The Daily Briefing Friday, September 21, 2018

AROUND THE NFL 

An edited look at Bill Barnwell’s look at the chances of the 0-2 team to be relevant in 2018.  If you want to muddle through the whole thing, it is here:

 

The NFL season is two weeks old, and a minimum of six organizations are already essentially eliminated from postseason contention. It seems crazy to think that a team could go from dreaming about a deep playoff run to thinking about the 2019 offseason in a matter of 14 days, but history tells us that a team can ruin its season quicker than you might think.

 

Since the NFL adopted its current divisional format in 2002, just over 11 percent of teams that start the year 0-2 end up making the playoffs. The Saints pulled off the feat last season by turning their defense around. It also helped that their schedule got easier, given that the season started with games against the Vikings and Patriots. After that 0-2 start, the Saints didn’t lose again before Thanksgiving, rolling off eight straight wins.

 

If any of this year’s seven 0-2 teams can pull that off, they’ll be back in playoff contention, but history tells us that no more than one will play past December.

 

Let’s sort through them in order of their chances of returning to respectability and competing for a postseason berth, and pick one team from the bunch to survive its 0-2 start to make the playoffs.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Preseason playoff odds: 77.7 percent

Current playoff odds: 36.6 percent

The Steelers don’t technically belong on this list as an 0-1-1 team, but I’m sneaking them in because they seem to be in disarray. Pittsburgh is a blocked field goal away from 0-2. It just allowed Patrick Mahomes to throw six touchdown passes in his third career start. Le’Veon Bell doesn’t appear to be on his way to work anytime soon. Antonio Brown is daring ex-Steelers PR people to trade him away, then missed practice on Monday. FPI suggests the Steelers’ slow start has slashed their playoff odds by more than half. Pittsburgh was not supposed to be in crisis by mid-September.

 

I think the Steelers are going to be fine…At the same time, this team just hasn’t been bad enough to justify any sort of significant early-season concerns. The pass rush has been excellent, and while it got home more frequently against Taylor and the Browns, Pittsburgh ranks second in pressure rate (40.5 percent) through two weeks. Bell fill-in James Conner was effective as a runner in Week 1, and the Steelers rank eighth in the league in offensive expected points added through two weeks. The pass defense looked awful against the Chiefs, but I think a lot of pass defenses are going to be ripped apart by Mahomes, particularly during this first month of the season as Andy Reid shows off what he has been working on over the summer. The Browns even went into New Orleans and nearly beat the Saints, so a tie in Cleveland might not be as disappointing as it seemed at the time.

 

Anybody expecting another 13-3 season was likely to be disappointed, given that Pittsburgh went an unsustainable 8-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer in 2017. A more reasonable expectation for 2018 would have been a 10-win season, and barring a rash of injuries, the Steelers should still be able to get there by the time they get to the end of the season.

 

7. Buffalo Bills

Preseason playoff odds: 6.8 percent

Current playoff odds: 0.3 percent

 

The Bills are in disarray. They trailed by a total of 48 points at halftime across their first two games, the worst mark in 40 years. They’ve already changed quarterbacks, benching Nathan Peterman for rookie first-round pick Josh Allen. Coach Sean McDermott took away defensive playcalling duties from Leslie Frazier during an eventful halftime last Sunday, with Vontae Davis retiring and heading home before the second half began. LeSean McCoy has cracked rib cartilage and had two first downs on 21 touches before getting injured. That Andy Dalton touchdown pass from Week 17 last year feels like it might as well be a decade ago.

 

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Last year’s Bills team was supposed to be the first season in a rebuild, but a team with 6.4 Pythagorean wins pulled out four wins in six games down the stretch to go 9-7 and sneak into the postseason. This season shouldn’t be much better. After trading away several bloated contracts and enduring the retirements of players such as Richie Incognito and Eric Wood, general manager Brandon Beane is eating $53.9 million in dead money this year, which is one of the largest single-season figures in league history. The Bills are nearly paying as much in dead money to ghosts as they are to their entire offense ($57.0 million). They’ll hit 2019 with $90 million in cap space before letting anyone else leave.

 

The schedule will get easier for the Bills, but it’s not coming soon.

– – –

It would behoove the Bills to look into the midseason trade market for the veterans on their roster. Charles Clay’s contract remains among the worst deals in the league, and the Bills would eat $13.5 million in dead money by trading their starting tight end, but he would make sense for a team like the Panthers if they can clear out cap space closer to the trade deadline. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is cheaper and can contribute on special teams and as a situational pass-rusher, but he’s 35. Even McCoy, who is signed through the end of 2019, would be worth throwing out as a possible trade candidate if a contender with injury issues at running back needs a weapon and McCoy gets healthy.

 

6. Arizona Cardinals

Preseason playoff odds: 10.2 percent

Current playoff odds: 0.3 percent

 

The Cardinals don’t have the same excuse as the Bills, given that they’re presumably trying to win during what is likely Larry Fitzgerald’s final year in the NFL. The Cardinals have scored six points through two games, which is tied for the seventh-worst figure since the merger. Even that touchdown came in garbage time against Washington in Week 1; Arizona is just the sixth team since 1970 to get shut out in the first half of each of its first two games.

 

Arizona made moves to add veteran help to its offense this offseason by signing away guard Justin Pugh from the Giants and giving quarterback Sam Bradford a one-year, $20 million deal. Bradford hasn’t exactly impressed so far. The former first overall pick is completing 60.7 percent of his passes, which sounds passable until you realize that the league as a whole is completing 65.3 percent of its throws through two weeks. What’s worse is that Bradford is averaging a scarcely believable 4.0 yards per attempt on those passes. The one benefit to shorter passes is that they should create more yards after catch, but Bradford’s receivers are averaging a league-low 3.3 YAC through two games. Fitzgerald’s hamstring injury isn’t going to help matters.

 

New coach Steve Wilks has suggested that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy needs to pare down the playbook, which seems strange given that Bradford famously picked up the Vikings’ playbook in a matter of days after being traded to Minnesota just before the 2016 season began. Swapping out Bradford for rookie first-round pick Josh Rosen is an idea, but with Fitzgerald injured and the running game sputtering to start the season, it seems more of a desperate dart throw than anything else. If Bradford was the best option to start the season and the Cardinals still plan on trying to contend, two games shouldn’t be enough for the Arizona staff to change its mind. It still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cardinals make the move to Rosen in the second half of the Bears game in Week 3 if David Johnson can’t single-handedly bring the offense back to life.

 

What has to be more concerning, though, is how the Cardinals’ defense has struggled.

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Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they’re just stuck in the wrong conference if they want to try to sneak into the playoffs with eight or nine wins. They’re already two games behind the Rams in the NFC West, and while the Seahawks haven’t impressed, there’s just a logjam of teams they’re going to have to compete with for a playoff spot. They needed the sort of 2-0 start the Bucs had to propel themselves forward. At 0-2, they’re already done for 2018.

 

5. Detroit Lions

Preseason playoff odds: 20.5 percent

Current playoff odds: 3.6 percent

 

Embarrassed in their home opener on national television against the Jets, the Lions at least delivered enough of a comeback in the fourth quarter against the 49ers to turn a 30-13 game with 11 minutes to go into a possible game-tying possession down 30-27 with 1:08 left. Matthew Stafford has made a habit of bringing this team back in the fourth quarter, but it’s going to be a tall order to get the Lions back in the playoff race this season.

