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    Welcome to the Chicago Tribune's By the Numbers, a statistically minded look at the contenders and pretenders of the 2021 NFL season. We're approximately at mid-season, with the trade deadline coming up and seven or eight games in the book for all 32 teams. The playoff picture is starting to take shape, but in a lot of places it's awful jumbled--so we'll take a look at the numbers and try to make sense of it. We'll go division-by-division and team-by-team to tell you what has been, what is, and what might be. Not sure yet whether this will be a recurring series--if it is, it will likely only be occasional as opposed to weekly (and it probably won't be as long as this one). Quick note: Strength of played schedule excludes games involving the team in question. Strength of remaining schedule does not--that is, if you've already played 1 of 2 games against a division opponent, that game will be counted in strength of remaining schedule. This is just due to the fact that the former adjustment is easier to put in a spreadsheet than the latter. AFC East 1. Miami Dolphins (8-0) Scoring stats: 30.25 PF/game (2nd), 15.5 PA/game (1st), +14.75 PD/game (1st) Strength of played schedule: 25-28 (.472, 21st-hardest) Strength of remaining schedule: 26-31 (.456, 25th-hardest) Projected record: 14.0-2.0 Projected finish: 1st in AFC East, #1 seed in the AFC playoffs If you didn't get the memo, the Dolphins are good. Like, really good. Like, Super Bowl favorite good. Five of their eight wins have been by multiple possessions, and it hasn't really mattered how good their opponent is. They shot down the Jets and sailed past the Raiders, and that's just the past two weeks. With a 2.5-game lead on the rest of the conference and no sign of slowing, the Dolphins are favored to get the #1 seed in the AFC and earn their first playoff appearance since 2018. If Miami gets through the Rams without a blemish, they will be at a point where the conversation should shift to whether 16-0 is a possibility. As of now, they have a 9.9% chance of doing so; winning up to that point would get them into about the 25% range. Even if they don't go 16-0, this is the best team Miami's had since their two Super Bowl wins. Enjoy this, Miami fans. 2. New York Jets (5-2) Scoring stats: 29.71 PF/game (4th), 27.14 PA/game (25th), +2.57 PD/game (10th) Strength of played schedule: 25-22 (.532, 13th) Strength of remaining schedule: 32-34 (.485, 19th) Projected record: 10.4-5.6 Projected finish: 2nd in AFC East, #6 seed in the AFC playoffs We're coming up on six years since the New York Jets watched the playoffs on TV rather than playing in them. And more likely than not, that's not going to change this year...but for the first time in a while, there's room for doubt. The Jets started 5-0, but four of those wins came by one possession against three teams they probably should have beaten anyway (plus Jacksonville). They then were routed in the division showdown against the Dolphins before being upset at home by the Broncos in overtime. What's worrying is their defense: they're in the bottom quartile of the league, and they've given up 102 points in their last three games. As long as they can still throw points on the board, though, they'll be a playoff contender. 3. New England Patriots (4-4) Scoring stats: 27.0 PF/game (9th), 24.25 PA/game (16th), +2.75 PD/game (9th) Strength of played schedule: 27-22 (.551, 9th) Strength of remaining schedule: 29-31 (.483, 21st) Projected record: 8.0-8.0 Projected finish: 3rd in AFC East, miss playoffs, #17 overall pick unlikely to convey to Baltimore; also own Miami's projected #25-32 overall first-round pick The Pats are a bit of a strange team. Their point differential pegs them as a slightly better-than-.500 team, and the back half of their schedule shouldn't be quite as hard as the front half. But the projection still calls it a wash and expects them to essentially repeat their 4-4 first half in the second half. I think what's hidden is that there's a wide range for what New England is capable of. Maybe they pull an upset over the Jets in defense-optional mode and Old Man Reggie takes revenge against the Ravens to sneak them up to a playoff bid at 10-6. Maybe they lay a dud against San Francisco or Cleveland (either of whom could resurge down the stretch) and finish 6-10 to earn a top-10 pick. ...or maybe they do neither and finish a boring 8-8. They'll also have Miami's pick next year, so slipping down in the first round wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Maybe the next J.C. Weldon will fall to them. 4. Buffalo Bills (2-5) Scoring stats: 21.1 PF/game (24th), 27.0 PA/game (23rd), -5.86 PD/game (27th) Strength of played schedule: 25-21 (.543, 10th) Strength of remaining schedule: 31-36 (.463, 24th) Projected record: 6.3-9.7 Projected finish: 4th in AFC East, miss playoffs, #10 overall pick plus Houston's projected #9 overall pick The Bills are currently projected in a crowd of teams that are all projected between 6.0 and 6.5 wins. Despite the fact that they aren't strong on either side of the ball, a finish anywhere from 4-5 to 6-3 is certainly possible because they play a smorgasbord of beatable opponents: the entire AFC North, the under-new-management Cardinals, the hapless Chargers, and the mercurial Patriots. If they sell off any assets between now and the trade deadline, it'll serve the secondary purpose of gaining the edge over other teams they're competing with for draft position. Or maybe the primary purpose. AFC North 1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4) Scoring stats: 22.43 PF/game (22nd), 24.14 PA/game (15th), -1.71 PD/game (19th) Strength of played schedule: 15-30 (.333, 31st) Strength of remaining schedule: 35-33 (.515, 13th) Projected record: 7.0-9.0 Projected finish: 2nd in AFC North, miss playoffs, #14 overall pick In their first seven games, the Steelers have played one team with a record above .500 (the Raiders) and one team with a .500 record (the Patriots). They haven't won a game outside the AFC North. They've provided the struggling Bills, Pats, and Lions with a win apiece. They have a sub-.500 record and a negative point differential...and they lead the division. I don't know if that's the good news or the bad news. But what's unambiguously bad news is that their schedule reverts to the mean going forward. Their next five games include 5-2 Chicago, 2-5 Cincinnati, 8-0 Miami, 7-0 Green Bay, and the 5-2 Jets. The Colts and Vikings follow, and they're capable of catching lightning in a bottle and playing better than their 2-6 record. Bottom line: the Steelers have to win tough games to stay in the division race, and that's not necessarily going to be true for everyone else in the North. 2. Baltimore Ravens (3-5) Scoring stats: 24.25 PF/game (17th), 22.63 PA/game (13th), +1.63 PD/game (13th) Strength of played schedule: 27-25 (.519, 15th) Strength of remaining schedule: 24-34 (.414, 29th) Projected record: 7.5-8.5 Projected finish: 1st in AFC North, #4 seed in the AFC playoffs, New England's projected #17 overall pick unlikely to convey The Ravens are the opposite of the Steelers. They're a game back in the loss column, but they've largely survived the hardest part of their schedule with a record that will let them compete for the division. The Bears and Jaguars are the only teams above .500 on the remainder of their schedule, but New England and Pittsburgh could be toss-up games as well. Detroit is also a wild card. They're probably going to need 8 wins to take the division, if not 9. It's going to be hard for them to get more than that, though they've been competitive in every single game other than the season-opening drubbing by Miami. The Ravens are currently the division favorite because of their potential and their schedule, but the division is so volatile that this could change again next week. 3. Cincinnati Bengals (2-5) Scoring stats: 25.71 PF/game (14th), 31.71 PA/game (31st), -6.00 PD/game (28th) Strength of played schedule: 13-33 (.283, 32nd) Strength of remaining schedule: 36-31 (.537, 8th) Projected record: 4.7-11.3 Projected finish: 4th in AFC North, miss playoffs, #3 overall pick The Bengals have played the worst schedule in the league so far and emerged with a 2-5 record from it. They upset the Bears, they outpaced the Chargers, and...that's it. The only other .500 team they played was New England, who waxed them. Most recently, they made Brad Davis and Keith Dunn look like an elite backfield. They can score, but they can't score enough to keep pace with a defense that's giving up 31.7 points per game to (again) the worst schedule in the league. The good news is that they'll be in great position to draft a premier defensive talent at the top of the draft. 