace part of the losses, they were already more in plan for the pieces that left before there was any virus outbreak.

Around .500:

This broad group of seven teams represents all those franchises who will be dancing around .500 mark in the win-loss column. A couple of teams have the potential to win nine or ten games, while others could see those numbers on the wrong side of the column as well. There are obvious question marks in certain areas, even though they might feature top-tier players and/or coaches.

19. Houston Texans
It’s kind of tough to put a team here that has won its division the last two years, but I think the Texans are pretty clearly number three in the South now. I love Deshaun Watson and I think he has fairly established himself as a top five quarterback in the NFL, but Bill O’Brien just took away an elite wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and replaced him with an injury-prone Brandin Cooks to go with another always banged up Will Fuller and a declining Randall Cobb, to go with a David Johnson in the backfield, who was unrecognizable last season. I think the O-line is improving, but outside of Laremy Tunsil maybe, they don’t have anybody other than Deshaun who is clearly above-average in their role. And defensively they finished in the bottom five in yards allowed and tied with Cincinnati (who picked first overall in the draft) for an NFL-high 6.1 yards allowed per play. Hopefully having J.J. Watt back for a full season should help, I like the selection of Ross Blacklock (TCU) on the inside and there are some talented young corners on this roster, who could be better much in 2020. I would not be surprised if they are that .500 team at heart and their quarterback carried them to a couple of wins that they weren’t supposed to get – which we have seen him do many times before – but it’s more likely to me that they are fighting for one of the two bottom Wildcard spots.

20. Atlanta Falcons
Very rarely do you have a team that was among the worst over the first half of the season and among the best over the second half. The Falcons started out 2019 with a 1-7 record, but would go on to win six of the final eight games. Their defense was absolutely atrocious early on last season, with no pass-rush impacting the opposing quarterback and several miscues in coverage. With Raheem Morris taking over the defensive play-calling, they showed a lot of improvement already and there are signs that trend will continue. While there are some questions about the back-end and if they can get consistent production from their rush outside the top two guys, I think Dante Fowler is an upgrade over Vic Beasley, I like Marlon Davidson (Auburn) as a guy with inside-out flexibility on sub-packages and Keanu Neal is back healthy, as that Kam Chancellor-type, who can be that extra defender in the box in their system and punish receivers when catching the ball over the middle or in the flats. Offensively I believe this is still a team that can move the ball – they just have to start doing so earlier in games. While the top NFL receiver duo is in their own division with the guys in Tampa Bay, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley could easily be that next one. They lost a very productive tight-end in Austin Hooper, but I believe Hayden Hurst can replace at least 80 percent of that production, and while we have no idea what we get from Todd Gurley and his knees at this point, last year the Falcons had one of the least effective per-touch backs in Devonta Freeman. Plus, the O-line should take a step forward with former first-round pick Chris Lindstrom returning from injury.

21. Las Vegas Raiders
To me the Raiders are still in transition, not only moving to Las Vegas, but also in terms of roster construction and the culture Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are trying to establish. Outside of Tyrell Williams, that entire group of receivers was overhauled, they have a lot of young pieces on the defensive line and the secondary, plus they will have at least two new starters on the second level of their defense. By far the biggest thing they have going for them is the offensive line and second-year back Josh Jacobs running behind it. When I did my top ten offensive lines in the NFL a couple of weeks ago, I had the Silver & Black at number five, and Jacobs was already a top 100 player in the league for me, with how physical and elusive a runner as he is. I could easily see the Raiders finish near the top in terms of ground production, and I also like the young guys they brought in around that, with Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) keeping the defense honest with his speed, Bryan Edwards (South Carolina) as a physical receiver, who will get hands after the catch, and Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky) as that chess-piece potentially, that you can use in a multitude of way. My bigger question here is if Derek Carr is willing to push the ball down the field. Defensively I like the rotation they have on the interior D-line and the two linebackers they brought in via free agency, most notably Corey Littleton. There are still some questions about how snaps will be split between their corner group, but I’m excited to see a full season of Jonathan Abram hopefully. These guys have some attitude and an energetic head coach.

