NFL 2016: Week 5

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* Bill Belichick usually doesn’t come out on the wrong end of coaching and personnel decisions, but the team’s choice of taking only 3 QBs into training camp, when one of those 3 was going to miss the first quarter of the season, finally cost the Patriots a game. Jacoby Brissett can hardly be held accountable, as his thumb injury should have kept him out of the game entirely. Brissett still threw for more yards than Blaine Gabbert is averaging per game, mind you, but nearly half of his 205 yards came on a short pass that Julian Edelman took for 90 yards. Brissett was badly limited, and Rex Ryan delighted in beating up on a crippled Patriots offense. (His team still only managed 16 points despite all that field position, so clearly firing Greg Roman fixed everything)

* A cottage industry has popped up around Ramsplaining - trying to make sense of the 3-1 record held by the Los Angeles Rams. The Ringer, Football Outsiders, FOX Sports, and the Washington Post all take a stab at it.

* None of them seem to be able to Ramsplain why Greg Robinson is still a starting player.

* One thing I’ve seen mentioned to a surprisingly small degree is the fact that the official who made the blown fumble recovery call in CLE/WAS was Sarah Thomas, the NFL’s first female full-time referee. I’ve only really seen that connection made on some fan blogs and other smaller outlets. The NFL has remained very on-message in their description of the play and lack of overturn, but that’s par for the course for all blown calls, really. Still, it would not be a good look to have one of the most egregious blown calls in recent memory be the thing that fans associate with Sarah Thomas, so I don’t doubt the NFL is taking extra care with this one. Not that I blame them, as one look at certain Twitter hashtags reveals how a certain class of people would abuse a woman that makes the same kind of mistakes that Jerome Boger does every year.

* The NFL’s TV ratings are down from a year ago, prompting all sorts of hand-wringing from broadcast networks and advertisers. In a Rasmussen poll, a third of respondents said they were less likely to watch NFL games because of the protests led by Colin Kaepernick. That doesn’t fully explain away the drop, however.

* Also not helping ratings: if you feel like the “No Fun League” nature of the NFL has been peaking, you'd be right. Unsportsmenlike conduct and taunting penalties are way up from previous seasons. The NFL’s new rule for ejections upon a player receiving two unsportsmanlike penalties appears to have the officials looking extra closely for calls to make. Players are feeling targeted. In typical NFL fashion, players and coaches are unclear on where the lines are supposed to be, and the league doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with clarifying. (Thanks to garion for contributing the link)

* The next round of NFL TV deals will go into effect in 2022. The NFL has made some noise that they intend to start retaining some control of online broadcasting rights. Between that and ratings maybe no longer being in continued growth, the next TV deal negotiations might be one of the biggest stories in the league that few see coming.

* While Brock Osweiler’s numbers this year haven’t been an exact carbon copy of Blaine Gabbert’s like a year ago, they’re still not good: 61% cmp, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 237 yds/game, 74.8 passer rating. The INT rate of 4.1% is of particular concern, worse than any passer except for FitzTragic and Jameis Winston.

Pick ‘Ems

New England at Cleveland: The return of Brady! But is he still Tom Brady? He’s 39, what kind of condition is he in? Don’t you think this has “upset” written all over it? I mean, I’m taking New England, but you totally shouldn’t.

Atlanta at Denver: The league’s top scoring offense faces the league’s 5th stingiest defense. Denver isn’t even sure what QB will start for them, but Atlanta still comes in as 5.5 point underdogs. Matt Ryan is playing some of the best football of his life, and Julio Jones is exactly the beast we thought he was. But how will they stand up against that Denver defense? I’m taking the underdog Atlanta, not that I think Atlanta is necessarily better in general, but Denver is due to drop some games, and Atlanta’s offense has enough firepower to not be completely stifled by the Denver D.

Buffalo at Los Angeles: Rex Ryan’s big win against the Patriots cooled his hot seat for a week, but now they travel out west to face the 3-1 Rams. The Rams have not managed to get Todd Gurley going at all this year, and Buffalo’s stout run defense (yielding only 3.6 per carry) isn’t going to make it any easier. These are two teams that I don’t really have any faith in, but someone’s going to win, and I’ll take Buffalo on the road. Los Angeles can’t get too far away from .500 on their way to 7-9.

