Tag Archives: Patriots

2020 NFL Predictions: Division Winners, Breakout Players, Postseason surprises, and much more

FINALLY! The NFL season is here and that means meaningless NFL predictions make their way onto the timeline.

Right here, right now, I’ve got predictions for:

·      Team records

·      Postseason predictions

·      Awards

·      Breakout players

·      Disappointing players

·      BOLD predictions

·      Which head coaches get fired

So let’s get started…

TEAM RECORDS

NFC EAST

Eagles: 10-6 (3)

Cowboys: 8-8

Giants: 5-11

Washington: 3-13

NFC SOUTH

Buccaneers: 12-4 (1)

Saints: 11-5 (5)

Panthers: 6-10

Falcons: 6-10

NFC WEST

Cardinals: 12-4 (2)

Seahawks: 11-5 (6)

49ers: 8-8 (7)

Rams: 7-9

NFC NORTH

Packers: 10-6 (4)

Vikings: 8-8

Lions: 7-9

Bears: 5-11

AFC EAST

Dolphins: 10-6 (3)

Bills: 9-7 (6)

Patriots: 6-10

Jets: 3-13

AFC SOUTH

Colts: 10-6 (4)

Texans: 8-8

Titans: 8-8

Jaguars: 1-15

AFC WEST

Chiefs: 12-4 (1)

Broncos: 9-7

Chargers: 7-9

Raiders: 4-12

AFC NORTH

Ravens: 11-5 (2)

Steelers: 11-5 (5)

Browns: 9-7 (7)

Bengals: 5-11

NFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Saints (5) @ Packers (4) = Packers win

Seahawks (6) @ Eagles (3) = Eagles win

49ers (7) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win

Divisional Round:

Packers (4) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

Eagles (3) @ Cardinals (2) = Cardinals win 

NFC Championship:

Cardinals (2) @ Buccaneers (1) = Buccaneers win

AFC PLAYOFFS

Wild Card:

Steelers (5) @ Colts (4) = Steelers win

Bills (6) @ Dolphins (3) = Dolphins win

Browns (7) @ Ravens (2) = Browns win

Divisional Round:

Browns (7) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Steelers (5) @ Dolphins (3) = Steelers win

AFC Championship:

Steelers (5) @ Chiefs (1) = Chiefs win

Super Bowl 55:

Chiefs (1) @ Buccaneers (1) = Chiefs win

AWARDS

MVP: Kyler Murray

OPOY: Russell Wilson

DPOY: Darius Leonard

OROY: Tua Tagovailoa

DROY: Isaiah Simmons

Comeback: Ben Roethlisberger

Coach: Brian Flores

BREAKOUT PLAYERS

Kyler Murray, Miles Sanders, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown

Kyler Murray: DeAndre Hopkins will be a big reason why, but I believe Murray has the best opportunity to make the biggest second-year-jump we’ve seen with quarterbacks over the years.

Miles Sanders: Eagles are going to ride Miles Sanders all season long, especially with the offensive line in flux.

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown: He has the swagger teams wish they had in all of their players. Brown said he’s gained a lot of muscle this offseason and still didn’t lose any speed. Watchout!

DISAPPOINTING PLAYERS

Cam Newton, Derek Carr, Ryan Tannehill

Cam Newton: I don’t see a player as free-spirited as Newton gelling with a coach like Belichick who seems to be the “my way or the highway” type. Newton’s best days are behind him and his body can no longer last a full season.

Derek Carr: This is the year where Jon Gruden gets fed up with Derek Carr, who seems to always try to impress his coach, but gets no love in return.

Ryan Tannehill: He’s a backup quarterback at best. Teams will be a lot more prepared for him this year and he got paid– he’s got nothing to worry about anymore. Tannehill will go back to his old self sooner rather than later.

