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 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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

Battle of the Birds: Fly or die with Matt Ryan 


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’


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

The QB Carousel that is the 2018 NFL Draft 


This time of the year means everyone and their grandmother are presenting their mock version of the NFL Draft, however they vary dramatically in 2018.

The infamous Mel Kiper, Todd McShay normally have similar opinions in most cases, but their predictions this year tend to be very different.

It’s interesting to see all the various scenarios for just the top 10, based on the NFL experts and media. I don’t think anyone really knows exactly who’s going where in this draft.

There is one thing for certain this year, at least two, three (maybe four) quarterbacks could very easily be drafted in the top 10.

Mel Kiper unveiled his list of the top 4 quarterbacks that could be drafted in the first round, showing each different traits.

According to ESPN, Mel Kiper lists QB with:

  1. Best arm – Josh Allen

Compares with Matthew Stafford, and the arm strength of the former great pitcher Randy Johnson.

2. Best legs – Lamar Jackson

His accuracy is questionable, but the speed and athleticism are undeniable; Jackson’s explosiveness will translate
into the NFL effectively.

3. Best heart: Sam Darnold

He has great overall character, shows a lot of adversity and performs very well under-duress.

4. Best mind: Josh Rosen

I agree with experts that he is certainly a NFL QB, and his ‘Tom Brady-like’ approach make him ready for the professional level.

There is a lot that goes into this year’s draft, A LOT.

From cornerbacks to linebackers, and all the way to guards, experts range defensive players all over the place in the first round. A big favorite on defense is Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB, who is projected to be in the top 10.

Ward is the essential proto-type of a NFL cornerback, standing at 5’11″ and 191 lbs., his speed/ability will translate in the league.

There are so many scenarios for defensive players, especially top prospects LB Roquan Smith and G Quenton Nelson, who are both also believed to be taken in the first round. Nelson might go in the top 5, according to NFL scouts.

Smith is another question though, while he is a top 10 talent, he might drop slightly depending on how the QB situation plays out.

Thinking about the first round, who is going where is starting to make my head spin. So I’m going to make this quick, here’s the top ten of my NFL Mock Draft:

1. Sam Darnold

His overall character and ability to have adversity at all times makes him the perfect candidate to lead the Browns.

2. Saquon Barkley

While everyone thinks the Giants are drafting Bradley Chubb, New York address their running back issue and takes the best
player in the draft.

3. Josh Rosen

A few weeks ago Josh Rosen and the New York Jets seemed a sure-thing, I’m going to remind everyone that it will remain the

4. Bradley Chubb

The Browns lock down Chubb with no. 4 overall, giving more balance to the defense.

5. Josh Allen

The Bills go sell their soul with trading two first round picks and a fifth rounder to Denver Broncos for the fifth overall.

6. Quenton Nelson

Put the trade rumors with the Miami Dolphins aside, the Colts add the best guard in the draft to help protect Andrew Luck.

7. Derwin James

James is one of the most physical defensive backs who can make an impact right away, but might be traded back based on the
QB scenario.

8. Denzel Ward

Bears spent a lot of money on offense this offseason, it’s time for them to lock down the best CB in the draft to balance
out their defense.

9. Tremaine Edmunds

49ers need speed and ability on there defense, Edmunds will address that.

10.  Roquan Smith

Raiders will take the other top linebacker in the draft, if Ward doesn’t fall to no. 10.

This is going to be one hell of a draft.

Photo by RalphTheCorndog [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Why the rule changes make a scary NFL future


The NFL already has a huge issue with their definition of a catch, and now after the new targeting rule, no one will know what a tackle is either.

A couple years ago, Dez Bryant caught a key touchdown against the Green Bay Packers late in a playoff game, only to be overturned for ‘going to the ground’. Green Bay challenged the call and the rest is history, the refs basically stole my Cowboys a trip to the Super Bowl that year (2015).

According to the new rule change, “the league will penalize contact initiated with a lowered helmet and players will be ejected if the foul is a drastic measure.”

I can’t emphasize enough how detrimental this rule is for the defense, and for the game in general, for many reasons. When making a tackle, you HAVE to be lower than the opposing player.

Basically who ever gets lower, when making a tackle, always wins. If you’re a defender, you will at some point lower your head when making a play – it is simply apart of tackling.

Playing high school football, my coach always told me to go completely 100 percent whether it’s a game, or just practice. I thought this was just your typical “bust your ass” speech by the coaching staff, but learned it stood more for player safety.

High school football is a real ice-breaker for learning the game of football and philosophy of tackling, especially for those who have never played.

