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40-Something Thoughts, Predictions and Various Ramblings on the 2017 NFL Season

| September 3rd, 2017

Much indebted to Mr. Klein. A good and honorable man. And if CK wants to use the word elegancy you let him use it. He’s that kind of guy.

To the league we go! One thought on each NFL franchise, a bunch of thoughts on the Chicago Bears and a Super Bowl prediction!

  • The Bears are going to be a good team with a bad quarterback until they wake up and stop playing the bad quarterback. If Mitch Trubisky doesn’t get 8 or more starts in 2017, then 2017 will be a wasted season. Sadly I’m starting to think he won’t.
  • Think about Brock Osweiler, cut by the Browns at the end of this preseason. He’s 26 years old. He’s made $40 million. And he’s only been sacked 52 times in his entire career! So Osweiler made more than $769,000 per sack taken.
  • Fewest points in a 16-game season is 140 from the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. I say the Jets challenge that. You tell me how the Jets mount a single 80-yard touchdown drive this season.
  • Asked the Official Lady Friend of DaBlog, Ms. Sarah Scully, what she thought about the Los Angeles Rams. She responded, “I don’t.”
  • Andrew Luck is one of the best players in the NFL. And now Chris Ballard has a couple years to rescue Luck from the middle of the ocean, where he was abandoned by a pill-popping owner and the quite possibly insane Ryan Grigson. Colts finish last in the AFC South.
  • Two quarterbacks who have no business being on their current teams: Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo) and A.J. McCarron (Cincinnati). If the Bills hadn’t brought Tyrod back there’s a good chance he’d be on the Chicago Bears right now, sparing the fan base from the nightmare of Glennon. McCarron is better than all of the quarterbacks on the Jet, Jaguar, Colt (sans Luck) and Niner rosters.
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears. (Yep. 12-15 sacks.)

