NFL Week 4 Predictions: Sit Andrew Luck

First, a moment of silence for Josh Scobee’s career. Okay, that was long enough.

Sit Andrew Luck, Indy

I hate to play doctor for an injury I don’t even know the extent of, but it might be in the Colts’ best interest to sit Andrew Luck this week with a right shoulder injury. They have to think about the hits he takes and the fact that there’s a big game in Houston on Thursday where the Colts can quickly get to 3-2 and back in first place. Luck being listed as questionable, limited in practice and the signing of Josh Johnson are all signs this is not some minor issue. You could see him wincing on the sideline on Sunday after a little celebratory contact from a teammate.

Let Matt Hasselbeck earn that game check. The Colts have only had 12 games with a 20-point lead in the Luck era. Five of those games have been against the Jaguars, so this team is used to dominating Jacksonville, and the game is at home this week. I’m not sure if a few more days of rest is going to make Luck’s shoulder any better, but I know going out there and taking a beating on Sunday won’t help him for Thursday. The Colts have to think ahead on this one.

But the expectations going into Sunday are that Luck will start. Just what does questionable really mean to Indianapolis?

  • 2014: 15 of 26 questionable Indy players played (57.7%)
  • 2014 NFL average: 55.7%
  • 2013: 19 of 30 questionable Indy players played (63.3%)
  • 2013 NFL average: 61.3%

So things really are up in the air on whether or not he’ll play, though the team probably has a good idea tonight what will happen. If Luck sits out, he’ll end his consecutive start streak to begin a career at 51 games. Here’s the list of leaders since 1950 (regular season only):

QBconsst

The ironman thing is cool, but sometimes you just have to recognize when you have a winnable game with your backup and your starter isn’t right. It’s not like Luck has been playing well this season.

Where’s the 18-Hour Football Sunday?

I like to get up around 12:20 p.m. on Sundays after staying up late. A 9:30 a.m. start for a London game does not jive with me. I got up for last year’s Atlanta-Detroit game, and I could have easily slept in during the first half. The Lions sure did.

But when you schedule Dolphins vs. Jets, that gives me even less of a reason to get up early, though I may be up anyway because I don’t have what you’d call a “sleep schedule.” If I had to rank the worst division rivalries since 2002 realignment, Dolphins vs. Jets is right up there because of how boring those teams have been in that time. We’re not getting a Dan Marino vs. Ken O’Brien shootout here. We’re not even getting older Dan Marino vs. NY-era Boomer Esiason and the fake spike game. We’re getting Ryan Fitzpatrick and a coach from Miami who is going to be fired any week now.

If I end up going to sleep tonight, I’ll probably wake up around 11:30 just to catch the ending of this one. If it’s close, I’m not sure how that will shake out since Fitzpatrick will want to throw interceptions and Joe Philbin will try finding some way to blow the game.

I’m surprised the NFL hasn’t tacked on a midnight EST start out west to go for the 18-hour football Sunday. 

And I must say it’s total bullshit to make any team give up a home game for a division game (Miami in this case). That’s the definition of unfair since the other team will be at home when the rematch comes.

Where Are the Good Games?

To the NFL’s credit, we didn’t end up with many better options to ship to London in Week 4. Vikings at Broncos is the only game between teams with winning records. I’m looking forward to that one in the national slot for 4:30 p.m. Both defenses should play very well, meaning it will look like Denver’s other 2015 games. The running game can’t stay this bad all season under Gary Kubiak, right? Denver has rushed for 171 yards at 2.59 YPC. Adrian Peterson has 260 rushing yards in the last two weeks alone.

Denver (and the 2015 Lions) is the 34th team to rush for less than 175 yards through three games since 1970. On average these teams finish with 1,442 yards and 3.69 YPC. Only 9 of the teams cracked 4.0 YPC by season’s end. To the Broncos’ credit, they join the 2007 Packers as the only other 3-0 team on the list. That GB team with Brett Favre reached the NFC Championship Game after finishing 13-3. Ryan Grant really came along for the offense, though there was no running game to speak of in the playoff defeat. Your weaknesses tend to get exposed in the end, but as long as the Broncos have the No. 1 defense and Peyton Manning, every game is winnable. It’s just not going to be pretty.

Final prediction: Broncos 20, Vikings 16

2015 Week 4 Predictions

I followed my worst week in years with one of my best (14-2). Life lesson: the Jets will always screw you over in the end. I originally was going to pick Houston too, but changed to Tampa Bay at the last second. The kicker didn’t help in that one either. The kickers did however help me correctly pick Baltimore over Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Winners in bold

  • Jets at Dolphins
  • Chiefs at Bengals
  • Giants at Bills
  • Eagles at Redskins
  • Jaguars at Colts
  • Panthers at Buccaneers
  • Texans at Falcons
  • Raiders at Bears
  • Packers at 49ers
  • Vikings at Broncos
  • Rams at Cardinals
  • Browns at Chargers
  • Cowboys at Saints
  • Lions at Seahawks

Season Results

  • Week 1: 10-6
  • Week 2: 6-10
  • Week 3: 14-2
  • Season: 30-18 (.625)

NFL History: MVP Quarterbacks Playing with MVP Running Backs

Christian Ponder would be one of the least likely NFL MVP winners in 2013, but if the game had gone to hell and he won a year after running back Adrian Peterson was named MVP, then they would join Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk as the only QB/RB duo to win consecutive MVPs. Warner won in 1999 and 2001 with Faulk taking it in 2000.

