Speed Kill(s)ins

It was completely evident in the Eagles last draft what they were targeting! In a league that has shown time and time again that you have to have a niche, that you have to be extremely exploitative of what that niche allows, and you better be able to make that correlate into points on the board! This was perfectly evident with the two Superbowl contenders last year, though they were fundamentally built worlds apart, they both exploited what their niche offered to the fullest (KC being able to sling the rock and score at a break neck pace, and SF was ground and pound and keep the other team from scoring).

I just recently read an extremely informative book on business investing. While you may ask what that has to do with building a football team i promise you it does. In this book it lends a view into where someone should invest their money and how much they should pony up for each investment. It goes into many details that I will not bore you with, but one stuck out to me almost right away. Copycat businesses almost always do better than the pioneer due to their ability to sidestep issues that can ruin a business (it is almost always a better investment to put your money with a business that has other companies to fallow and get ideas from than one who is coming up with all their ideas by themselves).

This seems to be what the Eagles were looking to do in this draft. They want to do what the KC Chiefs did, but bigger and better. They drafted speed across the board on both sides of the ball. First round pick J. Reagor is a sub 4.3 WR who can jump out of the proverbial gym. Second round pick J. Hurts is a QB that up until last year was seen specifically as a running QB. Third round pick D. Taylor is one of the biggest athletic freaks of them all! Not to mention Fifth and Sixth round picks J. Hightower and Q. Watkins both run blistering sub 4.4 40s.

Funny enough though I was just as excited about one of the UDFA’s as I was about any of these other picks. It started towards the beginning of NCAA football season that I start looking for players I’d like to see my team take a bet on. I was scrolling through YouTube highlight reels when I happened across a video titled “Fastest player in College Football”. With a title like that how could I not click on it. My first thought was, “Are you really going to hand the ball off to what looks like a receiver in the back field?!?”. From that moment on i became a fan of one Adrian Killins. The first play I watched was a run where the ball was handed off a yard in UCFs own end zone. In three seconds not only had Killins broken through the line, he hadn’t just run past the linebackers, he was already running past the safety some 35 yards down the field! With no chance to catch him Memphis’s players gave it their all, but with a subtle Sprinters head dip crossing the goal line Killins put UCF up 16-7. Now you may say “OK UCF is not that large of a program, thus he may just look fast vs lesser competition”. I beg to differ on that sentiment, Killins runs a 4.3 40 time and makes it translate to the field. When a hole in the defense appears it is nearly impossible to close it before Killins is through it and off to the races.

This became abundantly apparent the further I watched. Twice vs SMU Killins turned what looked like small gain plays into 40+ yard house calls. I showed this video to my dad who is as much an avid Eagles fan as I am if not more, I told him “whoever drafts this kid is getting a steal” never in a million years did I think he would go undrafted! If there are two things I know from watching years of football they are you can’t teach speed, and you can’t teach vision! Both my Dad and I were both blown away by the tape. Simple screens that seemed to be blown up going for 20 to 40 yard scores. Punt and Kick returns that the opposition just plain didn’t have time to get into position due to his speed, and runs that should have gone nowhere that went 40 to 100 yards in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

On draft night I was astonished that no team was going to spend at least a late round draft pick to secure even the chance that Killins speed and vision would transfer to the next level. I was actually a bit peeved that after all the speed we went after in the draft, that we didn’t take a shot on him. But after the dust from the war rooms settled, something even better happened, instead of the Eagles choosing Killins, Killins chose the Eagles. I took a double take when it came across the ticker. Then after confirming, I elbowed my dad and said “guess who we just signed” he was just as pumped as I was!

Now with every player there is a downside either on or off the field. Killins issue seems to be size, he was slept on as a player entering the league due to his slender frame. At 5’8 162lbs his measurable do not scream next level! The good news is, height doesn’t matter (any Eagles fan that says it does after Sproles being on his way to Canton repping the birds, needs to have their IQ tested). Weight can be an issue but where better to bulk up than in an NFL weight program? An argument that I have heard is he is the same build as a recent Eagles bust D. Pumphrey. I raise this question with what did Pumphrey actually bring to the table? Great college stats, a subpar 40 time for a player of his stature, decent field and breakaway speed, but when you watched his tape nothing really popped off the screen at you.

The Eagles this year seemed to go far more after intangibles that can’t be taught than college production. They figure we have coaches to teach you what you dont know, but we don’t have a magic wand that will give you what can’t be learned. I believe in a system that gets the most out of what it has which has been shown year after year with Doug Pederson and the amazing staff he has put together, that players with innate abilities to create space will flourish. Furthermore that players with out of this world abilities can turn into stars.

In my honest opinion the only direction for this young player is up and in a big way! There are so many roles that he can fit into from returning Kicks and Punts, to being a receiving RB, to being a burner receiver on the outside, to playing out of the slot. One thing Pederson has always praised is versatility and this guy has it!

When the dust settles after camp and players have their positions, I just hope Killins gets his due shot. And when we start seeing 40+ yard TDs and subtle sprinters head dips across the goal line, thats when I will say “I told you so”!

Marshall Thorne

Sixers Struggles

If you told someone that your basketball team was 24-2 at home you would expect that statement to be followed up with something like “and they are the favorites to win there Conference. What you would not expect is to hear that this team most likely will not make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately this is the general consensus with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2019-2020 season as they boast a below average record on the road. 9-19 on the road is enough to drop the Sixers out of the top 4 in the playoff hunt in the East which means they will see more away games than home games. This could spell disaster for a team that to start the season had championship aspirations.

Issues with Coaching

After two years of this team being a big time contender and coming up short the fans were extremely excited about the new additions that were added to the roster before the season. Al Horford who can play both the 4 and 5 position and had been Joel Embiid’s achilles heel for years. We all knew that he was a defensive pickup as he has never averaged over 14ppg but to see him fall to his lowest average points per game in his career is disturbing. On a team with other super star players you would expect he would draw less attention and would be able to take advantage of having less pressure put on his shoulders.

In his career with Philadelphia Joel Embiid has seen his name rise to a top player in the league. He is considered one of the most dominant big men in the league and is treated as so. This year though he has seen a nearly 5 point per game regression from last year. Going from over 27 points per game to only slightly more than 22 per game is a big problem for this team.

The only player on this team that seems to have stayed consistent on this team is Ben Simmons. He has the exact same points per game this year as he did last year. Unfortunately he has stayed consistent in other ways as well. Refusing to shoot from outside of 6 feet is becoming a point of disappointment in his game. Teams know that he is going to drive or dish the ball and it is causing the lane to become clogged. With Horford not being the best of shooters and Simmons refusing to shoot Embiid is having to take on more of a shooting roll than one would like. While Embiid is not bad at shooting but because he is needed for this he is taken out of position and is not the greatest at driving the lane.

