2019 NFL Season: Week 3 picks

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Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

Current Standings

Adam: 23-8-1

Aman: 20-11-1

Dan: 24-7-1

Joel: 21-10-1

Rahim: 22-9-1

 

Titans @ Jaguars (Thursday night)

Despite being 0-2 and not having Nick Foles, the Jaguars are playing surprisingly well. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew hasn’t been anything special, but he’s shown he can at least keep the Jaguars in a game. The Titans have a pretty good defensive unit, so it’ll be interesting to see how Minshew reacts to facing one of the better defensive teams in the NFL.

For the Titans, they still need to show us what they’re really made of on offense. Mariota, Derrick Henry and company were on fire in Week 1, but looked very different last week. They weren’t bad a week ago, but they didn’t pack the same punch. Which offense will we see in this game?

Predictions

Adam: Titans

Aman: Jaguars

Dan: Titans

Joel: Titans

Rahim: Titans

 

Dolphins @ Cowboys

Miami has scored a total of 10 points in their first two games. First they got blown out by the Ravens 59-10, and then last week got blown out 43-0 by the Patriots. With Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense on fire right now, another blowout seems likely in this one.

Predictions

Adam: Cowboys

Aman: Cowboys

Dan: Cowboys

Joel: Cowboys

Rahim: Cowboys

 

Bengals @ Bills

The Bengals’ defense got shredded by the 49ers last week. Can they rebound against Josh Allen and the Bills? The Bills looked good against the Giants, but we know the Giants aren’t very good defensively. Can Josh Allen continue making strides as an accurate passer? If not, it could be a tougher day for the Bills.

A key for the Bengals is to get their running game going. They had just 25 yards rushing against the 49ers last week, and just 34 against the Seahawks in Week 1. That has to change if the Bengals are going to get things right on offense.

Predictions

Adam: Bills

Aman: Bills

Dan: Bills

Joel: Bills

Rahim: Bills

 

Lions @ Eagles

 

Predictions

Adam: Eagles

Aman: Eagles

Dan: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

 

Jets @ Patriots

The Patriots have scored a total of 76 points in their first two games, while allowing a total of three against the Steelers and Dolphins. The Jets are without Sam Darnold in this one, but even if they had him, we would all see another blowout coming.

Predictions

Adam: Patriots

Aman: Patriots

Dan: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

 

Falcons @ Colts

 

Predictions

Adam: Falcons

Aman: Falcons

Dan: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

 

Raiders @ Vikings

 

Predictions

Adam: Vikings

Aman: Vikings

Dan: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

 

Ravens @ Chiefs

This game will most likely be the most watched game of the entire weekend. Lamar Jackson vs Patrick Mahomes. These two quarterbacks are surely going to light up the scoreboard in this one. With that in mind, this game will likely come down to which defense performs the best. We know the Chiefs’ defense has had its issues. Can they slow down Lamar Jackson in either the passing or running game? The Baltimore defense is solid, but can they slow down an elite offense led by Mahomes?

Predictions

Adam: Chiefs

Aman: Ravens

Dan: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

 

Broncos @ Packers

The Packers proved their defense was no one game wonder against the Vikings last week, as they held the Vikings to just 16 points. They did allow Dalvin Cook to have a nice day running the ball, but they made Kirk Cousins look like absolute garbage. After what I’ve seen from Joe Flacco so far, I’m not confident he’ll perform well against this Packers defense. Then again, you just never know.

Predictions

Adam: Packers

Aman: Packers

Dan: Packers

Joel: Packers

Rahim: Packers

 

Panthers @ Cardinals

Carolina looked pretty bad against the Buccaneers last week. They turned a three interception Jameis Winston into a good looking quarterback. Giving up 20 points isn’t terrible for the Panthers defense, but it looked worse because they didn’t get any help from their offense. Cam Newton completed under 50% of his passes. The Panthers ran for a total of 39 yards. That’s not how you win football games.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals haven’t had the most explosive offense through two games, but they haven’t looked terrible either. Murray has been able to keep his offense in both games. If the Cardinals’ defense can slow down Newton and the Panthers, I won’t say it’ll be easy going for the Cardinals, but things will be much easier.

Predictions

Adam: Cardinals

Aman: Panthers

Dan: Cardinals

Joel: Cardinals

Rahim: Cardinals

 

Giants @ Buccaneers

Saquon Barkley remains the only offensive threat for the New York Giants. There’s only so much he can do, and it’s shown in their first two games. However, the defense may be the real reason this team has started 0-2. They let Bills quarterback Josh Allen look like a much better passer than he actually is. This secondary really needs some work. They keep giving up big plays, and it’s not helping the Giants’ offense at all.

With the Giants struggling defensively, Jameis Winston has a chance to build on a strong showing against the Panthers last week. If he can avoid turnovers, like he did against the Panthers, this Bucs offense should be in good shape.

Predictions

Adam: Buccaneers

Aman: Buccaneers

Dan: Giants

Joel: Buccaneers

Rahim: Buccaneers

 

Saints @ Seahawks

Drew Brees is out for a while, so it’s up to Teddy Bridgewater to take control of the Saints’ offense. This is why they signed him. Bridgewater looked horrible against the Rams, so now it’s time to see how he looks with a lot more time to prepare for his starting role. It won’t be any easy task taking on the Seahawks’ defense. It’s pretty likely the Seahawks are going to watch film on how the Rams dominated the Saints after Brees went down, and then try to duplicate it.

Predictions

Adam: Seahawks

Aman: Seahawks

Dan: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

 

Texans @ Chargers

I’m honestly not sure what to make of these two teams. The Texans looked pretty good against the Saints in Week 1, but then took a big step back in Week 2 against the Jaguars. It’s weird that they lost the game they looked good in, but then won the game where they didn’t look so good.

The Chargers are pretty much in the same boat, except the outcome of their games were how we would have thought based on their performances. In Week 1, the Chargers didn’t look like they need Melvin Gordon. However, Week 2 was much different. They really struggled to move the ball. Let’s see if we can get a more clear picture for at least one of these teams in Week 3.

Predictions

Adam: Chargers

Aman: Chargers

Dan: Texans

Joel: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

 

Steelers @ 49ers

Despite losing and dropping to 0-2, the Steelers looked much better last week against the Seahawks. Unfortunately, Ben Roethlisberger was hurt, but backup quarterback mason Rudolph looked pretty good. Will we see Roethlisberger or Mason in this game? It may not matter if the 49ers explode like they did last week. Jimmy Garoppolo looked much better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1, throwing for 297 yards and three touchdowns. The defense didn’t look too bad either. Can the Steelers avoid an 0-3 start, or will the 49ers start 3-0?

Predictions

Adam: 49ers

Aman: 49ers

Dan: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

 

Rams @ Browns (Sunday night)

After the beatdown the Rams gave the Saints last week, it’s hard for me to see the Browns beating them. Cleveland looked horrible in Week 1 against the Titans, and the only reason they looked good against the Jets in Week 2 is because they were playing the Jets, without Sam Darnold and part of the game without Trevor Siemian. A lot needs to change for the Browns to be who they were hyped up to be, but it’s not likely to change against one of the best teams in the league.

