NFL week 3 picks

Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 3

Week Two Review (3-0) Overall: 5-1

Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)

Final: Chiefs 27 Eagles 20

Andy Reid remains perfect against his former team. Kareem Hunt continues to amaze everyone with two more scores, and 109 yards of total offense. Alex Smith for MVP? The veteran completed 75 percent of his passes and rushed for 21 yards. Even without Eric Berry, Kansas City’s defense forced three fumbles, had an interception and sacked Carson Wentz six times. Could this finally be the year that Reid captures it all?

New England Patriots (-6.5) @ New Orleans Saints

Final: Patriots 36 Saints 20

The Saints’ defense is absolutely atrocious. Not only did they allow Sam Bradford to have a field day, but Tom Brady and the Patriots marched all over them. Brady scored not one, not two but three first quarter touchdowns. He ended the game throwing for 447 yards.

Drew Brees had a solid game, throwing for 356 yards with no turnovers, but New Orleans’ defense continues to hold them back.

Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram both had only eight carries. Peterson only managed to get 28 yards. Can someone say washed up? You have to wonder if AP will even be a member of the Saints at the end of the season.

Dallas Cowboys @ Denver Broncos (+2.5)

Final: Broncos 42 Cowboys 17

I loved every second of this game, from Dak Prescott’s poor performance, to everyone freaking out at Ezekiel Elliott over nothing. DeAngelo Williams was right when he said “Dak is a clock manager. When you go down 14 to 21 points, he can’t bring you back from that.” The offense moves as Zeke moves.

NFL week 3 picks

Elite? (Denver Broncos)

Props to the entire Broncos team. Holding Elliott to 8 yards is insane, and 42 points is the most the Cowboys have allowed in the regular season since December 9, 2013 when the Bears defeated them 45-28. Josh McCown was the starting quarterback for the Bears and had five total touchdowns. Wow, that’s hard to believe.

Trevor Siemian might actually be good enough to bring this team into the playoffs. Through the first two games, Siemian has six touchdowns, along with a 65 percent completion percentage. C.J. Anderson playing like Terrell Davis is also pretty cool for Denver.

 

Week 3 Picks

Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Pick: FALCONS TO COVER

Tough to go against the 2-0 Lions, but Matt Ryan is 2-0 in his two career games in Detroit. The Falcons just beat a tough Packers team and Detroit had one less day to prepare because of their Monday night game. That actually matters.

The Lions are 21st in passing yards allowed, and now they have to match up against Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and Austin Hooper. They are undefeated, but they played a washed up Carson Palmer, and a New York Giants team that needs an entire new offensive line.

I expect Detroit to defend the run well, but in the battle of Matt’s, I’ll take Ryan in this one.  In three career games against Atlanta, Stafford is 1-2 with only three passing touchdowns. He is 5-46 against above .500 teams, and Atlanta, barring an epic collapse, will finish with more than eight wins this year. Odds are, Stafford will continue his struggles against good opponents.

Miami Dolphins (-6) @ New York Jets

Pick: DOLPHINS TO COVER

The Jets will historically be one of the worst football teams this league has ever seen. They are currently the worst ranked defense, 28th in passing yards, and 28th in first downs. They can’t stop anybody, and they can’t move the chains on offense. This is actually extremely disrespectful that Vegas thinks Miami only wins by six, especially after their strong victory over the Chargers and the fact that the Jets lost by nine to the Bills and 25 to the Raiders.

Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry are both dealing with knee injuries, and DeVante Parker’s ankle has been bothering him. Miami is a tad banged up, but all three of these offensive weapons expect to play. If Ajayi only had one knee, he would probably still find a way to dominate New York, who currently sits dead last in rushing yards allowed. Expect Miami to run all day.

It should be noted that Jay Cutler has never lost to the Jets, as he currently sits at 3-0 in his career. Two of these wins actually came in New York. He looked great against the Chargers and should light up the scoreboard against this Jets team.

Oakland Raiders (-3) @ Washington Redskins

PICK: RAIDERS TO COVER

The Raiders look like one of the best teams in the NFL. Oakland has the top scoring offense, and are currently fourth in total yards. On the other hand, the Redskins defense is 27th in points allowed and 26th in total yards.

NFL week 3 picks

Carr and the Raiders look to jump to 3-0 (Bleacher Report)

Kirk Cousins was .500 at home last year, so it’s not intimidating to go into Washington and play. Derek Carr was 6-1 on the road last year, with 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He is an absolute baller on the road.

Washington’s offense is off to a slow start, and their defense is no match for Carr’s Raiders. The Redskins are historically one of the worst primetime teams, and are 2-6 in their last eight Sunday night games.

 

 

Featured Image by athlonsports.com

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2017 AFC West division preview

2017 AFC West division preview

The NFL regular season is finally here. The season opener is tonight and the Chiefs and Patriots will be kicking off the 2017-18 NFL season. In the meantime, Hagan’s Haus will be bringing you the divisional previews and predictions of how teams will finish in their respective divisions. Without further ado, here is the 2017 AFC West division preview.

4: Los Angeles Chargers

2017 AFC West divison preview

(Photo Credit:http://www.spotrac.com)

Last season: 5-11

Strength of schedule: 3

The Chargers are heading in the right direction. Being in the AFC West is really the only thing holding them back.

When you look at the Chargers defense there is plenty to love. The defensive line is going to be terrifying to opposing offensive lines. Joey Bosa, Brandon Mebane, Corey Liuget and Melvin Ingram are going to cause nightmares. This front will dominate games and make the rest of the defense better.

The linebacking corp has a lot of questions to answer but won’t be required to be a special unit because of how good the defensive line and the secondary are. The secondary of the Los Angeles Chargers is one of the most underrated in the entire league. Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett are one of the best corner tandems in the NFL and helped the Chargers give up only 242.9 yards per game through the air.

As long as the offense doesn’t turnover the ball at the same rate as last season the Chargers defense will improve this season and make the team better as a whole. An improved defense can help Los Angeles close out games as they finished 1-8 in games decided by seven points or less.

Philip Rivers led this offense to some impressive numbers but the turnovers really hurt them. Rivers threw 21 interceptions on the season and the team averaged 2.2 turnovers per game. Despite the high volume of turnovers, the Chargers averaged the ninth most points in the NFL with 25.6 per game. Philip Rivers threw for 262.4 yards per game even though he lost his best receiver Keenan Allen early in the season. A healthy Allen could allow Rivers, and the rest of the Chargers offense, to a better 2017.

