Skip to content

PFT’s Week Eight picks

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

Week Seven was a very lucky week for yours truly.  With an unlucky 13 games on the schedule, I got 12 of them correct, with only a late comeback from the Titans blocking an unprecedented piece of perfection.

More importantly, MDS and I disagreed on three games.  Thanks to the Cowboys, Saints, and Colts, my two-game season-to-date lead has been extended to five games.

For the year, I’m now 67-37, and MDS is 62-42.

MDS will join Thursday’s PFT Live to discuss this week’s picks.  There will be no gloating.

At least not by him.

Buccaneers at Vikings

MDS’s take: After I was burned by picking the Bucs last week on the way to going 0-for-3 on games where I disagreed with Florio, I’m playing it safe this week. Tampa Bay still looks to me like a team that’s headed in the right direction, but right now the Vikings have too much for the Bucs on both sides of the ball and should win this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings get a chance to show how different they are this year against one of the teams to whom the Vikings blew a big halftime lead last year.  This time, if the Vikings are up by 10 or more at the break, look for them to close it out with a defense that finally is good enough to hold leads.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 21, Buccaneers 19.

Panthers at Bears

MDS’s take: Cam Newton is going to bounce back from this slump he’s in eventually. He’s too talented not to. But the Bears are the wrong team for a young quarterback to bounce back against. Chicago’s relentless pressure will force a few turnovers and lead to another loss for the Panthers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take:  Rattled by the ouster of G.M. Marty Hurney, racked by injuries, and reeling from the sad-sack demeanor of Cam Newton, the Panthers are poised to get plastered.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Panthers 10.

Chargers at Browns

MDS’s take: The Chargers have had two weeks to lick their wounds after that disastrous Monday night meltdown against the Broncos. They’ll come in to Cleveland focused and motivated and win this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Browns 17.

Florio’s take:  If Mike Holmgren’s current team can knock off the Chargers, the Chargers could be Mike Holmgren’s next team.  Though a house-cleaning could still be coming, the Chargers will likely do enough to reverse a bad two weeks of blown leads and stickum, allegedly.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 24, Browns 17.

Seahawks at Lions

MDS’s take: Mistakes keep killing the Lions, whether it’s penalties, turnovers or special teams coverage breakdowns. If the Lions could get out of their own way they could go on a run down the stretch and still contend for a wild card berth, but that doesn’t look likely at this point. Seattle is the team that looks like a playoff contender, and the Seahawks will take another step in that direction with a win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Lions 14.

Florio’s take:  If this one were set for Seattle, it would be a no brainer.  In Detroit, the Seahawks have an opportunity to prove that they’re capable of beating better-than-bad teams in a place other than CenturyLink Field.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 17, Lions 16.

Jaguars at Packers

MDS’s take: In the biggest mismatch of the week, the Jaguars’ offense will look even worse than usual without Maurice Jones-Drew, and Aaron Rodgers will have his third consecutive huge game.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Jaguars 3.

Florio’s take:  The Packers have never beaten the Jaguars at Lambeau Field.  Then again, these teams have played there only once.  The Jags will want to forget their second trip to town.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 45, Jaguars 21.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: I’m impressed that the Jets aren’t going down without a fight. When they lost Darrelle Revis and got blown out by the 49ers, I figured the Jets were finished, but they’ve played good football for the last three weeks, even if they have only one win to show for it in those three games. The Jets will beat the Dolphins in a low-scoring game and get back to .500.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take:  Despite the injuries and the ineffectiveness and the uncertainty, the Jets have improved over the past few weeks.  They’re good enough to complete the sweep of a Dolphins team that has improved even more discreetly.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 30, Dolphins 20.

Falcons at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles know their backs are against the wall, and the Falcons have been scraping by with three straight close wins. This looks to me like the day when the Falcons’ luck runs out, and the last unbeaten team in the league gets beaten.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 21.

Florio’s take:  Andy Reid is 13-0 after the bye week.  Sometimes, there’s no need for elaboration.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 24, Falcons 23.

