Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Adjusting SRS to include playoff games

Ranking Super Bowls by Playoff-Adjusted SRS

I have also added adjusted ratings that include the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl. These set of adjusted ratings help to identify the Super Bowls that were the closest and best matchups based on teams’ performances over the entire season including the playoffs.

Who would ever have guessed that SRS and Adjusted SRS both suggest the Broncos were bigger favorites in SB 32 than they were in SB 33? It's too bad we didn't have these metrics back then!

Archie: Look for a decision from Peyton sooner than later

Archie Manning discusses Peyton's future

I don’t think he’ll go a long time and take this thing into March, or anything like that. He’s got it on his mind, and I think he’ll make a decision.

The conversation focuses on Peyton starting at the 6:25 mark. FWIW, Peyton will be in Phoenix tomorrow to accept the Bart Starr Award. What are the chances he's asked about 2015?

Wade Phillips’ first job? Turning up the pressure, of course

With Wade Phillips, aggressive defense is back in town

Phillips’ task is different for his second stint in Denver—and different than at any other stop in his career. This is not a defense in need of complete restoration; it ranked second in the NFL in yardage allowed per play and third in yardage per game.

But a defense built on two Pro Bowl edge rushers in Miller and Ware ranked a disappointing 21st in sack rate. Although it could generate pressure, it didn’t finish the job nearly as often as expected.

We'll go into further detail later on, but Wade does have a track record of generating sacks and directing excellent pass defenses.

Jay Feely confirms what we’ve all known for many years

Jay Feely questions leadership of Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman

Jay Cutler can win on the field, but he would be so much better and the team would be so much better if you’re a leader off the field as well. And I never saw him lead verbally. If he doesn’t want to do that, he doesn’t want to be that person, it’s not in his DNA, then you’re always going to have a vacuum there that somebody else needs to step into and fill.

If you want the Broncos to move on from Peyton Manning, be very careful what you wish for.

Jack Del Rio and the Raiders are having trouble landing a DC

Report: D-coordinator candidate will remain at Louisville

Former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, believed to be one of Del Rio’s initial targets, was inclined to take the season off, according to an ESPN report Monday…One possibility would be Ken Norton Jr., who coaches linebackers for the Seattle Seahawks and won’t be available for an interview until Monday.

Over at ESPN, Michael Wagaman thinks candidates may be turned off by concerns that JDR will be too hands on with the defense, or the inability to pick their own position coaches.

Study: Youth football may ramp up later cognitive risks

Study cites youth football for issues

The authors concluded that incurring repeated head impacts in football between the ages of 10 and 12, a critical and sensitive window for brain development, may increase the risk of later-life cognitive impairment. During those early years, the brain is rapidly building connections between neurons.

Don't worry, Heads Up Football will keep our children safe.

Improving placekickers are the NFL’s one true constant

Kickers Are Forever

And the improvement in kicking dramatically changes the calculus of whether to go for it on fourth down in the dead zone.

No matter how good these kickers get, there's no excuse for kicking a John Fox Special (18-to-20 yarder) unless it's for the win. For the record, the Broncos kicked 10 of those in four seasons under Fox (only one with Tebow, in the playoff win over Pittsburgh); the Texans also kicked 10 of them under Gary Kubiak, but that was over eight seasons.

Harvard and Columbia physicists agree that Bill Belichick’s explanation is bogus

N.F.L. Investigator Seeks to Consult Columbia Physicist Over Patriots’ Deflated Footballs

Robert Kirshner, a cosmologist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said that after the news conference on Saturday, Belichick would not receive invitations to give physics seminars anytime soon.

“I think Belichick is better at keeping pressure on the passer than passing a physics test,” Kirshner said.

Look, if the guys up at Hahvahd are unwilling to take up Belichick's theory, what's there to argue? 

Of course it’s possible to deflate 11 or 12 balls within 90 seconds

How easy is DeflateGate? News reporter shows that 12 footballs can be softened in just 40 seconds

So I loaded the dozen fully inflated pigskins into a big IKEA bag and did what I do best: Take my balls into the bathroom to simulate what the Pats assistant possibly did.

My personal DeflateGate took just 40 seconds. Add in a few bobbles and the time it took to get in and out of the bathroom stall, and the entire affair took me just 77 seconds — well under the 90-second deadline.

Not sure why the Deadspin folks can't fathom this, but how hard is it to stick a needle into a football? Are we supposed to assume that this was the guy's first time pulling off this trick, and he was fiddling around with a pressure gauge? Please.

Michael Bennett: Von Miller deserves $100M deal

Briefs: Patriots QB Tom Brady has high praise for friend Peyton Manning

“How much better can Von be? How many players have had as many sacks (49) as him through four seasons? He had 14 this year. He can rush. He can defend the run,” Bennett said. “J.J. Watt is a great player. But if Watt got a $100 million deal, I don’t see why Von won’t get the same.”

I don't know about $100M, but a glance at the top contracts for current linebackers suggests Von won't sign for any less than $20M in guarantees and probably $12M in average annual value. It's worth mentioning that Clay Matthews signed his position-leading deal a year before he was due to reach free agency, which is where Von is at currently.