FMQB: Eight is Great!
I’m so excited for the season to start that I couldn’t wait until Friday! Here’s your tide-over for the next 3 hours until kickoff!!!
Wow, year 8 for FMQB! I still love doing this, and at times it feels taxing, but I’m determined to get to 10 so you’re stuck with me for at least a few more seasons! Same pledge as last year, I’m going to try to keep the paragraphs to a minimum, and once again try to bring back nicknames which fell a bit short last year.
I won’t do all 32 team records this year, but of COURSE playoff predictions are here:
Steelers vs. Jaguars
Saints vs. Vikings
Super Bowl LIII:
Saints vs. Steelers
- MVP- Carson Wentz (even if he misses a few weeks)
- The Browns will win 7 games this year
- This will be the Patriots last year in the playoffs under Tom Brady
- This will be Eli Manning’s swan song
- Offensive Player of the Year: DeShaun Watson
- Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
- Comeback Player of the Year: Andrew Luck
- Jon Gruden struggles in his first year, going 6-10
- Rookie of the Year: Saquon Barkley
- Rookie QB Watch:
- Baker Mayfield: Starting by Week 11, goes 0-5 to end the season
- Sam Darnold: Starts Week 1, will make the Jets competitive again at 8-8, playoffs next year
- Josh Allen: Starts Week 3, struggles mightily but has 18 TDs and 24 INTs
- Josh Rosen: Loses temper in Ryan Leaf-esque news conference, but starts after Sam Bradford injury in Week 4
- Lamar Jackson: Takes over for a struggling Joe Flacco at 5-5, finishes season 9-7
- Most Improved from Last Year? Jets or Browns
- Most Overrated? Eagles, Patriots and Chiefs who are somehow #10 on power rankings with a new QB and a rebuilt defense
- New coach outlook:
- Jon Gruden- Raiders. I think he struggles his first year, has some run-ins with the NFL by overpracticing his squad or injury reports (something to do with new rules in play since he was in the league). But they’re a playoff team next year
- Mike Vrabel- Titans. I bet this is a perennial playoff team shortly with one of the best defenses in the league in 2 years and Mariotta “good enough” to get them to 10-6 each year. I think they fall short his first year though.
- Matt Patricia- Lions. I’m most interested in seeing this one play out. Belichcik disciples have traditionally done terribly in Head Coaching roles (Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini to name a few). But he has pieces to work with in Detroit.
- Frank Reich- Colts: I think it’s a building season, but having the OC from the Super Bowl champs helps. I think he could be a good long term coach.
- Steve Wilks, Arizona: With QB questions and a soon to be retired Larry Fitzgerald, I think Wilks is the first in this class to get fired.
- Matt Nagy, Bears: I have a feeling this is one of those situations where you have an amazing coach with a terrible team. If he’s around long enough to get a decent QB and to rebuild, this is my Super Bowl winning coach of the bunch.
- Pat Shurmur, Giants: 2nd go around in coaching, but he’ll have to deal with QB replacement soon. However you have a couple of the best offensive players in the game with Barkley and Beckham, and an offensive minded coach. Could be poised for a playoff run his first year.
Stat of the Week:
Tom Brady is the 3rd QB to enter a season as a starter at 41 or older. The other two (Brett Favre and Warren Moon) struggled mightily after age 41. Remember Peyton Manning’s 55 TD year, and the following season he limped his way into retirement? When is that going to happen for Brady? Even with his crazy diet, it’s going to catch up to him at somepoint, and the Patriots are going to go from a Super Bowl caliber team to a 6-10 team VERY quickly.
Stat of the Week #2:
The Vikings are the only team with a winning record in the Super Bowl era not to have won a title
Stat of the Week #3:
Julio Jones only had 3 TD’s last season (yet was griping about wanting a new contract). I’ll admit he’s a beast for yardage, and hands down a top receiver in the league, but he’s only had one double-digit TD season in his 7 year career.