Redskins at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers took a big step toward the playoffs with last week’s win in Cincinnati, and I like them to keep it going against the Redskins. Look for Steelers tight end Heath Miller to have a big game against the Redskins’ defense, just as Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez have in the Redskins’ last three games.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Redskins 27.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers are 20-2-1 at Heinz Field against NFC teams.  But Heinz Field has never seen anything like RG3, who’ll run circles around a Polamalu-free Pittsburgh defense.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 23, Steelers 20.

Patriots at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams’ secondary has been playing well and the Patriots’ secondary has been leaving receivers wide open, and I’m tempted to pick the upset for that reason. But with Danny Amendola hurt I don’t think the Rams have the ammunition to take advantage of the Patriots’ problems on defense, and I think New England’s running game can churn up yardage at Wembley Stadium and lead the Patriots to a low-scoring win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 16, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  The team whose name pays homage to the men who kicked the butts of the Brits like to kick butt in Britain.  Though it won’t be a blowout like it was three years ago against the Bucs, the Pats should be able to build a fourth-quarter lead.  And hold it.  For a change.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Rams 21.

Colts at Titans

MDS’s take: Titans running back Chris Johnson took advantage of a bad Bills defense last week, and he should be able to take advantage of a bad Colts defense this week. Johnson will go for about 150 yards and the Colts’ offense won’t be able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Colts 21.

Florio’s take:  The winner of this one won’t likely challenge the Texans for the division crown but would be very much alive for a wild-card berth.  The Titans continue their knack for playing in — and winning — exciting games.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 27, Colts 24.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: I’m not a believer in Brady Quinn as the Chiefs’ long-term answer at quarterback, but as a short-term fix who won’t turn the ball over as often as Matt Cassel, Quinn should be able to lead Kansas City to a home win over a bad team.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Raiders 16.

Florio’s take:  Oakland has won five straight times at Arrowhead Stadium.  With an extra week to prepare and everyone on the hot seat, if the Chiefs don’t beat the Raiders at home now, they possibly never will.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 24, Raiders 10.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Completing a season sweep of the Giants would go a long way toward getting the Cowboys into playoff contention, but I don’t see it happening. The Cowboys’ defense will miss linebacker Sean Lee, Giants quarterback Eli Manning will have a big day, and the Giants will improve to 4-0 all time at Cowboys Stadium.

MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take:  The Cowboys aren’t nearly as good as they were in Week One, when they beat the Giants in New Jersey.  The Giants are the same, but this time they won’t get complacent.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 35, Cowboys 27.

Saints at Broncos

MDS’s take: Two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks will be on the field in Denver, but Drew Brees has to play against a good Broncos secondary, while Peyton Manning gets to play against a terrible Saints secondary. Advantage Peyton.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 42, Saints 21.

Florio’s take:  When he was the head coach of the Panthers, John Fox held his own against Sean Payton’s Saints.  This time, Fox has a great quarterback — and the Saints don’t have Payton.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 38, Saints 28.

49ers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ great start to the season may come to a screeching halt on Monday night.  A home loss to a division rival would be tough for Arizona to overcome, and a win at Arizona will be another step for the 49ers toward establishing themselves as the clear favorites to win the NFC West.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take:  Once atop the NFC West, the Cardinals are close to completing their slide to the basement.  Blame it on the lack of a high-end quarterback and an offensive line to protect him.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Cardinals 13.

Permalink 40 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Steven Jackson undergoing further testing on quad

Pittsburgh Steelers v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

The Falcons didn’t need much from running back Steven Jackson to knock off the Saints on Sunday and it’s not clear yet whether they’ll have him in the lineup at all when they try to do the same to the Panthers in Week 17.

Jackson left the win over the Saints in the first half with a quad injury and didn’t return, finishing the day with four carries and one reception. Coach Mike Smith said Monday that Jackson was having further tests done to evaluate the injury, which means we’ll be waiting until later in the week for an idea about whether or not he’ll play against Carolina.

Devonta Freeman was the most effective back in New Orleans, running five times for 36 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 48 more yards.

Smith said Safety William Moore is also having tests done on his injured shoulder after leaving Sunday’s game. Moore was on injured reserve with the designation to return for an injury to the same shoulder earlier this season.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Hoyer, Manziel are both hurt, so Connor Shaw may start

Cleveland Browns v Washington Redskins Getty Images

All season we’ve been asking whether the Browns would start Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel. At the end of the season, the answer may be neither.

