We head to a division in the AFC East that will have much more parody than the previous 20 years of the Brady/Belichick Patriot’s dynasty. Die Hard Boston native Russ attempts to defend his Patriots while Bradley thinks another team in the division presents value in the betting market to hoist the Lombardi trophy in 2021!

2020 AFC East projected strength of schedule via Sharp Stats

Bradley:
Welcome in to the PreSnapPicks podcast, the second installment of the presnappicks podcast. If you haven’t heard the first, please go back and listen to it.

Bradley:
Russ and I did the AFC North, Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Russ had a bet in there. He liked it a lot. I had one too.

Bradley:
Not necessarily pertaining to a division champ, but a weak one bet. So go back and give it a listen. But first, stay here. Please stay here and listen to us.

Bradley:
Break down the AFC East Russ’s AFC East. Die-Hard Pats fan over there. Oh, by the way, I’m going to be your host, Bradley Porras. I’m joined alongside my co-host who hit a robust three eighteen on the island and his senior season, where he followed up on a less than stellar junior campaign where he hit somewhere below the Mendoza line. We won’t get into it, but out of South Mountain Junior College in Mesa, Arizona, it is Russ Vaughan.

Russell:
What’s up, Brad? Thanks for uh putting me on blast for the second show in a row. Now I’m talking about my hairline first show. Second time around is my less than stellar batting average junior year. But yeah, like you said, we’re not going to get into that. I’ll just focus on that. Three eighteen average, take it home, hang my hat on that and feel good about it.

Bradley:
No, I mean, you did you were the team leader, team captain, the heart and soul, the catcher, TB, twelve type guy out of the out of the catching position, hitting 318 with one little opposite field pump too to go with it. So I mean, that’s impressive. That’s good, dude. I mean, leadership. Getting on base, doing what you can to help the islanders finish, what, second, third that year?

Russell:
Yes, second and third, I think both could never ultimately get over that hump. But I remember very, very vividly I’ll remember this to the day I die. We I don’t remember the team we were playing, but it was a nice game. I think it was UTSA, University of Texas, San Antonio, good squad could rake. It’s a close game and I’m behind the dish. You’re over there at third base, tall, lanky, six, six kid. Incredible reach. Nothing should get by. This kid guy steals third again, close game. I think we’re we’re up or down by run. Maybe the game’s tied, but the guy’s still in third and I hose it down to third base and it’s a little up the line, a little up the line, the guys sliding in and Brad goes, Primadonna, Oh, I can’t get it. I don’t want to get dirty. I’m not going to sell out for my teammate, my roommate. And let’s the ball just go on the left field guy comes in and ultimately ends up scoring either the winning run or the go ahead run. But I’ll remember that to the day I die, Coach Malone comes in and reams you for it. And I’m just sitting there like, thank God he’s not he’s not getting at me. He’s getting into Brad on this one. So but I will say, I mean, that’s not exactly how I remember it going.

Bradley:
But I do remember the play. I mean, I’m trying to cover third and you’re throwing it up the line to towards second base. And I dive back and, you know, put one on the bag next time. I mean, I got to save you most of the time, I mean, I know you would expect me to pick you up like most of the times, you know, in life, you know, I’m here I’m here to pick you up. Just that one time I let you down and you do not let me hear the end of it. So never, never. We expect perfection up here in Boston. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Well, speaking of being up there in Boston, I think the AFC East is going to look a little different this year in 2020. Main reason your boy, Tom TB 12, he aint there up in Boston anymore. He’s down in Tampa partying with Godwin Evans and Arians and Gronk. Your boy Gronk, too. He’s going to be putting together his thing down there in Tampa.

Bradley:
And we’re going to have a much more level playing field in the AFC East.

Bradley:
So without further ado, let’s get into it.

Jets

Bradley’s 2020 AFC East PreSnapPicks Podcast Jets Notes
Bradley’s 2020 AFC East PreSnapPicks Podcast Jets Notes

Bradley:
You want to start with the New York Jets of the Meadowlands. How about we go there in 2019, the New York Jets or the mono stricken New York Jets? I’m not going to lie when I was doing my homework on this and I saw the finished seven and nine, I was shocked. I did not know they finished seven and nine. I would have thought they were much more of a two to three to four win team. Winning seven games surprised me and I dug in and, you know, they had a good end of the year, the beginning of the year, a different story. They were handicapped by the Mononucleosis diagnosis of Sam Donald, which induced an abysmal quarterback play of Falk Simien. This led to the league’s worst passing offense in weeks one through seven. However, whenever Donald returned, oh, he was actually an average NFL quarterback, which I mean, that’s pretty good for a second year player who’s just coming off mono weeks seven through ten, I’m sorry, seven to the end of the year. Their defense finished seventh overall in DVOA by football outsiders. So their defense carried them to the end of the year where Donald just played average quarterback and they went six in two to finish the year six and two. That’s fire emojis. That’s pretty good, man. So do the Jets build on this late season momentum or do they continue to be more of the less stellar franchise that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the Jets, Jets, Jets, Jets? What say you, Mr. Vaughan?

Russell:
I think the big thing with here with this team is their line moves from seven games to six games over under with the Jamal Adams trade. I like the trade for the Jets, I really do, I think it signals to some degree a rebuild, particularly on the the the defensive side of the ball. They’re getting a twenty twenty one and twenty twenty two first round pick from Seattle. So I like the twenty, twenty, twenty one jets, the twenty twenty jets. I’m not sure there’s a team I’m lower on than them. Yeah. That’s not to say I think they can’t go over the six. Six is a low number, especially for a team that flash signs, you know, competency signs that they can win, that they can go on a stretch run at the end of the year, go six and two. So I’m not willing to go there and say I’m very confident it’s under six place your bet there. Put your money on them. I’m not there yet, but I don’t like Adam Gase as a head coach. Candidly, I’m not sure how he’s still the head coach in the National Football League. He’s bottom of the barrel. He loses trust in that locker room before the season even starts again. No. Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley, middle linebacker, drops out due to covid-19 two significant losses on the defensive side of the ball.

Russell:
Moseley’s huge. Move to the offensive side. You got Sam Donald, who is. Maybe one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in the league, and you surround him with limited weapons. I checked out Lev Bell, Jamison Crowder, Chris Hogan, Mîms from Baylor, Sam Darnold was 25th and pass yards twenty third and TDs eighth and interceptions.

Russell:
You’re getting a stronger schedule in twenty twenty compared to twenty nineteen. I’m looking at it. They’re playing. Obviously you play Buffalo in New England twice. I think you’re going to see and we’ll get to this a little later on in the show. A better Miami Dolphins team. You’re playing San Francisco, Seattle. Arizona is not a walkover team anymore. You’re playing Denver. I mean, a lot of the KC.

Bradley:
Yes. I mean, Indianapolis, depending on your point, they played one of the easiest schedules in twenty nineteen last year and they’re projected to play the third hardest schedule in twenty twenty.

Bradley:
That’s a big reason why no matter I mean if their went on went down to five, I feel like I’d have you, you’d have to play it over.

Bradley:
But at seven I’m thinking under like I would probably play it but at six now it’s going to be and no play because six is pretty dang low but it’s justifiably six. I don’t think they’re going to be good again. They’re going to play a hard schedule. They on their defensive side of the ball where that was the strength of their team. I sure the one area where they were weak was getting pressure from the edge on the quarterback. And they did nothing to address in free agency or in the draft to try and add pressure from the edge. Compounded by losing Jamal Adams, although he may be cancer because he didn’t want to be there. Still a very good player and more importantly, losing CJ Mosley, opting out due to covid. That dude’s a stud. He’s always been a stud. From his days back in Alabama, he was leading the Ravens defense. Then whenever he was on the field last year, he made a significant difference for the Jets defense, him being gone. There’s just no way I could get behind a Jets team who’s going to have an inept defense where Sam Donald may be being forced to play from behind, and that’s where he he he suffers. That’s a weakness of his. He ain’t. He ain’t. You’re Russell Wilson where you know, he can you just go ahead, Pete Carroll, and let him get behind and then let him work his magic on the way back. Donald’s the guy where when the game starts to get away, do I think he’s like a big time pouter type person? You know, like sometimes you see Cam pouting on the sidelines is I no, I don’t think he’s a big pouter, but he just it seems like he just lets the game get away. It just snowballs on him. And then he starts making bad decisions and throwing picks and fumbles and doing stupid things. So I just don’t think, especially with Adam Gase as the head coach, I don’t think that this team is built for success in twenty twenty.

Bradley:
So their win totals justifiably six in my eyes. And it’s it’s going to be a no play for me on this Jets team.

Russell:
Yeah. I mean just to kind of close it out for me, it’s it’s it’s three pronged. It’s bad coaching and Adam gets bad habits from your quarterback and Sam Donald and overall a worse roster than what you had last year. I’m staying away from the Jets. I don’t like them. They could potentially be the league’s worst NFL team. But again, not willing to go over or under that six.

Russell:
It’s very low for a team that showed, you know, that they could be they could be competent and came in.

Bills

Bradley’s 2020 AFC East PreSnapPicks Podcast Bills Notes
Josh Allen not likely to make a large third year leap -football outsiders

Bradley:
Well, let’s keep it in New York and we’ll just head up to head up to Buffalo. You know, I really don’t have a whole whole lot to say on the bills, you know, whether it be 2019 or 2020.

Bradley:
So I’m hoping that you can really help me out here 2019. 10 and six season first round playoff exit. In a game, they let slip away to the Texans a game they should have won because they were leading. Not now. Were they leading by a lot? And is Deshaun dynamic to be able to come back? Of course, yes. But that’s a game that their defense did their job. That was the strength of their team. In twenty nineteen, they allowed an average of only sixteen point two points per game. Second in the NFL, only behind your New England Patriots. Defense finished sixth in DVOA last year. So know a top five type defense. Awesome defense. Phenomenal defense, what held them back from winning that playoff game or having a better than 10 and six record if they have such a dominant defense? I think we know the answer. It’s Josh Allen. Do you think Josh Allen continues to improve and to 2020 to help move the bills from a good quality team to an elite team where they where they have the places I’m sorry, the pieces in place to have success on the defensive side of the ball? Does he give them a chance to be elite in 2020?

Russell:
So we’ll get to Josh Allen in a sec. I want to start with coaching and management. It seems, you know, it’s always that first tier that I go through. Who’s their head coach? What’s management look like? Are they making good decisions?

Russell:
So with Sean McDermott, Brandon being no relation to Billy Beane, I think is a very underrated piece to what’s going on in Buffalo. After Sean McDermott’s rookie season, rookie year as a head coach, Bills produced top six finishes in defense of DOA in 2018 and 2019. Nineteen. This comes on the heels of losing twenty nineteen defensive player of the year, Stephon Gilmore to the Patriots. Yeah, they’re returning a ton of starters from the defensive side of the ball. They’re shuffling a few pieces on the D line, but largely they’re retaining the top five starting defensive backs. So Tre’Davious white, Micah Hyde, Levi Wallace to Ron Johnson, Jordan Poyer and they’re adding Josh Norman, Josh Norman, kind of that big name. He hasn’t played up to that big name in recent years. Granted he was with some pretty shitty teams. So I wonder if there’s a plug in play component to that, to that, to that secondary that continues to just elevate them. That pass defense is elite lock, likely a top five pass defense in a weaker overall AFC East this year.

Russell:
You combine that with Tremaine Edwards, Matt Molano. They were the only linebacking pair to each rank in the top ten for coverage success rate. And they were the only tandem to each rank in the top ten for yards allowed per pass. You’re also adding got some studs right there. Stud’s Ed Olivers, five sacks are among rookie interior defensive linemen last year, and it doubled second place and then they’re adding AJ Espensa 55th overall, a house, 6’6 280. He’ll help minimize some of those losses that they’re seeing on the defensive line. And Jordan Phillips, Shaq Lawson there also signing. They’ve also signed Mario Addison, who’s collected at least nine sacks in each of the past four seasons for Carolina. So they’ve lost a few pieces on the defensive line, but they’ve filled them in pretty nicely to go with that stellar, stellar secondary. But let’s call a spade a spade. The season hinges on Josh Allen. Twenty third and passing yards twenty first and passing TDs sixteenth in interceptions, third worst completion percentages. I will add one caveat or two caveats, really. He led the league in fourth quarter comebacks with four and five game winning drives. Yeah, yeah.

Bradley:
I mean yeah I know that stat but I feel like I see it, I see it playing out in my head now I’m coming back and winning games. Yeah.

Russell:
So he has no excuse for surrounding talent, John Brown Coal Beasley in the slot they add Stefon Diggs I’m not super high and Stefon Diggs because he’s at the end of the day, he is a quality receiver. He’s an upgrade to that wide receiver in court. He is, yeah.

Bradley:
I just hate when they put him in the top five conversation. It’s like, OK, stop, stop, stop, stop.

Russell:
Yeah, he’s had a couple of big games, a couple of big moments that inflate people’s images of of who Stefon Diggs is. Yeah. But regardless, he is going to help that offense I think more than he hurts it. Absolutely. Yeah. So it should drastically improve or at least somewhat improved the twenty sixth rated offense last year. I want to see more Devin Singletary, who is at times a little underutilized last year, whether it is because he’s a rookie or because he’s dealing with some injuries. You’re adding Zach Moss from Utah to be that bruiser, Frank Gore replacement. Ultimately, I could see Buffalo being one of the best teams in the NFL, yeah, if capital I f if Josh Allen can figure it out, OK, I’ll give you my big why.

Bradley:
Capital W H Y. I don’t think he will rest. Are you OK? Are you OK with this right here. Josh Allen. So and this is going off football outsiders dvoa the largest jump in I guess your dvoa percentage of how good you are gauging by, you know, yards and plays and you know, the value of yards, red zone and you know, closer to the first down and stuff.

Bradley:
Your biggest jump goes from year one to year two. Josh Allen did post a negative his rookie year post a negative DVOA of negative thirty five point nine. He made a significant jump last year to a negative eleven point eight DVOA. A much, much, much smaller jump happens on average throughout the entire NFL from year.

Bradley:
Two to year three, on average, it’s anywhere between positive three and a half percent to negative five point five percent. So in that sense, the very variable range, they could improve or get worse. Now, if you just double the range and you say Alan gets seven percent DVOA better last year, you give him you say he’s going forward on average, three point five and say just, you know what, screw it. We’re going to give him double and we go seven. He still finishes at negative four percent DVOA next year at quarterback, which leads him anywhere between the 20th and 30th best somewhere in that 20 something range quarterback.

Bradley:
So I just don’t see I can I feel like I can still hear my grandpa who had watched football with growing up telling me that, you know, it’s true. I mean, you’re not you’re just not going to win football games consistently without good quarterback play. So while the Bills have an extremely talented team and extremely talented roster and they’re doing what they can to prop up Josh Allen and have him lead the Bills forward, I’m not getting behind it. I’m not even with with the AFC East being a much even playing field. And you could get them up plus money like plus 110 plus 115, maybe plus 120 to win the division. Do I think that’s a horrible bet. I’m just telling you, just putting this out there, do I think it’s horrible that no. The bills could be good. But me personally. I’m not doing it. I’m not betting them over under or more to win it, win the division or not.

Russell:
I mean, you also think about Josh Allen and what he did last year, some of those fourth quarter comebacks were fueled by his legs, more so than his arms. That worries me, I don’t want my quarterback running a ton, obviously increased risk of injury, I don’t know. I’m probably with you on that. I think I think I lean less favorably in terms of my perception of Josh Allen than I think he can actually be the guy that that turns this club from a 10 and 6 team to a 12 and 4 team. So that’s why when I look at the over under nine, I would lean over because of that defense. And the the less the weaker AFC East, granted, you are getting a tougher schedule. I would lean over, but because of the inconsistency in quarterback play, I just can’t feel confident on one side or the other. So much like the Jets. I’m I’m staying away from this, but.

Bradley:
All right, man.

Patriots

Bradley’s 2020 PreSnapPicks Podcast Patriots Notes
Bradley’s 2020 AFC East PreSnapPicks Podcast Patriots Notes
The New England Patriots DVOA trended down the entire 2019 NFL season. –football outsiders

Bradley:
Well, we got no bets so far, but I think that’s about to change. Guess where we’re going, Russ? As Cam would say, my crew were going north, we’re going to Foxborough, the fightin’ Cam Newton’s. Your New England Patriots and OK, almost set it up real quick for you.

Bradley:
And then I’m just going to going to let you take it away from here. I’m going give you a quick abbreviated recap of their 2019 season. So the twenty nineteen Patriots season was success. Disappointing? Disappointing, right. It was a disappointing season by the Patriots standard, the Patriots way, all the dynasty, the winning Tom Bill. It was it was a failure, I would say, while they had which was trending to be one of the best defenses all time by DVOA standards. In 2019. I think that was just a product of them feeding on a week’s schedule at the beginning of the year, Russ. They did finish 12 and 4, they won the east a successful year on paper, right? Hmmm, how about a week 17 collapse to the Miami Dolphins, where they let Brian Flores and Ryan Fitzpatrick magic, waltz into Foxboroughin December, take them out in week 17 when they need to win that game. To lock up the first seed. This is quickly and abruptly followed by a first round bounce by another Belichick disciple in Mike Vrabel and King Henry of the Tennessee Titans. You’ve got your fire trucks in the background and a nine or nine 1/2 win total for the Patriots and around the same as the Bills, plus 115 plus 120 to win the division. What say you on the 2019 recap for us from the eyes and from the heart of a diehard Patriots fan, Brad?

Russell:
You know, I had to queue up the fire trucks for the shit show. So that was the New England Patriots. Let’s go. You had to queue. You had to queue up the firetruck for the shit show of the New England Patriots in 2019. It was the it was the worst experience I have. I’ve sat outside of the 2020 RedSox, which is just I’d rather blow my brains out at this point. I cannot watch another inning of RedSox baseball.

Russell:
But if I had to watch Tom Brady walk off the field after another unsuccessful drive, toss his helmet to the side nonchalantly. Uh, I honestly and it sounds so weird for me to say it because. Tom has been you know, he’s provided New England with so many great moments over the last two decades, but I was ready for him to leave it. There just came a point where it wasn’t fun to watch anymore. We’ve already accomplished so much as an organization. I wanted to see what was next. I wanted to see who’s going to come in, replace Tom. Can Bill win without Tom? Can Tom win without Bill? So it makes for a very, very exciting AFC East preview. It makes for a very, very exciting NFL season because there is so many pieces shuffled in, especially if we just centralize it to New England. I’m going to ask you I’m going to ask you real quick.

Bradley:
You said you were excited to see what was the next phase in New England Patriot football. Are you excited to see the next phase now that it’s here, once it’s here and you see what it looks like? Are you excited?

Russell:
It’s a good question. I would say I’m probably a little less enthused than I was watching the team last year because I am not a Cam Newton guy.

Russell:
Yeah, he is not my cup of tea.

Russell:
Not necessarily for his off field antics, but I just don’t think he’s a good thrower of the football. Yeah.

Russell:
And I don’t think it’s necessarily related to injury either, if you watch him throw, it just looks painful in general.

Bradley:
Yeah, I mean, is the camera sick? How many surgeries has he had on his shoulder to one or two now? Too many. Too many at this point. So so so I guess my next question to you, Mr. Patriots fan, with their win total, sitting around nine. I know I hopped on it early. I’m just going to tell you right now, I bet them under I met them under nine plus 130 with it sitting around nine. Where do you lean Russ, where do you lean on this win total or maybe a little bit of money from them to win the division?

Russell:
This is so freakin tough for me. I can’t. After going through the research, I can’t go under, I can’t go under the nine. I think the team is still strong enough. They’re led by the best coach in NFL history.

Russell:
The win total at nine isn’t it’s high, but not incredibly high.

Russell:
I think if we delve into the numbers a little bit last year, I agree with you, Brad, it was a little smoke and mirrors. Easiest schedule in the NFL had Pats looking like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. They were literally trending, I think, as a top three defense. As we quickly found out, that was at least in part attributed to to that week schedule. Yeah, reasons why I. I don’t necessarily like the Patriots this year. Pat Chung opts out, Donta Hightower pops out. Kyle Van Noy joins Brian Flores in New England South down in Miami. Yeah. Jaime Collins and Duron Harmon. Go to Matt Patricia. In Detroit, Danny Shelton, one of New England’s best run stuffers, he’s gone. Those are critical pieces of the defense that aren’t going to be are going to be on the field in 2020. Yeah, I think let me tell you why those losses. Let me tell you why those losses don’t matter much, though.

Russell:
Ok, Chase Winovich, very fun to watch. Last year, Impact Player. His role grew noticeably throughout the year. I think he’s going to be the face of the Patriots linebacking core that has struggled in recent recent memory to that linebacking core, you’re adding Josh Uche from Michigan. He is the ultimate versatile linebacker, pass rusher, quality coverage guy. Granted, he is young, but he’s that Swiss Army knife that Bill Belichick loves to have on his defense. An underrated signing of Beau Allen. He ranked twelfth in the league in twenty eighteen in rush stop rate. You’re adding Bama’s. Anfernee Jennings, who is a big dude, he can stuff the run. And then if you just take the scale back and take a big picture at the Patriots defenses, year over year, they take it, they morph, they run different schemes. They take a different shape every year, even with key losses.

Russell:
I will say, though, the margin for error, the margin for error is at its highest since twenty twenty, with Tom no longer being there is as a safety net.

Bradley:
Yeah, yeah. And I think you hit a good point. I think that one another reason why their defense is always so good is because they have Tom on the other side of the ball as a safety net who last year in 2019, I am sure it trends with them having their easiest schedule. Their defense also was number one in average starting field position.

Russell:
Huge. That’s huge. So the Patriots are always in a good position to succeed. Whether that be, you know, Tom, on the offensive side of the ball, taking care of the ball, putting up points, executing the game plan properly, and Bill Belichick also putting the team in a position to succeed most of the time as well.

Russell:
You’re also if we just keep it on the defense, you’re bringing back one of the best secondaries in the league with minimal defensive, that’s fine.

Bradley:
No, I’m not arguing with you for sure. They’re yes, they’re good. They’re really good.

Russell:
Very experienced and talented. You’re keeping Devin McCourty, he’s your you know, your secondary leader, absolutely, obviously your defensive leader, a couple of guys you might not know about JC Jackson. He’s your big physical defensive back, possibly the NFL’s most underrated defensive back. And I don’t I really don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Pro football focus has said the same thing. He’s ranked first in completion percentage against QBs average of forty nine point six percent throwing against him. He’s a he’s a he’s a physical guy. Get in your face type of guy. And then you have Jonathan Jones. He’s your speedy, versatile back. He’s I remember very vividly the AFC championship game a couple of years ago against the Chiefs. He was tasked. I mean we doubled Tyreek, but he was the over the top help on him. He can, he can, he can fly with the best of them. He can keep up. I know it sounds crazy to say but he can keep up or at least. Lead the league or be highest in terms of trying to keep up with Tyreek Hill. That kid can absolutely fly. I’m really optimistic and high on the Pats secondary.

Bradley:
Ok, so let’s keep in the secondary. They were, I believe, if they weren’t number one and I remember reading somewhere that they were number one, they released five in interceptions last year, and that’s a very, very variable category where that secondary while it is elite and maybe the reason their top five is weak schedule and having elite players back there, but they will see they should see some regression. And we already saw it last year because they were at an unsustainable clip to start the year.

Bradley:
And as the year season progressed on their interceptions per game, you know, on average was falling as the season progressed.

Bradley:
So I think that that could be a trend that continues to where they see some turnover regression in that secondary. Let me tell you us one of the reasons why. Here’s here’s one of my arguments just for being the Patriots under.

Bradley:
Football outsiders have them with the largest loss in

Bradley:
Average value over replacement ever in 2020, losing Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton, is it Darryl Harmon and Elden Roberts?

Bradley:
I get that right on those names. Elanden Robers Elanden Roberts. OK, that’s before. And this is the number one AV loss ever, period. Also the number one loss in, I guess, more war games by football. NFL football reference to the Patriots defense had the largest loss in WAR, going from twenty nineteen to twenty twenty in those players.

Bradley:
Now you’re going to add in Hightower to that list. These weren’t gauged and these are published Hightower to the list.

Bradley:
And we’re going to add Chung to the list.

Bradley:
Their win total was at nine and a half.

Bradley:
And I got to it just a little bit too late, but it only moves down to nine in some places, didn’t move, but I played it nine plus one thirty. You can’t tell me, like, the largest loss. And there were. And Tom Brady leaving and having to completely change your quarterback. An offensive scheme with no NFL pre-season. You’re going to hop right into it with Cam and a new offense and the largest loss of expected value from a player ever. And you’re going to expect him to win 10 games. If anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be Bill Belichick. But I think it’s a fight.

Bradley:
It’s fighting an uphill battle for them to get to ten wins. One more thing, Dante Scarnecchia, offensive line coach, great coach. He’s out, retired. He gone!

Russell:
You have to mention that. You have to mention for sure he gone, look at the if you have to look at if you look at the New England because he this isn’t the first time he retired, he retired back in 2014 that O-line plummeted from second best finish and adjusted sack rate to 18th within that year. I expect that is that’s where I personally am most concerned is as well. I mean, outside of Tom Brady, you know, in the shuffle at QB, that offensive line, I get really, really nervous about one quick thing. Just to bounce back to something that you said, I do expect to see a regression in turnovers. They were I mean, it felt like last year through the first eight games, we had three picks a game. It was the product of a bad schedule, bad quarterback play. I still think the Patriots are going to be top tier in terms of defensive turnovers. They play good ball, good fundamental ball. They’ll they’ll force a lot of fumbles. They’ll be in the right places to make picks. I’m not worried about turnover ratio. The Patriots have always been good on that front and always been elite, a top five defense in terms of turnovers. So you will see a little bit of regression, but I’m not overly focused on that metric.

Bradley:
Well, so did you have a bet?

Bradley:
Excuse me if I didn’t hear it. Do you have a bet on your Patriots at nine? Do you have them going over or do you have them going? Are you going to be with me on the under nine?

Russell:
I feel like I have to it’s like my obligation being in Boston, being such an avid average in this gets you into trouble. So don’t take my advice, don’t have emotion and don’t place emotion in your bet. This everybody say that I am going yeah.

Russell:
I’m going over the nine and I’ll tell you a couple of reasons why I’ll go over the line. We’re getting our starting center back. And David Andrews, after being diagnosed with blood clots in his lung last year, New England felt a 24th and stuff right after two seasons in the top five. Fingers crossed. 2018 Twenty third overall pick Isiah Wynn. He’ll come back healthy. He’s a big force. You know, one of those injuries was nasty and his Achilles injury. But, you know, I think he’ll be I think this is third time’s a charm, I guess. Right. And then I am pumped that we franchise tagged our left guard Joe Thuney, Thuney ranked first among left guards and top five among all interior offensive linemen and snaps per per blown block. This was one of the most critical offseason moves that the Patriots needed to do with the loss of Tom. We we tagged him. We have them for another year. It was a really smart, really good move from Belichick perspective. I also think that we have good weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Don’t let Brady’s twenty nineteen displeasure fool you. He didn’t want to throw it in N’Keal Harry. He didn’t want to throw to Jacoby Meyers. They flashed signs of of of really good talent, but they were thrown too sparingly. Brady just he’s an old man and he trusted his old counterpart in Julian Edelman, who is also returning to N’Keal Henry, Jacoby Meyers. Damir Byrd, who can fly. It seems like Belichick is trying to take a page out of what Andy Reid is doing in KC a little bit, get his Tyreek comp. So, you know, and don’t forget, we have one of the the most robust running back cores, Sony, Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damian Harris, Semi-solid solid guys.

Bradley:
So I know we talked off here before. You were under the impression that you thought Jarrett Stidham may still be the starter in New England. I told you I thought it was Cam the second they inked him, the second that the ink on his contract dried, he was going to be the starter. You had some reservations about that. Do you still have any reservations about Cam? I mean, I’m just saying you don’t sign Cam. If you don’t, you don’t sign him. If you don’t plan on starting him, you don’t. You see the Instagram if you do.

Russell:
No, no, no. But you you do when it’s for one point seventy five mil or whatever it was, it was change for that guy. It was there was it’s not about the money. It’s what I’m saying, you know, what I’m saying is it’s not yeah, but it’s not a lock if you’re signing him from for that amount of money, it’s an incentive laden deal. I mean, you just look at some of the reports that are if there’s one thing that I learned as being a Patriots fan for the last two decades, it’s that nothing is ever a lock. Literally nothing is ever a lock. I think as much as I don’t like to say it, I think there’s equal shot for Cam to be the starter, weak one, for Stidham to be the starter, weak one. And Hoyer, as much as I fucking hate to say that, I mean, that guy has the most experience in the offense. He knows the playbook like the back of his hand. I’ve read a couple of reports coming out of the first couple of days of training camp with pads on Cams struggling a little bit to pick up the offense. That’s critical. And Belichick and McDaniels offense. You need to know the playbook. You need to make right decisions. You look at Stidham, he threw three picks in the first scrimmage. But he did he did have some of the best throws of of the day. So I honestly, I think that competition is open. It is someone’s job to win. And I am not locking Cam Newton in as my Week 1 starter. I’m not.

Bradley:
So so what you’re telling the people out there is if you can find a bet on who will be the New England Patriots Week 1 starter and it’s going to be the favorite will probably be Cam.

Bradley:
Bet Stidham.

Bradley:
At plus, whatever, I don’t know what it would be, plus 150, 175, 200, something like that.

Russell:
I’m not even saying that’s that Stidham. I mean, I don’t know if there’s a bet out there like that, but Cam to not be the starter Week 1, that would be really interesting because like I said, I mean, I really do think Brian Hoyer has a shot to a shot to be the Week 1 guy as well. Yeah, I mean, if Bill Belichick if Bill Belichick can go eleven and five with Matt Cassel, he can go ten and six with Brian Hoyer. He can. Wow.

Bradley:
I have to disagree with you. I just feel like you don’t sign Cam. You don’t bring him into the locker room. You don’t I think you lose somewhat of the locker room if you bring Cam and his personality in and what he does to be a leader. I mean, granted, I mean, he he can have negative effects on the team at times, but he does have effects on the team.

Russell:
Where it may be positive or negative, not in New England, not in New England, though, you don’t lose that locker room in New England, you don’t lose it. With Bill Belichick at the helm, you can’t lose a locker room at that point. The guy’s won, you know, six with New England and, you know, eight or nine overall. You can’t lose a locker room. You trust Bill. You trust his decisions. It’s as if he were to not start Cam. That would not be the toughest decision he’s ever made. You look at when Brady, you know, came into the league in 2000, 2001, one of the toughest decisions that I think Belichick had at the time was do I stick with Brady or go back to Bledsoe, who we just signed a massive deal at the time and ultimately ended up he ended up going with Tom and it was the best decision he’s ever made. So you’re not going to lose the locker room? I’m not fearful of that. If you don’t start Cam and it’s not going to Bill Belichick is accustomed to making difficult decisions. So I don’t think any any of that comes into play. I think Belichick is going to do what is best for the team. And if what’s best for the team is Hoyer, knowing the playbook and confidence that Hoyer knows the playbook and can make the right decisions, then Hoyer is going to be your week one starting quarterback.

Russell:
I really want to see what Jarrett Stidham has. I think people are buying into too much of his his pick six last year. Yeah. You know, in the limited time that he had and they think he sucks very well. Could be the case that he sucks. But I want to see what he has. We’ve drafted him. I mean, we didn’t take a quarterback this year. Why? I mean, there were quarterbacks there. They were quarterbacks there for us to take. We took Kyle Dugger out of, you know, Eleanor Ryan University over the guy that Green Bay, you know, drafted. I mean, there was opportunity there. Why didn’t we we draft is it because, Bill, like Stidham and I’ve heard a lot of reports that that the team does like Stidham, they trust him. So in my book, this quarterback competition is is wide open. I’ll caveat it with, I think. I think it’s Cam’s job to lose, I think Bill wants to go that route, but I can very easily see Cam sabotaging himself and ultimately the starting job going to Stidham or Hoyer.

Bradley:
So let’s keep a running tally here. So you want to go over? I’m going under. We’re going to have a head to head. We made this kind of deal on the side and we’re just going to put this out there if we can get a lot of y’all to subscribe, follow, download. You know, just if we can get a solid listener base here. We’re talking about running a little competition between me and Russ the entire season when you know this Patriots win total included with with all the week’s loser. Takes. The other one, and possibly a listener, don’t know how we would determine it yet, but in a contest out to a nice steak dinner, loser pays, right? Is that the deal? That’s a deal. That’s the deal. We eat well. We will. Yes. Well, we will eat a steak dinner with a listener. Sit down. We can talk. Have a good time. Talk football, talk life, talk, whatever. So, yeah, this will be our first head to head bet right here Russ. Mark it down. Brads taking the Patriots over nine. Russ is taking the I’m sorry, Brad’s taking the Patriots under nine, thank you, I do not want that over. You can have him over nine Russ, you’ve got them over nine.

Dolphins

Bradley’s 2020 AFC East PreSnapPicks Podcast Dolphins Notes
The Miami Dolphins DVOA trended up the entire 2019 NFL season. –football outsiders

Bradley:
And if it lands nine, then, you know, I guess it’s just a push. So that’ll wrap it up for us in New England after I was pessimistic. We’re going to go down to Miami. We’re going to follow Tom. I’m going to hop in the car, leave that forsaken hellhole up in Foxborough that nobody enjoys playing in, and head down to the beautiful beaches of Miami. We’re going to the Dolphins. 2019 Dolphins. The battle cry, at least in the media’s eyes, was tank for Tua. They accomplish this goal, you know, not exactly the way they thought they would in a roundabout way, but they did get their man a casualty of getting Tua’s hip, his now surgically repaired hip and a positive was the fact that. They picked four and a product, a product of them picking four is a testament to Brian Flores leadership. The fact that the dolphins were not picking one and having to have the dilemma of the rise of Joe Burrow or Tua I think really falls on Brian Flores, I’m not going to lie. I got a man crush on Brian Flores.

Bradley:
The dude is a great coach, not like some of these other Belichick disciples who can’t figure it out like Matt Patricia. I think Brian Flores is establishing the right culture and is establishing a winning culture. It did not take long for the tank to end. It lasted about seven games. They started 0-7 traded star safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers on the heels of trading star offensive lineman Larmey Tunsil that the Texans in the off season previously and then some Fitz magic started to happen. The team didn’t give up. How many Browns teams Russ, Have we seen that? Just absolutely give up after this 0-7 start or Lions teams or name it, you name it franchises. They start abysmally oh in five, six, seven, eight, nine and they just give up. The Dolphins didn’t give up. They continued to play hard. They fought and Ryan Fitzpatrick worked his magic.

Bradley:
Que the Fitz Magic five and four finish with a cherry on top win in Foxborough to snatch the one seed away from the Patriots to give it to the Ravens, to only let the Ravens bungle it as well. We’re not getting in that one. So do you think that Dolphins are going to be a legitimate team in 2020 or do you think they’re going to be more of just a team trending up that’s on the lower end? What say you Russ?

Russell:
I think first the over/under is sitting at six wins. That’s a juicy number for me. I, I do think the Dolphins I think the Dolphins are going to improve. I think they have a high ceiling in terms of that improvement, as you mentioned, last season, they went 5 and 11, one more win to push that over under six to to win Dolphins’ started and seven last year, Ravens, Patriots, Cowboys, Chargers, Washington Bills and Steelers outside of Washington. That’s a that’s a slate. That’s a slate of teams. Have fun with that, Brian Flores. For his first year head coach, try to figure it out like and the fact that he he rallies the troops after that 0-7 start, I think speaks volumes in terms of how he handles himself, how he handles the locker room. I think I think he’s picked up on a lot of things that other Belichick disciples couldn’t. And that’s how to handle a locker room, how to control the temperature. So I love I’m with you, Brad. I love Brian Flores. I love what he brings to the team. I will say, though. This year, their first seven games is not a cakewalk either, so I’m not necessarily saying they’ll get off to a hot start, but if they can get off to a mediocre start, that six is looking really, really nice. Just to give you a little perspective, the first seven games there at New England, then they play Buffalo at Jacksonville. That should be that should be a, you know, win. Absolutely. Then they play Seattle, San Francisco, Denver Chargers. So there’s a there’s a mix in there between some really quality teams and some some very beatable teams.

Bradley:
The reason I like the six to just because I laid minus 140 on the over six, but I reason why I think that six is so live is the point you made.

Bradley:
If they can just start decent, that six is very much in play and in, I think it’s I think you’re going to definitely win it. If in these first five games where you do have the Patriots in Foxborough, the Bills, the Jaguars, the Seahawks and the 49ers, I think if you just come out of it two and three, you’re going to go over. I think you got two and three. And let’s let’s just be honest. If you’re worth any shit as a football team, you’re going to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. You can just burn up any ticket. You’ve bet on the Dolphins. If you can’t beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, that’s one in the first five. And so if this team is going to be a quality team, which I think they can, I think Brian Flores is establishing that culture. You’re picking up one more win between New England, Buffalo, Seattle or San Francisco. Those are all good teams. But I think you’re picking up at least one more win. They’re going two and three and getting into a much easier part of the year. So just wanted to make that point whenever we’re highlighting the beginning of the season.

Russell:
Yeah, absolutely. And then you just look at both sides of the ball offensive line defense. Granted, anything’s an improvement from the product that they rolled out last year. But, you know, you’re adding Ted Karas, a guy from New England, to bolster that offensive line, that offensive line finish third worst of pressure rate.

Russell:
They drafted three offensive linemen. I think where they made the most strides is on defense for a team that finished dead last in the league last year. Xavien Howard, he’s a stud. In 2017 and 2018, he and only Darius Slay led the league in interceptions with eleven. They landed the best free agent cornerback in Byron Jones. They added Kyle Van Noy, high football IQ guy, Super Bowl pedigree, one of the leaders on the Patriots defense last year. You’re adding Lawson and Ogbah two decent pass rushers. They’re not the best in the world, but together I think I think can be impactful. And then another Pats guy, Elanden Roberts, he’s like Josh Uche in a sense, where he can play so many different positions, he can rush the passer. He can be really good coverage coverage back. So they’ve added a definitely a couple of few, you know, a few pieces to that defense that that make a lot of sense and should drastically improve.

Bradley:
I mean, their output, like I said, anything is going to be an improvement over the product they had on the defensive side of the ball last year. It just to further notate the improvement, they spent the most money in NFL history in free agency.

Bradley:
And I know the salary cap continues to rise, but they spent two hundred and thirty seven million dollars, the majority, a majority of it on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, adding all the said players that you had before. And Byron Jones and Van Noy and Shaq Lawson and Ogbah. That defense will be much improved. They also I love Noah Igbinoghene out of Auburn. He’s a he’s a stud corner press corner. He’s taking Brian Flores is taking the page out of the Belichick man coverage book stack to secondary. It’s a passing league. Don’t let them pass. He’ll skim it up. He’s a defensive guy, defensive coordinator. Mind he’ll scheme up ways to get pressure on the quarterback and just lock it down on the outside with Xavien Howard, stud Byron Jones and Noah Igbinoghene. Like you said, Lawson, Ogbah, Van Noy, coming on the edge. Christian Wilkins is a solid defensive tackle, another guy they nabbed in the draft. Second round, he had some maybe character questions, but is a stud out of Alabama, Raekwon Davis in the middle, a defensive tackle. He could be an immediate impact.

Bradley:
I mean, so there’s this team is so much better improve. They’re not a six one team. They’re just not. I just I love the over. I think I think they go at least eight and eight. Another think again testament to Brian us is when you look at their DVOA by week like team DVOA by week in twenty nineteen, they were trending up the entire year and I just want everyone out on the presnappicks.com website. I’m a go ahead and put all of my, my notes that I made to go into the show. I was thinking I was like I’m making all these notes. I was like I might as well share. Doesn’t do it any good for me to just hold onto these things. So I’m going to upload these pictures. I’ve got a picture showing from the Football Outsiders book, a little snapshot of their DVOA over week and how if you just exclude two outliers, one good one, bad, they were on a consistent trend forward. I know they started at the bottom. So there’s only one way to go to up, but it’s not like they were stayed down. They trended up. Brian Flores’s established the culture. They’ve now spent the money. Do they make the step? And I think they do. I think they do. So I’m just gonna let you know, Russ, too. You know, not only I beat them over six, I found two prices. That I could not pass up on a team that I think is going to be much improved. I really do love the Dolphins. They’re going to be my team this year. I bet them to win the AFC plus +7300 and I beat them to win the Super Bowl +13000.

Russell:
What do you think about that? Let me ask you, I think you’re crazy, son of a bitch, that’s what I think.

Russell:
But I’m not going there with you in terms of AFC championship and Super Bowl placing money on Super Bowl for the Dolphins. But I’m going to tell you on the over six, for all the reasons that we mention, it’s a juicy it’s a juicy number for a team that we both feel very confident is going to I don’t even think closely exceed that number. I think they’re going to I think they’re going to pass it pretty easily. I think I see them being an eight and eight exactly entertaining team and two wins in the NFL is is a big time leap. Brad, I want to ask you a question, though, because I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know how I feel about it. In order for the Dolphins to hit the over six? Is Fitzpatrick your quarterback throughout the year, do you see Tua it at all?

Bradley:
Ok, so I think I have a two part answer to your question, I think if you’re asking me, Bradley, do you want the over six to save your life? Your life is on the line. You need over six. Who do you want to start every single game? I’m going to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick. But if you’re asking me, Bradley, your life is on the line to cash that Super Bowl ticket. Who do you want to play quarterback? I’m saying to a Tua Tagovailoa, I’m going Tua, I, I think we do see Tua at some point this year because he is the quarterback of the future.

Bradley:
I love to I think he’s supremely talented and he’s a high character kid. He he’s shown that the moment isn’t too big for him. His freshman year when he came in at halftime and led the Alabama Crimson Tide to a comeback national championship over the Georgia Bulldogs in what, 2018? I believe he’s he’s got the stones to do it. I love Tua.

Bradley:
He’s got the talent I could see somehow some way in this tough first five game stretch.

Bradley:
Fitzpatrick gets them through it maybe too if he gets them through it, three into he’s not coming out but if he comes through it, one in four or two and three and maybe struggles a little bit at times, I can see the move to Tua. And I really would. I would prefer to see the move to Tua somewhere in the middle of the year, somewhere in that softer middle to make my AFC championship and Super Bowl ticket live. Because I think that if I’m if I’m a catch those I think, too, is going to need to be the quarterback.

Russell:
And let me let me add a little kind of my perspective where I think Tua fits into it. If Ryan Fitzpatrick gets to that two and three start or three and four start where it’s much better start than last year, but it’s not getting him over that hump. You have to think about the AFC East division overall. It’s going to be more competitive. You’re not going to have the Patriots running away with it before the season even starts. And if there is an opportunity for the Dolphins to make that jump and if it’s because of inconsistent quarterback play with with with Fitzpatrick, I think there’s a very real possibility that Brian Flores takes the chance inserts Tua to get them over that hump in and, you know, ultimately make the Dolphins a division winner. I love the opportunity and the value for the Dolphins to win the AFC East division. I think it’s open between dolphins, buffalo, pats.

Bradley:
And let me preface that, I didn’t beat them to win the division because the best I could find was about eight to one, maybe nine to one.

Bradley:
And I just felt like some of the other numbers out there that I can’t get too often Vegas or somewhere where, like, we’re around like the ten and eleven to one. And I just didn’t feel right laying an eight and eight to one or nine to one whenever I knew. I’m just just laying a bad number. And in the numbers I did have access to were better than some of the ones that that were out there in Vegas at the seventy three hundred in the thirteen thousand to the Super Bowl and AFC Championship respectively. And so I grabbed those knowing and you’re holding me to this, Russ, you are you are holding me to this along with everybody else. If the Dolphins make the playoffs I’m sorry, when the Dolphins make the playoffs and I’m not sure they grabbed the ones seed and get a bye. I’m not hedging it off in the first round. It’s riding. It has to ride. If you got any gamble in you it has to ride, it’s riding through the wild card weekend and I’m down at that point. I’ll consider hedging some off, taking some profit, betting it back the other way in the division around for sure I will in the AFC championship. And then if it does get to the Super Bowl, just depending on how much I’ve hedged here and there, but you hold me to it at least the first round of the playoffs. I’m riding, both those tickets are writing for sure. And you never know. I may let it right all the way.

Russell:
If you got big league money like Bradley P over there, follow him. Tail him on the AFC Championship, Tail him on the Super Bowl. I’m not going to be in that court. I got to be a little bit more conscientious with my money. So I will tail you on the over six and I am looking at AFC division winner for the Dolphins.

Bradley:
Already bus, does that do it for us here, right around in our show, right on the dot now we hit the hour show. That was good. That was solid. You like it?

Russell:
I love this division. I love this division. I think it’s it’s going to be really interesting to watch first time in a long time where it’s open and we’ll see how it plays out. Again, just to kind of recap, we like the Dolphins over six were split on New England. Part of that is my bias.

Russell:
So he may want to lean on Bradley’s, you know, advice more so than the kid that resides up in Boston and is used to winning. You know, we’ll see how it plays out, OK.

Bradley:
All right, everybody. Well, if you enjoyed the show, please subscribe seriously. Please subscribe, download, share it with your friends and family. It’s so much appreciated. Russ and I love football. Not only subscribe, yes, it would oh rate it five stars too five, If you’re thinking four or under, forget about it, don’t rate it. Five stars only rated five stars.

Bradley:
Subscribe share with your friends and family and also reach out to me at. Well it’s not really an @ because it’s an email presnappicks@gmail.com Send me an email, ask me a question. Anything. It could be fantasy. It could be a bet. It could be a question about betting. What I think about a team or what do you think about like a different matchup. Whatever. Send me an email. I’d love to hear from somebody. Your thoughts or questions about the show, what you think we could we could do better, what you like about it, what you may want to see out of it, or, you know, if you think about making a bet and you want my opinion on you, maybe you want to fade my opinion.

Bradley:
Maybe you want to go with it. So, Russ.

Bradley:
Hmm. That’s going to do it. I mean, we got the take down of the Patriots. Tommy is out and Bill cannot right the ship, Patriots win total going under nine. And I got Tua Tagovailoa and Brian Flores raising the Lombardi trophy in 2021.

Bradley:
Good luck, everybody. Be safe out there and be good to each other.


If you enjoyed the transcription please check out the 2020 AFC North breakdown here

Image backgrounds from Football Outsiders and Sharp Stats.