4. Cleveland Browns (1-7) Scoring stats: 20.25 PF/game (26th), 25.13 PA/game (18th), -4.88 PD/game (24th) Strength of played schedule: 31-19 (.620, 3rd) Strength of remaining schedule: 21-38 (.356, 32nd) Projected record: 5.2-10.8 Projected finish: 3rd in AFC North, miss playoffs, #4 overall pick In week 1, the Browns beat the Bengals. Since then, they haven't beaten anybody--but their opponents have included six projected playoff teams and the Steelers. They've lost four games by 3 or fewer points. And going forward, the 4-4 Patriots are the only team on their remaining schedule with a .500 or better record. If there's a team that's a candidate for a second-half turnaround, it's the Browns--the problem is that any turnaround starts from a 1-7 position. If they were to go an unlikely 6-2 with wins over the Bills, Texans, Vikings, Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals, then they probably still finish a game short of the division at 7-9. A perfect run would give them a shot at the playoffs, and they play good enough defense to do it. But unless they can start to score more, we're talking about the difference between a top-5 pick and a top-10 pick. AFC South 1. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-2) Scoring stats: 30.14 PF/game (3rd), 20.71 PA/game (7th), +9.43 PD/game (7th) Strength of played schedule: 21-23 (.477, 20th) Strength of remaining schedule: 36-33 (.522, 11th) Projected record: 10.0-6.0 Projected finish: 1st in AFC South, #3 seed in the AFC playoffs What kind of CAR runs the quickest? A Jaguar, of course. The trio of Christian Barkley, Asante Sowell, and Raheem Robinson pace the third highest scoring offense in the league, and they've established the early pole position for what is currently the most important division race in the AFC. (The second place finisher is not a projected playoff team, so as of now it's win the division or go home in the South.) The biggest thorn in Jacksonville's side right now is their home loss to Tennessee on Thursday night of week 2. They followed that up with a Sunday night loss to the Jets. Other than that, they've taken care of business--including a potentially valuable win over fellow AFC contender Kansas City. Jacksonville's performance also holds up when adjusting for opponent performance moreso than any AFC team not named Miami or Las Vegas. Their schedule gets tougher down the stretch with 7 potential playoff contenders in their final 9 games. They don't have to win them all; they just have to win enough of them. 2. Tennessee Titans (5-3) Scoring stats: 29.50 PF/game (6th), 25.75 PA/game (21st), +3.75 PD/game (8th) Strength of played schedule: 23-27 (.460, 22nd) Strength of remaining schedule: 29-30 (.492, 17th) Projected record: 9.6-6.4 Projected finish: 2nd in AFC South, miss playoffs, #20 overall pick If the Titans miss the playoffs by a game, their baffling 35-20 week 3 loss to the Bills will loom large. They beat the Jaguars on the road. They've otherwise taken care of business against non-contenders, though they were gored by the Raiders and edged by the Panthers. With Wheelin' Dealin' Wheeler at the helm and a stable of wide receivers that can run wild on anybody in the league, Tennessee is capable of scoring--but they're not unstoppable, and their defense is prone to lapses. Their next four games are against teams that are .500 or better--including the home game against the Jaguars. That's likely going to be their make-or-break stretch. 3. Houston Texans (3-4) Scoring stats: 26.29 PF/game (11th), 30.86 PA/game (30th), -4.57 PD/game (23rd) Strength of played schedule: 21-26 (.447, 24th) Strength of remaining schedule: 35-32 (.522, 9th) Projected record: 6.3-9.7 Projected finish: 3rd in AFC South, miss playoffs, #9 overall pick conveyed to Buffalo The Texans have given up 94 points in their last two games, which is less than ideal. It could be worse, because one of those games was a 45-42 win over Indianapolis (hold that thought). But the defense is getting rung like a bell and things are only going to get worse with Frederick Fain out for the rest of the season. This is a very high-scoring, low-defense division with all four teams in the top 12 in over/under per game. But Houston's surprisingly solid offense and usually absent defense make them the 2nd most shootout-prone team in the whole NFL. Again, it could be worse. They'll sell a lot of tickets that way, fans will come to watch Leshoure row, and they won't have to think about the fact that Buffalo owns their next first-rounder too. 4. Indianapolis Colts (2-6) Scoring stats: 24.5 PF/game (16th), 29.88 PA/game (29th), -5.38 PD/game (25th) Strength of played schedule: 33-19 (.635, 2nd) Strength of remaining schedule: 29-29 (.500, 14th) Projected record: 6.1-9.9 Projected finish: 4th in AFC South, miss playoffs, #8 overall pick conveyed to LA Chargers Much has been made of the Colts' runningback situation, and their lack of 1st- or 2nd-round pick will make it tough to address that problem next season. While their offense ranks ahead of their defense by a lot, it's fair to place that kind of emphasis on the run game because otherwise they have the tools for a top-5 offense. They have one of the best regular-season quarterbacks in the league and a ridiculously talented set of receivers. But they still score at an average rate, and they don't hold the ball long enough to give their defense time to rest. Even with a run game, they won't win if they're allowing 30 points a game. They should get some much-needed regression to the mean with their second-half schedule, but they would need a perfect second half (and some luck) to even think about the playoffs. They're in talks to sell assets (including trading Jeremy Bell), so the front office seems to see the writing on the wall already. AFC West T-1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) Scoring stats: 23.29 PF/game (20th), 21.71 PA/game (10th), +1.57 PD/game (14th) Strength of played schedule: 25-20 (.556, 8th) Strength of remaining schedule: 26-41 (.388, 31st) Projected record: 10.6-5.4 Projected finish: 2nd in AFC West, #5 seed in the AFC playoffs Run the dang ball, and good things will happen. The Chiefs' two-headed bull-headed attack has worked wonders with the departure of Thomas Wheeler. Perhaps part of its success is actually just the fact that it keeps the opposing offense off the field considering that the Chiefs are still just 20th in scoring, but it's pretty frickin' hard to argue with wins over the Raiders and the Eagles. The Raiders win will be particularly valuable if things come down to a division tiebreaker; however, the loss to the Jaguars could bite them in a wild card tiebreaker scenario. Truly the best thing the Chiefs have going for them (other than being a solid team) is that their remaining schedule is favorable. They have as many games remaining against teams above .500 as they have games remaining against the Chargers (2). A win over the Titans would put them in enviable playoff position; a loss wouldn't necessarily eliminate them. T-1. Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) Scoring stats: 32.0 PF/game (1st), 19.29 PA/game (6th), +12.71 PD/game (2nd) Strength of played schedule: 25-21 (.543, 10th) Strength of remaining schedule: 32-33 (.492, 16th) Projected record: 11.4-4.6 Projected finish: 1st in AFC West, #2 seed in the AFC playoffs The Raiders possess the point differential of a team that should be 6-1 or 7-0; instead, they're on the short end of the tiebreaker with the Chiefs. Their two losses have been reasonable: a 3-point defeat to the Chiefs, and a 7-point loss to the white-hot Dolphins. They have one other competitive game on their résumé, a 30-24 win over the Colts. Other than that? They crushed the Chargers and Steelers, they smothered the Broncos, and they opted not to remember the Titans. This team has that extra gear that a contender needs, but their baseline is so high that they don't usually have to rely on it. Barring health problems, expect the Raiders to kick it up in the second half; it would be surprising (though not impossible) for them to earn anything less than a first-round bye. 3. Denver Broncos (4-4) Scoring stats: 19.63 PF/game (27th), 21.0 PA/game (8th), -1.38 PD/game (18th) Strength of played schedule: 21-29 (.420...I see what you did there, Denver) Strength of remaining schedule: 33-25 (.569, 4th) Projected record: 7.9-8.1 Projected finish: 3rd in AFC West, miss playoffs, #15 overall pick The Broncos have had a solid couple of weeks, dismissing the Chargers in week 7 before going on the road to stun the Jets in overtime in the early-going this past Sunday. If they're finding their offensive footing with 69 points in two weeks (nice), this is a really good sign for them...for next year. They just don't have a route to the playoffs at this point, even at a respectable 4-4. It's likely going to take 10 or 11 wins to get a wild card spot, and the Broncos have one of the toughest slates remaining. They have the Giants and Chargers, yes. Apart from those two, their other six remaining opponents all have winning records. That includes the Eagles, Jaguars, and Raiders once each and the Chiefs twice. And in order to truly turn up the heat down the stretch, they'll need to keep up that level of offense against opponents that aren't 32nd and 25th in scoring defense like the Chargers and Jets are. Does Todd Jennings have it in him? 4. Los Angeles Chargers (0-7) Scoring stats: 15.71 PF/game (31st), 35.43 PA/game (32nd), -19.71 PD/game (T-31st) Strength of played schedule: 18-26 (.409, 28th) Strength of remaining schedule: 37-29 (.561, 5th) Projected record: 1.2-14.8 Projected finish: 4th in AFC West, miss playoffs, #1 overall pick plus the Colts' projected #8 overall pick The Chargers are the last winless team in the NFL and currently riding a 22-game losing streak. There's about a 29% chance that they finish the season without breaking that streak. Their best chance is probably their home game against Buffalo week 12; maybe they get lucky and the Eagles or Chiefs rest starters at the end of the season. Their only competitive games so far have been against the Bengals and Giants. They still have the Raiders again, the Chiefs twice, the Eagles, and the Cowboys. They should begin considering who they want with the #1 overall pick. Projected AFC playoffs: #3 Jacksonville Jaguars over #6 New York Jets #5 Kansas City Chiefs over #4 Baltimore Ravens #1 Miami Dolphins over #5 Kansas City Chiefs #2 Las Vegas Raiders over #3 Jacksonville Jaguars #1 Miami Dolphins over #2 Las Vegas Raiders ************************************************************************************************************************************ NFC East 1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) Scoring stats: 29.63 PF/game (5th), 18.13 PA/game (5th), +11.5 PD/game (3rd) Strength of played schedule: 25-24 (.510, 17th) Strength of remaining schedule: 25-33 (.431, 28th) Projected record: 12.5-3.5 Projected finish: 1st in NFC East, #2 seed in the NFC playoffs By adjusted margin of victory, the Eagles are the second-best team in their own division. Part of that is owed to closer-than-expected wins against struggling Detroit and San Francisco in the past two weeks. We'll get into why Dallas is so highly rated in their own section, but let's not sleep on Philly. They're certainly one of the two best teams in the NFC, and only the Packers' undefeated record keeps the Eagles from being a projected 1-seed. They have an early 2.5-game lead in the division (2 games in the loss column), and the NFC isn't particularly deep this year. The Eagles are playing well on both ends of the field, one of 5 teams in the entire league to rank in the top 10 in scoring offense and scoring defense. They're a playoff team, and they're probably getting a bye. 2. Dallas Cowboys (4-3) Scoring stats: 26.14 PF/game (12th), 15.71 PA/game (2nd), +10.43 PD/game (5th) Strength of played schedule: 29-15 (.659, 1st) Strength of remaining schedule: 33-33 (.500, 14th) Projected record: 10.5-5.5 Projected finish: 2nd in NFC East, #5 seed in the NFC playoffs When the Cowboys win, they're dominant. They held the Giants to 3 points, Washington to 9, and both Denver and Kansas City to 6. Two of their three losses have come by one possession, and all three have come to elite teams. So adjusted margin of victory is quite kind to the Cowboys, who are rated as the 2nd-best team by that metric when their record doesn't back that up. Essentially, how much you want to believe in the Cowboys depends entirely on how much weight you put on their schedule and how much weight you put on their potential. The back half of their schedule isn't easy by any means--their next five opponents are all over .500, though none of their final four games are. There aren't that many teams they need to outpace; if they go 3-1 against the NFC South, sweep the Chargers and Giants, and find another win or two anywhere else on the schedule, they should be in the playoffs. 3. Washington Football Club (3-4) Scoring stats: 24.14 PF/game (18th), 22.29 PA/game (12th), +1.86 PD/game (12th) Strength of played schedule: 25-21 (.543, 10th) Strength of remaining schedule: 31-34 (.477, 22nd) Projected record: 7.9-8.1 Projected finish: 3rd in NFC East, miss playoffs, #16 overall pick Washington probably isn't a playoff team this year, but that's okay. There were exactly two things that mattered this season: Tanner Bowman's development, and the team's ability to build around him. They're showing positive signs on both fronts. Bowman's been solid as a rookie, and their offense has improved by 8.7 points per game. The defense has quietly snuck into average (or maybe slightly above-average) territory. They'll want to grab a signature win to build on, but they've got the makings of a solid future in the nation's capital. Watch this space next year. 4. New York Giants (1-6) Scoring stats: 9.43 PF/game (32nd), 29.14 PA/game (28th), -19.71 PD/game (T-31st) Strength of played schedule: 19-25 (.432, 25th) Strength of remaining schedule: 42-25 (.627, 2nd) Projected record: 2.2-13.8 Projected finish: 4th in NFC East, miss playoffs, #2 overall pick They won a game. In scoring a season-high 19 points (which is a horrifying phrase to write) despite David Brezina's 10 of 21 effort for 75 yards and 2 interceptions, the Giants pushed past the Chargers to earn their first win of the season. They might win another one, though it's actually harder to pick a most winnable game for the Giants than it is for the Chargers. Washington is the only remaining sub-.500 team they play. The real drama will come down to two questions: will the Giants average a double-digit point total this season, and will they find a way to sneak back ahead of the Chargers for the #1 overall pick? NFC North 1. Green Bay Packers (7-0) Scoring stats: 25.71 PF/game (14th), 15.71 PA/game (2nd), +10.0 PD/game (6th) Strength of played schedule: 20-27 (.426, 26th) Strength of remaining schedule: 29-35 (.453, 26th) Projected record: 13.3-2.7 Projected finish: 1st in NFC North, #1 seed in the NFC playoffs Green Bay is one of three teams that are clearly above the NFC pa--er, above the NFC fray. It's their defense that's been leading the way, spearheaded by Marquise Reed and Julio Barnes in the secondary. The median team in the NFL gives up about 24.4 points per game; the Packers have held every single opponent they've played below that mark. (In fairness, three of them scored 23 or 24 points. But that's the most of anybody.) What's scary is that it's hard to say whether the Packers are playing at their full potential. Dan Nomellini's been overshadowed, and Jaz Durant has tailed off. But they're winning their games, they've beaten the good teams they've played, they've beaten the bad teams they've played, and their schedule favors them the rest of the way. Expect Green Bay to get a top-3 seed, if not a bye. 2. Chicago Bears (5-2) Scoring stats: 23.0 PF/game (21st), 22.86 PA/game (14th), +0.14 PD/game (17th) Strength of played schedule: 16-29 (.356, 30th) Strength of remaining schedule; 31-34 (.477, 22nd) Projected record: 9.4-6.6 Projected finish: 2nd in NFC North, #6 seed in the NFC playoffs Like the Titans, the Bears will have one game that they look upon with regret if they miss the playoffs by a game: a defense that's normally been solid this year gave up 34 points to the Bengals for one of Chicago's two losses. The Bears are 5-2 in large part because of several close wins, a sweep of the Vikings, and a 28-14 rout of the Rams on the road--but we're still talking about a team that struggles to block, struggles in the backfield, and relies almost entirely on receiving and defense. The good news for the Bears is that they don't need to be perfect, and they might not even need to be that good depending on how the NFC South and the Dallas Cowboys shake out. Again, the NFC's not that deep this year. A 10-win season in 2018 left them short; 10 wins this year could get them in. Taking a game from the Packers would also go a long way, though they'll also need to beat back the Lions at least once to prevent any pursuit from behind. This may well be Norris Brooksheer's last opportunity to make the playoffs as a Bear, and exceeding last year's win total in the first half of the season is a good start. 3. Detroit Lions (2-5) Scoring stats: 15.86 PF/game (30th), 21.43 PA/game (9th), -5.57 PD/game (26th) Strength of played schedule: 25-19 (.568, 7th) Strength of remaining schedule: 30-37 (.448, 27th) Projected record: 6.4-9.6 Projected finish: 3rd in NFC North, miss playoffs, #12 overall pick Like the Colts, the Lions' 4-year playoff streak is in serious jeopardy after an ice-cold start. The difference is that the cavalry is coming for Detroit in a way that it couldn't for Indianapolis. Keyshawn Thompson missed time with a foot fracture, but he's back now. Rob LeCount has been out with a wrist fracture, but he's reportedly medically cleared to play and questionable for Sunday's game against Cleveland. Blake Shell has been a serviceable stopgap, but the Lions' offense simply doesn't have a big-time playmaker without LeCount. With him, their offense moves up to the ranks of the average. That said, average offense and great defense can make a playoff team, and the Lions' defense has been unwavering. This is a team that will be dangerous from here to the end of the season. A 2-5 start is probably too much of a hole to dig out of and they essentially can't afford a loss, but it's not like there's an unwinnable game on their schedule. 4. Minnesota Vikings (2-6) Scoring stats: 19.5 PF/game (28th), 27.75 PA/game (27th), -8.25 PD/game (30th) Strength of played schedule: 29-21 (.580, 6th) Strength of remaining schedule: 23-35 (.397, 30th) Projected record: 5.2-10.8 Projected finish: 4th in NFC North, miss playoffs, #6 overall pick The Vikings seem to have taken all the misfortunes of the NFC North and rolled them into one package: their offense wasn't loaded with playmakers in the first place. Both sides of the ball are dealing with serious injury issues. They're not scoring, they're not defending, and they're not winning. Except when they're playing the Bengals or the Cardinals, apparently. While the first half was the tougher half of their schedule, being down six players for the season is going to make it difficult to actually do anything about the cakelike second half. They'll get Brian Vardell back in the next few weeks, but what good will that do? Prized rookie Luke Cobb is done for the year, so there's no connection to establish between him and Vardell. There's not much to play for other than pride. That might be enough. NFC South T-1. New Orleans Saints (5-3) Scoring stats: 27.0 PF/game (9th), 25.63 PA/game (20th), +1.38 PD/game (15th) Strength of played schedule: 27-24 (.529, 14th) Strength of remaining schedule: 29-30 (.492, 17th) Projected record: 9.1-6.9 Projected finish: 3rd in NFC South, miss playoffs, #18 overall pick The NFC South is by far the most competitive division in the league. Need evidence other than the fact that every team is within 1.5 games of the top? How about the fact that the Saints are projected to be within 0.2 wins of the division lead...which is still only the third-best projection in the division. Despite injuries to their receivers, the Devereaux and Jenkins (and Jamaal Brown-Sanderson) Show is continuing to light up scoreboards leaguewide. And more importantly, they're playing a modicum of defense! Sure, it's league-average defense at best, but that's the difference between them and the reeling Colts. The Saints are 2-2 in division play: a split with Atlanta, a home win over Carolina, and a home loss to Tampa Bay. Their next six games are all non-divisional, so they'll likely have a shot heading into the final two weeks of the season. Given that both those games are on the road, they will likely need to be 1 game up entering that stretch. T-1. Carolina Panthers (5-3) Scoring stats: 25.88 PF/game (13th), 25.25 PA/game (19th), +0.63 PD/game (16th) Strength of played schedule: 31-20 (.608, 5th) Strength of remaining schedule: 32-26 (.552, 6th) Projected record: 9.3-6.7 Projected finish: 1st in NFC South, #4 seed in the NFC playoffs It is tough to imagine a playoff without Christian Skaggs, who has led the Panthers to the postseason for each of the past 5 seasons now. It's the second-longest streak in the league, and it's in danger this season. The Panthers are a solid offensive team, but not the elite unit you'd expect with the Skaggs-Latta-Jackson-Henry quartet. When adjusting for opponent, the Panthers are also a pretty solid defensive unit, but not an elite one there either. They've had one of the toughest schedules, with a loss to Green Bay and division losses to both New Orleans and Tampa Bay--the latter two could come back to haunt them. They've also picked up wins over the Rams, Falcons, and Titans, so we're still not talking about a team of scrubs. The problem is that they've had a tough schedule already, and they have a tough remaining schedule. Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Dallas are three of their next four games; they also have to play each division opponent again. They have been in discussions to move either Jacoby Seaverns or Mike Latta, which would be surprising for a team that needs all the help it can get to stay playoff-bound in a division that could be decided by something as simple as a shift of the wind on a field goal attempt in week 17. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3) Scoring stats: 28.86 PF/game (7th), 26.71 PA/game (22nd), +2.14 PD/game (11th) Strength of played schedule: 29-18 (.617, 4th) Strength of remaining schedule: 32-34 (.485, 19th) Projected record: 9.1-6.9 Projected finish: 2nd in NFC South, miss playoffs, #19 overall pick Tampa Bay is only going to go as far as Taylor Heiden takes them. When they're good, they can be really good. They're scoring an extra 4.8 points per game above what their opponents typically allow. The only team so far to hold them to fewer than 27 points in a game was the Eagles, who we've already established are pretty dang good this year. They followed up that 10-point effort with a 38-13 demolition of the Falcons, and they have a 3-0 record in division play. But even with a similar scoring defense ranking to their divisional compatriots, they've been more vulnerable to outright defensive collapses. They let up 45 to Tennessee and 38 to Philadelphia as their opening act. They've given up 35 to Indianapolis and 28 to New Orleans in their two most recent games. Good offenses don't just score on them, they torch them. But their offense is every bit as explosive as the Saints' offense, so they'll have a shot. Their schedule is chock full of games that are winnable but certainly not easy. That's the story of the NFC South, though: whoever wins those toss-up games is going to win the division. 4. Atlanta Falcons (3-4) Scoring stats: 22.43 PF/game (22nd), 25.00 PA/game (17th), -2.57 PD/game (20th) Strength of played schedule: 23-22 (.511, 16th) Strength of remaining schedule: 35-32 (.522, 9th) Projected record: 6.6-9.4 Projected finish: 4th in NFC South, miss playoffs, #13 overall pick Whereas the rest of the division is offense-first, defense-second, the Falcons have historically inverted that trend in the NFC South. That looked like a promising formula during a 2-0 start to the season with wins over the Niners and Saints. Since then, the Falcons have lost 4 of 5. They've given up 27 points or more in all four losses and 31 or more in two--that spoiled what has otherwise been a surprisingly solid offensive effort over that stretch. Three of those losses have come in division play, erasing the advantage they earned from the Saints win. And their remaining schedule doesn't have a single easy win on it given that the Lions can defend and the Colts can attack. The Falcons haven't made the playoffs since their Super Bowl run, though they came tantalizingly close last year. This skid has seriously damaged their chances of getting back. They're not in this predicament because their schedule's been overly tough; it's because they haven't been able to win enough toss-up games. Turn that around, and they're still not totally out of the running yet. NFC West 1. Los Angeles Rams (5-2) Scoring stats: 28.57 PF/game (8th), 17.29 PA/game (4th), +11.29 PD/game (4th) Strength of played schedule: 22-23 (.489, 19th) Strength of remaining schedule: 36-30 (.545, 7th) Projected record: 10.8-5.2 Projected finish: 1st in NFC West, #3 seed in the NFC playoffs If you told me that I had to pick one team to make the playoffs upon penalty of being exiled to Missouri, I'd pick the Rams. They're far and away the best team in their division. They've already built a 2-game lead, and the only other team that is capable of challenging them is stuck in third. They've earned both halves of their 5-2 record. On the one hand, they demolished Detroit (less impressive in retrospect) and routed Dallas (which I expect to look better by season's end). On the other, they dropped back-to-back games early to Chicago and Carolina and they don't have any other particularly notable wins. What's crucial to understanding their season is the fact that they've played bad opponents and beaten them by a lot. That matters! Their schedule's going to get harder in the second half, with the entire AFC East plus the Packers on their schedule. Does it matter? Probably not. If they take care of business in their four remaining division games, they likely don't even need to win any of those. Win those four division games and beat 2-5 Buffalo, and that would mathematically be enough to clinch the division. They've been elite on both sides of the ball for years. Nobody else in their division is top-10 in scoring defense or top-16 in scoring offense. The Rams will win the division by a lot. 2. Arizona Cardinals (3-4) Scoring stats: 20.57 PF/game (25th), 27.29 PA/game (26th), -6.71 PD/game (29th) Strength of played schedule: 17-28 (.378, 29th) Strength of remaining schedule: 42-24 (.636, 1st) Projected record: 6.1-9.9 Projected finish: 3rd in NFC West, miss playoffs, #7 overall pick plus Seattle's projected #11 overall pick Things started off very promising in Arizona after back-to-back wins over Seattle and Detroit to start the season. The results since then have indicated that their early success was a mirage. Both of those opponents have struggled mightily, and the Redbirds have dropped four of five since then. That's a similar arc to the Falcons, except for the fact that the Cards have lost to teams that their ornithological relatives would have beaten. It's no shame that they were routed by Los Angeles. A loss to New England makes sense. Getting routed by Washington and Minnesota, though? That's...not ideal. With a new ownership group, the Cardinals are looking to elicit a cultur3 change--but it'll be hard to pull that off given that their schedule gets ridiculously hard in the second half. The Rams are the only team above .500 that they've played so far. They'll play the Dolphins, Bears, Rams, Jets, Saints, and Packers between now and season's end. It's a young team that wasn't expected to do well, and being at 3-4 right now would have been a positive sign at season's dawn. They also own Seattle's pick that's currently trending toward the upper half of the first round. But this is probably as good as it's going to get for them this year. 3. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) Scoring stats: 17.75 PF/game (29th), 22.25 PA/game (11th), -4.5 PD/game (22nd) Strength of played schedule: 25-24 (.510, 17th) Strength of remaining schedule: 30-28 (.517, 12th) Projected record: 6.4-9.6 Projected finish: 2nd in NFC West, miss playoffs, #11 overall pick conveyed to Arizona The good news for Seattle is that they've finally figured out how to score points. Their point total failed to eclipse the legal drinking age in any of their first six games of the season. On Monday night of week 7 in Los Angeles, though, they put up an impressive 30 points on the Rams. (They lost, but still.) They followed that up by scoring 28 against Buffalo, accompanied by the return of their stout defense. Their remaining schedule isn't so strong that they're out of the hunt yet. They don't need their offense to become elite; they just need to not be at the very bottom of the league. As of now, they have 13 touchdowns and 12 turnovers, they've given up 20 sacks, and their 17.3 yards per point is the third-worst in the NFL. They're averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 7.5 yards per pass attempt, so there's a spark there. They just have to commit fewer turnovers, take fewer sacks, and convert more third downs to keep drives alive. Their defense will take care of itself. It may be too late to make a charge for the division, but the wild card race is wide open because (all together now) the NFC is not that deep this year. 4. San Francisco 49ers (2-5) Scoring stats: 23.57 PF/game (19th), 27.0 PA/game (23rd), -3.43 PD/game (21st) Strength of played schedule: 20-24 (.455, 23rd) Strength of remaining schedule: 42-25 (.627, 2nd) Projected record: 5.2-10.8 Projected finish: 4th in NFC West, miss playoffs, #5 overall pick Oh, Niners. Poor Niners. I'm not sure they're really as bad as their 2-5 record suggests. Adjusting for opponent, they're literally the opposite of the Seahawks: they're scoring reasonably well, but not really playing much defense. They have spots of hope, such as their close loss to Philadelphia on Monday night. They also have moments that show just how much things can change in 2 years, such as their blowout loss to Arizona. Their wins so far are against Seattle and Buffalo, neither of whom are particularly fervent believers in scoring. And they ain't seen nothin' yet: their next six opponents are all .500 or better, including the undefeated Packers and Dolphins. And the Rams. And the Rams again. And the Jets. All of those teams can score, and all of them ought to score. It's not going to be a fun stretch, but it'll at least outline exactly where the former champs need to improve this offseason. They'll be back soon enough. Projected NFC Playoffs: #3 Los Angeles Rams over #6 Chicago Bears #5 Dallas Cowboys over #4 Carolina Panthers #5 Dallas Cowboys over #1 Green Bay Packers #2 Philadelphia Eagles over #5 Los Angeles Rams #5 Dallas Cowboys over #2 Philadelphia Eagles ************************************************************************************************************************************ Projected Super Bowl Miami Dolphins over Dallas Cowboys That does it for this edition of By the Numbers. Until next time, whenever that time may be!
  2. 5 points
    I am pleased to announce that the Arizona Cardinals have hired Jamarquan as Coach of our team. With his exemplary (0-6) record as Head Coach of New Mexico State, I knew he was the man for the job. He will answer any questions that you may have for him.
  3. 4 points
    tsweezy

    Eastern Michigan Look-ahead: Week 9

    Last Week Recap Woo!! For the first time this season Eastern Michigan pulls out a W, leaving Scheumann Stadium with a 31-13 victory over Ball State. When asked for comments coach Tsweezy said, “Well, we actually switched up some of our offensive and defensive game planning when I came in. I think we were not fully prepared for the change against Western Michigan but it looked much better this week so hopefully we start on an upwards trend from here on out. Go Eagles!” From a game summary it certainly did look like a positive improvement. Running back Chris Morton had his season high by far with 94 yards on a 5.22 YPC average. Whether that helped, or was helped by QB Shaw isn’t quite clear yet as Shaw also had his best performance of the season throwing for nearly 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, EMU clamped down as well with one of their best performances, holding Ball State below their season averages. In another surprising twist, Tsweezy showed off his skill in player talent identification, as his new punt returner Ibrahima Griggs took one to the house, part of why he earned special teams player of the week for the MAC. Optimism is high, especially with Georgia State coming up, a team on the same relative talent level as Ball State. Now is the chance to see if this was a mirage, or the start of real improvement. Georgia State Offense vs. EMU Defense Let’s jump right into it. Running back Evan Grant IS Georgia State’s offense. A tremendously talented 5 star power back, Grant has carried State on his back and is one of the most productive backs in all of FBS football. Despite a fairly mediocre offensive line (4.5 rating) manned with several pass blocking specialists, Grant has rushed for over 150 ypg headlined by last weeks monster 250 yard, 4 touchdown performance against Texas State. Their QB provides some more relief with nearly 6 ypc off of 1/5 the touches of Grant. Combined this tandem rivals anything EMU has faced to date outside of WMU. However, this does come at a cost, as Georgia State’s passing game is near nonexistent, averaging ~3 pass attempts per game for 24 yards. It brings to mind service-academy style run-heavy options but without the fullback participation. It’s quite clear that stopping the run is really the only priority, the challenge lies in being able to do that. Luckily EMU has a fairly strong front 7 relative to their secondary so perhaps they will perform a little better. Their ILB’s Rinehart and Gary are the most talented players in the defense and will definitely be asked to shoulder most of the load here to bring down Grant. Interesting side note is that despite his reputation as a power back, Grant stands only 6’0’’, 194 lbs, meaning that every front 7 starter for EMU is at least 30 pounds heavier. Perhaps this will allow them to survive the punishing attack and not be too bruised afterwards. Despite their personnel though, EMU so far has been extremely weak against the run, worst in the MAC giving up ~150 ypg. Only one way to find out though, and we will see what happens this weekend. EMU Offense vs. Georgia State Defense Defensively, Georgia State is much more mediocre without as strong an identity as their offense. Second worst in their conference giving up 360 ypg, State is slightly more stout against the run, but has been chewed up through the air so far this season. When looking at the personnel, nobody really stands out. They are a zone coverage team on the back half with some defensive ends who like to blitz, but aren’t especially productive at it. Overall, I would say this is a fairly bland, conservative defense who can be taken advantage of by teams with more talent. However, I would not go so far as to say EMU has that clear talent advantage. All season they have been held in check up until last week. With the benefits of a more effective gameplan, they should exceed their season average of 300 ypg. Once again, this will fall mainly on the shoulders of QB Shaw, as it is uncertain whether Morton can be trusted to produce when given the ball too often. With that said, the WR’s have looked quite solid recently and want to show that earlier letdowns were simply the result of a tough schedule. Special Teams Continuing his perfect season for EMU, K Simon Hand went 4/4 on XP’s and added a season-long 46 yard field goal to move to 11/11 on the year. With a newly minted “star” punt returner coming into form, it does look like EMU can claim the stronger unit here. However, this is not to diminish Georgia State as their kicker is still fully accurate outside of 2 long attempts and looks to have a comparable skill level. Despite their positions as return specialists, Brice and Boykin haven’t produced much for State, although that can be excused as they are both true freshman and may improve in the future. Overall Due to the EMU planning and coaching shake-ups, it is tough to compare every game this season. However on the surface it appears as if Georgia State has a comparable team talent level to Ball State, only shifted even further to focus on the run. While that turned out well for EMU, you never know if their aggressive style will hold up on a game-by-game basis. In the end though, I do think that the strength of EMU’s defense is well positioned to slow down the ground game and Shaw will make just enough plays of his own to bring home another W. Final prediction: EMU over Georgia State 27-24
  4. 4 points
    Bubada

    [2021] Key CFBHC Injuries (Week 8)

    Significant CFBHC Injuries OG Constantine Dobbins - Severe ACL Rupture Dobbins ends his season with a ruptured ACL. He will be replaced at RG by another player named Constantine, freshman Constantine Perkins. The 5-1 Aztecs will be on the road against 3-3 New Mexico this week RB Gary Foley - Severe Hamstring Tendonitis Western Kentucky takes a blow to their offense as starting RB will miss the most important games of the season. Foley will miss games against LSU, UCLA, and WKU's biggest opponent in the C-USA East, Marshall. The Hilltoppers will be starting 5'6" redshirt freshman Trevor Workman in his place. Unlucky for him, his first start will be against LSU in Death Valley. WR Lahahana Mulinu'u - Severe Concussion The speedy freshman WR Mulinu'u took a scary hit on Friday against Wyoming. Mulinu'u did walk off the field under his own power but was diagnosed with a severe concussion. He will miss some important MWC games against SDSU and Utah State. DT Timmy Campbell - Moderate Biceps Tear The large 6'6, 315 pound DT for the Golden Gophers tore his biceps this week. However, he may be able to return by the end of the season. It is unclear if SR Evan Ludwig or if FRs Riley Maguire or Mekhi Boykin will take his spot in the meantime. WR Barry Lawson - Severe ACL Rupture Maryland's top WR is done for the season. One week too late to be eligible for a medical redshirt, the senior will end his college career on the sidelines. Lawson led the Terrapins with 347 yards and 3 TDs. The 6-0 Terrapins will need fellow senior WR Ayden Coley to step up to continue their undefeated season. QB Justin Malloy - Severe Thumb Sprain Third year starting QB Justin Malloy has been marked as questionable for the Commodores with a thumb sprain on his throwing hand. Malloy finished the game against Toledo but Commodores head coach, serwendel, has told media that redshirt freshman Tyler Mackey will be making the next start. Senior QBs Thierno Finley and Alan Dickson will not get the opportunity. Malloy will still dress for the game and is planned to be the backup QB.
  5. 3 points
    ZackTyzwyz

    [2021] Week 8 Coaches Poll

    Enjoy being ranked now, Cowboys, because ya boy Zack just got here and is ready to ruin shit
  6. 2 points
    Tim Timms, I appreciate the question. While we are new to the NFL we are ready to ride out this season and learn all that we can. We will use next offseason to shore up our weaknesses mainly in the draft, but also in free agency. We are getting some help from some nice coaches and GMs in the league, mainly the Giants. He did tell me that he they were the 2nd worst team in the league, but we know he was just being humble.
  7. 2 points
    smckenz3

    [2021] Week #8 - TNF

    I'm waiting for the event where a Raiders' player is fined/suspended for targeting.
  8. 2 points
    TuscanSota

    [2021] Resignation

    I'm just going to keep this short: I'm resigning from the Head Coach position of the Baylor Bears today. For those wondering why: I need to re-prioritize a few things in my personal life. It hasn't been easy, and now I recognize I'm at the point where in order to focus on what I need to do, I have to let go a few things. I spoke about it with Storm over the past week, and I believe it's for the best. Message him if you're interested in the Baylor job. He knows my criteria for the ideal candidate for coaching the Baylor Bears. Edit: Actually, do message me as well if you're interested in the Baylor job. Either through here or Discord. I'll hand over everything I had in regards to my long term strategy. I'm will remain active in the Steeler's Organization, assisting both @Joedchi and @Stinsy with preparing the Steelers for the future. -Tuscan
  9. 2 points
    serwendel

    [2021] SSC: Week 8

    Sorry for the delay in posting. After week 8, here are your CFBHC Stats Leaders! Stats Leaders Passing Yards Steven Gore - 2180 yards Elijah McManus - 2154 yards Tucker Dowden - 2147 yards Passing Touchdowns Eric McLean - 24 TDs Steven Gore - 22 TDs Milo Condon - 22 TDs Rushing Yards Ethan Newby - 1040 yards Trevon Yeldon - 1038 yards Solomon McLaughlin - 1000 yards Rushing Touchdowns Ethan Newby - 15 TDs DeSean Madison - 15 TDs Trevon Yeldon - 13 TDs Solomon McLaughlin - 13 TDs Receiving Yards Deontray Clay - 759 yards Tevin Lattimore - 694 yards Sean McDermott - 694 yards Receiving Touchdowns Tevin Lattimore - 10 TDs Sean McDermott - 9 TDs Corey Carradine - 9 TDs Casey Swann - 9 TDs Notable Tidbits Arkansas State might have lost to Louisiana Tech, but you couldn't tell from Roscoe Bishop's performance. The Red Wolves' WR dominated Louisiana Tech's secondary for 128 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Eastern Michigan earned their first win of the season over Ball State behind Giovanni Shaw's stellar performance. Bryce Thompson continues to impress, with 391 total yards and 4 total touchdowns against the Virginia Cavaliers. Oregon running back Trevon Yeldon managed to add to his Heisman resume with 225 all purpose yards and 3 touchdowns. In a pair of games each featuring Big Ten unbeatens, the home team won out as Purdue beat Ohio State 45-7, while Michigan took care of Wisconsin 35-20. Matchup of the Week RB Ethan Newby vs OLB Alexander Burton SEC protected rivals Florida and LSU faced off in Gainesville this past week. Let's see how their stars performed. Newby - 25 carries, 133 yards, 1 TD Burton - 8 tackles, 2 TFLS Verdict: Ethan Newby With Florida's strong offensive line, LSU's linebackers, lead by Alexander Burton, had to bear the brunt of Ethan Newby's rushing game. While they did manage to hold Newby to one touchdown, Newby still gained 5.32 yards per carry. Too bad the rest of his team didn't show up, as LSU beat Florida 28 to 7.
  10. 2 points
    The New York Giants choose not to offer him, and will be glad to see him back on the field as a New York Giant.
  11. 1 point
    OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK QB Kyle Davidson, Michigan State (26 of 35 for 420 yards, 4 TD 0 INT vs Indiana) Honorable mentions: RB Brendan Milton, Purdue (22 carries for 145 yards, 2 TD vs #5 Ohio State); WR Cory Carradine, Northwestern (10 receptions for 145 yards, 2 TD vs Minnesota) DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK DT Shamar Ware, Penn State (2 sacks, 7 tackles, 2 TFL vs Rutgers) Honorable mentions: DE Stephen Monahan, Minnestota (2 sacks, 5 tackles, 1 TFL vs Northwestern); FS Kai Alston, Michigan (1 INT, 6 tackles vs #8 Wisconsin) SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK RB Josiah Peoples, Northwestern (141 return yards, PR TD vs Minnesota) Honorable mentions: K Zack Yarbrough, Indiana (4/5 FG made from 47,23,19,31 yards vs Michigan State); P A.J. Houser, Purdue (50.2 yard punting average vs #5 Ohio State)
  12. 1 point
    Jumbo

    [2021] Week 8 Headlines

    BOOOOOOOOOOO Jets fans, spoiled by the last few seasons, put paper bags on during Jets' 2 game losing streak... as team drops to 5-2
  13. 1 point
    Great article! This is a lot higher on us than I expected. Kind of wish we could have seen what Graham Burnett looked like against the more elite teams on our schedule though.
  14. 1 point
    I find it personally offensive how good you are at this.
  15. 1 point
    You've outdone yourself again storm this is truly impressive work.
  16. 1 point
    vollmagnet

    CadeRichCast Ep. 2

    Keep it coming, it goes great with my morning coffee! Also, Ricks-Hargrove is definitely going to get a RS to start 2022. Blair Sullivan gets to start his Senior year as long as he doesn't regress again from what he's been able to do this season.
  17. 1 point
    CadeRich5

    CadeRichCast Ep. 2

    Saturday Evening Recap: 1:50 - 10:30 CadeRich5's Coaches Poll Vote: 11:00 - 13:30 Heisman Watch: 13:30 - 21:20 Top QB commits: 21:30 - 25:40 NFL Teams that might draft a QB (Giants, Browns, Steelers): 26:00 - 28:50 Top 5 NFLHC RBs this year: 29:00 - 32:00 Thanks for listening as always
  18. 1 point
    Saints in that NFCS drivers' seat? Who would have guessed that! This is an awesome article, storm! Thanks for the effort
  19. 1 point
    sybex99

    [2021] The Kent Stater, Week 8

    What a rollercoaster week for the Flash faithful! This week in the Kent Stater we look at a lot. First, huge personnel changes we are all excited about, both for Coach T and for our future. We'll have an exclusive interview there as well, so stay tuned! We've got an in-depth analysis of this week's loss at Dix to the MAC-leading Broncos, and before we finish, we've also given you a look at some big moves in the recruiting world, with a special word from our new coach! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and enjoy! This is The Kent Stater, with your week 8 football breakdown. Last week, as all of Kent knows, a new head coach walked onto campus for our football program. We've been very excited, for a while now for where Coach T has us poised to head. Coach T had this to say about his time here, where he leaves the program, and why he leaves the program: "My main goal when I was appointed Head Coach of Kent State was to firstly raise the talent floor and the talent ceiling of the team so that we could compete in conference and nationally, and secondly to gain some national recognition for the program. I would like to think I achieved that in my short tenure there, making our first bowl and pulling in the 56th ranked recruiting class, which were big steps forward." "After SageBow left Tennessee, an opportunity presented itself to me that I thought was unmissable: A former Playoff team in the middle of a rebuilding process with some promising young pieces on both sides of the football, with a very similar style of football to what I had started building in Kent. Also, the SEC is a premier football conference that I thought would allow me to really test myself against the best of the best." "I am sorry that my time as the Coach of the Golden Flashes ended on a poor note, losing every game in 2021 and struggling to bring in many players for this class, even though I managed to bring in some more quality players for the defense. I am sorry for moving mid-season, but I felt it was the best move for my career. I wish Coach Sy the best, we have been in contact and he has a great attitude, he has a plan of action and he is committed, he will do well." Thank you for all your hard work and contributions, Coach! As Coach T eluded to, Coach Sy walks in with a few great recruits already committed and some reports are popping up that he's eyeballing quite a few more; widening this class is going to be a big deal, now that he's got a few big names on LOIs. Within the last week, Coach has offered a few scholarships, been ringing phones off the hook, and really working to expand this class. Something that you won’t see on the ESPN ticker, but that is just as big is he’s managed to get the backing of Coach T and has been able to re-recruit every commit we’ve gotten on paper, to secure them to the Coach Sy Era. We've seen him all over the uncommitted recruit map as well, talking to kids in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and even California this week alone. While it’s clear Coach is focused on the future of the program, there is still a team that is here in Kent now. Coach made it obvious he’s got time for that as well, as all of Coach's attention was focused quickly on those Broncos from Western Michigan this past week. Only a few days removed from his introduction in front of Dix Stadium, he was rushed through meeting with his team, a couple of practices, and was preparing as best he could for Saturday afternoon. Flash faithful were losing their minds when it appeared they had the Broncos on the ropes after 3 quarters. The game seemed to be going the right way as they'd spread the ball around their offense, the defense had held the Broncos to the fewest first-half points of their season, and had matched Western Michigan for a field goal to come out of the break. They held a 13-10 lead when the game clock read 0:00.... in the third. The difference the analysts had expected in the teams showed itself in the final quarter, as Western dropped 21 unanswered points on the Flashes to close the game out and win 31-13. Kent's sixth loss wasn't all bad, however. Coach Sy had been on campus for only a few days, QB John Garland threw for 190 yards and a touchdown, RB James Ridley-Henley had a steady game, including a huge 20-yard sprint, and the team showed it could hold and make teams beat them. However, the Broncos' offense of over 475 yards just overwhelmed our guys, in the end. Moving forward, Coach now sets his sights on Central Michigan and this week in practice you can bet Coach is working to do all he can to earn the team its first win of the season. He began this week with great news of getting a huge recruit on paper, in 3.5-star CB, Makai Porter, his first recruit since he arrived. Coach spoke with lead student sports reporter, James Tyler on Monday and mentioned the big signing. "This signing is huge for our future as a program and I hope we have some more commitments to share in the coming weeks, for now, our focus remains on the next opponent. This week that's Central Michigan. We are preparing to face them and bring a ‘W’ back with us to Kent." Thanks for checking out this week’s Kent Stater! Stay tuned for more!
  20. 1 point
    Boooooooo. Hissssss. Those (New) Mexicans are taking all our jobs! But lowkey congrats and welcome to the NFL.
  21. 1 point
    Time

    [2021] Week 8 Headlines

    Rams Embarrass Cardinals Cardinal's head coach nowhere to be found after game
  22. 1 point
    deandean1998

    [2021] Week 8 Headlines

    Just Like We All Expected. In a bit of an overreaction, players lead by FS Dqwell Moore and WR Patrick Lambert pour gatorade over coach Believer's head over just winning a singular game over the also toiling Chargers. This counts as only the second week that the Giants have not lost a game, as they did not find a way to lose a game during their Bye Week.
  23. 1 point
    noodlz2

    [2021] Week #8 - Saturday Afternoon

    S.O.S (Save our souls)
  24. 1 point
    Kirby

    [2021] Falcons Fanzone - Week 8

    WEEK 8 FALCONS 31-27 Ohio Bobcats ROAD WIN 4-2 overall - 2021 season "GREAT WIN TODAY COACH... I WON'T BE THE FIRST TO SAY THAT WE WROTE YOU OFF BEFORE THE MATCH BUT YOU CAME UP WITH THE GOODS. HOW ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW?" COACH KIRBY: "It was a real gritty match up. The boys obviously came here with confidence winning the last three on the bounce, and i'm just so glad that they continued the confidence with me at the helm. Sometimes when a new coach takes over, especially mid season, it can go one of two ways. To come here to the Bobcats back yard, and put on a show like that. Y'know, it's great. I feel great. We showed real character out there because they threw everything at us and we protected our lead like trojans in the latter stages of the game. Everytime they scored we answered right back." "YOU MADE A FEW UNEXPECTED CHANGES TO THE TEAM, NAMELY GIVING CALVIN ALEXANDER THE NOD AHEAD OF THE SEEMINGLY IN FORM ZACK ODELL. HOW DID YOU COME TO THE ROSTER DECISIONS?" COACH KIRBY: "Me and the team did a full review of the players. Every position was under review, barring Eddie (Connelly). We put all of the players through a number of drills, and whoever impressed us got the nod. When it came to Calvin (Alexander) and Zack (Odell), Calvin blizted him in almost every drill this week and showed a real hunger to perform. He earned his shirt this week and after this weeks performance, he's earned RB1 honours." "YOU MUST BE FEELING POSITIVE GOING INTO NEXT WEEK? YOUR FIRST HOME GAME WILL BE HOSTING A BUFFALO SIDE THAT ARE COMING OFF A GOOD WIN THEMSELVES." COACH KIRBY: "Feeling positive, but this is a building process. One week to the next. Rome wasn't built in a day, and we won't be either. But another win next week would put me, and all the boys, on cloud nine. Full focus shifts to Buffalo now. They scored well against Miami (OH) so we are going to have to shut down that offence." "FINALLY COACH... THERE ARE LOTS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BOWLING GREEN RECRUITMENT THIS SEASON. OBVIOUSLY WITH YOUR ARRIVAL, RECRUITMENT HAS STALLED OF LATE. THE FANS WANT TO KNOW HOW RECRUITMENT IS GOING, AND IF THERE IS ANYONE IN THE PIPELINE THAT WE ARE TRYING TO SECURE?" COACH KIRBY: "I understand there may be worries amongst fans that we haven't done enough recruiting to grow in future years, however, I can assure you behind the scenes we are putting packages in place for a couple of names that are going to take us to the next level. Obviously, in the name of discretion, I won't be revealing these names to the public until we have signatures on the dotted lines, but yes, to reassure, we are doing all we can to secure the best players available." THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME COACH, AND WELCOME TO BOWLING GREEN. FALCON OF THE WEEK: CALVIN ALEXANDER (RUNNING-BACK)
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