Russell Wilson MVP

The MVP case for Russell Wilson

Even with Aaron Rodgers sidelined at the moment, the conversation in regards to the best NFL quarterbacks is basically Rodgers, Tom Brady and then everybody else. However, one more name needs to be added to that conversation, and that would be Russell Wilson.

If you take the word valuable to heart in the phrase “Most Valuable Player,” Wilson should have an MVP trophy on his mantle before long.

Why is he overlooked?

There are a number of answers here. Seattle is not one of the NFL’s glamour franchises. Moreover, unless you have a living legend like Peyton Manning or you are the Lakers, West Coast teams as a whole are often undervalued by the mainstream media in any sport.

As ridiculous as it sounds, Wilson’s Seahawks were actually underdogs to Manning’s Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. This has to do with time zones and most major American media companies being based on the East Coast. So that will not be changing anytime soon.

Wilson also never says anything particularly interesting, which is not a bad thing. More importantly, he never says the wrong thing. Throughout the Pete Carroll era, Seattle’s identity has been a defense led by outspoken players like Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett. Wilson has always been content in letting those guys do all the talking for the media to eat up. This makes it even easier for him to get lost in the shuffle in terms of praise and accolades.

We live in an age of technology, analytics and numbers. So many efforts are made to make NFL talent evaluation an exact science, but Wilson is perhaps the best example of how impossible that is.

We have yet to come up with a statistic or drill that adequately measures Wilson’s ability to pull off plays like the one below from the NFL’s YouTube channel. There is not another quarterback on the planet who can pull that off.

If you were to genetically engineer an NFL quarterback, it would look a lot like Rodgers and nothing like Wilson. His style is one we rarely see in the NFL, and it facilitates a different kind of greatness. It is one that is difficult to quantify, but it deserves to be recognized just the same.

Wilson is carrying the Seahawks

The Seahawks have not missed the playoffs in Wilson’s career. He has always done his part at the very least. However, this year has been a bit different. Seattle’s roster is not as loaded as it has been in past seasons.

Russell Wilson MVP

(Photo from Seattle Times)

Injuries to Sherman and Kam Chancellor have turned a defense that was once great into something average, leaving us all wondering if the “Legion of Boom” is a thing of the past. Seattle has lost two games this year where Wilson and the offense have put up over 25 points. If Seattle put up 25 points a few years ago, you could pretty much mark down a win.

Wilson’s supporting cast on offense has not been much better. Outside of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, there is not a lot there. You almost need three hands to count the number of running backs the Seahawks have used this year. Some of that is due to injury, while the rest is due to ineffectiveness. That situation has become so dyer that Wilson is also the team’s leading rusher.

Seattle’s history of not paying big money for offensive lineman is well documented. This year, they have gotten what they paid for. They rank 20th in sacks allowed. Keep in mind this offensive line blocks for the most mobile quarterback in football, granted Wilson sometimes holds on to the ball too long. Even so, a less mobile quarterback would get beheaded behind this line.

Looking ahead

Despite all this, Wilson has Seattle squarely in the playoff hunt. Due to bad special teams, their last two losses have them on the outside looking in. Wilson put his team in position to win both games.

The Seahawks will be favorite to win all but one of their remaining games. Beating the teams they should beat will get Seattle in the playoffs. Anything can happen from there.

Raw numbers have kept Wilson from MVP conversations in the past. That certainly is not the case this year. He is tied for third in touchdown passes and ranks fifth in passing yards. Accounting for over 80 percent of Seattle’s  total offense means that Wilson is being forced to do much more than guys like Tom Brady and Carson Wentz.

Fantasy football is not always the best metric to determine a player’s effectiveness or importance. However, it is appropriate for Wilson this season. He is the top quarterback in ESPN standard scoring leagues this year.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the MVP award going to Brady or Wentz based on the solid but tired “best player on the best team” logic. However, no player is more important to their team than Russell Wilson.

 

Featured image from Boston Herald 

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Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 11

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the No. 1 priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it is by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 Week 11 NFL picks.

Last week: 12-2

Overall: 86-59

Teams on byes: Carolina, Indianapolis, New York Jets, San Francisco

Thursday Night

Tennessee Titans (6-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2):

 

Sunday Morning

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

(Photo Credit: https://thevikingage.com)

Detroit Lions (5-4) 27 @ Chicago Bears (3-6) 16: When the Bears finally decided to start Mitchell Trubisky some thought they would make a run at the playoffs because Aaron Rodgers went down. The Bears are not going to do that and will be lucky to win six games this season but the future is bright. Matthew Stafford should have a field day at Soldier Field to send the Bears to 3-7.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) 23 @ Cleveland Browns (0-9) 6: Cleveland will get another step closer to 0-16 this week as the Jaguars come to town. Jacksonville’s defense could force a shutout this week as they are allowing the fewest points per game at 14.9 while the Browns are averaging just 15.9 points per game. It would be a major upset if the Browns found a way to win.

Baltimore Ravens (4-5) 20 @ Green Bay Packers (5-4) 22: Neither team is really good but the Packers are struggling because they lost Aaron Rodgers. Baltimore is struggling because they have no offense. The edge should go to Baltimore because they are coming off a bye but they have to travel to Lambeau. I have no clue what will happen in this game but I have a feeling that Brett Hundley will have a big game.

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) 23 @ Minnesota Vikings (7-2) 24: This is the best game of the week and it should be in primetime. Both teams are 7-2 and in a battle for the second seed in the NFC. It is also a clash of styles with as the Rams have the third-ranked offense and the Vikings have the fifth-ranked defense. Typically in the past, when top defenses square off against top offenses the defenses win. That, paired with the Vikings playing at home gives Minnesota the edge. The Vikings win to continue their path towards a Super Bowl run.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) 27 @ Miami Dolphins (4-5) 26: These two teams are playing the game they missed in week one due to Hurricane Irma. Both teams were expected to make a playoff appearance but now it looks like neither will as both have looked horrible this season. This will be a dull game that is watched by few. Heck, picking the winner might come down to a coin toss. Actually, it will be a coin toss. Heads Tampa wins, tails Miami wins. It was heads.