Turnovers weren’t the only problem with the Chargers, they struggled to run the ball. Los Angeles only managed to accumulate 94.4 yards on the ground. They can do much better with Melvin Gordan and a healthy offensive line.

Even with all the improvements the Chargers have made, they won’t see the results in the win column. They have the third hardest schedule in the league and it is because of their difficult division.

Prediction: 8-8 (2-4), wildcard candidate

losses: @Den, KC, @NYG, @Oak, @NE, @Jax, @Dal, @KC

3: Denver Broncos

2017 AFC West division preview

(Photo Credit: Gregory Payan/Associated Press)

Last season: 9-7

Strength of schedule: 1

When I predicted that the Broncos would finish third last season most called me crazy, some even called me dumb. Then the Broncos struggled and fell to third in the AFC West. The same will happen this season because Trevor Siemian is still going to be the signal caller. Even if he ends up being replaced, Paxton Lynch wouldn’t do much better. The Broncos will be wasting away their defense yet again this season.

Denver needs to run the ball more often to help Siemian. The Broncos only ran the ball 40.2 percent of the time last year. As a result, the Broncos averaged 92.8 rush yards per game. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles need to remain healthy so that the running game can take off.

Another problem with the Broncos offense is their line. Denver lost Russell Okung but his injury history makes the loss manageable. To improve upon the unit the Broncos drafted Garrett Bolles. Matt Paradis is one of the best centers in the league and will have to be the anchor that gets this unit going. The Broncos’ passing attack was abysmal as well, ranking 21st. Because of the deficiencies on offense, Denver only managed to score 20.8 points per game.

Last season the vaunted Bronco defense struggled to stop the run. Denver had the fifth worst rush defense in the league, allowing 130.3 yards per game. The addition of Domata Peko should help solve this issue. The rest of the defense is still loaded. Von Miller helped lead the Broncos to 42 sacks as a team, good enough for third in the NFL. Denver still only managed to allow 18.6 points per game. Expect them to maintain this standard and give up anywhere from 17 to 20 points per game.

The defense will continue to be earth shattering against the pass but without being able to stop the run they can’t remain elite. The lack of a running game and no real threat throwing the ball means the Broncos are in for another difficult season. They also have the hardest schedule in the NFL. The defense is the only chance this team has at making the playoffs.

Prediction: 9-7 (3-3), wildcard candidate

losses: Dal, @NYG, @LAC, @KC, @Phi, @NE, @Oak

2: Kansas City Chiefs

2017 AFC West division preview

(Photo Credit: David Eulitt The Kansas City Star)

Last season: 12-4

Strength of schedule: 2

As is every year, Andy Reid will have his team in playoff contention. The Chiefs have a great defense that will lead the way. The offense is typically average but will have a few more playmakers this season. If the Chiefs can navigate the second hardest schedule in the league, they will make the playoffs as a wildcard team.

Alex Smith receives backlash but led the Chiefs offense to the 13th best offense in the NFL averaging 24.3 points per game. Kansas City didn’t do anything great but did things consistently.  They ranked 18th in third down conversion percentage (38 percent), 15th in rushing yards (109.2 per game) and 19th in passing yards (233.8 per game).

The injury to Spencer Ware will force Kareem Hunt to be the workhorse but he is fully capable. Similar to the rest of the offense, the offensive line is ranked in the middle of the pack. Tyreek Hill will be so explosive that he will open up the running game and the middle of the field for Travis Kelcie. Alex Smith will be more than a game manager this season as a result.

The real strength of the Chiefs is their defense. Kansas City only gave up 19.4 points per game despite losing top defenders Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston. What Kansas City really excelled at was red zone defense and forcing turnovers. The Chiefs only allowed points in the red zone 49.1 percent of the time. They also led the league with 2.1 takeaways per game. Kansas City will build upon this.

The Chiefs will continue to play Super Bowl caliber defense and the offense will be much more explosive. The second toughest schedule is what will cause problems, that and the emergence of the Oakland Raiders. Chiefs will likely make the playoffs but not win the division.

Prediction: 10-6 (4-2), wildcard candidate

losses: @NE, @Hou, @Oak, @Dal, @NYG, @Den

1: Oakland Raiders

2017 AFC West division preview

(Photo Credit: https://www.si.com)

Last season: 12-4

Strength of schedule: 4

Here come the Raiders. After a decade of sitting in the gutter, the Raiders are finally built for success. The only thing holding back Oakland from a Super Bowl is health.

Heading into this season the Raiders offense is poised to be one of the top units in the NFL. Derek Carr has completed 60.9 percent of his passes and thrown for 81 touchdowns to just 31 interceptions in his career. Carr still has Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree to throw the ball out to. They also added tight end, Jared Cook. Cook is a dangerous threat but can’t stay healthy.

The Raiders also signed Oakland native Marshawn Lynch. Lynch took a season off so he should be fresh to continue his beast mode persona this season. Oakland averaged 26 points per game last season and will be somewhere around that mark this season. As long as they stay healthy they will have one of the best offenses.

To make it to the Super Bowl the defense will have to step up their play. The Raiders defensive along gave up 24.1 points per game. Oakland struggled in giving up yards as well, ranking 26th in total yards (375.1 per game), 23rd rushing yards (117.6 per game) and 24th in passing yards (257.5 per game). The Raiders spent their first three picks on the defensive side of the ball to address these defensive woes.

(Photo Credit: http://www.sportsworldreport.com)

Oakland must improve in getting to the quarterback. They ranked 32nd in the NFL in sacks, accumulating just 25 for the season. Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and newly acquired Jelani Jenkins have to be better for the silver and black to get to the big game.

The Raiders are poised for a great season. They won 12 games last season and won’t win that many because of the difficult schedule. Still, 11 wins will be enough to win the division and set the Oakland Raiders up for a possible Super Bowl Run.

Prediction: 11-5 (4-2), division champion

losses: @Den, @Buf, @Mia, @KC, @LAC

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Five 2017 bounce back candidates for fantasy football

There’s always those players in fantasy football that you draft early and have high hopes for that end up costing your team a shot at the playoffs and maybe even the championship. The players on this list are some examples of those players and have a chance to bounce back and actually lead your team in the right direction this year.

5. Allen Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars): In his second year in the league, Allen Robinson had himself a career year. He had 1,400 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

bounce back candidates fantasy football

(Jim Steve-USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s just say that Robinson didn’t put up the same numbers last year. Instead of WR1 numbers, Robinson put up WR3 numbers while begin drafted as a WR1. He had 883 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Most of that decrease in play had to do with the horrid play of quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles had 500 less throwing yards and 12 less touchdowns than 2015. When Blake Bortles was a QB1, Robinson was A WR1.

With the addition of Leonard Fournette, the Jags are going to have a more balanced offense and there’s no where to go but up for Robinson. If the offense clicks, Robinsons could be a WR1 again.

4. Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams): Talk about a sophomore slump. Todd Gurley was amazing in his rookie year with 1,106 yards and ten touchdowns. With an increased workload last season, Gurley’s numbers decreased to 885 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Defenses adapted and crowded the box against Gurley. He couldn’t adapt to that and his numbers changed drastically. Now Gurley is in line for a big year in L.A. While the Rams added some muscle on their offensive line, with players like Andrew Whitworth, the improved quarterback play is the key for Gurley’s success.

If Jared Goff can breakout and preform like the number one overall pick he is, then Gurley will have a great year.

3. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers): From the QB1 in fantasy to the QB18, Cam Newton had himself a down year. It might’ve been because he played with a torn rotator cuff or because of the horrid play of his offensive line.

The Panthers addressed that in the offseason but we don’t know how it’s going to play out. The big contract they gave Matt Kalil may give them nightmares one day but he’s definitely an upgrade from last year. They also drafted the monstrous Taylor Moton who can give them some balance and depth on the o-line.

In terms of his weapons, Cam Newton gained Curtis Samuel and college stud Christian McCaffrey. Samuel and McCaffrey will give the opposing defenses tough matchups and give the Panthers opportunities to protect Cam and give him more options. If the offensive line holds up, Cam can be the QB1 again.

2. C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos): C.J. Anderson has a chance to be a RB2 in Denver this year. He’s stated that he’s in the best shape he has been in this past offseason and that he’s ready to play all 16 games after his season got cut short from a torn meniscus.

The Broncos’ backfield is wide open and whoever gets the ball has an opportunity to succeed after offseason improvements in Denver.

bounce back candidates fantasy football

Brandon Marshall (Photo by:giants.com)

Let’s not forget that Anderson has 4.55 yards per carry over the last three years and can handle a workhorse load. If all goes well for C.J. Anderson, he can regain status as a RB2.

1. Brandon Marshall (New York Giants): From one New York team to the next, Brandon Marshall finds himself in the best position to succeed in the NFL today. Playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning, Marshall has the opportunity for double digit touchdowns and 900+ yards this year.

There’s not much to talk about in terms of Marshall’s play from last year because of the terrible situation he had with the Jets. We can only address his upside for the 2017 season.

Manning is the best quarterback that Marshall has ever had but don’t expect him to put up exact numbers as his career year in 2015. Sterling Shepard will take away receptions and yards from Marshall and Odell is still the clear number one, but Marshall can easily regain WR2 numbers this year.

Feature Image Courtesy of, blogs.buffalobills.com

 

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Super Bowl series 2017: AFC West

Super Bowl Series 2017: AFC West

Football is right around the corner and The Game Haus is going to get you ready for the 2017-18 NFL season. The Super Bowl series is going to explain how every team in the NFL can win Super Bowl LII. The Super Bowl series will be divided into eight editions, one for each division. This is the eighth, and final edition, Super Bowl series: AFC West.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs are entirely overlooked and it is egregious. Andy Reid has done incredibly well so far in Kansas City. Reid has gone 43-21 and the Chiefs have made the playoffs in three of his four seasons.

The only thing missing is the playoff success and thus a Super Bowl victory. Kansas City is just 1-3 in the playoffs during the Reid era. That can change this season as the Chiefs look to make a run at Super Bowl LII.

Kansas City is a team that wades in the water like a shark and out of nowhere will sneak up and attack you. Alex Smith gets the hate while the defense gets all the love but the Chiefs averaged 24.3 points per game last season, which was 13th best in the NFL. The Chiefs were able to get out in front of teams early, scoring the eighth most first half points with 12.8 per game.

Super Bowl series 2017: AFC West

(Photo Credit:http://www.kansascity.com/)

The Chiefs weren’t special on offense but they were consistent. They ranked 18th in third down conversion percentage (38 percent), 15th in rushing yards (109.2 per game) and 19th in passing yards (233.8 per game). Again, the offense wasn’t spectacular but they are wrongfully accused of costing this team successful playoff runs.

There is still room for growth. The offense can help the defense out even more by running more plays to keep that stellar defense rested. The Chiefs ranked 27th last season averaging 61.9 plays per game. An effective rushing attack is one of the best ways to run more plays.

Kansas City has added veteran running back C.J. Spiller and rookie running back Kareem Hunt in hopes of improving the offense, but Spencer Ware should be the feature back. This offense has been consistent and as long as they improve just a tiny bit, the Chiefs can remain Super Bowl contenders.

In the Reid era, the Chiefs have averaged 27.5 points per game in the playoffs. They also lost a playoff game to the Colts, 45-44. Anytime a team scores 44 points, they should win. As much blame as this offense gets, they have performed well enough to win games in the postseason.

Stepping away from the offense, the Chiefs are truly Super Bowl contenders because of their defense. Despite losing Justin Houston after five games and Derrick Johnson after 13, the Chiefs were able to rank seventh in points allowed per game at 19.4.

The reason the Chiefs were good on defense wasn’t that they held teams to low amounts of yardage; they actually were bad at allowing yards. They ranked 24th in total yards (368.5 per game), 26th in rushing (121.1 per game) and 18th in passing (247.4 per game).

What Kansas City really excelled at was red zone defense and forcing turnovers. The Chiefs only allowed points in the red zone 49.1 percent of the time. They also led the league with 2.1 takeaways per game. There can be improvements made in how much yardage allowed but if the Chiefs can continue forcing turnovers along with getting stops in the red zone, then the Chiefs can remain a top-tier defensive team.

In order to win the Super Bowl, Kansas City must get home-field advantage. They are 18-7 at home in the past three seasons. They must also get over the tough schedule that includes New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Dallas outside of the division, plus Oakland and Denver twice each.

If the Chiefs can navigate this schedule and make the playoffs, the offense needs to continue averaging 27.5 points per game and the defense must remain elite. Doing all of this will mean that Arrowhead will be home to the Super Bowl LII champions.

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders were legitimate Super Bowl contenders last season but the injury bug bit at the worst time. Derek Carr broke his leg in week 16 and just like his leg, the Raiders playoff chances were shattered.

Offensive tackle Donald Penn also went down and if the Raiders can remain healthy at their key positions, then they have one of the best shots in the league to win Super Bowl LII.

In order to win the Super Bowl, the Raiders must improve defensively along with remaining healthy. The Raiders gave up 24.1 points per game and the problem was that they struggled in the second half of games.

Oakland ranked 29th in second half points, allowing 13.4 per game. The Raiders struggled in yardage as well, ranking 26th in total yards (375.1 per game), 23rd rushing yards (117.6 per game) and 24th in passing yards (257.5 per game). The Raiders spent their first three picks on the defensive side of the ball to address these defensive woes.

Super Bowl series 2017: AFC West

(Photo Credit: http://www.sportsworldreport.com)

Part of the reason they struggled so much defensively was that they couldn’t get off the field on third down. Opponents converted 39.4 percent of the time against the Raiders on third down. If they can fix this, it will improve their entire defense.

Fixing their third down defense starts with getting to the quarterback which the Raiders were the worst at. Oakland ranked 32nd in the NFL in sacks, accumulating just 25 for the season. Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and newly acquired Jelani Jenkins must make a bigger impact in rushing the quarterback.

Oakland must also find some discipline. The Raiders ranked dead last in both penalties (9.2 per game) and penalty yardage (77.9 per game). Without these improvements, the Raiders won’t be capable of making deep postseason runs.

The strength of the Raiders is, without question, their offense which averaged 26 points per game. Oakland seemed to get better as the game went on, averaging the fifth most points in the second half with 13.6. The Raiders had no trouble racking up the yardage either, averaging 373.3 yards per game.

They can thank their surprisingly good rushing attack. Oakland ran for the sixth most yards in the NFL last season with 120.1 per game. Adding Marshawn Lynch to the mix should improve this number and make the entire offense even better.

Oakland had the 13th best aerial attack in the NFL, throwing for 253.2 yards per game. Derek Carr has been exceptional and has also been given solid targets to throw to. His two main targets, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, combined for 176 receptions, 2,156 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

The Raiders decided Carr needed more and added talented receiving tight end Jared Cook and explosive wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

Cook has struggled to remain healthy but has been effective when on the field. Patterson has been to the Pro Bowl as a returner but had a solid season catching 74.3 percent of the balls thrown his way last season. These two weapons could really push Oakland’s passing attack to the next level.

The only improvements the Raiders need to make on offense is on third down and in the red zone. Oakland only converted 38.1 percent on third down. Extending drives can help the defense get rest and therefore, perform better.

Although the Raiders averaged 26 points, they only scored in the red zone 58.6 percent of the time. If they can improve this percentage, then the Raiders could easily average 30 or more points per game. If the Raiders do that, then the Lombardi Trophy is going back to the bay, baby.

Denver Broncos

There weren’t many who believed the Broncos would struggle last season but Denver stumbled to 9-7. Similar to recent years, Denver’s defense was spectacular but the offense was just too far behind. The loss of Peyton Manning was more painful than fans care to realize. Denver might have a Super Bowl defense, but without a quarterback to make big plays, the offense is going to hold this team back.

Let’s start off with what this team is known for, and that’s defense. The Broncos have a reputation for beating up quarterbacks. Denver ranked third in the NFL last season with 42 sacks. This helped them get off the field on third down as they forced a third down stop 63.6 percent of the time. Getting to the quarterback often, and quickly, helped the secondary allow just 185.8 yards passing per game. That was the best mark in the NFL.

Super Bowl series 2017: AFC West

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Despite all the success against the pass, the Broncos did struggle against the run. Denver had the fifth worst rush defense in the league, allowing 130.3 yards per game. Altogether, Denver only allowed 316.1 yards per game and that resulted in allowing the fourth fewest points per game at 18.6.

In order to get back to the Super Bowl, Denver must clog up the running lanes. The Broncos have added Domata Peko at defensive tackle to help their run defense. Denver cannot depend on the play of the quarterback and therefore the defense must become elite in all facets of the game. All that is left to conquer is the run.

Offensively, the Broncos need to run the ball more often to make up for their quarterback play. Denver only ran the ball 40.2 percent of the time. This resulted in an average of 92.8 rush yards per game, sixth worst in the NFL. C.J. Anderson is a great back but has yet to play a full season in his career. Speaking of injury prone, the Broncos did add Jamaal Charles to the mix in the backfield as well. While neither can remain healthy on their own, maybe being paired together can help them stay healthy and turn Denver into a good running football team once again.

None of that will be possible without good offensive line play though. Losing Russell Okung isn’t a crushing blow because he had health problems anyway. This is why Denver drafted Garrett Bolles. Also, Matt Paradis is one of the best centers in the league and if he can lead the rest of the unit then Denver can improve their offense.

The Broncos’ passing attack was abysmal as well, ranking 21st. Because of the deficiencies on offense, Denver only managed to score 20.8 points per game. Either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch need to grab ahold of the quarterback spot with force and prove they can be the franchise quarterback.

If neither of them can, rookie Chad Kelly could sneak in and become the man. No matter how the cookie crumbles, one of these quarterbacks needs to have a great season to help get the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

For everything to fall into place the Broncos, offensive line play must improve which in turn will help the running game improve. Denver needs a quarterback to solidify their spot as the franchise quarterback and lastly, the Denver defense needs to stop the run. If the Broncos can solve all these problems, they can win Super Bowl LII.

Los Angeles Chargers

Super Bowl series 2017: AFC West

(Photo Credit: http://eastvillagetimes.com)

The Chargers have left San Diego and are embarking on the journey to run Los Angeles. Due to a slew of injuries and a sub-par defense, the Chargers finished last season 5-11. That record didn’t indicate how good the team really was. The Chargers went 1-8 in games decided by seven points or less. Los Angeles can become a contender simply by winning these close games.

