Micah Parsons and the Excellent* Professional Bowl Roster

NFL Week 15 – Andrew: Whats up and welcome to Scramble for the Ball, the place this week’s assurance that the tip of the common season is nigh comes within the type of the Professional Bowl fan vote closing this coming Thursday. We might grouse on the knowledge of a season-long award vote closing with round 1 / 4 of every staff’s video games left to play, however ours is to not motive why. As an alternative, we’ll prevent all the hassle of composing your individual poll with this last-minute primer we’re humbly calling Scramble’s Excellent Professional Bowl Roster

Bryan: Notice that we’re saying “roster” and never “poll” for the primary time. Final 12 months, we ranted and raved concerning the horrible official NFL poll for this factor, and the NFL responded by … not altering something by any means. You possibly can nonetheless vote for six gamers at every place, no matter their relative worth. So that you’re restricted to 6 huge receivers and 6 cornerbacks, however you can even decide six fullbacks and 6 lengthy snappers.

Andrew: What will get me about that’s it is not solely no matter worth, but in addition no matter precise Professional Bowl spots. So two fullbacks get to go to the Professional Bowl, however you may solid a vote for six of them. Eight huge receivers get to go, however once more you may solid a vote for six of them.

Bryan: It is ridiculous. It is bonkers. It is the worst system I’ve seen in all of the years we now have been doing this, and for fairly an extended whereas earlier than once I did this at no cost on an outdated phpbb message board. So, lastly, we now have snapped. The roster we’re choosing matches the variety of gamers who will really go to the sport, somewhat than the totally arbitrary system the NFL has for voting. I by no means thought I might advise individuals to vote on Twitter somewhat than an precise poll, as a result of I’m a curmudgeon at coronary heart, however right here I’m.


Andrew: Given the duty we now have set ourselves, our very first place group places us in a bind. To me, the NFC Professional Bowl candidates boil right down to 4 choices: Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, and Kyler Murray. The AFC boils down to 2: Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. In the actual poll, that is high-quality, as a result of you may decide six gamers no matter convention, however we do not wish to do this. So the actual debate is which of Murray, Stafford, and Rodgers are we omitting for, uh, Derek Carr?

Bryan: Nicely, let’s flip to DVOA for assist, or at the very least as a place to begin to argue in opposition to. By DYAR, our six quarterbacks must be Brady, Stafford, Rodgers, Herbert, Mahomes, and Carr. By DVOA, you swap out Stafford for Murray. And thank goodness that Kirk Cousins lastly fell out of the highest three on either side, as a result of I used to be having a extremely exhausting time arising with a counter-argument for him aside from “I’ve zero belief in Kirk Cousins.”

Andrew: I suppose it falls to us to write down the header for the Irrational Murray-Stafford Dialogue Thread. The argument for Murray is fairly easy: DYAR is a counting stat, DVOA is effectivity. If Murray had the identical variety of makes an attempt that Stafford has, he would even have the next DYAR, ergo, he could be the higher alternative.

Bryan: The argument in opposition to Murray can also be pretty easy. He did miss time, and over that interval, the Cardinals nonetheless went 2-1, with the offense wanting pretty efficient in each wins. That raises the query of how a lot of Murray’s relative worth relies on the staff round him, somewhat than his personal ability, and the way a lot time can one miss and nonetheless be thought-about a Professional Bowler (extra on that in a bit).

I do not know if I agree with that argument right here.

Andrew: I do love an argument that just about says, “this man is just too nicely coached, so we should always penalize him for it.”

Bryan: It is also an argument in opposition to Murray, and never one for Stafford!

Andrew: So the argument for Stafford is that he has come into a brand new metropolis, and a brand new offense, in a tricky division, and instantly stepped in as one of many 4 or 5 best quarterbacks within the sport.

Bryan: I might additionally say that Stafford tends to make fewer silly performs than Murray does, and his data of situational soccer is lightyears forward of the place Murray’s is in the meanwhile; the distinction between a veteran and a younger participant. However the counterargument to that’s that Murray’s silly performs typically work; I am constructive he leads the league in huge performs wherein the quarterback has turned his again on the protection at one level or one other.

Andrew: I believed that statistic was the non-public property of 1 Russell C. Wilson of Seattle, Washington.

Bryan: Traditionally, sure, however you may notice that Wilson is Sir Not Showing In This Argument this 12 months.

We are able to proceed debating all we would like concerning the relative values of Stafford and Murray, however I’ll say there’s one factor that brooks no argument: it is much more enjoyable to observe Murray, and possibly that works as a tiebreaker in a Professional Bowl dialog.

Andrew: Actually, if it is trick performs we would like, then I am extra intrigued by the thought of Murray working a wheel route off of play-action than I’m Stafford. I do really feel prefer it’s a snub both approach although, as a result of a lot as I respect Derek Carr, I might somewhat watch both of those guys than him.

Bryan: The AFC is much less strong on the high than the NFC, for certain. However this additionally seems like a 12 months the place nobody’s actually working away with a spot right here (apart from Tom Brady, who might be an immortal supergod at this level; jury continues to be out on that). Once I did my preliminary shortlists, I ended up with half of every convention as a possible decide. Mac Jones? Positive, why not, particularly as an harm substitute. Ryan Tannehill? Come on down. Kirk Cousins? At all times have room for you.

Andrew: The AFC is extra clearly delineated at this level within the season. I would not wager in opposition to Josh Allen making a late run again into kind, however it will likely be too late for the vote. Within the NFC, you discover Kirk Cousins lurking simply outdoors the highest 4 on every stat, Dak Prescott lingering round regardless of a below-par begin to the winter, and even Jimmy let’s not take into consideration that shifting on.

Bryan: I snuck 10 49ers on to my preliminary 200-player quick record, and 0 of these gamers had been Jimmy Garoppolo. We should uphold the sanctity of the Professional Bowl, Andrew.

Andrew: Which, naturally, means he’ll go as an harm substitute, in maybe the 12 months’s most ironic twist.

NFC: Tom Brady, TB; Kyler Murray, ARI; Aaron Rodgers, GB
AFC: Derek Carr, LV; Justin Herbert, LAC; Patrick Mahomes, KC

Operating Backs
Andrew: You will discover this header reads “working backs,” not “blocking backs.” Extra on that in a minute. We have to nominate three working backs for every convention, so a wholesome variety of choices.

Bryan: As soon as once more, let us take a look at our stats as a place to begin. By DYAR, our working backs could be Jonathan Taylor, Austin Ekeler, James Robinson, Leonard Fournette, Tony Pollard, and Ezekiel Elliot. By DVOA, you swap Elliot for … Jamaal Williams?

Suffice it to say, I like these lists a lot lower than I just like the quarterback lists.

Andrew: Pollard and Elliott each being on the record makes a heck of an argument for the Cowboys offensive linemen, and fewer of an argument for these two gamers.

Bryan: Pollard additionally brings up one other argument, as he has solely performed 301 offensive snaps this season. Numerous different potential candidates have comparatively low snap counts, too—AJ Dillon and Cordarrelle Patterson within the NFC; Nick Chubb and Damien Harris within the AFC. There is a query about how a lot you worth nice numbers in small pattern sizes versus extra general worth there. These are far more excessive than the “Kyler Murray missed three video games” argument from earlier than.

Andrew: The 2 guys who’re completely indeniable are Taylor and Fournette, because the clear greatest again in every convention. In actual fact, I feel the AFC record is ok as is. Ekeler is the No. 1 dual-threat working again, Taylor is tops in each measure and an computerized choice, and Robinson is someway having success in Jacksonville, and that regardless of their determined makes an attempt to bench him at each alternative. (Which might be mad; he is nearly the whole Jaguars offense.)

Bryan: We also needs to notice that Derrick Henry isn’t on the poll on account of his harm, despite the fact that you could possibly make an argument that his half-season of labor could be sufficient to get him into consideration on the very least. He is nonetheless fourth in each makes an attempt and speeding yards, simply forward of Nick Chubb. And but you may vote for Chubb and never Henry, simply because one has intact foot bones. Hardly appears honest!

Andrew: So what can we do with the NFC record? Fournette’s a lock. Can we go along with Pollard and Elliott? If not, who can we really change them with? That is nearly the reverse of the quarterbacks, as a result of I might somewhat have Chubb than a few of these choices.

Bryan: Nicely, we are able to take a look at another techniques on the market. SIS’ complete factors earned metric has Cordarrelle Patterson, AJ Dillon, and James Conner as their high three working backs, which brings up an essential level—the record we had above was simply speeding DYAR, and Patterson and Conner get a ton of their worth as receivers. If we add collectively speeding and receiving DYAR, our high AFC gamers grow to be Taylor, Ekeler, and Damien Williams (Robinson has horrible receiving stats), whereas our high NFC gamers are Fournette, Patterson, and Conner.

Andrew: Patterson’s a bizarre case there, too, as a result of he was initially listed on the roster as a large receiver, however he is a halfback on the Professional Bowl poll.

Bryan: Patterson and Deebo Samuel are form of enjoying the identical place over the previous month or so, however are in several sections on the poll. Get used to that.

Andrew: Whereas his rise in Atlanta has been enjoyable to observe, I do not assume the receiving worth is sufficient to get Patterson in. Nonetheless, including in receiving does make the case for Conner stronger, which surprises me a bit. I by no means considered him as that sort of participant. I might be high-quality with him as our second NFC decide.

Bryan: Conner surprises me too, if for no different motive than I spent a lot of the first six weeks advising individuals to select in opposition to him in Loser League, underneath the belief that his landing fee might by no means maintain up. Nicely, it has held up. And bear in mind, Conner was a Professional Bowler in 2018 with almost 500 yards receiving again them; it is a return to kind greater than an out-of-the-blue 12 months. There’s one thing within the water in Arizona, with Conner and A.J. Inexperienced returning to relevance.

My argument in opposition to Patterson could be that he has solely performed 366 snaps, and in the case of brass tacks I might somewhat have somebody in there with a bigger pattern measurement. However such as you stated, the Cowboys working backs are a case of the offensive line greater than the backs themselves, and after them … what, Aaron Jones? David Montgomery? Dalvin Cook dinner, possibly?

Andrew: AJ Dillon is forward of Jones in our numbers, which makes me say no to Jones greater than it does sure to Dillon.

Bryan: The one different NFC again over 100 mixed DYAR is Devontae Booker, which does not really feel proper both. Possibly it is Patterson, if for no different motive than the remainder of the sphere is not leaping out at me. Passing up on the chief in DYAR on the place is tough to get round, even when he is assembling it in a really unusual style.

Andrew: I feel that is one space the place we are able to go along with conventional statistics. It could be decidedly incongruous to go away the NFC’s main rusher off the poll, and that’s Dalvin Cook dinner. Cook dinner has missed a few video games, deflating his numbers, however continues to be the convention’s clear lead again. He provides worth as a receiver and is enjoying behind a notoriously poor line.

Bryan: I’d take Patterson’s mixed worth over Cook dinner’s, however you are proper; you may outthink your self over “decide the man with all of the yards.” I am going to permit it!

NFC: James Conner, ARI; Dalvin Cook dinner, MIN; Leonard Fournette, TB
AFC: Austin Ekeler, LAC; James Robinson, JAX; Jonathan Taylor, IND

Vast Receivers
Bryan: Oh, good luck parsing the NFC on this one.

Andrew: You reckon? It seems fairly indeniable to me, at the very least for the highest three. Our one-two-three is Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson, and Davante Adams. Kupp was on a historic yardage tempo and nonetheless leads the league by 200 yards; Adams is arguably the highest receiver within the sport; and Jefferson has adopted an all-time rookie season with nearly 1,300 yards and counting in his second 12 months.

Bryan: Agreed; they seem to be a clear high three. After which, by DYAR, you’ve got Mike Evans, and by DVOA you’ve got Christian Kirk (and DeAndre Hopkins over Adams, for that matter), after which you’ve got Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, CeeDee Lamb, and Deebo Samuel to parse by means of. If we had been to select simply the most effective eight huge receivers, I feel six or seven would come from the NFC.

Andrew: I do not assume there’s any option to justify placing Christian Kirk within the Professional Bowl, irrespective of how good his DVOA is, when he isn’t near being the highest receiver on his personal offense.

Bryan: That is the place I notice that Deebo Samuel really has extra speeding DYAR than receiving DYAR, and when you added them collectively, he’d be third within the league behind Kupp and Jefferson. In actual fact, his 179 speeding DYAR is at present third all-time for receivers behind 2011 Percy Harvin and 2015 Tavon Austin, and we now have a month to go. Additionally, in contrast to Austin, Samuel is definitely good at soccer.

Andrew: That is a really intriguing argument for Deebo Samuel, Professional Bowl gadget participant. I am undecided it is an amazing one for Deebo Samuel, Professional Bowl huge receiver. Possibly we should always simply change fullback with a complete wild card.

Bryan: In case you make that argument, I am wanting ahead to your argument the place Micah Parsons does not make the Professional Bowl staff in a couple of sections. I am going to simply stick a pin in that riiiight right here.

Andrew: That is the half the place you’d level out to me that it is silly for me to count on you to have a constant philosophy.

Bryan: And now you see why I stated choosing the 4 NFC receivers is basically, actually robust.

Andrew: We might go on for fairly some time right here. For me, the query is who ousts Mike Evans, and why? If you wish to argue Lockett does as a result of their effectivity numbers are very related and Lockett has 150 extra yards, that is an argument I am going to take heed to.

Bryan: Frankly, I feel it must be Samuel. He has produced extra worth in our numbers than Evans, and he is doing it in a Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense, not a Tom Brady one. Samuel is the highest participant in SIS’ complete factors earned metric, beating Kupp 38 to 34. He is our YAC+ chief by a mile and a half. And, going again to the Kyler Murray argument, Samuel is producing worth in enjoyable and thrilling methods.

Andrew: Alright, you may have him. In order that’s one convention…

Tyreek Hill is the most effective receiver within the AFC. Ja’Marr Chase is making an attempt desperately to usurp that standing, and regardless of the drops, I feel Chase kinda has to go. Once more, he is the main receiver within the convention.

Bryan: By DYAR, our AFC receivers could be Hill, Mike Williams, Hunter Renfrow and … Tee Higgins, over Chase. By DVOA, it is Kendrick Bourne, Higgins, Emmanuel Sanders and Williams.

Andrew: I am high-quality with Hill, Mike Williams, Hunter Renfrow, and Chase over Higgins. Chase’s complete is 200 yards increased than his teammate’s, and he has utterly modified the Bengals offense for the higher.

Bryan: I’ve no issues with that record by any means, although I’d ask for forgiveness to Stefon Diggs, who wasn’t even talked about till this sentence.

NFC: Davante Adams, GB; Justin Jefferson, MIN; Cooper Kupp, LAR; Deebo Samuel, SF
AFC: Ja’Marr Chase, CIN; Tyreek Hill, KC, Hunter Renfrow, LV; Mike Williams, LAC

Bryan: The NFL enables you to vote for six fullbacks. The NFL lists solely eight fullbacks on their poll.

Andrew: Can the common fan even identify these eight fullbacks? There are solely eight of them, in any case. Kyle Juszczyk, 49ers, examine. Patrick Ricard, Ravens. Andy Janovich had a loopy spotlight for the Broncos a couple of years again, however is Twitter-famous this week for muffing an onside kick for the Browns. C.J. Ham will get consideration and the occasional Y-banana at any time when anyone dares take note of the Vikings, and Jakob Johnson performs for the throwback I-formation Patriots. Then there’s Michael Burton on the Chiefs, Jason Cabinda on the Panthers, and Keith Smith on the Falcons.

Bryan: For many groups, the fullback place is vestigial, and that goes for many followers, as nicely.

There are solely three fullbacks who’ve had over 300 snaps this season, which I feel must be the naked minimal to go to the freaking Professional Bowl. That makes Ricard your AFC fullback by default, and leaves Ham and Juszczyk to combat over the NFC slot. Ham is the higher conventional “I am working ahead, halfback, get behind me!” participant, whereas Juszczyk is the one really concerned as a risk with the ball in his fingers (he isn’t having his greatest blocking season, by which I imply he is solely the third-best blocker on any given 49ers working play).

Andrew: Juszczyk is just about my favourite NFL participant, so I am absolutely within the tank for him. I am going to settle for Ricard as a default choice, even when I might lean Jakob Johnson with out the snap counts.

Bryan: I see what you are saying with Johnson, however with him enjoying lower than half of Ricard’s snaps, I feel we would should do extra than simply lean in his route; it’d should be fairly clear and apparent he was the higher participant.

As for the Juice, I am absolutely within the bag for him as nicely and he’ll be our decide, however I at the very least needed to acknowledge Ham’s very strong season; it is not typically we get an precise debate of any form at fullback. Lengthy reside 1977.

NFC: Kyle Juszczyk, SF
AFC: Patrick Ricard, BAL

Tight Finish
Andrew: George Kittle is Earth’s TE1 at any time when we enter the Galaxy Bowl, and indeniable right here.

