Fancy Boys Football: Mailbag Week 16

Week 16 of the NFL season has come and gone. As always, Matt Drufke- who watches none of the games- has so many questions. Fortunately, Fancy Boys Football experts Brendan Andreasen and Jack Baker do and are usually happy to answer some of them. Let’s mailbag.

I really loathe talking about the Bears, mostly because it just feels like we’re always saying the exact same things, so let’s get them out of the way early: The Monsters Of The Midway started 5-1 before losing six straight, but have since bounced back with a three-game winning streak. They’ve guaranteed that they will not have a losing record for the 2020-2021 season. Here’s my question: Is that bad for the Bears? Wouldn’t things be more optimistic if they went into the offseason with higher draft picks? Won’t they still have the same questions about who their quarterback is? Wouldn’t the Bears make more sense as a 5-11 team instead of (potentially) a 9-7 one?

Brandon-I’m just along for the ride. Let’s just enjoy what it is. The Bears have scored at least 30 points in a game four times in a row for the first time in 50 years. Mitch Trubisky looks like a guy who can make this team a tough out in the playoffs. David Montgomery has been great.

And it all might fall apart Sunday. The Packers could just walk in and end their world. 

The Bears were never as good as their 5-1 start. They were never as bad as their six game losing streak. But it does make you wonder if this team might have snuck an extra win or two in, possibly the Saints and Colts games, if Trubisky was the starter and not quarterbacking dumpster Nick Foles, that they would be sitting at 10-5 currently and resting starters in a meaningless game this week.

Jack – The Bears were always destined to have a record of between 7-9 and 9-7, but it is very frustrating to know they could have been better if Nagy had tailored the offense to Trubisky’s strengths much earlier rather than tried to force him to be Mahomes which he is clearly not.

I think the Bears are in a better spot than they would have been at 5-11 with a higher draft pick. They’re in salary cap hell regardless of their record and they have some tough decisions coming up in regards to contracts for high-priced veteran defensive players, but they’ve also found something in the running game and have some good, young pieces on offense and defense. I honestly can’t remember the last time the Bears went three straight seasons without a losing record and when looking back at the Trestman and John Fox eras, they’re in a much better place. They’ll prob run it back next year and can always tear it down once Mack has a tradeable cap hit.

I feel like this is the best time to talk about the New England Patriots. Jack, when the season began, you said the fact that the Patriots got to play the Jets and Dolphins four times had the possibility of making them a playoff contender. Brandon, just a couple of weeks ago, you said that they were a dangerous team that had the potential to go far in the playoffs. At this moment (Monday morning), they’re 6-8 and eliminated from the playoffs, and I think that surprised all of us. So, what happened? Was Cam Newton not who we thought he would be? Were the Dolphins better than we all expected? Did Bill Belichick need Tom Brady more than he thought he would? Is it a combination of all of these things?

Brandon-Oof. Life comes at you fast. It is easy to say that Cam Newton sucks, and he has. It’s easy to say Bill needed Tom more than Tom needed Bill. But I think it has more to do with this: The Patriots have been piss poor at drafting for a while now.

Looking at their last five years of draft picks shows a murderers row of mediocrity at offensive skill positions. In the past five drafts, their best skill position picks have been Damien Harris, a rotational running back, and Braxton Berrios, who they cut and is now a Jet. The offense doesn’t work, and this would be a good place to start.

Jack- We’ll never be able to prove it, but Bellichick forcing players to skip the season due to COVID to help them subvert the salary cap most definitely happened. They tanked to draft a QB. Florida QB Kyle Trask will light it up for the Pats for the next 10 years.

I for one greatly underestimated the rest of the division. The Bills and Dolphins have both been much better than I’d imagined. Kudos to them.

The Browns lost to the Jets, but I think we need some context: due to COVID restrictions, the Browns were missing four wide receivers, and still could have won had Baker Mayfield not played one of the worst games of his career. What I want to talk about is the NFL’s COVID procedures. In some cases, they postponed games multiple times. In others, the Broncos started a game with, literally, zero quarterbacks. How would you grade the job the NFL did at dealing with COVID this season?

Brandon-Id give it a solid D. It has not been optimal. The NFL had the good fortune of being the last major league to start up. They could have learned from all of the other leagues but instead decided to run into a fireworks factory with their genitals on fire. 

They seemed to pick and choose their protections of teams in order of popularity. The Broncos being forced to play an entire game with a practice squad wide receiver as quarterback was hilarious. It is also something they would have never made the Cowboys, Steelers, or Ravens do.

Picking and choosing which teams to save and which to let die (and there is now a real possibility the Browns could miss the playoffs over this) is very Titanicesque, which in and of itself feels like a perfect analogy for this entire year.

Jack-Any sports league playing without a bubble during a global pandemic is a complete and utter failure. I’ll admit it’s been nice to have NFL games to watch, but this season has been ridiculous and any records should be marked with a big ole asterisk. The 49ers played a “home game” against the Cardinals in their own stadium, the Steelers didn’t get a bye week, the Broncos played without a QB, and Jaguars RB Ryquell Armstead has been hospitalized twice. The only league failing harder than the NFL is major college football.

Prediction time! A few games still have some impact in forming the playoff picture, so who do you like in the following games: Dolphins-Bills, Steelers-Browns, and Cardinals-Rams?

Brandon-Bills are a Super Bowl contender that should be able to destroy whatever the hell Miami thinks they are getting away with. Browns, because I have no idea why the Steelers would play any of their starters. And Rams, because I want the Cardinals to lose regardless. This isn’t even a Bears thing. I’m sick of losing money betting on this stupid, ultra talented, poorly coached team.

Jack- I like the Dolphins because they’re going to try and the Bills probably won’t. The Browns because they’ll have some receivers again, and the Rams because John Wofford is going to light it up. I have no idea if this will happen, but like Brandon, I’m trying to will it into existence.

The NBA has the amazing song “Basketball” by Kurtis Blow. Baseball has a bunch of fun songs, including one which is mandatory to sing every seventh inning. Why doesn’t the NFL have a great song about it, what could it be, and do you think it should be Shakira’s “Try Everything”, which fucking bops?

Brandon-Thats it, I’m going back to Westlawn.

Jack- Ugh

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