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Houston, the Patriots have landed! Just when you thought the Atlanta Falcons would win their very first Super Bowl, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots come back from half time with an incredible performance. History was made at Super Bowl LI for being the first time a Super Bowl game went into overtime. The Patriots were down 28-3, Tom Brady makes a historic comeback rallying 25 points and scoring the two point conversion that tied the game. The Patriots had the ball, and as they had done so many times in Brady’s career, marched down the field going 75 yards in 8 plays and winning on James White’s 2–yard touchdown run. Brady set a new record with 5 Super Bowl wins and 4 MVP’s. Did Tom Brady just cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time??

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced and there were a few surprises. The biggest surprises were when former Wide Receiver Terrell Owens and former Safety Brian Dawkins did not make it in. The class did have a pair of inductees from the running back position in both LaDainian Tomlinson and Terrell Davis. Quarterback Kurt Warner, Kicker Morten Anderson, Safety Kenny Easly, DE Jason Taylor, and owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys were a few others that were also inducted into the Hall of Fame. “LT” LaDainian Tomlinson was one of the bigger highlights as it was his first year for eligibility and a no brainer that he got in, as he was consistently one of the best Running Backs in the league for majority of his career while he was with the San Diego Chargers.

So all in all this 2016/2017 season has brought us a whole lot of thrills, chills, and wows. There were teams that were undefeated or only having one loss that did not make it to the playoffs or lost just after the 1st round. Tom Brady, now 39 years old, is the oldest QB in the NFL and has no plans of retiring after winning Super Bowl LI, but will embark on the next season and play all 12 games. He is definitely a Hall of Fame QB who will be aiming for his 6th ring. Will he do it again? Can Bill Belichick and the Patriots be stopped? This is something to look forward to in the 2017/2018 season.

With the Wild Card weekend in the rearview, it is time for the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. The top 2 seeds from each conference got their bye week and should be rested up. They will face the winners of the Wild Card. Each team that won during the Wild Card was the home team. This week, however, Green Bay, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Seattle will all be on the road. In the AFC #4 Houston will go up north to #1 New England and #3 Pittsburgh is off to #2 Kansas City. On the NFC side #4 Green Bay will face #1 Dallas and #3 Seattle will travel to #2 Atlanta. All of these games are rematches from earlier in the NFL season, which should make for some interesting games.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

To kick off the Divisional round is a great NFC matchup. The #3 Seattle Seahawks go down south to play the #2 Atlanta Falcons in what might be the most heated game of the weekend. These teams met in week 6 of the regular season in arguably one of the best games of the season. The Seahawks edged the Falcons with the score 26-24, but not without controversy. Richard Sherman had hands on Julio Jones that could have easily been called pass Image result for seahawks vs falconsinterference but was not. It should also be mentioned that this game was in Seattle where the Seahawks went 7-1 but on the road went 3-4-1. Either way, this game kicks off a great weekend but I see Atlanta getting by with a close win.

The late game on Saturday is up in Foxborough between the #4 Houston Texans and the #1 New England Patriots. This game is a rematch from week 3 but with one major difference. Tom Brady will be in the lineup this time and has been red hot this season. This is a baImage result for texans vs patriotsd scenario for Houston as they lost 27-0 earlier in the year to the Pats 3rd string QB. That fact, mixed with the extremely inconsistent play from all of Houston’s quarterbacks means the Texans are in trouble. One good thing for Houston is their defense and their pass rush, which may be their only saving grace. They can hope to pressure Brady but the Patriots will win by at least 14.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The first game on Sunday is set to take place between #3 Pittsburgh Steelers and the #2 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. This has shaped up to be a very interesting matchup as Pittsburgh has all of their offensive weapons on the field. The key thing is that their defense is playing at the best they have all season. On the Chiefs side, they had the bye week to rest up. They also come in with one of the most balanced offenses and a defense that has been firing on all cylinders for the last half of the season. This will be a much differentImage result for steelers vs chiefs game than the week 4 blowout for two reasons. The Chiefs have gotten much better since their loss. This game is in KC as well where the Chiefs are a very good team at that. Another big concern for the Steelers is their quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the wild card game and was seen in a walking boot. It has been reported that he is will play and it is only a sprain, but it may still have an effect come Sunday. I suspect this game will come down to a field goal, but both teams can win in this one.

The final Divisional game of the weekend might be the most exciting too. The red hot #4 Green Bay Packers are going to Jerry World to take on the #1 Dallas Cowboys.  This game has a lot of interest as the Cowboys have been the best team all season, but they are facing arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers. The last time these teams met in week 6 the Cowboys went into Lambeau and won 30-16. One big difference between then and now is the emergence of some Green Bay defense. The Cowboys are a tough matchup for any team. This is because of Zeke Elliot and the way he can run the ball. I see this game being a shootout with a ton of points scored even without Jordy Nelson. I think the veteran puts the rookies in their place, 45-35 in favor of Green Bay. This pick could easily go for the Cowboys as well especially with the season they’ve had. The Boys have a lot of upsides and I expect to see them in the same place next season. Image result for packers vs cowboys

Are you ready for some football?! The NFL is back with the season starting September 8th there are a lot of headlines surrounding America’s game from Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, and Tony Romo, all the way to PED accusations by the NFL. We are here to talk about the season and team expectations, not the drama surrounding the league and the headlines such as Kaepernick has been.  Instead, we will look at some interesting match-ups in week one along with injuries and trades. We will begin with number five.

#5 Pittsburgh Steelers vs Washington Redskins

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On this special Monday night, we will be treated to two games, the one to watch is the first one. This game is going to show off arguably the best offensive team in football, the Steelers going up against the Redskins who really showed promise at the end of last season and look to build on that this year. Kirk Cousins is the starting QB with a lot of good receivers along with what will be a good defense after adding DB Josh Norman. Big Ben and Antonio Brown will be out and spectacular as always, but they will be missing two other big time players from their offense, Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant. This like the next match up could light up the scoreboard and be a very entertaining game, but this game could also be a defensive battle depending on if they can shut down the explosive offenses.  If for no other reason to watch it, it’s Monday Night Football!

#4 Oakland Raiders vs New Orleans Saints

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Oakland has had many disappointing years since the Super Bowl loss in 2003, but they showed flashes of real progress last season and it looks to continue. New Orleans, on the other hand, has been above average since acquiring Drew Brees, even winning a Super Bowl in 2010. This game should be pass heavy with a high scoring potential, which is always fun to watch.  Both teams’ defenses are still looking for a defined leader and are not the cream of the crop in the league. Kalil Mack for Oakland is developing into the leader they need, but he is not there yet. New Orleans gave up 45 passing touchdowns last year, which is an NFL record and doesn’t bode well for them with Derek Carr leading Oakland’s offense. Even with Oakland’s potentially potent offense, it will be hard to stop a Saints team led by Drew Brees who is one of the most prolific passers of the modern era with multiple 5000-yard seasons.

#3 New England Patriots vs Arizona Cardinals

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This game is interesting for more reasons than just Tom Brady’s suspension. Reason number one, these are the teams that lost their conference championship games last season. This is a big time game between two big time teams, that both have the chance of getting to Super Bowl 51. Reason number two, this is a chance to see the Patriots without Brady. Brady is 39 years old now and usually, after the 40 mark, not many quarterbacks hold up, best example Peyton Manning, another example in case you need it is Brett Favre. Yes, they were good after 40 but not the same player they once were. Seeing Garoppolo play in the first four regular season games this year is going to be a good or bad sign for the Patriots and what better test than the second best NFC team last year. To mention the Cardinals, they have a great defense lead by one of the best DB’s in the game and with Carson Palmer leading the offense, I imagine they will be in a good position for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

#2 Green Bay Packers vs Jacksonville Jaguars

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This game is here because it’s not only the chance to see if the Packers will be back to form with the return of Jordy Nelson after missing last season, but Jacksonville on paper appears to be much improved and is a contender for the AFC South division title this year. The Packers are often mentioned to be the team this year to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, primarily due to their strength of schedule which is the easiest in the league. With Aaron Rodgers having all of his receivers healthy, a thinner Eddy Lacy, and a defense that is capable of creating turnovers, it is easy to see why the Packers are a favorite this year. The Jaguars are not to be ignored, with Blain Gabbert in his third year, and a team really beginning to find their stride, on both sides of the ball, the Jags may surprise a lot of people after countless below average seasons.

# 1 Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos

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This shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s the rematch of Super Bowl 50! Well almost, Peyton Manning will not be leading the defending champion Broncos into this game. Instead, they will be led by Trevor Siemian who has never started a game in the NFL. Minus one or two key players, these rosters have remained mostly the same. Both team defenses are still going to be a force in the league but the question is will the Broncos offense be able to produce like it did in the Super Bowl with Manning?  For the Panthers will Cam Newton be able to generate more than 10 points against the Denver defense this time around. Cam will have all of his weapons healthy, a good running game, capable receivers, and a good offensive line, so he should be able to light up the board but Thursday night will tell the tale. For Siemian this is going to be an above average test of his ability because the Panthers team is no joke. This could be his toughest game of the season and its only week one. In my opinion, if this is a close game that the Panthers win, it is still a win for the Broncos. It would show that Siemian can be the quarterback for the future. If it’s a blowout, then Denver may have an issue but it is week one. Who’s to say he won’t rebound moving forward and prove to be the offensive leader they need now.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants

Aside from being a division game, in a division any team can win, it will be interesting to see how Dak Prescott responds to being the starter for the Cowboys and if he can lead the team effectively. The Giants, on the other hand, have a good QB in Eli Manning and receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. but will their defense hold up.

Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans

After Teddy Bridgewater’s injury, the Vikings traded a first round pick for Sam Bradford to the Eagles. It will be interesting to see if this will be what the Vikings need to be relevant in the NFC North. The Titans have a young team that I am excited to see. How they mesh this year will be telling and will set up what is potentially a good team in the future.