Predictions

Adam: Rams

Aman: Rams

Dan: Rams

Joel: Rams

Rahim: Rams

 

Bears @ Redskins (Monday night)

Despite getting a win last week, the Bears still didn’t look great offensively. On the other side we’ve got the Redskins, who just got shredded defensively by the Dallas Cowboys. Either the Bears’ offense or the Redskins’ defense needs to get on track in this game. Which one will it be?

Predictions

Adam: Bears

Aman: Redskins

Dan: Bears

Joel: Bears

Rahim: Bears

2019 NFL Prediction: NFC North

Last season, this conference took the NFL by surprise. One team, in particular, caused a Midwestern storm: the Chicago Bears. QB Mitch Trubisky in his second season caused mayhem along with LB Khalil Mack’s excellence in defense and a Green Bay Packers’ team without QB Aaron Rodgers fell off the tracks and was forgotten about. This season, the Bears are favorites to win the conference yet again, but they still need to play their cards carefully and not let their guard down against the Minnesota Vikings or the Packers. The big question regarding this conference might be as to whether the Vikings or Packers can make playoffs this season as well or not if the Bears most likely will. 

Chicago Bears Lance Briggs” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Chicago Bears

Last season’s record: 12-4

Postseason result: Cody Parkey’s missed field goal saw the Bears lose to the Philadelphia Eagles by one point in the second round of playoffs.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • C Ted Larsen (Miami Dolphins)
  • RB Mike Davis (Seattle Seahawks)
  • WR Marvin Hall (Atlanta Falcons)
  • LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (New York Jets)
  • OT T.J. Clemmings (Oakland Raiders)

Undrafted signed players:

  • DL Daryle Banfield (Brown University)

Traded for:

  • K Eddy Pineiro

Drafted:

  • WR Riley Ridley (University of Georgia)
  • RB Kerrith Whyte Jr. (University of Florida)
  • RB David Montgomery (Iowa State)

Off-season departures:

Released TE Dion Sims, K Parkey (thank God) and Adrian Amos and waived OL Dejon Allen, K Redford Jones, K John Baron, DB Adarius Pickett, DE Lawrence Marshall and K Chris Blewitt.

The big question: 

The Bears’ current situation feels kind of like the Atlanta Braves’. A team with quality and skill in a good position, but with one major issue. In the Braves’ case, it would be their bullpen but for the Bears, the kicker situation seems a bit uneasy. As you can read, four kickers were either released or waived and Pineiro didn’t have a good day out in the Bears’ preseason match against the Tenessee Titans. But if the Bears can get the kicking situation sorted out, Bears are just as capable of repeating last season’s theatrics, if not do better. Davis and Hall are excellent additions for the offense to pair up with Trubisky, but last season, it was the Bears’ defense, led by Mack, which won them matches. Can Mack and his defense repeat last season’s heroics?

Prediction: 10-6

Green Bay Packers

Last season’s record: 6-9-1

Postseason result: Sorry, 2018 just wasn’t the year.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • S Adrian Amos (Bears)
  • LB Preston Smith (Washington)
  • LB Za’Darius Smith (Baltimore Ravens)
  • OL Billy Turne (Broncos)

Resigned:

  • TE Marcedes Lewis

Drafted:

  • DE Rashan Gary (University of Michigan)
  • QB Manny Wilkins (Arizona State)

Claimed:

  • WR Jawill Davis (New York Giants)

Off-season departures:

  • Released LB Antonio Morrison, LB Nick Perry, G Nico Siragusa, S Jason Thompson, DL Mike Daniels and RB Darrin Hall, waived CB Javien Hamilton and WR Jordy Nelson retired.

The big question:

So as long as QB Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get injured, everything should be fine, right? Well, not entirely true. This Green Bay Packers team is a completely new Green Bay Packers with Matt LaFluer as head coach. The coaching staff has been completely remodeled from last year’s disappointing season. Due to all the changes, there’s plenty of questions to be asked regarding the starting line-up. It seems that draft picks Gary and Darnell Savage won’t have to wait too long before getting starts, but there’s still some uncertainty as to who will pair with Rodgers as a wide receiver? Green Bay would, of course, want to see big seasons from the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and/or Equanimeous St. Brown, but one thing Green Bay fans should know from the last season is that you can’t expect anything and anything is unexpected. With that being said, can Green Bay’s wide receivers step up and support the offense in scoring?

Prediction: 7-9

Minnesota Vikings

Last season’s record: 8-7-1

Postseason result:  So about that…

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • RB Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions)
  • K Dan Bailey (Dallas Cowboys)
  • CB Bené Benwikere (Oakland Raiders)
  • G Josh Cline (Tennessee Titans)

Drafted:

  • C Garrett Bradbury (North Carolina State)
  • TE Irv Smith Jr. (University of Alabama)
  • RB Alexander Mattison (Boise State)
  • G Dru Samia (Oklahoma)
  • LB Cameron Smith (USC)

Off-season departures:

Waived CB Jalen Myrick, RB Roc Thomas and G Tyler Catalina and DE Brian Robison retired.

The big question:

The Minnesota Vikings were disappointing from the start last season. Disregarding the results, new quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t prove to be good enough for Minnesota. The Vikings did an excellent job if filling in patches and rebuilding their defense with the likes of Cline in the off-season, but as to how well the offense will perform this season is like flipping a coin. QB Kyle Sloter may try to make a case for himself ahead of Cousins, but the Vikings have also improved their running game with the likes of Abdullah, Benwikere and Mattinson. With all that being said, however, can Cousins return to form a make a feared Vikings’ offense again?

Prediction: 8-8

Detroit Lions

Last season’s record: 6-10

Postseason result: Let me know when this changes.

Off-season acquisitions:

Signed:

  • WR Danny Amendola (Miami Dolphins)
  • OL Oday Aboushi (Arizona Cardinals)
  • S Andrew Adams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
  • CB Justin Coleman (Seattle Seahawks)
  • DE Trey Flowers (New England Patriots)
  • TE Jesse James (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • WR Tommylee Lewis (New Orleans Saints)
  • TE Logan Thomas (Buffalo Bills)
  • CB Rashaan Melvin (Raiders)

Drafted:

  • TE T.J. Hockinson (Iowa)
  • DE Austin Bryant (Clemson)
  • Amani Oruwariye (Penn State)

Off-season departures:

Released S Glover Quin, WR Bruce Ellington, LB Nicholas Grigsby, WR Brandon Reilly, LB Tre’ Williams, WR Brandon Reilly and C Luke Bowanko cut G T.J. Lang and waived LB Juwon Young, TE Michael Roberts, LB Tre Lamar, DB Andrew Adams, DB Andre Chachere, WR Jordan Lasley, DE Eric Lee, WR Tommylee Lewis, DE Mitchell Loewen, OT Ryan Pope, P Ryan Santoso, G Micah St. Andrew and DB Jamar Summers.

The big question:

Coach Matt Patricia is being given a second chance, but that still doesn’t guarantee stability. Even if he doesn’t take the Lions to the playoffs, he still needs to improve on that 6-10 record, which, unfortunately, in the NFC North, will be very difficult to do. Patricia has improved on last season[‘s performances through his signings, but nothing is guaranteed as to whether they will perform or not. The Lions are yet to win in preseason as well. However, the second half of last season, their defense gave away just an average of three touchdowns, so that could be a bright spot to improve upon. The offense’s effectiveness will be the main focus as the Lions now have a good addition of tight ends and running backs. Can the Lions’ offense improve from last season? 

Prediction: 6-10

Predicted division standings:

  1. Chicago Bears (10-6)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (8-8)
  3. Green Bay Packers (7-9)
  4. Detroit Lions (6-10)

Five non first-round picks who will be NFL stars

Every NFL Draft season, there tends to be a thought among fans that only first-round players will be NFL stars. Every single year, that thought gets proven wrong. Some of the most recognizable names to not be drafted in the first-round of previous drafts are QB Russell Wilson, CB Richard Sherman and WR Antonio Brown.

NFL Stars
Stanford vs. UC Davis 2018” by Daniel Hartwig is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 2019 NFL Draft likely won’t be any different, as several players who weren’t drafted in the first-round will emerge as NFL stars. After looking over the results of the NFL Draft, I compiled a short list of players who weren’t drafted in the first-round who I believe will be NFL stars.

 

WR J.J. Arcega Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles (Round 2, No. 57 overall)

Standing at 6’3″, 225 lbs, J.J. Arcega Whiteside has the build of an elite red zone threat. His build is similar to that of his new teammate, Alshon Jeffrey. Arcega Whiteside proved his red zone presence by recording 14 TDs in his final season at Stanford. He recorded a total of 28 TDs over his three college seasons.

Arcega Whiteside only had one season of 1,000+ receiving yards at Stanford, but he improved every year he was there. I believe that makes him a perfect fit for the Eagles. It may take a little while for Arcega Whiteside to be among NFL stars, but he’s in the perfect situation to have time to develop.

WR Alshon Jeffrey and TE Zach Ertz will be huge red zone threats to every defense they play. While they’ll be getting all the attention, Arcega Whiteside will be seeing single coverage on less talented DBs. He can play that role until Alshon Jeffrey eventually moves on, whenever that may be. When Jeffrey does leave the Eagles, they will be able to easily replace him with Arcega Whiteside. J.J. Arcega Whiteside may not have the best stats over his first few seasons, but when he gets the chance to play a greater role, I believe he’ll put up huge numbers.

 

S Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs (Round 2, No. 63 overall)

What’s one of the most important things for a defense to do in today’s NFL? Get takeaways. What does Juan Thornhill do best? Getting takeaways. In three seasons as a starter at Virginia, Thornhill recorded 13 INTs. Six of those INTs came in his final season, proving he’s continuing to become a ball hawk in the secondary.

Thornhill will instantly provide the Chiefs’ secondary with something they desperately lacked last season. The secondary for the Chiefs gave up a lot of yards and points last season, which was their downfall in the biggest moments. Juan Thornhill won’t fix all their problems in the secondary, but he will provide an instant boost.

With Patrick Mahomes on the other side, the Chiefs’ defense has to find ways to get him on the field as much as possible. Thornhill and his ability to take the ball away will do just that for the Chiefs, making him one of the next NFL stars.

 

WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (Round 2, No. 64 overall)

Does anyone else remember D.K. Metcalf, the shredded 6’3″, 228 lbs WR who ran a 4.33 40 yard dash, put up 27 bench reps, had a 40.5 inch vertical and a 134 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine? Yeah, I thought so. Metcalf was widely considered a first-round talent, at least we thought.

The Seahawks got their star WR of the future when he fell to them at No. 64 in the second-round. Metcalf never really had great production at Ole Miss, but he’s also never had a QB like Russell Wilson. Metcalf has the ability to be Wilson’s go to guy. It might take a little bit of time, but he’s got the talent to do it.

Russell Wilson has the ability to place the ball in the perfect spot, while Metcalf has the ability to blow past and jump over defenders. He’s also stronger than probably any WR in the NFL right now. Metcalf needs to work on his fluidness and route running, but that will come in time. The Seahawks have their star WR of the future.

 

RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (Round 3, No. 73 overall)

I loved this select by the Bears in the third-round. Montgomery is a big RB who can be effective as both a runner and receiver. In three seasons at Iowa State, Montgomery recorded 2,925 rushing yards. He went over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his last two seasons. In addition to those two seasons of 1,000+ rushing yards, Montgomery record 10+ TDs in both those seasons.

Montgomery recorded 71 receptions for 582 yards during his three seasons, proving he can impact the game in multiple ways. Now he steps in to a Chicago team who needed to get better at running the ball. Montgomery will step in as the starter right away, and will play a big role in leading the Bears’ offense.

How many times in recent history have we seen a rookie RB lead the league in rushing yards? I’m going to go out on a limb and say David Montgomery has a legit chance at being the next rookie RB to do so.

 

EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Baltimore Ravens (Round 3, No. 85 overall)

There was a time when Jaylon Ferguson was mocked in the first-round of the NFL Draft. Unfortunately for him, he fell to the third-round because of poor workouts during the pre-draft process. While that may have been unfortunate for him, it was fortunate for the Baltimore Ravens.

Jaylon Ferguson holds College Football’s all-time record for sacks (45). Yes, he played against lesser competition while at Louisiana Tech, but I don’t care. If you can get sacks, you can get sacks. Jaylon Ferguson can get sacks. He may not become the NFL’s all-time leading sack artist, but he will be a guy who can consistently get after the QB.

I think Ferguson landed in the perfect spot in Baltimore. He feels like a player who belongs on the Baltimore defense. He fell because of poor workouts, and now the all-time leading sack artist in College Football gets his chance to prove everyone wrong.

 

Winners and losers of the 2019 NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft officially wrapped up yesterday. Now that we know where these new NFL players will be playing, we can take a look at which teams won or lost this draft. After evaluating the picks for every NFL team over the last day, I’ve put together my list of three winners and three losers of the 2019 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by Mary is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winners

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks

  • Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray(No. 1)
  • Washington CB Byron Murphy (No. 33)
  • Massachusetts WR Andy Isabella (No. 62)
  • Boston College DE Zach Allen (No. 65)
  • Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler (No. 103)
  • Alabama S Deionte Thompson (No. 139)
  • Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson (No. 174)
  • Georgia C Lamont Gaillard (No. 179)
  • Morgan State OT Joshua Miles (No. 248)
  • Temple DT Michael Dogbe (No. 249)
  • UCLA TE Caleb Wilson (No. 254)

After going 3-13 last season, the Cardinals had a lot of work to do in this draft. Well, their worked seemed to pay off. Starting with QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals were able to walk out of the draft with several probable day one starters. CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, DE Zach Allen, WR Hakeem Butler and S Deionte Thompson are all potential starters for the Cardinals this season. When you throw Murray in that mix, the Cardinals got six players with their first six picks who could start right away.