22. Los Angeles Rams
Oh, how far we have come. Just one-and-a-half years ago the Rams were officially 20 spots higher basically, when they lost the Super Bowl to New England. Ahead of last season, I predicted them to miss the playoffs and while they made a bit of a run at it late, that’s what ended up happening. Now I see them as the fourth team in their own division – even though that says more about the competition they face rather than them. I still believe in Sean McVay and his ability to win on paper with play-design and game-planning, but Jared Goff has turned out to be an average quarterback, they don’t have a prime Todd Gurley setting the table anymore and the offensive line had some major issues, for large stretches of last season, especially in the run game. I was very high on Cam Akers, who they selected in the second round out of Florida State, but he will obviously be a rookie with shortened preparation, rather than an Offensive Player of the Year like Gurley was for them. Defensively, they have two elite players in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey and I like some of the other guys in their roles, but overall the high-end talent beyond the two biggest names isn’t overly impressive. Leonard Floyd might be their top edge rusher and he has always been more of a Robin, they have no proven commodity as stand-up linebacker and I have yet to see if Brandon Staley can actually be an upgrade over Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator.

23. Detroit Lions
While I was going back and forth with putting the Lions third or fourth in the NFC North, I recently said they are among the top two teams that could go from worst to first in their division and I would not be surprised if they were in the hunt for a Wildcard spot in the last couple of weeks of the season. His second year in a system under Darrell Bevell – where he wasn’t just going in shotgun 40 times a game and asked to make magic happen – Matthew Stafford looked like an MVP candidate as long as he was healthy in 2019. That duo of Kerryon Johnson and my top-ranked running back in the draft D’Andre Swift (Georgia) could be one of the most dynamic ones in the league, the receiving corp is highly underrated and I like those rookies competing for the two guard spots. Defensively, they seem to finally look like what Matt Patricia wanted, when he came over from New England, in terms being versatile with their fronts and having guys who can take on receivers in man-coverage. With that being said, there is also a good chance that the Patricia experiment could go to shambles, if some of the veterans get turned off by his style of coaching without having established that winning culture, and this team has simply been dealing with too many injuries to key players. I don’t think there is much of a gap between the Lions and Vikings for example, but Detroit has not shown the stability of some other organizations.

24. Chicago Bears
A franchise that I don’t really hear anybody talk about – unless it’s their quarterback competition – is that team from the Windy City. I understand that the Bears aren’t really sexy because they lack those superstars on offense that people will recognize, but I’m higher on some of the guys they do have on that side of the ball and on defense they could be much closer to 2018, when they led the league in points allowed and turnovers forced, rather than being just inside the top in most categories last season. A guy I already predicted to break out for Chicago this upcoming season with a bigger workload is running back David Montgomery, to go with Anthony Miller as a gadget player and developing young pass-catcher and one of the more underappreciated receivers out there in Allen Robinson. Defensively, I thought the biggest issue last season was Akiem Hicks missing double-digit games, as a table-setter with his ability to disrupt plays from the interior, and Leonard Floyd didn’t provide much on the opposite side of Khalil Mack, who they upgrade from with Robert Quinn, who just had his best season since the Rams were still in St. Louis. Now, I don’t love what they have at that second safety spot to complement Eddie Jackson, someone will have to fill that second corner spot – even though I’m a fan of second-round pick Jaylon Johnson (Utah) – and nose tackle Eddie Goldman opting out is a huge loss. If the quarterback position can just complement the rushing attack and the defense plays up to their potential, this group could be competing for second in the North, but Foles or Trubisky could still hold them back.

The final tier is in the comments!!

If you enjoyed this breakdown, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece -
You can also listen to my analysis on the Youtube channel -
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2020 Offseason Review: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Division: NFC South (7-9 2nd in the Division)
Head Coach: Bruce Arians
Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bowles

