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The Steelers offense and defense looked awful in last night 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.    This team looked flat in their last dress rehearsal before opening day against the Cleveland Browns.  The main story was from the day before when running backs Le’ Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount were arrested for marijuana possession, and Bell was also charged with driving under the influence of the drug.  I am disgusted with their actions and both should be punished for embarrassing the Steelers organization.  The NFL will wait for the legal matter to play it selves out.  They have to take random drug tests for the rest of the careers, and if either of them screw up again both men could face a 4 game suspension under the NFL substance abuse policy.  Head Coach Mike Tomlin was upset during the post game news conference, and the Steelers could punish both men without it hurting the team.   Blount has been through 4 teams in five years, and has some discipline problems while at Oregon.   On the other hand, Bell never had any off the field problems before this situation.  Bell is being mentored by Blount, and going in the wrong direction.   The Steelers signed Blount to 2 year contract, but could cut him after this season.   You win with men of character, but bad character guys could lead your team down the wrong road.   Le’Veon Bell has potential to be a star, but hanging around LeGarrette Blount could ruin it.  If Le’Veon Bell gets in trouble again his NFL career could literally go up in smoke.

I should be talking about the Pirates walkoff win over the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on a Gaby Sanchez sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning.   Instead I have to talk about Steelers running backs, LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell were picked up for possession of marijuana at McKnight Road an hour before they were going to Philadelphia to play the Eagles tomorrow night.  Bell was also arrested for driving under the influence, and both men had 20 grams of weed plus there was a woman with them.   Blount is with the team in Philadelphia, and Bell paid for his own flight to get there.   Bell took a blood test and it will take a month to be evaluated, and both men could be suspended for four games under the NFL substance abuse policy.  I am disgusted with these arrests and the Steelers should punish them for embarrassing the organization.

I was at the Steelers VS Bills game this evening and this is what I saw.    Ben Roethlisberger looked in midseason form going 8-11 for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Antonio Brown turned a routine catch into a 76 yard touchdown, and Markus Wheaton had a great catch for a touchdown.    Wheaton has made a lot improvement from his rookie year, but he had a finger injury that hampered his development.  Defensively Ryan Shazier had 11 tackles and made an interception they led to a touchdown.   The defense had a great game with 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries.   The second fumble was recovered by Howard Jones, and it led to the game winning field goal by Shaun Suisham to give the Steelers a 19-16 win over the Bills.

However they are areas of concerns that should worry Steelers fans.   The running game was non-existent this evening, and they have to improve that against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.   The run defense gave up 150 yards to the Bills, but it was done against 2nd and 3rd team defense.  The Bills offense had 358 yards overall, and had 84 plays to the Steelers 49.   The back up quarterback situation is a mess because they had two interceptions and two sacks, and if Roethlisberger get hurt the season could go down the tubes.    Thursday night game vs. the Eagles is the last dress rehearsal before the season opener vs. the Cleveland Browns on September 7th.

I attended the Steelers joint practice with the Buffalo Bills.  There was a stretching period and the Steelers were fielding punts via the Jugs machine.   The defensive line was working with the blocking sled.  The secondary was working on man to man coverage, and the quarterbacks were working on  passing drills.   The tight ends and the offensive line were working on blocking drills. Then when the teams started to practice it was wide receivers taking on the defensive backs.   For the Steelers Justin Brown and Lance Moore made some great catches.    Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton each made 2 great catches.   Bills first round pick Sammy Watkins made some great catches as well

When the team went to 11-11 drills LeGarrette Blount and Tauren Poole made some good runs.  C.J Goodwin made some good catches. Ben Roethlisberger made some good throws to Antonio Brown and David Paulson, but the Bills made some good plays on defense.   To close the practice there was some 7-7 drills with some passes complete to Heath Miller, Brown, and Wheaton.   Overall it was good practice and the game Saturday night will answer some questions for the upcoming season.

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The NFL Season is almost here, and for the third straight year I will be making my NFL Season predictions. (here are my picks from 2012  http://noodleofnam.blogspot.com/2012/08/2012-nfl-predictions.html and 2013 http://noodleofnam.blogspot.com/2013/09/2013-nfl-predictions.html ) Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think! Are you ready for some football!?

 

AFC East

New England Patriots 12-4
Miami Dolphins 9-7
New York Jets 8-8
Buffalo Bills 6-10

 

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
Baltimore Ravens 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
Cleveland Browns 4-12

 

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts 11-5
Tennessee Titans 10-6
Houston Texans 8-8
Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11

AFC West

Denver Broncos 12-4
San Diego Chargers 11-5
Kansas City Chiefs 8-8
Oakland Raiders 4-12

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
Dallas Cowboys 9-7
New York Giants 7-9
Washington Redskins 7-9

NFC North

Green Bay Packers 12-4
Chicago Bears 10-6
Detroit Lions 9-7
Minnesota Vikings 5-11

NFC South

New Orleans Saints 12-4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
Atlanta Falcons 8-8
Carolina Panthers 3-13

 

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks 13-3
San Francisco 49ers 9-7
St. Louis Rams 8-8
Arizona Cardinals 6-10

 

 

Playoffs

NFC Wild Card

Green Bay vs Tampa Bay

Philadelphia vs Chicago

NFC Divisional Round

Seattle vs Philadelphia

New Orleans vs Green Bay

NFC Championship

Seattle vs New Orleans

AFC Wild Card

Cincinnati vs Tennessee

Indianapolis vs San Diego

AFC Divisional Round

Denver vs Tennessee

New England vs San Diego

AFC Championship

Denver vs San Diego

Super Bowl

Denver vs New Orleans

Super Bowl Champions

Denver Broncos

 

 

 

NFL MVP – Peyton Manning
NFL Passing Yards Leader-  Drew Brees 5,234 yards
NFL Touchdown Passes Leader- Peyton Manning 48
NFL Rushing Yards Leader- Matt Forte 1,673 yards
NFL Receiving Yards Leader- Calvin Johnson 2,032 yards
Receiving Touchdowns- Demaryius Thomas 15 TD’s
Rushing Touchdowns- Marshawn Lynch 14 TD’s
Sacks- Robert Quinn 21
Interceptions- Brandon Boykin 9
Rookie of the Year- Sammy Watkins

So there you have it. Those are my 2014 NFL predictions. If you agree, disagree, or think I’m crazy let me know!  But remember, these aren’t anything official, just predictions. And if any of us did have the actual answers Vegas would go broke!

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I was at the Steelers night practice at Latrobe Stadium, and it started with walk-throughs.  Then it was divide into offensive line blocking drills and covering punts.     Then more stretching and the offensive line did more blocking drills, plus the defensive line did pass rushing drills.   The quarterbacks did hand offs and screen passes to the running backs.  Defensive backs practiced intercepting passes.  Then the quarterbacks did passing drills to the wide receivers, and the quarterbacks did mobility drills.   Then the receivers took on the defensive backs in drills.   Then there was more special teams drills with kickoff coverage, and for young players you make any NFL team by doing well on special teams.

The team went to 11 on 11 drills, and the running game was featured with young running backs Tauren Poole, Miguel Masonyet, Le’Veon Bell, and Josh Harris carrying the ball.  The quarterbacks were able to complete some passes.  I was surprised that free agent quarterback Brendon Kay made some plays.  The only thing that was disappointing there were no goal line drills, but overall it was a good practice.   I will be at St. Vincent College for the scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills next Thursday afternoon at 5:30 P.M.

I watched Steelers Training Camp last Monday and this is what I saw.   Despite the rain it was a good practice and the first one with the pads on.  The running game will get a lot of better with an offensive line.  The passing game will be better as well, and Ben Roethlisberger looks in the best shape of his career.   The defense is younger and faster, and that will mean more turnovers and big plays.   The Steelers are coming off two straight 8-8 seasons, and they must have a fast start and that begins against the Cleveland Browns on September 7th.

 

Okay so I had to simply call this the “Receivers Edition” instead of “Wide Receivers Edition” because I am including Tight Ends as well. We will look at upcoming milestones in Receptions, Receiving Yards, and Receiving Touchdowns. So lets get to it! (once again barring unforeseen circumstances).

Receptions

1,000

Andre Johnson- Currently at 927 receptions, Johnson has had 100+ receptions the past two seasons, and will become just the 10th player in NFL history to achieve 1,000 receptions in a career.

900

Jason Witten- The 9 time Pro Bowler has been an important piece to the Dallas Cowboys offense during his 11 seasons with the team. The Tight End is just a few games in need of reaching the 900 mark. (879 career receptions)

Anquan Boldin- Boldin thrived in his first season in San Francisco. Boldin’s 85 receptions last season has currently put him at 857 career receptions.

Larry Fitzgerald- His career low in receptions was 58 during his rookie season. Since that time he has currently racked up a total of 846 catches.

Wes Welker- When you get to play for quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning like Wes Welker has, then you are going to get your number called quite a bit! Welker is currently at 841 career receptions.

Steve Smith- Smith had 64 receptions last season, which is exactly the amount he needs to reach 900. Will definitely get his chances in Baltimore as he will be their new primary threat.

800

Brandon Marshall- Possibly part of the best wide receiver alongside Alshon Jeffrey in Chicago. No reason to think he (and for that matter Jeffrey) will not keep it. Marshall has had 100+ receptions the past two seasons, bringing his career total to 712.

Rest of The Field

700

Roddy White- 685 career receptions

600

Calvin Johnson- 572

500

Greg Jennings- 493

Dwayne Bowe- 472

Heath Miller- 466

Will They?

Antonio Gates is currently sitting at 719 receptions. He has only reached 80+ receptions twice in his career, but recorded 77 last season

Jerricho Cotchery- Now will be the apparent No.1 Receiver in Carolina, Cotchery may have a shot at reaching 500 career receptions this season. (437 career receptions)

Receiving Yards

Reggie Wayne- Before a mid-season injury last season, Reggie Wayne achieved the 1,000 reception milestone. Had he not gone done with an injury, Wayne would have been within an arms reach of reaching 15,000 this season. But it is a safe bet that he will get to 14,000 as he currently sits at 13,566 career receiving yards. (But don’t knock him just yet on reaching 15,000 this season either!)

Andre Johnson- If consistency continues, Johnson will reach both the 13,000 and 14,000 receiving yard milestones. Currently at 12,661 career receiving yards, Johnson posted 1,407 yards in 2013 and 1,598 in 2012(and has recorded 1,500+ receiving yards in 3 of the last 6 seasons).

Steve Smith- Will see a rejuvenation in Smith career this season with a fresh start in Baltimore. needs 803 (12,197 career receiving yards) to reach the 13,000 yard milestone.

Will reach 12,000 (may have chance at 13,000)

Larry Fitzgerald- 11,367 career receiving yards

Anquan Boldin- 11,344 career receiving yards

Welcome to the five digits (and more!) club (10,000+)

Jason Witten- 9,799 career receiving yards

Roddy White- 9,436 career receiving yards

Wes Welker- 9,358 career receiving yards

Calvin Johnson- 9,328 career receiving yards (I think he will reach 11,000 as well as I have gone on the record to say Megatron will record 2,000 receiving yards this season http://kcsportsninja.com/can-calvin-johnson-crack-the-2000-receiving-yard-mark-in-2014/ )

Antonio Gates- 9,193 career receiving yards

Brandon Marshall- 9,050 career receiving yards

9,000

Marques Colston- 8,337 career receiving yards

8000

Vincent Jackson- 7,362 career receiving yards

Greg Jennings- 7,344 career receiving yards

Touchdown Receptions

90

Larry Fitzgerald- 87  career TD Receptions

Antonio Gates- 87 career TD Receptions

*Note* If both match their career highs (13) they will reach 100 career TD Reception milestone in the process.

70

Steve Smith- 67 career TD Receptions

Calvin Johnson- 66 career TD Receptions

Anquan Boldin- 65 career TD Receptions

Marques Colston- 63 career TD Receptions

Will He?

Andre Johnson has 61 career TD Receptions but has only record 9 in a single season once.

60

Brandon Marshall- 57 career TD Receptions (If continues trend of past two seasons of having one more TD than previous season, 11 in 2012, 12 in 2013, then 70 may also be reached by Marshall)

Greg Jennings- 57 career TD Receptions

Roddy White- 55 career TD Receptions

Vernon Davis- 53 career TD Receptions

Will They?

Vincent Jackson has 52 career TD Receptions, but has had one less TD in each of the past three seasons (2011- 9 TD Receptions, 2012- 8 TD Receptions, 7 TD Receptions)

Jason Witten- Had 8 TD Receptions last season. Only had one other season with 8 or more TD’s in a season (9 in 2010)

50

Wes Welker- 48 career TD Receptions (With Peyton Manning as his QB, had career best with 10 TD Receptions last season. Perhaps may reach 60 as well if he continues build off that)

Rob Gronkowski- 42 career TD Receptions

Jimmy Graham- 41 career TD Receptions

Dez Bryant- 40 career TD Receptions

Will They?

Dwayne Bowe- Has 44 career TD Receptions and his career high is 15 in a season (2010). His rookie season(2007) he had 7. But in his five other seasons, Bowe has had 5 or less TD’s

Heath Miller- 40 career TD Receptions. Will need career year. Most ever recorded in a single season is 8 (2012).

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/

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A big part that measures a player’s success is any and all milestones they reach throughout their career. With the 2014 NFL Season quickly approaching, many players are in reach of big milestones. And barring unforeseen circumstances, the following milestones will be reached by the following players

Passing Yards

Tom Brady

3 time Super Champion Tom Brady is knocking on the door of 50,000 career passing yards. Brady currently stands at a career total of 49,149, and it should take about four games at the most to reach the 50,000 yard mark.

Philip Rivers

Rivers will need a good portion of the season to hit the next big career milestone of 35,000 passing yards, with a current career total of 32,369.

Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger will need less games to reach the 35,000 mark than Rivers (34,105).

Tony Romo

It may just take one game for Romo to reach 30,000 (29,565), but would probably make a couple interceptions in the process ;)

Quarterbacks that will reach 25,000 mark

1. Aaron Rodgers- 24,197

2. Jay Cutler- 23,937

3. Matt Ryan- 23,472

4. Joe Flacco- 21,545

(Matthew Schaub currently has 24,254. While he is in Oakland where there is currently heavy QB competition, Schaub should receive a chance and in the process may reach the 25,000 milestone)

Quarterbacks that will reach 20,000 mark

1. Matthew Stafford- 17,457

Touchdown Passes

Peyton Manning

Manning is currently 2nd all time for most career passing touchdowns with 491. Not only will Peyton reach the 500 mark, but will also surpass Brett Favre (508) for most all time!

Will They?

Both Drew Brees and Tom Brady have 363 and 359 career touchdown passes respectively. May be a stretch to think Brady will reach 400 mark, but Brees needs just 37 and was one TD Pass shy last year of having three consecutive seasons of 40+ touchdown passes.

Quarterbacks that will reach 200 mark

1. Aaron Rodgers- 188

Quarterbacks that will reach 100 mark

1. Andy Dalton- 80

(other notables Josh Freeman-80, Matt Cassel- 93, David Garrard- 89, Jason Campbell- 87, Kyle Orton- 83

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_yds_career.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_td_career.htm

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Ben Roethlisberger is entering his 11 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.   He went from being almost traded for sexual assault allegations that got his suspended in 2010 to a family man with two children.    He has rebuilt his image, and now he can do something special.  He has two years left on his 100 million dollars contract, and the Steelers will talk about his contract before the 2015 season.    He could get greedy and ask for more money or he could give the Steelers a home town discount.    By giving them a discount Ben could let the Steelers sign other key players to be in good shape for a few more runs at winning multiple Super Bowls.    I feel Ben has some great years left in him the question is will he give the Steelers a few more Super Bowls as well.

With the Steelers beginning Training Camp this Saturday at St. Vincent College in Latrobe there are a lot of questions that have to be answered.  The defense has gotten younger and faster, but can they can force turnovers and make big plays when they need to.  Will new offensive line coach Mike Munchak help this line play up to its potential, and it would help for them to be healthy and gel together.   Will the addition of LeGarrette Blount and a healthy Le’Veon Bell turn the running game into a key factor for the offense.   Will Markus Wheaton come on strong and take the pressure of Antonio Brown.   Will Ben Roethlisberger continue his play from late in the season and help the team  get off to a strong start. Will Dri Archer be a big factor in the running, receiving and return game.   Could Adam Podlesh or Brad Wing help them have a consistent punter  to pin team back near their goal line.  These are the questions the Pittsburgh Steelers are facing in training camp and these next few weeks will answer some of these questions.

491

 

Over/Under

(CSM /LANDOV)

1. Antonio Brown will have 1,500 receiving yards? (1,499 yds. in 2013)

Over/Under

2. Ben Roethlisberger will throw 30 TD passes (28 in 2013)

Over/Under

Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

3. Le’Veon Bell rushes for 1,000 yards? (Had 860 while play/starting only 13 games)

Over/Under

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Lawerence Timmons records 135 tackles? (Had 126 last year, 135 is career best)

Over/Under

5. Pittsburgh will win 3 division games (4-2 last year)

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100

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers become the team of the 1970s.   The nine players from those teams wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Chuck Noll wound up in the Hall of Fame in 1993, but never got the credit that he really deserved.    Noll was a teacher, but not a motivational coach like Vince Lombardi.   He never wanted the limelight and never appeared in commercials or wrote any books.  He was a renaissance man who loved to  classical music, gourmet food, was a pilot, and loved to  talk about many topics outside of football.   He was above all else a teacher and his lessons went well beyond the football field.  He would talk about going on with YOUR LIFE’s work, and the phrase I remember over all else is Whatever It Takes.    The meaning was doing more than what is expected of you.  I was at St. Vincent College for training camp in the summer of 1980 after the Steelers won their 4th super bowl victory.  He was teaching and prepping his team for the season ahead.  He never looked back at the past triumphs but looked forward at the challenges ahead.  Chuck Noll passed away last night at age 82 and he completed his life’s work and what a life is was.

 

It is never too early to start talking about football! With less than three months to go until the start of the 2014 NFL Season, interesting stories have and will continue to build until the season finally commences! So with that out of the way, lets take a look at some scenarios and either “Buy” or “Sell” them actually happening this upcoming NFL Season!

Buy or Sell

1. Dallas Cowboys Will Make The Playoffs?

2. LeSean McCoy Will Repeat As NFL Rushing Leader?

3. Eli Manning Will Have a Bounce Back Year?

2013 Stats: 3,818 Passing Yards, 18 Touchdowns, 27 Interceptions (most in league in 2013, as well career worst) 69.4 QB Rating

4. Nick Foles Will Continue Success From Last Season And Be Eagles Next Franchise Quarterback?

2013 Stats: 8-2 record, 27 Touchdowns (only 2 interceptions), league best QB Rating of 119.2

5. Calvin Johnson Will Have at Least 1,500 Yards Receiving?

2013 Stats: 14 Games Played, 1,492 Receiving Yards, 12 TD Receptions

6. One of The Following Head Coaches Will Lead Their New Team To The Playoffs?

  1. Bill O’Brien- Houston Texans
  2. Jim Caldwell- Detroit Lions
  3. Mike Pettine- Cleveland Browns
  4. Mike Zimmer- Minnesota Vikings
  5. Lovie Smith- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Ken Whisenhunt- Tennessee Titans
  7. Jay Gruden- Washington Redskins

 

7. At least One of The Following Head Coaches Will Be Fired After The Season?

  1. Rex Ryan- New York Jets
  2. Mike Tomlin- Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Marvin Lewis- Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Jason Garrett- Dallas Cowboys

 

 

8. Drew Brees Will Throw For 5,000+ Yards For The 4th Consecutive Season?

9. Jadeveon Clowney Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year?

10. Johnny Manziel Will Start a Game For Cleveland?

11. There Will Be QB Controversy For The New York Jets Between Geno Smith & Mike Vick?

12. The New England Patriots Will Win The AFC East For The Sixth Straight Season?

13. Peyton Manning Will Throw 50+ TD Passes?

2013 Stats: 5,477 Passing Yards (NFL Record), 55 Touchdown Passes (NFL Record), 342.3 Passing yards per game (league best), 115.1 QB Rating

14. Richard Sherman Will Have at Least 8 Interceptions For The Third Consecutive Season?

15. The Seattle Seahawks Will Repeat As Super Bowl Champions?

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The Steelers started the fourth round of the NFL Draft getting wide receiver Martavis Bryant from Clemson.     He gives them a tall receiver with 4.42 speed and could get major reps in training camp.     In the fifth round, The Steelers took cornerback Shaquille Richardson from the University of Arizona.  He has played some safety well, and adds more speed in the secondary.    With their 2nd selection of the fifth round, they took offensive linemen Wesley Johnson from Vanderbilt.   He has the position flexibility to play center, guard, and tackle.  Since the offensive line could be a strength Johnson could be a valuable swing man.    In the sixth round, they took inside linebacker Jordan Zumwalt from UCLA.      He could be a major contributor on special teams and a future starter.   With their 2nd  selection of the sixth round,  they drafted defensive lineman Daniel McCullers from Tennessee.  He is 6-7 weighing 352 pounds, and he could be the successor to Casey Hampton as a run stuffing in the 3-4 defense.   In the 7th round, The Steelers last pick was tight end Rob Blanchflower from Massachusetts.     He is a great blocker, but needs to work on being a pass catcher. It doesn’t hurt to be mentored by Heath Miller.     The true measure of this draft will not be known for a few years.   Hopefully, some of these draft picks will be big contributors for the Steelers.

The Steelers addressed the defensive line when they drafted Stephon Tuitt  from Notre Dame in the 2nd round.  He had a great season in 2012 with the Irish played in the BCS title game, but last season he was beset with injuries.  They are convinced that he is healthy and will be a big contributor on the defensive line. Then in the 3rd round they drafted RB/WR Dri Archer from Kent State.    He has 4.25 speed and  will help out as a receiver and a runner,  and on kickoff and punt returns.  The problems with Archer is that durability is a major issue, and being 5-8 173 pounds because the more physical nature of the NFL..  Rounds 4 through 7 start tomorrow at noon, and they could get help in the tight end position and in the secondary.     They could get a diamond in the rough that could be an impact player in the future.

I was surprised that the Steelers drafted Ryan Shazier in the 1st round in the NFL Draft.    He could play both inside and outside linebacker and for Ohio State racked up over 100 tackles in the past two seasons.  He can rush the passer and drop back into pass coverage.   His shortcomings are lack of size, being over aggressive at times, his inconsistent tackling, and can be bullied by offensive line.  He has a good over all around game, but lack of strength could be his undoing in the NFL.     The Steelers still have to address the defensive line, secondary, and the receiving corps.   I will be blogging about the rest of the Steelers draft this weekend, but might a little busy watching the Penguins tomorrow night.

 

As the NFL Schedule was released yesterday, one of the many talked about subjects were key match ups during the 17 week long regular season. I compromised 10 games that are out of division, match ups that are a must watch as some may and will hold playoff implications and positioning, another chapter being added to rivalries, and rematches with one team looking for revenge! Without further ado, here are my 10 must see (out of division) games to watch this 2014 NFL Season!

 

Week 1 

Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers

The Seattle Seahawks begin their Super Bowl title defense against the Green Bay Packers. The last time these two teams met, it ended in controversial fashion when an Hail Mary attempt appeared to be intercepted in the endzone by then Packers Safety, M.D. Jennings. It was then when then Seahawks Receiver Golden Tate made a desperate yet obvious last ditch attempt to persuade the replacement officials that he was the one in full control of the ball when coming down with it. The call was ruled a touchdown and ironically a few days later Tate admitted he pushed off a defender (which would be offensive pass interference) before “catching” the ball for the game winning touchdown. Thankfully just two days later, the original referees ended the “2012 NFL Referee Lockout” by coming to an agreement with the NFL.

Week 2

Indianapolis Colts vs Philadelphia Eagles

Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck has already cemented himself as the next franchise Quarterback for the Colts. The Eagles are hoping they found theirs finally for the first time since the Donovan McNabb era in Nick Foles. Foles made a quick mid-season impression and lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a division title last year.

Week 3

Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos

Super Bowl 48 rematch! We know Denver will be looking to avenge its embarrassing performance against Seattle when the Seahawk defense picked apart Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense en route to a 43-8 Super Bowl victory. Will the Legion of Boom continue where it last left off from its dominance in the Super Bowl, or will Peyton Manning and the Denver offense finally have an answer for the “12th man”?

Week 4

San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagle will be heavily tested early on in 2014, as they face another Super Bowl contender, San Francisco 49ers, in Week 4. Colin Kaepernick has come close to a Super Bowl ring twice. In 2013 he and the 49ers were defeated by the Ravens in Super Bowl 47, and lost in last year’s NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. Foles will look to prove he is the future and answer the Eagles problems, while Kaepernick is trying to solve the problem of getting over the hump en-route to a Super Bowl ring.

Week 7

Denver Broncos vs San Francisco 49ers

In what could have been the other possible Super Bowl 48 match up, perhaps finally we will get a glimpse into what might have happened this past February had these two teams met for the Lombardi Trophy. Would Colin Kaepernick have “Kaepernicked” his way to a Super Bowl victory, or would Peyton Manning defied his critics and ended up winning his 2nd Super Bowl? I guess this will be the closest way in finding out the answer to that question…..for now!

Week 8

New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay Packers

In what is sure to be a quarterback clinic, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have combined for 2,067 passing yards (Rodgers-879, Brees- 1,188) 19 touchdown passes (Rodgers 9, Brees 10) and 211 points totaled between the two teams when these two meet. (Rodgers has won 2 of 3 matches against Brees)

Week 9

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos

Chapter 16 of the classic “Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning” rivalry. New England hosted Denver last year in the regular season where the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead before the Patriots made a huge comeback to win the game. Unfortunately for Brady and the Patriots, New England was not able to go into Mile High Stadium and capture the AFC Championship two months later against Manning and the Broncos. Though both quarterbacks are nearing the end of their respective careers, they will still have plenty to play for and much to prove.

Week 10

New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers

Two different style quarterbacks, both of whom produce big numbers and positive results. While Drew Brees is a protocol “gun slinging” and “pocket presence” quarterback, Colin Kaepernick gets it done not only through the air, but on his legs, via the ground game. This mid-season match up could give early indications of playoff positioning, and for these two championship contenders, positioning means everything!

Week 13

Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots

Another match up where Tom Brady will be facing an elite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. While Tom Brady may not have as many weapons as Aaron Rodgers and this is not the same New England teams from year’s past, Brady’s experience and leadership begins to take stride around this time each season. Rodgers will be no slouch either as he already has a Super Bowl trophy and like Brady, has his sights set on another one!

Week 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs Seattle Seahawks

A potential playoff preview, it will be interesting to see how these two teams offenses generate against each other. The Seahawks, led by Russell Wilson, will have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Jermaime Kearse as down field threats. The Eagles counter that with Nick Foles at quarterback with what also might be now the most dynamic backfield duo in the entire NFL after obtaining Darren Sproles to complement LeSean McCoy. Even though Philadelphia lost DeSean Jackson, they will be getting Jeremy Maclin back and Riley Cooper has emerged as the Eagles No. 2 Receiver. A definite must watch battle between these two high tempo, fast paced offenses!

With that said, are you ready for some football!?!?!?!?!

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Newly acquisition Ben Tate of the Cleveland Browns is not even a week into his signing with the team, and yet has already added to the rivalry between them and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tate was asked by a fan on Twitter of what he thought of the Steelers, to which he replied “Don’t like them or their little towels”.  I am sure fans of Pittsburgh and the Steelers themselves will keep this in the back of their heads when they face the Browns from here on out!

 

 

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http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=6406

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It was inevitable that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to part ways and cut Linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Where he will end up is really anyone’s guess. Many believe Woodley’s injury issues ,decline in production, and reports of him being out of shape may turn some teams away. That may not be the case, at least maybe for one team. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS, the Tennessee Titans are expected to end up with Woodley so that he can be reunited with one of his former coaches, Ray Horton.

 

Horton, who is currently the Tennessee Titans Defensive Coordinator, was the Pittsburgh Steelers Secondary Coach from 2004-2010. Woodley who was drafted in 2007, spent four seasons during Horton’s tenure with Pittsburgh. During that time Woodley recorded 141 tackles, 39.0 sacks, 3 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown), 7 forced fumbles, and 7 fumble recoveries (2 returned for touchdowns).

 

Sources: Jason La Canfora via Andrew Melnick of Fansided.com http://fansided.com/2014/03/10/nfl-free-agency-rumors-strong-sense-lamarr-woodley-signs-tennessee-titans/#!zmp8a

Source For Player Stats: http://www.sports-reference.com/

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