 

So much of Detroit’s success on defense comes down to its two stars: 2013 draft picks Ezekiel Ansah and Darius Slay. Neither has been fully present. Ansah played just 19 snaps in the opener before going down with a shoulder injury that kept him out in Week 2, while Slay missed a series against the Jets before suffering a concussion after 41 snaps against the 49ers.

– – –

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. The Lions face Patricia’s former employers from New England on Sunday night, and they follow that up with a trip to Dallas and home game against the Packers. If Ansah and Slay can’t get healthy soon, it’s hardly out of the question that the Lions will start 0-5 and execute what’s known colloquially as a Reverse McDaniels. I have hope that it will get more competitive as the season goes on given the talent Detroit has on offense, but this is a defense that got by on an unsustainably high turnover rate from a year ago stuck in a very tough division.

 

4. Oakland Raiders

Preseason playoff odds: 25.1 percent

Current playoff odds: 4.8 percent

 

Two weeks ago, the AFC West seemed wide-open. It’s hard for things to totally change after two games, but just about everything has gone against the Raiders so far. Patrick Mahomes has been the league MVP through two weeks, and the Chiefs won one of the most difficult games on their schedule by beating the Steelers. The Broncos surprisingly started 2-0, and while they don’t look like a great team, they’ve already banked two wins. If they play .500 ball the rest of the way, they’re a 9-7 team. The Raiders are already two games behind Denver in the divisional race.

 

The Raiders get the Dolphins, Browns, Chargers and Seahawks before their Week 7 bye, and if they plan on seriously competing for a playoff spot, Jon Gruden’s team probably has to win a minimum of three of those games. It doesn’t appear to be a big concern for Gruden, who is in the first season of a 10-year deal and has suggested after the Khalil Mack trade that this roster is in the middle of a teardown.

 

3. Seattle Seahawks

Preseason playoff odds: 24.2 percent

Current playoff odds: 11.8 percent

 

In a 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday, the Seahawks did the following:

 

Lost a game to the Bears in which Mitchell Trubisky threw two interceptions and tried to give the Seahawks a pick-12 before throwing a touchdown pass.

 

Benched Chris Carson for the fourth quarter by accident when Pete Carroll accidentally heard that Carson was gassed from playing on special teams despite the fact that Carson had played only two special-teams snaps. Replacement Rashaad Penny instead carried the ball eight times for 26 yards before running an ugly hitch route on what was the game-sealing pick-six by Prince Amukamara.

 

Footage emerged afterward suggesting that the Seahawks had called a timeout to stop Russell Wilson from checking into successful plays just before the pick-six.

 

Lost Tom Johnson back to the Vikings after cutting their Week 1 starter and trying to stash him. The Seahawks cut Johnson to free up a roster spot for Shalom Luani, who was active but did not play a single snap against the Bears. If the Seahawks had cut Johnson before Week 1, they would not have been responsible for his $900,000 base salary, but because the veteran stuck around for a week, the Seahawks ended up paying a total of $1.9 million for one game from the defensive tackle, which is more than any other player in the league will get paid for one week (on a cap basis) this year besides Jimmy Garoppolo.

 

Injuries are already hitting this team hard. The Seahawks were without Doug Baldwin, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright for the loss to the Bears. Their primary linebackers were Barkevious Mingo, undrafted free agent Austin Calitro and inside trader Mychal Kendricks, who started ahead of Shaquem Griffin. (Griffin did not play a single defensive snap.)

 

And yet, strangely, Carroll’s team could be two plays away from starting 2-0.

– – –

Instead, the Seahawks are 0-2 and about to face a must-win home opener against the Cowboys on Sunday in the Earl Thomas Bowl. Just like the Raiders, the Seahawks are entering a run of games in which they have to either be perfect or close, as they travel to play the Cardinals and Raiders and host the Cowboys and division-leading Rams before their Week 7 bye. This team faces a brutal run of games during the second half, as Seattle travels to play the Rams, Panthers and 49ers while hosting the Chargers, Packers, 49ers, Vikings and Chiefs. If the Seahawks don’t get there with a winning record, they aren’t going to be escaping with one.

 

2. New York Giants

Preseason playoff odds: 13.6 percent

Current playoff odds: 5.3 percent

 

So far, the Giants are who we thought they were going to be. Saquon Barkley has delivered one absolutely brilliant run and a bunch of slipped tackles. Odell Beckham Jr. put up a 111-yard game against arguably the league’s best pass defense in Jacksonville. Janoris Jenkins has an interception. Landon Collins has been all over the place. The stars are generally playing like stars.

 

Sadly for Giants fans, though, the problems have been problems. This team simply doesn’t control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball.

– – –

The other positive for the Giants, who have lost their first two games by a combined 12 points, is that no team in the NFC East has been particularly impressive so far. The Cowboys are 1-1 but look dysfunctional on offense; after the opening 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin, Dallas mustered only 14 first downs the rest of the way. Washington looked wildly impressive against the Cardinals in Week 1 before comfortably losing its home opener to the Colts. Even the Eagles haven’t been great, and while they get Carson Wentz back this week, their defense just gave up 400-plus yards passing to Ryan Fitzpatrick. There are no 2-0 divisional teams way ahead of the Giants after two weeks. That alone makes their chances of working their way back into postseason contention more promising.

 

1. Houston Texans

Preseason playoff odds: 45.0 percent

Current playoff odds: 24.4 percent

 

I think the Texans are still, quite comfortably, best-positioned to make a run back toward the top of the AFC South. Their two losses came by a total of 10 points, and one of them was on the road against the Patriots. Their loss to the Titans was far more vexing given that it came against Blaine Gabbert and a pair of backup tackles, and indeed, it involved a fake punt for a touchdown, some Wildcat from Derrick Henry, and a long drive with a deliberate double forward pass from Gabbert.

 

Houston’s success this season seems likely to be predicated on both sides of the pass rush. On defense, the early returns are a little underwhelming.

– – –

On the other side of the line, a patchwork offensive line has already gotten thinner with the injury to Seantrel Henderson.

– – –

Yet again, this is another team with a crucial month ahead. Three of Houston’s next four games are at home after starting with a pair of road matchups. All four games are winnable, given that the Texans will host the Giants, Cowboys and Bills while traveling to play the Colts. Mixed in with a brutal trip to Jacksonville before the bye are games against the Dolphins and Broncos. The Texans have one of the easiest schedules in the league.

 

It’s an advantage I think they should be able to leverage into a competitive season, and while the Jaguars look to be riding high with their win over the Patriots, nine wins might be enough to win a wild-card spot in this conference. If I had to pick one 0-2 team to buck the trend and play football this January, I’d go with Houston.

 

NFC NORTH

 

DETROIT

As Matt Patricia prepares for his first meeting with mentor Bill Belichick, he can take heart in the fact that ESPN tells us the Grasshoppers have won 8 times against the Master in 21 tries:

 

Belichick vs. Pupils

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 13-8 in games in which one of his former assistant coaches is the head coach on the opposite sideline. But Belichick’s record improves to 11-4 when considering only former Patriots assistants, as Nick Saban and Al Groh worked under Belichick in Cleveland.

 

COACH RECORD

Bill O’Brien            5-0

Eric Mangini          5-3

Nick Saban           2-2

Romeo Crennel      1-0

Al Groh                  0-2

Josh McDaniels     0-1

 

 

GREEN BAY

Matthew Berry of ESPN.com on why you might consider playing TE JIMMY GRAHAM on Sunday in your Fantasy game:

 

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers

 

44. Last week, in Aaron Rodgers’ first full game after suffering his leg injury, Graham led qualified Packers by recording a reception on 19.4 percent of his routes.

 

45. This week, Graham faces the Redskins, who are a bottom-eight defense against tight ends since the beginning of last season in both yards and touchdowns.

 

NFC EAST

 

DALLAS

Donald Trump passed on buying the Cowboys for $50 million in the mid-80s?  Darren Rovell of ESPN.com:

 

The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable team in the NFL for the 12th straight year, according to the franchise value rankings published by Forbes magazine on Thursday.

 

The publication said the Cowboys are worth $5 billion, $1.2 billion more than the second most-valuable team, the New England Patriots ($3.8 billion).

 

The New York Giants ($3.3 billion), Los Angeles Rams ($3.2 billion) and Washington Redskins ($3.2 billion) round out the top five.

 

The average franchise value for a team in the league is now $2.57 billion, but Forbes notes the 2 percent increase from last year is the smallest year-over-year increase since 2010. The magazine says it’s because the values are now so high that there are fewer people who could create a bidding war.

 

There’s not a direct correlation between winning and franchise value. In fact, seven of the top 10 teams (Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Houston Texans) didn’t make the playoffs last year.

 

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles came in at No. 10 with a franchise value of $2.75 billion.

 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bought the team, the most valuable in all of sports, according to Forbes, on a valuation of $63 million in 1989.

 

This on Trump and the Cowboys from earlier this summer when the Cowboys were “only” worth $4.8 billion.

 

The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world and it’s not even close.

 

With an estimated value of $4.8 billion, the Cowboys are worth nearly $700 million more than the world’s next valuable sports franchise, Manchester United, a team worth an estimated $4.12 billion. Although Jerry Jones has turned the Cowboys into a profit-making factory, that almost didn’t happen, and that’s because Jones almost didn’t own the team.

 

Five years before Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, another high profile businessman had the chance the buy the the team and that person was none other than President Donald Trump. Back in 1984, the founding owner of the Cowboys, Clint Murchison Jr., was looking to sell the team and Trump appeared to show some interest. However, instead of buying the Cowboys for $50 million — No that’s not a typo, $50 million is the number — Trump decided to purchase the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.

 

During a 1984 interview with the New York Times, Trump explained why he decided to take a pass on purchasing America’s team.

 

“I feel sorry for the poor guy who is going to buy the Dallas Cowboys,” Trump said. “It’s a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well, so what, they’ve won through the years, and if he loses, which seems likely because they’re having troubles, he’ll be known to the world as a loser.”

 

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Presumably, WR ODELL BECKHAM, Jr. thinks this is possible with ELI MANNING at quarterback.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Giants have scored 28 points through two games this season and that’s extended an undesirable streak to 34 games.

 

That is how long it has been since the Giants have scored at least 30 points in a game. For all of Ben McAdoo’s tenure as head coach, Steve Spagnuolo’s run as interim head coach and the first two games of the Pat Shurmur era, the Giants have fallen short of a mark that’s already been hit 15 times by other teams this season.

 

Wide receiver Odell Beckham said on Thursday that he can’t wrap his head around the team’s inability to put points on the board.

 

“I feel like there’s no way you can’t score a touchdown in every quarter, and one somewhere else. It just doesn’t seem unrealistic to me,” Beckham said, via NorthJersey.com. “I feel personally, I could score two touchdowns every game. I feel like Saquon [Barkley] could score two every game. There are other people on this team who could score every single game. That’s over 35 points. It’s just a matter of executing it and making it happen, really. But it doesn’t seem out of reach for me in my mind, I don’t want to win 24-21. I’m trying to win 52-18, whatever they score – zero. Nobody said it had to be close.”

 

After an offseason hyping up the potential of a unit with Beckham, Barkley and more, the Giants have spent this week talking about patience as they try to put all the pieces together. Failing to do so this week would likely mean an 0-3 record and a tougher job of selling that better days are right around the corner with the current group of players.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

NEW ORLEANS

As they prepare for a more accomplished QB than TYROD TAYLOR, the Saints are concerned about how their defense has relapsed in 2018.  Herbie Teope of NFL.com:

 

Two games into the 2018 regular season and it’s almost deja vu for the Saints from a defensive statistical point of view.

 

In the same span last year, the Saints’ defense ranked last in the league against the pass (388.5 yards allowed per game), last in total defense (512 yards per game) and 31st in points allowed (32.5).

 

Entering Week 3’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints rank 29th against the pass (325.5), 29th in total defense (428), 20th in points allowed (33) and last in yards allowed per play (7).

 

The current defensive standings don’t sit well with the 2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

 

“We’re at the bottom of the league right now,” cornerback Marshon Lattimore told NFL.com. “Man, that’s embarrassing. We just got to get it right. That’s motivation enough just to see those numbers up on the board. We don’t want to be known for being a terrible defense.”

 

Given Lattimore’s passionate response, it is easy to come away knowing there is a sense of pride among the core group of defensive players, all of whom proved last year it doesn’t matter how things start, rather how everything finishes.

 

After the slow start in 2017, the Saints turned it around defensively as the season rolled on and entered Week 11 ranked seventh against the pass, eighth in total defense and fifth in points allowed.

 

At one point of the 2017 season, specifically Weeks 7-10, the Saints held opposing quarterbacks to 130.2 yards passing per game, and the defensive surge was one of the top reasons the team went 11-3 after starting 0-2 en route to the NFC South title and a postseason berth.

 

The Saints’ defense slipped down the home stretch and finished the season ranked 15th against the pass, 17th in total defense and 10th in points allowed. The respectable numbers, however, provided optimism for a carryover when considering the unit remained mostly intact.

 

Linebacker Demario Davis, safety Kurt Coleman, nickel cornerback Patrick Robinson and rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport are the notable additions, while the remaining positions reflect the same personnel.

 

Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison is one of the carryovers from the past three seasons and he believes having the same foundation will prove beneficial for a turnaround given the experiences of the 2017 campaign.

 

“I think it helps a lot because we know we’re capable of being a good defense and it sets the expectation higher,” Davison told NFL.com. “I also think we’re bringing everybody back — I’m not saying we have this mindset — but it can create a mindset that, ‘Oh, we just got to show up and things are going to be like they were at the end of last year.’

 

“That’s not the case here because you really have to work and we work just as hard as we worked last year on all the details to come together as a defense. We’re doing that and I think we’re going to be just fine.”

 

Lattimore agreed emphatically.

 

“We know how to turn it around,” Lattimore said. “We have a team full of dogs — defense and offense — so we know how to turn it around. We know what we got to do.”

 

Meanwhile, the Saints’ desire for a turnaround should start with eliminating big plays down the field.

 

Through two games, the Saints have allowed nine explosive passing plays, typically defined as a completion of 20 or more yards. (DB note – Teope has miscounted.  The Saints have allowed 12 explosive passing plays, 8 by TB, 4 by CLV, the Bucs also had an explosive run for a total of 13 explosive plays). Four of those incidents resulted in touchdowns, including three from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1.