Feel Good Player to Watch:
Keep an eye on Shaquem Griffin for the Seahawks. He had his left hand amputated as a kid so only has one hand. A high school coach wouldn’t let him join the team because “Football players have 2 hands.” He ended up playing college ball at UCF, but wasn’t even initially invited to the Combine! But he got in and did one handed bench press and ran a blistering 4.38 40 yard dash! He got drafted in the 5th round, which is basically less than 50-50 that you make the team. Not only did he make the team, he’s starting week 1 for the Seahawks! To put this into perspective, there is only one other Rookie starting for the team, and it’s the Punter.
Jon Gruden’s last playoff victory was the Super Bowl win (against the Raiders) where he became the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl. To give perspective at how long ago this was, Tom Brady had 1 Super Bowl appearance and victory by this point.
To Boldly Go Where We’ll Never Go Back To Again!
So apparently the NFL got scared away by the 10 degree temperatures in the #BoldNorth last year. Next 6 Super Bowl locations are Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and New Orleans. Nothing north of the Mason Dixon line!
- I have been anti-Patrick Mahomes for the past year (nothing against him, I just don’t get why they ran Alex Smith out of town), but WOW, that arm! He had a throw that went 70 yards in the air, which was longer than ANY pass the entire season last year.
- Funny how Adrian Peterson was so picky on taking a contract last year, and now he just signed for the Veteran minimum in Washington
- LeVeon Bell should take a hint from this, take your money now, the market for you next year when you’re a year older won’t be great
- On the same note, I have a feeling that things between Bell and Pittsburgh is going to get ugly, very fast. It’s not unfeasible to see him sit out the entire season.
- I don’t see the hatred with NBC’s new “Green Zone.” I actually think this is much better than the gaudy yellow line showing the first down marker. It’s more pleasing to the eye because it’s subtle, but it’s fast to realize where a player is in relation to the 1st down. It needs some tweaking because it looks video game-ish when players are running through it, but don’t let the Twitter trolls get rid of this feature!
- Losing Khalil Mack just lost the Raiders the West
- How Aaron Rodgers is making 2/3 of what other QB’s are getting paid is beyond me
Aaron Rodgers Contract:
That last statement was obviously written last week. He got a whopping $103M in guaranteed money, and with incentives could reach $179.5M. I made a big deal out of the inequality of pay. The fact that Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garrapolo and Kirk Cousins were the highest paid QB’s was ridiculous (that’s 1 playoff win COMBINED between the 4 of them). The contracts are more about timing than skill. Well the Packers made right with the future hall of famer in my opinion. Here’s the crazy thing, you look at those numbers and it isn’t even surprising anymore, you hardly bat an eye. Here’s why: Alex Rodriguez surpassed the $200M mark…18 years ago! Steph Curry also surpassed $200M last year. Rodgers can only hope he gets that high, as it’s after incentives. His guaranteed money is half that amount.
For some reason, people are buzzing about a few surprise teams. Rumors around the league say that Mitch Trubisky could be like the Jared Goff of last year and is maturing as a QB. The Giants are also supposedly looking stronger, helped by Saquon Barkley of course but if he’s the next Ezekial Elliot that could be huge. The Chargers are also getting a LOT of buzz. Not a ton has changed with them, but they went on a run and had some ugly losses that should have made this a playoff team.
The NFC is utterly stacked. You have the Eagles, Rams are right up there, Falcons, Saints, Vikings with Dalvin Cook back, the Packers are always competitive with Rodgers, as are the Panthers with Newton. The Cowboys, Redskins, Lions, and Seahawks will all be mediocre teams but you don’t want to overlook them.
Games of Week 1:
Atlanta at Philadelphia- The playoff game last year was Atlanta’s to win
49ers at Vikings- Will be interesting to essentially see 2 new QB’s on teams with high expectations duke it out
Texans at Patriots- a passing of the torch possibly? The GOAT playing against the young stud QB
Rams at Oakland- Battle of Old LA
Chiefs at Chargers- Battle for the AFC West starts Week 1. Will be a key game for playoff purposes
Quote of the Season:
“Stretching is way overrated. Did you know World War I and World War II, all those guys that fought in that war, right? They did pushups, jumping jacks, situps, climbed the rope and ran. But none of this fancy (expletive). Okay? And they won two world wars — two world wars! — by doing jumping jacks, pushups, and situps. You think they were worried when they’re running across Normandy about (expletive) stretching?” Bob Wylie- Offensive Line coach of the browns
Meme of the Week: