Archive for the 'Tom Brady' Category

10
Jan
08

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions: Jags at Pats

Every year, there are, interspersed amongst the games whose outcomes we are unsure, positive, or uncaring of, those games which seem to transcend all that we normally think, care and feel about football. For many, from what I gather after having read pretty much this entire Internet on the subject, one of those games will happen this weekend when the Jacksonville Jaguars enter Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, just outside Boston, for their NFL Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots.

This game has even given my friend Lee, over at Football Jabber, fits of Bushillariness [booshhiluh-ree-nis] – where he says one thing, then completely contradicts his thoughts, then, in the end, he picks what you would not expect him to from reading what he says. When done, in describing what he has chosen to do, he makes it sound like he would have picked the opposite, but maybe next time. [Yes, Steven Colbert, you may use this word. In fact, you can have it. You’ll put it to better use, I am sure. But you must give acknowledgement to FanYard, as I am sure you already would have. It is kind of like truthiness, personified.]

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The talk, of course, is all about whether or not the Jaguars can beat the Patriots in this game. Can they exploit the perceived weakness of the 16-0 Patriots: their run defense? Is it possible that the Jacksonville defense can contain Randy Moss and Wes Welker and hurry Tom Brady into making a few mistakes, and then capitalize on those mistakes enough to hand the Pats what would be their first and last loss of the season?

Much of what is out there says, yes, the Jags can do it. They have the second-best running game in the league and the best in the AFC. Bill Belichick actually thinks it is the best in the NFL, and I would go with his evaluation over the paint-by-numbers rankings gotten when you go simply by yards alone, as NFL rankings do.

What happens after many people think to themselves, “Well, hey, yeah, the Jaguars can beat the Pats.” is that they then extrapolate can into will, and that is where this madness must be brought to a screeching halt.

People, you have the coach of the year…nay, the coach of the decade, leading the team of the…one of the best teams ever assembled in any sport, into the first playoff game after an unprecedented 16-0 regular season. With two weeks to prepare…for a good, young, upstart team with a new quarterback with a very interesting and heart-warming, feel-good story and an excellent running game, and a head coach who is just now learning that sometimes you must have the cajones to take risks in this league before you are going to come across as smart.

Yes, that young team could come into New England and beat the Patriots, of course. Anything can happen in a football game, we all should know by now. But the chances are slim. So slim that I find it truly amazing how many people are saying it is going to happen.

And, if these naysayers are being that way because they just really hope to see their hated Patriots lose so badly that they can’t seem to allow logic into their thought processes, here is a hint for when the Pats play in the AFC Championship game against either San Diego or Indianapolis: pick New England. No matter what you think, pick New England to win and write it everywhere you can.

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New England thrives on bulletin board material, or so we are led to believe, in order to keep focused on proving everyone wrong. It is too late for this weekend’s game, you’ve already given them all the firepower they need to be pumped up. The will beat down the Jags 35-17. The Yardstick for this game calls for just a ten-point Patriots victory, but it is a little low.

Next week, think about it before you write it…if you want them to lose, that is. Or give the Jaguars a ‘blueprint to win‘, like the Wall Street Journal has, thanks to Mike Tanier from Football Outsiders.

Before all that, though, join FanYard and add your two cents to the Yardstick for this game and every major football and basketball game in America.

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04
Jan
08

NFL Playoff Predictions: Jaguars at Steelers

The common thinking in this game is that the Steelers are going to be too tough to beat at home. They don’t lose at Heinz Field. Their defense is too strong. Big Ben is leading a great offense. Jacksonville’s offense is pretty good, but mostly just OK, definitely not strong enough to beat Pittsburgh twice in a row at home, especially considering that the Steelers defense is one of the best – if not the best – in the NFL.

Hear that sound? It is a bubble bursting on every Steelers fan out there. I hate to do it, as I have two very, very good friends who are huge Steelers fans…but I have to.

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(Here, I tried to find a Steelers fan blog to link to, but it seems they all stopped typing sometime between the start of the 2006 season, and the realization that their team wasn’t going to make the playoffs last year. If the Steelers do anything in these playoffs, I’ll bet one could make a killing driving a bandwagon around full of Steelers blog URLs.) In lieu of Steelers fan blogs, I had to find a good piece about this Steelers / Jaguars game.

Myth 1) Steelers too tough to beat at home: In general, this is the case, yes. But this is no general. This is the playoffs, and it is very specifically Jacksonville that needs to be taken into account. Since the start of 2K, the Jags have played in Pittsburgh four times. Three of those games have been losses for the home team, including the past two.

Myth 2) Steelers defense is too strong: This should read “was” too strong, as the Pittsburgh defense has gone from being tops in the NFL to being ranked just 14th since Week 10. The Jaguars defense, meanwhile, is the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL since Week 10. Injuries have happened to both teams on this side of the ball, but Jacksonville’s depth is obviously greater.

Myth 3) Jaguars offense just OK: If you call being the best offense not quarterbacked by Tom Brady since Week 10 “just OK,” then that is just what the Jaguars offense is. Big Ben’s offense in that same span has been worse than 17 other teams in the NFL; at the midpoint of the season, they were fourth.

Truthiness: This game is the meeting of two teams headed in completely different direction over the stretch run of the season and, though anything can happen in a football game, the Steelers just don’t match up well in this game in many aspects.

Of course, Ben Roethlisbberger has pulled rabbits out of his arm before and surprised people and I know he can do it again. Same with Hines Ward. The man is simply amazing. These two are the reason I will be glued to this game and expect a close, hard-fought battle. Best of luck to both teams.

At FanYard, the Yardstick for this game is calling for a three-point Jaguars victory. And what do you think?

Join FanYard today and have your say on this game. Get your own Yard. It’s free, easy, fun and you can track your predictions over time, too, in football and basketball.

Gimme My Yard now!

15
Dec
07

Jets at Patriots Weather Report

I was looking into the Jets at Pats game earlier today, wondering what how the weather might affect the game and the Yardstick for the game. I see it has gone down from a high of 18 to 14 as of right now, and that is most likely due to reports of bad weather on the horizon.
I went to a Boston area weather sire to see what they had to say. The forecast called for, get this: ICE. That’s it. There was just a picture of a big icicle with the word “ICE” underneath it. I grew up on the East Coast and I have never seen that before. See for yourself.

I hope this doesn’t screw up my fantasy playoff game. Brady has me sitting pretty after a first-round bye with a 10-3 record.

12
Dec
07

Why the Patriots Won’t Flog the Jets

I know it seems to be the in thing this week to go on and on ad nauseum about how Bill Belichick will have his team ready to roll up the score on the hapless Jets franchise that his star pupil, Eric Mangini, stabbed him in the back to go coach over the wishes of he who gave him every chance to succeed in the NFL.

It is not going to happen, people. And not just because the weather might be a bit chilly, snowy and wet. Not because the ball might slip out of Tom Brady’s hands. Not because Randy Moss might drop another couple sure touchdown passes. It is simply not going to happen, regardless of any of these things.

Why?

I’m not sold on the fact that Bill even wants to do it – run up the score, I mean. Well, I am sure he would if the media had not made such a big deal of it. But, what do you think would give Mr. Belichick even more pleasure than playing the bully to a clearly inferior team? I’ll tell you what. Proving the entire media world wrong.

Lest we forget so quickly, the reason the Patriots were able to build such a dynasty in this era is because they do things on a regular basis that are not only the best thing to do for the franchise, but are, almost without fail, things we would not expect a franchise to do.

Just when you think you have them pegged, they pull off another mask and you recognize them still. And onwards they have ever marched, towards this perfection we are lucky enough – not just as NFL fans, or football fans, but as fans of sport, period – to be witnessing this season.

Part of that plan is not to become the most hated team, but one of the effects has made it so. I would not be at all surprised, as one of his master plans, if Belichick planned to get caught videotaping in Week One. It seems pretty clear to me from the silence among the NFL brass and coaches, that this kind of taping was done often by many teams.

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It does not give them an advantage, except in ease of viewing. They can still take as many still pics and notes as they like, as far as I understand. They don’t gain any more info by taping; it is simply easier to view. But, the ease itself of being able to watch tape, as opposed to piecing together stills and notes, could itself be considered an advantage if someone is lazy. And no one, ever, has accused Belichick of laziness.

Another thing that strikes me and makes me wonder about his motives for taping that night, is the fact that he would have to be stupid not to know he would be caught. It was in the open, against his former defensive coordinator. Another thing no one has ever accused Belichick of is stupidity. He wanted to be caught.

To make it harder on people who are not as dedicated to their craft as Bill Belichick, he got caught taping in a situation where he knew it would happen. That would take care of the problem of facing lazy opposition who were cheating…notice the silence…

The fines he and the organization had to pay were small in comparison to the advantages it took away from some other, lazy coaches out there. That price tag has possibly been paying dividends in the form of the zero that follows the number of wins the Patriots have so far this season.

If it came out that this were the truth, it would be, shall we say, unexpected. But that is the norm for this team. They don’t do what we think they are going to, and when we think we know what they have done, it often turns out to be something different from what we thought.

Anyway, this is not about the taping scandal. It is about reasons for doing things and how they are often deceptive in the way we perceive them.

This game against this week. Jets at Patriots: The Patriots will win, but they won’t run up the score. Not because they can’t, but because they can.

Hey, it is just a theory…God forbid I start to think I have figured the man out!

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09
Dec
07

Patriots Up By Four On Steelers At The Half

The score is 17-13 Patriots at the half. The four-point lead is the winning margin predicted by FanYard users for the game, as represented by the Yardstick for the Pittsburgh at New England game on right now. Tom Brady and Ben Rothelisberger are both having good games; Brady’s two TDs give him 43 on the year to date. Awesome game so far!

08
Dec
07

Hatton vs. Mayweather

Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a Yardstick application ready to go for boxing. All I can say is that I am comletely taken aback that I am allowing another Mayweather borefest to suck me out of the house and to a bar to watch him dance around onstage. I hope Hatton beats the living snot out of him. On another note the Steelers at Patriots game does have a Yardstick, and it favors the Patriots by just four points right now. Get your picks in! And remember that Troy Polamalu is out and that means Brady’s numbers might go back up again tomorrow.

25
Nov
07

Eagles at Patriots

The Yardstick for this game remained at 17 points in favor of the Patriots at kickoff. After falling down 7-0 on an Asante Samuel intereption return for a touchdown, AJ Feeley has taken the Eagles down the field twice in a row for scores. With a rushing touchdown, the score is 14-14 in the second. The Patriots have gotten the ball back after a successful onside kick resulted in a three-and-out for Philly.

Field Goal Alert!!! Halfway through the second quarter, the Eagles forced the Patriots to kick a field goal, after holding them with goal-to-go.None of us here could remember the last time New England had to kick a field goal. 17-14.

7:20 remaining and New England just went up 31-28 on a Maroney run from four yards out.

Phiully takes the lead, 21-17, with under three to go in the half. Madden and Michaels are slightly shocked, but happily so, I think. Where’s Moss? Brady has not had this much pressure on him at any point yet this year, and Philly is going with just a three-man front. I think even the crowd at Gillette is excited, if just because there’s actually a game for them.

End of 1st Half: With eight seconds remaining in the half, Brady tossed his 39th touchdown pass of the year. Madden and Michaels were shocked that the replay booth did not review the play, but it would have been a waste of time. Gaffney had it in bounds. How they can’t see that is beyond me, but their way of thinking is probably that they want to get an extra commercial break for the network. Regardless, I’m sure all the Patriot-haters will jump all over it as if it were a conspiracy theory unmatched since the Kennedy assassination. Hopefully tomorrow’s Miami at Pittsburgh game can provide half this much entertainment. 24-21 at the half.

Eagles Up 28-24: With less than two bucks left in the third, Feeley, who’s rating is higher than Brady’s, tosses a score to Reggie Brown for the go-ahead. Now, this is a game!

With 7:20 left, NE goes ahead 31-28 on a four-yard score by Maroney. With 3:52 left, Samuel, who just missed his second INT of the game a few plays before, gets it in the end zone. Philly needs to stop NE on 3rd-and-1 with 2:27 remaining…Light takes a false start. 3rd-and-six.

1st-and-ten. Philly takes their last time out. Ball on New England 40-yard line. So much for covering the biggest spread in NFL history. These Eagles played like they know how to play in the NFL If they had played this way all year, they’d be in discussions involving the Packers and Dallas…next year. Patriots 31-Eagles 28. FINAL. Great game! Thank you, football gods.