Someone free up Tom’s other hand

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Can we just take a minute and grasp the amazing careers Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have had so far? Bill Belichick has won 8 super bowls so far in his career, EIGHT, that is ridiculous he is closing in on Bill Russell levels of dominance and winning. Tom Brady has won 6 now and has been to 9. Excluding his rookie year which he didn’t play and 2008 when he tore his ACL week one, he has been to the Super Bowl for ½ of his career, 9 out of 18 years he has played in the Super Bowl. This is an era of unparalleled dominance for the Patriots this is basically 20 years of owning the NFL and letting teams fight for second place.

So the Super Bowl was basically the Patriots defense giving a big middle finger to all the haters this year and repaying Tom Brady for being terrible last year. Tom Brady threw for 505 yards and 3 touchdowns last year and the defense couldn’t stop anything. The redeemed themselves big time this year. Holding the second-best offense in the league this year to 3 points. One singular 47-yard field goal. Jared Goff was under duress all night by the Patriots front 7. Dont’a Hightower is entrenching himself in Super Bowl history, he had 2 sacks while getting constant pressure, after the notorious strip sack of Matt Ryan in Super Bowl 51 and game saving tackle of Marshawn Lynch in Super Bowl 49. Kyle Van Noy had a great game as well. Stephon Gilmore could’ve been MVP of this game. On a weekend where Ty Law was inducted into the hall of fame Gilmore honored the number 24 but putting up a Law like game. He had 5 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and 3 passes broken up.

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Belichick pays attention to all the small things, like harping on special teams plays 24/7. Ryan Allen and Matthew Slater had a phenomenal game as well. Multiple time Allen delivered a perfect punt and Slater downed it to pin the Rams deep in their own territory. Gostkowski, playing with a heavy heart after the passing of his grandfather came through with 2 field goals and many great kickoffs.

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If you’ve been paying close attention, I haven’t mentioned the offense yet, because they didn’t do much. Julian Edelman had a great game, reinforcing my theory that a great beard like that is a source of unlimited power. The running game played well, Sony Michel especially as he scored the only touchdown of the game to cap off his stellar playoff run. Tom Brady did face pressure most of the night as Wade Phillips was able to continue his success at game planning for Brady, he did a good job moving Suh and Donald all over the defensive line to confuse the Patriots offensive line at times.

Was the game boring? Yeah maybe a little at times but I’d say more tedious/irritating than anything. In an era of offensive explosion defenses reigned supreme in the Super Bowl. In a year shrouded in negativity from the outside for the Patriots they came closer as a group and pushed through to beat the top three DVOA ranked teams in the playoffs (DVOA compares a team’s season to the calculated average adjusted to the defenses they played so the Chiefs, Rams and Chargers were viewed as the top 3 teams in relation to this stat). At the end of the day there was no luck, perseverance, discipline and experience reigned supreme once again for the now 6 time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

It’s Time for the Most Super of the Bowls.

 

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The NFL and controversy go together as well as the Patriots and winning, it happens all the time and everybody is sick of it (except for Patriots fans of course, in respect to the winning part). Yes, you can argue the Saints could have done more to win the NFC championship game and it would be a very sound argument but to say that the no-call isn’t a big reason why the Saints lost is ridiculous. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman could have been flagged for defensive pass interference, unnecessary roughness maybe even not knowing how to play football. He was quoted saying Tom Brady isn’t as good as people say but tried to deny a direct quote from himself the next day. The same Robey-Coleman that should be used to be getting dominated/embarrassed by Brady from his time with the Bills, he better watch out Sunday.

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Tom Brady proved he still owns the AFC in a great win against the Chiefs in Kansas City. That punt didn’t touch Edelman, anyone with eyes could see that, the Chiefs had to hold the Patriots receivers or commit pass interference that consistently wasn’t called. The refs were squarely in the Chiefs corner. Yes, the roughing the passer on Brady was bogus but Edelman got held, interfered with that same play, moot point. National media trying fault Brady because the Chiefs defense couldn’t line up on-sides is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, and Brady haters say a lot of stupid stuff.

But alas, the Super Bowl is almost upon us. The young, high flying Rams, lead by young coaching superstar Sean McVay go up against the veteran Patriots and Bill Belichick. Fun facts, Brady is 8 years older than McVay, McVay played against Edelman in college and McVay was 1 year old when Belichick won his first Super Bowl as the Giants defensive coordinator. Did I hammer home to age disparity like the national media has?

