NFL 2020-21 NFC and AFC Championship Game Preview and and Prediction

by Terri Bey

I am writing this blog with a heavy heart as one of my favorite sports heroes, MLB Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron passed away today in his sleep at age 86. Aaron is known to most baseball and sports fans for breaking New York Yankees legend and fellow Hall of Famer Babe Ruth’s then home run record of 714 home runs on April 8, 1974 in 1974 in Atlanta, GA by hitting #715. This is important as Atlanta was still considered the “Deep South” and leading up to the big moment, Henry Aaron was receiving 3,000 racist letters a day. Even though Aaron still retains other records, it was the dignity and grace that he carried throughout his quest for #715 that made him a legend and a hero in every sense of the word. He became a part of the Braves front office for over 40 years and has been an inspiration for millions. To me and many others, he is the real home run king. Rest in Peace, Mr. Henry Aaron.

Now, let’s get to the subject of this blog. Last week, the NFL saw the 2020-21 NFC and AFC Divisional Round games. Let’s discuss the games, briefly. I also was a bit under the weather this weekend and missed some of each game, so I had to watch highlights, particularly the two Sunday games. As for my picks, I went 3-1, and only got the Baltimore Ravens vs the Buffalo Bills game wrong. I really thought that the Bills run defense was going to collapse and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ running backs were going to have a field day. I was wrong. Both defenses kept the scoring low, which I expected, but I have been saying that Lamar Jackson needs to be more proficient at throwing the ball for a long time and also the team needs to get him more weapons. That pick-six Jackson threw was a killer. Bills QB Josh Allen didn’t set the world on fire, but he played well enough to win.

The Green Bay Packers vs Los Angeles Rams game went as I expected. The Los Angeles defense did what they could to keep Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers off the field, but their pop-gun offense did not help them out at all. I was not surprised at the 32-18 win by the Packers. The Cleveland Browns vs Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, from looking at the highlights, looked like a game that the Browns could have won. I did see parts of the game. From looking at the highlights, I don’t understand why the Browns didn’t run the ball more. As most of my readers know, during the game, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes suffered some sort of toe injury and later in the game suffered a concussion, after getting hit, so backup QB Chad Henne had to take over. I was able to watch the last few minutes of the game, so I want to know how on earth was the Browns defense not able to stop backup Qb Chad Henne? We are talking about Chad Henne, a journeyman QB, mind you. The play call by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to seal the game was awesome, though. I will say that the Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen got away with a “clear and obvious,” head to head hit that was missed, when Browns WR Rashard Higgens fumbled the ball in the end zone, which was, by rule, called a touchback for the Chiefs. That rule HAS to be changed. Nonetheless, the Browns organization and their fans should be proud. They are definitely set at QB in Baker Mayfield and at head coach in Kevin Stefanski and I see this team being very competitive in the future.

I only saw the first few minutes of the New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. I watched the highlights and I felt badly for Saints QB Drew Brees, in that this was a terrible way to go out. I know he was battling physical injuries and had just turned 42, but I felt bad as he had given so much to the game and to the city of New Orleans. He, along with head coach Sean Payton, brought that city, battered by Hurricane Katrina, hope and a Super Bowl Title. Whatever decision Brees makes, he will always be a hero to that city. He wasn’t the only one who made errors, though. Sean Payton deserves some blame, too. Why didn’t he use RB Alvin Kamara more? This was a weird decision. WR Michael Thomas was playing hurt, so why not lean on Kamara? WR Jared Cook had the ball punched out, and was not happy. The turnovers killed the Saints in the game.

The Buccaneers played a clean game, as QB Tom Brady threw for 199 yards and 2 TDs. Brady also rushed for a TD. The Buccaneers’ running game was efficient. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles called a very good game. The Buccaneers defense was aggressive. They picked off Drew Brees three times. The kicking game was also efficient. Unfortunately, WR Antonio Brown injured his knee and will not play this weekend.

So, now the Conference Championship games are set for this Sunday, January 24, 2021. The NFC Championship Game will feature the Green Bay Packers vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the AFC Championship will feature the Kansas City Chiefs vs the Buffalo Bills. In this blog I will preview and give my predictions as to which two teams will be going to Tampa for Super Bowl 55. I hope you enjoy this blog. Feed back is welcome and encouraged.

NFL 2020-21 NFC AND AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTION AND PREVIEW

2020-21 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers

This game will be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI and will air on FOX. Kickoff will be at 3:05pm, EST.

PREVIEW: This should be the best of the two games, considering the two quarterbacks involved, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady. If you look at the four quarterbacks remaining, the Super Bowl match-up, no matter how you slice it, will be a battle of youth (Mahomes or Allen) vs experience (Rogers or Brady). As a woman of a certain age, I am certainly going to be pulling for the QB with the experience.

All jokes aside, we are looking at two pretty evenly matched teams. Green Bay is 5th in offense, while Tampa Bay is 7th. Green Bay is 9th in defense, Tampa Bay has the 6th ranked defense.. Green Bay is 9th in passing and Tampa Bay is 2nd in that category. The only category where there is a huge disparity between the two teams is the Rushing category. Green Bay is 8th, while Tampa Bay is 28th. On paper, this looks like it might be a close game for awhile, until someone screws up.

Of course, they don’t play the games on paper. NFL fans are looking at two quarterbacks who are playing as well as anyone at this point. Aaron Rodgers is the leading candidate for the NFL’s highest honor, the MVP of the league and is playing like one. Despite the prognosticators of doom, Tom Brady has been sensational. I am expecting both to play well.

PREDICTION: Matt LeFleur and Bruce Arians are going to have to out-wit one another. Tampa Bay Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles has to come up with a slightly different game than the last time the two met, when the Buccaneers blasted Rodgers in Tampa during the season, as Rodgers and LeFleur will know what to expect. The Buccaneers secondary must contain WR Davante Adams and must contain Aaron Rodgers or Rodgers will just eat them alive. Buccaneers Rookie Antoine Winfield, JR has been listed as questionable due to an ankle injury, so this injury is one to watch. Some good news for their defense is the activation of their DT Vita Vea. While not having WR Antonio Brown hurts, other guys like WR Scott Miller, WR Mike Evans and TE Rob Gronkowski should help the Buccaneers offense. WR Chris Godwin needs to hold on to some balls as well. Bruce Arians also has to use the run game as well, because snow is expected and it will be cold.

I know this game is in Green Bay and a southern team is going up to the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.” I know certain media people have jumped off their picks of Tampa Bay to go to the Super Bowl to pick the Green Bay Packers to win (cough Stephen A. Smith cough). I realize that it is a good chance that the Packers may wind up winning, but an NFL MVP winner has not won the Super Bowl since the St. Louis Rams QB Kurt Warner in 1999, either. I am sticking with my Super Bowl 55 pick to win this game and if I am wrong, so be it.

Winner and NFC Champion: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2020-21 AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

This game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO and will air on CBS. Kickoff will be at 6:40PM, EST.

PREVIEW: The good news for the home team is that Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes told reporters that he passed all the concussion tests and will play on Sunday. Of course, the Chiefs have to make the official announcement, but from watching the news reports, it looked like he was going to play. Nothing against Chad Henne, but I think the game would have been terrible with Henne vs Josh Allen.

Like we have in the NFC Championship Game, this game also features two teams who are fairly evenly matched. We have the two teams with the #1 offense (Chiefs) and the #2 offense (Bills). The Chiefs have the #16 defense, while the Bills have the #14 defense. The Chiefs are #1 in passing. The Bills are #3 in that category. Finally, the Chiefs are #16 in rushing, while the Bills are #20 in rushing. The last time these two teams met, the Chiefs won by a score of 26-17 on October 19, 2020. I expect another tight game.

PREDICTION: If there is a team that has a real chance to stop the Chiefs from a possible Super Bowl repeat, it is the Buffalo Bills, in my view. Many times, it is the team that is play the best football that winds up with the Lombardi Trophy and the Buffalo Bills could be that team. Their defense is peaking at the right time. QB Josh Allen is playing well and he and WR Stefon Diggs have great chemistry. Head coach Sean McDermott, however, needs to call a perfect game to out-coach Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

As we all know, the Chiefs have a team made up of all stars. The Bills have to play lights out to win this game. The Bills have a pretty good secondary, but they will have to have an answer for Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, in particular. Josh Allen is going to have to play the game of his life. As for Patrick Mahomes, it is great that he is playing and will be cleared to play. I guess we will find the answer as soon as he takes the field, but my question concerning him is how effective will Mahomes be? I do expect him to play well, but a concussion is no joke. His toe injury may be a factor also.

I have picked against the Buffalo Bills each weekend and I have been wrong every time. While I think they could prevent Patrick Mahomes and the gang from going to a second consecutive Super Bowl, I don’t think they will I am pretty sure I am going to be right, this time.

Winner and AFC Champion: Kanas City Chiefs.

That is my blog. I hope you enjoyed it. Feedback is below.

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2020-21 NFL Divisional Round Preview and Predictions

by Terri By

The NFL 2020-21 Wild Card Weekend is in the books. If you would like to catch up on what happened, please check out Tuesday’s blog, 2020-21 Wild Card Weekend-The Aftermath | edgerocks (wordpress.com) . This weekend’s games will decide which teams will advance to the AFC and NFC Championship Games. There are some very interesting storylines going into these games. Can the Cleveland Brows keep their success going against the formidable defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs? Can the Chiefs take the next step to defending their crown? How healthy will the Los Angeles Rams be, going into the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field and will this be Green Bay Packers QB and likely NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers’ best chance at another Lombardi? Can Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson lead his team to another playoff win? Can the Buffalo Bills’ Cinderella-like season and post-season continue? In what I lovingly call the “old-geezer” matchup, will we finally see the shoot-out that many NFL fans have been hoping to see? Will we see 41 year old New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees advance to what will likely be the final NFC Championship Game of his career, or are we going to 43 year old Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady advance to his first NFC Championship and take the next step to a possible 10th Super Bowl appearance in hope for a 7th ring?

This blog will answer all those questions and sort out those storylines. I hope my readers will enjoy this blog. I welcome feedback and encourage it.

2020-21 NFL DIVISIONAL ROUND PREVIEW

Games for Saturday, January 16, 2021:

(6) Los Angeles Rams @ (1) Green Bay Packers

This game will be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI and will air on FOX. Kickoff will be at 4:35pm, EST.

PREVIEW: As I said, can the Los Angeles Rams come from sunny Southern California to defeat the Green Bay Packers in a very cold Lambeau Field. According to Accuweather.com, the high is only supposed to be 35 degrees and a low of 23, so the Rams have that working against them. Star defender Aaron Donald is still battling a rib injury, but as of this writing, is expected to play. Even if he is not as effective, there are plenty of other defenders along that Rams defensive line for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to worry about. DB Jalen Ramsey will also wreak havoc in the secondary as well. I should remind readers that the Rams have the #1 ranked offense.

The Packers do have all the other advantages, besides home field. They are the 5th ranked offense, 8th in rushing and 9th in passing. The Packers also have a guy named Aaron Rodgers, who has clicked with his head coach Matt LeFleur. This will be a tall task for the Rams to beat, even though Rams head coach Sean McVey is no slouch as a head coach, himself. The question for McVey is: Can he and starter Jared Goff lead their offense against the Packers’ 9th ranked offense? As of this writing, it is not certain whether WR Cooper Cupp will play, but it has been confirmed that QB Blake Bortles will be the backup as injured QB John Wolford has been ruled out.

PREDICTION: I am expecting this game to be a mid to high scoring game, but the result is going to be very close. I don’t think it would be impossible for the Rams to win, but the Packers have way too many advantages. 6,000 fans will be allowed to watch the game in person, so there is another advantage for the home team. PACKERS: 31-28.

(5) Baltimore Ravens @ (2) Buffalo Bills

This game will be played at Bills Stadium at Orchard Park, NY and will air on NBC. Kickoff will be at 8:15pm, EST.

PREVIEW: This is going to be another hard hitting game between two tough teams. The Buffalo Bills are coming off of what I would call a somewhat lackluster performance in their win over the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card Round. The Baltimore Ravens are coming off of a tough and rather emotional win over the Tennessee Titans as well. I am expecting a similar game between these two teams as well.

I would like to add something, before I continue. I hope BOTH the Bills and the Ravens don’t act like childish brats in this game, like the Ravens and the Titans did last weekend. If you watched the game, you know what I am talking about. For those who didn’t, here it goes. The Titans and the Ravens have some sort of rivalry or “bad blood” between them. One of the ways it came out was that when the Titans beat the Ravens in Baltimore, there was some sort of incident involving Titan players on the Ravens’ symbol in the middle of the field. Well, last week, after the team secured the first down to end the game, a whole bunch of Ravens players ran onto the Titans’ symbol. Yeah, I know that there is a history of players messing around on the opponents’ logo. See Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys Star. However, this is getting way out of hand. These are grown man getting tons of money to play a game. They need to grow up.

Now, that I am off my soapbox, back to this game. The Ravens were able to shut down “King” Derrick Henry in Tennessee. We will see if the Ravens can shut down the Bills’ #2 ranked offense completely. Can the Bills defense stop the Ravens’ #1 ranked rushing attack, especially QB Lamar Jackson? The Bills defense needs to stop Jackson. They can not let him escape, like the Titans did. If one paid attention, there were plenty of occasions where the Titan defense had Jackson in their grasps, but he was able to pull a Houdini act and escape and get critical first downs. The Bills QB Josh Allen needs to be protected or the Ravens defense will eat him alive.

For the Ravens, they have to make holes on the offensive line so Jackson can run, as he is their best weapon. Jackson also needs to throw the ball as well. Is Jackson a “special player,” like the announcers and experts say? No doubt. Randall Cunningham also was considered “a special player.” Cunningham could win throwing the ball, though. Call me old fashioned, but I would like to see Mr. Jackson win more games with his arm.

PREDICTION: I am expecting a close game. The Bills have the home team advantage and the weather that is predicted for the game calls for snow showers. Lamar Jackson hasn’t played in the snow, that I remember. This might help out the Bills. The Ravens won the last meeting between the two teams, but that was in December of 2019 and the Bills are a different team, as Josh Allen is a much better quarterback now. This game can go either way, and even though the Bills have a bit of an advantage, I think the Ravens win in a close contest. RAVENS: 24-23

Games for Sunday, January 17, 2021:

(6) Cleveland Browns @ (1) Kansas City Chiefs

This game will be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO and will air on CBS. Kickoff will be at 3:05pm, EST.

PREVIEW: The Cleveland Browns have arrived. Unless you have been living under a rock, the Browns have shocked the NFL world and defeated their “big brother,” the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 45-37 win on Wild Card Weekend. What is the prize behind Door #1 for the Browns? It’s a trip to Kanas City to face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. You know, QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill and the gang. Andy Reid, the head coach of the Chiefs, will be there as well, waiting for their next victims, I mean, the Browns.

There are a few things that are going for the Browns. It looks like they are getting their head coach Kevin Stefanski, corners Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson, as well as Bill Callahan, the team’s offensive coordinator, all of whom missed the Steeler game due to COVID. Even though the Browns clobbered the Steelers without these guys, their return will be obviously a huge boost to the team. Having Ward and Johnson will help the Browns against the Chiefs’ #1 ranked offense immensely.

One huge question is can Stefanski outcoach the more experienced Andy Reid? Andy Reid is especially brilliant after a bye week. In his 22 year coaching career, Reid is 18-3 in the regular season, after a bye and is 5-2 in the post-season, after a bye. The defenses of the two teams are evenly matched, as the Browns have the #17th ranked defense and the Chiefs have the #16th ranked defense. Where the Chiefs might be vulnerable is when the Browns run the ball, as the Browns are ranked #3 in rushing. The Browns are going to have a hard time with star QB Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs have the #1 ranked offense and are #1 in passing.

If the Browns want to shock the world again, they are going to have to look at what the Miami Dolphins defense did and force Mahomes into mistakes. The Browns defense have to force more three and outs and the Browns offense has to keep Mahomes on the bench. The Chiefs defense can be run on. I would stick with the run game, if I were Callahan. RB Nick Chubbs should have a field day. Mahomes and the starters also have not played for nearly three weeks, either. I don’t think the rust will make a lot of difference, but that is something to watch.

A huge advantage for the Chiefs is the loud stadium. There will be 16,000 fans, instead of a full stadium. Will that make as much of a difference as it has before? It might. I know a lot of people dismiss the “home field advantage” theory, but I don’t. This also an afternoon game and the high on Sunday is expected to be about 41 degrees. That should not make a difference. Anyway, the Chiefs are definitely the better team and the defending champions.

PREDICTION: I have watched the Chiefs this year and they look like they could repeat. Many experts and commentators have said the Chiefs are a “lock” to repeat. Well, I have been watching the Chiefs and if one is paying attention, the team doesn’t look as unbeatable as some would want you to believe, even though the team is 14-2. The Chiefs definitely should have had more losses on their record, as their opponents played them pretty close, but made dumb mistakes and the Chiefs’ Mahomes was able to pull a Houdini act and get the team the victory. What I am saying is that they don’t seem as intimidating and appear to be vulnerable and could be had. The Brows must be aggressive, but not make a lot of dumb mistakes. Kevin Stefanski has to call a perfect game against Reid and I am not sure that will happen. In my view, the Browns are not experienced enough. CHIEFS: 35-31,

(#5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ (#2) New Orleans Saints

This game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA and will air on FOX. Kickoff will be at 6:40pm, EST.

Well, as a fan of great players and a fan of both of these men, I was SO hoping that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints would wind up playing each other in the NFC Championship game. I am almost sure I am not the only fan hoping for that. Like the Stones sing, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” though. This should be a great game between two undoubtedly great quarterbacks, Saints QB Drew Brees and Buccaneers QB Tom Brady. This will likely be the final time the two greats meet.

The Saints come into this game off of a win over the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card Round in a game that was closer than I thought it would have been. The Buccaneers come into this game off of a win, after a bit of a dogfight with the Washington Football Team, a team that hopefully will find a name in the off-season. The key injuries to watch for both teams are for the Saints: gadget player and backup QB Taysom Hill has not practiced Wednesday or Thursday, due to a knee injury. For the Buccaneers, keep an eye on the status for RB Ronald Jones, who returned to a limited practice due to calf and finger injuries on Thursday. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans has been limited in practice and hopes to be “closer to 100%” by Sunday. The absence of G Alex Kappa will be one to watch during the game.

PREDICTION: Much has been made of the 46 point differential between the two teams, as the Saints beat the Buccaneers both times in the regular season, the first time by a score of 34-23 and the second time by a score of 38-3. The Saints also have the advantage of having the game at their home. In the past 50 years, there were 21 playoff games where a team had a chance to sweep an opponent, after winning both regular season appearances. Those teams went 14-7. The Saints have that advantage. QB Drew Brees will also have his complement of weapons and that Saints defense knows how to disrupt an offense.

How can the Buccaneers reverse this and do what the 2007 New York Giants did to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2007-08 post-season? The Cowboys swept the Giants in the regular season, but the Giants turned the tables on the Cowboys in the 2007-08. I mean, talk about irony? The truth is stranger than fiction.

Regardless, here is how the Buccaneers can turn the tables on the Saints: The offensive line must protect Tom Brady at all costs. The Saints defense was able to tee off of him and sack him constantly and force him into mistakes. This can not happen, if coach Bruce Arians wants to advance his team to the NFC Championship game. Arians can not pull that “risk it or biscuit” nonsense. Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich must RUN THE BALL. This has to happen. Hopefully, their best runner, Ronald Jones will be active. Running the ball will keep the Saints defense honest and will help open up the passing game, so Brady can get the ball to his weapons. The Buccaneers offense is also finally clicking, so I definitely expect a better performance. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles has to call a better game than he did against Washington. If Taysom Hill can’t go, it will definitely be of some help.

As to who wins this game and advances to the NFC Championship Game, I am expecting a high scoring game. I expect both quarterbacks to play well and I also expect the teams to play well, also. I expect the Tampa Bay defense to play much better and to step up their game as LB Devon White and DT Steve McLendon return from the COVID reserve list. I also expect the Saints to score more than 21 points. I picked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl at the very beginning of the NFL Season. I realize there is a strong case to make for the New Orleans Saints to win. I am one of those people who will stick with my pick, even if I wind up being wrong. BUCCANEERS: 32-27.

ADDENDUM: I want to add that regardless of the Ssints-Buccaneers outcome, we are going to be watching two legendary quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Drew Brees go at it. One of these two legends will be leading his team to the NFC Championship and a possible trip to the Super Bowl. I know I have to be unbiased, but to me, it doesn’t matter which one of these two quarterbacks it is . Both men are amazing quarterbacks and both men are both great character guys. They are both great family men, as well, so either team will have a great quarterback and a great person in the NFC Championship game. It’s a “win, ” either way.

That is it for the blog. Thanks for reading. Feedback below.

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2020-21 Wild Card Weekend-The Aftermath

by Terri Bey

The 2020-21 NFL Wild Card weekend is in the books. What a crazy set of games it was. There were the predictable winners in most of the games. One game featured a mild upset. The final game of the weekend featured a surprising upset and at the same time, a not so surprising upset, if one was paying close attention to both of the teams involved. As there were 6 games total, I went 4 for 6 on my picks on my Wild Card Predictions blog. That’s not too shabby.

In this blog, I will be discussing the aftermath of the past weekend’s games and the implications for the winners and losers. I will also include a little bit of NFL news as well. I hope you will enjoy this blog. Feedback is encouraged and welcomed.

THE AFTERMATH OF THE 2020-21 NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND

Saturday’s Games:

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills.

Result: Bills win by a score of 27-24 and face the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round.

I picked the Bills to win this game and I got this one right. Both teams appeared to be a bit tentative, especially the home team, the Buffalo Bills. I expected the Bills, especially, to play a lot better, considering how loose and relaxed they have been, coming into the game. QB Josh Allen made critical plays with his legs, including running in for a TD.

The Colts really puzzled me. I didn’t understand why head coach and former Buffalo Bill backup QB Frank Reich was so aggressive at times. He should have taken points when he could, instead of going for it, and coming up with nothing. It didn’t help when his kicker missed a field goal, either. This is not the only game where I saw questionable playcalling, either.

While Josh Allen advances with his Bills team to face the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round, it will be interesting to see whether Colts QB Philip Rivers will come back next season or retire.

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks

Result: Rams win by a score of 30-20 and face the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.

My pick to win this game was the Seahawks and they let me down. After the injury to Rams QB John Wolford early in the first quarter, one wondered how regular QB Jared Goff was going to do with that thumb injury. Goff came in and did the job well. It helped that the defense, led by DE Aaron Donald, just ran roughshod over the Seahawks offense. Donald did suffer a rib injury and WR Cooper Kupp suffered a knee injury. Coach Sean McVey was optimistic both would play, but wasn’t sure at this writing.

The Seahawks just could not get out of their own way. The relentless pressure from the Rams defense forced Seahawks Russell Wilson into turnovers. Wilson and WR DK Metcalf were not on the same page, either and you could see Metcalf having a fit on the sidelines. The Seahawks offense had cooled down late in the season and it showed. Russell Wilson is going to need help along the offensive line and will need more weapons.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team

Result: Buccaneers win by a score of 31-23 and face the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round.

My pick for this game was the Buccaneers and they came through. As I said in my Wild Card preview blog, much was made about Washington Football Team defender Chase Young’s “I want Tom.” comment. Well, on Saturday night, Mr. Young learned the expression, “If you come for the King, you better not miss.” I will admit that it was cool to see both Mr. Young and Mr. Brady hugging and showing one another respect.

As for the game, I have to tip my hat to Football team QB Taylor Heinicke. He was on the Patriots’ Practice Squad in 2017. Talk about irony. Henicke started in the place of started Alex Smith, who could barely practice this past week, due to a calf injury. Heinicke was excellent. Heinicke knew where to go with the ball and even dove to the pilon for a score. He didn’t win, but he made a good showing of himself.

What else is there to say about Tom Brady, who won his 31st playoff game? That is the most playoff wins in 1950. Brady threw for 381 yards and 2 TDs. While Brady is all about team, his stats would have looked a lot better and the score would have been higher had his receivers, specifically Chris Godwin, not dropped passes. The WR core does deserve praise though, especially Antonio Brown and Mike Evans who fought through his knee injury to get key first downs. The running game was also functioning well and needs to be including in the game against the Saints. What also needs to improve is the defensive play, especially that secondary, especially since they are facing the Saints for a third time on Sunday.

Sunday’s Games:

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans

Result: Ravens win by a score of 20-13 and face the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round.

Despite all the prognosticators of doom, who said that Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson could not win a playoff game or win a game when down 10 or more points, Mr. Jackson and his Ravens came through for me, as I picked the Ravens to win. This game was the hard hitting game I expected. The Ravens offense was led by none other than Lamar Jackson, who pulled his Houdini acted and ran for a touchdown. What was more impressive was the Ravens defense. Now, they are not the second coming of the 2000 Ravens defense, but what was so impressive about their performance on Sunday was that they stopped Tennessee Titans star RB Derrick Henry. I couldn’t believe it. The longest run that Henry had all day was for 8 yards. Their game versus the Bills will be awesome.

This game also featured some very strange play-calling by Titans coach Mike Vrabel. There was about 10 minutes left in the entire game and they were at a 4th and 2 situation. Instead of trying a play, Vrabel punts. I didn’t understand that. They were down 17-13 and had a great offense and they could not try anything to get another possession? Also, QB Ryan Tannehill was also terrible. I don’t know if the Ravens defense was exposing him or what, but he was awful.

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

Result: Saints win by a score of 21-9 and face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.

Remember in my Wild Card Preview blog, when picking this game, I posted a video playing “No Chance in Hell,” which is Vince McMahon’s WWE theme, when I spoke of the Chicago Bears’ chances of defeating the New Orleans Saints? Well, I was right about that and I was correct in my picking the Saints to win.

I don’t know if I got worn down from watching all that football this weekend or what, but this game was boring. The Saints started out with a touchdown, but then, even with QB Drew Brees having virtually ALL of his weapons at his disposal, it would not be until the third quarter when the Saints would score another touchdown and then in the fourth quarter, they’d score another touchdown. Yes, the Bears defense did its part to keep the Saints offense to 21 points, but the hapless offense, led by QB Mitch Trubisky was just that, hapless. They scored a field goal in the second quarter and a touchdown in garbage time. In the first quarter, Tribusky threw a perfect throw that should have been a touchdown, but the receiver let it go through his arms. Even the Saints had their own mishaps which were a missed field goal and a fumble.

This game was not what I was expecting. I know Brees is aging and beat-up. I realize that this is more likely his final season. I was expecting a bit more of a beat-down. As for the Bears, it is obvious that Trubisky was a miss. Backup Nick Foles is not the answer, either. The team needs to fix their quarterback issues. What the Saints will do at quarterback, should Brees retire, will also be interesting.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers

Browns win by a score of 48-37 and face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round.

I screwed up. I, like most folks, experts, and fellow bloggers picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win, because of issues I raised in my preview blog. I mentioned the COVID mini-outbreak affecting players and their head coach Steve Stefanski, the Cleveland Browns not winning in Pittsburgh since 2003, the Browns only having one practice day and the Steelers being the better team. Well, those of us backing the Steelers were WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. The Browns’ win is the game where the outcome was a surprise and at the same time, not a surprise.

The result was a surprise, in that one would have thought that the lack of practice and the lack of playoff experience would have hampered the Browns. After all, you can’t go through the game plan in a Zoom meeting. Players have to physically practice the installed game plan. Coach Stefanski’s absence was definitely going to be a hindrance, since he wasn’t going to be there physically to call plays and coach.

I was really surprised and very impressed by the way the Cleveland Browns played. Overall, the Browns played with poise and were very aggressive and just took it to the Steelers. Browns QB Baker Mayfield was awesome. The running game was fantastic . RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt cut through that Steeler defense like the defenders were standing still. The Browns also took advantages of every Steeler mistake. What was most impressive was that the Browns played like a team. This was a great team win by the Browns. They earned it and deserved it.

Now, here is where the result was NOT much of a surprise, if you paid attention. As I have said previously, the Steelers started out hot at 11-0 and I think they “read their own news clippings” about all the “undefeated season” talk and somehow got sidetracked, and lost to the Washington Football Team and the Steelers season went downhill from there. I realize their season got messed up because of the COVID outbreaks on the Titans, and that did contribute to the Steelers’ season going sideways.

However, Pittsburgh wound up as the AFC North Champions and with a 12-4 record. Despite all this, the Steelers did seem vulnerable coming into this playoff game. Even though I thought they could possibly lose, I still thought they were the better team and their experience in the playoffs coupled with the Browns’ issues would carry the Steelers to a win. That is why I picked them. I wound up being wrong.

The Steelers stumbled out of the starting gate by botching the center to quarterback exchange. That is not a typo. The very basic move in the NFL is botched on national TV and not only that, the ball went over Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s head and into the end zone, where a whole bunch of Browns defenders pounced on it for a touchdown. IThat wasn’t all. Roethlisberger threw a couple of interceptions. The Browns took advantage and it was 21-0 Browns. This is not a drill. This is real. Before one could say “I want to go to Primanti’s at halftime.” the score was 35-10 in the favor of the Browns.

The Steelers DID make a comeback, but the comeback was not enough and Roethlisberger threw 2 more interceptions, for a total of 4 INTs, along with 4 TDs. The Steelers QB also threw for 501 yards in the loss. Pittsburgh had no running attack and the defense was non-existent. Someone also needs to tell WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to stop giving opponents “bulletin board material.” I am not saying his stupid comment, “Browns is the Browns” was the reason the Steelers lost, but saying something like that gives the opponent more motivation. The opponent SHOULD ALREADY have motivation, anyway. They just should not have any extra ammo.

The Steelers organization is going to have to make some hard decisions about its team during the off-season. They will have several players becoming free agents, including Smith-Schuster. The one big decision surrounds their QB Ben Roethlisberger. His cap hit is about $41 million, if he is on the roster next season. Should he be on the roster, Roethlisberger will be 39 and I am not talking about an “in shape” 39. Roethlisberger has had a long history of injuries. Roethlisberger missed all of last season with the elbow. Big Ben is no longer mobile and has been in decline. The team needs to draft his replacement. They should have done it a long time ago.

FOOTBALL NEWS:

The Philadelphia Eagles have fired the most overrated coach in Doug Pederson. I suspected they would, especially after this tumultuous season. It wasn’t just a bad season, it was just horrendous, especially since it was obviously more than met the eye when it came to QB Carson Wentz. There had to have been some tension between him and Pedersen. Also, Pedersen’s strange decisions in games and that tank job to allow Football Team to win the game had to have bothered Eagles Ownership. Evidently, Eagles owner Lurie was looking at the long term future of the team and Pederson was more concerned with next season. I guess they were not “having much fun.”

I will say that it is obvious that the conflict between Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson had something to do with Pederson’s ousting. Obviously, ownership chose the quarterback. How attractive will the Eagles job be to prospective head coaching candidates? It depends on how willing the candidate wants to work with Wentz. Whomever lands the job, Wentz is going to have to play lights out next year, should he stay.

As most people know, soon after the Eagles’ winning Super Bowl 52 over the New England Patriots, the Eagles erected a statue to honor the “Philly Special,” which was the famous play that QB Nick Foles came up with to help win the game. Doug Pederson admitted he stole the play from the Patriots. The play is shown here: https://youtu.be/pGcSWCfnRNw . The statue shows Foles and Pederson talking to one another. To celebrate a sideline about a single play to celebrate a team’s first Super Bowl was silly then and it looks even more silly now. This latest incident is why you erect a statue for a player or coach, AFTER he/she has retired, not to celebrate one play and to inadvertently take a shot at your opponent.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom that was going to be awarded to him by the outgoing President. Here is Coach Belichick’s statement below:

When it was initially announced that Bill Belichick was picked to receive this award, the usual anti-Patriot rhetoric came out from the mainstream media. For example, CNN’s Jake Tapper went on Twitter and listed minor Patriots violations like Spygate (filming in the wrong place) and Deflategate (missing molecules of air in a ball, thanks to the weather) as if that had anything to do with the coup attempt in the Capitol, all because Trump had been a friend of Belichick, etc.. Here is his tweet: https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/1348457974608637955?s=20 Mr. Tapper is also an Eagles fan, so there is that. I know people hate the Patriots for reasons real (greatest NFL dynasty ever, led by the greatest QB ever, etc.) and imagined (Patriots get all the calls and the NFL wants the Patriots to win the SB every year), but this nonsense by Tapper and others is way too much. Missing air is in the same category of an offense as an organized attempted coup and attempted assassinations on Vice President Michael Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by Insurrectionists. Wow. Talk about a reach.

I was pretty sure that Coach Belichick would reject the award. His late father, Steve Belichick, served in WWII in the Navy, and spent 34 years as a football scout at the United States Naval Academy. Bill Belichick has been very supportive of the military, especially the Naval Academy. Given this background, I always thought that Belichick was the type of person who would put the country first. After all, his football philosophy is “team first” and there is “no ‘I’ in team.” I just didn’t think he would accept the award, especially considering what happened on January 6th. Anyway, Bill Belichick, per the above statement, rejected the honor. I will say that the President will not be happy at the very least.

Well, that was my blog. Feedback is welcome. I will be back on Friday to give my picks for Division Round weekend.

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My Predictions for the NFL 2020-21 Wild Card Weekend

by Terri Bey

On Tuesday, I wrote my blog recapping the NFL regular season. For those who missed it, here it is: A Wrap-Up of the NFL 2020-21 Regular Season | edgerocks (wordpress.com). For those who read it, thank you for reading it. I greatly appreciate it. I am here again to write another blog with my predictions for the first weekend of the NFL 2020-21 playoffs, on the way to Super Bowl 55, which is scheduled to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on February 7, 2021.

Thanks to a change in the playoffs seeding, because the NFL just HAD to just adopt the “everyone gets a trophy” method of doing things and add a seventh team to each conference. Therefore, only the #1 seed in each conference get the bye week off, instead of the #1 and the #2 seed in both conferences getting the bye week off. I personally think this is ridiculous. Winning a title in any sport is supposed to be difficult and it is also supposed to be difficult to qualify for the tournament as well.

There are very interesting storylines going through each of the games this weekend. As there are six of them, three on Saturday and three on Sunday, I am going to get right into discussing them, as there is much to discuss. I hope you will enjoy this blog and feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

WILD CARD PREDICTIONS:

Games for Saturday, January 9, 2021

Buffalo Bills (#2) vs Indianapolis Colts (#7)

This game will be played at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, NY and kickoff will be at 1:05PM, EST on CBS.

The Buffalo Bills, who won the AFC East for the first time since 1995, are coming in with the #2 ranked offense and the #14th ranked defense against an Indianapolis Colts team with the 10th ranked offense and the 8th ranked defense. The Bills are the most complete team in the entire playoffs in both conferences, in my view. This will be a tough game for the Colts to beat, despite the veteran presence of QB Philip Rivers, who has been prone to making that critical mistake, while Bills QB Josh Allen is having a fantastic year that is so impressive that some feel he should be in the MVP discussion.

The Colts do have a pretty stout defense and would need to try to make the Bills one dimenstional as the Bills are ranked 20th in rushing. The Bills are 2nd in passing, so it is fortunate that the Colts are getting Safety Kharl Willis from the concussion protocol. A couple of injuries to watch for are Bills WR Stefon Diggs’ oblique injury and Bills Wr Cole Beasley’s knee injury. Diggs claims he will be playing, but coach Sean McDermott said that Diggs’ status is uncertain as Diggs was limited in practice this week. If one or both can’t go, that will hamper the Bills chances.

PREDICTION: The Colts have a good team and made the playoffs. I think they will score points, but the game is at Orchard Park. As of this writing, there will be fans allowed, so Bills Mafia will be there and the Bills are playing as well as anyone and are having fun. I expect the Bills to win handily. Bills 35-14.

Seattle Seahawks (#3) vs Los Angeles Rams (#6)

This game will be played at Lumen Stadium in Seattle, WA and kickoff will be at 4:40PM, EST on FOX.

This is an obvious divisional rivalry game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams. From looking at where each team ranks in the various categories, both teams are pretty evenly matched, with the exception of one category, defense. The Seahawks have the #1 ranked defense in the NFL, after that unit stumbled out of the gate so badly that QB Russell Wilson had to pretty much carry the team. Well, now they are the #1 defensive unit in the league. The Rams have the #22nd ranked defense in the NFL, even though they still have DT Aaron Donald.

Even though defenders like Jamal Adams, Jarren Reed and Shaquill Griffin have battled injuries, word is that they will play and Seattle will be coming into the game healthy on both sides of the ball. Rams QB Jared Goff has been battling a broken finger on his throwing hand. Will he finish the game? We will see.

PREDICTION: As both of these teams are division rivals, I don’t expect a high scoring game at first, due to their familiarity with each other. However, I do expect the Seattle defense to take over and Russ Wilson, along with D.J. Metcalf to help pull away from the Rams. Score: Seahawks 27-18.

Washington Football Team (#4) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#5)

This game will be played at FedEx Field in Landover, MD and kickoff will be at 8:15PM, EST on NBC.

This will be a pretty interesting match up. Here is the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady with his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, facing the Washington Football Team and their 7-9 record. Brady also comes in as a Wild Card for the first time in his career. Remember, in last year’s playoffs, he came in during the Wild Card weekend as a Division winner. Did I also say that Brady is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, where he threw 40 TDs and for 4600 yards and rushed for 3 TDs? Did I say he is 43? The Football Team has two feel-good stories in QB Alex Smith, who is returning from a severe and nearly life-threatening leg injury and head coach Ron Rivera, who was battling cancer and defeated it during the season. The Washington Football Team also conquered another cancer in problematic former 1st round pick in Dwayne Haskins, by releasing him, when his behavior was just out of control. There were many instances of this outrageous behavior, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was video of Haskins in a club without a mask, openly violating the NFL’s COVID protocols. Haskins had to go. His poor playing didn’t help, either.

One particular storyline that plays into the match-ups is Football Team’s Defensive End Chase Young. After the team defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, with the assistance of the Eagles, Chase Young was recorded calling out the G.O.A.T Tom Brady, as he ran off the field, saying, “I want Tom.” He even doubled down on it. Of course, ESPN and the sports media went crazy. I think the young man is just enthusiastic about playing against the G.O.A.T. I mean, what young player wouldn’t. If he gets to sack Brady, he could tell his kids and his grandkids about how he sacked the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

Regardless, the Washington Football Team has the #2 ranked defense in the NFL, so this team is no joke in that department, so the Buccaneers offensive line has to protect Tom Brady at all cost. The Buccaneers have the 6th ranked defense vs the Football Team’s 30th ranked offense. The defenses definitely could keep the scores low or maybe into the 20s. However, I do feel that Brady, who is still brilliant at 43, has too many weapons, such as TE Rob Gronkowski and RB Leonard Fournette, to name a few, and Football team’s secondary is a bit suspect. In fact, one of Brady’s weapons, WR Mike Evans, who hyperextended his knee in the Week 17 win over the Atlanta Falcons, has a chance to play on Saturday. He finally practiced in a limited role on Thursday and is a game-time decision. Even without him, that wide receiver core will be able to handle their duties.

PREDICTION: I think Washington’s defense will keep the score close for a bit, but I just don’t think their offense will be able to put up enough points to win them the game. QB Alex Smith is a nice story, but he is also battling a calf injury and head coach Ron Rivera said he may have to use both QB Taylor Heinicke and Smith. In fact, Heinicke has been taking most of the snaps in practice, per reports. The Buccaneers have been playing well, of late. They need to get started a bit quicker and coach Bruce Arians and his offensive staff need to keep out of Brady’s way. Will Chase Young get a sack, just to say he “sacked the G.O.A.T?” Possibly. However, I do think that Brady’s Bucs get the best of the young man. See what I did there? Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 30-20.

Games for Sunday, January 10, 2021:

Tennessee Titans (#4) vs Baltimore Ravens (#5)

This game will be played at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN and kickoff will be at 1:05PM, EST on ESPN.

This game should be a very interesting match-up between the Balimore Ravens and their #1 ranked rushing offense and the Tennessee Titans and their #2 ranked rushing attack. The Ravens have the #7th ranked defense and are facing the #3 ranked offense in the Titans. The Titans come into this game, having just fending off rival Houston in a crazy finish to win their division and the Ravens had to make a five game winning streak just to make the playoffs, after losing to Pittsburgh and also dealing with a huge COVID outbreak.

Some interesting storylines here concern MVP candidate Derrick Henry of the Titans and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Can Derrick Henry once again run all over an opponent’s defense and take over this game, like he did last year to the Patriots? Can Titans QB Ryan Tannehill take care of the ball and help score enough points?

On the Baltimore side, can QB Lamar Jackson stand in the pocket and throw or will he have to depend on his legs? Can the Titans defense stop Jackson when he breaks containment, especially on short yardage situations? Jackson is also going to want to win this game, so he can win his first playoff game of his career, as he is 0-2 in playoff games.

PREDICTION: I think this will be a low to mid-scoring game Derrick Henry will get his yards and a couple of scores. I know the Titans are at home and I am sure coach Mike Vrabel will have something up his sleeve, but I think Baltimore and Lamar Jackson are going to be a bit too much. Baltimore: 28-20.

New Orleans Saints (#2) vs Chicago Bears (#7)

This game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA and kickoff will be at 4:40PM, EST on FOX.

The Chicago Bears needed two starting quarterbacks, Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles to get to the playoffs, but they got here. They are headed to New Orleans to face New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees and his teammates. This game, on paper, is a definite mismatch. They don’t play the game on paper, so I am going to have to give you my opinion.

Do the Bears have a chance? If you watched their game against the Green Bay Packers a few weeks ago, there were points in the the game, where the Bears kept up with the Packers. There were a few times where Bears defenders should have intercepted Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Trubisky played decently at times. The Bears are going to have to step up their game, if they want to take down Brees and his team.

PREDICTION: Drew Brees, even though he is going into this game horribly banged up with rib injuries, is still one of the best in the game. I realize he has been playing to get back into “shape,” but I expect him to play well in this game. Like Brady against the Washington Football Team, Brees has too many weapons also. One particular weapon, RB Alvin Kamara was on the COVID-19 Reserve list and has been practicing with the team via remote. Kamara made a cryptic tweet, saying he will play. We will see.

Regardless, the Saints defense is ranked 4th in the league and the Bears have the 26th ranked offense. Well, I have bad news for the Chicago Bears. Cue WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon’s music.

Credit: MrCMPunkHD

Saints 35-10.

Pittsburgh Steelers (#3) vs Cleveland Browns (#6)

This game will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA and airs on NBC. Kickoff will be 8:15PM, EST on NBC.

This Sunday will be the third time the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns meet. However, one moves on and the other goes home. Both teams come into this game with auras of uncertainty. Which Steelers team are we going to get? Are we going to get the Steelers who started out red-hot at 11-0, or are we going to get the stumbling and bumbling Steelers who won 1 of their last 5 games? I mean, their backups lost to the Browns, who weren’t at full strength, thanks to COVID. In speaking of COVID, the Browns are dealing with that. How hampered are the Browns going to be, thanks to COVID? The team is going to be down several players and even their head coach, Kevin Stefanski, who tested positive for the disease. There are also more players testing positive, causing the practice facility to be closed, but the game will go on, per the NFL.

The Steelers have a great advantage in that they have the #3 ranked defense. The defense will be without Joe Haden, who tested positive for COVID. The team does have a whole list of injuries, including WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was added to Thursday’s injury report with a knee injury and didn’t practice, so that is one to watch. I hate to call him the wild card, no pun intended, but QB Ben Roethlisberger fits the description. His play was very concerning in the last several games. I don’t know if it his elbow injury or the knee or he is in some decline, but he has to play better.

On the Browns side, the loss of head coach Kevin Stefanski is a major blow. QB Baker Mayfield has flourished under Stefanski. Of course, it hasn’t been perfect for Mayfield and for the entire team. COVID affected the availability of the team’s entire receiver core before their encounter with the hapless New York Jets. The Browns lost that game, even though they should have won it. The Browns do come into this game with the #3 ranked rushing attack. I expect RB Nick Chubbs to get his yards. The Browns defense isn’t too bad, being led by DE Myles Garrett, is ranked at #17.

PREDICTION: I am expecting a hard-hitting and fairly low to mid-scoring game, given the two teams being very familiar with one another. Can the Browns win this game? It is possible, but I think the fact that they are going to be without their head coach and other players will be too big of an obstacle. The Browns would have to play a near perfect game. The Steelers can not let their guard down and “play down” to the Browns’ level, like they have a terrible habit of doing, even though they are the better team. The Steelers need to knock the Browns out early and not let them back into the game. The game is at Heinz Field and even though there won’t be a stadium filled with Terrible Towels, I think this is still an advantage for the Steelers. Steelers 24-20.

Those are my picks for the NFL 2020-21 Wild Card Weekend. I wish all teams and their fanbases good luck and for no major injuries. I hope everyone will enjoy the games. Thank you for reading and feedback is below.

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A Wrap-Up of the NFL 2020-21 Regular Season

by Terri Bey

I first want to wish my readers a very happy new year. I know last year was tough for everyone, due to the COVID pandemic. I want to extend my prayers and condolences to my readers and to everyone who has either been diagnosed with COVID or has a family member/friend who has been diagnosed with the illness or has had a family member/friend die from this terrible disease. I also want to say I hope that this pandemic ends soon and I hope that this year will be the beginning of the end of this pandemic.

In speaking of COVID, the 2020-21 NFL regular season ended on January 3, 2021 and it was a rather strange season, to say the least, thanks in part to the COVID pandemic. The pandemic wrecked havoc on teams and scheduling, as just about every team had to deal with positives and closings of practice facilities, etc. Games had to be moved, much to the dismay of players and to the detriment of teams. COVID positives are even affecting teams going into the playoffs, but I will discuss that in my upcoming playoff blog.

In this blog, I will be discussing the ups and downs of a very strange NFL season. I will be discussing the controversies and the good, the bad and the ugly of the 2020-21 NFL regular season. I hope my readers enjoy this blog. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

THE GOOD:

The NFL’s ability to finish all 256 games during the COVID Pandemic.

The COVID pandemic was causing life to pretty much stop, including the majority of the sports world. With the exception of was deemed “essential,” like grocery shopping, certain medical appointments, etc, everything was shutdown. Concerts and live events canceled. Restaurants and cosmetologists and other “non-essential businesses were shut down. Sports were not immune, as the NCAA Finals were canceled. The NBA and NHL seasons were paused and the MLB season opener was postponed. The ONLY sport that was fully functional, even though no fans were allowed, was Thoroughbred Racing, a fact which the media ignored.

While the NBA and NHL and MLB figured out ways to complete their seasons, NFL fans wondered what the NFL was going to do about their upcoming season. After all, the months that make up the NFL season, post-season and the Super Bowl, September to February, are the months where people are inside more and the virus will more quickly spread. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the foremost expert on communicable diseases, was skeptical of the NFL season even happening at all. There also the naysayers and many in the media who didn’t want the season to even happen.

Well, even though the NFL eliminated the OTAs, only allowed training camp, allowed virtual meetings and canceled the pre-season games, the NFL was able to start the season on time and complete the season, without canceling a single game. Was it perfect? No. The NFL had to change their COVID protocols several times. There were penalties for violations of COVID protocols. Games were moved because of outbreaks and it definitely hurt some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers who lost their bye week, because the Tennessee Titans’ outbreak and then had to have their Thanksgiving game against the Baltimore Ravens moved a couple of times, because of the Ravens having an outbreak.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great accomplishment by the NFL. As someone who loves the NFL and loves to watch football, I was glad to see the NFL being able to have their season. I am also very well aware of the pandemic and the damage it has done to people, physically and mentally. I am giving the NFL praise here, because the pandemic has also taken away so much joy from people who were looking forward to various events. It was good to see something normal, like watching the NFL on Sundays, as the sense of normalcy has been taken away by the pandemic.

The AFC East Champs Buffalo Bills.

The Buffalo Bills won the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and not only that, they made the playoffs as the #2 Seed. Had the NFL not added an extra team in the playoffs, the BIlls’ having the #2 Seed would be a bigger deal, as they would have gotten a bye, but this was cool. This looks like a fun team to watch. One of my favorite announcers was the late Tim Russert, who died at age 58, would have been so happy. This team looks like it could make some noise in the playoffs.

Washington Football Team‘s QB Alex Smith and Head Coach Ron Rivera

If there was a shoe-in for the award for “Comeback Player of the Year,” it would be Washington Football Team QB Alex Smith. I personally think it should be Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, but I digress. Smith returned to the field, earlier this year, and while his stats don’t light up the board, the fact he was able to return at all is a miracle. As most of my readers know, Smith has come all the way back from a very severe leg injury, which after surgery, Smith developed infections and nearly needed amputation and he nearly lost his life. Smith led the Washington Football team to the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

If there was such a Comeback Coach of the Year Award, it should go to the team’s coach, Ron Rivera, who was coaching while battling cancer. Rivera was undergoing cancer treatments. What a testament to Rivera.

Tom Brady’s Play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What else is there to say about the G.O.A.T? Tom Brady is just that special. After a few rough patches and a “getting to know you” period with Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Bruce Arians, Brady is on fire. Brady has thrown for 40 TDs, 11 INTs, and 4600 yards and ran for 3 TDs. Sure, Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers will likely be voted MVP. Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes has all the fancy moves on the field and all. Give me Tom Brady as the best QB in the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns Making the Playoffs

The Cleveland Browns, on January 3, 2021, kicked off the new year by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers and made history by making the playoffs for the first time in team history since 2002 This is an awesome achievement by the Browns. Yes, the team did beat the Steelers’ backups as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin sat Roethlisberger and other starters, but the Browns won, so they made it. Congrats to them.

THE BAD

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Inconsistency

The Pittsburgh Steelers came out like a house on fire, with an 11-0 record and then faltered down the stretch, finishing with a final record of 12-4 and only winning once in the last five games of the season after losing their undefeated season to Washington Football Team. While I do concede they were affected by both of the aforementioned COVID outbreaks of the Titans and Ravens and they were affected by a ton of injuries, but seeing Roethlisberger miss open receivers and seeing receivers dropping passes as if the balls were hot potatoes is very concerning. Even during their 11-0 run, I saw some issues, like playing down to their opponent.

New England Patriots Media and Fans, in reaction to Tom Brady’s Patriot Departure

When Tom Brady left the Patriots in free agency, I correctly guessed that the media was going to play the old, “Belichick vs Brady” routine. I was also interested to see how fans would react to Brady’s leaving and being on another team. I also wanted to see the reaction to a new quarterback. I was not surprised at the responses.

Some of the fans who were hating on Brady for making his own business decisions were just petty. Many were so ungrateful for the man did for their franchise. I was embarrassed for them. The media was even worse. During each game of the season, some in the media acted as if Brady was “playing” against Belichick. I thought it was just ridiculous.

When former NFL MVP Cam Newton took over as quarterback, there were mixed responses. Newton started off well, and then got COVID. He struggled for a lot of the season. There were a lot of fans calling for Stidham. There were some fans and media trying to discredit Belichick, which was absurd, like it was his fault half the defense opted out due to COVID.

THE UGLY

The NFC EAST, AKA The NFC (L)EAST

Where do I begin with these teams? None of the NFC East teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the Division winning Washington Football Team have a winning record. All of them have sub-.500 records. These teams were so horrendous that seven games was all that was required to win the division. I know the Cowboys had a major injury strike QB Dak Prescott and the Giants lost RB Saquon Barkley for the season, but seriously. The Eagles had quarterback issues as did Washington What a mess this division was.

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pedersen’s Tanking the Game on NBC in Week 17.

Everyone in the NFL got through 255 games during a pandemic. It just HAD to be the 256th and final regular season game where a head coach had to do something so outrageous that even his own players were mad at him. I am just stunned.

On NBC, during a live broadcast on national TV, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pedersen, the most overrated head coach in the NFL, sees his team down 17-14 in the 4th quarter. Pedersen yanks QB Jalen Hurts and puts backup QB Nate Sudfeld, because in Pedersen’s own words, “to give him some reps.” Well, for anyone who saw the game like I did, Pedersen’s decision torpedoed his team’s chances of winning. Fans, media and those in the NFL were perplexed and some were angry at Petersen’s decision. Even some of his own players were angry with him. Per CBS Sports, some players had to be restrained from approaching their head coach. (Doug Pederson’s benching of Jalen Hurts outraged Eagles players and led to sideline confrontations, per report – CBSSports.com )

I realize that the outcome of the game would have decided whether Washington or the New York Giants would have won the division. Had the Eagles won, the 6-10 Giants would have won the division, as they eliminated the Cowboys earlier that day. As the Eagles lost, Washington wins the division and the Giants were eliminated. I get all that. Of course, the Giants should have won more games. However, what Pedersen did was tank in front of a nation-wide audience. Pedersen is supposed to be coaching to win and not take out the QB who was giving his team the best chance to win, because he “wanted Sudfeld to get some snaps.” If you watched the game, Jalen Hurts WAS the offense as he scored two TDs by himself. If anyone wants to talk about “integrity of the game,” well the stunt that Pedersen pulled is an integrity issue. Should the Eagles be investigated? Yes. Will they? Of course not.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns losing to the New York Jets.

The Rams were kicking butt and taking names for awhile. They were looking like world-beaters after winning 4 out of their last 5. They even got “revenge,” if you can call it that, by crushing the New England Patriots. The Rams are on such a high, until they faced the then 0-14 New York Jets. The Jets were pretty much finishing out the string to land Trever Lawrence. However, the Jets players had a different thing in mind. They played their butts off and beat the Rams. The Rams were defeated by an 0-14 team. How on earth do you lose to a team like that?

The next win that the New York Jets got, came at the expense of the Cleveland Browns in Week 16. All the Browns had to do was beat the Jets. Well, COVID got in the way as because one of the Browns’ receivers got COVID and because most of the receivers were in “close contact,” most of the Browns receivers were on the COVID list, so poor Browns QB Baker Mayfield had practically no one to throw to. However, even with a couple of backup, the Browns should have won the game, but no. Thanks to some boneheaded decisions by Mayfield and other screwups, the Browns lost to the Jets, who also fired that terrible Adam Gase, who was their head coach.

The New York Jets Organization.

The New York Jets are a terrible organization from top to bottom. The hiring of Adam Gase as head coach was the first mistake. Keeping him for a second year and their general manager Joe Douglas’ doubling down on his support for Gase during this season was even worse. QB Samuel Darnold’s confidence has to be shaken and I am not so sure his career can even be saved, thanks to the team’s mismanagement. The one good thing this organization did was fire Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator when his boneheaded playcall cost the team a win against the Raiders.

Overall, I don’t think this is a very good organization. I think the team needs new ownership.

That is my blog to wrap up the NFL 2020-21 Regular Season. I will be back Thursday or Friday with my Wild Card Weekend Preview Blog. I hope you enjoyed this.

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Thirty Years Gone-Alydar’s Passing Still Hurts

by Terri Bey

Before I start this blog, I want to emphasize that the absolute TWO WORST days of my life was when I lost my parents. No two days in my life were as bad as those two days. I write this disclaimer, so no one gets the wrong idea.

Tomorrow will be the 30th “anniversary” of one of the worst days of my life. I remember it all too well. On the evening of November 15, 1990, I was at home in Edison, NJ, where I was living with my mother at the time. My father had passed four years earlier and my mother would pass away around seven years later. Anyway, on this particular evening, we had the local CBS news on and my mother was lying down and waiting for me to finish cooking dinner. I had just closed the the oven after checking on the chicken we were going to have, when I heard CBS sportscaster Warner Wolf say something about Alydar, the famous rival of 1978 Triple Crown winner of Affirmed.

As Alydar’s my all-time favorite racehorse, I had to go see what Warner Wolf had to say. In the back of my head, I was hoping it wasn’t bad news. After all, a couple of weeks earlier, three horses had died at the 1990 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, including the brilliant 3YO filly Go For Wand and the legendary Secretariat had died 13 months earlier from laminitis. Unfortunately, Warner Wolf announced the news that I didn’t want to hear. Alydar had to be euthanized one day after surgery. He was 15. Wolf also showed the 1978 Belmont, where Alydar and Affirmed had that famous head to head battle with Affirmed just holding off Alydar for the win and the Triple Crown.

I remember shouting, “No!” My mother was semi-awake and asked, “Who died?” I told her it was Alydar. She was a bit sad about it. I could not believe it. I was absolutely heartbroken. I cheered him on during the 1978 season. I followed just about all of his sons and daughters, such as Althea, Miss Oceana, Easy Goer and Alysheba, and every horse that had him in his or her family. As we horse people say, he was and still is my “heart horse.” I didn’t want to believe that my beloved Alydar was dead. I remember switching to the two other channels, NBC and ABC, as all three local networks ran their sports news at about the same time. Both reported Alydar’s passing and showed the 1978 Belmont. Here I am. I am changing the channels, as if the news was going to be different on the other stations. Grief certainly does do a number on you. It certainly did a number on me that night.

I was also a student at Middlesex County Community College at the time and it was very tough for me to get through my homework that horrible night. After going to bed, I got up and went downstairs just in time to hear Warner Wolf announce Alydar’s passing. I cut out the small article about Alydar’s passing in the News Tribune, our local paper. The next morning at the bus stop, I saw a man with the New York Post in his hand and I could see the sports headline saying, “ALYDAR DEAD.” Seeing that was like a punch to the gut. It was so final. My favorite horse ever was gone and I had to accept it.

As most racing fans and those in the industry know, the official word from the legendary Calumet Farm who owned and bred Alydar was that Alydar kicked his barn door and broke his right hind cannon bone. An operation was done and Alydar’s leg was put in a sling. In the recovery room, Alydar was fighting the sling and also got attracted to some mares outside and the sling was removed. Alydar tried walking and unfortunately slipped and broke his femor and had to be euthanized. I don’t want to get too into this, but as sad as I was about what happened, I realized that these things are unfortunate and do happen. However, when rumors of some suspicious activities surrounding Alydar’s injury started circulating, I was stunned. You can read more in, “Wild Ride: The Rise and Fall of Calumet Farm Inc. , America’s Premier Racing Dynasty” by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach. I am NOT saying the suspicions are fact, not at all, but I found them to be interesting and IF true, to be quite upsetting. Ms. Auerbach’s book definitely is a recommended read and has shaped my opinion of the racing and breeding business and of business in general.

To get through my grief, I knew there would be a few more crops of Alydar’s offspring to come. One particular offspring did bring a lot of joy to my broken heart and his name was Strike the Gold. Strike the Gold was bred by Calumet, but due to the farm’s financial difficulties, he was sold as a yearling to B. Giles Brophy, William J. Condren, and Joseph M. Cornacchia for $500,000. Trained by Nick Zito, Strike the Gold broke his maiden, meaning won his first race as a 2YO, ironically, on November 15, 1990, the very day Alydar died. This is a great example of a symbolic passing of the torch, if I ever saw one.

The passing of the torch would be an omen of good things to come because as a 3YO the following year, Strike the Gold would go on to finish second in the Florida Derby, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby to Fly So Free, the prohibitive 1991 Kentucky Derby favorite Three weeks later, Strike the Gold turned the tables on Fly So Free and won the Bluegrass Stakes, a race his late sire Alydar had also won back in 1978 In the 1991 Kentucky Derby, despite being about a dozen or so lengths back, Strike the Gold with the late Chris Antley aboard, made his move down the backstretch and was about 5th or so at the top of the stretch and was way outside. Coming down the stretch, Strike the Gold took the lead and won the Kentucky Derby.

I was cheering Strike the Gold all the way. I was jumping up and down and crying. I was so happy that Alydar had sired another Derby winner, Alysheba being his first. Even though Strike the Gold would not win another race for almost a year, even though he did run a valiant second to Hansel in the 1991 Belmont, I still cheered him on and over the years, I was still able to “follow Alydar,” by looking at horse’s pedigrees. There have been many horses I love who have Alydar in their family, like Gio Ponti, Point Given and Hard Spun. What I mean is that it has to go through the horse’s dam, as stallions can have many offspring and mares can only have one a year on average. I will “cheat” a little and be happy if Alydar is in the horse’s sire’s family also, like Blame, who is sired by Arch who has Althea on his (Arch) dam’s side.

Even so, every time November 15th rolls around, I can still remember the sadness of losing Alydar. After all, he was only fifteen when he died. Whatever the circumstances of his injury were, he was robbed of at least another 5-10 years of life. As a stallion, he was robbed of at least five or six years of breeding and the racing and breeding world were also robbed as well. Alydar was undoubtedly a champion sire. Alydar’s influence on the breeding world was and still is greatly missed as he is a Classic Chef-de-race, according to the Roman-Miller dosage system. While his sons didn’t turn out to be good sires, he was an awesome broodmare sire.

Why do I mourn Alydar or a racehorse, for that matter? Well, it is the same concept as why I and many of my fellow rock fans are mourning the loss of guitar great Eddie Van Halen or mourning the loss of drummer Neil Peart. It is why fans of any celebrity or sports star mourn the loss of their favorite when said favorite passes. Well, Alydar grabbed my heart and I just loved how he never gave up against Affirmed. As human celebrities become part of our lives and in many ways parts of our family, so do racehorses to us horse racing fans. To us horse rans, these brave horses are athletes just as much as humans are. We horse fans cheer for them and are happy when they win and are disappointed when they lose, just like our favorite human athletes. We horse racing fans even have debates over horses, just like other sports fans who debate which team or which athlete is better. When a racehorse dies, we fans mourn them, too.

Alydar has meant so much to me. Like Seattle Slew before him, he was one of the first heroes I ever had, before the human ones came along, one being Muhammed Ali and a little rock band called KISS, both of whom I am sure you have heard of. Losing Alydar was like losing a part of my childhood, when I heard the news, back in 1990. Thirty years later, the pain is there, but I realize that I am grateful for the time that Alydar was on this earth and through some of today’s horses, his legacy remains.

Thanks Alydar for everything. I will see you again.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

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My Observations of the 2020-21 NFL Season at the Halfway Mark

by Terri Bey

As tonight, November 5, 2021, kicks off the second half of the 2020-21 NFL Season with the Thursday night matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, which I expect the Packers to easily win, I will be writing about the first half of the current season. If you have been following the season, you will notice that this season has been unusual to say the least. There have been teams who have been unexpectedly good and unexpectedly bad. There are teams with quarterback issues. NFL fans are seeing an MVP-like performance from two of the usual suspects and a certain 43 year-old quarterback that we all know. Lastly, the COVID pandemic has turned the NFL season upside down and backwards.

In this blog, I will be discussing the first half of this crazy season. I will be discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the first eight weeks of the 2020-21 NFL season. I hope this blog will be an enjoyable read. Feedback is welcome and encouraged, so without further ado, here is the good, bad and the ugly of the 2020-21 NFL Season.

THE GOOD:

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7-0.

How about that, Steeler Nation? Keep waving those Terrible Towels, as your boys are the only undefeated team standing. Star QB Ben Roethisberger is back and is playing well. Roethlisberger has a new WR in rookie Chase Claypool. I am very impressed with Claypool so far. The defense for the Steelers, led by T.J. Watt has been very good as well. While I expect them to defeat the struggling Dallas Cowboys, my concern is that the team needs to play a great game in its entirety. In Week 8’s game against the Ravens, the offense didn’t play well in the first half, but came alive in the second. I’d like to see some consistency. Can this team run the table? We will see.

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow has great potential.

I realize he plays for the Bengals, but from what I have seen of their rookie QB Joe Burrow, I am very impressed. This young man can play. I know they are 2-5-1, but I love Burrow’s poise, his ability to get out of the pocket and his accuracy. Burrow also knows where to go with the football. The team definitely needs to put pieces around him. Once this young man gets pieces around him, I think he definitely can be a top QB, provided the Bengals don’t screw this up.

Washington QB Alex Smith’s Return.

Now, I realize that Ben Roethlisberger is the logical favorite for the AP Comeback Player of the Year Award. After all, Roethlisberger is returning from a severe elbow tear. However, and I love Big Ben, if I were to give out the award, I would give it to Washington QB Alex Smith, who returned on October 11th to replace the injured starter Kyle Allen in a 30-10 loss to the L.A. Rams, nearly two years after suffering a gruesome, life-threatening leg injury suffered against the Houston Texas. Smith took hits and was sacked against the Rams. Even though he and Washington didn’t win, the fact that Smith was able to even take the field was a victory in and of itself.

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady all playing at MVP levels.

There is a three man race for the AP MVP of the League between three amazing quarterbacks. Those men are Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, Seahawks QB Russ Wilson and some “old” guy. Oh, what is his name again? He’s that hot-looking quarterback who is married to Gisele Bundchen. Oh, I keep forgetting. Oh, I KNOW. It’s Buccaneers QB Tom Brady.

My lightheartedness aside, NFL fans are seeing three great performances by three great quarterbacks. Russ Wilson, who has NEVER won the MVP, is playing out of his mind. His star WR D.J. Metcalf is the NFL’s best wide receiver and it’s not close. The Seattle defense is not all that great, so Wilson is pretty much carrying the team. Mahomes is doing what Mahomes does. What else is there to say. Mahomes is special. He makes magic with all the weapons around him, from TE Travis Kelce to WR Tyreek Hill to WR Sammy Watkins. Mahomes’ 21 TDs and 1 INT is mind-blowing. Seeing Buccaneers QB Tom Brady just killing out there is amazing. Brady has thrown 20 TDs and 4 INTs. He also has thrown for 2189 yards and has a passer rating of 103.1 Seeing Tom Brady play virtually just as well as he ever has after 21 years in the NFL is a thing of beauty.

THE BAD:

COVID screwing up everything.

Due to breakouts in various teams’ facilities, several games had to be moved around and that messed up teams’ bye weeks. The Tennessee Titans had about twenty three players and staff become infected and that turned everything on its head. The Steelers and the Ravens Week 7 game had to be on Week 8, and the Steelers had to play the Titans Week 7. There was a mini outbreak in New England and the game between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos was moved twice. Also, New England QB Cam Newton came down with COVID for Week 3, but somehow, the NFL just HAD to have the Patriots face the Chiefs, so the Patriots came down on Monday afternoon, the day of the game. The Patriots had two planes, one for those who had no contact with Cam and the other for those who did. The Chiefs won, of course.

The NFL brass also threatened coaches who didn’t wear masks with fines and such, as well as teams. A few coaches did get fined, like Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks. The Titans were fined 330,000 by the NFL for COVID violations. I thought for all the trouble they caused, they should have lost a draft pick as well. The NFL also tightened their COVID protocols as well. The Oakland Raiders were also investigated for potential violations.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s erratic play.

Even though the Cleveland Browns have a somewhat decent record this year of 5-3, questions surround QB Baker Mayfield. There were games where he played very well, but then there were games where he played very poorly, like in the game against both the Pittsburgh Steelers and against the Oakland Raiders. Here are the Oakland Raiders coming from Las Vegas in a 1:00pm game in an Eastern Time Zone and Baker could not have taken advantage of that. Do the Browns move on from him? We will see.

THE UGLY:

Cam Newton and the New England Patriots

When 2015 NFL MVP and former Carolina QB Cam Newton joined the New England Patriots this past offseason, there were a lot of Patriots fans who were skeptical and others who loved the decision. From the looks of things, it does appear that the skeptics might have won the day. In the first two games, Cam Newton was on fire. He threw the ball well and ran well. Newtown functioned well within the offense. Newton nearly led the team to victory in a passing battle with Russell Wilson in Seattle. Unfortunately, Cam Newton contracted COVID and his playing has crumpled ever since, even though he played much better in the narrow loss to the Buffalo Bills in their Week 8 matchup.

As many scientists and medical professionals are still learning about COVID, it is very difficult to determine whether Newton’s recent poor play is due to the disease’s effects, such as the “brain fog,” the constant headaches, etc. Newton is saying the right things by taking full responsibility and saying that “I have to play better.” However, only the medical staff really knows. I admit that I am just speculating and I am not a medical expert in anyway. Another reason could be something I suspected, the reason that no team wanted him was because they sensed that he didn’t have the skills to play at a high level any longer.

The Patriots are in a very un-Patriot Way, as they are 2-5. Coach Bill Belichick made an interesting admission, recently. “Look, we paid Cam Newton $1 million. I mean it’s obvious we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault,” he said, via WEEI.com. “That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth and played in a AFC Championship Game. This year we had less to work with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.” “I found the “sold out” part kind of amusing since many commentators had wondered if the Patriots had “sold their souls to the Devil to get their Dynasty.”

All references to the Devil aside, one could say that this is just an excuse. I feel part of this is true and part of it is not. After all, while Newton is struggling for some reason, there are barely any weapons around him, even Julian Edelman is injured quite frequently and is on the temporary IR with a knee surgery. This is the same bunch of players that now former QB Tom Brady had to work with last year and he just about made the playoffs.

However, I do feel that the Patriots have always played and played well, no matter what the circumstances were with no excuses. It didn’t matter whether Brady and half the team were on IR in 2008. It didn’t matter that the team went through SpyGate. The team played well and went undefeated in the regular season. It didn’t matter that the NFL Office didn’t know basic physics and suspended Brady for four games, based upon a trumped up charge. That team kicked butt and came back from a 28-3 deficit to win SB51. Now, the team is 2-5 and Belichick is saying it’s due to the cap? I get that, but there are lots of teams who have had cap problems and they win games. This team needs to evaluate itself and start winning games without excuses.

I also want to add that while I don’t really want to contribute to the Brady vs. Belichick narrative, as I think that is silly. They both equally contributed to that dynasty. I will say that the absence of Brady can not be overstated. In my view, the Patriots will take a very long time to get a franchise QB like Brady, like the Dolphins are STILL trying to get a franchise QB like Dan Marino.

The Dallas Cowboys. Oh, Make it the NFC East.

To paraphrase Oscar and Hammerstein, “How do you solve a problem like The Cowboys?” Oh, brother. Don’t worry. I won’t be overbearing like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, but this team is a hot mess. Owner Jerry Jones would not pay QB Dak Prescott. Prescott bet on himself, so to speak, and was setting the NFL on fire with his passing game. He would likely have won the passing title had he not suffered a similar gruesome leg injury ala Alex Smith against the New York Giants in Week 5. The team has backup Andy Dalton, formerly of the Bengals who leads them to a 37-34 victory. Dalton got hurt with a concussion vs Washington, when John Bostic gave him a cheap shot in the game. Now, the team is down to Ben DeNucci at quarterback.

This team has to be one of the worst teams ever. The only reason they beat the Atlanta Falcons was because the Falcons’ hands team thought that kicked ball was the equivalent of the atomic bomb, so they were afraid to touch it. When Dalton was hit by Bostic, NONE of them got in Bostic’s face. NONE. Shame on you all. RB Ezekiel Elliott has such a terrible fumbling habit, you would think the ball has grease on it. I’d like to know what Jerry Jones was drinking when he hired Mike McCarthy. None of those Cowboys players want to play for McCarthy. Now, people should understand why Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was so miserable.

To fans of the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, and the New York Giants, you all should not be laughing because YOUR TEAMS STINK. The Eagles need to do something, anything about their QB Carson Wentz. He will make a great throw or an interception. Your defense is awful as well. How you all are in first place, I don’t know. You are lucky that the rest of the division is awful. Washington is a total mess. They aren’t even worth discussing. The New York Giants have potential as far as their new head coach in Joe Judge, who was a coach for New England. He has that team competing every week. The Giants are able to stay in games, but they keep screwing it up in the dying moments of the game. QB Danny Jones needs to be more consistent and more careful with the football.

New York Jets crashing.

I just can’t finish this blog without mentioning the J.E.T.S. JETS JETS JETS. This team is crashing faster than the RMS Titanic crashed into that iceberg. What does the NY Jets brass see in Adam Gase? Gase failed in his tenure in Miami, so what did he do to get the Jets’ head coaching job? Just because he came with the recommendation from Peyton Manning doesn’t mean Gase would be a great coach. Sure, Gase would have been a great coordinator with Peyton Manning. That would be like a trainer with his/her brand new trainer’s license having Seattle Slew in her barn. Gase is in love with his scheme. Gase ruined QB Sam Darnold. The team is more likely to go 0-16, as they keep getting their butts beaten. Gase needs to go.

Well, that is my recap of the first half of the 2020-21 NFL Season. I hope you enjoyed this blog. See you all for my recap of the second half. Feedback welcomed and encouraged.

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My Top Ten Van Halen Songs in Tribute to the Late Eddie Van Halen

by Terri Bey

Let me start by saying that 2020 has to go down as one of the worst years ever. We are experiencing a terrible worldwide pandemic, which has pretty much shut down the world, especially rock concerts. We have lost many celebrities this year as well. The death of the brilliant RUSH drummer Neil Peart, back in January of this year was one of the toughest deaths, I as a rock fan had to endure. I was just stunned that he was gone and many rock fans and rock musicians were as well. It was just heartbreaking to lose a top musician like that.

This afternoon, however, rock fans and rock musicians got the horrible news that influential rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist for Van Halen, tragically died from cancer this morning at the age of 65, as announced by his son, Wolfgang. Mr. Van Halen died with Wolfgang and his wife Julie by his side. Even though I knew that Eddie Van Halen was battling tongue cancer and then throat cancer for a few years, this is still so sad. I am still stunned. Tributes to Mr. Van Halen came in from former bandmates, like David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, Gene Simmons of KISS, who discovered the band in a club and tried to get them signed with then KISS manager, Bill Aucoin, to no avail, and many others. Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie Van Halen’s former wife and mother to their son, Wolfgang, paid a touching tribute to her former husband and father of her son on her social media. Fans also paid tributes to Eddie Van Halen all over social media and on YouTube, as well

I also happen to be a huge fan of Van Halen and I am absolutely devastated. I had the pleasure of meeting Eddie Van Halen when he and and the band, with Gary Cherone (Extreme) as their singer, did a CD signing of their new album “3” at a NYC record store. The whole band was very nice as was Eddie, who was just quiet. It was an honor to meet one of the greatest guitarists ever. It was an experience that I will never forget.

Due to Michael Anthony’s signing in Eddie’s spot, Eddie’s signature is in the RIGHT BOTTOM Corner. Copyright: Terri Bey

In this blog, I will be listing my personal top ten Van Halen songs in tribute to the late guitar master, Eddie Van Halen. These will not be in any particular order. As I want to just let the music do the talking, there won’t be any explanation, with the exception of a brief quote from a lyric from each song. If my readers want to know more about the life of Eddie Van Halen, here is a nice write up about him in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/06/arts/music/eddie-van-halen-dead.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage . I hope you enjoy the blog and please remember Eddie Van Halen’s family, friends and fans in your thoughts and prayers.

RIP Eddie Van Halen. You are so loved and so missed. Thank you for the music.

Slight warning: Some images and language may be unsuitable for work and children.

MY TOP TEN VAN HALEN SONGS IN TRIBUTE TO EDDIE VAN HALEN

10. POUND CAKE from FOR UNLAWFUL CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (1991):

“Home grown and down home..”

9. UNCHAINED from FAIR WARNING (1981)

“Thought you’d never miss me till I got a fat city address.”

8. SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR from VAN HALEN II (1979)

“Somebody give me a shot!!”

7. ERUPTION from VAN HALEN (1978)

Note: The guitar solo that changed how guitar is played

6. FOOLS from WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980)

“Well, I ain’t about to go to school…and I’m sick and tired of Golden Rules…”

5. PANAMA from 1984 (1983)

“Model citizen. Zero discipline.”

4. YOU REALLY GOT ME (THE KINKS COVER) from VAN HALEN (1978)

“You got me so I can’t sleep at night.”

3. AND THE CRADLE WILL ROCK from WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980)

“Have you seen junior’s grades?”

2. EVERYBODY WANTS SOME from WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980)

“I always like those high heels, too.”

1. AIN’T TALKIN’ BOUT LOVE from VAN HALEN (1978)

“”…My love is rotten to the core…”

Well, that is it. I love many other songs, like “Running With the Devil,” “Jump,” “Jamie’s Crying and more. I really could have put the entire “Women and Children First (1980) album on the list, as that is my all time favorite Van Halen album in their catalog. No, my fellow RMS Titanic enthusiasts, the fact that “Women and Children First” is my favorite Van Halen album has NOTHING to do with the ship, nor the fact that “Women and Children First” was the evacuation protocol on the Titanic. How the band came up with this title, I have no idea. Nonetheless, it’s my favorite and I thank Eddie Van Halen for his contributions not just to this album, but to music in general. He also worked with one of my all time favorite guitarists, Dr. Brian May, of Queen in 1984, and is also famous for playing the guitar solo for the late legendary Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

I hope you all enjoyed this blog and please leave feedback.

Thank you, Eddie Van Halen for the music. Until we meet again.

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Encores:

This is about 28 minutes, but worth hearing two guitar greats.
Great pop song by a great artist featuring a great guitar solo by the late, great Eddie Van Halen

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Why I Love the Martin Scorsese Classic, “Goodfellas”

by Terri Bey

Slight Warning: Some language used in this blog is not suitable for work or for young children as I use quotes from an “R” rated film.

On September 19, 1990, Warner Brothers released the classic film, “Goodfellas,” a mob film, based upon the book, “Wiseguy,” written by Nicholas Pileggi about the true story of an Irish/Italian kid named Henry Hill and his life in the mob. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Ray Liotta as Henry Hill. The rest of the cast include Robert DeNiro as “Jimmy “the Gent” Conway,” Lorraine Bracco as “Karen Hill,” Joe Pesci as “Tommy DeVito,” Paul Sorvino as “Paul Cicero” and the late Frank Vincent as “Billy Batts.” This film is considered by many, including me, to be the most realistic movie about the mob. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Martin Scorsese), but won only one, which was for Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci. That year’s Best Picture was the overly long and boring “Dances With Wolves,” directed by Kevin Costner. This is the second time that Scorsese and his film have lost to a film directed by an actor. The first time was in 1980 when “Raging Bull” lost to “Ordinary People,” directed by Robert Redford. Raging Bull” was way better than “Ordinary People,” in my opinion. Regardless, “Goodfellas,” did win five BAFTA Awards, the British Oscars, if you will, including “Best Picture” and “Best Direction.”

“Goodfellas,” is not only an all-time great film and one of Martin Scorsese’s best, but is one of my favorite films. I have always loved mob and gangster films my entire life. I am talking about watching films featuring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, when they played gangsters, in films like, “White Heat,” “Angels With Dirty Faces,” and “Little Caesar.” Of course, I LOVE “The Godfather” Trilogy. Alright, I am not that huge a fan of “Godfather, Part III,” but you get the idea. “Goodfellas, was a game changer. This was realistic and I thought this film had everything from the over the top characters, violence and even some humor. This film is considered a classic.

As this year is the 30th anniversary of its release, in this blog, I will be making a list of the things that I love about “Goodfellas,” by Martin Scorsese. They could be scenes, characters, or lines or other aspects of the film. I want to emphasize that this is NOT a list,per se and is NOT in ANY order. I am just writing this blog as a tribute to one of my favorite films and letting my readers know why I love this film so much.

Of course, feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

WHY I LOVE MARTIN SCORSESE’S CLASSIC FILM, “GOODFELLAS:”

The Soundtrack: The use of great music, starting with “Rags to Riches,” sung by Tony Bennett and throughout the entire film was one of the great aspects of this film. The viewer heard all kinds of music from opera to classic rock to the crooners and the musical numbers were placed in the right spots to give the scene the right ambiance. The music is used SO effectively that when I hear some of those songs, I don’t think of them the same way.

The Food: Being that my mother was Sicilian, and many of the main characters were either from Sicily or Italy, food is a huge part of our heritage. The scene where Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) goes to Paul Cicero’s (Paul Sorvino) home for dinner and seeing all that food was typical of what Italians would serve. I liked seeing the scenes where Henry Hill is not only worried about the drug deal, but about the sauce he is making, near the end of the film.

“Maury:” Morris “Maury” Kessler (Chuck Low) is the wig maker, whose “wigs don’t come off,” who, at least per the movie, came up with the famous Lufthansa Heist. He was a pain in the neck. I knew he’d get “whacked” or killed. The scene where Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) are in Maury’s place and Conway comes from behind and strangles Maury with the phone cord is a great scene.

Billy Batts: Billy Batts (Frank Vincent) is a “made man,” or a full member of the Mafia. He was considered “untouchable.” In this nightclub, Batts and his friends are having drinks on one end of the bar and Henry Hill (Liotta) and Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) are at the other end. Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) walks in and is not happy to see Batts, who asks DeVito to give him a hug and DeVito reluctantly does it. Batts jokingly comments about DeVito’s ability to “shine shoes” and will “make shoes look like fucking mirrors.” DeVito shows his displeasure and eventually, Batts yells, “Go home and get your fucking shine box!!!” DeVito leaves and later returns and he, Hill and Conway beat Batts up and put him in the car and then kill him, like you see in the very beginning of the film.

Spider: I feel badly for this kid. Spider (Michael Imperiolli) first gets shot in the foot by Tommy DeVito (Peschi) for supposedly ignoring DeVito’s request for a drink at the card game. Pesci is awesome with, “I ain’t alright, Spider.” Later, Spider then gets killed by DeVito, when this kid gets the gumption to tell the hot headed DeVito, “Fuck You, Tommy.” If you want to see an acting clinic, watch Joe Pesci play this scene, right before his character pulls the trigger. After the Spider character tells him, “Fuck you, Tommy,” Pesci sits in a calm silence, while the other characters are like, “Ooohh.” Pesci acts with just his expression on his face. The Jimmy Conway character says to DeVito, “What’s the matter?” “You’re going to let him get away with that?” “What’s this world coming to?” Tommy DeVito fires his gun and poor Spider is dead. Great scene and great acting.

“Get the Papers.” “Get the Papers.” This is a great line. There is a scene where through narration, Henry Hill (Liotta) is showing all the mobsters who eat there and tells the audience about the high life that they all live and “to live any other way was nuts.” Hill then shows some strange characters, like “Tony Two Times,” who “said everything twice, like, “Get the Papers.” “Get the Papers.”

Lorraine Bracco’s Performance: Bracco’s portrayal of “Karen Hill” is a tour de force. I loved how Bracco played Hill as this naïve wife, who was sucked in by this apparently nice guy in Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). As she realized to what kind of man she was married, she started to rationalize why he did what he did, by saying, in narration, about how he and his crew “went out to get us the little extras.

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” What a great opening line, after the death of Billy Batts. Here is Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) stating how he always wanted to be a gangster, which leads right into the film, which starts with him narrating the story from how he started to hang out with the “wiseguys,” as a kid to his life as a gangster as an adult.

The Opening Scene: The rather shocking opening scene, where you see Henry Hill driving the car with Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the backseat wondering what the thumping was and realizing it was the not-quite-dead Billy Batts in the trunk, and then you see DeVito stabbing the pleading Batts to death and Conway shooting Batts had to be one of the most craziest things I have ever scene. I realized that this film was not going sugarcoat this Henry Hill’s story at all. This film was going to make many of James Cagney’s films look like Disney Films.

Joe Pesci’s Performance: I have seen acting performances and films receiving Oscars they didn’t deserve. However, if there were one that deserved the award, this one was it. His acting and portrayal of this psycho was incredible. I mentioned an example of how well he did so in the “Spyder” example.

Great Cast and Supporting Cast: What makes this film outstanding overall is the great cast, Robert DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. They are all fantastic. What I loved about this film, though, was the supporting cast like Frank Vincent and Paul Sorvino and the many other actors who played the smaller roles, many of whom were onscreen for a few minutes. It is very important to cast the smaller roles correctly as well as the major characters. Depending upon the film, the smaller characters can make or break the quality of the film, in my view.

Scorsese’ Direction: This was a masterpiece. This film was one of Scorsese’s very best. The realism combined with getting great performances out of his cast was amazing. Credit also should go to Scorsese’s long time editor, Thelma Schoonmaker also.

Well, I hope you like this blog as much as I liked writing it. Feedback is below.

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2020-21 NFL Regular Season and Post Season Preview and Predictions-Pandemic Version

by Terri Bey

The 2020-21 NFL Season opens tomorrow night with the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans and as a massive NFL fan, I am very happen to see something that resembles some sort of sporting event that is close to “normal” return. I am looking forward to seeing the QB duel between the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson. Could these two be the next Manning vs Brady? We will see. I expect the Chiefs to roll in this game. The game airs on NBC and kick off is at 8:20pm, EST.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL has had a rather strange off-season, to say the least. There were no pre-season games. Players are tested left and right. The NFL draft was virtual. All the players had was training camp. This season will be very interesting indeed as many teams will start out with no fans and crowd noise at their home games. Some teams will have some fans, like in tomorrow night’s game, the Chiefs and the Texans will be playing in front of 16,700 fans, or so. Of course, we will have to see how and if the pandemic will affect the ability for the season to progress.

In this blog, I will just give the division winners, conference winners, conference champions and Super Bowl winners. I want to add that because of the pandemic’s affect on the off-season and due to some private issues related to the pandemic, I won’t be as detailed as usual. I apologize to my readers in advance, for the lack of the usual in-depth analysis, because I take a lot of pride in giving my readers a detailed analysis of the season. I hope you will enjoy this blog and feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

2020-21 REGULAR SEASON PREDICTIONS:

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE:

AFC NORTH:

Baltimore: 13-3 Pittsburgh: 9-7 Cleveland: 7-9 Cincinnati: 6-10

Analysis:

Baltimore is the obvious class of the division. QB Lamar Jackson is awesome. I would like to see Coach John Harbaugh have him run less and throw more. Can Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger get the Steelers back into the playoffs? It will depend upon whether his newly repaired elbow can last through the season. Cleveland is still disorganized and the Bengals have a rookie QB in Joe Burrow. Good luck to the two Ohio teams on that.

AFC EAST:

New England: 10-6 Buffalo: 10-6 New York: 8-8 Miami: 7-9

Analysis:

Yes, I KNOW the G.O.A.T, meaning Tom Brady has left the building. However, it looks like to me that the presumptive starting QB and former NFL MVP Cam Newton and coach Bill Belichick are getting along pretty well. We will see what happens on the field. The Patriots still have a pretty darned good defense and Belichick. Yes, Buffalo is the top threat. Did I say Bill Belichick is still the Patriots’ head coach? The Dolphins are going to be the Dolphins and start journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. I nearly left out the Jets. Well, they will always be the Jets. They may threaten a little bit, but like a lot of racehorses will do, they will just fade in the stretch.

AFC SOUTH:

Houston: 11-5 Indianapolis: 10-6 Tennessee 8-8 Jacksonville: 5-11

Analysis:

I expect DeShaun Watson, who signed a huge contract extension to have a huge year. I hope that offensive line does a better job of protecting him. Head Coach Bill O’Brien needs to do a much better job as head coach. Indianapolis signed Philip Rivers at QB. I do realize that he is aging and I notice the media is not talking about that fact. However, I DO feel his leadership, as fiery as it can be, can get this Colts team to ten wins and most likely the playoffs. I think Tennessee turns back into the pumpkin and is just an 8-8 team this year, as they had their moment last year. Jacksonville just came apart, literally. A couple of years ago, they were called “Sacksonville,” and were trying to trash talk their way to SB52, but were just out-played by the Patriots in the 2017-18 AFC Championship game. Now, the team is in tatters.

AFC WEST:

Kansas City: 13-3 Los Angeles: 8-8 Denver: 7-9 Las Vegas: 6-10

Analysis:

I think it should be obvious to anyone that Kansas City is obviously going to win the division. The Raiders are going to be in a new place, but the same old Raiders. Denver suffered a HUGE loss to their defense on the last day of practice. Von Miller, their star linebacker, suffered a severe ankle injury that was thought to be ending his season. However, the team is now saying Miller, who suffered from a case of COVID-19 this past offseason, will “be out awhile.” Von Miller is an amazing player and I wish him the best. I don’t know what QB Tyrod Taylor will do as the QB for the Chargers.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE:

NFC NORTH:

Green Bay: 11-5 Minnesota 10-6 Detroit: 9-7 Chicago: 7-9

Analysis: I think the second year of Aaron Rodgers and coach Matt LeFleur will produce a division title for the Packers. I still do not trust Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins in a big game. The rest of the team is still pretty good, but when it is a crucial game, Cousins lacks a clutch gene. For the Detroit Lions, I think head coach Matt Patriots needs to put up or shut up. I don’t like to do this type of thing, but he is my candidate for a very early, “coach on the hot seat.” QB Matthew Stafford is a terrific passer, but Patricia has to put Stafford and that team in positions to win. Chicago’s QB situation is a mess. I am still shaking my head that the Bears took Mitch Trubisky over DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Regardless, Trubisky will be starting Week One. I would have started the more experienced Nick Foles. but what do I know?

NFC EAST:

Dallas: 11-5 Philadelphia: 11:5 New York: 9-7 Washington: 4-12

Analysis:

I definitely think the race for the NFC East is between the Cowboys and the Eagles. QB Dak Prescott and company have a good team this year. Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz is healthy. Hopefully, Wentz will stay healthy. There was drama over Eagles RG Jason Peters’ not wanting to play LT. However, that has been resolved and Peters will play LT, per CBSSports.com.(https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/news/eagles-jason-peters-moving-to-left-tackle-after-all/) I expect NY Giants QB Daniel Jones to improve and it looks like the Giants are trying to improve their defense. Washington has undergone a tumultuous offseason. They will be undergoing a name change, as their former moniker offended many. The team also was hit with a sex scandal involving their cheerleaders, which is not being investigated by the NFL. In other words, NFL Commissioner is going to bungle the case, ala Deflategate, Bounty Gate, etc. No matter. Washington will still bring up the rear in the NFC East. The only positive thing I CAN say about Washington is the miraculous return of QB Alex Smith, who returns from a career and life-threatening leg injury suffered on the field against the Houston Texans on November 18, 2018. The injury became life threatening, when after the surgery to repair his leg, infections started.

NFC SOUTH:

Tampa Bay: 11-5 New Orleans: 10-6 Atlanta: 9-7 Carolina: 7-9

Analysis:

I am going to paraphrase a line from Led Zeppelin’s ,”Heartbreaker,” here. “Hey fellas. Have you heard the news. Tom Brady’s in Tampa Town?” (https://youtu.be/0hdQi2_HzAc) Yes, Bucs fans, I know it is Tampa Bay, but I am going for a moment. Seriously, though. The big story from the offseason is the legendary Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots, where he played for 20 seasons to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This should be a very interesting season to see him play in a different conference and in a new system, under head coach Bruce Arians. Arians is a QB guru, who has coached guys like Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Brady has just turned 43, and many people has made a lot of that, too much of that, especially since there is ANOTHER 40-something QB in the same division. Anyway, their offense should definitely benefit from Brady’s experience. Their defense is one to watch out for, as they do need to pick it up quite a bit.

In speaking of the other 40-something QB, let’s get started with him. I am talking about the great Drew Brees. I definitely think that he and coach Sean Payton should definitely be able to make a run at the division. The two games Brees and Brady play against one another should be awesome. In fact, they kick off the season with one of them. As far as the other two teams in the division, Atlanta still hasn’t been the same since, 28-3. I mean, Super Bowl 51 or the equivalent of what would have happened had Secretariat fell down in the 1973 Belmont. I think the Falcons will be just alright this year. I don’t think much of Carolina, either.

NFC WEST:

San Francisco: 12-4 Seattle: 11-5 Los Angeles: 9-7 Arizona: 6-10

Analysis:

The race for the division is between last year’s Super Bowl NFC representative San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. I do think that the 49ers win the division, though. 49ers QB Jimmy Garappolo improves greatly from last year. I expect Russel Wilson to be the great QB that he has been. I am not crazy about the Rams this year and Arizona is a mess. I feel badly for Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald having to play on such a terrible team. Will he retire this year? We will see.

Caveat to my Post Season Predictions:

There are going to be a lot of factors going into this season, obviously. There will be injuries to star players. Like I said, Von Miller (Broncos) is already out indefinitely. How will not having a full offseason, due to the pandemic, affect players’ conditioning? Staff and players’ getting COVID will also impact games. My predictions for the Post Season is based upon as little interruption of the regular season as possible.

POST SEASON PREDICTION:

AFC CHAMPIONS:

Kansas City Chiefs

Reason:

The only other team that has a chance to challenge them for the conference is Baltimore, despite Baltimore’s surprisingly early playoff exit last post-season. I think Baltimore will improve, but not enough to take away the Chiefs’ spot in the Super Bowl. I don’t think Houston, even with all their talent would be able to be much of a challenge to the Chiefs, either. Does everyone remember last year, when they had their shot, until O’Brien choked? You could and should never count out the Patriots under Bill Belichick. The Patriots possibly may get into the playoffs, and make some noise. The conference is the Chiefs to lose, however. Unless injuries and/or COVID causes a mass interruption, book the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game.

NFC CHAMPIONS:

Tampa Bay Bucanneers

Reason:

I think Brady can get this team to the Super Bowl. His experience and the weapons on offense, along with Arians will get the team to the big dance. Some “experts” aren’t too hot about their defense. I think they do need to improve. I know last year, they did let former and now Saints backup QB Jameis Winston down quite a bit. On a side note, I do feel that while Winston made a ton of bone-headed INTs, I do feel many of the losses were due to the defense. The defense must make key plays to help to get the Bucs there and I think they will. Many experts like Dallas. I am not a massive fan of Stephen A. Smith, but he is right about one thing. Dallas can not handle success. Something always goes wrong with Dallas. Somehow, someway, Dallas stubs their collective toe and screws everything up.

SUPER BOWL WINNER:

Prediction:

While the Chiefs have all the superior weapons and overall, are the better team. I also think that Patrick Mahomes is an amazing person and an amazing QB. I think very highly of him, as he has become a thoughtful person off the field and will become the face of the NFL for a long time. However, I do think think, because of his weapons, leadership, experience and his knack for coming up big in big games over his 20 plus years in this league, it will be QB Tom Brady holding up his 7th and final Lombardi.

Your winner of SB 55 is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

SB MVP: QB Tom Brady.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Feedback is welcome.

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