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.
Week 7 has come and gone. Still undefeated are the guys by the Bay and those cheaters from New England that we hate to mention here at Blitzed. The Saints continue to march along without their captain, while Green Bay and Buffalo keep pace with 1 loss a piece. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Miami and Cincinnati still have no wins while Atlanta picked a really bad year to suck as well. Speaking of sucking, the guys opinion of my drink last week was not too kind and that’s ok. The drink was still better than your producing abilities while Clippy was out, Stats Guy. Everyone is allowed to mess up once in a while so I’ll own up to this one. Perhaps it wasn’t my best cocktail but I’m still 14 for 15 on the year for great drinks which isn’t too shabby. I will admit though, the rest of the show was great, and I found their conspiracy theory especially intriguing this week. If you didn’t see it, you can catch it here:
Let’s get into Your Barkeep’s Week 7 in Review:
Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Holy sh*t. The quarterback that many consider one of the best in the game had his best performance ever as a pro at the expense of the Oakland Raiders. Unbeknownst to me, this was also his first ever game with a perfect quarterback rating (really?). He was so good that he had the same number of incompletions in this game that he did touchdowns (5 passing and 1 rushing). The real reason I’m buying his tab this week? He actually got a former 1st round pick traded from Oakland after game because he made him look so bad (not really but that the story we’re sticking with). Very nice Mr. Rodgers. Very nice indeed. Allow me to take care of your tab this week.
Blitzed Stats: 25 for 31, 429 yds 5 TDs, 1 rush TD
Marvin Jones (DET)
As a rule, I’ve only bought drinks for players who’s teams won that week but this week I’m making an exception. Why, Barkeep, is this the exception you ask? Well, Jones joins an exclusive company of being only the third receiver in the history of the NFL to catch four (4) touchdowns in one game on two separate occasions. Additionally, he actually dropped a 5th touchdown pass in this game, which would have tied the single game record. His other numbers don’t jump off the page at you: 10 receptions for 93 yards, but when you consider that 40% of those catches went for touchdowns? Wow. By the way, the other two players to catch four TDs in a game twice? Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe. Shots on me, Mr. Jones.
Blitzed Stats: 10 rec, 93 yds; 4TDs
Jacoby Brissett (IND)
Andrew Luck? Who’s that? Brissett put on his best Luck impression as the Indianapolis Colts took over sole possession of the AFC South behind Brissett’s impressive performance against a strong Houston defense. Brissett isn’t flashy. Normally the Colts lean on a strong running game. However, the Colts needed to air it out and Brissett’s arm capably took over. He showed why he was a coveted free agent (albeit a backup QB free agent) and why Indy promptly gave him an extension shortly after their franchise QB hung them up back in August. Indianapolis is confident in Brissett under center and he’s quietly led the Colts to a surprising 4-2 record. Colts Nation, welcome to the bar, your tab is on me this week.
Blitzed Stats: 26 of 39, 326 yds; 4 TDs
Latavious Murray (NO), 49er Defense, Kirk Cousins (MIN), Kansas City Defense
Sam Darnold (NYJ)
Last week, I took care of your tab. Apparently, I over-served you because this week you were “seeing ghosts” and throwing up prayers for your wide receivers to try and catch. This week’s performance was simply pathetic. I had hopes that the Jets would show up against the Patriots to give them a run for their money. Instead, you go 11 of 32, for 86 yds with no TDs, 4 INTs and a lost fumble. Please leave my bar. Now.
Melvin Gordon (LAC)
What do you get when you hold out for the first four games in order to be paid like a top 3 running back? 36 carries, 81 yards (2.3 avg) with 2 fumbles, 0 TDs to go along with 9 rec for 34 yds and 1 TD. Your team has also lost all three games you’ve been a part of. You fumbled trying to score from the one-yard line to win the game with :20 seconds left this past week and couldn’t score on two separate occasions. Yeah, those numbers SCREAM top-flight running back. Show me the money! As in, pay for your own tab and get out of my bar you bum.