Tobias Harris seems to be the only player on this roster that has seen an uptick in his numbers. Even though it is small he has averaged just less than a point more this season than last. But when you compare that to the drop off other players have had this is not enough to make up for it.

When you look at this you can say it is the players not doing their jobs and they do hold their share of the blame for these issues. With that in mind let me ask you this simple question. Could you see these issues happening on a team lead by Gregg Popovich? Could you imagine if a player plain and simple refused to do what a coach asked him to do on the court and did not have a good excuse for why? Could you imagine Tim Duncan having to be a three point shooter? To me this all boils down to a failure in coaching, a coach that wants his players to like him more than they respect him. A coach that has no idea how to get his team ready to compete when the home crowd is not there to fire them up. A coach that does not know how to game plan for the players he has, instead runs the same generic scheme out on the court night after night hoping that magically his players will start doing what they have never done. When you couple this with the fact that Jimmy Butler refused to stay in Philly because of Brown you start to get the picture that Brown just might not be the coach the 76ers need.

With talent usually comes ego. Simmons, Embiid, and Butler all have this negative attribute. The 76ers need a coach that can reign players in when they start thinking they are good enough that evolving their game is not necessary. Jimmy Butler saw this first hand and wanted nothing to do with sticking around Philly to see it crumble.

Player Issues

Joel Embiid as stated previously is a big time player who commands big time respect. WHEN HE IS USED PROPERLY! When you have a Big Man who is simply dominant in the post that player should not be at the top of the key shooting Threes more than once or twice a game. Embiid needs to reel in his ego and start playing the game the way that he is built to play it the best. Stay down low and wait for the ball to be force fed to you!

Ben Simmons is a magician with the ball in his hands, combining masterful passing with insane explosiveness to get to the rim he can be a nightmare to guard. The one downfall of his game is he refuses to shoot the ball. This is such an issue because it causes the rest of the team to see tighter defense. When a defender can drop to Ten feet from the basket and wait for you to pass or drive it makes it allot harder down low for your Center. This clogs the lane which in turn makes it harder for Ben to drive. What’s funny about this situation is that Ben can shoot. We have seen it in small glimpses this year. He has made multiple three’s and looked pretty smooth doing it. The issue is that he doesn’t want to shoot. When given the opportunity he will pass the ball every single time. Is this that he can’t stand the thought of failing and being laughed at? If that is the case he needs to reel in his ego as well and realize this team will not go to the big dance until he puts the team first.

Bright Spots

Ben Simmons has gotten better at Free Throw shooting. Coming into this year he was just over 50% now he is shooting at over 70% which is a giant leap that (hold your breath) may transition into him having more confidence to shoot the ball in regulation.

Embiid even while being asked to do things that are not necessarily maximizing his skill set is still a dominant player on both the offensive and defensive end of the court.

Mattice Thybulle was not a name expected to be called when the Sixers were up to pick in the 2019 draft. In fact I’m sure allot of fans were left scratching their heads and turning to Google and YouTube to find any kind of info on this kid. Well it turns out he was a great pickup, being a borderline all pro defensive player in his rookie year and proving to be a decent three point shooter I would expect him to end up being very much like a Danny Green type of player.

The Sixers seem to be decently built to handle injury. With Embiid missing time due to a dislocated finger the team seemed to be able to pick up the slack. Simmons did have more room to work in the paint. Because of this teams had a harder time defending the perimeter.

Prediction for 2019-2020

The Sixers will find their way into the fourth seed for the playoffs. This will allow them to play 4 of of 7 at home in the first round. They will make it out of this round probably not all that convincingly as we will most likely face Jimmy Butler and the Heat. After this my guess would be that we will have to face the Bucks with the Greek Freak and this is where the Sixers run will come to an end. Facing the number one team in the East with more road games than home games I don’t see us making it out of this round.

-Marshall Thorne-

The Day of the Big Dance

Super Bowl 54 San Francisco vs Kansas City

Today we have an old school match up with a very new school feel. The 49ers are taking on the Chiefs for a possibly once in a life time opportunity to be world champions. It is the match up that many people saw coming all year as these two power house teams came out of the gates hot and never looked back.

San Fran Offense

This is a team that is very fundamentally sound, they can beat you through the air or on the ground. Jimmy G (traded from New England for a second round pick) may not be asked to throw the ball as much as some of the other QB’s in the league but trust me when I tell you he is more than capable. Throwing the ball less than 10 times last week has to have some people wondering if he is ready for the spotlight. What stuck out to me was the fact that when it was crunch time and the 49ers were looking to get a first down they put it in Jimmy G’s hands to get them the yards needed. That will be tested even more today as the team they are playing is known for scoring points quickly and in high volumes. I would expect to see Jimmy G have to throw the ball quite a bit more this week, just out of necessity. That will not be the end of the world though as he does have a very strong group of weapons at his disposal. Emanuel Sanders is a very experienced WR that can bring some experience to the group and keep them settled down, while Deebo Samuel is a YAC factory appearing to be more RB than WR when he gets the ball in his hands. All Pro George Kittle may indeed be the most complete TE in football and Raheem Mostert is no slouch as a receiver out of the back field either. All of this spells for a QB friendly offense where the QB does not have to continuously heave the ball down field to get big gains (very similar to the NE slant you to death mentality). Until Jimmy G settles in I would expect to see passes to be on the shorter side and for the 49ers to try to establish the run early and often. This brings us to the man of the week against GB, Raheem Mostert. Mostert simply was too much for the Packers to handle two weeks ago as he single handedly out scored the Packers by 4 points (eight points if you count the extra points). Rushing for 4 TD’s he simply could not be stopped (we all kind of saw that coming though as GB had struggled all year against the run). I would expect him to have a tougher time this week finding room to run as this KC defense has gotten better and better as the year has gone on. I would still expect the offense to go through Mostert but if he is contained and KC jumps out to an early lead this team may have to find a little more balance in their play calling if they want to win this game.

Kansas City Offense

This is a squad that looks like they may be destined to win today. Refusing to be denied in their last 2 games even after falling behind a combined 34 points in the last 2 first halves they are just too explosive to contain for 4 quarters. What makes that scary is that they only need one quarter to score more than what the bottom 27 teams in the NFL averaged per game this year. That’s right the 6th best offense in the league averaged 27 points per game and KC has scored 28 in one quarter not once but twice this year. An offense that seems to be more track team than NFL team is just simply too fast to contain. Tyreek Hill is probably the worst match up that any defensive coordinator has ever run into. Running at sub 4.3 speed you do not have time to diagnose what he is doing in his route, you have to run off of pure instinct and if you guess wrong and he gets behind you, you simply can not catch him. Mecole Hardman may not be a household name just yet but he will be soon. A young receiver that cut his teeth early in the year on special teams (don’t forget that this is how Tyreek Hill and many other great players found their playing time early) is yet another 4.3 speed receiver and he is looking to make a name for himself in the biggest game of his life up to this point. With a little more size than Hill he is harder to bump off his routes and once he’s even he’s leavin. Lets get down to what the Chiefs can do because of all that speed. Due to the fact that the 49ers defense will have to respect that speed every play this game the Chiefs will see quite a bit of room underneath that cover 3 shell that SF likes to run so much. With a receiver like Sammy Watkins who ran a 4.46 (still has insane game speed) and has seemingly bounced back at the perfect time, Watkins physical style of play and solid hands will cause nightmares for a 49ers team that is already going to be stretched thin. Last but not least SF is not the only team with a monster of a TE. Travis Kelce (probably the second or third best TE in football) is simply a one man wrecking crew scoring 3 TD’s in less than 10 minutes against the Texans, Kelce was responsible to most of the Chiefs comeback in their first playoff game where they found themselves down by 24 in the first half. Expect to see many deep shots taken early to get the 49ers defense on their heels and if that happens the Chiefs can score so quickly in so many ways that they are nearly unstoppable.

San Francisco Defense

The San Fran defense has been simply stellar all year. Built on the mentality of if we can pressure the opposing QB and get him off his spot while only rushing 4 we can drop seven into coverage and make it very difficult to pass the ball. Lead by a ROY candidate and already All Pro caliber DE Joey Bosa (that’s right, there are 2 Bosa’s in the league now and they are both insanely talented) the front 4 of SF is simply ferocious. Aaron Rodgers found this out 2 weeks ago as it seemed that who some consider the best QB in football was running for his life for most of the game. With 48 sacks on the year this team likes to get after the QB and make the other teams offensive line wish they had never stepped foot off their plane. On the back end of this defense there is a familiar face to allot of football fans that you either love or hate. No matter how you feel about him Richard Sherman has made his mark on the NFL for the better part of the last decade as one of the best cover CBs in the league. Starting his career in Seattle and winning a SB in unreal fashion against a Bronco’s team who’s offense was lead by none other than Peyton Manning. That Bronco’s team that year was talked about the same way KC is now, they lead the league in explosive plays, they lead the league in explosive TD’s, and they were the clear favorites going into that game. Expect Sherman to be very intense this game as his last run at a SB did not end in such glorious fashion. Sherman usually does not stay on a certain player rather he stays on one side of the field which could spell trouble as KC can simply move whatever player they want to the other side and avoid Sherman completely if they wish. This game will boil down to if the SF defense can stop the KC offense. Expect the 49ers front 4 to be screaming at Mahomes all game and if they can get him off his spot (even though he is one of the best QBs while on the move) they will have done their part and it will be up to the Sherman lead secondary to be opportunistic and give their offense the ball back for more opportunities to score.

Kansas City Defense

While allot of you may not be aware of this because of how dominant KC’s offense is, their defense is pretty good too. While SF did edge them on points allowed it was only by 12 points on a 16 game season. While SF did also edge them on sacks it was only by 3. KC comes into this game very much close to even with the 49ers on defense. Ranking inside the top 10, holding teams to the 7th fewest points scored on the ground, and having 4 more INT’s than SF this year lets give this side of the ball a little more credit than what they have been getting. That being said, KC is going to have to stack the box in order to stop SF’s rushing attack, if they don’t it will be a very long day for their front 7. KC’s secondary is also lead by a familiar face that was also produced by another team in the NFC West (the Cardinals) Tyraan Matheau. While his career has not been as flashy as Sherman his play is every bit as technique driven and athletic. Matheau is going to have to be the anchor that holds this secondary together if SF is forced to pass whether that be because KC is stopping the run of KC has jumped out to a lead which has forced SF to look to the pass to get back in the game. The battle between Matheau and Kittle should be a fun one to watch as they are both very physical players and like to get a bit chippy on the gridiron. If KC wants to win this game the defense needs to worry about the run game first and make Jimmy G beat them through the air.

Coaching

While these 2 coaches have completely opposite philosophies on how a game should be called, they share allot more in common than you may realize. Kyle Shanahan in his third year with SF (his first head coaching job) has made a deep run into the playoffs, Andy Reid did the same thing in Philadelphia. Andy Reid suffered a heartbreaking loss in the SB to the Tom Brady lead Patriots, this too is true for Kyle Shanahan. Andy Reid chose Donovan McNabb to be his QB and was questioned by the city if this was the right choice (I’m making that seem allot nicer than it actually was. Philly fans did not like this choice when it happened one bit), Kyle Shanahan chose a backup QB from NE to be his offensive general and he too was questioned. Both of these coaches are known for their offensive schemes that while they seem simple give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares trying to figure out how to stop them. This is simply a case of young dog vs older dog while the young dog may be flashier, the older dog is more experienced and just may contrary to the old saying, have some new tricks. To me, this coaching duel is very close to a toss up.

Prediction

Kansas City 34 San Francisco 27

-Marshall Thorne-

Marquand Manuel to the Eagles

The Eagles are hiring Marquand Manuel to the coaching staff as Defensive Backs Coach.

Seattle Seahawks 2012-2014

He may not be a household name but he should be. Marquand Manuel was an assistant secondary coach in Seattle in 2012 and when they won the 2013 Super Bowl, and was the full time secondary coach when Seattle returned to the Super Bowl in 2014. Seattle in 2013 posted the best stats in the NFL on the defensive side of the ball mainly on the backs of their superb secondary play. Only allowing 16 touchdowns to be thrown and generating 28 interceptions it was fair to say that no quarterback wanted to play against their secondary. Giving up a stingy 172 yards per game through the air and 9.9 yards per completion the CBs and Safeties were the best in both category. In the 2013 Super Bowl Peyton Manning and a high powered pass attack (best in the league and most explosive) had no answer for the Seahawks secondary who held them to 280 yards of passing and generated 2 interceptions and one Touchdown. In a total route to the the tune of 43-8 Seattles defense had lived up to their nickname “The Legion of BOOM”.

The next year Manuel was promoted to Secondary Coach and Seattle enjoyed yet another great year against the pass. While they slipped to second in the league in yards per completion at 10.2 they still enjoyed the best yards per game allowed at 185.6! The amount of Interceptions did drop to only 13 and they did allow one more TD than the year before but yet again the Seattle secondary moved through the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl. In this game the Seattle secondary surrendered 4 TD’s but still were able to produce 2 INT’s making it to where at the last seconds of the game Seattle still had a chance to win the game.

