Patriots


NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?

I’ll post my NFL predictions for this season now and talk about a couple of things I think will crucial this upcoming season. A couple of things to look out for will be the age of the New England Patriots’ defense. No one expects them to run the table again in the regular season but people might be in for a surprise if their age finally catches up to them and they end up losing 4 or 5 games. Also, who knows how injured Tom Brady really is and how effective he’ll be in the early parts of the season?

In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been handed a wonderful team but a great receiving group and all he has to do is not try to be Brett Favre. If he can stick to the short passes and allow the receivers to do their work with YAC as they did last year along with the new found running game in Ryan Grant – the Packers could really repeat as one of the top two seeds in the conference. New York Giants on the other hand have lost two considerablely talented players on defense and will that blow be big enough to keep them out of the playoffs? I doubt it because their offense has matured well enough and Eli should be able to carry a team to a couple of wins just by himself this year.

In the playoffs, you can never count out Brett Favre and certainly he’s not done with the way he played last year. Cold weather will be not be an issue and just might be something to provide Jets’ fans with something to hope for. However, let’s all be realistic. The Jets went 4-12 last year and just making the playoffs this year will be a dramatic improvement so I doubt they advance much further even though I do have them winning a game in the post-season.

Is this the year that Tony Romo finally breaks through and stops choking in the clutch? I think so. Packers losing Favre drops their main threat to be #1 once again in the conference and they had all the opportunities in the world to beat the Giants last year in the Divisional Round and if Romo can control the ball, they would have at least been a game away from going to the Super Bowl. No reason to expect the same progress this year, if not a little bit more poise and potentially a couple more wins in the post-season.

Does a Manning win a Super Bowl this year as well? Well that would make it three years in a row with Peyton and his Colts beating the Bears in 2007 although the loss of Jeff Saturday in the early parts of the season can slow down their progress but probably not enough to keep them from winning the division yet again en route to the Super Bowl XLIII victory on February 1, 2009.

Predictions are after the break. (more…)


Green Bay Wins, Brett Favre Loses

I decided against posting on this issue until it was completely resolved and last night, just that happened.

After taking a beating in the press for not welcoming back Brett Favre as their starting quarterback, the Green Bay Packers accomplished what they originally set out to do – trade him to a team as far away as possible that they could only see him in the Super Bowl. They also secured the fact that he would basically not be traded to the Minnesota Vikings by having the Jets give the Packers three 1st round draft picks if they do decide to ship him in that direction. There is no doubt that he still has some talent left in him and Packers made that clear when they were ready to bring him back early this off season but when he kept going back and forth, the Packers decided to pursue to future in Aaron Rodgers.

I can’t blame the Packers for what they did because they had lived through the past few years not knowing whether Brett was coming back or not and for the first time when they had a definitive answer this early in the off-season, they needed to make plans for a Post-Favre Green Bay. It is understandable why the media is just in love with Favre who can’t seem to do anything wrong in their eye. He has never come out and said anything against them, he has always had a good relationship and it always helps that he has been more successful than not in his career.

He goes to a New York Jets team that was 4-12 last year and certainly raises their hopes of becoming a playoff team. The Jets vastly improved their offensive line which was their biggest weakness and for Favre who was sacked 15 times all of last season (Pennington + Clemens were sacked a total of 53 times). Favre’s deep ball should open up the running game for the Jets who are still vying for the second spot in the division as you can realistically expect the New England Patriots to win the division again. (more…)


Live Blog!

So a few people mentioned the idea of live blogging which further pushed my own intention of doing it. So follow the game on your television sets and when you get a chance, stop by there for my analysis. Feel free to drop any comments and I will throw them in here.
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10:37 PM:

Me: go read the update

Cindy: hahahh

Cindy: umm that the GIANTS ARE THE BEST TEAM!!

Cindy: duh!

Cindy: and the pats can sit on it!

Cindy: the the 72 dolphins still own.

Cindy: =]

10:34 PM: So Cindy is also pointing out that David Tyree made a ridiculous 32 yard catch on the 3rd down conversion and he also had a touchdown reception as well. So his props are there now… did I miss anything else Ms. Murray?

10:04 PM: THE MOST DISAPPOINTING 18-1 SEASON! There will never be a more disappointing season than the ones Patriots just had. Quite a disappointing end by Belichick when he ran onto the field and would not leave with 2 seconds left. Congratulations to Eli for having his moment, taking that knee and winning that championship. Congratulations to the New York Football Giants.

10:01 PM:
I kind of expected that deep bomb pass to Moss to fall into his hands.

9:57 PM:
This is the stuff legends are made of. Crazy play on 3rd down to convert and then the touchdown pass…

9:47 PM:
Important first down by Jacobs.

9:44 PM:
Two minute warning… can Giants convert the first down?

9:39 PM:
Can they make it any more easier for Brady and Moss? Touchdown Patriots… 13-10 Pats. 2:42 to go. Is this where Eli becomes a legend?

9:25 PM:
Careless mistake by Eli to Burress… could have easily converted the first down. Now the Patriots get the ball back with 8 minutes to go and Tom Brady has another chance to led a game winning drive in the 4th quarter. Can the Giants D continue to come up with great stops?

9:12 PM:
Good Coke commercial with Bill Frist and James Carville.

9:10 PM:
11:05 left in the final quarter.. the Giants score their first touchdown and lead 10-7.

9:07 PM:
Finally the big play Giants had been looking for… and the one to catch is Boss – who has stepped up big time since Shockey went down.

9:00 PM:
The look on Brady’s face after the failed deep bomb to Moss fails says it all. Brady is frustrated, Patriots offense is stopped yet again… can the Patriots be unraveling?

8:51 PM:
Good call by the Giants to go over the top to Burress but still have not converted anything big. How long can the Giants D hold down the Mighty Patriots?

8:43 PM:
Interesting call by the Patriots to go for it on 4th-and-14 from the Giants 35. Once again the Giants stop them, now can Eli and company reply?

8:40 PM:
Now the Giants allow 14 yards on a 3rd-and-13…

8:37 PM:
Big overturn here… Patriots successfully challenge that the Giants had 12 men on the field. Get that call, get the first down and usually the Patriots will capitalize on opportunities like this one.

8:30 PM:
Giants D in the past 3 of the 4 Patriot drives have held them to only 3 drives on the possession.

8:21 PM:
Almost the start of the second half now… The Patriots struggled on offense in that first half. Their defense did pretty good holding the Giants to only 3 points and you know they are more than happy playing like this and gonna keep waiting for Giants to make their mistakes.

7:50 PM:
Important fumble. I have not seen Brady pressured this much in the longest time. Very impressive first half for the Giants… If you are a Giants fan, you have to feel really good knowing you held the Patriots to only 7 points in the half. Giants had a couple of opportunities to convert and they will have to start converting because sooner or later you know the Patriots are going to strike again. Manning looking good so far, short passes are there and even the running game is there every now and then.

It’s me signing off for an hour or until Tom Petty is done. I’ll be back for the second half.

7:27 PM:
I do not remember a single time this season that Brady was sacked on back to back plays… Giants D playing great, holding Patriots with back-to-back 3-and-outs.

7:21 PM:
Just when the Giants’ D comes up big, their offense comes out just as flat… follows a Patriots 3-and-out with one of their own… barely taking any time off the clock.

7:18 PM:
BIG stop here by the Giants defense. I was talking here during the last Giants possession with my brother and I agree with what he said. The Giants do not necessarily have to get a touchdown but just protect the ball and put something on the board. Keep your eyes for the end zone but be happy with a field goal… this is only the first half.

7:12 PM: That is the last thing the Giants needed. HAVE TO make those catches there… cannot give the Patriots these free opportunities. Wasted at least 3 points right there and now with the interception, Patriots can have a time consuming drive to limit the Giants to probably only one more drive this half.

7:09 PM:
Impressive catch by Toomer and now Giants need to convert.

7:00 PM:
7-3 Patriots. Giants need to respond now, do not want to give Patriots the ball back with the chance to push the lead to 11.

6:57 PM:
Costly pass interference by Pierce for the Giants. You have to turn around on a play like that and just not tackle a player without looking. Had a chance to hold the Patriots to 3 but probably will not now. 4 downs to pound it in.

6:45 PM:
Giants ran an impressive first drive. 16 plays – the longest drive in terms of plays for an opening drive in Super Bowl. Eli Manning looks pretty good so far but they will need to convert drives into touchdowns instead of field goals if they want to keep this game close.

6:26 PM:
Giants call tails and end up winning the toss… 3 minutes to kick off now.

6:18 PM:
Unofficially the anthem was at 1:55… good luck to those that betted over on the 1:42 line.

6:13 PM:
Here come the Patriots, led by Brady and Bruschi.

5:50 PM:
Switched over to C-SPAN for a bit and turns out Maria Shriver comes out to support Barack Obama in California.

5:39 PM: My dad continues to insist that since the Patriots are 18-0 they might as well win the 19th game as well. I am certain he does not understand that the Patriots are now like the Yankees of baseball. They are going to be hated. Maybe it is not fair to the Yankees since they were never caught cheating.

5:36 PM:
I was not aware but my friend Matt from RIT tells me Coughlin coached there when they had a football team from 1971-73. Who knew?

5:29 PM: Talking about Tom Coughlin’s mentality… several Giants’ players joked that if they win the game today, Coach Coughlin might give them the day off tomorrow.

5:22 PM:
Jeremy Shockey is shown on tv… turns out he is actually going to be at the game with the team.

5:15 PM:
So far I saw two early commercials… one about the deaf community in America and certainly a well done commercial.


Only an hour and 15 minutes until game time…


Super Bowl Prediction

Well here it is… Super Bowl Weekend. It’s also time for a game preview between the hometown New York football Giants and the team everyone loves to hate – the New England Patriots.


New York Giants vs. New England Patriots (6:30 PM – FOX)

It has been nearly two weeks since the Conference Championships but here we finally are. New York Giants against the New England Patriots, certainly not the match up most people expected at the start of the playoffs.

Everyone always likes a feel good story and this year’s Giants are just that. They have won about a million straight games on the road, having defeated the Cowboys and Packers in back to back weeks, their quarterback has finally come into a zone, the team has all the confidence in the world… but let us not forget who they are going up against. The Patriots are in pursuit of a perfect 19-0 season, they are not going to let that slip away to a team with just momentum on their side.

Breakdown:

Head Coach:
Tom Coughlin has done wonders getting his team to finally believe in each other after the miserable start but he is always a visibly angry coach. Bill Belichick is truly a genius at his position and no one comes close to him. Maybe if they had one week to prepare… maybe… I would have given the Giants the nod especially with the way they played week 17. Edge: Patriots.

Offense:
The Patriots have put together the greatest offensive season the NFL has ever seen. Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdown passes, Randy Moss caught 23 of them and I have not even started talking about Wes Welker or Laurence Maroney or Kevin Faulk or Dante Stallworth. As good as Eli Manning is playing, the Patriots just have too many weapons compared to the Giants. Edge: Patriots.

Defense:
This is the place where the Giants can provide the difference. Even though I would probably give the two teams a push here with the Giants D-Line and the Pats’ Secondary. I think if Osi or Strahan some how find a way to do something no team really has all year – rush Tom Brady or apply constant pressure, they can create turnovers and keep the game close. Edge: Giants.

Special Teams:

Giants’ fans hold their breath everytime Lawrence Tynes comes on to kick. That is enough reason to give the Patriots the edge but if Domenik Hixon can give the Gaints good field position, it can prove to be the difference. Edge: Patriots.

This is not going to be a rout as many people are expecting the Patriots to put on the Giants. Give the Giants some credit. It is too hard for a team that is not talented to make it to the Super Bowl by fluke. They have the ability to win it but they lack the experience and possibly a true superstar. Randy Moss has been completely ineffective for the Patriots in the playoffs and they still have won their games rather comfortably. The Giants have had everything clicking and they have pulled off two heart-wrenching victories. This playoff season was the time for Eli Manning to step out of his brother’s shadow and has the chance to not only become the 2nd quarterback to win a Super Bowl after going 0-2 in his first two playoff games (Peyton Manning) but he can also lead the first team to a championship after they had a losing record at home (3-5).

Giants keep it close but Patriots find yet another way to win their 19th game and complete the great season in NFL history. 35-28 Patriots.

P.S. How funny would it be if the game came down to a game winning kick and Stephen Gostkowski pushes it wide with Adam Vinatieri sitting at home watching the game.

EDIT: Early results on an ESPN.com poll asking viewers what they would rather see. The Patriots go 19-0 or would you rather see the Giants upset the Patriots. Too bad this is not like the Presidential Elections, New York Giants are carrying about 40-45 states… enough to translate to about 57% of the total votes.