The State of the Patriots: October 4th, 2014

I’m stating the obvious here when I say that it has been a frustrating start to the 2014 NFL season for New England Patriots fans. Throughout that time frame, I have had countless debates, conversations, and occasional verbal eruptions with friends regarding my viewpoint on what’s going on with this team. Along the way, I’ve run into the “sunshine.com” people (thanks to Felger and Mazz for that title) that can just not be critical about this team. They believe in just blindly trusting Bill Belichick based on the body of work, and therefore leaving us fans with the inability to critique or criticize any move or decision that is made. On the flip side, I’ve run into the “doomsday” bunch that are saying Brady is a shell of himself, Josh McDaniels should be fired, and Bill Belichick may have lost it and the franchise may want to consider moving on. I find myself stuck in the middle of these two extremes, and reaching a boiling point of frustration from dealing with the aforementioned people. Therefore, after a long hiatus, I have returned to ntcf.wordpress.com to express MY opinion on the current state of the New England Patriots.

Because this post will encompass the past 4 weeks, I’m going to limit my opinion sharing to a select few topics. If I touched on everything, we’d be here for a week. In no particular order:

TOM BRADY
Do I believe that Tom Brady’s skill set has diminished? Yes. Do I think that the team can’t rely on Brady to cover up for mistakes or a lack of talent like in pervious years? Yes. Do I still want Tom Brady as my quarterback? Without a shadow of a doubt. I still think that Tom Brady is a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. Is he playing like it currently? No not at all. But there are so many variables that play a role in Tom Brady’s performance. It’s impossible to judge how much Brady has declined based on several factors, including poor offensive line play, decreased talent at wide receiver, a still recovering Rob Gronkowski, and a very inconsistent run game. All of those factors lead to my original point, Tom Brady’s skill set has diminished slightly. In years past, the Patriots have had poor talent at wideout, and yet Brady would move the ball down the field effortlessly. Additionally, Brady is locking in on recievers more than I can ever remember. Is that a lack of talent? Maybe a lack of trust? Only Brady knows that, but it’s certainly an issue. In previous seasons, there have been issues along the offensive line, and yet Tom Brady would deliver quick passes that were on point and not allow the defense to get to him. However, I personally can not remember a season where the offensive line was in disarray and the receiving corps was not on the same page as Brady both at the same time. I believe that is the reason Tom Brady and the Patriots offense is struggling mightily to start the season.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Has the Logan Mankins trade affected the offensive line play so far this season? In my opinion, yes. If you gave me the option to do the trade all over again, would I? Absolutely not. I’m sorry, I just don’t understand the trade. I’m sure that Mankins’ play has declined, and I commented on it to some friends last season. But come on, I would take Mankins over Jordan Devey 10 times out of 10. I just don’t understand why you deal away arguably your best offensive lineman 2 weeks before the start of the season when you have a 37 year old immobile quarterback and when there doesn’t seem to be an in house replacement ready to go. However, that does not excuse Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, and the remainder of the lineman for their shit play this season. Last week I read an article by Pro Football Focus that ranked every single offensive lineman that played at least 1 snap this season. Solder ranked 65 out of 69 left tackles. Vollmer was 63 out of 69. Come on! That’s pathetic. Nate Solder is a 6’8” marshmallow. Vollmer looks very rigid and is an injury waiting to happen. The only lineman I like on the Patriots right now is Bryan Stork. The dude has a mean streak about him. That is what this team is missing. In Kansas City on Monday night, the offensive line played their best game thus far (that isn’t saying much). Stork looks like he may be the answer at center, and Fleming played a decent right guard. Now, Fleming has been ruled out of the game Sunday against Cincy. Maybe the Pats will give Devey another look! Looks like Brady will be in “duck and cover” mode again Sunday night.

THE DEFENSE
A buddy of mine last week told me that the Patriots had the best defense in the league. I questioned him, commenting on the second half of the Miami game and the lack of competition in Minnesota and Oakland. He gave me shit about not judging the team based on one bad half, blah, blah. Well, he’s not making such definitive statements after the Kansas City game. Much has been made of Darrelle Revis not looking like an absolute stud. I’ll admit, he hasn’t been amazing. However, I can’t say that I watched every game Revis played in New York. Maybe he coasts against sub par talent. I do think the Pats are trying out a variety of schemes on defense, and Revis isn’t allowed to lock down on a wideout for the whole game just yet. AJ Green coming to town is the ultimate test of how good Revis still is and how the Patriots will utilize his strengths.

Revis isn’t the big issue for this team. It’s the defensive line. Much has been made of Chandler Jones making a big leap to become on of the elite pass rushers heading into year 3. Well, I’m not on board. I’ve never been thrilled with Jones’ skill set. He’s big, but gets overpowered way too often. He’s fast, but doesn’t seem to have that quick twitch speed off of the line. When teams run to his side, he gets steam rolled. A vast majority of his sacks last season were coverage sacks (surprising, I know). As we move down the line, we see Vince, who’s still a serviceable defensive tackle, but certainly isn’t the same player that he was 3-4 years ago. We find the combination of Silva Salinga, Chris Jones, and Joe Vellano. I’d rather have Scott Patterson and Chris Veltri shedding blocks out there. And finally Nonkovich. I’m not a big Ninkovich guy. Never have been, probably never will be. He isn’t consistent enough of a player to be relied on to start. Don’t forget, Tommy Kelly was cut over what likely would amass to about 800k in salary. Great move guys!

