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Posts Tagged ‘New England Patriots’

Tom Brady

Expect a big game from Tom Brady against the Jets Sunday afternoon.

Ladies and gentlemen…get ready for your main event!  The Jets and Patriots have been battling through the media since the preseason.  They’ve also met twice on the field with each team winning at home.  They most recently met in week 13 in a game that was never close.  Everything went against the Jets and the Patriots crushed them 45-3 in Gillette Stadium.  But they have split their last six games.

The Jets come into this battle off an excellent wild card win over the Colts in Indianapolis.  Rex Ryan shockingly called off the dogs, not turning on the blitz and dropping linebackers into coverage.  The Jets cranked up the running game gaining 169 yards on 38 carries.  Mark Sanchez didn’t play well but it did not end up costing New York.

New England was the best team in the NFL this season, winning 14 games and racking up 518 points, almost 100 more than the next best team.  The Patriots young defense struggled against the pass early in the season but has improved by leaps and bounds in the second half of 2010.  Tom Brady had an MVP season and the offense featured a number of new weapons with no weak link.

The Jets win if: They adequately cover the Patriots’ tight ends and backs.  New England is deadly with the underneath and delayed running back routes.  It is not the Jets’ strong suit but they are going to have to shut down the tight ends and backs as much as possible.

The Patriots win if: They can stop the Jets running game.  They cannot depend on as many things going wrong for New York as did in the week 13 game.  The defense needs to be stout and stack up the run, forcing Sanchez into third and longs.

Who do I like: Patriots 27-17

Why: After all the talking this week the Patriots will be ultra-motivated to beat the Jets, not that they need to be to beat New York.  I think the Jets will slow them down a bit but Brady will dink and dunk his way down the field on long drives with lots of passes.  I think Ryan’s best play this week will again be to drop more ‘backers into coverage.  I also think New England will force Sanchez into difficult situations and bring different looks to confuse him.

I definitely like New England by a big margin in this playoff matchup.  Let me know who you think will win and why in the comments section below.

Photo source: americanistadechiapas

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There’s a lot on the line in the NFL in week 15 including the AFC South and NFC East, as well as the playoff hopes of the Jets and Packers.  Injuries may further complicate things, especially in the cases of Aaron Rodgers and David Garrard.  Here’s a look at the big games, with my picks:

Peyton Manning in the pocket

Peyton Manning will be looking to gain back control of the AFC South.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, 1:00 pm

The Jaguars can clinch the AFC South division title with a win in Indianapolis.  You may think Jacksonville is not capable of pulling off this upset on enemy turf.  But you’d be wrong.  The Jaguars last victory in Indianapolis – just two short years ago.

Key to the game: The Colts’ #1 ranked NFL passing offense against the Jaguars’ 28th ranked passing defense.  Jacksonville is going to have to get some stops.

Who do I like: With a healthy Garrard, I would highly consider taking the Jaguars.  This will be a game of strengths against weaknesses.  I think the Colts strong passing game will exploit the Jaguars bad pass defense more than the Jaguars powerful rushing offense will be able to take advantage of the weak Colts run defense.

New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, 1:00 pm

The defending champions are on a roll having won six in a row.  The Ravens are not nearly as hot but need a win to maintain playoff positioning.

Key to the game: The Ravens pass rush against the Saints pass blocking.  If the Ravens allow Drew Brees to sit back and pick his spots he will light them up, just like Matt Schaub did last week.

Who do I like: I keep waiting for the Ravens to really turn it on.  I think I may be waiting until next season.  I’m going with the Saints and their explosive offensive and solidifying defense.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Sunday, 1:00 pm

Tied atop the NFC East at 9-4 the Eagles and Giants will battle in the New Meadowlands early Sunday afternoon.  They met just four weeks ago with Philly winning at home 27-17.

Key to the game: The Giants fifth ranked rushing defense against the fifth ranked rushing offense of the Eagles.  In the first meeting Philadelphia gained 148 yards on the ground including the game winning 50-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy.

Who do I like: Since losing to the Eagles the Giants have found their running game and have averaged more than 200 yards on the ground in three games.  I think that the Giants will get good yardage in the running game and slow Michael Vick and company down just enough to get the win.

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, 4:15 pm

After dropping two in a row, and looking really bad doing it, the Jets appear to be in disarray.  The Steelers haven’t played great but have won four in a row.

Key to the game: Mark Sanchez against the Steelers defense.  Sanchez has to find some magic in Pittsburgh if the Jets are going to have any chance in this one.

Who do I like: The Steelers.  Period.  I don’t expect the Jets to be able to move the ball at all.

Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
Sunday, 8:20 pm

This game shouldn’t be close because Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t play.  The Patriots have staked their claim as the best team in the NFL.

Key to the game: Whether Rodgers plays or not.  If he doesn’t, I don’t give the Packers any chance to win.  Even if he does, I’d only give them about a 15% chance to win.

Who do I like:  I wish Rodgers was healthy and ready to play because this would be a really interesting matchup.  I’m going with the Patriots for the victory – by a big margin.

Who do you like in these games?  What game are you most looking forward to in week 15?  Let me know by posting a comment below.

Photo source: muohace_dc

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NFL Week 14 has been marked by teams reasserting themselves into the playoff conversation after stumbling last week (Colts, Chargers and Bucs) and by the absolute dominance of the New England Patriots.  The two other big stories concern the New York teams.  The Jets fell on their face in a loss to the Dolphins.  And the Giants escaped getting buried by snow and will play the Vikings in Detroit tomorrow night.

Here are the Average Guy NFL Week 14 Awards:

Most Impressive Win

New England Patriots – 36-7 at Chicago Bears

Larry English

Larry English was one of the Chargers turning in impressive performances in Week 14.

Most Important Win

San Diego Chargers – 31-0 over their division rival Kansas City Chiefs

Worst Loss

Green Bay Packers – 3-7 at Detroit Lions

Biggest Surprise

San Francisco 49ers

Biggest Disappointment

New York Jets

Offensive MVP

Tom Brady, New England Patriots – 27 completions 40 attempts 369 yards 2 TDs 113.4 QB rating

Defensive MVP

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers – 2 interceptions (one returned 45 yards for a TD) 2 tackles

Special Teams MVP

Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals – 5-yard fake kick run for TD 5 FGs

Most Surprising Performance

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers – 17 completions 27 attempts 255 yards 3 TDs 130.9 QB rating

Most Disappointing Performance

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks – 27 completions 42 attempts 285 yards 2 TDs 4 interceptions 60.2 QB rating Lost fumble

Offensive Rookie

Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4 receptions 122 yards 1 carry 17 yards

Defensive Rookie

Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals – 40-yard interception return for a TD 8 tackles

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders – 16 carries 123 yards 2 TDs 3 receptions 86 yards 1 TD

Quick Takes

  • I am shocked at how quickly the Patriots absolutely dismantled the Bears.  Coming off the dominant win on a Monday night and having to go to Chicago in a snowstorm I thought New England might at least start slow.
  • The Bills could have packed things up long ago.  The fact that they are still fighting for wins is impressive and bodes well for Chan Gailey in the future.  Now they just need a lot more talent.
  • What has happened to the Jets?  Their offensive line looks nowhere near as strong as it was.  Their passing game is almost completely out of sync.  Mark Sanchez looks bad much of the time, but when he does make good throws his receivers are dropping the balls.  With their next two games at Pittsburgh and at Chicago the Jets better find their rhythm fast.
  • Adding insult to injury – the Dolphins only had 30 yards net passing and still beat the Jets.
  • The Jaguars scored another impressive win today over the Raiders.  They can clinch the division next week by going into Indianapolis and beating the Colts.

One BIG Question

Is there an NFL team that can hang with the Patriots?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on week 14.  Post a comment below and let me know what surprised and disappointed you.

Photo source:  SD Dirk

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With only four weeks left in the 2010 NFL season it’s time for the cream to rise to the top.  Last week it was the Steelers and Patriots making statements with huge wins over division rivals.  Who will step up in week 14?  Let’s take a look at the big matchups.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, 1:00 pm

Left for dead, the Vikings have gotten a couple of nice wins since the firing of Brad Childress.  The Giants need the victory to stay in contention for the NFC East and maintain playoff positioning.

Key to the game: New York’s sixth ranked rushing offense against Minnesota’s fourth ranked rushing defense.

Who do I like: With Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith back in the mix and Eli Manning protected by the controlled confines of a dome, I’m going with the Giants

Eli Manning discussing alignments

Eli and the Giants need a big W in Minnesota

Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, 1:00 pm

Yes, this is a big game.  The Jaguars currently lead the AFC South while the Raiders are two games behind the Chiefs, have a game remaining against them and have already beaten them once.

Key to the game: Jacksonville’s second ranked rushing offense against Oakland’s 23rd ranked rushing defense.  All of the Jaguars offensive success starts with the running game.

Who do I like: I’ve got to go with Jacksonville and the East Coast 1:00 advantage.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Sunday, 4:15 pm

A rematch from week one and unfortunately it looks very likely that the Chiefs will be without Matt Cassel.  Brodie Croyle has started nine games in his NFL career and has zero wins.

Key to the game: San Diego’s second ranked passing game against the 21st ranked passing defense of Kansas City.  The Chiefs have to stop Philip Rivers.  They’ll have no chance in a scoring battle.

Who do I like: Without Cassel, picking the Chargers is a no-brainer.

New England Patriots at Chicago Bears
Sunday, 4:15 pm

The Patriots put their four game winning streak on the line in Chicago against the Bears’ five game winning streak.

Key to the game: Chicago’s pass rush against New England’s offensive line.  To win the game the Bears must not allow Tom Brady to have time to throw.

Who do I like: I can see the Bears winning this game, but I’m not going to make that pick.  The Patriots are rolling.  I’m going with them to get the victory.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, 8:20 pm

A few weeks ago this wasn’t a game.  It is now.  The Cowboys have won three of four in impressive fashion since Jason Garrett became coach.

Key to the game: The Eagles stopping the suddenly hot Dallas running game.  The Cowboys have 134, 144 and 217 yards rushing in their last three games.

Who do I like: Despite the solid play by Dallas recently I’m still going with Philadelphia.  I think Michael Vick will be the difference maker through the air.

Who do you like in these games?  Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Photo source: AJ Guel Photography

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The two teams with the best records in the AFC, the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, will go to battle in a critical Monday night tilt that could determine home field advantage in the conference.  Something has to give as the Jets bring their 5-0 road record to Gillette Stadium where the Patriots are 5-0.

Gillette Stadium Sign

Gillette Stadium will be rockin' on Monday night

It was nearly three months ago when New York scored an impressive victory over New England with a well-balanced attack in New Meadowlands Stadium.  A lot has happened since then.  The Jets have won eight of their last nine games.  They’ve been strong running the ball, ranking second in the NFL in rushing yards, and defending the run, ranking fourth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.  But somewhat surprisingly they rank only 12th in both pass defense and sacks.

The Patriots have also won eight of their last nine games since that week two matchup.  Of course, New England is also one major deep threat lighter since then.  Without the long ball being a factor, Tom Brady has been able to nickel and dime teams to death while BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead have given the Patriots good production from the backfield. 

The Jets win if: They can bump the Patriots receivers and throw them off their routes while generating a consistent pass rush that pressures Brady into hurrying his passes.

The Patriots win if: The defense can stop the Jets running game.  In their only loss since week two the Patriots were gouged early and often by the Browns on the ground. 

Who do I like: Patriots 24-17

Why: The temperature will be cold and snow may be falling in Foxboro.  We know that the Patriots know how to win in these conditions.  At home on a Monday night, with the world watching I’ve got to go with New England.  I think their very young defense is improving and they will play better than they did in the first matchup.  I expect them to crowd the line on early downs to stop the run.  I think they’ll change up their coverage and get enough of a rush on Sanchez to force him into a couple of turnovers.

Who do you like in this colossal battle?  Let me know how you see this game playing out by posting a comment below.

Photo source: Brian J. McDermott

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For the 13th time in the last 10 years the Indianapolis Colts will meet the New England Patriots.  Peyton Manning has a losing record against only two teams in the NFL.  Probably to no one’s surprise the Patriots are one of those teams.  Last year’s matchup was an epic Sunday night battle that the Colts won in Lucas Oil Stadium 35-34.  That game is remembered mostly for Bill Belichick going for the fourth down conversion on his own 28 with the lead and 2:08 left.

Gillette Stadium

Will Tom Brady win #25 in a row in his house?

This year’s Colts team has suffered a lot of injuries, particularly on offense.  They’ve fought through the loss of some key players and have an excellent 6-3 record.  The good news for them is that it looks like they’ll be getting Joseph Addai and Austin Collie back for Sunday’s game.

The Patriots are coming off a curious couple of weeks.  They were throttled by the Browns in Cleveland, while giving up massive yardage on the ground.  Then they came out last Sunday night and dominated the Steelers in Pittsburgh.  Tom Brady will be playing to tie Brett Favre’s record of 25 consecutive home victories.

The Colts win if: They can slow down the Patriots running game.  The Colts are 29th in the NFL against the rush and you know how Belichick likes to exploit weaknesses.  The Colts will have to sure up their run defense to beat New England.

The Patriots win if: They can keep the Colts passing game in check.  Injuries may have hindered some of the Indianapolis explosiveness, but New England’s young defense is ranked 30th in the NFL against the pass. 

Who do I like: Patriots 34-30

Why: This should be a real shootout.  I don’t like either defense to stop the opposing offense for any length of time.  Ultimately, I think the Patriots will rely on more healthy weapons on offense, a better playmaking defense and the home field advantage to get the victory.

How do you see this game playing out?  Will my Pats pick come through or do you see the Colts pulling it out on rival turf?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo source: cho_kettie

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Here in NFL week 10 it is quite clear that the three biggest games all take place in the evening – the spectacular Ravens-Falcons matchup on Thursday night, New England invading Pittsburgh on Sunday night and the Eagles visiting the Redskins on Monday night.  When the Patriots battle the Steelers the winner will have immediate control of the AFC.

Expected to be among the most productive offenses in the NFL, the Patriots have often struggled with the ball.  They come into this game with the 15th ranked running game (not a surprise) and the 17th ranked passing game (definitely a surprise) in the NFL.  They also suffered a shocking loss in Cleveland last Sunday.  Peyton Hillis gouged the New England defense, running for 184 yards on 29 carries.  The Browns D also held the Patriots in check, allowing only 68 yards on 20 carries and limiting Tom Brady to 224 yards and 19 completions on 36 attempts.

Ben Roethlisberger throwing

To win the Patriots will have to beat on Ben Roethlisberger

After the way the Steelers played the first four games without Ben Roethlisberger, I though his addition would lead to them destroying every team they faced.  That has not been the case at all.  They’ve played well enough to win three out of four and they do have the number one rushing defense in the NFL by a wide margin, but two of those three wins were one score margins with one being the controversial victory over Miami.  They have let up quite a few passing yards in their last three games when you factor out the sack yardage – 248 to Cincinnati, 305 to New Orleans and 257 to the now benched Chad Henne and Miami.

The Patriots win if: They blitz early and often and get to Roethlisberger.  New England is way down the NFL sacks ranks with only 13, but they need to get to Big Ben.  If they don’t he will pick them apart.

The Steelers win if: They keep the Patriots passing game in front of them and brutalize the receivers after they catch the ball.  New England does not have an established deep threat and Brady is being forced to dink and dunk his way to the end zone.  He doesn’t mind that, but the receivers will if they get lit up every time they touch the ball.

Who do I like: Steelers 23-13

Why: I think Pittsburgh is a much better team than New England and you can bet Heinz Field is going to be rocking on Sunday night.  I think Belichick will fix some of the deficiencies in the run defense but I expect Rashard Mendenhall to still get some big yardage.  I don’t think the Patriots will get enough of a pass rush to knock Roethlisberger off his game.  The Steelers will be hitting the New England receivers hard and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ball or two or three bounce out of a receiver’s hands and right to Troy Polamalu.

What are your thoughts on this big matchup?  Do you agree with me that the Steelers will win or do you see the Patriots pulling off the upset?

Photo source: SteelCityHobbies

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