Summing Up Super Bowl LI Week: The Game and the Hall of Fame

Summing Up Super Bowl LI Week: The Game and the Hall of Fame

by

Terri Bey

Well, my NFL readers, we are officially in the NFL Off-Season, and suffering NFL withdrawal.  The 2016-17 NFL season is over, and Super Bowl LI is in the books. Unless you have been under a rock, the New England Patriots channeled their inner Strike The Gold, and came out of the clouds from a 25 point deficit in the 3rd quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first over-time period in Super Bowl history, by a score of 34-28. I compared the Patriots to Strike The Gold, because he was the type of horse that would drop back by double digit lengths, and lose touch from the leaders, and then make his run, as he did in the 1991 Kentucky Derby, which he won.  https://youtu.be/ATgn_HEGVq0 This was one of the most exciting Super Bowls, I have seen in years.  Adding to the excitement, was the announcement of the 2017 Class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There was also controversy over that, as well.  I will be covering all this in this blog, so please enjoy.

Let’s start with the Super Bowl.  Again, congratulations to QB Tom Brady for his 5th Super Bowl win, and his 4th SB MVP win. Congratulations to the entire Patriots organization for their 5th Lombardi. I know there is a ton of disappointment, but I want to congratulate the Falcons Organization for a fantastic year.  I know many folks see this as a “choke job” by Atlanta. I want to emphasize the positive, and state that the Patriots showed the heart of a champion,and WON the Super Bowl. This was an example of never giving up, and always being persistent.  The Patriots offense, even with their early miscues, and only scoring 3 points at the half, were wearing down that Falcons defense. That was key, because, by the 3rd quarter, and especially by the 4th quarter, viewers could see that the Falcons defenders were just exhausted, by the time Tom Brady and the Patriots were making their offensive comeback.

One has to give credit to the Patriots defense for making critical plays, as well. The strip sack by Donta Hightower, and the sack by Trey Flowers were crucial. Yes, some will blame Kyle Shanahan, then offensive coordinator for Atlanta, but the Patriots defenders had to make the plays. Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia really layed the hammer down when needed.  Yes, the Falcons made crucial errors, and the Patriots took advantage of them. That is how it goes.

Of course, one of the best parts of Super Bowl weekend, was seeing Commissioner Roger Goodell handing Patriots Owner Robert Kraft the Lombardi. That was so sweet. Many folks up in New England, and those who hate the Commissioner, Patriots fan or not, were waiting TWO YEARS , since the start of that ridiculous nonsense, called Deflategate, for Roger Goodell to FINALLY get his comeuppance, after his witch hunt of Tom Brady and the Patriots started , right after the 2014-15 AFC Championship Game.  Of course, the folks in Indiana must have had their hearts broken, when they saw their hero, Goodell, hand over that trophy to Kraft, and even WORSE , the next day, when Goodell had to hand over the SB MVP Trophy to Tom Brady.

My last words on Super Bowl LI are that we saw a Patriots team that would not give up. We saw a hard working team left for dead, overcome a 25 point deficit. Tom Brady showed everyone, even the doubters, and the haters, why he was, and is the greatest QB ever, by leading that team to victory. Brady is the best, and there is no doubt about it.

Now, I will comment about the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. I think it is a good class.  The members are: QB Kurt Warner, RB Ladainian Tomlinson, RB Terrell Davis, Kicker Morten Andersen, Dallas Cowboys Owner  Jerry  Jones, DE  Jason Taylor, and Safety Kenny Easley.  I find it interesting that they put two running backs in the Hall of Fame, but that is just my view. I don’t have any issue with any of these players, as members of the Hall of Fame.The only slight complaint is that I would have maybe substituted Taylor with Safety Ty Law.  However, I hope Ty Law gets in next year.

However, that isn’t what the big deal is, concerning this year’s Hall of Fame Class.  It is who DID NOT get in.  Yes, wide receiver Terrell Owens did not get in again. I have heard all the stories, and I am not even a huge fan of Terrell Owens. However, I do feel that he is being kept out, because of a popularity contest. What I mean, is that some of the writers, who vote on the Hall of Fame, do not like him, because of his antics. The narrative is that, “He was not a good teammate.” “He destroyed locker rooms.”  I think this whole thing is ridiculous.  Owens’ numbers on the FIELD speak for themselves. Enough of these voters being the “moral police.”  The Hall of Fame voters just let Marvin Harrison in, and Harrison ALLEGEDLY was involved in a shooting. ( http://www.gq.com/story/marvin-harrison) Ray Lewis is up, next year, and most NFL fans know about his past. Randy Moss also has similar issues, as Owens,concerning getting along with teams. I just think there is a ton of hypocrisy, when it comes to these Hall of Fame votes.

Well, that is about it.  I hope that everyone will enjoy the offseason. I hope that the offseason will be uneventful, unless Commissioner Roger Goodell invents another scandal.  Enjoy the Draft, and I will be back with my NFL blogs, come September.  Take care.

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SUPERBOWL LI PREDICTION:Which Team’s Super Bowl Dream will be “Gone with the Wind?”

by

Terri Bey

“Fiddle, dee, dee.” “War, War, War,” complains Scarlett O’Hara in the classic film and book, “Gone With The Wind,” while surrounded by the Tarleton Twins, who just adore her. Now, tomorrow’s Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons won’t be a “war,” per se,  but I expect a great game, between these two teams. Both teams made it to the big dance, and I congratulate them. I wish both teams luck. We will have to see whether the Patriots will send a message to the Falcons, that  “tomorrow, will have to be another day”, or whether the Falcons will capture their first Super Bowl, and will tell the world that they’ll “never go hungry again.”

Now, that I have that out of the way, here is my analysis and prediction for Super Bowl XL. I hope you enjoy this blog, and feedback is welcome.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS

The Atlanta Falcons come to the Super Bowl with an 11-5 regular season record.  They have the NFL’s #1 ranked offense. QB Matt Ryan is likely going to be awarded the NFL’s MVP,  due to his fantastic year.  He threw for 4944 passing yards, and had a 69.9 completion percentage.  He threw 38 TDs and 7 INTs.  The Falcons have many weapons on offense, such as wide receivers Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu.  They have RB Devonta Freeman, and others.  This is a very potent offense.  Their defense is very fast.  They have an excellent coaching staff in head coach Dan Quinn, and outgoing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

HOW THEY WIN

This is not Dan Quinn’s first rodeo, as this is his third Super Bowl appearance.  He was at this event twice with the Seahawks as their defensive coordinator.  He will have this team prepared. Matt Ryan must be careful with the ball.  Falcons must not turn the ball over, as the Patriots are the best at capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes.  The Falcons defense has to mix up zone coverage and man coverage, to try to confuse Tom Brady. The Falcons must hit Tom Brady.  The Falcons offensive line must protect Matt Ryan.  I realize that the team is “not worried” about Center Alex Mack’s ankle, but we will have to see what happens, when the bullets start flying, so to speak.

THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The New England Patriots come to the Super Bowl with a 14-2 regular season record. This team boasts the NFL’s #2 ranked offense and the #1 ranked scoring defense. This is the team’s ninth Super Bowl appearance. If that is not a sign of continued excellence, I don’t know what is.  Legendary Patriots QB Tom Brady is in his 7th Super Bowl, and should he win, he would have 5 Super Bowls. Hall of Famer Charles Haley is the only other NFL player with 5 Super Bowl rings. Brady is an MVP candidate, and in the 12 games he played, after coming off his unwarranted suspension, he went on a tear. He threw 28 TDs and 2 INTs, making it the lowest TD to INT ratio in history. Brady threw for 3554 yards, and had a 67.4 completion rating. This is absolute amazing to see a top quarterback do, especially at age 39.

The team features their legendary coach Bill Belichick, and a pretty potent offense. This is a very adaptable offense.  They have wide receivers, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, and newly acquired Michael Floyd.  LeGarrette Blount, and Dion Lewis are the two main running backs. Blount has power and Lewis is very shifty and speedy. Tight End Michael Bennett has been working through injuries, but he has come through on critical situations.  The defense is  very opportunistic. They do a lot of gang tackling.  Donte Hightower, Alan Branch and Rob Ninkovich have been very crucial to stopping the run. Super Bowl 49 star, Malcolm Butler has blossomed into a top CB. The “Rutgers Trio,” Logan Ryan, Devin McCourty, and Duron Harmon , make their impact in the secondary, as well. As a fellow Rutgers graduate, they make me proud.

HOW THEY WIN

Coach Belichick has SIX Super Bowl rings, four as head coach of the New England Patriots, and two as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, so he knows what he is doing. Now, how does he break the tie with the late, great Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll, who also has four rings as head coach?  The Patriots defense must confuse Matt Ryan. They have to get him off his spot. They have to hit Ryan. Don’t obsess too much over Julio Jones. Don’t put all your energy into covering Jones, or Ryan will just use his other weapons to beat you.  On offense, the offense line MUST PROTECT BRADY.  That is paramount.  Against this defense,  if I were Josh McDaniels, I would run the ball. Tom Brady will get his TDs, but I think that running the ball will work. It also keeps the Atlanta offense off the field. Scoring early would be a good idea.

WHO WINS AND WHY?

I realize that I am bucking many experts, on ESPN and NFL Network, and elsewhere, who say that Atlanta will win. I can understand why. The Falcons have a high-powered offense.  Matt Ryan is the hot, young QB. Many doubt the Patriots defense.  Many folks still on the “Pats can’t win without star TE Rob Gronkowksi.” bandwagon. Many folks were pushing an anti-Patriots and anti-Brady agendas, so that was their reasons for picking the Falcons. I get it.  I totally understand why all these folks are picking the Falcons.

I think they are wrong.  It is my experience that a team with a high-powered offense, like the Falcons does not win the Super Bowl. If you look back at many of these teams, like the 2007 Patriots, the 2008 Cardinals, and as recently as last year’s Panthers, there seems to be a trend that doesn’t favor the Falcons, in my opinion. Those offenses went up against very good to excellent defenses. While I realize that the Patriots have the 2nd ranked offense, their defense should not be overlooked.  I also feel that Belichick’s experience, and the experience of Tom Brady and many of the Patriot players will play a part in this game.

I think the scoring will be kept in the 20s.  I think the Patriots has the better defense. I see them forcing Matt Ryan into mistakes. I see the Patriots running the ball, and I see Tom Brady picking apart that defense, especially in the red zone. I also see Tom Brady as the MVP of the game.

PATRIOTS 28  FALCONS 24

 

 

 

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NFL: The Aftermath of Championship Sunday, and an Early Look at the Super Bowl Teams

Well, outside of the Pro Bowl, which will be played Sunday, January 29, 2017, in Orlando, Fl, the 2016-17 NFL Season has one more game to play. The AFC and NFL Championship games have both been played, and we have our two teams for the grand finale, Super Bowl 51, which will be played in Houston, TX, on February 5, 2017. The game will be aired on FOX, and kickoff is at 6:30pm, ET.  The two teams, who will be playing for the right to be called Super Bowl Champion, are the 2016 AFC Champion and Four Time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, and the 2016 NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, who are looking for their first Super Bowl in the history of the franchise.  I congratulate both of these teams, and I hope for a great game, regardless of outcome.

In this blog, I will  by reviewing the two Championship Games, which were played this past Sunday,  January 22, 2017. I will be discussing how the Patriots and Falcons defeated their respective opponents, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers, respectively. I will also give my thoughts on the two defeated teams. I will also give my first impression of the two Super Bowl teams, as well.

I am going to start with the NFC Championship Game, between the Falcons and the Packers. Falcons QB and MVP candidate Matt Ryan played like an MVP, as he has had all season. I love this guy. I always disregarded the doubters, who thought Ryan could not be an elite QB. Ryan was throwing the ball to several different receivers. He was poised in the pocket, and was not afraid to run in for a TD, either. He has plenty of weapons. WR Julio Jones is outstanding. Jones can just jump up, and reach for that ball. WR Mohamed Sanu is also a beast. The Atlanta defense is so fast. They made many outstanding defensive plays, and got after Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, another MVP candidate.

As for the Packers, despite their 4-6 start, I think they deserve to be given a ton of credit for making it as far as they did. I know many folks feel that Aaron Rodgers gets fawned over by the media quite a bit, but he did help lead the team all the way to the NFC Championship.  I think all the injuries, illnesses, etc., just caught up to them in the NFC Championship Game. Even during the game, injuries popped up. Aaron Rodgers did not have one of his best games, either. However, you can not blame it all on him. The team made errors, like fumbling the ball, and not getting turnovers, when there were chances. It just wasn’t their day.

Packers’ Diagnosis: I think that the Packers need to reload. I know that this isn’t Ted Thompson’s style, but I don’t think it would hurt if the Packers looked at Free Agents, especially in the secondary. Their secondary was all banged up. I also feel that Aaron Rodgers has several good years left, as he is only 33 years old.

Now, I will discuss the AFC Championship Game, between the Patriots and the Steelers. There is an old expression, “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.” Well, every time the Pittsburgh Steelers play that Zone Coverage against Tom Brady of the Patriots, the Steelers get their butts kicked.  Well, I am sure you have watched the game, and you saw that the Steelers played ZONE DEFENSE against Tom Brady. I bet you know what happened. Yes. The Steelers got their butts kicked.  Did anyone from the Steelers defense put a HAND on WR Chris Hogan or WR Julian Edelman or WR Danny Amendola?  ANYONE?

Coach Mike Tomlin and Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler, defense is supposed to be your strong suit. You all made no half-time adjustments. You just had that team allowing Tom Brady and the gang march up and down the field at will. No wonder your star QB Ben Roethlisberger is thinking about retiring. Your defense is horrendous.

As for the Patriots, they were outstanding, on all three phases of the game. Tom Brady, who is going to a 7th Super Bowl, which is a record for a QB, was surgical. My favorite play was the flea flicker, that Chris Hogan caught. The other play I loved, was RB LeGarrette Blount’s run with all those Steelers draped over him. The Patriots defense did a fantastic job containing that high-powered Steelers offense. Yes, I realize that Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell aggravated a groin injury during the first quarter, but Ben Roethisberger had plenty of other wide receivers, including WR Antonio Brown.  Unfortunately, for the Steelers  offense, a few of the Steelers wide receivers dropped balls. Steelers Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley did not call a good offensive game, either.

Steelers’ Diagnosis: As previously mentioned, Ben Roethlisberger has recently mentioned retirement, and many in the sports media are going nuts. I am sure Steeler fans are wondering, as well.  I think this is once again, Ben being Ben. Of course, Ben has suffered a ton of injuries over the last 13 years in the league. He has a wife and 3 kids, so that plays a part, as far as how much punishment he wants his body to take.  One would have to be under a rock, if you didn’t know that there has been some behind the scenes drama, concerning the Pittsburgh Steelers lately. Much of it surrounds Antonio Brown, their extremely talented wide receiver. I LOVE Antonio Brown. That being said, Antonio Brown needs to grow up. His antics on Facebook, and pouting on the field, because he didn’t catch the TD has to stop. The Steeler defense has to get better, especially in the secondary. That secondary is horrendous.

An Early Look at the Two Super Bowl Contenders:

At first glance, I see in the Atlanta Falcons, a high-flying offense, that QB Matt Ryan leads, along with Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is expected to be the 49ers Head Coach next year. The Falcons defense, which is very quick, reminds me of past Seahawks defenses. That is no surprise, since former Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn is now the Falcons’ head coach. This team will be a tough team to stop.

At first glance, I see in the New England Patriots, a very adaptable offense, but also an offense that can score a lot of points.  They are led by QB Tom Brady and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. The head coach is Bill Belichick. The Patriots have the #1 Scoring Defense. This will be interesting.  How will Belichick take away what the Falcons do best? Will this be a scoring battle between Brady and Ryan?  You will have to wait until my Super Bowl prediction on February 4th. Hope you enjoyed the blog. Feedback is welcome.

 

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My 2016-17 AFC/NFC Championship Game Predictions

by Terri Bey

Good Afternoon, readers. Tomorrow, January 22, 2017, is AFC/NFC Championship Day for the 2016-17 NFL  Season, for the American Football Conference, and the National Football Conference. The winner of each conference goes on to Super Bowl 51, in Houston, TX on February 5, 2017. Playing for the NFC Conference Game tomorrow, are the Atlanta Falcons, who host the red-hot Green Bay Packers. That game will be played at 3:05PM, EST. At 6:40PM,EST, in the AFC Conference Game, the Pittsburgh Steelers go into Foxboro, MA, and face the New England Patriots. Both of these games feature four outstanding teams, with four outstanding quarterbacks. Even though, there have been some rough games played during these playoffs, I am expecting these final four teams to put on two outstanding and entertaining games for the NFL audience.

In this blog, I am going make my predictions for tomorrow’s games.  I hope you enjoy this blog. Let me know. Feedback is welcome. So, let’s get started.  I will start with the NFC Conference Game, between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. I am being facetious here, but is there going to be ANY defense in this game? The Falcons have the likely NFL MVP Matt Ryan, and his high-flying offense, including WR Julio Jones.  The Packers have a RED HOT Aaron Rodgers throwing to an injury depleted receiving core, and his Packers are on an eight game winning streak. I mean, they are pulling people off the street to play wide receiver. OK, it is not THAT drastic, but WR Jordy Nelson is battling a serious rib injury, Davante Adams is injured. Nelson and Aaron Rodgers are battling illnesses as well. The team’s defense is a bend, but don’t break kind of defense. They have to be a bit more aggressive, and need to dial up a bit more blitzes to get after Matt Ryan.

The Atlanta Defense has to make Aaron Rodgers uncomfortable in the pocket, enough, that Rodgers makes mistakes.  They can’t let Rodgers get out of the pocket. In the Divisional Round, they were extremely quick, and got to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who also is dangerous out of the pocket.  They will have to be quick, again.  On offense, Matt Ryan can not make mistakes. He has to get into a rhythm.

PREDICTION: I am expecting a high scoring game. I have gone back and forth, trying to decide a winner. Aaron Rodgers is red-hot, and has been, since he made his prediction that the team would “run the table,” when the team was 4-6. Matt Ryan, however, has finally blossomed into that great QB that I thought he could be.  I have nothing against either of these guys, and I know Rodgers is getting fawned over, but I think the Falcons will punch their ticket to Houston.

ATLANTA FALCONS 40 GREEN BAY 37

Now, to the AFC Championship Game, between the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am going to confess, that I am a massive fan of BOTH teams. Long time Steelers and Patriots fan, but I will give you an honest assessment of both teams’ chances to win.  Moving right along, here.  The week leading up to this game started with a little drama.  Steelers WR Antonio Brown posted a 17 minute Facebook video, that took place backstage, after their victory over Kansas City. Included in the video was Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin giving a speech about the next opponent, the Patriots, and Tomlin referring to the Patriots as “assholes,” and “having a day and a half to prepare.”   The Steelers game was moved by the NFL, due to an ice storm in Kansas City, from 1:00pm, EST, to 8::40pm, EST, Sunday night.  The Patriots played at 8:15:pm, EST, on Saturday.