THE RECEIVERS
Via ESPN Boston – “In my year and a half with Aaron Dobson, he has always been respectful to me and to the rest of the coaching staff. He has never once been argumentative or confrontational. The suggestion and reporting that his playing time was in any way the result of a ‘loud disagreement’ with a coach is completely false.”

That was Bill Belichick’s prepared statement that was released approximately 3 hours after refusing to answer questions regarding Aaron Dobson at his press conference today. Is it just me, or is this whole situation really, really weird? Your second year 2nd round wide receiver is inactive for 3 of the first 4 games, not because of health or he wouldn’t have played in one game, but allegedly because of mouthing off. Now, Belichick comes out, says Dobson is respectful and never had a disagreement with a coach. So now, he’s inactive because he sucks? What the hell is going on? The Patriots have NEVER been able to evaluate wide receiver talent well, and the more that this saga continues, the more concerned I am that Dobson isn’t going to pan out.

As for the rest of the bunch, Edelman is Brady’s crutch. If he goes down, kiss the season goodbye. Lafell looked better last week, but I get the sense that they were trying to force feed him the ball to either boost his morale or give the defense another look. Either way, I’m not sold. Danny Amendola can’t get open without them running a pick play for him. Kenbrell allegedly isn’t very good either because he’s been inactive this season as well.

What I believe is really plaguing this group is the lack of a deep threat. We originally thought Dobson would be that guy, but apparently not. Ed Reed made a comment on whatever show he is on that he wouldn’t be afraid of any wide receiver the Patriots have. What that means to me is that they safeties creep up closed to the line of scrimmage, cornerbacks are more likely to jump shorter routes, and linebackers have less responsibility in pass coverage and can therefore blitz more often. All of that adds up to some ineffective play a wide receiver.

THE GAMEPLANNING / COACHING / ROSTER DECISIONS
Zone coverage for Darrell Revis. Only 3 wide recievers are active against KC (5 running backs active), and yet we open the game in shotgun and don’t run the ball until late in the first quarter. Failure to stay committed to the run game (especially against porous run defenses like Oakland). Bringing back Patrick Chung to start at strong safety even though we let him go last time because he sucked. Putting Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins on the same side of the formation defensively, basically beginning teams to run in that direction, and get big yardage. We have to assume that things will get better, because Bill’s track record depicts that it should. However, many of these issues need to be addressed sooner rather than later, or I truly believe that the coaching staff will be in danger of losing this team.


I guess all it comes down to after that long ass rant is what Billy Boy said this past week, “We are on to Cincinnati.”

Mattyoshow’s PC Friars Mumbles: 2.20.24 Edition

For all of the Oshow followers out there, I’m going to give you a heads up before you start reading this post. I’m not happy with what’s been going down in Friartown lately, so if you’re ready to read some crap about how the Villanova loss didn’t matter because they played hard than you’re in the wrong place. Here’s what’s been running through my head about the PC Friars over the past few weeks…

-Here’s one way to start a post: Bryce Cotton is overrated. Yup, I said it. He may go unnoticed nationally, but he’s overrated locally. Yes, Bryce can score, but so could Marshon. Yes, Bryce made the Sportscenter top 10 a couple of nights ago, but so did Rob Sanders back in his day. As a point guard, Bryce Cotton just isn’t that good. When the offense runs through him, it’s stagnant. When we need to convert a big bucket, he rarely makes the right decision. When we should work the ball down low, he takes a deep three. When we need a deep three, Bryce forces a pass down low. Yes, there are more problems on this team than Bryce Cotton, but in my eyes, he is one of them.

-I really started to think that Josh Fortune was turning a corner. He has been much more efficient offensively over the past several games. He was making better decisions with the ball, and working harder to get open off of the ball. He was even asserting himself defensively. And then Josh Fortune committed 7 turnovers in Tuesday’s game against Villanova, threw away two critical passes in double overtime, and officially earned himself a permanent spot on my shit list…right next to Marshon Brooks and Joe Young.

-Tyler Harris should have his scholarship revoked. All I keep hearing from Scottie and his other bandwagon buddies is that Harris is still young and he’s essentially a freshman because he didn’t really play in his first season at NC State. Guess what…I don’t care. His basketball IQ is about as good as Scottie’s knowledge base about anything sports related (which is essentially 0)! The kid just can’t make a good decision. I’m sick of his juvenile shit. Revoke the scholarship and get him outta town!

-Kadeem Batts is the best NBA prospect on this team. The guy battles down low. He’s finally learned how to utilize his body and girth underneath. He has a pretty good mid range jumper which has only improved over the past 4 years. Kadeem is the real deal and I hope he starts to get some looks in the league.

-Lee Goldsbrough is about as useful as a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe in the middle if August.

-Brice Kofane isn’t much better.

-I don’t really understand Carson Desrosiers’ lack of playing time. I know he gets himself into foul trouble on occasion. However, you can’t tell me that he isn’t more useful than Tyler Harris. At least Carson tries to play defense. I say we put Desrosiers in the starting 5, bump everyone down a spot and really start to limit Tyler Harris’ minutes.

-If the Friars want any shot at the tournament they need to win out and then make some waves in the Big East tournament. However, with how PC plays on the road, it’s much more likely that they shit their pants over the next 4 games and miss the NIT.
-I’ve always considered myself and optimist when it came to the Friars. Ask anyone. Talk to Scottie. Talk to my fellow friar faithful CV. I’ve always thought that the Friars could win every game that they’ve played. Yet, this team has sucked the life outta me. I’m done with PC basketball. The constant crushing defeats have worn me out. I just can’t do it anymore…

Super Bowl XLVIII: Scottie vs. Mattyoshow

My fanship got the best of me last week, as I went with the Pats to beat the Broncos.  Meanwhile, Scottie went with his brain and picked up the win in that matchup.  On the week, Scottie went 2-0 with 24 confidence points.  I, on the other hand, went 1-1 with 16 confidence points. For the playoffs, Scottie is 7-3 with 46 confidence points, while I am 6-4 with 37 confidence points.  Considering that the Super Bowl is worth 16 confidence points, our playoff battle comes down to the Super Bowl for the 3rd consecutive season.  Let’s do it…

Denver vs. Seattlerichard-sherman-peyton-manning

Scottie: Seattle

Sorry, Matty I am going to continue to go with my brain.  Sure I can make this whole thing a lot more interesting but the truth is I don’t see Denver winning this one.  I am looking forward to seeing Richard Sherman cover Demaryius Thomas all day.  I am also a little tired of Wes Welker.  Before he came to New England, he was a nobody who middled around the Chargers and Dolphins organizations returning punts.  Bill Belichick and Tom Brady made him.  I would be okay with him if he took the high road and recognized what Belichick did for him instead of engage in this mini cat fight.  Much like Matty says below, the thought of rooting for Peyton Manning nauseates me.  Unlike the Patriots the Seahawks will stick with their strategy of running the ball down Denver’s throat.  The Terrance Knighton vs. Marshawn Lynch matchup will be an interesting one.   I am not looking forward to rooting for Pete Carroll on Sunday but he is the lesser of two evils.

Mattyoshow: SeattleUnknown

I’m going with the Seahawks for two primary reasons in Super Bowl XLVIII.  First, I can’t stand Peyton Manning and it would just piss me off if he won another Super Bowl.  Second, the Seahawks’ defense matches up amazingly with the Broncos’ offense.  Let me break it down for you.  The two keys to success against a Peyton Manning led team are 1: pressure him without having to blitz, and 2: jamming his receivers to throw off his timing.  Seattle possesses the ability to do both of those things.  Their cornerbacks are big and physical, which will cause problems for Thomas, Decker, and Welker.  I think Seattle will focus their efforts on slowing down Denver’s two outside wide receivers and then just plan on punishing Welker and Julius Thomas whenever they catch the ball.  Offensively, Seattle can control the clock with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson will come up big.

Mattyoshow: Broncos

Well, Scottie is gonna be an ass and pick the same team as me, so I’m going with the Broncos just to potentially get a win.

Mattyoshow’s PC Friars Mumbles – 1.26.14 Edition

I’m stealing a little bit of Scottie’s style here.  Actually, I’m completely jacking one of Scottie’s classic posts.  I have a lot of thoughts on what’s been going on in Friartown lately, but don’t really have time to review every single game like I did in my younger years.  Therefore, when the thoughts start piling up and I get some free time, I’m going to throw out some Friars mumbles to clear my mind.  Let’s do it…

-I’ve been seeing a lot of negative stuff on social media over the past several weeks about Ed Cooley, stemming from the Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock suspension.  Some people were even going back to last year and throwing Ricky Ledo into the mix.  People were knocking coach Ed Cooley for recruiting these guys that don’t even end up playing for the team.  Let’s get one thing straight here.  Ed Cooley is the best thing that has happened to Providence since Ryan Gomes was leaving his shoes at half court.  Cooley has recruited more talent over the past 3 years than Providence has seen in over a decade.  Providence didn’t rule Ricky Ledo ineligible, the NCAA did.  Ed Cooley’s job is to recruit really good basketball players, give them the tools to succeed as basketball players and as students, and then hope that these kids follow through.  It isn’t Ed Cooley’s job to babysit 24/7.  He holds them accountable. That’s all.  Be happy we can be excited about the recruits that he brings in, because we are a long ways from getting excited about recruits like Alex Kellogg and Brice Kofane.

-The student section at PC absolutely sucks.  How can you not come out to support your team when the coach basically begs you to come watch them play, but then complain that your best player isn’t getting any love from the national media?  It doesn’t make sense.  If you want to be a Friar faithful, and jump on the bandwagon come tournament time, SUPPORT YOUR TEAM ALL SEASON!  I live in Boston and have been to more games than 99% of these scrubs!

