Random notes on NFC teams:
Arizona— Carson Palmer turns 38 on Dec 27; only 27 NFL QB’s have thrown 200+ passes at age 38 or older— 13 of those 17 are or will be in the Hall of Fame. Arizona had the oldest offense in the NFL last year; their time to win a Super Bowl is this year, or else. Over is 13-3 in Arizona road games the last two years; since 2014, under is 14-9-1 in Cardinal home games.
Atlanta— Blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, fired their DC, lost their OC, have a new stadium this year. Falcons scored 58 TD’s last year, punted 48 times with only 11 turnovers— they were only the third team since 1996 to score a TD on more than 33.3% of their drives. Now what? Underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in Falcon home games, since Quinn has been coach.
Carolina— How is Cam Newton’s shoulder? That is Question #1. Panthers were -2 in turnovers LY (6-10), after being +20/+3/+11 the three years before that (15-1/7-8-1/12-4). Over last four years, Carolina is 4-10-1 vs spread as a road favorite- their front office had in-fighting this winter— the GM got fired— will that affect the players?
Chicago— QB Mike Glennon played QB at NC State after Russell Wilson bolted for Wisconsin; then he went 5-13 over two years as a starter in Tampa Bay before they drafted Jameis Winston. He’s thrown 11 passes the last two years, is now renting the Bears’ #1 job until they decide that #1 pick Mitch Trubisky is ready to be the starter. Awkward situation.
Dallas— Dak Prescott makes $540K this year, $630K next year, which bails Dallas out of a lot of its salary cap quandries. Cowboys ran the ball 59.4% of time on 1st down LY, averaged 5.1 yds/rush on those runs, and averaged 8.9 yds/pass on play action passes. As a result, Cowboys faced 3rd-lowest number of 3rd downs in NFL. Will Prescott fight the sophomore jinx this year?
Detroit— As a Ram fan, I was frustrated by how bad OT Greg Robinson was for the Rams the last few years; now he is a Lion and is the LT, protecting Matthew Stafford’s blind side. Detroit’s backup QB’s are Jake Rudock/Brad Kaaya. Lions have lost nine playoff games in a row- their last playoff win was in 1991. If Detroit makes the playoffs this year, I’ll be very surprised.
Green Bay— Since 1992, Packers have had Favre/Rodgers at QB, two first-ballot Hall of Famers. They won Super Bowl in ’96 and ’10, lost in ’97- should they be winning more than they have? Pack made playoffs last 7 years and 14 of last 20 years, but are just 13-13 in playoff games since Favre won his Super Bowl. Last three years, Green Bay is 14-7-2 vs spread as a home favorite.
LA Rams— 31-year old Sean McVay was hired to develop Jared Goff as a QB, but before that, they have to put together an offensive line that can protect him. 35-year old Andrew Whitwroth was brought in from Cincinnati to play LT and fortify the line. Rams were 4-5 LY, led Miami 10-0 with 5:00 to go in Goff’s debut in Game #10— had they won that game, Jeff Fisher would likely still be the Rams’ coach.
Minnesota— Vikings went 8-8 with a +11 turnover ratio; no bueno; they had 54 third-and-1’s last year, converted 11-15 (73.3%) times when they threw the ball, 25-39 (64.1%) when they ran it. Sam Bradford is 32-45-1 as an NFL starter, 14-15 since leaving the Rams. Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff game since 2009; since ’05, they’re 1-4 in playoff games. Vikings have had eight #1 QB’s over the last 12 years. Bridgewater’s knee injury last summer was incredibly bad luck.
NJ Giants— Giants have had one #1 QB since 2005; Eli Manning has played all 192 games, and that is his greatest strength— he shows up to work every week. Giants won Super Bowl after 2007/2011 seasons, going 4-0 in playoffs both years; other than those two years, since 2001, Big Blue is 0-5 in playoff games. Have been in playoffs twice in last eight years, are 1-5 in Week 1 the last six years- they open vs Dallas this year for 5th time in last six years.
New Orleans— Does signing Adrian Peterson mean Saints will run ball more to protect a poor defense and a 38-year old QB? NO scored 400+ points the last six years, but made playoffs only once in last five years, going 7-9 in other four. Last three years, Saints are 5-13-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 5-0 as home dogs- they’re 3-8 in last 11 tries as a road favorite. Over is 16-8 in Superdome games the last three years; over is 13-11 in NO road games during that time.
Philadelphia— Eagles missed playoffs five of last six years; their last playoff win was in 2008, but they had to be happy with rookie QB Wentz LY. This will be first time since 2012 that Iggles had same #1 QB as year before (Michael Vick). Philly was 4-1 vs spread as a home underdog LY, after being 1-10 in that role from 2007-15. Eagles were favored in only two of their eight home games LY; the last five years, they’re 5-9-1 vs spread in home games vs divisional rivals.
San Francisco— Four head coaches in four years is never good; they’re 7-25 since Jim Harbaugh took his act to Ann Arbor. Over last five years, 49ers have averaged 3.96 starts per draft pick, which is poor, so John Lynch runs franchise now; smart guy, but he’s never done this before. As of June 3, 51 of 90 players on roster were acquired since Lynch took over- they let 27 of 31 free agents walk. Kyle Shanahan is the new coach, after helping Falcons win NFC title last season.
Seattle— Seahawks are 56-23-1 the last five years; they’ve won at least one playoff game in 8 of last 10 seasons, but throwing that INT on goal line at end of Super Bowl will haunt them until they win another Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is 8-4 in playoff games; he was a 3rd-round pick, just like Joe Montana, who was 16-7 in playoff games. Seattle is 6-10 vs spread as a road favorite the last three years; under Carroll, they’re 26-11 vs spread as a home favorite.
Tampa Bay— Bucs haven’t made playoffs since 2007; their last playoff win was the Super Bowl 15 years ago- they were 9-7 LY, their first winning season since ’10. Adding DeSean Jackson will give Jameis Winston another explosive option; listening to the first episode of Hard Knocks, this is a confident team that expects to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to play better at home. Last three years, Tampa Bay is 8-16 vs spread at home, 2-6 in divisional home games.
Washington— Sean McVay is in LA; they fired their DC, so two new coordinators this season for Jay Gruden, who goes back to calling plays. Skins were 17-14-1 the last two years; since 2006, they are 0-3 in playoff games. Last time Washington was a playoff game, Joe Gibbs was coach. Gruden is 4-8 vs spread as a home favorite; last two years, Washington is 9-4 vs spread coming off a loss. Last five years, over is 25-14-1 in Redskin road games.