Intro: Let me Get Something off my Chest

A couple of months ago, I wrote the Buccaneers 32 Teams/32 Days Post. Looking back a it, I’m sticking to my guns on most of my analysis. There’s just…one….little….thing….we need to talk about. Regarding Jameis’s pending free agent status, I said:
There's also the question of QB. Jameis is also a UFA and I'd say there's a...40% chance we re-sign him. So who replaces him, and would an aging veteran QB like Brady or Rivers really be a marked improvement?
[Sneezes in Boston accent]
The answer is yes, Fencing Coach, you fawkin dumbass!
Did you really think that Jameis Winston was a bettah option than Tawm Fawkin’ Brady 6-time supah bowl champion and enemy of Rawjuh Fawkin’ Goodell? You were fawkin’ wrong!
Admit to the good people of Aw/NFL that you wuh just another paht of the fake news media that tried to say Tawm Bwady deflated the footballs and that Bill Belichick used the video cameras for the SpyGates!
And who would have evah guessed that we’d end up with Gronk! What a yeeyah! What an offseason you fawkin’ pessimist! We got the GOAT! Get ya Covid immunity TB12 pills and shove ‘em up yuh asshole!
[Snaps out of it]
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get serious for a moment. This is the final Hail Mary of the underwhelming Jason Licht era, and aggressive moves were made this offseason, because the excuses have finally run out.
Since taking over the team in 2014, Jason Licht is on his third head coach (to be fair, Lovie Smith was not his choice) and only has a 34-62 (.35) record to show for, 0 playoff appearances, and only one winning season.
Meanwhile, a select list of his GM peers hired since include:
Big moves were made this offseason at the Quarterback position, bringing in a certain 6th round pick out of Michigan to compete with the ethereal and legendary Blaine Gabbert. Jameis was shown the door. And the result is about a case of beer’s worth of cap space and little depth across the roster. Buckle your Bucs, this is going to be a helluvah ride.

Top Offseason Stories

The Tompa Bay Gronkeneers: The biggest news of the offseason was giving Tom Brady a 2 yeaar, $50M contract (fully guaranteed). I won’t be blind to the fact that Tom Brady is 43 years old and clearly on the decline. But Tom Brady on the decline doesn’t have to carry the team on his back when he has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and Oterius Jabari Howard to throw to. Not to mention, people will be sleeping on the Buccaneer defense. They shouldn’t be (more on that later).
Had Jameis Winston cut his 2019 turnovers in half, the Buccaneers would have been a playoff team and he would have been in the MVP discussion. Of course, if my mother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle. The real value of the Brady deal will be in his accuracy and more conservative approach to quarterbacking. Let’s exclude Tom Brady’s rookie year and his 2008 season cut short by injury, and Tom Brady has averaged ~10 interceptions. In five seasons, Jameis averaged ~18 interceptions per season (and dozens more fumbles).
Numbers aside, Brady’s value will come in the swagger he brings to the locker room. The 2019 Bruce Arians signing brought in a coach with a track record of winning. Brady’s window is obviously short…very short. But the ride should be fun while it lasts.
Then of course, there’s Rob Gronkowski, one of football’s most beloved meatheads. One year post retirement, Gronk put the cleats back on and chose to follow Brady to Tampa (in exchange for a 4th and the Patriots’ 7th round pick). With OJ Howard and Cameron Brate already on the roster, the Gronkowski trade was a luxury move, but will give Brady his favorite all-time target in an offense largely unfamiliar to him.
Jason Licht’s approach of building from the outside-in has often worked to his detriment for a team that has always excelled at receiving skill position players…but little else. The Tompa Bay Gronkeneers will be fun to watch. Let’s hope Brady can capture lightning in a bottle.
The Jameis Winston Cult of Personality Ends: When Jameis Winston first entered the league, I declared that his ceiling was Brett Favre and his floor was Jay Cutler. Five seasons in and I feel like he got a quarter of the way past Cutler. So how will I remember Jameis? For those of you who were old enough to watch the Jerry Springer show and see a big reveal that Cletus’s wife was cheating on him with the next door neighbor, it sure was entertaining for everyone watching, except for Cletus himself. For five years, Bucs fans were Cletus. Fans of the NFL marveled at his “eating W’s” meme while many of us cringed in embarrassment. You saw 5,000 yards and 30 TD’s. We saw 30 INT’s and 6 more fumbles.
The worst part of the Jameis Winston era wasn’t the embarrassment on-field, but the divisiveness he generated off the field. Post-game discussion threads on Buccaneers were riddled with personal attacks should anyone have dared mentioned that perhaps we would have won the football game had he not thrown 18,000 picks. But the worst of all? The discussion that came from his third sexual assault allegation (no, this is not a typo. People forget there were two allegations at FSU). Three allegations were not enough to keep a large contingency of the fan base from defending him, justifying his actions, and of course the classic Redditor “she was just in it for the money” trope.
Jameis Winston signed with the Saints this offseason, becoming a division rival’s embarrassment. I still believe he has an on-field future in the league. Perhaps, for now, the comments section will allow for smoother sailing. Perhaps not.