Washington Redskins (4-5) 21 @ New Orleans Saints (7-2) 37: When looking at Washington all you can see is an average team which is why they continue to float around .500. Their loss to the Vikings all but ended their season. Traveling to New Orleans is going to make it even more unlikely that Washington makes a run at the playoffs. New Orleans, on the other hand, is on a seven-game win streak. Many are picking the Saints as the favorite to win the NFC. Washington will not be able to keep up with the Saints’ offense and fall in the Superdome.

Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) 27 @ New York Giants (1-8) 20: Kansas City is in need of a confidence builder and this is the perfect opportunity. The Chiefs have lost three of their last four games but are still one of the top teams in the AFC. The Giants are fighting for the top overall pick in the draft and are in tank mode. When this ends the score may be close but the game will never be in question. Kansas City will get back to their winning ways.

Arizona Cardinals (4-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (3-6) 21: Two or three weeks ago this would be an easy game to pick. Without DeShaun Watson, the Texans are struggling. The defense is banged up as well which means the Texans have nothing to rely on. The Cardinals are also banged up but are more prepared for the injuries they have. Arizona will ride Adrian Peterson to a win.

Sunday Afternoon

Hagan's Haus NFL picks week 11

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

Buffalo Bills (5-4) 14 @ Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) 24: Buffalo has made a quarterback change in the midst of a playoff race. This tells us one thing, they truly don’t believe they can make the playoffs. They are trying to get their young quarterback ready for the future with game time experience. Los Angeles plays good defense and will make it a huge challenge for Nathan Peterman. Los Angeles will win this game with a great defensive performance and two touchdown day from Melvin Gordon.

Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) 21 @ Denver Broncos (3-6) 20: Cincinnati and Denver are both 3-6 but the Bengals have looked better thus far. Cincinnati is still playing great defense while the Broncos have stopped excelling at everything. Denver will not be able to win this game because their offense is anemic. Andy Dalton will have one of the best games of his career to give the Bengals a win.

New England Patriots (7-2) 27 @ Oakland Raiders (4-5) 24: It seems like each week Oakland is playing in a must-win game. Once they get to six losses they will really be in must-win games if they want to make the playoffs. New England is still hot and rolling like they typically do. This game is in Mexico City and the Patriots have prepared for it by practicing in Denver all week. New England will win because they are going to be more prepared than Oakland.

Sunday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) 24 @ Dallas Cowboys (5-4) 27: This is an obvious trap game for Philly. All divisional games are difficult but this one will be even more difficult. The Eagles will be traveling to Jerry World to face the Cowboys who will be without Ezekiel Elliot or Sean Lee. Everyone is expecting the Eagles to win because they are both good and Dallas is banged up. If Dallas is going to win this game they are going to need a huge night from Dak Prescott. They will get it and Dallas will upset Philadelphia.

Monday Night

Atlanta Falcons (5-4) 24 @ Seattle Seahawks (6-3) 20: A win by the Falcons and they could throw themselves right into the thick of the wildcard race again. Atlanta has been struggling on offense this season but they will be able to score this week. Seattle just lost Richard Sherman for the season. He is the heart and soul of the defense and without him, the defense will lose their spark. The offensive line is also the weak unit of the offense and the Falcons will feast on it. Atlanta will win this game behind their defense.

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Featured image courtesy of www.youtube.com

NFL Week 11

Stack your money Sundays: Week 11

Week 10 Review (3-0) OVERALL: 19-9-2

Minnesota Vikings (-1) @ Washington Redskins

Minnesota Vikings 38 Washington Redskins 30

In an emotional return to the sidelines for Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum could not be stopped. Did Bridgewater’s return spark Keenum to play big, knowing that his job is on the line? Maybe, but whatever it was, keep it up Case!

The former Houston standout threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. He was extremely efficient, completing 21 of his 29 passes and was also never sacked in the contest. Adam Thielen had a monster day, hauling in eight receptions for 166 yards and a score.

Minnesota was also able to rush for over 100 yards, while limiting the Redskins to just 81 rushing yards on 27 carries. In the article leading up to this game, we talked about how the Vikings were ranked sixth in third-down conversions, while the Redskins ranked 19th in opposing third-down conversions. As expected, Minnesota went 8-12 on third-down conversions.

The Redskins put up a fight, as Kirk Cousins threw for 327 yards while Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder each had 76 receiving yards. Unfortunately, their poor defense and lack of run game left them just short. They now sit at 4-5 while the Vikings are looking great at 7-2.

New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15 New York Jets 10

This was one of the ugliest games of the season. It was a double revenge game, as both quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown, faced off against their former teams. It literally took until 6:05 left in the fourth quarter for a touchdown to occur. Imagine paying to sit through this disaster.

Both teams were unable to rush for over 100 yards, and the Bucs won while throwing for only 187 yards and scoring one touchdown. Since 2007, teams that threw for under 190 yards, rushed for less than 100 and scored only one touchdown have a .129 winning percentage. Shout out to the Bucs for beating the odds.

New England Patriots (-7.5) @ Denver Broncos

New England Patriots 41 Denver Broncos 16

NFL Week 11

The GOAT (Photo from Boston Herald)

The Broncos have fallen so hard, and it’s honestly sad. After stopping Brady and the Patriots on the opening drive, Denver muffed the punt and gave the ball right back. From that point on, the game was over. Tom Brady continues to defy odds as he had a miraculous three-touchdown, 125.4 quarterback rating performance.

Brock Osweiler continued to do Brock Osweiler things. He was inefficient with his throws and unable to make any big plays.

To Osweiler’s defense, Denver’s D did not help him at all. They have now allowed the fourth most points in the NFL, and are second to last in defensive turnovers. So yeah, Brock isn’t great, but Denver’s defense is playing at an all-time low. They should be able to rebound this week against the Bengals.

 

WEEK 11 PICKS

Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Chargers (-4)

PICK: CHARGERS TO COVER

So a rookie quarterback is going on the road against a Philip Rivers team, and Rivers only has to win by four? Sign me up. Luckily, Rivers was a full participant in practice and looks ready to go.