I remember doing tackle drills, and if you didn’t get up to the line quick enough, you would get rocked by your opposing teammate. A simple but sensible philosophy — who ever goes harder, whether it’s the player on offense or defense, they will be the punisher.

It’s ironic that now the NFL has released the targeting rule in emphasis for player safety, when really it could be the detriment to their safety.

When we thought it was bad enough that the league doesn’t know what a catch is, now no one will know what a damn tackle will be, including players. Thinking more and more, trying to avoid all the penalties when trying to make a simple play, will slow the player down.

Slowing the player down could actually make them more susceptible to getting hurt, this makes it almost completely unfair for the defense. The league already makes the game tailored for offensive players with the other rules in place.

This will definitely change the game of football, but will be a good change?

I think that with all of these rule changes, complicating the game, could ruin the NFL. The last thing NFL fans want to see is another another hour spent watching the refs in the replay booth, or having them define key moments in the game.

I might end up sticking with college football, or maybe even watching the XFL in future years, if more rules keep coming into play. We just want to watch the simple, physical game that we all know and love.

Photo By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Dak Prescott) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Josh McDaniels helps mend Patriots’ Super Bowl LII Heartbreak with return 


Everything began to start looking downhill for the Patriots after their Super Bowl loss, just until New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels shocked the league with rejecting the Indianapolis Colts head-coaching job – revitalizing this team as the NFL’s Supervillains.

There is no news of any other coaching moves within the Patriots’ organization, as well as roster changes (especially the quarterback position). With a sense of momentum change and inspiration, it does looks like however there might be a chance Tom Brady and Bill Belichick give it one more shot.

McDaniels, along side with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, had already made their intentions on leaving the team prior to the championship. While the Patriots might attempt to possibly clean house with all of the coaching and roster changes, McDaniels shocks the organization with the news of his return for the 2018-2019 season.

The surprising and yet bold move to not accept the head-coaching job, sent shockwaves throughout the league. Not only does it raise questions concerning the Colts’ organization, but also makes people wonder what his real motivation is for returning to New England.

It looks like the Patriots’ offensive coordinator will help keep up the well-oiled machine that Patricia and Head Coach Bill Belichick built since 2004.

This bold move from McDaniels just give a ton of momentum back to the Patriots, trying to help bring them back from the dead after losing Super Bowl LII. New England fans are still getting over Sunday (and maybe never will), but they have to be somewhat happy there could be a chance that the dynasty will return another season.

While I am not a fan of the Patriots, I do respect McDaniels’ move – even though it might be more of a personal matter rather than doing it for the Patriots.

Sometimes when we make decisions in life that we end up changing, is a result of convincing ourselves rather than actually wanting ourselves to commit to that decision. I think this is one of those cases, and for McDaniels, I don’t really think he wanted to leave New England in the first place.

The 2018 NFL offseason will be interesting of course for the Patriots, but the question will be how interesting. The Pats’ summer looks a bit brighter though with the sense that the empire may strike again one more season with McDaniels’ return.

Photo by Brian Allen for Voice of America [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

*Disclaimer: The author of this photo is NOT in any shape or form endorsing my website*

2018 NFL Playoffs: Wild Card Weekend Ramifications 


The NFL Playoffs are here and is already living up to the postseason hype with surprising upsets in the Wild Card Round – Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills with the lowest combined points in playoff history and the Saints just nearly edged the Panthers in a back-and-forth shootout at home.

The First Round started off with one of the biggest surprises this postseason when the Tennessee Titans upset the Kansas City Chiefs by just one point at Arrowhead Stadium. Mariota and company scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to knock off the Chiefs in a tough road playoff game, shattering Alex Smith/Andy Reid’s potential with Kansas City.

Alex Smith is now 1-4, even with weapons like Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill. This talented Chiefs roster has failed to live up to expectations the past several seasons, losing five playoff games in a row, now dropping to a 2-6 record all-time in Arrowhead Stadium.

The expression and overall feeling from the postgame conference with Head Coach Andy Reid, basically had said it all for the state of the Chiefs. It looks like there will be whole sale changes next season, especially with winding-down contracts from the quarterback and head coach.

Will Alex Smith or Andy Reid return next season with the Chiefs?

The Chiefs were the catalyst as a tough road block in the AFC, now that the Patriots will be facing the Titans instead, the pathway to the Super Bowl is now an easier one for the defending champs. While Tennessee looked impressive in it’s first playoff win in years, they don’t necessarily stack up like their opponent to a team like the Patriots.

Patriots will win easily at home this Saturday, muting all the outside noise and negativity from the media. Unless Mariota throws for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns, Titans don’t have much of a chance against an angry Patriots team.

