My Favorite NFL Week 1 Bets

Week 1 is finally here! It all kicks off on Thursday when the Bears host the Packers to get things started for the 100th season of the National Football League. Let’s be honest, everyone needs to get their action on Sunday one way or another. Many of us have our favorite team, fantasy teams, and DraftKings teams, but that doesn’t stop us from putting a few bucks down on some bets as well. Here are some of my favorite Week 1 bets…

Chiefs -3.5 @ Jaguars

Image result for chiefs

Photo credit: CBS Sports

Most people would say the Chiefs or the Patriots are the best team in the AFC. Meanwhile the Jags are coming off a 5-11 season. Back in March, they went out and signed former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles (still makes me sick saying that as a Patriots fan). It’s important to note that they also lost former Pro Bowler Telvin Smith… and I think this is going to be a big factor in this game. Smith was one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. He’d constantly be matched-up with RBs and TEs. Other than throwing the deep ball to Tyreek Hill, what does Pat Mahomes love to do? He loves throwing to the best TE in the league (Travis Kelce) and he loves getting the RBs involved in quick screens and wheel routes. Andy Reid teams constantly come out of the gates hot. The Chiefs haven’t lost a game under Reid in September since 2016. They’re also 14-6 against the spread in September since he took over. The Chiefs are clearly among the Super Bowl favorites and to get them as 3.5 favorites, against a new look Jags team, feels like a steal.

Rams @ Panthers +3

Image result for panthers

Photo Credit: SB Nation

The Panthers were one of the more disappointing teams in the NFL last year. They started out 6-2, and would go on to lose 7 of their last 8 games finishing 7-9. Meanwhile, the Rams are the defending NFC Champions. Vegas is giving the Rams the respect they earned last season as they come into this game as 3-point favorites. I actually like the Panthers in this battle. A big reason for the Panthers downfall last season was Cam Newton’s shoulder injury. He had surgery in the off-season and all indications out of training camp are that he looks back to 100%. The Panthers also added Gerald McCoy to pair up front with stud DT Kawann Short. The combination of Short, McCoy, and Luke Kuechly should give the Panthers one of the better rushing defenses in the league. The Rams love to run the ball and they could run into some issues with the Panthers potentially stout run D and their own offensive line changes. As we saw at times last season, you don’t want to put the game completely in Jared Goff’s hands. Lastly, for people who like trends, the previous year’s Super Bowl losers are 3-16 ATS in their last 19 season openers and an even more putrid 1-12 ATS spread on the road since 2000 (courtesy of The Panthers are my favorite under the radar team in the NFC this year. Watch out for them!

Steelers @ Patriots UNDER 50.5 total points

Image result for patriots steelers oddsshark

Photo Credit: International Business Times

As a die-hard Patriots fan, I know a lot about this team and follow them very closely. I also took a big interest in the Steelers this off-season. I’m very curious to see how they look following the departures of AB and Lev Bell. I think that these teams feature two of the most underrated defenses coming into the season… especially the Pats. They are as deep as ever in the secondary, hence the trades of Keion Crossen and Duke Dawson, two 2nd year corners they had to give up due to their depth at this position. I expect Michael Bennett to be a more than serviceable replacement for Trey Flowers. The Steelers have a lot going for them as well on the defensive side of the ball. T.J. Watt became one of the best pass-rushers in the league last year, amassing 13 sacks. They also added STUD! rookie LB Devin Bush out of Michigan to replace the gap left behind by the Ryan Shazier injury. I think T.J. Watt and crew could cause some issues for the Pats O-line. Sunday will be Patriots’ LT Isaiah Wynn’s first NFL game. They’re also dealing with the loss of C David Andrews, who will most likely be replaced by Ted Karras. I expect the Pats to try win this game on the ground and with their defense. The Pats top 3 wideouts in Edelman, Josh Gordon, and DT, all had their first pre-season action last week, so I don’t envision Bill trying to win this game on TB12’s shoulders with 3 wideouts that didn’t have many training camp reps. As I touched on earlier, the Pats have one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL, and I expect Big Ben and crew to have some struggles finding the end zone. I see this game finishing somewhere around 24-17. The Under of 50.5 is one of my favorite plays of the week.

Enjoy week 1 everybody!! FOOTBALL IS BACK!