Atlanta Falcons 2015-2016

In 2014 Atlanta’s secondary was a travesty, giving up the most yards per game at 279. Overall they were ranked the 31st secondary in the NFL. One year later interject Manuel into the coaching staff and it was a completely different story. Giving up an average 249 yards per game and ranked the 18th secondary in the NFL they were clearly trending in the right direction. While there INT numbers and TDs allowed numbers stayed about the same it was clear that a new mentality had been embraced and they were playing hard nosed football in the secondary. In 2016 Manuel remained the DB coach. While the secondary by numbers did not improve from year one to year two the falcons were hampered by injury. Losing many key players all over the defense Manuel did a great job of getting his young players ready to fight every Sunday even when it seemed like they should crumble. In this year the Atlanta falcons reached the Super Bowl. This would be the third time in four years that the team Manuel was a part of had reached the big dance. Just like his second year with Seattle they did not come out on top and just like his other loss this one came at the hands of Tom Brady and the Patriots. After what is considered the worst collapse in the Super Bowl era Manuel was promoted to Defensive Coordinator. This was the year that really showed Manuel’s ability to coach. Unhampered by other coaches making the calls Manuel lead the Atlanta defense to a top 10 finish. Ranked as the number 9 defense in the league they only allowed 210 yards through the air per game. This was a huge leap from his first two years with the team. This group had really embraced his philosophy and was playing very good football. They accomplished this while losing two Linebackers, a Strong Safety, and a Defensive End to IR. Unfortunately after Kyle Shannahan left the Atlanta offense was stagnant and without the ability to score Atlanta fell to a 7-9 record and due to this Manuel was made the scapegoat and fired even though he would be leaving the defense in a far better spot than he found it.

Philadelphia Eagles 2020-?

On January 24th Philadelphia reporters announced that they would be interviewing Manuel for the Defensive Backs coach. This comes as great news to the Eagles and their fans as it seems the Secondary has not been the same ever since the passing of the Late Great Jim Johnson passed. Even in their Super Bowl year they surrendered over 500 yards in the Super Bowl to (you guessed it) Tom Brady. Bringing in a young fresh mind on the defense that has coached 2 number 1 secondaries and another top 10. The Eagles pass defense was ranked 30th in the NFL in 2018 and 19th in 2019 could seriously use some help as it has been the weakest part of the team for what seems like forever. Manuel also has a knack at transitioning players from one position to another as he has moved multiple CBs to the Safety position successfully. The Eagles have what seems like the perfect candidate for this switch in Rasul Douglas. Drafted out of West Virginia he has a knack for zone coverage and has great ball skills. His one flaw is he is not fast enough to play outside. With Malcolm Jenkins (SS) getting up there in age his numbers have slipped a bit. Add on that he is holding out for a new contract and the switch for Rasul may just be possible and may come sooner than later.

-Marshall Thorne-

How the New Onside Kick rule will change the Game

Today we are here to discuss how the new proposed rule change could affect the NFL and whether it will have the desired outcome.

FIRST LETS DIVE INTO THE NUMBERS

In 2019 there were 79 onside kicks attempted, out of those 79 attempts only 6 of them resulted in a successful recovery by the kicking team. This is a 6% recovery rate which compared to the 21% from 2018 is absolutely abysmal. This is a result of the rule changes the league put into effect stating that one side of the field could not be over loaded when the ball is kicked and no player can have a moving start before the ball is kicked. This gives a clear advantage to the recovery team and the numbers show it.

The new rule that is being considered would line a team up on their own 25 yard line. The team trying to convert to retain possession would be faced with a Fourth and Fifteen. If the team on offense converts this Down and Distance they retain the ball and continue the drive as any other. If they do not convert though the opposing team gets the ball where the play ends.

When you look at this, you may think that this is going to result in more conversions and a more fast paced game, with more conversions, and more teams being able to get back in games late. Lets look at the numbers on Fourth Down conversions from this last year. When teams were faced with a Fourth and Fifteen and no goal to go (this is important because when you have more than 25 yards of field to work with you have a far larger probability of converting) these were converted roughly 28% of the time. That’s right an even higher percentage than with the old onside kick rules. Just to be clear with the same amount of attempts (79) at this rate you would have seen 22 conversions, that is 22 more games where a team would have a chance to fight back, a possible 22 more games that could have been decided on the last drive or been forced to OT.

What this could mean for the NFL is more viewers staying tuned into games longer, more revenue on games that seem out of hand. This could seriously help the NFL in a big way.

What this could mean for the fans may be even more worthy of note. Imagine, it is a Monday night, your hated rival has a strong hold on the game, your division is on the line. Your team gets the ball down by 13 with just over two minutes to play. They put together a stellar drive, your offense has clearly figured out something about their rival teams defense and they exploit it quickly. Now just down 6 points with about a minute to play. Without this rule change as a fan you are sitting there and you get that pit in your stomach knowing what is coming. A few years ago you would have been excited, praying that your team recovers the onside kick and you may still have a chance. In today’s NFL you have a 6% chance of recovery and you know that most likely this Monday Night is going to end in heart break. With this new rule change you are looking at a better than 1 in 4 chance of getting the ball back. That pit in your stomach is replaced with excitement and exhilaration! Screaming at the TV, your team converts and drives down the field and scores creating one of the most fantastic comebacks you have ever seen in your life.

This will have an effect on teams differently though. You have to think about what certain teams are good at and what they pride themselves on. When a team like Seattle or Baltimore are faced with needing fifteen yards this seems like it could be a very manageable down a distance. Explosive teams like this pick up fifteen yards in one play very often . Baltimore had 149 explosive plays this year and Seattle had 133 explosive plays. Where as a team like Indianapolis or Carolina would struggle in this area as Carolina only had 85 explosive plays and Indy only had 91. Just food for thought on how this rule could be better for some teams than others.

I personally like the idea of this rule change, it will bring a fresh new feel to a part of the game that has overall lost its place in today’s NFL.

-Marshall Thorne-

San Fran vs Green Bay post game

We all knew the parts of this game to expect, Rodgers was going to be slinging the ball and the front four of San Fran were going to be fierce. We all knew Aaron Jones was going to get his touches and we all knew that San Fran was going to rely heavily on their run game. This game was going to be a show down between a wily vet for GB that has been there and done that vs an up and coming highly regarded QB who was never given his shot in New England and now wears a chip on his shoulder for being traded away for no more than what was given up for him. What we didn’t know was how this game was going to unfold, who was going to come out on top, and which one of these young and talented coaches were going to lead their team to the Super Bowl after both had come so far in such a very short time.