  • For the most part, I’ve stayed quiet on the Jay Cutler/Dolphins story. But I watched their third preseason game against the Eagles and one word kept springing to mind: comfortable. Jay looked comfortable in that offense, comfortable in that uniform, comfortable within himself at the post-game podium. I’ve never hid my affection for Jay Cutler, the man. I like originals and Cutler has never been anything but himself, even when the fans and media in Chicago were begging for him to be cookie cutter. I don’t think this is going to be a one-year fling with Cutty and Gase in Miami. Watch out for these Dolphins.
  • Don’t be surprised if Jordan Howard’s numbers (carries and yards) are down from 2016 for two reasons. (1) Tarik Cohen looks like he’s going to get a steady amount of action in a change-of-pace role. (2) Defenses are going to make Glennon beat them as long as Glennon is on the field. And, you know, he can’t.
  • This column has notoriously expected great things from the Chiefs year-after-year. And in the regular season they have delivered. But even though they’ve won 43 games over the last four seasons, they’ve yet to get by the divisional round of the playoffs. So I’m predicting a down year for Andy Reid and company. This means either (a) they’ll win the Super Bowl or (b) they’ll find themselves middle of the pack mid-season and make the premature move to Patrick Mahomes. Down year. Chiefs.
  • John Elway signing Brock Osweiler means one thing: Paxton Lynch can’t play. But nevertheless I can’t take Denver seriously if they insist on Trevor Siemian as their starting quarterback. (Sorry, Northwestern faithful.) 8-8 max.
  • 2017 MVP: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
  • From the Los Angeles Times: “It is embarrassing, I think, for both the Chargers and the National Football League, to be playing in a 27,000-seat stadium,” the Hall of Fame quarterback [Dan Fouts] said Monday in an interview with KNX-AM (1070).” Anybody wanna bet the Chargers don’t sell that place out, say, 4 times?
  • Bears leading receiver in 2017: Kendall Wright.
  • The fatal flaw of the 2016 New York Giants was their offensive line play. The fatal flaw of the 2017 New York Giants? Their offensive line play. It’s the same guys! Keep shuffling those deck chairs, Giants, but the Titanic ain’t missing the iceberg. Giants may have the best defense in the NFL this season but they will whiff block their way out of contention.
  • Alshon Jeffery’s season stats with the Eagles: 10 games played, 51 catches, 609 yards, 4 TDs.
  • Offensive Player of the Year: David Johnson, Cardinals
  • Surprise Bears stat of the season: Dion Sims, 9 touchdowns.
  • You know what I find interesting? The whole “Redskins” debate got replaced by the Kaepernick debate. Haven’t read a single word on “Redskins” this off-season. But it’s Kaepernick, Kaepernick, Kaepernick in every newspaper column, on every sports radio show, on all the screaming morning cable programs. Personally I find the word “Redskins” far more offensive than anything Colin Kaepernick has ever done.
  • How the NFC North Will Shake Out This Season:
    • I don’t think this is a particularly good Packers team but who is catching them? They could probably take the NFC North with 9 wins. 10-6.
    • Vikings are too good on the defensive side of the ball to drop below the two spot and Dalvin Cook will be a star if he keeps his head on straight. 9-7.
    • No clue what to make of the Lions year-to-year. Feels like 7-9.
    • Glennon.
  • If Sheldon Richardson is motivated and sane, the Seahawks defense will be a force. An absolute force. 26 year-old star defensive linemen don’t just get dealt to contenders in August every season.
  • Most exciting offensive Bear of 2017: Tarik Cohen. There’s something about this guy. He’s thrilling to watch. 
  • I just have nothing to say about the San Francisco 49ers. So I looked at their coaching staff page and found out DeMeco Ryans is working there. I found that interesting. Do you? (I don’t actually care.)
  • Sneaky good thing about Cowboys in 2016? Defense and turnover differential. 14th in yards allowed, 5th in points allowed, 9th in turnover differential.
  • Most disappointing offensive Bear of 2017: Kevin White. I just get the feeling it’s not going to happen for the kid.
  • Fun fact about the New Orleans Saints. Since the bounty scandal and ridiculous penalties imposed, the Saints have gone 7-9 four of the last five seasons. That’s almost impressive consistency in this league. But seriously, how is that possible? With Drew Brees and his absurd production? Sean Payton might be the most overrated coach in the league. Prediction for this season: 7-9.
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year: Christian McCaffrey, Panthers
  • Pivotal year for Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Both have had solid starts to their careers. Both are on up-and-coming teams. But neither had any expectations until 2017. Both the Bucs and Titans are expected to be in the playoffs this year and if they make it their quarterbacks will be the reason why. I’m going to ignore Mariota’s wretched preseason performance against the Bears and say both teams are playing in January.
  • Matt Ryan’s interceptions the last five seasons:
    • 2012: 14
    • 2013: 17
    • 2014: 14
    • 2015: 16
    • 2016: 7
    • 2017: I say he returns to the land 14-17 and it keeps the Falcons to the 9-win zone.
  • Bears interception leader this season: Kyle Fuller (5)
  • Blake Bortles was the only option to start the season for the Jags. His prize? The Houston Texans, one of the sport’s best defenses, in Week One. My prediction: Bortles doesn’t make it through the game.
  • I’ve got the Steelers opening 5-0 and coasting to an AFC North division title. Pittsburgh is just quietly going about their business again this off-season. A few contract things here and there, which is what happens when you have terrific players. They’re making a run this year.
  • Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to be a Pats fan. There hasn’t been a single season since 2001 that fan base hasn’t entered September believing they are one of the five best teams in the NFL and – most seasons – the best. They’ve been to six Super Bowls during that period. Six! But they’re not getting there this season. (See Super Bowl prediction below.)
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marlon Humphrey, Ravens
  • Bears defensive rankings this season: Yards – 12th, Points – 10th. (I’m a big believer in this Bears defense but they are still two key players – a top corner and a second pass rusher – from joining the top of the sport.)
  • Remember when Deshaun Watson was “ahead of any rookie quarterback” Bill O’Brien had been around? Well he failed to beat out Tom Savage for the starting job in Houston. The Watson Bandwagon went wandering off the trail after that initial preseason game.
  • Bears record in December: 3-2. (This is operating under the assumption that Trubisky will be playing in December. And no, I’m not convinced that will be the case.)
  • AFC Playoff Teams: Patriots, Raiders, Steelers, Titans, Dolphins, Bengals
  • NFC Playoff Teams: Seahawks, Packers, Cowboys, Bucs, Giants, Cardinals

Chicago Bears Season Prediction

How do you predict this 2017 campaign? Until I know (a) the number of games Mike Glennon will play and (b) the number of games he won’t, how do I accurately appraise the situation?  The Bears have the defense and running game to be 8-8 or better. But I think they’ll stick with their starting quarterback too long.

6-10.

Super Bowl Prediction

Seattle’s move for Sheldon Richardson struck me as the confident stroke of an organization that thinks 2017 is their year. And I don’t see a major challenger in that division so it won’t surprise me if they find themselves with home field throughout the NFC playoffs. If that’s the case, nobody is beating them.

And I firmly believe the Raiders were headed to the Super Bowl last season if Derek Carr were still behind center. So why not pick them not only to get to Minneapolis this year but…

Oakland 23, Seattle 20.

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