What EDG’s Loss Means for Group C

So, unless you were living under a rock during day one of Worlds, you probably heard that Brazil’s INTZ pulled off potentially the biggest upset in World’s history by knocking off China’s number one seed, EDward Gaming.

And this wasn’t just a fluke win on a miracle Baron steal. This was INTZ dismantling a team that didn’t drop a series for the entirety of the Summer Split in China. The Brazilian wildcard won through the same strategy they employed throughout most of the year, through jungler Revolta providing pressure for top laner Yang, ensuring that he had a sizable advantage coming out of the lane phase.

Yang played like an absolute monster with the lead Revolta set up for him; he finished the game 3.9 thousand gold ahead of EDG’s top laner, Mouse. He used that lead to deal the most damage to champions of any player in the game, finishing with 29.5 thousand damage dealt in a 6/2/7 performance on Gnar.

EDG threatened to make comebacks throughout, winning multiple fights due to mid-laner PawN’s sneaky flanks on Vladimir while the INTZ team was spread out.  However, following a key three-for-one fight around the 33-minute mark, resulting from a pick onto EDG’s Clearlove, the Brazilian team ended up getting their second baron of the game; this allowed them to take an inhibitor, which led to an Elder Dragon, which finally ended up being the nail in the coffin for EDG.

With this being just the first day of Worlds, there are still plenty of games left for teams to overcome a first game mishap. But EDG was seen as a team that would run through their group without a problem, maybe dropping a game to H2k or AHQ if they had a bad showing. However, a loss to INTZ was something that nobody in the league scene expected, even the analysts (and thus the EDG sandbagging memes have been reborn).

So here’s what EDG’s loss and INTZ’s victory means for Group C…

What it means for EDG Themselves…

It shows that they can’t afford to sleep on any team, and can’t expect the same strategies that got them to Worlds to work on the international stage. EDG’s bottom lane, Deft and Meiko, are considered by many as the best bottom lane in the world, and they showed that throughout the regular season. Honestly, Deft, Meiko, and PawN were the only ones holding together that game against INTZ. Jungler Clearlove, who analysts also consider one of the best in the world, spent much of his time in the bottom lane to give Deft and Meiko all of the resources they’d need to carry the game. This often leaves Mouse to fend for himself in the top lane. INTZ showed that this can be exploited by a talented and aggressive top-jungle combo.

It’ll be interesting to see if the other teams in Group C, H2k and AHQ, will try to implement a similar strategy against the Chinese powerhouse, or if EDG will take steps to counter this strategy in future games. The junglers for both AHQ and H2k, Mountain and Jankos, are also known for their early aggression on the map, with Jankos participating in over 81% of his team’s kills during the Summer Split, and Mountain’s performance being the primary reason for AHQ’s success at the LMS regional qualifiers. With that said, H2k looked very lost in its macro play against AHQ, slowly hemorrhaging an early-game lead through a series of picks in the mid-game.

What it means for INTZ…

Teams will no longer be sleeping on them as a wildcard team. With the success of past wildcard seeds, especially from Brazil, INTZ should not have been slept on. But I think most people were considering this mainly from the perspective of H2k and AHQ, who were seen as the teams competing for second place in the group (with EDG being the number one). INTZ looked stronger than H2k did against better competition with the gold lead they acquired early. INTZ did a better job of getting deep vision within EDG’s jungle and using it to determine whether Revolta and Yang could generate another pick onto Mouse, and turn that into an objective.

What it means for H2k…

In contrast to INTZ, H2k didn’t get any wards into AHQ’s jungle with their early tower lead. This allowed AHQ to generate some key picks on Forgiven and Ryu, allowing them to break down H2k’s outer ring of turrets and begin their comeback. In their game against INTZ tomorrow, they will have to ensure that Jankos and Odoamne can compete against Yang and Revolta in the laning phase. As we saw back in H2k’s playoff series against Splyce, Odoamne can be incredibly dominant when given the chance to succeed, but can also be pushed around when being consistently camped by the enemy jungler. On paper, H2k should still have the advantage here, and they should do well to remember that and keep their confidence up. It comes down primarily to their macro-level execution during the mid game, which proved to be their downfall against AHQ.

What it means for AHQ…

They need to continue to look to improve on their early game play. EDG, and even INTZ (if their first game was any indication), will not make the same macro mistakes in the mid-game that allowed AHQ to claw their way back into game one vs. H2k. Mountain should look to employ the same strategy that INTZ executed against EDG, get top lane ahead, and have that success flow into the bottom lane to disrupt Deft and Meiko. An and Albis were at a sizeable deficit in the laning phase against Forgiven and Vander, whereas Deft and Meiko straight up killed micaO and Jockster in a 2v2. Deft would certainly have run away with the game if Revolta didn’t initiate a 3v2 dive in the bottom lane a little after six minutes. Mountain has been the key to this team’s success since the regional matches, and he’ll have to continue to step up big if he wants to lead his team out of the now very interesting Group C. It should give Mountain confidence, however, that Clearlove appeared to be off his game against INTZ, not ever being in a position to help out his top lane or snowball his bottom lane in the early game.

I still think EDG will recover and win the group, but it now leaves a lot of questions open concerning the second place spot in the group. But it now begs the question of how strong they are in the spectrum of Worlds in its entirety? While ROX also exhibited some early game miscues, they quickly recovered and steamrolled their wildcard seed, Albus Nox Luna. Many people see EDG as one of the favorites to play the tournament favorite ROX Tigers in the Finals. We’ll see if this game causes analysts to change their tunes after week one of groups concludes.

Image result for intz

Brazil’s INTZ threw a major wrench in the Group C dynamic, upsetting the clear favorite EDward Gaming on the first day of games. Photo courtesy of intz.com

LCS Weekly 9/30/16

LCS Weekly is now a VOD! Check out the YouTube channel, ,to see Rob and Alex as they discuss Worlds!
You can also watch Alex and Rob live as they record the podcast on Rob’s or Alex’s Twitch channel, Twitch.tv/rorb23, or Twitch.tv/k1llerkeller. Be sure to ‘Follow’ them to know whenever they’re going live to record, or just to play some games for you!”

If NFL Players Were Presidential Candidates

With the 2016 Presidential election just around the corner, I figured it was time that we compare NFL players to politicians…while politics are still relevant.  Everyone has their own views on politicians, but hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll see that they’re just like some of our favorite football players.  Whether we fight on the gridiron or on the podium, let’ get started.

 

Richard Sherman is the Donald Trump of the NFL.  They’re both loud and egotistical and claim they’re “the best” at what they do.  Sherman says he’s the best cornerback in the game and Trump says he’s the best businessman, presidential candidate, and human being there ever was.  They also each come from an experienced background.  Sherman maintained an excellent GPA at Stanford University and Trump created many jobs and has had much success as a real estate businessman.  These two bullies trash talk an insane amount as well.  The one caveat is that Sherman isn’t as disliked nationwide as Trump, I think?

Image result for Richard ShermanImage result for donald trump

 

 

Tom Brady is the Hillary Clinton of the NFL.  Alleged lies galore.  Tom, you did deflate those balls.  You did know about it, and you are a cheater.  And Hillary, you know you meant to use a private email to hide secret State Department information.  You did know about it, and you are a cheater.

Image result for tom brady lieImage result for hillary clinton lie

 

 

Colin Kaepernick is the Bernie Sanders of the NFL.  Interesting hair styles for these two to say the least.  All Bernie has stressed to us time and time again is how certain groups of people are treated unfairly in the United States and that that needs to improve.  All Kaepernick has emphasized during his sudden resurgence of fame is how our nation doesn’t represent the liberty and justice for all like it’s supposed to.  Both of these men stand for equality and they also attract the much younger crowd.

Image result for colin kaepernick sitImage result for bernie sanders

 

 

Kirk Cousins is the Barack Obama of the NFL.  Okay, here me out on this one.  They each took over for someone who was arguably disliked more than them (Robert Griffin III and George Bush); they each created their own catchphrase or slogan (“You Like That!” and “Yes We Can!”); they’re each the captain of their team or leader of their nation; and they’ve each mentioned about 50 times how they’re either looking to get better or how things have gotten better under their reign.  Wow, that’s four similarities!