Why Kyler Murray is making the RIGHT Decision to Play in the NFL over the MLB!

In case you missed it, 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and former Oklahoma Quarterback Kyler Murray is entering the 2019 NFL Draft. Why’s this a big deal? Well, Murray was the 9th overall pick of the Oakland A’s in the 2018 MLB Draft. He signed a contract with Oakland which included a $4.66 million signing bonus. Noted in that contract was the fact that Murray could play football for 1 year at Oklahoma (think Billy Beane and the A’s organization is kicking themselves now for allowing this in the contract?).

By deciding to enter the NFL draft, he has made the decision that he will be playing in the NFL for years to come, instead of the MLB. He will now have to give up the $4.66 million signing bonus he was going to receive from Oakland.

As stated before, Murray was the 9th overall pick in this past year’s MLB Draft. Don’t let that diminish the talent that evaluators have always seen in him on the football field. He was a 5 star QB recruit coming out of high school and committed to Texas A&M. He would end up transferring from A&M to Oklahoma after his freshman year. The important thing to note about his transfer was that he had a concern with the football situation at Texas A&M, not the baseball situation. This should have foreshadowed the events we’ve seen unfold the last few days.

Murray had huge shoes to fill at Oklahoma coming into the 2018 season, replacing the most recent Heisman winner and #1 overall pick in the draft – Baker Mayfield. Needless to say, he didn’t disappoint since he won the Heisman, lead Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff, and finished first in several NCAA statistical categories.

As the season went on, whispers began about whether Murray should give up baseball and enter the NFL Draft instead. Anonymous scouts started texting insiders that he’d be a 2nd round pick at worst and that his combination of speed, athleticism, and arm would lead him to success as a QB at the pro-level.

I will say that the more I watched him, the more I fell in love with him as the season progressed. He’s one of the most explosive players I’ve ever seen on a college football field. As Murray lost to Alabama in the CFP Semi-Final, I remember thinking to myself “damn it’s an absolute shame we’ll never get to see him on the football field again.”

Then all the rumors started coming out that he was debating entering the NFL Draft and spurning the A’s. Finally, on Monday, those rumors became facts.

So now there are plenty of people saying, “Murray is an idiot for choosing football over baseball!” They’re citing reasons such as, “baseball is the smart move for the future of his health. Everyone knows football is more demanding and damaging on the body.”

They’re also saying he would have more success and make more money in baseball than the NFL.

Is there some validity to these points? Yes, of course, but there are plenty of pros in choosing the NFL instead.

First, Murray can immediately make more money in his first year in the NFL, than he can in the MLB if he’s drafted in the first round. Last year, Lamar Jackson was the last pick of the first round and got a $5 million signing bonus along with a 4-year contract worth $9.47 million guaranteed. If we look at someone like Derwin James, selected at 17th overall, he received a $7.1 million signing bonus and $12.39 guaranteed over 4 years.  Finally, let’s look at the 10th overall pick Josh Rosen, who received a signing bonus of about $11 million and $17.84 million guaranteed over 4 years.

The draft is still about 3 months away but based on the talk around Murray and the fact that he’s choosing the NFL, it appears that he’ll end up being a first round pick with a chance to make a lot of money.

Also, should Murray become a star in the NFL, or even show great potential, he would be rewarded handsomely with a big contract. Take for example everyone’s favorite all-time Patriot not named Tom Brady. Jimmy Garoppolo, who had started a grand total of seven games in his NFL career prior to this season got a contract worth up to $137.5 million over 5 years. The contract paid him $42.6 million this year alone!

In regards to people who argue that he should have stayed with baseball, the trip to the big leagues is an absolute grind. I’ve never watched Murray play baseball and while he’s obviously extremely talented to be a top 10 pick in last June’s draft, that by no means ensures he’ll eventually make it to the big leagues one day. Unlike the NBA and NFL, there are plenty of guys who get drafted high in the MLB and never make it to the big leagues or never see much success.

Let’s look back at the 2014 MLB Draft and the top 10 picks…

mlb draft picks


Of the list, 6 have played in the MLB. The #1 and #2 overall picks both have never played a game in the big leagues… earning the bust label and not looking like they’ll earn a call-up any time soon. Of the list, how many can the casual baseball fan name… I would say 3 at most and the only one who’s looked like a legit star is Aaron Nola.

Murray very well could’ve worked his way up with the A’s and become a star. But, if we ran the above exercise year in and year out, I think it’d surprise many people to learn how few top baseball picks ever make it to the big leagues.

The last argument for Murray making the right decision is the fact that baseball is America’s Favorite Past Time. These days it’s all about Sundays in the fall. Everyone is glued to their couches and TVs, watching their favorite NFL team or NFL Red Zone. We all love to eat, sleep and breathe football. If you have the passion to keep on playing America’s favorite sport, how do you give that up and not follow your dreams to get the spotlight as a starting QB in the NFL. Watching Murray throughout the season and seeing this whole situation come to light the last few days, you could tell his heart belongs more to the gridiron than the diamond.

The NFL is where he belongs and I couldn’t be more excited to watch him on Sundays. Who couldn’t be, after the amazing season he just had with Oklahoma…


P.S. Can the Patriots please find a way to draft him?






For Jets and Patriots Fans, their Futures could come down to… Kliff Kingsbury?

Will the Jets lose out on another coach to the Patriots and be haunted by it for years?

For those of you who don’t know who Kliff Kingsbury is, let me introduce you to him. Kingsbury, 39 years of age, was most recently the head coach at Texas Tech finishing with a record of 35-40 and winning 1 bowl game during the last 5 years at the helm. His tenure with Tech was a mediocre stint at best. Before coaching at Texas Tech, Kingsbury had spent time as an offensive coordinator for Texas A&M and an offensive assistant for Houston.

While his numbers as a head coach may not impress, he’s always been known to be what some people consider “a QB whisperer.” It began in his time at Houston when he was given large responsibility for the success of Case Keenum. Keenum finished his career with multiple NCAA records and would go on to be drafted and start in the NFL.

In his time as OC at Texas A&M, Kingsbury would go on to coach up the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and Browns first round pick, Johnny Manziel. Kingsbury won the College Football award for best OC in the country that year.

He then became the first coach in NCAA history at a BCS school, to start a true freshman walk-on QB. The name of that quarterback at Texas Tech… Baker Mayfield. Baker would go on to win Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year in 2013. He would then transfer due to miscommunication with the coaching staff after the season ended. Shortly after, Mayfield would go on to win the Heisman and become a #1 overall draft pick in the NFL.

Kingsbury had his next QB lined up for the Raiders of Texas Tech, this time a fella named Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes would play 3 seasons under Kingsbury and win College QB of the year after his junior season. Mahomes is now an MVP candidate with the Chiefs and was the 10th overall pick back in 2017.

Kingsbury was not retained by Texas Tech after this past season and recently accepted an OC position with USC. So why could the future of the Jets and Pats come down to Kingsbury? Both teams are interested in hiring him for a coaching position. The Jets are trying to get him in for an interview for their vacant head coach position. The Patriots are rumored to be interested in his services as a replacement for Josh McDaniels, since McDaniels may finally leave New England for a head coach opportunity.

Now I’m not saying I think Kingsbury will or won’t have success as an NFL coach, but there’s no denying the success he’s had in developing great QBs over the last several years. He’s also young and innovative on offense, which seems to be the new flavor in hiring coaches around the league (see Sean McVay and Matt Nagy). Finally, he’s been in the NFL before, as he was drafted by the Patriots back in 2003. The Patriots won their second Super Bowl that year.

It’s easy to see why the Jets could have interest in him considering they have a young team with a young promising QB in Sam Darnold. The thought of Darnold developing under the young innovative Kingsbury, similar to Jared Goff under McVay and Mitch Tribusky under Matt Nagy, has to be compelling.

On the other hand, Kingsbury was largely considered a disappointment at Texas Tech with his 35-40 record and a losing record in the Big 12. Now you’re telling me the Jets are interested in hiring him as their head coach when he’s never coached in the NFL… that sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The bigger picture is that he’s now being linked to the Patriots and it’s already starting to get into Jets fans heads. Long time Jets reporter Manish Mehta sent out a tweet last night that many Jets fans probably can’t get out of their minds, as rumors about Kliff swirl…

As NFL Insider, Mike Florio reported on Sunday, the NFL is “hot” for Kingsbury. It’s clear that if he leaves USC, he’s going to get a job as an HC or OC in the NFL. Should he leave and get the chance to be the head coach of the Jets, he could be the next young guru in the league, while turning Sam Darnold into an elite QB. But he could also prove to be “out of his league” and simply a poor coaching choice for a desperate team.

However, he could get a chance to work with Tom Brady for a few years, if he were to become the Pats OC. He’d also have the opportunity to develop Brady’s replacement, which I won’t lie, gets me a little excited as a fan of the team.

Kingsbury is a very interesting name to keep an eye on during the next few weeks, as he has a chance to be a major factor in the Pats and Jets future. Jets fans have already seen the misery Bill Belichick has caused them over the past 20 years. We all know the story there by now. Will the Jets organization get too aggressive, to be sure they don’t lose Kingsbury to the Pats? I’ll be keeping tabs on this situation very closely the next few weeks…and maybe few years.


Should Patriots fans be a little frustrated with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski?

Let me preface this by saying I obviously love Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski as much as anyone. I will be devastated the day Tom retires. If Gronk isn’t wearing a Pats jersey on week 1 next season, I will be absolutely crushed. Bill better not pull a fast one, by trying to trade him at the draft.

With that said, I have to be honest – I’m starting to get a little frustrated with TB12 and Gronk’s actions this off-season. Hot take I know – to personally call out everybody’s favorite 2 players on the Pats. I make it a point to stay level headed and non-biased on SportsChatterMJD.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to Tom and Gronk this offseason, let me get you up to date.  Both have been extremely active on social media. It’s at the point where it seems that they’re almost taking subtle shots at head coach Bill Belichick.

It all started in February, two days after the Super Bowl, when Malcolm Butler posted a long Instagram defending himself for inaccurate reports about why he didn’t play in the game. He also thanked the Patriots organization. Tom was quick to comment saying, “Love you Malcolm. You are an incredible player and a teammate and friend. Always!!!!!”. Surely Bill couldn’t have been too happy that Tom was quick to chime in on Malcolm’s post. Tom could have just texted or called Butler … if he hadn’t already talked to him. I wasn’t too irked by Tom commenting on the post though, because I think it was genuine.

Gronkowski has taken his jabs at Bill as well. For example, he posted the Instagram below for Danny Amendola. He put an emphasis on “Be FREE and Be HAPPY”.

Gronk Amendola

I don’t think it was a coincidence that he put such an emphasis on “Be FREE and Be HAPPY”.  Multiple reports this off-season indicate that Tom and Gronk are not exactly HAPPY playing under Bill. It seems as if his demanding coaching style has started to take a toll on them.

Tom Brady commented on the Instagram as well saying “well said Gronk!!!!”

It also became clear that Danny Amendola didn’t love Bill by the end of his tenure with the Pats, per this very eye-opening interview with Mike Reiss that was released over the weekend. I strongly recommend checking it out if you haven’t yet.

Yet another Gronk social media statement was made the other day when retweeted a Deion Sanders tweet…

dion sanders

Is Gronk implying that his “contemplating if he’s going to retire” is more of a power play to try and get a new contract? Gronk wanting a new contract is 100% understandable and warranted. He was only the 4th highest paid tight end last year. Everyone knows he’s the best tight end in the league. He should easily be the highest paid player at his position.

The issue is there were reports over the weekend stating that Gronk is skipping the start of the Patriots off-season program (OTAs) because he’s still considering whether to retire before the upcoming 2018 season.

If Gronk does indeed retire, it would be catastrophic to the team. If he’s really serious about it, then I hope he’s been extremely transparent with the team because the upcoming NFL Draft on April 26th-28th is probably one of the most critical for the organization in a long time. They need to once again find their QB of the future, a new left tackle, and fill many holes on defense.

Losing Gronk to retirement would prioritize the tight end position as one of the top needs for the team. With 5 picks in the top 95, the Pats would have a good chance to address this need if Gronk was indeed retiring. This is why it is imperative that he’s being very transparent about his plans with the team. It’ll be very interesting to see if they use a high pick on a tight end next week.

Let’s get back to Brady now because I think he’s the bigger story. ESPN recently reported that TB12 will not be a “regular participant” in the team’s offseason program, even after he returns from his trip to Qatar. The trip was for the “Best Buddies” charity and was his stated reason for originally missing the first few days of OTAs. We know now he’ll be skipping out on the entire first phase. This will be the first time in 8 years Tom is missing the program. He last missed it back in 2008, 2009, and 2010, when he lived in LA.

It sounds like there are 2 big reasons he’ll be missing the entirety of the first phase of OTAs. The first is Tom wants to spend more time with his family. We all saw in Tom vs. Time, that his family is an extremely important priority. He seemed pretty beat up in the final episode and Giselle said, “He just wants to go to work and feel appreciated and have fun”. If you’re connecting the dots, this would seem to correlate with a lot of reports over the last few months indicating that Tom felt underappreciated by Bill and is feeling worn out by him.

The second reason is that this phase of OTAs is led by the strength and conditioning coaches. Tom will instead workout with none other than his own trainer Alex Guerrero. Everyone knows by now that Guerrero has been the source of the Belichick and Brady tension.

It’s not exactly comforting to know that the team’s two best and most important players are going to miss out on the first round of the teams off-season program. I really wonder if Jimmy G was still around, would Tom skip any time? It’s something to ponder… my gut tells me no way. It’s evident that Tom felt threatened by Jimmy G.

The other eye-opening statement in the report from ESPN was the following quote from Jeff Darlington… “I would call it unlikely, at this point, that he is a part of any of the voluntary programs this offseason,” the reporter said Monday. “How far he extends that is a major question, one that I don’t know that even Brady has the answer to.” Some people think he’s implying that Tom won’t be joining the Pats in May and June for the later phases in OTAs. I don’t want to read too much into the statement because I’m not sure Darlington truly knew how that came off to people. If Brady skips out on phase 2 or 3, which are on-field workouts, it’ll be a major red flag with respect to the Brady vs. Bill relationship.

Last month, Gotham Chopra the director of Tom vs. Time, who spent a great deal of time with Tom over the last year, went on record saying the following about Tom…  “This idea that he’s going to play for four or five more seasons … I mean, this is just me, the guy who’s been around him for a while now. I just have a hard time envisioning that,” Chopra said. “But we’ll see. I do think that these next few weeks and months are a critical time for him.”

Tom has gone on record multiple times over the last 2 years saying he’ll play into his mid 40’s… and maybe even as much as 10 years. If Tom does indeed retire in the next year or so it makes you wonder why he was so adamant about playing for several more years. As a Patriots fan you have to hope that Tom has been transparent as well with Kraft and Bill, telling them how much longer he really has left, so they can continue to plan for the future.

Unfortunately I don’t think the drama in the Patriots offseason is over yet. I’m sure we’ll hear more stories and reports in the coming weeks/months. The bottom line is that the Patriots will need their 2 best players to get on the same page as Bill Belichick, sooner rather than later, so they can finally begin to put all this drama behind them.


The curious case of Malcolm Butler

There’s a lot to talk about today after last night’s loss, but nothing more noteworthy than the absence of one Malcolm Butler.

Malcolm played 98% of the defensive snaps in the first 18 games of this season. Last night he played zero. He did play one snap on special teams.

So the question is… why didn’t Butler play?  There’s been a few theories on this.

The first is taking Belichick for his word that Butler’s benching wasn’t a disciplinary reason. When asked about it after the game Bill said “We put the best players out there and the game plan out there because we thought it’d be the best to win.”

Personally, I think this is complete BS. I don’t think there’s a single Pats fan who felt this was “the best decision for the team.” It’s also clear that some Patriot players feel that the benching of Butler did not put the team in the best position to win.

Former Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner put up numerous Instagram posts during the game which displayed how he was highly critical of Bill’s decision to bench Malcolm. One of them which can be seen below, was liked by defensive captain and linebacker Dont’a Hightower. It’s pretty eye opening to see a leader on the team like an Instagram post critical of his own coach (his username is boomtower). I can’t imagine Bill is too happy about this.

The other theory is that Belichick lied to everyone and the benching WAS disciplinary related. I think this was more likely. There’s already been some whispers that he missed curfew one night last week and got caught with weed when he came back late to the hotel. There haven’t been any Patriots insiders to report this yet so nothing is official on this front.

The argument against this would be then why didn’t Malcolm come out after the game and say this or hint it in his post-game comments. He knew it was the last time he’d be in the Pats locker room and he won’t be back with the team.

Instead when asked was he given a reason on why he didn’t play, Malcolm said “No.” He also said, “They gave up on me. F*** It is what it is”. He clearly was very emotional and it is interesting looking back at it that he didn’t give the media anything and basically said he doesn’t know why he was benched.

If he was indeed benched for disciplinary reasons and something to do with weed or being intoxicated, then why dress him at all for the game? Why let him play a snap on special teams? Bill should of just sent him home and put him on the inactive list for the game if he really wanted to prove a point. They had 2 corners on their practice squad they could of activated for the game.

I reserve the right to change my opinion on the following take if we get more information that Butler really crossed the line, but if he was benched because Bill really thought the combination of Eric Rowe, Johnson Bademosi, and Jordan Richards were better… or he was benched the entire game because he missed curfew and got caught with some weed, then you could make the argument Bill potentially cost them a Super Bowl victory. Of course he’s still the best coach in NFL history and I want him to come back next year, but this is something I know I won’t ever forget when looking back at this Patriots run/game and I would assume a lot of other people would agree with me as well.

I think we all know Malcolm Butler will never play another down for the Patriots and although he had a down year by his standards, I’ll miss the guy a lot. Nobody will ever forget the interception he made to win Super Bowl 49 but his legacy is more than that in my opinion.

We all know its been a rocky year for him on and off the field but for the majority of his time with the Pats, he had been the ultimate example of the “Patriot way.”

He made the roster as an undrafted free agent. He’s never been the most athletic player, or the fastest (ran a 4.62 at the NFL Combine)… but this guy competed his ass off as much as any corner in the NFL. He became so easy to root for the last few years because of how hard he played, how well he played despite being grossly underpaid, and becoming one of the better cornerbacks in the league as an undrafted free agent.

It definitely hurts to see Malcolm’s career with the Patriots to come to an end like this. I hope he finds a way to get paid this off-season and success with his next team. In the meantime, I’ll try and hold back my tears as well Malcolm.

Malcolm Butler.gif

Dear Patriots Fans

Every Patriots Super Bowl article/ memory is better with NFL Films Music… Play while reading if you please.

Dear Patriots Fans,

While I don’t think this will be the Patriots’ final playoff appearance with Bill and TB12, there’s no denying the fact that the iconic duo is nearing the end of their record run. Nothing lasts forever and with Brady now 40 and Belichick 65, you have to think they only have a few years left together.

As we gear up to watch our favorite team play in their 8th Super Bowl this century, take a step back for a minute, take it all in and don’t take a second of it for granted.  Honestly, it’s almost easier said than done sometimes. The last time the team played on wildcard weekend was way back in the 2009 season, with a 33-14 home loss to Baltimore. The last time they missed the playoffs was in 2008, when TB12 tore his ACL in week one of the regular season against the Chiefs. The Pats still finished 11-5 and became the first team to have 11 wins and miss the playoffs. The last time they failed to reach double digit wins was 2002. I was 9 years old… today I’m 25. As Patriots fans, we’ve been spoiled to the max by this organization over the last 17 years….17 YEARS!

This isn’t supposed to happen in the NFL. It can maybe happen in the NBA where it’s easy for superstars to team up in free agency, or the MLB where there’s no salary cap and a team like the Yankees or Red Sox can quickly rebuild with their superior financial resources , But this isn’t supposed to happen in the NFL, the ultimate team sport. The salary cap era was supposed to prevent dynasties. Also, injuries occur frequently in the NFL and can catastrophically derail your favorite teams season. The Patriots have defied all those theories – year, after year, after year.

If you’re my age and reading this, talk to your parents about the team before B.B. and TB12 joined the organization. They’ll tell you about how bad the organization was for so many years. They’ll tell you just how much it meant to them to even make the Super Bowl back in 1997 against the Packers, even though they would fall 35-21.

That game was my first sports memory. I remember watching with my dad back when I lived right around the corner from the old Foxboro Stadium in Sharon, Mass. He was getting so angry and intense as he began to watch the game slip away from the Pats.

Now we watch as Patriots fans and expect to be in the Super Bowl and win every year.  Now we watch and a game that would be “slipping away” for the 31 other NFL teams, just feels like another chance for the organization to add to their prestigious history. As fans, we all know the game is far from over and we EXPECT them to pull off a comeback and win.

I remember watching a game against the Redskins during my freshman year of college back in 2011. Brady threw for 350 yards and 3 TDs and the Pats won by 7. This was back when he “only” had 3 Super Bowl ring’s but I recall thinking to myself, “Wow this isn’t going to last forever. This man is absolutely amazing. I need to make sure I appreciate every damn time Tom takes the field and tries to pave his way to become the best QB ever.” Fast forward a little over 7 years later and there’s no longer any doubt on who’s the best QB in NFL history. He’s playing in his 4th Super Bowl since that day and going for his 3rd ring in the last 4 years. Everything he and Bill have accomplished in their careers, remains unfathomable to me.

As fans, we no longer concern ourselves with the naysayers who call the team cheaters, or the Patriots haters who come up with any and every BS excuse on why we win/ why they hate us. At this point, the legacy of B.B., TB12, RKK (Robert Kenneth Kraft), and the entire organization is firmly cemented.  Now they get another chance to add to the accolades and history… and B.B. and Tom get another chance to display why they’re not only the best coach and QB in NFL history – but maybe the best coach and athlete in sports history.


An extremely fortunate and grateful Patriots fan

The 2 most frustrating teams in the NFL

For those of you that don’t know me, let me preface this by saying I’m a die hard Patriots fan. Like most people though, I also follow the rest of the landscape of the NFL. When your favorite team in the league has won 5 Super Bowls since the start of the 2001 season, you gain an appreciation for great coaching. For the last year or two I’ve been persistent that the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough good QB’s in the NFL like a lot of people argue… It’s that the coaching flat out SUCKS!

Let’s get to the 2 teams that really are the driving force behind my thoughts and frustrations in this blog. The Pittsburgh Steelers ended up being the same damn old story this year. They’re led by who I consider the most overrated coach in the NFL, Mike Tomlin. When I look at the Steelers roster top to bottom I think they may have the most talented roster in the NFL. With them it’s always a matter of focus. Take for example this interview with Tony Dungy back in November Start at 18:00 and listen to what Mike Tomlin says about the Steelers game with the Patriots in a few weeks down the road. It’s clear he’s overlooking his upcoming schedule.

Now in fairness the Steelers would go on to win their next 3 games after this interview before the showdown against the Pats. Let’s be honest though… the Packers with Brett Hundley going into Heinz Field had no right hanging around and almost stealing that Sunday night game from the Steelers. The typical Steelers who are notoriously known for playing down to their competition, slept walk their way through the first half of that game, only to come roaring back in the end and get a 3 point win… despite being huge 14 point favorites. The next week was a lot of the same story. The Steelers traveled to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team whose season had come undone. Once again the Steelers slept walk their way through the first half, woke up in the second half and stole the game from the Bengals. This has been the problem with Pittsburgh for years. They continuously play down to their competition. They always illustrate a lack of focus throughout points of the season, which starts with the coach.

Now let’s talk about the Patriots game. I was extremely impressed with the Steelers back on that Sunday in mid-December. It’s clear they were ready to play and had a good game plan. But as you all know they crapped their pants on the fake spike play. As bad of a decision it was by Big Ben to throw the ball, what I couldn’t get over was the fact the Steelers didn’t have 2 or 3 plays ready to go after the Jesse James TD was overturned and ruled incomplete. Instead Ben got up to the line of scrimmage after a short completion to JuJu Smith Schuster, and didn’t have a play ready to run on 3rd down. He then ended up making the costly decision to cost the Steelers the game. For me it still goes back to coaching though. Tomlin (and offensive coordinator Todd Haley) had a few minutes during the Jesse James review to have a few plays ready for Ben.  Instead it was obvious they didn’t plan to have a few plays ready during the review and the disastrous interception then occurred.  The picture below illustrates just how confused everyone on the field was for the Steelers during that play.

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I’m not going to go in depth with my analysis on Pittsburgh’s and Tomlin’s performance yesterday. They’re catching a lot of grief for the onside kick, 4th down and 1 calls, and vanilla zone defensive gameplan. My bigger issue is that it was so evident they overlooked the Jaguars and were focused on the Patriots and a rematch based on comments made the last month or so and even this past week. Why they would overlook a team that humiliated them 30-9 a few months earlier is beyond me. They gave up 45 points to Blake Bortles and the Jags… let that sink in for a second.. FORTY-FIVE POINTS TO BLAKE BORTLES. That is unforgivable in my opinion. To me it’s a lack of readiness and preparation by the players, organization, and once again…coaching staff. At the end of the day if anyone told you Big Ben would throw for 5 TDs and almost 500 yards against the Jags, you would have said “wow the Steelers won that game.” If you picked the Jaguars to win the game, it was because you thought their defense was elite and would shut the Steelers down… not because you thought the offense would explode for 45 points. There’s just no excuse for the Steelers to lose a playoff game at home as 7 point favorites and scoring 42 points against the best defense in this league. This coach and organization is so damn dumb!

Alright… now for the Atlanta Falcons. Just another team that I do not understand. By now we all know about “28-3.” Listen, let’s call a spade a spade. The Falcons puked all over themselves and should of won the Super Bowl last year. I won’t sit here and critique all the play calling almost a year later. The one thing that needs to be said though is their head coach Dan Quinn has never got enough blame for that loss. As the head coach, you should always have the last call on the headset. He should of jumped in and told Kyle Shannahan “do not throw the ball here Kyle.. run the ball.” He didn’t and the rest is now history.

Let’s talk about the Falcons this season a little. Through the first 3 games of the season, they had looked like the same powerhouse they were in the 2016-2017 season. They rolled through the Bears, Packers, and Lions scoring an average of almost 30 points a game and a 3-0 start. After that, they had 2 of the more pathetic losses you’ll see. They lost back to back games at home to Tyrod Taylor’s Buffalo Bills and Jay Cutler’s Miami Dolphins. As a Patriots fan all I can do is laugh about those 2 losses considering the ass whooping the Pats have put on those 2 teams the last 17 years. As an NFL fan. all I can say is “what the fu**!? Tyrod bleeping Taylor and Jay Smokin Cutler!?”

Much like the Steelers, the Falcons have one of the most talented rosters top to bottom, yet they largely underachieved this year.  I was fortunate enough to attend the Falcons vs. Patriots Sunday Night game back on October 22nd. I watched the Falcons make head scratching decision after head scratching decision. Whether it was going for it on 4th down multiple times on their own side of the field in the first half, running Jet Sweeps to wide receiver Taylor Gabriel on 4th and goal plays, or taking both stud running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman off the field on plays in the red zone. I was so god damn perplexed by this team that I called Boston Sports talk radio on the ride home from the game and sat on hold for an hour just to rip the Falcons to pieces on the lack of passion and dumb decisions I’ve seen out of this team for over a year now.

The Falcons should be one of the best teams in the NFL for the next 5 years with that up and coming young defense, a potential Hall of Fame quarterback to wide receiver duo, and maybe the best running back situation in the league. Instead I’m sitting here today writing about another heartbreaking playoff loss in the last two years. Except unlike advancing to the Super Bowl last year, they couldn’t even host a damn playoff game this year as they finished with the 6th seed in the NFC.

Once again people in the sports media are talking about the pathetic play calling this team had in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. Why you call a QB rollout to one side of the field on 4th and goal… totally shrinking how much of the field you can use in the red zone and essentially making it a one man route (Julio ran it) is just BEYOND DUMB!!! A lot of people will blame former Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shannahan for the play calling last year in the Super Bowl and new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkasian for his play selection this past Saturday… and for good reason. At the end of the day though, if these things were happening for the Patriots it all falls on the head coach for me and I’d be criticizing Bill.

If you don’t know me, you might think I’m trolling. How easy is it to sit here in Boston and write a blog about the Steelers and Falcons demons after both had heartbreaking losses this past weekend in the playoffs? On the other hand, if you know me well, I’ve been ripping the Steelers, Falcons, Tomlin, and Dan Quinn for months. My overall point here is that the coaching in the NFL is a major problem. I’ll leave you with this question to ponder. Who the hell is the second best coach in the league after Bill Belichick?