Bryan: Kittle is the second-best blocker on any given 49ers working play, in what you may discover is a theme I am growing right here. And he additionally now has back-to-back 150-yard receiving days, so yeah. We’re good there. Choosing the opposite NFC tight finish is harder, although, with Dallas Goedert, Rob Gronkowski, and Dalton Schultz all price mentioning. DYAR and DVOA each give it to Goedert.

Andrew: Actually, no point out of what rookie Kyle Pitts is doing within the post-apocalyptic wasteland that’s the Falcons offense?

Bryan: Pitts has lower than 50 yards receiving in three of his final 4 video games and hasn’t topped 65 since Week 7. He is probably the greatest rookie tight ends in years and we’ll wax poetic about him on the all-rookie staff, however no.

Andrew: … but he is nonetheless the third-leading receiver on the place, and the NFC chief, so dominant was he in September and October. He at the very least deserves an honorable point out, and I legitimately assume a shout.

Bryan: It isn’t September and October, although, it is two video games—119 yards in opposition to the Jets and 163 in opposition to the Dolphins make up greater than a 3rd of his yardage complete this 12 months. He does not crack the highest 10 in DYAR or DVOA, and he does not actually block. I feel he is in all probability higher than DVOA says as a result of, as you level out, the Falcons offense is a catastrophe zone, however I do not assume he is at Goedert or Gronk ranges but.

Andrew: In associated information, it is a spot the place the AFC has the clear benefit, and in addition the simplest one-two choice, in Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce. If we’re going by superior statistics, then I am completely satisfied to present the second NFC spot to Goedert. Gronk is not fairly the drive of nature he as soon as was, and there is a Brady-Hurts problem modifier utilized to Goedert. I am sorry, Kyle. We’ll see you in a few weeks.

NFC: Dallas Goedert, PHI; George Kittle, SF
AFC: Mark Andrews, BAL; Travis Kelce, KC

Offensive Deal with
Bryan: Trent Williams is the first-best blocker on any given 49ers working play, and so my bit can relaxation.

Andrew: We get three tackles per convention, and three guards per convention, which then drags us down into the outdated left sort out/proper sort out debate. Can we simply decide three left tackles, in Williams, Andrew Whitworth, and Tyron Smith, or can we drag in a proper sort out for stability?

Bryan: I might actually be high-quality with the massive three lefties, however there are some respectable proper sort out choices within the NFC when you needed to bump Whitworth. There’s Rob Havenstein on the opposite facet of his personal line, in addition to Ryan Ramczyk in New Orleans and Tristan Wirfs in Tampa Bay. I feel, of the three, I might favor Wirfs, however any and all of them have an argument.

Andrew: I am as huge a Ramczyk stan as any, however Wirfs was the man I used to be considering of once I requested the query. Let’s put him in so we are able to at the very least line up semi-correctly.

The AFC choice is extra difficult, by which I imply wha…

Bryan: If we’re searching for an compulsory proper sort out, I feel that comes right down to David Quessenberry or Braden Smith in an AFC South battle.

Andrew: You possibly can just about decide the Colts offensive line and I might be high-quality with it, as a result of there are such a lot of down years or gamers getting damage elsewhere. That stated, I might nominate a finally-healthy Isaiah Wynn, Jedrick Wills, and Garrett Bolles into the dialogue. I am reliably knowledgeable that Orlando Brown leads the place in fan voting, which I am much less persuaded about.

Bryan: A month in the past, I’d have stated Michael Onwenu deserved a slot, however he has been basically benched and put right into a rotation, in order that’s tough. Rashawn Slater is having a heck of a rookie season in Los Angeles and deserves some consideration. In case you go by SIS’ blown blocks, your AFC leaders (and it’s a must to scroll WELL down previous all of the NFC guys) are, uh, Matt Feiler, Tytus Howard, and Smith once more, which is not any, no, and hey, he is again. Let’s lock in Smith as our proper sort out, as a minimum? Factors earned goes to Slater, Robert Hunt, and Chukwuma Okorafor. There are a number of names there, and none that basically simply jumps out at you. The NFC is way, a lot deeper right here.

Andrew: Smith has missed half the season, which might give me pause, however he has nonetheless been superb when he has been on the sphere. On the left, I suppose I might nominate Wills and Bolles as our two guys for his or her efficiency within the run sport.

Bryan: The numbers actually don’t love both of them—each have 16 blown go blocks, per SIS charting, and each are within the backside 25 in blown block share. And with Wills, particularly, I really feel prefer it’s extra the guards main the Browns speeding assault than the tackles, therefore why they signed them to new offers price roughly $Ohio.

No less than with Bolles, it is solely the go sport the place he is blowing blocks (only one within the working sport!), so I feel he is alright in a clearly off 12 months on the place. However I feel I might want the younger Slater over Wills this 12 months, particularly since we handed up the 2 NFC Los Angeles tackles.

Andrew: I am high-quality with that. It is a place that is robust to guage until you recognize precisely what you are searching for, and I am about so far as it will get from an knowledgeable right here.

NFC: Tyron Smith, DAL; Trent Williams, SF; Tristan Wirfs, TB
AFC: Garrett Bolles, DEN; Rashawn Slater, LAC; Braden Smith, IND

Bryan: Nicely, we praised the Cowboys offensive line within the working again part, so Zack Martin must be in. And I simply acquired completed saying it is the guards which are powering the Browns’ speeding assault, so Joel Bitonio, as a minimum, must be in. That takes care of two slots. And actually, I might haven’t any issues with sticking Wyatt Teller in there as nicely for Cleveland, as each are nice and it makes up for passing over Wills earlier.

Andrew: I am comfy with that. Any solutions for who fills out the AFC roster? Usually, the automated decide right here could be Quenton Nelson, but it surely certain looks like it has been a down 12 months for him partly because of the three video games he has missed.

Bryan: Joe Thuney could be an excellent shout; he is second in SIS’ factors earned statistic, forward of each Bitonio and Teller. Shaq Mason’s one other strong possibility, as he has been an actual drive in New England’s top-10 speeding assault.

Andrew: It’s fascinating that we’ve not talked about a Patriots participant thus far…

Bryan: I am going to have you recognize I discussed each Mac Jones and Michael Onwenu, each shortly adopted by the phrase “no.”

Andrew: … OK, that we’ve not actually touted a Patriots participant thus far, contemplating they’ve a top-10 offense each working and passing. I used to be inclined to counsel David Andrews after we acquired to facilities, however Mason might be a greater suggestion, so let’s go along with that.

Within the NFC, I’m fairly strongly of the opinion that we should always nominate Ali Marpet from the second-best speeding assault within the league. The Bucs are No. 1 in adjusted line yards up the center and in energy rank, and are stuffed on the third-lowest fee. (I am going to additionally nominate Ryan Jensen within the subsequent part, spoiler alert.)

Bryan: No argument from me there; after Martin, Marpet’s the most effective inside run-blocker within the convention, and he ain’t shabby as a pass-protector both. And as a 3rd guard, I’d go along with Ereck Flowers. Washington is ranked fifth in energy success and stuffed rank, so their comparatively poor ALY and rush DVOA is extra on the backs than the linemen, I consider. Moreover, I just like the cognitive dissonance of suggesting Ereck Flowers as a Professional Bowler, and that form of makes him stand out over a lot of a muchness for me.

Andrew: “Nominating gamers simply because it sounds unsuitable” is a really Scramble strategy to the Professional Bowl, I need to admit.

Bryan: It is inspirational! You, too, could suck at your present job, however you could be well-suited for a distinct, barely much less essential job.

I might be high-quality with an Austin Corbett or possibly even a Chris Lindstrom for some Atlanta love after you handed on Patterson and I handed on Pitts.

Andrew: In case you assume we’re nominating a Falcons lineman for this season…

Bryan: Lindstrom can run block! He cannot do the rest, however he has one ability!

Andrew: You go decide Flowers, and you may take care of the results.

NFC: Ereck Flowers, WAS; Ali Marpet, TB; Zack Martin, DAL
AFC: Joel Bitonio, CLE; Shaq Mason, NE; Wyatt Teller, CLE

Andrew: Whereas we’re within the NFC, let me simply get my nominations out of the best way. Ryan Jensen is among the greatest free-agent signings not named Tom Brady that the Buccaneers have made previously decade. He is my high decide. My different is Jason Kelce, as a result of the Eagles offense is someway purposeful and he is on the core of what I consider to be the first motive.

Bryan: Tremendous by me, particularly with Chase Roullier not eligible on account of his season-ending harm. Brian Allen deserves a shout, and so shout I’ll, however I am greater than high-quality with Kelce and Jensen.

The AFC is deeper than the NFC, however I wish to make my case for the second rookie on the AFC line in Creed Humphrey. Kansas Metropolis has rekafoobled their total offensive line on the fly this season, and the success of each Humphrey and Trey Smith have been a major motive why it hasn’t been an enormous catastrophe. Humphrey is fourth in blown-block fee, and second within the AFC—as a rookie! Being informed “please don’t let our $0.5 billion quarterback die” is hard; doing it at conference-leading ranges as a rookie is phenomenal.

Andrew: I am undecided Humphrey will get the precise nod, as a result of the AFC has some high-quality facilities, however I am not against the decide. My best choice for the convention could be J.C. Tretter, giving us a full Browns inside line. When everyone’s on, there might not be a greater speeding staff in soccer. No, not even the Ravens. Tretter has been an impressive signing for Cleveland, the place even the thought of them having three Professional Bowl linemen would have been comedy gold simply two seasons in the past.

Bryan: I’d not object to Tretter, but when we needed extra selection on the inside line, Corey Linsley is an alternative choice who deserves to be talked about. If we had three facilities like the opposite offensive positions, I might stick all three of them in there, however we do have to decide on. And in order for you the Brownout somewhat than the Bolt, I will not combat it an excessive amount of.

Andrew: I feel I might go Tretter and Linsley and depart Humphrey because the honorable point out, however I will not object when you disagree.

Bryan: Detente it’s.

NFC: Jason Kelce, PHI; Ryan Jensen, TB
AFC: Creed Humphrey, KC; J.C. Tretter, CLE


Defensive Finish
Bryan: It is time to play everyone’s favourite sport present: FIND! THAT! PRO BOWLER!

Sure, the NFL, of their ongoing knowledge, continues to separate entrance seven gamers into defensive ends, defensive tackles, inside linebackers, and outdoors linebackers, paying little to no heed to the roles gamers really play on the sphere. Yearly, we now have to select between 4-3 pass-rushers and 3-4 inside linemen; 3-4 sack professionals and pass-coverage specialists. They usually have actually outdone themselves this 12 months, as we’ll get to in a pair extra entries. However when you have all the time cherished evaluating apples to oranges—and even higher, apples to nuclear submarines—then the NFL Professional Bowl Poll is the factor for you!

Andrew: It’s delightfully ironic that, in a sport the place groups are forbidden from blitzing, you could possibly justifiably decide pass-rushers from each single spot within the entrance seven, and that is even earlier than you get to tweeners who could be listed as safeties on the poll. We have now seven pass-rushers on the sphere, however we’re solely allowed to hurry 4! How thrilling!

Anyway, at the very least at defensive finish, the sting rush component is fairly darn important. Myles Garrett is not only a surefire Professional Bowl choice, however a candidate for Defensive Participant of the Yr. Nick Bosa has 14 sacks. Trey Hendrickson has defied expectation that his numbers from New Orleans final 12 months would regress in Cincinnati. All three are, for my part, must-picks.

Bryan: I might agree with all three, after which I might end the AFC by including in Maxx Crosby. His sack numbers aren’t as excessive, however he is second within the league in pressures, squeezed proper between Garrett and Henderson, and he leads the league in hurries and knockdowns. You possibly can dock him some factors for not ending, however he is enjoying in a division with Mahomes and Herbert and firm; it is exhausting!

Andrew: The NFC image is sophisticated as a result of, someway, Brian Burns is a defensive finish however Robert Quinn, Haason Reddick, and Shaquill Barrett are outdoors linebackers. So we’re shortly shifting away from edge rushers towards inside defensive ends or run-stuffers. That actually, actually dilutes the choices for this spot.

Bryan: Additionally, we should always notice that Danielle Hunter, Chase Younger, and Montez Sweat all can’t be picked, which actually does dampen the NFC defensive finish place much more.

In case you actually need pass-rushers, the very best strain numbers for eligible ends after Bosa are, uh, Randy Gregory, who has missed huge chunks of the 12 months, and Cameron Jordan.

Andrew: I feel I might go Brian Burns, just because I am an enormous fan of his, and Cameron Jordan as a lifetime achievement choice. There are not any good choices right here after Bosa. It is well beyond time to alter the best way these are categorized.

Bryan: Brian Burns, Professional Bowl defensive finish? Thanks, I hate it. Not Burns, thoughts you, simply the positional designation. Once I listed these strain numbers earlier, I missed Burns, as a result of he is listed as a linebacker, as a result of he’s a linebacker, as a result of he performs linebacker. Burns versus Gregory is an fascinating dialogue, as I feel Gregory could be far and away the decide … if he had performed the total season, which he hasn’t. So I am going to maintain my nostril and go along with him, although I am not completely satisfied about this place. Once you’re making an attempt to parse between Dexter Lawrence and Josh Sweat and A’Shawn Robinson, it is time to go elsewhere.

NFC: Nick Bosa, SF; Brian Burns, CAR; Cameron Jordan, NO
AFC: Maxx Crosby, LV; Myles Garrett, CLE; Trey Hendrickson, CIN

Defensive Deal with
Bryan: Aaron Donald, in fact, lives on the staff. And Jonathan Allen at the very least rents out some room. They’re two of the three NFC choices I feel, with none doubt. Chris Jones grew to become good once more when the Chiefs remembered that he was a defensive sort out and never an edge rusher; he and Cameron Heyward seem to be they’re two must-haves within the AFC.

Andrew: Which leaves us within the acquainted place of debating the final decide for every spot.

Bryan: That is the place I might love to present an impassioned protection of Christian Wilkins, however he is listed as a defensive finish, so welp! No cube. A’Shawn Robinson, too for that matter, although Greg Gaines might be the higher alternative when you needed two Rams for some motive.

I am going to speak up Arik Armstead and D.J. Jones to anybody who will take heed to me, and Kenny Clark would lastly get some Packers onto the staff. Javon Hargrave is the most effective pass-rusher left, as a result of that is what the staff wants; extra pass-rushers. After which you’ve got an Al Woods or a Shy Tuttle as a run-stopping specialist. Actually, a number of methods you could possibly go within the NFC.

Andrew: Defeats present an argument for Leonard Williams, who ranks fifth amongst defensive linemen in that stat, and third within the NFC. Nonetheless, they supply a greater argument for Hargrave, who ranks third. The sacks and pass-rush potential will not be the one factors in his favor, and he’d in all probability be my decide. I’d, nevertheless, hear fortunately to an argument for Clark or the 49ers.

Bryan: The argument for the 49ers is that the secondary has been pants, and San Francisco’s eighth-ranked DVOA is resting on that of the entrance seven, as is their third-ranked run protection. Armstead and Jones are main elements of that. And the Packers appear unusually underrepresented for the NFC’s high staff; it is not ALL Aaron Rodgers-to-Davante Adams, simply largely that. We’ll stick to Hargrave, nevertheless.

Andrew: Within the AFC, it is robust to miss Jeffery Simmons. He is tied with Hargrave and forward of Jones for sacks, ranks fourth amongst defensive linemen in defeats, and is essentially chargeable for the Titans protection considerably outperforming its preseason projections.

Bryan: Simmons could be on the high, or close to it, at the very least, on the NFC facet of the ball, however I feel the AFC is deeper basically right here. You continue to have Calais Campbell and D.J. Reader competing with him, to not point out the Quinton Jefferson-Quinnen Williams quotient. However in order for you Simmons, I can get behind Simmons.

Andrew: It certain looks like the statistical argument is all his, so I might want a case for placing a type of guys forward of him.

Bryan: You possibly can argue that different gamers do particular person issues higher than Simmons. I might somewhat have Reader or Campbell stopping the run, and contemplating our different two inside linemen are pass-rushers, that is not nothing. However Simmons could be very, superb at what he does, and he isn’t, like, flawed anyplace; it is not like groups have determined to run proper at him or one thing. He is our third AFC participant.

NFC: Jonathan Allen, WAS; Aaron Donald, LAR; Javon Hargrave, PHI
AFC: Cameron Heyward, PIT; Chris Jones, KC; Jeffery Simmons, TEN

Inside Linebacker
Bryan: Micah Parsons is listed as an inside linebacker. Micah “12.5 sacks” Parsons is listed as an inside linebacker. You won’t discover that initially, as a result of the NFL arranges their inside linebackers by tackles and never sacks, so he is down on the third line. That is as a result of inside linebackers do not rack up a number of sacks, as a result of they do not go rush a lot. And Micah Parsons is listed as an inside linebacker.

