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Who’s to Blame for Butler’s Beef?

If you’re a Patriots fan and you don’t live under a rock, you’ve heard the name Malcolm Butler.

The once undrafted rookie turned Super Bowl 49 hero with a goal-line interception to seal a victory against the Seattle Seahawks is a moment engraved in NFL history forever. Literally, that’s one of those plays that will be remembered when people talk about the history of the NFL; a moment that will capture the Patriots dynasty.

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After Super Bowl 49, the Patriots dropped their top 3 cornerbacks (at the time Darelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington) and it seemed that the new #1 cornerback for the Patriots was… Malcolm Butler. A kid who wasn’t on the roster to start the season before. A player many confused for Colts CB Darius Butler during their playoff run. Crazy talk!

Yet, in the past two years Butler has surpassed expectations and played like a Top 10 cornerback in the league. He isn’t the best at any one thing, but his mindset to give 110% on each snap is what keeps him in discussion as a top CB in the league. So what’s the issue?

Again, unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard that Malcolm Butler is upset with his current contract situation. Because he is playing under a rookie deal, he makes jack squat. This offseason Butler is a restricted free agent, meaning teams can attempt to sign him, but the Patriots can match any contract offer he receives AND has the final say if he were to stay or leave the team. The free agent tender means this: the Patriots get to chose the worth of the player. They slapped a first-round tender on Malcolm Butler, meaning that, as long as he signs the contract, he gets paid 3.9 million dollars to play for the Patriots this year. If another team wishes to give him a long term offer, and Malcolm as well as the Patriots let him walk to this new team, they must give the Patriots their FIRST ROUND PICK this draft. Whoa, talk about a hefty load.

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Essentially, it means this: The Patriots are completely in the driver’s seat. It would take an absolutely crazy team to give up 10’s of millions of dollars per year for Malcolm Butler along with a first-round caliber player in the draft this year.

Why is Butler mad? The dude wants to get paid. Honestly, you can’t blame him for being upset. He is 27 years old, in his prime in the NFL, and made 500,000 last year. That’s nice and all, until you realize he could be making somewhere around 12 million per year on another roster, if not more. For reference, Logan Ryan (the cornerback playing BEHIND Butler for New England the past few years) signed a contract for 10 million per year over the next few years. Further, a cornerback’s shelf-life and opportunity to make money is not long. To make matters worse, the Patriots just brought in another top cornerback in Stephon Gillmore and are paying him 65 million over 5 years.

Before you get mad at Butler, understand it’s a business. You likely wouldn’t be happy with such a significant paycut either when your coworker makes vastly more and you know you could make more money elsewhere. Here’s the catch: Butler doesn’t necessarily want to leave New England. He loves it here. He just wants to get paid fairly.

And you can’t get mad at New England either. Tendering Butler early in the offseason allowed them to still have a huge budget to spend and splurge on the roster like they have. It’s not like anyone is going to pursue Butler with the huge price it will cost. It’s like using coupons – when it’s right in your face why the hell wouldn’t you save the money? No-brainer.

What can be done about this? Like I said, New England is in the driver’s seat. Butler can refuse to sign the tender, which means he would not play next year. Yet, he would still be a restricted free agent next offseason, repeating the process. A restricted free agent has to play at least 8 games on the active roster in an NFL season to get out of the restricted contract. Butler can try and convince other teams to sign him, but that will be hard.

Signing a player to that much money and giving up a first rounder if another team signs him is just too much of a bold move. First rounders are precious in the NFL. A team could try and trade for him, but that doesn’t make sense on the Patriots end. If you’re the Patriots, what trade could be better than a team’s first round pick AND not having to trade away any assets on the Patriots end? Lastly, Butler can play his ass off next season and be a free agent next offseason, which is likely to happen.

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The Saints have been linked as a potential candidate for Butler. They may just sign him and give up their first round pick (#11). They received the Patriots first round pick (#32) in a trade for Brandin Cooks. Still, that seems like an idiotic move. The #11 pick is likely a day-one impact starter in most drafts.

I have three notes on this dilemma that I couldn’t find a place for anywhere else.

For starters, this draft is speculated to be loaded with talented defensive players, especially at the defensive back position. This only forces more leverage into the hands of the Patriots. Why would anyone give up so much when they can likely find a starting defensive back in the draft?

Secondly, the Patriots could easily be doing this with the intent of figuring out Butler’s market value (along with saving money this year). They just did something similar with Dont’a Hightower. Playing patient and figuring out a player’s value, especially in this instance where Butler has no place to go, seems to pay off by saving every possible penny.

Lastly, this doesn’t mean that Butler won’t stay in New England. The Patriots aren’t cheap with money: they’re smart with money. There’s a difference. Although they find ways to save money wherever they can, the Patriots also have no problem giving player’s more money through bonuses when they deem it appropriate. Remember a similar situation happened with offensive lineman Logan Mankins in 2011, who was tired of being franchise tagged instead of a long-term deal.

The Patriots will likely pay Butler, they have the money to, and he’s a game-changer for their team. Loading up on defense for the end of Brady’s reign and the transition to a new QB in the next few years seems like a smart move.

 

 

 

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What to Watch: NFL Week 10

1:00 Games:

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Broncos @ Saints – The Broncos will be tested this week against one of the top offenses in the league. Will New Orleans’ passing attack challenge the Broncos to a shootout, or will they fold this week against the tough Denver defense? I think it’s clear if New Orleans can get the offense going, they’ll probably win the game. I just don’t see Denver’s offense able to keep up if the Saints fire on all cylinders. Von Miller and company has an interesting game on their hands this Sunday.
Prediction: Saints win

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Falcons @ Eagles – This game feels similar to the one mentioned above, where a team capable of an upset at any moment can turn the tides for a top NFL team. The Falcons are riding high, and they have a potential MVP candidate with Quarterback Matt Ryan. While Eagles QB Carson Wentz has had his rookie struggles, there’s no denying the talent is there. Plus, this Eagles team has a roster that could upset just about anybody. I wouldn’t be shocked if they snuck away with a win here, but then again I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost.
Prediction: Falcons win

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Packers @ Titans – This game might not seem huge, but I think it could be. On one hand, you could see the Packers handle this game like many would normally expect. But there’s another hand here folks, and it’s Marcus Mariota’s right palm. How do I envision Mariota’s hands? They’re probably golden tan, they’re soft but they’ve got some wear and tear. Just enough wear and tear. Jokes aside, this Titans roster is sneaky talented, with a running back that has proven himself to be as elite as everyone thought just a few years ago, a solid young QB and a surging set of wide-receivers. The Titans could sneak away with their division, and a nice place to start would be at home against the Packers.
Prediction: Packers win

4:00 Games:

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Dolphins @ Chargers – A joke game last year, both these teams are on the rise midway through the season. The Dolphins have found their guy in Jay Ajayi, and the Chargers team is looking all-around solid for the first time in a long time. This could be one of the better games this week, get a chance to catch some minutes if you can.
Prediction: Chargers win

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Cowboys @ Steelers – What’s up with the Steelers? Their defense has the ability to play well any given Sunday, but we haven’t seen too much of that so far. Steelers’ offense has been banged up all season, but they’re not performing with their essential players on the field. On the flip side of the field the Cowboys are red hot, but maybe this is the week the Dak train stops rolling. On a side note, YOU PLAY ROMO WHEN HE’S HEALTHY! Dak is clearly the future of the team, but let’s get some points across right now. 1. Romo hasn’t played with a Cowboys roster this well ever. The only contender would be from Murray’s historic year, and even then I’m not sure. Still, they were able to make some playoff noise that year. Reason #2 is that Romo has the veteran intangibles that Dak doesn’t. Before you make a Romo sucks joke, let it go. He’s been the scapegoat in a stagnant Dallas team for too long. You play the veteran; you trade him in the offseason and let Dak Dynasty lift off. But for the playoffs, whom do you trust more? Against top defenses (which Dak has played 0 games against), whom do you trust more? You go with the veteran. Don’t make a Brady reference, this is different. The Cowboys team is reliant on their offense, Brady’s breakout year they were very much reliant on defense. There’s a big difference here, and everybody just likes drinking the rookie story Kool-Aid. I like Dak a lot, but I’m using reason here. Jerry Jones should try it out sometime.
Prediction: Cowboys win

Primetime Game:

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Seahawks @ Patriots – In a failing NFL season financially; we might have our game of the year right here. Amidst deflategate, we have a Superbowl rematch of one of the greatest football games to ever be played. Brady hasn’t really been tested yet, and the Seahawks defense is still as elite as ever. Meanwhile, the Seahawks offense finally broke out the passing attack last week, which means this game isn’t a surefire win for Brady like everyone thinks. One thing’s for certain, it’ll be a hell of a game.
Prediction: Patriots win

NFL: What to Watch in Week 8

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London Game:

Redskins vs. Bengals – Teams representing Washington and Cincinnati both travel to London this week for another morning game. There’s nothing like waking up hungover to find a morning football game that surprisingly looks competitive. The Bengals are looking to bring back their powerful offense with the addition of Tyler Eifert, potentially at 100%, for the first time this season. The 10 TD animal would love to spark the struggling offense against a Redskins D that could potentially be missing star player Josh Norman due to a concussion. So far, no coach has been fired this year after loosing in London; I don’t see the streak living on this week but I guess a boy can dream.
Prediction: Redskins win

1:00 Games:

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Cardinals @ Panthers – A.K.A a game that sounded way better at the start of the year than it did going into Week 8. Could Carolina start to turn things around? Will Bruce Arians finally punish a player who isn’t performing well? Coaches like Arians are allowed to make bold claims and statements when they’re winning, but I imagine how long he can keep loosing and making bold statements before he’s on the hot seat. One team has to prevail, but its possible Arizona tries to tie a game for a second week in a row.
Prediction: Panthers win

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Lions @ Texans – A big reason why this game is listed is because the Lions are quietly becoming a team to watch this year in the NFL. Although their identity was a huge question mark coming into the year, Matt Stafford has been able to lead the Lions to 4 – 3 early on. The most interesting aspect of this team is how close every game has been; the score differential in every game the Lions have played in have never been greater than a single possession (7 points maximum). That means they could either be 7-0 or 0-7. The Texans face a different scenario, as many fans and media personalities have expressed an increasing outrage towards the play of QB Brock Osweiler. To me, Quarterback play is a key indicator towards the outcome of this game.
Prediction: Lions win

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Seahawks @ Saints – This game could be incredibly boring or it could be incredibly fun. The Seahawks play the residential “shootout” team in the NFL this week. The Saints could either rise above the Seahawks defense or sink below it. If they have the defense’s number on Sunday I’d expect a shootout, if they can’t get started I’d expect a boring game. Let’s face it, the Saints have a crappy enough defense where the Seahawks can start miraculously and randomly airing it out if they need to.
Prediction: Seahawks win

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Patriots @ Bills – Arguably the most interesting game available this week, regardless of my fandom towards the Patriots. The Bills have been riding high so far in the season, collecting a couple divisional losses against Miami and New York but dominating the New England Patriots 16-0 on Week 4. Since Tom Brady has returned, the Patriots haven’t lost and don’t really look to be considering losing as an option. The team isn’t quite as fired-up and vengeance-filled as many expected, but they’re playing solid football all around. The storyline is there, and both teams are riding high. What’s to hate about this matchup?
Prediction: Patriots win

4:00 Games:

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Packers @ Falcons – A.K.A. the “Identity Crisis of Best Quarterback” Game. Usually we’d say the best Quarterback spot belongs to Aaron Rodgers, but this year it belongs to Matt Ryan? Don’t be surprised if that narrative starts to fade away, not due to Matt Ryan but due to Falcons Offensive Coordinator’s historical narrative of a steady decrease of wins as each season progresses. Seriously, all his teams have success early on and then begin to lose often. Eventually, this Falcons squad will loose too. I’m convinced. It probably won’t happen this week, as the Packers passing defense doesn’t create much of a challenge for the Falcons offense.
Prediction: Falcons win

Primetime Game:

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Eagles @ Cowboys – The two young success stories of the NFC East square off Monday night. The Eagles knocked down the only unbeaten team in the NFL last week; they could easily ride the high this week against Dallas. Dak Prescott could be playing for his starting spot, as it’s rumored Tony Romo could be coming back as the starter next week. The final storyline to look at is the tough Philly Defensive front 7 against the Cowboys offensive line and star rookie running back Ezekial Elliot. This could turn out to be the game of the week; it might even bring the NFL ratings back.
Prediction: Cowboys win

 

NFL Week Two Breakdown

Week Two in the NFL left a lot of fans wondering if their teams were ready for the long haul as a myriad of big time players went down with injuries. This week, the running back position took a huge hit with six factor backs falling to injury including, Adrian Peterson (MIN), Doug Martin (TB), Thomas Rawls (SEA), Johnathan Stewart (CAR),  Arian Foster (MIA), Danny Woodhead (SD), and Ameer Abdullah (DET). The extent of there injuries are for the most part unknown, so keep checking for more updates throughout the week.

Thursday Night

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New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

After two bad losses last week, both teams looked to this division match-up to gain ground in the AFC East. The Jets came in with great performances from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw for almost 400 yards and RB Matt Forte who had another strong performance in Week 2 finding the end-zone three times.

Although the Bills put up 31 points, no one really stood out in what was a poor performance on both sides of the ball. The second straight loss resulted in a shake up within the coaching staff as the Owner and a number of offensive players had a meeting which resulted in the firing of Offensive coordinator, Greg Roman.

Jets 37- Bills 31

Sunday

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots : News Photo

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots

The Patriots started week 2 on fire as Jimmy Garoppolo put 21 points up on the board in the blink of an eye firing a couple TD’s to Danny Amendola and new TE acquisition Martellus Bennett. Tom Brady fans were starting to get nervous that Jimmy might never let TB12 back on the field again. Unfortunately, late in the second quarter, Jimmy G rolled out to his right and completed a huge third down pass to rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell. In the process, Kiko Alonso crushed the QB and he landed awkwardly on his shoulder. The injury was first reported to keep him out six weeks, but later test show he could be back for week 4 against the Buffalo Bills. In his replacement, rookie QB Jacoby Brissett controlled the game and hang on for a narrow victory with the help of RB Legarette Blount (29 Car, 123 YDS, 1 TD)

Patriots 31- Dolphins 24

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Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers

In what is a commonly known as a dogfight among AFC North powerhouses, the first bout of 2016 was more tame than last years final match-up. The usual suspects Antonio Brown and AJ Green remained quiet for a majority of the game. The running backs Deangelo Williams (94 YDS rushing) and Giovanni Bernard (100 YDS and TD receiving) were the offensive leaders for both squads, but the Steelers were able to squeeze out the narrow victory at home.

Steelers 24- Bengals 16

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Tennessee Titans @ Detroit Lions

In a game between mediocre teams that was mostly capped by a six second vine of Matt Stafford running through a Titans linebacker, the game was actually one of the more entertaining ones of week 2. The Titans scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to snag a narrow one point win at Ford Field in Detroit.

Titans 16- Lions 15

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns : News Photo

Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns

What came as a surprise to about everyone watching on Sunday was the Browns 20-0 lead over the Ravens after the first quarter. Outstanding performances from RB Isaiah Crowell and WR Corey Coleman had Browns fans hoping for the first W of the 2016 campaign. Fast forward 45 minutes later and the Browns were held scoreless through the next three quarters and Joe Flacco led the Birds to victory.

Ravens 25- Browns 20

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins : News Photo

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

In another fierce division match-up, the Cowboys ponied up against the Redskins utilizing there talented RB to the fullest of their abilities. Ezekiel Elliot and Alfred Morris sunk the Redskins hope of winning this game with great days on the ground. That added with Dez Bryant’s 7 grabs; the Cowboys sealed there fate with a late 4th quarter TD run from former Skin Alfred Morris, who capped the TD off with his classic home run celebration.

Cowboys 27- Redskins 23

New Orleans Saints v New York Giants : News Photo

New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants

Last year, this was a high scoring match-up where both teams combined for over 1000 yards. This year it was slightly different, both teams were driving up and down the field, but they had trouble finding the end-zone. Eli Manning was a spectacular 32 of 41 for 368 yards. He used that accuracy on the final drive finding all his weapons and putting the Giants in position to kick the game winning field goal as time expired, causing the Saints to lose there second heart breaker in a row.

Giants 16- Saints 13

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers : News Photo

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton set the Panthers franchise record for TD passes after throwing all over the 49ers secondary. Greg Olsen ( 5 REC, 122YDs, 1 TD) and Fozzy Whitaker (16 CAR, 100 YDs) helped the offensive explosion for the Panthers who, beginning to end wiped the floor with the 49ers defense.

Panthers 46- 49ers 27

Kansas City Chiefs v Houston Texans : News Photo

Kansas City Chiefs @ Houston Texans

The Texans finally showed their defensive prowess, shutting down the Chiefs offense all day. They did a fantastic job containing Alex Smith and RB Spencer Ware, holding the Chiefs to 13 points. Texans QB Brock Osweiler continued to build his repertoire with his receivers Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller who each had over 100 yards receiving.

Texans 19- Chiefs 12

Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams : News Photo

Seattle Seahawks @ Los Angeles Rams

In the Rams return to LA, a defensive battled ensued. The Rams stopped Russell Wilson and ended his streak of 17 consecutive games with a TD pass. Other than that stat, this game was a snooze fest. No one had a standout performance and Jeff Fisher may be the first coach in NFL history to under utilize one of the best RB’s in the NFL. However, the Rams are 1-1 but the only problem for them is they still haven’t found the end zone.

Rams 9- Seahawks 3

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals rebounded strong after a tough loss to the Brady-less Pats in week one. The defense showed what they could do nearly shutting out the Bucs and forcing 5 turnovers on top of scoring a defensive TD. Carson Palmer and David Johnson added TD’s in the Cardinals rout over the Bucs

Cardinals 40- Buccaneers 7

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Diego Chargers : News Photo

Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers had himself a day with the Chargers offense connecting with Travis Benjamin for 2 TD’s. Melvin Gordon also added a score and 100 yards on the ground for his second straight week. On the flip side, Blake Bortles and the Jags offense struggled for the majority of this contest failing to reach the end zone until mid way through the fourth quarter.

Chargers 38- Jaguars 14

Atlanta Falcons v Oakland Raiders : News Photo

Atlanta Falcons @ Oakland Raiders

It was a day for QB’s in Oakland as Matt Ryan led the Falcons offense to a victory going 26 of 34 for 396 yds and 3 TD’s. Derek Carr also had a solid day throwing for 300 yards and 3 scores. The Falcons used tandem backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to seal the Raiders fate, as they hung on to a tight victory.

Falcons 35- Raiders 28

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos : News Photo

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos

Broncos RB CJ Anderson led the offensive charge running for 74 yds and a TD. The star for Broncos was on the other side of the ball and it was the usual suspect, Von Miller. Miller recorded 7 tackles and 3 sacks along with a forced fumble. The strong defensive performance was capped off by Aqib Talib’s 46 yd INT return for a touchdown.

Broncos 34- Colts 20

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings : News Photo

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

It was the first game in the new stadium for the Vikings and it went as well as it could have. Newly acquired QB Sam Bradford led the Vikes on offense along with star wide out Stefon Diggs. The pair combined for 9 completions for 182 yds and a score. The defense did the rest of the work keeping Aaron Rodgers guessing and holding the potent Packers offense to 14 points. The victory may have come at a huge cost for the Vikings though as they lost there star RB Adrian Peterson to a knee injury.

Vikings 17- Packers 14

Monday Night 

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Rookie QB Carson Wentz lead the Philadelphia Eagles by defeating the Chicago Bears last night. Jordan Mathews had 6 receptions for 71 yards as the Eagles soared to a 2-0 record to start the season.

Eagles 29- Bears 14

 

 

 

 

NFL Week One Breakdown

It was a wild week in the NFL. A few nail bitters and upsets throughout the league sure too keep you on your toes. Sunday didn’t start off well for ESPN fantasy owners as the app crashed and left fantasy players in the dark of how there teams were doing. But it did not stop the majority from watching the first full football Sunday of the 2016 season.

Thursday Night Football

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Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos

Tipping off the NFL season was a rematch Thursday Night between the Carolina Panthers and the SuperBowl Champion Denver Broncos. Carolina was coming into the game with the loss of Josh Norman in their secondary, but the addition of Kelvin Benjamin off of an knee injury last year. Benjamin came back to form catching 6 passes for 91 yards and a TD. His counterpart Cam Newton however, struggled throughout the game getting hit often and only completing 54% of his passes while throwing an INT.

On the other sideline was second year QB Trevor Siemian, who managed the game well completing 18 of 26 passes for 178  a TD and 2 INT’s. Although Carolina forced the young QB to turn over the ball a few times, Siemian looked calm and collected in the pocket for the majority of the game.

The game ended in less than spectacular fashion for the Panthers as Graham Gano lined up for a 50 yard field goal for the win and pulled it left. Broncos sneak away with the victory.

Broncos 21- Panthers 20

Sunday Games

1:00

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Green Bay Packers @ Jacksonville Jaguars

What to some was a closer game than expected, the Jaguars held up with perennial NFC North powerhouse Packers well into the fourth quarter. However, Aaron Rodgers dazzled us with his arm strength and mobility inside the pocket completing an incredible 29 yard TD strike to Devante Adams to give the Pack the 2nd half lead.

Packers 27-Jaguars 23

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Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

Rex Ryan returned to Baltimore once more with former Ravens backup, Tyrod Taylor. The Ravens are looking to put their injury laden season last year to rest with starters Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr., and Terrell Suggs all returning to action. It was a good start for them as free agent acquisition Mike Wallace hauled in 3 passes for 91 yards and score. The Bills offense was stifled only putting up a single rushing TD up in the second.

Ravens 13- Bills 7

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Chicago Bears @ Houston Texans

The new look Houston offense turned out a great performance for a few of their newcomers. QB Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards and 2 TD’s, Lamar Miller racked up 106 yards on the ground and rookie wide receiver Will Fuller caught a fourth quarter TD pass to put the game out of reach for the Bears.

Texans 23- Bears 14

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Cleveland Browns @ Philadelphia Eagles

The Browns demise continued Sunday in Philly as RGIII got hurt diving instead of sliding. Eagles QB Carson Wentz added to their trouble having an impressive game throwing for almost 300 yards and hooking up with Jordan Matthews on a number of different throws. One being an impressive 19 yard corner route.

Eagles 29- Browns 10

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

It was a shootout down in Atlanta where both QB’s were trying to break their team into the win column. For Tampa, the sophomore slump is not applicable to Jameis Winston after week one where he threw for 281 yards and 4 TD’s. Matt Ryan also had a great game connecting with newcomer Mohamed Sanu and long time number 1 WR Julio Jones for a pair of TD’s.

Buccaneers 31- Falcons 24

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Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans

It was the Vikings defense that came through on Sunday recording to defensive scores in the second half to propel them to the victory. The rest of the players on the Vikes were pretty average as all pro RB Adrian Peterson averaged under two yards per carry. Demarco Murray might have been the only bright spot for the Titans scoring twice.

Vikings 25- Titans 16

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Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

Todd Bowles was looking for the Jets defense to slightly improve after last season and they did for the most part recording 8 sacks of Andy Dalton through the course of the game. But miscommunication would be the downfall of the secondary who surrendered 180 in the air to AJ Green. A late Mike Nugent field goal broke the Jets back, who would drop game one of the season in heartbreaking style.

Bengals 23- Jets 22

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Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints

It was a high scoring affair in the SuperDome where Derek Carr and Drew Brees traded punches for a majority of the game. The final blow however would come from Derek Carr as Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio decided to go for two and take the lead rather than settle for the extra point. His decision paid off as Michael Crabtree made a sensational catch in the corner giving the Raiders win number 1 on the season.

Radiers 35- Saints 34

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San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs

Another game that came down to the wire as the Chiefs scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. This is where Alex Smith took over and ran the ball in from 2 yards out for the score and KC comes out on top in this AFC West Clash.

Chiefs 33- Chargers 27

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Miami Dolphins @ Seattle Seahawks

What may have come to a surprise to some the Seahawks-Dolphins battled for a large part of four quarters until a Doug Baldwin TD put the Seahawks out in front late. The game might have come at a major cost to the Hawks as Russell Wilson appear to suffer from an ankle injury and his status has not yet been updated for next weeks game.

Seahawks 12- Dolphins 10

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Detroit Lions @ Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck played his heart out throwing for 385 yards and 4 TD’s but it was not enough to keep Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions from pulling the early season upset. Matt Prater sealed Detroit’s victory when he nailed a 43 yard field goal with 33 seconds left in regulation.

Lions 39- Colts 35

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New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys

What is now becoming a familiar sight at Jerry’s world a QB other than Tony Romo was starting for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott who had a solid game for America’s team could not seal the deal. Eli Manning found his old dancing partner, Victor Cruz, in the end zone as the salsa returned to its rightful place. Poor clock management by the Cowboys at the end of the game cost the Cowboys a chance to win it with an FG.

Giants 20- Cowboys 19

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New England Patriots @ Arizona Cardinals

An unfamiliar sight at QB for the Pats as Jimmy Garoppolo was the starter. Jimmy G went 24 of 33 for 264 and a TD, while the Pats also had some help on the ground from Legarette Blount who had 77 yards and a score. On Arizona’s side, it was Larry Fitzgerald who led the way catching 8 passes for 81 yards and 2 TD’s. This effort was not enough however as Cards K Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47 yard field goal for the win. Patriots sneak out of AZ with a huge W without Brady.

Patriots 23- Cardinals 21

 

 

 

2016 NFL Predictions: NFC South

This is my first of many articles that show my predictions for the upcoming NFL season. I broke everything down by divisions and went through everyone’s schedule to have a complete prediction of every game this upcoming season. Was this a little time consuming? Absolutely. Was it just as fun as a Slip n’ Slide? You bet. Is it accurate? I like to think so, I’m the football guru around here after all.

I did not account for unpredictable injuries (maybe they are predictable sometimes, but that’s not the point), and of course the random upset is still bound to happen so I doubt my predictions will be down to a “T”. Still, I think I have a pretty accurate thing going on here.

Without more delay, here’s how the NFC South will go down this year.

Tied for last place is the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons with a piss-poor record of 4 – 12.

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For the Saints, this record is very attainable. They lack a lot of things these days, a defense (in every aspect), a solid offensive line, and they also lack stud pass catchers (maybe aside from Brandon Cooks). So what do they have? Drew Brees at Quarterback. Brees can’t carry them on his back forever, he’s an old dude nowadays and his back may just collapse at any given moment. Still, I’d watch for Brandon Ingram and the rest of the running back crew to give them a solid year running the ball.

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With them at the bottom of the barrel is the Falcons. I doubt the Falcons record will be as poor as 4 – 12, but I just couldn’t see them winning a lot of their matchups. Look for a few upsets to come their way, but there’s still a very small chance they have over a 500% winning percentage. This is a team with a very young and raw defense, but they have a defensive minded coach who could eventually mold the D into something fun to watch. The issue I have with them is Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator. He’s pretty simple and easy to pick apart as a offensive strategist (check out his past coaching seasons). Obviously, there’s some explosive pieces moving around like Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, but is it enough to translate into wins?

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Second in the division we have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sitting at an even 8-8. They could easily surprise people and surpass this record, as they’re a team on the rise. With Jameis Winston at the helm and an all around young and talented team, this is a team on the rise in the next few years. I have the Bucs getting a few upsets this season, particularly Week 2 with the Arizona Cardinals and Week 12 against the Seattle Seahawks. Why? Because even though this is a young team, this a team with hustle and tenacity. I think Jameis is the next star QB in the NFL, and I think he already showed us that last year. Expect things to get better for him.

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In first place, the Carolina Panthers take the division for a third straight year with a record of 13 – 3. Hold on folks, what about the fact that they lack anyone with starting cornerback experience? Doesn’t matter. Yet again, they have an insanely easy schedule, with only 6 games against playoff teams from last year, only 3 of those teams I’d consider Super Bowl contenders (Broncos, Seahawks, Cardinals). The rest is a cakewalk. Once again, I’m certain, we will see Cam be Superman and the Panthers’ defense crack some skulls. It won’t be until they get a true and worthy division opponent that their fortune might change. But until that happens, it’s their division to loose.

Next week I’ll show you how the NFC West will shape up. Stay tuned.