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NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020

We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them.
Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now.

1. Arizona Cardinals

Why they can win the division:
Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other.

Why they could finish last again:
Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league.

Bottom line:
I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020.

2. Detroit Lions

Why they can win the division:
Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough.

Why they could finish last again:
Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive.

Bottom line:
I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark.

3. Miami Dolphins

Why they can win the division:
When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game.

Why they could finish last again:
As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams.

Bottom line:
As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here.

4. Los Angeles Chargers

Why they can win the division:
First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy.

Bottom line:
In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division.

5. Washington Redskins

Why they can win the division:
These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game.

Why they could finish last again:
Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you.

Bottom line:
These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars

Why they can win the division:
I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period.

Bottom line:
The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now.

7. Carolina Panthers

Why they can win the division:
Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7.

Why they could finish last again:
Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season.

Bottom line:
The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

Why they can win the division:
We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates.

Why they could finish last again:
As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year.

Bottom line:
I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air.

If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) -
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube -
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Post Pull Depression - The Final(ish) One

Hello and welcome to Post Pull Depression, the only thread that ends today!
So yes, let’s just get this out of the way. This will be the final PPD for at least the foreseeable future. No jokes. You see, I fucked up. I had a great job where I could slack all day long and be able to do this high effort, low quality bullshit but then I went and did something stupid. I decided to take on more responsibilities at work. Stupid, very stupid. Might not even get more money for it either (now that’s really stupid). And so between that, PPD starting to feel like a chore, and with NV coming which are all just unit rehashes anyways it’s just time to stop doing PPD after 3 years and 150+ of them.
PPD Index
Now, I won’t be going anywhere. I’ll still be on the DHT, I'll still be drunkenly ranting on the blog, I’ll still do the Season 3 story recaps and the occasional Stingy Should You Pull, the Awards Ceremony (planning now in session for Q2) but it’s time to be relieved of the weekly burden.
However, if you thought I was going to quit before I got the chance to shit on WotV, well then you got another thing coming. Ah, one last forced 80s song for old time’s sake!
Now, let’s take a look at the FFT wannabe units!

MontMont Applesauce

Boring ol’ Protag #57830
I have actually played through most of the released WotV story and I can’t remember a single interesting thing about Mont. I was all set to say “unlike in real FFT with Ramza”… and then I realized there’s nothing that interesting with Ramza either. He’s a little too into his sister (and hopefully not “in” his sister) and there was the comedic “Where’s the Phoenix Down” scene. Aside from that, there’s nothing interesting about Ramza at all. Kudos to them for at least not going anime trope with him (how about he’s scared of ghosts and a tsundere!)
Anyways, my point is Mont is just as boring as Ramza. So I guess WotV nailed it?
Stone Throw - Physical damage (0.1x) to one enemy; Increase chance of being targeted (100%) for 3 turns to caster
Meeting Machérie - Increase ATK (50%); Increase LB damage (50%); Increase mods to shit
I think I need some help from people who either paid attention or were sober during the story, but at some point Macherie went from “you need to act like a real man” to “I absolutely love you with every fiber of my being.” This seemed to have happened really fast, but I also have no idea how many days the story is taking place over. It all seems like one really long night.
Destined Prince - Increase HP (20%); Increase ATK/DEF (40%) when equipped with a sword
This might be passable without the sword conditional, but with it it can just fuck right off. Free is not free when it takes up an ability slot and clutters the menu. This is Destined for the garbage.
STMR: Someone say Lion!?
Lion Emblem - HP+272, ATK+23, DEF+23, SPR+23, Enable 5 LB per turn skill
Bet Squall’s getting a huge hardon looking at another piece of Lion gear.
Why is the HP a weird 272 amount? Because that is what it is in WotV! Why does WotV have such weird HP amounts… uh I don’t know…

Depression: LOCKED

Sorry, you need Limit Break Level 5 to view this. Please go and slowly collect 200 shards and just be thankful it’s not a limited unit so the shards are always available and you aren’t stuck with like an LB3 Ramza forever… you know, for example. Nothing like pulling for a limited time unit and then having to grind for them during the limited time event as well! Oh how fun. You get to not have your cake and not eat it too!


It’s pronounced key-tone not key-toe-nay, they romanized it bad
A shinobi girl who serves the former kingdom of Leonis in Ardra. Originally from Saiga, she swore to serve Leonis for life.
Wow, FFBE gave her a single line for her bio. How generous of them. Then again, I don’t really know which is Kitone or which is Shadowlynx. I have no idea which ninja is on which side or really whose side anyone is on or whose line it is anyways.
It doesn’t help that half the people in the game are blond. Like all of Mont’s family should have been blond and then no other family. Instead you have Horne who looks too much like Mont’s dad whose name I can’t remember. Then apparently different houses have their special squads too like {{caelum}} and {{flagulmuffin}} and I don’t know why they do {{this}} to the name, I thought that was some white power thing or was that (((this)))? I don’t know because I’m not a piece of shit.
Anyways, it’s too goddamn hard to keep track of this. Only one hair color per house, and only one house gets special squads or all houses get ONLY one special squad. Imagine starting the FFBE story with all of the Sworn 8 and 8 Sages of Hess all jumbled together at once. That’s what this is doing.
TMR: Lame
Saiga Gauntlet - Accessory HP+142, ATK+43, DEF+26, 20% evade
Wow, a whole 20% evade on an accessory! This puts it in 5th place tied with fucking Sazh who was released in 2016 as a 4* 3* unit. And this is a rainbow on a collab banner.
The game has set a standard, and that's 25% evade on an accessory. Now, they can do one of two things, up the amount from the standard to 30% evade (people would be losing their shit over this) or match the standard at 25% and throw in some nice ATK or HP or something. You never lower the standard that you yourself has already set.
STMR: Somehow Lamer
Night-Blooming Flower - Increase ATK (70%); Increase equipment ATK (25%) when dual wielding; Increase lightning resistance (60%)
And it keeps getting worse! 25% TDW? Go fuck yourself! (PS: I’d watch Kitone fuck herself, she’s putting those kunai where? The handle part, not the sharp part I’m not that sick.)

Depression: LOCKED

Sorry, you need Awakening Level 6 to view this. Yes, that is different from Limit Breaking a unit. This doesn’t take shards! Instead it just takes a crapton of Rainbow Spheres as does everything else! Nothing like a universal bottleneck. Do you want to LB or Awaken or Awaken a Vision Card? Better choose wisely or just go buy a 10 pack in a paid bundle. Also, you need Rainbow Fragments of Thought too? Like there’s now a second semi-universal bottleneck as well. Wtf?

SterneSterne is not that stern

No, he’s not wearing an eye-patch
The younger twin born to King Oelde and Queen Helena of the former kingdom of Leonis in Ardra.
King Oelde! That was the dad’s name! Anyways, Sterne is the only non-blond member of the family which is why he turned evil. Spoiler alert. Just in case you have severe brain trauma and couldn’t recognize the Sasuke in the room immediately. Anyways, can’t really blame Sterne as he’s the bestest ever sword fighter and wants to lead the front line in battle but then his dad (whose name I can’t remember) was all like “no, you're not blond we’re sending Mont out.”
Ironically, I’m likely to pull him for his STMR and then bench him! True to lore!
TMR: The Fated Prince of Bel-Air
Fated Prince - Increase ATK (50%); TDH 50%
Not to be confused with Destined Prince. Fated and Destined are two totally different things.
STMR: The Good Stuff
Lion Armor - HP+434, ATK+38, DEF+38
So what’s so special about this STMR?
Wall of Field - Increase LB damage (50%); Increase dark resistance (50%)
Wtf is a wall of field? Anyways, it’s that sweet 50% LB damage that’s getting the hype. While this is just marginally better than AK Rain’s TMR, this is light armor while the former is heavy armor. So more LB boosting options for more units! Worth 24k + omni + STMR moogle? I dunno…

Depression: LOCKED

You need to have your 3rd job unlocked to level 12 to view this. Each unit has three jobs and their main job. But oddly, their first sub-job is also their main job. Take Ayaka for instance her main job is always White Mage (can’t be changed) and she can always cast Cure, Curaga, Holy and other stuff once learned. But if you want to cast Cura, Curada, Raise then you need to also equip WHM as her sub-job… because that makes a lot of fucking sense!

Post Pull Depression

I’ve been a little hard on WotV, but I am still playing it. Not really sure why. I am being a bit of a hypocrite too since the thought of spending money on the game just makes me chuckle and I mentioned earlier if a game isn’t worth spending any money on is it really worth playing? Shouldn’t I be spending the time playing a game that is actually worth spending money on? I dunno… Here am I doing it this way. I do enjoy the story, characters, art and music though and I keep my time commitment really, really low. I guess we’ll see what happens once I catch up to the story and when Agrias is released!
Well, it’s been a fun ride and I have zero ragerts looking back on all the time I “wasted” doing this. Like I said up top, I’m not going anywhere. Wherever a shitpost is needed, I’ll be there. I do want to thank everyone who has ever made it through an entire PPD start to finish, I know it’s tough. And while I do say that I write these for myself that is only partially true since if these things were to only get 3 or 4 upvotes and 2 comments each week, I would have stopped long ago. So a big heartfelt thank you to you all. Also, I’m not crying, you’re crying.
See ya some future banner!
(PS: I am planning on doing one for the last esper units and Vaan, and if those are the next two banners I’m going to look like a giant tool)
submitted by TomAto314 to FFBraveExvius [link] [comments]

The Tiger and the Dragon - Exploring the history of Indo-Chinese Relations

A couple of months ago I was watching an anime named Toradora when I heard a certain line
Since ancient times, the dragon has been the only beast to equal the tiger
Immediately my mind jumped not to the romantic relationship between the two main characters of the anime (whom were represented by a Tiger and a Dragon respectively) but rather towards Indo-Chinese relations. I of course wanted to the obvious thing that came to mind and try to create a shitpost "Efortpost" on Indo Chinese relations through the lens of the anime Toradora, but sadly, India isn't a tsundere and China isn't a calm, gentle giant. So said shitpost was scrapped
I did however start a draft with some actual research and with recent events, I've decided now is a great time to edumucate this sub on Indo Chinese relations.
This post will be focusing upon the problems and conflicts between India and China. Citing things on reddit is an absolute fucking pain in the ass, so citations will be sparse unless I want to link to a specific dataset, map, visual or account. I will however be able to source anything I type here on request.
Without further ado, let's jump in

The Ancient Past

India and China have had relations going back to ancient times, including trade, cultural exchange (fun fact: the guy who founded Shaolin was an Indian) and religious exchange (most notably, Buddhism). However, conflict between China and any of the various Indian entities was rare due to a small, little known mountain range known as the "Himalayas". The only notable war I know of was one between the Sikhs and the Qing in the 19th century, which the Sikhs were eager to end because of tensions with another empire, one which would be much more consequential in the modern day relations between India and China

The Lion and the Dragon

That great Empire of course was the British Empire. After the fall of the Marathas the main power in India at the time, the Sikhs remained the last major Indian power not under British control, and they too would eventually fall to the British. I could create a whole other post on the history of the British East India Company and the British Raj but that's not what we're talking about here.
India of course, while not ruling itself, was still very consequential to China in this period. The British grew opium in India, which would kick off the Opium Wars, which resulted in the national humiliation of China. Indian troops were used in both the Opium Wars as well as the Boxer Rebellion in China, as well as to guard any concessions.
But that's all in the past. What's really consequential is the borders drawn between China and the British.

The Disputes

So there's two separate border disputes between modern day India and China (you can see them on a map here) we need to discuss.
The first is a disputed area between Northeastern India, specifically Arunchal Pradesh/Tibet. Arunchal Pradesh is a state of India which is controlled by India, however, China claims that the region is a part of Southern Tibet. This conflict goes back to the McMahon Line, a border agreement to settle the border between Northeast India and Southern Tibet was signed by the British and the Tibetans in 1914. Of course, China today does not recognize Tibetan independence or autonomy, not now or ever, and claim that the Tibetan government had no right to sign such a treaty, as such, they claim the treaty is invalid. The disputed territory of Arunchal Pradesh is populated by a lot of people, almost 1.4 million as of 2011. And while it does have some problems with religious tensions between the Chrisians on one side and the Hindus and Donyi-Poloists on the other, it appears that save for a few insurgents, citizens of the state are generally happy as a part of India.
The other major conflict is to the north, near Kashmir in the region compromising Aksai Chin. The borders here are less defined. The British, who had just inherited Ladakh from the Sikhs, met with the Chinese to try to settle the border. There was no real sense of urgency, as Pangong Lake and Karakoram Pass provided good enough natural borders. But of course, just saying "let's use these two natural points as borders" is great and all, but it left a large region undefined, that region of course was Aksai Chin. Two treaties were signed by the British over the area, one with a then rebelling Xinjiang and another with some Chinese official at an embassy which either the Qing either didn't respond to or they did and accepted it? No one really knows, which sets a theme for this region.
As for who controls what on the ground here, while India and Pakistan have the Line of Control over Kashmir, India and China have the Line of Actual Control, which despite its name, is fluid and more of an idea than a fact. Yep. There's literally border disputes about where the border of the dispute of the border dispute.
To summarize, in Arunchal Pradesh, there is a permanent population and the border is somewhat more stable. No one knows what the fuck is going on in Aksai Chin

A Free TIger and a Red Dragon

On the 15th of August 1947, India would become a free nation once more. They were freed from British imperialism but would immediately be faced with many problems, including improving the conditions of the people of the nation as well as ensuring partition with Pakistan went smoothly (and when it didn't, to make sure Indian interests were secure). Ravaged by colonialism and war, India would begin a long and arduous process of nation building.
About 3 years later, the Chinese Civil War drew to a close. Mao Zedong had done it. After temporarily putting the civil war on hold to fight the imperialist Japanese, the Chinese Communists would soon resume their civil war against the Chinese Nationalists. A civil war which would effectively be over by 1950. Ravaged by colonialism and war, China would begin a long and arduous process of nation building.
The First Prime Minister of India, Nehru adopted a friendly policy towards China. China, which had concerns about Indian ambitions in Tibet, would see India stand by as China took Tibet by force. India under Nehru would pledge political non interference in Tibet.
Instead, Nehru would trade the physical buffer Tibet provided with a "psychological buffer" called the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence", a treaty of cooperation with China. Nehru desired peaceful relations with China as he saw them as fellow Asian nations fighting off colonialism together. This sentiment would become popular as the slogan Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, which roughly translates to India and China are Brothers would become popular among Indians.
However, despite Nehru's desires for a "Indian-Chinese" axis as a third power in the Cold War against the US and USSR and the insistence by Chinese officials that there were no territorial disputes between India and China, China begun to become more and more hostile towards India. This started when India accepted the Dalai Lama as a refugee in 1959, which would enrage Mao. China would proceed to invade India in 1962

The Naive Tiger and the Hungry Dragon

India was completely caught by surprise as they were still largely under the belief of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai. The unprepared Indians were trounced by the Chinese, who advanced in both disputed regions. The Chinese would withdraw in Arunchal Pradesh but captured Aksai Chin, which the Line of Actual Control comes from.
For China, the war achieved all its military objectives but did hurt its international image.
For India meanwhile, the war was a major turning point. Nehru was roundly criticized for his diplomatic strategy of "brotherhood" with an aggressive China. Patriotism and military spending would surge and China was, and still is to this day, seen as an enemy who betrayed India's friendly attitude. Heads flew as the defense minister was blamed and forced to resign, the military leadership was shook up and India became hypervigilant on both of its borders.
In addition, the war also had some domesitc policy consequences for India. It created a sense of national unity, but racist laws were passed against Chinese Indians who might be "traitors" (these laws were only repealed recently). In addition, the Communist Party were accused of being traitors and they ended up schisming in the war.
Lastly, Pakistan would try to attack in 1965 as they thought the Sino Indian war had exposed Indian weakness. The Pakistanis were repelled and Indian pride was restored to an extent.

The Vigilant Tiger and the Greedy Dragon

After getting stabbed in the back, Taiga India had done a total 180 on their China policy. Their military had modernized and was now ever vigilant on the Chinese border, just waiting for when China attacks again.
And they did. In 1967, India and China would have a localized dispute over trenches and barbed wire. This post has gone on long enough so I won't go into too much detail, but basically, China dig trench on Indian side, India says fuck off, India builds barbed wire, China says fuck off, India says no this is our side. Repeat
On 11 September 1967, the Chinese officer came and once more told the Indians to stop laying wires. The Indians refused. The Chinese then went to their bunkers and began open fire on Indian troops with machine gun fire, as well as starting an artillery barrage on Indian positions. Three days of skirmishes followed in which the Indians managed to destroy many Chinese bunkers. With many PLA fortifications destroyed and the advance of the PLA halted in its tracks, many in India considered this a victory and India in general was greatly pleased with the improvement of their fighting forces.