In addition to getting several potential starters, the Cardinals got great value with several of their picks. Byron Murphy was arguably the top CB in this draft, and the Cardinals were able to get him in the second-round. Isabella and Allen went right about where they should have, but getting Hakeem Butler at No. 103 and Deionte Thompson at No. 139 are great value picks.

This draft class might not get the Cardinals to compete in the NFL right away, but they’ve got a ton of potential in this draft class. This draft by the Cardinals could end up being the best in this class when we look back on it in a few years.

 

New England Patriots

Draft Picks

  • Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry (No. 32)
  • Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams (No. 45)
  • Michigan DE Chase Winovich (No. 77)
  • Alabama RB Damien Harris (No. 87)
  • West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste (No. 101)
  • Arkansas OG Hjalte Froholdt (No. 118)
  • Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (No. 133)
  • Maryland DE Byron Cowart (No. 159)
  • Stanford P Jake Bailey (No. 163)
  • Mississippi CB Ken Webster(No. 252)

When I look at the first five picks for the Patriots, I see five guys who can make an impact for this team right away. N’Keal Harry is their new big red zone target, Joejuan Williams is a big corner who will get a ton of time opposite Stephon Gilmore, Chase Winovich will play significant time on the defensive line, Damien Harris will add to a strong backfield, and Yodny Cajuste will get a good amount of time in the Patriots’ offensive line rotation.

Skipping down to QB Jarrett Stidham, would anyone be surprised if he ends up being the guy to take over for Tom Brady when he finally decides to retire? He has the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest QBs in the history of the NFL. Stidham didn’t really fit well in Auburn’s system, but Belichick is one of the best at getting his system to adapt to his players.

I’m not sure how the Patriots did it, but they ended up with a bunch of guys who just seem to be players the Patriots can get the most out of. These guys may not be stars in the NFL, but they’re for sure guys the Patriots will turn into productive NFL players.

 

Chicago Bears

Draft Picks

  • Iowa State RB David Montgomery (No. 73)
  • Georgia WR Riley Ridley (No. 126)
  • Kansas State CB Duke Shelley (No. 205)
  • Florida Atlantic RB Kerrith White (No. 222)
  • Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark (No. 238)

For not having a pick until the third-round, the Chicago Bears did really well in this draft. I love the selection of RB David Montgomery. Getting him at No. 73 is great value. I believe he’s one of the best RBs in this class. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery ends up being the next rookie RB to lead the NFL in rushing.

At pick No. 126, Riley Ridley is another great value. I thought he would go in the second-round. He didn’t put up a ton of production in college, but his potential is far greater than where he was selected. He should only add to a group of WRs who were pretty strong last season, helping Mitch Trubisky even more.

Their last three selections were great depth pieces. I think we also have to look at which UDFAs the Bears signed after the draft. Some notable players the Bears signed are WR Emmanuel Hall and TE Dax Raymond, who are both players I expected to be drafted.

Finally, I factored in the Bears’ trade for Khalil Mack last season. They may not have had a first-round pick in this draft, but Mack is far better than anyone the Bears would have selected. Mack will be far more productive than any player selected in this draft in 2019.

 

Losers

Houston Texans

Draft Picks

  • Alabama State OT Tytus Howard (No. 23)
  • Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson (No. 54)
  • Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping (No. 55)
  • San Diego State TE Kahale Warring (No. 86)
  • Texas DE Charles Omenihu (No. 161)
  • Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford(No. 195)
  • Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia (No. 220)

I liked the position the Texans drafted with the No. 23 pick, but I hate the player. Tytus Howard is not a player who should have been selected in the first-round. I would have been okay with them selecting him in the second-round, but not the first. There were far better lineman available at the time. I’m not sure he’s the answer to protecting Deshaun Watson.

When I look at the selections of Lonnie Johnson, Max Scharping and Kahale Warring, I don’t see any of them being instant impact players for this team. I thought the Texans made a lot of reach picks in this draft. They may end up proving me wrong, but I didn’t like the value of these guys where the Texans drafted them.

 

New York Giants

Draft Picks

  • Duke QB Daniel Jones (No. 6)
  • Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17)
  • Georgia CB Deandre Baker (No. 30)
  • Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines (No. 95)
  • Notre Dame CB Julian Love (No. 108)
  • Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly (No. 143)
  • Auburn WR Darius Slayton (No. 171)
  • Washburn CB Corey Ballentine (No. 180)
  • Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei (No. 232)
  • Syracuse DT Chris Slayton (No. 245) 

Let’s start with Daniel Jones at No. 6. The Giants drafted Jones because he has similar traits to Eli Manning. I hate to break it to the Giants, but Eli Manning’s style of play doesn’t win games in the NFL anymore. This is a new age in the NFL. I’m not sure a QB who can’t even complete 60% of his passes is the answer. Huge reach with the sixth pick.

I like Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker as players, but I really hated how the Giants didn’t address their WR need with one of those picks. Instead, they waited until pick No. 171 to grab Darius Slayton. Slayton is not going to replace Odell Beckham Jr.

If I had to say one nice thing about the Giants’ draft, it’d be that they have a nice new pair of CBs in Baker and Julian Love. I think Love could have gone a lot higher than No. 108, so that was a great value. Overall though, I don’t believe the Giants made the right moves in this draft.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks

  • LSU LB Devin White (No. 5)
  • Central Michigan DB Sean Bunting (No. 39)
  • Auburn CB Jamel Dean (No. 94)
  • Kentucky S Mike Edwards (No. 99)
  • Iowa OLB Anthony Nelson (No. 107)
  • Utah K Matt Gay (No. 145)
  • Bowling Green WR Scott Miller (No. 208)
  • Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr. (No. 215)

I loved the pick of LB Devin White at No. 5. I think he’s going to be a great NFL LB. However, pass rusher Josh Allen was still on the board. If Allen ends up being a big time sack artist, Bucs fans may end up hating the pick of White. Still a good pick, though.

After the pick of White, I didn’t like what the Bucs did. Sean Bunting was taken too early, as well as Jamel Dean. Skip down to K Matt Gay, and you’ve got another guy who was taken too early. He is a K after all. The Buccaneers had the opportunity to draft players who were higher ranked, as well as who fit their team needs.

Not addressing their biggest team needs is another major reason why the Bucs were losers in this draft. They didn’t grab an offensive lineman or RB, which were two positions they really needed to address for this upcoming season. Not sure what happened after the selection of Devin White.

Top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time

After taking the time to look back at some of the best Super Bowl moments for both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, we turned our attention to the best moments of their first Super Bowl match. As we prepare ourselves for another encounter between the two teams, we will look back at some of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time.

Source: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=230127&picture=posterization-of-joe-namath

There are several different moments in the 53 year history we could call great. Narrowing it down to just 15 makes it even harder, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports have come together to make it the best we can. So let’s take a look at the top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time.