2020 Outlook

Hard to believe that I’m now in Year 6 of writing these offseason reviews for Tampa, and outside of 2017 where I was wildly off on predicting our record, I’ve managed to fall within one victory/loss in each of the other four. The past two seasons, I’ve predicted our exact record. While Covid delays could impact the 2020 season itself, I predict the Tom Brady Bucs will go 10-6, win the wild card, and lose in the Divisional round.
Year My Prediction Actual
2015 7-9 6-10
2016 10-6 9-7
2017 10-6 5-11
2018 5-11 5-11
2019 7-9 7-9
2020 10-6 ???

Things I Like About the Bucs in 2020

Things That Scare me About the Bucs in 2020:

2020 Draft Analysis

Round/Pick Player Analysis
Round 1, #13 Overall Tristan Wirfs (RT – Iowa) Admittedly, I always struggle with evaluating OL positions. I thought Chance Warmack, Robert Gallery, and Jason Smith were generational talents. They were far from that. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt, and listen to people like Barian_Fostate who did an excellent breakdown of Wirfs and Jedrick Wills, with the evaluation noting some glaring flaws in Wirfs’ footwork and hand technique. There’s no denying that Wirfs’ athletic ability is deity level batshit. At 6’5, 320 pounds, he ran a 4.86 forty at the Combine, had a 36.5” vertical, and a 10’1 broad jump. Not to mention, the kid can straight up jump out of a pool and casually hang clean 500 pounds. I wanted to watch how Wirfs performed against some of his incoming peers in the NFL, so I watched his matchup against Pedophilia State University to see how he’d fare against Yetur Gross-Matos, 2nd round pick of the Panthers and future division opponent. The results were…underwhelming. YGM brought constant pressure throughout the game, and seemed to have Wirfs beat from his first step onward, but in the same game, his ability in the run game was eye opening (Example). But then you had cases of sheer lack of awareness on blitzes and also stunts that showed deep areas of weakness for Wirfs. One way or another, this was a necessary pick, and even if he doesn’t pan out at RT, Wirfs’ athleticism and gifted abilities in the run game will make him a long-term key part of the Bucs and a potential Guard candidate.
Round 2, #45 Overall Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – Minnesota) Antoine Winfield Jr.’s entrance into the league was a “you’re an old man” moment for us Redditors in our 30’s who grew up watching his “Hall of Very Good” father. This was a pretty pick. While Winfield is of course a safety, the very first thing that stood out to me watching his tape was his pass rush ability. Yes, his pass rush ability. The first couple of clips I put on of Winfield had him perfectly timing a snap from the box and immediately in the backfield by the time the QB had the ball in his hands. The second thing that stood out was his nose for the ball, particularly in clutch situations. As Joe Theismann simply stated: “big players make big plays,” and that couldn’t have been more true of Winfield, who had big time game saving interceptions against both Fresno State and Penn State. Winfield was my favorite pick of the Buccaneers draft class, and what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and an excellent nose for the ball. Keep an eye out for this one.
Round 3, #76 Overall Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB – Vanderbilt) Ke’Shawn Vaughn was one of the harder players to scout from this Buccaneer class, simply because it looked like he would have been better off with an offensive line of obese, beefy toddlers than whatever Vanderbilt rolled out for him. Nearly every snap I viewed of him, he rarely had a clean hole and was hit in the backfield the moment he touched the ball. Like, seriously, what is this? Vaughn’s biggest strengths to me showed up on tape with designed outside runs. Between the tackles, he showed little elusiveness, and a similar issue I saw with former Buccaneer pick Jeremy McNichol is that Vaughn tended to make multiple cuts before turning upfield. Not a good thing. Unlike a glaring weakness I saw in McNichols’ complete inability to block, it’s an area where Vaughn succeeded with flying colors. This, along with his adequate pass catching abilities (28 receptions for 270 yards in 2019) will make him a valuable 3rd down back in the beginning of his career (assuming RoJo is anointed the feature back). There are some traits in a RB that can’t be coached, like vision. There are other things like running upright with high pad level, a weakness I frequently saw with Vaughn that can be taught. Vaughn crosses me as a valuable utility player who may get looks as a feature back should RoJo continue to struggle. The value was there with his 3rd round selection, but expectations for his upside should be kept in check.
Round 5, #161 Overall Tyler Johnson (WR – Minnesota) A lot of the Buccaneers crew is pretty high on the Tyler Johnson pick. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had him top 50 on their big board and a Round 2 grade. I just don’t see it. Not at all, in fact. For a guy who stands at a mere 6’1 and is expected to play slot receiver, his speed and separation stand out as glaring weaknesses on tape. What I do like however, is his footwork coming off the line. Most of the time he’d beat his receivers within the first 5-7 yards off the line, but when it came to the deep ball I didn’t see a lot of “wow” factor. Tyler Johnson, I think, will be a reserve WR, which is exactly what you want from a 5th round pick. But I don’t see him as the massive steal many other fans did.
Round 6, #194 Overall Khalil Davis (DT – Nebraska) Played alongside his twin brother Carlos at Nebraska (who went one round later to the Steelers). I watched Davis’s game against Wisconsin and he looked to me like he’d fit best as a backup 5-tech. Not particularly explosive with a slow first step, and there were numerous occasions when he did penetrate the backfield but had terrible angles on the RB. Mind you, he was playing against Jonathan Taylor and a stalwart OL, but you want to see flashes of brilliance, even against good competition. Did not see anything that made me say: “this guy’s going to make our final roster.”
Round 7, #241 Overall Chapelle Russell (LB – Temple) I was able to find little tape of Russell, but one area where I do trust Jason Licht is in his ability to scout LB’s. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about Russell. I don’t.
Round 7, #245 Overall Raymond Calais (RB – Louisiana Lafayette) Calais’s best shot to make the roster will likely be as a return man, where he excelled at Louisiana Lafayette. Based on the limited tape I saw of him, I saw flashes of Felix Jones for his ability to get big gains off of draw plays in the shotgun. Obviously a longshot to make the roster.

