Vince Lombardi

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THE CHALKBOARD

QC's Week 3 Thoughts

The Patriots, Vikings, Eagles and Cowboys are 12-0 ATS and 11-1 straight up. What do they have in common? None of them have had the QB that in the off-season they expected to be their starting QB take a single snap. It is often said, “The NFL is a QB driven league.” We often hear that no price is too great to pay to move up in the draft to pick a potential franchise QB. Yet, these teams are nearly perfect with Jimmy Garapolo (2RD), Jacoby Brissett (3RD), Sam Bradford (acquired via trade), Carson Wentz (1RD) and Dak Prescott (3RD) under center. It would seem that this is pretty clear evidence that NFL success is driven by more than QB play.

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Yes, Bill Belichick is a genius. And this may be the best defense he has had in quite some time. The Patriots D completely stifled DeAndre Hopkins and all of Houston’s new acquisitions (QB Brock Osweiler, RB Lamar Miller and WR Will Fuller.) But it was special teams that lost this game. The Texans twice fumbled kickoffs and the Patriots recovered. The miscues directly led to 10 New England points. As QC always says, "You can't feed the Patriots. You have to make them hunt."

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Bruce Arians has been getting a lot of well-earned praise for his play design for the past few years. But the Cardinals play designer delivered a stinker in a 33-18 to the unraveling Bills. New York Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick shredded Rex Ryan’s pass D just 10 days ago. But Arizona QB Carson Palmer could do nothing against the same coverage, less CB starting CB Ronald Darby. DC James Betcher’s design on D was even worse. It looked like Arizona had never seen or prepared for option football. The Bills averaged over 10 yards per carry in the first half and 6.5 per carry for the game. That was better than the QCYPA posted by either team. It is rare that one NFL team simply runs over its opponent. And with the Bills promoting RB coach Anthony Lynn to OC after firing Greg Roman, Betcher had to know the Bills were going to attack on the ground. Defending the option is simple assignment football. But the Cardinals were not prepared.

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Regression to the mean is still undefeated. QC “5 Best Guesses” were all against teams that were 0-2 ATS going into Week 3 (Bills, Colts, Giants, Seahawks, and Packers). Only Green Bay, who jumped to a huge early lead and was never in danger of losing, failed to cover. This is the problem with handicapping based on play design. It lures into a very false sense that little will change when in reality great week-to-week change is a constant possibility in the NFL. Oh well. Back to the chalkboard.

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