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The NFL thread

I’m hoping this is the season where the wheels fall off for the Patriots.

Mac Jones is hugely overrated. They have a 2nd rate team of wide receivers. They’ve lost top quality players and haven’t replaced them and their coaching staff looks a mess with McDaniels gone.

They could even finish 4th in the division.

Maybe, finally, Bill will have a reason to be such a miserable sod.

Oh, and I think the Ravens will be much better this year, I also had them to win the AFC North, provided they stay healthy this time.

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Absolutely spot on.

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Quite pleased with this prediction half way through the season :grinning:

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As a (divisionally) neutral observer, happy to see the Jets and Fins having better years. As a Bears fan, I remember reading a little pre-draft QB evaluation that year and some pundits steering away from Mac Jones as a low-ceiling prospect, puffed up by the protection and weapons he had at Alabama. Seems like they got that bit right – altho many were pretty high on Zach Wilson and that assessment seems more in question at the moment. (Thankfully for Bears fans, Justin Fields is trending super-positive after a sticky start.)

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Nice work @MrNXM

Jones feels like the classic system QB a la Garoppolo- his arm isn’t that great, accuracy’s fine, good enough to beat you if there are holes in your coverage and he has time in the pocket. This year his protection isn’t all that great and nor are his receivers. Basically the talent level in NE just isn’t where it was and he’s not good enough to elevate the team.

It’s been great to see Fields finally justifying the high draft pick, especially because he’s just so good to watch! The Bears seem to have decided that it makes sense to build the offence around what the QB does well. Amazing that it took them this long to figure it out, but there we are!

My picks to take the divisions and playoff spots now look pretty awful. On the AFC side I can still see Bengals and Bills taking their divisions and the Chiefs look nailed on for the AFC West. Happy with 3/4 there. I might get 2 of my wild card picks, as I think Chargers and Ravens could well get there. 5/7 isn’t too bad. In the NFC, I feel good about Eagles and Bucs taking their divisions, but I really didn’t think the Packers and Rams would look as bad as they have. I’m not sure either will make the playoffs now. My wild card picks look dreadful! Lions, Saints and Cardinals? What was I thinking!

It’s been a pretty weird season overall, so I think I’m going to blame that. So many teams have looked far worse than I expected, not least the Colts. What a disaster it’s been. It just looked like Reich had lost them and couldn’t motivate the players, and the offensive scheme wasn’t helping anymore. I’m not expecting a playoff run or anything, but I hope the team shows a bit more fight over the next few weeks.

Look out for Browns @ Bills this weekend. The weather forecast in Buffalo is for about 2 ft of snow this weekend. I love a snow game! Absolute chaos.

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I think a lot of us got a lot wrong!

I could get 4 of the 8 division winners correct but let down by the Colts, Saints, Rams and Packers (but not alone with that)

4 of my 6 wild cards predictions look set to make the playoffs, although it’s possible they could all do so as division winners.

If the Bengals and Chargers make the play offs then it would be all 6 but I’m not sure I can see both of them making it.

It’s a joy watching the Dolphins at the moment. I’ve waited over 20 years for this and I’m so pleased for Tua. He’s taken so much hate from the pundits and he’s been playing with one hand tied behind his back for his first two years. Now he’s got a proper head coach with a system, O line that works, running game that can run, quality skill players, he looks elite. He’s barely making any mistakes at all. Everything he does is working. Just hope it continues.

My son is already asking me if we’re going to fly over in January for a play off game.

Raiders are the biggest disappointment. Even more than the Colts. They look like a dumpster fire of an organisation.

I love this game. Already beginning to feel the off season isn’t too far away and have months to wait before I can enjoy it again.

Oh, and Buffalo game has been moved to Detroit which is a shame. Would have enjoyed the snow game.

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I am absolutely gutted to see the Bills game moved to the dome in Detroit. I get why they’ve done it this week - the fan experience would have been potentially dangerous in Buffalo - but the extreme weather games become absolutely iconic. The proliferation of domes across the NFL landscape is a big negative for me. We’ve got an ever-dwindling number of open stadia where weather can be a factor and it just takes out that variable that can make the game more interesting. I’m really pleased to see lots of players speaking out about wanting to see more grass fields for health reasons. The league hasn’t exactly shown that it listens to the players’ concerns recently, but if the product starts to suffer because marquee players spend more time on the sidelines then maybe that might change.

The Dolphins have been an absolute joy this season. They’re a genuine contender in the AFC. I’d love it if they got to the Super Bowl, but honestly there are 4 or 5 teams that I’d be happy to watch representing the AFC in February - Chiefs, Bills, Fins, maybe even the Bengals again. I’d be less excited by the Ravens getting to the Super Bowl, but at their best they’re great fun to watch. I’m kind of rooting for the Jets too as the ultimate underdog, but I can’t see them knocking off any of the big dogs in the playoffs yet. Maybe next year.

In the NFC, it will probably be one of the Eagles, Vikings, Cowboys or Niners. I’d rather see those first two in the Super Bowl. Eagles v Chiefs would probably by my pick at this point, and I think that would be a fantastic game. The Andy Reid Bowl :sunglasses:

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This season is bringing back memories of how supporting the Saints used to be :rofl:

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Jets have done very well, they look a very good team, except their QB is a disaster. With Tua, signs were there that he was a very good QB being held back by his situation. Wilson has shown nothing to date.

He’s going to need to show something this season or the wolves will be at the door for him unless he has the Tua/Josh Allen 3rd year jump.

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I mostly agree with you re Wilson but the last couple of games he’s definitely shown improvement. Rather than trying to win games he’s pivoted to not trying to lose them. Suddenly he’s completing more passes, making fewer turnovers, and basically trusting his defence and run game to take care of business. If he sticks with that we might see him slowly gain confidence and develop more over time.

That said, I don’t think he’ll get to the Tua level. I thought they were nuts to take him with the 2nd overall pick while Justin Fields was still available. He can be a tidy and efficient QB with the occasional big play, but I just don’t think he’ll ever be more than a mid-tier starter at best.

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I agree that he’s cleaned his act up over last couple of games, but hard to get to next stage relying on the defence and the run game alone.

I’m not sure how many draft picks the Jets have got coming up and whether they’d be tempted to get one of the QB’s in this years draft (if they could use that capital to pick up one of the rated talents) or use those picks to trade for an established QB.

I’d be very, very scared of the Jets if they managed to get hold of Lemar as he hits free agency.

A lot of the Bears-focused “insiders”/pundits/analysts much preferred Wilson pre-draft (tho at least one has since recanted). What seems really remarkable is that teams like the Broncos and Panthers passed over Fields as well. Especially now we know what the Broncos parted with to acquire the other Wilson!

Ryan Pace ended up being a bad GM for the Bears for several reasons, but with his last draft he might have finally landed the team its best QB in the SB era. I just very much hope that the running does not shorten his career.

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I really think that beyond a certain point anyone who claims to know in advance who’s going to be a good NFL quarterback before/after the draft is ridiculously over-confident.

Also, have we really seen enough to be confident Fields is good? The last 4 games passing have been 13/21-179, 17/23-151, 17/28-123 and 12/20-167, which is really 1 pretty efficient game. The running has clearly been spectacular, but a lot of the runs seem to have nobody particularly close (at least after the backfield), To me it looks a lot like Kaepernick in his first couple of years. The signs are promising, and there’s probably some mitigation in terms of the state of the rest of the Bears offense, but there’s also a long way to go.

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On your first point, I do enjoy reading the reasoning/analysis as to why player x has a low/high floor and low/high ceiling turning pro. As an interested and very amateur observer, you rarely get the opportunity to ask these analysts after the event what made their analysis faulty (and sometimes, tbf, they do really nail it) – did they, in retrospect, get the analysis wrong in a way that could have been foreseen or how much roll-of-the-dice is involved in predicting improvement that cannot reasonably be foreseeable? Processing speed and ability to see and hit smaller throwing windows seem to be key factors going into the NFL. I would be genuinely interested to hear an analyst explain how they assess that when it’s not intensely tested at college level.

And I do agree, fwiw, on your second point. However, it is not just the electric running and evasion – big issues earlier in the season were failure to hit checkdowns and failure to see open receivers. His tendency was to look long and/or to his first option or run. And, despite running a lot in the past few games, he has got much better at delivering the shorter passes and putting together a drive. So ‘confident’ might be too big a word at this point but the people I read do think there are signs of genuine and significant improvement. I hope it is not a Kaepernick (or RG3) replay.

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You may very well be right. I’m mostly going on highlights and stats, which is less than ideal, and it’s more the nature of the long runs that looks a lot like Kaepernick to me (though I have seen some highlights where he’s clearly a lot shiftier). However, without watching the games closely that coaching staff feels like it’s doing a pretty good job in general, so if Fields is really good things could be looking really good.

Wilson has now been benched so let’s see if he comes back from this.

As for the draft, I always think it’s often hard for the QB’s coming from top college teams. They have amazing footage on tape but are often backed up by a dominant O Line and stellar WR’s that are wide open. That makes it much easier to succeed and doesn’t necessarily translate to the NFL, esp if they are picked high in the draft to a struggling team.

The 2021 draft was meant to contain a huge haul of franchise QB’s. None have come close to proving that yet. The class has been a huge disappointment. Fields is probably the best of them to date but that’s due to his run game rather than his arm at this point. Meanwhile, the 2020 draft now looks one of the best ever for QB’s with Burrow, Tua, Herbert and Hurts.

The draft has always been a bit of a crap shoot, there are no 100% certainties.

Good article on the undefeated '72 Dolphins.

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