 

15. Max McGee’s Touchdown, Super Bowl I

Many people may not think of this as one of the best moments in Super Bowl history, but most of us probably don’t even know who Max McGee is or what team he payed for. He played for the Green Bay Packers in the first ever Super Bowl. His touchdown was the first ever touchdown scored in a Super Bowl. It was a 37-yard pass from QB Bart Starr to open the game. The Packers never looked back.

What makes this moment more special, is that McGee wasn’t even suppose to play after he missed curfew. It’s not like he was the superstar WR on that team. He only caught four passes in the 1966 season. But on that day of Super Bowl I, he was the hero with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

 

14. Joe Namath’s Guarantee, Super Bowl III

How could you not put a moment like this on the list? This is known to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The best part about it was when quarterback Joe Namath publicly guaranteed a Jets victory. He walked off the field with one finger pointing to the sky as he did what he said he would do. Namath made the guarantee three days prior that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts. He did it with a balance of passing and running plays, as running back Matt Snell totaled 121 yards and a touchdown.

Namath and Jets had a 16-0 lead heading into the second half, where the Colts made the decision to change quarterbacks and go back to Johnny Unitas. He led them to a scoring drive. However, it was too late for Unitas and the Colts, as Namath and Jets won the game for the first time in the AFL after the Green Bay Packers won it the past two years in the NFL.

Hear more about how Namath felt after they won here.

 

13. Devin Hester returns opening kickoff against Colts, Super Bowl XLI

It was Super Bowl XLI when we saw the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts. It was also the first Super Bowl game that featured two African American head coaches (Bears’ Lovie Smith and Colts’ Tony Dungy), which means there is a historical fact to this moment as well. But this was likely the worst moment of the game for the Bears, as they lost to the Colts 29-17 after leading 17-3 at halftime. So why is Devin Hester on the list? Well, he did something that has never been done. That was taking the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. It went down in history as the fastest TD in the Super Bowl, scored in just 14 seconds.

Let’s keep in mind that Hester was just a rookie returner who led the league in both kickoff and punt returns with six total. This kick return was the first ever opening kickoff return for a TD in a Super Bowl. There were eight other guys who were able to return a kickoff for a TD in a Super Bowl, but none were as special as this one.

Check out the return here.

 

12. John Riggins’ big score, Super Bowl XVII

Riggins was known as “The Diesel” during his time in the NFL. It was moments like this that gave him the name. In the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl, they were down to the Miami Dolphins 17-13 with 10 minutes left to play. They faced a 4th-and-1 situation on the Dolphins’ 43-yard line. Riggins ran over Dolphins DB Don McNeal for the decisive score that put the Redskins ahead for good. He was the workhorse for the Redskins’ first Super Bowl win, carrying the ball a record 38 times for 166 yards in a Super Bowl. The touchdown run at the moment was the longest run from scrimmage in the history of the Super Bowl.

Check it out here.

 

11. Montana, 49ers win in Bill Walsh’s final NFL game, Super Bowl XXIII

If you thought the Niners were the team in the 80’s, you thought right. That was mostly because of the coach-QB duo of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, who had a lot of success together, including three Super Bowl titles. This is the most memorable Super Bowl moment, because this was the last game Bill Walsh coached in the NFL.

This Super Bowl was the closest of the three they won together, and the second against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a Niners team that was down 16-13 with three minutes remaining in the game. The ball was at their own 8-yard line. The Niners were not worried, as they had “Joe Cool” ready to lead the drive, which he did as they capped off a 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining. That’s the way to end a coaching career. Let’s not forget that Montana and the Niners made it back to the Super Bowl without Walsh and crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10.

Take a look at the game-winning drive of Super XXIII.

 

10. John Elway “Helicopter” Spin, Super Bowl XXXII

Elway and the Broncos struggled to win Super Bowls. In fact, Elway had lost his first three Super Bowl appearances until this Super Bowl, where he pulled out all the stops to get his first Lombardi Trophy. It was Elway’s determination that helped the Broncos pull off this win against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Elway took us all on a thrill ride, as he gave us one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history.

The Broncos and Packers went back and forth all game, as the Broncos ultimately came out on top 31-24. It was the third quarter drive that was 13 plays and 92-yards that gave the Broncos the lead back in a tied game. One of those plays was an 8-yard scramble for a first down by Elway, in which he dove and got hit by multiple Packers defenders while spinning through the air like a Helicopter. The Broncos followed that up by getting a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Terrell Davis.

Want to watch Elway fly like a Helicopter? Look here!

 

9. Redskins’ Williams becomes first African American QB to win a Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXII

From one successful Broncos Super Bowl to one of the Elway losses. It was Super Bowl XXII when Elway and the Broncos built a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. But what would happen next is something that none of us would’ve predicted.

It was a second quarter full of touchdowns, five to be exact. All five were scored by the Washington Redskins and their QB Doug Williams. Williams and the Redskins scored 35 points in a quarter which was the most points ever in a single postseason quarter in NFL history at the time. The first touchdown was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ricky Sanders, which tied a record for the longest pass in a Super Bowl game. Sanders and rookie running back Timmy Smith both set Super Bowl records: Sanders for receiving (193) and Smith for rushing (204).

Williams also made history, as he was the first African American QB to win the Super Bowl. He also put himself in the record books with all his success in that one game alone.

Watch this great performance by the Washington Redskins and Doug Williams here.

 

8. The Fridge’s TD, Super Bowl XX

Is your refrigerator running? Maybe you should want it too? That’s what the Chicago Bears did in Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots. It was already a 34-3 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter, so why not have some fun? Bears coach Mike Dikta made the decision to go with his 300+ pound defensive linemen to run the ball for a 1-yard touchdown. That linemen was rookie William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who lived up to his first-round draft status. Perry became the first 300 pound guy to score a touchdown, and Bears Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton loved it.

Check out the run here.

 

7. Swann is sensational, Super Bowl X

It’s not everyday you can be sensational, unless your name is Lynn Swann and you played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’70s. In this Super Bowl, Swann earned MVP honors, as he played the best game of his career. In this game, he made two sensational catches. The first was a juggling catch while falling to the turf for a 53-yard gain, and the other catch was a score on a 64-yard touchdown. It would help the Steelers win their second consecutive Super Bowl, and first of two against the Cowboys.

Check out the catches here.

 

6. Bills’ Norwood missed FG, Super Bowl XXV

When you’re down one point with 2:16 remaining, you have no real pressure on you besides getting into field goal range. That is actually what the Buffalo Bills QB did against the New York Giants, as they were down 20-19. Bills’ QB Jim Kelly marches the team down the field and gets to the Giants’ 29 with eight seconds left. What happened next was part of a long losing streak in the Super Bowl. The Bills had a losing streak in the Super Bowl that will always be remembered. This play is the worst of them all. Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood set up for a game-winning 47-yard field goal, but he misses wide right and their streak continued.

Watch the missed kick by Norwood here.

 

5. Desmond Howard’s 99-yard return, Super Bowl XXVII

In another Super Bowl the Patriots lost, it came down to the speed of one man. That man was Desmond Howard, as he stopped the Patriots momentum from completing a comeback. It was a late score by New England in the third quarter to close within 27-21. That was until Green Bay’s Desmond Howard returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Packers’ 35-21 win.

Howard was a nearly unstoppable force as a return specialist, like we saw from his college days. He led the NFL in punt return yardage and touchdowns in 1996, along with the Super Bowl MVP award when he finished with 244 total return yards.

See Howard’s phenomenal run here.

 

4. James Harrison’s 100-yard pick six, Super Bowl XLIII

From a great kickoff return touchdown to an even greater interception returned for touchdown. It was a memorable Super Bowl for the Steelers, as they had two unforgettable plays to help them clinch their 6th Super Bowl (tied most in history). This play was the first one, where James Harrison grabbed an interception off of Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner late in the first half to give them a 17-7 lead. He took the interception 100 yards for a touchdown with seconds remaining in the half. It was the longest play in Super Bowl before it was broken by Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.

Watch the big boy run down the sideline for a score here.

 

3. Dolphins complete perfect season, Super Bowl VII

There is nothing like having a perfect season. There is only one team ever in the NFL who has won all their games. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The closest team to come to that was the 2010 New England Patriots with their 18-1 record. But the Dolphins were too good and had no worries about their record, besides ruining the chance to shut out the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. The only real mistake they made in the game was trying to make something out of an already broken play, when kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to throw a forward pass after a blocked kick and Redskins cornerback Mike Bass would get the team’s only touchdown of the game.

What the Dolphins complete their perfect season here.

 

2. Santonio Holmes goes toes in for the victory, Super Bowl XLIII

This is the second part of an amazing Super Bowl by the Steelers. As you previously read, Harrison made a clutch interception at the end of the first half to put the team ahead by 10 points. But after watching Kurt Warner ledd his team back, the Steelers found themselves down by three with little time left. That was just enough time for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to find WR Santonio Holmes in the end zone.

This final drive was all Holmes, as he had four catches for 73 yards. Despite being in tight coverage, Holmes catches the ball and somehow nabbed a game-winning touchdown pass on the tips of his toes, just barely staying in bounds with less than a minute left on the clock.

Don’t miss that great catch here.

 

1. David Tyree helmet catch, Super Bowl XLII

This was the Super Bowl the New England Patriots were supposed to be undefeated in, as they were up 14-10 late in the fourth quarter. It looked like things were going in that direction for the Patriots, until this happened…

New York Giants QB Eli Manning escapes two tackles and launches a pass down field on 3rd-and-five. Giants WR David Tyree jumped and pinned the ball against his helmet for a 32-yard catch that will go done in history as one of the greatest catches of all-time. But that wasn’t game-winner. The Patriots had one more chance to stop the Giants march, until four plays later when Manning connects with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown, as the Giants shock the previously undefeated New England Patriots.

 

Honorable Mention

As amazing as all these plays have been, there will certainly be many more plays left off. Some of which are in the honorable mentions find below.

Honorable mentions:

  • Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown – Super Bowl XLVII
  • Dyson 1-yard short against Rams – Super Bowl XXXIV
  • Malcom Butler’s goal line Interception- Super Bowl XLIX
  • Adam Vinatieri’s FG for Patriots first Super Bowl win – Super Bowl XXXVI

Others have yet to be determined. Going into this, I wanted to focus on some of the records and first ever moments that led to some plays making it in over others. I couldn’t ignore the first ever Super Bowl with Vince Lombardi as the coach. I mean, the title is named after him. What memorable moments will this year’s Super Bowl bring?

And also don’t forget to return this weekend for some more Super Bowl talk. Please share your thoughts about the top moments in Super Bowl history!

Unpredictable results renewing interest in NFL

Note: Article originally published in The Talon in November of 2018: Dacula High School’s newspaper and is published with permission.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011.” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Since the early 2000s, the New England Patriots have dominated the NFL, appearing in the Super Bowl eight times and winning five. Along with that, as a Chicago native, my beloved Bears were not doing so well, so it felt like every season was the same. But on Sep. 9, 2018, I witnessed two results which made me question my lack of interest in football. That was the Houston Texans losing to the New England Patriots 20-27 and the Green Bay Packers beating the Chicago Bears 23-24. Just like before, the Patriots won and the Bears lost, but this time, the wins for the Patriots and the Packers were much harder to achieve.

I was still questioning if football can really become this entertaining again, and if the Bears were really capable of challenging the top teams this season. But that weekend, two other surprising results posed new questions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the New Orleans Saints 48-40 and the Pittsburgh Steelers tying the Cleveland Browns? After drafting running back Alvin Kamara from the University of Tennessee, the New Orleans Saints were not just massive favorites to top their division, but also to perhaps make a run to the Super Bowl. However, Tampa Bay’s signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick produced results with their offense, managing to score eight more than the Saints. The second result really put Pittsburgh to shame. The Cleveland Browns. The Browns. The team that had won only once in two years? Seriously Pittsburgh? They could not beat the Browns?

This result is promising, a promise of more competition, more fun, more unpredictability. As I started to renew my interest in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns played the New Orleans Saints, and nearly won. The Browns had reassured their seriousness this season, and despite not being able to win against the Steelers, they took on a far harder challenge and almost handed the Saints what would have been their second embarrassing defeat of the season. However, later that week, an even crazier result happened. Yet another tie took place, this time between rivals Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. After scoring 22 points in the final quarter, the Vikings fought the Packers to a draw in overtime, not only making the competition between these two teams fiercer, but also creating a new pathway for the other teams in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions to move to the top.

That was exactly what happened. The Chicago Bears won their next three games, including a game-changing 17-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks and a 10-48 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and moved to number one in the NFC North. Today, Chicago’s arch-rival Green Bay is on the verge of not making the playoffs, a team who has made the NFL playoffs 13 times since 2001! However, it is not just the Bears who are having an incredible season. The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans are all having really excellent seasons, with the Dolphins holding a 5-5 record and the Bengals and Titans boasting a 5-4 record (including a Titans’ massive 34-10 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 10).

Normally, by now, well over half-way into the season, it should have been easy to predict who will make the playoffs, if that has not been decided by now already. But right now, no team has clinched the playoffs. Even the Cleveland Browns, with their three wins, are still in contention for the playoffs. It is nearly impossible to predict exactly which team will compose the playoff bracket, as the competition is so tight. For example, in the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins are all on five wins, but it is unlikely all three teams can make the playoffs, thus building a very interesting and tough concentration. In the NFC, the usually more competitive conference, five teams are all currently tied on four wins, with Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles on the same level as the Dallas Cowboys right now. Because the “weaker” teams have been playing really well this season, giving trouble to the usual dominators of the NFL, even a team like the Oakland Raiders, with only one win, has not been eliminated from playoff contention yet (although it is highly unlikely they make it).

With only six weeks left, the playoff picture is still really blurry. Not only is it unclear as to which teams will make the playoffs, predicting the winners of the next few matches are going to be really difficult. For the first time in years, strong teams like the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks could be forced to give up their spots for teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. All of this together makes for one of the best NFL seasons in the modern era, one of the most entertaining seasons, and most definitely one of the most heart-stopping.