Cincinnati at Dallas: I don’t know what to think of Dak Prescott yet. He’s played well so far, and unlike some of the other young QB who are throwing short passes at an alarming rate, Prescott is doing most of his damage at intermediate range. No doubt he’s helped by that offensive line and the league leading rusher in rookie Ezekiel Elliott. Really it brings to mind the classic Dallas offenses, where Emmitt Smith would pound the ball an ungodly amount of times, and then Aikman would throw intermediate routes (but not a lot of deep bombs) over the crowded-up defense. Over on the other side, Cincinnati is 3rd in the NFL in passing yards, but 30th in passing TDs. They’ve been moving the ball between the 20s, but settling for a lot of field goals. They’ve also been turnover happy, but with their defense even more takeaway-happy. Dallas has been great at protecting the ball, though (0 INTs for Dak so far), so unless Cincinnati’s offense kicks it up a notch, Dallas should grind it out here.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: Oh boy. The NFC South is not the most pathetic division in the NFL only because the AFC South exists, and even then, only because they have Atlanta. The other 7 teams between the two divisions have all given up more points than they’ve scored, including the 3-1 Texans, and there’s six 1-3 teams between them. Carolina will probably be turning to Derek Anderson at QB, which as history has shown us can swing the team to one of two extremes. They’re also still missing Jonathan Stewart. Tampa Bay is missing Doug Martin, and Charles Sims is questionable and not certain to play, so we’re likely to see lots of backup running backs, and a pair of QBs trading interceptions. I’m taking Hurricane Matthew to spare us from having to watch this at all. But if the game happens…. I guess Carolina, although Tampa has this cool thing going where they score 30+ points one week and 7 points the next, and this would be the next 30+ point week. So there’s that.

Make your Week 5 picks now!

Week 4 Results
ballnchained: 5-0
onewild: 5-0
Minase: 5-0
MilkmanDanimal: 4-1
Bubs14: 4-1
Top_Shelf: 4-1
Certis: 4-1 <== f*ck
PorkSmoothie89: 4-1
Zaque: 4-1
garion333: 4-1
Kush15: 4-1
Paleocon: 4-1
Bighoppa: 4-1
Torq: 4-1
iaintgotnopants: 4-1
EvilDead: 4-1
Abu5217: 4-1
TheGameGuru: 4-1
Oddsmakers: 4-1
karmajay: 3-2
Stele: 3-2
Infyrnos: 3-2
MoonDragon: 3-2
Rat Boy: 3-2
UpToIsomorphism: 3-2
Jayhawker: 3-2
jonfentyler: 3-2
oldmanscene24: 3-2
tboon: 3-2
*Legion*: 2-3 <== god damn it
LeapingGnome: 2-3
cube: 2-3
Vector: 1-4

Season to Date
Bighoppa: 16-4
ballnchained: 16-4
onewild: 14-6
Abu5217: 14-6
Torq: 14-6
TheGameGuru: 13-7
Bubs14: 13-7
*Legion*: 12-8
Certis: 12-8 <== muh lead!
Paleocon: 12-8
tboon: 12-8
UpToIsomorphism: 12-8
MoonDragon: 12-8
Rat Boy: 11-9
Jayhawker: 11-9
jonfentyler: 11-9
Zaque: 11-9
garion333: 11-9
Oddsmakers: 11-9
PorkSmoothie89: 10-10
MilkmanDanimal: 10-10
EvilDead: 10-10
Kush15: 10-10
iaintgotnopants: 10-10
Minase: 9-11
oldmanscene24: 9-11
Infyrnos: 9-11
Top_Shelf: 9-11
Vector: 8-12
Stele: 8-12
karmajay: 7-13
LeapingGnome: 7-13
cube: 6-14
Jowner: 4-1
Gumbie: 3-2
Docjoe: 2-3
Nomad: 2-3

Remember in 2011 when Joe Buck's voice seemed a tad off? Now we know why.

The NFL’s TV ratings are down from a year ago, prompting all sorts of hand-wringing from broadcast networks and advertisers.

I dunno... maybe the fact that the Bears, who are actively trying to out Browns the Browns at this point, have had 2 prime time games in a row so far this year, and will have another 2 in a row at the end of October?

Well at least I'm not last. But I don't like being down there below the oddsmakers.

I know 2 other folk also achieved 5-0 and lots got 4-1 but I got 5-0! Take that my American cousins.

cube wrote:
The NFL’s TV ratings are down from a year ago, prompting all sorts of hand-wringing from broadcast networks and advertisers.

I dunno... maybe the fact that the Bears, who are actively trying to out Browns the Browns at this point, have had 2 prime time games in a row so far this year, and will have another 2 in a row at the end of October?

I blame me not watching football.

boogle wrote:
cube wrote:
The NFL’s TV ratings are down from a year ago, prompting all sorts of hand-wringing from broadcast networks and advertisers.

I dunno... maybe the fact that the Bears, who are actively trying to out Browns the Browns at this point, have had 2 prime time games in a row so far this year, and will have another 2 in a row at the end of October?

I blame me not watching football.

You sneak peeks at Sterling Shepard when you think no one's watching.

*Legion* wrote:

Tampa Bay at Carolina: Oh boy. The NFC South is not the most pathetic division in the NFL only because the AFC South exists, and even then, only because they have Atlanta. The other 7 teams between the two divisions have all given up more points than they’ve scored, including the 3-1 Texans, and there’s six 1-3 teams between them. Carolina will probably be turning to Derek Anderson at QB, which as history has shown us can swing the team to one of two extremes. They’re also still missing Jonathan Stewart. Tampa Bay is missing Doug Martin, and Charles Sims is questionable and not certain to play, so we’re likely to see lots of backup running backs, and a pair of QBs trading interceptions. I’m taking Hurricane Matthew to spare us from having to watch this at all. But if the game happens…. I guess Carolina, although Tampa has this cool thing going where they score 30+ points one week and 7 points the next, and this would be the next 30+ point week. So there’s that.

There's the reason your NFL ratings are down, as this (!?) is the Monday night game. Even Jon Gruden and whoever took Mike Tirico's seat can't make this turd shine even if they started polishing it last Sunday.

For the Panthers, Derek Anderson almost certain will start. Cam's still in concussion protocol, and I think he'll stay in it at least through the bye week. LT Michael Oher's still out, so the much-maligned Mike Remmers will move from RT for the second straight game. CB James Bradberry probably won't play much because he's hurt, but CB Bene Benwikere is perfectly healthy, so expect whoever's catching passes from Jameis these days to have 200+ yards receiving. A bunch of other Panthers (TD58, Ginn, Tolbert, Funchess, CJ) are hurt, too. That's a big difference from last season, as Carolina for the most part missed the injury bug.

Carolina's schedule gets a lot easier starting Monday, and the last time the Panthers started 1-3 they ended up 12-4. But this team ... yikes. Hello, 7-and-9.

P.S. Matthew probably won't do much to Charlotte other than give it a little rain and maybe some wind. By Monday the weather should be fine.

Edit: Just as I post this .... I guess the NFL is planning for the worst, but the forecasts I've seen don't show any real problems in CHA or WNC. Down East will flood, but CHA is a long way from there.

Enix wrote:

P.S. Matthew probably won't do much to Charlotte other than give it a little rain and maybe some wind. By Monday the weather should be fine.

That's what they all say until the hurricane makes the last minute swoop in an unexpected direction, then it's all oh noez gifs.

One thing I forgot for the top post:

Roberto Aguayo has a younger brother, Ricky Aguayo, who is now his replacement as Florida State's placekicker.

Florida State lost by 2 points last week. Ricky Aguayo missed 3 field goal attempts.

The NFL’s TV ratings are down from a year ago, prompting all sorts of hand-wringing from broadcast networks and advertisers. In a Rasmussen poll, a third of respondents said they were less likely to watch NFL games because of the protests led by Colin Kaepernick. That doesn’t fully explain away the drop, however.

Please note that Rasmussen leans conservative so 1/3 of those polls means only 1/3 of Trump supporters and I see that as a pretty good response.

the application is not working for me.

New England
Denver
Los Angeles
Dallas
Carolina

Those are my picks.

Rat Boy wrote:

Remember in 2011 when Joe Buck's voice seemed a tad off? Now we know why.

Wow, people actually get hair plugs? I always assumed that was something reserved for, well, white trash morons.

Wow my picks are really sucking this year.

On a similar note, Eagles OC Frank Reich talking about Dorial Green-Beckham: "His package has continued to grow."

Oh look, *Legion*'s favorite dominatrix cheerleader uniforms are back.

Rat Boy wrote:

Oh look, *Legion*'s favorite dominatrix cheerleader uniforms are back.

I came to the thread right now just to post this myself.

Drew Stanton vs Blaine Gabbert off to a predictable start: 0-of-6 combined.

This will surely change opinions about Thursday Night Football.

I have tickets for the TB Charlotte game. meh

Gabs really sailed that throw....

I don't know if I can watch this for 3 hours. They're not showing the cheerleaders enough.

TheGameguru wrote:

Gabs really sailed that throw....

That was the highlight of this game so far. My god this is bad

TheGameguru wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Gabs really sailed that throw....

That was the highlight of this game so far. My god this is bad

Niner fans who are driving from work down to the stadium in Santa Clara are listening to the game and opting to turn back around...

This is life with Gabbert. He teases you with some on target rocket throws, and later he's going to go back to missing guys by a mile.

Lol at the defense on that Fitzgerald TD

...I didn't know I wanted Playstation VR until 15 seconds ago.

This entire game is basically why ratings are slipping in a nutshell.

sh*tty teams, AARP commercials, goddamned stupid taunting penalties, and Phil Simms.

Watching this is bringing back horrible memories of Chips Eagles team. Thank god he is gone. Still amazed he duped another team with this scam.

*Legion*: 12-8
Certis: 12-8 <== muh lead!

New England at Cleveland: Really? Really? Really?

Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos: I do not trust the Falcons. They started 5-0 last year, right? That powerful offense was godawful against Tampa for about 2 1/2 quarters, almost all of their yards coming on Official Tampa Bad Safety Play(tm). They picked up, but they've so far gone against a Raiders team inexplicably missing its pass rush, and New Orleans and Carolina, whose secondary is pretty much a moderately-talented high school team. Their defense is awful, and Matt Ryan gets rattled when he gets pressured. Denver big.

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams: Largely because it's a really long flight and Rex Ryan is a douche. Case Keenum is terrible but this Brian Quick person keeps catching bombs on bad long passes. Why not his week?

Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys: Week five? About the time when good defensive coordinators have developed enough tape on rookie QBs to figure out tendencies and start compensating? Yeah, Cincinnati here.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: f*ck IT I'M GOING DEEP.

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