Image result for kirk cousins you like thatImage result for obama yes we can

 

 

Eli Manning is the Jeb Bush of the NFL.  You ever notice how each of them always have that little boy whining look on their face?  Not to mention, they each have an older brother who was arguably better at their respective jobs.  Jeb didn’t win the primary while George Bush was president for two terms.  In a slight difference, Eli (somehow) beat the Patriots twice in the Super Bowl, but just as Bush won the nomination two times, Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl two times as well.  Furthermore, because of 9/11, George Bush won two very different elections for our nation in 2001 and 2004.  Speaking of difference, Peyton won the Super Bowl with two different teams, the only quarterback to do so.

Image result for eli manning faceImage result for jeb bush face

 

 

Tony Romo is the Gary Johnson of the NFL.  Some love him and some hate him, but Gary Johnson still remains relatively unknown among third party candidates.  Similarly, you either love Romo or hate him and he seems like he’s never around either because of his recent injury bug.

Image result for tony romoImage result for gary johnson

 

 

Martavis Bryant is the Ben Carson of the NFL.  Bryant is suspended for one year for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and Carson looked like he was abusing some substance during every debate this past year.  I mean every time I look at Carson I feel like I don’t know if he’s just high or if I’m getting high from just looking at him.  Cheap shot?  Probably.

Image result for martavis bryant weedImage result for ben carson

 

 

Allen Hurns is the Jill Stein of the NFL because he came out of nowhere, didn’t receive much press and is now performing well on a losing team.  Jill Stein came onto the scene in 2012 seemingly out of nowhere, didn’t receive much attention, and performed well on a platform that will never win the presidential election.  Poor Jaguars and poor Green Party.

Image result for allen hurnsImage result for jill stein

 

 

Johnny Manziel is the Ted Cruz of the NFL because they have very similar faces and egos. Need I say more?

Image result for johnny manzielImage result for ted cruz

 

Whether they’re deflating balls or using private emails, fighting for extra yards or for extra bucks, signing four year deals or serving four year terms, our NFL players and Presidential candidates are more similar than one may think. while this is true, one decides the victory on Sundays and the other decides the direction of the United States.  Small difference there.  This November, we have a very important decision to make as Kirk Cousins leaves office and Richard Sherman and Tom Brady square off for POTUS.  If that’s not potentially scary then I don’t know what is.  And with that, happy cheering and happy voting.

Stanford v. Washington Preview

On Friday night, the Washington Huskies get their first test at home against the Stanford Cardinal. This is one of the three Top 10 matchup during Week five of College Football.

This game has the possibility to be one of the most explosive of the weekend.

John Froschauer/ AP

John Froschauer/ AP

The Washington Huskies’ offense features one of the great passing attacks in college football. Quarterback Jake Browning is tied for third most touchdown passes in college football so far. His passing offense is one of the more efficient passing attacks in college football. The Huskies have completed 71.4% of their passes, which is fifth in the nation. They are also second in the nation in quarterback rating.

Who have the Huskies played this year? They have not played a defense ranked higher than 61st in points per game, but that will change on Friday. The Huskies will play host to a Stanford defense that ranks eighth in points allowed.

That will be a deciding force in the game on Friday. It won’t be how great Christian McCaffrey is, because McCaffrey is usually lights out when the lights are the brightest. The difference will be if the Cardinal defense can get to the Browning and disrupt the passing game of the Huskies. If the Stanford defense shuts down the passing game and make the Huskies run the ball, it will be an easier game for Stanford on the road.

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Stanford should escape Washington with a win because of this important stat: Since the 2010 season, both Washington and Stanford have played 23 ranked Pac-12 teams. Washington record against those opponents is 6-17. While, Stanford’s record is 17-6 against those teams.

Stanford is coming into this game with really good big game experience, while Washington’s big game experience is not too good in the recent past. David Shaw knows how to get his troops ready for a big game. And we have seen him do it countless times inside and outside of the Pac-12. Washington’s head coach, Chris Peterson, has good big game experience, but it was at Boise State, not Washington.

Washington is a team on the rise, but I will go ahead and go with the team that has done it before. So, I am picking Stanford to beat Washington in a close contest.

Stanford beats Washington 35-28.

 

The Implications of an Overwatch League

At this point, if you follow professional Overwatch, you’ve heard the news. An Overwatch League is incoming, and it’ll be handled by OGN, the team responsible for the LCK and numerous Starcraft events. Whatever your thoughts are about OGN, the League format is a change to the game that will push it into maturation and has many pros and cons following it, which is something that any fan of Overwatch and E-Sports in general should observe. For the sake of optimism and happiness, we’ll start with the pro’s.

 

The Pro’s

 

Enhanced Exposure: This is probably the most obvious of the pluses for the format. A league means a schedule, and a schedule means the game and teams involved are easier to follow, allowing for more people to watch it, since it ensures that it’ll always be aired at the same time in the same place. More than just enhanced exposure for the League, it’s also more exposure for the teams. You can always watch, for example, CJ Entus play as long as they’re in the League, and people will turn up a lot of the time to see their favorite team play.

 

Easier Regulation: One of the more important points, regulation means total control of how the League is played. This is such a big point because of how much influence an organization like OGN has on E-Sports in general. The way that OGN regulates it’s league is undoubtedly going to have a large effect on how non-league games are played. For example, if OGN decides that every game will be a best of five, expect to see more B05’s in non OGN games in the future. That’s just a small example, this could extend to things like rules, map setups and player bans (Though hopefully we don’t see many banned players).

 

A Possibly Safe Environment For Teams: This one is a little bit harder to explain without context, luckily for us, the LCS exists. Take a look at it, a normal League format with relegation. The thing about that format is that the teams that are relegated are sent to the challenger league, where there isn’t much money, save for the possible A-League (LCS) slot. This means that investors have their pockets hit the moment the team they invested in gets relegated. This OGN run League has the opportunity to prevent this same dynamic and that means a safer environment for the teams, organizations and investors.

 

The Ability To Foster New Talent: This is directly entwined with my previous point. Because of the possibility of a safe environment for the organizations involved, it’s less risky to put newer players in the game as they rise in prominence. In a world in which teams aren’t basically told to disband for a bad season (My American bias is leaking) it’s far less punishing to put in new players to help them gain experience and strengthen them for future use, either by the team in question, or a future team. Regardless of what team they play in, this strengthens the entire League as a result, leading to better teams and a better viewing experience.

 

Improved Spectator Programs and UI: I know there’s going to be someone who defends the spectator UI until their dying breath, but I’m here to say, for many people, it’s really really bad. A league would give more games, and as such, plenty of data to look at and investigate how to better the spectator experience. The game is fast, and that’s not going to change, but I’d look to Counter Strike to prove that a game can have a lot of action and be fast paced and still be a breeze to follow. It’s just a matter of having the technology to do it.

 

Better Practice Tools: The existence of an Overwatch League, and it’s subsequent success would cause Blizzard to create more and better practice tools. With another sandbox fallout having already occurred for a different popular game it’s unlikely that sandbox mode would be held away from Overwatch will people play it at it’s highest level consistently, and the more tools with which to improve, the better for everyone who plays.

 

The Cons

 

The Possibility of Bad Management: This is the other side of easier regulation, and probably the biggest possible negative to a league. Bad management kills leagues, and kills the enthusiasm for them altogether. For example, there are people who just don’t watch LCS anymore since learning that the organizations involved aren’t treated well enough. Bad management is a pretty umbrella concern. If the teams aren’t able to monetize, that’s bad management, if the issues about how the game is played or viewed aren’t addressed (If there are no soundproof booths or production value is lacking) that is bad management or if decisions are made to kill tools that strengthen regions (Such as sister teams in League of Legends) that is bad management. All of those things would be awful, and even worse, since Overwatch OGN has a separate League’s bad publicity to learn from. One might even call it a quite Legendary League.

 

A Possible Weakening of the Scene Outside of Korea: This isn’t an OGN centric issue, so much as a concern about the result of having a League in general. With so many teams in what will probably quickly become a quite competitive League, the teams not in it will be left behind. This means that teams within the League will simply become powerhouses, and tournaments that aren’t OGN would be stomps for the teams within that League. We’ve seen it with OGN LoL, for those of us that watched it. The Korean League had Best of 3’s for years before North America, or China got them, (Europe still doesn’t have them) and as a result they couldn’t be touched for a long time, once team infrastructure began to develop. A massive concern would be that this happened again in Overwatch, causing the game to become hard to watch, or for some, not worth watching outside of the OGN League due to the difference in strength of the teams involved.

