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Cynthia Frelund | NFL Network Analyst

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The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2023 6:06 am

Cynthia Frelund | NFL Network Analyst

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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January 13, 2023 6:06 am

 NFL Network Analyst Cynthia Frelund joins the show to preview Wild Card Weekend!

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The NFL playoffs live on Odyssey. Non-stop coverage from the biggest sports radio stations in the country. Podcasts dedicated to each NFL team and post-season games streaming live for free.

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So get started and download the free Odyssey app today. Cynthia Freeland, who is the queen of data science for the NFL network. And I'm not kidding, every single time I turn on the network, Cynthia is there in a variety of capacities because her knowledge is so critical and so unique. There's no one else like Cynthia. So we're pleased to welcome her now from LA. And Cynthia, I got to tell you, even before we talk football, my favorite thing on your social media these days is the picture of your new dog.

Oh my goodness. He's so handsome. Can you please introduce us to your new puppers?

Oh, Gordy, he's so handsome. He is my, I you know, it's funny, I did not plan on becoming a dog mom. I've had dogs in the past growing up. But I, you know, he needed to be rescued.

My coworker found him and I felt like she couldn't take him because he is a big dog and she couldn't have a big dog. And she, she feels like he's got this personality, you're gonna like love him. And I met him and I just fell in love. And he is like, I'm looking at him right now. And I like, I don't know if I've ever been so in love with anything in my life. He is the best thing that's ever happened. He's like, truly like, he's a sweetheart. And he's like, just so like, he just, he's my whole heart. He, his story, like he was, he was abandoned in a mall parking lot in a closed in an entirely enclosed box.

So and, and somehow ended up at a kill shelter, which I live in Los Angeles, which is like doesn't is unheard of. But he doesn't have any, like, weird, you know, he doesn't have any traumas really, like, I've been searching for it and trying to see like, Okay, what do we got to work on? And so far, so good.

He's really sweet and just just happy. He didn't want to eat it first, but we got past that. Okay, good. So who named him Gordy? You?

I did. He's named after Gordy Howe. Oh, fantastic.

Oh, even more sports fans will love that. Any idea how old he is? Maybe he's like seven or eight months old. He actually has like a black saddle on his back. He's probably maybe he's like a part husky and apart. Probably like German Shepherd. But he could be a Samoyed too. Like I just did his DNA.

I'm waiting for the results. But because obviously, you know, like all weird pet moms, like you get this like Christmas email being like, Oh, you get so many dollars off. You're like, Yes, I need this. Well, I'm a helicopter mom with my dog. So I totally understand. Well, he's very handsome.

And I'm sure he's so happy. And I think the world was kind of introduced to him when he got a lion's jersey for Christmas. Oh, my goodness, between Gordy and your lions.

I know they didn't make the playoffs. But come on, this had to be one of your favorite holiday seasons ever. Absolutely. No, it was great.

Like, the lines didn't make it. But it sounds stupid to be like, I'm so grateful for what a fun season we have. Listen, it's been some very rough seasons of the Lions fan.

And this one was one where it just, it fills you with hope. And it was a team that had a lot of heart. And we want our teams to be teams that are, if you're going to lose, at least be a lovable loser. But you know, it wasn't terrible to see them not make it.

I mean, look, it's it's stunk. Obviously, I would have preferred the opposite. But, you know, they they were in it, they were fighting, they beat the Packers twice like that, that never happened. So there's a lot to be positive about a lot to build on.

And it was just a lot of fun and really can't ask for more than much more than that. What stands out about the season, the way that they started one in six and then finish? What was it eight of their last 10?

And what will you remember about this particular run? I think honestly, it sounds stupid. But, you know, the offense was good kind of throughout, it was really the improvement in the defense that was really, like, really interesting to me. I mean, Aidan Hutchinson, homegrown kid from we went to the University of Michigan. It's kind of like this good, like Midwesterners, just like everywhere else. We love our like stories about the Midwest, right? So, you know, the lore of like, oh, the like the kid who's, you know, in his hometown playing for a team that means something to him. Like, it's, it's just nice to see if there's any, it feels like we don't often get that story with Michigan. It's like, people are like, you know, they're like unhappy to be drafted there. And that wasn't the case this time.

It was really great. And it, you know, he's put himself in position to be at least considered for defensive rookie of the year, and we're stoked to see it. And the fact that there are so many guys that you hear speaking out, Jamal Williams comes to mind, he gets so emotional about being a member of the Lions. There are actual players on this team that cannot wait to be part of this this lion success because you can almost feel it coming. I love that. They're owning the Lions. I mean, who knew? Who knew?