Undrafted rookie quarterback Connor Shaw, a member of the practice squad, may be called up to the active roster and forced to start Sunday’s season finale against the Ravens. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Manziel’s hamstring injury, which forced him out of Sunday’s game, and an injury to Hoyer’s shoulder suffered after Manziel went out, could leave Shaw as the only option.

A three-year starter at South Carolina, Shaw was signed by the Browns in May and had some good performances in the preseason this year. Perhaps he can have another good performance in the season finale, and add a new element to the Browns’ inevitable quarterback controversy in 2015.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jay Cutler will start season finale for the Bears

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Meet the new Bears starting quarterback, same as the old Bears starting quarterback.

Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Lions and the Bears ruled him out for Week 17 on Monday, leaving the team in need of someone to lead their offense against the Vikings. Coach Marc Trestman’s options were Jay Cutler, benched a week ago after a string of poor games that have led to plenty of questions about the future of the coach, quarterback and General Manager Phil Emery, and rookie David Fales.

Trestman has opted to go with the devil he knows.

“Jay gives us the best chance this week. So that’s why he’ll be out there,” Trestman said, via ESPNChicago.com. “Jay said ‘I’ll be ready to go.’ He empathizes with what Jimmy had gone through last night. He’s ready to go. He’ll be in this afternoon to get started.”

Going with Fales would have given the Bears a chance to see the sixth-rounder in action while also protecting Cutler from the possibility of an injury that could hamper attempts to trade him this offseason, although no one’s really sure at this point if that’s the route the Bears will go or who will be making the decisions about such moves. They went the other way, though, and the season will end with the same starting quarterback that took the field in Week One.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chip Kelly not miffed about playoff structure

Kelly Getty Images

The Eagles will finish with a winning record, but they won’t make it to the playoffs. The Panthers or Falcons will secure a spot with a losing record. That doesn’t bother Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly.

“Should we move to the [NFC South] so we can get in a different division?” Kelly said to reporters on Monday when asked about the situation. “No, that’s just the rules. People that complain about rules that are already in existence. . . .
We didn’t do enough. We didn’t win enough games against the right opponents to put ourselves in the playoffs. We knew the rules of engagement before the season started. To sit here after it is over and say, ‘Let’s change the rules so this can happen,’ that’s just the way it is. There may be a year where we’re in a situation where we’re not in great shape and we win our division and we get a chance to go. People said it about Seattle a couple years ago, and then Seattle won their wild-card game.

“It’s still about winning each week and doing what you’re supposed to do. We already knew the rules before the season started. That’s the way it expressed itself. We didn’t do enough to win to get ourselves in the playoffs. That’s on us. That’s not on anybody else, or what the structure of setup is.”

It’s the right attitude. The rules are the rules, and the Eagles knew the rules. Everyone knew the rules. Until they change, one team from each of the eight divisions will host a playoff game, whether they “deserve” it or not.

The Eagles may deserve it in relation to Carolina or Atlanta. But that doesn’t matter, because one of those teams will become the best in its division, regardless of the final won-loss record.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers add Frank Alexander to 53-man roster

Frank Alexander AP

The Panthers have one game to extend their season, and they’re adding a pass-rusher who might be able to help them.

The team announced that defensive end Frank Alexander had been added to the 53-man roster. He takes the place of wide receiver De’Andre Presley, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion last week.

Alexander spent the first 14 weeks suspended for a pair of substance abuse policy violations, which he said were triggered by his poor handling of grief over the illnesses of family members.

The former fourth-round pick had shown some promise as a pass-rusher, and getting after Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be critical in Sunday’s win-and-in NFC South title game.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Dominic Raiola expecting one-game suspension

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

The NFL is considering discipline for Lions center Dominic Raiola after he stepped on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson during Sunday’s 20-14 Detroit win and the team reportedly expects the league to hand down a one-game suspension.

Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that the Lions have told Raiola to expect the one-game ban, which would leave him on the sideline as the face the Packers for the NFC North title in Week 17. Raiola could appeal any suspension and that appeal would likely be expedited so it happened before that game.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that the team was prepared for the possibility that Raiola would be suspended while adding that he believes the center’s claim that he inadvertently stepped on Ferguson.

“Obviously I took a good look at [the play],” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Looked at both the coach’s copy and also the television copy as well, and I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent. But I can also see why it obviously is being reviewed by the league and everybody’s taking a real good look at it because you can also see the other side of that as well. There’s a league protocol to it. It’ll be reviewed, taken a look at and we’ll deal with the issues after there’s been some determination there.”

Rookie Travis Swanson would likely start in Raiola’s place if he’s out on Sunday.

Permalink 31 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bears say Clausen suffered concussion on helmet-to-helmet hit from Ansah

Clausen AP

On Sunday, Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen absorbed a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit from Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah while sliding. Clausen seemed fine at the time, remained in the game, and apparently developed no concussion-like symptoms.

Until today.

The Bears have announced that Clausen has been diagnosed with a concussion after delayed symptoms. Which is precisely the headline of the press release.

“Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday evening after experiencing delayed symptoms,” He is currently being evaluated based on the NFL’s concussion protocol and will not play this Sunday.”

It’s odd for a player to be scratched six days before a game due to a concussion, given that plenty of players improve sufficiently to secure clearance to play the following weekend. It could be that the Bears are erring on the side of caution. It could be that the symptoms are sufficiently significant to allow the Bears to know now that he won’t play.

And it could be that the Bears have seen enough from Clausen.

“After the hit which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the final Bears offensive drive of the game, Clausen was monitored by the team’s medical staff and the NFL’s ATC spotter,” the team said. “He exhibited no signs of concussion immediately after the hit or during the final four plays of the drive. At the conclusion of the series he was further checked on the sideline and again exhibited no signs or symptoms. After the game he passed all testing by team physicians and reported no concussion symptoms. Prior to leaving the stadium he was told, as per protocol, to contact team athletic trainers if he had any problems later in the day. Clausen experienced delayed symptoms later Sunday evening and contacted trainers. He was taken to a hospital where he was further examined by a team physician and at that time diagnosed with a concussion. Upon diagnosis, he began the concussion protocol.”

The next question becomes whether Jay Cutler or David Fales starts in Week 17. If it’s Fales, it will become even more clear that the Bears hope to keep Cutler healthy in order to trade him. If it’s Cutler, it could mean that the team hopes to avoid a full-scale mutiny for the regular-season finale.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cardinals leaning toward starting Logan Thomas in Week 17

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Cardinals have started three different quarterbacks this season and it looks like they will make it four when they face the 49ers in Week 17.

Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that the team is leaning toward starting rookie Logan Thomas in the regular season finale, although Thomas’s work in practice could send things in another direction. Ryan Lindley started against the Seahawks on Sunday night and played about as well as you’d expect someone with no touchdowns and seven interceptions in his NFL career to perform. Lindley was 18-of-44 for 216 yards and an interception in the 35-6 loss.

Thomas saw some mop-up duty on Sunday and also played in a 41-20 loss to the Broncos earlier this season, when he completed 1-of-8 passes. That one completion was an 81-yard touchdown to running back Andre Ellington on a pass that Thomas squeezed through defenders for Ellington to catch and do the rest of the work.

The fourth-round pick was one of the rawest prospects in the draft this year, but has the kind of big arm that Bruce Arians likes to deploy in his downfield passing game. Given how poorly Lindley played and the uncertainty about Drew Stanton’s ability to return to the playoffs, it makes sense for the Cardinals to get Thomas some game work to give themselves at least the possibility of another option when the postseason gets underway.

Arians added that he expects Stanton to practice some this week and hopes he’ll be available for the playoffs. If he can’t, we’ll get one of the unlikeliest starters in recent postseason history whether Thomas or Lindley gets the call.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Sen’Derrick Marks: Pro Bowl balloting is BS if I don’t make it

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks guaranteed himself a $600,000 bonus with a sack of Charlie Whitehurst last Thursday night and it seems he’d like to spend some of that cash in Arizona.

Marks thinks he should be heading to the Pro Bowl after the season, but will need some help from the league’s players and coaches in order to make it to Glendale when the selections are announced on Tuesday night. Marks ranked 13th among defensive tackles in the now-concluded fan voting and he thinks his omission would uncover a flaw in the system.

“If it happens that way, then I say that the whole Pro Bowl voting and balloting is all BS,” Marks said, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “How do you look at it? Do you look at it as a guy that plays good on a good team or a guy that plays good on what you consider a team that doesn’t have the record? I thought it was supposed to be the guy who plays the best at that position that year. That’s what I thought it was. If it comes out that way, it wouldn’t bother me. It wouldn’t stop the way I play. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all.”

Marks has had a very strong season and is definitely worthy of Pro Bowl consideration. The problem is that there are enough good candidates that leaving out any particular one falls well short of a flaw in the system. Marcell Dareus, Aaron Donald, Sheldon Richardson (listed as a tackle for Pro Bowl purposes, as is teammate Muhammad Wilkerson), Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy and Kyle Williams are just a few of the worthy choices for spots, which makes it hard to believe that anyone is going to outraged if they made it with Marks left on the outside.

The good news for Marks is that McCoy is on injured reserve and is just one of several players who could make it and cede their spot to someone who doesn’t make it so Marks could get into the game even if he doesn’t get to enjoy the gift of a trip to Arizona for Christmas.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jets bringing Charley Casserly in as a consultant

charleycasserly Getty Images

In what can only be interpreted as an ominous sign, Jets owner Woody Johnson is bringing in an extra set of eyes.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Johnson is preparing to hire former Texans and Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly as a consultant.

This comes with the proviso “in the event the organization decides to make any changes, per league sources.”

The list of people who hired consultants to help them not make changes has to be a short one, but so far, there’s been no word of imminent firings.

I mean, we’ve all assumed coach Rex Ryan is a goner for months, and it seems he has as well. But the status of G.M. John Idzik has been up in the air (literally and figuratively).

Casserly might not have covered himself in glory at his last stop in charge, but his connections from his days as an executive and a television analyst gives Johnson a resource in the event he’s making changes.

Which by hiring a consultant, it seems he’s about to.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Gruden says winning is the only way to evaluate a quarterback

grudenrg3 AP

Washington coach Jay Gruden says quarterback Robert Griffin III was successful on Saturday for one simple reason: He won.

“That is the No. 1 factor, and that is it,” Gruden said, via ESPN. “Obviously you look at the production and all that stuff, and what he could’ve done maybe, but winning football games is the only thing that matters to me for a quarterback. And it doesn’t matter if they go 12-for-24 for 80 yards and we win, or if they go 28-for-35 for 400 [yards] and we lose, you’d rather have the 12-for-24. The ability to manage a game, stay away from the big turnovers and get the W is all that counts.”

Obviously, at the end of the day all any team cares about is winning. How you win doesn’t matter. Whether you win does.

But to suggest that “the only thing that matters” in evaluating a quarterback is whether he won or not is, frankly, ridiculous.

The Packers and Lions are tied at 11-4. Does anyone really think Matthew Stafford is as good as Aaron Rodgers? The Seahawks and Cardinals are also tied at 11-4. Does anyone believe having the combination of Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley at quarterback is as good as having Russell Wilson?

Derek Anderson is 2-0 as a starting quarterback this season. Is Gruden going to try to acquire Derek Anderson in the offseason on the theory that he just finds a way to win? Or does Gruden grasp that you have to go further in evaluating a quarterback, and that if you look beyond Anderson’s win-loss record also look at who he played, you realize that going 2-0 in two starts against the Buccaneers isn’t so impressive?

Judging quarterbacks by whether they win on a week-to-week basis is as silly as judging a quarterback’s career by his Super Bowl rings. Was Trent Dilfer a better quarterback than Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Fran Tarkenton? Was Jim Plunkett better than Brett Favre and Peyton Manning? But as silly as judging a quarterback that way is, people do it.

Gruden has complained that his words get twisted, and perhaps he didn’t really mean that all he evaluates a quarterback on is winning and losing. Maybe what Gruden meant is that he wants a quarterback who is smart enough to do things that don’t always translate to impressive stats — things like managing the clock well, or knowing when to throw the ball away or take a sack when nothing is open. If that’s the case, that’s a reasonable proposition.

But it’s not reasonable to say that winning is the only way to evaluate a quarterback.