Schedule Predictions

Week Opponent Prediction Analysis
Week 1 @Saints 27-24 Bucs (1-0) Bucs pass rush finds a way to get to Brees. Fun fact: this will be the oldest matchup of QB’s ever in NFL history…until the Bucs play the Saints again in week 9.
Week 2 Panthers 34-20 Bucs (2-0) Panthers are no doubt in rebuild mode right now. In the past two matchups, Bucs run game has managed to stifle Christian McAffrey. Keep an eye on rookie Yetur Gross-Matos. I think he’ll have a more immediate impact than even 1st round pick Derrick Brown.
Week 3 @Broncos 37-28 Bucs (3-0) Always a challenge to play at Mile High on the road, but I think the Bucs defense will manage to shut down a young and budding Broncos offense. On a Broncos note, I’ll never understand Jeudy being the 2nd WR off the board (let alone the 2nd Bama receiver taken). Best route runner I’ve seen enter the league since OBJ.
Week 4 Chargers 28-21 Chargers (3-1) No, I’m not too high on Justin Herbert, but when the Bucs play a rookie QB, I’m usually prone to pick the other team. For some reason, no matter the Head Coach and/or defensive coordinator, the Bucs crumple into fetal position against rookies.
Week 5 @Bears 31-13 Bucs (4-1) If Foles’ performance against the Bucs last year is any indication, they have his number. Pray that Mitch Trubisky doesn’t start. In his last outing against Tampa, he threw 6 TD’s. He did that as a rookie, mind you. Remember what I said about Bucs against rookie QB’s?
Week 6 Packers 28-24 Packers (4-2) Rumors of Aaron Rodgers’ demise are greatly exaggerated. It’s a team that’s just complete enough on both sides of the ball that I find it surprising so many are writing them off.
Week 7 @Raiders 34-31 Bucs (5-2) Here’s another team that is starting to form well under the cracker Mike Mayock. Raiders will be as good as Carr is in Gruden’s offense, and while he improved somewhat in Chucky’s offense by the end of year 2, this is a team at the tipping point between playoffs and an outright QB replacement.
Week 8 @Giants 37-17 Bucs (6-2) Though rookie Daniel Jones (sense a trend here?) shredded the Bucs with gusto last year, Bucs run defense should be able to neutralize Saquon, and despite a good rookie showing, I don’t have much faith in the long term prospects of Daniel Jones.
Week 9 Saints 20-17 Saints (6-3) Can usually count on the Saints and Bucs to split the division series. And once again, the oldest QB matchup ever. Put on some episodes of MASH. Get your Bingo cards ready. It’s geriatric QB time.
Week 10 @Panthers 41-21 Bucs (7-3) Will there be a season by this point? I don’t know. But I still like the Bucs to sweep the series with the Panthers this season.
Week 11 LA Rams 24-17 Rams (7-4) Rams offense is all of a sudden looking less like the powerhouse it was from a few years ago, but their defense is still nasty. Aaron Donald will make any QB poop their pants, including Tom Brady. This will be a violent defensive battle and I think the Rams will take the edge.
Week 12 Chiefs 37-27 Chiefs (7-5) For years on NFL going back to his time at Texas Tech, I told you all to get on board the Mahomes canoe. Love seeing him already building his Madden legacy. I’m just not going to bet against him right now.
Week 13 Bye N/A I have no way of confirming this, but I’m fairly certain during the bye week Bruce Arians clears out his office and runs an illegal cockfighting ring with his assistant coaches. You can’t convince me I’m wrong.
Week 14 Vikings 31-28 Bucs (8-5) Vikings remain a balanced team on offense and defense and the Zim Zamm still can’t be flim flammed. Close game here that will be a defensive battle with a few big time plays on offense sprinkled in.
Week 15 Falcons 34-27 Falcons (8-6) I’m glad to see Raheem Morris back in a DC position after seeing him work his way back up the coaching ranks. Always one of my favorite Buccaneer coaches despite his (many) flaws. I pick the Falcons in our first matchup because of one man and only one man: Julio Jones. Jones has now played a full 16 games in his career against Tampa, coming up with a staggering 116 catches for 1,841 yards and 11 TD’s. That’s cruelty.
Week 16 Lions 41-14 Bucs (9-6) I have a feeling by this point in the season, Fat Patricia will be one of the first Head Coaches fired and the Lions will be staffed by Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell. The Bucs will be playing a team with a wounded ego ready to be put down like Old Yeller.
Week 17 Falcons 28-3 Bucs (10-6) Bucs fight hard to squeak into the playoffs, their first appearance since 2007.
Final Projection: Bucs win wild card, lose in the Divisional Round

Projected Starting Lineup & Analysis: Offense

QB- Tom Brady: See above analysis. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 4,438 yards, 67.1% completion percentage, 33 TD’s, 13 INT’s
WR1 – Mike Evans: At only 26 years old, Mike Evans already sits at 128th all-time on the career receiving yards list, and has a chance to pass [checks notes] Michael Crabtree on the all-time list this season. In every season in the league, Evans has surpassed 1,000 yards and has become a hallmark of consistency, even with the suspect supporting cast around him. Having an accurate QB for the first time in his career will be a huge benefits to Evans. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 70 receptions, 1,213 yards, 6 TD’s
WR2 – Chris Godwin: Godwin had a brilliant breakout last season, earning 2nd Team All-Pro honors (that probably would have been 1st team had his season not been cut short by injury). While Evans might be the bigger threat, Godwin is among the most complete receivers in the league. A fantastic route runner with sure hands—and perhaps his most overlooked quality is his blocking. Find me a WR who does it better right now. You won’t. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 77 receptions, 1,387 yards, 7 TD’s
RB – Ronald Jones: RB is one of the few positions where fans can reasonably expect instant production from a player when he transitions from the college ranks to the pros. As a rookie, RoJo was a mega dud who could barely find the field in the Koetter era. He took a huge step forward in year 2 (724 yards, 4.2 ypc) but still often disappeared in games and lacked the pass protection skills that are so necessary in Arians’ offense. RoJo will have Vaughn to take off some of his workload, but I still see RoJo as one of the weakest links on an otherwise complete offense. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 808 Rushing yards (4.2 YPC), 5 TD’s
TE – Rob Gronkowski: See above analysis. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 41 receptions, 614 yards, 6 TD’s
LT – Donovan Smith: Donovan Smith provides as much protection as Jeffrey Epstein’s guards when he was on suicide watch. While Tom Brady tends to release the ball far faster than Winston, the Arians offense designed for Brady better be getting the ball out fast. 43 year old QB’s aren’t meant to take the kinds of hits Winston did. Let’s hope that Tristan Wirfs is able to prove himself a viable option on the left side. We’ll be able to get out of Donovan Smith’s contract after this season with no cap ramifications. On a side note, there’s a decent change Donovan Smith will opt out of his contract due to Covid concerns. And I wouldn’t blame him one bit.
LG – Ali Marpet: Marpet continues to be the most reliable piece of our OL. Like Lavonte, a continually unheralded player who you can rely on to go toe-to-toe with the league’s best interior DL while manhandling the dregs of the NFL. I thought last season would be Marpet’s shot at a 2nd Team All-Pro, but he was passed over once again. Love Marpet.
C – Ryan Jensen: Jensen’s first year with the team was free agent bust material. He seemed to thrive more in the Arians offense and we saw marked improvement in all facets of his game last year. Overpaid for his value? Definitely. Living up more and more to the contract we gave him? Yup.
RG – Alex Cappa: When Jason Licht rolled the dice on small school Humboldt State product Alex Cappa, he may have been expecting the next Ali Marpet. In his first full season as a starter, there were things to be encouraged by and I’m a little more bullish on Cappa than most of the fan base. Though he allowed 31 pressures on 562 pass snaps (roughly 6% pressure rate), I saw Cappa’s confidence growing as the season went on. His third season will tell us what his true ceiling in this league is. Right now, his floor isn’t Garrett Gilkey, but his ceiling ain’t Earl Grey.
RT – Tristan Wirfs: See above analysis.