Starting the game San Fran took the opening kickoff, they were looking to strike quick and hard in order to get their home field crowd fired up and to hold Rodgers and the Packers to the highest disadvantage they could. Doing this in hopes to sway the momentum early and hopefully never give it back. Well things did not go their way early as they quickly found themselves in a third and short early. Handing the ball off to Coleman (remember in my pre game break down article I stated one back for SF always seems to have the other teams number) on a third and one he was quickly met in the backfield by Z. Smith, one of GBs highly regarded defensive ends. In their own end of the field and the game being but a pup SF punted the ball away, playing the numbers game and counting on their defense to keep them square in this battle.

Green Bay and the Aaron brothers took the field hoping to jump out to a lead and quiet an already restless crowd in Levi Stadium. Things looked to be going as planned as Aaron Jones gashed the San Fran defense between the tackles for close to a first down which they would eventually pick up. On their next set of downs though things did not go as well as they found themselves in a third and two. Coming to the line Rodgers was alone in the backfield (Why they would not line Jones up in the backfield I do not know) San Fran knowing it had to be a pass prepared to defend the sticks as Rodgers took the shotgun snap. Playing man across the board the defense played assignment sound football (or so it appeared) and as the ball left Rodgers hand you could tell that it would not be enough for the first down, tackled a yard short of the line to gain the Packers would face fourth down. Remember how I said it seemed that SF played assignment sound football? In reality it seems that Rodgers actually had already decided where he was going with the ball. The Packers ran a flood concept play and if you re watch this play you will see that it actually worked, two SF players jumped the under route and left number 80 standing past the line to gain showing his numbers to Rodgers and Rodgers simply did not see him. This is eerily familiar to the play against Philadelphia where GB ran a pick play at the goal line, Rodgers threw to a double covered receiver while an uncovered receiver stood in the back corner of the end zone and watched as a batted ball was intercepted by Nigel Bradham and the game was sealed.

On the very next drive SF did exactly what they needed to do. With a short pass to Samuel that broke for about 15 yards up the left sideline they started to find their groove. Shortly there after Garropolo found Samuel again for a big gain and if Samuel had not lost his balance after trucking a GB safety he most likely would have scored. The Fans loved it, Levi Stadium went wild! What happened next was something else I touched on in the pregame breakdown. The hot hand of the SF back field was discovered. Raheem Mostert (4 years ago an undrafted FA of the Philadelphia Eagles) was handed the ball on a dive to the left. The red seas parted and Mostert was off to the races. Bad angles taken by GB defenders and a top gear of Mostert lead to only one thing a lead taking TD early for SF.

On the next possession Rodgers looked to even things up. Making a nice throw to the sideline Rodgers seemed to be getting comfortable and that could spell trouble for a young SF defense. But just as quick as Rodgers seemed to find his stride the SF pass rush decided to clip his wings (really it was his foot but it works for the metaphor). Bosa (a strong candidate for ROY) came off the right side and had Rodgers under immediate pressure, and it was too much. Rodgers in earlier years may have been able to escape but not today as Bosa latched onto Roders foot and simply did not let go. This forcing fourth down GB was forced to punt.

A strong punt return had SF starting near mid field and a SF offense licking its chops at the opportunity to put the Pack down multiple possessions. On second and six Garropolo dropped back and fired a wild ball to an area of the field where nobody was. This was quickly followed by a flag and a roughing the passer penalty for hitting Garropolo low on the leg that he had already had ACL reconstructive surgery on just one year ago. Extending the drive the GB defense looked like they were in trouble and doomed to give up points. On the next set of downs though the GB defense did what every cheese head was praying for and stopped SF by sacking Garropolo on third down and forcing SF to put their kicker on the field who as of late has been reliable but had missed six field goals earlier this year. With his first attempt over fifty yards this year and in one of the highest pressure situations you could be in Robbie Gould lined up and absolutely drilled a fifty four yard field goal to go up two possessions.

Ok so now is the time when Rodgers shows up right? On second and four Rodgers drops back and throws a screen to his running back who was quickly met in the back field and stopped for a three yard loss. Struggling to get anything going the Packers put the ball in their best players hands and looked for Rodgers to make a play. On third and seven Rodgers dropped back and as it had been up to this point was under immediate duress this time having the ball punched from his hands, GB fell on the fumble luckily for them but the drive had been ended quickly as those that had lead up to it.

On SF’s next drive the coach that is known for riding the hot hand did exactly that! Raheem Mostert began to run wild with two runs to the right that each eclipsed the ten yard measure GB did not seem to have an answer for a RB that smelled blood in the water. No matter what they did he was gashing them and you could feel the panic starting to emerge from GB fans everywhere. From the nine yard line Mostert took the hand off on a misdirection run which started right as his other big runs had but quickly cut back to the left, fooling the now over reaching GB run defense Mostert using Samuel as a lead blocer easily found his way into the end zone to make the score a three possession lead and score his second TD of the evening.

Being down seventeen in the first half was not where GB or Rodgers wanted to be but the game was not over yet but they needed to score and they needed to score quickly. Rodgers once again started to look like he was settling in, on a play action pass Rodgers stepped up in the pocket avoiding pressure from the defensive end and found a WR open in the middle of the field for fifteen yards. Quickly to the line Aaron Jones burst through the line for twelve yards and another first down. Then mayhem struck (haha that’s an insurance joke… get it? Rodgers is State Farm… ok fine) Rodgers under center ready to finally get his team on the board and the snap is bobbled, Rodgers loses the ball in the feet of his offensive linemen and SF jumps on it giving them the ball back.

Given a gift and not looking to squander any opportunities given to them SF once again rode the hot hand of Mostert. Ripping off huge chunks at a time Mostert single highhandedly got SF in FG range to the tune of a thirty six yard run followed by a twelve yard run. After failing to produce a first down on a pass to the left sidelines SF was forced to settle for three and go up twenty to nothing.

With a minute and a half left in the first half and what seems to be a very one sided game the Packers had to do something, SF kicks the ball off and what happened? The return man mufs the kick and leaves an already dejected GB defense to start their drive at their own eight yard line. It was do or die at this moment! Rodgers dropped back and delivered a beautiful touch pass across the middle to Lazard who was graciously up ended by a SF defensive back. On Rodgers next pass attempt under pressure once again Rodgers fires an under thrown ball to the left sideline and is picked off by Mosely setting the SF 49ers up for the kill shot.

Already at the thirty yard line with just over a minute to play, you guessed it. Ball is snapped and Mostert takes the ball up the middle for twelve yards and a new set of downs. On the very next play due to a gaping hole created by the SF offensive line, bad angles taken by the GB safeties, and a quick burst once in the secondary Mostert took a run up the middle eighteen yards for his third house call of the night.

Coming out of half time, GB after being a punching bag for a fired up SF team it was time to get going. There was one name for GB that had not been mentioned nearly enough in the first half and he was looking to make his presence felt. The Rodgers to Adams connection needed to get going and it needed to happen fast! For only the second time all night Adams was targeted and it was a completion for fifteen yards. Two plays later it was Adams again taking a WR screen one handed and hurdling one of his own downed blockers for another twelve yards and another first down. Finding themselves in the red zone after a surprisingly methodical drive Rodgers found his outlet pass to Jones in the middle of the field who set up his blocks and took it in for a twelve yard TD.

SF getting the ball back after surrendering their first points of the night to GB had no intention of slowing down and giving Rodgers an opportunity to catch them. A SF running game that had been destroying an already leaky GB run defense was ready to open the flood gates. GB selling out to stop Mostert up the middle lined up with eight in the box. The ball is snapped and it appears to be another run up the middle except its a fake and Samuel takes the ball around the left side on a jet sweep for a first down. GB knowing that SF will not run the same play twice lines up to stop the run up the middle and low and behold SF ran the same play twice this time the jet sweep going right instead of left and Samuel takes the ball to GB’s twenty two yard line for a gain of thirty five. Ready to put this away SF lines up, GB knowing this could be the end of their season lines up weary of the sweep, SF snaps the ball and this time does hand the ball to Mostert who takes the ball twenty two yards around the left side of the line for yet another TD and a record breaking night!

Down thirty four to seven, a dejected, demoralized, deflated, and whatever other term you can think of to describe a dead in the water GB team took the field. Slowly making their way to the fifty yard line this game looked as if it were all but over. Did I mention that Rodgers was a wily vet? Well there happens to be another wily vet that plays for this team and he is very used to catching long TDs. He goes by the name of Jimmy Graham and he wanted the football. Rodgers took the snap, dropped back, and unleashed a dime of a pass to a Graham who was streaking up the seam scoring what appeared to be a TD. After further review it was deemed that he was down just inches short (Sorry fantasy owners who took Graham and not Aaron Jones). On the very next play Jones took the plunge into the end zone for his second TD. Going for two in order make the game only another TD with a two point conversion and a field goal away from tied Rodgers dropped back and threw yet another uncharacteristic off target throw to Adams which was dropped and the try was no good.

A quick three and out by SF gave GB the ball back and looking to put up more points it was time to start taking shots! Rodgers takes the snap and unleashes a deep ball down field. A beautiful arching throw that seemed to take forever to drop into the awaiting hands of Adams who had beaten Sherman over the top. The cameras zoomed in on Sherman’s face as Adams caught the ball and you could almost sense the disgust the former Seahawk had in himself that he had given up such a big play. Quickly there after Rodgers took a snap, scrambled around in the backfield for a few seconds and delivered a dime to one of his receivers in the back of the end zone to cut into the lead some more.

SF up fourteen with just over six minutes left in the game was starting to feel the pressure of such a big game. What do you do in that moment you may wonder. Give the ball to your QB who hasn’t thrown a ball in over an hour and a half and tell him to go win you the game. Garropolo drops back and finds a wide open Kittle for his seventh completion and Kittle’s first catch of the night which provided a fresh set of downs. Just into GB territory Garropolo drops back and throws to where Kittle would have been if he had not been held. The penalty gifted SF a new set of downs once again. After two more plays and nine yards gained Mostert may have had his biggest run of the night. Plowing for two yards behind the left side of his line he gained the first down which made GB burn their time outs on SFs next three plays. With time winding down to four minutes left SF called on Gould once again and you could say he was as good as Go(u)ld as he drilled his kick to make it game three possessions once more.

With time winding down and hope fading by the second Rodgers went on the field for one last attempt do bring his team back. Bosa had other intentions. Rodgers dropped back and was crushed by Bosa, the ball came free but GB was lucky enough to get back ontop of it. On fourth and thirteen Rodgers released a dart to Adams who caught the ball seventeen yards down field but in trying to make it a larger play actually lost a few yards and at one point seemed like he may run so far backwards that they would not get the yards needed to convert the first down. Soon there after Rodgers dropped back (and did I mention there was a third wily vet in this game?) and unleashed another arching deep ball. Only this time there was another set of hands waiting on the other end. Sherman had seen this attempt before on the play earlier where he was beat by Adams and this time made sure to stay ahead of the receiver. Picking the pass off, effectively ending the game, redeeming himself for the bad play earlier which cost his team points, and notching his third trip to the SB Sherman laid out for the pass and made the interception.

My Takeaways from this game

  1. San Fran is for real, as much as people don’t want to admit it. They have a great coach, with a great system. They have extremely talented players on both sides of the ball. And they have a QB that is willing to do whatever it takes to win games and is not upset when he is not the star of the game.
  2. San Fran is a young and talented team that is trending in the right direction and I don’t see any glaring holes in any position on their roster. Look for them to take best player available in the draft.
  3. Green Bay is a very young team, other than Rodgers, Adams, Jones, and Graham the average person would have a hard time naming any of their players. This looks good for GB as they will only get better in years to come and this was excellent experience for all of their young players.
  4. Green Bay has to get some more WR talent on this team. Besides Adams they are void of players who can make big plays at the WR position. Jones (RB) had the second most receiving yards on their team this year. With a QB that is in the tail end of his career but still as talented as Rodgers you need to give him something to work with to see if he can get you another championship before he moves on from football. Look for GB to target a WR early in this years draft and possibly add another in FA.

-Marshall Thorne-

Post Game KC vs TENN

We were promised a show and boy did we receive one! The show down between new school and old school was everything that we could ask for an more (Unless you are a Titans fan). Andy Reid at the helm of an offense poised to show that Defenses don’t always win championships, and a Tennessee team headed by Mike Vrabel looking to debunk the idea that the league is going to be dominated by air raid offenses for the foreseeable future.

Tennessee came out hot and quickly looked to be getting in a groove driving down the field in a way that had KC fans everywhere wondering if they were to be the next piece of wood to be fed to the wood chipper. It looked like the Titans had a good game plan on how to move the ball and were going to deliver a quick seven points to start the game. But what no one really expected was that the KC defense would play a huge roll in this games makeup. Standing tall in the Red Zone KC forced the Titans to settle for three points which when playing the Chiefs leaves you with a very uneasy feeling when you know how quickly they can score. Hampered by drops and key sacks by the Titans defense KC seemed to be a touch out of sorts when it can to moving the ball early! Tennessee drove down the field quickly again and unlike their first trip into the Red Zone they were not leaving without a touchdown! A direct snap to King Henry lead the Titans to a 10-0 lead which had people questioning when and or if the Chiefs offense could get going and bring them back.

Almost on cue the KC offense came alive driving the length of the field seeming to use every weapon they had available, including Travis Kelce who showed his prowess as a receiver finding a soft spot in a zone coverage that extended the drive on a fourth and two. Shortly after a jet sweep to Hardman followed almost directly after by a jet sweep to Hill (A familiar sight to those that followed Hill in college where he played RB) which sprung the track star for the Touchdown.

