Matthew Berry's NFL schedule release takeaways
Matthew Berry, Jay Croucher and Connor Rogers review several ripple effects from the NFL schedule release for the upcoming season including how it boosts Bijan Robinson's outlook, helps the Packers and more.
CONNOR ROGERS: So the NFL's schedule officially out here as we go into our last call here, fellas. Jay, some early takeaways from the schedule release.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, so my early takeaway, it's going to be tough to get through this segment now with the presence of the straw.
CONNOR ROGERS: The sound is just unbelievable.
JAY CROUCHER: --and the sound.
MATTHEW BERRY: I was trying to-- because unfortunately the bottle's full, I was trying to--
CONNOR ROGERS: You're actually really drinking it.
MATTHEW BERRY: I was trying to get the-- I was trying to get the Slurpee. I was trying to get the-- [SLURPS]
JAY CROUCHER: It's too full. Too much milk volume.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, too much milk volume.
JAY CROUCHER: Undone by the volume. I want to talk about the Green Bay Packers and their start to the season--
MATTHEW BERRY: Sure.
JAY CROUCHER: --Connor, Matthew. So this is my big takeaway. Look at how the Packers start this year, at Bears, at Falcons, home to Saints, home to Lions, at Raiders, bye, at Broncos, home to Vikings, home to Rams, at Steelers. That is a beautiful schedule for the Green Bay Packers and--
CONNOR ROGERS: One playoff team--
JAY CROUCHER: --for Jordan Love--
CONNOR ROGERS: --in the first 10.
JAY CROUCHER: --to get acclimated to his new role in the NFL as a starting quarterback. And so in terms of taking advantage of this, a little bet that I like, gentlemen, Matt LaFleur to win Coach of the Year is 20 to 1 at the moment. I think that Matt LaFleur, he is a guy-- in this market, you need to look for who's going to get the credit if they outperform expectations.
Because if Andy Reid goes 15 and 2, he's not winning Coach of the Year. If, say, Zac Taylor, if he gets the one seed, probably not going to win Coach of the Year. Because it's so difficult to separate the quarterback performance from the coaching performance when a coach has a superstar quarterback. That's why Matt LaFleur didn't win when Aaron Rodgers was winning MVPs, despite being in the mix.
So I think if Matt LaFleur starts off well, if they go 11 and 6, they win the NFC North, which is very much in play, then I think he can very easily win Coach of the Year. I think he'll get the credit for Jordan Love being good and for keeping him engaged for those years on the sidelines. And so yeah, Matt LaFleur, Coach of the Year.
MATTHEW BERRY: Listen, I really like this call. If you can flash back the schedule one more, time, I want to point out one other thing that I think is important here. So Jordan Love-- a lot of the questions are going to be about Jordan Love and this Packers offense. It's the first season without Aaron Rodgers in a billion years.
And so, OK, at the Bears. Their defense should be better. At the Falcons, OK, whatever. But yeah, home to the Saints, home to the Lions, at the Raiders on the turf underneath. A bye. At the Broncos. Vikings, Rams at home.
In the first nine weeks, the only tough D-- playing at Chicago is tough. Division rival. Playing at Chicago, Chicago's tough. But it should be good. It should be good weather. At the Broncos, I think that's going to be a little bit tough. But other than that, the tougher defenses, the Rams, the Saints, they're at home in the first nine weeks.
And my point is that-- one of the points that I made about Jalen Hurts last year was that-- because there were all these questions coming into the season. Can Jalen Hurts be a franchise quarterback? Should the Eagles have drafted a quarterback? Et cetera, et cetera. Those were all real things. And I said-- one of the points I made was look at their early schedule. It's super easy.
And NFL teams, when you start winning and you start getting confidence, and especially the quarterback-- this is Jordan Love's first time. And no one knows kind of what are we going to get out of Jordan Love. Having an easy schedule and getting some W's on the board, I think, goes a long way for his confidence, for the coaching staff's confidence, for his teammates' confidence.
And for all the morons that call sports talk radio like, we should never have traded Rodgers, blah, blah, whatever, they'll stop those calls if they're winning. So to me, I think the easy schedule is not only interesting from a betting perspective for LaFleur, but I also think it's really interesting-- Jordan Love becomes an interesting quarterback sleeper. And it gives me more confidence if I'm drafting Christian Watson and the running backs there, right?
JAY CROUCHER: The other thing, too, is that when you're backing longshots just in general in betting, you want variance. You want upside. And Jordan Love, he probably won't be amazing. But he could be. We just don't know. We have no idea what Jordan Love is going to look like. And he is a high-variance quarterback.
The other thing, the other point that I'll try to make, as Matthew continues to sip the milk through the straw, is that the Green Bay Packers, they play six games in primetime. So Matt LaFleur, if he is doing a good job, he is going to get a lot of attention, a lot of credit. Whereas you look at a team like the Atlanta Falcons and Arthur Smith, who they could win a pretty open division as well, they don't play in primetime ever. Whereas Matt LaFleur, he does.
And also, you've got to project forward with this kind of stuff too. Week 17, "Sunday Night Football" on NBC, Packers-Vikings. Matt LaFleur wraps up Coach of the Year on NBC primetime, week 17.
MATTHEW BERRY: I like that call.
CONNOR ROGERS: A little cheers here.
MATTHEW BERRY: I like that call. And if that actually happens, then you can chug the milk.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah, I'll chug the milk. I'll tip the milk on me if Matt LaFleur is favorite for Coach of the Year after that game. We'll do it on the show.
MATTHEW BERRY: All right, done.
CONNOR ROGERS: It's a good call-out, Jay. And on top of that, the Packers, plus 400 to win their own division, which is not a strong division. I know you've been on--
JAY CROUCHER: They've still got a good roster around Love.
CONNOR ROGERS: I know you've been on that as well. For me, guys, from a fantasy angle, when you look at the Falcons schedule, it makes it even easier, if you can believe it, to believe in a massive year for Bijan Robinson. The Falcons, by basically every single analytics projection, have the weakest strength of schedule. They're projected to play the weakest schedule in the NFL.
And this from "The Falcoholic." They have no primetime games, so the schedule is very consistent. No Thursday games. No short week. There is no Thursday. Four of their first six games are at home. They have the week 11 bye. Hopefully, get Bijan some fresh legs for the fantasy playoffs down the stretch run as well.
And honestly, the most important thing is you look at the schedule, nothing scares you out of the gate. Panthers, Packers, Lions, Jaguars, Texans, Commanders, Bucs. I think Bijan Robinson is equipped to just have a monster, monster, monster rookie year. And the schedule should only reaffirm that belief.
JAY CROUCHER: I don't see a single loss on that schedule. I reckon the Falcons go 17 and 0. This is unbelievable. The other good thing, too, is--
MATTHEW BERRY: Ahem, week 6.
JAY CROUCHER: Sorry.
MATTHEW BERRY: Week 6.
JAY CROUCHER: 16 and 1. They lose to Sam Howell. The only good thing is they play the Jags in London. And then the following week, they get to come home and play the Texans. That's good, as opposed to the following week having to go to Arrowhead and play Kansas City. Then it's just an automatic loss.
CONNOR ROGERS: When you pass on a bye, post-London.
JAY CROUCHER: Yeah.
CONNOR ROGERS: Absolutely. Berry, where are you going?
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah, you know what-- a lot of people talk about, oh, who are the losers of the schedule? Who are the winners of schedule? You know who's one of the winners of the NFL schedule,
JAY CROUCHER: Is it Matthew Berry?
MATTHEW BERRY: Us! Us. Yes, guys like me, guys like us, fantasy players. Fantasy players. Last year, we looked at the schedule when it came out and were like, wait, week 14? Byemageddon is week 14 when we're trying to get into the playoffs? The week before the playoffs, or in some leagues, the week the playoffs start? All these teams are on a bye?
What are you doing? Was there any consideration given to fantasy football when they made the schedule? Clearly not. This year, there was. This year, there was. Byemageddon is no longer week 14. It's week 13. Week 14, it's Cardinals and Commanders. Barely any fantasy--
CONNOR ROGERS: Who cares about those offenses?
MATTHEW BERRY: Exactly. 1,000%.
JAY CROUCHER: You're gonna have to bench--
MATTHEW BERRY: There'll be some fantasy relevant players on both those teams, obviously.
JAY CROUCHER: Sam Howell, clearly.
CONNOR ROGERS: Week 13 is where you've got Josh Allen, Justin Fields, Daniel Jones, Lamar Jackson, so that's going to be a tough quarterback week. Byemageddon will be week 13. No Justin Jefferson. No Davante Adams. No Stefon Diggs, right, as you just sort of look there and glance. No Saquon. Potentially, no Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison, right? No Josh Jacobs.
JAY CROUCHER: Mark Andrews.
MATTHEW BERRY: Yeah. So Byemageddon is week 13, but we can navigate that because a lot of fantasy leagues start their playoffs in week 15. Or even if it's 14, you can deal with that. So yes, we are winners.
JAY CROUCHER: America wins.
MATTHEW BERRY: We are winners. America wins.
JAY CROUCHER: Planet Earth wins. Fantasy is global.