Playoff Musings, and Patriots Implodings

LJ posted a very interesting article in the previous thread:

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/hotread180105/beginning-end-new-england-patriots-robert-kraft-tom-brady-bill-belichick-internal-power-struggle

and it details the power struggle behind the scenes in the Patriot organization regarding Belichick, Brady, and owner Robert Kraft. It of course touches on the Jimmy Garoppolo trade and the reasons for it and why he came to us.

The gist being:

The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.

There’s a whole lot more to the article around the power struggle of Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero, who was famously banned from the Pats sideline recently, Belichick and Kraft, and the rest of the machinations around the hugely successful run of theirs. The comments are fun as well . . .

Meanwhile, my favorite AFL team (mainly because of Otis Taylor and Len Dawson) , the KC Chiefs, are also at a crossroads. They weathered a Jekyll / Hyde season from Alex Smith and the defense by going 5-1 against the NFL’s best, then 1-5 vs the dregs before finishing the season on a 4-0 run. They got a solid start from Pat Mahomes, Young Sir Alex’s future replacement, against a Denver defense that didn’t rest their starters. No mean feat, but Denver is falling on hard times. Mahomes easily outplayed Paxton Lynch (remember Denver jumped KC to GET Lynch instead of Mahomes).

Reid is firmly in place having signed a five year extension this year, but I have to wonder if the Chiefs will give up on Alex should the Chiefs lay another turd in the playoffs. They have the Titans at home, and as usual, are fairly banged up from playing in the AFC West. I don’t see KC having too many problems with Ten, but as we all know, the wheels can fall off at any time in Rib City.

The Playoff Sched:

Saturday:

Tennessee @ Kansas City – 1:20 PM – ESPN
Atlanta @ Los Angeles – 5:15 PM – NBC

Sunday:

Buffalo @ Jacksonville – 10:00 AM – CBS
Carolina @ New Orleans – 1:40 PM – FOX

Interesting to note that the Titans are in the playoffs having missed them for the past 10 seasons, Jax comes in on an 11 year playoff drought, the Rams have missed for 13 seasons, and the Bills come in on a 17 year drought.

Atlanta of course puckered up hard and blew a 28-3 halftime lead last year in the Superb Owl. I figure they fold again as Jared Goff lights up a pretty solid Falcons defense.

The Carolina/Nawlins game looks to be a barn-burner. The Saints look to beqat the Panthers for the third time this year. No mean feat, but I think Brees kills the Panthers soft secondary.

As for thr Whodathunkit Bowl (Buff vs Jax), I have Saxonville taking the game with their defense.

 

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Draft Implications Be Damned!

Run the table! With this improbable and fairly unlikely event that we have found our guy (thanks, New England), the 49ers have the chance to run the table under Jimmy Garoppolo and his cast of also-rans. No mean feat when you see that the original squad to start the year had more talent on both sides of the ball, and mustered a 1-10 record.

So, to hell with the draft spot and take no prisoners! A 5-0 run to close the season would be a nice feather in the cap of this new front office and brain trust. Especially seeing as 3 of the 5 are potential playoff teams.

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This is Too Incredible to Believe. There is Hope After All!!!

I missed this in all the talk of GM John Lynch and Al Guido mingling with the brethren in the parking lot talking and glad-handing with the fans. I woulda shit a brick had I seen this beauty. It is almost too much glory for a fan to handle. I must say these guys are starting to get this shit right . . .  Enjoy!

Although I don’t get how those front wheels turn . . .

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That Was Fun (and Merry Christmas!)

In a very exciting game against the #1 defense in the NFL, the resurgent 49er offense laid a 44-spot on the vaunted Jaguar defense. Jimmy G directed the offense to a very solid 4 TDs in the red zone. Robbie Gould didn’t need to exercise his leg nearly as much as last week, and the struggling line actually played pretty decent.  There weren’t huge holes, but the run game got in the end zone 3 times, most notably on the 3rd and 8 with Jacksonville trying desperately to stage a big comeback in the final few minutes.

The defense was great up until 2 minutes in the 1st half and 2 minutes in the 2nd half. Not sure why we were dropping the LBs 10 yards off the line when the D was successful all game. This remains a mystery to me.

Beyond that, there were some weird calls by the zebras. Brieda fumbled a ball on a play that wasn’t reviewable, and some WR on Jax caught a ball, took 3 steps, fumbled the ball, and somehow did not make a football move in all of that. Dontae Johnson made his obligatory PI and mental errors, but was the recipient of a gift pick 6.

Speaking of the much-maligned DBs, they had 3 picks, and should have had 4 among the 50 passes by Blake Bortles. K’waun Williams made a spectacular one-handed grab on a deep ball, and Ahkello Witherspoon made a great adjustment on what looked like was supposed to be a back-shoulder fade that instead was picked.

But for the int in the end zone on a pass that was a sure TD that turned into an interception had not Garoppolo been hit while throwing, the blocked extra point, completely blown onsides kick, the game should have been easier that it turned out to be. But the Jags ARE a good team and the fought all the way to the end. This talk of franchising Jimmy G should pretty much end now. They need to sign him after the season ends next week. Anyone that can come in and direct this 1-9 team, one ravaged by injuries, to a 5-0 record, has to be thought of as the real deal.

Make it so . . .

 

And, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! Thanks one and all for hanging out in my little corner of the internet. With a shout-out to the New England Patriot organization for our early Christmas present in Jimmy G.

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Game Day ! ! Penultimate Game of the Season !

These last two weeks are going to be interesting to say the least. The Rams an Jags are bona-fide top-tier teams that are at the top of the heap. Win both, and the league would take us very seriously. Go 1-1 and it would be a nice statement to the league about our ascendancy. Go 0-2 and battle, well, same kind of thing.

Get shelled in both games? Well, the attitude would be we suck and are a couple years away. That’s the feeling now anyway, so a win in either game would be gravy, but our draft position would be much better. The higher the pick, the better the trade value. Two competitive losses would suit me fine, but hey, it would be great to see us knock off the Rams in prep for next year.

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The Surprising Jacksonville Jaguars

At the beginning of the season, there were very few prognosticators touting the greatness of the Jaguars. Shit, even local boy ROB!!! didn’t really think the Jags were all that. Most predicted a 7-9 record as their best-case scenario. And the rest were saying 4-12. Thing is, the Jags have had 5 games vs teams with winning records. Baltimore (44-7 win), Pittsburgh (30-9 win); Tenn (37-16 loss), LA Rams (27-7 loss), and Seattle (30-24 win). Not too shabby till you see that they lost to the Jets and the Cards amid their wins over shit teams like Cinn, Cleve, Hou, and Indy. They have us and Tenn, so that’s a grand total of 6 games vs winning teams. And Tenn may not even finish with a winning record, which would knock that down to 4 games.

Blake Bortles is doing his best Alex Smith impression by being conservative and not turning the ball over amid the 250 yard passing days, and the running of Leonard Fournette. And, of course, their epic defense. They are #1 in points allowed, turnovers, and sacks. Sounds like a pretty imposing thing, but then again, they have feasted on the bottom-feeders of the NFL, mainly their compadres in the AFC South.

Thing is, this could very well be the 49ers next year. We could  be the surprise team that takes the league by storm. The 49ers have a weak last-place schedule in 2018, and this favors us immensely going forward. As it did for Jacksonville this season. The 49ers this season play 10 games vs winning teams, but that will change dramatically next year.

Glancing at the sched,

  • HOME: CHI, DEN, DET, OAK, NYG, AZ, LAR, SEA
  • AWAY: GB, KC, LAC, MIN, TB, AZ, LAR, SEA

and we see 2 home games vs teams with winning records (LAR, Sea), and 4 road games vs teams with winning records (KC, LAR, Sea, Minn). Granted, this is a fluid situation as GB looks to be better with Aaron Rodgers back, but really, AZ is on a downward spiral, and Seattle may very well follow them down. The Rams are the team to beat now, but the Giants, Denver, Detroit, LAC, TB, Oak, and AZ should all be wins. Take one from Sea and that’s 9 wins right there.

10 wins is a possibility, but 9-7 seems pretty achievable.

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Big Win vs a Good Team

Well, the Jimmy G story just got a little more cred as the 49ers beat a solid playoff contender in the Tennessee Tuxedos and our ex-WR-turned-TE Delanie Walker. Walker paid early dividends for us by dropping a TD and fumbling, the drop gave us 4 points on the FG, and the fumble led to our only TD of the day, But the story of the day was the passing attack.

Jimmy G was 31-43 for 381 yards and a score. He didn’t take as many shots as last week, but did get sacked 3 times. He threw passes to 10 different receivers, including himself, and including 10 for 114 to Marquise Goodwin.  The defense had a very mixed day but in the end did a good enough job to keep the score close. Close enough for the last FG drive with 1:20 left in the game.

Encouraging signs were the 7-14 3rd down conversions and the 414 total yards. Discouraging were the red zone struggles, the lack once again of a pass rush, the 7 penalties (better than recent games but some really killer ones), and the 6-12 3rd down conversion rate given up.

In the end though, a solid win against a playoff team.

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