The Titans were not willing to go down without a fight at this point. With a sold dose of Henry, drive extending catches by Humphries, and key penalties by the KC defense, the Titans found themselves in the Red Zone once more. Henry running hard as always was brutalizing linemen and linebackers but even he couldn’t find the End Zone being stopped just short. What did the Titans do you may ask. Did they run it with Henry up the middle? Did they throw it to one of there large physical receivers in the corner of the End Zone? No, they knew the Chiefs would be looking for them to go to one of these options and in a very Doug Pederson (Philly Special) kind of way they stunned the Chiefs with a trick play. Dennis Kelly reported as eligible and snuck five yards deep in the End Zone catching a TD in what we can all imagine with be an unforgettable moment for him and a key point in the game for his team. Now some of you may be asking, who is Dennis Kelly? Dennis Kelly happens to be an Offensive Tackle who originally played for the Philadelphia Eagles who was sent to Tennessee in exchange for Dorial Green-Beckham. Standing 6’8 and weighing in at 321Lbs, this made Kelly the heaviest player to catch a TD in an NFL Championship game.

Unfortunately for the Titans this TD did exactly what they were hoping would not happen. It fired the KC offense up and when you bring a track team on the gridiron points can be scored at a ferocious pace. In just over two minutes KC struck. A great kick return by Hardman to the forty yard line got them going and they did not look back from there. A drive capped off by a twenty yard TD strike to Hill put KC down just three with four minutes to play.

Tennessee may not have known it at this point but this would be the turning point of this game. Two runs to Henry who was stacked up both times by fantastic gang tackling and rallying to the ball and a screen pass that was sniffed out immediately spelled a quick three and out for Tennessee and lead to them giving the ball back to KC. This was the last thing they could afford to do in this position of the game because it would allow the Chiefs to double dip the chip as they would receive the second half kickoff as well.

Lead by Mahomes the Chiefs drove seventy yards down the field in less than 2 minutes. Big passing plays to Kelce, and Watkins set them up at the thirty yard line. Chunk plays seem to be this teams bread and butter but sometimes they come from players that you wouldn’t expect. At the thirty yard line with under a minute left, Mahomes was staring at a defense that had everything covered. That defense forgot one thing though, when playing man to man against a team with a mobile QB he should a will run when given the opportunity. Mahomes broke contain left and by simply avoiding one shoe string tackle found himself running alone down the boundary. When met at the five yard line by a defensive player Mahomes showed his strength, grit, and will to win and plowed through for the TD. Leaving only eleven seconds on the clock this would be the play that seemingly punched the Chiefs ticket to the Super Bowl.

It is now the second half kickoff and everyone is already thinking it, KC is going to drive down the field and start putting this game out of reach. But no! Tennesse comes out ready after taking one on the chin at the end of the first half and manages to stop an offense that some are referring to now as the fastest show on turf. With a glimpse of hope left they did what they needed to do and got the ball back and looked to slow the game back down. Starting the drive everything seemed to go as planned as the Titans methodically started marching down the field. All until they were faced with a third and a foot. Tennessee knew where they were going with the ball, KC knew where they were going with the ball, I am pretty sure that at that moment there was not a single person (Football fan or not) that didn’t know where they were going with the ball. This moment sealed the game as Tannehill turned around and handed the ball to the Titans most reliable player on the field, this was the do or die moment as Henry raced towards the line, this play had the feeling of a goal line stand! Player vs Player strength vs strength, will vs will. Henry hit the hole hard but unfortunately for him so did four KC defensive linemen and line backers. Henry was stuffed at the line of scrimmage causing what would have been a fourth and a foot if it were not for the seemingly hero earlier Kelly being called for a holding penalty that forced the Titans to give the ball back to Big Red.

On the very next drive KC did something that not allot of people would have expected. With every weapon at their disposal in the passing game they started to run the ball. They started to use Tennessee’s game plan against them. Williams, Thompson, and Mahomes used the ground more than the air on this drive. In this high powered air raid offense the run game seems to get over looked, but it took the second half of this game over. Chewing clock and picking up key first downs you started to get the feeling that this could be an imposing your will drive and boy was it. Between the three rushers for KC they managed to chew over eight minutes off the clock. For KC that drive seemed to take an eternity compared to how quickly they typically strike. Capped by a four yard run by Williams the Chiefs had seemed to step on the throats of the Titans and were refusing to be denied their seat in the Super Bowl.

You could feel the electricity in the air, the fans were going crazy, the offense was clicking on all calendars, and the defense could tell that if they made a stop here they very well may put an early end to this game. Coming up to the line they saw a Tannehill in a position he did not want to be in, shaky and frantic Tannehill dropped back and was immediately pressured by a KC front 4 that looked to put this game to bed. Dumping it off to Henry in the flat saved Tannehill from taking a hit but it lost the Titans two very important yards. It did not get better for him from there as he was sacked on his next two drop backs and once again the Titans surrendered the ball back over to KC.

Not looking to be outdone by their defense KC went right back to doing what they do. With a few short passes, one of which being an amazing reactionary catch by Watkins, KC stood at their own forty yard line. Looking to break the will of the Titans, Mahomes dropped back and rolled to his right. What happened next can only be described as he unleashed the howitzer, an off platform, cross body, deep ball that traveled FIFTY yards in the air. Waiting on the other end of this bomb was none other than a wide open Sammy Watkins who seemingly jogged in for the score. To KC this had to be the moment that everyone took a deep sigh of relief, for the Titans they had to have felt completely demoralized, and for Sammy Watkins he must have felt elated at the fact that he had just caught his first TD since a stunning three score game in week ONE!

Tennessee not seeming to simply travel home and lick their wounds did have a few more tricks up their sleeves as KC had seemingly stopped them on an underwhelming drive so far. Tennessee lined up to punt the ball from their own twenty two yard line seemingly admitting defeat, realizing they had only ten men on the field quickly rushed another person on. To the average person this would seem to be a lack of attention from the Titans but in all actuality it was all part of the plan. The ball was snapped the punter winds up but instead of punting the ball he throws it to a wide open receiver in the middle of the field picking up twenty eight yards and a first down. A few short plays later Corey Davis caught a pass that brought the Titans all the way to the KC twenty two yard line. This is usually where Tennesse really feeds the ball to Henry but knowing KC would expect that Tannehill hit a wide open seam pass to the TE Firkser for the TD. They had drawn within eleven and were looking to get a stop.