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The Rams offense has been led by recent breakout CJ Anderson, who’s been playing better than and more than Todd Gurley II. Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks and the passing attack has been playing well as well. The Patriots defense played well last week despite the 31-point second half the Chiefs had. They’ve been playing some of their best football as of late. Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers had spectacular games leading the defensive line in generating pressure on Mahomes and forcing throw aways, bad throws or even sacks. The Patriots were able to contain Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce almost all game, despite Kelce getting away with pushing off or drawing questionable pass interference calls. I like how to Patriots defense matches up with the Rams with how well everyone has been playing recently but it won’t be easy.

Tom Brady is still Tom Brady and I think the Patriots will have opportunities to prosper. The offensive line has been stellar, not giving up a sack the last two games. They will have their hands full with should be defensive player of the year Aaron Donald and his interior mate, old rival Ndamukong Suh. Running the ball won’t be easy but Rob Gronkowski has been blocking well lately and the Patriots can have success trying to get Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead running lanes to the outside behind excellent lead blocker James Develin. Also, Cordarrelle Patterson could have success is running jet sweeps across the field like how the Chiefs used Tyreek Hill all season. While to Rams defense has a lot of big names, they can give up a lot of points. The Patriots will need a very well-constructed blocking scheme to win this game, and if anyone can construct that plan it would be Bill Belichick and offensive line guru Dante Scarnecchia.

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The Rams have put together a spectacular season without a doubt, but I don’t think McVay and Wade Phillips will be able to fool Belichick and a Patriots team that seems determined to make up for last year’s embarrassing loss in the super bowl. Patriots will break out the duck boats.

Hot takes gone ice cold, (like the AFC Divisional Round playoff games)

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The good news is I went 3-1 in my game predictions, the bad news is all of my score type predictions were wrong. The Pats blew out the Chargers, the Rams didn’t win as big as I thought they would, the Saints game came down to the wire. The Colts lost in embarrassing fashion and it wasn’t a shootout. We have the top 2 seeds in each conference fighting it out for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. So, let’s hope I can be right, no hot takes included.

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Patriots at Chiefs: The Patriots looked great in their blowout win against the Chargers. The Patriots did what they needed to do and exploited the Chargers weakness of running backs catching passes out of the backfield. The running game looked surprisingly good as Sony Michel had a 3-touchdown game. The defense looked great as well, giving up 14-21 points depending on when you think garbage time starts, then gave up a little more when they took their foot off the gas to avoid injury. The Chiefs also looked good in their win. Their defense had a shutout going until the middle of the 4th quarter, the only other points coming from the Colts special teams. Arrowhead stadium is a decisive homefield advantage for the Chiefs, but Belichick is just about the only guys who can not be affected by that. This Patriots defense is better than it was in the week 6 matchup, which the Pats won 43-40. Tom Brady will be Tom Brady; the offensive line needs to continue their good play, Gronkowski also looked really good as a blocker in the Chargers win. I really think the Patriots defense can better matchup with the Chiefs thanks to their health and unique defensive personnel packages. Patriots win.

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Rams at Saints: Both of these teams played well this past weekend. The Eagles jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead then scored 0 points the rest of the game as the Saints came back to win. The Rams handled the Cowboys rushing attack and had a great rushing attack of their own and Dak Prescott wasn’t able to win the game by himself. This game should be great, the Superdome is a tremendous home field advantage for the Saints. The Saints have a great offense headlined by the two headed backfield of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. The Rams have established a great rushing attack with Todd Gurley and the re-emergence of CJ Anderson, and a passing attack of Brandin Cooks, Robert woods and Jared Goff. Both defenses have playmakers and Aaron Donald will be a handful for the Saints, but I think the Saints can squeeze out a win. Their defense matches up with Rams offense better than the opposite. Saints win

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

 

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Those damn Eagles just won’t lose, will they? How ‘bout them Cowboys? Can Andy Reid win a playoff game? Philip Rivers vs Tom Brady and the New England winter? All this and more coming up, ft. my hot (I think) takes.

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Colts at Chiefs: The Colts showed a somewhat stunning display of dominance last week against the Texans. Going to Kansas City is no easy task but their defense is not close to being on the level of Houston’s. Last time these teams met in the playoffs Kansas City blew a 23-point lead, and Andy Reid hasn’t coached/managed a good playoff game since. I have no reason to believe he will now. Timeouts and game clocks are the same no matter what Kansas City fans say about the differences between Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes II. The Colts defense played fast and smart last week and will have to do it again to match up to the speed of Kansas City’s offense.  Colts win in a relatively high scoring game.

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Cowboys and Rams: Did Dallas play well last week? Yes. Did Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer absolutely fall flat on their face despite Russell Wilson’s best effort? Also a resounding Yes. Sean McVay and the Rams are a much more potent and aware offense. With Todd Gurley anchoring the run game and Jared Goff having weapons to throw to, the Dallas defense could be in for a rude awakening. The rams will need to work to get pressure on Dak Prescott only after they try to contain Ezekiel Elliott. The Rams need to force Dak Prescott to beat them with his arm. If they can do that, I like their chances to establish an early lead and better contain the Cowboys. Rams win by at least 10.

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Chargers at Patriots: The Chargers dominated the ravens for about 3 quarters, almost completely collapsed and the forced a game sealing fumble. If Lamar Jackson can pick apart the Chargers defense, why can’t Brady? The Pats will need to protect Brady and if the can do that, receivers should be able to get open over the middle so Brady doesn’t have to hold the ball. The Pats need to use James White and Rex Burkhead in the passing game because that is a weakness for the Chargers defense, and it’s usually a strength for the Pats offense. I don’t believe chargers running back Melvin Gordon will be playing healthy so that could allow the Patriots to focus on defending the passing game and getting pressure on Phillip Rivers. Pats win the closest game of the weekend.

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Eagles at Saints: What almighty power is betting on the Eagles? After winning on a tipped field goals miss last week the Eagles ride into New Orleans, site of their biggest loss this season, a 48-7 blowout. The eagles defense played better than expected last week, but the bears offense does not have the weapons the saints does or the most accurate quarterback of all time in Drew Brees. If the Saints can put up a lot of points the eagles don’t have a diverse enough offense to be able to mix in the run with the pass. The Saints are coming in with a vengeance after how their season ended last year, a missed tackle resulting in the Minnesota Miracle. Sean Payton will have his team fired up to get to where they think they should’ve been last year. The luck is going to run out for Nick Foles. Saints win the most lopsided game of the weekend.      

Hey Celtics, long time no write

 

NBA: New York Knicks at Boston Celtics

Due to a variety of reasons I haven’t written about the Celtics in a while. Their schedule is weird so I’m going to quit trying to plan and just do it.

The Celtics are pretty good again, sitting at 24-15, not the best but they’re getting better by the day. After a disappointing start Brad Stevens mixed up his starting lineup. Inserting Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris with Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. Marcus Smart brings defense, playmaking, and toughness/scrappiness right from the start of the game. Marcus Morris has been having a career year shooting wise by a wide margin. He also brings defense, toughness and rebounding to the starting lineup.

 

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This move pushed Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward to the bench. Jaylen Brown has been playing much better recently now that he’s gotten settled into his role and is playing his style of basketball, using his athleticism to get to the basket easily. As a starter he tried to become more of a catch and shoot guy, which doesn’t suit his skill set. Gordon Hayward is looking good, he’s showing more confidence in his ankle by being more willing to get to the basket, he’s more confident in his shot, he’s showing great passing/playmaking ability, and is playing solid defense while playing premium bench minutes.

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Lets back track for a minute, Marcus Smart is quietly having “breakout year”. He is shooting above his career averages and a very respectable 35% from 3-point range. If he can continue that along with his better playmaking ability, he can be a valuable asset for the Celtics as they make a push for a higher playoff seed and make a playoff run. He is still a defensive magician, he can guard just about anyone on the floor, his puts his body on the line to make the tough plays. Kyrie recently said in his free time that he watches Marcus Smart defensive highlights, me too Kyrie, it’s just so amazing to watch.

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Speaking of Kyrie Irving, he is becoming more of a vocal leader and showing that he can be the number one option on a top-level team. He is playing the best all around season of his life; he’s scoring at least 20 a night usually, displaying great playmaking abilities and is hustling and grinding on the defensive end to make a great Celtics defense even better. Watching this man play basketball is jaw-droppingly amazing. He is an amazing shooter, a great passer, can score at will when he gets to the basket from any angle and he has the best dribble moves in the league bar none.

