Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 6: It’s All Coming Together

Something a little different due to the craziness of Hurricane Michael. Quick hits on the games, and score predictions so I can be really, really wrong when I look at this next week.

But first, your AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE:
1. Chiefs
2. Rams
3. Saints
4. Panthers
5. Jaguars

EAGLES @ GIANTS – In preseason, this looked great. Now, not so much. Can Philly bounce back? Thursday nights have been favorable for the home teams mostly this year.

PHI 20 NYG 23

BUCS @ FALCONS – Both of these teams look meh now, but Atlanta is lower on the meh scale than Tampa. I don’t think the home crowd will make a difference.

TB 17 ATL 12

CHARGERS @ BROWNS – An intriguing game but the Chargers are having troubles on defense, and they never travel to the East Coast well. The Browns are gaining confidence. Can they string together two home wins in a row? I think so.

LAC 10 CLE 14

COLTS @ JETS – Indianapolis has gotten bit by the injury bug hard. The Jets are trying to right the ship but Isaiah Crowell may not be there to get their ground game going.

IND 21 NYJ 14

SEAHAWKS @ RAIDERS – Ugh, I am sorry if you are going to watch this game. I hope that you can either watch another game or take a nap during this one. Both of these teams stink for entirely different reasons. One is in salary cap heck, the other is dealing with a coach that shouldn’t be there.

SEA 10 OAK 20

PANTHERS @ REDSKINS – Will the Redskins get their team back on track after getting plastered at New Orleans? No, no they won’t.

CAR 27 WSH 18

BILLS @ TEXANS – Uhhh… these teams are 2-3, and they have those records because their coaches are awful. That’s all I have to say.

BUF 21 HOU 17 in an ugly one.

CARDINALS @ VIKINGS – Minnesota won’t let themselves get Buffaloed again.

ARI 7 MIN 35

STEELERS @ BENGALS – Antontio Brown is on my fantasy team and I hope he has a great game. The Steelers defense is absolute trash and the Bengals will run all over them.

PIT 20 CIN 27

BEARS @ DOLPHINS – Two teams that have similar stories but are on diverging trajectories. Miami won’t be able to keep up with the score, or keep their QB up after Khalil Mack gets to him.

CHI 24 MIA 10

RAMS @ BRONCOS – If you want to see a team get pasted, watch this game.

LAR 45 DEN 14

RAVENS @ TITANS – Tennessee has found ways to win in their victories, but they won’t this week.

BAL 14 TEN 10

JAGUARS @ COWBOYS – If the Jaguars can overcome their injuries, they’ll win. The Cowboys don’t have as much of a chance – Jacksonville’s injuries are mostly all on the offensive side of the ball.

JAX 19 DAL 7

CHIEFS @ PATRIOTS – This should be a fun game, but New England’s defense won’t match up well at all with Kansas City’s offense.

KC 35 NE 20

NINERS @ PACKERS – Green Bay has to win this.

GB 17 SF 3

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Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 5: Past the Quarter Mark

We’ve officially passed the quarter pole of the 2018 NFL season and week 5 is upon us. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the storylines of the season so far:

  • DOMINANCE DOMINOED: The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings came into the season looking like two of the darlings of the NFL, but that is hardly the case. They have struggled in some spots and lost games they should have won. These are not the NFC Championship caliber teams that we got to see at the beginning of this calendar year – at least, not yet. We’ll see what happens, and yeah, it can take time for a team to gel and get to the point they’re a finely-tuned machine. It’s not just these two teams though – the Atlanta Falcons are looking like garbage, and it’s not all Sark’s fault this time. Atlanta’s chances of heading to a game in February on their home turf lessen by the week. New England made a trade for a receiver that may be on his way out of the league, and get a receiver back from suspension this week, but is it enough? They certainly beat the pants off of Miami, but the Pats look far from the scary, consistently dominant team they have been in the past. And lastly, the Pittsburgh Steelers are just looking sad. They seem to have let the Le’Veon Bell thing get away from them, and they did absolutely nothing to bolster their defense in the offseason, and it’s starting to show big-time. Will the Steelers tank, or keep playing the middling football they have so far? We’ll see.

  • SURPRISE QUARTERBACKS: Patrick Mahomes has come out of nowhere to be the new darling of the NFL. Good for him, and it appears not immediately starting was beneficial to his ability to play. Sam Darnold looks pretty good so far, and Josh Allen as well looks fine as they take over their new teams and head into week five in very different matchups. Jared Goff is showing that last season was not a fluke, and keeps the Rams in games as he should. Finally, yes, Blake Bortles is showing he was worth the investment by the Jaguars this past offseason and has continued, largely, his good play and not making many mistakes, and also making plays with his legs. If he stays smart and doesn’t make any major goofs, the Jaguars are suddenly not just a run-first team.

  • INJURIES ABOUND: I’m not sure if players are wearing their bodies out sooner or what, but man, there just seems to be a glut of crappy injuries in the beginning of the year, including some ACLs that just make you hurt for guys. I don’t know what the solution is here, because it seems like in some of these cases you just can’t help it, but I am thankful for these guys that the ACL is not as horrible of an injury as it used to be, and that recovery for most things is possible.

  • MATCHUP OF THE YEAR?: The Jaguars-Chiefs game this Sunday is going to be one of the best games you will see this year. Watch it, DVR it, whatever you need to do – enjoy it. The prolific and super fast Chiefs offense is going to go up against a stout and mean Jaguars defense, and it’s going to be fun to watch. The Broncos were able to limit Mahomes, Hill, and the gang for about three quarters this past week. The Jaguars’ defense is at least a couple of levels better than Denver’s. The Jaguars offense is still searching for an identity but is doing a great job of exploiting opponents’ weaknesses, and the Chiefs’ defense is one giant weakness. Provided the Jaguars do their job, they will win, but it won’t be easy by any stretch. I look forward to this game and you should too. It will feature two of the best teams in the AFC and may be a playoff preview.

  • TRADE FOR LE’VEON?: With the injury to Leonard Fournette, and him now being out indefinitely, should the Jaguars trade with the Steelers for Le’Veon Bell? The short answer is yes. If you can give them a third-round pick or less, absolutely. A running back that can give the juice that Bell does is worth it, when you’re thinking Super Bowl. The Jags brought in Orleans Darkwa for a workout as well and he is about their best free agent target they could get. But put me on the list of everyone else who thinks the Jags should take a shot and get a one-year rental for Bell.

AIO TOP FIVE
1. Rams
2. Chiefs
3. Jaguars
4. Saints
5. Bears

PICKS AND PREVIEWS

Colts @ Patriots – Neither the Colts nor the Patriots are what we thought they would be at the beginning of the year. However, anytime these teams get together, it’s compelling football. The injuries on the Colts’ defense will make things interesting for the Pats, but let’s see how well they integrate the returning Edelman and Josh Gordon into the lineup this week. Andrew Luck will keep Indianapolis in the game no matter what. Despite the dominance of New England over Miami this past Sunday, I expect to see a Colts win.

Broncos @ Jets – The Broncos have the defense to keep Sam Darnold a little rattled and the offense to match what New York does. The Jets have a few questions still, and are finding ways to lose games. The Broncos hung in with one of the AFC’s best teams last week. I see this as a Broncos win.

Packers @ Lions – I think I’m done thinking the Lions are a thing. The Packers beat a Bills team last week 22-0 that they should have beat 50-0 at least. There are seeds of discord being sown in Green Bay, and while it makes for good entertainment, it does not make for a good football team. I think that Detroit will have one of those games that surprises us like they did against New England. Lions win.

Giants @ Panthers – Uhhhh… the Panthers have Cam and Christian, and the Giants have Saquon and Odell. This game should be really fun, back and forth, and high scoring. What this game will be instead of low-scoring or something similarly crazy. Panthers win.

Titans @ Bills – The Titans play down to their opponents, such as they are. They do the bare minimum to get by when they win (yes, I know, only one loss). Each of their wins has come by three points. The Bills have played up and down football, and they aren’t sure who they are. The one game they can be noted for is their beatdown of Minnesota but the Vikings still don’t have it all together. However, I think that Buffalo figures something out this week, and they keep the game in hand. Bills win.

