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Breakout candidates for 2020 – Defense edition
https://preview.redd.it/b1v30yvtkn651.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=04f75a5416546b59550b162abe5940c65f12ce5d I started this exercise of choosing second- and third-year players in the NFL I expect to take the next step in their development, based on being in a better situation due schematic changes, the respective team not re-signing certain veterans and allowing their young guys to play a bigger role or just my evaluation of them coming out of college. Once again, my criteria was – they were not allowed to have a Pro Bowl so far, reached a major statistical milestone (1000 yard season, double-digit sacks, etc.) or are just looked at generally as one of the better players at their position already. I didn’t include guys that made my list already last year (Kemoko Turay, Justin Reid, etc.) or haven’t seen the field at all yet (Jonah Williams, Hakeem Butler, etc.). Across my two articles on these breakout players, you will only find one top ten pick, since I believe those are obvious choices anyway, if those guys just haven’t been healthy or whatever it may be. In this version, we are looking at eight more defensive players ready to break out in 2020 after talking about offense last week already: https://preview.redd.it/uiunf81mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=6446a7cc2e40ba090abe9cc9e047103831cef1e1
When I did these write-ups, I actually realized later on that Odenigbo was originally drafted in 2017 in the seventh round by the Vikings, but he only made the practice squad that year and was later claimed and waived by the Cardinals and Browns respectively. So since he finally made an active roster in 2018 and that’s when he finally saw the field, I thought he still qualifies. With all those guys Minnesota has had on the D-line in recent years, it was a challenge for Odenigbo to get their coaches to believe in him, having only played in one game for Arizona before last season. However, he was on the field more and more towards the end of this past year and with little investment in the draft into the front, the Vikings are betting on him to continue to develop, similar to what happened with Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter. Odenigbo recorded seven sacks and tackles for loss respectively, while adding another 18 pressures to the mix. He also forced a fumble and returned another one for a long touchdown against the Chargers, while he was actually called down on another scoop-and-score, where he originally got the trifecta (strip sack, fumble recovery and return TD). That is much more impressive putting it into context, as he played just a third of the defensive snaps. Now with Everson Griffen off the roster (unless he somehow decides to re-sign with the Vikes, Odenigbo is almost a shoe-in for that second defensive end spot in the starting lineup. Number 95 was mostly used in passing situations, especially early on, as three quarters of the snaps he played came on pass-rushing downs, and Mike Zimmer used his inside-out flexibility on different sub-packages. Odenigbo was asked to line up anywhere from pretty much 2i in sort of a track stance pointed inside to a wide nine alignment. His favorite (and best) move at this point is the dip and rip, but he also flashes a nice up-and-under combined with a high swim move. However, he also has a lot of power behind those pads, as he set up one of his teammates as the initial slanter versus Detroit and just flattened a guy I talked about in my offensive edition of this breakdown last week already in Frank Ragnow. In addition to that, I think the Vikings DE already shows good timing and execution on twists, freeing himself up by using teammates appropriately. As he seems to be transitioning to a starting role, the biggest question now is – How much improvement can he show as a run-defender? He displays very good pursuit coming unblocked from the backside, but at the point of attack he has some issues holding his ground at times, due to not always playing half the man and getting drawn in and allowing cutback lanes. In the pass game, Odenigbo needs to work on being more successful on secondary maneuvers and not give away opportunities if that initial rush stalls. https://preview.redd.it/pq74mx0mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=8182390c28e3747fbb0ed0e9ea04426d25cfaf2f
Leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, Bradley Chubb was considered the clear-cut number one edge rusher coming out of N.C. State and after him most people said there was a huge drop-off. The Saints however shocked everybody by trading up to the 14th overall pick – not for a quarterback, but rather an outside linebacker from UTSA. While there isn’t a lot of buzz around Davenport entering year three of his pro career, I can promise that New Orleans did not spend their 2018 and ’19 first-round picks on a player they didn’t believe in. I was very surprised at the time of selection, because I thought they were looking for a more immediate-impact type of player with Drew Brees arriving in his 40s and the team coming off a 13-3 record, but there was never any question about the talent this kid presented. Davenport has missed three games in each of his first two years in the league and “only” put up 10.5 sacks, but he went from 28 QB pressures as a rookie to 50 last season. He might have been even better against the run, helping the Saints finish as the fourth-best rush defense at 91.3 yards allowed per game. So this is kind of a case for the improvement he has already made and I think the coaches in New Orleans already looked at 2019 as his breakout season, but among more casual fans, I believe Davenport will move his name into more of the conversation as one of the better young edge rushers this year. I personally had the young phenom as my 13th overall prospect coming out of San Antonio. When you put on his tape in college, that combination of explosiveness, power and closing burst really stood out. He already flashed the ability to string his hand together to dominate as a pass-rusher, but he needed to do it more consistently, and he showed the shock in his hands to own the point of attack, if he played with better extension. Those to me were certainly coachable areas and with the situation he was in, I thought he could produce in year two or three. Well, we have arrived at his third season and I believe he is ready to roll. I don’t think there’s much to critique as a run-defender about Davenport. He may still be a tick late recognizing some schemes, but when he extends those arms and drops the anchor, you won’t see much movement and he just owns tight-ends. In the pass game, I do believe he needs to broaden his repertoire a little and rush under a little more control, but he has clearly shown signs of becoming a difference-maker in that area as well. He has burst to win around the edge if he times his swipes up correctly, but also the immense power to bull-rush big offensive tackles back right into the quarterback’s lap. If he just learns to convert speed to power a little better and works on finishing that under-and-under he flashes with a follow-through chop, he could be scary. With third-round pick Zack Baun probably rushing outside on sub-packages, it will enable the Saints to move this guy and Cam Jordan more inside and create mismatches that way. https://preview.redd.it/lfbciv0mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=da4072897c2bdf3e5d48946f7a1ddc2c24292f42
Simmons was the 19th overall pick for Tennessee last year. In his debut game he had three pressures on eleven pass-rushing snaps. The rest of the season wasn’t as promising, but considering I didn’t expect him to suit up at all in 2019 after tearing his ACL in pre-draft workouts, the fact he did collect valuable on-field experience, playing less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps just once from that point on, only helps him more. Purely based off his tape, I had Simmons as my IDL3, behind only Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver (both top five prospects for me) and ahead of the two Clemson standouts (Christian Wilkins and Dexter Williams). I even said without the injury he would have been at least around the top ten when I put out my big board a few days ahead of last year’s draft. In limited playing time as a rookie, he recorded 32 tackles, four of them for loss and two sacks. Simmons was an immovable object at Mississippi State and looked to be the same among grown men. I went back and watched the Raiders game in week 14, who have some maulers in the run game and you saw guys almost bounce off the rookie as if he was a brick wall. More importantly, they doubled him on pretty much every single snap he was on the field, probably because of what they had already seen on tape. This guy has some shock in his hands, the ability to look through the blocker on zone-runs and then get back to the gap behind him as the running back decides to cut up into it. He didn’t look as mobile working his way down the line laterally as I thought he did in college and he will have to do a better job working across the face of some blockers, rather than allowing them to wall him off at times. You see him just be a split-second late of actually stopping the ball-carrier rather than allowing him to stumble forward or barely miss altogether. If he gets back to his collegiate form, he can be an elite run-stopper. Having him out there will allow the Titans to run primarily sub-packages with Harold Landry and now Vic Beasley on the edges. The area he still needs to prove himself at is getting after the quarterback. Simmons is very straight-forward as a pass-rusher and didn’t show a lot of finesse to win in that area, getting stuck with stalemates for the most part if he couldn’t drive his guy backwards initially. He flashed a few quick wins on reps with the arm-over, but he has to get off the ball with more of a plan. I believe his ability to shoot upfield, the unbelievable power and just that disruptive style of play will show up big time in his first year at full strength. https://preview.redd.it/7paequ0mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c2f4c31d5e75928dfdc684c30a956b575544062
This young man was my fourth overall prospect in last year’s draft behind only Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa and Josh Allen (the edge rusher). Oliver was an uber-talented, explosive athlete coming out Houston, who I think is still learning the game to some degree. He came in as a freshman with the Cougars and immediately dominated, recording 22 tackles for loss and being named First Team All-American – an honor he would repeat his two other years there as well. While it was obviously a transition from the AAC, where he was just so superior to everybody else physically, compared to lining up against professionals every single week, I thought he started flashing more and more as his rookie season progressed. And while Jordan Phillips just put up double-digit sacks for Buffalo and got a big deal from the Cardinals in the process, I thought Oliver was already the Bills’ best interior pass rusher in December. Overall he recorded five sacks and TFLs each to go with 31 pressures on 374 pass-rushing snaps. That ratio may not be up there with some of the league’s best, but he definitely showed sparks on winning in that area and he finished up playing 53.7 percent of the snaps on defense overall, as part of a deep rotation. Coming out of Houston a year ago, it was clear Oliver needed some time to adjust to the NFL, after he was playing at the nose mostly in college and not having to stay true to his run fits all the time. While there are still moments where his pad-level gets too high and I feel like he is a tick late recognizing the run scheme, at 287 pounds his anchor is excellent and he has the ability to chase down plays laterally. In the pass game his natural power and quickness present problems for the opposition. What really stands out as well is he flexibility he possesses, as can be knocked from the side and somehow regain his balance to keep going and even if he ends up outside his pass-rush lane, he just continues to work. Something Oliver does really well already, which will give him a couple of “easy” sacks in 2020 is set up his loops to the outside on a twist, staying tight and aiming at the outside shoulder of the guard before pivoting outside suddenly. As a rookie, he had his issues going up against the better-schooled guards in the league, especially trying to beat the Steelers’ Ramon Foster and David DeCastro, who landed their hands inside his chest early and Oliver couldn’t gain an advantage. If he can work on being a little more pro-active and rushes the passer with more of a plan overall, I think he could be a Pro Bowler in year two. https://preview.redd.it/z1xft71mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=58865bb25882e11cf324d4541eb9fd75ea088307