NFL Awards

Fourth Quarter Sports’ NFL Awards Ceremony

With the regular season of the NFL officially over, it’s time to take a look at all the NFL awards that will be given to those players who deserve it. We will have to wait until Saturday, Feb. 2nd to find out the official result of these NFL awards, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports would like to give you a sneak peek of who we think will win each of the major NFL awards.

NFL Awards
Saquon Barkley” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

But first, congratulations are to the 2019 National Champion Clemson Tigers. You have proven to the world once again why you are the best team in the country. They became the first team ever in the College Football Playoff to finish a season with a perfect 15-0 record.

We also have to congratulate Cullen Jekel for winning the weekly predictions award! We can also congratulate Jon Geib for having the highest percentage (78) of games right. Cullen finished third in percentage with 67 behind Jon and Dennis Olmsted (72). Aman Huda finished just four games behind Cullen in the overall predictions, which is outstanding for a guy who thought he didn’t know much about football.

If you’re wondering where the rest of us finished, well… Regarding both percentage and overall record, I finished last. I had a few weeks of upset picks that never got upset, but I am hoping to have better results in the playoff version of these predictions, which you can see here.

Here are the final results for the regular season:

Cullen: 158-81-1 (67%)

Aman: 154-85-1 (64%)

Joel: 150-89-1 (63%)

Adam: 150-89-1 (63%)

Mickayeen: 149-90-1 (62%)

Rahim: 139-100-1 (58%)

Kevin: 101-62 (62%)

Josh: 90-45 (67%)

Dan: 83-52 (61%)

Christan: 68-40 (63%)

Dennis: 35-13 (72%)

Jon: 25-7 (78%)

Now it’s on to the big awards, the awards that we have been waiting for! Those NFL awards are: Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. So let’s find out who we all think will win! We’ll start with one of the most prestigious NFL awards.

 

NFL Awards

Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

NFL Awards

Most Valuable Player

Rahim’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Jon’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Dan’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Aman’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Joel’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Adam’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

When we started this season, and everyone gave their own predictions for all the awards which can be seen here, no one thought it was going to be Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Especially not after he only played one game all season the year prior as a rookie. He has definitely surprised us all with the numbers he put up this season. Is 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns not enough for you to give him the award? It really only came down to him and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. Mahomes has over 1,000 yards and 18 passing touchdowns more than Brees. He’s pretty much a lock to win MVP since he was already named First Team All-Pro at QB. In other words, the NFL has already named him the MVP winner.

 

Offensive Player of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Jon’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Dan’s: RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Aman’s: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City

Joel’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Adam’s: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

With Mahomes winning the MVP, the next award belongs to Drew Brees. Just look at what he has done with the Saints’ offense. He led them to the best record in the NFL! This was one of the best seasons of his career. He actually has fewer interceptions than Mahomes and set a record for completion percentage with 74.4 percent. Brees will be the MVP runner-up, so it’s only fitting he be the one to win this award. The only other player we see winning this award is RB Todd Gurley, but he missed two games and didn’t even lead the league in rushing. If Drew Brees really is in close contention with Mahomes for MVP, this award has to go to him.

 

Defensive Player of the Year

Rahim’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Jon’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Dan’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Aman’s: LB Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears

Joel’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Adam’s: DT Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack? Who do you pick? We’re split 50-50. We’ll break it down and see where each of them are in the statistics. Donald got paid this offseason and still put up great numbers! His best number is 20.5 sacks, and he has obviously made an impact on the defensive front this year for the Rams. His sacks were the most ever by a defensive tackle, and he was only two short of the season sack record. He recorded 9.5 sacks more than last year. For Mack, it’s simple! Get traded, then be the biggest thing on your team! Mack helped change the Bears’ defense around. He took the Bears from 5-11 and being last to the NFC North, to going 12-4 and winning the division. Let’s not forget he has done everything possible for the Bears this season, including sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles and touchdowns!

 

NFL Awards
Baker Mayfield” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Jon’s: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Dan’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Aman’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Joel’s: QB Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

Adam’s: RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

This was close between Barkley and Mayfield. Some might give it to Barkley based off his numbers on a bad team. He had 91 receptions as a rookie running back, and he is the real deal! If this award were to come down to player stats, it’d be Barkley. Barkley had 2,000 plus yards from scrimmage this season. Unfortunately, his team finished 5-11.

For Mayfield, it was all about making an impact and helping this team win games. That’s precisely what Mayfield did. He led the previously 0-16 Cleveland Browns team to a seven-win season. Not only did he help the Browns win, but he looked great doing. Mayfield and the Browns weren’t that far from having a playoff spot. They finished 7-8-1 and 9th in the AFC standings. Let’s also not forget that his head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley both got fired. I’ll admit, I doubted Mayfield’s ability, but anytime you take a team with a 4-44 record over the past three seasons and make them somewhat relevant, that’s an automatic lock!

 

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Rahim’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Jon’s: S Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Dan’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Aman’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Joel’s: LB Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

Adam’s: S Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

James was just named a first-team All-Pro safety as a rookie. He played all over the field and finished with 105 tackles, three-and-a-half sacks and three interceptions. James is the best rookie on the best team, and he has easily stepped in to the starting lineup affecting the game in sacks, picks and 70 tackles.

Leonard had the greater impact on this team. The Chargers had a pretty good defense last season, but the Colts had one of the worst. This season the Colts have drastically improved defensively, in large part to the play of Darius Leonard. He totaled 163 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions for the Colts this season. Those 163 tackles led the entire NFL.

So will it be James or Leonard?

 

NFL Awards
Andrew Luck” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Comeback Player of the Year

Rahim’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Jon’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Dan’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Aman’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Joel’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Adam’s: QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is the clear cut Comeback Player of the Year. He played all 16 games after not playing a single game last year. In the 16 games he played this season, Luck had the highest passer rating of his career. In addition to that, Luck had the second most passing yards and second most TD passes of his career. Then there’s the fact that Luck led his team to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot. It’s been an incredible year for Luck, as he returned from injury and helped turn a 4-12 Colts team in 2017 to a 10-6 playoff team in 2018. There’s no doubting this one! This is one of the more obvious picks among the NFL awards.

 

Coach of the Year:

Rahim’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Jon’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Dan’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Aman’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Joel’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Adam’s: Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

Last season the Bears were 5-11 and last in the NFC North. In their first season under Matt Nagy, the Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North and almost got themselves a first-round bye in the NFC. If that’s not enough, Nagy helped second year QB Mitch Trubisky make huge strides this season. Trubisky’s passer rating went from 77.5 to 95.4.

Then there’s the defense. Nagy was able to put together, one of, if not the best defense in the NFL. He changed this team in all phases. The addition of Khalil Mack helped the Bears’ turnaround, but the addition of Nagy has turned Mitchell Trubisky into the franchise quarterback the Bears certainly hoped he would be.

 

Let us know your opinions on who wins the NFL awards, as we have plenty of time left before they are announced. Comment your winner for each of the these NFL awards!

What you may have missed this weekend in sports: 1/4-1/6

As promised, we have brought back the “What you missed this weekend” articles. You can see last week’s here! This week is much of the same in terms of the NFL news, as it’s real playoff heavy. But there is news from other sports you might be interested in. So let’s find out what you may have missed!

0 Philadelphia Eagles Nick Foles” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

NFL Playoffs

By RahimAli Merchant and Aman Huda

Colts beat Texans 21-7

Were you surprised in what the Colts defense did to the Texans? To be honest, I’m not! The Colts had the Texans’ number all season. They should’ve beaten them all three times instead of letting the Texans come back and win in overtime during their first meeting. The Colts took care of Texans, with both the offense and defense looking great! QB Andrew Luck had two touchdowns in the first half. Then they melted the clock, continuing to pressure Texans QB Deshaun Watson and the run game. Their next opponent will be the Kansas City Chiefs, and it’ll interesting to see how well the Colts’ secondary can play against MVP candidate QB Patrick Mahomes.

Cowboys beat Seahawks 24-22

Dallas won their fourth playoff game in the last 24 years. In 1995, the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl. They are looking to add another one this season. It was a nice win for the Cowboys, as they continue to prove they are worthy of being in the playoffs. The defense looks like it could be a championship defense. QB Dak Prescott didn’t look all that bad either, but can he continue to be great for the Cowboys? Their next opponent will be the Los Angeles Rams. The Dallas defense will be out to prove they can once again take down one of the best offensive teams in the league. They’ve already done it once to the Saints this season. Can they do it again?

Baltimore’s offensive errors cost them dearly

Within the first five minutes of play, the Ravens made mistakes which even high school teams wouldn’t. They fumbled three times, two of them from not receiving the snap. Their offensive line was also quite poor, with the QB having being sacked seven times. Melvin Ingram’s fourth-quarter touchdown seemed to be the gravestone for Baltimore, as that gave the Los Angeles Chargers a 20-3 lead. Afterward, despite scoring two touchdowns, Baltimore couldn’t do enough to repair the damage.

The Chargers’ next opponent is the New England Patriots. They have the ability on defense to slow down a Patriots team that’s been slow already. This is the playoff Patriots, and they are a totally different team in the playoffs. Do the Chargers have what it takes to knock them off?

A drama in which the hero dies

When everything seemed perfect for the Bears, everything fell into the Eagles’ claws, as QB Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles win as underdogs again. Both sides on defense showed strength, as at half-time, the score read Chicago 6, Philadelphia 3, all points from field goals. Philadelphia ended up getting the better end of it, as Cody Parkey, the Chicago kicker, hit the post twice when Chicago needed one point to win. The game ended Chicago 15, Philadelphia 16.

The Eagles’ next opponent is the Saints. They will be looking to avoid another embarrassing loss to them. The last time these two teams played, the Eagles looked like a team that just came into the league. Their QB at the time was also Carson Wentz, so hopefully, Nick Foles and the Eagles’ defense can find a way to win.

 

MLB

By RahimAli Merchant

The New York Yankees-Zach Britton agreement

The Yankees reached an agreement with relief pitcher Zach Britton, which was a three-year, $39 million deal, league sources told ESPN. Britton was one of the most dominant closers in baseball with the Baltimore Orioles until he was traded to the Yankees for three prospects. With the Yankees, he went 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings and finished the season with seven saves and 34 strikeouts over 40⅔ innings in 41 appearances. He will continue to be a part of the devastating late-inning complement to closer Aroldis Chapman, setup man Dellin Betances and fireman Chad Green, as they look to pursue their 28th World Series title.

 

NBA

By Aman Huda

Warriors, Kings set three-point record

For the first time in NBA history, both sides scored 20+ three-pointers. There was a total of 41 three-pointers scored Saturday night. Starman Stephen Curry for the Golden State Warriors scored 42 of Golden State’s 127 points, but the margin between both California teams was very fine, as Sacramento ended up losing by just four points. This match did not go without referring controversy, however, which you can check out in Kevin Dannaher’s article. 

 

College Football

By Aman Huda and RahimAli Merchant

Cal CB Bryce Turner dies at 20

After being hospitalized on December 30th for an undisclosed medical emergency, Bryce Turner has passed away. After transferring from Long Beach City College, the 20-year old had just played one game before his passing.

Cal Coach Joe Wilcox said, “We are so deeply saddened by Bryce’s passing. This is an extremely difficult day for everyone. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Bryce’s family, friends, teammates and so many others who have been a part of his life. No words can accurately describe the pain we feel in our hearts right now. We’ll always remember Bryce and how he impacted all of us with Cal football.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bryce’s friends and family.

North Dakota State wins FCS Title

We will all find out who the CFB National champ is on Monday between Alabama and Clemson, but this past weekend we got to see North Dakota State win their second straight FCS National Championship title. This is their seventh title in eight years. All congrats are given to them for being able to dominate the FCS world for so many years. They are the only college football program to ever win five consecutive NCAA national championships, and the only football program to win seven FCS titles.

 

College Basketball

By RahimAli Merchant

St. John’s wins against Georgetown for the first time since 03′

St. John’s been looking like a team who could make a big impact in the tournament when it comes time in March. After losing their first game to Seton Hall last week, they rebounded by beating Marquette and Georgetown this week. They will likely get a spot in the top 25 rankings, but even if they don’t, a win over rival Georgetown after 16 years is the best feeling. That should help them carry over their momentum to the next few games, which will definitely put them in the top 25 if they manage to win them.

Losses by top 25 teams

14 Ohio State to 8 Michigan State (86-77)
5 Kansas to Iowa State (77-60)
6 Nevada to New Mexico (85-58)
13 Kentucky to Alabama (77-75)
9 Florida State to 4 Virginia (65-52)
2 Michigan- 21 Indiana (74-63)
24 Nebraska-25 Iowa (93-84)

 

Cricket

Pakistani batsmen not good enough

Despite efforts by Shan Masood 44(71) & 61(110), Captain/Wicket-Keeper Sarfraz Ahmed 56(81), Asad Shafiq 88(118) and Babar Azam 72(87), Pakistan could only put up a lead of 40, giving South Africa an entire two days to simply chase 41. It wasn’t necessarily the most easy thing for South Africa, as Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas managed to dismiss Theunis de Bruyn and Hashim Amla was retired hurt, but the loss by 9 wickets is still dismal in Pakistan’s point-of-view.

Unfortunately, due to slow over rate, South African Captain Faf du Plessis has been suspended for the third test, a dead rubber, as South Africa has already won the series 2-0.

Too-good India forced to settle for a draw

Man of the match for Australia in the fourth test vs India? Rain. With just a little over 25 overs played in the last two days, India couldn’t see victory despite putting up 622-7d and bowling Australia out for 300. Despite a five-wicket haul from young leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav and 193 by Cheteshwar Pujara and 153* by Risabh Pant, India was unable to bowl out Australia a second time, after Australia were forced to follow on at home, for the first time in 37 years.