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Offense Wins Championships

Mill Woods

Posted on December 27, 2019 13:54

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As 20 teams settle in for a long, boring January, the NFL’s 12 contenders are girding for battle in the “Second Season”. Looking closely at those 12, I think we are on the verge of dashing that old adage about defense winning championships.

Contenders, to be sure, have to have good defenses. That is why the Saints, Patriots, Forty-Niners, Bills and Ravens are in the playoffs, while the Buccaneers (#3 offense) and the Falcons (#5 offense) are not. But good defense without sufficient offense is also a recipe for failure — as demonstrated by the Chargers, Bears, Jaguars, Broncos, Panthers and more.
 
Who’s on top and why? The Ravens and Forty-Niners are the only teams sporting both top 10 offenses and defenses. In the NFC, the Forty-Niners are closely followed by the Packers and Saints — two more of the NFL’s most dangerous offenses. In the AFC, the Ravens and Chiefs have taken the Run-Pass Option to new heights, and only the Patriots bear any resemblance to an offense of old (and even they have added new wrinkles). 
 
The days are long gone when a half dozen teams nabbed all the top talent and coaches. Today’s NFL has the most parity in all of sports, which is why, for complexity, the game now comes closest of any sport to chess. An offense has to tame aggressive defenses fielding athletes who are stronger and faster than ever.

In last Saturday's epic duel, two excellent defenses were schooled by high-powered offenses playing at the top of their games. If either the Rams or Niners had counted on a defensive contest, the final score would not have been 34-31; one team would have been blown out.

Lately, we have seen this drama play out time and again. Just three weeks ago, the Niners edged the Saints 48-46. Both of those teams have highly-ranked defenses. In the AFC, the Chiefs and Ravens rarely score under 20 points, and 40 is no surprise at all. The Ravens stamped 59 points on the poor Dolphins — and even burned the Rams' excellent defense for 45.

So, right now, before the playoffs start, let's start a new catch phrase: "Smart, well-executed offenses win championships". 

In Week 17, it will be hard to know which teams (and players) will come to play and which will rest or just coast.  The biggest game, of course, is that prime-time showdown between the Niners and Seahawks. Also getting headlines are the Titans-Texans contest and the two matches in the NFC East, which will determine the last division winners.
 
Last week, my picks went 10-6.  Here are all the Week 17 matches and my picks. 
 
      Visitor             Home              My Pick
 
1.     Packers           Lions               Packers
2.     Jets                  Bills                 Bills
3.     Dolphins         Patriots           Patriots
4.     Bears              Vikings            Vikings
5.     Chargers        Chiefs             Chiefs
6.     Browns           Bengals           Bengals
7.     Saints              Panthers        Saints
8.     Falcons           Buccaneers    Buccaneers
9.     Colts                Jaguars           Colts
10.   Eagles             Giants             Eagles
11.   Cardinals        Rams               Rams
12.   Steelers          Ravens            Ravens
13.   Titans             Texans            Titans
14.   Raiders           Broncos          Broncos
15.   Redskins         Cowboys         Cowboys
16.   Forty Niners   Seahawks       Forty Niners
 
Happy Holidays!

Mill Woods

Posted on December 27, 2019 13:54

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Source: USA TODAY
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