Patriots vs. Rams: A Super Bowl Flashback

Quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will face a flash from the past, from Super Bowl XXXVI against the Saint Louis Rams, and now the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

In 2002, Brady won his first championship with the Patriots against the Rams, 20-17. Little did we know, this was the start of an incredible dynasty.

Head Coach Bill Belichick has kept this Patriots’ well-oiled system for nearly two decades, consistently winning regular season and playoff games, year after year. Belichick and his Pats have the longest winning streak in the NFL history with 21 straight regular and postseason wins, from 2003-2004.

The Brady/Belichick era is something to be awed at, and to be celebrated, because we may never see anything this special again.

This might be one of the hardest Super Bowl matchups this Patriots squad will ever face, for the Rams, are one of the best teams in the league by far. Being one of the first teams to be undefeated this season, Rams QB Jared Goff has had an incredible year leading his team to 13 wins and just 3 losses.

Todd Gurley, 24, arguably has been the best running back all-season long, and if it weren’t for his minor ankle injury early in the playoffs, Gurley would be on fire running into the championship. Now that he is reportedly healthy, he will look to strive back to MVP form and run all over the Patriots.

The Rams have been impressed with veteran running back CJ Anderson, who has been filling in for Gurley, just two games into the playoffs after being acquired from free agency. Gurley will look to take over possessions again, unless head Coach Sean McVay has plans otherwise.

I think it will be important to give Gurley a majority of the touches, for McVay, might try and keep another balanced rushing attack. While this seem like a sensible plan, it will be more vital for Gurley to get momentum.

There are so many factors that go into this championship game, the question will be which will be one of those factors, that actually affect the outcome.

Will the Rams actually be able to take down the Patriots?

Photo by Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Could there be two LA teams in Super Bowl LIII?

The two teams representing Los Angeles, the Rams and now the Chargers, could make an all-L.A. Super Bowl this year for the first time in NFL history.

The Rams and Chargers are both the most dangerous and talented teams in the NFL.

Starting with the red-hot Chargers, and their Sergeant General Phillip Rivers, who is displaying some of the best quarterback play in his career. Rivers threw for over 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns in another impressive season, and hopes to keep the momentum going in the playoffs.

The Chargers have a tough Divisional Round matchup against the New England Patriots this Sunday, In Foxborough. To make matters worse, Rivers is 0-7 against QB Tom Brady and his Patriots in the playoffs.

It is hard to count out the Patriots in the playoffs, but I think the Chargers have more firepower to deal with New England.

Chargers’ Head Coach Anthony Lynn will make sure to utilize Melvin Gordon, and the running game to keep a well-balanced attack against the Patriots’ defense. Rivers will be up to the challenge, knowing that, he will need to play smart football in a very hostile environment.

Since the start of the season, the Rams have always been the team to beat, and now they are here postseason. Jared Goff and teammate Todd Gurley certainly have matured, along with their Head Coach Sean McVay.

Goff, and his team are favored against the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday, but could be an interesting matchup based on the opponent’s skilled defense. The Rams will certainly have to do more than just simply pound the rock in order to score on Dallas.

While I think Dallas defense is dominant, I think the Ram’s offensive will be too much for the Cowboys to deal with.

There is a great chance that both of these LA teams advance in the next round, and even after that…which means Super Bowl LIII.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Happy holidays, it’s playoff football

Happy holidays, it’s playoff football

With just a couple weeks left to conclude the 2018-2019 NFL regular season, teams are finding a way to put their stamp on the playoffs. Whether it is locking down the top seed, or making the Wild Card, these next games will be pivotal for the league.

The Tennessee Titans’ dominating 30-9 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, solidifies the end of their divisional rival, but most importantly keeps…

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The 2018 LA Beer Fest was a success 

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2018 LA Beer Festival, it was my first, and certainly won’t be my last.

I finally was able to take a Saturday off work, and join the renown beer event in Downtown Los Angeles. The LA Beer Fest featured over 80 breweries and 200 beers for everyone to enjoy!