Being a huge fan for underdogs, I couldn’t be happier for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. The past few years I had always rooted for the Jaguars to do well, because they have had one of the longest droughts in the NFL for any success whatsoever.

A team that used to have the worst winning percentage in the league for the past decade (besides the Browns), is now moving on to the next round of the playoffs. I love it.

Excited as I am for the Jaguars, I don’t see them defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers again, especially in a playoff game atmosphere on the road. I hope I am wrong though, remember anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL.

Go Jags!

The Saints have to be the most dangerous team in the NFC, defeating a tough Carolina team and Brees’ spectacular play make them scary opponent in the playoffs. If the Ingrid-Kamara running back tandem show up against the Falcons, Brees will take his team to the Super Bowl.

Will Matt Ryan and the Falcons redeem themselves from last year’s Super Bowl heartbreak?

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

NFL Training Camp 2017: August is here and football season is just around the corner 


Training camp is underway, and is already jolting its way through to the NFL Preseason, which is set to begin on Thursday – which means football is on the horizon fellas.

The best season of the year is coming, and no it is not winter. The NFL is coming, and its time to get pumped!

With preseason set to begin in just a couple days, that also means college football is here to satisfy our football fanatic needs as well.

The 2017-2018 NFL season will be filled with parody and more fluidity than recent past with key veteran trades, and high-risk, high-reward draft acquisitions. Premier NFL Rookies like Deshone Kizer, Leonard Fournette, and James Conner are already turning heads during this offseason.

The dumpster fire, that is the Cleveland Browns, has had an offseason to remember with accumulating some of the best players in the draft – starting with the no.1 overall pick, Myles Garrett. These new acquisitions will help this team finally go in the right direction, and actually give them some kind of relevancy.

Myles Garrett will give this franchise the biggest impact it has seen in years, because he’s a straight up beast.

Standing at 6’4’’, 270 pounds, Garrett is one hell of a force to deal with. His gifted stature, added with his freakish athleticism and ridiculous amount of power, makes him a scary opponent for any offensive line to face.

Garrett and Quarterback Deshone Kizer were seen running 100-yard sprints shortly after the Browns’ practice ended, showing the team the extra drive they need in order to be successful. This is good news for the Cleveland, for their draft pick acquisitions are already showing progress and flashes of their self-worth.

If any player were to live up to the hype, it would certainly be the monster defensive end from Texas A&M, that is Myles Garrett.

The Browns other two key 1st round picks: safety Jabrill Peppers and tight end David Njoku, were some of the most athletic players in the draft. Many NFL draft experts and league sources say that Peppers was a complete steal with the 25th overall pick in the first round (could have easily been top 10 overall).

Peppers, the most versatile player in the entire draft, showed the nation last year his athleticism could be shown in three, four different positions. According to ESPN, Peppers had over 355 snaps at defensive back, 324 at linebacker, 29 at quarterback, 12 at wide receiver, and 10 at running back.

The star defensive player from Michigan also returned 21 punts and 10 kickoffs – now that’s versatility for you.

Cleveland’s logical decisions with this year’s draft will help turn the franchise around in the 2017-2018 season. Now that the Browns are building pieces to the puzzle on defense, it is now up to the quarterback rotation to take them to postseason.

Could the Cleveland Browns really be a playoff team in the next two, three years?

Right now there are teams on the brink of either turning things around, and or finally living up to their potential, like the Dallas Cowboys. Winning 10-straight games under the NFL Rookie of the year, Dak Prescott, the Cowboys looked like a serious threat last season – until that wasn’t the case.

The Cowboys won 10 games in a row under Prescott, finishing 1st in the NFC East with 13-3 overall. Many people believed that fellow star rookie Ezekiel Elliot would win the award, showing promise at running back with over 1,631 yards.

Being a huge Cowboys fan for years, I am not really sure how to feel about last year’s success, because let’s face it, their still the Cowboys. The hype with Cowboysnation was through the roof, much of the incentive coming from their star rookies (And maybe from no Tony Romo).

There are still many questions on the defensive side of the ball with this team, especially after star cornerback Morris Claiborne taking off to the New York Jets. Even with the Cowboys’ priority to improve their pass rush, their will still a huge focus on the new group of defensive backs.

This Cowboys team will need to find chemistry with the new faces on defense, especially if they want to live up to the hype train that is in Dallas. Will they be able to live up the hype with all said and done?

The NFL this year will feature drama, hype, and promise – the question is which teams will fit in these categories. After all, the Cowboys are the Cowboys, and the Browns are the Browns – can this year be different for teams like these?

Photo by Erik Drost (Deshone Kizer) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons