Top five Super Bowl mistakes

Top five Super Bowl mistakes of all-time

As we approach Super Bowl LIII, our team has been sharing some of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time. Well, instead of looking at some more great moments in Super Bowl history, today we’re going to look at the top five Super Bowl mistakes of all-time. These are plays, or sequence of plays, are some of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history, but for all the wrong reasons.

Top five Super Bowl mistakes
0 Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Top five Super Bowl mistakes

5. Leon Lett celebrates too early

Despite playing in a game with a score of 52-17 in favor of his team at the time of this mistake, Leon Lett’s mistake in Super Bowl XXVII will always be remembered. Bills QB Frank Reich drops back to pass, but is then nailed by a Cowboys defender and fumbles the ball. Leon Lett picks up the ball and starts running toward the end zone. It appears Lett is going to make an easy score. At least that’s what he thought….

Leon Lett is almost to the end zone when he starts celebrating by sticking the ball out. Don Beebe, who doesn’t give up on the play, comes up behind Lett after chasing him down and knocks the ball out of Lett’s hand. Instead of being a TD for the Cowboys, it was a ruled a touchback. Lett is lucky this play didn’t have any impact on the outcome of Super Bowl XXVII. If it had, this mistake would definitely rank higher on the list of top five Super Bowl mistakes.

 

4. Jackie Smith drops easy TD

In the third quarter of Super Bowl XIII, the Dallas Cowboys trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14. The Cowboys then drove down the field into scoring position. QB Roger Staubach found his TE Jackie Smith wide open in the end zone. The score was about to be all tied up. As the ball is about to land in Smith’s hands, he starts to slide. The ball bounced off his chest and was incomplete. Instead of scoring a game tying TD on what should have been the easiest catch ever, the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal to make the score 21-17. They went on to lose 35-31, by the amount of points they lost due to Jackie Smith’s famous drop. Jackie Smith is a Hall of Famer, but he also holds one of the top five Super Bowl mistakes in history.

 

3. Scott Norwood kicks it wide right

With 2:10 left in Super Bowl XXV, the Buffalo Bills were down 20-19 with the ball at their own 10. They were able to drive all the way down to the Giants’ 30 with eight seconds left on the clock. What happened next has to be the most disappointing moment in Bills history. K Scott Norwood came out to kick the game winning FG. The ball was snapped and Norwood kicks the ball. He pushed it wide right, giving the Giants the Super Bowl win.

We’ve seen a lot of missed kicks over the years, but none of them as bad as this one. To make the missed kick even worse, the Bills could have opted for a short play to get the ball out of bounds to move the kick a little closer. Instead of doing so, the Bills handed Norwood a 47-yard kick that obviously didn’t go too well. This missed kick started the Bills’ streak of losing four straight Super Bowls.

 

2. Falcons allow huge comeback

This top five Super Bowl mistake isn’t just a play. Rather, it took place over the sequence of two quarters. Going into halftime of Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons had built a 21-3 lead on the New England Patriots. Falcons fans had to be feeling pretty good about things. To make things even better, the Falcons went up 28-3 with about 8:31 left in the third quarter. At this point, Falcons fans had to be sitting back, relaxing and thinking, “We’ve got this in the bag.” Not so fast.

With 2:06 left in the third quarter, the Patriots made the score 28-9. The Falcons were still up three TDs heading into the fourth quarter, which you would think is a sure fire victory. Well, the Patriots made the score 28-12 with 9:44 left, 28-20 with 5:56 left and 28-28 with 0:57 left. How were they able to do this? The Atlanta Falcons got nothing going on offense after their third quarter TD.

All the Falcons had to do was keep the clock moving by running the ball. Run the ball, move the chains and keep the clock ticking. They failed to do that, allowing the Patriots to come back and send the game to OT. We all know what happened next. The Falcons’ offense didn’t the see the ball in OT because the Patriots drove all the way down the field. That’s when RB James White ran the ball in from two yards out for the game winning TD.

 

1. Seattle’s INT at the 1-yard line

With 26 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX, everything looked perfect for the Seattle Seahawks to beat the New England Patriots. Just a couple plays before this iconic mistake, QB Russell Wilson had completed a pass to WR Jermaine Kearse, who made arguably one of the greatest catches of all-time. Everything looked perfect for the Seahawks to win their second Super Bowl in two years. Then the worst play call ever happened.

It was 2nd and goal with 26 seconds left. Russell Wilson makes a quick pass to Kearse on a slant, but Patriots CB Malcolm Butler intercepted the pass just outside of the end zone. Why on earth would the Seahawks pass the ball at the 1-yard line with RB Marshawn Lynch in the backfield? To make this even worse, it’s not like it was 4th down. It was 2nd and goal! The Seahawks had 26 seconds and one time out left at the 1-yard line with three downs to get in the end zone.

Instead of a pass, the Seahawks should have given the ball to Marshawn Lynch three straight times if that’s what it took. If he didn’t get in on 2nd down, they could have either stopped the clock or got back to the line for a quick snap. If he didn’t get in on 3rd down, they could have done the same thing. Had it been 4th and goal and they had tried to run it in on the previous two plays, a pass play wouldn’t have been as bad. That’s the thing though, they had three chances to run it in with one of the most powerful RBs in the NFL. Big mistake by Seattle in their Super Bowl XLIX loss.

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For the sake of the Patriots and Rams, hopefully we don’t see any major mistakes that will go down in history as one of the top five Super Bowl mistakes of all-time.

Didn’t see your favorite mistake on our list of the top five Super Bowl mistakes of all-time? Comment below and let us know which great Super Bowl mistake we missed!

 

Breaking down the NFL MVP race after Week 16

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been giving you my top three NFL MVP candidates. This week is different. With just one week left to play in the regular season, another QB has inserted himself into the MVP conversation. This week’s rankings have some movement based on how my top MVP candidates played in Week 16. Even though there’s only one week left in the season, I believe there are four candidates who have a legit shot at winning the award. Find my breakdown of where each player is ranked below.

Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Here’s the main reason Patrick Mahomes remains number one, even after the Chiefs have lost two straight games. Even when Patrick Mahomes can’t get the Chiefs a win, he still has a good game. In three out of the four losses the Chiefs have, Mahomes has thrown three or more TDs. In the one game he didn’t throw three or more TDs, he threw two. He just hasn’t had a game you could really consider bad.

Patrick Mahomes has been exciting to watch in every game this season. In their loss to the Seahawks, Mahomes only completed 57.5% of his passes, but he threw three TD passes and had a passer rating of 103.4. Even though Mahomes isn’t always great in every category, his ability to make huge plays and put up big numbers in other categories makes up for it.

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

I knocked Drew Brees down to third in last week’s rankings. The reason why was because he had a string of subpar games. Although Brees didn’t have a spectacular game against the Steelers this past week, Brees moved back up to number two. He has Philip Rivers to thank for that. We’ll get to him in a minute.

Brees only threw one TD pass against the Steelers, but he did throw for 326 yards and completed 69.2% of his passes. That led him to a passer rating of 103.2. After three straight games of having a passer rating below 100, Brees finally made it back up there. Even though his numbers weren’t huge for the fourth straight week, Brees looked like the MVP Brees we saw earlier in the season.

3. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

By beating the Kansas City Chiefs and securing the Seahawks a playoff spot, Russell Wilson put himself into the MVP mix after Week 16. This was a must win game for the Seahawks after losing to the 49ers the week before. Boy oh boy did they deliver, especially Russell Wilson. His completion percentage of 62.1% was a little down, but he threw for 271 yards and three TDs. Wilson was able to earn himself a passer rating of 127.2.

In addition to passing for 271 yards, Wilson added 57 yards on the ground. Wilson had a great game, but perhaps what’s most important to Wilson moving into third place is the fact that he out dueled the MVP leader in Patrick Mahomes. Russell Wilson was clutch when his team needed him. Wilson can’t be ignored in the MVP conversation.

4. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

After being ranked second in last week’s NFL MVP rankings, Philip Rivers moved back down the list, this time to fourth. The reason why Rivers moved down two spots is because he had a bad game against the Ravens. I’ll cut him a little slack because the Ravens have one of, if not the best defense in the NFL this season, but that kind of game from Rivers was unacceptable. It was even more unacceptable because the Chargers needed to win for playoff purposes. If they would have won, they would now be the number one seed in the AFC, probably getting a first-round bye.

Instead of stepping up his play in a huge game, Philip Rivers completed 62.2% of his passes for just 181 yards, zero TDs and two INTs. His passer rating was 51.7, which is his worst of the season by far. His worst passer rating before that was 89.0. It’s possible the Chargers could still get a first-round bye and home field advantage in the AFC, but Philip Rivers may have blown their shot by having his worst game of the season.

NFL MVP rankings after Week 13

Top five NFL MVP rankings after Week 13

NFL MVP rankings after Week 13
Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The top five NFL MVP rankings after Week 13 make another shift. We’ve got movement throughout the entire top five, with MVP candidates moving at the top, middle and bottom of the rankings. We’ve also got another new name on the list this week! Let’s see how the MVP race is shaping up after Week 13.

 

1. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes claims the number one spot in my NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. He’s back on top! Mahomes continues to stuff the stat sheet every game. This week against the Oakland Raiders, Mahomes threw for 295 yards and four TDs. The best part for Mahomes, is the fact that he didn’t throw any INTs this past week. His 10 INTs on the season are one reason why I’ve continually kept him at number two.

After Week 13, Mahomes is still the leader in TD passes (41), leading that race by nine. He’s also second in passing yards and passer rating. Mahomes did get some help from the Dallas Cowboys’ defense this week to move him back into first, but he also had another impressive performance.

 

2. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees looked average at best against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. The Dallas defense held Brees to 127 yards passing and one TD on 64.3% completions. That completion percentage was his second worst of the season. In addition to the low numbers, Brees also threw an INT. However, this was no regular INT. Brees had the ball with an opportunity to put the Saints up on that drive, but he threw the INT early in the drive, which ended up giving Dallas the win.

Overall, Brees is still having a great season. He still leads the NFL in completion percentage and passer rating. The reason I moved him down in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13, is because there’s not much room for bad performances as the MVP race begins to wind down. With Mahomes lighting it up every week, this bad performance may have cost Brees.

 

3. QB Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

With a comeback win over the Steelers and another great performance, Philip Rivers makes his highest appearance in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. In the Chargers’ 33-30 win, Rivers threw for 299 yards and two TDs on 72.2% completions. The comeback was the most impressive thing about this game for Rivers. With the Chargers down 23-7, it looked like things were over.

But then Philip Rivers and the entire team turned things around. Not all the credit can be given to Rivers for this comeback win, but he does deserve a lot of it. On the season, Rivers is third in passer rating, behind only Brees and Mahomes. Rivers may not be getting the attention Mahomes and Brees are for MVP, but I think he should be. He deserves it.

 

4. QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson makes his first appearance on the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. Wilson has played well all season long, but his MVP case hasn’t picked up until recently when the Seahawks have been winning games. Now sitting 7-5, Russell Wilson’s MVP case is getting better and better. Against the 49ers, Wilson threw four TD passes, helping the Seahawks earn a 43-16 win.

On the season, Wilson ranks fourth in passer rating and fourth in TD passes. It seems like  if Russell Wilson doesn’t have a good game, the Seahawks won’t win. On their three game win streak, Wilson has been playing great football. Look for him and the Seahawks to finish the season strong as they fight for a playoff spot.

 

5. QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Goff had a bad performance against the Lions on Sunday, which is why he’s been moved down two spots in the NFL MVP rankings after Week 13. He helped the Rams get a 30-16 win, but I think that win was more on Gurley than Goff. Goff was held to 51.5% completions for 207 yards, one TD and one INT. His passer rating was 68.6, which was his second worst of the season.

Despite the bad game, Goff is still fifth in passer rating, sixth in TD passes and fourth in passing yards. Those numbers make the fifth spot in the rankings look like the perfect place for the QB leading the league’s best team.

 

Who’s off the list?

QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

After being on fire over the last five weeks and earning himself a spot in the top five, Andrew has fallen back out after the Jaguars shut down the Colts. Luck threw for 248 yards, but he didn’t throw any TDs and threw one INT. The Colts scored zero points. An MVP candidate can’t let his team not score at all. Overall, Luck is having a pretty good season, but it’s hard to elevate his status as an MVP candidate when the Colts are 6-6 and he’s coming off a bad game.

2018 NFL Predictions: NFC West

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Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

The Los Angeles Rams surprised many of us by the way they managed to turned their franchise around in one year under head coach Sean McVay, but will they continue where they left off and be crowned the champs of the NFC west again? How about the Seahawks and them looking to win the division and make it to the playoffs again? Will Jimmy Garoppolo prove to everyone why he’s the best quarterback in the NFC West? Or could Josh Rosen start over Sam Bradford and lead the Cardinals to the playoffs? Let’s find out!

1. Los Angeles Rams

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 11-5

Postseason Result: Won their division for the first time since 2003, only to lose to the Atlanta Falcons 26-13 in a Wild Card game.

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Franchise Tagged CB/S  LaMarcus Joyner.
  • Signed DT Ndamukong Suh (Dolphins), Signed CB Sam Shields (FA)
  • Acquired WR Brandin Cooks (Patriots), CB Marcus Peters (Chiefs), CB Aqib Talib (Broncos)
  • Drafted and Signed LB Ramik Wilson (UGA – Chiefs)
  • Re-signed C John Sullivan,  DT Dominique Easley, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman.

Offseason Departures:

  • Waived DB Marcus Sayles, CB Kayvon Webster
  • Traded OLB Robert Quinn (Dolphins), LB Alec Ogletree (Giants), RB Tavon Austin (Cowboys)
  • Lost WR Sammy Watkins (Chiefs), OLB Connor Barwin (Giants), OLB Trumaine Johnson (Jets)
2018 Preview/The Big Question

The Rams finally got rid of Jeff Fisher and his old school style coaching for a much younger, fresh style in Sean McVay. After 14 seasons of failing to win the division and make the playoffs, the Rams are back to the top of their division, but can they stay there and create another dynasty?

The question lies in the hands of the defense and QB Jared Goff. That question is … How do the Rams win the NFC West consistently?

With coach McVay, Goff and the entire Rams offense look much more improved, and they will need to continue where they left off. This time they must learn to score more points under pressure. Of course, this is a young team and we expect players to learn from their mistakes. That is what the Rams offense will do. The defense has different plans in mind! Instead of the offense having to go through shootouts, the defense will be looking to shut down all opponents. With new additions like Suh, Peters and Talib, we find it hard to believe the Rams won’t win their division.

Prediction: 12-4

 

2. San Francisco 49ers

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 6-10

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed RB Jerick Mckinnon (Minnesota), CB Richard Sherman (Seattle)
  • Resigned QB Jimmy Garoppolo, LB Korey Toomer, and LG Jonathan Cooper
  • Drafted OL Mike McGlinchey (Notre Dame), WR Dante Pettis (Washington)

Offseason Departures:

  • Traded C Daniel Kilgore (Dolphins)
  • Lost RB Carlos Hyde (Browns), CB Dontae Johnson (Seahawks), CB Leon Hall (Raiders)
  • Did not re-sign LB Elvis Dumervil or S Eric Reid
2018 Preview/The Big Question

Last season started off looking like one of the worst in franchise history, until there was a move made that could have saved the name of the franchise. That move was the trade with the New England Patriots to get backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo was traded before the deadline, but didn’t make his appearances as a starter until the final five games of the season, in which the Niners won all of them to finish the season with a 6-10 record.

Here the question lies with the coaching staff. How will all the new additions on both sides of the ball benefit the 49ers? Can they have a winning season with the young, talented offense they put together with Garoppolo? How will the defense help them win games?

We have a small sample size of what Garoppolo can do, but with an improved offensive line and more weapons for him, this could be a solid offensive team who could be in the playoff hunt late. Or they could be a team in the middle of the pack that still needs to relay on a solid defense as well, but I do expect great things out of Jimmy G this season.

Prediction: 10-6

 

3. Seattle Seahawks

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 9-7

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Drafted RB Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), TE Will Dissly (Washington), OL Jamarco Jones (Ohio State), and OLB Shaquem Griffin (UCF)
  • Signed WR Jaron Brown (Cardinals) WR Brandon Marshall (Giants), TE Ed Dickson (Panthers), K Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders), LOLB Barkevious Mingo (Colts), and CB Dontae Johnson (49ers)

Offseason Departures:

  • Traded DE Michael Bennett (Eagles)
  • Retired S Kam Chancellor
  • Lost RB Thomas Rawls (Jets), WR Paul Richardson (Redskins), TE Jimmy Graham (Packers), and CB Richard Sherman (49ers)
  • Did not re-sign OL Luke Joeckel, DT Sheldon Richardson, and CB Jeremy Lane
2018 Preview/The Big Question

The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. It is also the first time QB Russell Wilson and coach Pete Carroll have missed the playoffs together. Though you can’t put the fault on Wilson because his offensive line has put more pressure on him to be great. It was also injuries to the defense that forced more shoot outs than the Seahawks could handle.

Here lies the question of how the Seahawks plan to rebound from all the lost players they had this off season. How will the defensive front do without the “Legion of Boom” to back them up? How will the offensive line hold up this season for Wilson?

Over the years, the Seahawks secondary was referred to as the “Legion of Boom” with cornerback Richard Sherman, and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Two of the three have moved on in their careers, and the third may go before the season starts. As you have read in the departure section, Sherman is in SF and Chancellor is set to retire. There are reports of Thomas being on the trade block, but regardless, the “LOB” is no more, and that is raising questions to how the Seahawks will adjust.

The Seahawks are also dealing with a lot of new faces on offense, which means Wilson has more weapons. Or so we hope! We look to see Penny, Dickson, Brown, and Marshall all play a huge role in the success of the Seahawks offense, but could we see them getting enough wins in an already competitive NFC to be in the playoffs?

Prediction: 9-7

 

4. Arizona Cardinals

2017 Offseason & Review

Record: 8-8

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

  • Signed QB Sam Bradford (Vikings), RG Justin Pugh (Giants), RT Andre Smith (Bengals), CB Jamar Taylor (Browns), CB Bene Benwikere (Cowboys)
  • Drafted QB Josh Rosen (UCLA), RB Chase Edmonds (Fordham), WR Christian Kirk (Texas A&M), C Mason Cole  (Michigan)

Offseason Departures:

  • Retired QB Carson Palmer
  • Lost QB Drew Stanton (Browns), RB Adrian Peterson (Redskins), RB Kerwynn Williams (Chiefs), WR John Brown (Ravens), WR Jaron Brown (Seahawks), S Tyrann Mathieu (Texans), CB Tramon Williams (Packers),  and CB Justin Bethel (Falcons)
  • Did Not resign LB Karlos Dansby
2018 Preview/The Big Question

After a 13-3 season three years ago, the Cardinals have managed to finish with eight losses each of the past two seasons. Last season was full of ups and downs and the Cardinals just couldn’t find their way to make the playoffs again.

Of course, the injury to RB David Johnson doesn’t help them either because that forced them to turn to other backs like Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson, and Adrian Peterson. With Johnson back, the Cardinals look like they are ready to run all over the NFC. This time, his running mates are different. He even has a new set of receivers and quarterbacks he’ll play alongside with.

Let’s not forget about the loss the Cardinals are taking in their secondary. Aside from Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu was possibly the best defensive player in the Cardinals secondary and they lost him in free agency to the Houston Texans.

However, the real question lies in the personnel of the Arizona Cardinals. With all these changes to both the offensive and defensive side, how will new head coach Steven Wilks and his coordinators (Mike McCoy – OC, Al Holcomb – DC) help the new, young Cardinals team win more games?

Even though the Cardinals lost safety Tyrann Mathieu, their defense still looks very solid, and both Wilks and Holcomb will thrive with this team’s defense.

But the biggest question lies on how McCoy plans to use the new quarterbacks and running backs to go along with veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and young, talented rookie Christian Kirk. How long will it take for Rosen to start over Bradford? How can Chase Edmonds and Kirk help the Cardinals offense? The success of this offense will lead to the success of this team, but it isn’t enough to finish atop the NFC.

Prediction: 7-9

 

Predicted division standings:

  1. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (10-6)
  3. Seattle Seahawks (9-7)
  4. Arizona Cardinals (7-9)

 

Let us know what you think of these predictions and even give us your own! Also don’t forget to return daily to found out more predictions!

Don’t Sleep on These NFL Teams

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Russell Wilson” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By Joel Deering

Every NFL season there are teams we don’t expect to be as good as they are. Most of the time it’s because they had a terrible season the year before. Whether or not a team is good or bad, pretty much everyone expects them to be the same next year, but in reality that never happens. Sure there are some teams who are consistently good, but most of the time we see several changes from year to year. This upcoming season will be no different, so I wanted to take a look at which teams we shouldn’t sleep on as we approach the regular season. The teams I’ve chosen are either teams who had bad years last year and could surprise us all, or a team which has been regressing over the past few years and everyone expects that regression to continue. So which teams shouldn’t we sleep on in 2018?

Cleveland Browns 

Yes, the Cleveland Browns. It’s hard for me to think of the Browns being a good team because we haven’t seen it in so long. We haven’t always seen them be 0-16, but we have seen them be one of the worst teams in the NFL for quite some time. It’s because of their history of being bad that when people think of the Browns, they automatically think of a terrible team. This year could be different.

