Summary of “We Don’t Have the Numbers to Fully Appreciate the Patriots’ Dynasty”

Let’s run through the numbers of the Pats dynasty that you haven’t heard.
The Patriots are the most winning team of the Tom Brady-Belichick era and looking at their regular-season point differential, a simple metric that can be more informative than a team’s record, paints a picture of even greater dominance.
The Patriots are in a different galaxy at plus-2,534-more than double every team except no.
Yes, counting the playoffs, the Patriots are 82-24 against the AFC East since 2001, the best divisional mark in the league.
The Patriots are better against the AFC North, which includes rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore, than they are against their own division.
The Patriots are nine-point favorites against Jacksonville, the biggest spread in a conference championship game since 2007, when the Chargers were 14-point underdogs against New England.
In the past 10 years, the Patriots have been an underdog a league-low 20 times, and that number should probably be lower.
Sin City is finally catching on: This season, the Patriots became the 19th team in a 16-game season to be favored in every game.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Picking the 2018 All-Star Game Starters”

Commissioner Adam Silver said last week in London that he worked with players’ union president Chris Paul on this change to create more excitement for the All-Star Game, which has been a boring product for the past decade.
Anyway, the deadline for All-Star Game ballot submissions was Monday, January 15, at 12 p.m. ET. Fans count for 50 percent of the vote, while players and media each count for 25 percent.
It’s a remarkable development for a player who previously shot 28.1 percent on 1.4 triples per game over his career.
Changes in Kyrie Irving’s Game Play Type Kyrie 2017-18 Kyrie 2016-17 Play Type Kyrie 2017-18 Kyrie 2016-17 P&R Ball Handler 35% 40% Isolation 18% 25% Hand-off 14% 6% Off Screen 10% 5% Spot-up 10% 9% Irving’s isolations have been replaced with dribble handoffs and screens, which has increased his half-court scoring efficiency by 5.7 points per 100 possessions more than last season.
East Frontcourt Starters LeBron James, Cavaliers As Steve Kerr drove to Oracle Arena before the Warriors faced the Cavaliers on Christmas, the head coach told reporters that he began thinking about how LeBron is playing as well as he ever has.
Al Horford, Celtics Victor Oladipo transformed his game this offseason and would’ve gotten the nod had we been able to select three “Guards” rather than three “Frontcourt” players.
West Backcourt Starters James Harden, Rockets The last time we saw Harden playing in a professional basketball game was on New Year’s Eve, when he dropped 40 on the Lakers in a 148-142 double-overtime win for the Rockets.
The ballot lineups haven’t followed suit with the game and gone positionless, so I have a hard time picking Curry over Butler when Curry’s been absent for 15 games, but he’s posting numbers comparable to his historic 2015-16 MVP campaign, with a near 50-40-90 season.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Winners and Losers From the NFL’s Divisional Round”

There were four lead changes in the final 3:01, one of which was the play that will live forever in Vikings history, Saints infamy, and I guess Falcons history, too.
You may remember them from the last NFL team to play in St. Louis.
You know, maybe he’s a coaching genius who saw excellence in Keenum and Foles and taught them everything they know about quarterback play.
The Saints lost in heartbreaking fashion, and left the field after allowing a touchdown on the final play of the game.
The players who took the field for that PAT had no hope of helping the Saints win.
Jaguar players yelling for Mike mitchell as they entered the locker room.
Winner: Calais Campbell After erasing Buffalo’s offense last week, Jacksonville’s defense didn’t play exceptionally well Sunday against the Steelers.
Jacksonville kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession, and while the Steelers scored a touchdown in the game’s closing seconds, they would have needed to convert an onside kick to make up for the 10-point deficit they created with the first failed onside kick.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Lessons of an impossible quarterback final four”

Tennessee pressured Brady only once more on the ensuing 14 plays of the drive, with Brian Orakpo forcing a red zone incompletion before Brady threw a touchdown pass on the next play.
Teams need multiple players who can repeatedly win one-on-one matchups and force the Pats to either change their offense and give help in pass protection or risk getting Brady beat up.
Jacksonville forced another defensive touchdown – something it has done three times in two games against the Steelers this season when no other team has scored one in more than four seasons – and came up with a pair of fourth-and-short stops, but the Steelers came up with big play after big play to stay in the game.
There are a few guys who are going to be the best player on the field every week and a whole bunch of quarterbacks who should inspire no hope, but the vast majority of them are somewhere in the middle, and the combination of context and sheer variance changes how they look from week to week or season to season.
He would have had more success with a better quarterback, given that the bomb Pederson dialed up on the very first play from scrimmage would have gone for a touchdown with a quarterback who either had a better arm or didn’t lose his footing.
The Falcons seemed to decide to go for it on fourth-and-2 at midfield in the second quarter, only to somehow end up not getting set and running a play just after the play clock expired.
The Eagles called the sprint-out, but the Saints used a similar play as their regular two-point/fourth-down play for years, while the Raiders ran the same sort of sprint-out and throw to the pylon for a game-winning score against the Chiefs in Week 7.
The Saints appear in two-deep coverage on the play, which is a lot to ask of Williams on a play in which we know the Vikings need to go to the sidelines.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Minneapolis Miracle: Stefon Diggs Gives Vikings Their Forever Moment”

Perspective was scarce in the immediate aftermath, but it’s worth remembering that the Minneapolis Miracle was just a single iconic moment from an all-time-great playoff game.
“[Thielen] told me, ‘I don’t care what’s called,'” Diggs said after the game.
For much of Sunday’s game, the Vikings’ passing approach was the same as the one they’d relied on all season.
“There was a moment before the game today I remember looking around,” Keenum said.
“And there was only one guy there. If he slips, then I’m going to try and stay up.” When the dust settled, Diggs was standing in the end zone, sending the Vikings to Philadelphia for a date with the Eagles in next week’s NFC championship game.
The Jags used a ton of play-action against the Steelers, often relying on feigned handoffs to facilitate big chunk gains in the passing game.
The Steelers’ pass rush didn’t sniff Bortles all game.
With so much attention now focused on the running game, the Eagles’ excellent line and capable collection of runners is no longer enough to sustain success on the ground.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The minds behind Firewatch and Uncharted discuss canceled games and the indie vs. AAA debate”

Visceral Games, a studio that had been working on a single-player Star Wars game led by Amy Hennig, announced that it was closing.
Polygon asked Sean Vanaman, a founder of Campo Santo and the lead writer of Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One, and Amy Hennig, the director and writer of the first three Uncharted games, to meet in person to discuss the present and future of video game storytelling.
They met in the Campo Santo studio in San Francisco and talked about how their teams have used trailers to guide their creative process, why some games get canceled, and the differences between making an indie drama and a AAA blockbuster.
The game you were developing wouldn’t have been able to run on the Nintendo Switch, and when you see games with incredibly high fidelity being ported to it, it’s a nightmare.
“Faith doesn’t fit in a spreadsheet, but it is an absolutely critical element of what we do” Amy Hennig: I look at the development process of Uncharted, the whole series, as well as The Last of Us. None of those games would’ve survived a more stringent process or more scrutiny.
My favorite games tend to be like Ueda’s games: Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and The Last Guardian.
Sean Vanaman: People were making, basically, World War II shooters and horror games.
Sean Vanaman: When folks who don’t play games have Firewatch played for them by a person that they care for, it’s usually a pretty good experience.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s Rise Was Part of Nick Saban’s Plan”

Like everything else for Alabama, the schedule scrawled on the Crimson Tide’s locker-room wall in Mercedes-Benz Stadium showed signs of precise, meticulous planning.
Then the most Alabama thing of all happened: The Tide revealed an entirely separate plan, one that was clearly thought out, practiced for, and eventually executed to perfection by some of the most talented players in college football.
Three years later, Texas went from Colt McCoy to Garrett Gilbert in the first quarter of a 37-21 loss to Alabama, but that happened only because McCoy was forced to exit with an injury.
Alabama couldn’t afford to be safe after its first half against the Bulldogs.
Saban felt Hurts’s inability to throw was allowing Georgia to ignore any threat of the pass and zero in on stopping the Alabama rushing attack.
Tagovailoa brought Alabama back in large part because he was a threat to throw deep.
Although these five players had little on-field impact for Alabama this season, it made sense for the Tide to let Tagovailoa ride with the guys he’d developed a rapport with in practice all season.
So much about this game was surprising: That Georgia initially stopped Alabama from doing what it wanted, that Alabama turned to its true freshman backup quarterback in the national championship, that Alabama was ready to deploy a secret squad of future superstars, that Saban had to break the glass in case of emergency.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ranking easiest, toughest paths to Super Bowl LII win”

Getting to the Super Bowl can be as much about which teams you avoid as it is how you play.
After a wild-card round with two upsets, a back-and-forth shootout in New Orleans and a playoff game straight out of 1977 in Jacksonville, let’s plot out each team’s path to the Super Bowl and figure out who has the most generous route to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. I’ll include each team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, as well as one result that would make their lives much easier.
Tennessee also would be a comfortable underdog against any of the remaining NFC teams in the Super Bowl, barring an Eagles win combined with a season-ending injury to Nick Foles.
Foles & Co. will be underdogs against any non-Titans team in the Super Bowl and would likely be a double-digit underdog against the Patriots or Steelers.
Their 70.2 percent shot of playing the Steelers in that game makes it a little less exciting, but the Pats were favored to win in Pittsburgh by 2.5 points, which implies that they would be expected to win by more than a touchdown at home barring any new injuries.
Minnesota is laying 3.5 points at home against New Orleans this week in a game FPI projects them to win 68.1 percent of the time; the Vikings will almost surely be larger favorites in the NFC Championship Game if they win on Sunday.
The Vikings would be the first team in league history to play in the Super Bowl at their home stadium, which raises all kinds of questions.
The only game in which the Vikings are likely to be underdogs from here on out would be in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”The least-worst idea we had”-The creation of the Age of Empires empire”

Age of Empires is one of the most influential strategy games of all time.
With a new Age game in development and a “Definitive edition” reboot of the original just around the corner-and given our recent foray into the evolution of the entire real-time strategy genre-we thought it’d be interesting to dig into the history of this RTS series.
RTS games like Age have introduced millions of impressionable youths to the delights of… well, history.
One day, in 1994, thinking that Microsoft’s release of WinG, a DirectX predecessor, had presented a great new opportunity, Tony struck on the idea to do a game as a side project.
Tony addressed the engineering team: “Hey, would any of you rather be programming games than databases?”.
Tony then set about organizing a small gaming cabal at the company.
Still, the demo solidified the idea that they could make a game.
“I had an idea that the game would start with the map almost covered with ice, like an Ice Age, and you have little settlers,” Shelley said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Winners and Losers From NFL Wild-Card Weekend”

Every week this NFL season, we will celebrate the electric plays, admonish the colossal blunders, and explain the inexplicable moments of the most recent slate.
Welcome to the Wild-Card Weekend edition of Winners and Losers.
It’s rare enough for a quarterback to catch a touchdown pass on any play-if we only count pure quarterbacks and not quarterback-wide receivers like Kordell Stewart and Brad Smith, there have been just 19 receiving touchdowns by quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, and only one of those was a self-catch: this Brad Johnson play in 1997.
It’s not uncommon for quarterbacks to catch their own passes, but normally, it looks like this Matt Stafford play from 2015 or this Brock Osweiler play from 2016-the quarterback snags a batted ball to avoid an interception and instantly gets tackled for a huge loss.
Mariota almost made his catch look intentional, like a basketball player getting an easy bucket by inbounding the ball off an unaware opponent’s back.
His voice prominently cracked on two pivotal plays during the game, ruining calls that should have been exciting by making us all wonder who mic’d up a donkey with pneumonia.
There was a grain of truth to Triplette’s explanation-by NFL rule, quarterbacks who start under center are not eligible receivers, which is why Tom Brady had to walk around aimlessly to make a legal catch on this play from 2015.
Normally the play is considered live until the quarterback’s knee hits the ground.

The orginal article.