Here is a list of every instance of a MVP quarterback playing with a MVP running back. This is based on the AP’s MVP award, which was first given in 1957.

  • Bart Starr (1966) and Paul Hornung (1961) played together in 1957-66 in Green Bay.
  • Bart Starr (1966) and Jim Taylor (1962) played together in 1958-66 in Green Bay.
  • Joe Montana (1989-90) and O.J. Simpson (1973) played together in 1979 in San Francisco, though this is a cheap example.
  • Ken Stabler (1974) and Earl Campbell (1979) played together in 1980-81 in Houston.
  • Joe Montana (1989-90) and Marcus Allen (1985) played together in 1993-94 in Kansas City.
  • John Elway (1987) and Terrell Davis (1998) played together in 1995-98 in Denver.
  • Peyton Manning (2003-04, 2008-09) and Marshall Faulk (2000) played together in 1998 in Indianapolis before either won a MVP.
  • Kurt Warner (1999, 2001) and Marshall Faulk (2000) played together in 1999-03 in St. Louis.
  • Brett Favre (1995-97) and Adrian Peterson (2012) played together in 2009-10 in Minnesota.

So only Stabler/Campbell, Montana/Allen and Warner/Faulk played together in a season after each had won a MVP in the past.

That means just seven seasons in NFL history have had active MVP winners at QB and RB.

NFL Wild Card Predictions, MVP Voting and Writing Recap

Playoffs. I have already been feeling some postseason pressure to get things done, but it was a successful week and am looking forward to more significant research to put out there before we head into the offseason. This intro would sound much better read by Don Cheadle.

Last year I recapped every 4QC/GWD in playoff history for each round (can be found under Captain Comeback 2011 archives). The Wild Card round is home to the all-time NFL comeback, Houston’s 32-point collapse in Buffalo 20 years ago this week. It also has the only two playoff games ever ending on a defensive score in overtime, and both games involved the Packers. Finally, the only two playoff games to have two lead changes in the final minute are also on Wild Card weekend.

The best game last season ended up being the Steelers in Denver, with the longest game-winning TD pass in NFL playoff history from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas. I have a feeling Sunday’s games could live up to that one again.

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 17: 2012 NFL Regular Season Review – Cold, Hard Football Facts

It’s the year-end review of the regular season, with a ranking of all 32 offenses in the clutch. Go figure the Colts and Broncos were among the best, while San Diego was the only team in the league without a single comeback or GWD in 2012.

The Biggest Flaw for Each NFL Playoff Team – Bleacher Report

It may be a  slideshow, but you are getting 12 articles in one here. A look at each playoff team’s fatal flaw, whether it be something tangible or a perception they must overcome. Framing each team the proper way before the postseason starts.

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 17 vs. Houston Texans – Colts Authority

Houston blitzed Andrew Luck on 75.9 percent of his drop backs this week, but the battered offensive line actually held up enough for one of the most efficient offensive performances of the year for the Colts. Luck threw perhaps his pass of the season with a 70-yard touchdown strike to T.Y. Hilton in the fourth quarter on a 3rd and 23 to ice the game and the Colts’ 11th win.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Wild Card Predictions – Bleacher Report

The four-game preview format of TMG works best here, looking at each Wild Card matchup. Also included is a review of some postseason studies I did in the last year on home-field advantage, quality wins in the regular season, and marquee blowouts in 2012.

Best Rookie QB Class Ever Makes Postseason Debut – NBC Sports

Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson will be the 12th-14th rookie quarterbacks to start a playoff game. A look at their record-breaking success, and whether or not one of them can make more history by reaching the Super Bowl.

Voting History: Why Peyton Manning Should Run Away with NFL MVP Award – Cold, Hard Football Facts

Not only was this the argument for Peyton Manning clearly being the MVP over Adrian Peterson in 2012, but you also get a chance to view all the MVP voting results (AP award) for 1986-2011. A great resource given this information is nowhere to be found elsewhere in one place. Find out who the only TE to receive a MVP vote is, or the only cornerback.

 NFL Wild Card Predictions

I’m not a fan of picking the final score, but here’s a shot at it.

