Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Could I Have Been Wrong About Rondo?

Yesterday, Rick Carlisle and Rajon Rondo got into a shouting match which resulted in Rondo being benched for the fourth quarter for a Dallas win.

Now, it's been well documented that Rajon Rondo is my favorite player in the NBA and in there for my personal favorite Celtics of all time. I thought the guy was electrifying and despite the fact he didn't have a pure shot, he was the truest of all true point guards in the NBA. When the Celtics traded him to Dallas, I thought that Danny Ainge could have gotten a lot more and that the Mavs would shoot up the standings in the West. That has not happened. In fact in 25 games for Dallas Rondo has averaged 9.0 points, 6.2 assists and 2.9 turnovers including some odd actions with the coach including last night.

I always thought that Rondo had a chip on his shoulder and despite all of the rumored stuff about his attitude, I ignored it thinking it was whatever and Kobe, Bird, etc were assholes why shouldn't Rondo. But after last night that does give the people who thought he was an asshole here in Boston somewhat right.

I don't know what's going on in Dallas, you would think that including Rondo in an offense like theirs would benefit him, much like when the Celtics had KG and Pierce, however it hasn't. Their defense has been better, but their offense per game is down 10 points which is significant. I know that Jason Kidd had difficulty acclimating to Rick Carlisle's offensive system, but he never had such a public showing of it. All I know is the way Rondo is playing, he is not worth close to the max in terms of contract and he is certainly not helping his reputation. Maybe Danny Ainge got better value in that deal.

On the other side, the Celtics have been playing above their heads without Rondo and Green.... weird.

Either way, C'mon Rondo.

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Spring (Kinda), Here Is My Fresh PreSeason Take On the Sox

Every year I like to predict how my team is going to do. This year will be no different. This year has been tough for me as Alabama football choked (and Ohio State won), Kentucky lost to my rival UConn (they are my rival due to some unpleasantness on campus), The Steelers lost in football (And the Patriots won) and the Sox stunk last year.... so is this year going to be different? Read along and we shall see.

When it comes to this years Red Sox it's offense, offense, offense.

In a shocking move (that Mike wrote a great piece about offseason moves), the Red Sox decided to pay Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to mega deals. A move that people scratched their head and said, "Why did we just sign 2 3rd baseman?) at that time we only needed a 3rd baseman with the rest of the offense in tact. But if you look at this move it's incredible. Our line up should be:

1. Rusney Castillo CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2nd
3. Hanley Ramirez LF
4. David Ortiz DH
5. Pablo Sandoval 3rd
6. Mike Napoli 1st
7. Xander Boegarts SS
8. Mookie Betts RF
9. Christian Vazquez C

I mean this team is ridiculous. It should score a gazillion runs and have a top to bottom strong offense. I have no idea what they plan to do with Blake Swihart, Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley Jr and Shane Victorino, but those guys are/ should be available at some point.

As for defense, we have a bunch of questions. The ones most pressing to me are: With Miley, Porcello, Masterson and most of our staff being ground ball pitchers, is the left side of our IF ready? I am going to ignore Sandoval's weight, because he apparently is a guy who is just fat, deal with it. Xander is the biggest question, he had an unimpressive rookie campaign on both sides of the ball and I really hope he can fix this defensively. There will be a lot of ground balls coming his way, so he kind of needs to be ready. The 2nd one is: Hanley Ramirez has never played LF in his life and he is now, what gives? Basically when the Red Sox signed Hanley and Sandoval they probably thought more about offense then they did about defense. They new Cespedes was most likely gone and they probably ran down the list of people who have played left and said, "fuck it". If you have an ounce of athleticism and can catch a fly ball you can play LF in Fenway. I'm assuming Hanley will do just fine there.

The Sox offense should be good enough to overcompensate for any defensive miscues and pitching struggles.... which leads to our pitching staff.

Right now it looks like this:
Clay Buccholz
Rick Porcello
Wade Miley
Justin Masterson
Joe Kelly

Junichi Tazawa
Alexei Ogando
Craig Breslow
Anthony Varvaro
Edward Mujica (maybe)

Koji Uehara

So obviously looking at the pitching staff it would look a lot better with a Jon Lester, Cole Hammels, Max Scherzer, James Shields or hell even John Lackey... but it is what it is.

Clay Buchholz is scum. I hate him, I think he's kind of whimpy and he's ridiculously fragile. This is a big prove me wrong year for you Clay.

Rick Porcello was an uber prospect for Detroit, they threw him in the MLB way to early and he struggled until last year when he had a "break out" year. He was 15-13 and had a 3.43 era. He was great second half of the year. The problem is that he never strikes out people. Get ready for a lot of 6-7 inning 3-4er and 1-4 Ks. If he builds on last year, hell he could have a derek Lowe like campaign.

Wade Miley.... Durable

Justin Masterson: Such a trick or treat pitcher. Is he the guy from Cleveland 2 years ago or the guy from last year. Groundball pitcher, can strike out people.

Joe Kelly. Young. Is what he is.

Bullpen: They are impossible to predict I'm just going to say they will be better than last year..

Now going forward. John Farrell and Ben Cherington both got extentions. As much as I like Farrell, I don't know if he deserved this. But it happened, whatever. This team on paper is better than anyone in the AL. The Yankees probably have a better staff but a lot of things need to happen like a resurgence from CC, healthy Tanaka and a healthy Pineda. The Orioles are kind of fucked with people leaving, and fuck the Rays and the Jays.

I think this team is going to be great this season and my prediction on record is 98-66. 1st in the AL East, then obviously going to win the World Series.

Now a lot of things can happen shortterm in us giving up a prospect (Swihart, Betts and Owens) for a Cole Hammels/ Johnny Cueto guy. Which would be nice and I think is going to happen. They also have a lot to do in the future with us getting the next big thing in Yoan Moncada, that gives long term flexibility for if Napoli leaves and Sandoval makes his inevitable trip to 1st/ DH and then hopefully have Xander/ Moncada in the left side of the IF.

Either way. Red Sox = World Series in 2015.

Red Sox to Sign Yoan Moncada

Gordon Edes is reporting that the Red Sox have come to an agreement with Cuban IF prospect Yoan Moncada. The number being thrown about is $30 Million. With the international relations between Cuba and the United States becoming more amicable, the pipeline of Cuban baseball talent has reopened. We had a trickle of defectors from guys like Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and our very own Rusney Castillo. Moncada is considered to be the top young prospect in Cuban baseball. The scouts that have seen him have described him as a 5-tool player in a similar mold to Robinson Cano and felt that he would be selected first overall in the draft if he were eligible. He is immediately the best prospect in the Red Sox farm system.

I LOVE this deal. Fenway Sports Group essentially bought the first overall pick for $30 Million. Could he go bust? Absolutely, he's only 19, but it's not my money. In a league without a salary cap like MLB I am ALWAYS happy when my team spends to make the team better.

Like a lot of MLB teams, the Red Sox are loaded with spanish speaking players. This includes fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo. Hopefully, this will help to ease his transition into the United States and Major League Baseball.

The only real question mark is where he projects to play. He will obviously start off in the minors, but the Red Sox infield seems to be largely set at the moment. Pablo Sandoval is under contract through the 2019 season. Dustin Pedroia is under contract through 2021. Even without an extension Xander Bogaerts doesn't hit free agency until 2020 at the earliest. The only potentially open spot in the near future would be Mike Napoli at first base. It's a situation that might work itself out. Ortiz could retire and Sandoval could replace him at DH. Xander Bogaerts could go bust. Mike Napoli may not re-sign or his hip could explode. Of course Moncada himself could just turn out to be fools gold. If none of that happens, then the Red Sox have great infield depth, negotiating leverage and a valuable trade chip.

I can't wait to watch this kid develop into a star.

EDIT: It turns out that the Red Sox are going to get nailed for a 100% tax penalty on that figure. I like it a bit less now, it's at the point where the cost could become prohibitive of making improvements elsewhere. I am still glad that the Red Sox pulled the trigger on this, but everything looks worse when you double the price tag.

Celtics Trade for Isaiah Thomas

Err, actually, turns out it's not that guy. It's this guy.

Turns out his dad lost a bet to a friend of his that was a Pistons fan in the 1989 Pistons/Lakers finals where the Pistons swept the Lakers in 4 games. The spelling is slightly different, but they're phonetically the same. You would think that if you were going to play professional basketball you might not want to go by the exact same name as a hall of famer. Maybe go by your middle name or something? Anyways the Celtics traded away Marcus Thornton and the Cavs 2016 first rounder for this guy. The pick isn't too bad. It's top-10 protected and will probably fall somewhere in the mid-late 20s unless Lebron has a season ending injury. Marcus Thornton was out the door after this season and was no big loss. Both of these assets, along with Tyler Zeller, were acquired in that 3-team trade with Brooklyn and Cleveland where we used a trade exception to facilitate making the space for Lebron to join the Cavs. So, essentially they used that trade exception to get Tyler Zeller and Isaiah Thomas. Hard to be upset about that any way you slice it.

So let's talk a bit about the man himself. Thomas is most often compared to Nate Robinson. They're both noticeably undersized for the NBA at 5'9" ~280 lbs. They play the same position. They went to the same college and wore the same number there. Their play styles are comparable. I would say that Thomas has been more productive than Nate at this point in his career.

Thomas was the 60th and final selection of the 2011 NBA Draft. The Celtics picked JaJuan Johnson, currently of the Beşiktaş Integral Forex of the Turkish Basketball League 27th overall and E'Twaun Moore 55th overall instead of Thomas.

I think it's important to manage expectations about Thomas. His most notable accolade to date was making NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He's a solid player that fills a role, but he's not an all-star. He would be a good compliment to a Big 3, but not one of the Big 3. He's under contract for a few seasons at reasonable money and he'll be good to have around when you do set off some fireworks and acquire those big pieces. 

DP and BMack have jumped off of Tankapalooza Part II: The Tankening. They want the Celtics to go for a low playoff seed and get some playoff experience because it "builds character" and avoids a "losing culture". I've never been a big believer in playoff experience. It's too intangible. That said, they are correct that the Celtics are realistically out of the running for a top pick. Even if they lost every single remaining game I doubt they would be able to get lower than 4th or 5th. From where the Celtics are in the standings right now only the Cavs can get lucky enough to get a top pick. I think Brad Stevens is too good of a coach for this team. Danny Ainge has done everything possible to get this team down to undeveloped youth and spare parts, but they're still winning too many games to bottom out properly. I would still prefer a lottery ticket to "playoff experience", but it's marginal enough that I don't really care.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Celtics Win Trade Deadline

Here are all the deals in the crazy NBA Deadline:
Miami Heat get:
G Goran Dragic
G Zoran Dragic
Phoenix Suns get:
F Danny Granger
F John Salmons
2017 first-round pick from Heat
2019 first-round pick from Heat
New Orleans Pelicans get:
G Norris Cole
C Justin Hamilton
F Shawne Williams

Would have been a great move if Bosh wasn't out for the year.

Detroit Pistons get:
G Reggie Jackson
Oklahoma City Thunder get:
C Enes Kanter
F Steve Novak
G D.J. Augustin
F Kyle Singler
Utah Jazz get:
F Grant Jerrett
C Kendrick Perkins
Draft rights to C Tibor Pleiss
2017 second-round pick from Pistons
Future first-round pick from Thunder

I like the move for OKC, I think Kanter will be a great low post scoring option. It's just if they can mesh soon enough.

Phoenix Suns get:
G Brandon Knight
G Kendall Marshall
Milwaukee Bucks get:
G Michael Carter-Williams
G Tyler Ennis
F Miles Plumlee
Philadelphia 76ers get:
2015 first-round pick from Lakers

Sixers may have an awesome pick, but their rebuilding just took another 2 years

Portland Trail Blazers get:
F Arron Afflalo
F Alonzo Gee
Denver Nuggets get:
G Will Barton
F Victor Claver
F Thomas Robinson
2016 first-round pick (lottery protected)

Win now deal for Portland

Minnesota Timberwolves get:
F Kevin Garnett
Brooklyn Nets get:
F Thaddeus Young

Whatever. Gerald Wallace is the only player on their team that was traded in the blockbuster... crazy.


Phoenix Suns get:
G Marcus Thornton
2016 first-round pick from Cavaliers
Boston Celtics get:
G Isaiah Thomas

You know what is crazy. Half the Celtics fans like Mike want them to tank, and at this point I want them to go for the 8th seed because I value playoff experience. Isaiah Thomas was a guy that Danny Ainge was hot on this offseason and lost out on him to the Suns. He was an awkward fit on the Suns with Dragic and Bledsoe, then the Suns decided to trade both of them to have an all Kentucky backcourt of Knight and Bledsoe. I think that Thomas is a great player and a player the Celtics need. Marcus Smart and him will be great in the back court in and so will Bradley. The Celtics don't have a sparkplug and now they have a guy who is signed for the next 3 years at a reasonable contract, so he is going nowhere. The Celtics gave up the Cleveland 1st round pick and Thonrton for Thomas. I would do this deal 100 out of 100 times. Thornton was fine here, but obviously not part of the future and the Cleveland pick will be late so its a shot in the dark anyways.

Danny Ainge pulled this off and it's amazing. I am not saying Ainge is one not to have made a bad move from time to time. I don't think he got enough for Rondo, and there have been some late picks that haven't worked out like JuJuan Johnson, Fab Melo and the kid that was on Arizona/ Nevada in colege that I forget his name, but he has hit on a lot of trades. This just makes the Nets/ Celtics blockbuster look incredible, this is what it has turned into:
Gerald Wallace - signed for 2015-16 at $10.16 million :(
Isaiah Thomas - signed through 2018
Tyler Zeller - signed for 2015-16, restricted free agent thereafter
James Young - signed through 2018, restricted free agent thereafter
2015 2nd round pick from Wizards (protected top-49)
2016 1st round pick - unprotected
2018 1st round pick - unprotected
Right to swap 2017 1st round picks
$4.3 million trade exception

This may be the biggest robbery in the history of the NBA.

Either way the Celtics don't have a contending team right now, but Thomas could be a great piece going forward.

Well done Danny

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

To Dream As A Celtics Fan Going Into The Deadline

The Celtics aren't getting a top pick. They aren't it's impossible now with how many teams suck. And I don't want pick 10-12, so if your the Celtics GM, what is there to do. There are rumors surrounding Ty Lawson, Goran Dragic, Larry Sanders, Demarcus Cousins. I think the Celtics will stand pat, but here is my dream...

The Celtics trade for Ty Lawson, Gragic or Isiah Thomas.

The reason why? A scoring point guard would be pretty nice. This team has no go to scorer and us as Celtics fans haven't had a PG that can score 20 ppg on a consistent basis. So I would take the cheaper one.

Lawson would be a good fit because he is signed for 2 more years and can be a sparkplug, although he is 5'11... whatever

Isiah Thomas is also a sparkplug scoring pg and is already signed so we wouldn't be giving up something for nothing.

Dragic is my least favorite option for 2 reasons, there is a chance he bounces after the year or commands a contract in the 80 million dollar range. I don't know if that's the right move right now.

However, I would take all 3.

Larry Sanders is currently being bought out right now by the Bucks. I don't know what to think of this dude, somedays he can be an absolute beast, other days an absolute knucklehead. He can be Andrew Bynum or he can be a productive player. He also loves drugs.... so there is that.

Then DeMarcus Cousins.... every Celtics fans wet dream.. Things aren't working out with the Kings. I don't know why but they aren't. He is an extremely talented player with knucklehead tendencies but whatever, I'd give up everything for him.

As for the deals themselves, I have no idea. I just want a starting line up of:

Lawson/ Dragic/ Thomas at pg

so go Danny Ainge, go do that and lets win another title.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Are Celtics Making The Playoffs?

The Celtics beat the Hawks last night on a thrilling last second shot. So yes, this post is going to be seen as an overreaction, but it's a thought I have been discussing for weeks now with DP. The Celtics are in position to make a run at the playoffs.

The question is, is that a good thing?

This will be most people's take and it's hard to argue. The Celtics aren't going to win the Championship and you're only hurting yourself in the long run why hurting your position in the draft. There is nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of the pack with no real chance to win it all, and no chance at a top pick. These are facts that can't be denied. The Celtics have really never shown they can go out and land a big time free agent, so their best chance is through the draft. So, how is getting the 8 seed a good thing?

I believe that you can get caught in a losing culture and that it can be hard to break. Take a team like the Kings. They have the talent to at least be making a run at the playoffs, and they aren't even close. How is it a good thing for Sully, Smart, ect to get used to the idea that losing is OK? It isn't, it's a bad thing. Plus, most players grow the most during playoffs run. Putting Smart against Kyrie Irving in a playoff series will build a lot of character and make him a better play then him sitting at home. On top of that, how the Celtics do isn't the only way they can get better. They have the Nets picks starting next year, The Nets are in hell right now, and are only going to get worse. Those are the picks that could land you top players. Get your team playoff experience, and hope you land a top player through the draft with Nets pick. Playoff experience, and adding talent seems like a great way for the Celtics to break through, doesn't it?

So, I am rooting for the Celtics to make the playoffs. They aren't going to get  top 5 pick no matter what now. So go for it. They are an annoying defensive team that just held one of the best offenses in the league to under 90 points. They shot 19% in the first quarter and came back in won. Let this team grow, and lets Stevens keep coaching these guys up. You can't have a losing culture, thats not what Boston is about.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When I win PowerBall tonight, these are the jerseys I will buy

The Powerball jackpot is over $500 million tonight. That's two A-Rod contracts! I bought one quick-pick ticket and the PowerBall number is 33. Since 33 is one of the most important numbers in Boston sports (right up there with 9, 8, 12, and 6), I'm pretty sure I'll win.

Obviously the first thing I'll do is buy a plane ticket out of this dismal snow entombed part of the world, but after that I will purchase and have made the ultimate collection of sports jerseys:

Bill Belichick, Annapolis High School football
If my memory serves me correctly, in A Football Life, Belichick wore #60 at Annapolis High. Of course I'll have to hire a researcher to verify this. Nothing is worse than a cool jersey ruined by inaccuracies. In Monterrey, California I asked a guy in a band wearing a #12 Michigan football jersey whose jersey he was wearing. He said Tom Brady. I didn't have the heart to tell him that Brady wore 10 at Michigan. If you're going to be obscure, be accurate.

Customized Patriots jersey, Number: 12.5, Name: PSI
Because I have a sense of humor.

Jamie O'Hara, Notre Dame football
Vince Vaughn's character in Rudy. The only way in hell I'd wear a Notre Dame jersey.

Tim Thomas, Jokerit Helsinki
The team Thomas played for during the 2004-05 lockout. It was one of many European stints in Thomas' career. And although not the most meaningful or successful of Thomas' Scandinavian exploits, Jokerit's court jester logo is just too ridiculously awesome.

Roberto Luongo, Quebec Nordiques
Unlike most Nordiques jerseys, this isn't a throwback. This is a throwFORWARD. Luongo is on the Florida Panthers, who might one day move to Quebec. This jersey won't honor the past, it will predict the future.

Julian Washington, Miami Sharks football
LL Cool J's character in Any Given Sunday. A Willie Beamen jersey would also be cool. I was going to have a Luther Lavay (Lawrence Taylor's character) jersey, but I'm seeing that those are available on eBay. When I'm a billionaire, I don't want to be wearing jerseys on the same level as some middle-aged Giants fan in Paramus, NJ.

Wade Boggs, Springfield Nuclear softball team
From The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat," which was one of the best Simpsons episodes of all time, one of the best set of sports guest stars on a TV show, and was the first time The Simpsons beat Cosby in the ratings.

Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, Providence Grays
In 1884 Old Hoss Radbourn had a record of 59-12. He made 73 starts and had 73 complete games. He also had 2 saves. He threw 678.2 innings. He's a Hall of Famer, and currently has one of the funniest Twitter accounts out there. All the pictures I can find of him in a 20 second Google search are him wearing a Boston Beaneaters uniform. But his best year was in Providence for the Grays.

Mo Vaughn, Wareham Gatemen
Cape Cod League baseball has produced a massive amount of baseball talent, including Maurice Vaughn, who was one of the first sports stars in my life as a fan.

Neon Boudeaux, Western University basketball
Shaq's character in Blue Chips. They gave him a Lexus, he didn't want it.

Jackmerius Tacktheratrix, Michigan State football
Hingle McCringleberry, Penn State football
Mergatroid Skittle, Louisville football
The player formerly known as Mousecop, Missouri football
My favorite players from the Key and Peele football name skits. Obviously the name on the back of Mousecop's jersey would be the symbol. And maybe another jersey with "Mousecop" on the back, for the time before he changed his name to the symbol.

And there would be many, many more. Mostly obscure Red Sox players from the late 90s and early 00s. Butch Huskey. Morgan Burkhart, Pete Schourek, Rico Brogna, Hipolito Pichardo. I'd get each of Michael Bishop's CFL jerseys, and all of Rohan Davey's NFL Europe and Arena football jerseys. A Tom Glavine LA Kings jersey. All the Brady 6 quarterbacks. I'd probably squander all $500 million on sports jerseys.

-The Captain

Friday, February 6, 2015

Looking Back at the RGIII Trade: Year Three

It's time for me to take my yearly victory lap for being right that the RG3 trade was a horrible mistake. You can check out my article about it last year here. You can see DP still trying to defend him in the comments.

Another season is over and the Redskins have now finished at the bottom of their division for the second straight year at 4-12. At least they actually get to keep the 5th overall pick in the draft this time since they finally finished paying off the Rams to move up 4 spots in the draft. How did Griffin do in his third NFL season? More injuries and when he wasn't injured he still sucked.

RG3's 2014 stats:
9 games
1694 yards
4 TD passes
6 Interceptions
5 Fumbles
30.8 QBR

He got outplayed by 4th round pick Kirk Cousins.

It looks like the Redskins might be ready to admit their mistake and move on. A recent letter from the Redskins to their season ticket holders omitted Griffin when naming a nucleus of players on the team.
"Head Coach Jay Gruden, new General Manager Scot McCloughan, and Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry will lead a nucleus of Ryan Kerrigan, DeSean Jackson, plus Pro Bowlers Trent Williams and Alfred Morris. The Redskins are poised to rebound next season!"
Poised to rebound? At 4-12 I suppose there isn't much room to get worse.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Looking Ahead to the 2015 NFL Schedule

Although the dates and times for the games haven't been set, the opponents and locations for next year's games have been established by the final standings for the previous season. In case your not familiar the NFL schedule is created as follows:

6 games against division
4 games against one of the other 3 divisions in your conference
4 games against one of the 4 divisions  in the other conference
2 games against the teams that finished in the same place within the division in your conference, but not the one you are paired against this year.

Confused? Maybe an example will help.

The Patriots play each team in their division home and away.

@ Dolphins

This year they've been paired against the AFC South, last year it was the AFC West and in 2016 it'll be against the AFC North, it rotates every year as well as who is home and away.


This year they've been paired against the NFC East.


The Patriots finished in first place, so now they play against the other first place AFC Teams. We're already scheduled to play the whole AFC South, so not the Colts. That leaves us with the AFC North winners and the AFC West winners.


Add it all up for a 16 game season. Eventually they'll work out the dates and times and release the complete schedule, but there is still some good discussion you can have with this. I took a look at the matchups against playoff teams for each team.

AFC East
Patriots: 4 (Steelers, @Colts, @Broncos, @Cowboys)
Bills: 5 (Patriots, @Patriots, @Colts, @Bengals, @Cowboys)
Dolphins: 5 (Patriots, @Patriots, Colts, Ravens, Cowboys)
Jets: 4 (Patriots, @Patriots, @Colts, @Cowboys)
AFC North
Steelers: 9 (Ravens, @Ravens, Bengals, @Bengals, Broncos, Colts, Cardinals, @Patriots, @Seahawks)
Bengals: 7 (Steelers, @Steelers, Ravens, @Ravens, Seahawks, @Broncos, @Cardinals)
Ravens: 7 (Steelers, @Steelers, Bengals, @Bengals, Seahawks, @Broncos, @Cardinals)
Browns: 9 (Bengals, @Bengals, Steelers, @Steelers, Ravens, @Ravens, @Seahawks, Broncos, Cardinals)
AFC South
Colts: 4 (Patriots, @Steelers, Broncos, @Panthers)
Texans: 5 (Colts, @Colts, Patriots, @Bengals, @Panthers)
Jaguars: 5 (Colts, @Colts, @Patriots, @Ravens, Panthers)
Titans: 4 (Colts, @Colts, @Patriots, Panthers)
AFC West
Broncos: 7 (Patriots, @Colts, @Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, @Lions, Packers)
Chiefs: 7 (Denver, @Denver, Steelers, Lions, @Ravens, @Bengals, @Packers)
Chargers: 7 (Denver, @Denver, Steelers, Lions, @Ravens, @Bengals, @Packers)
Raiders: 7 (Denver, @Denver, @Steelers, @Lions, Ravens, Bengals, Packers)
NFC East
Cowboys: 4 (Patriots, @Packers, Panthers, Seahawks)
Eagles: 6 (Cowboys, @Cowboys, @Patriots, @Panthers, @Lions, Cardinals)
Giants: 4 (Cowboys, @Cowboys, Patriots, Panthers)
Redskins: 4 (Cowboys, @Cowboys, @Patriots, @Panthers)
NFC North
Packers: 7 (Lions, @Lions, Cowboys, Seahawks, @Panthers, @Broncos, @Cardinals)
Lions: 5 (Packers, @Packers, @Seahawks, Broncos, Cardinals)
Vikings: 7 (Lions, @Lions, Packers, @Packers, Seahawks, @Broncos, @Cardinals)
Bears: 7 (Lions, @Lions, Packers, @Packers, @Seahawks, Broncos, Cardinals)
NFC South
Panthers: 4 (Colts, @Seahawks, Packers, @Cowboys)
Saints: 6 (Panthers, @Panthers, @Cardinals, Lions, @Colts, Cowboys)
Falcons: 4 (Panthers, @Panthers, Colts, @Cowboys)
Buccaneers: 4 (Panthers, @Panthers, @Colts, Cowboys)
NFC West
Seahawks: 9 (Cardinals, @Cardinals, @Cowboys, Panthers, Steelers, @Ravens, @Bengals, Lions, @Packers)
Cardinals: 7 (Seahawks, @Seahawks, @Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, @Lions, Packers)
49ers: 9 (Cardinals, @Cardinals, Seahawks, @Seahawks, @Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, @Lions, Packers)
Rams: 9 (Cardinals, @Cardinals, Seahawks, @Seahawks, Steelers, @Ravens, @Bengals, Lions, @Packers)

It's not quite as precise as something like strength of schedule, but I think you can get a good picture of the high quality opponents your team is going to see and get a rough idea of how tough your schedule will be. You'll notice that the AFC North is set to play the NFC West this season and that's lead to both divisions having a disproportionately large number of games against playoff teams. The Steelers schedule looks especially brutal as they are scheduled to play both Super Bowl teams on the road along with a brutal division schedule. The Colts got off easy for a division winner. They'll get to enjoy playing games against the struggling teams in their division like the Titans and the Jaguars as well as playing 4 games against the dumpster fire that is the NFC South lately. They'll have to play the Patriots, but they'll also get a Bills team with no quarterback and a new coach and a Jets team that just fired the Bills new coach and also has no quarterback. The Patriots also got a soft draw with just 4 playoff opponents, but they'll still have to face up to some quality opponents that the Colts won't. I'm already looking forward to the Patriots title defense!

My 2015 College Football Stud Prediction

I have an outstanding track record of picking potential NFL studs and usually I pick some random guy after the top 50 but this year is the exception. I am picking the 39th prospect even though he is in top 50 and going to an SEC school not named Alabama.

I couldn't pass on this name: Shy Tuttle.

He is a 6'3, 310 lb DT.

Here is his bottom line according to ESPN:
STRENGTHS: Strength to anchor and quickness to disrupt. Demonstrates good short-area burst and down the line speed for an interior defender. A wide-bodied frame that plays with good upper and lower body strength to anchor the run. Displays high level awareness and recognition skills. Redirects well in tight areas. A nasty wrap up tackler. Very effective versus the run. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Needs to continue to improve his technique as a pass rusher and become more dominate in this facet. ... BOTTOM LINE: Tuttle is an extremely physical and athletic player for his size. Two-gap strength with shade quickness to disrupt. A top-level prospect that will benefit from further polish to his technique and speed development.

Since I am damn near on point with these guys, I am going to go as far as saying he will be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft a couple years from now.

So congrats Shy Tuttle, you are destined for greatness.

With that being said, is there a more ridiculous day then signing day. It's a day where people pick a school to get exploited by the NCAA for a couple years and leave them for dead if they don't make it to the pros while making millions off of these student athletes.

Thoughts On The Other Cheaters In The NFL

The Patriots weren't the only ones involved in a cheating scandal this season, the Browns and Falcons have been also tainted in their year.

The Browns are a mess, their QB is in rehab (I was completely wrong about Manziel, he is a puts and I'm done with him), their best WR is suspended for the year and has a substance abuse problem of his own, their best playmaker now in Cam Jordan wants off and they recently involved in Textgate. Apparently on the sidelines during the game, here is what espn says: originally reported last month that the text messages from a high-level front office member were sent and said it was one issue in former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving the team. He perceived it as interference from the front office regarding coaching decisions.

Also the Falcons are involved in a crowd pumping issue... Noisegate.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday he has seen enough of the NFL's investigation of fake crowd noise at Atlanta's home games to acknowledge wrongdoing.

The NFL is trying to determine if the Falcons pumped artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome for home games the past two years. Apparently, the answer is yes.

Now... Patriots fans are on their high horse saying, "See deflategate was only a big issue because it was the Patriots! Where is the outrage!"

Well a couple things on that: 1. The Patriots are known cheaters and 2. were heading to the Superbowl during the investigation. Of course more is going to be paid attention to for the team going into the Superbowl... shut up.

As for the sanctions:

I think that if the Browns are found, I think Ray Farmer should be suspended and they should lose draft picks and fined.

The Falcons noisegate I think should be a huge penalty. The Seahawks get a huge advantage by their 12th man, the Falcons pumping in fake crowd noise is not only pathetic, but it's a HUGE competitive advantage to have that. If the huddle is disrupted, if the line is disrupted that is really fucked up. I think this is as big of a deal as potentially tampering with the footballs after they were inspected. If the Falcons are guilty of this I want heads to roll from Arther Blank down.... This is 100% organizational cheating and Goodell needs to make it a point that this can't happen. I think that's one of the most pathetic things a team can do. Overall, I am sick of the Falcons as well, I'm sick of Matt Ryan, I'm sick of him being overrated, I'm sick of everything around them. I want Goodell to come down harsh on them.... this is pathetic.

It's really a simple formula here teams, if you cheat you should be penalized a ton. Goodell showed no mercy to teams in the past and for him to be in his position he needs to show consistency and less favoritism. I've been saying for years now that he should be fired because of how he handles these situations but since he is the owners fuckboy... things will stay this way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Patriots Win Super Bowl XLIX

Some quick hits about the game:

1) I think you could have made the case for either Malcolm Butler or Julian Edelman to win the MVP instead of Brady. Butler would win it on the sheer importance of his interception snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the most important game of his life. I think it's sort of interesting to look at Julian Edelman's day compared to Deion Branch's Super Bowl MVP winning game.

Branch: 11 catches, 133 yards, 0 TD
Edelman: 9 catches, 109 yards, 1 TD, 7 rushing yards

It's pretty close. I would say that Edelman's game winning TD might even put him over the top. Rodney Harrison also had two picks of Donovan McNabb in that game. Looking at Brady in those games

2004 Brady: 23/33, 236 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks including a lost fumble
2014 Brady: 37/50, 328 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack

Brady was a bit more accurate in this game, scored more touchdowns, but didn't protect the football quite as well. The thing that cemented the MVP for Brady was the final drive in the fourth quarter. He hit all his passes and threw the touchdown pass to Edelman for the win against the best secondary in football. The quarterback is also the default MVP. Somebody else has to do something exceptional or the quarterback has to have an awful game to change that.

Whatever, Butler and Edelman went to Disneyland and Brady's reportedly going to give the truck to Butler. Butler might actually use the truck as he makes around the league minimum.

2) The Patriots will have a tough time keeping the whole gang together after this season. There are many free agents that are rightfully going to be seeking a big payday.

Darrelle Revis is first on the list. He's on the books for $20 Million next season, but that was added to keep the Patriots from being able to franchise tag him. He'll probably get a bigger offer elsewhere, but the Patriots would offer him a good chance to win more Super Bowls and possibly more guaranteed money. He came here to win a ring. Now that he's accomplished that will he go back to being a mercenary for hire to the highest bidder? He is the most important player on defense and he completely changed the dynamic of the Patriots secondary.

Devin McCourty is one of those guys who doesn't make a lot of noise, but he sort of quietly gets the job done from the safety spot. I think it's telling that the heavy data analysis sites like ProFootballFocus always gush about how good McCourty is while he tends to get overlooked by the mainstream media. He's always been a Patriot, he might be willing to leave some money on the table to stay here.

Shane Vereen was a solid contributor this year. I'm not as high on Vereen as some people are. I'd like to retain him, but I feel like his skill set is replaceable if his price tag is too high.

Stevan Ridley missed most of this season after tearing his ACL. I've never been a big fan of Ridley either. I feel like when you have a passing game as scary as the Patriots have it shouldn't be that difficult to clean up on the ground. I think the fact that guys like Bolden, Blount and Gray were able to have success in his absence shows how replaceable he is.

Dan Connolly stepped up quite a bit with Logan Mankins gone. The offensive line struggled at times this season, but Connolly wasn't to blame for that. If you let him go the Patriots will have to address this problem through the draft or free agency. They might have to do that anyways.

Stephen Gostkowski was arguably the best kicker in the NFL this year. He's been consistently one of the best for his whole career. That said, Belichick has been incredibly good at selecting kickers. People were upset when he let Adam Vinatieri walk, but he picked up Gostkowski in the 4th round and didn't miss a beat. Even in 2010 when Gostkowski got hurt Shayne Graham came in for 10 games and went 14 for 14. If Belichick is confident that they can move on from Gostkowski I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Who knows, maybe he won't ask for that much money, he's been known to have trouble asking for a raise.

Akeem Ayers was a big boost to the defense after he was traded from Tennessee at the deadline. Assuming he's not asking for the moon he seems like a good fit here. I could say the same about Jonathan Casillas, Alan Branch and Chris White. They all did a fine job and found ways to contribute. If the price is right bring them back.

Danny Aiken was spotty this year. I feel like it was just a few plays here or there, but he's a long snapper, he has one job and there isn't that big of a sample size. They could probably do better in free agency or late in the draft.

There are also questions about some of the guys who are still under contract like Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork.

3) Assuming they manage to retain their talent in the secondary, the biggest weakness on this team is the offensive line. The line stabilized as the year went on, but Brady struggled all season to buy himself time with moving in the pocket. The Jets and the Bills are 2 of the best teams in the NFL at getting to the quarterback. Brady is at his best when he is given time to work and it's going to be harder for him to move effectively as he gets older. Moving up in the draft to get a stud offensive lineman seems like a good use of draft picks.

4) Tom Brady is the best QB ever. Brady v. Manning is over. The only person still in the discussion is Joe Montana. Brady winning another MVP or a Super Bowl could wrap up that debate as well, otherwise it will be a discussion that will stall out when people discuss the way the game has changed to make things easier for quarterbacks since Montana's day. The other hangup will be about whether it's better to go 4/6 in Super Bowls or 4/4.  Montana boosters will say that Joe never lost the biggest game of his life. Brady supporters will say that he shouldn't be penalized for making it their two more times than Joe did. Both points have some validity.
5) My pregame prediction of 27-24 Patriots was only off by one point. It would be more impressive if the Madden simulation hadn't nailed it exactly AND predicted the score going into the 4th quarter AND the Julian Edelman game-winning TD. Eerily accurate. I'm sure the anti-patriot conspiracy nuts will have a field day with this.

6) Holding the parade on a Wednesday when the city is still reeling from back to back snowstorms is a terrible idea. Everybody's at work. Getting around the city sucks enough right now without adding a parade. It's freezing cold. Massive snow banks everywhere. It's going to suck and that's a shame.

7) Does anybody care about DeflateGate anymore? The NFL's investigation seems to hinge on this ballboy (who might be an NFL employee not a Patriots employee) having the balls off camera for 90 seconds in a bathroom while on his way to the field. Maybe he was able to deflate all the balls at a record pace or maybe he was just taking a piss before the game and took the balls with him instead of leaving them unattended in the hallway. There's some new reports that the balls weren't as under-inflated as the early leaks suggested. Scientists have come out on both sides about whether or not the cold could have caused some deflation. Some folks are saying that the reports that the referees used gauges in the pregame inspection is just the NFL trying to cover their ass. Without something more damning coming to light I don't see this thing going anywhere. Pats haters will cling to it no matter what comes out. Pats Kool Aid drinkers will demand an apology. I think the Super Bowl win gives legitimacy to the Patriots season and the previous championships in a way that a minor thing like this won't be able to bring down.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Where Do the Patriots Go From Here?

I am not going over the win again, as it has been well covered on this site. It was amazing, Brady is the best of all time, and Belichick is one of the top coaches of all time. Now, moving on to next season.

Revis is due $20 million next season, and one would guess the Patriots are going to ask if he will take a more team friendly deal. It is going to be tough, as the Jets and Bills are already all over him, and when it comes to paying top dollar it's really not the Patriots style. The fallout of Revis and what happens to Wilfork will be huge (not to mention McCourty is a free agent as well). Yes, they are both getting older, but Patriots (in my opinion) are in all in mode. This is it, they got hopefully 2 more years of Brady being Brady. Look what happened when the Patriots finally put together a defense this year, it needs to happen again.

On top of the guys we just mentioned there is some impact on the offensive side of the ball. Vereen has an expiring contract and so does Connolly. Amendola could be gone, as his contract is getting expensive, especially for his role on this team. I can't see the Patriots having the money to make any big moves, like going out and getting Larry Fitzgerald or someone like that, especially if they are trying to bring back those big names on defense.

I have a bad feeling about Revis, but I am really hoping I am wrong. I see Wilfork and McCourty back. Yet, lets remember that the Patriots are currently 3 million over the cap. They are good at getting under, but there is work to be done. Overall the Patriots are in good shape. They are the youngest NFL team to ever win the Super Bowl (25.2 years), so there should be some progress in those young players.

Obviously we have to keep an eye out for this whole "Deflategate thing", but there is a report out today that says only 1 ball was actually 2 PSI under, and the others were just under. If thats the case I don't see the Patriots losing picks, or any major penalty, thus no major offseason impact.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tom Brady's legacy cemented by the best Super Bowl of his career

Tom Brady won his fourth Super Bowl Sunday night, along with his third Super Bowl MVP. He threw 4 touchdowns, which makes him the Super Bowl record holder with 13. Total completions, yards, attempts, completions in a game, all Super Bowl records now held by Tom Brady.

He's clearly the best quarterback of his era, and it's tough to argue against him as the greatest of all-time. The debate between Brady and Joe Montana would be like arguing who is the better President: Washington or Lincoln. It would be a matter of taste and preference, not of clear distinction. And whoever you thought was second best, would still deserve statues to their legacy, along with cities and high schools named after them. Can we change Vermont's name to Vertom? And change New Hampshire to New Bradyshire?

This was Brady's best Super Bowl performance. Not just because he threw 4 touchdowns. Not just because he had two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter. Not just because he threw 300+ yards. It was his best because he did it against an elite defense, and because his team needed him to do it. The Pats couldn't run the ball, the defense was giving up big plays, Brady needed to have the 4th quarter of a lifetime for his team to win. And he did.

In the 4th Brady was the most clutch he has ever been in his career. Never has winning hinged so much on his actions than it did in the final 15 minutes of this Super Bowl, and he answered the call. He was 13 for 15 in the 4th, for 126 yards. He was perfect on the game-winning drive (8 for 8). There was even a sack and a penalty thrown in to make his task more difficult, and he still came through.

He would not be denied.

Four rings, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, 21 playoff wins. To match Brady, just think of the mountain that good young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson must climb. Luck is 25 and has 3 playoff wins and no rings yet. So he needs 4 rings, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, and 18 more playoff wins to match Brady. Rodgers is 31. He needs 3 more rings, 2 more SB MVPs, and 14 more wins in the playoffs. Wilson is 26, needs 3 more rings, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, and 15 more playoff wins.

Good luck, guys.

No more "what ifs" or "if onlys" for Brady. All the questions have been answered. All the doubters silenced. Brady is the best in the game. The best today, the best in the past 20 years, and perhaps the best of all-time.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports


The Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl with one of the most exciting finishes to a sporting event I've ever seen. To go from feeling defeated and deflated (pun intended) as the Pats were about to lose another Super Bowl in heartbreaking fashion, to sheer elation as Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson in the end zone, was a feeling I will never forget. I've never transitioned from sitting quietly to jumping up and down and screaming more quickly in my life. From despair to ecstasy in the span of a heartbeat.

We're on to the duckboats!

Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time. Many have argued that Julian Edelman should have won, but Brady's performance was much more critical than anyone else's. Especially since the Pats struggled to run the ball (21 of the team's 22 first downs were in the air). The 2 interceptions were his fault, but they also showed how much the game turned on every decision he made. Brady had to be great for the Pats to win, and he was.

Despite the picks, Brady had an MVP caliber night. He threw 4 TDs and for 300+ yards against the Legion of Boom. In the 4th quarter he orchestrated back-to-back touchdown drives. He was 13 of 15 in the 4th for 124 yards and a 140.7 passer rating. And on the game-winning drive he was 8 for 8 for 65 yards. When his team needed greatness, Brady delivered.

This was the most clutch performance of Tom Brady's career, and that's saying something.

What about Malcolm Butler though? What about Malcolm in the middle? What about Malcolm B, by any means necessary? What about chaos theory with Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park? As the Seahawks lined up to snap the ball on the 1 yard line and the clock ticked down, I was dreading sports radio and the Monday morning coaches that would be hammering Belichick for not allowing the Seahawks to score or not taking a timeout. Then an undrafted free agent from West Alabama sniffed out the play, attacked the ball, and won the game.

An undrafted corner out of a D-2 school makes a play that wins the game, so that the QB taken in the 6th round can win the MVP, while many argue that a 7th round receiver should have won it. That's how the Patriots do things.

All of the Patriots players showed up with good and great games. Julian Edelman with his 9 catches, 109 tough yards, and a score. Rob Gronkowski with 68 yards and a TD. Danny Amendola fought for all 48 of his yards, and also scored. Brandon LaFell with a touchdown as well. Shane Vereen caught 11 passes (the Seahawks as a team caught 12). And the much doubted offensive line protected Brady.

The defense did their job in the 4th quarter. The Patriots punted with 14:17 left, down 10 points, and crucially the defense forced a three and out (Lynch run for 2, Lynch run for 1, Wilson sacked by Ninkovich for -8). Brady and the offense then scored a touchdown. After another three and out, Brady and the offense scored another touchdown. Seattle's first two drives of the 4th took a mere 3:10 off the clock. Which gave Brady and the offense plenty of time.

The defense almost blew it in the end. Another freak catch in the Arizona desert. But Malcolm Butler saved the day.

It was an awful play call by Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevil. And Pete Carroll should have vetoed it. It was also a poor pass by Russell Wilson. All that being said, Malcolm Butler made one hell of a play. He saw the receivers setting up the pick, he attacked the ball, he beat his man to the spot and won position, then he held on to the ball.

Can you imagine Game 7 of the World Series, bottom of the 9th, down by 3 runs, and a rookie hits a Grand Slam? Because that's what Malcolm Butler did.

Love or hate the Patriots, you have to admit that when the Pats are in the Super Bowl you'll be entertained. All 6 of their Super Bowls with Brady and Belichick have been instant classics. This one might be the best.

I remember about 10 years ago Tom Brady was asked which one of his Super Bowl wins was his favorite. His answer was "The next one." He and the Patriots have finally won that next one.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Getty Images

My Apology To The Patriots

The Patriots won a spectacular game last night against the Seahawks whom foolishly seemed to overthink themselves and not just give it to Marshawn Lynch for one yard but tempt fate and throw it whom maybe the MVP of the game Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass from Russell Wilson. Not only did that play secure the win for the Patriots, but hell, it maybe considered the worst play in the history of the NFL.

But on to the Patriots, they have now 4 rings in 14 years. That is one hell of run and they probably aren't done until Tom Brady or Bill Belichick leaves. This game did a lot for them, this confirmed their run from 10 years ago, when three of the Superbowl rings have been tainted from the cheating scandal spygate, this confirms that Tom Brady should be considered the top QB ever with everyone looking up to him and this confirms that Bill Belichick in todays salary cap era should be considered a much better coach then Chuck Noll. This confirms that the franchise as a whole (as much as I have opinions on them) is what other teams strive to be and the consistency if this franchise is remarkable.

The Patriots beat the Seahawks by an extremely patient gameplan and a little bit of luck. The Seahawks defense was everything it was cracked up to be, but Josh McDaniels did a good job by picking them apart with short throws. Brady made some mistakes but when your tasked to throw the ball 50 times against the best defense in the league, shit happens. Brady was masterful at times and carried the team to the victory and his 3rd MVP.

The Patriots defense wasn't all that great, they let up a lot of big plays when they were asked to stop them, however on the most important play an undrafted rookie that nobody ever heard of read Russell Wilson and picked the ball off securing the win. I don't know who Malcolm Butler is, I have never of him before this game, but that boy just made himself a legend in Boston. It was funny because out of Revis, Browner, etc, Malcolm Butler had the biggest impact of the game. That goes to show you how deep this team is and how well it was set up this year.

Either way New England, Congrats, I still don't like you, but I respect you.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Patriots Super Bowl win would be an exclamation point on Boston's Age of Being Wicked Awesome

The Patriots play the Seahawks Sunday, 15 months and 2 days after the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. That's 459 days. It's been 15 months since we've had a championship parade in this town.

It's been a nice century to be a Boston fan. I call it The Age of Being Wicked Awesome. Since 2001 we've seen the local teams win 8 championships (once every 22.5 months). They've appeared in the finals 13 times, and the semi-finals 20 times. Our 4 teams have qualified for the postseason 39 times, an average of 2.8 per year. And we as fans have been fortunate enough to enjoy our teams participating in 86 different rounds of playoff competition (6.1 per year).

It's really amazing. Especially for a fan like me, who was born in 1984, and came of age as a Boston fan in the lean 1990s. That decade saw Sox fans go nuts over winning the AL East in 1995, as if that were an amazing achievement. I remember watching the celebration on TV and asking my parents if the Red Sox had won the World Series. And if not, why was everyone so happy and why was Mo Vaughn riding a horse?

Three Cleveland Indians wins later and the 1995 season was over.

Boston also had a rally for the 1999 Sox because they won a playoff series. And even more embarrassing was June of 2001 when the City rallied to celebrate Ray Bourque winning a Stanley Cup in Colorado. The 1990s was the only decade in the 20th century that did not see a Boston team winning a championship.

Then Tom Brady and Bill Belichick came. Then new owners for the Red Sox came. Then an NHL salary cap came. Then Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came. And the glory years began. The most glorious of glories came in 2004. The Patriots won the Super Bowl on February 1st of that year. Then the Red Sox broke the Curse and won the World Series on October 27. The Patriots won 21 games in a row, then won another Super Bowl in February of 2005.

Fourteen years. Three Super Bowls, three World Series, a Stanley Cup, and an NBA title. How many championship DVDs do you have in your collection? How many hats and t-shirts? How many hours have we been able to get together and watch great teams play playoff football/baseball/hockey/basketball?

Brady, Belichick, Pedro, Schilling, Papi, Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rivers. David Roberts' steal, Adam Vinatieri's kicks, Tim Thomas' saves.

"All glory is fleeting." That's not a Debbie Downer warning. It's a reminder to have fun when fun things happen. It's a reminder to enjoy life when you can, because we don't know when there will be times like these again.

The Celtics are trying desperately to build a contending roster, so far with little to show for it. The Bruins have salary cap issues. The Red Sox are rebuilding. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are getting old. These joyous times might soon be coming to an end.

I'm not saying teams here won't win championships again, but this unprecedented ringfest seems like it might soon be simmering down. So hopefully the Patriots will win on Sunday, and put an exclamation point on this era. It seems fitting, as it was the Patriots in 2001 who initiated this Age of Being Wicked Awesome.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Hans Gissinger for ESPN The Magazine

Why did the NFL wait until the Super Bowl to change how ineligible receivers are announced?

The Patriots used ineligible receivers and deceptive formations to defeat the Ravens in the Divisional Round, almost 3 full weeks ago. In immediate response to that, the League defended the legality of the Patriots' actions and did nothing to adjust the mechanics of officials for the AFC Championship game. Then DeflateGate happened. Then the NFL decided to make an adjustment to how ineligibles are announced. Odd, isn't it?

I have no issue with the League helping to clarify to the defense who is eligible and who is ineligible. I've heard Bill Belichick himself explain to media that it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to clearly hear what refs announce over stadium PA systems when you're on field level with 70,000 people screaming. So if the NFL wants to help the defense do their job, then so be it. Makes perfect sense.

What's odd is that there was no adjustment made for the conference championship games. And that the adjustment comes as the Patriots and the NFL find themselves in an adversarial position.

I'm not suggesting an anti-Patriots conspiracy in the aftermath of DeflateGate. But I do think DeflateGate might be a partial motivator of this change. The NFL wants this game on Sunday to be perceived to be as honest and clean as possible. While Belichick's ineligible trickery was within the rules, it worked because it was deceptive. In the wake of DeflateGate, the NFL might feel pressured (pun intended) to try to make the game appear to be as least deceptive as possible.

It's just so odd that this change wasn't made for the AFC and NFC title games. And that the League didn't wait until next season to implement it.

I'm trying to avoid jumping to conclusions, as everyone in sports media has been doing the last 2 weeks about Deflate Gate. I just wish/hope a reporter who has more access to decision-makers and league officials, can find it in themselves to ask the questions: Why now? Why not in the conference title games? If not in those games, why not next season?

I'm also very curious to know exactly when the NFL informed the Patriots and Seahawks about this new way of doing things. Was it before the teams started practicing for the Super Bowl? Or after? The answer to that question could either completely squash my interest in the subject, or intensify it. If the NFL told the teams early last week, then I'd accept that as fair and reasonable. But if it waited until the teams were in Arizona, and had already finished game-planning for the other, I'd question the timing.

There are few things in the Universe more annoying than a Patriots fan who is also a conspiracy theorist. The team here has won 3 rings, got caught cheating, and has still been close to winning a few more times, so whining and complaining should be kept to a minimum at all times. If the Pats lose on Sunday, I won't cry like the fans of so many other teams (See: Raiders). But the fact that the NFL decided to change how the officials announce eligible and ineligible receivers on the eve of the Super Bowl, and NOT for the AFC and NFC title games, strikes me as very odd.

Unlike some professional sports media in some recent stories, this amateur blogger won't jump to conclusions. Right now, I just have questions.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Steven Senne/AP Photo

Tuukka Rask makes Islanders suck his stick

The Bruins might have made their final trip to Uniondale, NY (although, if the season ended today, the B's would be playing the Islanders in the first round). The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn next season, and the Bruins are trying to move up in the standings this season.

The Bruins won 5-2 behind a stellar performance by Tuukka Rask. But as stellar as Rask was, for some reason his efforts did not merit being named the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd star. Nevertheless, the Bruins goalie stopped 43 of 45 shots, a season high in saves. And one of those saves might be the stop of the season.

That save was a cold-blooded stoning. I can't even imagine how demoralizing it was for the Islanders. You have an open net to shoot at, and Tuukka Rask just goes "SUCK MY STICK!" Yeah, that's a big wide paddle, and he knows how to use it.

The Bruins have 33 games left on their schedule. They're 7 points behind Tampa Bay for the division and conference lead. That's a very surmountable deficit. Right now the focus has to be on making the playoffs. So for the Bruins it's all about points. Two points on Long Island is pretty good (the Islanders are 17-5-0 at home this year). Next the B's host the Kings on Saturday, who aren't very good this year and have only won 5 road games.

This is the time to accumulate points. The Kings struggle on the road, so beat them.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

BMack's Super Bowl Prediction

These are the two best teams in the NFL, and I really don't think it's even close. In my opinion, the Seahawks are the better team. They have the better defense, and although their offense is not as good as the Patriots can be, they really know how to wear a team down.

Key to this game is handling their running attack. Not just Lynch, but Wilson as well. I am not worried about the Seahawks beat us through the air, but that combo in the backfield is unreal. The Patriots defense got ripped apart on the ground by Baltimore, and they are about 1/100 as good as the Seahawks. If Seattle can control the clock, it will be serious problems for the Patriots. The Patriots are a rhythm offense. If they aren't on the field for long stretches it can really mess with their game.

That being said, Seattle is terrible at covering TEs, and it just so happens we got the best one in the league. I see Seattle overcompensating for this and we will see strong games from Edleman and Amendola, while I also see screens to guys like Vereen being a big part of the game.

This game will be close, and I think it will be a great Super Bowl. I am not confident, but I say Patriots 24-20.

So The NFL Has Nothing On The Patriots

According to NBC and head of officiating (Dean Blandino) the NFL didn't log the PSI of the Patriots football before the AFC Championship. Meaning the NFL can't prove whether or not the balls were deflated a little bit (possible weather/use) or a lot (tampering). So, like everyone here knew nothing is going to come from this.

Here is the thing, the NFL knew this right away. Meaning they have no real proof all along. So was it marketing? If it was it certainly worked, it was the lead story on every site for a week, and even supposedly news sites had it for thier lead story for two days (looking at you Terrorists are killing people in Europe, and yet 2 PSI in a blowout football game was important.

Anyways, I was on board with the Patriots being fined, but im not even good with that anymore. They have no real evidence. Goodell is speaking today to the media, and there should be an apology just like Kraft asked for, because this whole thing has been a huge joke. It dragged peoples name through the mud, and worst of all it took away from a sporting event we all should be able to enjoy.

Shame on the NFL (if this is true, which judging my source it seems to be).

I'll have a post with my prediction later today. 

My Superbowl Prediction

The Seahawks and Patriots Superbowl seems like a match for the ages.... much like last year with the Broncos/ Seahawks, but hopefully this game turns out to be a lot better.

The Seattle Seahawks have a defense that is on the brink of being talked with the Steel Curtain and 85 Bears, while the Patriots and especially Tom Brady/ Bill Belichick are teetering on potentially the best ever at their respected jobs.

This New England Patriots team is the most rounded team Brady has had in like 6 years, they finally decided to sign impact defensive players instead of reach busts in the 2nd/3rd round in Revis and Browner. The Patriots have a stout defense and when the defense struggles they have Tom Brady to pick up the team. As you know I loathe the Patriots, I hate them. I think they have the worst bandwagon fanbase in all of football, I think they are cheaters, I think they are classless and arrogant led by classless and arrogant people. I have learned to respect the hell out of Brady, since his GM wasted a lot of his prime with shit around him especially on the defensive end. I think Patriots Nation and the Patriot way is shit, I think Gillette sucks, I think their parking sucks, I think that Patriots fans are the most sensitive fan base in the league and as soon as they have a couple of losing seasons they will dust off their Rams and Packers Jerseys (you know who you are).

But..... they are winners. Tom Brady has carried this team over the years and Bill Belichick is a hell of a coach. As much as I hate them, I respect them and I have to accept that this will happen...

Patriots 21-14

Thursday, January 29, 2015

To beat the Patriots, Seahawks can't wait until the second half

For the Seahawks to beat the Patriots on Sunday, they're either going to have to build a solid lead in the first half, or do something that no team has done since October: outscore the Patriots in the second half.

For 10 straight games the Patriots have dominated the second half. And most of those games were against good teams: Denver, Green Bay, Indy (twice), Detroit, Baltimore. The Pats scored 160 second half points in those games, allowing 46. If you're not good at math, that's an average of 16 to 4.6. In the last 6 games the Pats have allowed 2.7 points per game in the second half

Multiple choice question: Why have the Patriots been so strong in the final 30 minutes?

A) Offense
B) Defense
C) Special teams
D) Coaching
E) All of the above

I think the answer is E, but the numbers suggest that the defense is the biggest reason this team has improved so much in the second half. In other words, the offense plays very good in both halves, the defense plays okay in the first half, then dramatically improves in the second.

In the last 10 games the Patriots have put up 174 points in the first half, 160 in the second, a decrease of 1.4 points per game. The defense has allowed 114 points in the first half, only 46 in the second, a difference of 6.8 per game. So the offense actually gets slightly less productive in the second half, while the defense plays significantly better.

In fact, in 4 of the last 10 games, the defense has held opponents to 0 second half points. And they haven't allowed a second half touchdown in 7 of the last 10.

Those are just numbers, though. The eye-test is more convincing to me. And in the second half my eyes have seen this team make plays in all phases of the game. That's why I still say the reason they do so well in the second half is E, all of the above.

Against the Ravens it was coaching and offense that put up 21 points in the second half, and defense that held Baltimore to 10. In Week 16 against the Jets it was Vince Wilfork's blocked field goal and then the offense killing the clock that secured the victory. Against the Chargers, the defense won the game while the offense struggled.

What's been encouraging about this team since Week 5 is that they've been able to win different kinds of games in different ways. They're versatile. They improvise and they improve.

If the Patriots continue to play great in the second half, the Super Bowl might be decided by the time Katy Perry takes the stage.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blizzard of 2015 might cost Gillette Stadium a future Super Bowl

While the Patriots went through the circus of Super Bowl Media Day, Winter Storm Juno dropped 22 inches of snow on their home in Foxboro. Other areas of Boston were covered by more than 30 inches. There were travel bans, the T shut down, schools closed, offices were closed, and events were cancelled.

Last year the success of the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey gave added hope to the prospect of Gillette Stadium hosting the big game someday. But if such a proposal is made in future hosting bids, people might point to Juno as a reason to avoid hosting the game in New England.

As much as I'd love for the Super Bowl to be played on Route 1 in Foxboro, you can't ignore the potential for severe weather to impact the event. And not just the game. The week leading up to the Super Bowl is a massive event in and of itself. Media Day, all the corporate hospitality parties, it's a circus. Moreover, teams need practice facilities, and they need to be able to travel to practice.

A Boston/Foxboro would, similar to the Super Bowl in NY/NJ, would be spread out. This means it would be reliant on people being moved from one place to another. Something that snow can make difficult, or even impossible.

The plan for a Boston/Foxboro Super Bowl would require people to stay in hotels in Boston, Providence, maybe even Hartford. One strong snowstorm could bring the whole show to a standstill. The corporate sponsors would have to cancel or reduce their events. The media could find themselves stranded in Connecticut on media day. Teams could find their practice facilities under 18 inches of snow.

Snow paralyzes transportation. And a Boston/Foxboro Super Bowl would be more dependent on transportation than any Super Bowl in history.

Now imagine the worst-case scenario: the storm hits on the weekend and impacts the game. Traffic getting into and out of Gillette Stadium is bad enough. Playing football in snowy conditions can be fantastic drama. But that's assuming that the team buses can even make the trip from whatever hotel in Quincy the teams stay at to the Stadium.

The Super Bowl is a monster with many moving parts. A snowstorm could paralyze that monster. All those moving parts generate money, which makes the monster attractive. But movement can be very difficult in New England in late January and early February.

So Juno might cost Boston/Foxboro a future Super Bowl. Then again, money has the power to shorten memories.

-The Captain

Photo Credit: John Wilcox

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Love The Snow

I absolutely love the snow. I hope it doesn't stop until Friday afternoon.

However in Southie we have kind of ridiculous rules especially when it comes to parking. Our parking spaces are like gold here and after you spend 3 hours digging out your car, you have to save it with objects in hope nobody takes them. And since I'm not a born and bread southie guy if someone takes my spot I count it as a loss and not fuck with them.... least manly thing I can do. I also refuse to take someone spot incase it is someones spot I don't want to take. At least 2 people a year get stabbed over those spots. This is the only reason I miss suburb living. Burb living otherwise makes me want to kill myself, being in a situation where I can't walk to a grocery store, liquor store and bar.

Either way, this snow is awesome. In 3 weeks when it's slush I'm going to want to kill myself.

These are the shows you should get into during these snow days:

Sons of Liberty is pretty awesome so far
Black Sails

If you guys have more let me know

Also the Rihanna, Kanye, Paul McCartney song 4,5 seconds is incredible

this post is because im bored.

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Take On Deflating Balls

I think we can all say we are pretty sick of all deflating balls here are my thoughts.

1. That Belichick presser meant absolutely nothing. He can come out and play science teacher all he wants but it's dumb. I respect the hell he is going after the league and sticking up for his team... but for all he said, there is endless amounts of evidence saying the weather excuse is bullshit. It is. It's completely bullshit.. the weather excuse isn't really a valid excuse.

2. I think there are so many rumors out there, that it's tough for anyone to have a straight story. The refs used gauges, it was a sting operation, the Ravens or Colts tipped off the NFl, who fucking knows. Time will tell.

3. The main thing from this is, were the balls tampered with. They were properly gauged before the game, at halftime they were down and the Colts weren't. How did that happen. Did the Patriots tamper with it? If the Patriots tampered with it (which will be almost impossible to prove), then I do think something big should happen to them. If they can't find evidence they should get the fined the ball fine times 11.

4. As for reputation/ legacy. I hear a lot of Patriots fans saying, "This is only a big deal because of the Patriots". True, but I believe they deserve the extra speculation. I defend Ben Roethlisberger and think that he never raped a chick, however, if tomorrow we found he was accused of misconduct, I probably would side with the "haters" and most likely want him off the team... simple as that. The Legacy of Bill Belichick and Brady will always be marred with the tuck rule, spygate, deflate gate and whatever anyone wants to say, but the fact of the matter is... Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are probably the best coach, best quarterback and obviously the best duo ever. You don't need to like them, but you have to respect them.... but there will always be questions of the validity of their achievements. Since the Patriots have extremely sensitive fans when it comes to these matters they need to just accept that.

5. Shame on the NFL. The NFL tarnished this incredible match up. They can't set up a "sting" or whatever, make a big deal of it and then say, we will deal with this after the game. They can't have it both ways. If the Patriots win, they already lost in the court of public opinion. There will be so many what ifs, where it isn't fair to the Patriots. However, if the Patriots are found innocent in this, I would totally go after Goodell and the NFL if I were them. How dare they stir up this mess before the Superbowl to create a potential distraction... actually it's not potential... it's a distraction.

6. The game itself is going to be great. Mike touched upon it with a great analysis of what we should expect, but there are some awesome storylines we are missing. This game could put Brady/ Belichick as no questions asked best at their positions and this could also put the Seahawks Defense up there with a modern day Bears/ Steel Curtain D.

Either way we can chalk this up to another black eye on the NFL and Roger Goodell.

Super Bowl XLIX Preview

The Patriots are leaving for Arizona today with less than a week to go until the biggest game of their lives. The Seahawks present an intimidating challenge. They have the best defense in the NFL, the best running game in the NFL and a passing game that is good enough to provide an impressive dual threat in Russell Wilson. Beyond just the numbers and the ratings, this team has the heart of a champion. They proved it last year in the Super Bowl when they embarrassed the Broncos. They proved it last week when the Packers had the game in the bag and they managed to rally. There's no tricks, no gimmicks, just an incredibly tough and talented football team.

The History

The last two coaches hired by Robert Kraft will be on opposing sidelines in this game. Pete Carroll's run in New England wasn't a complete disaster. He inherited an AFC Championship winning team when Bill Parcells vacated the job and he had some big shoes to fill. The team regressed with a worse W-L record every season Pete Carroll was at the helm before missing the playoffs and getting fired in 1999 to make way for Bill Belichick. Bill went on to win some Super Bowls. Pete went on to win some National Championships at USC, some of which had to be vacated for recruiting violations. When it became clear that serious sanctions were going to come down on the program he took off for the NFL to coach the Seahawks.

There haven't been many matchups between these two teams. They only meet in the regular season every 4 seasons. The last matchup was back in 2012. The Patriots leaned heavily on Tom Brady as he aired it out 58 times in that game. Brady put up a lot of yards, but was intercepted twice by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas; two faces that will be on the other side of the field next Sunday. The running game was a non-factor as Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and Danny Woodhead all struggled to make significant gains.

On the other side of the ball Seattle also had struggles. Russell Wilson was efficient with his passing, but took a strip sack from Chandler Jones. One of his receivers also put the ball on the ground for another Patriots fumble recovery. The Seahawks running game was stifled with Marshawn Lynch putting up just 41 yards on 15 carries. Russell Wilson was contained with just 17 rushing yards on the day.

The Patriots had a comfortable 13 point lead with just 9 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Usually the Patriots have a good ability to finish in these situations, but Wilson was able to hit two deep passes for two touchdowns for the late win. Many people saw this as a turning point for the Seahawks, building up to their Super Bowl win last season.

The Patriots have changed quite a bit since that game. The only player with a catch in that game that will be suited up Sunday is Rob Gronkowski. The only player with a run in that game that will be suited up on Sunday is Brandon Bolden. It will be interesting to see how guys like Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen, Brandon LaFell, LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray can bring to this matchup. The Patriots defense will also look very different. Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo won't be there, but Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower and Akeem Ayers will. Darrelle Revis has brought a strength and stability to the Patriots secondary that was sorely missing at this time. Brandon Browner will be on the field, but this time he'll be in a Patriots uniform.

Things have changed in Seattle as well. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are gone, but Jermaine Kearse has since become a big part of the offense. Michael Bennett, who currently leads the team in sacks, was playing in Tampa Bay back in 2012 and has been an important contributor for the past two seasons. It seems as though the personnel for Seattle is largely the same, but many of the rookies and second year players have developed into play-making veterans.

It's hard to take much from that game and translate it to the game on Sunday. It's still Brady/Belichick v. Wilson/Carroll/Lynch, but the Patriots have had significant roster turnover since that game and the Seahawks have matured into a championship caliber team. This game will also happen in front of a mixed crowd in a neutral stadium in Arizona instead of the notorious home field advantage of CenturyLink Field where that game was held.

Looking At The Now

The Patriots have managed to stay surprisingly healthy this year. Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley were the only significant names to hit Injured Reserve this season. Their injuries have allowed guys like Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Akeem Ayers, Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount to flourish in their absence. The Patriots had full participation in practice with Center Bryon Stork being the only significant question mark headed into this game.

Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman got banged up in the NFC Championship Game. With the bye week to heal up before the Super Bowl I think both are a lock to play in this game, but the fact that they may be playing at less than 100% could open things up for Tom Brady against the best secondary in the NFL.

Seattle is coming off of a poor performance in the NFC Championship Game. Russell Wilson threw a career high 4 interceptions, fumbled the ball, got sacked 5 times and completed under 50% of his passes. Wilson threw 7 interceptions total in the regular season. On top of that, his leading receiver Doug Baldwin coughed up the ball for a turnover. Somehow, despite all this, Seattle still managed to push this game to overtime and came away with the win. Marshawn Lynch carried this team with 157 rushing yards on 25 carries, a rushing touchdown and a 25-yard catch to boot. The Seattle defense did it's part by limiting the NFL's highest scoring offense to just 22 points. They also intercepted Aaron Rodgers twice, who had only thrown 5 interceptions all season long. To put that into perspective, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger each threw 9 picks this year. Two quarterbacks that are notorious for ball security somehow managed to combine for 6 interceptions in that game. I wonder what sort of odds you could have gotten from Vegas on a prop bet on that before the game.

The Patriots steamrolled the Colts at Gillette Stadium. As impressive as their track record had been against Andrew Luck and the Colts they were even better in this game. The Colts were admittedly a soft draw for the AFC Championship Game compared to the participants in the NFC Championship Game, but the Patriots still handled the Colts with authority. The only snag came after the game was over with the deflated ball controversy. Regardless of your thoughts on this it's become a distraction for the players and staff at a time when preparation is crucial. Bill Belichick expressed in a press conference that he was embarrassed by the amount of time and thought he had put into this issue. The positive is that the Patriots have shown a strong ability to work past things like this. When SpyGate happened in 2007 the Patriots responded by destroying a good San Diego Chargers team the following week. They went undefeated all the way up to the Super Bowl. When Aaron Hernandez was arrested the Patriots responded by winning their first 4 games of the season and getting to the AFC Championship Game. When things hit rock bottom after the Chiefs game this season they responded by beating up on an undefeated Bengals team and going on a 7 game winning streak. If Belichick can turn this adversity into fuel for the players it could work to their advantage.

The Match Up

I feel the Patriots struggles continue to be in two key areas: protecting Tom Brady and stopping the run.

Brady's sack totals don't look exceptionally bad, but I think it doesn't emphasize how much he typically moves in the pocket to avoid the rush and how many balls he throws away to avoid a sack.The good news is that the Seahawks are not exceptionally good at pressuring the quarterback. Despite an impressive secondary, the Seahawks only managed 37 sacks this season, putting them at 20th in the NFL. If Brady has time and space to work with, he could have a big day even against that loaded Seattle secondary.

LeGarrette Blount has a little bit of experience against Pete Carroll's Seahawks. Back in 2010 Blount, still a rookie with the Buccaneers, ran for 164 yards on just 18 carries against them. Again, the other personnel involved has changed so much since that time that it is hard to put too much emphasis on these numbers, but at least LeGarrette has performed well against Pete Carroll's defensive schemes in the past. Along with being the best pass defense in the league, the Seahawks are strong against the run. They're third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and 2nd in yards per attempt. They successfully contained Eddie Lacy(over 1,100 yards rushing in both of his NFL seasons) to just 73 yards on 21 carries in the NFC Championship Game.

There is no soft spot to attack on the Seahawks defense, but I do feel the Patriots have the personnel to produce against them. I wouldn't expect a blowout, but they have the capability to put up enough points to win the game without the defense needing to do everything.

Russell Wilson is an efficient quarterback. I wouldn't call him "elite" yet. In some ways he reminds me of Tom Brady early in his career. He protects the football and doesn't try to do too much. He's got an elite defense and he doesn't shoot them in the foot with sloppy play and turnovers. Occasionally he can step up and do more when the situation calls for it, which is what separates him from your typical game manager quarterbacks.. There are some glaring differences in that Wilson is far more mobile than Tom Brady ever was and Brady is a more accomplished pocket passer, but I don't think the comparison is entirely unreasonable. The Seahawks passing game might be the weakest part of their team. Both of the Seahawks leading receivers (Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse) were undrafted out of college and neither of them went for over 1,000 yards this season. It's not that glaring of a weakness as they never have to lean on Wilson's arm to win them games. Belichick's game plan against the Seahawks in 2012 seemed to revolve around forcing Wilson to beat them with his arm. For 3 1/2 quarter it worked, but they got torched by some deep balls down the stretch. It will be interesting to see if he pushes that strategy again.

Marshawn Lynch scares me somewhat. I'm not sure why. We saw a lot of Marshawn from his time on the Bills and he's never had a "Beast Mode" game against us.

9/23/07: 20 carries for 74 rushing yards, 2 catches for 6 yards, TD
11/9/08: 14 carries for 46 rushing yards
12/20/09: 8 carries for 25 rushing yards
9/26/10: 13 carries for 79 rushing yards, 1 catch for 7 yards
10/14/12: 15 carries for 41 yards, 1 catch for 11 yards

Add it all up and you get 70 carries for  265 yards (3.79 YPC), 1 TD and 4 catches for 24 yards. He's never put up more than 80 yards in a game against the Patriots. One X-Factor could the loss of Jerod Mayo. Mayo's strength was run stuffing and he was in all of those games against Lynch, except for the game in 2007 before Mayo was drafted. Hightower and Collins have been great in his place and Big Vince is still plugging up the middle, but it's still enough to be of concern. They've struggled at times against good running backs like Knowshon Moreno, Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles/Knile Davis.


This one is a toss up. I think on paper both of these teams are evenly matched. Both teams have a good balance with multiple ways to attack and stop you. I expect one for the ages with the Patriots coming out on top 27-24.