To much surprise, Tyrod Taylor was benched in favor of Nathan Peterman, the former Pitt quarterback. As crazy as this move seems, it kind of makes sense. Under Taylor, the Bills were 30th in passing yards, 27th in first downs, 28th in total yards and 24th in passing touchdowns. Peterman, who played well in garbage time against the Saints, will most likely be handing the ball off over 30 times to a running back.

San Diego’s defense, although shaky against the run, has done a pretty solid job as far as keeping teams off the scoreboard. The Chargers rank ninth in opponent points per game and third in opponent points per play. As far as the red zone goes, they are the No. 1 defense in terms of percentage of red zone trips that end in touchdowns.

Rivers has won 60 percent of his home games in November, which is absolutely respectable. He is clearly the better quarterback, and his defense, which does a great job of not allowing points, is going up against one of the weakest offenses in the league. In their last 18 road games during the months of November-January, the Bills are 4-14. Not a good road team this late into the season.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) @ Dallas Cowboys

PICK: EAGLES TO COVER

No Sean Lee means major problems for Dallas. The Cowboys fear that their star linebacker could miss several games due to his hamstring injury. Without Lee in the lineup, Dallas is a completely different defense. In Lee’s first six starts of the season, the Cowboys held opposing teams to just 80.3 rushing yards per game. In the two games he missed in October, the Cowboys allowed 164 rushing yards per game.

NFL Week 11

The favorite for MVP, Carson Wentz (Photo from The Undefeated)

When Lee was in against Atlanta, the Falcons had four carries for negative two yards. Even without Devonta Freeman for a majority of the game, Atlanta ended up with 132 yards on 34 carries.

The Eagles are arguably the best team in the NFL, and are also coming off a bye. Carson Wentz looks like the MVP of the league, as his Eagles are fourth in yards per game, second in points per play, third in third-down conversion percentage and first in red zone scoring efficiency on touchdown drives.

Not only is their offense second in the league in points per game, but Philly’s defense is tenth in the league in regards to fewest points allowed. They also do an exceptional job of defending on third down, ranking third in opposing third down percentage. When it comes to defending the run, the Eagles are first in opposing rushing yards per game, as well as opposing rushing first downs per game.

No Ezekiel Elliott and no Sean Lee might be too much for Dallas to overcome, especially against the hottest team in the league, who is fresh off a bye.

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks (-3)

PICK: SEAHAWKS TO COVER

Not only have you been stacking your money on Sundays, but now you should invest and stack some more on Monday.

Seattle, coming off a Thursday night win, has had an extended amount of time to prepare for this one. The Richard Sherman injury will sting, but it won’t kill this potent defense.

Matt Ryan has been shaky all year, and will most likely continue this trend on his way to Seattle. The Seahawks are allowing the fifth fewest points per game and the fourth fewest points per play. This team defends the red zone well and ranks sixth in opposing touchdowns per game. Atlanta has been an average offense that turns the ball over too much.

In his career at home in November, Russell Wilson is 11-2. Contrary to this, Ryan is 8-9 on the road in the month of November. The Seahawks offense is seventh in total yards and second in terms of total passing yards. Wilson has only thrown six interceptions and ranks in the top 10 in yards per pass.

Atlanta turns the ball over more, is on the road and has the weaker quarterback. This should be a solid win for Wilson and the Seahawks.

 

Featured image from Zimbio.com

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Jimmy Garoppolo trade

The Jimmy Garoppolo trade

The Patriots sent away the man who has sat behind Tom Brady for three seasons to the San Fransisco 49ers for a 2018 second-round pick. Garoppolo has not entered a game this season, but won both of his starts last season with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Why They Did It

Garoppolo is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season. It was reported that he said he wants to play and would not be re-signing with the Patriots unless they start him.

Even if Garoppolo wanted to stay, it would be hard to justify paying the backup quarterback more than the starter. Brady has taken many pay cuts so the Pats can spend their money elsewhere while the young Jimmy Garoppolo wants to get paid.

Entering his fourth season, Garoppolo wants to prove himself as an everyday starter in the NFL. If he waits as a backup for too long, he may never get to prove himself.

Looking Ahead

Jimmy Garoppolo trade

(Photo from ESPN)

The San Francisco 49ers are currently 0-8 and have one of the worst defenses and offenses in the entire league. The team has shown potential at times with five out of eight games ending by one possession.

The 49ers are coming up against the Cardinals, and I would be surprised if they threw Garoppolo into the fray right off the bat. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he can’t even promise that Garoppolo will play at all this season.

If the 49ers go the entire season without letting Garoppolo get in, then this would be a crazy move by them. Garoppolo has only played in a handful of games, so you would think they want to see how he plays before offering him a huge contract.

If the 49ers don’t play Garoppolo this season, they will ride it out with C.J. Beathard, a rookie from Iowa. This will most likely result in getting the worst record in the league and the No. 1 pick.

My Take

If the 49ers end up sitting Garoppolo the rest of the season then they made a huge mistake. Garoppolo just wants to compete. Even if it is for one of the worst teams in the league, you need to give him the keys to the car.

What kind of message would that send to him if he sits the rest of the year, and the team goes without a win? Does he want to be part of the rebuild, or would he want to re-sign elsewhere?

The 49ers might be wanting this No. 1 pick. With the season already lost, is there any point in playing Garoppolo and winning a few meaningless games?

Jimmy Garoppolo trade

(Photo by The Mercury News)

This is why I think they may have pulled the trigger a little too late. If you’re going to make this happen, you need to get him earlier in the season to give him the time to get acclimated with the offense.

This also could be because they don’t want to risk injuring him with this horrible offensive line they have, which may be something they address in the draft.

I think no matter what happens that Garoppolo will re-sign with the 49ers because he saw what they gave up for him in a contract year. It shows that the organization has faith in him, and that goes a long way.

With so many rumors and theories circulating right now, only Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers front office know what will happen. My money is on that he will play at least a few games this season. They will win a game or two, which give the Browns the first pick in the draft.

With all that said, I wish the best for Jimmy and hope he can bring back the 49ers from the dead. The league is much better when the 49ers are competing at a high level.

 

Featured image by SFGate.com

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Jimmy Garappolo trade: 49ers absolutely win deal

On Monday night, the 49ers stole Jimmy Garappolo from the New England Patriots. The Patriots received a second round pick from San Francisco, but most believed Garappolo was worth a first. A second round pick for a possible franchise quarterback is an absolute steal. By the way, to put this pick into perspective, three recent second round quarterbacks have been Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg and DeShone Kizer.

What this means for the 49ers

At 0-8, it appeared the 49ers would wait this season out and go for Kirk Cousins, or draft a young quarterback. San Francisco had no idea what the Redskins were going to do with Cousins, and going into the season, the 49ers were one of the 10 youngest teams in the league. With the average age of a 49er being around 25 years old, it makes complete sense to go after a 26-year-old.

Jimmy Garappolo trade

While only starting two games, Jimmy G looked like the real deal (SBNation)

Additionally, coach Kyle Shanahan really likes Garappolo. Prior to the 2014 NFL Draft, Shanahan ranked Derek Carr and Garappolo as the best quarterbacks in the draft. However, don’t expect him to play right away. San Francisco is without both of their tackles on the offensive line, and it is going to take time to learn the playbook. Realistically, Garappolo could play following their bye, which would give him three weeks to prepare.

In 17 career games, and two starts, Garappolo has been essentially flawless. He has thrown five touchdowns, zero interceptions, completing passes at 67 percent and a passer rating of 106.2.

Last season, Garappolo’s yards per attempt was 8.0, which would be good for fifth in the league in 2017. His 113.3 passer rating would be second behind Alex Smith. Obviously, it is an incredibly small sample size, but 49ers fan should feel ecstatic.

Future of San Francisco

As far as the future of this team, don’t let their winless record fool you. The 49ers are a young defense who can turn out to be very special. Solomon Thomas, who is battling an MCL sprain, has looked like the real deal in his rookie season. DeForest Buckner is arguably the 49ers best defensive player, and he is just 23 years of age. Former first round pick Arik Armstead had 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks before injuring his hand against the Washington Redskins. Don’t forget about Reuben Foster, who has also been battling injuries all year.

The offense has enough weapons for Garappolo to find early success. Carlos Hyde has been extremely effective as both a runner and pass catcher in the offense, while Pierre Garcon is up to 500 yards receiving through their first eight games. Speedster Marquise Goodwin is a perfect deep ball threat for Garappolo.

In his press conference, Garappolo exclaimed how he is “thrilled to be here” and “eager to get out there and show what I can do on a Sunday.” Garappolo also touched on how he could not be happier to be a member of this team.

As far as future schedule looks, it won’t get any easier next season for San Francisco. They will be facing, on the road, Green Bay, Kansas City, Seattle, Minnesota and the LA Rams. While it may take some time, Jimmy G and the 49ers could be a perfect fit. The best part is that San Francisco will still have a top five pick in this year’s draft, and might have found their quarterback for the next ten years.

What this means for New England

To be honest, this move is quite the head scratcher. It would be one thing if the Patriots did not like Garappolo and thought he wouldn’t pan out, but that is just not the case. The Patriots loved this kid, and viewed him as the Aaron Rodgers to Brett Favre. If Brady goes down, their season is over.

An important message to note is that Bill Belichick would have absolutely considered trading Tom Brady after this season. However, Brady and owner Bob Kraft are extremely close, and Albert Breer, reporter for the MMQB.com, claims that Belichick “probably knew the Kraft family was not going to allow him to trade Tom Brady.”

Jimmy Garappolo trade

Were Kraft and Belichick on the same page for this move? (Boston Herald)

Whatever the case may be, Tom Brady is 40 years old. Although he looks good, it just doesn’t make sense to trade the future away, especially when the franchise believed he has serious potential. Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, one way or another, were all forced to cut ties with their original teams and play somewhere else.

New England is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to trading players away at the right time, but I guess when you are dealing with the GOAT, things get complicated. Something tells me Kraft’s relationship with Brady got in the way of how Belichick wanted to do business.

Boston sports fans are extremely blessed, but also might not be ready for life after Brady. Keep in mind that from 1989-1993, the Patriots never won more than six games in a season. The Celtics did something similar to New England, when they held onto Bird, Parish and McHale too long. After their success, the players aged, and Boston went 22 years without winning a title. They were unable to reach the playoffs from 1995-2001. Letting past success get in the way of the future leads to situations like the Celtics.

To remind Patriots fans, and NFL fans, how hard it is to find a franchise quarterback, I have constructed a list of all the quarterbacks who have won at least nine games in three different seasons. All of course, part of the same franchise. As you’ll see, it could take years before New England gets back on track once Brady is gone.

Players with at least three 9-Win Seasons with Franchise (# of seasons)

Arizona/St Louis Cardinals

Jim Hart 1974-76 (3)

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan 2008- (6)

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco 2008- (6)

Buffalo Bills

Jack Kemp 1964-1966 (3)

Joe Ferguson 1973-1981 (4)

Jim Kelly 1988-1995 (6)

Carolina Panthers

Jake Delhomme 2003-2008 (3)

Chicago Bears

NONE

Cincinnati Bengals

Ken Anderson 1973-1981 (4)

Boomer Esiason 1986-1990 (3)

Andy Dalton 2011-2015 (5)

Cleveland Browns

Otto Graham 1950-1955 (5)

Frank Ryan 1963-1967 (5)

Bill Nelsen 1968-1971 (3)

Dallas Cowboys

Roger Staubach 1971-1979 (7)

Danny White 1980-1985 (4)

Troy Aikman 1992-1996 (5)

Tony Romo 2007-2014 (3)

Denver Broncos

John Elway 1984-1998 (9)

Jake Plummer 2003-2005 (3)

Peyton Manning 2012-2014 (3)

Detroit Lions

Bobby Layne 1952-1956 (3)

Matthew Stafford 2011- (3)

Green Bay Packers

Bart Starr 1961-1966 (4)

Brett Favre 1993-2007 (12)

Aaron Rodgers 2009- (7)

Houston Texans

NONE

Indianapolis Colts

Johnny Unitas 1959-1970 (5)

Bert Jones 1975-1977 (3)

Peyton Manning (11)

Andrew Luck 2012- (3)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Mark Brunell 1996-1999 (4)

Kansas City Chiefs

Len Dawson 1962-1971 (5)

Alex Smith 2013- (3)

LA/San Diego Chargers

Dan Fouts 1978-1981 (4)

Stan Humphires 1992-1995 (3)

Philip Rivers 2006- (6)

LA/STL Rams

Roman Gabriel 1967-1970 (4)

Kurt Warner 1999-2001* (2 (Went 8-3 in 2000) )

Miami Dolphins

Bob Griese 1970-1977 (5)

Dan Marino 1984-1998 (8)

Minnesota Vikings

Fran Tarkenton 1973-1976 (4)

New England Patriots

Steve Grogan 1976-1979 (4)

Drew Bledsoe 1994-1997 (3)

Tom Brady 2001- (15)

New Orleans Saints

Bobby Herbert 1987-1992 (3)

Drew Brees 2006- (5)

New York Giants

Phil Simms 1984-1993 (7)

Eli Manning 2005- (7)

New York Jets

Joe Namath 1967-1969* (2 (Three winning seasons when regular season=14 games) )

Vinny Testaverde 1998

Oakland/LA Raiders

Daryle Lamonica 1967-1972 (4)

Ken Stabler 1974-1979 (6)

Rich Gannon 2000-2002 (3)

Philadelphia Eagles

Ron Jaworski 1978-1981 (4)

Randall Cunningham 1988-1992 (4)

Donovan McNabb 2000-2009 (6)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Terry Bradshaw 1972-1980 (6)

Neil O’Donnell 1992-1995 (4)

Ben Roethlisberger 2004- (9)

San Francisco 49ers

Joe Montana 1981-1990 (7)

Steve Young 1992-1998 (6)

Seattle Seahawks

Dave Krieg 1984-1990 (3)

Matt Hasselbeck 2003-2007 (3)

Russell Wilson 2012- (5)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NONE

Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers

Dan Pastorini 1975-1979 (3)

Warren Moon 1989-1993 (3)

Steve McNair 1999-2003 (4)

Washington Redskins

Joe Theismann 1979-1984 (3)

Mark Rypien 1989-1992 (3)

 

Featured image by Boston Herald 

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Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 7

Week six review (0-3) OVERALL: 12-6

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings 23 Green Bay Packers 10

A legal, but dirty, hit by Minnesota Vikings star Anthony Barr cost the Packers their season. In the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers went down and suffered a broken collarbone. Brett Hundley took over, and was an absolute disaster. The Packers were only down four at half, and still had a legitimate shot to win, but Hundley was just terrible. The UCLA standout finished with three interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 39.6.

This was just an ugly game, and totally unlucky for bettors. Both teams had trouble getting much going, as neither were able to score a touchdown in the second half. Credit to Minnesota’s defense, and with the Rodgers injury, the Vikings should be able to win the NFC North.

Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)

Los Angeles Rams 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 17

“Greg The Leg” has been vital for the Rams (LA Times)

This was another rather unlucky game. Had I known the Jags would be a total disaster on special teams, I would have avoided this matchup.

On the opening kickoff, Rams return man Pharoh Cooper took it the house on a 103-yard touchdown return. In the second quarter, Los Angeles blocked a Jaguars punt and returned it for a score.

The Jaguars defense remained elite, only allowing one touchdown to the opposition. Blake Bortles played alright, and Leonard Fournette, who got injured in the game, tore up the Rams defense. Fournette ran for 130 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown in response to Cooper’s kickoff return. Rams special teams won them this game, and we haven’t even mentioned Greg Zuerlein, who hit two field goals, including one from 56 yards out.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-3)

Los Angeles Chargers 17 Oakland Raiders 16

While Derek Carr looked amazing against the Chiefs in their Thursday night win, last Sunday was a totally different story. Carr, who was most likely playing injured, threw a pair of interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 67.5. The Raiders just couldn’t move the football, with a total of only 274 yards.

Philip Rivers deserves some love, as he led the Chargers down the field, setting up a Nick Novak game-winner as time expired. Solid win for Los Angeles, but at 2-4, it’s going be tough to climb into playoff contention.

WEEK 7 PICKS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills (-3)

PICK: BILLS TO COVER

The Bills are a lot better than people think, and Jameis Winston is not as good as we thought he would be. Winston is questionable, but is expected to start. Winston looked bad against the Patriots, and terrible against the Vikings. This is a Buffalo defense who has allowed the fewest points in all of the NFL, and should have no problem shutting down Winston.

Expect a big game from LeSean McCoy (SportingNews)

Buffalo has allowed fewer passing touchdowns than any team in the league, and currently rank seventh in fewest rushing yards allowed.  The Bills are only allowing 85 yards per game on the ground. In the 12 previous games in which the Bucs rushed for 85 yards or less, they went 3-9. Tampa Bay is a pass heavy team, and Buffalo is second In the NFL in interceptions.

The Buccaneers defense is quite abysmal. They currently rank 30th in total yards allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed. They have the fewest sacks in the league, and if you can’t get to Tyrod Taylor, he will make you pay with his feet.

The Bucs are also allowing the fourth highest quarterback rating to opposing quarterbacks. They aren’t any prettier in the red zone, allowing the second most red zone opportunities for opposing teams.

Tyrod will not put up huge numbers, but he rarely turns the ball over, and has kept Buffalo in every game. The last time LeSean McCoy played the Bucs, he ran for 116 yards, so expect big things from Shady.

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

PICK: RAMS TO COVER

As weird as this may sound, the Rams are legit. They are still first in the league in scoring, and fourth in the league in third down percentage. Arizona’s defense currently ranks 28th in points allowed, and 30th in points allowed per red zone trip.

Carson Palmer is washed up, and has been getting absolutely demolished this season. He has already thrown six interceptions, and has been a sacked a grand total of 21 times. Because of this, Arizona is 24th in points per drive. They almost blew a huge lead to Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think that says enough.

Although Adrian Peterson had a nice game last week, I don’t see it happening again. On the flip side, Todd Gurley is averaging over four yards per carry in his career versus the Cardinals. The Rams defend the pass well, and are first in the league in field goals per drive, all thanks to the best kicker in the league, Greg Zuerlein. Look for the Rams to continue their early success.

Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots (-3.5)

PICK: PATRIOTS TO COVER

The Super Bowl rematch preview is a lot different than we expected. The Patriots defense is a disaster, and Matt Ryan is back to being his average self. He has thrown six interceptions and his Falcons are a totally different team than last season. They have already lost to the Bills and the Dolphins.

It should also be noted that they were literally inches away from losing to the Lions, and an end zone drop away from losing to the Bears. Atlanta’s defense has caused the fewest turnovers in the league, and cannot get off the field. They currently rank 31st in average time per opposing drive.

Matt Ryan has never beaten the Patriots, but this should be a shootout. Expect New England’s defense to look a little better, and for the Pats to win by at least seven.

 

Featured image by Bleacher Report

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week six DFS don'ts

Week six DFS don’ts: Report Card

An interesting trend is starting to develop. It seems as though every three weeks I’m due for a dip in DFS profitability. Thus far, I’ve only failed to profit in weeks three and six. Does that mean I should just not play in weeks nine, twelve and fifteen? Of course not, if there’s a Sunday slate, I’ll play it. Let’s wrap up week six DFS don’ts with the dreaded report card.

Quarterback: 1/3

As some of you might have noticed, no week six DFS don’ts piece about quarterbacks. Sorry about that, won’t happen again. Anyways, Tom Brady came up just short of doubling his value against the Jets and Kevin Hogan was a huge disappointment. Thankfully, Kirk Cousins redeemed me by finishing as the top fantasy quarterback this weekend.

Running Back: 4/6

Not a bad week at the running back position. Leonard Fournette and Mark Ingram were great for my cash game lineups. Unfortunately, the Denver Broncos didn’t show up and that cost me huge with C.J. Andersen. As far as my week six DFS don’ts at this position, Carlos Hyde proved me wrong. I’m glad to see he’s reestablished himself as the lead back even if it was at my expense. Both Ameer Abdullah and Elijah McGuire failed miserably to double their value.

Wide Receiver: 2/5

I don’t count players who end up being out, so, I’m not counting DeVante Parker as part of my report card. DeAndre Hopkins and Chris Hogan shockingly didn’t produce double their value. I know DeSean Jackson didn’t technically double his value; however, I’m counting this as a win since he still managed to produce with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Brandin Cooks came so close to proving me wrong, whereas Demaryius Thomas blew me away with 10 catches for over 130 yards.

Tight End: 1/4

Martellus Bennett was an easy pick. If you couldn’t tell a week ago, you can now. He doesn’t produce in this offense. Darren Fells, despite a lack of targets, still managed to produce. He’s officially supplanted Eric Ebron and is a viable DFS option moving forward. Ryan Griffin and AJ Derby were also bad calls despite great matchups.

Kicker: 2/2

At least I’m continuing to pick this position correctly. Aaron Rodgers injury aside, I didn’t like Mason Crosby going into this week. However, I loved Wil Lutz this week and he more than doubled his value.

Defense: 1/2

I will apologize for everyone who listened to the Suck My DFS Podcast and picked Denver as their defense. They were incredibly disappointing. Thankfully, Jacksonville laid an egg at home as I predicted.

Overall Score: 11/22

50% isn’t great, but, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between who I pick and how much money I win. The weeks I’ve won the most money, I haven’t been great on individual player picks, and vice versa. The best thing about this game is that we can quickly move on to the next week. Come back tomorrow for which kicker and defense you should avoid in week seven.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Grizzly Bear Blues

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Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 6

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself in studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 6 NFL picks.

Last week: 5-8

Overall: 37-39

Teams on byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle

Thursday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) @ Carolina Panthers (4-1):

Sunday Morning

Miami Dolphins (2-2) 13 @ Atlanta Falcons (3-1) 28: The Dolphins are trending in the wrong direction and maybe people will finally see that Jay Cutler is no solution to a problem under center. Miami averages just 251.3 yards per game resulting in just 10.3 points per game. It is going to take three times as many points to beat Atlanta who is averaging 26 points per game themselves. Matt Ryan is going to thoroughly outperform Jay Cutler to push Atlanta to 4-1.

Detroit Lions (3-2) 35 @ New Orleans Saints (2-2) 37: Detroit is coming off a home loss to the Panthers in which the game wasn’t as close as the score was. The Lions looked really good in the first three weeks but haven’t looked as good in the last two games. The Saints, on the other hand, have a two-game win streak and are coming off of a bye. This game has the feeling of a shootout and Drew Brees is a hard man to outscore. The Saints are favored by five points. They won’t cover the spread, but they will win sending the Lions to .500.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Matt Blewett/The Minnesota Sports Report)

Green Bay Packers (4-1) 20 @ Minnesota (3-2) 24: Very few football minds will be picking the Vikings in this game, but this is really a 50-50 game, especially in Minnesota. The Vikings have a defense that has, at times, caused fits for Aaron Rodgers. They have held Rodgers under 15 points in two of the last three matchups. The one thing that could be tough for the Vikings is scoring. Their offense is missing key pieces and interchanging quarterbacks like socks. The defense must dominate for Minnesota to have a chance. They will be dominant and get the upset at home.

New England Patriots (3-2) 45 @ New York Jets (3-2) 17: New York was supposed to be winless but instead find themselves with three wins. It is extremely surprising that they are in this position but the surprises end here. New England is going to make a massive statement in this game. They will go to New York and put up 40 points behind a 350-yard performance from the great Tom Brady. This will be a blowout.

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) 20 @ Washington Redskins (2-2) 24: Personally, I don’t think the Redskins are all that good of a team this season but are 2-2 and get a chance to play a winless team at home which favors Washington. There will be a heavy dose of running from Washington clash as the Redskins have the seventh-ranked rushing attack and the 49ers give up 116.6 yards per game. San Francisco won’t be able to stop them and Washington will control the clock. This will be a close game on the scoreboard but the Redskins will dominate.

Chicago Bears (1-4) 24 @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2) 21: Bears fans should be smiling after last week. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t set the world on fire but showed tons of potential. Over time he will develop into a solid NFL quarterback. This week he has to face a good, stingy Raven defense. On the other side, the Ravens offense is one of the worst in the league which gives the Bears a chance. Due to the Ravens woeful offense, the Bears have a chance to win. Chicago is going to fly to Baltimore and get an upset behind a big game from Trubisky.

Cleveland Browns (0-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (2-3) 34: This is a great opportunity for DeShaun Watson to step on the field against the Browns and make them miserable for not selecting him in the draft. Watson is second in the NFL in touchdown passes and has looked really good. Sometimes the accuracy isn’t there but that is tolerable with his playmaking ability. Watson has another four-touchdown performance to make Brown fans puke.

Sunday Afternoon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) 34 @ Arizona Cardinals (2-3) 38: Arizona made huge waves this week trading for Adrian Peterson but will it help them on the field? Probably not in his first game. He has to learn the offense and the Bucs only give up 87.3 yards per game. There will be a lot of passing in this game as both teams struggle to run the ball and both are good at stopping the run. Jameis Winston has a younger arm and a better supporting cast so the Bucs will go to Arizona and get a big road win.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams (3-2) 24 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) 21: This game isn’t getting a ton of publicity but will be one of the best games of the week. The Rams have the fifth-ranked passing attack and the Jaguars have the third-ranked rush defense. If Los Angeles comes into the game planning to run they will win the game. Jacksonville gives up 146.4 rush yards per game, the second-worst in the NFL. Todd Gurley will have a career game and lead the Rams to a victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) 27 @ Kansas City (5-0) 31: The struggling Steelers are heading into Arrowhead to face the best team in the NFL. Big Ben said he may not have it anymore which means he will probably light it up to prove a point. Even if Big Ben does so, the Chiefs offense is just way too explosive to shut down. At some point, Kareem Hunt will hit a wall and have a bad game but it won’t be this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) 21 @ Oakland Raiders (2-3) 24: The site of the game may change with the crazy wildfires burning in California. That type of uncertainty can affect both teams.  It is still up in the air if Derek Carr will play but the Raiders should win regardless. They are the better team. Oakland will finally get their running game going as the Chargers have the worst rush defense in the league, allowing 161.2 yards per game.

Sunday Night

New York Giants (0-5) 0 @ Denver Broncos (3-1) 24: There is not much of a summary needed on why the Broncos will the game. Denver will run all over the Giants defense in a game that shouldn’t be televised nationally. They are coming off a bye and have had two weeks to prepare for a Giants offense that can’t run the ball and has lost their receiving threats. Denver may even pull off a shutout in this game so that will be the prediction. A shutout.

Monday Night

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) 17 @ Tennessee Titans (2-3) 28: This is a must-win for both teams in order to stay in the divisional and playoff races. The Colts are trying to fight through the season until Andrew Luck can return to lead them. The Titans need to keep pace with Houston and Jacksonville to fulfill their preseason expectations of being a playoff team. Marcus Mariota is expected to play which will be the difference in the game. Titans move to .500 to keep pace in the AFC South.

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Featured image courtesy of https://www.mysportingedge.com/eagles-vs-panthers-predictions/

NFL MVP and Coach of the Year Candidates

The smell of pumpkin is in the air, the leaves are starting to fall and Halloween stores are getting ready to sell out. It’s October, and we are already a quarter of the way done with the NFL regular season. If the season ended today, the following players and coaches would be in line to earn the NFL’s biggest awards.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Kareem Hunt

Imagine if Spencer Ware didn’t get injured in the preseason. We would have been missing out on some miraculous numbers to say the least. Kareem Hunt is just flat out special. After fumbling on his first ever NFL touch, Hunt has turned into a monster.

Obviously, it is extremely rare for a non-quarterback to win this award. Of the last ten winners, Adrian Peterson is the only running back to win the award. Peterson won in 2012, when he rushed for over 2,000 yards. Through four weeks, Hunt’s 502 rushing yards has him on pace to be a 2,000-yard rusher.

Hunt is averaging a league-leading 125.5 yards per game on the ground. His 659 yards from scrimmage have him on pace to shatter the all-time record for yards from scrimmage in a season. That’s right, Hunt is on pace to reach 2,636 yards, which would eclipse Chris Johnson’s record of 2,509.

Hunt is averaging 7.4 yards per carry, which has never been done through four weeks when a running back has at least 50 carries. He is also nearly impossible to tackle, as his 25 broken tackles leads the NFL. The best stat about Hunt is, if we only counted his second half rushing yards, he would still lead the NFL in rushing. The Chiefs have yet to lose a game, and although Alex Smith looks good, Kareem Hunt is the main reason for their success.

Todd Gurley

NFL MVP coach year candidates

Todd Gurley can do it all for LA (Huffington Post)

Because of Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley is not getting nearly the amount of love that he deserves. Yes, people are talking about the Rams and Sean McVay changing the culture, but what Gurley is doing is absolutely remarkable. Not only is he dominating on the ground, but Gurley also is playing like an elite receiver.

Gurley is second in rushing yards, second in rushing touchdowns, second in rushing yards per game and first in first downs converted. He is more efficient on the ground than last year, and his receiving numbers are up there with legit number one wide receivers.

Gurley is fourth in receiving touchdowns, tied for 20th in catches, and is top 25 in terms of receiving yards. Through four weeks, Todd Gurley has more receptions than Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and T.Y. Hilton.

The former Georgia star is on pace for 80 receptions, which would shatter his previous high of 43. His seven total touchdowns lead all players. Gurley is making Jared Goff look like a franchise quarterback.

Tom Brady

Unfortunately, Tom Brady cannot play both sides of the ball. The Patriots defense, which has allowed more total yards than anyone in the league, is the real reason why the Pats sit at 2-2. Brady is doing just fine. He currently sits first in passing touchdowns with 10, is second in passer rating, first in passing yards and first in adjusted yards gained per pass attempt. Brady also has yet to throw an interception.