Tyrod Taylor is a far better quarterback than the Browns have had in a long time. It’s been rare to see a starting quarterback for the Browns with a QB rating of over 80.0 in the season they played for Cleveland. Tyrod Taylor hasn’t played a regular season game for the Browns yet, but he has a career QB rating of 91.2. If at any point Taylor isn’t the starter for the Browns, they have rookie QB Baker Mayfield to lead them. Mayfield is a rookie, meaning there will be times when he looks like a rookie, but he’s looked impressive so far and will also have some great moments in his rookie season.

This team has made some good moves to help their QBs. They acquired Jarvis Landry, drafted Antonio Callaway, and Josh Gordon is also back. The passing game has looked pretty good so far in preseason, but I also feel like their running game has improved. In their second preseason game, I think the Browns were trying to display their running game a little more. Carlos Hyde had nine carries for 64 yards and a TD with a 7.1 yards per carry average. In addition to Hyde, rookie running back Nick Chubb had 11 carries for 53 yards and a TD with a 4.8 yards per carry average.

This is a much more well rounded team than the Browns have had in years past. They might not be a playoff team, but they for sure aren’t going 0-16. Maybe they will be a playoff team. I think we have to at least give them a chance at making it. For reals though, don’t sleep on the Browns this year.

New York Giants

After a great 2016, the Giants took a big step back and were one of the worst teams in 2017. A big part of their down year was because of injuries. They lost several receivers, most notably their star Odell Beckham Jr., and their offensive line was a mess. The offensive line play mixed with no elite running back led to a terrible run game, making things very tough on Eli Manning.

This offseason, the Giants have addressed some of their biggest problems. Odell Beckham Jr. is back, which is always good when your best player is healthy. They made moves on the offensive line to sure things up, and then they went and drafted the best running back (if not player) in the draft in Saquon Barkley.

Barkley brings a running threat to this team which they haven’t had in years. Not only can he be a huge threat on the ground, but he’s going to be a threat in the passing game. This kid can do it all! With their best player back on the field, a better offensive line and a new star running back, don’t expect the Giants to struggle like they did last season.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is an interesting team to me. In Russell Wilson’s first few years in the NFL this team was all about the defense. As the defense has slowly been torn apart, more responsibility has been placed on Russell Wilson, and he’s been just fine with that. Wilson has played at an MVP worthy level recently, and I expect him to do the same this year.

The biggest question for the Seahawks is their defense. With Sherman, Chancellor, Bennett and several others gone from the dominant defense we got used to seeing, I’m interested to see how this defense will fare in 2018. I feel like a lot of people are counting them out, but I also think there’s a chance they’ll surprise us. Don’t expect Legion of Boom from these guys, but don’t count them out entirely either.

If the defense can just be average, Russell Wilson will find a way to keep this team in games. Wilson is an incredible play maker, and I expect his play to be the reason why this team will fight for a playoff spot.

Arizona Cardinals

If Sam Bradford can stay healthy, I believe he’ll be a pretty good quarterback and hold off rookie QB Josh Rosen for the starting job. Bradford staying healthy is a big if, so I’m going to assume Rosen will be the starter at some point during the season. Whether it’s Bradford or Rosen, the Cardinals should be able to compete regardless.

The biggest reason for them being able to compete is because of David Johnson. Johnson got hurt in the first game of the season last year, which made fantasy owners who took him first overall, such as myself, very disappointed. Last time Johnson played a whole season he had 1,239 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards for a combined 20 TDs. Now Johnson is back and ready to return to his 2016 form.

If Johnson truly does return to form, all the quarterback (whoever that may be be) has to do is be average and this team will compete. Johnson can carry this team and keep them in games. I don’t see the Cardinals making the playoffs myself, but I’m not sleeping on them because there’s a chance they’ll surprise a lot of people.

New York Jets

A question remains at quarterback for the Jets, but I don’t think we should sleep on this team regardless of who it is. Sam Darnold has looked pretty good so far, although he has had some struggles. That’s to be expected from a rookie. Teddy Bridgewater has also looked pretty good in preseason. If Josh McCown is the starter, he can be solid also. Last season he had a QB rating of 94.5.

The quarterback is important, but so is the rest of the team. A lot of people don’t realize how competitive this Jets team was last season. I’ve said this several times before, but if a few plays had gone differently for the Jets last season, they could have had two or three more wins. This team wasn’t going away easily last year, and I expect much of the same this season.

I was one who thought the Jets would be terrible last year, and while their record didn’t make them look like a good team, they were a lot better than expected. Expect the Jets to be competitive this season once again. They may not win every game, but they compete every game.

Indianapolis Colts

I know the Colts were a really bad team last year, but they also didn’t have their best player. Andrew Luck was out all of last year, which is a big reason why this team had a record of 4-12. If Andrew Luck returns fully healthy, which all indications are that he is, the Colts will win more than four games. A good quarterback can go a long way in the win category.

This defense was one of the worst in the NFL last season, so they need some work. They did get stronger at the end of the season, so we’ll see if they can keep that up. Going back to Andrew Luck, if the defense can just be average, Andrew Luck can work with that.

I feel like the weapons Luck has are underrated too. T.Y. Hilton is a very good receiver, but for whatever reason he doesn’t get talked about very much, at least not that I hear. Hilton is a big time weapon for Luck, and from what I’ve heard, he and Luck aren’t having trouble connecting in camp.

 

 

So there’s my list of teams who aren’t getting much love, but could surprise us this upcoming season. Which teams do you think will be better than expected in 2018?

NFL Fantasy: Top 15 QBs + Sleepers

Cam Newton
IMG_0582” by Parker Anderson is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

Are you an avid football fan who loves to spend an entire Sunday on the sofa watching Sunday Ticket to found out how well your fantasy players are doing? Whether it’s watching your favorite team or player, you have an important interest in what’s going on around the league.

That’s probably due to the interest in your fantasy football team. How’s your first round draft pick doing? What about the flex? And who could be a real sleeper for you during the waivers?

That’s where I’ve come to help. I will be giving you the top 15 to 20 players of each position and five sleeper picks to help you with your fantasy draft.

First up is the biggest position in the NFL, though its value isn’t the same in the fantasy world. That position is the quarterback. A lot of people do strategize and plan their rosters around the guys who throw the ball, especially if we own their favorite target too. So let’s see where each quarterback ranks on the draft board.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers

2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks

3. Cam Newton, Panthers

4. Carson Wentz, Eagles

5. DeShaun Watson, Texans

6. Tom Brady, Patriots

7. Drew Brees, Saints

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

9. Matt Stafford, Lions

10. Kirk Cousins, Vikings

11. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

12. Marcus Mariota, Titans

13. Matt Ryan, Falcons

14. Derek Carr, Raiders

15. Phillip Rivers,  Chargers

Wentz and Watson being in the top five is no joke. Before they got injured last season, they were clearly top three in both fantasy and reality. Assuming they come back ready and healthy, their teams will continue to have success.

Most of the teams in the league need the success of their quarterbacks in order to succeed, and the Packers will look to return back to the playoffs after quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury as well.

Cam Newton and Russell Wilson are two of the quarterbacks who can give you more value in fantasy with their legs compared to the rest of the list. I’ve had Newton on one of my three teams each of the last three years and he was the difference maker between winning and losing matchups.

Brady has dropped because he has lost a lot of his offensive weapons like Dion Lewis (Titans), Brandin Cooks (Rams) and Julian Edelman (Suspension). However, Brady still has Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan, plus Edelman will return too, but his age will slow him down a bit.

Brees, Roethlisberger, and Stafford will all continue to get the ball to their pass-catching backs and wide receivers, so you know you’ll be getting great production from them as long as they can stay healthy. We could see the three of them competing for the most yards this season.

Cousins, Garoppolo, Mariota, and Carr find themselves in new situations. For Cousins, it’s an entirely new offense and team, but it is an offense that is set and ready to take it to the next level – Super Bowl! Garoppolo has the same team, but several different pieces around him. Pieces like Jerick McKinnon and a handful of receivers and offensive linemen to help protect Garoppolo and continue his streak of being undefeated in the NFL. Mariota and Carr are in a similar situation than Garoppolo with the new pieces on the same team, including new coaches.

Ryan wants to have a repeat of his MVP season two years where he and the Falcons made the Super Bowl. With the addition of Calvin Ridley alongside Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones, we should expect to see Ryan have another decent year in fantasy.

If Rivers can be consistent this season, he could quickly find himself atop the best quarterbacks in fantasy this year. With the offensive threats available to him, it is very possible to see that happening!

Let’s also take a look at the sleepers in the league this year.

Top Sleepers:

1. Andrew Luck, Colts

2. Jared Goff, Rams

3. Alex Smith, Redskins

4. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

5. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

Luck will look to finally make his return to the field after missing nearly two seasons due to injury. He could clearly turn out to be a top-five quarterback when this fantasy year is over, but let’s hope for the sake of the fantasy owners who draft him that he could stay healthy. Goff looks to continue off his performance from last year and hopes to add more yards to his name. Smith looks to prove to everyone why he deserves that contract he got and being one of the best fantasy quarterbacks will do just that. Winston will have a late start to the fantasy season because of his three-game suspension, but don’t let that make you pass on him in fantasy because he has been one of the more consistent quarterbacks in the fantasy world. Mahomes only has one full game to show for, but in that one game, the Chiefs believed it was enough to let him take over the reigns. With the addition of Sammy Watkins to the already explosive offense, we could see the young quarterback turn several heads for passing on him this season.

I hope this list is very helpful to you when determining which quarterback you want to have on your team. I will also be giving the top 20 running backs and wide receivers in fantasy this year. I know I’m planning the perfect team for me to finally get back on the winning side of the league, and I hope you can too!

The Impact of Grad Transfer Quarterbacks in College Football

Russell Wilson
Badgers Threatening NG Pen” by Steve Shupe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Furtakes

College football is a 365 or 366 days a year grind. Coaches have to constantly work to make their team better. Whether it’s coaching during the season and preparing your team each week or trying to find new high school recruits each year to constantly bring in competition so your team will have a constant talent pool and depth every year. Coaches every year are always moving from year to year without having the restriction of sitting out one year as would a college player. An FBS player has to sit out one year if he wanted to transfer from say Michigan to Florida. It seems to be an unfair advantage, in my opinion, that players can’t go from school to school without sitting out while a coach that recruited a player can leave immediately if he lands a better job.

Recently however, there is a new fad of players being able to transfer without sitting out if they graduate from their university. According to the NCAA bylaw 14.6.1 “Student-Athletes who have earned their bachelor’s degree may also participate in athletics as a graduate student at another Division 1 college provided they meet certain criteria”. However, NCAA.org also states “it has become controversial in football and men’s basketball due to the high-profile cases and data has shown that many transfers in those two sports earn fewer graduate credits and leave school when their eligibility expires,” usually to enter the NFL or NBA draft. This market has become a big hit at certain position in these sports as well.

The first example that comes to mind is when Russell Wilson graduated from North Carolina State and chose to take his talents to the University of Wisconsin to play for the badgers. The three-years prior to Wilson attending Wisconsin, they were led by quarterback Scott Tolzien, who did take them to the Rose Bowl, but in 2010 threw for only 2459 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. The next year when Russell Wilson was the starter, he blew those numbers away. Wilson threw for 3175 passing yards, but his touchdown to interception ratio of 33 to 4 is just unheard of. That year they did win the big ten title as well, but ultimately lost in the Rose Bowl again. This did propel Wilson’s NFL career because NFL scouts wanted to see him play behind a big offensive line, which Wisconsin is known for having guys like Joe Thomas, Travis Fredrick, Gabe Carimi and Ricky Wagner.

The next move that some people might forget is a lot more recent, but not talked about as much. This quarterback actually has two national titles, but only started his senior year. Jacob Coker was a backup to Jameis Winston at Florida State, where they won a national title in 2013. He graduated and decided to go to Alabama to try and be the heir to the Alabama throne of decent quarterbacks surrounded by talent. Coker, in his first year, lost the competition to Black Sims, but in his senior year won the job and managed the Tide all the way to a national title in 2016 CFB playoff national title game against Clemson. That team was stacked however with guys Cam Robinson and Ryan Kelly on the offensive line paired with Derrick Henry, OJ Howard and young freshmen wide receiver named Calvin Ridley, who will be a first round pick this year. Coker had a solid game of 335 passing yards and two touchdowns to give Nick Saban another ring.

Not every grad transfer is a hit though, Vernon Adams of Oregon was hyped up to be the next Mariota essentially, but failed. They lost the second game of the season to a ranked Michigan State team, but did have some great wins in the Pac 12. However, they ended up not making the college playoffs a year after losing in the national title game. He did have solid numbers, but when you’re expected to be an immediate impact player, the expectations are high.

This is just a small example of guys, but every year you will sit down and say “oh i remember that guy.” Next year Jacob Eason will be at Washington after losing his job to Jacob Fromm at Georgia. I think this will only become a bigger and bigger thing. It’s good to bring in a quarterback with experience on basically what is a one year deal. This allows to redshirt a freshman and have them learn from the veteran. Next season while you’re watching games every Saturday, I’m sure you will hear the phrase “grad transfer”.