A four-year starter at Wisconsin, Edwards recorded 366 tackles over the course of his career and made several impact plays for the Badgers. Unfortunately he could not participate in any on-field drills at the 2019 NFL combine due to a banged up ankle and if you can trust his pro day results, his athleticism is still below-average. Labelled as a classic college linebacker with limitations to translate his game to the next level, Edwards ultimately went undrafted and signed with the Eagles. As a rookie, he mostly made an impact on special teams, with nine combined tackles on punt and kickoff coverage. He only played 11 percent of the defensive snaps, but when he was on the field, he earned close to an elite grade by Pro Football Focus and got involved on another 21 tackles. When you divide those 122 snaps by the amount of tackles he recorded, that actually gives him the highest tackle rate of any player at the position with at least 100 snaps played. In his first year under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, he was mainly utilized on early downs to stop the run, as he was on the field for 89 run downs compared to only 33 pass plays. That is somewhat understandable, since you just have to love his oldschool mind-set in the frame of a well-built, strong guy. Edwards aggressively shoots downhill on inside runs and drops the shoulder on lead-blockers trying to move him out of there, actually stonewalling some of those guys and creating traffic jams that way. At the same time, he shows enough patience with combo-blocks in front of him to not just give away free cutback lanes by overrunning plays, keeping bouncy feet as he deciphers what he sees in the backfield. He offers a sturdy base to absorb the contact by offensive linemen climbing up to him and keeps them at extension, while also showing the mobility to mirror pullers and beat them to the spot. Then he really brings some thump at initial contact on tackles to stop the forward momentum and missed only one attempt on the year (on special teams). It is kind of funny how Edwards was labelled a pure run-stopper because of some athletic limitations, when he actually intercepted ten passes and broke up another 15, while adding eight sacks throughout his career at Wisconsin. He may never be a candidate to shadow more dynamic backs or tight-ends one-on-one, but his feel in zone and ability to get involved as a blitzer should keep him on the field for third downs more. Edwards is also quick to recognize play-action and turn his head for potential crossers behind him before swiveling back towards the quarterback. I believe Edwards will be an excellent replacement for Zach Brown at MIKE, who left in free agency. There are some questions about linebacker trio with Duke Riley and Nathan Gerry, Jatavis Brown or Davion Taylor, but Edwards should be a fixture in the middle on first and second down at least. https://preview.redd.it/lgoeh60mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=38e707ed0ad52312a4c01fc5f2f16153b2c83245
Murphy was my number one corner heading into the 2019 draft ahead of guys like Greedy Williams and DeAndre Baker and he was the first pick in round two. While he started all 16 games for Arizona and missed less than 30 snaps the entire season, I think barely anybody really knows about or watched this guy play for the Cardinals as rookie. There were definitely some learning experiences early on and if you look at the total yards and touchdowns allowed, it’s not a beautiful sight and 78 total tackles for any corner aren’t a great sign either. However, a lot of that had to do with the 105 targets coming his way (fourth-most by any player in the league) due to lining up on the opposite side of Patrick Peterson and the fact he was part of the 31st-ranked pass defense. I thought he improved every single week and he actually put up better marks in coverage than his running mate Peterson, despite being targeted at a much higher rate – 7.7 compared to 9.3 yards allowed per target. Murphy also intercepted one pass and broke up another ten. What I loved about Murphy coming out of Washington last year was his innate feel in zone coverage with an outstanding ability to click-and-close and be a play-maker. He can flip his hips with ease and has that gliding speed to stay on top of routes, rarely allowing opponents to detach from him late. In the run game, Murphy does not shy away from getting involved as a tackler, arriving low and up-ending bigger ball-carriers routinely. You see him fill the D-gap or squeeze plays from the outside on several occasions. He also won’t allow bigger receivers to bully him as blockers, keeping them away from his frame and leveraging the ball accordingly. The rookie mostly played in the slot versus 11 personnel once Patrick Peterson returned in week seven last season and he was utilized as a blitzer off the edge a few times, where he chased running backs down from behind or got into the face of the opposing quarterback. He was heavily exhausted when he was moved in the slot and had to follow receivers back-and-forth across the formation on motions at times. The one thing Murphy really struggled with as a rookie was playing with his back towards the quarterback on slot fades and such as, where receivers could use subtle push-offs and win with their frame, as he almost purely face-guarded them and didn’t even try to snap his head around. The Cardinals have added a super-rangy player is Isaiah Simmons and beef up front to stop the run on early downs, in order to set up third-and-long situations. Allowing the now second-year player to focus more on his coverage and now with veteran Robert Alford being brought in as another outside corner, I see Murphy taking the next step in his developing. By the way, re-watching those Cardinals tapes – Budda Baker is just a freaking baller. https://preview.redd.it/znok171mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=18e3a805075eebfb64e6cea9726c1ceaaa2bd921
At the start of last year’s draft process, Ya-Sin wasn’t a huge name since he had only played one year at the FBS level for Temple. However, after he and now-49ers receiver Deebo Samuel went back and forth at the Senior Bowl, I started falling love with this guy and so did the scouting community. As a rookie with the Colts, wearing number 34 as the spot he was selected at, he started 13 of 15 games and played at least 93 percent of the snaps in ten of them. Ya-Sin was targeted on 15.2 percent of pass plays and he had some struggles, but he also improved a lot from the first to the second half of his debut campaign. There was one really rough showing versus one of the NFL’s young star receivers in Courtland Sutton, when he was penalized five times and was responsible for 75 receiving yards. However, the rest of the season he was called for defensive holding three times and for pass interference just once (40 total yards). That’s not too bad for a rookie who likes to get into the face of receivers and whose play-style out of college could be described as “grabby”. Over the final eight weeks, Ya-Sin held opposing QBs to a passer rating of just 75.8 and didn’t allow any touchdowns (after being responsible for two up to that point), while coming up with his first career pick. Ya-Sin can be described is a very sticky, quick-footed corner. As a rookie, he primarily played outside and faced some tough matchups, while even being asked to travel with some of the game’s elite, such as Michael Thomas. While I’m not saying that always went great, his competitiveness is off the charts and I think he has all the tools to develop into an excellent cover-corner. Ya-Sin was rarely just caught out of position. It was more about struggling to find the ball down the field and panicking a little when he did overcommit initially. The more experience he had, the more comfortable he felt turning his head and making a play on the ball. I still love his competitiveness, rapid feet at the line, ability to read the hips of the receiver and use his length to get his hands on the ball. He had a few textbook reps, staying in phase with the receiver from press alignmenz on hitch or curl routes and knocking the pass down coming out of the break. I thought playing in year one, he was also a pretty good edge-setter in the run game and he didn’t just wait for the ball-carrier to cut back inside to stay clean. You saw him fight off blocks and try to cut down the guy with the ball. Now with Pierre Desir gone in free agency, I expect Ya-Sin to step into the spotlight as Indy’s true CB1. The Colts also brought in veteran Xavier Rhoades, who I thought looked broken down last season, but will help this kid grow mentally as well. https://preview.redd.it/7m1nru0mug651.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=a0dea575bc086e12e446f31656bfcbab75acacb0
My top-rated safety from a year ago, I thought Adderley was a perfect match with Derwin James on the Chargers, because he has that range for a true deep middle safety to allow Derwin to roam and play more around the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately he had hamstring issues before even being drafted, which forced him to miss mandatory minicamp and most of training camp. He only appeared in one preseason game and then played 10 defensive snaps across four regular season games, making two pretty meaningless tackles, before the Chargers placed him on injured reserve. So with that little experience, Adderley barely meets my criteria, but he was active for four games and I want to grab the opportunity to talk about one of my favorites in last year’s draft. Coming out of Delaware, he filled the alley in the run game with the mind-set of a linebacker, while also showing the ability to cover ground to bail out his team-mates on the back-end. When the ball is completed in front of him, he punishes receivers and when it gets into his hand, he shows off his background as a kick returner, where we had one of the sickest plays I have ever seen, running an opponent over, staring him down and proceeding to go the end-zone. Outside of some questions about the level of competition in the FCS and how much different he moved different than anybody else, I loved everything about his game. The one time we did actually see him play with pros – week four of the preseason – Adderley made one interception and deflected another three passes, while one of them should have been another pick, with a receiver knocking the ball out of his hands late, and he got both hands on another ball down the seams to deny a touchdown. You could see him show up outside the numbers against go-routes and cut in front of deep in-breaking routes, which led to the one INT he actually made. In addition to that, you saw him try to go underneath offensive linemen and be willing to take on some contact on screen plays, instead of staying back and avoiding collisions, getting involved late on scrums or jumping on the back of a receiver trying to catch the ball at the sideline. Now with Chris Harris added to the mix, Casey Hayward on the opposite side and Desmond King in the slot, with the guys they have up front to get after the passer, plus Derwin possibly being sent as a blitzer with his stupid closing burst, Adderley has the ability to gamble and make plays. Plus he gives them somebody who plays with an attitude, which I really appreciated going back to my evaluations coming out of college. Before he can become an impact player, he first needs to beat out Rayshawn Jenkins, but I’d be shocked if he wasn’t on the field for the majority of snaps.
Welcome to the reveal for players ranked 20-11 for this year’s NFL Top 100 Players for the 2019 Season!
Players whose average rank had them land in places 20-11 are on this portion of the list revealed today. Players are associated with the team they finished 2019 with. Below you will see write-ups from rankers summarizing the players' 2019 season and why they were among the best in 2019. Stats for each player are from this season and are included below. Additionally, their previous ranks in this long running series are also available for all of you. Methodology LINK TO THE HUB POST WITH A MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE METHODOLOGY
Rankers for each team nominated players to rank. 10 Games Played Minimum Threshold. Players are associated with the team they finished the 2019 Season with.
The Grind. Utilize ranking threads for individual rankers broken up by positional group. Users were tasked with ranking players within the following tiers based on their evaluation: T-25, T-50, T-100, T-125 based on 2019 regular season only. There were no individual case threads. There were no arbitrary position limit caps. Just questions and rankings.
Users submitted their individual Top 125 list. Ranking out to 125 is new for this year.
User lists were reviewed for outliers by me with assistance from two former rankers. Users were permitted to correct any mistakes found. Once complete, lists were locked.
Reveal the list… right now.
So now, without further ado, here are the players ranked 20-11 in the NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season!
#20 - Danielle Hunter - EDGE - Minnesota Vikings
Written By:uggsandstarbux Khalil Mack. Von Miller. JJ Watt. Those are the names that come up when you mention edge players in the NFL over the last half a decade. Yet none have as many sacks as Danielle Hunter in the last two years. Hunter is continually passed over in the conversation of edge rushers. Even among young edge rushers like the Bosa brothers, TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, and Bradley Chubb, Hunter is forgotten. He only received 4 All Pro votes from AP (of a possible 50). He failed to make PFF’s All Pro team. Is it because he wasn’t a 1st round pick? Is it because the Vikings defense was already dominant before his arrival? Hunter has improved every year he’s gotten into the league (88 pressures this year vs 67 last year vs 55 in 2016). His first couple years in the league, he rotated in behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robinson. Yet he holds the record for most sacks before his 25th birthday and was one of only a handful of players in 2019 with double digit sacks and 15+ TFLs last season. He earned an 89.0 overall grade from PFF and forced 3 fumbles this year. Beyond the numbers, Hunter is a unit. He came out of LSU as one of the more raw pass rushers in his draft. However, under the tutelage of the mighty Andre Patterson, Hunter has become one of the most athletic, versatile, technical, dominant edge defenders in the game. He can beat you with a pure bull rush, but he can also beat you with his speed and agility. He’s picked up Everson Griffen’s deadly spin move and has the motor to work through double teams. He can win with an inside move, or he can play pure 3T for an entire game (a la vs NO). He’s got a great understanding of the game and is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re placing bets for DPOY in 2020, don’t waste your money on the big name guys like Aaron Donald (+750) or Khalil Mack (+1100). Don’t spend it on young up and comers, lke Nick Bosa (+1300) or TJ Watt (+1500) either. Place it on Danielle Hunter (+2300). He’s going to continue dominating as he gains more recognition and climbs toward stardom.
#19 - Chris Godwin - Wide Receiver - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Written By:MysticTyph00n At the beginning of the 2019 NFL season Bruce Arians said: "I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot,"...."He's never coming off the field." Bucs fans thought this could be very well true in BA's system, especially with the departure of Desean Jackson which only really left Mike Evans as the only other real target on the team. The 3rd round pick from Penn State showed up big time this year after having two relatively quiet seasons. Through 13.5 games (missing the final 2.5 due to a hamstring injury) he amassed 86 receptions for 1,333 yards, 9 TDs and only one drop(In fact he's only had 2 drops total in 2018 & 2019)He very well could have gone over 100 receptions , 1,500 yards as well as double digit TDs, but that's just projecting right? According to PFF he was an absolute monster in the slot with an outstanding 96.5 grade, which shows he can line up anywhere on the field and still produce big time for the Buccaneers. In 2020, I honestly expect Chris Godwin to have close to the same production, and possibly even better with how much he produces from the slot. Please don't leave us…
#18 - Quenton Nelson - Offensive Guard - Indianapolis Colts
Written By:Zzyzx8 Selecting a guard 6th overall was a bold movie for second year GM Chris Ballard, even one as highly touted as Quenton Nelson. Casual fans hated it, while draft junkies loved it. Two years later, it’s become clear that the pick was a home run. Nelson’s selection single handedly turned around a unit that was largely responsible for a slew of injuries to Andrew Luck into one of the best units. Nelson’s second year was only better, cementing himself as one of the best guards in the league, a true road grader. He spent the past year terrorizing nfl defensive lineman en route to his second pro bowl and all pro selections. Plus, he pulled off what was by far the best touchdown celebration of the season
#17 - Jamal Adams - Strong Safety - New York Jets
Written By:the_fuzzy_stonerrobdog1330 I would just like to start with a moment of silence for the fans of the New York Jets after Jamal Adams recently demanded a trade from that inept organization with a dumpster fire of a coach in Adam Gase. Anyways, after an incredible sophomore season, Adams has kept up with his awesome play in his third season as one of the NFL's best and most versatile defensive players as well as the clear-cut best player on a football team that somehow won seven games. Adams, also known as President 'Mal, recorded an interception (which was returned 61 yards to the house), 7 passes defended, 11 hurries, and 36 stops, but that's not all! Adams also garnered 6.5 sacks (which is amazing for a DB) and forced two fumbles (like this one he returned to the house on my guy Daniel Jones 😔). With his exceptional play, the star safety was named to the 1st Team All-Pro as well as his second Pro Bowl selection (an honor which none of his other Jets teammates got this year). What makes Adams so special is that he is exceptional against both the running and passing game. Whether he's with Gang Green or another franchise next year, I'd expect another stellar season out of Jamal Adams in 2020 (assuming there is one) and even as a Giants fan who watched him dominate my team this past season, I really appreciate the guy's play.
#16 - Derrick Henry - Running Back - Tennessee Titans
Written By:broccolibush42 DERRRRIIIICK HENRY!!! This part man part tractor was the plow that turned our barren field into a bountiful wheat field full of Nashville Hot Chicken. This beautiful muscly man with a poop rat tail decimated opponents and General Sherman'd the AFC South. Totaling at 1540 yards and 16 Touchdowns in 15 games, with 6 coming from a slow start in a Mariota lead offense, he caught fire and dragged his nuts all over teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, Jags, Colts, Texans, Raiders and was showing just absolute dominance on the field. (Sadly we arent able to take the playoffs into account otherwise i'd gush over how he embarrassed a couple of scrub one and done teams). Henry has this certain tenacity and a godlike level of endurance that just makes him an absolute beast in the 2nd half. He is just able to keep going, and going, and going, until finally, players get tired of it and turn into lead blockers for him. He is extremely hard to tackle to. Take a look at this play against the Chiefs in week 10, guys just bounce off him like he's running through toddlers. Derrick Henry is so hard to tackle that, according to PFF, Henry had over 1200 of his 1540 total yards after contact. Like this dude was getting hit at the line of scrimmage and he is just like, fuck this shit, i aint no dion lewis, and keeps going. How is this guy even real??? Another thing about Henry is his speed! Henry is a 6'3" 240 pound dude running 20+ MPH down the field when he breaks the open one. Like look at this speed he gets vs the Browns in week 1. Or this one against the Jags where he outruns guys and stiff arms the ones who barely managed to keep pace. Speaking of stiff arms, Derrick Henry has one of, if not, the BEST Stiff Arm in the league. If I had to pick a way to die, I think I would like Henry to stiff arm me in the face running at me at 21 miles per hour with this face, because there would be no greater honor to a titans fan than death by Henry. That concludes my Henry jerk fest. Here are some more highlights. andherearethereallink.
#15 - Travis Kelce - Tight End - Kansas City Chiefs
Written By:DTSportsNow Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. He wound up missing his rookie season due needing to receive microfracture surgery on his knee over the offseason and dealing with a bone bruise during the season. Since then he's received 4 All-Pro designations and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. He's also become the 1st TE in NFL history to have 4 straight 1,000+ yard seasons. Not bad considering how his career got started. In 2019 he finished his 2nd straight season of 1,200+ yards and 3rd straight season leading the league in deep receiving yards by a tight end (274). He finished top 4 in overall TE grade for the 4th straight year (85.1), and was named to his second 2nd-team All-Pro designation. In the Sunday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears he caught his 500th career reception, becoming the fastest TE in NFL history to reach that mark. There's no doubt that Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game, and winding up in the top 20 proves many believe him to be one of the very best players in the league. Since Gronk's decline it's essentially been between him and George Kittle for the top player at the position. He's a key component of what Andy Reid and the Chiefs like to do on offense, even as stacked as the offence is. With a Super Bowl victory and a few records to his name already his legacy will be decided by how long he can keep up his premier play. His partnership with Patrick Mahomes should take him to a locked up Hall of Fame bust.
#14 - Ryan Ramczyk - Offensive Tackle - New Orleans Saints
Written By:Dahki In 2017, sb nation wrote an article claiming that Ryan Ramczyk wasn't a first round talent at LT. The site went so far as to say he would benefit from a switch to RT. In short, they ended up nailing that on the head. The three-year vet has spent almost the entirety of his career anchoring the right side of the Saints O-line after being picked at 32 overall, and boy, has it worked out for both the team and the Wisconsin alum. Ram makes the /nfl top 100 list for two reasons. First, he was really good. Second, we really wanted to hammer in the idea that the Saints O-line as a whole was really good. Most notably, Ram exits the 2019 season with his first first-team all pro, and he was more than deserving of it. Similar to teammate Terron Armstead, Ram refused to allow Brees or Teddy to be touched, giving up no sacks on the season. Even better, Ram kept his QBs almost squeaky clean in the pocket, allowing just one hit on the entire season, good for 2nd best in the league among nominated tackles. And Ram didn't just do well in pass pro; he was PFFs top graded OT when run-blocking, showcasing his power and quickness from his spot. In total, Ram spent the 2019 season as the biggest challenge for opposing D-lines to overcome when facing the Saints.
#13 - Julio Jones - Wide Receiver - Atlanta Falcons
Written By:CokeZ3ro It's a bird, it’s a plane, no it's Jet Jones! In his 9th season Julio continues to be one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, and the undisputed best player on the team. He’s a force that defenses must give their full attention, and even then he can explode. Even when he doesn’t get the ball, his influence and abilities still shape the play, and better everyone around him. This past offseason Julio agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $66 million, making him the NFL’s highest paid WR, and extending him to 2023. Even though 2019 was a down year statistically, Julio continued to show why the money is worth it. In a “down year” Julio was 2nd in reception yards, 3rd in Yards/Game, and 1st in Scrimmage Yards/Touch, and made his 6th consecutive Pro-Bowl. But stats can hardly capture the elite combination of athleticism and skill that makes Julio so great. A combination perfectly captured here where Julio is able to jump over the coverage of CB Leodis McKelvin and then tiptoe to complete the coverage on the way down. Later that same game, with the Falcons against the wall, Julio showed that no man can catch him in a 53-yard burst (shoutout to Jake Matthews for the Pancake Block). Julio utilized his route skills to make CB Pierre Desir eat turf before making a 34-yard reception; which likely would have been much more if Ryan didn’t underthrow it. He’s pretty good at catching too, exhibited as reaches over CB Quincy Wilson and manages to hold onto the ball through tackles from Wilson and SS Clayton Geathers to score. Doesn’t matter who you are, Luke Keuchly, Marshon Lattimore, AJ Bouye; doesn’t matter. bUt hE dOEsn’T gET tOUchDoWnS I hear the Fantasy owners say. Watch this and notice how often in the redzone Julio is serving to support his team (blocks, inside presence, taking double defenders), or is just ignored. He’s open more often people realize. Even in a disappointing season for the Falcons, Julio continues to shine through as one of the NFL’s premiere combos of athleticism and skill. Julio is and will continue to be an absolute force for the offense.
#12 - Chandler Jones - EDGE - Arizona Cardinals
Written By:Beehay In my write up of ChanJo last year, I mentioned that the return to the 3/4 (even if it's under Vance Joseph) will be huge for his stats. And boy howdy was it! At 30 years old and after double digit sack totals for 5 straight years, Jones set a career high of sacks at 19 this year. He had 8 Forced Fumbles, 53 Tackles, and 26 QB hits. Most of his stats improved from 2018, some more drastically than others. His pass coverage marginally improved but why the hell would you really want him to cover guys? (Don't say it Niners fans, DON'T SAY IT) Chandler Jones is the prototype for edge defenders. He is what all other Defensive Coordinators wish they had. Strong, fast, smart, consistent. Here's a guys opinion and a breakdown.Here's some highlights because not everybody watched all 16 Cardinals games last year and I don't blame them. I think he will rank even higher next year if he stays healthy because he will finally get to settle into a defense again. Even if it's Vance Joseph's.
#11 - Ronnie Stanley - Offensive Tackle - Baltimore Ravens
Written By:Letsgomountaineers5 Where to begin with Ronnie Stanley? Oh, how about a nearly minute long clip of him absolutely bullying First Team All Pro and NFC DPOY Chandler Jones. You like that? (Sorry Cards fans, but hey we all know Chandler Jones is a beast). Ronnie Stanley was the best LT in the league. No wait, actually he was the best overall tackle in the league. Actually, Stanley was the best lineman in the league, bar none. I truly believe Stanley was a top 5 player in the NFL last season and even tried (and failed/came to senses) to argue Stanley as a top 2 player. His dominance on the left side of that line was unprecedented. I know stats don’t paint the entire picture, especially for OL, but I have to start there because his stats were unworldly as a blindside protector facing the best pass rushers the NFL has to offer. Going against the likes of TJ Watt twice a year, Carlos Dunlap twice a year, Myles Garrett, Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa, Shaq Barrett (need I go on), he allowed zero sacks and six pressures on 445 pass blocking snaps. Of tackles with at least 400 pass blocking snaps to allow 6 pressures or less, he was the only one. Wait, the only one? Let’s expand. 10 pressures on 400 snaps? Hmm. Only Ronnie Stanley. 15? Hmm only Ronnie Stanley. 20 and no sacks? Only Ronnie Stanley. Unreal. So how does he do it? Well for starters, he has an elite pass rusher’s explosion as an offensive lineman. He can pack a pop that will knock the best rushers off line or on their ass without overextending. Just ask Nick Bosa. Refer back to the Chandler Jones lowlight reel for a second and check out how often he simply beats Jones (one of the most explosive and best bending edge rushers in the game) to his spot time and time again. Stanley is out of his stance so fast it looks like he’s false starting and, be it film review/sixth sense/sheer athleticism (my money is on all three), he hits the pass rushers’ marks before they do. Sometimes, he even chips defenders to the ground he doesn’t have a responsibility for. Because of these reasons, he’s basically the only lineman in the game not playing catchup and is tremendously equipped to react to counters. In the run game, he was a driving reason behind that team’s record setting running success. He can be a mauler, but with his speed also can pull like the best guards in the game and lead block for some of the fastest players in the game. At the end of the day, his dominance in both pass blocking and run blocking makes him a worthy top 15 player, and if not for a tendency to underrate linemen, I believe he should’ve been a shoe-in for the top 10. If you read this far, thank you. Now I need to go puke after that glowing endorsement for a Raven.
NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020
We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them. Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now. https://preview.redd.it/rs90lt6ckf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3ddfc8945862472b52b5ef8c69076acde904c44c
1. Arizona Cardinals
Why they can win the division: Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other. Why they could finish last again: Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league. Bottom line: I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020. https://preview.redd.it/anrr9erfkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=5655b4452baff2691a0e060e8d70918d58801a4c
2. Detroit Lions
Why they can win the division: Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough. Why they could finish last again: Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive. Bottom line: I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark. https://preview.redd.it/7ivo914ikf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=d029ddd274b78e78f5bc932d00086b8c697a466e
3. Miami Dolphins
Why they can win the division: When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game. Why they could finish last again: As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams. Bottom line: As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here. https://preview.redd.it/nme3explkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=3998c6026125c1b9b48438e3fc9afaf9601b116e
4. Los Angeles Chargers
Why they can win the division: First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room. Why they could finish last again: I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy. Bottom line: In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division. https://preview.redd.it/rywropjokf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=ed77a7303af810b862abb2100c4f0b86841a2d38
5. Washington Redskins
Why they can win the division: These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game. Why they could finish last again: Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you. Bottom line: These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently. https://preview.redd.it/szpawv9rkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=62ca5fe882d8155d83eb3328e9bf1f1681a17384
6. Jacksonville Jaguars
Why they can win the division: I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November. Why they could finish last again: I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period. Bottom line: The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now. https://preview.redd.it/5myv276vkf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=7fb25f47d0759e9b5a07876ea01787898c6cc817
7. Carolina Panthers
Why they can win the division: Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7. Why they could finish last again: Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season. Bottom line: The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center. https://preview.redd.it/y7agj2n2lf751.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=221af0a1f689d3b19d5e250fac0b58a35877edad
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Why they can win the division: We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates. Why they could finish last again: As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year. Bottom line: I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air. If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/16/nfl-teams-most-likely-to-go-from-worst-to-first-in-2020/ You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kCcuPobNU
The chapter poll closed with 1775 responses. This month’s poll results were brought to you byu/staraves, Crunchwrap, Luna, Momtaku and Giovata! Thank you to everyone for your support! RATE THE CHAPTER Maybe it was finally getting Eren’s POV, or maybe it was finally seeing the rumbling in nine glorious double page spreads. Either way “Dawn for Humanity” was very well received with close to 70% giving it the highest possible rating, making this the most acclaimed chapter since 123
Good to see some Eren and Historia (finally!!) but the lack of answers is really hurting my heart, cmon yama!!
Tease me more, daddy Isayama
Epic chapter, amazing artwork. And astonishingly, with 5-6-7 chapters left i still don't know where this is going.
Definitely in my top ten best chapters. The ending was gloriously horrifying to read. I feel like this chapter wasn’t that great. It kind of gave way to more speculation without giving many concrete answers. The things that it DID answer felt like stating the obvious.
This chapter most likely is the best i've ever seen. So many answers and sooo many questions left behind.
Death is on its way, ladies and gents. Also the end is almost here. What the fuck is going on? I just want some answers about E V E R Y T H I N G (especially about Eren's psyche).
I really missed Historia, so it was nice to see her.
can the rumbling start a synchronized aquatic dance?
WHAT DOES THE CHAPTER TITLE "DAWN FOR HUMANITY" REFER TO?
I thought of it as some sort of "End of the world" titling.
Dunno; but it doesn't really work if the rest of the world gets rumbled, does it?
Eren wants to kill “animals” to give a new life to “humanity”
A dawn, or a beginning of a new day, has arrived. Whether this new day is a good or a bad one for humanity, we do not yet know.
Dawn for Eldians to be exact. Dusk for Marleyans.
It could refer to a ""dawn"" for the alliance, who intend for neither side of the conflict to be eradicated, as they believe everyone is part of ""humanity"". Despite their deliberation at the beginning of the chapter, the fact that they're finally setting sail to stop Eren is testament that they've not lost their hope in the pursuit of this ideal
Eldians in Paradis Island being free from the wrath of outsiders and being avenged
The Rumbling & Historia's child, humanity's destruction and its rebirth
Continuation of "End's Eve" as this is the dawn of the day where humanity fights for its continued existence
Dawn of the final day - 24 hours remain
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE IMPLICATIONS OF ANNIE DECIDING SHE'S TIRED OF FIGHTING AND NO LONGER WANTS TO STOP EREN? https://preview.redd.it/pnwo2uvfonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=52218b0e59e41462ddc71283c7349fab305e106b Despite learning that her hometown is doomed, just over half of respondents feel confident Annie will continue to work with the alliance. Among the rest of responses, 27.4% think she will leave to find her father on her own, 16.9% believe this will cause Annie to do something stupid resulting in her death, and lastly 4% of the fandom believe this bad news will trigger her homicidal instincts and put her on team Eren.
Annie saying she didn't want to have to be prepared to fight mikasa, Connie, armin, jean, Reiner and eren again made me feel sad for her ;-;
I just wanna say that it wouldn't make any sense for Isayana to bring Annie back and then write her out so it's obvious she will continue in the alliance lol (but I don't really agree with any of the options offered, I think she will decide by herself to stay)
As one of the nine shifters, she kinda has the responsibility to fight, even if she doesn't want to, and I get completely why she doesn't want to, poor thing. I have a sneaky suspicion that she might choose Porco's way out and we might yet see a new holder of the Female Titan power. :(
WHAT WILL BE THE FATES OF THE ELDIANS IN LIBERIO, SPECIFICALLY THE WARRIORS' FAMILIES View graph When asked about the residents of Liberio and the fate of the Warriors’ families, a combined 58% believe that they are alive for the moment selecting that they were evacuated (39.3%) or else managed to escape (18.4%). Close to 30% aren’t so optimistic, believing Liberio is flattened and they are dead. We also had plenty of write in responses:
They are going to die, but I can see Annie meeting her father and die together in each others arm by the rumbling. It's sad I know, but it would be a fitting end for both of them :(
Either they overcame the Marleyan authorities that tried to surpress, or The Rumbling avoided Liberio entirely. I just doubt they would kill off Mr. Leonhardt offscreen.
They took a ship to the south and we will meet them including Reiner's family and Mr. Leonhart.
Am I supposed to feel sorry for these people? I don't. The Warriors don't deserve happy endings for everything they have done.
I want to have hope ;-;
They're currently fineish because Eren didn't go where Hange was expecting, hence why all their estimations have been off
I just want Annie to see her father again, and for Reiner to get what he wants.
What if the city Eren attacked isn't Liberio? I feel like it's too important to be flattened just like that (thematical resonance + too many side-characters like Eren's own grandfather are there) and we're being misled about the place Eren is attacking.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT HISTORIA'S STANCE ON THE RUMBLING? View graph Many of us had expectations about Historia going into this chapter. Her initially resistance to the rumbling but seemingly giving in was a surprise to 8.4% who thought she would have been all for it all along and 19.9% who never expected her to agree with it at all. 6.4% of you expected her to do the opposite of what is implied, agreeing at first but changing her mind in the conversation, and 23.3% reported expecting exactly what happened. However, a huge 41.5% of you aren’t taking everything at face value and do not believe Historia does or has ever supported the rumbling. DO YOU BELIEVE EREN IS THE FATHER? https://preview.redd.it/t7dfwm1honc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=ea16623e046a4f1b84570f17129f0999946b4c97 After almost 2 years of the fandom fighting over the identity of Historia’s baby daddy, this chapter has finally definitively proven that… we still know nothing. Nonetheless, the narrowly winning belief (37%) is that Eren is the father, closely followed by those who believe he is not the father (34.4%). Some are unsure what to make of the situation (18.2%), and some of you don’t care enough to speculate (10.4%).
i will bet on my freedom that eren is the father
Historia x Eren ftw!
Eren being the father would be the most meaningful for both the story, as well as for Eren and Historia and their chemistry together if you ask me, though I can accept otherwise.
I have not any positive thoughts about Eren-Historia's flashback. Just pain, I feel pain for her. I don't get the point to destroy her character like that.
I really hope Eren isn’t the father — it just doesn’t seem right.
I don't believe Eren is the father since it will contradict what he said to Zeke: "I'm only left with 4 years"
Sorry shippers, I don't think we'll ever get a straight answer about who's the father. But I kinda prefer it that way, because then we'll each get to decide what we thinks is correct.
If Eren is the father, I think it's possible Historia wanted his baby to keep a part of him with her after the rumbling is over, or perhaps it was an attempt to make him want to come back when he's done or even not commit genocide.
why does everyone keep saying Eren is the Father confirmed? There is literally no evidence to support that, and it actually contradicts Erens statement when Zeke discusses Mikasas feelings towards him.
I want confirmation on the father cause if it's not eren ima be pissed off
I can't stand the mystery surrounding Historia's pregnancy anymore, this is worse than serum bowl.
SO THEN WHAT'S THE REAL DEAL WITH HISTORIA'S PREGNANCY? View graph “What’s the deal with Historia’s pregnancy?” Jerry Seinfeld asks. But we cannot answer – we can only sustain ourselves on memes and ship wars. Despite Eren and Historia’s somewhat uneasy conversation, a solid third of you remain sure that Eren is the father. A little over a fifth of you think she did the dirty with Farmer-kun instead. And another fifth is expecting smoething unforeseen (watermelon baby?). Some of you scream to the sky, sick of all the drama. And a few of you wouldn’t rule out a PATHS baby through… Ymir’s doing! No, not that Ymir. THAT Ymir.
Historia is playing 5d chess I just know it. I just don't know how yet
Why'd Historia act like that if Eren wasn't the father?
Eren has to be the father for the good dev of eren & historia characters
I really hope the pregnancy thing is just a red herring, but it wouldn't be the first-time Isayama appealed to fan-service if not.
If I see more speculation on whether Eren is the father I'm gonna puke. I mean how about focus on the real story? Like how the world is about to be destroyed??
We need more Historia. We literally need her POV for the story to make sense right now. I can't believe that with ""5% of the plot"" left Isayama is *still* pulling this all this time? There *has* to be more.
I always knew Mikasa was the father
WHY DO YOU THINK HISTORIA IS PROPOSING A PREGNANCY? https://preview.redd.it/c2lxh9zkonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=094e1e1a44c4b2bb98990c6f2fde2fe85ce4409e Despite a majority of respondents believing the pregnancy is authentic, there is no consensus as to why Historia would propose it. The most popular answer when asked was “I don’t know” (32.2%). The remainder of the fandom is split between Historia proposing the pregnancy in support of Eren (23.1%), as part of an alternative plan (21%) or as an act of defiance against Eren (17.6%). Only a small percentage (6.1%) believe she actually wants a child.
What the hell is the pregnancy for? It doesnt make any sense for Historia to suggest that all of a sudden
What if the "what if I have a child" scene with Historia actually happened EARLIER than the rest of the conversation? It would explain why they switched places, and if Eren really is the father, would explain why he feels he has such a say in Historia's child's future ("even if you agree, I don't" ) , and why when he spoke about the MPs he said "WE have two options: fight or run". It would also give him a motivation to oppose his friends, since they are trying to stop him.
I don't see his conversation with Historia in romantic light. She was scared of him and Eren was trying to manipulate her with her own words about being ""the worst girl on the world"". We still miss some important parts of their conversation, but if she agreed to help him because he reminded her how ""the worst girl"" she was, then I would be very disappointed. I saw her as strong woman and I hope she will not turn to be a mild sheep who isn't brave enough to follow Ymir's wish and ""live her life with pride""
I have no idea for which purpose Historia want to become pregnant, but I'm glad that I was right that she decide it for herself and doesn't get forced at all!
Historia has a trick up her sleeve and I can't wait to see what it is.
ackerman bond means LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!! sweet for all ackerman related shippers
I'm satisfied to see yet another example of people trying to pin eren's BS onto zeke (with the ackerman theories) be proven completely wrong
Mikasa's charachter wouldve been a lot more interesting if her ackerman genes had an effect on her decision making and her trying to overcome them would be a lot more intriguing to see. Instead it turned out to be some lovey dovey pancake bullshit. I mean what would Zeke even know about Mikasa??
I think the fact that the Ackermans can access the Paths without being shifters is going to be super relevant. My pet theory is that Mikasa will be able to cross into the Paths dimension to kill Eren and truly free Ymir Fritz, but let's see how that goes.
HOW ACCURATE WAS ZEKE'S ASSESSMENT OF MIKASA'S FEELINGS TOWARD EREN? https://preview.redd.it/axs6bt2nonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=2171024877c0601a842c5ab186ed24a0bad8545e One of the few areas of agreement in this chapter was with Zeke’s assessment of Mikasa’s feelings towards Eren. Close to 80% think that Zeke correctly understands that Mikasa’s concern for Eren has little to do with genetics and everything to do with reasons of the heart. However, the majority of people who took the option of writing in their answer cited both as a factor in Mikasa’s bond.
Eren, when your sadistic and bloodthirsty big bro can see how much Mikasa loves you, you probably should take it seriously lol
usually when panels sway to the right, they are true, so I believe this is the case.
Did anybody honestly not already know this? We learned nothing new from this as far as I'm concerned.
Mikasa really cares for Eren but the Ackerman genes amplify her love for him.
Everybody's emotional attachments have some basis in biology. It doesn't make them any less real or meaningful
The ackerman blood does boost her physical abilities but i believe it doesn't affect her mentally (she probably has ptsd and seperation anxiety)
What is between Eren and Mikasa?There is something we still Dont know.I wish for more Mikasa....
As much as Mikasa being ready to snap titans necks in two for Eren is due to her love for him, Eren being willing to go through with a world genocide to prevent Historia's sacrifice definitely results from his love for her.
HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PLACEMENT OF FLASHBACKS DURING THIS CHAPTER? View graph The majority of the fandom really enjoyed the inception-like flashbacks, but 1/5th just found it confusing as all hell. A sixth of the fandom is just fed up with Isayama blue-balling us. We’ve been in this relationship 10+ years, Yams, it’s time for you to give it up!
Loved the interwoven flashbacks, and made sense considering a lot of the "unknown" conversations(Eren with Yelena, Floch, Historia....) all tie into each other.
E-H convo should've been shown months ago; now is not the time for flashbacks.
I don't mind it, but i feel Isayama was, to a certain degree, struggling to work all of this information organically into the story, so he was forced to choose this flashback method to get it out there.
The juxtaposition is very purposeful, while I don’t necessarily like what it implies, it is indeed impactful.
People might say this is Isayama being mysterious and showing us everything but revealing nothing as he always does, and yeah and if this was 10 chapters ago I might see that as a positive, but this late into the series it feels like it was just a waste of a chapter.
They were good because they connected with each-other; though I had to reread the chapter several times to distinguish who was talking because it flipped so much.
These kinds of chapters are slightly annoying in the moment, but are more than worth it in the long run.
WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND EREN IMPLYING HE "WANTED THIS", REGARDING THE FUTURE OF THE RUMBLING? https://preview.redd.it/h1lvm53oonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=d73eab2bf361fbe43cec08049dd635bce9fd6ae9 Continuing Eren’s ongoing theme of the question of free will and determinism, this chapter presented us with the possibility that Eren wanted this outcome from the start. The majority of respondents to this question (54.7%) believe that Eren is just convincing himself there was no other possible future after seeing it play out in front of his very eyes, and with 17.1% believing him to be an unreliable narrator. A smaller 12% believe this is confirmation that Eren’s vengeful nature caused this, closely followed by 9.5% of you who just think he is a lunatic.
Eren said from the start he would, "destroy them all." He hated being a slave. I think he *does want this. He wants whatever will guarantee freedom.
Both future can't be changed AND Eren is a fucking lunatic
Even if the future could be changed Eren preferred the full rumbling
He literally had no option from the very beginning , his actions is definitely justified .
it's probably all the attack titan's will, not his.
I've given up trying to understand Eren's logic. It's just too bizarre. I will wait until the story is finished to form any opinion about him.
Eren was bored in his original universe and wanted humanity to have a threat so he made the aot universe via Ymir and became that threat himself.
he doesn’t want to admit he’s surrendered to his destiny. So Isayama’s going to come back to this by having Eren admit to himself he isn’t really free/this isn't what he wants, which will be the culmination of his character arc (what will he do then?…).
Eren kinda forgot about the mothers
THIS BURST OF PANELSSHOWS A VARIETY OF SCENES FROM EREN'S POV, BUT SOME SCENES APPEAR TO BE FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE OR ENTIRELY NEW SCENES. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? View graph Nearly 45% of the people who voted, thought it was a deus ex machina move from Founding Titan by Proxy, which granted Eren a glimpse at all Eldians’ memories. Almost a third think that Eren was actually able to control their memories. 14% of all voters are just “wtf…? I dunno” at all the Pathsnanigans.
I don't know and I don't like it. Hope it isn't another pathsfuckery while all I want in life is KRUEGER'S POV.
Eren's path shit also implies the story has always been bending to that moment too. From the pigs, to even Dina from that Bert shard. If it's ever revealed he orchestrated Carla's death to stimulate Grisha and Eren's hatred, the whole demonisation of RBA gets turned on his head.
I don't like the idea that Eren controlled the Smiling Titan but it's starting to feel more and more likely...
I hope the explanation isn't some magical PATHS stuff where he orchestrated characters (like Dina's) actions or is suddenly an all-seeing almighty being. Grisha was enough pls.
DUDE, THIS MEANS THAT BIRD HAS P A T H S!
FT/Ymir lets Eren see the memories of all Eldians. It will come up again. I don't get some of the angles/perspectives though.
It's possible some of these things haven't happened yet, or that Eren has access to the memories of more shifters somehow. For example, Berthold might be a memory Annie or Reiner have and Eren will receive if he eats one of them while they try to stop him.
I have absolutely no idea what the deal is with the Falco and Bertolt memories but I'm sure they're not inconsistency errors considering the care that went into showing that the Mikasa/Grisha/Levi etc. panels are clearly from Eren's POV.
Excited to see from where Hange without glasses memories from
Eren is the air, the trees, the birbs, everything
Marcel is more like to come back from the dead before I ever understand half the shit inside Eren’s head.
THIS CHAPTER SHOWED US ANOTHER MEMORY OF FEZ-KUN, FINDING HIMSELF IN TROUBLE AGAIN. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MEANING BEHIND HIS HIDDEN STORY? https://preview.redd.it/mfbpbm8ponc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c242b8c217ff5f9eee1cde51e9333bd580cc024 The mystery of the Fez persists once again, with this being the tenth chapter since he was first shown. Though by a small margin, the consensus is that the purpose of his story is to reaffirm Eren’s determination to wipe out the world at 44.8%, with 33.4% of respondents believing he will be a tie to Eren’s compassion and remorse for what he is doing. 17.1% believe it highlights Eren’s inherent hypocrisy for caring for him even though he will die by his actions later. Many write-in options expressed confusion at who this kid is.
Eren believes that suffering and oppression of minorities will never end just by small acts of kindness and simular "passive" acts, like what Levi did, it does not provide a long term solution or prevent Fez-kun'sfrom furder torments, which is why Eren feels like the extreme solution of the rumbling is his only option
Eren gave a mission to Fez-kun
Eren using another kid to get his way without caring about his life. What else is new.
He's the "even someone on the street" part of Kruger's advice to love someone to break the cycle of tragedy.
I think he found himself in trouble again (looks to be bruised on the cheek in 120) and Eren will come to his rescue. However I think Eren will not just save him by beating up or killing the Marleyans, but inspiring the Fez kid to take action and "fight" just like he did with Mikasa. This arc has had a lot of focus on the almost inhumane level of violence Eren showed as a kid when killing those kidnappers, so I can see that being for the purpose of a direct parallel
I think Eren saved Fez-kun of those guys, but then he will kill him later, showing his own hypocrisy (those guys can't do bad to a child but I can).
I expect his shard(s) to contrast the other previously unknown panel from 120: Historia’s shard was revealed to be yet another instance of Eren manipulating a friend by putting his desires above her own, thus robbing her of her free-will. I hope that Fez-kun symbolizes the "beauty in a cruel world"
It show that Eren just have an other plan and not just kill everyone for no reason???? Lest not be that blind :) what esle u want to understund thats an option too? you want isayama to told u?
Eren will save their family and he told Fez to lead his family to a certain location that the rumbling won't reach?
What are all these crappy options? He represents Eren’s journey to changing his viewpoint about everyone being an enemy, as he told Reiner.
The panel of the titan swimming underneath that ship haunts me in my dreams.
HELL YEAH FUCKING SWIMMING TITANS
WHEN THE MILITARY SIGHTS ERENSAURUS AT THE END, RATHER THAN CALLING IT THE FOUNDING TITAN OR EREN JAEGER, THEY RECOGNISE IT AS THE ATTACK TITAN. WHY? https://preview.redd.it/g7vohnksonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d66dcfdebc021479685a347f7f017656440ad5b When he isn’t “Eren Jaeger”, the world likes to call our genocidal boy “the Founding Titan”, but this chapter is an exception. The plurality (40.3%) is that this was just for the purpose of Isayama being able to drop a “Shingeki no Kyojin” in this climactic chapter, though a close second option (34%) is that there is historical information to sight the Attack Titan. 15.2% of you believe the Attack Titan is the Titan Bogeyman for Marleyans, and 10.4% attribute the naming to the fact that it’s attacking them, duh.
I think the Maryleans/World Forces knew it was the Attack Titan bc of the Eldians in Marley (like Annie's dad) warning them ahead of time. I think once they realized The Rumbling was happening, they asked for more deets from the folks who heard Eren's message in the Path's Realm.
I wonder why the rest of the world was only using Mikasa ships instead of various ships lol
IT CAN'T BE STOPPED ANYMORE
NOW THAT WE FINALLY GOT TO SEE EREN'S SPINE-CHILLING (BADUM-TSS) FORM, WHAT DID YOU THINK? https://preview.redd.it/z8madqowonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=c2ccd9749eb2d2a753069cd02fca7cbfc90bc50e This manga has turned into a horror show, and y’all seem to be loving it, according to over fifty percent. Thirty percent are aghast at the sight before them, and nearly a tenth don’t really know what to think of the Grim Reaper titan. Some of you wanted something more fully formed, but this creepy crawly is freaky enough, isn’t it? Let’s just be glad none of us live in Marley right now.
My jaw dropped when I saw Eren’s titan form. Horrific.
I love Erensaurus a lot. This chapter gave the same level of anxiety that Zeke's attack in Shiganshina gave me. Good
YEAH EREN IS SCARY AS FUCK I LOVE IT MORE FREEDOM MORE FREEDOM MORE FREEDOM
Eren's titan looks a little like the earth devil
Really interested in where it is going especially because Eren's Titan got lips which could be an indicator for it to have the ability to speak
I'm not saying anything about Eren's titan. What even the actual fuck, Yams
WHY IS EREN'S CURRENT TITAN FORM A SKELETON WITH NO FLESH? View graph Eren is looking awfully spooky right now. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? I guess looking like a death metal album cover is better than looking like whatever Rod Reiss was supposed to be. 34.9% figure it’s too big for flesh, or PATHS sand ran out. 34.6% think that the form is incomplete because of the missing titan powers; this is only a third of his potential scariness! 23% think there’s no real reason in-story reason for this, and 7.6% think Eren is still not done forming this devilish beast.
Eren's upper skeleton body thing looks like wings of freedom...
The reason Eren's body was like this, if he was muscular, he would radiate a lot of heat, so the Allience's couldn't reach him. But now, no muscle, no heat. They can reach easily.
When a shifter generates a titan body, they need to have a special task or purpose in mind. Is Eren's titan meant to be a bridge between Paradis Island and the continent?
WHAT IS ISAYAMA TRYING TO SAY WITH THE PUPPET-LIKE MOTIF OF EREN'S TITAN? View graph Many have noticed the puppet-like strings connecting Eren’s torso and head to his stegosaurus spikes, but what does it mean? Him being a slave to himself (38%) just edged out him being a slave to fate (36.7%), with a slim minority (3.3%) believing Ymir could be the true puppeteer. Of course, there are the 21.9% of you who are remaining steadfast in the belief that Eren is NOT a slave, he is FREE.
He is a slave to the future memories and instead of trying to find a different way, he is convincing himself that this is what he wants from the start to compensate for how little freedom he has.
He's trying to justify to himself that he isn't a slave
Eren is a slave to that sweet sweet feeling of self-righteous rage.
Ymir might be acting through Eren.
I think eren has become a vessel for ymir and it's ymirs will that we're hearing.
WHERE IS EREN'S HUMAN BODY MOST LIKELY RESIDING? https://preview.redd.it/5wnnv1nxonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=7e168bfaa947d6b58b35c892eba514b9b9024050 The results for this are a mixed bag, though it’s most popular (29.1%) that Eren has no human form, and has merged with the Titan on some level, with a close second (28.8%) believing him to be separate from the Titan but not in the conventional sense, operating it from the ocean with the Warhammer power. 27.9% of you believe he is in the standard position of the nape, and 14.2% of you believe the head of the Attack Titan could be his true location.
So, does Eren now only have his head left or was he fully healed thanks to Ymir?
where is Eren (No,not his titan)? There is no nape on that thing, just bone
I NEED TO KNOW HOW EREN IS TRANSPORTING HIMSELF
THE CHAPTER ENDS WITH CHILD EREN'S DETERMINATION TO "DESTROY THEM" OVERLAPPING WITH ADULT EREN COMMANDING THE RUMBLING. WHICH STATEMENT IS THE MOST ACCURATE REGARDING THIS COMPARISON? View graph This curious panelling choice ends the chapter, giving us a peek into Eren's mind – but in true Isayama fashion with ambiguous meaning. 45.6% believe it shows that Eren’s fixed perception of the world, his will and titan powers simple giving him the means to affect it. 26.4% think it’s a reminder of Eren’s tragic tendency to believe that peace cannot exist without the elimination of an opposing force. 16.8% think it demonstrates Eren’s willing or unwilling continuation of the cycle of hatred and revenge. Finally, 9.1% think there’s a hint here that Eren’s childhood self was cursed by his future self's thoughts.
ALL OF THE ABOVE
I hate eren do the same thing as what he had been through
It's Eren's tendency to lose himself to the desire for vengeance, which in the mange is always depicted as leading to a catastrophe in the end.
His childhood trauma comes back to him when he sees a loved one die / about to die and feels the powerlessness of having been unable to do anything because of being weak.
It's a parallel showing his determination to fight back against those who would deny he and his comrades their freedom.
The thoughts are child Eren, simply overlapping with the current situation. It may not be adult Eren’s thoughts.
I just want to say that the history is repeating its self . What we thought it was the past it's actually the future
AngeRage was always the main drive that he used to keep fighting/seeking for freedom
I like the idea that this is showing deep down he is driven by his childlike rage, and as much as he tries to convince himself it's for his friends, he really just wants to revel in violence because he's broken and he thinks wiping everyone out is the only way he will be at peace.
THIS CHAPTER ALSO PRESENTED US WITH TWO ALMOST DICHOTOMIC MOTIVATIONS FOR EREN, BETWEEN LOVE FOR HIS FRIENDS AND HATE FOR THE ENEMY, BUT WHICH DO YOU BELIEVE IS THE STRONGER DRIVING FORCE? https://preview.redd.it/qvlvsk1zonc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=2123803ce07194ba00ab1c58a63451af200d47db The two most powerful and conflicting emotions driving Eren right now have the fanbase somewhat split over what pushes him further. It seems that most are optimistic about Eren’s prime motivation being the wellbeing of his friends at 59.7%. Meanwhile 40.3% believe that Eren’s love for his friends has been eclipsed by the roiling hatred and thirst for vengeance within him. Even at this point in the story, it’s hard to be absolutely certain – safe to say Eren is a real menace when he feels this strongly about anything.
I feel like I finally fully understand Eren's mindset, even though there is probably still more to his POV. He just wants his friends to be happy and live long lives, so he had to push them away especially after Sasha's death.
Eren's memory chain went from remembering his friends smiling, to Sasha's death and Fez-kun being beat up, and eventually to his mother's death and his vow to kill all titans, showing that deep down he knows his motivation to protect his friends is bullshit and that his "enemies" are mostly innocents, but he keeps moving forward due to hatred and revenge.
Eren has never healed his trauma. It was "eating" him slowly and turned him into this he hated the most - a devilish monster.
if Eren ends killing the friends he wanted to protect, he will be a complete disappointment. I really am afraid of SnK's ending.
"I want my friends to live long happy lives" he says after treating them like shit, breaking their spirit, and partially ruining their home island with millions of titans. I hope he doesn't act surprised when they show up to stop him (assuming they can catch up of course).
I don't believe the word "animals" align with Eren's current perspective, nor how he sees his "enemies". [..] He just believes this radical action is the only necessary way to end an unstoppable inter-generational conflict in his lifetime so these problems aren't handed down to future generations anymore.
he's being driven both by hatred and love, but right now his rage is winning and he's using the safety of his friends and Eldia as an excuse to appease his conscience.
I thought eren had a secret plan for the rumbling but after getting his pov this chapter looks like he really is going for it
Somehow, I can't shake off the feeling that we still haven't seen 100% of Eren's plan, there is still some twist waiting. I am not trying to justify Eren's current actions, it's more like ""if there is something that will throw this whole scenario upside down it better come up soon, because right now IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD"".
I think that this chapter confirms two things: one, the Rumbling is Eren's true plan [...] BUT two, there is "something beyond that hell", which is the "scenery" Eren says he saw in ch. 121. I think it's the endgame after the Rumbling is stopped (no way is it going to be completed), and it's what caused both Grisha and Historia to go along with his plan in the end even though they didn't agree with it and thought it was awful. Eren's "everything is still ahead" and the weird cut in Historia's flashback are too... strange and seem to point to this being a game changer and the final plot point of the series.
If the rumble will succeed, then I've spent 7 chapters seeing characters do nothing to accomplish nothing. I don't wanna feel my time wasted.
This hateful world is needed to be purged and I support Eren for this. And when Rumbling is over that beast piece of sh** must die by Levi's hand.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE REPEATED BIRD IMAGERY? https://preview.redd.it/ccu14w61pnc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=ecf061c4d547987b32fc4f758c99345303543127 Birds are a focal point of this chapter, with panels of seagulls and geese. The majority (62.5%) believe the birds simply tie into the theme of, and likely Eren’s motivation of freedom. In a distant second (20.9%) is the answer that it relates to the idea of everyone being connected under the same sky, a fitting motif amidst this chapter’s exploration of the conflict and unity of different groups. 12.7% of you are hopping on board the “Eren is a bird now” train, and 4% of you just really don’t like birds.
The two birds from the Paths panels appear in episode 1 of the anime iirc, not sure about the manga though.
Eren is bird confirmed thank <°^°>
I like the Bird Theory that says he’s transferring his consciousness to a bird. yeah it sounds a bit odd but it’s interesting and I’m willing to accept anything at this point
The birds are secret surveillance cameras
Eren is the Eagle we see in the chapter 91 that Falco says to fly away lmao
THIS CHAPTER HAD SOME AMAZING ART, SHOWCASED IN THE MANY DOUBLE SPREAD. WHICH WAS YOUR FAVORITE? View graph and display The art has definitely taken a step up this month, with nine glorious double spreads. Though the result is split, the results praise the final double spread showcasing the commencing of the rumbling (18.2%). At second (15.7%) was the imposing silhouettes of colossal titans rising from the ocean, and at a very close third (15.5%) was the very next spread of the battleship destruction.. If there’s one thing to take from the winners’ similarity, the rumbling payoff was sweet for all.
Isayama's improvement as an artist it's inspirational.
Those Rumbling pages are so gorgeous they make me wanna say "Kill them all, Eren ! Destroy the fucking world !"
All of those double-page spreads were pretty fantastic but I have to say there's nothing quite like the chill that runs down your spine when you see all those colossals emerging from the smoke and the mist, where you see for the first time how huge and terrible they are (and also when you realise the first line of defense is already down). I had legit goosebumps.
Mappa has their work cut out for themselves
CHAPTER 130 MARKS THE END OF A VOLUME, WHICH HAS BEEN FILLED WITH ALLIANCE-FOCUSED CHAPTERS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS NOW THAT WE'VE FINALLY RETURNED TO EREN? https://preview.redd.it/3yu7zfv2pnc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=5a520f8ed27d70e611d7c7c75b927d9d3a2ee28c After six consecutive chapters focusing on the alliance with no Eren, the majority of you (57.6%) are relieved to finally move past them, though have enjoyed the recent chapters, with 20.4% being completely over the alliance. 7.4% say they were originally sceptical but the character have grown on them, and 14.6% are open to more chapters just focused on the alliance.
i wanted more on the alliance, not flashbacks smh
it was something enjoyable after a while. Especially 126 made me grimace all over the volume till 130 came up. Not saying I was waiting for Eren but it was so cheesy.
Eren chapters are written worse than Alliance ones
This chapter single handedly made up for the below average, cringe-inducing chapters 126-129 Alliance bullshit. I have faith Isayama will create a very satisfying ending for this series now.
This chapter was legit a great way to end the volume off, it truly feels like its really the beginning of the end
DESCRIBE THIS CHAPTER IN ONE WORD The top 5 write-ins are below, followed by the average chapter score for each description. This months’ average chapter score was 4.59.
Honorable mention: Ragnarok We’d also like to mention that there were a lot of write-ins related to genitals and coitus… seems like y’all were really hyped up by that first fanlation >.> WHAT ARE YOU MOST HOPING TO SEE NEXT CHAPTER? https://preview.redd.it/erobw0s3pnc51.png?width=570&format=png&auto=webp&s=048a14884a9eaf9b878eca17f8a0932e230b6e23 Despite this chapter theoretically giving us everything we had hoped for in a while, the responses show that we still want WAY MORE answers (34.6%), MORE Historia (16.9%) and MORE rumbling action (14.5%). We’d also like to know where on earth Zeke is and if Floch is going to be the little troublemaker that we know and have strong feelings about. Will the boat make it to Odiha? Will Levi do a thing? Stay tuned!
Where the fuck is Zeke
WHERE. IS. LEVI.
i want more eren, historia and zeke. They're interesting. I don't care about the alliance.
"Zekey-dekey-doo, where are you?" ...I'm so done with you guys.
I expect in the next chapter something more around the alliance and maybe (hopefully) Floch's comeback!
Enough of Hisu, she is just a side character.
Want more Rumbling
All I can say is, I'm beyond anxious to see how the series ends, and it's eating me up inside.
Will the Minnesota Vikings win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!
The 2019 season had mitigated success for the Vikings. They secured the #6 seed in the NFC before pulling a huge upset win in overtime in New Orleans. The offense completely stalled the following week in San Francisco, though. The franchise has not gone through a losing season in five years. Head coach Mike Zimmer has really done a good job. Can the team take a forward leap and make it further into the playoffs? The team has not made it to the Super Bowl since 1976.
2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs) Kirk Cousins has received more criticism than praise since signing a huge contract with the Vikings a couple of years ago. Yet, the team posted an 18-13-1 record and Cousins has thrown 56 TD passes versus 16 interceptions. His completion rate has been excellent over those two years: 69.7% (among the best of his career). The reprimand concerned more the lack of playoff wins than the level of play itself. He cleared a hurdle by leading his team to a big playoff upset in New Orleans last season, thanks to a 4-year TD pass to Kyle Rudolph in overtime. However, he followed it up with a horrific performance in San Francisco. Don’t be misled by his 21-of-29 passes completed during the game. Minnesota flirted with the postseason record for fewest first downs in a game; they only got 7 and totaled 147 yards of offense. Still, based on PFF grades, 2019 was Cousins’ best career season. He ranked as the #6 QB in the league with an 84.1 mark. Sean Mannion will once again back up Cousins. He’s clearly not the best #2 quarterback in the league. Cousins has been extremely durable throughout his career, and the Vikes hope it stays that way. 2.2 Running Backs (RBs) In my 2019 NFC North preview, I mentioned how I believed Dalvin Cook was one of the most underrated players in the league. He had only rushed for 354 and 615 yards in his first two seasons, but he had passed my eye test. I knew that, barring injuries, he would breakout as one of the top backs in the league. He did enjoy a nice 2020 season with 1,135 rushing yards and 519 receiving yards, while racking up 13 touchdowns. Two things raise some concerns about him, though. First, his lengthy injury history. He seems to get nicked up often. Secondly, his play tailed off quite a bit towards the end of the season. During the first eight games of the season, he rushed 156 times for 823 yards, which was good for a lofty 5.3 average. However, over his final six meetings (including the playoffs) he carried the ball 84 times for 256 yards, a meager 3.0 average. After being selected in the 3rd round of the draft out of Boise State, Alexander Mattison showed promise in his first year as a pro. He had 100 rushing attempts for 462 yards, a nice 4.6 yards-per-carry average. It will be interesting to see if he can carry the load if Cook goes down. 2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs) The Vikings had one of the most talented WR duo in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. They caught 113 and 102 passes, respectively, during the 2018 season. Those figures regressed to 30 and 63 last year. Thielen only played 10 games, but he was still on pace for just 48 receptions. What was the problem? In 2018, Minnesota had the 6th-highest number of passing attempts. In 2019, that rank dropped to 30th ! That being said, the team traded Diggs to Buffalo. He expressed frustration with Cousins and they didn’t seem to be on the same page. In order to compensate for that loss, GM Rick Spielman signed Tajae Sharpe, formerly of the Titans. He will fight for the #2 role opposite Thielen. The former fifth-rounder posted decent numbers in his first three years in the league. He used to be a starter, but his playing time got cut after Tennessee drafted A.J. Brown and signed Adam Humphries. Sharpe seems to be destined to be a #2 or #3 receiver in the NFL. The team also has high hopes for first-round rookie Justin Jefferson. He was very productive at LSU and he ranked second in 15+ yard receptions over the last two seasons (only Jerry Jeudy beat him). He wasn’t spectacular as an outside target, but he had a monster season playing in the slot last year. He’s great with contested catches and has a good shot to become an immediate starter. Bisi Johnson took advantage of Chad Beebe’s injury to grab the number three role last year. The 7th round rookie posted a 31-294-3 stat line, which was “okay”, but he seems like a long shot to become a true starter. The team finally pulled the plug on the failed Laquon Treadwell experiment. He’s been nothing short of a disappointment since being the #23 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He signed a contract with the Falcons in the offseason. 2.4 Tight Ends (TEs) The Kyle Rudolph – Irv Smith combo is very solid. Both guys played all 16 games with Rudolph recording slightly better numbers. He hauled in 39 passes for 367 yards and 6 TDs, while Smith’s numbers were 36-311-2. Rudolph made some highlight reel catches, his most important one being the game-winning TD catch in overtime in New Orleans. Smith is expected to expand his role in the offense with one year of experience under his belt and Diggs off the team. He showed very nice potential despite the Vikings relying very often on the running game. 2.5 Offensive Line (OL) This unit allowed the sixth-fewest sacks in the league, but that wasn’t necessarily a great accomplishment given the offense ran the ball so often. Overall, this is an average, or slightly above-average, offensive line. Here is a rundown of each starter’s PFF rankings:
Garrett Bradbury, 30th out of 37 centers;
Brian O’Neill, 33rd out of 81 tackles;
Riley Reiff, 38th out of 81 tackles;
Pat Elflein, 39th out of 81 guards;
Josh Kline, 26th out of 81 guards.
Bradbury and O’Neill were the youngest guys as first- and second-year players. It’s worth noting that O’Neill definitely improved the quality of his play from year one to year two. Riley Reiff was a candidate for release considering his big contract, which is not in sync with his on-field performance. He’s clearly not among the top left tackles in the league. After an atrocious 2018 season, Pat Elflein did better last year. He is in his mid-twenties and should remain an adequate starter (albeit, not a great one). Josh Kline was let go by the Vikings, possibly because of cap reasons and the fact he was now on the wrong side of 30. Still, this is a bit of a surprising move given the team’s lack of depth. 2019 fourth-round pick Dru Samia or career journeyman Dakota Dozier will be fighting for Kline’s spot. The Vikings selected a late riser in the second round of this year’s draft: Ezra Cleveland. He played over 95% of the snaps in three years with Boise State. He is mobile and very athletic. He seems like Riley Reiff’s heir apparent (who seems likely to be released next offseason). 2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE The starting lineup remains fairly intact with 9-of-11 starters returning. The QB, RB and TE positions should provide similar production in 2020. The WR position took a hit with the loss of Stefon Diggs, a very dangerous playmaker. He was among the best in contested catches. Acquiring a borderline starter like Tajae Sharpe won’t be enough to replace him. Let’s hope rookie Justin Jefferson can have an impact right away. On the offensive line, Bradbury and O’Neill may take a leap given their young age. However, Josh Kline leaving the team is hardly good news. Accordingly, I expect Minnesota’s offense to fall a little bit. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski left the team to take over as Cleveland’s head coach, but the system will remain the same under new OC Gary Kubiak. The latter oversaw the offense from the coaches box last year, so the transition shouldn’t be too difficult. Last year, the Vikings offense scored the eight-most points in the league, and I predict this year’s ranking to lie between the 10th and 16th spot. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade
3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown
3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs) The best interior defender for the Vikings was clearly Linval Joseph. Unfortunately, the cash-strapped Vikings had to release him. A few days later, Minnesota signed Michael Pierce. The former Raven performed at a very similar level as Joseph, but he is four years younger. The run-stuffing nose tackle’s acquisition has to be viewed as a bit of a positive for the Vikings defense. The other guys seeing time on the interior of the defensive line aren’t very good. Both Shamar Stephen and Jaleel Johnson finished way below-average according to the PFF grading system. 3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED) The Vikings had one of the most fearsome DE duo with Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen. They racked up 14.5 and 8 sacks, respectively. Casual fans probably know who Danielle Hunter is. But they don’t realize how good he is; he doesn’t get enough credit, possibly due to playing in a smaller market. If you look at the numbers, he’s been a beast. Did you know he became the youngest player in NFL history to reach the 50-sack mark? He picked up 14.5 sacks in each of the past two years, and he has averaged 10.9 over his five-year career. The former LSU player was a steal in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft! Everson Griffen is getting older at 32 years old. At the time of writing, he has yet to sign with a team. He is very likely to find a suitor, but all signs point towards him leaving Minnesota. That will leave a void for sure. Griffen has averaged 8.8 sacks during the last eight seasons. He has spent his entire 10-year career with the Vikings and has missed very few games. He’s a true warrior. So, who will take Griffen’s spot? Stephen Weatherly was a key reserve for the team last year, but he left for Carolina. Is Ifeadi Odenigbo ready to pick up the slack? He came out of nowhere to record seven sacks last year! After being chosen in the 7th round of the 2017 draft, Odenigbo barely played any snaps in his first two seasons. I seriously doubt he can be the long-term answer and I believe last year’s seven sacks were an outlier. 3.3 Linebackers (LBs) Eric Kendricks had one of the most improbable seasons last year. His PFF marks had varied between 59 and 69 since entering the league five years ago. Then, he earned a jaw-dropping 90.1 grade in 2019, which put him as the second-best linebacker in the entire league. He didn’t do much as a pass rusher, but he was great defending the run and covering people. Anthony Barr had a subpar year and finished as a below-average LB according to ProFootballFocus. He’s been a steady producer, but his grades have been all over the place during his six-year career. He received his second-lowest mark in 2019. Eric Wilson has been a reserve player since joining the league in 2017. He’ll likely have a similar role in the upcoming season. He did show adequate skills last year. 3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs) Wow, a lot of shuffling has taken place with Minnesota’s secondary during the offseason. Both 2019 starters, Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, are gone to other teams. And their primary slot corner, Mackensie Alexander, also signed with another squad. Ouch. Waynes never played at the level of a #11 overall pick, but he yielded steady play during his five-year stint with the Vikings. His PFF grades have been very consistent year-over-year, and he repeatedly finished slightly above-average among all CBs. He’s the guy the team will miss the most. Let’s face the reality: Xavier Rhodes was one of the worst corners in the league last year. His play took a big hit in 2018, and things got even worse in 2019. He really needed a chance of scenery; perhaps joining the Colts will rejuvenate his career. As for Mackensie Alexander, I feel like the team should have tried harder to keep him. His first two seasons were difficult after getting drafted in the 2nd round out of Clemson, but his last couple of years were much more promising. He could have rendered some valuable services to a team that had just lost its two starters. The door is now wide open for 2018 first-rounder Mike Hughes. The jury is still out on whether he can assume a starting role in the NFL, but I guess we’ll find out very soon. The Vikings decided to address the glaring hole at the position by selecting Jeff Gladney with the 31st overall pick in this year’s draft. Gladney is a sound tackler and a good blitzer too. He was a four-year starter out of TCU, where he was one of just two players with at least 15 passes defended in each of the past two years. However, he has a lengthy injury history. 3.5 Safeties (S) Harrison Smith is a perennial All-Pro safety. He’s been racking up tackles and interceptions throughout his eight-year tenure in the NFL. Averaging close to 3 picks per season over such a long span is impressive. Talk about defying the odds. Anthony Harris went undrafted five years ago. Fast-forward to today, and he’s received 89.0 and 91.1 grades from PFF the last two seasons. He finished as the top safety in the NFL out of 87 qualifiers. In other words, the Vikings may have the best safety duo in the NFL. The only bad news is they lost depth when both Andrew Sendejo and Jayron Kearse left via free agency. 2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE Replacing Linval Joseph with Michael Pierce is a small gain for this Vikings defense, in my opinion. That’s about it for the good news for this unit. Stud pass rusher Everson Griffen seems destined to leave the team, and one of their main backups, Stephen Weatherly signed with the Panthers. At linebacker, I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but Kendricks is very unlikely to match his 2019 performance. He had been an average LB for four years; I doubt the switch suddenly went on and that he will keep being a top 5 linebacker in the NFL. Last year’s top three CBs are gone, as well as two backups at the safety position. As of now, the team hasn’t signed any free agent to replace them. This is not a surprise, considering the bad cap situation the team is in. They drafted a few guys, including Jeff Gladney late in the first round, but their impact remains to be seen. Many new faces on defense, plus a drop in talent invariably equals a big downgrade. The team allowed the fifth-fewest points in the league last year; they’ll be lucky if they finish above-average in 2020. Final call (2020 vs 2019): Big downgrade
4. Regular Season Wins
According to sportsbooks, the Minnesota Vikings are expected to win 8.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”? I'll answer this question via two different methods. 4.1 Professor MJ's Prediction I won't go into the mathematical details, but here is a summary of my own personal pick (based on my analysis above and my estimated spreads for the Vikings' 16 games): OVER 8.5 WINS
Estimated Probability: 72%
Best Odds: -121 (DraftKings)
UNDER 8.5 WINS
Estimated Probability: 28%
Best Odds: +139 (Pinnacle)
Tip: Bet OVER 8.5 wins 4.2 Based on BetOnline's Point Spreads Here is the methodology I used here:
Use BetOnline.ag’s point spreads on all 256 regular season games.
Convert those point spreads into win probabilities.
Simulate each of the 256 games, according to those win probabilities, via the R statistical software.
Repeat the previous step one million times (you get 1M simulated seasons).
Count the proportion of seasons where the Vikings won more or less than 8.5 games.
Here are the results: OVER 8.5 WINS
Estimated Probability: 63.1%
Best Odds: -121 (DraftKings)
UNDER 8.5 WINS
Estimated Probability: 36.9%
Best Odds: +139 (Pinnacle)
Tip: Bet OVER 8.5 wins Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Vikings’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -9 vs CAR, -4 vs CHI, -2.5 vs DAL, -7 vs DET, -3 vs GB, -11.5 vs JAX, -3.5 vs TEN.
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