Projected Starting Lineup & Analysis: Defense

EDGE – Sack Ferret: The Sack Ferret was brought on a 1 year, $4 million deal last season. I predicted he’d be a 5.5 sack guy and then probably hit free agency again. Just like we all expected, he went off and led the league in sacks with 19.5 (more than his previous five years in the league combined) and earned himself the franchise tag. Barrett has quickly become a fan favorite, and while I don’t see him replicating his majestic 2019 season, I still think he’ll be the same terror he’s been off the edge. Probably wrong projected stats: 12.5 sacks.
0-Tech - Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea: Running on the Buccaneers in 2019 was damn near impossible, so much so that the team only allowed 73.8 rushing yards per game. That success started up front with Vita Vea, who has quickly emerged as the league’s top 0-tech. Unfortunately, like his forefathers in Vince Wilfork and Casey Hampton, he’s likely to spend his career as a valuable defensive cog who receives few to no career accolades due to the “unsexiness” of being a two-gap space eating defender. So NFL, here’s a homework assignment for you. Watch Vea on All-22 if you have some time while on Covid lockdown. You will see one of the most absurdly athletic big men in the league who is your definition of immovable object. His progress last year was a joy to watch and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite players. Oh, and he’s the best TE on the Bucs. By far. Probably wrong projected stats: 2.5 sacks, 2 receiving TD’s.
5-Tech – Ndamukong Suh: We brought Suh back on another 1 year deal. No, he’s not the player he once was (he’s even refrained from curbstomping genitals in Tampa…so far), but his attitude he sets on the field has been a welcome change compared to the namby-pamby milquetoasts on our DL from the past. Suh’s value will come mostly in the run game. His sack producing days are long gone. Probably wrong projected stats: 3.5 sacks.
EDGE – Jason Pierre-Paul: It’s [checks notes] August, and Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t had an offseason accident. Praise the football Gods. Despite starting in only 8 games last year due to a serious auto accident, JPP managed 8.5 sacks. At 31, father time hasn’t quite caught up with him yet. Probably wrong projected stats: 9.5 sacks.
ILB – Lavonte David: The good part of Lavonte David bouncing inside last season to Will is that he no longer got grouped in the same bucket as sack-producing 3-4 OLB’s who beat him out for All-Pro nods nearly every year. Even at 30, Lavonte only seems to be getting better, and his instincts and smarts continue to essential to the defense. Though Lavonte is one half of the Mike tandem and has been one of the league’s best LB’s’ for all of 8 seasons, I don’t think he’s going to be the centerpiece stud. Keep Devin White’s name at the forefront of your mind, which leads me to... Probably wrong projected stats: 3.5 sacks, 3 INT’s
ILB – Devin “Get Live 45” White: If you’ve read any of my posts here for the last 5+ years, you would see I don’t take a blind homer approach with player evaluation. Not once have I predicted a Buccaneer would win the MVP award, nor have I predicted a Buccaneer would win DPOY. In fact, only once have I ever predicted we’d be a playoff team. Now that preamble is done, let me say it outright: Devin White is going to win Defensive Player of the Year in Year 2. What? Mikes never win, you say. And you’d be mostly correct. In fact, Vegas odds don’t even have Devin White listed in their top 10. Here’s what I saw from Devin White in the last half of his rookie season: an absolutely insane nose for forcing the fumble, excellent pass rush abilities, and smarts that put him in the backfield often before the RB even had the ball in his hands. I saw enough from him to believe his leap in year 2 is going to be similar to that of Luke Kuechly’s where he won DPOY in his second year in the league. Wherever the ball is, Devin White will be there. You’re going to see one of the league’s dominant defensive enforcers for a long, long time. Probably wrong projected stats: 6.0 sacks, 5 INT’s, 6 FF’s.
FS – Antoine Winfield Jr.: See above analysis. I think we’re also going to see Justin Evans get cut Probably wrong projected stats: 2.0 sacks, 2 INT’s
SS – Jordan Whitehead: Jordan White is the most underrated player on the Buccaneers defense, in my eyes. No, not Lavonte, because people talk about how underrated he is all the time to the point he’s not so underrated anymore. Whitehead’s mistakes went down drastically last year and he has a knack for being where the football is. Really like him and could see some big plays from him this season. Probably wrong projected stats: 1.0 sacks, 3 INT’s
CB – Carlton Davis: Bruce Arians doesn’t give empty praise, but he recently called Carlton Davis a top ten CB in the league, an assessment I’m inclined to agree with. He was battle tested big time in year 2, getting targeted 105 times and only allowing 52.4% of those balls thrown his way to be completed. He was able to shadow the best, and his 18 pass breakups are indicative of a guy with great awareness. And the funny thing is, he’s not even the CB I’m highest on with this roster. Probably wrong projected stats: 4 INT’s
CB – Jamel Dean: For a guy who came in as a 3rd round rookie, Dean exceeded expectations and then some. His first game as a starter came against the Seahawks, there’s no sugarcoating it—he got owned. But what I saw was a guy who stayed stride for stride with his receiver with little help over the top. By the end of his rookie season, he was looking like a shutdown corner. This is the CB I’m most excited for in 2020. Kid’s got a bright future. Probably wrong projected stats: 3 INT’s
CB – Sean Murphy-Bunting: When I’m wrong, I admit I’m helluh wrong, and with Murphy-Bunting, I was helluh wrong. Yes, it’s been only one season and things could still go south, but I was baffled when we passed on Greedy Williams in favor of SMB.