Oh, fantastic. Although I need to know if you were really hiding under your covers. I was out while the Lions were playing at Lambeau. I was like, I really I couldn't watch it. I couldn't even watch the Seattle game over time.

Like the whole thing. I was just a total it was a total nightmare. I was what I was unhappy the whole time.

It was, it was very stressful. It's nice, though, to be relevant and to have a pit. Whereas for years, Lions fans didn't have to worry about the pit in their stomach.

So that's fantastic. I love Dan Campbell. I've been rooting for him since he got there because he is unique.

There was no one quite like him in the NFL. Cynthia Freeland is with us from NFL Network. She's the data science queen, and we love to talk to her about some of the more unique aspects of football.

It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio, maybe a matchup or a team. We've got seven new teams back in the place. This year, what jumps out Cynthia? You know, I'm really excited for this Bills team. I want to see if Micah Hyde can come back. This has been quite the season for the Bills.

I mean, truly a like from start to finish, not even just the DeMar Hamlin stuff. But also, like, you know, we saw so much this whole season. Remember, there was a shooting there ahead of the season. And then, you know, unfortunately, Dawson Knox lost his brother. Like, there's just been so much.

I wish we could have done that. Does Micah Hyde come back and join Jordan Poyer? And can they just finish it off?

I mean, it seems like this improbable run. There's so much, but like, they're a family team. I spent the preseason with them. And there's just something really, like, special about the way that whole team treats each other and the way that it feels so much family-like.

So I mean, in terms of just pure storyline, that's the one I'm looking for, for sure. I've just been really drawn to them as humans and feeling like we saw their hearts and their compassion and also their vulnerabilities over everything that's happened with DeMar Hamlin. And my goodness, what a miracle.

Home in nine days after a cardiac arrest. But we got to, you mentioned family. We got to see that aspect of this football team where I almost look at them differently now because of how much they were willing to sacrifice. They cared so much more about him than they did about football at that point on Monday and all throughout the last two weeks, really. Yeah, I mean, this is a special team. They have special vibes going into the season. It's hard to express.

I've done preseason for two years now. At first, they're like, what is this person doing? And then they realize that, oh, you're a Midwesterner too. I know Buffalo is in New York, but it's honorary. It's Western New York, yes.

Exactly. And so long story short, it's every person that works there. It's not even just like the people you see on the field. It's the woman who, you know, the kindest person ever who like, when you walk into the facility is like, do you want to water?

What can I do? Like the nicest, kindest people and like truly, it's a family from start to finish from top to bottom. So they are just salt of the earth.

I have nothing with the utmost respect for them. I mean, look, to be clear, there's a lot of people on a lot of teams who are like that. It just seems like there's something about this particular team in this particular season with all the adversity that they face that you just, you kind of, you know, kind of find yourself rooting for people like that to have something good, you know, come out of all this hardship. We've definitely seen their depth of character beyond the football field.

And yet they do have some incredible pieces on that team. Josh Allen being one, and I was reading through some of your postseason prep and your probabilities. And you were pointing to his ability to throw passes on the run.

Yeah. So, I mean, he's thrown the most touchdowns on the run this season, which I guess if you watch the games, you're like, well, it doesn't seem surprising, but the, the interesting part there is it speaks a lot to the chemistry of the team, right? Like, throwing touchdowns on the run is not something where like a guy who hasn't played very often just, you can do right. You have to have your, it just shows like the dedication that he and Stephon Diggs and Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox and all the different receivers Isaiah McKinsey have to working together and like kind of having fun with it. And we, you know, I understand it's been a very dramatic season, but at the end of the day, it's also fun, right?

Like we watch football because we like love it and it's fun and it takes us away from things that are scarier and harder. So, you know, those touchdowns on the run just sort of embody and exemplify like exactly what we're talking about with this whole team. As you look at all of these games coming up, Wild Card Weekend, their rematches. So as you were putting together probabilities and kind of checking out where they are now, do you expect any major upsets? Well, without Lamar and without Kua, it does put those teams at a disadvantage.

Obviously, that's very difficult, right? So, you know, when you saw Lamar tweeting what he tweeted, I guess I technically haven't seen him be totally ruled out, but it seems like that's what he was saying. But quarterback is just such an important position and the AFC in particular is just so difficult. So while I think there'll be some upsets this weekend, I don't necessarily think it'll be like full chalk. I do think that, you know, it's unfortunate with those injuries that we won't see kind of the same thing we would see potentially if all the pieces were playing. But to be clear, I'm so glad Kua's not playing this. Like, let's just wait and see. He can come back next year and be fully healthy and we can watch him then.

Agreed. His health is far more important than what happens on the football field, though it is disappointing but still amazing that the team made it considering everything the Dolphins went through this season. Cynthia Freeland of NFL Network with us after hours on CBS Sports Radio. I saw this stat yesterday, used it on my show and was like, okay, I'm going to impress Cynthia with this number. This year, while we're talking quarterbacks, there were 65 different QBs that started games, which is the most ever in any NFL season outside of the strike year in 87. 65 of them.

So I have this running total on my phone. At some point, I just lost track of all of the substitutions because it was nonstop. And those are two examples. There are guys that came off the street and were starting within days of being pulled into a particular fold and definitely one of the qualities of this season that has changed what we saw on the field. Yeah, this season's been interesting because, like, in addition to that, key injuries to key positions, meaning positions where in the past, you know, there's high snap counts, right? Like, not like your backup guy, but like your main guy not playing this this year, we've seen more injuries to key positions than ever before. We've also seen more non like like they don't necessarily need to be young, but inexperienced play callers, like more people who have not, you know, you don't have as many of the time honored coaches, et cetera, who have been calling plays on both offense and defense.

So like the least experienced ever. And we've seen like a lot of weird things happen, meaning we've seen like games where comebacks that seemed improbable, things of that nature, a lot of like anomalies this season. And I think part of that has to do with obviously new coaches calling new plays and some strange things.

But also, I think that we're starting to see the effects of the preseason being shortened and, you know, not playing as much together, you know, obviously players we now see in the preseason, they don't they don't really play. And I don't know, it's gonna be interesting to see where we go from here. Why Kansas City as the team in the AFC with the highest Super Bowl probability? Well, you're always going to have better opportunities if you've got to buy the buy is just so dramatically important.

Because one of me, frankly, it gives you one less opportunity to have something go wrong, right? So that's, that's part of it. The second is, you know, between the top three teams in the AFC, which to me is a much stronger division, just top to bottom, you have some key injuries that will be interesting to overcome. And the keys are actually getting healthier kind of at the right time, right? So while some teams like the Chargers are kind of getting healthier, I don't know, because Mike Williams, I'm not sure what happens with that. You you still have some pretty significant, I mean, obviously, Novon Miller for the bills makes things dicey. And then you see the when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals, their O line, the it's like we saw Lyell Collins is not but and then now like the right guard to like, you've got a lot of missing pieces, and they're also missing their starting corner and a number of other pieces. So at the end of the day, it's it's the Chiefs ability to one have the buy and to be a little bit more healthy at a time when it's really, really crucial.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence, CBS Sports radius, Cynthia Freeland of NFL Network is with us here for a couple more minutes. So let's talk about the NFC mean, we could have a couple of rookies who are under center in the AFC, but it's a rookie in Brock Purdy, who people are forgetting is in his first year, because he's got these incredible six games under his belt. Cynthia, what makes the Niners so strong around this young guy? You have a significant advantage if your defense is as good as their defenses, and especially in the NFC, where the NFC is not as strong, I understand that the Eagles have a really good, they have a really great record. But the NFC in general, the quality of play in the NFC has not been as strong top to bottom as the AFC.

So that's the first part. And then the second part, when you look at what the potential changes are, and what, what the problems are, that the defense is strong. The problems are the two teams, the Eagles and the Niners with their ability to have multiple different offensive options, right? Like, please try to stop AJ Brown or whatever the run game is, etc, etc. Like, and then please try to stop all the different weapons that you have for the Niners. The difference, though, is, is when I'm looking at and we hopefully see the O line be fully healthy for the Eagles, the Eagles, when they're fully healthy at the number one O line.

Right now, given that we've seen some issues with health there. Well, right now, the Niners have actually surpassed that. So the ability to consistently run and have a defense that just crushes quarterback soul, which obviously the the Eagles do as well. That is a very big factor for success. Looking at your math and your models, what jumped out at me is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have some nice probabilities around them.

Why as you were going through these numbers, Cynthia? I have the Bucks pulling off the upset this week. And yes, and in part it is actually we talked about getting healthy at the right time. I do have, you know, obviously I'm monitoring the injury report very, very closely. But what I saw is that Ryan Jensen could be back and they do have two great tackles. And then if they can get a little bit of help in that interior O line, it makes a huge difference, because what we saw two games ago, not last game because Mike Evans exited the game pretty early, was the return of the connection, the deep passing connection between Tom Brady and Mike Evans.

You've got that down. That is a huge difference. That makes a gigantic change to what the opportunity is for that team. Because Chris Godwin, it's easier when you only have one true threat when it comes to the wide receiver position. Well, now you've got two true threats, and one being this deep threat and one being this like crazy slot master.

And it's going to be a lot harder. Yes. Can you feel that tension in your gut as we get ready to start the playoffs? Or is that just for the Lions? The funny part is, is like, I think being a Lions fan is like actually like quite an advantage to be also a data scientist, because, you know, I, it's all upside for me, right? Like, I don't feel like I don't have that, like, Oh, my team, blah, blah, blah.

No, because I'm not used to them being good. There's no like heartbreak there, right? Like, it's all, it's all goodness, you know, it's all goodness, but it really helps me. And obviously, I, you know, I, I actually, to be honest, like, there's three teams in the AFC that I like, and all of them are the three top teams. So it's, it's really interesting. It's really interesting to watch. But, you know, every year, I try to pick a team that I don't know as much about, or it gets a new coach or whatever. And I've been really fortunate, because I've picked like the right teams, right? Like, I picked the Eagles, and I picked the Jags and stuff, because I wanted to see like, what happens to really like, pretend I'm a fan of and pay special attention to to see. Because it, it just helps me to be a better data scientist to kind of get into it and be like, all right, this year, my team, I really like Travis Etienne, I met that kid at the combine.

He's nice. And, you know, to try to to try to help me. I mean, it doesn't bias me, because everything's done blindly. But it does help me to kind of keep looking at like different different things that happen each year.

So next year, it's bears too, which is that tells you how unbiased is because, you know, I typically pick whoever's first in the draft is always one of them. Well, I wish for you in 2023, in this playoff run, that Gordy will desperately need your attention and need to go out at the exact moment that the game is hanging in the balance with 90 seconds to go or overtime because that is what my dog does. She picks her spots. I swear she knows Cynthia, I have no idea how, but she knows. Like, I swear he watches.

I know that sounds crazy. But I swear he like he watches like he he gets it like he I don't know I see him and I watch his little eyes and I'm like, I think he understand. He was born to be your dog Cynthia. I mean, he now that I believe he's honestly I can't even get over it like he's the sweetest thing. You're like love and sunshine and happiness and I just, I know it sounds stupid but like rescue dog is I've grown up with dogs before obviously I've had like golden's and you know all these beautiful dogs but there's something about this like little rescue who like needed me and I don't know what to do here. He's not little he's big now to 50 pounds already.

That's amazing. What if he turns out to be 100 pound Gordie. You know, I'm gonna be honest with you that the vet was like, he could be, he could easily be 80 pounds or 90 pounds, but I'm sorry what saddle on him and ride him to work. Now we have to have you back on the show when you figure out what he actually is from his little DNA test. Oh, this is going to be fun every time you're on the show now we're going to also talk about dogs it's it's perfect. So find Cynthia on Twitter at C Freeland F R E L U N D does the data science the models the map, the cool stuff for NFL network, and now she has Gordie to give her balance in her life. Fantastic Cynthia Happy New Year. Thank you so much. Happy New Year. Thanks so much for having me my friend and congratulations on your fantasy when you crushed it.

Thank you. NFL playoffs live on Odyssey touchdown as time expires, unbelievable turn of events, nonstop coverage from the biggest sports radio stations in the country podcasts dedicated to each NFL team and postseason games streaming live for free things to handle looks right throws right touchdown your playoffs, your Odyssey, get in the game and download the free Odyssey app today. NFL playoffs live on Odyssey touchdown as time expires, unbelievable turn of events, nonstop coverage from the biggest sports radio stations in the country podcasts dedicated to each NFL team and postseason games streaming live for free things to handle looks right throws right touchdown your playoffs, your Odyssey, get in the game and download the free Odyssey app today. NFL playoffs live on Odyssey touchdown as time expires, unbelievable turn of events, nonstop coverage from the biggest sports radio stations in the country podcasts dedicated to each NFL team and postseason games streaming live for free things to handle looks right throws right touchdown your playoffs, your Odyssey, get in the game and download the free Odyssey app today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-13 08:36:43 / 2023-01-13 08:47:05 / 10

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