Reality Sports Online GMs,
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At this point in the season, it seems like there are a lot more interesting story lines in the AFC than the NFC. The Packers should be able to cruise to a division title and a bye. The Falcons & Panthers are locked in a 2-horse race that should be a photo finish. The NFC East is still wide open for all four teams but none of the teams are particularly compelling. The NFC West could be fun – the Cardinals are clearly very good. The Seahawks and the Rams both have elite defenses. While the Cardinals are 4-1, that “1” is a home loss to the Rams, whose only two wins make them undefeated in the division. If the Rams can win their (very winnable) remaining home games – against the Browns, 49ers, Bears, Cardinals, Lions, and Bucs – plus steal a road win in San Fran, they’d finish a dangerous 9-7 and 5-1 in the division. Outside the West, the Cardinals still have two tough games in Pennsylvania, and the 5-0 Bengals & Packers at home. Right now, it’s tough to see the Cards slipping below 10-6, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities when you add in two games against the Seahawks, who will probably claw and scratch their way above .500 as well.
In the 2007 pre-season, I goaded one of my friends from college, a Connecticut native, into giving me even odds that the Patriots would not go 16-0. It’s hard to put context around just how ridiculous that seemed at the time, but of course, I ended up losing that bet. With the parity in today’s NFL, it’s hard to imagine any team repeating that feat. However, I wouldn’t be caught taking that bet this year. The remainder of the Patriots schedule is pretty soft – if they win in Indy this week, they’ll be 5-0 heading into a 3-game home stretch vs. NYJ, MIA, and WAS. Then they go to the New Meadowlands to play the Giants, which might be the hardest game remaining for the Pats. They’ve got a week 12 game at Mile High, but I can’t see the Broncos putting up enough points to compete this year. The Broncos have been winning ugly, and should be able to cruise to a division title with the rest of that division proving to be mediocre. I don’t think the Broncos, Panthers, or Falcons are in the same class as New England, Green Bay, or Cincinnati.
Matt Hasselbeck looks like he is probably the second best Quarterback in the AFC South right now, though I believe Mariota and Bortles will both be solid NFL Quarterbacks in the coming years. We’ll see how things shake out, but I won’t be shocked if the Colts win the division at 9-7, or even 8-8. The Michael Vick-led Steelers, and dare I say the McCown-Browns, could keep things interesting in the North.
I’m in the narrow audience for the Josh McCown biography that will never be written, so forgive me as I spend the remainder of the email proving the cliff notes for the unreleased Circumstantial Luck & the Thin Line Between Success and Failure as an NFL Quarterback: The Josh McCown Story. In my amateur evaluation, I think the deep out route is the strongest indicator of an NFL Quarterback’s arm strength – and Josh McCown can still sling a deep out. McCown has had a strange NFL career – nine NFL teams if you count pre-season stints with the Dolphins and 49ers, and 10 pro teams counting his time in the UFL. He had some success as the Cardinals starter in 2004 & 2005 before they moved on to Kurt Warner. In 2007, during the Lane Kiffin era, the Raiders made McCown their starter. He had a few good games, but shockingly – surrounded by supreme NFL talent like Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Justin Fargas – the Raiders struggled and McCown was oft-injured en route to a 4-12 season. In 2008 he signed with the Dolphins and was expected to be the starter before injuring his hand chopping wood with his brother, Saints backup Luke McCown, and eventually yielded the role to Chad Pennington. He was traded to Carolina in August 2008, spending two years behind Jake Delhomme and Matt Moore. In 2010 McCown was out of the NFL, but tore up the short-lived UFL. He spent two weeks with the 49ers in August 2011 before being waived, and then got called off the couch by the Bears in late November 2011 after a Jay Cutler injury. In 2012, he got called off the couch by the Bears again in November. The Bears officially made him the full-time backup in 2013, where he ended up having a terrific season in Jay Cutler relief. That earned him a starting job with the Bucs in 2014 at age 35, and in Cleveland in 2015 at age 36. I’m not banking on the next 11 games going as well as the last three, but, Josh McCown has shown enough to remain in the NFL – at least as a backup – until probably 2020 if he wants to play that long. Most players never return to the NFL as a backup after spending a year out of the league – McCown only spent a few months on an NFL roster from 2010-2012, and is starting in 2015. For a career that really looked like it was all but over years ago, it’s a pretty amazing story with some chapters left to be written.
Thank you to everyone who has registered for FantasyDraft and participated in one of our weekly contests. Last week was a pretty bad week for our team as a whole, as Kyle's 36th place finish was the best out of the four of us in our "Beat the Expert" Contest (Stephen finished 47th as the RSOEXPERT). Congrats to user "damoore910" for scoring the most points at 205.20 with huge games by Le'Veon Bell and Doug Martin. For this week, Kyle will be the RSOEXPERT in both our Weekly FreeRoll Contest and our 20-person, $10 entry 50/50 Beat the Expert Contest (top 10 places will win $18 in real cash AND for anyone who takes down Kyle this week, he/she will also receive a $20 entry into FantasyDraft's Week 7 $250,000 Run and Gun Contest). Space is limited in both of these contests so enter immediately. Our staff's FantasyDraft lineups and weekly game picks can be found here.
As always, thank you for your continued support. Please feel free to send questions, concerns, or feedback to inquiries@RealitySportsOnline.com.