-I can’t decide who pisses me off more, Tyler Harris or Josh Fortune.  Combined, their basketball IQ is around 85.  When 100 is the norm, you know there are issues.  Scouting report on Tyler Harris:  Gets the ball and either shoots or drives left.  If you stand in front of him he will run you over and you’ll draw the charge.  If you pressure him, he’ll make a bad pass or take a bad shot.  Scouting report of Josh Fortune: has no idea what he is doing on a basketball court, can get hot from 3, but if he has the ball in his hand he will throw it away 95% of the time.  Watching these guys play is painful.

-Kadeem Batts is a man, and might be a more interesting NBA prospect than Bryce Cotton.

-Bryce Cotton was left off the Wooden Award (best college basketball player) mid-season list.  Do I think that he should have been on there? Yes, absolutely.  Do I care that he was left off?  No, absolutely not.  I don’t care if Bryce gets recognized for what he is doing for this team, I just care that we are winning games.

-Side note: when Bryce is our best player in a game, we aren’t nearly as good as when guys like Batts and Henton are getting the job done.

-Kris Dunn deserves a medical hardship waiver for missing nearly the entire season this year and nearly half of the season last year.  For the Friars’ sake, seeing Dunn around for another three years would be much nicer than him leaving in two.

-Ever since the Villanova game, the Friars are doing a much better job of moving the ball offensively.  I think that is a huge key to the team’s success.  When they go big (Batts and Desrosiers down low), they have a size advantage over nearly every team in the Big East.  They need to exploit that advantage.  Working the inside out game is much more effective for the Friars than passing it around the three point line until something opens up.

-Speaking of Desrosiers, is it just me or does it seem like

he doesn’t get enough consistent playing time.  I don’t get it.  Why is Cooley throwing Desrosiers in there for like 3 minutes at a time and then pulling him for Goldsbrough, or putting Batts back in?  Leave the big man in there and let him get in a rhythm.  If we want Carson to be a more consistent offensive player, he needs to actually play!

-Every good basketball team needs a Ted Bancroft.

-Every good basketball team needs to rid themselves of useless big men (Goldsbrough and Kofane).

That is all for this edition of the Friars mumbles.  Stay tuned for more in the future!

2013 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Round: Scottie vs. Mattyoshow

Last Week:

Scottie: 11-5, 106 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Mattoshow: 11-5, 112 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Regular Season Results:

Scottie: 156-99-1, 1365 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Mattyoshow: 154-101-1, 1373 CONFIDENCE POINTS

My laziness came back to haunt me.  I didn’t put in a solid effort in the last month of the season and Matty came back to snipe me in confidence points.  I did salvage the overall record which is nice considering Matty owned me the past few years.  Now it is playoff time.  Here we go.

Chiefs @ Colts:

Scottie: Chiefs 4

Yes, the Colts beat many of the top teams in the NFL this year including the Seahawks,49ers, and Broncos.  They have also beat the Chiefs.  With all that being said, I believe the Colts will have trouble against the Kansas City defense and even more trouble containing Jamal Charles.  More importantly, the Chiefs do not turn the ball over.  That is a key ingredient for any successful team in the NFL playoffs.

Mattyoshow: Colts – 2 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Mike Felger, from Felger and Mazz, has really been convincing me of one thing over the past week or so: You don’t win in the playoffs by running the football.  You know what, he’s completely right.  Yes, you can ice the game and eat up possession if you can run.  But, you get that lead through the air, that’s just what today’s NFL is all about.  The Colts sputtered towards the end of the season, but as Scottie mentioned, they beat some really good teams this year.  Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been riding Jamaal Charles all season, and their previously heralded defense hasn’t been very good lately.  The Colts are primed for a win, and they beat the Chiefs at home.

Saints @ Eagles:

Scottie: Eagles 3

The Saints are an arena football league team.  They only play well in a dome. They will travel to Philadelphia and battle the Eagles, the cold, and being outside of New Orleans in general.  Nick Foles will be serviceable and for one day he will be the best quarterback to come out of Westlake High School in Austin.

Mattyoshow: Eagles – 4 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Drew Brees in 20 degree weather isn’t the same Drew Brees that plays in a dome at home games.  The Eagles have been arguably the best team in the NFL since week 9, and have been even more dominant at home (finished the year by winning 4 straight home games).  I just don’t think the Saints have the type of team and, more specifically, offense that travels very well, and I expect the Eagles to get off to a quick start and end this game early.

Chargers @ Bengals:

Scottie: Chargers 2

Here is my upset special of the week.  Marvin Lewis is awful in the playoffs.  Phillip Rivers has really developed under soon to be gone Ken Whisenhunt. Yes, the Bengals have a stout defense but they are without Geno Atkins.  Andy Dalton has been inconsistent at best.  At times he has been awful.  Other times he has been great.  I will stick with the more consistent team not named the Bengals.

Mattyoshow: Bengals – 3 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Scottie, you’re an idiot.  The Chargers should have lost to the Chiefs backup squad last week if a certain kicker could make a pretty routine field goal!  I know that Marvin Lewis hasn’t been good in the playoffs.  In fact, he’s been downright awful.  However, this isn’t the Marvin Lewis show anymore, this is the Andy Dalton show.  Similarly to how I feel about Andrew Luck, I just think that Andy Dalton is ready to make that jump from good NFL quarterback to being in the discussion for the top 5 or 6 guys.  And you do that by winning playoff games.