The Los Angeles Chargers are going be a much improved defensive team. For starters, Joey Bosa will be ready at the start of the season and he had 10.5 sacks in just 12 games as a rookie. They also added safety Tre Boston to help out in a secondary that gave up 242.9 yards per game through the air.

The defense also includes Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane, Melvin Ingram, Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. These are some really good players but they must play together to improve last year’s bad season.

Last year, the Chargers ranked 29th in the NFL in points, allowing 26.4 per game. It was so high because they really stunk in the second half of games. The Chargers gave up a total of 14.6 points per second half last season with 8.3 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers defense partly struggled just because the offense gave up 2.2 turnovers per game, which was worst in the NFL. The defense is really talented and if they don’t get put into bad situations due to turnovers, they will easily bring down that amount of points they give up.

Last year’s offense was really good aside from the turnovers. They averaged the ninth most points in the NFL with 25.6 per game. Philip Rivers’ aerial assault led the way. They averaged 262.4 yards through the air despite losing their best receiver Keenan Allen. A healthy Allen could allow Rivers to have a better 2017-18 campaign.

In order to really improve the offense, the Chargers must run the ball more effectively. They averaged 94.4 yards per game but a banged-up offensive line hurt their potential. The Chargers know that a better offensive line will improve everything. Los Angeles snatched offensive tackle Russell Okung from the division rival Broncos. They also drafted guard Forrest Lamp.

Improvement for the Chargers starts with the offense. Running the ball more and simply staying healthy will accomplish that. The defense will then be able to bring down a number of points they allow due to rest. Lastly, the Chargers special teams must stop shooting themselves in the foot with bad punts, missed field goals, botched snaps and just horrible coverage.

It will not be easy for the Chargers to make the playoffs, especially in their division. If they can make the improvements listed, then they will have a puncher’s chance. Once they get into the playoffs it is anybody’s trophy.

 

Thank you for checking out the Super Bowl series: AFC West. This was the final edition of the Super Bowl series and you can find the previous editions of the Super Bowl series here.

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Demaryius Thomas fantasy football 2017: A reliable fantasy option?

Demaryius Thomas had one of his worst seasons of his NFL career last season. Thomas is a big receiver who has the whole package. Thomas runs a 4.41 40-yard dash, stands 6-foot-3, 229 pounds and has great hands. He uses his body to get after the ball and has progressed into a top target for the Denver Broncos.

But last season we didn’t see the Demaryius Thomas we are used to seeing.

The Demaryius Thomas we know would have double digit touchdowns and week in and week out would be a big factor in the Denver offense. Is Thomas still reliable as a top fantasy player? Is it his fault for his struggling 2016 season? Thomas is still a top talented receiver but poor quarterback play has made Thomas questionable as a reliable fantasy player.

Early Career

Thomas was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. From 2010-2011, he was a non-fantasy factor as he was still developing as a receiver in the NFL. He only started seven games in the two-year span and had 40 and 79 fantasy points in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Combining those two year stats are still less then what he did in 2012 and also in his disappointing 2016.

Demaryius Thomas fantasy football 2017

Demaryius Thomas and Tim Tebow (Photo: Denver Post)

Part of the lack of early production is similar to what Thomas struggled with last season: poor quarterback play. In 2010, Kyle Orton had a solid campaign with over 3,600 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. But one bad game against the Arizona Cardinals led to Tim Tebow taking over for the last three games.

2011 really started the inconsistency of quarterbacks in Denver. Orton struggled in the first four weeks and was replaced again by Tebow and never took another snap. Tebow finished the season with the lowest passing completion rate in the NFL, reaching 50 percent in just four of his 14 games.

Thomas did thrive towards the end of the season as he emerged as Tebow’s favorite target. He would end the season setting a franchise-record by leading the Broncos in both receiving and targets over the final seven games.

The dominance with Peyton Manning

Demaryius Thomas fantasy football 2017

Demaryius Thomas and Peyton Manning (Photo by:lightningrodsports.com)

Thomas’ production with Peyton Manning was crazy. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Thomas finished fifth, second and second respectively among all receivers in fantasy points. In those three years, he had over 200 fantasy points in those seasons during Manning’s prime with Denver.

He had at least 10 touchdowns per season from 2012-14 and as well as over 140 targets, 90 receptions and well over 1,400 yards in each of those three years. He was clearly a fantasy beast while Manning was Manning. It could be also because the Broncos finally went back to orange jerseys instead of those horrible navy blue jerseys.

In 2015, Manning struggled with injuries and had to give way Brock Osweiler for nine games, yet Thomas still performed well. He still saw 176 targets, 105 receptions and 1,304 yards. He did only finish with six touchdowns but still ranked 13th at wide receiver in 2015.

The production was still there for Thomas as he used his size to his advantage to catch the ball and rack up targets and yards. One key factor that could have led to the decreased production was the coaching staff changes. In 2013 and 2014, Thomas thrived with offensive coordinator Adam Gase and head coach John Fox. Fox and Gase were let go after 2014 but Thomas still produced with head coach Gary Kubiack and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison in 2015.

2016

In 2016, Thomas saw a lot of change before, during and after the season. Manning retired and Osweiler left for the Houston Texans. Before and during the season there was always a quarterback controversy between Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch. Kubiack missed a game early in the season with concerns over his health which led him to retire after 2016.

Demaryius Thomas fantasy football 2017

Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian (Photo by: USA Today)

Thomas had 90 catches for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns on 145 targets in 2016. He also had seven games with double digits in fantasy points in standard leagues. Thomas finished as the 16th wide receiver by posting consistent but not flashy games, averaging 67 yards and 5.6 receptions per game.

Most of the decline was due to poor quarterback play, and that isn’t expected to get much better this year with either Siemian or Lynch as the starter. Last season, Siemian struggled with injuries and Lynch didn’t develope the way the Broncos expected him to. The Broncos passed for an average of 230.3 yards per game last season, tying them for the 11th least passing yards per game in the league.

One of Siemian’s most noticeable flaws as an inexperienced quarterback was taking unnecessary hits by holding onto the ball too long. The Broncos are trying to work around that habit by upgrading his protection. They signed offensive tackle Menelik Watson and offensive guard Ronald Leary, while also drafting offensive tackle Garrett Bolles with their first pick in the draft.

This also helps the run game they will try to use more as they have C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and Jamaal Charles. Last year the Broncos averaged just 92.8 rushing yards per game and only 3.6 yards per carry, good for 27th  and 28th in the league.

2017 prediction

Is Thomas still an effective receiver? Thomas still has plenty of upside as a No. 2 fantasy receiver or a very high-end flex player if the quarterback play is consistent. He’s working on five years in a row of at least 90 catches and 1,000 yards. One reason he could bounce back is the return of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy who left Denver in 2012 when Thomas broke out.

He has the potential to still be a bonafide WR1 especially as he is now healthy from a hip injury. He is still a WR2 or a flex option as I mentioned previously.

 

Featured image from sportsglory.com

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Week 1 NFL Picks Against the Spread

We are just hours away from the start of a brand-new NFL season. Each week, I will publish my picks against the spread for every game. The point spreads I will use are from rtsports.com. The minus sign denotes who is favored and by how much. My picks are in bold. Underdogs I like to pull upsets out right and win the game will have an asterisk next to them. Any changes I make between time of publishing and game time will be published on my social media accounts, and likely those of The Game Haus. The first week is always very difficult pick games in, but here it goes.

Panthers (-3) at Broncos *- In the interest of full disclosure, it is very difficult for me to pick against the Broncos. It will happen, but not here. I expect Denver to come out firing in defense of their Super Bowl title. Carolina’s front seven is essentially the same as last year. Denver had success in the Super Bowl by going right at them, expect nothing different from C.J. Anderson and company in this game. Even with a few faces from last year gone, the Broncos defense will be incredibly difficult for every opponent to deal with.

Cam Newton may have difficulty getting over the mental hurdle that the Super Bowl drubbing undoubtedly created. New Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian has a very simple role for now. Get the ball to the playmakers around you and do not make the big mistake. I expect a very physical football game between two fairly evenly matched teams. When in doubt, take the home team. Den 20 Car 17

Bills at Ravens (-3) – In my view, no team had a better off-season than the Ravens. Everyone is healthy and they added a couple really nice pieces in free agency without breaking the bank. In contrast, the Bills but did little to improve their roster. They were the definition of average last year. Granted, dual threat quarterback Tyrod Taylor was surprisingly effective and will keep them in most games this year. Their lack of defense and pass rush is astounding for a Rex Ryan coached football team. His brilliant defensive mind is not enough, the players have to be there, and right now they just aren’t. Bal 31 Buf 24

Bears * at Texans (-6) – This is a game I am anxious to see. I am the only one on planet Earth who thinks the Bears are going to be good this year. I really like that offense and John Fox will really start to make that defense better in year two.

I am also in the minority that thinks Houston will take a major step back this year. Lamar Miller has never been the bell cow running back in his career. Why the Texans think he is going to succeed in that role now is a mystery to me. Also, remember one thing about their new quarterback Brock Osweiler. If he was anything special, John Elway would have never let him leave Denver. Two of my biggest off season predictions are on display in this one for better or worse. Chi 24 Hou 21

Bengals (-2) at Jets- This game is one of the toughest to call in the opening week. These teams are built very similarly. Solid quarterbacks, preview the skill position players, and well above average defenses. I think Ryan Fitzpatrick played well above his capabilities last year. Sometimes that happens. I just like the Bengals a little bit more on both sides of the ball. However, they will miss tight end Tyler Eifert dearly as he recovers from injury. Cin 23 Nyj 17

Browns* at Eagles (-4) – This line is baffling to me. In fairness, that probably means Vegas is right and I am wrong. How the Eagles can be favored over anyone is a mystery to me, even if it is the Browns. I just cannot pick a team that is starting a rookie quarterback that prior to Philadelphia’s organizational 180 earlier this week was not going to see the field at all this year. Cle 27 Phi 20

Packers (-4.5) at Jaguars – Jacksonville is really coming on strong led by young quarterback Blake Bortles and a slew of other young talent on offense. This is a tall order for the first week though. I have to go with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers here. I know what I’m getting from them. Jacksonville looks pretty good on paper, but I have to see them before putting any faith in that franchise. GB 31 Jac 20

Vikings (-2) at *Titans- Here is another line that boggles my mind. The Vikings are trying to give quarterback Sam Bradford a crash course in their offense so he can start this game. He was just acquired via trade a few days ago. Tennessee is a really nice job adding talent to the offense in support of second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota this offseason. I say they start on a winning note. It will be a long year for the Vikings, as I thought they were a six win team with Teddy Bridgewater. Without him, they could be picking first in the 2017 draft. Ten 21 Min 10

Raiders at Saints (-1) – Much like Jacksonville, the Raiders are a trendy pick to surprise this year. Taking on Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans is an interesting first test. I will take Brees to outduel youngster Derek Carr in an entertaining shootout. Nor 38 Oak 35

Chargers at Chiefs (-7) – It is tough not to go with the underdog getting this many points in a rivalry game, but Kansas City is pretty good and very well coached. Andy Reid is money when given more than a few days to prepare. The season opener is one of few instances where he has that. San Diego is lacking direction and does not have much outside of Philip Rivers. KC 24 SD 13

Bucs * at Falcons (-3) – The Falcons are basically the same team as they were last year. They were wildly inconsistent. Tampa got better and better under quarterback James Winston. Expect both trends to continue in 2016. TB 31 Atl 28

Dolphins at Seahawks (-10.5) – What a tough draw new head coach Adam Gase and the Dolphins in the opener. Seattle is the vastly superior team and Miami is traveling across country. This will get ugly. Sea 24 Mia 6

photo from csnne.com

photo from csnne.com

Lions at Colts (-3) – Both teams were tough to figure out last year. With Andrew Luck healthy and the Lions ability to replace the now retired Calvin Johnson unknown, Indy is the safe bet here. Ind 23 Det 16

Giants at Cowboys (PK) – Dak Prescott looked great in the preseason, which we are no longer in. However, there is enough talent around him for the Cowboys to stay in it while Romo recovers. The Giants burned me so many times last year by losing late leads. They did not change much on defense. Thus, I expect more of the same this year. In pick ‘em games, always take the home team. Dal 28 Nyg 27

Patriots at Cardinals (-6) – I almost went with the outright upset here. As good as Arizona is, Bill Belichick has had pretty much all off season to figure out how to be competitive with Jimmy Garoppolo for four games. He has something up his sleeve. This will be a tight game and the only one the Pats lose without Tom Brady. Ari 24 NE 23

photo from blog.mecurynews.com

photo from blog.mecurynews.com

MNF- Steelers* at Redskins (-3) – I do not buy either of these teams this year. However, no one would argue Big Ben is the better quarterback here. If the better quarterback is getting points in a game between two fairly evenly matched teams, I will take it almost every single time. Pit 28 Was 21

MNF- Rams (-2.5) at 49ers*- As insane as Chip Kelly is, he tends to make offenses better, at least in the short term. Blaine Gabbert was serviceable when given the starting quarterback job during the season last year. Kelly will build on that. The Rams defense is solid, but unless they can duplicate Todd Gurley 10 more times, the offense will be a tough watch. Look for the 49ers to score just enough to pull the small upset. SF 14 LA 10.

Enjoy the football smorgasbord everyone! I know I will. I will keep track of my record throughout the season.

 

NFL Players Who Will Breakout in 2016

As a brand new NFL season draws nearer, we all know guys like Rob Gronkowski, Adrian Peterson, and Aaron Rodgers will have great years, baring injuries. There is only so much top level to go around though. Here are a few under the radar candidates for break out seasons.

NFL breakout players 2016

photo from gridironexperts.com

Mohamed Sanu– He missed a lot of time due to injuries during the first four years of his career in Cincinnati, but when healthy, his versatility is appealing. A wide receiver by position, Sanu can do a little bit of everything. He can run the ball on options, reverses and end arounds. He even lined up at quarterback on occasion for the Bengals. With Roddy White out of the picture, the Falcons were in desperate need of another pass catching target to take the heat off of Julio Jones. The five-year $32.5 million deal they locked up Sanu with in free agency is a risk given his injury history, but he is more than capable of filling the so-called “Robin” role.

Jameis Winston– I know he is not up for any good citizen awards, but I am stunned by the lack of praise the former Florida State standout received for his rookie season. He threw for over 4,000 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. For a rookie who started all 16 games for a team that was 2-14 before he got there, those numbers are really impressive. Winston led the Bucs to a record of just 5-11. They lost five games by just a single possession. Another year of experience for Winston and the law of averages tells me that those games could go the other way in 2016. The offense is already loaded with talent like Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and Mike Evans. The defense is the only thing that may keep the Bucs from the playoffs this year. Regardless, I expect a noticeably slimmer Winston to rise towards the NFL’s elite.

 

C.J. Anderson– The man crush I developed on this guy as his powerful runs were leading the Broncos in their late-season surge last year boarders on unhealthy. I just love the way he runs into defenders rather than around them. Two 100+ rushing yard performances against New England last year sealed the deal for me. You can relive his game-winning scamper in week 12 against the Pats on the NFL’s YouTube channel above. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield. With Peyton Manning gone, the shotgun and pistol will likely become a thing of the past in Denver. This will only help Anderson run the ball downhill more effectively. If not forced to split too many carries with Ronnie Hillman and rookie Devontae Booker, I think he has a real shot to lead in the league in rushing.

Clive Walford– Here is my very deep fantasy draft sleeper. The Raiders tight end only caught 33 balls in an injury plagued rookie season. However, there were enough flashes of size, speed, and raw athleticism to catch my attention. If this guy pops like I think he is going to, the Raiders talented offense will have another talented piece for Derek Carr to throw to. You can see Walford’s glimpses of brilliance below thanks to Pablo Productions on YouTube.

A final word in closing. There are several defensive players out there that are fantastic and primed for great years. Defensive players do not get the publicity for one simple reason. In most cases, you cannot put them on your fantasy team. I am fortunate enough to draft individual defensive players in all the leagues I am in. Just remember, defenders are people too.

Despite Miller Megadeal, Broncos Remain Setup for Long Term Success

Super Bowl MVP Von Miller cashed in huge Friday and avoided the franchise tag dilemma. The six year $114 million deal with $70 million in guarantees makes Miller the highest paid non quarterback in league history.

von miller

Photo from foxsports.com

As a Broncos fan, I agree with a lot of the conventional wisdom that has emerged. Yes, this is way too much money for a linebacker. However, John Elway and the rest of Broncos brass had no choice.

Miller bet on himself by not signing a long term deal prior to last season and hit the jackpot. 11 sacks in the regular season. Also, Tom Brady and Cam Newton are likely still seeing Miller in their nightmares after what he did to them during the playoffs.

Had Miller sat out the 2016 season and eventually ended up playing elsewhere, it would have been impossible to replace him. He is a once in a generation type of talent. The Broncos were in a tough spot here. This was the best possible outcome for all involved. I have no issue at all here with Miller. Any player must get what they can while they can. Good for him.

Contrary to popular belief, Miller’s megadeal does not hurt Denver’s ability to pay other players at all, at least not right now. The Broncos have some good young talent still playing on rookie deals. Also, while playing financial chicken for the better part of a year with Miller, Elway got long term deals done with two other key defensive pieces, linebacker Brandon Marshall and defensive end Derek Wolfe. As much as most media outlets want you to believe Denver’s roster is not set up for the long term, you have to dig deeper. Let’s take a look.

    • Running back C.J. Anderson- 25 years old, under contract until 2020
    • Wide Receiver Demaryus Thomas- 28 years old, under contract until 2020
    • Linebacker Von Miller- 27 years old, under contract until 2022
    • Linebacker Brandon Marshall- 26 years old, under contract until 2020
    • Defensive end Derek Wolfe- 26 years old, under contract until 2020
    • Cornerback Bradley Roby- 24 years old, under contract until 2018
    • Cornerback Chris Harris- 27 years old, under contract until 2021
    • Safety T.J. Ward- 29 years old, under contract until 2018
    • Cornerback Aquib Talib- 30 years old, under contract until 2020

 

photo from broncos planetbroncos.com

photo from broncos planetbroncos.com

No other team in the league has that kind of proven talent locked up in the long term. Assuming everyone stays healthy, Denver will continue to compete for titles for at least another five years. They need serviceable quarterback play from Mark Sanchez in the short term, and franchise level quarterback play from Paxton Lynch in the long term. The organization has put both in the best possible position to deliver. There is also optimism that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will get a long term deal done to stay with the reigning world champions. The speedster is entering the final year of his deal.

John Elway continues to find ways to stretch a dollar better than any executive in sports. At this rate, he may be remembered as a better executive for the Broncos than he was a quarterback, and that is really saying something.

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Gary Kubiak Doesn’t Get Enough Credit

I make no secret of the fact that I am as big a Broncos fan as you will find anywhere, I always have been. The “experts” are predicting doom for the reigning Super Bowl champions this year. At first glance, I get it. Peyton Manning, Malik Jackson, and Danny Trevathan are all gone. No one knows what the future holds for Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, but most expect a deal to get done. Even with all that, one key piece of last year’s championship puzzle has gone nowhere, head coach Gary Kubiak.

Laugh at me all you want. The guy can flat out coach. When the quarterback situation got murky last year, he was steady as the sun. He calmly named either Manning or Osweiler the starter each Monday. I feel it really helped the whole organization to know which direction they were going early in the week. Not only did Kubiak have the stones to pull Manning when things got ugly a little over halfway through the season, he had them to put Manning back in the lineup when Denver needed a spark in a key regular season finale against San Diego. Not many coaches would have made either of the moves.

He knew exactly what he had all year long, a great defense, above average ground game, and limitations at quarterback… No matter which one it was. Two videos from the NFL’s YouTube channel drive this home perfectly. Just a snippet from each is all you need. In the one below, early in the Super Bowl, Kubiak says something to his staff about getting Manning easy throws. He knew he was not dealing with the Manning of five years ago, and planned accordingly.

The next one from the second half is similar. There is a part after Denver recovers a fumble deep in Panthers territory with a chance to salt the game away. Kubiak doesn’t get caught up in the moment or giving Manning a spectacular sendoff. He immediately says “let’s just go run run run” By dancing with what brought him there, he and the Broncos gave Manning the ultimate sendoff.

When you dig deeper, Kubiak’s track record speaks for itself. He was John Elway’s backup for eight years before getting into coaching. He has four Super Bowl rings. He was 49ers quarterbacks coach in 1994, Broncos offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998, and of course last year, also with the Broncos. He was also the first coach to lead the Houston Texans to the playoffs. However, the work he did in the mid-2000s is what really stands out.

Kubiak and his good buddy then Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan were the subject of league wide mocking when the Broncos signed quarterback Jake Plummer to be their starter in 2003. Plummer went from talented draft bust to Pro Bowler, leading the Broncos to three straight playoff berths, including the AFC title game in 2005. The bootleg heavy, run/play action first offense suited Plummer perfectly. He earned the nickname “No Mistake Jake.” Expect Kubiak to roll out something similar for this year’s Broncos. I know folks will laugh at the phrase “no mistake” being mentioned in the same breath as likely Broncos starter Mark Sanchez, but Plummer was viewed much the same as Sanchez is now prior to coming to Denver.

photo from nj.com

photo from nj.com

photo from cbssports.com

photo from cbssports.com

Kubiak’s offense is all based on getting the ground game going. During his stint as Broncos offensive coordinator, Kubiak had four different 1,000 rushers. Given that and the fact CJ Anderson really stepped up late last year, I feel pretty good about that. Throw in a revamped offensive line and I feel even better. Oh, by the way the defense is still really good.

Well, there you have it folks. That is my argument. My fandom plays some role, you all can decide how much. I think 11 wins is very realistic for the defending champs, am I crazy?

 

 

NFL Myths Busted

Everyone thinks they know everything about the NFL, myself included, but that is just not the case. There are a few ridiculous myths/theories out there that have always made me belly laugh. Time for me to rip them apart.

Tony Romo isn’t any good- Yes, his career is marked by playoff failures, but no quarterback alone is to blame. Undrafted out of Eastern Illinois, Romo became the Cowboys starter midway through the 2006 season. Since then, Dallas has not had a losing record in any season where Romo has started at least ten games. Romo has thrown for over 34,000 yards and posted a passer rating of over 95. Yet, fans, media, and more recently ownership, who flirted with Paxton Lynch during the draft, seem to try and tear Romo down at every turn. The 2-4 postseason mark and frequent late season collapses make me understand why, but the Cowboys are always in contention with Romo, despite never coming through. This is better than going 4-12 every year like the Browns. Romo’s value was never more obvious than last year. He only played in five games due to injury. Dallas literally could not win a game without him. The inconvenient truth is that Romo’s 78-49 career record as a starter and his stats make him a borderline Hall of Famer. Also, he is one great playoff run away from deleting the borderline from that statement.

photo from insidethestar.com

The running game is not important in the modern era- Believe it or not, 4000 yards used to be an incredible season for an NFL quarterback. John Elway only had one such season in his illustrious career. However, given the offensive friendly rules of today. It is much easier to rip off big chunks of yards through the air. 4000 yards is now commonplace. 12 quarterbacks broke the barrier last year. All this has in theory decreased the importance of running the ball effectively. Quarterbacks throw 50 times a game like it is nothing today. Also, it is rare to see running backs drafted in the first round anymore. So, most think running the ball is not necessary for big time success today. The truth is to win a championship you have to be at least capable at moving the ball on the ground. The Broncos were in the middle of the pack in rushing last year, but C.J. Anderson had 234 postseason rushing yards during Denver’s Super Bowl run. Seattle had Marshawn Lynch for both trips to the Super Bowl. Even the Packers, who were last in the league in rushing in 2010 had multiple 100+ yard rushing games from James Starks in the playoffs on their way to a Super Bowl title. Do not believe the chatter. There is absolutely still a place for “smash mouth” football.

Photo from ghettyimages.com

Photo from ghettyimages.com

God helped Tim Tebow and the Broncos win in 2011- Okay maybe I can’t totally debunk this one, but while the Tebow was leading the Broncos to miracle wins in 2011, this actually became a real thing. I get a kick out of it to this day. Faith is such a huge part of the Tebow package, but this was ridiculous. It was never Tebow’s fault. Look, I believe in God. That being said, I think he has bigger fish to fry than who wins the AFC West.

photo from bleacherreport.com

photo from bleacherreport.com