Permalink 46 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bills to release Mike Williams from injured reserve

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

If a team wants to pick up a veteran wideout heading into Week 17, they can add Mike Williams to their roster.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, via agent Hadley Engelhard, that the Bills will release Williams from injured reserve. Williams was waived-injured earlier this month with a calf injury and reverted to injured reserve when he passed through waivers unclaimed.

Williams is eligible to be signed by a team now and he’ll remain eligible to be signed at any point should the season end without him finding a new team. That gives him a leg up on the impending free agents around the league, although his 2014 season may not have too many people lining up to give him a job. Williams was an occasional healthy scratch while playing in nine games and catching eight passes.

That’s not the return the Bills were hoping for when they dealt a sixth-round pick to Tampa to acquire Williams before the season. The move reunited Williams with his college coach Doug Marrone, although the feelings may not have been all that warm after Williams quit the Syracuse team in 2009 ahead of a possible suspension for violating team rules.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Titans have become the NFL’s biggest slump-busters

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

Maybe it’s their Southern address, but the Tennessee Titans are the most hospitable team in the league, perhaps in league history.

Bless their hearts.

As first mentioned by Peter King of MMQB.com, and extrapolated by Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, the Titans have done something unprecedented this season.

It’s not that they’ve they lost nine in a row (that’s been done before), it’s who they’ve done it against.

Every team that has beaten the Titans during this streak was coming off at least one loss, and collectively, those opponents had lost 24 straight games prior to welcoming the Titans to their worlds.

The longest previous streak of teams losing to teams coming off a loss was six, achieved most recently in 2010 by the Bengals and the Titans.

They’re likely to extend their record this week, since the Colts are coming off a beating by the Cowboys, and the Titans don’t have much of a chance against anyone.

But at least they’re generous.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Robbie Gould questions benching of Jay Cutler

Gould Getty Images

Earlier this year, Bears coach Marc Trestman said it’s important to be “accepting” and “non-judgmental” of players who speak their mind. I wonder if he feels that way about the kicker, too?

Robbie Gould, who has missed several games due to injury, has opened up about the decision to bench starting quarterback Jay Cutler for veteran journeyman (which may be an overstatement) Jimmy Clausen.

“I honestly don’t even know what the message is, to be honest with you,” Gould said Monday on WSCR’s The Spiegel and Mannelly Show. “I just think it’s been a long season. [Trestman started Clausen] to provide a spark for the team, is what he told us, and I wish Jay was out there playing.

“[Trestma] did address the team the next day and talked about what happened. He made a decision that he thought was best for the team. And listen, we lost again. That’s the bottom line. We’re in the business of winning football games and production, and we got to produce, and we got to win.

“I feel really bad for Jay. We’re you’re having a tough season like this, he’s not the guy to be the scapegoat or the guy to blame. There’s a lot of guys you can put that blame on.

“You could bench the whole team. It’s not like anybody’s really played fantastic or great. We’re 5-10 now. It’s not like Jay’s the problem. Jay’s not the issue.”

One of the issues is that plenty of players and staff members have been complaining. That’s not something Gould is used to.

“This whole season’s not the Bear way,” Gould said. “Pointing fingers, things getting out of the locker room — that’s not the Chicago Bear way. I think for me, being around the organization for 10 years, seeing guys like Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs who most likely have played or walked through the tunnel for the last time, it’s tough. Because we weren’t taught this way under Lovie [Smith]. We weren’t taught to do these sorts of things. We always stayed together, as close as we could.”

There’s a certain irony in Gould’s comments, since he has now become the latest player to behave in a way other than the Bear way, by talking openly about Trestman’s handling of the team. It underscores the need for change in Chicago, and significant change is likely only one game away.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Joe Philbin won’t address fate of his assistants

Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

A day after getting a vote of confidence from his boss, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin didn’t give one to his employees.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters yesterday that Philbin was safe for 2015, but Philbin didn’t offer the same courtesy to his staffers today.

According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Philbin refused to address to fate of his coordinators.

When asked follow-up questions, he fell back on the old coaching standby of focusing on the present.

“Again, I’m concerned about the New York Jets,” he said.

While it’s entirely possible they won’t make any changes, it won’t make his assistants sleep any better for the next week, while Philibin knows where he’ll be.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top