Friday, October 30, 2015

Patriots-Dolphins Random Thoughts and Football Picks

Much has been said and written of the Patriots offense this season.  Every word typed and uttered has been deserved.

Tom Brady is running the show better than he ever has and his arsenal of weapons must make opposing defensive coordinators loose total control of their bodily functions as they try and figure out a way to keep the Patriots from scoring at will.  Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a hot candidate on the head coaching market, must laugh when outposts such as Cleveland and Detroit call for his services because no offensive coordinator of sound mind and moral principles would walk away from this machine right now.

Sorry to bury the lead.  This was not intended to be a love letter to Brady and the offense.

Actually, the defense deserves the attention today.

Matt Patricia is the Patriots defensive coordinator who very few people know of, who loves Barstool Sports, and who also should be on the short list of candidates to become a head coach in the near future.

Patricia's unit may be unheralded compared to the offense but it is, quietly, establishing itself as championship worthy.

Last night's game was a prime example of the ability of the defense.  Facing a Dolphins offense that has some talent and had put up 82 points in its previous two games, the Patriots eliminated their running game and shut down their passing attack in the 36-7 rout.

The front seven features some awesome young talent that have championship pedigree already and are starting to assert themselves as All-Pro talent.  There are not many better defenders in the NFL right now than Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, and Jamie Collins and when you add in grizzled veterans like Rob Ninkovich, Alan Branch, Jerod Mayo, and Jabaal Sheard as well as youngsters Malcolm Brown and Dominique Easley, the front seven has the ability and the production to be considered elite.

Even the secondary, which is still a little suspect, is coming together.  Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan are both playing good football and Devin McCourty continues to be one of the best safeties in the game.

The path to the top seed in the AFC and another Super Bowl title will not be easy but as the defense continues to develop and earns its own accolades separate from the offense, it's looking like another super season for the Patriots.


So much for the "revived" Dolphins.

Dan Campbell did pump some life into the Dolphins after they started 1-3 and fired head coach Joe Phillbin.  However, lopsided wins over the hapless Titans and Texans does not make a team ready for prime time.

Campbell's team got a lesson last night in what an actual championship team looks like.  Bill Belichick is not one for macho coaching cliches and maybe Campbell will learn from that as he prepares his team going forward to possibly compete for a playoff spot as a Wild Card.

Tom Brady and the offense moved the ball easily and the Patriots defense tormented Ryan Tannehill all night long as Campbell watched helplessly from the sideline.

If Campbell can get the Dolphins to bounce back from last night's shelling than they could conceivably enter the regular season finale against the Patriots in Miami with 8 or 9 wins and be alive for a postseason berth.


On to the Redskins.


Picks are against the spread and home team is in CAPS.


Clemson (-10) over NC STATE
Notre Dame (-11) over TEMPLE
PENN STATE (-4) over Illinois
KENTUCKY (+8.5) over Tennessee
MEMPHIS (-32.5) over Tulsa

Last Week: 2-3
Season: 13-20-2


Chiefs (-3.5) over Lions (game played in London, England)
Vikings (+1.5) over BEARS
Buccaneers (+7.5) over FALCONS
Giants (+3) over SAINTS
RAMS (-8) over 49ers
Cardinals (-6) over BROWNS
Bengals (+1.5) over STEELERS
Chargers (+3.5) over RAVENS
Titans (+3.5) over TEXANS
RAIDERS (+3) over Jets
COWBOYS (+6.5) over Seahawks
Packers (-2.5) over BRONCOS
PANTHERS (-7) over Colts

Last Week: 5-8
This Week: 0-1
Season: 53-49-3

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