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Colts: Chris Ballard and Frank Reich in trouble if Indy blows it in 2020?

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Will Colts GM Chris Ballard and HC Frank Reich be in trouble if the team falls short of expectations in 2020?

When NFL schedule-makers slated the Indianapolis Colts to open their 2020 campaign against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team seemed perfectly poised to snap their six-game losing streak in season openers.

However, the extended skid (which started back in 2014) managed to continue, as the Colts delivered an indefensible performance en route to a humbling 27-20 loss. This was hardly the result fans were expecting after the seemingly endless buzz surrounding Indianapolis throughout the offseason and into training camp.

We normally hate overreacting to just one loss, but it’s really difficult not to after one as demoralizing as this. As much of a fluke as it might have been, the Colts losing to Jacksonville proves that letdown performances loom in their future, and Marlon Mack isn’t hobbling back through that door.

In his latest piece for The Athletic, reporter Stephen Holder (who covers Indy) brought up some interesting questions about the future of general manger Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich if the team falls short of expectations in 2020.

“Ballard’s team is no longer in a rebuild,” wrote Holder. “It was an unsightly mess when he was hired, and it’s hard to hold that 4-12 record from his first season against him. It was a season played without Andrew Luck and with a roster intentionally torn down to the studs. But major upgrades in 2018, ’19 and ’20 were made in the pursuit of results.”

“The results, at least from Sunday, included the defense forcing only a lone incompletion from Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew and a team that lost its second consecutive game to the AFC South cellar dwellers in as many outings (dating back to Week 17 of last season),” he continued.

Holder makes a great point there in insinuating that Indianapolis’ undeniably talented roster needs to start showing it’s capable of winning together. A string of high-profile offseason additions, including trading for DeForest Buckner and signing the likes of Philip Rivers and Xavier Rhodes, coupled with a stellar showing in the NFL Draft over the last three years, has put Ballard and Reich under the most pressure since their respective tenures started.

Those are the moves of a team with playoff ambitions, and losing to the Jaguars, who are widely projected to finish with one of (if not the) worst records in the NFL, doesn’t bode well for their ceiling moving forward this season.

We understand the Colts didn’t have a preseason to shake off the cobwebs from a longer than expected offseason due to the pandemic, but no team is using that as an excuse.

It also isn’t Ballard and Reich’s fault that Indy’s stars didn’t perform up to their standards in a favorable matchup. However, talent on paper means nothing if you aren’t consistently churning out wins. If the Colts fail to take a step forward in 2020, it will reflect poorly on those who run the team.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Next: Colts Should Explore a Trade For Zach Ertz

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The Atlanta Falcons season officially ended with Sunday’s loss

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The Atlanta Falcons 2020 campaign is now officially over.

The Atlanta Falcons defense played excellent through three and half quarters until fatigue set in because the offense did absolutely nothing in the entire second half. Do not blame the defense for this loss, this one rest solely on coaching (yet again), and the offense.

The offense looked atrocious for the majority of the second half, wasting a great defensive effort from the other side of the ball.

The defense was on the field entirely too long, in the fourth quarter especially, and it was clear that they were gassed. This team, for whatever reason, just can’t put it together on both sides of the ball, which has been a problem since Super Bowl 51.

Everyone on the staff has to go right now because it is at the point where it is expected of this team to blow a lead, and that is just sad. Pretty much everything about this team is just pitiful.

The Atlanta Falcons are a broken team.

Like Jonathan Vilma said in the fourth quarter, this team lacks mental toughness and that lies solely on Dan Quinn, who clearly has no idea what he is doing.

As a fan, I do not look forward to watching this train wreck of a team every Sunday, which is something that, for the first time in my life, I can say. I never thought I wouldn’t care about an Atlanta Falcons game on a Sunday, but we have finally reached this point because it is tiring to see a team so talented looks so helpless and lost every week.

This team needs a major overhaul because it seems like the players have no idea what to do once the fourth quarter starts. The saddest part is, with six minutes left in the game, I grabbed my laptop and started writing this article because I already knew this was going to end in a loss.

Next: Falcons have to fire Dan Quinn immediately

The icing on the cake is that the Atlanta Falcons had the lead with 2:12 left, but you wouldn’t know it because the guys looked completely dejected.

They knew the game was over, and so did everyone at home.

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Colts: Philip Rivers tosses 400th career TD pass to Mo Alie-Cox

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give Indy an early lead.

After conceding a touchdown on the subsequent possession, Philip Rivers took his first snap with the game already tied at 7-7. However, the wait for fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium was well worth it, as the eight-time Pro Bowler came out on fire, completing all four of his passes for 40 yards and a touchdown strike to tight end Mo Alie-Cox.

The score was a special one for Rivers, as it was the 400th TD pass of his esteemed career.

According to Pro Football Reference, Rivers is just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to reach that milestone, and he is now just 20 touchdowns behind Dan Marino for the No. 5 spot on that list. Assuming the 38-year-old makes it through the 2020 season with a clean bill of health, you have to think he will leapfrog the Dolphins legend before the end of the year.

If we’re being honest, the way the Jets defense has played after falling behind early so far this season, we wouldn’t be surprised if Rivers continues chipping away at Marino’s milestone over the next two-plus quarters.

This moment is exactly what Rivers deserves, as he’s been one of the most consistent and durable signal callers over the last 15 years. Let’s hope he keeps up this level of play for the rest of the game and the Colts come out of Week 3 with a win over an inferior Jets side.

Next: This Insane Stat Proves the Potential of Indy’s Offense

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Why it’s imperative the NY Giants don’t start off 0-3

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NFL history has not been kind to teams that start off 0-3, which is why the NY Giants simply need to find a way to win this weekend.

There are a multitude of long-term reasons why an 0-3 start would be disastrous for the NY Giants, but for the short-term, their already slim chances of making the 2020 postseason would pretty much go out the window should the team lose to the San Fransisco 49ers in Week Three.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, there have been 176 teams to start off 0-3 in NFL history; only six of those squads ended up making the playoffs — that equates to just 3.4%.

In other words, the NY Giants are basically screwed if they can’t figure out a way to beat the banged-up 49ers on Sunday.

If it seems like the NY Giants get off to horrific starts every season lately, it’s because they have. Big Blue has started 0-2 in seven out of their last eight campaigns, effectively putting the nail in the coffin before things ever really got started.

Rookie head coach Joe Judge had inspired confidence since he took over that things would be different under his leadership, and although it’s still very early in the Joe Judge regime and way too early to make any long-term judgments, so far it’s been the same old NY Giants.

Not many were expecting the G-Men to make the playoffs this season anyway, but starting off 0-3 with the remaining tough games left on the schedule would make that tall task virtually impossible.

What would an 0-3 start mean for the future of the NY Giants?

GM Dave Gettleman was already on the hot seat heading into the 2020 season; if the team stumbles out of the gates once to 0-3, that seat will be scorching.

Gettleman vowed that this team would be competitive, and after three full offseasons, he has no one else to blame but himself for the current state of the team.

While Jerry Reese surely made some questionable moves that put the franchise in an undesirable spot, this is all on Dave Gettleman. This team hasn’t gotten any better since he’s taken over; in fact, one could argue that the team is actually worse now than it was after a terrible 2017 season.

At least that team had playmakers that other teams had to fear and account for; right now, the NY Giants have some solid players, but few stars.

In addition, the team doesn’t really have a position group outside of the defensive line that could be considered in the upper-echelon of the league.

While it’s not Gettleman’s fault that superstar Saquon Barkley went down with a torn ACL, it speaks to how risky it was to take a running back with the #2 overall pick was in the first place.

The drafting of quarterback Daniel Jones was likely a key component in buying ‘DG’ more time, but even if Jones impresses in 2020 it won’t be enough to overcome another losing season — especially if the team is picking in the top-five of the draft again which is the direction the team is currently trending in.

I doubt that owner John Mara would fire Gettleman mid-season no matter how bad things got as that would make him look foolish for bringing him back in the first place, but he would have to be infuriated to see the season over before it started once again.

The problem with keeping Gettleman and firing Pat Shurmur was that Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman were always going to be on different timelines.

Next: Wayne Gallman’s career with NYG effecively over

Should the team continue to lose, Joe Judge’s prerogative is going to be giving younger guys a shot in hopes of finding talent that can stick around for the long haul rather than putting out the best possible team that would probably include some veterans that have no future with the NY Giants.

That’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.

Hopefully, the NY Giants are able to beat the 49ers on Sunday and begin to show signs of improvement.

If not, things could begin to get ugly quickly and you can bet that fans will be calling for Dave Gettleman’s job sooner rather than later.

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