NFL picks for Dolphins-Jets, rest of Week 7; plus your verdict on Heat expectations, my Pat Riley column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, new 'Back In My Day,' latest SOPY standings & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It is FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Learn more or order at Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins stun Atlanta with DSM poll, The List (Fins), Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.
My Pat Riley column: In exclusive 30-minute sit-down interview, Heat's majordomo reflects on 50 years in NBA, how he's changed and his hopes for this Heat season as it began with loss in Orlando and opens at home Saturday. Click The Godfather Speaks to read in full.
Latest BIMD: Cemetery Joggers!: The latest Back In My Day segment rails against the gall of people who use cemeteries as places to exercise. Click Cemetery Joggers for the video.
UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA! NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: DOLPHINS MAINTAIN MO', BEAT STINKIN' JETS: The Dolphins and Dolfans will beat the Jets and all those obnoxious NYJ fans Sunday at The Rock in a low-scoring game. If you're at the game, single out that one fat New Yorker shoehorned into that Gastineau jersey and make fun of him. I'm not normally that mean, but I make exceptions for Jets fans. Click Week 7 Gems for our predix-capsules on Dolphins-Jets, our Game of the Week (Patriots-Falcons) and Upset of the Week (Saints-Packers: "Aawwk!"), plus all our other latest picks. Our week got off to a crazy/unlucky/disappointing start last night. We had Chiefs (-3) covering in a win, and they were up 30-21 in fourth quarter, only to lose on final play, 31-30.
POLL RESULT: IT'S HIGH-40S WINS, PLAYOFFS FOR HEAT: You may still vote in poll directly below, but we'll call it now officially. We asked what is most likely number of Miami Heat regular-season wins in 2017-18? Your verdict: 50 plus--27.4 percent; 45 to 49--49.8%; 40 to 44--15.1%; 35 to 39--5.1%; and 34 below--2.6%. That's more than 77% who clearly expect playoffs, and some 92% in that low-40s wins typically sneaks in.
HEAT EXPECTATIONS POLL: SETTING BAR FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON: The Miami Heat last season finished 41-41 and (narrowly) missed the playoffs, though it seems better in the recollection because of the 30-11 record the second half of the schedule. That leads to an assumption of overall improvement from a team led by Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside (pictured). Yet outside expectations are somewhat modest as the season opened with loss last night in Orlando, and resumes Saturday at home vs. Indiana. For example, ESPN's Power Rankings entering the regular season has Miami slotted only seventh best in the Eastern Conference (eight make the playoffs) and 18th overall in the 30-team NBA. The Heat's projected record is put at 43-39. Now what do you think? What is your honest, realistic expectation for the season based on anticipated number of regular-season wins? Remember: Not asking what you hope happens ... but rather what you'd bet will. Vote now.
SMITH STAYS NO. 1 OVER BRADY, CUTLER INCHES UP / HERALD QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: The Cardinals' Carson Palmer wins Week 6 honors with a 39.15- point game (unusually low for a winning total), while the Chiefs' Alex Smith keeps his overall lead ahead of Patriot Tom Brady in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Packer Aaron Rodgers (pictured) is third but will fall week by week with his season-ending injury. The Dolphins' Jay Cutler inches up one spot, to 29th overall. This is the 20th season of our Passer Success System (PASS) rankings, which began in 1998. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. Because the rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season.
MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6
RK LW Player, Team WK6 Season
1 1 Alex Smith, KC 19.30 230.85
2 2 Tom Brady, NE 22.85 223.95
3 3 Aaron Rodgers, GB 0.90 182.25
4 4 Carson Wentz, PHI 27.10 179.20
5 9 Carson Palmer, ARI 39.15 175.85
6 5 Drew Brees, NO 25.30 174.05
7 12 Josh McCown, NYJ 32.70 165.70
8 6 Eli Manning, NYG 17.40 165.30
9 14 Philip Rivers, LAC 35.40 158.65
10 8 Matthew Stafford, DET 13.60 157.40
11 18 Kirk Cousins, WAS 37.50 154.70
12 7 Cam Newton, CAR 9.95 153.80
13 16 Deshaun Watson, HOU 27.25 149.85
14 13 Jared Goff, LAR 15.20 147.45
15 17 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT 26.60 147.05
16 20 Matt Ryan, ATL 25.40 136.85
17 10 Dak Prescott, DAL BYE 135.60
18 11 Russell Wilson, SEA BYE 135.10
19 23 Case Keenum, MIN 26.95 127.70
20 24 Trevor Siemian, DEN 23.80 124.20
29 30 Jay Cutler, MIA 20.55 98.85
Bubble: Andy Dalton, CIN, 123.00. Week 6 best: Palmer, ARI, 39.15 (18-22, 283, 3-1 in win). Week 6 worst: Brian Hoyer, SF, minus-1.30 (4-11, 34, 0-0 in loss).
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 6 RESULTS: Every week in the blog I tell you know how I did the previous NFL weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my Greg's Lobos team in the LeBatard Show fantasy league. WEEK 6: Herald picks: Improvement, at least. After a nightmarish recent slump, we'll take an 8-6 overall and do cartwheels over a 7-5-2 against the spread (two games were off the board when we picked 'em). Highlights: Nailed our Upset of the Week with Steelers over Chiefs ("Aawwk!"), hit another outright upset with Vikings over Packers, hit a third (barely) upset with Cardinals over Bucs, and had underdog Dolphins and Jets with the points. Greg's Lobos: Tough loss, 107.3-101.4, to Chris. Byes hit us hard but Lobos scrambled to put six in double figures, led by Jarvis Landry's 20.2, but lost it with only 11.5 from Drew Brees. What are the odds Saints top 50 points but Brees has an off game!? Oh well. 'Bos still 4-2 and only one game back. #GoLobosGo
SOPY STANDINGS / WEEK 7: CANES' ROSIER IN 3-MAN BATTLE FOR 'STATE HEISMAN': Miami quarterback Malik Rosier remains a solid third in what keeps looking like a three-man race for the Herald's 2017 State Offensive Player of the Year award -- the "state Heisman." Canes running back Mark Walton, out injured for the season, is seventh and falling. UM back Travis Homer is back in the chart in ninth place after a week-leading 200-point game. Our weekly rankings measure the most productive quarterbacks, running backs and receivers from the state's seven FBS teams: Miami, Florida, Florida State, FIU, FAU, UCF and South Florida. The rankings are cumulative but based weekly on average points per game: Total points divided by number of games a player's team has played. This keeps the comparison level even because not all teams have played same number of games. Our simple formula awards a half-point for every passing yard and one point for every rushing or receiving yard, with six points for every TD scored or thrown.
SOPY Top 10 entering Week 8:
RK LW Player, School-Pos. Average Total/Games
2 2 Quinton Flowers-SoFla qb 188.33 1,130 / 6
3 3 Malik Rosier-Miami qb 183.10 915.5 / 5
4 6 Alex McGough-FIU qb 134.50 807 / 6
5 4 Devin Singletary-FAU rb 134.33 806 / 6
6 8 Thomas Owens-FIU rec 109.25 655.5 / 6
7 5 Mark Walton-Miami rb 107.40 537 / 5
8 -- Cam Akers-FSU rb 103.20 516 / 5
9 -- Travis Homer-Miami rb 100.20 501 / 5
10 9 Tre'Quan Smith-UCF rec 97.20 486 / 5
Bubble: D'Ernest Johnson-So Fla rb, 97.17. Other team leader: Malik Davis-Florida rb, 95.00. Week 7 best: Homer-Miami rb, 200 points. Season best: Flowers-SoFla qb, 276 points (W3).
Cote's State of the State rankings: 1. Miami (5-0); 2. South Florida (6-0); 3. UCF (5-0); 4. Florida State (2-3); 5. Florida (3-3); 6. FIU (4-2); 7. FAU (3-3).
Select other recent columns: Minor Miracle Bails Out Richt's Gamble (Saturday's UM win over Georgia Tech). Latest Drama in Bizarre, Trying Season (Dolphins' Snortgate). It Isn't Just Cutler (Dolphins' offense woes). Back On Track & Ready To Roar (Florida Panthers). Here's What I Find Funny, Cam (Cam Newton). Jeter Betting On Jeter (Marlins). Also: Hope That Wasn't Goodbye. Chasing History. Wade Will End Where He Belongs. Larranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now This. Regret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Really Good or God-Awful, Cutler Won't Be Dull. A Perspective On Sports As a Hurricane Hits. Stanton Chasing 1984. Specials: Thank You, Mae Riback. Thank You, Edwin Pope.
Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.