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Friday Football Footnotes: Steeler playoff odds, Barkley R.O.Y favorite, JPP’s awful hand picture |
Breakfast With Benz

Friday Football Footnotes: Steeler playoff odds, Barkley R.O.Y favorite, JPP’s awful hand picture

Tim Benz
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws during minicamp June 12, 2018 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

In this week’s “Friday Football Footnotes” we look at the odds for the Steelers to make the playoffs, the odds of Saquon Barkley winning Rookie of the Year, and the odds of you throwing up when you look at Jason Pierre-Paul’s hand.

Is the gap that big?

OddsShark says the Steelers have the second-best chance to make the NFL playoffs.

The only team with a better chance is, well, you know who. Yeah, the Patriots are at -1500 to make the playoffs. The Steelers are at -550.

So there is a dramatic drop between those two teams at the top. Basically, what you are being told here is that Vegas thinks the Steelers and the Patriots are both good and that–in both cases– the rest of the division stinks.

Then there’s another big fall from the Steelers to the next two teams with Philadelphia and Minnesota at -260.

A bunch of other NFC clubs are after that before the Chargers — that’s right, the Chargers — are picked to win the AFC West.

Bet on Barkley

Speaking of odds, Sportsbook “Bet Online” has Penn State product Saquon Barkley as the odds-on favorite to win offensive rookie of the year. The Giants’ running back is +140. The next closest nominee was Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield at +400.

I’ve got to agree on Barkley. He’s got talent and maturity. He doesn’t need to catch up physically like most rookies. Plus, as a running back, the learning curve isn’t as severe. And he’ll get the volume of touches to succeed.

I disagree on Mayfield because I don’t think he’s going to start quickly enough in front of Tyrod Taylor. Also, I don’t think his supporting cast is good enough to help him thrive. I like Josh Rosen’s or Josh Allen’s chances of contending for that award better as rookie QB’s, than Mayfield’s.

Calvin Ridley probably has the best chance to challenge Barkley at wide receiver. In fact, he’d be my second choice.


Tampa Bay lineman Jason Pierre-Paul posted an Instagram photo this week. It was a shot of his hand shortly after he blew it apart with fireworks in 2015.

Quite honestly, it might be the most gruesome photo I have ever seen.

It’s practically unrecognizable as a human hand.

For the first time, I really felt sorry for JPP. Until I saw that, in my mind he was just an idiot that risked his athletic livelihood doing something dumb with fireworks.

Now, looking at that, it actually gave me perspective for the first time and a willingness to credit him for getting back this far.

Who are you guys, again?

The Los Angeles Lakers just went out and got LeBron James. They are going to be the biggest story in all of Los Angeles once the NBA season starts.

The Angels signed Shohei Ohtani this offseason. The Dodgers are closing in on first place. The Rams were as busy as anyone in free agency and are coming off a playoff season.

The Chargers need to gain relevance and do so quickly. That begins with getting off to a good start, something the Chargers often fail to do, especially in each of the last three seasons. They started 0-4 last year, 1-4 the year before. In 2015, they had eight losses by Thanksgiving.

Competing for headlines in the LA sports market isn’t easy, especially if you are the NFL team that plays in a soccer stadium that most people still refer to as “San Diego.” The Chargers must avoid augmenting that struggle by starting poorly.

That’ll be a tall task as they begin the season with three playoff opponents in the Chiefs, Bills and Rams.

Retirement Kalling Kam

The likely retirement of Seattle safety Kam Chancellor leads to a three-part discussion.

First off, how is it handled contractually ? The safety signed a $26 million extension last summer. The $6.8 million on the books for 2018 became guaranteed in February. Of his $10 million salary in 2019, a little over half is guaranteed for injury.

If Chancellor retires, those guarantees could be forfeited. But the team likely will work out some sort of injury settlement.

Second, what do the Seahawks do now at safety, especially since Earl Thomas may hold out? Bradley McDougald will probably be the free safety. If his shoulder heals and he can get up to speed on the playbook, Maurice Alexander could start at strong safety. Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill will be in the mix, too.

Lastly, how will Chancellor be best remembered? It has to be the 2014 Divisional Round playoff game versus the Panthers; not only for his 87-yard “pick-six ” against Cam Newton, but also for those two leaps over the line to block field goal attempts. They didn’t count. But they won’t be forgotten.

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