  • Texans over Bengals, 19-16
  • Packers over Vikings, 24-13
  • Colts over Ravens, 20-17
  • Seahawks over Redskins, 24-20

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 11-3
  • Week 10: 9-4-1
  • Week 11: 11-3
  • Week 12: 10-6
  • Week 13: 8-8
  • Week 14: 11-5
  • Week 15: 11-5
  • Week 16: 12-4
  • Week 17: 11-5
  • Season: 168-87-1 (.658)

NFL Week 16 Predictions, Adrian Peterson’s Dominance and Writing Recap

It will be a happy holidays as Jets/Titans didn’t go down as the last NFL game ever played.

This Week’s Articles

Captain Comeback Week 15: 49ers and Patriots Play NFL’s Game of the Year – Cold, Hard Football Facts

We only had five games to recap this week with a ton of blowouts on Separation Sunday, but at least we got the game of the year. San Francisco at New England was deserving of a monster recap, as we look at all the teams to come back from 28+ points, finding that only two of the seven have actually gone on to win the game. Also look at the teams who have come back from 21+ down in the fourth quarter and lost, which includes the Patriots three times now. Dallas and Pittsburgh also played an overtime thriller, and the Cowboys are on their biggest run of clutch wins in team history.

NFL Season Changes in a Day…Again – NBC Sports

The NFL is a week-to-week league, and after Sunday’s results, everything changed. Again. The biggest winners were San Francisco and Denver, as they now have the inside track to the No. 2 seed in each conference. Denver should be in Super Bowl or bust mode this season, as they may never have a better chance at a ring.

After Season of Blowouts, What Can We Expect from 2013 NFL Playoffs? – Bleacher Report

It is hard to define a marquee game during the regular season, but I found it even harder to find ones that were really competitive this season. It’s been a lot of blowouts, so what does that mean for the playoffs? A look at the previous five seasons.

Note: I still contend the title of the article should be 2012 and not 2013, but not everyone agrees.

Following a Legend: Andrew Luck Week 15 at Houston Texans – Colts Authority

J.J. Watt led a dominant attack against Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense in a 29-17 win. Luck was pressured on a season-high 51.5 percent of his drop backs. In his last four games Luck has been pressured on 40.8 percent of his drop backs compared to 27.1 percent in the first 10 games. That explains the drop in offensive efficiency.

The Thinking Man’s Guide: NFL Week 16 Predictions – Bleacher Report

I thought this came out as the best edition of the year. A look at why the Bengals need to stop being the Bungles and take care of Pittsburgh. The stat of the year candidate on Adrian Peterson. He has seven runs of 50+ yards in his last seven games alone. That’s as many as the Houston Texans have ever had (174 games), and as many as the Colts and Patriots have combined for in their last 412 games.

AD

 Apocalypse Now: Chicago Bears and the NFL’s Greatest Second-Half Collapses – Cold, Hard Football Facts

The Bears are who we thought they were, or are they? Once 7-1, the Bears are hoping to avoid becoming the fourth team since 1978 to start 7-1 and miss the playoffs. Included is a look at why the Bears have faltered, and which company they could be joining should they complete one of the NFL’s greatest second-half collapses. Anyone remember the 1993 Miami Dolphins or 1996 Washington Redskins?

2012 NFL Week 16 Predictions

The week is about to soon start with the Falcons/Lions, so let me make sure I get this in on time.

  • Falcons at Lions
  • Raiders at Panthers
  • Saints at Cowboys
  • Titans at Packers
  • Vikings at Texans
  • Patriots at Jaguars
  • Colts at Chiefs
  • Bills at Dolphins
  • Chargers at Jets
  • Redskins at Eagles
  • Bengals at Steelers
  • Rams at Buccaneers
  • Browns at Broncos
  • Bears at Cardinals
  • Giants at Ravens
  • 49ers at Seahawks

Season results:

  • Week 1: 12-4
  • Week 2: 11-5
  • Week 3: 4-12
  • Week 4: 10-5
  • Week 5: 10-4
  • Week 6: 5-9
  • Week 7: 12-1
  • Week 8: 10-4
  • Week 9: 11-3
  • Week 10: 9-4-1
  • Week 11: 11-3
  • Week 12: 10-6
  • Week 13: 8-8
  • Week 14: 11-5
  • Week 15: 11-5
  • Season: 145-78-1 (.650)

Finally, here’s a holiday flashback to a year ago, when I wrote “The Night Before Christmas” as told by Joe Namath (Jets Edition). It is still topical enough, and I especially like this part about Mark Sanchez:

“I can’t win with him anymore, can’t you see?”
Well that’s obvious, but what did he want with me?
I couldn’t coach the kid to play quarterback right,
Look at my stats; they’re one hell of a sight!

Suddenly a gunshot rang through the air
It rattled my heart; gave me a good scare
Little Plaxico must have confused a bag of toys for tots,
With the stash of automatic handguns he just bought.

As we calmed down to discuss the Sanchez situation,
St. Rex continued to vent his frustrations.
“The kid can’t do this, the kid can’t do that!”
So why did you take him fifth in the draft?

It’s a little too late for a return, Jets.