 

The Saints allowed four explosive passing plays in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, one resulting in a 47-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, but came out with a 21-18 win.

 

 

TAMPA BAY

Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com heaps praise on OC Todd Monken:

 

The easy place to look is at quarterback, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been fantastic. But opposing coaches are also pointing to offensive coordinator Todd Monken getting play-calling authority this year, and how aggressive Tampa has been as a result. It showed up on the Bucs’ fourth play, a first down, against the Saints, with a 58-yard touchdown strike to DeSean Jackson. It came even quicker against the Eagles—75 yards to Jackson. And it shows up across the board in the numbers. Fitzpatrick has thrown the ball more on first down (24 times) than he has on second (20) or third (17). And Fitzpatrick has a perfect passer rating on those 24 first-down throws, completing 20 of them for 460 yards and four touchdowns without a pick. Which is a credit to what Monken’s doing.

– – –

Matthew Berry of ESPN.com thinks there will be some more FitzMagic on Monday night:

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

3. Fitzpatrick ranks fourth in average air yards per pass attempt this season.

 

4. He ranks second in number of deep TD passes.

 

4a. He has four touchdown passes of at least 35 yards this season.

 

4b. No other QB has more than one.

 

5. This week, he faces a Steelers defense that has allowed five touchdown passes that travelled at least 15 air yards.

 

6. The Steelers have also allowed the most completions of 20-plus air yards this season.

 

6a. This has nothing to do with the matchup, but is mind-blowing to me anyway: Fitzpatrick, a career backup in his 14th NFL season, at age 35, has the most fantasy points by a quarterback through two games … since the NFL/AFL merger.

 

NFC WEST

 

ARIZONA

Matthew Berry of ESPN.com admits a Fantasy advice blunder:

 

Thinking a healthy David Johnson would be immune from a coaching and quarterback change. Arizona has 13 fewer offensive snaps this season than any other team in the NFL. The Cardinals have had the ball on offense less than the Buffalo Bills. DJ is 22nd among RBs in routes run. In his monster 2016 season, he ran more than 100 more routes than any other RB. It’s unlikely to get better against Chicago this week.

 

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Sean Keeley at TheComeback.com on the billions of reasons why moving has been good for the Rams (and will be good for the Raiders):

 

You can make a lot of good arguments for why an NFL franchise with longstanding ties to its community shouldn’t relocate. However, it’s extremely hard to deny the fact that relocation almost always has a significant effect on the pro football franchise’s bottom line. And ultimately, that’s all most owners care about if we’re being honest.

 

You can see this all play out pretty clearly by comparing Forbes’ latest NFL franchise valuations, which they released on Thursday, to their values from just five years ago.

 

At first glance, not a lot looks different (except for much higher numbers). The Dallas Cowboys remain the most valuable franchise in football. Not only that but their value, at least according to Forces, has more than doubled in that time from $2.3 billion to $5 billion (which explains, in part, why Jerry Jones doesn’t care what you or anyone else thinks). The New England Patriots follow them, just like they did five years ago, with a value of $3.8 billion. In third place is the New York Giants, who have jumped up one spot and are currently valued at $3.3 billion.

 

Then we come to the fourth most-valuable franchise in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams. That’s a bit of a shock when you look back five years ago and see the Rams all the way down at No. 29 overall (out of 32 franchises). Back then, the St. Louis Rams were valued at $875 million. Today, the Los Angeles Rams are valued at $3.2 billion.

 

So, yeah, that’s why they were fine with tearing St. Louis fans’ hearts out.

 

Back then, the Rams played in an aging stadium in a mid-sized market. Today, they’re playing in the No. 2 media market in the country and they’re about to play home games in a stadium that’s bound to rival Cowboys Stadium in terms of scope and value.

 

It’s not just the Rams who are benefitting from relocation. The Raiders are feeling the bump and they haven’t even moved yet. The franchise announced it was leaving Oakland for Las Vegas a couple years back but the knowledge of what’s to come already has their valuation skyrocketing from $825 million in 2014 (dead last) to $2.42 billion now (18th overall). Just wait until the Raiders are actually in their state-of-the-art stadium in Sin City. That value is going to skyrocket even further.

 

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Chargers as well. Back in 2014, the San Diego Chargers were looking at a value of $949 million, which was on the lower end amongst NFL franchises. Today, the Los Angeles Chargers (technically Carson but we’ll let it slide) are valued at $2.275 billion. That still puts them closer to the bottom than the top but the team’s value is sure to rocket upward once they join the Rams in that new Inglewood stadium.

 

If you’re looking for a glimmer of schadenfreude, you won’t find much of it here. About the best you’ll be able to do is muster a fist pump at seeing the Washington Redskins drop from being the No. 3 most valuable NFL franchise to the No. 5 most valuable. Though, your excitement should be tempered because while the team was valued at $1.7 billion back then, they’re up to $3.1 billion now.

 

AFC WEST

 

DENVER

The off-season game of musical chairs at quarterback gave the Broncos CASE KEENUM, and it sounds like Denver’s coaches weren’t too excited about it at first.  Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com:

 

Less than a week of training camp was in the books before Broncos coach Vance Joseph put into words what he’d been thinking. His audience was senior personnel advisor Gary Kubiak, who was Joseph’s boss during Case Keenum’s two seasons as a Texan. His point was built off shared experience with their new/old quarterback, and just how far the quarterback had come from Point A to Point B.

 

“I turned to Coach Kubiak, and said, ‘Koob, I think he’s better than what we thought.’ And Koob agreed,” said Joseph over the cell just after Wednesday’s practice. “And Koob knows quarterbacks, and so does [GM] John [Elway] and so does [offensive coordinator] Billy Musgrave. In our building, we’ve got four or five guys who’ve played NFL quarterback. I played college quarterback.

 

“And we’re all looking at it and saying, ‘Man, I think we’ve got the guy. He’s better than what we thought.’ And in my opinion, he’s going to play better for us.”

 

So far Keenum has given the Broncos just what they needed coming out of a rough 2017 season. “It’s hope, and not just to the receivers, not just to the offense, it’s there for our team, for our coaches, for everyone,” Joseph says. And there’s so much more that Denver believes it can do as a result.

 

Consider, first, that Keenum was able to compartmentalize three picks and lead the team on a seven-play, 75-yard drive to beat the Seahawks in Week 1. Then, think about how the offense was shut out in the first half against Oakland, and came back to score on its first four possessions of the second half en route to a 20-19 win.

– – –

For now, there’s a locker room in Denver that believes in its quarterback, because it’s been given reason to believe in its quarterback. As Joseph’s moment with Kubiak in late July would indicate, it started with Keenum’s teammates seeing him work in spring and early summer. It was bolstered by a near-flawless preseason effort against the Redskins.

 

And it’s been kicked into overdrive the last couple weeks.

 

In the opener, Keenum followed a first-quarter interception with a seven-play, 75-yard march to his first touchdown pass as a Bronco (29 yards to rookie Philip Lindsay). Denver then started the second half with 31 yards, a pick and two punts in its first four possessions, but after Seattle took the lead, Keenum responded with another seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to put the Broncos ahead for good.

 

Last week it was more of the same. The Broncos mustered just 112 yards and three first downs and punted four times in the first half against Oakland, only to score on all four of their second half possessions to turn 12-0 and 19-7 deficits into a 20-19 win. In the process, they’ve taken on their quarterback’s personality—to keep swinging no matter how tough things get.

 

“How he leads our team has been breathtaking,” Joseph said. “Obviously our team believes in him, but when you have a guy who has so much confidence in his own game, but a toughness, and he’s a winner, it gives you hope. It allows his teammates to continue to play, knowing that, if we get the ball back to Case, we’re goint to be fine. If we’re driving in the fourth quarter or we need a field goal to win, we’re going to be fine. He provides hope.”

 

There are other factors here, of course. Garett Bolles has developed at left tackle. The rookie class—behind Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Josey Jewell, Royce Freeman and Lindsay—has shown promise. Low-profile veteran additions, like Pacman Jones, Jared Veldheer and Tramaine Brock, have paid off.

 

But in examining the difference between last year and this year, and what Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch were versus what Keenum is, Joseph isn’t trying to fool anyone. It’s evident everywhere.

 

“Obviously his receivers who played with Peyton [Manning], I’m not saying he’s Peyton, but those guys know what a real guy looks like,” Joseph said. “And to watch [Demaryius Thomas], watch Emmanuel [Sanders] show up every day with so much energy, it’s all because of Case. Receivers want the ball, they want yardage, and when a quarterback can get them the ball, it motivates those guys to practice harder, to practice faster, to put mor

 

AFC NORTH

 

CLEVELAND

In 1975, someone named Rick Slager was the starting quarterback for Notre Dame for the first 3 games, all wins thanks to a defense that had allowed 10 total points. With 5 minutes to go, Notre Dame trailed 14-6.  Joe Montana entered the game, played a minute, and Notre Dame won 21-14.  Yet Slager started again in the next game at the direction of Coach Dan Devine.

 

We haven’t seen anything like it since, at least that is unless BAKER MAYFIELD doesn’t start in Oakland next week.  And Hue Jackson will not yet commit that he will.  John Breech of CBSSports.com:

 

If anyone knows how to spoil a victory party, it’s Browns coach Hue Jackson. 

 

After watching Baker Mayfield lead a stunning comeback for a 21-17 win over the Jets on Thursday, most people in Cleveland probably thought that Jackson would name the rookie his starting quarterback for the rest of the season. However, that’s not what happened after the game. Instead, Jackson was noncommittal about starting Mayfield for the Browns’ Week 4 game in Oakland, which is now 10 days away. 

 

Before making any drastic decisions about who his starting quarterback is going to be, Jackson said he wants to check things out on film first.

 

“I would like to watch the tape,” Jackson said, via the team’s official website. “Baker did some great things, again, we don’t play until next Sunday. We’ve got some days, let’s not get into those debates tonight. What he did tonight was outstanding for the football team and for his teammates and just the way he competed. Again, I have to watch the tape and we’ll go from there.”

 

It definitely seemed like a weird thing for Jackson to say, and that’s mainly because you don’t have to be a football coach to realize that Mayfield thoroughly outplayed Tyrod Taylor against the Jets. Before exiting the game with a concussion late in the first half, Taylor had led the Browns to zero points and completed just 4 of 14 passes for 19 yards.

 

After Mayfield entered the game with just 1:42 left in the first half, he blew by Taylor’s numbers with just two throws. Mayfield completed his first two passes for 31 yards. The rookie quarterback also dug the Browns out of a 14-0 hole on his way to a 201-yard performance. Despite all that, and the fact that Mayfield led the Browns to their first win in 635 days, Jackson continued to insist that he wasn’t ready to commit to the rookie as his starting quarterback.

 

“I’m going to watch the tape and make the right decision, the best decision for this organization and for the football team moving forward,” Jackson said.

 

Although Jackson wouldn’t commit to Mayfield as his starting quarterback going forward, the Browns coach was very complimentary of the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

 

“Once Baker got in the game at quarterback, you just saw a different rhythm, which was good, good to see,” Jackson said. “The young man did some really good things, you can’t take that away from him. What a night for him. Obviously, he came off the bench, went in there and led this team and helped get this team to victory.”

 

But as Mike Florio points out:

 

Of course, there may be no decision to make. Tyrod Taylor exited the game on Thursday night with a concussion. If he’s not cleared by next Sunday, it will be Mayfield facing the Raiders and not Khalil Mack.

 

The rest of the story is that in the 5th game of the 1975 season, Notre Dame somehow fell behind Air Force, yes Air Force, 30-10 under the direction of Slager.  Enter Montana again, Notre Dame wins 31-30, and Montana finally had the starting job.

 

Slager did play with more distinction in 2016 when Montana was hurt, went to law school and has founded a health care business so he seems to have done okay.

 

Mike Florio with the conventional wisdom:

 

It could be the first of many prime-time wins for Baker Mayfield, who proved why the Browns took him with the first overall pick, and why so many other teams were quietly coveting a chance to snag him. The mood in the stadium changed immediately when he entered the game, and everything about his performance pointed to the kind of spark that he can bring to a team.

 

And so, inevitably, Mayfield will be taking over the starting job. Despite the oft-reiterated plan to keep him on the sidelines all season long, Mayfield ran with the first opportunity he received, and the only play for a long-suffering franchise that definitely isn’t suffering at this moment is to let him keep doing what he did tonight.

 

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com on Jackson’s inartful phrasing:

 

Hue Jackson’s heart was in the right place; he just could have said it differently.

 

Reveling Thursday night in his first victory since Christmas Eve 2016, the Browns’ head coach was asked if the Baker Mayfield-led comeback against the Jets meant Mayfield would be the starting quarterback going forward. He could have said something like, “Tonight’s not the night to get into all of that. Tyrod Taylor is in concussion protocol, and we have 10 days until our next game. We’ll discuss that at the appropriate time.”

 

Instead, Jackson said, “I’d like to watch the tape,” which is a thing football coaches say when they obviously don’t want to answer a question. And since his 2-32-1 record as Cleveland’s coach makes Jackson one of the easier targets for ridicule in the NFL, he’s predictably taking a little heat for it.

 

Because, Hue, the tape shows the Browns winning a game, man! There’s only one other tape like it from your entire Browns coaching tenure. And the idea that you wouldn’t try to repeat every single thing that went into Thursday night’s come back — including making Mayfield the quarterback — is insane.

 

There’s no going back now. Mayfield has to be the Browns’ starter when they play in Oakland a week from Sunday, and you don’t need to dig into your All-22 coaches’ film to figure that out.

 

Sure, it’s lousy news for Taylor, whose star-crossed career seems to have sputtered once again. We all hope that losing his job to Mayfield is the worst of the consequences of Taylor’s third concussion in 13 months, and no one’s trying to minimize the circumstances that led to Mayfield taking over Thursday night’s game. But the end result was a breathtaking debut by the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and a team and a city that has to be all-in on Mayfield from this point forward.

 

And that means no matter what. It’s important for all of us — especially Browns fans — to understand that it’s not going to be all free beer and fourth-quarter comebacks. Mayfield is a 23-year-old rookie who still hasn’t even played a full NFL game. He will have some bad games, maybe even some really ugly ones. The Jets and their fans were flying high after Sam Darnold’s Monday Night debut, and it was a mere 10 days later in Cleveland that Darnold looked like an overwhelmed rookie in Mayfield’s coming-out party.

 

– – –

What the world will remember as the coming out party for Mayfield will have other significance for RB CARLOS HYDE.  Fox8 in Cleveland:

 

It was a busy 24 hours for Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde.

 

Thursday was his 28th birthday. He also scored a touchdown in the Browns first win in 635 days. Then he got to meet his son.

 

Hyde rushed to the hospital after the comeback victory to be by his wife’s side as she gave birth to their first child. He tweeted the good news about Carlos Jr. Friday morning.

 

Carlos Hyde

@elguapo

 8 pounds 11 ounces! #CarlosJR #Blessed

 

AFC SOUTH

 

JACKSONVILLE

Albert Breer compares QB BLAKE BORTLES to QB ALEX SMITH:

 

It sort of hit me, after a bunch of conversations with Jags OC Nathaniel Hackett, that there are real parallels between what Alex Smith went through early in his career and where Bortles is right now.

 

Smith came into the league raw, from a spread offense, and was afflicted by constant coaching turnover through his earlier years. Then Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman got to San Francisco in 2011 and basically stripped down the offense to quiet all the different voices in his head, and built him back up from zero. And it has absolutely worked.

 

That’s to some degree what happened with Bortles. He had three OCs in his first three years, and Hackett said it meant that, going into ’17, he was still just playing football rather than playing quarterback. Like Smith’s process, Hackett went back to the basics with Bortles in trying to build him back up via checkdowns, easy completions and quarterback runs. Now? You’re seeing the next steps. So let’s leave it at this: There’s reason to be encouraged.

 

Hackett has told folks the DB knows that the light clicked on for Bortles only this year.  for the first time, he KNOWS the offense.

 

 

TENNESSEE

Signs are pointing to the return of QB MARCUS MARIOTA as the Titans get ready for the big game in Jacksonville.  Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com:

 

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota increased his workload in practice on Thursday, and his coaches sounded impressed with what they saw.

 

Mariota continues to work his way back from the elbow injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game vs. Houston.

 

The Titans face the Jaguars this Sunday in Jacksonville.

 

“I would say that Marcus is actually better,” Vrabel said. “I felt like he threw the ball better today, so that is positive. It is moving in the right direction. And we’ll just see where he’s at tomorrow.”

 

Mariota once again practiced wearing a glove with two open fingers on his right hand. He threw passes in the open portion of practice.

 

Vrabel said Mariota took “close to the majority” of reps, “more than half,” he said. The Titans listed Mariota as limited in Thursday’s session, the same as Wednesday.

 

Mariota was active but didn’t play vs. the Texans. Back-up quarterback Blaine Gabbert got the start, and guided the Titans to a 20-17 win at Nissan Stadium. He was awarded a game ball for his performance.

 

Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said Mariota is beginning to look more like himself.

 

“I think he has gotten a little bit better every day,” LaFleur said. “Today is the best he’s thrown the ball since all this occurred vs. Miami. We’ll just kind of take it day by day and see where he’s at on Sunday.”

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

Albert Breer on the 20-0 Jets:

 

This offseason, Adam Gase committed to culture over talent, and Miami’s already seen the fruits of rebuilding the locker room around veteran imports like Danny Amendola, Albert Wilson, Josh Sitton, Frank Gore and Robert Quinn. One problem last year was that Miami handled neither adversity (Hurricane Irma, Chris Foerster, Ryan Tannehill’s injury) nor prosperity (witness the team laying an egg in Buffalo after a big win over New England) well last year. Now? The Dolphins opened the season by winning a seven-hour, three-part, storm-ridden marathon against the Titans, and then came back off that to outlast the Jets on the road in a rockfight. That’s two good signs, and Tannehill’s play thus far would be another.

 

– – –

 

Matthew Berry of ESPN.com drops hints that RB KENYAN DRAKE would be a good Fantasy play on Sunday:

 

Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

 

32. This week, Drake plays a Raiders team that, through two weeks, has allowed the second-most rushing yards to opposing RBs.

 

33. Oakland has allowed RBs to average a league-high 4.13 yards per carry before first contact this season.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

TE ROB GRONKOWSKI is on the injury report, but it sounds like he should still be in your Fantasy lineup.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

Rob Gronkowski popped up on the New England Patriots injury report, but it appears to be precautionary.

 

Gronk was listed as limited in practice with an ankle injury on Thursday.

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Good Morning Football on Friday morning that the tight end was limited because he wanted to take it easy, nothing concerning as far as his overall health or availability for Sunday versus the Detroit Lions. Rapoport added that the overall view on the injury is that it’s nothing to be worried about.

 

– – –

 

As the Patriots adjust to having WR JOSH GORDON in town, cautionary words from their friends the 49ers.  Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Browns might have obviously preferred trading Josh Gordon out of their conference (so he doesn’t impact their playoff run), and the 49ers were initially interested in a deal for the talented-but-high-maintenance wide receiver.

 

But 49ers General Manager John Lynch said during a radio interview on KNBR that they ultimately decided Gordon would have been more trouble than he was worth.

 

“I think in that situation, like any situation, if there’s a chance to improve your team, you always look into it,” Lynch said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But in certain situations, particularly when you have knowledge of a player, you sit back and you weigh it. Sometimes it’s intriguing. But then, . . .  particularly when you have knowledge of someone, the more you look into it: You know what — we’re going to stay away from that.”

 

The 49ers have some background on Gordon, since coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland in 2014. Also, 49ers special team coordinator Richard Hightower and assistants Mike McDaniel and Jeff Hafley were on that staff. That was the season in which Gordon was suspended 10 games and had a DUI arrest, and was suspended for another game later in the season for missing a practice.

 

“They were with him in Cleveland, and so they knew the player very well,” Lynch said. “Obviously, [he’s] an unbelievable talent. Obviously, had a lot of issues. So you try to weigh that, and you kind of have to say, ‘OK, what’s it worth, number one? Number two, is it something . . . we’ve got a really good thing in our building in terms of the guys and the type of guys we’ve got in here. And do you want to mess with that? . . .

 

“I understand that people get frustrated and sometimes feel like, ‘Why aren’t we getting every player that’s out there?’ But when you look at what we’ve done in two years in terms of just completely overturning the roster, we’ve been very active. And I can promise everybody out there that any chance we can have to improve our team, we’ll look into it.”

 

And the longer they looked, the less interested they became.

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

In the losing locker room, QB SAM DARNOLD takes the blame.  Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

 

There are two sides to every coin.

 

While Baker Mayfield was the toast of a nation Thursday night, Sam Darnold found out how short the honeymoon period can be when you play in New York.

 

A mere 11 days after the rookie quarterback was crowned the king of the Empire City, the proletariat revolted.

 

Darnold looked every bit a rookie quarterback in Thursday night’s 21-17 collapse to the Cleveland Browns. The quarterback’s inability to connect all night helped set the table for Mayfield’s epic comeback.

 

“There were a couple plays, but for me I just have to play better,” Darnold said after the game. “It is as simple as that. It’s not acceptable the way I played. I know that, and I have to take it like a man. I feel like I’m responsible for the stagnant offense we had. I just have to play better, that’s it. Find completions and continue to do what I’ve been doing.”

 

Darnold led three scoring drives on 13 possessions, the first touchdown drive was aided by a punt block and the second mainly a ground-heavy attack. The rookie quarterback completed just five first-half passes, only one which was thrown beyond the line of scrimmage (2 yards). Darnold finished the day completing just 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards, a 5.5 yard per attempt average, zero TD passes and two interceptions, for a 38.2 QB rating. His final two possessions ended in interceptions, negating any late comeback chance.

 

“I just made stupid mistakes in the fourth quarter and some missed opportunities throughout the whole game. I just have to play better, and that’s on me,” he said.

 

Darnold spent most of the day dinking and dunking as the coaching staff didn’t appear to trust the rookie to make the proper downfield reads on the road against a good defense on a short week. Darnold attempted just two passes of 15-plus air yards Thursday night, via Next Gen Stats, none before the fourth quarter — the second a desperation heave that ended the game on an INT.

 

“We always have shots in our offense,” Darnold said when asked about the lack of deep shots. “We are always trying to take shots, but they were keeping the ball in front of them tonight. With that being said, we have to make them pay. Put the ball in our playmakers’ hands and let them do work.”

 

Credit the rookie with being his own harshest critic.

 

“Be more decisive,” he said when asked what he can improve upon. “I felt like sometimes I was hanging in there, looking at one guy and trying to wait for him to get open. I just have to move onto my next progression and move on from there.”

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

MOROSE OVER MAROON 5

We assume that Adam Levine and Maroon 5 have plenty of fans, heck we know a few and might even hum along with some of their songs.  But none of those fans appear active on social media.  Lisa Respers France of CNN.com:

 

It hasn’t even been officially announced, but that hasn’t stopped the “Misery” over Maroon 5 possibly headlining the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in music-rich Atlanta.

 

Variety reports, citing multiple sources, the band is set to be the big act for the NFL’s biggest game, set for February 3.

 

The NFL released a statement punting on that.

 

“It’s a Super Bowl tradition to speculate about the performers for the Pepsi Halftime Show,” a league rep said. “We are continuing to work with (longtime sponsor) Pepsi on our plans but do not have any announcements to make on what will be another epic show.”

 

But it was enough for Twitter to work itself in a tizzy.

 

People wondered why in Atlanta — where, to quote uber-producer Jermaine Dupri’s song “Welcome to Atlanta,” “all the playas play” — a choice with local ties hadn’t been made.

 

Jake Reuse

@ReuseRecruiting

 Atlanta, home of Outkast, T.I., Future, Ludacris, Usher, etc., gets Maroon 5 to play the damn Super Bowl.

 

PoeticGenius916

@CMont916

 Maroon 5? With all the artists from Atlanta that are 100 times better? Somebody on the Super Bowl entertainment booking staff needs to be relieved of all duties, pronto.

 

Zach Klein

@ZachKleinWSB

 Big Maroon 5 fan…. Not a fan of them performing in Atlanta at the Super Bowl. He needed a hiphop vibe.. then a southern rock vibe.. then a mashup of both

 

Variety

@Variety

“Atlanta, home of Outkast, T.I., Future, Ludacris, Usher, etc., gets Maroon 5 to play the damn Super Bowl,” tweeted sports analyst Jake Reuse.

Super Bowl coming to Atlanta? Get Outkast!!

After all, the ATL is the city that birthed Southern fried hip hop.

 

One of its most famous ambassadors even had something to say about the reported Maroon 5 choice.

 

“Excuse me say what!?” rapper and Atlanta native Ludacris wrote in a caption of a photo he posted on Instagram of himself wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey.

 

Should we take that to mean: Move Maroon 5, get out da way?

 

 

FANDUEL PAYS UP

The DB didn’t know you could now straight bet on the outcome of in-progress games at race tracks in New Jersey throughFanDuel, but you can.  And if there is a glitch in the system, they have decided to pay up.

 

Upon further review, a New Jersey man will get his full $82,000 payout on a disputed $110 sports bet. Several other gamblers who made similar bets at wildly inflated odds will also be paid in full, FanDuel said Thursday.

 

The online sports betting company said it will pay Anthony Prince of Newark the full 750-1 payout he was promised when the company’s automated system mistakenly generated long odds on the final moments of the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game on Sunday.

 

The company initially refused to pay the bet placed at its sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, saying it isn’t obligated to pay for obvious errors. But FanDuel reversed field after consulting with state gambling regulators.

 

“Above all else, sports betting is supposed to be fun,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “As a result of a pricing error this weekend, it wasn’t for some of our customers.”

 

Prince made his bet before a game-winning field goal by Denver’s Brandon McManus.

 

“A 36-yard field goal has approximately an 85 percent chance of success, so the astronomical odds offered on something highly likely to occur was very obviously a pricing error,” the company said. “These kinds of issues are rare, but they do happen. We want sports betting to be fun. So, this one’s on the house. We are paying out these erroneous tickets and wish the lucky customers well.”

 

Prince could not immediately be reached for comment.

 

In a tweet earlier Thursday before FanDuel’s decision was announced, McManus sided with Prince.

 

Brandon McManus

@thekidmcmanus

 Pay The People!!! They put their hard earned money on me to win that game https://www.yahoo.com/sports/fanduel-refuses-pay-138000-winnings-nfl-gambling-glitch-170639388.html?.tsrc=fauxdal

 

Prince was handed his 750-1 ticket with about a minute left in the game, as the Broncos trailed by two points on their final drive. Denver kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left to win 20-19, capping a second-half comeback that started with the Broncos down 12-0.

 

FanDuel says its system should have calculated his odds at 1-6, meaning a bettor would have to wager $600 in order to win $100. Prince bet $110 on the Broncos but was stopped when he went to collect from FanDuel’s betting window.

 

Kerry Langan, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, said the agency “is encouraged by FanDuel’s actions today. The division will continue to work with FanDuel and the state’s other licensed sports wagering operators to ensure the implementation of industry-wide best practices.”

 

Kip Levin, FanDuel’s chief operating officer, said the company wants “to use this as a learning experience for our new customers about how sports betting works.”

 

All told, 12 customers, including Prince, were given incorrect odds during an 18-second computer glitch. Levin would not say how much in total the company is paying, but said the promised payouts printed on the tickets or made online will be honored.

 

FanDuel also says it will give away another $82,000 this weekend by adding $1,000 apiece to the accounts of 82 randomly chosen customers.

 

The dispute is one of the earliest for the budding sports betting industry in New Jersey, coming at a time when new sportsbooks are opening in some other states and lawmakers throughout the country are considering whether to also jump in for the potential tax revenue. New Jersey challenged a federal ban and won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May that cleared the way for gambling on games to expand beyond Nevada.

 

The idea that player money and winnings would be protected and regulated by the state has been a major selling point among sports betting supporters who contrasted legal gambling with shady offshore betting sites where players often have little recourse in disputes. But gambling regulators also have policies in place to void obvious errors in sports bets.

 

In Nevada, mistakes in the odds are not uncommon and can occur multiple times a month at sportsbooks. If a similar dispute happened in Nevada, the bookmaker would be required to contact the Gaming Control Board in order to investigate the matter.

 

Some Nevada books have paid off bets that were placed on bad odds, but then refused to take action from the bettors who took advantage of the mistakes in the future.