Big game tonight for the Celtics, with a chance to make up some ground against the higher seeded Indiana Pacers, Celtics are on the comeback and are back with a vengeance to show they’re still one of the top teams to go through in the East and the league.

NFL playoffs: Wild Card Round

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Due to my finals week and the holidays right after, I didn’t write about the last couple Pats games, not much happened to change their future so I’m just going to skip to the playoffs.

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Colts at Texans: The matchup of healthier than past seasons, AFC South rivals. Lead Andrew Luck and his now functional right shoulder the Colts bounced back from a bad start to the season and somewhat quietly ripped off a stellar ½+ of the season to make the playoffs. The defense has undeniably stepped up compared to the last few seasons lead by breakout rookie sensation Darius Leonard. The Texans are healthy too. Deshaun Watson had a great bounce-back season after tearing his ACL during his rookie season and J.J. Watt is healthy and still pretty good. Deandre Hopkins had an unbelievable season, not dropping a single pass. These defenses are somewhat similar statistically, but the Colts offense is more productive and features a more diverse attack. Colts win

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Seahawks at Cowboys: Russell Wilson is really good. Pete Carroll did a good job this year taking this revamped defense and keeping it somewhat on par with past Seattle defenses. The emergence of Chris Carson really helped this offense become less predictable than just a Russell Wilson show. Dallas’ defense has also been better than expected this season, Ezekiel Elliott had another superb season behind a good offensive line. Seattle’s offense brings a more diverse attack somewhat similar to the Colts and they have a defense with the ability to contain a somewhat suspect Dallas offense. Seahawks win.

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Chargers at Ravens: I kind of feel bad for the Chargers, they have the second-best record in the AFC and they have to play a road playoff game in the first round because they’re in the same division as the Chiefs. The ravens had a slow start under Joe Flacco then once Lamar Jackson became the starter the Ravens went 6-1 and controlled their destiny by beating the Browns to win the division and knock the Steelers out of the playoffs. The Chargers offense hasn’t been the same recently, Phillip Rivers has looked bad and star running back Melvin Gordon doesn’t seem to be 100% healthy. The Ravens defense is elite, and they have a killer rushing attack. This one is a toss up for me, but my gut says Chargers if they can see and replicate some of the success the Browns had last week against the Ravens. Chargers win

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Eagles at Bears: Nick Foles came back and lead the eagles to the playoffs, giving them a chance to defend their title. (hypothetically, if the eagles win the super bowl again do the eagles trade Wentz? Because at that point it can’t be a coincidence that the team is performing better with Foles.) The Eagles defense is not the juggernaut it was last season when it carried them through the playoffs. Lead by my coach of the year pick, Matt Nagy and dominant preseason acquisition Khalil Mack, The Bears defense is tops in the NFC, no matter how you spin it. The Bears also have a complimentary offense that can run the ball with the best teams to wear out opponents, old school, smash-mouth football style. They also can throw the ball to good receivers and the swiss army knife Tarik Cohen, also Trey Burton is a good double pass tight-end/quarterback. Bears win.

Do I Really Have To?

Short and simple so I don’t put a hole in my computer out of frustration.

Belichick out thought himself. No sane human being would think Tannehill would throw a 70 yard bomb to the end-zone on a bad ankle. But Belichick put in the Hail Mary safety (Gronk, who took a beating this game) instead of using his best tackler (Devin McCourty). He also benched one of his better pass rushers, specially this game (Hightower). No blame on Gronk, it is ALL on Belichick.

McDaniels is still terrible at his job. The struggles in the red-zone are ridiculous.

Brady had a great game, the offensive line fell apart in the second half. Yes Brady did screw up the end of the first half but they should have scored a few plays ago (see McDaniels’s red-zone struggles) .

I supported and defend this defense all season and they gave me a big old screw you and played their worst game this season. Albeit Miami is a fast an athletic team but not being able to stop 50 year old frank Gore and a special teams player whose classified as a running back for roster placement reasons in Brandon Bolden is the epitome of pathetic.

At least Pittsburgh and Houston lost. Pittsburgh is beat up, so we need to go in with an edge and destroy them to prove that we are a competent team on the road with hopes to lock up a first round bye.