NFL 2020: Week 17

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Week 16 was delightfully bananas, especially if you're a Fins Fan (FitzMagic FTW) but less so if you root for the Browns or Colts. As much as I hate the Saints, I have to give it up to Alvin Kamara, whose six rushing TDs
tied a 91-year-old record set by this guy. ("This guy" -- aka Ernie Nevers -- scored 40 points to Kamara's 36 because he kicked four extra points). Even better, the final score in the Saints game was a Scorigami.

Speaking of fans, fans suck. I am long on record as hating most Panther Fans because a not-so-insignificant portion of those morons wanted Derek Anderson or Will Grier or any number of other backups to start in place of Cam because, you know, reasons. And before Sunday's game, a Twitter poll started by a columnist at the Charlotte paper asked Panther Fan if he wanted Carolina to beat Washington on Sunday. Seventy-five percent said they wanted an L as a belated Xmas present.

Think about this for a second. I never want my team to lose, and neither do the players on the field. (Except for the Lions; those dudes tanked against Carolina to get Fat Patricia out of there and guess what it worked.) But Panther Fan wanted his team not only to lose but to lose to one of the worst sports franchises on this and every other planet. The Football Team owner is a Grade A [email protected]. The minority owners are in open revolt. The QB who started Sunday's game might never throw another NFL pass. (Yeah, I heard the Panthers might be kicking the tires on him. That just reinforces the notion that Matt Rhule ain't as smart as he thinks he is.) I and much of the South grew up in the shadow (and media market) of this horrible organization and its abhorrent former nickname, and I hate this team with every fiber of my being. (Sorry, Ron Rivera, but you knew this going in.)

But Panthers Fan? HeY a LoSs WiLl hElP ouR DRafT poSItIon BeCauSe we NeEd a Qb!1!!

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/E6Pg06H9jlAndihww7/giphy.gif)

Going into Sunday, Carolina was looking at a top 5 pick, maybe No. 4 -- a prime spot to pick up a QB not named Evor-Tray Awrence-Lay, a guy who probably played only a handful of games in a weird season where Cincinnati, Indiana and something called Coastal Carolina are top 10 teams. In other words, you're going to put the future of the franchise in the hands of a guy who hasn't played much college ball. You know, someone potentially like this guy, who started for just one season in college:

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/iFfydN5CJbaRgx2QwZ/giphy.gif)

So who might you get with a top 5 pick? Here are some QBs who were picked between first and fifth overall since 2000:

Peyton and Eli Manning, John Elway, Philip Rivers, Andrew Luck, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Matthew "Matt" Stafford, Certis Wentz, Sam Darnold, Mitchell "Mitch" Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, BORTLES, RG3, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, JaMarcus Russell (first overall!), Vince Young, Carson Palmer, David "Mittens" Carr, Joey Harrington and Mike Vick.

And here are some QBs picked outside the Top 5:

Patrick Mahomes (10th overall), Aaron Rodgers (24th), Russell Wilson (3rd round), Ben Roethlisberger (11th), Justin Herbert (sixth), Josh Allen (7th), Deshaun Watson (12th), Dak Prescott (4th round), Jimmy G (5th round), BDN (3rd round), Kirk Cousins (4th round), Brett Favre (2nd round), Dan Marino (27th), Lamar Jackson (32nd) and Tom Brady (6th round, according to rumor and legend).

I'll admit: There are a ton of terrible and/or anonymous QBs picked outside the top 5, and there are quite a few Top 5 guys who have had great careers. My point is that a top 5 QB pick doesn't guarantee success. Moreover, a bad top 5 QB pick can ruin a franchise.

The Panthers, meanwhile, have the No. 9 pick as of now in next year's draft. I wonder if any team at any time has gotten a great player with the ninth overall pick. Hmmm.

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/VGhKuMdOo7tVXX5tKQ/giphy.gif)

Let me think about it and get back to you.

THE STANDINGS
(with percentages from 538)

AFC

Who's in: Bills (AFC East), Steelers (AFC North), Chiefs (AFC West, first-round bye);

Contenders: Titans (95 percent of making the playoffs), Ravens (92 percent), Colts (83 percent), Dolphins (69 percent), Browns (61 perent)

Up for grabs: AFC South and three wild card spots

NFC

Who's in: Packers (NFC North), Saints (NFC South), Seahawks (NFC West), Bucs (wild card and first playoff appearance since 2007; the Bucs haven't won a playoff game since the 2002 Super Bowl);

Contenders: Rams (81 percent), Bears (63 percent), Cardinals (55 percent), WFT (52 percent), Cowboys (26 percent), Giants (22 percent)

Up for grabs: NFC East and two wild card spots

WEEK 17 SCHEDULE
(with your coverage maps)

All games are Sunday this week, and I've listed them in order of (a) time and (b) significance. The playoff scenarios below are my best interpretation of this right here.

The early games will be bonkers because there are THREE win-and-you're-in games in the AFC (Browns, Ravens, Dolphins). The late games, meanwhile, decide most of the NFC playoff teams.

Strap in, boys and girls. Sunday could be epic.

Sunday early

Steelers at Browns
... Browns get a playoff spot IF they win OR Colts lose

Ravens at Bengals
... Ravens get playoff spot IF they win OR Browns or Colts lose

Dolphins at Bills
... Dolphins make the playoffs IF they win OR if Ravens, Browns or Colts lose

Cowboys at Giants
... winner of this game wins NFC East ONLY IF the Football Team loses the Sunday night game

Falcons at Buccaneers
Jets at Patriots
Vikings at Lions

Sunday late

Packers at Bears
... Packers get first-round bye IF they win OR if Seahawks lose
... Bears make the playoffs IF they win OR if Cardinals lose

Cardinals at Rams
... Rams make the playoffs IF they win OR Bears lose
... Cardinals sneak into the playoffs IF they win

Jaguars at Colts
... Colts get into the playoffs IF they win AND Ravens or Browns or Dolphins lose
... Colts win AFC South IF they win AND Titans lose

Titans at Texans
... Titans win AFC South IF they win OR if Colts lose
... Titans make the playoffs IF Ravens or Dolphins lose

Seahawks at 49ers
... Seahawks get first-round bye IF they win AND Packers lose AND Saints lose

Saints at Panthers
... Saints get first-round bye IF they win AND Packers lose AND Seahawks win

Raiders at Broncos
Chargers at Chiefs

Sunday night

Football Team at Eagles
... If Washington wins, the NFC East is theirs, kind of like that stuffed animal teeming with lice that my kids brought home from a festival that one time. But hey, it's a stuffed animal, er, early playoff exit.

PS: Four teams could break some pretty long playoff droughts (source). The Browns haven't been since 2002. You've also got WFT (2015) and the Cards (also 2015).

Enix wrote:

So who might you get with a top 5 pick? Here are some QBs who were picked between first and fifth overall since 2000:

Peyton and Eli Manning, John Elway, Philip Rivers, Andrew Luck, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Matthew "Matt" Stafford, Certis Wentz, Sam Darnold, Mitchell "Mitch" Trubisky, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, BORTLES, RG3, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, JaMarcus Russell (first overall!), Vince Young, Carson Palmer, David "Mittens" Carr, Joey Harrington and Mike Vick.

And here are some QBs picked outside the Top 5:

Patrick Mahomes (10th overall), Aaron Rodgers (24th), Russell Wilson (3rd round), Ben Roethlisberger (11th), Justin Herbert (sixth), Josh Allen (7th), Deshaun Watson (12th), Dak Prescott (4th round), Jimmy G (5th round), BDN (3rd round), Kirk Cousins (4th round), Brett Favre (2nd round), Dan Marino (27th), Lamar Jackson (32nd) and Tom Brady (6th round, according to rumor and legend).

I'll admit: There are a ton of terrible and/or anonymous QBs picked outside the top 5, and there are quite a few Top 5 guys who have had great careers. My point is that a top 5 QB pick doesn't guarantee success. Moreover, a bad top 5 QB pick can ruin a franchise.

Bit disingenuous, don't you think? Nobody would ever suggest a top 5 QB is a lock, but it just increases your odds of getting a better player. There's a pretty solid link between player quality and draft position; IIRC, PFR did some analysis of CareerAV based on draft position, and it's pretty linear. For every position on the field except one, drafting higher gives you better odds.

Spoiler:

EXCEPT FOR @#$!!! KICKERS.

Yeah, players get over-drafted all the time, particularly QBs, as we're clearly in a time where you either have a QB or you lose. Frequently, it doesn't work out, but, sometimes, you get the whole Josh Allen situation, who appears to magically have become competent out of the middle of nowhere. If there's a position to take a shot on, it's QB.

Go Ravens

MMD: I think you Aguayo'd my point (speaking of kickers), which is that Team Fan is more often than not a moron. Never root for your team to lose. Good teams figure it out no matter where they pick in the draft.

Last thread:

Enix wrote:

I'm not sure Jeff Garcia is making the point you think you're making there, Legion. I'd argue that Garcia was the first in the Garcia - Alex Smith - Shaun Hill line that quarterbacked a bunch of sorry 49ers teams for about a decade until Kaepernick showed up.

Garcia was a Niner for 5 seasons and went to 3 straight Pro Bowls in the middle of that span. He threw 113 TDs vs 56 INTs as a Niner.

I think people forget how good Garcia was for the 49ers due to how far he fell off post-Niners. I think people also forget he was a 29-year-old NFL rookie. He spent most of his prime in the CFL. That drop-off was him entering his mid/late 30s and aging out of his professional athletic ability.

I thought the drop off was the team trading him instead of TO. If he'd stayed a Niner things might have been different.

Hats off to Mason Rudolph for getting the start.

*Legion* wrote:

I think people forget how good Garcia was for the 49ers ...

Jeff Garcia went to the Pro Bowl three times?! I definitely don't remember that.

But Garcia had that one playoff win with the Niners, so, yeah, I guess he belongs up there with Montana and Young.

Enix wrote:

But Garcia had that one playoff win with the Niners, so, yeah, I guess he belongs up there with Montana and Young.

I'm guessing you missed this sentence in that post that was right before the 49ers part:

The other contenders are more like 2 all-time QBs with some Pro Bowl caliber guys mixed in alongside them.
Enix wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

I think people forget how good Garcia was for the 49ers ...

Jeff Garcia went to the Pro Bowl three times?! I definitely don't remember that.

But Garcia had that one playoff win with the Niners, so, yeah, I guess he belongs up there with Montana and Young.

Jeff Garcia may be the best QB my team had this century.

*Legion* wrote:
Enix wrote:

But Garcia had that one playoff win with the Niners, so, yeah, I guess he belongs up there with Montana and Young.

I'm guessing you missed this sentence in that post that was right before the 49ers part:

The other contenders are more like 2 all-time QBs with some Pro Bowl caliber guys mixed in alongside them.

That's not it. I just don't remember Garcia being any good or bad or really anything about him other than the fact that he played for the Niners 20 years ago. I mean, I guess he had some good seasons? TO and Garrison Hearst, I remember. Garcia? Only vaguely.

UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Hats off to Mason Rudolph for getting the start.

Hats off, helmets on? Are you calling for a hit on Rudolph?

Enix wrote:

MMD: I think you Aguayo'd my point (speaking of kickers), which is that Team Fan is more often than not a moron. Never root for your team to lose. Good teams figure it out no matter where they pick in the draft.

Any sane Jets or Jags fan would have been rooting for their team to lose late in the season; if you have an opportunity to get an actual QB in the next draft, there's nothing more important than that. As entertaining as it is to watch clips of Herm Edwards yelling about how you PLAY to WIN the GAME, the goal is to win the Super Bowl.

If the Bucs had lost enough games to draft Andrew Luck instead of Mark Barron, yeah, I think that would have been worth it.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Any sane Jets or Jags fan ...

The Venn diagram of sane people and Jags fans doesn't actually overlap! Maybe not for the Jets either, as it has been nearly my whole lifetime since they appeared in a Super Bowl.

I admit I was a homer and have Rodgers to win MVP this year on a couple of bets.

I'll freely admit Mahomes should probably win but... Then the tail end of the season happened. The Falcons and Miami games pretty much flipped what was a lock for Mahomes.

So now I'm essentially petrified going into a Bears game where if the Rodgers/Packers have a brain fart and the first round bye (really important) and MVP (way less important) could slip out of grasp.

Mitchell Trubisky needs to deliver some late Christmas presents in the form of interceptions.

Enix wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Any sane Jets or Jags fan ...

The Venn diagram of sane people and Jags fans doesn't actually overlap!

Goddamn, I was just sitting over here by myself. Why am I taking splash damage?

*Legion* wrote:
Enix wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Any sane Jets or Jags fan ...

The Venn diagram of sane people and Jags fans doesn't actually overlap!

Goddamn, I was just sitting over here by myself. Why am I taking splash damage?

You always hope to get splashed on. Don't lie.

garion333 wrote:
*Legion* wrote:
Enix wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Any sane Jets or Jags fan ...

The Venn diagram of sane people and Jags fans doesn't actually overlap!

Goddamn, I was just sitting over here by myself. Why am I taking splash damage?

You always hope to get splashed on. Don't lie.

Jagkakke?

Enix wrote:

MMD: I think you Aguayo'd my point (speaking of kickers), which is that Team Fan is more often than not a moron. Never root for your team to lose. Good teams figure it out no matter where they pick in the draft.

A couple weeks ago, I came up with a solution (or, at least, mitigation) to this issue:

Determine draft order based on the order in which teams are eliminated from postseason contention, instead of by final record.

By locking a team's draft order at the point where they are officially out of contention, you remove the incentive to lose games from that point on. If two teams are eliminated in the same week, apply tiebreakers at that point in time.

This also has the added benefit of being exactly how draft order already is determined for the 12 (now 14) teams that make the postseason. Get rid of having two separate rules determining order, and replace it with one consistent rule that applies to all 32 draft slots.

It doesn't solve the incentive problem for every corner case, but it is a simple and consistent extension of already existing rules that gets rid of the biggest issues.

FitzMagic isn't all that magical after all: He has the Covid and won't play Sunday.

Week 17 is shaping up to be extra wacky because of Covid and injuries. My favorite Fun Fact is that the Rams will roll out there Sunday with a former (and undrafted) Wake Forest QB whose first pass on Sunday will be his first NFL pass.

A month ago I would have said the Rams were a serious threat to make the Super Bowl (assuming they could survive the Packers). Now, not so much.

Fun Fact No 2: John Wolford is a Jacksonville, Fla, native, which means he could end up being the best Jax QB in the NFL in Week 17.

Edit: More bad news (an actual injury, not Covid): Packers' LT David Bakhtiari blew out an ACL in practice and is done for the year. Damn.

Enix wrote:

Edit: More bad news (an actual injury, not Covid): Packers' LT David Bakhtiari blew out an ACL in practice and is done for the year. Damn.

Brutal.

Packers were running pretty lucky on the injury front. They could lose people on the o line but Bakhtiari is a serious gut punch.

I think week 17 will determine which of the two QBs wins the award. Both are in the running, clearly, but I think Rodgers' has a bit more oomph to his claim with 70% completion rate + 44 TDs or whatever he has.

The thread title is breaking the forum spacing on mobile. Could you edit the seventeen to have a letter or two less please?

garion333 wrote:
UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Hats off to Mason Rudolph for getting the start.

Hats off, helmets on? Are you calling for a hit on Rudolph?

I’m not saying Miles Garrett should rip the helmet off the racist and beat him with it again. I’m just saying if someone less valuable it it, like a practice squad call-up for a COVID positive, I would be ok if that guy got a job as a low-level scout next year.

I guess there was COVID in the Superdome endzones last week.

*Legion* wrote:

I guess there was COVID in the Superdome endzones last week.

Oh come on, I was expecting something like "Kamara 6, COVID 19" or something.

Hed on PFT right now: Justin Fields gives Jaguars something to think about

Boy howdy it does. Guy has one* good game and now we have a draft controversy.

(* I'm sure Fields has had more than one good game before last night; this is the only time he did it with most everyone watching and against Evortray Awrencelay.)

Last night, I thought to myself that only a poorly run organization would use that game to justify taking Fields over Lawrence. Then I remembered who has the pick.

I will say, some of the throws he made after having his kidneys obliterated were impressive.

Fields still isn't in the conversation for QB1.

The question is if that game did enough to put Fields back in the conversation for QB2, a spot Zach Wilson had more or less taken over.

Anyone that gets too enamored with this game need only put on his next most recent game vs. Northwestern for a douse of cold water.

I'll be honest, I didn't realize there were any QBs other than Trevor Lawrence.

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