The Goat and the Dragon

Look at that, it's time for our side story! China and Pakistan! What do they have in common? Well they both hate India of course. To properly understand Indo Chinese relations, it'd be a mistake to leave Pakistan out of it.
China and Pakistan had border disputes of their own in Kashmir, however, after China had successfully defeated its archrival in 1963, Pakistan would cede all disputed lands to instead ally Pakistan against India. Pakistan would come to rely on China as it's main ally against India and China would use Pakistan as a counter to India, providing political and economic aid.
China was unable to help Pakistan in Indo Pakistani war of 1971 as India deployed troops on its border with China expecting just that possibility, however China and Pakistan's relations have deepened anyways, with Pakistan leaning more and more on China as its relations with the US deteriorate and betting heavily on China's BRI to help boost its economy.
Obviously, such close relations to Pakistan would only alienate India from China even more. While previously, the only disputes between India and China were just Arunchal Pradesh and Aksai Chin, which honestly probably were solvable, as China became more and more invested in Pakistan, India and China also started to have opposing views on things like the Kashmir issue, which was much harder to overcome. Thus India's relationship to China will always include Pakistan playing a third wheel

The Tiger and Dragon Practice Restrain

In 1986, India would make Arunchal Pradesh a state. This would result in raising tensions and troops on the border
But this time, unlike the others, it was diffused. Not a single life was lost in this conflict and the Indians and Chinese would agree to mutually lessen forces on the border. A breakthrough!

The Tiger and Dragon actually make some progress

Surprise! In the 2000's they actually solved a border dispute! China recognized the Indian State of Sikkim, which was previously claimed by China, as an official part of India. Various roads and borders were opened up to increase trade.

The Tale of the Tiger and The Two Dragons

Bhutan, affectionately known as the "Thunder Dragon Empire", is a small kingdom nestled in between India and China. The nation has traditionally been a part of India but has some border disputes with China of its own.
In one of these disputed territories, China wished to build a road. In addition to the altruistic reason of wanting to protect its spherelings territorial integrity, India also wanted to protect its own. While India did not claim the region in question, if China managed to build the road, it would put the Siliguri Corridor, also known as the "Chicken Neck" at risk. Basically, a tiny strip of land which if occupied could effectively split India into two. India obviously did not want China to be able to split India into two.
China meanwhile believed that they have sovereign over the area and not Bhutan, and claim they should be allowed to do what they want on their sovereign land.
Indian and Chinese troops would gather at the border and face a tense standoff at the region, often being as the Indian media puts it "eyeball to eyeball". No shots were fired and eventually the dispute would end with the two nations deescalating and issuing conflicting claims, possibly in face saving measures. It is unclear if China agreed to halt road construction, though there have not been any further construction on the road so far. Regardless, this became a turn to a more assertive China policy from Indian lawmakers, and it didn't backfire spectacularly, signalling to Indian lawmakers that more aggressive options which would have been avoided in the past would be "on the table" now.
This is notable because it is the first conflict between the two which India started

The Current Conflict

An effortpost on current events? What? No one honestly knows everything that's going on in Aksai Chin (where the current conflict is located), however it does seem to be escalating.
There are multiple theories to why the conflict is happening, including various government wanting to show strength, China wanting to take advantage of the pandemic or Chinese concerns of an Indian road project on the Indian side of the LAC which would neutralize China's current infrastructure advantage over India in the region
The conflict has up until today been tame in nature, though as I'm sure you guys have heard, that is no longer the case. Both Indian and Chinese sources have confirmed there have been fatalities, with only Indian sources providing numbers. The Indian news source ANI has claimed a total of 20 Indian deaths, 34 Indians missing, and 4 injured. It has on the flip side claimed 43 Chinese deaths and 7 injuries.
The situation is volatile and I'm not going to claim to know what's happening on the ground.

The Big Picture

The future is honestly, rather pessimistic for these two nations. China continues to build relations with Pakistan as well as attempts to isolate India with its Sea of Pearls strategy.
India on the other hand, is becoming closer to the other nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an informal military alliance against China between India, the US, Australia and Japan. Notably, Japan and India are attempting to create an alternative to the BRI, India and Australia agree to use each others bases and Trump invites India to attend the G7
India has begun to move away from focusing solely on Pakistan towards focusing on both China and Pakistan equally. It is even possible, though currently unlikely, that India may abandon its traditional nonaligned position to formalize the Quadraliteral Security Dialogue into a real military alliance
China on the other hand will continue to attempt to isolate India and improve its relations with Pakistan, who in addition to a counterweight against India, have become a central part of their BRI plan.
Overall, expect India and China to fight more
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Will the Philadelphia Eagles win OVER/UNDER 9.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

The Eagles have been a good model of consistency. Over the past 20 years, they have had just four losing seasons.

It wasn’t always pretty, but Philly managed to secure the NFC East title with a 9-7 record last year. They closed out the regular season with a four-game winning streak to edge the Cowboys atop the division.

Unfortunately, Carson Wentz exited the wildcard playoff game early and the team couldn’t overcome his absence in a 17-9 home loss to the Seahawks.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Carson Wentz needs to be applauded for his 2019 performance.

He had to deal with numerous injuries to his receiving corps and yet, he led the team to a playoff spot and he finished with a career-high in passing yards with 4,039. He threw 27 TD passes versus 7 interceptions, while playing all 16 games for the first time since his rookie season in 2016.

In the season finale, his top targets were Boston Scott, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins, Deontay Burnett and Greg Ward. Outside of Goedert, none is an established starter in the NFL. The Eagles still secured the NFC East title with a 34-17 road win in New York.

Philadelphia selected Jalen Hurts late in the second round of this year’s draft. He transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma for his senior year since Tua Tagovailoa was projected to be the starter. Hurst was actually replacing Kyler Murray who had just been taken as the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft by the Cards.

Hurts did not disappoint in his lone season with the Sooners. He completed 237-of-340 passes (69.7%) with 3,851 passing yards, along with 32 TD passes and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 1,298 yards with 20 TDs on the ground!

His weaknesses are an average accuracy, inconsistent decision-making and a tendency to take off as a runner too often (sometimes when a receiver was open). He is likely to be used as a gadget player by Doug Pederson this year.

Nate Sudfeld will compete for the backup job. He missed the entire 2019 season due to a wrist injury he suffered during preseason. He was a sixth-round pick out of Indiana in the 2016 draft. He has attempted just 25 passes in the NFL in four years, so it’s hard to tell what to expect from him.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Miles Sanders’ rookie season was a resounding success. He led all rookies with 1,327 yards from scrimmage.

He carried a heavier workload as the season went on. During the first eight games, he averaged 8.3 carries per game, as opposed to 14.1 over the last nine contests (including the playoff loss to the Seahawks).

Jordan Howard’s injury at midseason contributed to the increased usage of Sanders in the backfield. With Howard gone to Miami, the sky’s the limit for second-round pick out of Penn State.

Darren Sproles retired and Jay Ajayi was waived. That leaves the door wide open for third-year man Boston Scott. He flashed big time last year and unquestionably passed my eye test. The 5’6’’ back is very explosive.

Scott made a name for himself in Week #17 as he had to step in for Sanders who sprained an ankle in the first quarter against the Giants. Scott went on to rack up 138 total yards and three touchdowns.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

This unit was decimated by injuries last year. DeSean Jackson pretty much played just one game, while Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor missed six and five games, respectively.

Despite playing under his age-32 campaign, Jackson showed he still has field-stretching abilities in his lone meeting last year. He was spectacular with 8 catches for 154 yards and a couple of scores. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season very often in his career though.

Jeffery is another aging receiver coming off a significant injury. He underwent Lisfranc surgery, which requires a long rehab period. He’s questionable for the start of training camp.

Since two outstanding seasons in 2013 and 2014 with the Bears, Jeffery has missed four games per year on average, while showing signs of slowing down on the field as well. His 11.4 yards-per-catch average last year was a career low.

To be honest, I feel like Jeffery’s time in the league is coming to an end soon. Lisfranc injuries can be tricky for wide receivers, and full recovery is even more difficult for guys above 30 years of age.

Nelson Agholor was a younger WR who could have provided adequate depth, but he signed with the Raiders. The former first-rounder has not lived up to expectations, but he was still a decent pass catcher, albeit his drops were a big issue last year. Maybe a change of scenery will help rejuvenate his career.

Philly drafted Jalen Reagor with the #11 pick overall last April. He’s a smallish deep threat who is at his best on straight routes. He was good with contested catches, but will it still be the case in the NFL given his size? That’s a big question mark.

Reagor opened a lot of eyes by scoring eight touchdowns as a freshman with TCU after being a high recruit out of high school. He followed up with a great 72-1061-9 receiving line as a sophomore.

Reagor’s numbers dropped quite a bit as a junior (43-611-5), but you can attribute that to having a freshman QB at the helm. He’s an electrifying player who can take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

The competition for the number three role is also likely to involve Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. These two guys have had completely different paths before making it to the NFL.

Ward went undrafted before joining the AAF. He eventually was added to the Eagles’ practice squad, and later on promoted to the 53-man roster until a depleted receiving corps forced him onto the field.

Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside had more of a “conventional” journey by being drafted in the second-round of the 2019 draft.

Such resumes would suggest Arcega-Whiteside would be the superior wideout, but that’s not what we saw on the field. He only caught 10-of-22 targets for a disappointing 45% catch rate. He was rarely targeted down the stretch, despite the numerous injuries at the position.

On the other hand, Ward filled in admirably late in the season. Over the final four meetings, including the playoff game, he caught 20-of-25 targets (an 80% catch rate). He clearly deserves a shot as a top reserve for the upcoming season.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

The Eagles have a nice duo at the tight end position with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.

Ertz is a true warrior. He hasn’t missed more than two games in each of his first seven season in the league. Last year, he played with two rib fractures one week after lacerating his kidney. Talk about a tough guy.

His numbers are also staggering. His lowest figures in terms of receptions and receiving yards over the past five years are 74 and 816. That’s truly remarkable! Please note that he’ll be turning 30 years old during the season.

Just like Ertz, Goedert is also a former second-rounder. However, he is four years younger. He caught 58 passes for 607 yards and 5 TDs, all career-highs. He was targeted 4 times per game on average before the team’s bye week versus an average of 7.9 for the remainder of the year. Granted, injuries to other targets probably boosted his numbers, but he still developed nice chemistry with Wentz.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Eagles have a heck of an offensive line.

You cannot blame Jason Kelce for anything over the past five years. He hasn’t missed any start, while consistently being one of the top centers in the league. As a matter of fact, he was rated as the #1 center in the NFL according to PFF grades last year. He’s now 32 years old.

Left tackle Jason Peters has been just as good as Kelce. He was nominated to nine Pro Bowls in his career and he finished as the number 6 tackle in the league with his 83.4 PFF mark. Unfortunately, the team decided to let the 38-year old hit the free agency market. EDIT: he was re-signed three days ago (this article was written several weeks ago). He is projected to play guard instead of tackle.

Peters will be replaced with 2019 first-round pick, Andre Dillard. Is he ready to take on the full-time job? It remains to be seen, but it will be difficult to fill Peters’ shoes.

As for Lane Johnson, the right tackle finished as the 3rd-best tackle in the league based on the PFF grading system. He’s been very good throughout his seven-year career; the former #4 overall pick has not disappointed at all!

Brandon Brooks also had a huge 2019 season! He ended the year as the top guard in the NFL with a jaw-dropping 92.9 PFF mark. Much like Lane Johnson, Brooks is another player above 30 years old who’s been reliable his entire career.

Left guard Isaac Seumalo started all 16 games for the first time of his career. He’s the one that received the lowest grades on this OL, but finishing 17th out of 81 guards is nothing to be ashamed of! The former third-round pick from the 2016 draft is not as talented as his colleagues, but you could do worse than having him as one of your starters.

The team lost good depth with the departure of Halapoulivaati Vaitai to Detroit. The 2019 season was clearly his best year; it would have been nice to retain him but he signed a huge contract with the Lions.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

When comparing the upcoming 2020 season with last year, there are some positives and some negatives.

Let’s discuss the negative stuff first. I do expect a downgrade on the offensive line. They played at an extremely high level last year with four guys finishing among the 6 players at their respective position (based on PFF rankings). That’s unlikely to happen again, especially with three linemen aged 30 years or above.

Also, second-year man Andre Dillard has good potential, but it will be difficult to match Jason Peters’ 2019 performance. I do expect a drop-off here.

At quarterback and tight end, the situation remains stable.

At the running back position, losing Jordan Howard to free agency won’t hurt too much with the emergence of electrifying Boston Scott. Also, Miles Sanders is expected to take a leap in his sophomore season.

Finally, how could you not expect better production from the WR group? They were hit by the injury bug a lot last year. Agholor’s departure is a moderate blow; getting DeSean Jackson back is a bonus! Hopefully, speedy rookie Jalen Reagor can provide a spark to an offense that sorely missed game breakers last year.

The Eagles offense scored the 12th-highest number of points last year. My final conclusion, based on the arguments above, is that I expect similar production in 2020.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Fletcher Cox is an animal. Plain and simple.

Despite posting his second-lowest sack output of his illustrious eight-year career, he still graded as the 4th-best interior defenders in the NFL based on PFF rankings. On average, he has recorded 6 sacks per year (he only got 3.5 last year)

He has also been very durable; he’s missed just three games out 128. He still has good years to come at age 29.

Tim Jernigan was a decent starter next to Cox, but he clearly wasn’t needed on the team anymore after the Eagles signed stud DT Javon Hargrave. The former Steeler showed steady improvement in each of his first four years in the NFL. His 83.4 PFF mark last year put him in the 8th spot out of 114 DLs.

With Hargrave entering his prime years and Fletcher Cox being a perennial beast, good luck running the ball inside the tackles against the Eagles in 2020.

After playing three years in Indy, Hassan Ridgeway had a below-average season in his first year with the Eagles. He’s more of a rotational player, whom you hope won’t be needed as a starter.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Brandon Graham is 32 years old, but he refuses to slow down. He led the team with 8.5 sacks last year, and he has averaged six sacks over an eight-year period!

The guy also finds a way to stay on the field. Can you believe he has missed a single game in eight years! He’s been consistently good and remains a force, both against the run and rushing the passer.

Derek Barnett is a former first-rounder coming off a career-high in sacks with 6.5. However, his 2019 PFF grade was the lowest of his three-year stint in the NFL and he finished as the number 83 edge defender out of 107 qualifiers. He’s an “okay” player.

Vinny Curry played 38% of the snaps last year, but it does not appear like he will be back with the team. At the time of writing, he was still a free agent. He did pick up five sacks last year, but teams seem reluctant to sign him because he’ll be playing his age-32 campaign. He actually played pretty well when called upon.

With Curry gone, the team must hope Josh Sweat will elevate his game. The 2018 fourth-round selection posted his first four sacks of his career last year, but his 62.5 overall PFF mark ranked him as the 76th-best edge defender out of 107 guys.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

After playing four years in Buffalo and four years in Philly, Nigel Bradham was cut by the Eagles, mainly for cap reasons. He provided average play at the LB position; he was good in coverage, but he was a liability defending the run.

The team also lost Kamu Grugier-Hill, who signed with the Dolphins. You could characterize him as a decent player, albeit far from being great.

That leaves the team pretty thin at the position.

Nathan Gerry is the lone 2019 starter that is still with the team. He ranked as the 34th-best linebacker out of 89 players. He does not offer much upside, though. It would be stunning to see him crack the top 25 someday.

Can Duke Riley and/or T.J Edwards crack the starting lineup? Neither seem to be an up-and-coming star. Riley was acquired for peanuts prior to last year and he played 35 snaps. As for Edwards, he was an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin that did well in limited time last year. He proved to be stout against the run.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Philly’s back end has been revamped for the upcoming 2020 season.

The Eagles signed one of the best slot corners in the league: Nickell Robey-Coleman. He has received consistently good grades from ProFootballFocus over the past four years. At 5’8’’ he is pretty small, but you couldn’t tell from the quality of his game. He’s a nice addition.

Philly also acquired Darius “Big Play” Slay, who played the first seven years of his career with the Lions. He had a down year in 2019, but I’m not worried he can rebound in a new environment. He’s been covering opponent’s top receivers for a while in this league, and he’s done a good job at it. He has 19 career interceptions.

Ronald Darby’s career has been plagued with injuries recently and he was let go during the offseason. His PFF grade took an enormous drop last year, all the way from a respectable 70.6 in 2018 down to an abysmal 44.8 last year. He signed a one-year deal with the Redskins.

Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox are still on the team, but neither has proven to be an impactful contributor. Both graded as very below-average corners in 2019.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod both played the entire 2019 season. They ranked as the 32nd- and 52nd-best out of a bunch of 87 safeties.

The organization and Jenkins couldn’t agree on a deal, so the Eagles had to let him go after six very successful seasons. He picked off 11 passes during his six-year stint in Philly. He signed with the Saints, with which he spent the first five seasons of his career. Even though he wasn’t getting any younger, his present will be missed.

McLeod’s 2019 PFF grade was the lowest he had obtained over the past five years, but he still did a decent job.

Jalen Mills will be one piece of the puzzle in replacing Jenkins. But let’s face the reality: he has been pretty awful throughout his four-year career, except 2017 where he did better.

Another option will be newly acquired Will Parks, who is coming over from Denver. However, he’s clearly not a long-term solution either. He’s pretty versatile, but he’s a below-average player.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

This unit was upgraded quite a bit during the offseason at two positions, but it also suffered a severe downgrade at a couple others.

First, acquiring Javon Hargrave to team up with Fletcher Cox on the interior of the line was big! At CB, getting Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman will provide much needed help at a position that has caused headaches for years in Philly.

Unfortunately, the defense lost its best safety when Malcolm Jenkins signed with the Saints. Also, even though none of them was a true difference maker, losing linebackers Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill creates a hole.

Since the team acquired some big time players while losing good/average players, I envision a small improvement. In 2019, the Eagles finished in the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed per game (15th out of 32 teams). I envision Philly finishing around the #10-#13 spot this year.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small upgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Eagles are expected to win 9.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9.5 WINS 42.3% FanDuel -105 -17.4%
UNDER 9.5 WINS 57.7% Pinnacle -103 +13.7%
Tip: Bet UNDER 9.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +13.7%
Rank: 19th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -136

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Eagles’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

I invite you to take a look at my other 31 NFL team previews! Good information if you are involved in fantasy football and/or if you want to be up-to-date on player movement and teams' strengths and weaknesses (for betting purposes)!


Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.

The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.

At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.

Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.

Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.

Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.

As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.

Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.

Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.

Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.

Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.

Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.

If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.

Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.

Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).

Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.

One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.

Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.

Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.

In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).

Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.

Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.

We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!

The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.

The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.

I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.

The QB and RB situations remain the same.

Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.

Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.

All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.

The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.

Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.

The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.

Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.

Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.

First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.

The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.

Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.

He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.

The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.

Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.

In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.

Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.

After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).

Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.

The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.

The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.

The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.

Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9 WINS 51.4% bwin +115 +10.5%
UNDER 9 WINS 48.6% Heritage Sports +100 -2.8%
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Full List of MEs as I remember them

I've been compiling a list of every ME that I experience. I'm only including those things that I have absolute memory of being a different way...I'm unclear on Froot/Fruit Loops and Sally Field(s) for example, so they aren't included. I also have not paid sufficient attention to geography to notice any changes there. I did pay a lot of attention to movies and pop culture though and I have a visual mind that makes patterns easily and naturally. I have two good friends who remember most of these just as I do and I'll note that we've been friends since around 2010. I met up with one of them the other day and quizzed her about The Thinker and Danielle Steele with NO prompting and she remembers them exactly as I do and has other memories tied to them being how we remember rather than how they appear to be now (like reading a Danielle Steele book on a long car ride and spending a lot of time tracing the letters in her name). She was as astounded as me to discover that these have changed in our reality. Which brings me to a theory as to why some of us experience them and others do not.....
I'm 40 and both of my friends who share these memories/MEs were also born in the early 80s - we didn't have tablets or constant access to any and all shows in the known Universe at all times. We watched the same movies on VHS over and over because there was literally nothing "good" on TV for most of the day. We played outside and took repeated notice of the yellow sun. On car rides, we read books or paid attention to our surroundings. We formed memories and patterns based upon our observations and we observed the same things over and over. It seems that the most iconic movies, quotes, artwork, etc. from our youth are those things that have changed. It's not just random little things - it's the symbols and quotes that were repeated over and over that we're told are different now. There's definitely a reason for WHAT has changed and I agree with a previous poster that looking at the WHAT can lead us to the WHY.
Ok, here's my list:
-The sun was yellow and larger than it is now – like twice as big
-Berenstein Bears
-Nelson Mandela died in prison in 80’s (twins on Cosby Show were named after him and his wife b/c he died)
-The Thinker clenched fist on forehead, elbow resting on knee
-American Gothic wife with dark haigray streaks looking forward (and maybe on the right instead of one the left (farmer’s left, visual right))
-VW logo connected
-Ford logo no curl
-Kit-Kat bars
- Monopoly man has a monocle 100% no doubt, looks ridiculous without it
-Curious George has a tail and hangs from it
-“Mirror Mirror on the wall”
-“Luke, I am your father”
-“Hello Clarise” (said when she enters the room for the very first time which is the whole point -it's super creepy that he knows her name before they meet and her response to him is something like "how do you know my name?")
-Pikachu with black zig zag on tail
-Tinkerbell spelling out Walt Disney with her wand in Disney intros
-King Tut mask – only cobra in center
-Risky Business dance WITH sunglasses
-Objects in Mirror MAY BE Closer than they Appear
-Danielle Steele
-Herbal Essence
-Chewbacca gets a medal (and bites it??)
-The Great Wave – no boats
-Judge Judy has a gavel and uses it a lot
-Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum have propellers on their hat
-Dogs Playing Poker green visor on the dog on the right in the center – taking bets
-Lion and Lamb
-Dolly's braces
-Life IS like a box of chocolates (note what it means that this has changed to life no longer IS)
-Shaggy's adam's apple
-"Fly, my pretties, fly!"
- Stouffer's made Stove Top Stuffing
-the car JFK was assassinated in had 4 seats
-Looney Toons
- I also remember the line "That's the beauty of it, it doesn't DO anything" but I cannot remember what it's from. Has to be something from the late 80s/early 90s that I watched repeatedly though b/c I can hear the line clearly and almost "see" the scene in my mind. It's two guys in their early 30s(?), the guy on the right is the one that says the line.
edit for clarification of memories, added additional MEs ya'll reminded me of
submitted by SpectralShakti to MandelaEffect [link] [comments]

Oathbringer prologue to ch 2 readthrough

Hey guys, its finally here! OATHBRINGER. A 2 year journey on its final voyage, for now.
For those who don't know, i follow through each chapter pausing the Graphic Audio to write my reactions down and i also read the book at the same time since GA have a habit of missing little bits here and there. I started on the WoK sanderlanche so for anybody interested you can go back and read my reactions to other books. I try to do 3 chs or so a day. Hoping to finish by oct 16th, my 21st, leaving me time to read the novella when its out, and be ready for RoW!
WARNING : Full Cosmere spoilers follow up to the chapter i am currently at in OB.
Here we go....
Oh my goodness. The moment I've been waiting for is here. Oathbringer. Lets begin.
To kill. To question. And now, To Weep. I sense a theme here!
Oh my goodness. The writing in this paperback is so small to make it fit into one book😂😂
Ooh an Eshonai perspective. This should be interesting.
Wow. That's interesting that they were taught humans were monsters. I wonder if that came from their ancient Gods, the Unmade?
Gosh. Imagine feeling such awe and wonder, knowing what you have to do could tear it all down.
Yeah i was gonna say, the parshmen aren't merely some tribe. There's a LOT of them!
So they knew something was wrong eh. But never did anything. Or couldn't. I wonder if Rlain can shed some light on this later.
Eek. Klade doesn't survive it seems. Considering he's not one of the Five in WoR.
Its a good question isn't it. We have so many amazing works in the world, but at what cost when a lot of it is built off the back of slavery. Its something we have to wrestle with a lot recently.
Eshonai must be the explorer from the back of WoR since she likes exploring so much!
Oof is this a meeting of the Sons of Honor? Cus that's Amaram iirc.
He knows her name. He's picked out Eshonai for a reason. This is all a part of the plan. She just met him a little early.
So what happened to their other Shards eh. Sounds like the Alethi have more than they do.
That's interesting. Gavilar is conflicted inside between war and mate form. If he wants to make peace so much, why such conflict?!
I'm pretty sure we got this info in WoR about the similarities between Fabrials and the gemhearts they use for forms, but its good to be reminded. I wonder why exactly it does different things. What is the difference with the Parshendi that means they change forms but humans using a Fabrial don't?
Ah shit. The old Gods. We don't want them back Gavilar!
And what special gemstone to bring back the Gods would that be Gavilar?
He's mad. Mad! Wanting to bring back danger to get powers back so people can unite against evil? True madness. And Dalinar is hearing the same thing. Oh dear oh dear. What if Dalinar makes the same mistake?
Ooh so humans robbed parshemen of their ability to change forms. Sounds about right. I'm curious how now though.
Ooh this is the black rock or whatever and its of the Unmade. Wow. I need more on that! How can GA skip such an important piece of info, that it was of the Unmade?!
A voice led them to Szeth. Oooooh. Now that's interesting. Odium's?
Well that was a shorter prologue. Some fun info but other than that not much else there. A tad undewhelming but it did bring up some cool qs i now have.
Part One: Unite
Interesting its called Unite. I hope Dalinar doesn't make the same mistake as Gavilar.The viewpoints are some of the top characters i want to hear from! Lets dive in.
What an awesome map. I assume that tower is Urithiru. What the lion and dragon symbolism is idk. Dragon maybe frost? People at the bottom radiants? Cool we now know which countries have an oathgate in. Iirc the other 9 were locked. I hope we visit them all.
Chapter one: Broken and Divided
Yay the epigraphs! It must contain some juicy info if some people will feel threatened by it and say it shouldn't exist.
Yayy. Starts with Dalinar. And a vision! Omds these were some of my fave parts from WoK and i missed them in WoR. Back with our old pal Honor. What an atmospheric line. Sanderson always kicks first lines out the park.
Devestating storm. Is it though? Caused over highstorm levels of damage sure. But still, it didn't end the world or cause anything close to the level of destruction i expected. Ignore me though! I'm still a little salty about the anti climax feeling of WoR!!
Well that's handy. I wonder if it will be an Endgame kinda situation where we go back through to the past and have to find something there. At least we should be able to figure out more of what the visions mean.
Ooh yeah i hadn't thought about how the stormfather is now sorta Dalinar's spren. So we'll get to hear from him more I'm assuming. Isn't he kinda in charge of these visions though? Couldn't he just say no to Dalinar? Or is it just he thinks its a waste of time?
Cheeky little Edgedancer reference there. I can't even imagine being Dalinar and knowing the destruction to come, and nobody listens to you because they judge you by your past.
Well i suppose the storm returning to make even more stormform Parshendi is bad. But they kinda just disappeared after the first one anyway.
Clever of Dalinar to figure out that Honor would have unconscious stuff in the vision. So we can learn more about the past by exploring these visions.
Ooh maybe a Thunderclast or one of the other ancient beasts. They gotta return at some point presumably. I wonder when that will be.
See even the Stormfather agrees the storm isn't their biggest worry! I'm looking forward to catching up with the Parshendi.
Ooh queen Asuedan who in WoR was turning Kholinar into chaos but we haven't really met yet so i forgot until i reread the WoR prologue.
Ooh boi. Yeah the war is definitely coming. I could tell in ED!
Black shardplate. Didn't Dalinar have black shardplate as the Blackthorn? And why nine shadows? Shouldn't it be ten! I feel like that's an important clue. Red is Odium, on Roshar at least so that's not great😂
Ooh yeah Odium's champion. I reckon Adolin or Renarin are gonna take up their father's mantle as the Blackthorn and be corrupted by Odium as i suggested in my predictions post. Oh man this is so good. I wish we had had this chapter at the end of WoR. Woulda hyped me up so much and lessened the anticlimactic feel for me!
Unite them. Storms what does it mean. Cus it can't be like Gavilar and Amaram wanted. That got us into this mess. I gotta figure this out.
Oof so why didn't the Stormfather see Odium? That's odd.
Aha we are getting quick answers! I like it! The unmade are the ancient Parshendi Gods we know. And I'm guessing one of the unmade is what stormform bonds with. A spren of Odium. But still, why nine and not ten?
Aww these guys are too cute together. All of Sanderson's romances end up being cute tbh. Its brilliant.
I really hope Dalinar does manage to get Roshar on his side against Odium. But i don't think that's the way it's gonna go unfortunately.
Yikes. Doesn't sound great up in Urithiru. They need them some of those Connection medallions to warm themselves up😂😂
Ooh oathgate road trip, road trip, road trip! 😂
Seriously guys, this relationship, my heart just goes. And i normally really get bored with romance. It isn't my thing. But Sanderson has a way. Shame the GA misses some of this description out but lucky i read along with the book!
Adolin's been a naughty boy! Hope this doesn't ruin him. Sadeas deserved it, the little monster.
Ch 2 - One problem solved
Ha. One problem is most definitely solved! And good riddance!!!
Well this epigraph doesn't add much🙄 unless there's a mind blowing secret hiding in its plain facade!
Ooh yahhh our boy Adolin Kholin, monster slayer. 😂😂 that's my name for him now.
Man i keep imagining the scale of Urithiru and it blows my mind. Its for me like when I go caving and come out into a massive cavern and its so beautiful. But this is like 10 times that!
A new named character! Rushu. Cool name.
Eek. I'd forgotten Adolin had taken such damage. They better not be attacked. But it is just like Sanderson to have that happen!
Yeah this is gonna be a biiig problem. Few slaves to work and men don't wanna do it but they definitely won't have money to pay the men what they have been used to. I'm betting this whole thing is gonna fall into riots and chaos.
Uh oh. This is gonna get nasty. If riots by everyone wasn't enough we gonna have a death match between Bridge Four and Sadeas' men by the looks of things 😅.
Good old Teft!
Hmm. I'm not gonna so easily dismiss the fact he might've been seen elsewhere. Put that in my back pocket for later!
Damn Dalinar can pull off angry dad well😂
Eww. Ialai is still around. She's gonna scheme and try to destroy things still i bet.
A connoisseur of death. That's one way of putting it!
Well at least they think its an Assasin for now. Maybe Liss will be in the frame😬
Bunch of officers idk. Sanderson has an odd tendency to do that sometimes. Name dead characters we don't have a connection to.
Yayy. Sebarial. I loved his humour in WoR. Great character.
Betcha Aladar will turn up right at the last minute haha.
Well played Palona. Needed to be said.
Aww bridge four guys again. Sigzil the story man as i call him😂 so much love for these guys. Though i do wanna know more about Teft and what he was up to in WoR. Funny how he doesn't even suspect anyone in the room yet. I wonder when Adolin will be found out. Its gotta happen right?
Ooooh. I hadn't even considered that we're gonna see young Sadeas and Dalinar be chummy pals. Oh no. That's gonna be weird.
Urithiru is just wow. There's so much more we don't even understand and probably will still be finding out stuff in book 10.
Aladar has arrived! Lucky he did come and not in the middle of riots or something as i suspected . And there's now a daughter too! May is a nice name.
Lopen, everybody's fave cousin. Well tbh, seems like he's everybody's cousin😂😂 the ending was amazing for him. How did he even get these powers?
Ooh squires. So somehow there's some kinda Connection between a Windrunner and their squires. Now i really wanna know how that works. Obviously its tied to distance limits and are their powers limited too i wonder.
Yeah Aladar is pretty damning here but he isn't wrong. So that's fun.
Hang on Palona. A minute ago you were saying its good Sadeas is dead!!
Well we know the voidbringers aren't Congitive Shadows. But could they be both some form of spirit and Spren? I don't think they would be completely wrong in the history books but we definitely don't have all the info yet.
Wow. Dalinar is definitely acting like he is the king here. But the people do need leadership. So its a tricky one.
Wow. Imagine if Dalinar is the reincarnated sunmaker. But better.That'd be cool.
Aww poor Renarin. Still so doubtful and afraid. It's ok friend. I can't wait to see how he develops over the course of the book.
Personally i think this is a great start to Oathbringer and I'm looking forward to carrying on tomorrow with our first flashback!!
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Will the Chicago Bears win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

It was a roller-coaster ride for the Bears last year. They started with a 3-1 record before losing five of their next six meetings. They concluded the season by winning four of the last six games, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs.

After a NFC North title in 2018, Da Bears ended with a disappointing 8-8 record last season.

The offense was often criticized (deservedly so), and changes needed to be made.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Mitchell Trubisky has had an uncharacteristic journey in the NFL thus far. After being selected as the number two overall pick, he had a rookie season where he threw 7 TD passes versus 7 picks. He took a nice leap in his sophomore year with 24 TDs and 12 interceptions, while leading the team to its first division title since 2010.

QBs showing such a nice growth from year 1 to year 2 rarely crash down the following season, but that pretty much describes Trubisky’s third year in the league. He graded as the 30th-best QB in the NFL out of 37 qualifiers based on PFF rankings.

This situation was inexplicable. It’s not like the team had lost many key pieces on offense. What happened to Trubisky?

GM Ryan Pace has set up nicely a good QB battle in camp between Trubisky and newly acquired Nick Foles.

What’s interesting is Foles himself has had ups-and-downs in his career. He was outstanding in 2013 by throwing 27 TDs versus just 2 interceptions! He also led the Eagles to a Super Bowl in the 2017 season, after Carson Wentz went down to an injury. Foles also performed well in 2018.

However, he wasn’t so good in 2014, 2015 and more recently 2019. What type of quarterback will he be in the windy city? Who’s going to get the starting nod?

My own guess is Foles win the job early on. He is already familiar with the head coach, the QB coach and the offensive coordinator. Learning the playbook won’t be as difficult as if these guys had never worked together in the past.

Backup QB Chase Daniel left for a division rival: the Detroit Lions.

Overall, adding Foles over Daniel is clearly an upgrade over 2019, while also keeping in mind the fact that Trubisky may return to his previous form (which is not impossible for a young guy like him).

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

What the heck happened to Tarik Cohen? I have always liked small and fast guys. For this reason, he had become one of my favorite guys to watch. Watching him last year (and the entire offense) was sad.

His yards per rush average went from 4.5 to 3.3. His yards per catch average went from 10.2 to 5.8. He couldn’t get going all season long.

In 2017 and 2018, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were a great version of the thunder-and-lightning combo. Despite losing Howard, the production wasn’t supposed to drop significantly because of the acquisition of David Montgomery through the draft.

That’s not how things played out. The team went from 11th to 27th place in terms of rushing yards per game (from 2018 to 2019). Montgomery finished the year with a disappointing 3.7 yards per carry average.

Both Montgomery and Cohen will be back in 2020. Perhaps they’ll do better this year, but I don’t expect a huge upgrade either.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Finally a guy that has produced consistent results in this offense: Allen Robinson!

Catching 98 balls for 1,147 yards and 7 TDs despite such bad QB play was phenomenal! You can count on him to generate good numbers again, especially in a contract year.

A former second-round pick, Anthony Miller caught 52 passes last season after catching 33 the year before. The only blemish was the number of TD receptions, which went from 7 to 2.

Miller started the year slowly following an offseason injury that made him miss some time in camp. His role could be increased after the departure of Taylor Gabriel.

The Bears pulled the plug on the Taylor Gabriel experiment. After showing some flashes with the Falcons, he never lived up to expectations in Chicago.

Again, the production from this group may be steady in 2020.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

I’m sorry Bears fans, but one of the worst free agent acquisitions, in my humble opinion, was Jimmy Graham for two years and $16 million. The price paid versus the production doesn’t make sense at all.

If you look at his numbers, you can see a clear decline. His first seven seasons were a success; his lowest mark according to PFF during that time span was 74.7. Then, he received a 66.0 grade in 2017. And then 59.6 in 2018, followed by 58.0 last year. To make matters worse, remember that the last two years were with the Packers, who happen to have a quarterback named Aaron Rodgers (have you heard of him?).

Trey Burton was another huge disappointment last year. After catching 54 passes a couple of years ago, he only caught 14 in eight games. He was released and picked up by the Colts.

The team drafted Cole Kmet in the second round in this year’s draft. He’s a classic tight end who can do a little bit of everything. He provides good run blocking, albeit sometimes a bit inconsistent. He doesn’t have that much experience as a pass catcher since he only started racking up decent stats last year, but he has a big catch radius. He will likely need time to develop into a solid starter.

The Bears also have Adam Shaheen in their roster, a 2nd round pick from the 2017 draft. He has bust written all over him.

As if they didn’t have enough tight ends, Chicago went on to sign Demetrius Harris, formerly of the Browns. He graded as the 66th-best tight end out of 66 qualifiers. Enough said.

This group did very little last year. A bunch of six guys combined for 46 catches. Despite the questionable moves, I expect a small upgrade. Perhaps Graham can magically rejuvenate his career?

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Four out of five starters are returning: Cody Whitehair, James Daniels, Charles Leno and Bobby Massie. Only Daniels graded as above-average; the others finished in the middle of the pack (or even lower).

Kyle Long announced his retirement, while semi-starter Cornelius Lucas left for Washington. The new starter on the OL will be Germain Ifedi, who made at least 13 starts in each of his first four seasons in the league (all with the Seahawks).

In summary, we have a not-so great starter being replace by a not-so great player. Therefore, we can expect similar results to 2019, which was average play.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Inconsistency is a recurring theme for many players from this unit: Trubisky, Foles and Cohen.

My final conclusion is a small upgrade over 2019, mainly because of the QB position. The chances are fairly good that either Foles provides a spark, or Trubisky regains his 2018 form. However, don’t expect a MVP-type of season for any one of them.

The rest of the offense should expect similar output. Acquiring Jimmy Graham and Germain Ifedi is nothing to write home about, just as losing Taylor Gabriel isn’t a big loss either.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small upgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

The interior defenders did a fairly good job. Roy Robertson-Harris, Nick Williams and Eddie Goldman all graded as above-average DLs in 2019. Only Bilal Nichols received poor grades, but he played less often.

Nick Williams left for Detroit, but the Bears expect to get Akiem Hicks in 2020. He suited up for just five games last year. He’s been a dominating force for them the previous three years. His return on the field will make a big difference.

So, despite Williams’ departure, this group should do better in 2020 than the year before, mainly because of Hicks’ return.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Khalil Mack’s sack production went down in 2019 with “only” 8.5. He had recorded 12.5, 10.5, 11 and 15 in its previous four campaigns. Still, Mack finished as the #14 edge defender out of 107 guys. He is constantly disrupting plays from opposing offenses.

The Bears lost Leonard Floyd who went to the Rams, but they quick found a replacement with Robert Quinn, coming over from Dallas. Floyd is two years younger and averaged 4.6 sacks per season, while Quinn has gotten 8.9 sacks per year over his nine-year career. Quinn is a better pass rusher, while Floyd plays the run better.

All in all, I expect similar results as 2019 from this unit.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

One more guy who saw a dip in productivity was Roquan Smith. After receiving a 67.0 grade in his rookie season, he only got 52.4 last year. He played the run well, but his coverage and pass rushing weren’t nearly as good in 2019. I do believe the former #8 pick overall can come back very strong in 2020.

Danny Trevathan missed six games because of an injury, but he played pretty well when he was on the field. I am not worried about him.

Backups Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis both left in free agency. Both played very well while filling in for injured starters. Their losses take a blow to Chicago’s linebacker depth.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara were the clear starters in 2019. Despite finishing as PFF’s number 41 CB out of 112 qualifiers, Amukamara was released by the Bears for cap reasons.

Still, the team needs to replace him. Can Buster Skrine or Kevin Toliver assume that #2 role? I’m not so sure about that…

Chicago hopes to fill the void via the selection of Jaylon Johnson in the 2nd round last April. The number one concern about him is health; he has undergone through three shoulder surgeries over the years.

Johnson’s speed and explosiveness are below average, but he makes up for it with great competitiveness and smart-play.

3.5 Safeties (S)

We are rounding the defensive side of the ball with the safeties. Things were pretty simple in 2019, as both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Eddie Jackson played 99% of the defensive snaps. They ranked 19th and 46th out of 87 safeties, respectively, according to PFF.

The problem is Clinton-Dix is gone to Dallas. Last year the Bears vacated the vacancy created at the safety position when Adrian Amos left for Green Bay by acquiring Clinton-Dix, but now that he’s also gone they have a glaring hole at the position.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

The Bears allowed the fourth-fewest points in the league last season. Can we expect a similary good 2020 season? I doubt it.

First, the good news. Akiem Hicks is back from an injury that made him miss 11 games and the team acquired steady sack producer Robert Quinn from Dallas.

The bad news? Losing DL Nick Williams, DE Leonard Floyd, LBs Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, CB Prince Amukamara and S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. That’s a lot of bodies that need to be replaced. We’re talking about at least 4 new starters and some key depth.

Overall, my guess is it takes a moderate blow to the Bears’ defense. Their front seven is likely to remain very good, but the secondaries worry me. I wouldn’t fall off my chair if the team went from 4th-best in points allowed to the 10th-12th range.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Chicago Bears are expected to win 8.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8.5 WINS 38% Pinnacle +148 -5.8%
UNDER 8.5 WINS 62% -130 +9.7%

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Bears’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 25th-highest in the league, the Green Bay Packers!

I hope you found this article insightful, thanks for reading!

Professor MJ
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Will the Arizona Cardinals win OVER/UNDER 7 games? 2020 season predictions by University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

From 2013 to 2015, the Cardinals won at least 10 games in each of those seasons. They followed up with a couple of years where they finished close to a .500 record. Things got even worse in the past two seasons, during which the franchise compiled an 8-23-1 record.
Now in year #2 of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray, it’s time for Arizona to make a leap forward.

2. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Arizona Cardinals are expected to win 7 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?
Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:
Here are the results (excluding simulated seasons where they won exactly 7 games, in which case the bet ties):

Estimated prob. Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 7 wins 53.1% 10Bet -110 +1.4%
UNDER 7 wins 46.9% William Hill +110 -1.5%

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

3. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Kyler Murray had a very successful rookie campaign as Arizona’s new franchise quarterback.
Despite a suspect surrounding cast, he posted very respectable numbers with 3,722 passing yards, 20 TDs and 12 interceptions. He was also dangerous as a runner, as shown by his 544 rushing yards.
Murray was the victim of 48 sacks, but he was hard to catch. Indeed, he finished in 2nd place in terms of average time from snap-to-sack among all QBs in the NFL.
Now with one full year of experience under his belt, you can expect Murray to take a nice leap and improve his game even more in 2020.
Brett Hundley will once again back up Murray this season. The Cards must hope they won’t need him because he has never shown he could lead a team to success. The former Packer is clearly no more than a #2 QB in this league.

3.2 Running Backs (RBs)

The Cards got a nice bargain last year by trading a sixth-round pick in exchange for Kenyan Drake. He was nothing short of spectacular in his eight appearances in the desert by racking up 643 rushing yards over eight games. He also scored eight touchdowns during that short period.
During the offseason, the Cards re-signed him to a one-year, $8.5 million contract. The team also traded David Johnson to Houston, which clearly puts Drake as the starter.
Chase Edmonds will be the main backup runner. He showed some flashes with a nice 5.1 yards per rush average. The third-year pro is good insurance in case Drake gets hurt.

3.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Kyler Murray probably popped a bottle of champagne when he heard about the acquisition of stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans.
Losing David Johnson in the trade isn’t that big of a deal for the Cards, who already had good depth at the running back position. However, acquiring a big-time WR like Hopkins is HUGE!
Hopkins has played either 15 or 16 games in each of his first seven years in the NFL. He has averaged 1,229 receiving yards and 7.7 TDs during that time span.
He consistently ranks among the top receivers year in and year out. In 2019, he finished with an 87.8 grade from PFF, which had him ranked as the 5th best WR.
Unbelievable: Larry Fitzgerald is coming back for a 17th season! He did better than expected last season by catching 75 passes and finishing 53rd out of 122 qualified wide receivers in the league based on PFF.
Fitzgerald claimed he loved the culture under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and he wants to help the team both as a player and as a mentor for the younger guys.
Christian Kirk, a former second-round pick in the 2018 draft, had an okay year. His 62.5 grade by PFF had him ranked as the #91 WR (out of 122). With Hopkins drawing a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Kirk must make a leap in 2020. It remains to be seen if he can do it or not.
Arizona lost some depth at the position after seeing Damiere Byrd leave for New England, while Pharoh Cooper signed with Carolina. It’s not a huge blow to the team, but worth mentioning.

3.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

A young QB like Kyler Murray would certainly welcome some help at the tight end position, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
The top target last year was Charles Clay. He only caught 18 passes and is now a free agent.
All signs point toward Maxx Williams assuming the number one role. You’ll be surprised to hear he ranked as the 7th best tight end in the league according to PFF. His nice 79.1 grade was obtained via outstanding run and pass blocking.
In summary, the team is pretty thin at this position.

3.5 Offensive Line (OL)

One of the team’s biggest weaknesses in 2019 was certainly its offensive line. They allowed the 5th highest number of sacks a year ago, despite Murray being a mobile quarterback.
The only guy who finished above average based on PFF rankings was Justin Pugh (22nd out of 81 among guards). The other four starters were either average or quite bad.
The bad news? The team has not addressed the position in free agency. They did select Josh Jones in the third round of this year’s draft, though. He has a high chance of becoming the team’s starting right guard right away, despite many experts calling him a developmental project who needs work.
I can’t believe D.J. Humphries is going to be the third-highest paid left tackle in the league after signing a hefty contract this offseason. His paycheck is clearly not in line with his production on the field. In five years, he has played 43 games and missed 37 due to numerous injuries. He finally played through a full 16-game season last year, but he PFF gave him the 47th-best grade out of 81 tackles.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Overall, I expect a nice progression from this unit. Kyler Murray is clearly more likely to improve than to regress based on his young age. The running back position is set. The receiving corps got a gigantic boost with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins.
The tight end and offensive line positions remain problematic. However, if you compare with last year, it can’t get much worse. Building the line should be one of the top priorities for Arizona in the upcoming years.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade

4. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

4.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

This was not a position of strength for Arizona last year. Out of 114 DLs, here’s the final PFF ranking of the four guys who got the most playing time: Corey Peters 65th, Rodney Gunter 61st, Zach Kerr 42nd and Jonathan Bullard 94th. Ouch.
Now, Gunter and Kerr are both gone. Meanwhile, the team acquired Jordan Phillips from the Bills. He probably won’t be a savior as he finished in 104th place.

4.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Chandler Jones had an exceptional years with 19 sacks! Only Shaquil Barrett from the Bucs recorded more sacks.
Outside of Jones, Terrell Suggs played 13 games before being released by the Cards. He still managed to record 5.5 sacks.
Cassius Marsh played 38% of the defensive snaps and finished 70th out of 107 edge defenders. He signed with the Jaguars during the offseason.
In order to compensate for those losses, Arizona signed Devon Kennard, formerly of the Detroit Lions. He played 82% of the snaps in Detroit and finished 44th (out of 107) at the position. He obtained 7 sacks last year (7 more the year before).

4.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Jordan Hicks was a tackling machine with 150; only Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Blake Martinez (Green Bay) had more in 2019.
However, Hicks didn’t grade particularly well. He finished 43rd out of 89 linebackers.
Haason Reddick and Joe Walker both finished in the bottom: 86th and 79th. Walker left for San Francisco, which is not a big loss.
Arizona signed De’Vondre Campbell who played 89% of the snaps with the Falcons. Can he improve the linebacker play in 2020? I doubt it. His poor 50.1 grade gave him the 70th rank. Here are his grades the previous three seasons: 57.4, 69.1 and 55.7. He is a durable guy, but far from a great player.
DC Vance Joseph declared #8 overall pick Isaiah Simmons would primarily play at linebacker. Simmons was super versatile in college, playing many positions. He will provide good coverage against TEs and pass-catching RBs, while also defending the run efficiently. He clearly has Pro Bowl talent.

4.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Patrick Peterson is clearly the leader of this group. He was having a decent season, and was brilliant in the final few games. He finished as the number 39 cornerback out of 112 guys. He missed the first six games of the season because of a suspension.
There is not much depth behind Peterson, though. Byron Murphy played 98% of the snaps, but finished with an awful 48.8 grade. The 2019 second-round pick will need to elevate his game A LOT this season.

4.5 Safeties (S)

Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson provide an adequate duo of safeties. These two guys are still young and we can expect some improvement in 2020. They finished last year as #28 and #57 out of 87 qualified safeties. Baker accumulated 147 tackles, 4th in the NFL.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

No major changes for this unit. Given they’ve allowed the 5th highest number of points last year, that’s not good news.
The lone position where the Cards have improved this offseason is linebacker because of the acquisition of Isaiah Simmons via the draft and De’Vondre Campbell as a free agent from Atlanta.
Or perhaps the couple of young safeties can take a leap? Maybe, maybe not. It may be wishful thinking.
To summarize, the team added Jordan Phillips, Devon Kennard, Isaiah Simmons and De’Vondre Campbell. They lost Rodney Gunter, Zach Kerr, Terrell Suggs, Cassius Marsh and Joe Walker. To me, those changes offset. Perhaps it will turn out to be a small upgrade.
Final call (2020 vs 2019):
Big downgrade-Moderate downgrade-Small downgrade-Stable-Small upgrade-Moderate upgrade-Big upgrade
Thanks for reading!
Professor MJ
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Detroit Lions - 2020 Betting Odds Win Total Picks & Predictions Lions vs Bears Predictions and Odds (Detroit vs Chicago Picks and Spread - November 11, 2018) Chiefs vs Jaguars NFL Week 1 Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds & Line Movements Packers vs Bears NFL Week 1 Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds & Line Movements Lions vs Packers  LIVE Monday Night Football NFL Betting on SBR

Don’t forget the Lions are breaking in a new offensive line coach in Hank Fraley, who takes over for Jeff Davidson after being an assistant last year. Fraley is familiar with the players and the blocking scheme is expected to remain essentially the same, but it’s still another card that can collapse the whole offensive house. As the line shifts higher or lower, the odds will also adjust to help ensure the books are getting equal action on either side. How to bet on the Detroit Lions Moneyline. Moneyline betting is the quickest and simplest way to get betting action on your favorite team or whoever is playing against your most hated rival. Detroit Lions Recent NFL History, News & Betting Odds. We offer the latest Detroit Lions Game Odds, Cowboys Live Odds, This Weeks Detroit Lions team totals, spreads and lines. The latest Detroit team stats, NFL Futures & Specials, including Vegas Odds the Cowboys Winning the NFL Championship, Detroit NFL News & other info on the Detroit Lions. Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions Lines and Odds . Bet Type Spread. Spread ; Total ; Moneyline ; WAS Redskins 0-0: DET Lions 0-0: WAS Redskins 0-0: DET Lions 0-0: WAS Redskins 0-0: DET Lions 0-0 Chargers at Lions: Betting lines and picks Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET. Prediction. Los Angeles Chargers 23, Detroit Lions 20. Moneyline (The Chargers (-125) open up this game as a road favorite, despite some significant injury news this week.

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Detroit Lions - 2020 Betting Odds Win Total Picks & Predictions

Lions vs. Packers Monday Night Football Picks, NLCS Game 3 & NHL Live Odds Betting With The Bag - Duration: 1:31:22. SBR Sports Picks 2,543 views Lions vs Cardinals NFL Week 1 Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds & Line Movements ... Redskins vs Eagles NFL Week 1 Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds & Line Movements - Duration: 4:21. SBR Sports ... Jimmy and Donnie preview the week 15 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions. Catch their betting predictions and best plays on this game. Detroit Lions - 2020 Betting Odds Win Total Picks & Predictions Today Picks & Parlays expert Craig Trapp looks at the post draft and the 2020-21 NFL Win Total Picks & Predictions for the Detroit ... Bet On It - NFL Picks and Predictions for Week 8, Line Moves, Barking Dogs and Best Bets - Duration: 49:43. WagerTalk TV: Sports Picks and Betting Tips 62,181 views 49:43