 

 

We’ve reached the end of our list, and while there are more positives than negatives, it’s important to realize exactly how damning those negatives can be if not addressed properly. However, with so few really large negatives in mind, it’s worth noting that OGN and Blizzard have a massive opportunity with this League, OGN gets it’s foot in the door with another massive E-Sports title, and Blizzard becomes a huge contender in the E-Sports market, something they had going for them once, and then never again for a long time.

 

What do you think of this list? Is there something you would add or argue against? Let me know in the comments below or come yell directly at my face on twitter @TirasCarr

Hagan’s Haus NFL Picks (Week 4)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Last week was absolutely horrible. The weeks picks were ,by far, my worst week of predictions this season. On a positive note, I perfectly predicted the Cowboys would win 31-17 against the Bears and that was precisely what happened. It was a minor bright spot in an otherwise abysmal week of picks. Also, allow me take this moment to apologize to Eagles fans. I was wrong to say the Eagles would finish last in the division. They certainly will not and also I apologize for not giving Carson Wentz the credit he deserves. He is the real deal and may even be the rookie of the year.

Week 4 features the first bye week of the current NFL season and the Packers and Eagles will be the two teams on a bye. This means there will be only 15 games this week and less room for error. Here are my picks in the NFL for week four.

Last Week: 7-8

Season: 26-20

Thursday Night

(http://steelerswire.usatoday.com/2015/10/28/steelers-bengals-nfl-week-8-aj-green-steelers-secondary-matchups/)

(http://steelerswire.usatoday.com/2015/10/28/steelers-bengals-nfl-week-8-aj-green-steelers-secondary-matchups/)

Miami 24 @ Cincinnati 28: Miami struggled against the Browns last week. They don’t look like a good football team and Ryan Tannehill looks like he has taken a step back. On a short week it will be tough for the Dolphins to go into Cincinnati and win. Look for Cincinnati to get back in the win column after a tough game against Denver.

Sunday Morning

Indianapolis 31 @ Jacksonville 34: Jacksonville has surprised me this season and not in a positive way. I am totally shocked they are 0-3 after three games. Jacksonville can still turn their season around by winning this divisional game at home. The Colts sit at 1-2 and haven’t looked all that impressive so far. Their secondary is decimated by injury and Blake Bortles should be able to have a big day at home and get the Jags their first win of the season.

Detroit 34 @ Chicago 35: Will anybody actually pay to go watch this snoozer? The Lions can’t play any defense and the Bears can’t stop a bloody nose. Honestly, the Lions have looked better than the Bears so far this season but Chicago has to find a game to win. This is their chance to win a game against a weak divisional opponent at home. If they don’t win this game they can definitely being to look at that number one overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

(Cam Newton beats Atlanta's Thomas DeCoud to the end zone (AP photo)

(Cam Newton beats Atlanta’s Thomas DeCoud to the end zone (AP photo)

Carolina 34 @ Atlanta 22: The Panthers struggled offensively against the Vikings because of their pass rush. The Falcons do not have a pass rush to be afraid of. The Falcons have been impressive on offense but we all know the Panthers have a great defense. The Panthers will get back to their winning ways on the road in Atlanta.

Oakland 27 @ Baltimore 20: Oakland is a good football team with a great head coach in Jack Del Rio. They will have to win 10 or 11 games to keep pace in their division and this is a game they are capable of winning. The Ravens are one of five undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, but are not as good as their record would indicate. Their opponents combined record is 1-8 as they’ve beaten the Bills, Browns and Jaguars. The Raiders will be their toughest test so far and the Raiders will deal the Ravens their first loss of the season.

Tennessee 13 @ Houston 18: The Texans get a pass for last weeks’ loss. Playing the Patriots on a short week is a loss for most teams in the NFL. The Texans still have a great defense and many explosive weapons on offense that should get them this win within the AFC South. The Titans also have a great defense but their offense holds them back.

Buffalo 16 @ New England 22: Do I have to give any more of a reason for the Patriots to win this game other than the fact that Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL? The Bills got a huge upset win in week three, but that doesn’t make me a believer in them. It certainly doesn’t mean they are going to beat the Patriots on the road. Anything can happen, but the Patriots will find a way to win.