This is all without his favorite target, Julian Edelman, who is done for the season. The 40-year-old legend is playing out of his mind, and shows no signs of slowing down. For the Patriots’ sake, let’s hope their defense doesn’t end up in the history books as one of the worst defenses of all time. No seriously, New England is on pace to dethrone the 2012 Saints record for most yards allowed in a season.

Aaron Rodgers

Arguably the most gifted quarterback in league history, Aaron Rodgers is off to a superb start, and he has his Packers at 3-1. Rodgers is no stranger to this award, winning it back in 2011 and 2014. In 2014, Green Bay started out 2-2 and Rodgers had nine touchdowns. This year, Rodgers has 10 touchdowns, and is completing 66.9 percent of his passes, which would be his third most efficient season in his career.

Rodgers is tied with Brady for passing touchdowns, but also has been sacked 15 times, which is third most in the league. If Rodgers wants a shot at a third MVP, the Packers better learn how to protect him. In his two MVP seasons, Rodgers was sacked 36 and 28 times. He is on pace for 60 in 2017.

AP COACH OF THE YEAR

Sean McVay

NFL MVP coach year candidates

Sean McVay and the Rams sit atop the NFC West at 3-1 (Washington Post)

This time last year, the Rams were also 3-1. In the next 12 weeks, they would go on to win only one more game. For some reason, this year’s 3-1 feels a little different. The youngest head coach in the NFL has changed the culture in Los Angeles.

In 2016, the Rams finished dead last in points, yards and first downs. Under McVay, they are currently the highest-scoring offense and fifth in the league in yards. Everyone assumed Jared Goff would be a bust, and now, in a legit offense, he looks like a franchise guy. Todd Gurley is being used in the passing game, and Tavon Austin is finally running plays that best fit his style and skillset.

After going into Dallas and winning, it will be interesting to see if the Rams can beat Seattle this week, as they have defeated the Seahawks in their last three home matchups. McVay is the clear frontrunner for this award, as he took over a middle school offense, and has the Rams atop the NFC West.

Andy Reid

Andy Reid has a track record of regular season success, so this comes to no surprise. The only undefeated team left, Andy Reid has the Chiefs playing great all-around football. It will be interesting to see if Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith can continue to play essentially flawless football, but Reid has clearly put these men in position for success.

The shovel pass to Travis Kelce seems unstoppable and Reid knows exactly when to use it. Smith and Hunt will most likely come back down to Earth, and Kansas City’s defense is not great, but they are 4-0 and Andy Reid has not mismanaged a game yet with a timeout call.

Jim Caldwell

Last year, the Lions defense ranked 28th in takeaways and 31st in passing touchdowns allowed. Approaching week 5, Detroit is first in takeaways, and fourth in passing touchdowns allowed. They haven’t played scrubs either. These are stats against guys like Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer. Detroit is one yard away from being undefeated, and if their defense can keep playing like this, the Lions could surprise a lot of people. Great start for Jim Caldwell.

 

Featured image by Sporting News

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New England Patriots

The Struggling New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are not the team people thought they would be through four weeks.

Tom Brady has been Tom Brady, but both the entire defense and the offensive line haven’t just been bad, they have been historically bad.

The defense has given up 128 points through four games. On the other side of the ball, Brady has been sacked 13 times, the most in his career through any four weeks.

The defense has given up 457 yards per game, including 324 passing yards, which are both dead last in the NFL. In week 4 against the Panthers, the Patriots gave up 444 yards, which actually helped their season average.

It’s only week 4. The last time the Patriots were 2-2 and the sky was falling, they won the Super Bowl. Let’s not count them out yet, but lets dive into the real problems here. We can also give it a few weeks before we scream “The Patriots, lets face it, they’re not good anymore.”

Offensive Line

The New England Patriots

The Patriots O-line and Tom Brady. (Photo from Footballscoop.com.)

There have been quite a few times that Tom Brady has had a less than stellar offensive line.

This season, Brady hasn’t turned it over and has thrown for over 1,300 yards in the first four weeks. The offense has converted on 44.4 percent of their third downs, which is good for seventh in the NFL.

The production is there, but some sacks have cost the Patriots a few important possessions.

Marcus Cannon has been banged up on the line with an ankle injury, and a week 2 concussion has also hurt the teams unity as they try to stop pass rushes moving forward.

Defense

The Patriots have blown a few major covers this year. They have given up chunk yards to almost all the quarterbacks they have faced and have struggled to get turnovers.

Now at this point, it could be a level of familiarity. Dont’a Hightower has missed two of the four games to start, and he is the vocal leader and defensive captain. Stephon Gilmore has only played four games with the Patriots, and Eric Rowe has been in and out of the secondary with a groin injury.

Ben Volin’s twitter here shows the 28-yard Fozzy Whittaker touchdown. What it also shows is Ed Dickson eight yards down field wide open as well.

Three New England Patriots chased Christian McCaffrey across the field leaving both Whittaker and Dickson all alone on the opposite side of the field.

The biggest struggle has been communication, and the secondary has taken the blame for that. Devin McCourty stated that “We are bad right now and we are letting the team down.”

For all the good that Tom Brady has done this year with limited receivers and a statistically bad defense, the Patriots are 2-2. There is only room for improvement as of right now, and that’s the bright side for the New England Patriots.

The Good News

New England Patriots

Patriots in the 2012, Super Bowl XLVI. (Photo by CBS Sports)

This is a small sample size, but last time the Patriots were this bad on defense was 2011.

The Patriots were second to last in both yards given up (411) and passing yards given up (294). They also were 28th in the league on third downs defended at 43.1 percent, which is slightly worse than this season’s 44.4 percent.

The Patriots ended up a possession short of winning the Super Bowl that season. The one key difference here is that the 2011 team was a bend but don’t break defense.

This season, the Patriots’ defense needs to find an identity, and they need to fast. Otherwise, the defending champs could be watching this year’s Super Bowl on TV.

 

Featured Image from BostonHerald.com.

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