Thursday, November 3, 2016

NFL Week 9 - Brady for MVP

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find time to write last week. As I alluded to in my return post, sports blogging is a secondary hobby and takes a back seat to more important aspects of my life. As much as I want to consistently create content, sports writing will not take precedence over family dinner with relatives or happy hour with co-workers.

As we reach the halfway mark of the NFL season, essentially every team has visible flaws. New England is in a class of their own atop the league, but even they have some kinks to iron out (on the defensive side of the ball). Although he missed the first four games due to suspension, Tom Brady is currently the favorite to win the MVP by a wide margin. Since the star quarterback returned under center, the Patriots are 4-0, winning each game by double-digits and scoring an average of 34 points/game in the process. Fortunately for the rest of the league, New England is on a bye this week.

 Atlanta (-4) @ Tampa Bay - O/U 51

After dropping two straight winnable games, Atlanta bounced back and took care of business against a potential playoff team. Matt Ryan continues to look sharp, despite the absence of Tevin Coleman and limitations of a hobbled Julio Jones last week against Green Bay. While the defense remains a concern, the Falcons have established themselves as an upper-echelon team in an NFC Conference littered with question marks.

Despite their opponent committing an NFL-record 23 penalties (resulting in over 200 penalty yards), the Bucs failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Offensive tackle Demar Dotson summed it up pretty well in the video shown above. If Tampa Bay wants any chance to win the NFC South (and potentially earn a postseason bid), they absolutely have to win this game. 

Philadelphia @ New York Giants (-2) - O/U 43

My beloved Eagles blew a ten-point fourth quarter lead in an important divisional game against Dallas and ended up losing in overtime. Admittedly, I fell asleep during the third quarter so I can't comment too strongly on what transpired. After beginning the season 3-0, Philadelphia has dropped three of their last four. To make matters worse, seven of their remaining nine games come against teams currently above .500, with the exceptions being at Cincinnati and at Baltimore. According to numberFire, the Eagles have about a 50-50 shot to make the playoffs, which I personally think is pretty generous.

Dallas (-7) @ Cleveland - O/U 47.5

Despite leading his team to an overtime victory after trailing by double-digits in the fourth quarter, Dak Prescott looked like a rookie for most of the night. The former Mississippi State quarterback finished with a completion percentage under 50% for the first time in his young career and threw an egregious red zone interception. However, Prescott added 38 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown to help balance out his deficiencies in the passing game.

Indianapolis @ Green Bay (-7) - O/U 54

I've said it before and will say it again - Indianapolis might have the least talented roster in the NFL, and if it wasn't for Andrew Luck and an annual cupcake schedule, they would be bottom-feeders every year.

Broncos @ Raiders (PK) - O/U 44

The Derek Carr for MVP chatter is in full force after throwing for over 500 yards and four touchdowns last week. Although they have a 6-2 record, oddsmakers still don't respect the Raiders and the current market price of a PK (despite this game being played in the Bay Area) supports that notion. Considering Oakland is an unsustainable 5-1 in games decided by seven points or less, I'd have to agree that the skepticism is warranted.

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