Parsons is the one “inside linebacker” who has greater than 150 go rushes this season, per numerous charting numbers; he has over 250. And there are solely 4 different inside linebackers up over 100. Admittedly, Parsons has spent extra time in protection this 12 months than most edge rushers, however, counterpoint, he isn’t good at protection, and the Cowboys have realized this, and largely use him as a pass-rusher, as a result of he is a pass-rusher.

Andrew: Parsons is probably the most excessive instance of a current inflow of defensive gamers with malleable positional designations. It could possibly take these guys some time to settle right into a place within the NFL, and that is how you find yourself with security Jeremy Chinn being listed as an out of doors linebacker—you recognize, the identical place that edge rusher Robert Quinn performs. Groups submit their gamers’ positions for the Professional Bowl, and on the time Parsons was an inside linebacker. He actually is not used that approach now.

Bryan: Anyway, no matter place you name him—he is an edge rusher being performed out of place about half the time, if’n you ask me—he is a Professional Bowler. And I’ll say he does a greater job at inside linebacker then, say, Nick Bosa would do. However making an attempt to match him to Bobby Wagner or Eric Kendricks or one thing is simply unsuitable on a deep degree.

That additionally means we solely have one different NFC inside linebacker spot for Wagner or De’Vondre Campbell, as we in all probability ought to get some extra Packers on the staff sooner or later, contemplating they’re, y’know, first within the NFC in the meanwhile. To not point out the Lavonte Davids or Fred Warners of the world; no slot for you guys; we now have to make room for Micah Parsons.

… I’ll have been ranting about this for a number of weeks at this level.

Andrew: I do not assume Campbell’s the selection right here, which for me comes right down to the plain candidates of White, Wagner, Roquan Smith, and Demario Davis. Davis hasn’t been absolutely the drive he was final season, however he is nonetheless on 20 defeats, with a ten/10 cut up between run and go. Fred Warner is the most effective off-ball linebacker within the league, however he has been damage this season.

Bryan: Oddly, SIS’ factors saved metric factors Azeez Al-Shaair because the second-best linebacker within the league this season, and the most effective precise inside linebacker as a result of, once more, Micah Parsons. I like what Al-Shaair has carried out, and if we had a couple of slot, possibly I might assemble an argument, however no.

Andrew: Al-Shaair is tied with Davis in defeats, too, so possibly it is not as ludicrous as you suppose.

Bryan: I do not assume Al-Shaair is loopy, thoughts you; I actually like what he has carried out. However I’d discover it exhausting to place him over a number of the huge names with huge observe data, even after adjusting for the Homerism Gene.

I’m shocked De’Vondre Campbell is so low in defeats, contemplating how excessive he exhibits up in different metrics—in factors saved, he is third behind Parsons and Al-Shaair. Possibly that is only a issue of his pure uncooked sort out numbers; he cleans up a number of issues for the Packers with out essentially being requested to make performs behind the road.

Andrew: Cleansing up would be the motive, yeah, as he is behind everyone else round him in cease fee however above them within the share of staff performs he is concerned in ending.

Bryan: Packers followers consider he is the most effective factor since sliced bread, although which may be as a result of they’ve wanted an inside linebacker since roughly earlier than sliced bread was invented.

Andrew: Ah sure, who can overlook the prototypical Micah Parsons inside linebacker that was Clay Matthews being deployed there as a substitute of on the sting? In case you really feel strongly about Campbell, that is your name, however I am extra inclined towards Roquan Smith right here: third on the place in defeats, among the many sort out leaders, provides a couple of sacks,

Bryan: Oh no, if the opposite possibility is Smith, I’ll put my foot down right here. In case you can have Brian Burns, I can have De’Vondre Campbell, and we’ll name it a day.

After which we have to discover a second linebacker subsequent to Darious Leonard on the AFC. Possibly it may be Bobby Wagner in a false mustache?

Andrew: I am a fan of Denzel Perryman right here, however that is partly due to how he ended up in Las Vegas. Signed for the Panthers as a free agent, then traded away earlier than opening weekend so they may begin any individual else. Perryman’s one of many IDP leaders at his place, and fares nicely on the defeats desk too. He isn’t the best choice, although. I feel the best choice for me might be Tremaine Edmunds on a Payments protection that continues to be high canine within the DVOA tables regardless of their offense’s relative struggles. Matt Milano could have the higher case of their inside linebackers although … besides Milano is not even on this part of the poll as a result of he apparently performs a place extra just like Von Miller and T.J. Watt than Perryman and Edmunds.

Bryan: Each Perryman and Edmunds have been energetic liabilities in go protection nevertheless; each are underneath a forty five% cease fee within the passing sport, with Perryman down all the best way at 36%. One motive they get a number of tackles is as a result of they permit a number of completions. I am OK with taking an amazing run-stopper who’s so-so in protection, however not with one who opposing offenses actively goal.

That being stated, there aren’t a number of nice choices right here. Kyzir White, possibly? Ja’Whaun Bentley?

Andrew: That was going to be my query, proper. Who can we decide as a substitute? That is the AFC model of the NFC defensive finish dialogue. We might nearly be greatest simply choosing Bobby Okereke and making it a Colts tandem. The Broncos misplaced their high guys to harm. Logan Wilson is eligible however damage. The Patriots gamers are situationally sound somewhat than actually elite defenders.

Bryan: White is tied with Edmunds at second-most defeats for an AFC linebacker, has a pair of interceptions, and the next cease fee within the go sport. I feel he is my decide, push come to shove.

Andrew: No less than it is not any individual loopy like Damien Wilson. Let’s do it. Kyzir White, acquire your prize.

NFC: De’Vondre Campbell, GB; Micah Parsons, DAL
AFC: Darious Leonard, IND; Kyzir White, LAC

Outdoors Linebacker
Andrew: What’s an out of doors linebacker, conceptually? As a result of to reply this, we have to reply that, and it seems there are a lot of attainable solutions to that. About probably the most exact we are able to get is one thing between a 5-technique defensive finish and a robust security.

Bryan: It’s the most hybrid place on the poll. No less than 3-4 defensive ends become involved within the muck on the road. A 4-3 outdoors linebacker is extra wish to drop into protection as a rule, whereas a 3-4 outdoors linebacker would possibly get two protection snaps a season, and that is if we’re pretending that 4-3 and 3-4 defenses actually nonetheless describe roles in any significant approach.

No less than choosing the AFC trio is simple this time. T.J. Watt is a DPOY candidate, Joey Bosa is a wrecking ball, and most of the people actually like Matt Judon, although I feel I am decrease on him than your common random fan. However hey, he is straightforward to see on movie with these crimson sleeves!

Andrew: Judon is having a really glorious season on one of many league’s greatest defenses. He’d be a significant snub until you’ve got a really robust case for any individual else.

Bryan: I don’t! To be clear, I consider Judon as extra superb than DPOY, however that is nonetheless greater than sufficient to seize a slot.

Andrew: Oh, he is nowhere close to the DPOY dialog, however simply a Professional Bowl decide.

Bryan: You have not heard the conversations I’ve been listening to then!

Andrew: Boy, am I glad about that. Within the NFC, we merely cannot ignore Robert Quinn’s numbers. On the very least, he represents the sting rush contingent, however with Chandler Jones, Shaq Barrett, Haason Reddick, and Markus Golden in rivalry, we’ll in all probability have at the very least yet another edge rusher earlier than that is by means of.

Bryan: Von Miller is an fascinating case, as his argument largely comes from his video games with the Broncos, however now he is eligible with the Rams. Cross-conference air pollution!

Andrew: He should not be within the dialog both approach. Him making the Professional Bowl forward of a few of these different, extra productive edge rushers could be a lifetime achievement award.

Bryan: Harsh, however honest. So Quinn is one. Shaquil Barrett seems like one other, as Tampa Bay’s protection wants extra acknowledgement. After which I’d go decide between Preston Smith and Rashan Gary for a Packers contingent.

Andrew: Looking the defeats desk as soon as extra, I’m saddened that we’re ignoring the NFC defeats chief at outdoors linebacker in Haason Reddick. I ponder if that could be a greater decide than Barrett. Gary versus Smith is a debate for Packers message boards, not one I want to have.

Bryan: Alright, then, identify your three.

Andrew: Quinn, Reddick, ugh, in all probability Barrett. Enjoyable with edge rushers but once more.

Bryan: I’ll by no means get your obsession with the Panthers’ protection, however a decide is a decide.

Andrew: … we now have picked two Panthers defenders, and a type of was at a place with mainly zero different choices.

Bryan: And I’ve disagreed strongly with each!

Andrew: Haters gonna hate.

NFC: Shaquil Barrett, TB; Haason Reddick, CAR; Robert Quinn, CHI
AFC: Joey Bosa, LAC; Matt Judon, NE; T.J. Watt, PIT

Bryan: Once more, we’re choosing 4 cornerbacks per convention, regardless of the poll’s occasion on solely letting us decide six. Struggle the powers that be.

Andrew: There are a few apparent decisions right here too, by my reckoning. J.C. Jackson is having one other unbelievable season in New England and is the AFC’s best choice. Trevon Diggs leads the NFL in interceptions and was a DPOY decide early within the season. That has cooled off some, but it surely’s not like the primary half of the 12 months did not occur.

Bryan: If it wasn’t already 5 o’clock my time, I might argue in opposition to Diggs. He will make the staff, as a result of huge interception quantity is huge, however he is late-career Adam Dunn—every thing is both a spotlight reel play or a blown protection, with little or no in between. He is fourth within the Cowboys secondary in SIS’s complete factors saved and nicely down on charting numbers, however he did get a number of balls thrown at him early, so he’ll be going to … the place the hell is the Professional Bowl this 12 months? … Las Vegas.

Andrew: You possibly can argue in opposition to it till you are blue within the face, however as you notice, he’ll be there. He’ll be joined, within the NFC, by Jalen Ramsey of the Rams, I’d hope. My third decide for that spot could be Darius Slay, although I am going to take heed to different presents.

Bryan: Not from me, you will not! Slay was one of many three guys I had as must-haves, together with Ramsey and, surprisingly to me, A.J. Terrell.

Andrew: Terrell is an effective shout, however he is third of these three and he is not supplanting Diggs on the poll.

Bryan: It is a good factor we get 4, then!

Andrew: Oh, yeah! That is the opposite class the place you may’t even vote for the correct variety of individuals! It is a good job we now have all these fullback spots free to make up for it!

Becoming a member of Jackson within the AFC, I am going to open by nominating L’Jarius Sneed, then proceed by gazing my display in bewilderment for a couple of minutes. Did I actually simply nominate Sneed?

Bryan: You probably did, and I would like to know why!

All joking apart, he isn’t a horrible decide, although he isn’t somebody I had on my shortlist. I used to be wanting extra at gamers corresponding to Kenny Moore, Patrick Surtain, and … nicely, it could be Marlon Humphrey, however he is really not eligible to be picked due to his harm.

Andrew: He leads the place in defeats, and truly charts fairly nicely per SIS too. He is CB 13 of their Complete Factors Saved metric, and naturally Humphrey is among the gamers forward of him.

Bryan: Chidobe Awuzie is one other candidate.

Andrew: I am loving the profession resurrection of Awuzie in Cincinnati, after he was one thing of a punching bag in Dallas. The Bengals are doing a really strong job this season of getting good performances out of veteran free brokers.

Bryan: I additionally made a degree to attempt to discover some candidates for each staff, and if this was like MLB All-Star Sport the place you wanted a consultant from each roster on the squad, possibly you squeeze in Tavierre Thomas from the Texans right here. We, luckily, do not want to do this, however I really feel like I am contractually mandated to say at the very least one good factor concerning the Houston Texans this text.

Andrew: I really feel like this 12 months’s Professional Bowl can do exactly high-quality with out illustration from the Texans, Jaguars, Jets, and Lions. James Robinson is the exception that proves the rule.

Bryan: So, let’s go along with Sneed, and with Awuzie and … do you’ve got an opinion between the likes of Kenny Moore, Kristian Fulton, or A Raiders Cornerback Of Some Description?

Andrew: Kenny Moore could be my vote, as a result of I really feel that he has been severely underrated for a number of years now and this might be worthy recognition of his performances.

NFC: Trevon Diggs, DAL; Jalen Ramsey, LAR; Darius Slay, PHI; A.J. Terrell, ATL
AFC: Chidobe Awuzie, CIN; J.C. Jackson, NE; Kenny Moore, IND; L’Jarius Sneed, KC

Bryan: Odd state of affairs at safeties. The NFL all the time places three safeties on every staff, and splits them between robust security and free security. However whether or not the additional participant is a free security or a robust security varies from 12 months to 12 months, so we now have some freedom to mess around with right here: one in all every, and a 3rd bonus participant of our discretion. So despite the fact that it is two totally different classes on the poll, we’ll group ’em right here to speak about them.

Andrew: Once more, there are in all probability some apparent decisions. Kevin Byard tops the charting stats, tops the interception leaderboard, and might be the most effective security within the AFC on the very least. Derwin James is as soon as once more Mr. Do-Every part in Los Angeles and would possibly really make it by means of a season wholesome for as soon as.

Bryan: That is one robust security and one free security, so our third AFC decide is a free alternative. Possibly Adrian Phillips?

Andrew: Phillips would have been my nomination, so take into account it carried out. He is additionally charting nicely, placing up a number of defeats, and drawing effusive reward from a head coach who isn’t famed for effusive reward. He has been an amazing signing for the Patriots. The one competitors I might provide there’s Micah Hyde, however I want Phillips this season.

Bryan: The NFC is just a little more durable. The chief in SIS’ factors saved metric is Jamal Adams, which, no. No, not that.

Andrew: Wait, they did not record Adams underneath, like, defensive finish or one thing? Yeah, no, not that. Despite the fact that he is additionally the NFC chief in defeats. That is an occasion the place that claims extra about his position than his potential relative to his friends.

Bryan: You aren’t getting defeats enjoying security, sometimes—it’s a must to cease somebody wanting a line of success. Nearly by definition, safeties play deeper than that—they’re, uh, the security mechanism to cease 5-yard positive factors from changing into 50 yard positive factors. Adams could be very bizarre, enjoying a really bizarre position.

Andrew: In case you disagreed with the collection of Trevon Diggs, what about Jayron Kearse? He is the highest security on the league’s No. 1 go protection, wholesome numbers within the charting and play-by-play stats tables, seems a really strong alternative.

Bryan: Kearse is a a lot higher choice in my thoughts, and thanks for nominating him so I do not get Cowboys followers considering I hate their secondary. I do not! I do not even actually hate Diggs; I simply hate a number of the hype he has gotten from highlight-reel performs. Kearse does not make as many spotlight reel performs. He simply shuts issues down.

Andrew: So he is our robust security. At free security, we might have Quandre Diggs, who’s a a lot better alternative than Jamal Adams from the Seahawks, or Xavien McKinney. I ponder whether McKinney is the man right here who’ll profit from these highlight-reel performs, cos he has picked up a couple of interceptions this 12 months. Alternatively, that is the place you may feed your Packers dependancy, as a result of I do love Adrian Amos.

Bryan: See, I had none of these guys you talked about. My “high participant on high staff” nod right here wasn’t a Packer, however was Antoine Winfield in Tampa Bay, who’s within the argument for high cowl security within the league. One other particular person in that argument is Marcus Williams for the Saints, although it is easy to overlook that with the Saints persevering with to plummet. And I noticed what the 49ers secondary regarded like with Jimmie Ward (unhealthy) and with out Jimmie Ward (catastrophic), so I really feel he deserves a point out, if not essentially a decide.

Andrew: Winfield is one other nice possibility. Marcus Williams isn’t, as a result of he has developed a extremely unhealthy behavior of twisting himself in knots in deep protection. I like him, however this isn’t his 12 months. It might be Winfield’s.

Bryan: Let’s go along with Winfield then, after which possibly one other robust security? Harrison Smith is enjoying at Commonplace Harrison Smith ranges, and I’ve loved Kamren Curl for 2 years now.

Andrew: That is a type of spots the place there’s an abundance of choices, and they need to actually permit two safeties of every sort as a substitute of 1 every and a tweener.

Bryan: Out of curiosity, how does the defeats record go after Adams?

Andrew: Ahem. Nicely I used to be making an attempt to not point out it, however because you requested … subsequent is flexible Panthers defender Jeremy Chinn.

Bryan: … OK, we’ll simply put that record in a field and tape that field closed and put that field in a closet after which mild that closet on hearth. Good. Carried out.

Andrew: I’d hear an argument for Logan Ryan, because the Giants protection is barely higher than marketed. I’d additionally hear an argument for a Cowboys tandem with Kearse and Damontae Kazee, who is best than ever now that he has been free of the black gap of defensive competence that’s the Falcons. Actually although, when you ask me to select one in all your nominations, then I do just like the Kamren Curl suggestion. He has had an excellent season that might be neglected as a result of the Soccer Crew protection has disenchanted.

NFC: Kamren Curl, WAS; Jayron Kearse, DAL; Antoine Winfield, TB
AFC: Kevin Byard, TEN; Derwin James, LAC; Adrian Phillips, NE


Bryan: Lightning spherical time, I feel! Justin Tucker is the AFC nominee, as a result of he is freaking Justin Tucker and in addition set the document for longest discipline aim in NFL historical past, so we’re good there. Within the NFC, Matt Homosexual and the Rams lead our numbers, although it is price at the very least desirous about Jake Elliott, who isn’t 1,000,000 miles behind him.

Andrew: Homosexual leads the NFC per SIS too, so we’re good with him right here.

NFC: Matt Homosexual, LAR
AFC: Justin Tucker, BAL

Lengthy Snapper
Bryan: Buh.

Andrew: Do … do individuals really observe lengthy snappers?

Bryan: Some individuals do, sure! It’s largely different lengthy snappers and individuals who prepare lengthy snappers. And likewise Invoice Belichick, who went on a five-minute tangent about them some time again.

Andrew: Can we use this as, like, an inclusion field or one thing? Who’s an excellent staff that we’ve not talked about but?

Bryan: I’ll notice that, at the very least as of some weeks in the past, the main vote-getters had been Joe Cardona and Camaron Cheeseman, who occur to be two of the individuals on the highest line of the poll, because it’s sorted alphabetically. In actual fact, they’re within the lifeless middle of the highest of the road, in order that they would be the best to faucet on a cell gadget.

Andrew: I feel you and I simply opened the very same DraftKings article. It’s a little suspect when each of the highest vote-getters start with the identical letter, and that letter occurs to be straight beneath the hyperlink you click on to open this web page of the poll.

Bryan: Plus, if you recognize nothing else about them, how will you not vote for a man named “Cheeseman.”

Andrew: Joe Cardona does seem to be a secure wager, because the Patriots man. The Rams man, Matt Orzech, is additional down the poll, however likewise looks like a secure wager.

Bryan: I’m not going to faux I do know a dang factor about this. I do know J.J. Jansen’s identify will get popped up a number of occasions in numerous “greatest lengthy snapper” rankings, and he is the very best paid lengthy snapper within the NFC, and it is one other Panthers participant to feed your ever-growing starvation.

Andrew: You’re unbelievable. The one time I do not nominate the Panthers man…

NFC: J.J. Jansen, CAR
AFC: Joe Cardona, NE

Bryan: By our numbers, the 49ers have the most effective punting unit within the NFC, and Mitch Wishnowsky isn’t a foul alternative. I feel that is being barely overrated because of some muffed Bengals punts, nevertheless, so when you’d want another person, I might be satisfied.

Andrew: I do know what I stated earlier about no Lions gamers, but when there’s one I’d nominate, it is Jack Fox. He will get loads of observe, and advantages from that. He could be their greatest offensive participant.

Bryan: There’s additionally Michael Dickson, who will get much more observe than Fox does—70 punts to Fox’s 55, and Seattle’s punt unit ranks increased in our stats than Detroit’s.

Andrew: Dickson is a really enjoyable punter, too. Yeah, why not? Michael Dickson.

Bryan: This might be the place we get a Texans on the staff, nevertheless, with Cameron Johnston’s unit ranked tops within the AFC, simply forward of Tommy Townsend and the Chiefs.

Andrew: Nominating the Chiefs punter looks like a sensible joke. Let’s go along with Johnston, as a result of that is at the very least one little little bit of pleasure for a Texans participant this season.

Bryan: There’s a little bit of a quantity discrepancy, with Johnston at 71 punts and Townsend at, uh, 31. So yeah, complete worth somewhat than per-punt worth right here.

NFC: Michael Dickson, SEA
AFC: Cameron Johnston, HOU

Return Specialist
Bryan: Now, here is why you could possibly nearly, however not fairly, have a Lions participant—Kalif Raymond is one in all 5 punt returners within the league with at the very least 10 yards per return. Would not high what Kene Nwangwu has carried out by way of highlight-reel performs, thoughts you.

Andrew: I do know it is bizarre to appoint any individual who switched groups midseason, however Jakeem Grant simply grew to become the one participant thus far this season to return a punt for a landing—the third time in 4 seasons he has carried out so. He has 16.3 yards per return for Chicago, although granted that is with two video games in opposition to the Packers to pad his stats.

Bryant: Grant is the one participant above +10.0 on punt returns. Nwangwu is the one participant above +10.0 on kickoff returns, so it is a high-level competitors. Nwangwu is at +15.1 to Grant’s +10.4, and he has two touchdowns to Grant’s one, so I feel he will get the nod there.

Within the AFC, Devin Duvernay has the very best punt return worth (+8.0) and Braxton Berrios has the very best kickoff return worth (+7.2), so decide your poison.

Andrew: It is my thought-about opinion that punt return worth is harder to generate than kickoff return worth, and Jets opponents kick off a lot. Duvernay will get the sting for me, and takes it to the home.

NFC: Kene Nwangwu, MIN
AFC: Devin Duvernay, BAL

Particular Teamer
Bryan: The chief in particular groups stops is Ashton Dulin of Indianapolis with eight. The NFC’s chief, Seattle’s Cody Barton, isn’t on the poll. So it falls to a large number the place I might go along with J.T. Grey of the Saints or Shaun Bradley of the Eagles, each with six stops.

Andrew: At 11:45 on a Tuesday evening, we’re previous the purpose at which we make nuanced decisions. Homerism all the best way, welcome to the staff Mr. Grey.

NFC: J.T. Grey, NO
AFC: Ashton Dulin, IND

Andrew: So there you’ve got it: the right Professional Bowl roster, spelled out in epic style by your ever-insightful Scramblers. We’re certain no one will dare to disagree. Simply do not forget to vote!

Weekly Awards

Maintain Choppin’ Wooden
We’re all accustomed to the working joke that’s the Los Angeles Chargers particular groups, proper? A lot so, that we simply naturally assume they will rank No. 32 in DVOA, and transfer on with our lives? What if we informed you that there exists a squad with worse particular groups, that’s not solely in playoff rivalry, however that leads their division and is in play for a first-round bye?

Step ahead the precise No. 32-ranked Packers particular groups. In simply the primary half of their Sunday evening matchup in opposition to the Bears, the Packers:

  • allowed the primary punt return landing conceded by any staff this season;
  • allowed one other 34-yard punt return;
  • allowed two kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer;
  • kicked off out of bounds (presumably as a result of if you are going to hand over 40-yard returns anyway, could as nicely take away the hazard of them being longer);
  • and muffed a kickoff return at their very own 5-yard line.

Within the second half, they went on to shank a punt 22 yards, permit an onside kick restoration, and nearly muff a punt as nicely, besides the muff was fortuitously negated by a penalty on the Bears’ punt protection. Twenty of Chicago’s 30 factors got here both straight (punt return landing) or not directly following Packers particular groups errors. As that record of miscues suggests, it is not only one space both: the Packers rank No. 32 on discipline targets/additional factors, kickoff returns, and punt returns. These points predate Maurice Drayton and Drayton’s predecessor Shawn Mennenga, tracing again at the very least to former All-KCW coordinator Shawn Slocum, so that is clearly a unit that, like in San Diego/Los Angeles, defies coordination.

Nonetheless, it is not like particular groups points have ever bitten the Packers within the playoffs earlier than, in order that they absolutely will not have an effect this time both.

John Fox Award for Conservatism
The worst factor concerning the Bears penalty negating a Packers punt muff is that the punt was a ridiculous resolution within the first place. At first of the fourth quarter, trailing 38-27, the Bears confronted fourth-and-inches from their very own 36-yard line. The Packers had scored on 4 of their earlier 5 drives at this level, that means the Bears couldn’t afford to concede possession simply. But Matt Nagy elected to punt, and the Packers drove for a landing anyway to salt the sport away. Our understanding since Thanksgiving has been that Nagy is teaching for his job. It might be good if he’d begin teaching like he desires to hold it.

Herm Edwards Award for Taking part in to Win the Sport
Two groups confronted related conditions on this weekend’s motion, and two initially made the correct resolution. Trailing by 15 factors, each the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens scored a landing to go away them down 9, needing a landing, an additional level, and a two-point conversion in the event that they had been to tie the sport. Well, each groups lined as much as go for the two-point conversion early, figuring out that in the event that they failed, they may regulate the remainder of their technique accordingly. Alas for Matt Rhule, the Panthers dedicated a false begin and ended up making the (right) resolution to kick the additional level as a substitute. John Harbaugh had no such situation, and defined the reasoning very clearly after the sport.