It was all on the Tennesse defense to get the ball back at this point and they knew it. Mahomes dropped back and for the second time this game heaved an off platform pass down the field, the ball was up the receiver was seemingly covered and instead of turning around for the ball the defensive back ran directly into the receiver costing his defense the opportunity to get off the field. While KC did not end up scoring on this drive this was the play that in the end would not allow Tennessee the time needed to make up the points that they had surrendered.

With under two minutes to play Tannehill dropped back on fourth down looking for a miracle, in fact he may have been looking for that miracle so hard that he did not see the KC defensive end until the last second, trying to scramble Tannehill was tackled by the shoe strings and the game was over.

A heart breaking defeat for the Cinderella team coming out of Nashville but a statement game from a coach, a team, and a city of Kansas City that seemingly will not be denied their fate!

My take aways from these two teams.

  1. Tennessee is very close to being a championship team, I think that if they were to insert a true deep threat receiver into their offense that can stretch the defense, they would be borderline unstoppable. Look for them to either draft a deep play receiver early in this years draft or target an experienced player in FA like a Robbie Anderson.
  2. Tennessee will most likely be right back in the playoffs next year as they are built for January and possibly February with a pounding run game and a smothering defense.
  3. Kansas City is absolutely disgusting on offense and to no ones surprise they have ridden this offense to two straight AFC Title games and now a Super Bowl appearance. But on defense they do have some holes. I think that if they draft either a CB early or a top flight MLB and target the other in FA they could be one of the most dominant teams to step on a football field.
  4. Andy Reid keeps winning, going to his second Super Bowl ( his first with Kansas City) but what I want to see is unlike in his first trip to the big dance will he have the answers this time for a red hot 49ers team.

-Marshall Thorne-

Tennessee vs Kansas City

For the first time in what seems like forever we have a team in the playoffs that seems to be completely reliant on a rushing attack. The Tennessee Titans have stunned the world in the last two games they have played by knocking out the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. While the Patriots may not have been as dominant this year as they have been for the last 15, was anyone really expecting Tennessee to go on the road and defeat possibly the greatest head coach and quarterback tandem in history? Then they moved on to what could only be described as an electric offense and stingy at worst defense in Baltimore and not once seemed to be fazed. They did all of this by riding the hot had or should I say feet of what people are starting to call a MONSTER, Derrick Henry! Eclipsing more than 180 yards on the ground in all three of their last games, what Henry is doing right now could only warm the hearts of old school NFL fans that wish to see the hard nosed grit brought back to the game. In a high flying offensive minded league where it seems like more and more the game is being moved towards flag football, the Tennessee Titans are a much needed throw back to a time when 4 yards and a cloud of dust was a common game plan.

I would look for the Titans to do more of the same this weekend. The Kansas City Chiefs may have gotten better at stopping the run since last season and even the beginning of this season but they don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing Offensive Coordinators. Derrick Henry should be able to do much of the same that he has been doing the last 3 weeks Sunday and could very well be the main source of yards for a Titans team that has relied on him so heavily to make their playoff run. But this is the NFL and we all know that coaches at this level catch on very quickly! If somehow the Chiefs figure out a way to stop Henry or at least slow him down, this game may come down to Ryan Tannehill showing off the connection that he has with his WR group. In Particular A.J. Brown, the Titans Rookie WR has boasted insanely good numbers for a first year player where it seems more and more often the position requires a bit of time to get used to making the leap to the NFL. If the Chiefs figure out a way to slow Henry or if the Titans surrender the lead early, look for these two players to try and shoulder the load and find a way to the Super Bowl.

On the other side of the field will be one of the Greatest NFL coaches of the modern era backed by a team that is so explosive I am surprised they let them fly on airplanes! The Kansas City Chiefs lead by Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are a scary bunch themselves. Mahomes may have slowed down a touch since last year where he threw for an astounding 50 TDs in his first full year of play but that did not stop this offense from scoring 28 points in one quarter of play twice this season. One of those times was in last weeks playoff game against the Texans. Down 24 to 0 the Chiefs looked dead in the water and sinking quick until the explosion happened. 28 points in under 10 minutes of play and they never looked back. Having two 4.3 second WRs and a posession receiver with super glue hands does not hurt, it seemed that every time Mahomes threw a ball up it was landing softly in one of his receivers hands. That coupled with the fact that KC has a top 3 tight end that goes by the name of Travis Kelce who absolutely shredded the defense of Houston for 3 TDs last week. The Tennessee Titans have been absolutely awful this year at guarding opposing tight ends and I do not think they will be able to fix that this week especially since the player they are looking to stop is so talented. Expect more of the same out of KC this week long bombs down the field to Hardman and Hill, short crossing routes to Kelce and Watkins that break for big plays, and Mahomes being quick to pick up yards with his feet if the defense turns their back on him. If the Chiefs jump out to a faster start than they did last week they could simply be too much for Tennessee to handle.

Kansas City 38 Tennessee 24

-Marshall Thorne-

San Francisco vs Green Bay


This weekend we have one of the most electrifying match ups that we will have seen in a very long time in the NFL. We will be watching a Green Bay offense that is extremely balanced through the air and on the ground go up against a San Fran defense that to call them scary would be an understatement! The key match ups to look for this weekend are Aaron Rodgers vs a SF secondary that was prolific to start the year but sustained some key injuries that most of the players have been able to work back from but could be susceptible to being injured again. SF does have one thing working for them more than all and that is an elite pass rush headed up by Nick Bosa! Look for Rodgers to try to get the ball out quickly to try and neutralize a group of players on SF that can simply wreck a game against any offensive line. Jones (RB) could also play a huge roll in this game as SF had to place their starting defensive tackle on IR. A heavy dose of Jones between the tackles, plays from an electrifying screen game, and play action pass to Rodgers’s favorite WR Devante Adams could spell a long day for the Leagues second best defense that has been a wrecking crew all season. On the other side of the ball you have a SF offense that over the course of the year has really found itself. With a three headed monster of a rushing attack boasting the names of Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, and Raheem Mostert, it seems like there is not a game where one of these backs doesn’t have the opposing defense’s number. With Coleman having the least yards at just over 500 yards, Breida having almost 700 yards, and Mostert having almost 800 yards, to say that this team is run heavy would be an under statement. Going up against a Green Bay defense that while further into the season somewhat figured out how to stop the run, but has been plagued by big plays given up on the ground I expect the three headed monster of SF to exploit this weakness. This tactic will also allow SF to control the time of possession which is key to winning against a team that can be as electric as GB. SF is also boasting one of the leagues best Quarterback to Tight End connections in Jimmy G to George Kittle. Kittle has proven that when given the opportunity there is no place on the field that he can not score from, even if he is dragging defenders along with him into the endzone. Expect to see plenty of Play Action passes to Kittle in an attempt to exploit a GB defense that will be doing everything in its power to stop the run.

San Francisco 34 Green Bay 27

-Marshall Thorne-