2019 NFL Predictions: AFC East

Now it’s time to look at the division that has probably made the most changes throughout the offseason. The Jets, Dolphins and Bills have all made several moves this offseason with one goal in mind. That’s to unseat the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. 

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“Miami Dolphins Mario Williams – Buffalo Bills Mike Gillislee” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed for public domain.

In case you forgot, the New England Patriots won another Super Bowl this past February. It was probably one of the uglier Super Bowls in history. Nonetheless, that’s not the biggest thing everyone is talking about with the Patriots.

There’s been a lot of news on the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins lately too, but they’re going in opposite directions this season. I’ll explain that more in each section. I think all eyes are on the New York Jets and their newest RB Le’Veon Bell. They seem to be the top contenders to unseat the Patriots. Can they do it?

 

1. New England Patriots

 Last season’s record: 11-5 

Postseason Result: Won Super Bowl (13-3) against the Los Angeles Rams

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed:

  • DE Michael Bennett (Philadelphia)
  • DE Mike Pennel and S Terrence Brooks (N.Y.  Jets)
  • TE Matt LaCosse and RT Jared Veldheer (Denver)
  • TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jacksonville)
  • TE Benjamin Watson (New Orleans)
  • WR Demaryius Thomas (Houston)
  • WR Cameron Meredith (New Orleans)

Drafted:

  • WR N’Keal Harry (32nd)
  • CB JoeJuan Williams (45th)
  • DE Chase Winovich (77th)
  • RB Damien Harris (87th)
  • QB Jarrett Stidham (133th)

Offseason Departures:

  • Retired TE Rob Gronkowski
  • DE Trey Flowers (Detroit)
  • OT Trent Brown (Oakland)
  • DT Malcom Brown (New Orleans)
  • WR Chris Hogan (Carolina)
  • DE Adrian Clayborn (Atlanta)
  • WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson (Chicago)
  • TE Dwayne Allen and CB Eric Rowe (Miami)

The Big Question:

When you win six Super Bowl titles in 19 years with the same QB-coach duo, there’s not much you need to question about your team. However, given three factors, the Patriots even have some questions. One factor is the age of QB Tom Brady and how much longer he’ll continue to play. Factor two is the injury to C David Andrews and the offensive line. The final factor is the retirement of TE Rob Gronkowski.

Despite all these factors, the Patriots will likely still finish atop the division and have one of the best records this year. I think they have plenty of offensive weapons, so they don’t need to worry about who to get the ball too, so let’s look for them to make another run at a Super Bowl.

Prediction: 12-4

 

2. Buffalo Bills

Last season’s record: 6-10

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed:

  • C Mitch Morse (Kansas City)
  • WR John Brown (Baltimore)
  • WR Cole Beasley (Dallas)
  • TE Tyler Kroft (Cincinnati)
  • G Spencer Long and WR Andre Roberts (N.Y. Jets)
  • G Jon Feliciano (Oakland)
  • OT Ty Nsehke (Washington)
  • RB T.J. Yeldon (Jacksonville)
  • CB Kevin Johnson (Houston)
  • OT LaAdrian Waddle (New England)
  • RB Frank Gore (Miami)

Drafted:

  • DT Ed Oliver (9th)
  • OT Cody Ford (38th)
  • RB Devin Singletary (74th)
  • TE Dawson Knox (96th)
  • LB Voseasn Joseph (147th)
  • CB Jaquan Johnson (181th)

Offseason Departures:

  • RB LeSean McCoy (Kansas City)
  • G John Miller (Cincinnati)
  • TE Charles Clay (Arizona)
  • RT Jordan Mills (Miami)
  • TE Logan Thomas (Detroit)
  • RB Taiwan Jones (Houston)
  • RB Chris Ivory (Free Agent)

The Big Question:

This defense proved they’re worthy of being amongst the top in the league. This defense led the Bills to a Wild Card spot two years ago, despite their struggles on offense. The offense continued to struggle a lot last season as well. With a new QB in Josh Allen and an offensive line that could not protect, it was hard for Allen to get things going.

The Bills spent a lot of time this offseason trying to improve their offense. They drafted another OL in Cody Ford and signed a young RB to work with Allen. They also got two WRs who are proven veterans to help control the game on offense. With all these changes that have been made by the Bills, I really like Josh Allen’s chances to became an elite QB this year. He could likely help lead his team to a playoff spot again.

Prediction: 9-7

 

3. New York Jets

Last season’s record: 4-12

Postseason Result: N/A

Offseason Acquisitions: 

Signed:

  • RB Le’Veon Bell (Pittsburgh)
  • ILB C.J. Mosley and Ty Montgomery (Baltimore)
  • G Kelechi Osemele
  • WR Jamison Crowder (Washington)
  • C Ryan Kalil and K Chandler Catanzaro (Carolina)
  • WR Josh Bellamy (Chicago)
  • G Tom Compton and QB Trevor Siemian (Minnesota)
  • CB Brian Poole (Atlanta)
  • TE Ryan Griffin (Houston)

Drafted:

  • DT Quinnen Williams (3rd)
  • LB Jachai Polite (68th)
  • T Chuma Edoga (92nd)
  • TE Trevon Wesco (121th)
  • LB Blake Cashman (157th)
  • CB Blessuan Austin (196th)

Offseason Departures:

  • CB Morris Claiborne (Kansas City)
  • QB Josh McCown (Philadelphia)
  • WR Jermaine Kearse (Detroit)
  • G James Carpenter (Atlanta)
  • CB Buster Skrine (Chicago)
  • K Jason Myers (Seattle)
  • RB Isaiah Crowell (Oakland)
  • C/G Spencer Long and WR Andre Roberts (Buffalo)
  • DE Mike Pennel and S Terrence Brooks (New England)
  • TE Clive Walford (Miami)
  • OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (Kansas City)

The Big Question:

The Jets have improved themselves in a huge way at the RB position with Le’Veon Bell. We hope to see him help the young Jets offense win more games, but we also don’t really know what to except from Bell after he was sitting out a year due to his holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Will Bell be able to get himself back into the form he was with the Steelers in 2017? He’s the key to the success of the Jets’ offense. He came to New York for a new beginning, and he has the abilities to be the best RB in the league when he has his head straight.

Having a young QB and WRs like Sam Darnold, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, the Jets could put up some solid offensive numbers. It’s the questionable play calls and defense that worries me about this team, but hopefully they get a few more wins than a season ago.

Prediction: 7-9

 

4. Miami Dolphins

Last season’s record: 7-9 

Postseason Result: N/A 

Offseason Acquisitions:

Signed:

  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tampa Bay)
  • TE Dwayne Allen and CB Eric Rowe (New England)
  • TE Clive Walford (N.Y. Jets)
  • QB Josh Rosen and DE Robert Nkemdiche (Arizona)
  • RT Jordan Mills (Buffalo)
  • WR Allen Hurns (Dallas)
  • G Chris Reed (Jacksonville)
  • WR Ricardo Louis (Cleveland)

Draft:

  • DT Christian Wilkins (13th)
  • G Michael Deiter (78th)
  • LB Andrew Van Ginkel (151th)
  • T Isaiah Prince (202th)
  • RB’s Chandler Cox (233) and Myles Gaskin (234)

Offseason Departures:

  • QB Ryan Tannehill and DE Cameron Wake (Tennessee)
  • OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills (Traded to Houston)
  • LB Kiko Alonso (Traded to New Orleans)
  • RT Ja’Wuan James (Denver)
  • RB Frank Gore (Buffalo)
  • WR Danny Amendola (Detroit)
  • DE Andre Branch (Arizona)
  • DE William Hayes and G Josh Sitton (Free Agent)
  • TE A.J. Derby and DT Sylvester Williams (New Orleans)

The Big Question:

Do I need say more… The Dolphins have traded away their best chance to win games this year. They went from having a nice looking offensive team, to a “let me hang out in South Beach for a year” team. The Dolphins traded QB Ryan Tannenhill away and got QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen in return. That doesn’t do anything if you don’t have anyone to protect or catch the ball. 

That’s why the offense is going to be one of worst in the NFL, despite having Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage in the backfield.  I can’t see much coming from the Dolphins offense. That’s why I have them as the worst team in the league. After trading OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Kenny Stills, my decision was made.

Prediction: 4-12

 

Predicted Division Standings

  1. New England Patriots (12-4)
  2. Buffalo Bills (9-7)
  3. New York Jets (7-9)
  4. Miami Dolphins (4-12)
Rob Gronkowski hall of fame worthy?

Is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy?

After nine seasons in the NFL and after winning three Super Bowl championships, New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has announced his retirement. Gronkowski has been one of the most dominate TEs in the NFL since entering the league nine years ago, but that was when he was on the field. Gronk missed good chunks of time throughout his career. Being a truly dominate player on the field, but missing time with injury and only playing nine seasons, is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy?

Rob Gronkowski hall of fame worthy?
New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski – Buffalo Bills Micah Hyde” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

Is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy? In order to give an accurate answer to this question, we first have to take a look at the current members of the Hall of Fame at the TE position. There are currently eight TEs in the NFL Hall of Fame. Those TEs are Dave Casper, Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Ozzie Newsome, Charlie Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, Jackie Smith and Kellen Winslow. Tony Gonzalez will soon be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame as well, bumping that number up to nine.

 

Stats comparison

Let’s compare the numbers of these nine Hall of Fame TEs to those of Gronk’s to see if he deserves to one day be a member of this elite group. Let’s start with Gronkowski’s stats.

2010-2018: 115 games played, 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 receiving TDs.

If Rob Gronkowski was to become the 10th TE in the Hall of Fame right now, here’s how he would rank in the categories listed:

Games played: 9th

Receptions: 5th

Yards: 5th

TDs: 2nd

I ask again, is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy? After looking at this rankings in those four categories, it certainly looks as if he is. Gronk ranks higher than at least one current Hall of Fame TE in every category listed. In three out of the four, he’s ranked higher than at least five other guys. When it comes to TDs, which is perhaps the most important of the four categories listed, he ranks second, only behind the great Tony Gonzalez.

 

Accomplishments

To strengthen his case to become a Hall of Fame member, I’ll throw in some of his accomplishments. In five out of his nine NFL seasons, Gronk was selected to the Pro Bowl. In four of his nine seasons, Gronk was named First Team All-Pro.

If you look at his stats season by season, you’ll see that most of the years Gronk wasn’t elected to either the Pro Bowl or First Team All-Pro, were his rookie season, his last season and two other seasons in which he played just seven and eight games in. I have no doubt that if Gronk was healthy in those two seasons, and even this past season, he would have been elected to at least the Pro Bowl every season except for his rookie year.

 

Super Bowls

Another strong case for Gronk to be in the Hall of Fame, is the fact that he earned three Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots. Gronk was a huge factor in the Patriots not only reaching, but winning those Super Bowls.

 

Is Rob Gronkowski Hall of Fame worthy?

I say yes. With that being said, I’m not sure he’s going to be a first ballot Hall of Fame player. I’m not sure he’ll be seen as that type of guy, but I do think he’ll get in relatively quickly.

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What do you think? Did Rob Gronkowski do enough in his nine NFL seasons to make the NFL Hall of Fame? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Buy or Sell: 2001 Patriots, OKC Thunder, Fultz’ fresh start

It’s been a long time since we’ve done an edition of Buy or Sell, but it’s back now, and we hope to keep it going.

James Harden” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In this returning version of Buy or Sell, Mickayeen Farner, Joel Deering and I discuss three big topics. These topics include the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots from 2001, the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder team that could’ve been, and a former No. 1 overall pick looking for a fresh start to prove he’s worthy of being number one.

So let’s see what we all have to say this week.

Mickayeen: The 2001 Patriots would still have won the Super Bowl if Bledsoe was the starter over Brady in that game. (Some forget, Brady was injured in the AFC championship and it was Bledsoe who took them to the Super Bowl).

RahimAli: I buy the 2001 New England Patriots would have won the Super Bowl if Drew Bledsoe was the QB. I mean yeah, it’s a great story for Tom Brady to have won his first Super Bowl after taking over the starting job when Bledsoe went down with an injury. However, it was Bledsoe, not Brady who helped get them into the Super Bowl.

Let me also remind you all that it was the Patriots’ defense and kicker who helped Brady win that Super Bowl. You can relive the moments of that Super Bowl here. Also, take a look at the stats by Brady in the Super Bowl and Bledsoe in the AFC Championship.

For Brady in the AFC Championship win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, he went 12-15 for 115 yards and zero touchdowns. Bledsoe was 10-21 for 102 yards and one touchdown. That one touchdown was the only offense scored by the Patriots, as they got two special teams touchdowns and a field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

Brady went into the Super Bowl and went 16-27 for 145 yards and one touchdown. That was also the only offensive score for the Patriots in that 20-17 win.

So could Bledsoe have gotten the Patriots the win? Yes, he could have. Time management is the biggest thing in the fourth quarter of an NFL game going down to the wire. He was able to manage the clock in the second half of the championship the week prior, ultimately scoring a touchdown and setting up the kick.

Would the game plan have gone a different? Probably, but both Patriots QBs at the time could’ve won that game.

Joel: I buy the Patriots winning the Super Bowl in 2001 if Bledsoe was the QB over Brady. It’s not like Brady was the greatest QB in that game. His passer rating was 86.2. He completed just 59.3% of his passes for 145 and one TD. It’s not like he was spectacular. He’s was average at best.

I agree with RahimAli that it was the defense of the Patriots who won that game for them. The kicker helped too. Tom Brady did help the Patriots get into position to score points, but with how the defense played in that game, I think Bledsoe could have done just as good of a job.

 

RahimAli: If they stayed together, Westbrook and Harden would have helped Durant bring a title to Oklahoma City?

Mickayeen: I sell the idea that Westbrook, Harden and Durant would have, if they stayed together, brought a championship to OKC. Both Harden and Westbrook have become ball-dominant guards with below-average defensive skills. It’s because of that I don’t think they would have been able to win it all with those two on the same team.

That doesn’t sound like a good recipe for playoff success. One could argue that Harden would have been great off the bench, but I just don’t see how Harden would have been worth an extra three wins against the Heat in 2012 or how he could have improved them enough to get past the Spurs in subsequent years.

Joel: I’ll buy that Durant, Westbrook and Harden would have brought a title to OKC had they stayed together.

First off, they made it to the NBA Finals in 2012. Yes, they lost, but Durant was just 23, Westbrook was only 23 and Harden was just 22.

With Harden gone, it took OKC until 2016 to almost make it back to the Finals. That’s the year they were up 3-1 on the Warriors and ended up losing. I believe if they still had Harden that year, they would have made the Finals and closed out the series instead of blowing it.

Mickayeen makes a good point that Harden and Westbrook are ball dominant guards, but I think that could have worked. Many thought Harden and Chris Paul wouldn’t work because they’re both ball dominant guards, but that has worked out nicely for them.

Westbrook likes the ball, but he has learned to take a back seat to Paul George. I think with more time with Durant and Harden, Westbrook would have figured out how to play a lot better with them, resulting in at the very least another Finals appearance, if not a championship.

 

Joel: Markelle Fultz having a fresh start in Orlando will result in him living up to being the No. 1 overall pick in his draft class.

RahimAli: I buy the fresh start for Markelle Fultz, but I’m selling on him living up to the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick. I don’t even think he’s the best pick in his class, and he wasn’t the right pick for a team that’s all about “the process.”

I’m not saying Fultz is a bust at No. 1, because we honestly haven’t seen a full season out of him yet. But guys like Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma will probably have a better chance at living up to the hype.

This move is good for Fultz though, because he gets to go to an Orlando Magic team who hasn’t found their identity at the point guard position. They thought it might have been Elfrid Payton, but we saw how that worked out last season. The Magic are in the hunt for a playoff spot, and they have good pieces around Fultz to help him grow and excel his game.

With the Sixers, they used his struggle to motivate Ben Simmons to be the point guard, and there just wasn’t enough minutes for Fultz to get the experience he needs to try to live up to the expectations of being a No. 1 pick.

Mickayeen: I semi-sell the idea that Fultz having a fresh start will result in him living up to the hype of a first overall pick. I say semi because I do think a fresh start will be good for him. He might even make an all-star game or two, but I don’t think he’ll ever live up to the number one overall pick.

When I think number one overall, I think of guys like Hakeem Olajuwon, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Shaq, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, etc… you get the idea. It’s a high bar to try and reach, but it comes with the number one overall pick.

************************************************************************************And there you have it! Now, what do you think?

  • Could Bledsoe have won the Super Bowl for the Patriots in 2001?
  • Would Durant, Harden and Westbrook have won titles for Oklahoma City if they stayed together?
  • Will Fultz’ move to Orlando help him prove he deserved to be the No. 1 overall pick?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Most boring Super Bowl - Super Bowl LIII

Super Bowl LIII: The most boring Super Bowl of all-time

The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, resulting in their sixth Super Bowl championship. While Patriots fans everywhere have to be excited about winning the Super Bowl once again, NFL fans are not impressed with what we all saw last night. For one, we had to suffer through watching the Patriots win another Super Bowl. In addition to that, we suffered through what will go down in history as the most boring Super Bowl of all-time.

Most boring Super Bowl - Super Bowl LIII
Source: https://bit.ly/2Gad5Es

Super Bowl LIII: Most boring Super Bowl of all-time

In the history of the Super Bowl, no game has resulted in a lower point total than Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots and Rams combined for a total of 16 points. The previous low in a Super Bowl game came all the way back in Super Bowl VII between the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins. The final score of that game was 14-7 in favor of the Dolphins. The two teams combined for a total of 21 points. Not only did the Patriots and Rams set the record for the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, they beat the previous low by five points! That’s almost a TDs worth of points! Let’s break down how it all happened.

 

First Quarter

The first quarter ended with a score of 0-0. It wasn’t what we were expecting, but it’s likely most us of were thinking the second quarter would be much better. Here’s how the first quarter went for both teams.

Patriots: Interception, missed FG, punt.

Rams: Punt, punt.

One of the exciting moments of the first quarter was when Tom Brady threw an INT on his first pass. This seemed to give the Rams the momentum early, but what did they do with that turnover? Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. The Rams moved the ball a total of two yards following that interception. Momentum dead.

The other exciting moment was when Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski pushed a 46 yard FG wide left. The Patriots had the chance to put at least some points on the board in the first quarter, but the missed FG helped us witness the 0-0 start to the game. A 3-0 score wouldn’t have been super exciting either, but it would have been better than nothing. Most boring start to the most boring Super Bowl.

 

Second Quarter

The second quarter had a little more excitement, as there was actually a score heading into halftime. However, it wasn’t an ideal situation for what fans were expecting to see in Super Bowl LIII. The halftime score was just 3-0 in favor of the Patriots. Let’s recap how the second quarter went for both teams.

Patriots: FG, punt, loss of downs, end of half.

Rams: Punt, Punt, punt, punt.

The Rams had done pretty much nothing at all heading into halftime, as evidenced by their zero points. The sad part is, they hadn’t even done well enough to get themselves into FG range. For the Patriots, their FG came on their first possession of the second quarter. After taking that 3-0 lead, they got nothing the rest of the way. They had an opportunity to get some more points, but they failed to convert on a 4th-and-1. Had they converted, they would have at least made the score 6-0. They were on the Rams’ 32 yard line at the time of their failed fourth down attempt. The most boring half of a Super Bowl helped create the most boring Super Bowl ever.

 

Third Quarter

After a snoozer of a first half, many expected these teams to bring a show in the second half. Surely at least one team would get something going. Well, that didn’t happen. The third quarter ended with a score of 3-3 after the Rams were able to tie it up. The most boring Super Bowl of all-time continued on.

Patriots: Punt, punt.

Rams: Punt, punt, FG.

The Rams came out of halftime with the ball. This is when we expected the second highest scoring offense in the NFL during the regular season to strike. Nope! The Rams and Patriots then took turns punting until the Rams’ third possession of the quarter. This drive ended with a 53 yard FG by K Greg Zuerlein. The game was tied 3-3 with 2:11 left in the third quarter. The Patriots then had one more drive before the quarter ended. That drive would go into the fourth quarter. We entered the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIII with a score of 3-3. Most boring Super Bowl through three quarters ever! On the bright side, at least both teams were on the board and it was still anyone’s game.

 

Fourth Quarter

That drive the Patriots had going into the fourth quarter resulted in just another punt. It was an exiting way to start the final quarter of the Super Bowl. Not. Here’s how the rest of the game went for both teams.

Patriots: TD, FG, end of game.

Rams: Punt, interception, missed FG.

After both teams started off the final quarter with punts, the Patriots were finally able to find the end zone. With 7:00 left in the game, RB Sony Michel ran in for a two yard TD to give the Patriots a 10-3 lead That came after an exciting catch by TE Rob Gronkowski to get them down there. I think it’s safe to say this was the time when everyone thought the Rams would step it up offensively. Most of us were expecting them to drive down the field to tie the game 10-10.

Well, that went terribly wrong, as Jared Goff threw an INT with 4:17 left. CB Stephon Gilmore picked off Goff, which then led to the Patriots moving down into FG range to make the score 13-3 with 1:12 remaining. The game was already over by this time, but the Rams got into FG range with eight seconds left to try and make the score 13-6. K Greg Zuerlein missed the 48 yard FG to keep the score 13-3. Patriots win the most boring Super Bowl ever.

 

Most boring Super Bowl ever

Some may look at the score and think this was a defensive game. While that is true, it wasn’t one of those exciting defensive games we saw during the season. For example, when the Chicago Bears beat the Los Angeles Rams in a 15-6 defensive game, that was exciting! We watched the Bears’ defense absolutely dominate the Rams. It was just fun to watch!

While Super Bowl LIII did feature two INTs and five total sacks, this wasn’t exciting defense to watch. It was just plain boring. Instead of calling it a defensive game, maybe we should be calling it a terrible offensive game. Regardless of what you call it, Super Bowl LIII has already gone down in history as the most boring Super Bowl of all-time. To top off just how boring it was, the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl….. again…

Top 10 Head Coach-QB duos of all-time

By now, you have all been given a week full of Super Bowl memories that involve both the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams before they get set to kick off Super Bowl LIII tomorrow.

Along with the best of the Rams and Patriots Super Bowl history are a list of the most memorable moments and most mistakable moments in Super Bowl history.

But now it’s time to see who the greatest of all-time really is. Who’s the greatest quarterback? How about greatest coach-QB duo? In the next set of articles, we will be telling you exactly that.

Brady’s back!” by Andrew Choy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

First, we will look into the coaches that helped these QBs become great. Just keep in mind that not all coaches or QBs are on their individual list, so you will have to return back on Sunday to find out who the greatest QB of all-time is.

Until then, let’s get right into the list of coaches and QBs. Know that not all duos won Super Bowl titles, but still deserve to be recognized.

 

10. Mike Shannahan and John Elway, Denver Broncos (1995-1998)

These two made the most of their four seasons together. Shannahan could possibly be the main, if not only reason Elway was able to win two Super Bowls. They moved on from a defensive-minded head coach in Wade Phillips to focus more on the offense and QB John Elway.

It’s not that the Broncos were bad with Philips, but after failing to win two previous Super Bowls and Elway getting older, their time was running out. In their four years together, they won back-to-back Super Bowls. Elway did whatever he had to to get the first one, including a helicopter spin late in the game.

 

9. Joe Gibbs and Doug Williams, Washington Redskins (1986-1989)

These two were also together for a short four seasons and had success early. They only managed to get one Super Bowl title, but that one was history making, as Williams became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He also picked up MVP honors in the game after battling back from injury.

Williams had the capability to win games, but it wasn’t until he came to Washington to Gibbs where he started get the wins. One of which was against John Elway’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Gibbs coached the Redskins to three total championships. One before and one after Williams was with the team. Had Williams came earlier in his career, there is no saying how many titles the two could have won.

 

8. Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys (1989-1993)

The ’80s was full of greater QBs. That will explain why there’s several of them on here. However, Aikman was part of a transition into the ’90s. The short time he was with coach Johnson, they had a lot of success, as they won two titles in four years. Aikman also had the Hall of Fame running back Emmit Smith running wild with him and Johnson. Had they all stayed together for a longer time, they might have already had the franchises 6th title.

 

7. Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills (1986-1996)

This was a great duo, as they dominated their division by winning it six out of 10 years. They even won four conference championships to get them into the Super Bowl four times, but they came up short in each one. The one that has to hurt the most is the one against Bill Parcells’  New York Giants, as they had a chance to kick the game-winning field goal, but it was wide right off the foot of K Scott Norwood.

They just simply couldn’t find themselves on the winning side of a Super Bowl, but that shouldn’t discredit them as one of the top duos, because it’s never easy to win the big one.

 

6. Don Shula and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (1983-1995)

Speaking of winning the big one, or failure to do so, the Miami Dolphins of the ’80s had several chances to get there. They, like the Bills, won their division five times. What makes it interesting is that both the Bills and Dolphins were in the division then as they are now. They combined for 11 of the 13 divisional titles.

But the Super Bowl appearances and titles is not impressive. Despite having coach Shula and Dan Marino together for 12 years, the Dolphins only made it to one Super Bowl in which they lost. But the individual success of Marino himself had helped the Dolphins be successful. It wasn’t without the coaching of Shula to get him there.

 

5. Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys (1969-1979)

The earlier stages of the the Super Bowl era featured a lot of the Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach. Staubach and coach Landry won several division championships in the 10 years they were together. At which time, they had made it to the Super Bowl five times, winning it twice. If Staubach hadn’t left for the military during the middle of his playing career, we might have been able to see more from this duo.

 

4. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers (1970-1983)

One of the teams that beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl was this Steelers team. They did it twice in back-to-back seasons. In fact, the Steelers won it four times during Bradshaw and Noll’s time together. Both of which were back-to-back over a six year span.

They also won the division eight times, as they were one of the more dominant teams earlier in history. That explains why they are the only team to have a record six Super Bowl titles. Had Bradshaw thrown less interceptions, they could have been way ahead in number of titles, but with his mediocre play the Steelers still managed to have success.

 

3. Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers (1959-1967)

The first ever Super Bowl winners have to be on the list, because without Lombardi, there wouldn’t be a Lombardi trophy. But that isn’t the only title they have. They won the first two Super Bowls and an additional five league championships.

If league titles counted back then, the Packers would have the most wins in terms of championships. Both Starr and Lombardi would be the most winningest coach-QB duo of all time. Let’s not forget about the fact that they won these seven titles in eight years of being together. They could easily be the No. 1 duo of all-time.

 

2. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1979-1988)

Unfortunately for the Packers, Montana and Walsh came along 20 years later and helped change the way the game was played. If you were to compare the stats, you would see why. But we won’t get into that, because Montana had one of the best, if not the best wide receiver to pass the ball too. That is what helped the Niners be successful during all of the ’80s.

Remember when I told you the ’80s was full of great QBs? Montana might be the greatest from that decade, as he and coach Walsh won six division titles on their way to winning three Super Bowls together. Now, if it wasn’t such a stacked position back then, we might have seen him win even more Super Bowls.

 

1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England Patriots (2000-present)

The best coach-QB duo has got to be these guys. When you look at where all the other QBs were drafted, their success would be a mirror image of that. Brady wasn’t a top QB in his draft class. In fact, he was drafted 199th overall by the Patriots, which made him the seventh QB drafted in that class.

But with Belichick, Brady looked like an elite quarterback. That has been something they continue to prove, as they have won 16 divisional titles and have made it to their ninth Super Bowl. As of now, they sit with five Super Bowl titles, looking to add their sixth, which will give them a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most titles. Brady and Belichick will be the first coach-QB duo to get six titles together in the history of the NFL. There’s no question these two are the best pairing in NFL history. What they have done will never been done again.

 

Honorable Mentions:

With only 10 spots available for the top duos, there were bound to be some duos left off. That is where the honorable mentions come in.

  • Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008)
  • George Seifert and Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (1989-1996)
  • Bill Parcells and Phil Simms, New York Giants (1983-1990)
  • Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings (1972-1978)
  • Sean Payton and Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (2006- present)
  • Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2009)

Will Brady and Belichick get their 6th title? Or will they be stuck at five and hoping for Brady to get one more before he turns 45 and retires?

We’ll talk more about Brady and some of these QBs in our next article the morning of Super Bowl LIII, but tell us if we got it right!

Where is your favorite coach-QB duo ranked? Are they in the top 10? Do you think they deserve to be there if they aren’t already? We’re interested in hearing your opinion, so don’t forget to comment below!

Super Bowl picks: Los Angeles Rams or New England Patriots?

Super Bowl LIII between the Patriots and Rams is this Sunday! This should be one of the best Super Bowl matchups we’ve seen in recent years. We’ve got the old QB in Tom Brady against the youngster Jared Goff. We’ve got the old Bill Belichick against the youngster coach Sean McVay, two of the greatest minds in football. The Los Angeles Rams are looking to bring their first Super Bowl title to the city of Los Angeles, while the New England Patriots are looking to win their sixth Super Bowl title in the Brady-Belichick era. Who comes out on top? Let’s get into our breakdown and Super Bowl picks.

Super Bowl picks
New England Patriots grand entrance” by SAB0TEUR is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Super Bowl picks: New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams

Aman: Rams, 39-36

Cullen: Patriots, 34-30

Mickayeen: Rams, 42-28

Rahim: Rams, 43-42

Joel: Patriots, 31-28

Adam: Patriots, 38-35

Dan: Patriots, 28-21

Dennis: Patriots, 30-24

Jon: Patriots, 31-14

Jeevan: Patriots 34-31

 

The Coaches

As mentioned above, Bill Belichick and Sean McVay are two of the greatest minds in football right now. However, the way their minds work are very different. That means we’ll probably get two very different game plans or styles. Bill Belichick has always been one of the best at planning for a specific team. He does a good job of getting his team to take away what their opponents do well. He also does a good job of getting his team to attack their opponents areas of weakness. 

Sean McVay on the other hand, does his best work with the offensive play-calling. As I’ve explained in previous articles, McVay does a great job of confusing defense’s by running multiple plays off the same formation. One play could be a run from a specific formation. If the defense sees that formation again, more often than not, they’re going to think it’s the same run play. That’s when McVay and the Rams get em. It’s actually a pass play. Or maybe it’s a run, but it’s a run to the other side. McVay’s style of play-calling is what makes the Rams’ offense incredibly hard to defend.

If both coaches have one of the best minds in football, which mind will work the best in Super Bowl LIII? As you can see from our Super Bowl picks, seven out of 10 of us are picking the Patriots to win this game. Most of us are going with Belichick. I won’t blame you if you pick McVay. 

 

The QBs

Obviously one of the key factors in this game will be how the QBs play. We know Tom Brady is one of the greatest QBs of all-time, if not the G.O.A.T. This will be the ninth time he’s played in a Super Bowl. He’s won five, and will be looking for that sixth victory. Tom Brady is a proven performer in the Super Bowl. In his eight Super Bowl appearances, Brady has completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,576 yards. That comes out to about an average of 322 yards per game. He’s thrown 18 TDs to just five INTs, and his average passer rating is 98.0.

Then there’s the young QB Jared Goff, who despite winning two playoff games and helping his team get to the Super Bowl, still has to prove he can be a consistent performer in the biggest games. In the Rams’ two playoff games this postseason, Goff has completed 58.8% of his passes for 483 yards, one TD, one INT and a passer rating of 79.5. Goff’s postseason numbers are even worse if you factor in what he did against the Falcons last postseason. Goff did get better from game one to game two of this postseason. Will he get better on the NFL’s biggest stage?

The pressure here will be on Goff. He’s the young, third year QB who hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Brady is the old, experienced QB who has won five. There’s no pressure on Brady to win this game. Even if there was, he thrives under the pressure. If Goff has another mediocre performance in the Super Bowl, the Patriots are taking this one. Our Super Bowl picks reflect our confidence in Brady over Goff.

 

The RBs

A big factor in how well these QBs play will be how well their RBs play. Both teams have multiple RBs who can hurt a defense in many ways. The Patriots have Sony Michel, who is the primary RB. Michel can add something in the receiving game occasionally, but he’s mostly the workhorse RB who keeps the chains moving on the ground. Then there’s Rex Burkhead, who can do a little bit of both rushing and receiving. Finally, the Patriots have James White, who can kill a defense as a receiver out of the backfield. The Patriots use these three RBs very well. They get them to play to their strengths and force a defense to have to worry about each of them.

On the other side, the Rams have Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson. Todd Gurley is one of the best RBs in the league. However, he’s been banged up this postseason. With a little time off, Gurley should be back to full strength. The Rams will need Gurley’s best performance in Super Bowl LIII. Or will they? C.J. Anderson has done a fantastic job of complementing Gurley or filling in for him when he’s been hurt. Because Anderson has played so well, it allows the Rams to keep their RBs fresh. With two RBs who are kept fresh throughout the game, it makes it tough on the defense.

Which defense will do a better job of stopping these RBs? For those who picked the Rams in our Super Bowl picks, I will assume the RBs for the Rams were a big reason why. 

 

Defense?

I’m not going to cover the defense here. Why? I personally feel like this will be an offensive game. I’m hoping it’s a shootout. As much as I’ve enjoyed watching some defensive games this season, I don’t really want to see that in this Super Bowl. I don’t expect it to be like that anyway. As you can tell from our Super Bowl picks, most of us are thinking this will be an offensive game. The majority of our score projections were in the high 20 to 30 range. Some of our scores go into the 40+ range. 

 

Fun Fact

Of Tom Brady’s previous eight Super Bowl appearances, he’s won five and lost three. All three of his Super Bowl losses have come against teams from the NFC East. He lost twice to the New York Giants, and once last season to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

 

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New England Patriots or Los Angeles Rams? Who are you picking to win Super Bowl LIII? Let us know your Super Bowl picks in the comments below! 

Super Bowl XXXVI

Top five moments from Super Bowl XXXVI (Rams versus Patriots)

This week 17 years ago we first saw a Super Bowl game for the ages. It was the “Greatest show on turf” against a sixth-round QB in Super Bowl XXXVI. It was also a very similar situation to what we will see this Sunday, but a bit of role reversal.

What you saw 17 years ago was a New England Patriots head coach and quarterback that were in their second season together. It was Brady’s first season in which he was the starter after a season-ending injury to QB Drew Bledsoe. It was also the start of a dynasty we will forever be talking about as one of the greatest dynasties in sports.

As we come back to the present, we look at what the Rams have in comparison. That is the same amount of years their head coach and quarterback have been together. Sean McVay is in his second year as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. His QB Jared Goff is in his third. The Rams also have a tough, hard-hitting defense, which we saw from the Patriots during the earlier stages of success. Can they get revenge for their loss 17 years ago? Let’s take a look the top five moments from Super Bowl XXXVI between the Patriots and Rams.

Super Bowl XXXVI
Tom Brady with Vince Lombardi trophy” by Brian Allen/Voice of America is licensed under Public Domain

Top five moments from Super Bowl XXXVI

 

5. Terrell Buckley recovers Ricky Proehl’s fumble

It was hard for the Rams to get much going in the first half of this game. Their opening drive ended with a field goal. Then the Ty Law interception happened, which we’ll talk about shortly. On a drive that looked like the Rams were finally getting momentum, WR Ricky Proehl fumbles the ball over to Patriots. It would’ve been a first down catch on the other side of the 50, could’ve continued into a scoring drive. Instead, Terrell Buckley recovers the fumble and gave the Patriots a short field that would help set up the first of many Tom Brady Super Bowl touchdowns. Rickey Proehl is remembered mostly for his game-tying TD in this game, but this fumble by him was a huge game changer. This fumble isn’t something greatly remembered, but it sure did have an impact on the outcome.

 

4. David Patten’s 8-Yard TD

After Terrell Buckley returned that fumble by Ricky Proehl, the Patriots drove down the field right before halftime to give themselves a 14-3 lead. Tom Brady led the Patriots down to the eight yard line, where he then threw a TD strike to WR David Patten. The fifth greatest moment in this game led right into the fourth. The Patriots would carry the momentum from that TD to add more points in the third quarter and go up 17-3 on the Rams.

 

3. Ricky Proehl’s game-tying TD

Being down 17-3 at one point, the Rams were down, but they weren’t out. There was still plenty of time left to get back in this game. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they did so. Rams QB Kurt Warner was known for his success in fourth quarters. With the team down by two touchdowns, Warner did everything he could to bring his team back. First it was Kurt Warner getting in for a TD to put the score at 17-10. Next it was the TD pass to Proehl. This was the one that brought the Rams all the way back, where Proehl made up for his lost fumble earlier in game. Proehl caught the ball at about the 15 yard line, where he then weaved his way around two Patriots defenders and into the end zone for the tying score.

 

2. Ty Law’s pick six starts the scoring are Patriots

This was the first of two interceptions thrown by Kurt Warner, but this one really set the tone for how the game was going to go. It was a 3-0 score in the favor of the Rams. They were looking for the opportunity to add on more points. That was until Patriots DB Ty Law took matters into his own hands with the interception returned for a touchdown. That pick six put the Patriots up 7-3, which helped the Patriots gain their eventual 17-3 lead in third quarter.

 

1. Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning FG

This kick by Adam Vinatieri will go down as one of the best Super Bowl moments in history, especially as a part of Tom Brady’s legacy. When Warner found Proehl for the game-tying TD, he left too much time on the clock for Tom Brady and the Patriots. There was about a 1:30 left in the game. For Tom Brady, that’s about equivalent to all day. The Patriots’ offense drove down into field goal range with seven seconds left. Then it was time for the kick that started the Patriots dynasty. Adam Vinatieri kicked the ball throw the uprights, giving the Patriots a 20-17 Super Bowl XXXVI win.

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Take a look back at these Super Bowl XXXVI moments in this short recap video.

As you can see from the short list, there are several moments from Super Bowl XXXVI we can all talk about, as this was the first of five Super Bowls Brady and Belichick have won together. Could this Sunday be the start of a new dynasty with McVay and Goff? Or will we see the Patriots add their sixth Super Bowl title with Brady and Belichick?

In case you missed the top five Super Bowl moments in Rams and Patriots history, take a look back at those before the big game this Sunday!

Top five Super Bowl moments in Patriots history

Yesterday we did the article giving you the top five Super Bowl moments for the Los Angeles Rams. Now it’s time to relive some of the greatest moments in the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl history.

Unlike the Rams, the Patriots have been to eight Super Bowls in the last 17 years before this one. Of the eight, they have won five. They’re looking to get their sixth victory this Sunday. The head coach and quarterback duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been there for all of them, including their first together against the Rams.

As we expect to get a lot more Super Bowl moments from the Patriots this year, let’s take a look at some of the best so far.

– New England Patriots Malcolm Butler & Dont’a Hightower – Seattle Seahawks Ricardo Lockette” by Jack Kurzenknabe is licensed under Public Domain

5. Patriots LB Mike Vrabel gives them the lead with a 1-yard TD

It was Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers when the Patriots needed a special play to take the lead in the fourth quarter of a defensive game. It was a 14-13 game as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter. The two teams combined for 34 points in the fourth quarter, going back and forth in a wild game that ultimately lead to Vrabel’s goal line touchdown that would put New England up 29-22 with 2:51 remaining. The Patriots went on to win 32-29 (more on that later).

 

4. Rodney Harrison picks off Donovan McNabb to seal the deal

In their quest to win back-to-back Super Bowls to create this dynasty we all speak of, the Patriots took on the duo of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb in Super Bowl XXXIX. It was another nail-biter, as the Patriots had a three-point lead with 46 seconds left in the game. However, there was still a chance for the Philadelphia Eagles. They had the ball, but when they got backed up to their own five-yard line, the pressure was on for QB Donovan McNabb. With 22 seconds left on the clock, McNabb dropped back and threw a pass 20 yards to his tight end, L.J. Smith. The pass came of Smith’s hands and was intercepted by Rodney Harrison for the second time. All that was left was a kneel from QB Tom Brady and they hoisted the Lombardi trophy for the third time in four years.

 

3. Adam Vinatieri boots a game-winning field goal again and again

These three Super Bowls were against the Rams, Panthers and Eagles, but Brady and the defense weren’t the only reasons for their success. Though Brady did set up the offense to win games, it was the foot of all-time great NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri. Vinatieri showed no panic as he nailed field goal after field goal during the clutch moments of each of their Super Bowl wins. The only one we’ll focus on more is the 41-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in a tied game with the Panthers. There was no panic in Vinatieri, and probably not much doubt on either sideline that he was going to break the 29-29 tie with under 10 seconds left when he lined up for the kick. It was all set up by a bad kickoff from the Panthers after they just tied the game. Brady drove his team down the field just enough to get into Vinatieri’s range. The Iceman did not disappoint.

 

2. Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception at the goal line.

It was another one of those games that went down to wire. This one was in Super Bowl XLIX when the Seattle Seahawks were looking to become the first team to get back-to-back titles since the Patriots did it 10 years prior. The Seahawks had a chance to do so, until they had one of the worst play calls in Super Bowl history. That play was QB Russell Wilson throwing a quick strike to WR Ricardo Lockette on the goal line, instead of handing it off to their beast RB Marshawn Lynch. At the moment, the Patriots were leading 28-24 after scoring a touchdown just before the two minute warning. With 26 seconds left in the game, a touchdown could’ve won it for the Seahawks. Unfortunately for them, the pass was intercepted by undrafted CB Malcolm Butler, who became the hero of that Super Bowl.

 

1. Brady leads the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit against Falcons

The biggest Super Bowl moment for the Patriots is definitely their overtime comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons came out on fire against Brady and the Patriots, as they got three first half touchdowns to take a 21-3 lead at halftime. The Falcons added another score early in third quarter to go up 28-3. The rest is history. Half way through the third quarter, the Patriots finally scored their first touchdown of the game. The rest of the game was all Brady and the Patriots.

The second half went a little like this: Punt, Punt, TD-Falcons, TD-Patriots, Punt, FG-Patriots, Punt, TD+2-Patriots, Fumble-Falcons, TD+2-Patriots, Punt. Then we went to overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history. We then watched Brady lead his team 75 yards on 10 plays to set up a game-winning touchdown from RB James White. This is the greatest ever Super Bowl moment for the Patriots. Brady has added his name to the record books with the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

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Don’t forget to return Wednesday for the biggest moments of Super Bowl XXXVI between the Rams and Patriots before their big historical rematch this Sunday!