This is a check in for the 2060 Live Coaches Draft on Dec 15th @ 6 pm MST
Hope to see ya there, we usually get on about an hour early to shoot the shit.
We use Discord and the join link is below. Even if you don't have a headset, Discord has a chat function.
Our Discord server;
Click the link to Join;
27/45 in the regular season... but we finally made it to the PLAYOFFS! The WC games don't look exciting but I think there's value in two of these lines...
Omaha at Durham (-3) - I don't want to pile it on the Arrowheads but this season ends here. The injuries are just too much-- QB Harrison and WR Dole headline the list, but starters LB Garibay and DE Paton are anchors of the defense. There's still some talent sprinkled here and there but RB Johnson, TE Duran, and WR Stone need someone to deliver the ball and QB Henry (or Morris, if he starts) just isn't that guy.
The Bulldogs, on the other side, are expected by many to go pretty deep this season. They started slow but it's clear that the rebuild is well and truly complete. The veterans on the team have done a great job working with QB Ortiz and the other rookies-- WR Hindman, CB Taylor, and C Cinkovsky look like they'll all be staples in the league for a long long time.
Looking through the last three weeks of tape I see a few spots where the OMA coaching staff could make some adjustments:
1) Get TE Duran more involved - Just 10 targets over the last 3 games!
2) Run the ball more - No choice here really...
3) Dial back on the medium depth routes - it doesn't matter how much time you have if you're just not good enough to complete the passes!
That being said, I'm not sure it'll be enough to miracle the Arrowheads a win so give me DUR laying the points: 24-10.
Honolulu at Las Vegas (-3) - Another upstart rebuilding team takes the stage for the wildcard weekend finale and I simply cannot believe that Vegas (those backstabbers!) opened the line at just -3. It dipped a bit to -4 but the sharps keep buying it back up to -3. Have they just gone mad or is there something here?
The Hammerheads have won 7 in a row to make this Cinderella story possible but looking at their opponents does not impress. BCI was their one quality win and that looked like a perfect storm of elevated secondary play and numerous miscues for the Stampede's offense. This ragtag unit is pretty good against pass heavy teams, but I'm not so sure it can be replicated to that degree. I expect LVS to run the offense through RB Gmerek and that has not been a strength of the HON defensive line. Most opponents enjoy success on the ground when committing to that strategy.
It's been some time since the league has seen the defending champs at full health. With careful management of their nicks and cuts this season however, the Rounders are ready to make it a threepeat. Everyone recognizes most of the names here but it bears repeating that this defense is lethal if opposing offensive lines aren't on point. The team is probably going to implode under the weight of all the big $ contracts, but there's still at least one championship left in the tank.
Even if HON can tighten their run defense, they'll need to clamp down on the the multiple receiver sets that LVS routinely deploys. WRs Conley, Vanags, and Johnston can all take short passes to the house but the Hammerheads need to keep eyes on sophomore WR McSwain. I have to think that the LVS coaching staff keeps his utilization low on purpose for the post season-- he looks so consistently good on the field it doesn't make sense otherwise!
I'm riding against the sharps this week and it doesn't feel great but I can't see LVS losing or winning by less than 3: 30-20.
Risky leans for the last two:
ORE @ DVY (-3)
TEN (-4) @ DET
24/42 with just one final week to go... only a handful of games matter and we'll preview three of them below:
Los Angeles at Honolulu (-7) - So if you guys had to choose between QB Kirk Fryday and DE Ken Stephens and OG Winfred Brooks, who would you choose?
QB Fryday is just about the second rookie QB to make the playoffs in two years and that's saying something. The move from college to the pros rarely starts well but Ortiz and Fryday are making it look easy. The Hammerheads took care of business against SHR but their opponents were hamstrung and missing several pieces. This match against the Outlaws will give us a better idea of what to expect in the coming weeks-- if HON wins this, they take the final wildcard spot and shut the door on ALA and BCI.
By most metrics, they're well positioned to do so. The Outlaws are possibly the worst defense in the league and HON's rushing attack is one of the best. This DL is unable to find penetration at the line of scrimmage and with CBs Rector and Jefferson are expected to miss the game, their already poor passing defense ought to reach new lows.
The Outlaws haven't posted anything approaching encouraging recently and I think they're just looking to next season. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few healthy scratches come game time. There simply isn't any consistency here outside of RB Whalen and I expect HON to take care of business. 7 points is a lot, but I'll still take it-- Hammerheads win this one 30-14.
Hartford(-4) at Boston - Not having your destiny in your hands kinda stinks but that's where the Attack find themselves on the final week of 2059. If OMA loses and they win, HAR punches their wildcard ticket. The casual observer might think "well wait, aren't the Arrowheads a perennial playoff team?" And you'd be right... except this year the injury bug has hit them hard.
The 8-6-1 Hartford Attack hit the road to take on the 5-10 Boston Beavers who have not been able to find the same consistency they enjoyed in 2057. The spark of life lasted just four weeks (against middling opposition) before Klingbiel's crew returned to their losing ways. The team doubled down on their pass-first offense, trading away RB Barker, but has struggled since trading TE Wick and WR Rodriguez. WRs McCreadie and Daly post good numbers but it hasn't translated to the W column.
Though the Attack are much better suited to defend the pass, it's unlikely that BOS will deviate from their usual offense and this is where I can see HAR pulling ahead. Sophomore QB Branden Barker is stepping up just in the nick of time. Though he still tries to force some inadvisable throws, Barker has been steadily improving his accuracy and looks like a serviceable starter in his own right. He goes through his progressions quickly and spreads the ball around forcing defenses to stay alert on all areas of the field. WR Joseph looks like a long term fixture as the rebuild rolls on.
Sadly, HAR enter week 17 as a somewhat banged up mediocre squad. Individual highlights on either side of the ball are few and far between and season averages don't get anyone thinking of a deep postseason run. OMA will likely win and take the last WC spot but it won't matter since BOS has the more talented bunch this week and comes away with the win: 24-20.
Boise City at Seattle (-7) - In the off chance HON doesn't win this week, BCI would be next in line for the final WC spot in the West. The team relies on QB Doser and all-team wideouts Wagner and Brown to outpace opponents and in the absence of CB Cheli (still suspended pending a federal investigation!) that's really all they've got.
The one dimensional roster will need to dig deep to keep pace with the other electrifying offense in the division in SEA but with a first round bye all but guaranteed, I suspect the Spartans will continue to prioritize getting healthy. Expect to see a few more rookies on the field and a couple big names on the bench. BCI needs to take advantage of the banged up offensive line on SEA and bring the pressure-- if QB Emmons gets time he'll absolutely carve up this defense. Once DT Fulton and DE Jeffries get a few hits in, the Spartans will absolutely pull their QB and give up the ghost.
BCI can't think about HON when they play and the CFL smartly scheduled both games at the same time. I think the Stampede win this one comfortably: 33-14. Then they need to pray that the Hammerheads leave that door open...
The penultimate round of games... and we stemmed the bleeding a bit with two ATS wins (ALA really dropped the ball there... but at least they covered!). 21/39 for now, hopefully we can finish the season strong.
Shreveport (-1) at Honolulu - Well, I certainly didn't think this game would be important but SHR needs this win to secure a bye while HON can squeak into the playoffs with an upset.
With rookie QB Minton's injury setbacks, HON's QB Fryday is the front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The front office has done a great job simplifying his options-- their conservative gameplans feature plays designed for high completion rates allowing receivers to pick up YAC in the open field. The strong offensive line and do-it-all RB Gaiter tilt defenses towards the run already but QB Fryday is proving to be an extremely mobile threat and so far opponents have not figured out how to deal with it. Outside of a complete shutdown of BCI's air raid offense, the Hammerheads have not impressed defensively but with the Pride's injury woes it may not matter.
QB Nolan Scott is done for the season but the Pride can't let his efforts go to waste. The depth chart doesn't look great-- third year QB Lepore got a crack at the job following Nolan's injury but GM Ravenhawk brought in the ageless QB Mackie after just two weeks. Neither have been particularly good. It's clear that RB Russell will have it all to do in the coming weeks as the team desperately figures out what to bring into the post season.
Unfortunately for the Pride, they're on a short week with a long trip to HON and I simply can't see them coming out with a win at the Aloha State. QB Fryday has his flaws but he's looking far better than either option SHR has at the moment. Give me HON and a methodical win: 24-17.
Durham (-1) at Miami - Since I wrote about DUR last week, I won't really go into too much depth there-- the focus is on the Talons who, as of this writing, have about a 6% chance to make the postseason.
The boys from South Beach have had a pretty rough second half of the season but it came against quality opponents. Having to play against LVS, FAR, and DEN would hurt any team's record. Some losses are close but by and large the Talons either win by a lot or lose by a lot. It really comes down to the inconsistent offense that simply can't get yardage on the ground when they need to. When coupled with turnover issues, some games it just looks like there's nothing that MIA can do to win.
MIA's defense is certainly a top 10 unit and the veteran secondary could capitalize on an errant throw by QB Ortiz but I just don't think I can throw myself in front of the Bulldogs locomotive. This team looks like a different animal after their bye and I've lost several bets against 'em. The Bulldogs win this one and cement their spot at the top of the division: 27-17.
Detroit at Oregon (-3) - DET was featured last week and their campaign for a playoff berth continues in week 16. That path is much easier with the win over CLE and the team sits fairly comfortably at the top of the division. However, if they lost their final two games and any of their rivals won their final two games, they could get leapfrogged. Looking at schedule though, it's unlikely CLE, IWC, or KCY would win out.
Still, it would be a weight off of GM zenzog's shoulders if the team could win on the road at an ORE team on a hot streak. DET's previous backup QB has been besieged by questions about the matchup all week but he insists that he "is just looking forward to competing with another talented roster." The Bandits cooled off after their Bye week but seem to be back on track. The balanced offense does its best work when RB Lillis gets going and frees up space for WR Spradling and TE Weikel.
They may have a tough time against the Vampires though-- the defensive front has been particularly stout against the rush. In addition, ORE's offensive line struggles against elite pass rushers and DET has a couple guys that could be headaches. Rookie DE Stephens in particular has been on a mission to remind the league why he was touted as a top 3 prospect going into the 2059 draft.
WR Von Wyss sprained his knee last week and could see a reduced role in the next two weeks. The Vampires run their offense through their star wideout and will need him to be healthy if they play in week 18. For that reason (mostly), I like the Bandits to cover this week. It could be close but in the end ORE should close it out: 30-24
After two weeks off, we're back! Hopefully we'll do better after some R&R... we've been going through a rough patch lately. Now that we're in the home stretch, we'll be focusing on teams that actually have postseason hopes. SURELY these players will try that much harder!
Season record: 19/36
Detroit (-1) at Cleveland - For all the shade I throw at the San Andreas division, the Great Lakes guys might not be that much better. All four teams are actually alive with every reason to play.
CLE has gone 7 weeks without a win and they've seen just about everything fall apart. When QB Minton went down, GM king kosar went and got QB Kelley and things looked great... for one glorious come from behind win at DET gave them the top spot in the division. Then the wheels came off. Offense was never a strength for the Sentries but they really didn't miss a beat switching QBs. The defense, on the other hand, fell from a top 5 unit down to one in the bottom half. LB Wilson has been banged up for a decent chunk of the season, but the blame lies squarely on the front 4. They've been completely ineffective against the run and teams like DUR, ORE, and SHR have put up 200+ yards just on the ground!
They'll absolutely have to do better at home this week against a surging Vampires squad that has looked good in 3 of their last 4 games. Not much has really changed in terms of how DET plays but TE Voinovich went from just 143 yards in the first seven games of 2059 to 286 yards through the next six. His contribution takes some of the weight from WR Von Wyss, but opponents still get away with double teams.
It seems that word of Von Wyss' notoriety has spread as opposing DBs have gone down with mysterious injuries when covering the wideout. S Olin and CB Dawkins know that all too well-- both went down in week 7 at DET. NOS's CB Lauher, SHR's' CB Sinclair, and BAL's S Alchesky all have taken some shots when covering the Baron. Everything looks kosher but at this point we've gone from being a string of coincidences to something darker. Olin and Dawkins are healthy now but may play a bit softer if the rumors are true.
The forecast calls for rain which could bail the Sentries out if RBs start slipping but shutting down Von Wyss is their number one priority. If they can do that they'll have a shot. Still, I'll take DET this week-- I'm not sure why the Sentries look so lost against the run but the Vampires represent a tough matchup on that end. 24-20 DET.
Baltimore at Durham (-3) - The Atlantic division is another tightly contested race with three teams vying for the division and/or a wildcard spot.
When the Bombers visit DUR this week, they pack a top 5 defense with an on-again, off-again offense behind young QB O'Neill. The incredibly talented group is led by the often overlooked LB Nixon but goes from strength to strength at every level. Want to run the ball? They'll close every hole and swarm the ball carrier. Want to throw it instead? If you can survive the pass rush, the young safeties Alchesky, Crocker, and Leskun are the ballhawking kind that give QBs nightmares.
The real weakness is the team's inability to put points on the board. QB O'Neill is finding a real rapport with WR Stevenson who has emerged as a favorite target, though committing to the double team will likely backfire as the team emphasizes spreading the ball. Without a consistent running threat, however, teams can get by with leaving LBs and DBs in coverage.
The Bulldogs, along with TEN and FAR, are one of the hottest teams in the league right now with 7 wins in a row. As opponents have had more tape to study on QB Ortiz, it falls to the RB duo of Langenberg and Arnold to do the heavy lifting. Behind one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the league right now, they've done exactly that-- winning the TOP battle and leading the CFL in takeaways allow the run game to smother opponents.
In their previous matchup, DUR was able to completely neutralize QB O'Neill and the offense. BAL were completely outcoached and the three turnovers were just icing on the cake. You would think that backing the Bulldogs is the play, but I'm not so sure-- and the main reason for that is the weather. We're looking at freezing temps and snow in Durham this week and that means poor footing for runners. If I had to choose a QB to take over a game this week, I'd give the edge to O'Neill and his experience. Give me BAL and the points in this week's upset: 17-14.
Seattle (-4) at Alaska - Amazingly, ALA still has a pretty good shot at making the playoffs. Yes, it sucks that QB Marischen is going to miss it but they just need to win their last 3 games for a wildcard spot.
My betting angle here is that SEA is completely locked in at this point. With two wins of the next 3 they can guarantee a first round bye (regardless of how LVS does) but I think the coaching staff will focus on getting their big guys healthy instead. C Archer and RG Beechler could suit up while LT Wirthel is definitely sitting this game. I think it would be a pretty big mistake for them to risk re-injury and ruin their hopes at a deep playoff run so I'm going to assume they'll all sit.
The Kodiaks didn't look great against DET last week and QB Dunn looked lost on the field. It's a real surprise that they didn't start QB Humphries since he's been with the team a little longer but maybe Brayden just had to shake off that rust. In any case, they won't be the stars of this week's show-- DE Thompson, DE McCormick, and NT Mabe have to take advantage of the hamstrung Spartan OL. They've been absolute studs this season and should feast.
Look for this game to be a low scoring defensive struggle as both teams are running on E and give me the Kodiaks to win or at least cover at home: 20-17.