 

CultureTrip.com provides us a list to choose from (although some are no longer with us, so we couldn’t choose them) of Atlanta musicians:

 

Atlanta’s contribution to the American music scene is unparalleled. The talented, eclectic bands and musicians that have Georgia roots have been shaping the music scene for decades. The “city that is too busy to hate” has produced an array of music – from soulful R&B to hip-hop and rock, here are 20 iconic musicians that hail from or live in Atlanta, Georgia

 

Ludacris

Originally born in Illinois, Ludacris has been a proud Atlanta resident since he was a child. Ludacris started making a name for himself in the music industry as a DJ at Atlanta’s Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9) under the name “Chris Lova Lova.” His debut album, Back for the First Time was released in 2000 and reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Ludacris has been making hits ever since. He has starred in countless movies including the Oscar-winning hit, Crash. Ludacris is also co owner of the restaurant, Chicken and Beer, located in Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta.

 

=

Outkast

Comprising of André “André 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Outkast came on the music scene in 1994 with their debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. One of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time, Outkast has sold over 25 million records and won six Grammy awards. Outkast is credited for bringing the southern hip-hop movement to mainstream. The duo’s success helped launched their individual projects including acting and solo music albums.

 

TLC

Formed in Atlanta in 1990, TLC is comprised of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. The iconic group has broken multiple records to become the best-selling American female group. Selling over 65 million records worldwide, the original TLC recorded four multi-platinum records. The fifth album was recorded after the untimely death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.

 

The Black Crowes

Formed in 1989, The Black Crowes have sold more than 30 million albums. Hailing from Marietta, Georgia, the band’s musical reign include eight studio albums, four live albums and numerous charting singles.

 

Goodie Mob

Born and formed in Atlanta, hip-hop outfit Goodie Mob has put out five hit albums and collaborated on numerous others. Their debut album Soul Food was certified gold in 1995.

 

Arrested Development

Formed in Atlanta in 1988, Arrested Development won two Grammy Awards in 1993 for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, and were also named Band of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine. Founded by Speech and his former friend Headliner as a Afrocentric alternative to the gangsta rap popular in the early 1990s, the band has released 12 albums.

 

Indigo Girls

Amy Ray and Emily Saliers make up the Grammy awarding-winning band, The Indigo Girls. The duo first met in grade school just outside Decatur, Georgia and have been performing together since 1985. They released their first self-produced record in 1987 before being signed to a major label in 1988. The iconic folk band is also celebrated for their environmental, LGBTQ and political activism. The band has successful solo projects including albums, a local restaurant and a book.

 

T.I.

Atlanta native T.I. has been recording music since 1999. T.I., born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr, has released nine studio albums, with seven of them reaching the top five of the US Billboard 200 chart. Perhaps best known for introducing trap music to mainstream, T.I. has collaborated with other iconic musicians including Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and Rihanna. Alongside his reality television show, the rapper has also garnered a successful acting career starting in the films ATL, Takers, Get Hard and American Gangster.

 

Ciara

An Atlanta resident since her teenage years, Ciara debuted her first hit album in 2004. Discovered by Atlanta’s own, Jazzy Pha, Ciara has recorded six record albums. Her first album was certified triple platinum and garnered four Grammy nominations. Ciara has also been featured in major hit songs by Missy Elliott and Bow Wow.

 

Ray Charles

Born outside of Atlanta in Albany, Ray Charles is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. His smash hit “Georgia on My Mind” won him four Grammys. In April 1979, the track was proclaimed the state song of Georgia.

 

Jermaine Dupri

You can’t talk about iconic music in Atlanta without mentioning Jermaine Dupri. Record executive, recording artist, record producer, songwriter and rapper, Jermaine Dupri has helped launch numerous musical careers and contributed to the success of others. After the launching the successful teen duo, Kriss Kross in 1992, he established his own record label called So So Def Recordings. He discovered and signed Atlanta natives Xscape and launched the career of Da Brat. Dupri also worked with Usher on his hit album, Confessions, co-writing and co-producing three consecutive singles Billboard Hot 100 number one songs “Burn”, “Confessions Part II”, and “My Boo”. Jermaine Dupri collaborated with Mariah Carey on numerous tracks including “We Belong Together,” which stayed at number one for 14 non-consecutive weeks, becoming the second longest running number one song on the US chart. Jermaine Dupri is also behind the smash hit “Welcome to Atlanta,” featuring Ludacris.

 

Mastodon

Formed in 2000, the heavy metal group is comprised of bassist Troy Sanders, guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher, and drummer Brann Dailor. Mastodon has released seven studio albums, has four Grammy nominations and a Grammy win for the album Emperor of Sand’s opening track, “Sultan’s Curse.”

 

Xscape

Discovered by Jermaine Dupri who signed the group to his So So Def label, Xscape is a female R&B group hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. Xscape’s debut album Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha, which generated two of their largest hits “Just Kickin’ It” and “Understanding,” was certified Platinum in 1994. After the release of their second platinum album, the group split up to pursue solo careers.

 

Brenda Lee

Born in Atlanta, Brenda Lee is a rockabilly, country and gospel artists. Best known in the United States for her 1960 hit “I’m Sorry,” and 1958’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee was inducted Rock and Roll, Country Music, Rockabilly Halls of Fame and is also a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

 

John Mayer

This musical icon’s music career started when he and a college friend decided to leave college and move to Atlanta. The two played in coffee houses and club venues such as Eddie’s Attic. Experiencing musical differences, the two parted ways for solo careers. John Mayer went on to have a successful solo career winning a Grammy and touring with other major artists.

 

Usher

Residing in Atlanta since he was twelve, Usher is one of its best-selling musical artists. Rising to fame in the late 1990s, his first album My Way sold eight million copies worldwide and won him two Grammys in 2002 and 2003. Selling 20 million copies worldwide, his smash album Confessions solidified him as one of the best-selling musical artists of the 2000s decade. He was also inducted into the Georgia’s Music Hall of Fame. Usher and talent manager Scooter Braun founded the record label Raymond-Braun Media Group (RBMG) and signed Justin Bieber in 2007.

 

Sugarland

Consisting of singer-songwriters Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, Sugarland was founded in 2002. The country music stars have five chart-topping albums under their belt, a Grammy, Country Music Awards and have performed with major recording stars including Beyonce and Lady Gaga. After a five year hiatus, the band announced in 2017 it is reuniting for another album.

 

Monica

Born and raised in Atlanta, Monica began performing at the age of ten. She rose to fame after her debut album, Miss Thang, went multi-platinum. The first two singles, “Don’t Take It Personal” and “Before You Walk Out of My Life,” made her the youngest recording act to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the Billboard Top R&B Singles chart. Her second album The Boy is Mine, which featured the Grammy award-winning song featuring Brandy, catapulted her to one of the most successful R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid to late-1990s.

 

Would the reaction be different (from that of Maroon 5) if it was Atlanta’s John Mayer?

 

How about a show of Mayer, Ciara and Usher?

 

But here is this update, although the acts mentioned do not have a profile high enough to reach the DB’s radar.

 

Maroon 5 could reportedly have some high-profile company on the halftime stage at Super Bowl 53.

 

According to Billboard’s Emina Lukarcanin, Cardi B and Travis Scott are “on the short list” of guests who could appear alongside the Adam Levine-led outfit on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

 

Cardi B is featured on Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” which is currently No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. 

 

Scott, meanwhile, released his highly anticipated album Astroworld on Aug. 3. Scott’s third studio album peaked at No. 1 and is currently No. 7 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

 

FYI – while Travis Scott has a name that makes you think country, he’s a rapper.  Whose given name is Jacques Berman Webster II, meaning he chose Travis Scott.  And he’s from Houston, not Atlanta.