The 2019 season is half-way done (already?) and two teams remain undefeated. Green Bay and New Orleans remained part of the one-loss club while Buffalo may have shown its true colors. Chicago has a QB issue to deal with and apparently still can’t find a kicker while Kirk Cousins once again shows he’s really no good on national TV (regardless of the Vikings win). The Blitzed crew put on a great show highlighting all things scary in the NFL, which was surprising since Stats Guy was in charge of it. I’m happy to report that your Barkeep is back in their good graces and gave them a winning drink. I’m also two for my last two on game of the week predictions but have put that streak at risk with a doozy below. If you missed the guys' show this week and what I gave them to drink, you can catch it here:
Alright enough chit chat. Let’s get into Your Barkeep’s Mid-Season Awards
Aaron Rodgers (GB)
It's hard to argue with making Rodgers the MVP of the league this year considering what he’s done with who’s he’s done it with. Various injuries have taken his top one, two and three receivers out at any given time (who’s heard of Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard or Darrius Shepherd before this year?), while also losing one of his backfield mates, Jamal Williams to a scary concussion for several weeks. All Rodgers has done is put his team on his back and led them to a 7-1 record, which is good for 1st place in the competitive NFC North. Rodgers has proven time and again that he is king of the NFL in terms of being able to get it done, no matter who’s on the field with him.
Blitzed Stats: 185-283 (65.4%), 2,324 yds 16 TDs 2 INTs with a 106.7 QBR
Russell Wilson (SEA), Christian McCaffrey (CAR), DeShaun Watson (HOU)
Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
McCaffrey is a human wrecking ball that is the Carolina offense. 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving is not entirely out of the question at some point in his career. This year he is on pace for the second highest yardage total from scrimmage in NFL history (2,464 total yards behind on Chris Johnson in 2009). He can run, he can catch, he can block and he can protect his quarterback. He can probably play quarterback too if you asked him. Hell, he can probably throw the ball and run under to catch it himself the way he’s going this year. The scariest part of all this? He’s only 23 years old and will most likely have multiple Offensive Player of the Year awards when his career is all said and done.
Blitzed Stats: 141 car, 735 yds, 8TDs; 39 rec, 343 yds, 2 TDs
Dalvin Cook (MIN), Lamar Jackson (BAL), Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Myles Garrett (CLE)
Cleveland’s defense as a whole has not been entirely impressive, but Garrett has been. He is disruptive in both the passing and running game and leads the league in sacks. Additionally, he’s forced two fumbles to help keep Cleveland in the games that they’ve actually been competitive in. Unfortunately, their offense hasn’t been helping much so the defense has had to spend quite a bit of time on the field, protecting a short field at that. A physical specimen of a human being, he’s fun to watch and hopefully gets the chance to showcase his abilities to a national audience sooner than later. He’s my mid-season pick for Defensive Player of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 24 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 FF
Stephon Gilmore (NE), Nick Bosa (SF)
Josh Jacobs (OAK)
Most NFL experts will probably go with Kyler Murray because he plays the most important position on the field. To be fair, he has performed admirably and deserves the votes that he will most definitely garner come the end of the season. However, Josh Jacobs has my vote. When the Raiders released Antonio Brown, the question arose where will the offense come from? Looking at his body of work, he has helped the Oakland offense remain relevant this season and has given his quarterback a reliable running back with which to keep defenses honest. Jacobs is a dual threat player that has finally been given the opportunity to be a bell cow back. Its paid dividends for Jon Gruden and especially David Carr. Jacobs should continue to produce this season and beyond and has my vote for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 124 car, 620 yds 4TDs; 11 rec. 102 yds.
Kyler Murray (AZ), Terry McLaurin (WAS)
Nick Bosa (SF)
I was fortunate to actually watch the 49ers games these past two weeks and this is a no brainer. This kid is GOOD. Against Carolina (who I thought would put up a little bit of a fight but didn’t), he single-handedly disrupted the Panther backfield, had 3 sacks and picked off Kyle Allen from basically two yards away. When he isn’t sacking the quarterback, he’s either in the backfield causing a problem or being double teamed allowing his teammates to have a clear path for the sack. There’s a very good reason San Francisco is 7-0 and its because of their defense. Being fortunate enough to have Arizona give up on a first round QB from last year, select another QB first overall this year and allow Bosa to slide to them with the 2nd pick is not just a stroke of luck. It may end up being franchise altering. He’s the clear-cut Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 24 total tackles, 7 sacks, 1 INT
Devin Bush (PIT), Darnell Savage (GB),
Coach of the Year
Sean Payton (NO)
First Drew Brees went down. Insert Teddy Bridgewater. Then Alvin Kamara went down. Insert Latavious Murray. Then Jared Cook went down. Bring on Multi-tasker Taysom Hill. Payton has masterfully navigated the injury waters and directed his team to a 5-0 record regardless of all these injuries. That speaks volumes to the coaching job he’s done this year. That defense is legit and the offense did just enough in the absence of all their stars to remain in 1st place in the NFC South. Payton again has them in position to make a Super Bowl run and a lot of it has to do with how well coached they are. At this point, he’s my choice for Coach of the Year over several very worthy candidates.
Matt LaFleur (GB), Sean McDermott (BUF), Kyle Shanahan (SF)
10 Things I THINK I Think
1: The NFC will come down to the Saints and the 49ers. Both are really, really good. I’m still waiting to see the 49ers get challenged.
2. The Patriots defense is one of the best I have ever seen and it makes me sick.
3. I told you Buffalo was not really a 5-1 team. Philadelphia brought them back to earth. Is that the loss they needed to wake up or are they really an 8-8 team with a kosher schedule?
4. Fitztragic showed up in game 3 against Pittsburgh. Its all downhill from here.
5. I didn’t even realize LA and Cincinnati were playing in London this week. Did you?
6. Speaking of Cincinnati, I think they’re worse than Miami without deliberately trying to tank. Yikes.
7. Jameis Winston continues to turn the ball over way too much. He’s done in Tampa.
8. Matt Schaub is still in the NFL? And he threw for 400 yards? How about that!
9. I can’t believe Mitchell Trubisky was a top 3 MVP candidate by Vegas odds at the start of the season. Even worse, Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson were both picked after him.
10. Who needs the 1st overall pick worse? The Dolphins or the Bengals? And will they actually take Tua? Chase Young is making a strong case to be picked over him.
My Drink of the Week: Purple Rain Cocktail
Looking ahead to Week 9, I had one game circled from a while back that interested me. The reason why is that I figured this could be a game that the 7-0 New England Patriots lose as they travel to the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. So, the guys this week will be drinking (happily or heavily depending on the outcome) a Baltimore Ravens Purple Rain Cocktail.
1 oz. pure Pineapple Juice
2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. triple sec
1/4 oz. blue curacao
3/4 oz. concord grape juice
1/2 lime, juiced
Blitzed Build: Combine pineapple juice, vodka, triple sec, blue curacao, grape juice, and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
The idea behind the name of the drink is that I’m hoping the Ravens bring the rain down on the Patriots and hand them their first loss of the season. Baltimore, and in particular Lamar Jackson, have the tools necessary to beat New England. You aren’t going to beat them through a heavy passing attack with the secondary they have in place. You have to run the ball. Ironically, Baltimore has that quarterback that everyone has downplayed as a running quarterback. It may just come in handy this weekend. Add in the human bowling ball Mark Ingram and Baltimore may have enough to keep Brady off the field and put up enough points to ruin the aspirations of their perfect season. Its time for Lamar Jackson to show his worth and have the game of his life. America is depending on it. I may have already sampled one too many Purple Rains, but your Barkeep is going out on a limb and picking the Ravens in an upset this week.
Blitzed Barkeep’s VERY BOLD Prediction:
Baltimore 24 New England 23
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 9 review of the guy’s show and what they’ll be drinking next. As always, remember to always take Brady’s name in vein, tip your bartenders on the way out and if you’ve had too much to drink, give your keys to a friend.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a Buffalo Bills expert, an accomplished podcaster and the official bartender of Blitzed Football. You can follow him on Twitter here.