(http://www.chainimage.com/image/seattle-seahawks-players)

(http://www.chainimage.com/image/seattle-seahawks-players)

Seattle 17 @ New York (J) 13 : Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of his best games in week two throwing for 374 yards and a touchdown while committing zero turnovers. He followed that performance up by throwing six interceptions against the Chiefs. That is what you get with Fitzpatrick. For the Jets to beat the Seahawks, he’s going to have to be spectacular. He won’t, and the Seahawks get a cross country road win.

Cleveland 23 @ Washington 21: Terrelle Pryor said the Browns have one of the best teams in the NFL. Hopefully he was drug tested because they definitely do not. They did have a chance to win last week, but their kicker missed a field goal as time expired and eventually lost in overtime. The Redskins got a huge road win last week against the archival Giants. The problem is they are 0-2 at home and the Browns are desperate for a win. The Browns will get an upset for one of their few wins of the season because the Redskins are not a good team at home thus far.

Sunday Afternoon

(http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/broncos/2016/08/29/trevor-siemian-denver-quarterback-northwestern/89508068/)

(USA Today)

Denver 27 @ Tampa Bay 17: The Broncos surprisingly keep rolling even behind a seventh round quarterback that few thought could be a NFL starter. The reason they keep rolling is because of that Super Bowl defense. As long as they continue to play lights out on defense they will continue to win games. The Buccaneers were picked by many to be a playoff team but they do not look it. They are in shootouts every week and with Denver coming to town they won’t have enough offense to win this one.

Los Angeles 17 @ Arizona 24: This game is hard for me to pick. The Rams have looked pretty decent over the past two weeks and the Cardinals dropped a surprising game to the Bills. The Cardinals are not as good this year as they were last year. They may make the playoffs but they aren’t going to the conference championship. They should win this west coast battle in the desert this week though.

New Orleans 37 @ San Diego 34: I don’t know which of these teams is worse. This game could see 100 combined points. Both teams have struggled defensively but have put up points. The Chargers rank third in points per game with 29 and the Saints are tied for ninth with 26.3 points per game. I think New Orleans will find a way to get their first win of the season.

Dallas 27 @ San Fransisco 21: This game will be much closer than people expect. The 49ers are an average team that is just missing a good quarterback. Dallas is rolling behind rookies Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott. That should continue in this one and the Cowboys will be forced to consider never starting Tony Romo again.

Sunday Night

(http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/_/id/15825/leveon-bell)

(http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/_/id/15825/leveon-bell)

Kansas City 27 @ Pittsburgh 31: Kansas City is going to fight in every game but I’m starting to think they will finish third in the AFC West behind the Broncos and Raiders. The Steelers dropped a shocker to the Eagles. The biggest surprise was that they got blown out by the Eagles. I expect Mike Tomlin to get this team more prepared this week and it helps La’Veon Bell will be back in this one. The Steelers win at home in week four.

Monday Night

(http://cover32.com/2016/09/13/week-one-reaction-minnesota-vikings-tennessee-titans/)

(http://cover32.com/2016/09/13/week-one-reaction-minnesota-vikings-tennessee-titans/)

 

 

 

New York 6 (G) @ Minnesota 20: The Minnesota Vikings are the best team in the NFC. Their defense is a Super Bowl caliber defense. Mike Zimmer should already be the favorite for coach of the year. The Giants offense will struggle in this game. Eli  Manning has typically been horrific in his career against the Vikings. In seven career games against the Vikings, Eli Manning has 122 completions, 244 attempts, 1,445 yards, five touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He will continue to struggle in this one.

Rays of Hope For Every 0-3 Team

Three weeks into the NFL season, the playoffs are likely a pipe dream for fans of the four 0-3 teams, but I am going to do something I do not normally do, be an optimist. Here are rays of hope for each winless team.

Browns (they play hard) – Believe me, I am the last guy that will ever believe in “participation trophies” and “moral victories” in sports. The fact is the Browns have been and will be overmatched in every game they play this season. Despite that, they have been in each of their three games almost right to the wire. They missed three field goals in their overtime loss to Miami on Sunday. It does not take a rocket scientist to do that math. They have some really nice speed on offense. Terrelle Pryor has taken to wide receiver like a duck takes to water. He has made at least one big play in each game this season. It also helps the new head coach Hue Jackson is an eternal opti

photo from en.wikipedia.org

photo from en.wikipedia.org

mist, a necessary quality when you are the head coach of the Browns. The quarterback carousel will continue to hamper this team. However, I do not know who will be, but Cleveland will upset the apple cart for some contending team out there this season.

 

Saints (Brees gives them a chance in every game) – New Orleans has scored 30+ points in two of their three games. Yet, they remain winless. I do not care how slanted towards offense the rules are, that should never happen. It looked like they were playing about six guys on defense Monday against Atlanta. At one point, they gave up touchdowns on five straight drives, but that is not the fault of their quarterback. Drew Brees threw for 376 yards, three scores, and just one interception Monday night. There is not a coach in this league who would not take that every week from their signal caller. Assuming Brees remains himself, they have a shot to finish .500 and can beat anyone. The question is can the defense get stops with any kind of regularity and will the current regime stay in place beyond this season?

Bears (they have the right coach) – This was my sleeper playoff team in 2016 (ridiculous I know). Their season has been disaster from the word go. 15 of 53 players have already spent time on the injury report. Quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Jeremy Langford, and linebacker Danny Trevathan are all on the shelf for an extended period of time. The Bears now have guys in key spots that just are not ready for an NFL field yet. This can happen when you have a young roster they gets hurt by injuries. The good news for Bears fans is John Fox. He inherited dumpster fires in both Carolina and Denver. He had both franchises back in the playoffs within two years, including reaching the Super Bowl once with each. This is only year two for Fox in Chicago. Granted, it is going horribly wrong, but no man can turn water into wine. The key for the Bears franchise is to give Fox is enough time to build the team he wants. In the modern NFL, this is no given. Hopefully the Bears will realize how poorly firing a coach and his staff every two years has worked out for organizations like the Browns and Raiders in recent years.

photo from sportsmockery.com

photo from sportsmockery.com

Jaguars (I still like the offense) – This was the toughest team to come up with a positive for. Blake Bortles was supposed to lead this franchise back to relevance in 2016, but it has been more of the same. With Bortles, Alan Hearns, T.J. Yeldon, Julius Thomas, and Allen Robinson, there is still plenty of young talent on offense that excites me. Unlike the Bears though, I believe Jacksonville does not have the right coach. Ever since Gus Bradley got there, they have been plagued by incredibly slow starts. Since he took over in 2013, they are at the bottom of the league in first quarter points. The Jags always seem to make a push, but it is hard to win many games when you are down by multiple possessions in the first quarter every week. The players have shown flashes of talent while creating their trademark late game drama. Thus, I am not ready to blame them yet Bortles threw for over 30 touchdowns last year. Someone has to take the blame for all the good numbers and talent not resulting in wins. It will not be long before Bradley takes the fall. Interestingly, he plays in the London game this week. Head coaches have been fired after poor performances in the London game each of the last two years.

photo from zambio.com

photo from zambio.com

 

If you are a fan of one of these teams, I hope this has brightened your day.

The Third and The Don NFL Picks Week Four

Joe DiTullio and Cecil Walker (Personalities on the Third and the Don Football Show) make their picks for the week four match-ups.

Away TeamHome TeamJoeCecil
Miami DolphinsCincinnati BengalsBengalsBengals
Indianapolis ColtsJacksonville JaguarsColtsJags
Tennessee TitansHouston TexansTexansTexans
Cleveland BrownsWashington RedskinsBrowns (Upset Pick)Redskins
Seattle SeahawksNew York JetsSeahawksJets
Buffalo BillsNew England PatriotsPatriotsPatriots
Carolina PanthersAtlanta FalconsPanthersPanthers
Oakland RaidersBaltimore RavensRavensRavens
Detroit LionsChicago BearsLionsLions
Denver BroncosTampa Bay BuccaneersBroncosBroncos
Dallas CowboysSan Francisco 49ersCowboysCowboys
St. Louis RamsArizona CardinalsCardinalsCardinals
New Orleans SaintsSan Diego ChargersChargersChargers
Kansas City ChiefsPittsburgh SteelersSteelersSteelers
New York GiantsMinnesota VikingsVikingsVikings
Season Total3028
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