49ers @ Packers:

Scottie: Packers 1

Talk about getting healthy at the right time.  The Packers welcomed back Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb just in time to ensure a playoff berth.  The 49ers will be battling a healthy Packers team and the bitter cold in Green Bay.  The Packers would not have made the playoffs without Aaron Rodgers.  With Aaron Rodgers? They have as good a shot as any team in the NFL at getting to the Super Bowl.  Kaepernick screwed me all year long in fantasy football.  I may hold some bitterness toward him in making this pick.

Mattyoshow: 49ers – 1 CONFIDENCE POINT

This game is going to be brutal.  Brutal to play in, brutal to think about, and brutal to watch.  When talking about cold weather football, what are we always concerned with?  The quarterback’s ability to pass the ball.  How the pigskin comes out of the quarterbacks hand.  Well, in a game with projected wind chills around -40 degrees, either team’s ability to be stout defensively, grab a score, and control the clock with the run will be the determinant of this game.  I believe that the 49ers are better at performing the aforementioned tasks than the Packers, therefore 49ers win.

2013 NFL Week 16 Picks: Scottie vs. Mattyoshow

Last Week:

-Scottie: 7-9, 81 CONFIDENCE POINTS

-Mattyoshow: 9-7, 78 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Overall:

-Scottie: 137-86-1, 1181 CONFIDENCE POINTS

-Mattyoshow: 132-91-1, 1176 CONFIDENCE POINTS

So there are two weeks left in the 2013 NFL season.  I find myself 5 games behind in the win/loss column, and 5 CONFIDENCE POINTS off of the lead.  I have to make some really big moves over the next couple of weeks to lock down my 3rd straight NFL Picks Title!  Let’s do it…

Additional Reminder: There are no Thursday night games this week.  Only Sunday and Monday games.

I just have to play it straight and the 2013 title is all mine!  No hero plays by me these next 2 weeks.

Dolphins @ Bills

Scottie: Dolphins 14

Mattyoshow: Dolphins 10

Every year when I think I have my head wrapped around the AFC East, shit hits the fan. The Dolphins pulled off a surprising win against the Patriots last week to stay alive in the playoff hunt, and I expect them to go into Buffalo this week with a purpose.

Saints @ Panthers

Scottie: Panthers 3

Mattyoshow: Panthers 1

All week I was leaning towards picking the Saints. New Orleans made the Panthers look like the 2012 version of themselves in the last matchup. Away from home, the Saints just aren’t the same team, whereas the Panthers have something to prove.

Vikings @ Bengals

Scottie: Bengals 9

Mattyoshow: Bengals 12

Just when I thought the AFC North was wrapped up, the Bengals go and lose to the Steelers and now everything is wide open again. The Ravens have life, and I think the Bengals respond to last week’s disappointing loss by taking out the Vikings at home.

Broncos @ Texans

Scottie: Broncos 15

Mattyoshow: Broncos 16

The Broncos haven’t really played like the best team in the AFC as of late, but let’s face it, they are.  The Texans are now in the Teddy Bridgewater/Derek Carr/Johnny Manziel sweepstakes, and the Broncos will take advantage of that.  I expect the game to be close for the opening quarter, but then the Broncos will take the game over.

Titans @ Jaguars

Scottie: Titans 10

Mattyoshow: Titans 9

The Tennessee Titans have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, and I expect them to play like it.  However, without MJD, the Jaguars really have no offensive weapons.  I think that the Titans win this one simply because they are the more talented team.

Colts @ Chiefs

Scottie: Chiefs 2

Mattyoshow: Chiefs 6

The Colts put a beating on the the lowly Texans last week, but they don’t look like serious contenders in the AFC.  Indy can’t run the ball, which will allow the ball-hawking Chiefs to sit back and force Andrew Luck into mistakes.  Meanwhile, the Chiefs are recapturing some of the momentum that they lost a few weeks back, and are beginning to again look like serious contenders in the AFC.

Cowboys @ Redskins

Scottie: Cowboys 8

Mattyoshow: Cowboys 5

The Cowboys can’t lose again…can they?

Browns @ Jets

Scottie: Browns 4

Mattyoshow: Browns 8

Man, the Cleveland Browns battle.  Over the past 2 weeks, they’ve taken the Patriots and the Bears to the final possession.  These guys get after it, and I really think they are moving in a good direction.  Watch out AFC North, Cleveland is coming.  Meanwhile, the Jets offense is completely useless, and their defense has been loving motivation as the losses keep piling up.

Buccaneers @ Rams

Scottie: Buccaneers 5

Mattyoshow: Rams 4

I don’t know if Scottie lives underneath some sort of rock, but I saw the Rams absolutely beat down the Saints last week.  Whereas the Bucs caught a beat down courtesy of the 49ers.  The Rams are a tough team, and that defense will be elite within 2 years.  Jeff Fisher > Greg Schiano.

Cardinals @ Seahawks

Scottie: Seahawks 13

Mattyoshow: Seahawks 14

The Seahawks don’t lose at home, even with a tough Cardinals team coming into town.

Giants @ Lions

Scottie: Lions 12

Mattyoshow: Lions 13

Tom Coughlin admitted last week that some of his guys aren’t playing their heart out on the field.  That tells me one thing, the Giants have given up.  Coughlin lost his team, and it’s going to be an interesting offseason in New York.

Patriots @ Ravens

Scottie: Ravens 1

Mattyoshow: Patriots 3

Pats play to the level of their opponents.  It’s been frustrating me for years.  Last week, the Dolphins were lined up for elimination, and the Patriots let them hang around long enough for it to bite them in the ass.  This week, they travel to Baltimore to face on of the hottest teams in the NFL.  I expect Tom Brady and the crew to be on point, however it all comes down to the defense.  Like I said last week, for the rest of the way, if the Pats defense gives up 24 or more points, they lose.  Less than 24, Pats win.

Raiders @ Chargers

Scottie: Chargers 11

Mattyoshow: Chargers 11

The Raiders, once looking like a promising young team under 2nd year coach Dennis Allen, have sputtered down the stretch.  Their defense surrendered 56 points against a decent offense in Kansas City last week.  I expect San Diego to follow suit and light up the Raiders secondary.

Steelers @ Packers

Scottie: Steelers 6

Mattyoshow: Steelers 2

This one hurts.  I really want the Packers to win.  They deserve it.  This team has been absolutely battling ever since Aaron Rodgers went down, and have managed to win two straight games under Matt Flynn.  Sadly, the Steelers offense has been very good lately, and I don’t think that the Packers can score enough points to keep up.

Bears @ Eagles

Scottie: Bears 7

Mattyoshow: Eagles 7

The Eagles made a major misstep last week in Minnesota, while the Bears were able to sneak out a win in Cleveland.  This one is going to be a complete shootout.  If you have any Eagles or Bears players on your fantasy team, they better be starting.  Philadelphia will have a really tough time slowing down Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey.  Meanwhile, the Bears have no answer for LeSean McCoy.  I think Philadelphia has enough defensively to slow down the Bears just a bit, and pull out the win.

Falcons @ 49ers

Scottie: 49ers  16

Mattyoshow: 49ers 15

No brainer here.  The Falcons are in the JaDaveon Clowney sweepstakes, and the 49ers will take advantage of their sloppy play.

2013 NFL Week 15 Picks: Scottie vs Mattyoshow

Last Week:

Scottie: 11-5, 98 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Mattyoshow: 11-5, 101 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Season:

Scottie: 130-77-1, 1100 CONFIDENCE POINTS

Mattyoshow: 123-84-1, 1098 CONFIDENCE POINTS

That sound you hear?  Oh, that’s just me running away with the 2013 title.

Chargers @ Broncos

Scottie: Broncos 10

The Broncos will be without Wes Welker in this one.  I am interested to see how Peyton Manning will do in freezing temperatures without his 1st down safety outlet.  The Broncos rushing attack has seemingly flown under the radar for the past month.  Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball have run the ball effectively and been able to take some of the pressure off of Peyton.  Because of their rushing attack, I am taking the Broncos in this one.

Mattyoshow: Broncos 14

Yes, it will be cold.  Yes, the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives.  Yes, Wes Welker won’t be playing.  But I just can’t see a scenario where the Broncos lose this one.  They have plenty of offensive weapons to make up for the loss of Welker.

Redskins @ Falcons

Scottie: Redskins 1

Every part of me wants Kirk Cousins to light up the Falcons on Sunday.  If that were to happen, can you imagine the quarterback controversy talk down in DC for the next 8 months? You know what? I am going with it.  DC needs an intriguing story line and right now there will be nothing better than Cousins vs. RG3-10 and Snyder vs. Shanahan.  The Falcons smell worse than the Johnston Landfill (home of the great MattyO) and there’s no reason why Cousins can’t beat the Falcons.

Mattyoshow: Falcons 2

I think that Kirk Cousins being named the starter for the Redskins is actually going to backfire on the team.  RG3 is their franchise quarterback, everyone knows that.  Now, he is getting the rest of the season off for his health?  What about the health of Alfred Morris?  Pierre Garcon? Brian Orakpo?  How come those guys aren’t getting the rest of the season off?  Sounds like a crock of crap if you ask me…

49ers @ Buccaneers

Scottie: 49ers 16

The 49ers are primed for a Super Bowl bid.  While most pundits have Seattle penned for New York in February, give me San Fran.  Kaepernick has to bust out at some point.  Overall he has had a miseable season, but I have a hunch he is poised to breakout and end the season on a high note.  Tampa has won 4 of their last 5.  I would say it is a surprise but it’s really not.  On paper, the Bucs have some of the best talent in the league.  They were just unable to put it together all year.  The 49ers D will haunt Mike Glennon and coast to a W.

Mattyoshow: 49ers 10

Maybe Scottie hasn’t been paying attention over the last few weeks, but the Bucs have been playing some good football.  Their defensive line is good enough to contain Kaepernick.  If they can control the impact that Frank Gore has on the game, the Bucs will keep this one close.  I don’t think that they will have enough offensively to win, however I’m not guaranteeing a 49ers win here.

Seahawks @ Giants

Scottie: Seahawks 11

The Giants did have a nice little run during the middle part of the season.  I admit I thought they were going to find themselves in the playoffs for awhile there.  Now they are just hoping for a rapid end to the season.  Russell Wilson was drafted by the Texas Rangers in baseball’s Rule 5 draft today.  I, for one, hopes he does play for the Rangers at some point.  I was not old enough to appreciate Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson being two sport stars at the professional level.  The Seahawks will rebound from a tough loss to the 49ers and clinch the #1 seed in the NFC.

Mattyoshow: Seahawks 15

The Seattle Seahawks aren’t the same team on the road, but they are certainly good enough to beat the New York Giants.  The G-Men are just looking to get this season over with, so I don’t imagine that they are going to play with much passion the rest of the way.

Eagles @ Vikings

Scottie: Eagles 15

It took a blizzard for Nick Foles to throw his first interception of the year last week.  The man has been one of the most, if not the most, efficient quarterback in the league since taking over for Michael Vick.  A win over the Vikings puts the Eagles in an outstanding position to win the NFC East.  The Eagles have won 5 in a row and it will be 6 when they steam roll the Vikings.  The Vikings may be with out Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart leaving them with zero offense to speak of.

Mattyoshow: Eagles 11

Adrian Peterson is banged up.  Toby Gerhart is dealing with a bum hamstring.  I think that the Vikings can keep this one relatively close by moving the ball through the air, but not being able to run the ball against a porous Eagles run defense will be their downfall in this one.

Patriots @ Dolphins

Scottie: Patriots 4

The Dolphins pose a fair test for the Patriots in their first game (again) without Rob Gronkowski.  I expect Shane Vereen to continue to dominate the stat line for the Patriots.  The Pats need to quit this come from behind nonsense. I want to see the Pats get an early lead and then run the bejesus out of the football.  Jason Campbell tuned up the medical infirmary known as the Pats defense last week.  If Tannehill does the same this week, I don’t see the Pats getting to the AFC Championship game.

Mattyoshow: Patriots 5

The Patriots had no deal winning that game last week.  The Browns outplayed New England in every facet of the game.  The lose of Rob Gronkowski shifts my focus back onto the defense.  The offense will no longer be able to carry the defense through games.  If the Pats give up less than 24 points, they win.  If they give up more than 24, they lose.  That’s what will happen the rest of the way.

Bills @ Jaguars

Scottie: Jaguars 5

I go from not picking the Jaguars all season to picking them two weeks in a row and with some confidence!  How did that happen?  The Bills were horrific last week getting trounced by the Bucs.  I am going to stick with the hot team in the biggest snoozer of the week.

Mattyoshow: Bills 1

It’s looking like Maurice Jones-Drew won’t be playing on Sunday.  The Bills are coming off a complete disaster last week against the Bucs.  I think that Buffalo rebounds and picks up a win on the road.

Texans @ Colts

Scottie: Colts 14

Man, the Texans are bad.  They have lost 11 in a row.  I am ashamed to admit in the beginning of the season I stated they would be in the AFC Championship.  My how times have changed. The Colts have been mediocre at best going 3-3 over their last 6 games.  Fortunately for the Colts, they get a lay up at home against the hapless Texans.  Case Keenum has done nothing to prove he should be a starting quarterback.  Teddy Bridgewater may be the future of Houston.  As for the Colts, they will win this week but I expect an early exit in the playoffs.  Losing Reggie Wayne has been one thing, but the real area of need for the Colts is their offensive line.  Wow, are they bad!   They need to do a better job of protecting their investment, Andrew Luck!

Mattyoshow: Colts 8

Scottie goes on and on about how bad the Texans have been lately, but the Colts haven’t beed much better.  A beat-up Cincinnati team smoked them last week.  Andrew Luck has no offensive weapons to work with.  The Colts run game seems to get worse on a weekly basis.  In Houston, I’m going with the Texans, however in Indy I have to go with the home team.

Bears @ Browns

Scottie: Bears 9

If I am the Bears, I let Jay Cutler walk in the off-season.  Josh McCown has proven to be a serviceable enough quarterback to lead the Bears.  Then again, I could play quarterback with receivers like Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and a running back like Matt Forte.  Bears ownership should spend the money they will save by not signing Cutler on their defense.  If that were to happen, the Bears are a legitimate NFC contender.  Their defense has allowed a 100 yard rusher in 6 straight games.  Even though I love my Longhorn boys Chris Ogonbanaya and Fozzy Whitaker, they won’t rush for 100 against Chicago.  Plus, I will be in Chicago for the weekend, double win for the city right there!

Mattyoshow: Bears 9

The Cleveland Browns are one of the most surprising teams in the AFC.  Not record wise, but just watching them play you can see that there is some potential there.  Their offense looks pretty damn good when Josh Gordon is doing his thing.  With the addition of a good running back and some help on the offensive line, the Browns could compete for a playoff spot next year.  My issue in this game is that the Browns might be able to stop Brandon Marshall, but I can’t see them stopping Marshall, Jeffrey, and Forte.

Chiefs @ Raiders

Scottie: Chiefs 13

The Chiefs defense and special teams were spectacular again last week against the woeful Redskins.  Trust me, I know.  They are on my fantasy team.  The Raiders went with a quarterback by committee approach last week with McGloin and Pryor.  It simply did not work.  There is no consistency in Oakland.  From Darren McFadden, to Rashard Jennings, and now Marcel Reece the team has been unable to establish any continuity on the offensive side of the ball.  The Chiefs will roll over their division rival on Sunday.

Mattyoshow: Chiefs 13

Matt McGoin, Terrell Pryor, Rich Gannon…it doesn’t matter.  The Raiders are a mess.  They have no weapons for their quarterbacks to work with.  Denarrius Moore is there best receiver, and he sucks.  McFadden might be shutting it down for the season.  The Raiders are a mess once again.

Jets @ Panthers

Scottie: Panthers 12

The fact the Jets are still in the playoff hunt is absolutely unfathomable.  Geno smith can’t even get through the first quarter of games before being benched anymore.  I am grateful Cam and friends are going to rebound from their loss on Sunday night and knock the Jets out for the season, much like MattyO is done.

Mattyoshow: Panthers 16

The Jets playoff aspirations disappear (even though Kellen Winslow already thinks the Jets are out) when they head to Carolina this weekend.  The Panthers need to get back on track after a tough loss to the Saints last weekend.  Defensively, I expect the Panthers to absolutely wreak havoc against Geno Smith and the Jets.

Packers @ Cowboys

Scottie: Cowboys 5

Easy on the December Tony Romo criticism.  I watched the Dallas defense get shredded last week by the Bears.  Their defense is simply terrible.  Maybe Rob Ryan wasn’t the problem.  Monte Kiffin has no idea what’s going on.  Maybe DeMarcus Ware is extremely overrated.  This year the Dallas D kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs.  For once it was not Tony Romo.  All of these problems should not affect the outcome up in Lambeau this weekend.  Without Rodgers, I just can’t find it in me to pick Green Bay.

Mattyoshow: Cowboys 7

I actually kind of feel bad for the Packers.  They are fighting and battling with everything that they have to try and keep their playoff hopes alive.  With Aaron Rodgers, they are Super Bowl contenders, however Rodgers just can’t get that clavicle healthy enough to get back on the field.  The Cowboys try and keep pace in the NFC East race with a win at home.  Scottie, the Packers are on the road you idiot…the game isn’t in Lambeau.

Cardinals @ Titans

Scottie: Cardinals 6

The Cardinals have the best rushing defense in the NFL.  I will lay off Chris Johnson for once this week.  He received bad news as it is that he is likely to be cut at season’s end.  Tough break for the Honey Badger last weekend tearing his ACL and MCL.  I hope the kid has a successful comeback.  With a young core in Floyd and Ellington, a superstar in Larry Fitzgerald, the Arizona offense is a quarterback away from being a contender in the NFC.  Enter Jay Cutler?

Mattyoshow: Cardinals 4

This game might be the toughest pick of the week.  Scottie is right, the Cards have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, which means tough sledding for Chris Johnson.  However, the Titans have a very good secondary, which will make Carson Palmer’s life pretty difficult.  The Cards still have something to play for, while the Titans are just trying to survive with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Saints @ Rams

Scottie: Saints 8

It amazes me how different the Saints are at home than they are on the road.  Last week they channeled their inner greatest show on turf against a stout Carolina defense.  Marques Colston came back from the dead right at the time I was eliminated from one of my fantasy leagues.  He earned a spot on my “I will never draft you again” board.  The Saints are on the road but indoors against the Rams.  I see the Saints marching to an easy victory.

Mattyoshow: Saints 12

The Saints are making a serious push at the top seed in the NFC.  They need a little help from the Seahawks, but they need to keep winning to at least give themselves a shot.  The Rams fight, but they just aren’t good enough to keep pace in this one.  However, the Rams will continue to build through the draft and will be major players in the NFC over the next several years.

Bengals @ Steelers

Scottie: Bengals 3

Some how, Some way, I finally correctly picked a Bengals win last week.  I am going to roll the dice and hope for two in a row.  Believe it or not, the Bengals are sneaky scary for me as a Patriots fan.  They have a damn good defense.  They can control the time of possession with The Law Firm and Gio Bernard.  Their only enemy is Andy Dalton who loves to turn the ball over.

Mattyoshow: Bengals 6

At 5-8 the Steelers haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, however it is pretty much a done deal in Pittsburgh.  Meanwhile, the Bengals and their inconsistencies have someone led to a 9-4 record, and Cincy has an outside shot at the top seed in the AFC.  Cincinnati keeps their momentum going in Pittsburgh.

Ravens @ Lions

Scottie: Lions 2

Both teams are scratching and clawing for a playoff spot.  I expect Suh and company will bottle up Ray Rice.  I don’t think Calvin Johnson will be stopped on national television in prime time.

Mattyoshow: Lions 3

The Detroit Lions have this amazing ability to shoot themselves in the foot at the end of every season.  Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens always seem to find a way to get into the playoffs and then make a run from there.  In 2013, I see the roles reversing, and the Lions drive to a playoff spot begins on Monday night!