Non-Buccaneer Predictions for the Season

  1. My 2018 breakout player prediction was Patrick Mahomes. Last year, it was Joshua Jacobs and Corey Davis (oops). This year, you need to watch J.K. Dobbins (rookie, Baltimore), N’Keal Harry (2nd year, NE). Perhaps not a true breakout, but I think Calvin Ridley will surpass 1,000 yards and become an even bigger complement to Julio Jones.
  2. MVP will go to Russ Wilson. DPOY will go to Devin White (and if you’ve been reading these posts long enough you know I don’t usually go the homer approach). OPOY will go to Patrick Mahomes. COTY will go to Cliff Kingsbury.
  3. The NFC Championship will be played between the 49ers and the Cowboys. The Cowboys will win. The AFC Championship will be played between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. The Chiefs will win. The Chiefs will repeat in the Super Bowl, defeating the Cowboys.
  4. Last year I wrote: “Sam Darnold isn’t going to amount to much as an NFL QB. Not this year, and probably not ever.” I’ll repeat it this year too. But let me add one guy to that list: Tua Tagovailoa.
  5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire isn’t the superstar you think he is. I think his career will wind up like Joseph Addai’s: a guy who had a few flash in the pan seasons but never among the top backs. That’s not a bad thing, I would just cool expectations on him.
  6. The teams with the highest potential to land a top 5 pick, in no particular order: Lions, Jaguars, the Washington Football team (I feel like an idiot even typing that), Bears, Jets. Dark Horse: Eagles.
  7. Coaches who have the hottest seats: Fat Patricia, Dan Quinn, Adam Gase, Doug Marrone, Bill O’Brien (as coach and GM).


Shoutouts to my fellow mods on Buccaneers and NFL. It's a pleasure working with you all every day and shooting the shit with dank memes. And of course, much love to platypusofdeath who puts an insane amount of work into this series every year. Thank you for all you do.
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