Falcons @ Steelers – Oh, man. Neither one of these teams, heavily expected to do well in the preseason, are good. Both of their defenses stink. Fortunately, they have lots of personnel on offense to make up for it here. In a shootout, I see Antonio Brown able to capitalize better than Julio Jones. Don’t know why, I just do. Steelers win.

Ravens @ Browns – The Ravens are starting to look legit. The Browns aren’t great, but don’t outright suck like they have in past year. This may be a fun game to watch. AFC North teams always seem to give each other a tough time so here’s my upset pick of the week: Browns win.

Dolphins @ Bengals – The clash of Guys Who Wear Orange will be a good one. Cincy’s getting Vontaze “Model of a Dirty Player, Oh Yeah And Do the Bengals Really Need Me” Burfict back this week but I don’t think it will have an impact. I look for Miami to bounce back from last week’s embarassing turn in New England and to give us a Dolphins win.

Jaguars @ Chiefs – I went over this game up top and not much has changed except I predict a Jaguars win.

Raiders @ Chargers – Seriously, the Chargers play in a (relatively) tiny soccer stadium while they’re waiting on the place they’ll be subletting from the Rams to be built. That stadium had tarps over seats. Can they not sell out their own teensy weensy stadium? Who knows. The Raiders are Bad and I would not be surprised if they jettisoned Amari Cooper and David Carr after this season. Chargers win, I guess.

Vikings @ Eagles – Neither of the teams that made it to the NFC Championship game are that good right now. Go figure. This looked to be a big, fun game at the beginning of the year. Now… not so much. Maybe one of these defenses can step up. Maybe they’re saving some juice for the postseason. But if I’m Minnesota, I’m looking over my shoulder for the Bears, who are off this week but definitely making waves. Anyway, I’ll say Vikings win.

Rams @ Seahawks – Hahahahahaha… Rams win. Big-time.

Cardinals @ Niners – This game will end in a tie.

Cowboys @ Texans – Ok offenses with not many stars vs. ok defenses with a couple of stars but not playing up to expectations quite yet square off in this Sunday Night Football matchup that should’ve been flexed. Houston stole a win from Indy last week and Dallas looks… ok. That’s about all I can say. I think Deshaun is the better QB of the two choices here, but I don’t think it’s enough to get them over the hump. Cowboys win.

Redskins @ Saints – The Redskins are doing enough to stay mostly competitive in games so far this year, but the Saints are exuding early-season dominance. This will be a good Monday nighter to flip to between your normal sitcoms and medical dramas. Ultimately, I don’t think Washington can get over the hump here. Saints win.

Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 4: Baker Special

Hey guys! This has been a rough week for me, mentally. A very close friend of ours lost his mother this week, work has been crazy, and for some reason, mentally, I just am spent. I have plenty of these half-takes with no thoughts to finalize them, and I think that the column would be better off without them. I’ll give you a few quick items, and then we’ll get to the good stuff. Next week, I promise I’ll give you a full-on column!

  • I think that it’s great Eric Reid was signed by the Panthers today. Will Kaepernick ever be signed? I’m not sure. They say QBs are a dime a dozen but guys like Tom Savage and Blaine Gabbert still have jobs, so I don’t know.

  • Arizona’s giving Josh Rosen the start at QB this week, and it won’t turn out like our other rookie QB debuts have, I’ll tell you that much. Arizona doesn’t have the stuff around him to do much, at least not this season. However, I won’t totally count them out – having Fitz and David Johnson on your team is never a bad thing.

  • Sucks to hear about Jimmy Garoppolo going down. The Niners can look forward to another high draft pick in 2019.

  • The Browns only have one loss (they tied in week one), and celebrated their victory last Thursday big-time, which they deserved. They won’t get more than 5 or 6 wins in my opinion, and they will return to earth soon, but as a Jags fan that endured the Mularkey and Bradley eras, I know how those fans felt.

  • Speaking of the Jaguars – big ole disappointment made its debut last Sunday at the Bank. Hopefully, Jacksonville can bounce back from their loss against the Titans. I’m pretty sure they can, they seem to have the resolve to do so, but if they don’t, or if the game goes down to the wire – you can pretty much expect armageddon and an announcements of the end days in the Jax media.

AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE
1. Chiefs
2. Rams
3. Jaguars
4. Vikings
5. Eagles

PICKS AND PREVIEWS

Vikings @ Rams – The Vikings have a chance to prove on multi-platform national TV that last week was an aberration, and that they are still favorites to make the NFC Championship in January. LA’s top two corners are out for the year, and Minnesota has the receivers to burn them regularly. This depends on which Kirk Cousins we get, the “YOU LIKE THAT” one or the one that poo-pooed his team’s playoff chance at the end of last year, and how full the Coliseum is tonight. I’m going to say due to the experience here that we’ll see a Vikings win.

Texans @ Colts – Welcome to the big bucket of suck. The Texans are not good. The Colts are still trying to figure out what they are, and in an official rebuild. Let’s give it to the home team. Colts win.

Bills @ Packers – The Bills beat a team that is way better than the Packers last week. The Packers are still working on figuring out their line and also how to safely sack the opposing quarterback. I’ll call a Packers win here, but it’ll be close.

Bucs @ Bears – Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t throw the ball if he’s on the ground. The Bears may not look the greatest but they have a defense that is quickly becoming Good. Bears win.

Dolphins @ Patriots – The dysfunction in New England continues to grow. Nobody’s happy, they brought in another diva receiver and then sat him while they got humiliated on national television, and… yeah. The Dolphins look like the Pats should. QB on point, solid receivers, a defense that can at least kinda keep up with the other team. This is a conference-shaping game, and the Dolphins will win.

Lions @ Cowboys – The Cowboys are having issues on offense and injuries seem to be piling up on defense. The Lions have looked pretty good in two of the three games they’ve played so far. I’m thinking after the egg they laid in week two, Detroit is finding their way. Lions win.

Bengals @ Falcons – Cincy looks a lot better than anyone could’ve given them credit for, but their loss to the Panthers last week sort of showed their true colors. The Falcons currently have a losing record, and aren’t quite living up to expectations, but they’re entering a stretch where they could easily win 6 of their next 7 games, and this is one of them. I think Atlanta is just an all-around better team, and they’ll dominate this week. Falcons win.

Jets @ Jaguars – Although the Jets have looked relatively competent so far this season, they are still one of those teams in that nebulous void of “… eh?” I believe that with the record-setting heat this weekend in Jacksonville and the need of the Jaguars to have a bounce-back game, that New York will pretty much lay down for the Jags, giving the local audience a good show one more time before they head on the road for two weeks in a row. Jaguars win.

Eagles @ Titans – The Titans are bad, Mariota can barely pass, and the Eagles are getting the rust shaken off Carson Wentz. This is a game that the Eagles will win, big-time.

Browns @ Raiders – The Raiders are going downhill fast; it seems like they’re tanking to make leaving Oakland easier on them and on their fans. (I may have mentioned this a few weeks ago.) The Browns are on cloud nine with their rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield ready to tear up the NFL, at least for a couple more weeks. I could make the tie joke here but instead I’ll say Browns win.

Seahawks @ Cardinals – This game will end in a tie.

Saints @ Giants – The Giants finally won a game last week, but it was against the Texans, so that was sort of like playing JV. The Saints are starting to click after a fluke week one loss and have the opportunity to carry four wins in a row to the week six bye. I think the Giants don’t have the defense to keep up with the Saints, but New Orleans’ defense had better watch out for Saquon. This is a Saints win but it will be close.

Niners @ Chargers – Chargers win; the Niners’ season is over with their QB down.

Ravens @ Steelers – Both of these teams are having surprising starts to the season, and this will either be a really good game, which is what usually happens when they get together, or a one-sided blowout since Antonio Brown wants to prove he is the player he says he is. Here, I think that the Steelers will win.

Chiefs @ Broncos – Don’t really know what to make of Denver yet. They win a couple of games to start and then give up a stinker last week. Kansas City, however, has quickly established themselves as one of, if not the, top team in the AFC with a high-octane offense. I don’t think that will change here and the Chiefs win.

Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 1: LET’S GO!

Hello, football! Last week, the NCAA Free Money Machine started back up, with its usual course of early-season gimme games, a few interesting games, and FSU choking big-time. But our long national nightmare, the one that lasts from the first Sunday in February to the first full week of September because preseason doesn’t count and costs too much and leads to too many injuries, is over… NFL FOOTBALL IS BACK!