Joe Flacco (DEN)
Watching that game on Thursday night, I couldn’t believe how bad Flacco looked. Part of it was his offensive line. Part of it was how long he held onto the ball. Most of it was that he simply just looked so disinterested in being a part of that game. He was sacked nine (9) times by a porous Kansas City defense and only managed to put up six points and 205 total yards against a defense that gives up an average of 21.4 points and 377 yards a game. Even though you need a drink, you can’t have one here. See ya, Mr. Flacco.
10 Things I THINK I Think
1: 49ers are going all in by trading for Emmanuel Sanders. Its still not enough to beat New England who also just traded for Mohammed Sanu.
2. Welcome back to relevancy, Los Angeles Rams. Ramsey is going to make that defense scary again.
3. 5-1 Buffalo has a Super Bowl-caliber defense but that offense just isn’t ready to take the next step. Playoffs? Yes. But they need more.
4. How many games will Fitzpatrick be amazing before he turns into Fitztragic again? The norm is 4. (Did you know he went to Harvard?)
5. Kirk Cousins is back. But can he win a big game?
6. I told you last week the Chargers were worse with Gordon. Now I think its time to cut ties with him. Someone will take him with all the injuries (hello, Detroit?)
7. What other quarterback can do what Rodgers did, without his number 1 receiver? I can think of maybe 2 others.
8. The Falcons have never really recovered from that Super Bowl loss, have they?
9. Either Baltimore is better than I thought, or Seattle isn’t as good as I thought. Either way, Lamar Jackson keeps on running.
10. What a difference an offensive line makes in Dallas, right? All right in Big D for the time being.
Drink of the Week: 49ers Bottom's Up Cocktail
As I peruse the Week 8 schedule, two games stick out to me: Carolina visiting San Francisco and Green Bay travelling to Kansas City. The more interesting game WOULD have been the Packers going to Arrowhead had Mahomes not dislocated his knee. Since there is no Mahomes/ Rodgers showdown, I think Kansas City is a shell of a team without him so I’m going to put that game on the back burner. Instead, my game of the week will be the 4-2 Carolina Panthers going west to visit the undefeated 6-0 San Francisco 49ers.
2 oz Disaronno
2 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Goldschlager
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Ginger Ale
Blitzed Build: In a shaker add Disaronno, Triple Sec, Goldschlager, Cranberry Juice and Fresh Ice. Shake and Pour into a high ball glass. Serve on rocks. Top with splash of Ginger Ale.
So, this week, I chose a drink that infused some gold flakes into the cocktail since the 49ers are, of course, named after the California gold rush of 1849. Carolina comes streaming into San Fran hoping to strike gold of their own with undrafted free-agent Kyle Allen at the helm on a 4-game winning streak. He’s currently undefeated himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL and may very well unseat Cam Newton permanently as the Panthers QB. On the other side, San Francisco would love to stay undefeated and has a defense that is unrelenting in their pressure on opposing QBs. Offensively, they bring one of the top-rated rushing attacks to the table with Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman that wears down defenses while Jimmy G uses play action fakes to make the most of his opportunities down the field. I just don’t think Carolina has enough to overcome the stingy defense the 49ers will throw at them. I like San Fran to move to 7-0 on the year in a game that will be close at first but will separate towards the end.
Blitzed Barkeep’s Prediction:
San Francisco 27 Carolina 13
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 8 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.
Well that was an interesting Week 6. The Rams got manhandled by an impressive 49er defense. The Jets appear to be competitive with Darnold behind center (while the Cowboys continue to struggle), the Chiefs dropped another game as Mahomes looked relatively human, the Redskins and Dolphins decided someone had to actually win, the Chargers look worse with Gordon back and Kirk Cousins decided to finally show up to the 2019 season. My apologies for missing Week 5 as your Barkeep was on the IR with a bit of a bug. I couldn’t mix up a drink of the week for the guys this week, so they decided to do some vodka and rum shots. You know how that turned out. If you didn’t see it, or your imagination is turned off for the day, you can catch it here:
Kirk Cousins (MIN)
Apparently being called the weakest link is exactly what Kirk Cousins needed to prove he is worth $88 million. It may have taken 6 weeks but Cousins finally showed up to the 2019 season. Stud wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs (and an entire Minnesota fanbase) breathed a sigh of relief for at least a week as Cousins delivered his best game of the season. Over the past two weeks, Cousins has thrown for 639 yards, 6 TDs and 1 INT while the Vikings have scored 69 points. I’ll gladly take care of your tab, but I have a feeling I’m not the first in line for that this week.
Blitzed Stats: 22 of 29, 339 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Stephon Diggs (MIN)
On the receiving end of Cousins day was one disgruntled star pass catcher, who blew up in a serious way. Trade rumors flying, Diggs played street ball and had a field day against a loose Philadelphia secondary that forgot just how good Diggs can be. Time and again the Eagles secondary left Diggs wide open to the tune of 7 catches for a whopping 167 yards. For Vikings fans, I hope this is just the beginning. Shots all around for Vikings fans this week, on me.
Blitzed Stats: 7 rec, 167 yds, 3 TDs
Sam Darnold (NYJ)
0-4. 23 points combined in the games he missed with mononucleosis. Laughing stock of the NFL. Back comes Darnold and promptly 21 points are put in the first half alone. Not only that, but the Jets come away with their first victory of the season against a team that many considered to be a Super Bowl contender just a week or two ago (not so sure at this moment). Regardless, Darnold had arguably one of his finest games of his young career and drove his team to victory, which is exactly what the Jets had in mind when they drafted him 3rd overall last year. Welcome to the club Mr. Darnold. Your drinks are on me. Just don’t share them with anyone. You’re probably still contagious.
Blitzed Stats: 23 of 32, 338 yds, 2TDs; 1INT
New Orleans Saints Defense, 49er Defense, Kyler Murray (AZ), Matt Ryan (ATL)
Marcus Mariota (TEN)
When Mariota was drafted 2nd overall in 2015, he came in as a highly decorated college QB out of Oregon and was expected to take the Titans to the next level. He has never gotten to that point. He was benched this past week after going 7 for 18 for just 63 yards and 2 INTs. His passer rating was an embarrassing 9.5 while his team was shut out. He’s not the answer in Nashville and it appears they may be kicking him out of their bars too. Permanently.
Jameis Winston (TB)
2015 was not a great year for quarterbacks. The only QB taken before Mariota is making his second appearance on my ‘Duds’ list by throwing 5 INTs and fumbling once across the pond in England. If you’re counting, that’s six turnovers by one person. They’ve seen enough American football now to know that’s not how you’re supposed to be a good quarterback. Arians may give him a vote of confidence on the surface, but Winston has done this far too often now for anyone to really say that his job is secure past this season. In less than five full seasons, he now has 68 career picks. That’s entirely far too many to give your team a chance to win. You’re out of my bar. Again.
NFL Referees (AGAIN)
I said it last week and I’ll say it again. This has got to stop. I was appalled watching the game be taken out of the players hands in the Monday night game. Games are taking longer because there’s a flag on EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY. On top of it all, Pass interferences were supposed to be reviewable and only 7 out of 40 (17.5%) total have been overturned this year. 1 out of 21 since week 3 have been overturned. I personally have watched at least 10 that should have been reversed. The game has become less enjoyable to watch. At this point, no referees are allowed in my bar until this changes. No matter how well you tip.
10 Things I THINK I think
1: Want a conspiracy? The NFL is run by Vegas and gambling. Outcomes are determined ahead of time and games are called as such. (It’s the only explanation I can come up with for how bad the refs are at this point)
2. What the hell happened to the Rams?
3. The NFC is really competitive while the AFC is really not. Don’t believe me? Go look at the standings from top to bottom.
4. That “2-point-attempt” was laughable by the Dolphins to win the game. Tanking is fun.
5. The NFC North is the best division in the NFL. The NFC East is shaping up as possibly the worst.
6. The Chargers are worse now that Melvin Gordon is back.
7. Kyler Murray has a chance to be really good. Give him some talent around him.
8. The Buffalo Bills quietly are the 2nd best team in the AFC. They need some confident, offensively-charged wins to quiet the naysayers about them being true contenders.
9. Lamar Jackson is a freak athlete, however defenses will eventually figure out how to contain him. Just like Michael Vick.
10. That 49ers team is starting to look really good, don’t you think? One of four teams ever to start 5-0 after winning four games or less the previous year.
My Drink of the Week: