Category Archives: Football

Football Pools: As Fun As Fantasy Leagues

I gaze out the living room window on a surprisingly cool and rainy late August morning. I just finished my second cup of coffee and I’m feeling a bit relieved. Not only because I sidestepped a caffeine (or lack of caffeine) headache one more day, but because I’m not playing in a Fantasy Football league this year.

Like many fantasy gamers, I have an undiagnosed case of FFOCD (Fantasy Football Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). This year, however, I sought help for the debilitating disorder. Well not really help in the classic sense of the term. I just decided not to join a Fantasy league. Instead, I organized a less time-consuming football pool – there’s a favorite and an underdog, the favorite “gives points” to the underdog, pick who wins the game. That’s it.

Now it wouldn’t be a Section 426 post without an attempt at number-crunching, would it? With the first game of the regular season nine days away, I’ll try to predict 2017 Week 1 performance based on Week 1 performances from 2016 and 2015. Apples and oranges (and bananas) you say? Maybe not.

Featured Pick

Atlanta Falcons over Chicago Bears (+7)

Chicago was a 6.5-point “home dog” in 2015 to Green Bay and they lost 31 – 23. They were a 4.5-point underdog in Houston last year and lost 23 – 14. The Bears just lost their primary WR, Cameron Meredith, for the season. Here’s why that’s important. According to Pro Football Reference, Meredith led the team with 77 targets for nearly 750 yards and 3 TDs between the 20s (in other words, a majority of the field). Who’s going to pick up the slack for the Bears? TE Zach Miller? Maybe. In comparison, Miller was targeted 49 times for almost 400 yards and zero TDs between the 20s last year. Zach Miller has also not been what you’d call good in Week 1 the past two seasons. In 2015, he really wasn’t the featured TE, in the game for only 11 offensive plays. But last year he was in the game for 77% of offensive plays and caught 3 passes on 4 targets for 14 yards. One more thing about this game that I think is significant is Atlanta had a really horrible pass defense last year so they drafted Takkarist McKinley, a defensive end out of UCLA, who I see causing problems for a shaky starter in Mike Glennon.

Two words: Devonta Freeman. Five more words: Matt Ryan. Chip on shoulder.

Prediction: Atlanta 31, Chicago 17

Stay tuned for more Featured Picks throughout the season, unless I really botch this one.

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Bring the Blitz Back to the Pro Bowl

NFL fans have been critical of the Pro Bowl in recent years and with good reason. After the game in 2012, Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the need to improve the game or “consider eliminating” it. Four Pro Bowls later and I don’t know if enough improvements have been made.

If there was a single thing the NFL could do to improve the quality of the Pro Bowl, it would be to allow teams to blitz.
probowl
I understand the NFL’s attempt to keep injuries down in a meaningless game, but without blitzes, the game just isn’t the same. For example, in the last two Pro Bowls, the quarterback dropped back to pass 178 times and was sacked a mere three times. For comparison’s sake, I looked at two random regular season NFL games over the past two seasons, Week Six of the 2014 season and Week Eight of the 2015 season. The Vikings-Lions game in 2014 featured 70 dropbacks and 12 sacks while the Chargers-Ravens game in 2015 featured 74 dropbacks with four sacks.

Keep in mind, allowing teams to blitz doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily reach the quarterback. But putting that kind of pressure on the quarterback can lead to:

  • Negative yardage plays
  • Incompletions
  • Interceptions (or Pick Six)
  • Fumbles (or Sack-Fumble Six)
  • 50/50 balls

Pick Sixes, Sack-Fumble Sixes and 50/50 balls (‘jump ball’ between a wide receiver and a cornerback) are potential game-changing plays and all have the ability to invigorate an excitement-starved crowd.

What would the MLB All-Star Game look like if stolen bases weren’t allowed? What would the NHL All-Star Game look like if no odd-man rushes were allowed? In recent years, the NFL has made strides in protecting the quarterback. When the excitement of the game is compromised as a result, it’s time to re-examine the rules.

Jay Cutler and Crew Cut My Survivor Season Short

And just like that, my Survivor season is kaput. To my credit, my decision to take San Francisco in this game had more to do with who wasn’t going to play for Chicago than who was already playing for the 49ers.

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Survivor Round 2 Features the 49ers Facing a Poor Run Defense

In the immortal words of Eddie Vedder, ‘Ooooh Iiiiii, ohhhh I’m still alive.’

The Eagles came through for me in Week 1 with a second-half comeback, prevailing 34 – 17 over the Jaguars.

On to Week 2, my pick is the San Francisco 49ers to beat the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.

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Seventeenth Heaven for NFL Survivor Pool Entrants

Seventeen doesn’t get the buzz that its odd-number counterparts 7-11, Lucky 13 and Product 19 get. When it comes to NFL Survivor Pools, though, the number 17 might as well be numeric royalty.

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Thoughts and Predictions — the Short, Short Version

Yes I haven’t blogged in awhile.

No I’m not watching the All Star Game.

Yes I like that the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series.

No my team will not be in the World Series so why should I care.

No I am not a bandwagon fan.

No I did not watch the Home Run Derby.

Yes we have already heard Chris Berman say ‘back, back, back’ before.

No it’s not cute anymore.

Yes I am concerned about the Phillies.

Yes I wish the team’s GM wasn’t a moron.

No I don’t know who else I would want as a GM.

No I would not be a ‘buyer’ for a bullpen arm.

Yes I would trade Michael Young.

No I would not trade for a centerfielder.

Yes I would trade Chase Utley.

Yes the GM is going to get fleeced again on July 29th aka ‘Trade-A-Phillie’ Day.

No the Phillies will not play .600 baseball to make the postseason.

Yes I am looking forward to football season.

Yes I think the Eagles’ offense will be exciting to watch.

No I am not convinced the Eagles’ defense will be any better this season.


Yes the 20 statements above count as one blog post

Yes I Googled ‘do 20 statements count as a blog post?’

Thoughts?

On My Mind: May 20 – May 21

It’s been awhile since my last ‘On My Mind’ post — it was February 18th to be exact. On that date, the Phillies weren’t losing games. They also weren’t winning games. Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training on February 12th. Continue reading