AROUND THE NFL

AROUND THE NFL

We saw this before Seattle beat Kansas City:

 

Home teams are now 0-12-2 ATS in Week 16.

– – –

Michael David Smith looks at teams that have made their bettors money with over win totals or under win totals:

 

With one game left in the regular season, the Bears have proven to be a lot better than they were expected to be. And the Raiders have proven to be a lot worse.

 

According to the betting site Bovada, the 11-4 Bears are an NFL-high five games over the preseason over-under betting total set by the Vegas oddsmakers. The 3-11 Raiders are an NFL-worst five games under their preseason win total, heading into Monday night’s game.

 

It’s no secret that the Khalil Mack trade was a part of that, with Mack going from the Raiders to the Bears just before the start of the season. That made the Bears’ defense better and the Raiders’ defense worse, and it also encapsulated the win-now mentality that went into the Bears’ other personnel moves, as well as the build-for-the-future mentality of Jon Gruden, who would later trade away Amari Cooper among other moves that made it clear his goal was not about winning in 2018.

 

The other team that did particularly well compared to its preseason over-under lines was New Orleans, which is 13-2, four games better than its preseason over-under. After the Raiders, the two teams that did worst compared to preseason expectations were the Packers and Jaguars, who are both four wins below their preseason over-unders.

 

These are not the Bovada numbers, but here is how Action Network tracks the results Greens are over, Reds are certain under, Black is still in the balance:

 

Arizona Cardinals: 6

Atlanta Falcons: 9.5

Baltimore Ravens: 8.5

Buffalo Bills: 5.5

Carolina Panthers: 8.5

Chicago Bears: 7.5

Cincinnati Bengals: 7

Cleveland Browns: 6

Dallas Cowboys: 8.5

Denver Broncos: 7

Detroit Lions: 7.5

Green Bay Packers: 10

Houston Texans: 8.5

Indianapolis Colts: 7.5

Jacksonville Jaguars: 9

Kansas City Chiefs: 8.5

Los Angeles Chargers: 9.5

Los Angeles Rams: 10

Miami Dolphins: 6.5

Minnesota Vikings: 10

New England Patriots: 11

New Orleans Saints: 9.5

New York Giants: 7

New York Jets: 6

Oakland Raiders: 7.5

Philadelphia Eagles: 10.5

Pittsburgh Steelers: 10.5

San Francisco 49ers: 8.5

Seattle Seahawks: 7.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6.5

Tennessee Titans: 8

Washington Redskins: 7

 

So 13 clinched OVERS, 14 clinched UNDERs, 5 still in the balance.

– – –

As for the Super Bowl – at Bovada a $100 bet at the moment will win you $250 if the Saints win the Super Bowl:

 

SUPER BOWL 53 – Odds to Win

 

New Orleans Saints          +250

Los Angeles Rams            +390

Kansas City Chiefs            +450

New England Patriots        +650

Chicago Bears                   +800

Los Angeles Chargers     +1200

Baltimore Ravens            +1600

Dallas Cowboys               +2500

Houston Texans               +2500

Minnesota Vikings             +2800

Seattle Seahawks             +3300

Indianapolis Colts             +4000

Pittsburgh Steelers           +4000

Tennessee Titans             +4000

Philadelphia Eagles          +5000

 

Besides the Saints, we kind of like the Seahawks at 33 to 1. 

 

NFC EAST

 

PHILADELPHIA

Just why are the Eagles still totally committed to CARSON WENTZ?  This from Peter King:

 

“This is a thing of beauty!” Dan Fouts yelled on CBS, as Foles dropped a 57-yard spiral into the arms of Nelson Agholor, with Houston’s Tyrann Mathieu in perfect coverage, the ball missing Mathieu’s hand by three inches. The 83-yard touchdown gave the Eagles a 23-16 lead in a great football game. Foles had 22 completions by halftime, and finished with the greatest passing day in Eagles history: 471 yards, 35 of 49, four touchdowns, one pick, 120.4 rating.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

CAROLINA

Amidst the rubble of the Panthers’ 2018 season, RB CHRISTIAN McCAFFERY has an NFL record.  David Newton of NFL.com:

 

– The Carolina Panthers might be having a down season, but Christian McCaffrey is having a record-breaking one.

 

The eighth pick of the 2017 draft broke the NFL’s single-season receiving record for a running back Sunday during Carolina’s 24-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

 

Matt Forte had 102 catches in 2014 for the Chicago Bears. McCaffrey topped that in Sunday’s third quarter with his ninth catch of the game, then added three more to bring his season tally to 106.

 

McCaffrey also has family bragging rights. He has more catches in a season than his wide receiver father ever had. Ed McCaffrey’s career best was 101 in 2000 with the Broncos.

 

But even that didn’t give Christian McCaffrey much pleasure.

 

“He’s got a comeback. He’s got three Super Bowls,” said McCaffrey, forcing a smile. “So he’s got me there.”

 

The former Stanford star finished Sunday with 21 rushes for 101 yards and 12 catches for 77 yards, but the Panthers lost their seventh straight game and were eliminated from playoff contention.

 

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever been around, both from a talent standpoint and character, and the way he carries himself each and every week, the way he takes care of his body, preparation,” Carolina center Ryan Kalil said. “I wish I played with a dozen McCaffreys, because we wouldn’t lose a game.”

 

McCaffrey has been one of the few bright spots in a season that has seen Carolina go from 6-2 to 6-9 and has left some uncertainty about the future of coach Ron Rivera. No team has lost its final eight games after a 6-2 start since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

 

But McCaffrey hasn’t been the issue in losing.

 

“The young man is a tremendous football player, and we’ve got to make sure we shore up a lot of things,” Rivera said. “There’s most certainly some things we can do on the offensive side to help him out and to help our quarterbacks as well.”

 

McCaffrey was more concerned about another loss than he was about the record.

 

“I mean, at the end of the day, I just want to win,” he said. “All that other stuff is great, but there’s nothing like winning. Losing sucks.”

 

McCaffrey also became the third back in NFL history to surpass 100 catches and 1,000 yards rushing in a single season. LaDainian Tomlinson and Forte were the other two.

 

Tomlinson recently credited Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner for McCaffrey’s explosion.

 

“Christian’s dexterity that he possesses is really incredible,” Tomlinson, who played much of his career at San Diego under Turner as a coordinator and head coach, told ESPN.com. “It’s the perfect match with someone like Norv, who knows how to use that skill set.

 

“He’s a unique athlete in itself, but the way he excels is basically getting the ball into his hands in space, of letting him create certain runs, not necessarily forcing him to go downhill and try to use him inside the whole game.”

 

McCaffrey’s record-breaking catch also tied the franchise single-season receptions record Steve Smith set in 2005. He later broke Smith’s mark.

 

McCaffrey topped 1,000 yards rushing in the first half with 52 yards on 15 carries. He had 22 touches in the first half, catching all seven of his receiving targets.

 

His effort came with starting quarterback Cam Newton inactive with a sore right shoulder. Backup Taylor Heinicke got the start, but left for a short time with an elbow injury before returning late in the second quarter.

 

Heinicke became emotional after the game talking about the beating he took and how he kept coming back because so many people believed in him. He wouldn’t answer whether he’ll be available for the season finale at New Orleans, saying that is something Rivera will have to answer.

 

McCaffrey was impressed with Heinicke’s toughness, calling him a warrior just as he did Newton a week earlier.

 

“The guy has a lot of heart,” McCaffrey said. “You saw the hits he took out there and he keeps getting up and keeps leading us. That means a lot.”

 

McCaffrey also was a warrior, with a season-high 33 touches.

 

“We thought he could carry a good load,” said Rivera, who said before the season the goal was to get McCaffrey 25-30 touches a game. “We are asking a lot out of him.”

 

NFC WEST

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

The Rams may be willing to risk a bye to protect RB TODD GURLEY II.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

Todd Gurley missed his first game since his rookie season when the Los Angeles Rams held out the star running back from Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Heading into the day, most believed Gurley would play, including coach Sean McVay, but after a pregame workout, the team determined it was safer to sit the Pro Bowl running back.

 

The Rams could employ the same caution this week against the San Francisco 49ers.

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday on “Good Morning Football” that the Rams may keep Gurley on the sideline again this week, noting that “nothing is more important than the playoffs.”

 

The Rams still have something to play for in Week 17. A victory secures L.A. a first-round bye, and a potential extra week for Gurley’s knee to heal. A loss coupled with a Chicago win would mean McVay’s team would be playing Wild Card Weekend.

 

The prospect of holding out Gurley for the season finale is much easier to swallow for the Rams after watching backup C.J. Anderson come off the couch to gallop for 167 rushing yards and a TD on 20 carries in Sunday’s blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

 

After the game McVay gushed about Anderson, who signed with the Rams on Tuesday.

 

“He just had a great way about himself this week. Really impressed with how quickly he was able to pick things up and just watching him, being a fan of this game, and seeing the production that he’s had throughout the course of his career,” McVay said, via the team’s official website. “I think he sees things well, I think when he puts his foot in the ground he’s decisive, levels off, he finishes falling forward – I thought he had some really tough runs in some short-yardage situations as well that were big-time conversions for us. Then he was able to pop the long one when we were backed up right there. But he did a great job and there’s certainly some things that we can learn from, but the game isn’t too big.”

 

Anderson’s 167 yards fell one shy of his career-high and were the second-most by a Rams running back in the past 10 years (Gurley’s 208 earlier this season is the only game better). According to ELIAS, Anderson became the first player in NFL history with 100-plus rush yards in his first game with a team in a season, with that game coming after Thanksgiving.

 

With Anderson proving to be more than capable of running McVay’s scheme, the Rams don’t need to rush Gurley back unless he truly is 100 percent.

– – –

Robert Klemko of SI.com on the greatness of DT AARON DONALD who is the 2018 Sports Illustrated Performer of the Year:

 

Mere weeks after the Rams’ season had ended in a first-round playoff loss to the Falcons, and just days after he had accepted the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award, Aaron Donald went back to work last February and came clean to his longtime personal trainer. “Him getting MVP, he told me he didn’t deserve it,” says Dewayne Brown. “He felt like he wasn’t playing his best football yet.”

 

Two months earlier, not long before the Pro Bowl teams were announced, a Rams media relations staffer had approached Donald to go over the interview schedule that would coincide with his fourth nomination in as many seasons. Donald interrupted her and asked, “You think I’ll make it?”

 

Julia Faron laughed until she saw Donald’s expression. “Oh, you’re serious?” she said. “Yeah, I think you’ll make it.”

 

None of it surprised Brown, who has been working with the 27-year-old tackle since he was at Penn Hills High in Pittsburgh. “That’s how he is,” Brown says. “He’s on some Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan type stuff.”

 

When they first started training, Donald was a pudgy junior who was just catching the workout bug. But soon he became obsessed. If the teenager who topped out at 6’1″ couldn’t become the prototypical hulking gap-stuffer, he figured he would be something … different.

 

On his way to sweeping the Nagurski, Bednarik, Lombardi and Outland awards as a senior at Pitt, Donald morphed into a pass-rushing menace who showed up at Rams camp three years ago weighing 280 pounds, with less than 10% body fat. Even more cut now, he has 55½ sacks in 75 games—the most by any player to start his career—and, with three games left in 2018, he’s six sacks shy of matching Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22½.

 

Yet this son of a bus driver (that would be his mom) wonders if he’s good enough to be a Pro Bowler or worthy of one of the NFL’s highest honors. “You never know,” Donald says, with no hint of irony. “There are a lot of good football players in the league. You just try to keep yourself grounded.”

 

That mind-set is what makes great players fun to be around, says Wade Phillips, the veteran defensive coordinator who came to Los Angeles last season. “Guys with that ability and that drive, they all have the same tendencies,” Phillips says. “They’re not full of themselves. They don’t think of themselves as the best and they’re not satisfied.”

 

Phillips, 71, is the envy of nearly every DC in the league. Ask any offensive-minded coach to name the most disruptive defenders—those who eliminate the biggest chunks of opponents’ playbooks simply by being on the field—and Donald is always in the top two. “The obvious ones are [Broncos outside linebacker] Von Miller and Aaron Donald,” says 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. “You want to attack weaknesses, but players like that hide a lot of problems. Defenses can be a lot more aggressive in coverage because people are scared to attempt certain plays, because the odds of getting sacked are way too high.”

 

Yet unlike his peers in the pass rushers’ pantheon, Donald does his damage from the interior of the line.

 

When Phillips coached the Eagles from 1986 to ’88, he moved Hall of Fame lineman Reggie White to the outside to utilize his speed and prevent him from getting swallowed up by double-teams on critical passing downs. Phillips did the same with the Texans’ J.J. Watt from 2011 to ’13. The edge is also where Miller and Khalil Mack, the Bears’ linebacker, line up in order to create havoc. But Donald, Phillips says, “supersedes that theory that you need to move him outside. He cuts the corner so quick on a guard, like a defensive end would do, but with less space.”

 

And he leaves a lasting impression. Talk to a guard who has played Donald, and he’ll tell you he hasn’t faced a similar challenge. “He can scratch his knees standing up, but he still has that natural pad level where he can lift you up and forklift you,” says Denver’s Connor McGovern. “You can’t replicate it. There’s nobody that’s ever done it like him. He does this crazy move where he bull-rushes and then he literally jumps off the ground and sheds you.”

 

Donald calls that move the “power pop,” something he developed with former L.A. defensive line coach Mike Waufle. “Power to one side and pop off to the other side once you feel the weight switch,” Donald says. “Me jumping up and pulling myself through is extra momentum I use to try to explode to the quarterback a little faster.”

 

There’s one more thing Donald does, which no other defensive tackle even tries, much less replicates. When teams slide the protection his way, sending the center to help a guard block him, Donald will often sprint to the outside shoulder of the guard, disarm his hands with a slap, and bounce off the inside shoulder of the tackle on his way to the quarterback.

 

“He understands they’re going to try to overset him and the center’s coming with him,” says Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. “In order to beat that, he goes outside because a lot of guards have trouble blocking the outside when they double-team. To get upfield he uses the tackle as leverage to get back on his angle [to the quarterback]. And then, just when you think you need to set wide, he hits you with a bull-rush and now you’re floating backward. Good luck.”

 

Attempting unconventional moves requires freedom, which Donald has enjoyed since entering the league as the 13th pick in 2014. During OTAs as a rookie, Donald was watching film when his new position coach, Waufle, joined him for a one-on-one chat before a position-wide session. “He came in and said, ‘I’m going to say a lot of things in this meeting but I don’t want you to listen to anything I’m saying,'” Donald recalls. “‘I just want to watch you play and learn from you. Go out there and fly around.’

 

“It was surprising. Most guys have to earn that,” Donald says. “When you have your coach telling you that as a rookie, it gives you a lot of confidence, makes you feel comfortable. He wanted to see if what I did in college could translate.”

 

It did.

 

With 18 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits and nine sacks, Donald was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. He kept working with Brown in the offseason, telling his trainer in moments of mid-workout anguish, “If this s— didn’t work, I wouldn’t do it.” He also began to understand how offensive lines call out their protection slides, and what’s coming when they don’t. That’s why you’ll see Donald crouching just before the snap, scanning the line and the backfield, the last player to put his hand down in the ready position.

 

He also started studying linemen on an individual basis, watching even more film on his off days. “I used to stay late and watch film and every time I’d walk in he’d be in there, last guy in the building,” says Eagles defensive end Chris Long, a former teammate. Then Donald started studying backups to prepare to face them. “I could tell that he knew what my weaknesses were,” McGovern admits.

 

Along the way Donald started thinking about bigger goals, beyond Pro Bowls and year-end awards. He’s always wanted to win a Super Bowl, but now he wants a gold jacket too. “Yeah, I think about the Hall of Fame,” Donald says. “I don’t do all this training to be good. I want to be great, I want to be mentioned with the best to ever play the game.”

 

Miller, a sack virtuoso in his own right, says that what Donald’s done in five short seasons has already made him near peerless. “It’s hate if I can’t tell you the truth,” Miller says. “He has the flame right now, and he’s had it for a long time.”

 

AFC WEST

 

KANSAS CITY

Even after losing two in a row, the Chiefs are poised to take the top seed and home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.  Adam Teicher of ESPN.com:

 

The Kansas City Chiefs, who failed in chances to clinch the AFC West championship the past two weeks, have one more shot to make things right.

 

The Chiefs would win the AFC West, get a first-round bye and have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Oakland Raiders next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

 

But that seems like less than a sure thing after the Chiefs lost to the Seattle Seahawks 38-31 on Sunday night. The 11-4 Chiefs have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

 

The Chiefs could still win the division title with a loss to the Raiders, if the Los Angeles Chargers also lose their game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. But even by winning the AFC West at 11-5, the Chiefs wouldn’t necessarily get a first-round bye or home-field advantage.

 

That would depend not only on the Chargers losing, but also the New England Patriots and Houston Texans.

 

If the Chiefs lose next weekend and the Chargers win, the Chiefs would get a wild-card playoff berth.

 

Of the Chiefs’ four losses, Sunday’s was the first by more than three points.

 

“In this league, it’s that close, the margin between winning and losing,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, holding his index finger close to his thumb. “We’ve got to straighten a couple of things out and we’ll be OK. It seems extreme right now but that’s not the reality of it. If we fix a couple things we’ll be all right.

 

“We have an opportunity to finish this thing the right way. It’s important that we do that, that we pull it all together and get ourselves ready to go. If we play the way we can play and we’re going to play, we’re a tough team right there, as good as any in the National Football League.”

 

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for three touchdowns, giving him 48 this season. That’s tied with Dan Marino for the fourth most in a season.

 

But Mahomes completed just 23 of 40 passes for 273 yards.

 

“Losing games,” Mahomes said when asked what was the bigger concern, the way the Chiefs are playing or the fact they haven’t clinched the division despite two chances to do so. “We’ve been in every game that we’ve lost, but you have to find ways to win. … We haven’t lately. That’s the most frustrating thing.

 

Of course, the Chiefs have lost their last six home playoff games, so it might not be that big of an advantage.

 

AFC NORTH

 

CINCINNATI

The idea of Vance Joseph coaching the Bengals seems marginally better than the idea of Hue Jackson coaching the Bengals.  Adam Schefter of ESPN.com:

 

If the Denver Broncos part ways with head coach Vance Joseph, he is expected to emerge as a candidate for the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator job and potentially even their head-coaching job when Marvin Lewis decides he has had enough of coaching, a league source told ESPN.

 

Joseph previously worked in Cincinnati, and the Bengals still have an interest in him, so it would be a plausible fit for both sides.

 

Denver is not expected to make any in-season coaching changes; the Broncos play against the Raiders in Oakland on Christmas Eve, before returning to Denver for a short week for their regular-season finale against the Chargers.

 

But multiple sources believe the Broncos are prepared to part ways with Joseph, freeing him to speak with Cincinnati about a role in the Bengals’ organization.

 

Joseph’s departure would mark another firing for a minority head coach, further highlighting a growing issue for the league. With Joseph and the Jets’ Todd Bowles likely to be let go after this season, according to sources (along with possibly Arizona’s Steve Wilks), and with Cleveland already firing Hue Jackson, it could leave Lewis, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn and Carolina’s Ron Rivera as the league’s only minority head coaches.

 

Lewis has also served as the Bengals’ de facto defensive coordinator since the firing of Teryl Austin last month.

 

– – –

A tweet from Jason Cole:

 

@JasonCole62

Teams with Hue Jackson on staff are now 4-42 over the past three seasons. Oy

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

Peter King sounds like he is preparing the argument for RB FRANK GORE to be enshrined in Canton:

 

If this is the end of a career for Frank Gore, who, at 35, will be sidelined for the last two games of his 14th NFL season with a foot injury, I bring you these niblets of information about one of the underappreciated players of this era:

 

• Gore has rushed for more yards than all but three backs in NFL history. He is 521 yards shy of Barry Sanders for third place all-time.

 

• Gore has rushed for 2,436 more yards than Jim Brown.

 

• Gore played the last 13 years of his NFL career after having both knees and both shoulders reconstructed.

 

• Since having the last of those four surgeries, Gore played 195 NFL games.

 

(Take a moment. That is insane.)

 

• Out of high school in Miami, Gore committed to Ole Miss. At the last minute, he de-committed and went to Miami. Had he gone to Oxford, Gore would have taken handoffs from Eli Manning.

 

• Five backs, including someone named Eric Shelton, were picked before the Niners drafted Gore 65th overall in 2005.

 

• “Frank Gore is my favorite player of all-time that I’ve coached,” said Jim Harbaugh, who had Gore for the last four years of his Niners career.

 

• When it looked like it was over for Gore last year, after his played his third year for Indianapolis, Gore told me: “If this is it, if this is my last year, I want everyone in the NFL to say, ‘He was a football player. Period.’ “

 

Oh, they’ll say that, and more.

 

That said, and rest assured the DB thinks the enduring Gore is Canton worthy, we must note.

 

Since 2005, there are 23 backs who have had multiple seasons with 1,250 plus yards rushing (ADRIAN PETERSON 7).  None is named Frank Gore.

 

Since 2005, there are 51 rushers who have had seasons with more than 10 rushing TDs.  None is named Frank Gore.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

QB TOM BRADY says his less-than-scintillating performance as of late is not due to injury. Nicole Yang of the Boston Globe:

 

Quarterback Tom Brady says he is not injured after coach Bill Belichick replaced him with backup quarterback Brian Hoyer with over six minutes remaining in Sunday’s Patriots-Bills game.

 

Brady told reporters after New England’s 24-12 win that he was not surprised by the decision and insisted he feels 100 percent. Some reporters have been speculating that’s not the case, theorizing that Brady’s knee has been bothering him. NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry noted the 41-year-old curtailed his pregame routine Sunday, and NFL Network’s Mike Giardi previously surmised he might be playing through a torn or partially torn MCL.

 

Brady was not listed on the injury report this week and said Sunday he feels “great.”

 

Against the Miami Dolphins in Week 14, Brady was on his way to celebrate a touchdown with Rob Gronkowski when he stopped running, sat down, extended both legs, and touched his knee. He stayed on the ground for about 10 seconds before jogging to the sideline with a slight limp. He noted after the game he’s had his knee taped and braced due to a “little injury” but expressed “zero concern.”

 

Since that moment, Brady has completed 49 of 83 passes for 551 yards and two touchdowns. He has also thrown three interceptions. His performance against the Bills was the least productive game of the year, as he threw a season-low 24 passes for a season-low 126 yards. Brady also threw two interceptions and was sacked once for a season-low quarterback rating of 48.3. New England’s run game bailed him out, rushing for a season-high 273 yards and two touchdowns.

 

“We didn’t have our best game in the pass game, but we won,” Brady said. “I think everyone’s feeling pretty good about winning.”

– – –

Peter King reminds us of the greatness of Bill Belichick:

 

Coach of the Week

Bill Belichick, head coach, New England. It wasn’t the best week for Belichick, who saw his gamble on Josh Gordon go up in smoke. But Belichick ended it with a win over Buffalo, and he’s now the first coach in history to win 10 division titles in a row. Belichick doesn’t get a lot of credit, particularly in a year like this one, when the Patriots have sprung leaks all over the place. But they’re 10-5, in position to have a playoff bye again, and the man at the top deserves a hand for the long-term greatness that adds another record here.

 

And this from Field Yates:

 

@FieldYates

 

Number of 10 win seasons over the past 16 seasons:

1: OAK, CLE

2: DET, WAS, TB

3: SF, MIA, TEN, JAX, HOU, LAR

4: ARI, NYJ

5: MIN, DAL, NYG, LAC, CHI

6: CIN, CAR

7: ATL, BAL, DEN, NO

8: PHI, SEA, KC

9:

10: GB, PIT

11: IND

12:

13:

14:

15:

16: Patriots

 

Think about that – The Patriots have as many 10-win seasons as the Vikings, Cowboys and Panthers combined – to pick just one combination.    

 

The DB counted 31 teams on this list and figured out that the missing one is BUF.  The Bills have had 3 9-win seasons in that span and last won 10 (11 actually) in 1999 under Wade Phillips.

 

The rest of the AFC East has seven 10-win seasons combined in the 18 years.

 

And are you surprised like the DB to see the Colts in second place at 11 (which could be 12 when the sun rises next Monday).

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

FORMER PLAYERS

Matt Millen has a new heart.  ESPN.com:

 

Former NFL linebacker and Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen has undergone a successful heart transplant and is currently recovering in a New Jersey hospital.

 

“Doctors said the heart was a perfect match and he is doing well,” Millen’s wife, Pat, told NBC Sports via text. “The surgery went smoothly.”

 

Prior to the surgery, Matt Millen told NBC Sports that the transplant was set to begin at 1 a.m. ET and would take up to six hours.

 

Millen has been suffering from amyloidosis, a rare disease that necessitated the surgery. In October, Millen stepped away from his work as a broadcaster with the Big Ten Network to focus on his health.

 

A former ESPN employee, Millen had been in the hospital for nearly three months waiting for a transplant.

 

Millen, 60, went public about his disease in April, when he told the Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania, that his heart was working at 30 percent of its capacity. Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid builds up in bone marrow and spreads to organs and other body tissue. As it does, it can cause organs to fail. The Mayo Clinic has reported that 70 percent of people diagnosed with amyloidosis are men between the ages of 60 and 70.

 

 

2019 DRAFT

The Draft goes through Glendale says ESPN.com although the DB questions that.  The Cardinals have a decent chance to win in Seattle against a Seahawks team locked into the #5 playoff spot.  And the Chiefs will be going all out to beat the Raiders:

 

The Cardinals remain the favorites to pick No. 1 overall in in the 2019 NFL draft, according to the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI).

 

Each week, FPI projects the order of next year’s draft by simulating the remainder of the season 10,000 times. Game probabilities are based largely on the model’s ratings for individual teams in addition to game location.

 

In some cases, the projected draft order will not match the current draft order. That’s because the FPI is considering the probability of outcomes that haven’t yet occurred and projecting strength of schedule at the end of the season, which is a tiebreaker for draft order.

 

Below is FPI’s projected first-round order for the 2019 draft, based on each team’s average draft position in the simulations. While each team’s current record is listed below, remember that the order is based on the record the model believes the teams will have after 16 games.

 

Order updated as of Dec. 23:

 

1. Arizona Cardinals (3-12)

Average draft position: 1.1

FPI chance to earn top pick: 94 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 99 percent

 

2. Oakland Raiders (3-11)

Average draft position: 2.8

FPI chance to earn top pick: 4 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 98 percent

 

3. San Francisco 49ers (4-11)

Average draft position: 2.8

FPI chance to earn top pick: 2 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 94 percent

 

4. New York Jets (4-11)

Average draft position: 3.4

FPI chance to earn top pick: 1 percent

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 99 percent

 

5. Detroit Lions (5-10)

Average draft position: 5.5

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 79 percent

 

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10)

Average draft position: 7.7

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 13 percent

 

 

7. New York Giants (5-10)

Average draft position: 8.0

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 7 percent

 

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10)

Average draft position: 8.0

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 4 percent

 

9. Buffalo Bills (5-10)

Average draft position: 8.9

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 7 percent

 

10. Carolina Panthers (6-9)

Average draft position: 9.3

FPI chance to earn top-five pick: 1 percent

 

Full Projection For Picks 1-32 In 2019 Draft

PICK NO.        TEAM  AVERAGE DRAFT SLOT

1                      ARI        1.1

2                      OAK      2.8

3                      SF         2.8

4                      NYJ       3.4

5                      DET       5.5

6                      TB         7.7

7                      NYG      8.0

8                      JAX       8.0

9                      BUF       8.9

10                    CAR      9.3

11                    ATL     10.0

12                    CIN      11.8

13                    MIA     13.8

14                    DEN    14.2

15                    GB       14.4

16                    WSH   15.0

17                    CLE     16.3

18                    PHI      19.7

19                    PIT      20.7

20                    IND      21.6

21                    TEN     21.7

22                    MIN     22.0

23                    SEA     23.5

24                    BAL     24.1

25 OAK (from DAL)    24.2

26                    HOU    26.0

27 OAK (from CHI)    26.2

28                    LAC     26.3

29                    NE       28.8

30                    LAR     29.7

31                    KC       29.8

32 GB (from NO)        30.5