Continue reading “Aaron It Out: 2018 Week 1: LET’S GO!”

Bet the Board: Kickoff Weekend

Well, ladies and gentlemen it’s finally here. I’ve been basically non-existent outside of football season and it was tough to keep motivated going into the spring (and definitely the summer) doldrums. But, football season is back and I am relieved. As is typical with opening weekends, the games are either major or cupcake squashing contests. But, it’s a good way to get back into it.

Let’s bet the board!

Continue reading “Bet the Board: Kickoff Weekend”

Aaron It Out: Top One Hah-ndred

Despite making it to the AFC Championship game, and probably winning it if one play had not been stupidly officiated (Myles Jack Wasn’t Down), the Jaguars did not have any players above the rank of 14 in the player-voted “NFL Top 100.”

Here’s why the players are wrong.

For the record, here are the rankings of the Jaguars players that appear on the list:

  • 14. Calais Campbell
  • 17. Jalen Ramsey
  • 35. (are you kidding me) A.J. Bouye
  • 58. Leonard Fournette
  • 67. Telvin Smith
  • 88. Yannick Ngakoue

Six players on the list, out of a hundred, out of 32 teams, out of 1,696 possible entries. Not bad! But the ranking is crap.  Let’s look at numbers thirteen through one.

  1. At Thirteen, DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: The player that both A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey shut down in both of their matchups last season, ranks ahead of them. How does this make sense? It doesn’t.
  2. At Twelve, Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers: Did he stay healthy all year? Nope. However, he is a pretty good defensive player. I agree with him being probably on the same level as Calais and Jalen.
  3. At Eleven, Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: And it’s the top 20 so we’re gonna start falling all over ourselves to praise the QBs. Wilson had 11 interceptions last year. 3 of those were in the December 10th game against the Jaguars. How did this oh so great player end each of his drives against the Jags in that game? Punt, punt, punt, INT, missed FG, INT, FG, TD, punt, INT, TD, TD, downs. Are you kidding me?
  4. At Ten, Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Okay. Rodgers is probably one of the all-time greats. But he got injured last year and was out, what, half the season? How is he on here?
  5. At Nine, Von Miller, DE, Broncos: Am I the only one who remembers the Broncos sucked last year?
  6. At Eight, Drew Brees, QB, Saints: He’s getting old. I guess I agree with this one.  He did play pretty good football once the Saints got like four games into the season and figured out what they were doing.
  7. At Seven, Aaron Donald, DE, Rams: The Rams were one of the only teams that gave the Jags trouble last year.  I respect this ranking.
  8. At Six, Todd Gurley, RB, Rams: 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, 1,305 yards rushing – I guess I can kind of agree with this one too.
  9. At Five, Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: lol

  1. At Four, Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: I mean, ok? Man, there’s not a lot of wide receivers at the top of this list.
  2. At Three, Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles: A big reason Philly went to the playoffs this year. Okay.
  3. At Two, Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: One of the only players to actually beat the Jags’ corners on a few plays this year.  I can respect this.
  4. At One, Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: No.

 

Okay! So, yeah, that sucked, and why is Tom Brady ranked so high? Is everyone scared of him or something? Myles Jack wasn’t down.

Here’s my rankings, voted on by me, for the top 20 players of 2017. I’ll do them in reverse order to keep you scrolling.

  • 20. LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills
  • 19. Cameron Jordan, DE, Saints
  • 18. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
  • 17. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
  • 16. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
  • 15. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
  • 14. Everson Griffin, DE, Vikings
  • 13. Khalil Mack, DE, Raiders
  • 12. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
  • 11. Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers
  • 10. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
  • 9. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
  • 8. A.J. Bouye, CB, Jaguars
  • 7. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
  • 6. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
  • 5. Aaron Donald, DE, Rams
  • 4. Calais Campbell, DE, Jaguars
  • 3. Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
  • 2. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Jaguars
  • 1. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers

I know, I know, there’s four Jaguars on there, but they had a great year last year. One of the best defenses in the league and Fournette had more yards than the offensive rookie of the year, Alvin Kamara.  Agree or disagree, we need to get off the Tom Brady number one wagon and let some of the new stars shine.

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