Pro Bowl rosters have been announced.
And that means one thing. It’s time to gripe about Pro Bowl snubs.
While this year’s voting didn’t leave any glaring omissions like last season that saw Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Darius Leonard all left off the initial roster, there’s plenty to discuss.
Most notably the NFC quarterback spot.
Should Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins be in?
Russell Wilson was named the NFC starting quarterback with Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers backing him up. Wilson is a no-brainer, and the biggest argument against Brees is that he missed time with injury.
Meanwhile, Rodgers is as efficient as ever, completing 63.3 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and just two interceptions as the Packers have gotten off to an 11-3 start.
But the Packers offense isn’t the explosive unit Green Bay is used to seeing, ranking 21st in the league in yardage and 14th in points as Rodgers throws for 247.4 yards per game. It opens up the case that a more worthy Pro Bowl candidate may exist.
With Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins putting up big numbers on explosive offenses, should one of them get in over Rodgers?
The case for Dak
Prescott’s taken a leap forward in his fourth season, averaging 309.6 yards per game with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 65.5 percent of his passes on the league’s top-ranked yardage offense and fifth-ranked scoring unit.
But there’s that whole issue about the Cowboys woefully underperforming at 7-7 and Prescott struggling against good teams like the Packers, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.
The case for Kirk
After a rough start, Cousins is putting up career numbers for a 10-4 Vikings team that looks playoff bound. He’s connecting on 70.5 percent of his passes while averaging 248.6 yards per game with 25 touchdowns and five interceptions on the NFL’s fifth-ranked scoring unit.
By virtue of the Vikings success and Prescott’s struggles against top competition, Cousins makes the better snub case. But is he really a better quarterback this season than Rodgers?
Where are the Bills?
The Buffalo Bills finally worked their way into the national consciousness when they steamrolled the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. But it wasn’t enough to garner Pro Bowl love as cornerback Tre'Davious White was the only player honored from a 10-4 team that sports the league’s No. 3 defense.
White was a no-brainer as arguably the best cornerback in the league not named Stephon Gilmore. But surely other players from Buffalo’s elite defense deserved some attention. Inside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds with his 105 tackles, 1.5 sacks and nine pass deflections while anchoring Buffalo’s defense comes to mind.
What about the Patriots?
It’s been a long time since there’s been talk of a lack of Patriots on the Pro Bowl. Despite an 11-3 start, New England has just three representatives on the AFC roster. And none of them play on offense.
Gilmore, inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower and special teamer Matthew Slater represent the Patriots’ Pro Bowl contingent.
While Julian Edelman’s career season (92 catches, 1,019 yards, 6 TDs) is the best case from a floundering offense, a better argument can be made on defense, where safety Devin McCourty is making the Patriots secondary a no-fly zone alongside Gilmore with five interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on a defense that gives up a league-low 12.9 points per game.
No love for Josh Jacobs?
The Raiders capped their spiral from hope to misery with Sunday’s come-from-ahead loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars to close their Oakland Coliseum tenure. But there is one genuine bright spot from 2019 in rookie running back Jacobs, who looks like a force for years to come.
In 13 games, Jacobs has tallied 1,150 rushing yards and 166 receiving yards while scoring seven touchdowns. Nick Chubb and Derrick Henry are having prolific seasons, leaving Mark Ingram (963 rushing yards, 211 receiving yards, 14 TDs) as the target to bump in favor of Jacobs.
Von Miller and no Justin Simmons?
Miller is a classic case of name recognition being the best Pro Bowl asset, earning his eighth nod despite a career-worst season with seven sacks, zero turnovers forced and 40 total tackles. Meanwhile, Denver Broncos teammate and fourth-year safety Justin Simmons has quietly been one of the best defenders in football with 84 tackles, four interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
It goes to show that the Pro Bowl isn’t always about performance.
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