Regardless of Phil Simms and crew’s utter refusal to comprehend it, the reasoning could be very easy: the extra data you’ve got, the sooner you’ve got it, the higher you may tailor your technique to attempt to win the sport. Ultimately, the Ravens had an opportunity to win the sport regardless of failing with the two-point conversion, exactly as a result of their subsequent landing drive was faster than it would in any other case have been. This is not even an analytics level, it is simply primary sense. Or as Harbaugh put it, “actually, a non-decision.”

Jeff Fisher Award for Complicated Teaching
Andrew steered we decide Matt Rhule and his continued insistence that the Panthers will rotate Cam Newton and P.J. Walker at quarterback. Whereas complicated (as a result of it is not working), your different humble Scrambler was enthusiastic about the opportunity of the 49ers pulling the quarterback shuffle earlier within the season, so that may be a tad hypocritical to harp on. Plus, Rhule is not the one coach of a Nineties-era franchise to have had a tricky week. We hate to pile on City Meyer … wait, examine that, no we do not.

Doing good there, Urbs.

“No Cigar” Fantasy Participant of the Week
Sometimes, we attempt to shrink back from harm replacements right here, as in fact nobody began Tyler Huntley. However Huntley’s efficiency, coming off of basically no preparation, was actually fairly one thing, almost main the Ravens to an enormous comeback—270 passing yards and a landing, plus a further 45 yards on the bottom. Anytime you are able to do one thing like this, it’s a must to be squeezed into Scramble someplace.

Rubbish Time Performer of the Week
Rubbish time began for Las Vegas about eight seconds after the opening kickoff, because the Chiefs simply blew them out of the water. That meant a number of passing, and that meant a ton of Hunter Renfrow, who was focused 14 occasions and caught 13 of them for 117 and a rating. Greater than two-thirds of that got here with Las Vegas hopelessly behind, but it surely by no means regarded like Renfrow was giving half-effort on the market.

Consolation in Unhappiness Stat of the Week
Three groups had been formally eradicated from playoff rivalry this week: the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets, and the Detroit Lions. Actually, nary a sadder trio might you discover in any skilled sport proper now.

The consolation for Lions followers is how exhausting the staff continues to play for his or her head coach: the Lions are 8-5 in opposition to the unfold, the joint fifth-best document within the league, and are enjoying nicely above expectations regardless of their quirky 1-11-1 document.

Consolation for the Jets is the truth that rookies lead their staff in each main offensive class: passing yards and touchdowns (Zach Wilson), speeding yards and touchdowns (Michael Carter), and receiving yards and touchdowns (Elijah Moore). This season has had its moments, notably victories over the Titans and Bengals, and there’s some motive for optimism subsequent trip.

It is more difficult to seek out consolation for Jaguars followers, particularly with information this week that Shahid Khan sounds unlikely to fireside Meyer after only one season in Duval. The Jaguars do few issues nicely, however they do at the very least generate strain: Josh Allen and Dawuane Smoot every have double-digit quarterback hits (per Professional Soccer Reference) to go along with their handful of sacks apiece.

Sport-Altering Play of the Week
Scramble for the Ball is proud to current a countdown rating all the 700th landing passes in NFL historical past from worst to greatest. No. 1:

Finish of record.

The Payments’ livid comeback ended up falling simply quick, and whereas we are able to argue concerning the officiating all we would like, at the very least it ended on an amazing play, yeah? No? I am sensing a scarcity of comfort coming from the Buffalo area.

Within the quick run, the consequence does not change a lot—the Payments are within the seventh seed somewhat than the sixth; the Buccaneers lose a tiebreaker to the Packers somewhat than beating the Cowboys. But it surely pushes the Payments down into the 7-6 muck with the Colts, Browns, Bengals, and Broncos, and whereas the Payments have good tiebreakers, they do not have unbeatable ones. On the very least, this loss might be what sticks them behind the Colts (who’ve a a lot better convention document) when the postseason comes round, and heaven assist them in the event that they slip up in opposition to the Falcons, Panthers or, worst of all, Jets.

Weekly Predictions

Bryan: There was only one upset in the course of the day slate on Sunday, and, in fact, I picked it for each the Lock and the Survival league. I’m an fool of the highest caliber.

Cash-Again Assure Lock of the Week
All picks are made regardless of the FO+ picks, whereas all strains are courtesy of Bovada and had been correct as of time of writing.

Data to Date:
Andrew: 5-9
Bryan: 5-9

Andrew: I freely admit that there is a component of hedging on this week’s decide, as at the very least if my Double Survival decide does not come by means of, I am going to get a lift in Lock of the Week. That stated, I genuinely assume the Texans are extra doubtless than the Jaguars to win this week’s matchup. Houston has the stronger roster at each spot besides quarterback, and even that’s considerably debatable given what the Jaguars are doing to Trevor Lawrence. The Texans protection is by far the strongest unit on the sphere on this sport, at the very least by DVOA. The Texans beat the Jaguars earlier within the 12 months, and that was earlier than the City Meyer experiment began returning the type of outcomes that may get it outlawed in a majority of states. Most essential of all, if I do know I am going to get a consequence from this sport someway, that reduces even additional the temptation to observe it. Houston (+3) at Jacksonville.

Bryan: I’ll take Denver (-1.5) at residence in opposition to Cincinnati because the 7-6 pileup within the AFC begins to type itself out. DVOA nonetheless hates the Bengals in relation to the remainder of the world, and whereas I am not fairly as low on them as our numbers, I nonetheless have little or no belief in them as an entire. That is going to return down as to whether or not Joe Burrow can go in opposition to Denver regardless of Denver having the higher go protection DVOA, or if the Broncos can run in opposition to Cincinnati regardless of the Bengals having the higher rush protection DVOA. I feel the Broncos have been a bit extra constant this 12 months, and 1.5 factors isn’t sufficient for me to go previous “I feel the Broncos will win this sport,” so I am going to seize ’em.

Double Survival League
Data to Date:
Andrew: 19-7
Bryan: 17-9

Groups remaining:

Andrew: That is now getting fascinating, as a result of we solely have one widespread decide nonetheless accessible, and that is a Jets squad that’s unlikely to win most video games anyway. It is lastly time for us to truly diverge!

My first decide is, as is comparatively routine, in opposition to the aforementioned Jets squad, as they journey to face a Miami Dolphins staff that has dragged itself again into the wild-card image with 5 straight wins after being 1-7 at midseason(ish). Miami should pull off their conventional upset shenanigans in opposition to the Patriots in Week 18, however we will not decide that sport, and this sport seems nearer to a certain factor anyway. If they are going to safe that wild card, they’d higher hold the run going with a win right here.

My second decide is one I completely hate, however I want to select the Jacksonville Jaguars a while and at residence in opposition to Davis Mills is the time to do it. The Texans benefited from some hero ball by, of all individuals, Tyrod Taylor to beat the Jags in September, however Taylor will not be beginning this time and their offense is the worst within the league by a defense-adjusted nation mile. Yep, I’ve spent two of this week’s picks on the sport that includes the 2 most dysfunctional franchises within the present NFL. What might probably go unsuitable?

Bryan: Carolina’s loss to the Falcons could have ended the aggressive portion of their season, however extra importantly, it places me in a significant bind right here. I’ve six groups left, and solely 10 video games left on the schedule I might even take into account choosing, and that is being beneficiant and saying “49ers at Titans” is even within the realm of chance as a strong alternative. I’ve a number of pressured picks right here, is what I am saying.

There are solely three video games this week that I actually really feel I can decide. The 49ers over the Falcons and Payments over the Panthers each seem to be very, very secure picks, and would permit me to get some revenge on the NFC South sport that basically flattened my possibilities in Week 14. I might simply decide each, however that leaves me in a gap. See, in Week 17, I am not choosing the Falcons over the Payments, or the Jets over the Buccaneers. That actually limits my choices for the ultimate week, particularly if I take each San Francisco and Buffalo this week.

That might drive me into Philadelphia, on the street, in opposition to Washington in Week 17. Curiously sufficient, that is additionally my different possibility for this week—Philadelphia, at residence, in opposition to Washington. House-field benefit might not be what it was, however I might somewhat take the Philadelphia Eagles at residence than on the street, all else being equal—and with Taylor Heinicke getting an MRI on his knee this week, issues would possibly not be equal. So, we’ll add that to the San Francisco 49ers over the Falcons as I look to get some revenge.


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