I was impressed with the wide range of brew at the event; looking at several breweries that I have tried, bringing something interesting to the table and seeing all of the other new establishments as well.

After selling out last year, the LA Beer Fest picked up where it left off with a big crowd, and tons of great vibes. The 10th annual celebration of this event really felt like a tradition, especially if your living in Los Angeles.

My girl and I, were absolutely fascinated with “Dragon’s Milk Reserve Cherry Chocolate” from New Holland Brewery.

New Holland’s incredible creation features an incredible taste from their original Dragon’s Milk, and now combined with cherry, chocolate making it one enjoyable imperial stout. This stout has a big kick with 11.0% ABV, so you might want to make this one of your last visits at the event!

I really was impressed with this brewery, and the fact they brought their Bourbon Barrel-Age version of Dragon’s Milk. I’m not a big fan of those type of stouts, but I must say New Holland balanced their flavor/bourbon perfectly!

Iron Triangle is an awesome brewery in downtown Los Angeles, it gives you the perspective from more of an industrial, warehouse type of establishment. The inspiration is vintage 1900’s Los Angeles, where the location is originally from a pre-prohibition era warehouse.

This spot in LA has great foundational beers like their new Black Lager, and of course their Iron Triangle IPA. I’m not really a fan of lagers, but their twist on a traditional type of beer makes it enjoyable.

Speaking of IPAs, pretty much every tent featured one Indian Pale Ale you could imagine.

Out of all of the IPAs that I consumed, or remember, I was impressed with nearly all of them to be honest. It was hard for me to say that I didn’t appreciate any of them, well except maybe one of the DIPA’s.

Hop Valley had an interesting IPA called “Bubble Stash”, and also their “Citrus Mistress”. Both beers featured tropical/fruitlike characterizes, with impressive amounts of hop, flavors.

I had a great time at the LA Beer Fest, and you should too! See you next year 🙂

Summer’s away, but it’s Fall today with Space Ways 

Summer has officially come to a close, but doesn’t mean IPA season is necessarily over. Modern Times Brewing has released their new Hazy Nelson IPA called “Space Ways”, a perfect, soothing beer for the Fall transition.

Modern Times has released quite a few different IPA’s this past summer: everything from the dank mosaic, to juicy, tropical flavors, and a new haze with Nelson hops. The Orderville, Critical Band, and Space Ways are definitely one of my favorite pale ales from this brewery that really emulates these characteristics.

According to Modern Times, Space Ways features a blend of Nelson, Motueka, and Simcoe hops, and was fermented in London III yeast. It has a superb profile full with mango, nectarine, and brilliant lime-zest character.

Space Ways features a variety of malts; the two row, white wheat, flaked oats, and dextrapils mix that gives this beer that signature, cloudy appearance. An awesome fusion of hops and malts, combined with great flavor, this new creation is a must-try.

This incredible taste trip will leave you feeling hazy, after having sip after sip with a 6.7% ABV.

I have discovered these are the kind of Indian pale ales that really are my favorite. Hazy IPA’s all day!

Whether you like that kind of smooth taste the Space Ways brings, or it’s combination of a hoppy palate, this is truly a great ale for this season.

NFL Week 3: Breaking records, huge upsets, and key injuries 

Its only Week 3 in the NFL, and we have broken records, gigantic upsets and losses that are already becoming major headlines for the league.

Two quarterbacks this weekend has had astonishing performances, carrying their teams to solid victories and elevating themselves to be the best in the NFL right now. While these players are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, in terms of their careers, they are both playing lights out.

Future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees, adds to his legendary stature with setting one of the most respected records for a quarterback in a 43-37 win over the Falcons in overtime. Drew Brees just passed Brett Favre this Sunday for having most completions in NFL history, over 6,300.

6,300 completed passes?! That’s crazy.

Another quarterback that is playing at an extremely high level is Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes, 23, is arguably the hottest quarterback in the league right now with his play, throwing for over 13 touchdowns in just three games. His 13-TD streak is more than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, most in league history in first three games with one team.

Looks like the Patrick Mahomes hype will continue.

Nearly the first quarter of the NFL has been filled with interesting calls, huge upsets, and just weird games. This weekend got a little stranger when the Buffalo Bills annihilated the Minnesota Vikings at home 27-6.

You could ask anyone in the country, whether your betting or not, there is no way the Buffalo Bills have an ideal chance against the Minnesota Vikings (especially at Minnesota). According to the Chicago Tribune, Vegas odds say the Bills-Vikings game was the biggest upset since the 1995 Redskins-Cowboys.

The Buffalo Bills snapped their 6-game losing streak with an incredible defensive performance, and with some help from Rookie QB Josh Allen. The No. 5 overall pick showed promise with revitalizing the Bills offense, but the win was more about the defense.

The Bills certainly got after the football, sacking Vikings QB Kirk Cousins and causing him to turn the ball over three times. This was a game changer, giving the Bills numerous opportunities to score.

The football world was shocked, and I was to say the least, especially after the first two games they stunk it up in Buffalo. I guess Josh Allen redeemed himself…for now.

The Los Angeles Rams are continuing to prove that they are a Super Bowl-caliber team, after another dominating win over the San Diego Chargers (aka LA Chargers), 35-23. Unfortunately for the Rams, the focus on this game was not the win.

Pro Bowl cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, have suffered lower leg injuries- causing them both to leave the game, and wear a walking boot. According to the Bleacher Report, the star cornerbacks undergone an ankle sprain, which will most likely cause them to miss Thursday’s game against Minnesota.

When first hearing about the injury, there is reason to panic, but after identifying the injury as a sprain, it is somewhat of a relief. The injury should keep Talib and Peters out for the next two weeks or so, but hopefully will be back shortly after that.

Another key injury this Sunday was the 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo, as he is ‘heartbroken’ waiting for an MRI on his left knee. According to the NFL, Garoppolo might have suffered an ACL tear in his knee.

Hopefully the MRI doesn’t go as the 49ers fear, as their QB prospect could be out for the remainder of the season.

Garoppolo has just signed an enormous five-year contract worth over $137.5 million this past off season, it would be catastrophic for him not to live up to his potential. The 49ers QB apparently suffered the injury while fighting for extra yardage, instead of just going out of bounds.

It is hard to see key injuries already in Week 3, but it is a part of the game. We all rooting for you Garoppolo.

I was going to add the Patriots-Lions game in my upsets section, but New England isn’t nearly the team who they were last year, so I didn’t regard it as much of an upset. In fact, odds makers are starting to bet against the Pats, for they are an extremely vulnerable team in the NFL right now.

Is the Tom Brady-Bill Belicheck era in jeopardy?

Photo by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Bengals Offense looks bigger and better than ever with RB Joe Mixon 

Andy Dalton threw for over four touchdown passes on Thursday night, but it was Joe Mixon that gave the Cincinnati Bengals the firepower on offense they needed in a 34-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Quarterback Andy Dalton has gotten most of the praise after Cincinnati won, but in reality, it was really the running game that helped them defeat the Ravens. The Bengals’ attack has a completely different look with Running Back Joe Mixon, giving their offense versatility.

Mixon played well against a tough Ravens defensive front, rushing over 22 times for 84 yards.  The performance Thursday night was more indicative than just the stats, but it was his overall impact on the game.

Dalton has had multiple games with 3 TD passes in the first half, but proves to be a meaningless statistic with several late game woes still under Head Coach Marvin Lewis.

Cincinnati was on the verge of blowing a 21-point lead, but managed to survive the second half in an important divisional win, that now pushes them to 2-0. The Bengals are now ahead of the AFC North, and will likely be there until at least Week 3.

There are of course still questions about the team, especially with Marvin Lewis and the pitiful history of being 0-7 in the playoffs. Dalton and Pro Bowl WR AJ Green have always made it interesting on
the outside, but always lacked a slot receiver, or true run support to balance the offense.

Again, Joe Mixon gives the Bengals a new repertoire on offense and of course, it will be up to Dalton if they really want to be elite. Is this the year they finally win a playoff game under Marvin Lewis?

Photo by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Kermit Whitfield) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons