LAC 3-5 vs JAX 5-3 1:00 CBS
When was the last time anyone said, hey this game should be good? 2017 is kicking old thoughts to the curb. This match-up should be interesting. Jacksonville finally broke a record last weekend by winning at home, ending an almost two year drought. Still not sure I’d give them a home field advantage point, though. Everbank Field was built 5,000 years ago for a college crowd so noise isn’t usually an issue, plus LA and Jax aren’t cold places.
While Gus Bradley built Jacksonville’s defense and is turning around LA’s, the Chargers lack the talent to stop the run, something Leonard Fournette will exploit…provided the Jags OL aren’t nearly as banged up as their injury list shows. The rookie will be back to play and I’m guessing will be on a tear after sitting for three weeks- one from an injury, one from a bye and one from being disciplined.
The Jags just added Marcell Dareus to help Calais Campbell stuff up the middle. This is bad news for Rivers because if they stop Melvin Gordon, it’ll force them back to being reliant all on Phil.
It took LA a few weeks to get acclimated to the “new scheme” which is having Rivers under Center much more than in the past, which in turn is helping the run. After years of being a gunslinger, Uncle Phil has dialed up his short game, but the threat of him still keeps teams from wanting to load the box too often. If the Jags stop the run, that’ll force Phil to throw. Since Jax has a top secondary, it’ll be interesting if Rivers can find a way.
Tom Coughlin was fired years ago because the players convinced then owner, Wayne Weaver, that he was too tough and they’d do better without a drill sergeant. Two SB rings in NY and continuing losing seasons in the River City, brought Tom back. He and Doug Marrone, who also has a tough love mentality, have shown the players it works. They’ve even found a way to make Bortles appear good. Not great, but good enough.
Bortles has a couple things going for him, he can scramble and he does have a strong arm. Bradley knows this. He’ll have a choice to make because LA just doesn’t have the talent, yet, to stop the run and pass. Stop Fournette or contain the intermediate passes that Bortles isn’t bad at?
Against Denver, LA was able to basically keep just one safety deep and everything in front because Siemian was no threat. If they do that against Bortles, they’ll lose as teams are now finding out. True, Jags receivers can’t catch to save their life, so playing man isn’t too tough, but when they do, they can make good things happen. LA is better to give Jax the run to keep the score lower since Rivers is pretty good in fourth quarters at going hurry up and getting points up.
Even so, I think Jags can eke one out because their defense is no joke…provided Bosa and Ingram don’t murder him.
NE* 6-2 vs DEN 3-5 8:30 NBC
This is a game I wish they’d have flexed back to 4:05. When Peyton Manning played, this was the premier match-up. The Belichick/Manning Bowl. The last time Denver beat NE* in the regular season, the Broncos under Osweiler were getting their butts kicked. Then, Rob Gronkowski got hurt and after the half, DeMarcus Ware and Manning gave Kubiak pages of notes. Their brain trust, along with some generous help from the refs, saved the night…and our SB.
Osweiler is back in a repeat match-up; however, there is no Manning/Ware to help. While I’m sure the offense can muster more than the zero points Siemian and company put up last year, it’s still hard to imagine Denver tossing up many. Outside the Dallas game when they had no starting DBs, Denver’s offense has yet to put up more than 18 points.
Von Miller and his defense has given Brady* fits for years. Last season, they even held him to no TDs. In the AFCCG in 2015, they hit him so often, Bill fired his coach. Could Denver do that, again? Yes. The talent is there. Will they have the mental fortitude to play all four quarters with the intensity of rabid bears if the offense continues to be puke-worthy? That’s the answer to this game. With NE* bringing back TE Marcellus Bennett, their job just got more difficult.
As everyone knows, Belichick isn’t Mr Emotion, so it was telling during an interview last year when asked if he was afraid of Trevor Siemian, he guffawed and said, no. This year, he said Denver’s offense has the ability to be explosive. That is true, but he wasn’t asked if Osweiler or Siemian could make it so. Osweiler is a taller Trevor. Stop the run, force him to throw beyond 11 yards, and game over.
If Vance dresses only those two, Osweiler stumbles and he sends in Siemian, it won’t change a thing. So if he doesn’t dress Lynch, he or McCoy aren’t seeing reality and only hopes and dreams. I’m not saying sending in Paxton Lynch could save the day, only that B.B. has so little game film on him and his tools are vastly different from both, he could give the team a spark which could motivate the defense. Plus, if Brock is playing like Brock, it should be Lynch time vs the Bengals, and it would be a good thing to give the guy some reps first. That’s common sense though, which has been difficult to find the last couple years.
Emmanuel Sanders is questionable for the game. Demaryius Thomas, CJ Anderson, our RT, C and another WR had limited days. 3 WRs, yikes. Hitting those guys in stride early, will be crucial. First, it’ll be when they’re fresh, and best chance for YAC and will lessen the hits they’re unprepared for. Dumping off a pass to them in traffic for them to get killed is killing this offense.
If the timing is off and/or accuracy, Denver needs to use its TEs and dink and dunk down the field. Let those big bodied guys get pummeled, not the two lone WR stars. The offense has got to give the defense some hope. The fans hope, so they stay loud. FYI, I will be on the 50, row 31 and this gal only knows one way to be at a game…LOUD every single play until the game is over. I don’t boo and I don’t give up. I’m the embarrassing parent at sports events you can hear clear down the street. I’ll be sending good juju down on our bench.
This game comes down to two keys: hitting Brady* often and Osweiler not screwing up. If he does and Vance goes back to Trevor, he should be fired. That logic got Kubiak and his staff fired last season. You have a young, strong buck on the bench. Play him! Don’t keep going back to the same empty well of Siemian. If this makes some readers mad, I understand, but we’ve had three years of seeing Osweiler and Siemian play and they’re not good. Continuing to cook in fish grease and not expecting your fries to taste like grouper is insanity. It’s time to changes the grease, Vance, honey.