NFL Musings and Observations (Don't overlook the obvious)

Here at the NFL Musings and Observations we stay out of politics unless it makes my point based on an observation. What I mean is don't overlook the obvious and never overthink the obvious. I'll give an example, some people are making a huge thing about Senator Ted Cruz's daughter not believing what her father believes. DUH! A teenager disagrees with almost everything their father says. Breaking News and stop the presses. Now this shows exactly how some people think. Anything that may show my side of the story I believe this weakens an argument. So when looking at this weeks Wild Card lets just say they need to follow the obvious.

The Bills are in prime position to beat the Patriots. The obvious thing is to look at the teams as of right now. Josh Allen may very well be a top three QB in the league. Mac Jones has shown glimpses of good play but he is still a rookie. Bills have been able to play multiple styles of games especially in the last few weeks. The Patriots have a blue print and a specific way to win. Bills O-Line have really come along and is playing better and Dion Dawkins has returned to form. Patriots have a damn good OL so equal there. Both defenses are good but the Bills have faster LBs. Coach Belicheck is the greatest coach in the history of the NFL. Coach McDermott but respects Belicheck but he is not kissing his rings. Bills skill positions are just better than the Patriots.

With all of this obvious information out there the obvious thing is to say the Bills are the favorites. This is reflected by Vegas because the wise guys simply don't care about traditions they only care about the here and now so the Bills are the favorites. However here we go with some saying the Patriots are the team and the play. Why? Because we are conditioned to say what makes us comfortable. The Patriots were so good for so long that it is hard to really understand that the teams are not what they once were. Why is this harder? They are on the road for the playoffs which makes it harder. They are of course in the Wildcard these are things that in and of themselves is difficult but compared to where they made their money it's not and day.

For much of the Patriots dynasty they had advantages. One of those huge advantages is the AFC East. They were a full blown clown show for many years. Think of it this way...Joe Judge Clown show was all three organizations for almost a full decade. So the Patriots wrapped up the first round bye normally before the last two weeks of the year. They had time to rest players, practice in time, real world game time concepts where others were trying to get their playoff spot. Players were rested and the Patriots almost always came in the most healthy.

Things change and the Patriots are in a spot they don't fully understand or at least their fans don't understand. Josh McDaniels needs to call an almost perfect game because he doesn't have Tom Brady and Gronk out their making plays out of nothng. Daboll gets this with JA17 and Diggs by the way so having excellent players help the play callers. But the Patriots don't have the benefit of just high end talent. The end result is that Coach Belicheck will have his team ready to play but this is the Bills game to lose, I don't believe that they will lose as they embrace being kind of the under dog again like they were last year.

Random Bills Thoughts:

1.) Watching MJD on Good morning Football this morning and he talked about the Bills running game and he broke it down as simple as this. How many defenders in the box and that dictates if they run or they don't run. This is not a revelation in football Xs and Os because if you have the number advantage you run the ball. But why the change? Ultimately I believe that it falls upon Josh Allen. Josh Allen has responsibility in this offense and he I believe has the ability to change the play at the line. When you're as physically gifted as he is of course you want the ball in your hand. But the obvious thing is if you can get 6 yards on a running play on first down and force a 2nd and 4 you do that play. I believe this change was driven by Sean McDermott getting involved in the offense more.

2.) Dion Dawkins is returning back to form and it is exciting to see. He had a bad bout of Covid over last summer. To be a football player the player needs to be at an extreme level of physical ability and stamina that I believe it took months for him to recover. Some people may complain about Brandon Beane and some weak spots on the roster but the Dion Dawkins contract is one of the best in the league.

3.) There are some very interesting things said by Patriots fans. Now, some are just terrible because they don't want a discussion rather just to win. Its like Skip Bayless with a Boston accent but a point they made was their linebackers were slow. Lets dive into the Patriots LB corp. Judon who is really a pass rusher and less of a true LBH Hightower and Van Noy with Collins. For the sake of this I will only be talking about Van Noy and Hightower because Judon for all purposes is a pass rusher. Kyle Van Noy in his combine ran a 4.71 50 yard dash. Not a terrible time but it isn't incredibly fast. His 3 cone was 7.22. Hightower ran his 40 yard time in 4.62 and he didn't compete in the 3 cone drill. Collins ran his 40 yard in 4.66 and was drafted in 2013. Hightower was drafted in 2012 and Van Noy was drafted in 2014 so I doubt that those times have gotten faster. Lets dive into another player and that is Tremaine Edmunds who ran his 40 yard in 4.54. That helps tremendously because speed is needed in the LB corp. For all things to be fair Matt Milano ran his 40 in 4.67 but overall the Bills LBs are faster than the Patriots.

4.) How does knowing this helps the Bills defeat the Patriots? Because the quick game is how you beat the Patriots. Coach Belicheck needs to respect the arm of Josh Allen because he can throw it deep anywhere on the field. But the LB are slow as reasonable Pats fans have pointed out. Cole Beasley and McKenzie are going to feast in running crossers and lets not forget about Dawson Knox. Specifically Knox ran a 4.59 40 yard dash during his Pro-Day. There is not a LB who can keep up with Knox so the Patriots will try and run a zone. The Problem with running zone to stop Knox in the middle is that Cole Beasley is a zone buster. He fully understands how to sit in zone and JA17 will be able to really have a game. But what if they decide to use Kyle Duggar on Knox and just man up with two deep and force JA17 to drive?

5.) Here's the rub from last game in New England. The Patriots didn't do a hard rush with their defensive ends because JA17 is money on the run. So if they don't get home with the inside pass rush and the edge rushers are playing contain first JA17 will pick them apart as long as he remains patient. If the edge rushers bring a rush first and JA17 slips contain he can do some major damage with his legs especially with a 4.75 40 yard dash so the LBs only have a slight advantage in terms of speed.

6.) The big question mark and the Patriots rookie Christian Barmore who is playing some excellent football right now. He is an absolute beast as a NT and can throw a huge wrench into what the Bills want to do. He practiced on Wednesday and but with the cold weather if he struggles to warm up his hamstrings that is a huge lose for the Patriots. I believe the Patriots want to still use the edge rushers are contain first and have the pocket collapse around JA17. Without Barmore I believe the Patriots have to come up with a different strategy.

Random NFL Thoughts:

1.) I have to discuss what former Broncos LB DJ Williams said about his time while playing for Josh McDaniels in Denver. In his story he stated that they went 6-0 and preparation was crazy. McDaniels on a Wednesday said in this formation the other team runs this so do this and you'll get an interception. What happened? McDaniels Broncos was caught handling the "Patriots way" and filming the opposite team and they finished 8-8. At the end of the clip and McDaniels was FIRED DJ Williams said his friends and himself looked at themselves and said this about MCDaniels "We knew he wasn't that good".

2.) Buffalo Bills are practicing inside during install days? Anyone shocked after the DJ Williams story and the history of the Patriots the Bills are practicing inside? Why temp fate with the history of the Patriots and the mini-Spy Gate? What does this say however of Patriot assistants?

3.) Joe Judge is out as the Giants head coach and the clown show is done. Did ANYONE think this was going to end happily? Joe Judge's biggest accomplishment was being on the staff of Bill Belicheck. Kyle Brandt made a good point. Being the over the top "Tough Guy" only works if you're winning. Even then it becomes hard if you're winning and you have the tough guy approach. It doesn't work in the military, doesn't work in business, doesn't work in High School football. What does work? Even Belicheck from what I have read is not a bully. He's just really dry and to the point. But having those rings makes it easier for him to act how the Patriots way acts.

4.) Brian Flores was fired in Miami and the shocking thing to me isn't the firing but the OUTRAGE of the firing as Flores has a 24-25 record and not one playoff appearance where in the last two years the NFL has expanded the playoffs. Now, do I think he is a good coach? Yes and especially in the Xs and Os part of the game. However rumors are that he struggled working with others. He had in three years three offensive line coaches, started each year with a new offensive coordinator and had rumors of IN FIGHTING and not being able to work with others. Where have I heard this before? Almost EVERY single Patriots assistant. I would be very careful hiring a Patriots assistant because this isn't accidental anymore, them struggling to have the ability to make a culture and express their vision is a trend until proven otherwise.

5.) Why the outrage over Brian Flores being fired? It almost became trendy for someone to say "THIS IS AN OUTRAGE" without looking at big picture. Flores will get another opportunity (Minnesota would be a good fit) but the outrage became comical. Some cried that he had a seven game winning streak to end the year. But, he had a huge losing streak to start the year. His defensive side of the ball was great. But in the two biggest games of his coaching career, the week 17 games in 2020-2021 against the Bills and Titans his defensive side of the ball was simply outclassed. Flores also went 0-6 against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. That is a stat that got Bills coaches fired looking at the record of them versus Tom Brady. I believe he should of received one more year, but I don't think it was an outrage he was fired.

6.) Chargers played themselves. Can I just say that analytics is fun and it makes people feel smart. However there are other things that can't be put into an equation. I'll give an example. It was the right move for the Confederates to try and take Little Round Top and turn the line or flank of the Union at the Battle of Gettysburg. What was not calculated? It was the hottest day of the year and the Confederates didn't have water. That was huge as the battle went on and the fighting happened in the Peach Orchard, Devil's Den, Little and Big round top. The het and lack of water played a huge tool along with the Union. The Chargers went for it inside their own 20! That is just dumb and I don't care what the smart kids say about analytics. Even if they make it they have to gain around 50 more years for a reasonable field goal try. So the odds are against them. But when they don't make it, which they didn't make it the Raider were set up for a field goal try. Analytics are great but analytics without context is just idiotic.

7.) It wasn't a full collapse but the Cardinals are limping to the playoffs. I have to ask what happens if the Cardinals are blown out in the wildcard round? Would they move on from Kliff Kingbury? That needs to be part of the conversation if they are blown out in Dallas. If Doug Pederson is on the market would they at least have a conversation? How about Eric Beienemy or Brian Daboll? I'm just saying that these collapses are becoming a trend.

Have a great day! Go Bills!

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