Melvin Gordon = 2019 Le’veon Bell?

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Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro RB Requests Trade if New Deal is Not Met

Melvin Gordon has played like a Top 5 running back, and he deserves to be paid like one, the only questions now are when will he be and with who?
Photo Credit (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Melvin Gordon III is set to make $5.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract, which is good for a rookie; but far too little for a Pro Bowler of his caliber. Gordon has averaged 224 carries a year in his four seasons in the league, to say he totes the rock a lot is an understatement to running backs.

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AFC Training Camp: Each teams “X” Factor for the 2019 season

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Baker Mayfield has given the Cleveland Browns hope for the future but can he alone lead the Browns to the promised land? ‘X’ AFC style
Photo Credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images

Football season is nearly here!!! After releasing our NFC “X” factors two weekends ago, it’s time to head over to the American Football Conference and visit the 16 teams that look to chase down the Lombardi Trophy. The NFL offseason has been INSANE, with all the trades, new draft picks, and contract signings; this season is shaping up to be a great one.

The Cleveland Browns shook up the AFC outlook with the Odell Beckham trade, the New York Jets won the Le’Veon Bell sweepstakes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers sent WR Antonio Brown to the Raiders for pennies on the dollar. Jacksonville finally has a credible QB, the Dolphins will have an interesting (not to be taken lightly) QB battle between Ryan “FitzMagic” and 2018 1st round pick (10th overall) Josh Rosen.

This should be fun, here we go with the AFC ‘X’ Factors!

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NFC Training Camp: Each teams “X” Factor for the 2019 season

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Bears’ QB, Mitchell Trubisky, is one our top X factors for the NFC.
Photo by Camrongood [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

Training Camp starts in less than a month, you can hear the screams and tears of joy from the NFL faithful as the new season is fast approaching. I would like to take this time now to point out each of my “X” factors for the following 32 teams. This “X” factor can stem from the front office, a coach, a star player, or group of players for that matter. Its this focal point that I believe can either give your franchise the playoff push it needs, their first breakout season in a while, or maybe just give you the hopes that: “THANK GOD WE AREN’T REBUILDING ANYMORE”

The “X” factor is not necessarily each teams best player, but more so the player that each team needs to breakout and contribute in order for their team to have the best success. So with out further adieu lets begin with the NFC:

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Patriots vs. Rams: A Super Bowl Flashback

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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

Could there be two LA teams in Super Bowl LIII?

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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

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

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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 

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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

Battle of the Birds: Fly or die with Matt Ryan 

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The NFL season opener began with a bang, or better yet a Thunderstorm, as the weather delay during the Philadelphia Eagles-Atlanta Falcons game on Thursday night became symbolic for a messy, rough evening at Lincoln Financial Field.

The defending Super Bowl champs gave the Falcons numerous chances to win; failing to convert on offense, and turning the ball over late in 4th, Matt Ryan and company still didn’t get the job done. This was certainly a game that the Atlanta should have won, but instead will start the season with a loss.

This game reeked anything but a NFC Championship rematch that fans and media hoped for, the hype was very much downplayed after an abysmal first half, 6-3 (Philadelphia).

Both quarterbacks struggled to say the least, and the team as a whole looked like it was still preseason. Fans were actually booing the Eagles by halftime, showing their displeasure with a long awaited evening, especially with the weather delay.

Thursday night revealed and highlighted the lingering questions at quarterback, where as the surrounding unit for both teams prove to be solid. The Falcons have a tremendous offensive line, as do the Eagles, and are also complemented with a great defense all-around.

While QB Nick Foles wasn’t able to get the passing game going, he stuck to his team’s motto of running the football and trusted his line to do the rest. Jay Ajayi took advantage of the great blocking and scored two touchdowns for Eagles, but it was still a one possession game.

Ryan appeared to lean on his star wide receiver Julio Jones, who had a tremendous night with 10-of-19 targets for 161 yards, all game long.

Jones was getting doubled most the game, but still continued to be the focal point for the Falcons. It was almost if Mohamed Sanu wasn’t in the game, or any other wide receivers for that matter.

I was surprised that Head Coach Dan Quinn and his staff didn’t come up with some kind of RPO, or trick play to throw off the defense, rather than just throwing it to a fully-blanketed Julio Jones in the red zone. These were obvious passing situations, and clearly the Falcons failed to come up with a “Philly Special” of their own.

The Falcons certainly has to address their Red Zone inefficiency, or else it will continue to haunt them all season long.

Photo by Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

A Dez Bryant-Patriots signing would be Randy ‘Moss-esk’

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With just a month left before the 2018 NFL season begins, Dez Bryant still has yet to sign with a team, but is rumored to be meeting with a contender.

There is little news about Dez Bryant or any of his potential suitors in free agency, except for his dis-interest in the Cleveland Browns. The Browns commented yesterday that Bryant didn’t really seem attracted to the idea of signing.

Bryant, recently just told the media that “he wants to play for a contender”, even after failing to sign with a team with just weeks away from regular season. He is basically limiting his options in free agency, but is sticking to his Owens-like character, wanting to win now.

Rumors have it that the Bryant’s next destination could be in New England, as the Patriots would make perfect sense for the Pro-Bowl wide receiver.

The Patriots reportedly have not contacted Bryant, which is the vintage “Patriot way” to not release any information to the media. The gossip starts with Tom Brady and his like for Bryant, many believe he is recruiting the former Dallas Cowboy.

The buzz continues after recent news that Patriots are releasing wide receiver Malcom Mitchell. Sources around the league speculate that New England is clearing a path to sign Dez.

New England needs help at the wide receiver position to say the least; with the Brandon Cooks trade to the Los Angeles Rams, and Julian Edelman still recovering from the ACL injury, Patriots might just have to roll the dice with Dez. While there is the “baggage” that comes with Bryant, the talent is still there, and derives a strong passion for the game – something key to spark the Patriots’ offense.

Tom Brady, 41, is most likely going to retire after the end of the 2018-2019 NFL season. It looks like this is a do-or-die season for the Brady-Belicheck era.

Could Dez give the Patriots the boost they need to make it another Super Bowl?

Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

NFL Draft: Day 1 drama and ramifications 

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The first day of the NFL Draft always ensues some kind of drama, and of course, it involves the Cleveland Browns.

The Cleveland Browns stunned the football world on draft night, after drafting Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall. The Browns have found themselves with a controversial first-round draft pick once again, but this time it was two.

There was complete shock and awe, after commissioner Roger Goodell announced Mayfield with the first pick, and the mixed reactions only continued after the Browns selected Denzel Ward No. 4 overall.

NFL experts and pretty much everyone in the league labeled Bradley Chubb as one of the premier players in the draft – except for Cleveland.

After seeing all of the analysis, mock drafts from the media and others, I thought Chubb was a lock for the No. 4 pick. I guess we were definitely wrong on that, for it was a jaw-dropping moment on Thursday night.

Browns fans were apparently chanting “Chubb, Chubb, Chubb!” at the draft, according to Kyle Brandt, host of Good Morning Football. The roof was already blown off the building when it heard Mayfield’s name, and now Ward, the football world was just dumbfounded.

Ward is rated the top cornerback in college football, and some draft experts say he is the one of the best players in this draft period, but the mutual feeling is that the Browns reached somewhat for this pick. The Browns are addressing their need for the cornerback position, but the overall better football player is definitely Chubb.

It will be hard to see if the Browns regret on passing on Bradley Chubb, or Sam Darnold in the next three years.

The mixed reaction in Cleveland is only fitting, Browns fans must go crazy with some of the decisions this  ranchise decides to make.

I’m not someone who gives draft grades because I can’t really make an accurate rating with no evidence, no playing time. I can’t predict the future, neither can you, so that’s why we just have to wait and see.

There is a great portion of Browns fans that are in great disbelief that Mayfield is their quarterback, to which is understandable. Mayfield is a Heisman-worthy kind of player, but one with great risk – sound
familiar?

Baker Mayfield just screams out Johnny Manziel comparison all day, a real déjà vu moment for Cleveland.

I definitely thought Sam Darnold would be a lock for No. 1 overall pick, but turned out GM John Dorsey and Browns staff really liked Mayfield. The funny thing is that in hindsight, I can see why Dorsey endorsed for Mayfield, and that I’m actually starting to like this pick.

Cleveland Browns’ record for having over 28 quarterbacks since 1999 (t-most in the NFL) just reeks of mediocrity, and is one record you do not want to have. The Browns need a quarterback who is not only talented, but different, which is exactly Mayfield.

Mayfield could add some excitement to a franchise is in dire need of it, for he would be a perfect fit for their lackluster offense. He plays with excitement, and will be a good inspiration for that Browns’ locker room.

Did the Browns win or whiff on their No. 1 overall pick?

Photo by Bobak Ha’Eri [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons