The NFL is being hammered by COVID-19 leading to a chance in protocols which should keep the season alive through to the end. Meanwhile, Urban Meyer and Tom Brady had a week to forget while the analytics chat continued in Baltimore.
After less than one year in Jacksonville, Urban Meyer is out as the Jaguars’ head coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 16, 2021
It’s not unexpected.
- Hired a strength and conditioning coordinated who had previously been accused of bullying black players
- The video of Meyer and a woman who is not his wife at a bar
- Regular reports around the tension between Meyer and his staff and players
- Former kicker Josh Lambo accused Meyer of kicking him in the leg during warm-ups before practice
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been surrounded by dysfunction and controversy since Meyer arrived, and that’s without mentioning his 2-11 record – the 10th time in 11 seasons that the Jaguars have registered double-digit losses. They made it 12 losses for the season in Week 15 in going down to the Houston Texans 30-16.
The Tom Brady Section
The performance of 44-year-old Tom Brady has been a regular talking point throughout the 2021-22 NFL season. For the most part, it has been overwhelmingly positive as the GOAT plays himself into contention for the Most Valuable Player award ($2.60). However, it only seems fair that we make note of the bad on the rare occasions it pops up.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their fourth game of the season in falling to the New Orleans Saints 9-0. It’s the 0 that is the big talking point after this one.
Tom Brady has been shutout for the 1st time since 2006
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) December 20, 2021
It’s only the third time in his career that Brady has been shut out and the first time it has occurred at home. Week 15’s doughnut ended Brady’s 225-game streak without a shutout. Still, the Buccaneers are on the third line of betting in the Super Bowl LVI Winner market at $7.50.
Most Valuable Player Odds
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of real estate in the middle ground of the NFL analytics discussion.
We’re into the third week of breaking down one play of full games after the Baltimore Ravens scored a fourth-quarter touchdown, opted for the two-point conversion, missed it, and lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-30 in Week 15.
There are those that treat Microsoft Excel as gospel and want to see the two-point conversion in this situation every time on one side. On the other, it’s the purist who sends the kicker onto the field without even looking at the scoreboard or the clock. As with almost everything in sports, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. John Harbaugh chose to try and win the game in one play instead of trying to shut down Aaron Rodgers in overtime. The Aaron Rodgers…
Converting a 2-point conversion is a SIGNIFICANTLY better proposition than asking Huntley to beat Rodgers in OT.
Can’t play the result there. Harbaugh made the right call.
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) December 20, 2021
It’s hardly a blasphemous decision regardless of whether or not you agree with it. Similarly, there are strong arguments for Harbaugh and the Ravens attempting the two-point conversion in the two matches prior. Neither side of that argument is going to win any time soon. Most importantly for the Ravens, they’re now 8-6 and on the cusp of a playoff spot.
In a span of four weeks, the Ravens' playoff chances have gone from 91% to 54%:
After Week 12: 91%
After Week 13: 83%
After Week 14: 73%
(ESPN's Football Power Index)
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) December 20, 2021
Baltimore take on the Cincinnati Bengals as $2.12 and +2.5 underdogs in Week 16 in a clash that will go a long way to deciding who finishes on top of the AFC North.
It’s Still Getting Worse
The NFL is dealing with another COVID wave, wiping out players and large chunks of some teams.
A total of 47 players were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list today, all as a result of a positive test. That's the most ever for a single day that the NFL has ever had.
Notable names include Travis Kelce, Joey Bosa and Jared Goff.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 20, 2021
They have responded by halting weekly tests and implementing a more drug testing-like approach. See no COVID, hear no COVID, speak no COVID.
Cooper Kupp Is Killing It
Cooper Kupp this season:
122 REC (1st in Rams history)
1,625 YDS (4th)
14 TD (2nd)
He’ll likely rank 1st in all categories by end of season. pic.twitter.com/fzZq8epXND
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 22, 2021