BOLD PREDICTIONS

  1. Tua takes over for Ryan Fitzpatrick and leads the Dolphins to the division crown and a playoff win
  2. Cardinals clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC
  3. Mike Mayock will be flushed out as GM after he and Jon Gruden “mutually part ways over the disagreement of the team’s direction.”
  4. Philip Rivers gets benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett who leads the Colts to the playoffs
  5. Zero games get postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic
  6. Drew Lock solidifies himself as a franchise quarterback
  7. Jets clean house, trade Sam Darnold to Tennessee, and draft quarterback Trey Lance from North Dakota State University.
  8. Dak Prescott requests a trade, lands in Pittsburgh, after Big Ben finally retires.
  9. Cam Newton retires
  10. Nick Chubb will win the rushing title

FIRED HEAD COACHES

  • Doug Marrone
  • Matt Patricia
  • Matt Nagy
  • Adam Gase
  • Dan Quinn’

NFL First 32 Mock Draft 2.0 – Chargers trade up, Kinlaw falls, Vikings replace Diggs, trades, and more

We’re almost there, folks. The 2020 NFL Draft is this week and we have surely seen our fair share of mock drafts. We released a previous mock draft by analyst Gianfranco Illiano and you can check that out here:

While preparing this NFL Mock Draft, I tried to avoid a lot of trades because it usually takes away from one of my favorite purposes of a first round mock draft, identifying team needs and best players. I enjoy trades with multiple trades, however, because it’s pure chaos.

There’s just so many questions with the NFL Draft this year. Not even counting the fact this is the first virtual draft in NFL history, this draft is uncrackable. I believe I saw a report that a GM said most mock drafts were completely wrong. I’m fairly confident in mine.

1. Cincinnati Bengals – LSU QB Joe Burrow

The 2019 Heisman winner and National Champion brings his superstardom to Cincy to help save the Bengals.

2. Washington Redskins – Ohio State DE Chase Young

Young is a generational talent going to a Washington squad that needs an influx of talent.

3. Chargers (via Lions) – Alabama QB Tua Tagliova

Tua has had just about the most up and down college career ever for a highly touted QB prospect. He’ll be expected to replace long time starter Phillip Rivers.

4. Miami Dolphins (via Giants) – Oregon QB Justin Herbert

The gunslinger from Oregon gets to go save Miami’s offense.

5. Giants (via Dolphins) – Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs

Offensive line has been a problem for the Giants for years now. And with a second year Daniel Jones at QB, it’s a good time to start protecting the pocket.

6. Lions (via Chargers) – Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah

Okudah is the best CB in the draft going to the worst secondary in the NFL.

7. Panthers – Clemons LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons is just a human highlight tape. He doesn’t even have a position because he plays everything. Panthers have to somehow try and replace the playmaking abilities of recently retired LB Luke Keuchly.

8. Cardinals – Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb

Kyler Murray gets his wish to pair up with former college teammate CeeDee Lamb. Coach Kliff will certainly be pleased.

9. Jaguars – Florida CB CJ Henderson

The Jaguars need help at a lot of positions in the Front office. But they also need help at cornerback. Henderson adds to the first round talent at CB in this draft.

10. Browns – Louisville OT Mekhi Becton

Becton has the best name in the draft. And he was also the best tackle in the ACC last season. Baker needs protection. This should work.

11. Jets – Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Tackles continue to fall. And notice the young QB trend. Jets QB Sam Darnold got beat up last season by DL’s and desperately needs help up front.

12. Raiders – Alabama WR Henry Ruggs

Who even knows who’s the best WR on that Alabama roster last season? They’re all good. Ruggs has tremendous feet and great hands. Good pick for the Raiders to help Carr/Mariota. Also, Las Vegas desperately needs stars and Ruggs has tons of star potential.

13. 49ers – LSU EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson

Chaisson is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is quick but tough as nails. I’m excited to see how he can help the 49ers replace DeForest Buckner.

14. Buccaneers – Alabama OT Jedrick Wills

Brady gets some added protection.

15. Broncos – Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray

Murray is the best LB in the draft. The Broncos shouldn’t even blink with this pick.

16. Falcons – Auburn DT Derrick Brown

Brown is a unit. He also has NFL quickness. Should be fun to watch him develop in Atlanta.

17. Cowboys – Clemson CB A.J Terrell

Jerry Jones replaces Byron Jones with a far cheaper option.

18. Dolphins – Alabama EDGE Terrell Lewis

Lewis is a prototypical Alabama EDGE defender. I love this pick for the Dolphins who need upgrades on defense.

19. Eagles (via Raiders) – Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy

Jeudy provides speed and fine route running to an Eagles offense that desperately needs more of it.

20. Jaguars – Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos

Matos was really solid for Penn State all season. And with the Jag’s possibly trading Yannick Ngakoue, this is a no brainer.

21. Raiders (via Eagles) – Utah CB Jaylon Johnson

Johnson is such a solid CB. I know the Raiders will excited at his potential.

22. Vikings (via Bills) – LSU WR Justin Jefferson

Jefferson is a great receiver to put next to Adam Thielen. Give Kirk Cousins more weapons and see what happens.

23. Patriots – Wisconsin LB Zack Baun

Baun is a bull and the Patriots defense could be looking to add some youth.

24. Saints – Utah QB Jordan Love

Love might be an option to replace QB Drew Brees in a few years.

25. Vikings – TCU CB Jeff Gladney

Gladney will hopefully fill the shoes of CB Xavier Rhodes, who was released this offseason.

26. Dolphins (via Texans) – Baylor WR Denzel Mims

Mims has continued to shoot up draft boards since his impressive performance at the NFL Draft Combine. The Dolphins will look to add around Herbert.

27. Seahawks – South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw

I value Kinlaw much higher than this. But the Seahawks get a huge talent at DT if this happens.

28. Ravens – LSU LB Patrick Queen

Ravens added Derrick Wolfe and franchise tagged Matthew Judon, so I expect the Ravens to add to the defense even more and bring on Queen.

29. Titans – LSU CB Kristian Fulton

One of the many bright spots of LSU’s 2019 Championship team, Fulton gets added to an already elite Titans defense.

30. Packers – Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk

The loaded WR class continues to show in the first round.

31. 49ers – TCU DT Ross Blacklock

The 49ers will look to add to their already elite front seven.

32. Chiefs – Michigan C Cesar Ruiz

Ruiz is the best interior OL in the draft and Chiefs C Austin Reiter is 28 years old.

All-22: Titans @ Patriots – Wild Card Game

I spent a lot of time on Monday going through film of the Titans-Patriots game. The 4th quarter was very telling as the Titans were able to control possession for most of the quarter and killed the clock. The Patriots offensive woes from the regular season continued to kill them in the playoffs.

1st and Goal
2nd and Goal
3rd and Goal

Rashaan Evans had the game of his life on Saturday night. He finished with 8 solo tackles on 50 snaps.

Titans – 3rd down hold

One of the reasons the Patriots offense was bad all season was play calling. Throwing the ball to your rookie WR on 3rd down in good coverage is not ideal.

Ryan Tannehill interception
Titans get home on a 3 man rush and cause a bad throw from Brady
Ryan Tannehill escapes pressure and finds his check-down
Derrick Henry finds something out of nothing

Derrick Henry was a beast on Saturday night. He had 34 carries for 182 yards and a TD. He was crucial to the Titans running the clock out late as well, picking up many crucial first downs.

Tannehill Read Option to pick up first down
Derrick Henry best run of the night
Tannehill throws to Frisker for a huge first down

Although the Titans didn’t have their normally great pass offense on display Saturday night, Tannehill made throws when he needed to.

Derrick Henry big run
Play of the game: Brady’s pass gets deflected into the arms of Logan Ryan to seal the game.

Henry was the standout player of the game. His shear power and low base makes him so hard to bring down, especially in the open field.

Patriots WR struggled with separation all season long, as evidence by these Next-Gen stats.

The Titans travel to Baltimore to face Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on Saturday night.

Next breakdown will be the Saints-Vikings.

Titans-Patriots Full Preview, Analysis

For picks: https://thefinalcount.blog/2020/01/03/nfl-wild-card-weekend-picks-and-other-thoughts/

What a difference a week makes.

The Patriots should be resting and recovering from a brutal schedule but instead are gearing up to face a lethal Titans team.

Lethal is the only way to describe the Titans offense and the fact is the Patriots desperately need to get off to a good start offensively to keep up.

The Titans score points at large. They have the best red zone touchdown percentage (75.6 percent) in the NFL since 1991.

Good teams score in the red zone, and the Patriots could probably take some advice from the Titans.

Ryan Tannehill is a big reason why they score a lot of points.

The bad news for the Titans? The Patriots stout defense ranks first against the pass and seventh against the run, based on DVOA%.

Derrick Henry needs to get going early if the Titans want to have a chance at winning in Foxboro. New England has looked vulnerable against the run in recent weeks, so, it would only be fitting one of the best backs in the league could have a big day.

Tom Brady needs to be a better Quarterback in the playoffs. After his performance against Buffalo, Brady looked sure to have found his rhythm again. But, a bad outing against Miami has fans still scratching their head.

Brady has just a 77.2% passing rating this season according to PFF. The Patriots haven’t helped Brady by not running the ball well. Sony Michel has struggled all season to be consistent.

The Patriots key to victory will be to get the run game going and take pressure off of Brady early. The Titans can score a lot of points, and the only way the Patriots can keep up is if they control possession. The Titans key to victory is to get a pass rush going early.

The Patriots have utilized a quick pass game in order to help the struggling offensive line and if Tennessee can eliminate that, it could be a long night for Tom Brady and New England.

It should be a fun one in Foxboro today. The 2020 NFL Playoffs are here.

The Final Count is currently researching:

https://gist.github.com/wessonmo/ef44ea9873d70f816454cb88b86dcce6

Ben Baldwin works for The Athletic Seattle and does great work with analytics. I have been researching how Expected Points can help predict match-ups in the NFL, thus affecting point spreads and over/unders. We used the information to predict games this weekend. You can find that here:

https://thefinalcount.blog/2020/01/03/nfl-wild-card-weekend-picks-and-other-thoughts/

The Patriots offense hasn’t produced, but why? We take a dive into 2 key issues.

You don’t need stats to tell you that something has been off with the Patriots this season. Although they have a dominant defense, their offense has often gone AWOL, and is one of the main reasons the Patriots just lost two in a row.

The Patriots face the Bengals on Sunday as they look to avoid losing three games in a row.

Boston Herald

Here’s a good stat: the Patriots haven’t lost three games in a row since 2002. If they lose on Sunday, panic might set in.

DATA FROM: Kevin Cole, PFF

Now that you somewhat understand what EPA means, you can see how much Brady has been put in early down trouble this season. That Patriots have a 37.4 third down efficiency, which explains the lackluster EPA. If the Patriots and Tom Brady can get themselves out of early down trouble, they can start to get back on track as an offense.

Pro Football Reference

Brady is 24th in red zone passing. Getting into early-down trouble in the red zone has crushed the Patriots this season. That won’t get it done, even with a defense as good as the Patriots have. If Brady and the offense can correct these errors, look for them to break out against the Bengals.

2. Brady shouldn’t take all the blame. At the end of the day, his receivers haven’t been getting open, especially when he’s pressured. Take a look at this graph from PFF’s Kevin Cole

DATA FROM: Kevin Cole, PFF

Bill Belichick going and getting Mohamed Sanu surprised a lot of people, but looking at the core that they had, it was clear that they needed an upgrade.

But, it’s clear something is still off. Sanu has battled injuries, which has left young receivers to get more reps then expected. One of them, N’Keal Harry, has been a positive for the offense, and someone I expect to get a big game against Cincy, but he’s still just a developing receiver that you can’t solely rely on.

Heavy.com

The Patriots offense surely needs to get it together before the postseason. One thing we do know, it was business as usual in Foxboro this week as they look to figure things out.

Patriots @ Bengals 1PM Sunday.

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