Anyway, like the media usually does, they blow it out of proportion. Antonio Brown apologized, and will likely be fined by the NFL. Of course, both teams had to comment on this non-story. I personally thought it was a whole bunch of nothing. Should Brown have done it? No.  Brown should have been listening to his head coach, and worried about his social media later. Will this affect him on the field? I doubt it.

On the Patriots side, Coach Belichick, and Tom Brady were all business at their Wednesday press conferences. Brady was particularly so serious, that an internet debate erupted as to whether he was ill. At his Friday presser, Brady seemed much more relaxed, but still focused. He brushed aside a reporter’s question about the current President, as well.

As for the game, I am going to start with the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is a fantastic QB. However, there are times, where he can be a liability. It is when he hangs on to the ball so long, trying to make a play. When he makes a play happen, it is awesome. When he screws up, and throws a pick, it is horrendous. Yes, it is disastrous, when any QB throws a pick, but Roethlisberger can win you the game, but he can lose you the game. He has to be careful with the ball. He is way better at HOME, than he is on the ROAD.

Roethlisberger must get the ball to his playmakers, WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell. Brown has such quick speed, and is great with it, when he gets the ball. Bell is just so patient, while he waits for a hole to open up. Once he gets daylight, he is gone. WR Eli Rodgers and TE Jesse James must step up.

The defense must do what the Houston Texans did the week before. They must try to get Brady off his spot. James Harrison has to have a great day.

What do the Patriots have to do, in order to win?  The Pittsburgh Steelers have a good offensive line. The Patriots defensive line MUST penetrate, and stop Le’Veon Bell. They must stop Bell from making progress.  They must harass Roethlisberger. When they get to Roethlisberger, they have to pin his ARM DOWN.  They can not just grab him, and let his throwing arm dangle, or he will try to make a play.  CB Malcolm Butler will have his hands full with Antonio Brown.

The Patriots offensive line MUST PROTECT Brady. I was at the Patriots vs Texans Divisional Round Game, and that offensive line was being bullied around, and Brady was being hit and harassed. The play calling has to be more balanced, and the running backs need to have a big day, as well. The other WRs, like Danny Amendola, and Michael Floyd MUST STEP UP.

PREDICTION: I think this will be an exciting game. I think time of possession will be a main factor in this game, and we will see a close game, as well.  Much was made about Commissioner Roger Goodell’s avoidance of Gillette Stadium tomorrow. Well, after much consideration, I don’t think Commissioner Goodell is going to be able to hide from the inhabitants of Gillette Stadium, any longer.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 35  PITTSBURGH STEELERS 27

Feedback:  Alydace@yahoo.com  @GioPontiFan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NFL 2016-17 Preview and Predictions

edgerocks

Tomorrow, September 8, 2016, starts the brand new season for the NFL.  The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos open the season against the team they defeated in Super Bowl 50, the Carolina Panthers.  This should be a fascinating game. Will Panthers Cam Newton choke again, and pout after the game? Will Denver’s defense be as good as last year?  The Broncos are handing over the team to rookie QB Trevor Siemian, who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL. This should be very interesting. I think the Broncos take it, by a score of 24-10.

I normally would be very excited about the new season, but not this year. Unless you have been living under a rock, QB Tom Brady of the New England Patriots started his 4 game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate, the dumbest sports scandal ever. I am absolutely disgusted. For nearly two years…

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NFL 2016-17 Preview and Predictions

Tomorrow, September 8, 2016, starts the brand new season for the NFL.  The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos open the season against the team they defeated in Super Bowl 50, the Carolina Panthers.  This should be a fascinating game. Will Panthers Cam Newton choke again, and pout after the game? Will Denver’s defense be as good as last year?  The Broncos are handing over the team to rookie QB Trevor Siemian, who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL. This should be very interesting. I think the Broncos take it, by a score of 24-10.

I normally would be very excited about the new season, but not this year. Unless you have been living under a rock, QB Tom Brady of the New England Patriots started his 4 game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate, the dumbest sports scandal ever. I am absolutely disgusted. For nearly two years, the NFL pursued Brady over such a minor infraction. I thought I was observing a real life version of Les Miserables. This suspension is a travesty.

The purpose of this blog is to preview the upcoming 2016-17 NFL season. I will give you my playoff teams, and Super Bowl LI pick. Hope you enjoy the blog.

American Football Conference

AFC EAST

Analysis:  Can Brady’s suspension open up the Division for the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and the Buffalo Bills?  If backup QB Jimmy Garappolo struggles, and costs the Patriots games, yes. Since Tom Brady will regain his starting job Week 5, I don’t think so. Brady will be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder. Bill Belichick hasn’t forgotten how to coach, and this Patriots defense has the look of something special. That’s bad news for the division, and for the NFL.  The Bills are dealing with a desperate head coach,  and suspensions of their own. The Miami Dolphins have yet, another new coach. QB Ryan Tannehill better improve under new coach, Adam Gase. New York Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has “bet on himself,” but in all the years he’s been in the NFL, he’s never lead a team to the playoffs. I wouldn’t bet on him to do that this year, either, based upon his past performances.

  • New England Patriots: 12-4
  • New York Jets: 8-8
  • Miami Dolphins: 7-9
  • Buffalo Bills: 6-10

AFC SOUTH

Analysis: This division is ggoing to be hard to handicap. The Indianapolis Colts made QB Andrew Luck the highest paid QB in the NFL.  The Houston Texans paid former Denver QB Brock Osweiler $78 Million. The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans both improved their rosters. In my opinion, the Texans look really good, even though I am not sold on Osweiller. Fortunately, star defender J.J. Watt will be available Week 1, so that will boost their defense. The Jags have improved, but they need to stop falling behind by 20 points. I think the Colts will return to the playoffs, but Luck has to play better, and slide. That offensive line must be fixed.

  • Houston Texans: 11-5
  • Indianapolis Colts: 10-6
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: 9-7
  • Tennessee Titans: 8-8

AFC WEST

Analysis: This will be a very interesting divisional battle between the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs, and according to several experts, the Oakland Raiders. The Oakland Raiders are what we horse racing fans would call the “Wise Guy horse,” or in this case, team. In other words, the Raiders appear to be the team picked by the experts to come up big this year. All three looked pretty good this preseason. I was very impressed with the Chiefs.  I expect the Denver defense to once again carry the team. They do have a rookie QB, so I expect some growing pains. The Chargers are a mess. QB Philip Rivers is awesome, but the uncertainty of the future location of the team will hover over them.

  • Denver Broncos: 11-5
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 10-6
  • Oakland Raiders: 9-7
  • San Diego Chargers: 7-9

AFC NORTH

Analysis: This is the hard knocking division, literally. Can the Baltimore Ravens rebound after a disastrous season last year? Can the Cincinnati Bengals finally make the playoffs? Can the Pittsburgh Steelers keep QB Ben Roethlisberger upright? Can the Bengals AND the Steelers BEHAVE when they play each other? Can the Cleveland Browns win a few games for new coach Hue Jackson? Can Robert Griffin, III and Ben Roethlisberger both stay healthy for their respective teams?  Can Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell stay off the weed? We shall see.

The Ravens looked like their old selves, especially on defense, this preseason. QB Joe Flacco is coming off a torn ACL, so we will see how much his mobility will be limited. The Steelers look very good on offense in the third preseason game. Their defense is up and down, and their backup QB situation is not all that great. The Bengals look to have another fantastic season, but they have to shake that playoff bugaboo. The Browns are the Browns.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5
  • Cincinnati Bengals: 10-6
  • Baltimore Ravens: 7-9
  • Cleveland Browns: 5-11

 

National Football Conference

NFC EAST

Analysis: This is the most enjoyable division to analyze. There is so much drama amongst these four Drama Queens, it’s not funny. We have Washington, with their offensive name. They couldn’t even make a long term deal with Kirk Cousins, their QB. We have the Philadelphia Eagles, who dumped that Chip Kelly, and had to undo all his damage, by getting rid of various players. Heck, you have former Eagles executive Joe Banner taking shots at the New England Patriots over the Eric Rowe trade. I wonder if Banner is still mad about Super Bowl 39? You have the New York Giants and their wife-beating kicker, Josh Brown, to whom King Roger Goodell handed down a one game suspension. Finally, you have the Dallas Cowboys. “America’s Team.” Holy cow. QB Tony Romo, who I genuinely like as a QB, and as a person, goes down again with a back injury. Now, a rookie, Dak Prescot, has to take over. Oh, Lord.

From looking at these teams in preseason, the Eagles look about these best. Did I also mention that they traded away QB Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings for a 1st and a 4th, due to Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater’s injury? Did I mention that 16 1st round draft pick Carson Wentz will be starting? The Eagles defense looked good. Dan Prescott looked good in the preseason for the Cowboys. Let’s see what happens in the regular season. The Giants look horrible on both sides of the ball. That offensive line looks especially bad. Washington looks pretty good.

  • Philadelphia Eagles: 10-6
  • Dallas Cowboys: 9-7
  • Washington: 8-8
  • New York Giants: 7-9

NFC SOUTH

Analysis: From the looks of things, it appears that Saints QB Drew Brees and the team are closing in on a new deal, per Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. I do wonder if it is wise to give a ton of money to an aging player like Brees, age 37, as great as he is. The team has made some minor changes. Atlanta didn’t look all that impressive in the preseason.  Tampa Bay looked fine, but I think they’re a year away from contention. Even though the Panthers looked pathetic offensively in the 3rd game in preseason, I still think they win the Division.

  • Carolina Panthers: 12-4
  • New Orleans Saints: 8-8
  • Atlanta Falcons: 8-8
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 6-10

NFC WEST

Analysis: This division is a two team race between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals. The Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers have very little to no chance to win the division, at least based on their past performances. I saw a Seattle Seahawks team , this preseason, that looks like it could go all the way to the Super Bowl, as much as I am tired of the prospect of seeing there. Arizona looked good, as well. However, from looking at Carson Palmer in the third preseason game, I’m not sure if I’m seeing the continuation of Palmer’s poor performance in the NFC Championship game from last year.  With the 49ers engulfed in the Colin Kaepernick situation, and the Rams in a new place, but the same team, I think the Seahawks take the division.

  • Seattle Seahawks: 12-4
  • Arizona Cardinals: 11-5
  • Los Angeles Rams: 8-8
  • San Francisco 49ers: 6-10

NFC NORTH

Analysis: It is really a shame that instead of preparing for the season opener, Sunday, September 11th, on Thursday, Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater will be in surgery to repair his dislocated knee, torn ACL, and other damage he suffered during a recent practice. I think that it would have made for a great battle for the division between the Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. After all, the Packers were getting WR Jordy Nelson back from a torn ACL. Now, the Vikings have traded for San Bradford, who has a terrible history of staying healthy, himself. I know it’s a “win-now” league, but I think the Vikings gave up way too much.

That being said, I do think the Vikings still have a shot to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. After all, the team does have RB Adrian Peterson. I don’t see the Lions doing too much, especially since their top WR Calvin Johnson retired. They didn’t do much with him on the team. The Chicago Bears still have Jay Cutler as QB, so that’s not going to change. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is going to do his thing, and hopefully, the playcalling doesn’t get in the way.

  • Green Bay Packers: 12-4
  • Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
  • Chicago Bears: 7-9
  • Detroit Lions: 6-10

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTIONS

AFC: New England Patriots defeating Pittsburgh Steelers

NFC: Seattle Seahawks defeating Green Bay Packers

SUPER BOWL LI PREDICTION:

New England Patriots defeating Seattle Seahawks

Feedback at @GioPontiFan or Alydace@yahoo.com

 

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Was There Really A Winner In Deflategate?

By Terri Bey

 

After a meandering, and rather wasteful 545 days, since a controversy called “Deflategate, “which emerged after the 2014-15 AFC Championship game in Gillette Stadium, where the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 45-7, I am here to announce that the dreadful affair is over. On July 15,2016, Patriots QB Tom Brady ended his legal battle with the NFL, and accepted his four game suspension for his alleged involvement in one of the dumbest scandals in the history of sports. Those close to the Brady camp say that the decision by the Second Circuit Court to deny an en banc review was “demoralizing,” and he didn’t want to risk a suspension later in the season, and wanted to “move on to football, “per Mike Reiss of ESPN. ( http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4793883/demoralizing-decision-from-court-helped-spark-tom-bradys-decision )

Now, that this sordid mess is over, onto this blog. There have been so many “hot takes.”  Many of the experts and fans have chimed in on “who won,” and all.  I have read discussions about Brady’s legacy, and Goodell’s victory. I wonder if there are any winners, at all in this mess.
ROGER GOODELL
Did Roger Goodell “win?” Yes. He won the public relations war against Tom Brady,  and the legal war. After all, how did ESPN’s Chris Mortensen get the information that contained the two main LIES that started the “Deflategate” narrative, way back in January of 2015? The first one said that “11 of 12 Patriots balls were substantially under the 12.5. legal limit,  and Mortensen confirmed that 11 of the 12 balls were 2 pounds under the limit. The second lie was that “All 12 of the Colts’ balls were within range.” Not only was Mortensen fed lies, but the NFL KNEW they were lies. Four and a half months later, if anyone read the charts in the very faulty “Wells Report,” only ONE of the Patriots’ footballs was 2 pounds under 12.5 PSI, per one of the gauges.
They also only tested FOUR Colts balls.  How could the NFL claim in January,  that all 12 Colts balls were within range, when they knew they only tested four? The NFL KNEW that only ONE of the Patriots footballs were 2 lbs under the 12.5 PSI, but yet, they LIED. Goodell’s office leaked all this, and other lies to make Brady and the Patriots look guilty in the public eye. Goodell has the nerve to talk about “integrity of the game.”  Is assuming the Patriots are guilty, and making up the story as you go along, your idea of “integrity,” Commissioner? The Patriots had no chance to defend themselves against the NFL.
 When this nonsense got to court, after Roger Goodell denied Tom Brady’s June, 2015 appeal of his suspension, it appeared that Goodell just had to win. After all,  he messed up so many scandals, like Ray Rice,  Greg Hardy, BountyGate, etc. I guess,  with the Second Circuit Court in his back pocket,  Goodell felt he had to show the owners that he was the strong-armed, tough Commissioner, they hired. I mean, to punish the NFL’s star player over a minor violation, that the NFL knows they couldn’t prove, just to show the rest of the players how powerful the Commissioner is, just screams pettiness and desperation. Especially when several owners want to get back at Kraft, and feel that the Patriots got off easy for “Spygate.”  So-called “makeup calls” may make some feel good, but it’s not justice.
I don’t think Roger Goodell will be seen in a positive historical light.  He is the modern-day version of Kennesaw Landis. Had he, Troy Vincent and Mike Kensil known anything about how a football worked, and about a simple Law of Physics, called the Ideal Gas Law, this dumb controversy would have,  and should have never gotten started. These people,  who are supposed to be intelligent, acted as if they had never been in a foul weather game before that AFC Championship game.  Had these people used common sense in that locker room at Gillette Stadium, they should have told Colts owner Jim Irsay that the footballs deflated naturally, due to the weather.  However, the NFL just had to make this an issue, because of their messing up the Rice Case, and making the 31 other NFL owners happy.
TOM BRADY
Tom Brady’s image took a hit, when “Deflategate,” took off.  There were people, who acted so piously and self-righteously, when his name was mentioned. People need to take a step back,  and realize that this was not the big deal that the NFL made it out to be. Will “Deflategate” and the suspension be on his record? Absolutely,  but we are not talking about Lance Armstrong, or Barry Bonds. I think this nonsense will be a blip on his record, as time passes. He will get past this episode, and continue his legendary career. Upon retirement,  Tom Brady is going to go down as one of,  if not the greatest quarterbacks to ever live.
THE LOSER- SCIENCE AND CRITICAL THINKING
There is a “loser” in this mess, and it’s science and critical thinking. There’s a saying, “A lie can go around the world twice, before the truth can put its boots on.” It is so true. As I said, the NFL controlled the message, concerning “Deflategate,” right from the start. I didn’t know what was true or not. It didn’t help that ESPN and the mainstream media blew this story up, and turned it into a cottage industry.  All viewers saw and heard were these “hot takes,” mainly Brady-bashing, especially on ESPN, which has an anti-Patriots bias anyway, with some exceptions.  It didn’t matter to people, when scientific professors from Carnegie Mellon,  Columbia University, and the University of Chicago said that the footballs deflated because the atmosphere and the weather (Ideal Gas Law). People still parroted the nonsense that came from ESPN and the mainstream media.
When I tried to show people that the footballs deflated naturally, I was blown off as a Patriots fan. I read plenty of articles, criticizing how Goodell handled “Deflategate,” particularly Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, and she was accused of being a Brady fan.  What has happened to critical thinking? I am very saddened to see that a Commissioner’s power has trumped science, and the ability to think for oneself.
People were too blinded by their biases to see that the Brady court fight was about the CBA. It’s always about the CBA. When Adrian Peterson took his case to court, it was also about the CBA. When Ray Rice took his case to court, that was about the CBA. One other thing. Just because Brady ended his legal battle, it doesn’t mean he admitted his guilt. It means that he wanted to move on with his life.
The reason I bring this up is that I see so many myopic fans telling Brady to “shut up, and take the punishment,” or “The players agreed to the CBA.” Well, one can see from the aforementioned examples that you can easily say those things to those players, as well. One could have told the BountyGate players to “Shut up, and take the punishment.” I think these people are saying this, because of their blind hatred of Brady. While I agree that the players signed on to the CBA, and such, fans can’t pick and choose which player should “shut up, and take the punishment.”
As for the science,  most people know that science is under attack, mainly by the Conservative Right. So, it’s another reason why “Deflategate” was allowed to prosper.  Also, jealousy is a strong emotion. Therefore, many people don’t like Brady regardless, therefore it’s a lazy way to incorrectly call him a cheater, than to accept the scientific evidence that clears not only him, but the Patriots.  It’s a shame that the NFL didn’t understand the fairly simple science behind what happened.  Yes,  I know about the “circumstantial evidence.” It goes back to the ignorance of science. Had Goodell, Kensil, etc. known that footballs deflated naturally in cold and wet weather, this entire investigation would have never gotten started, and it should never have gotten started.
CONCLUSION
Now, that this adventure is over, we all know that Goodell has the power to destroy any player he wants. If his investigators want your phone, hand it over. If the NFL needs to look at your computers, just give them the password. The NFL is now allowed to lie, and misrepresent stuff. Now, they will go easy on you, if you cooperate to their satisfaction. In other words, Roger Goodell is allowed to move the goalposts, and there is nothing the players can do about it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog.  Feedback is welcome.
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