When Ryan Tannehill was ruled out of the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears game with a shoulder injury everyone immediately thought Miami was dead in the water. Instead back up quarterback Brock Osweiler took over the reins and rallied the Dolphins to a 31-28 come from behind victory. There’s no doubt that Osweiler seized the moment and now people are going to start looking at him differently. Especially if the journeyman signal caller can win against the Detroit Lions this weekend. All of this proves there’s a lot more at stake than just a win for his team. Brock Osweiler is actually fighting for a bigger role and that might not necessarily be in Miami. The former Bronco, Texan, and Brown (Osweiler) is on a one year deal with the Dolphins and he’ll be able to sign anywhere he wants this off-season. There’s teams out there like Dallas and Buffalo who could use Osweiler to sure up their QB room. Now maybe he won’t be their starting guy but we’re seeing with the Bills right now that anything can happen (Derek Anderson will start for them this weekend). There’s not doubt that Sean McDermott would feel more comfortable going with Osweiler over Anderson so there’s an opportunity there to possibly be the starter for at least a year. Even the Dallas Cowboys have been a little bit stagnant with Dak Prescott under center. Osweiler could push Prescott and make the position stronger overall. Obviously there’s no guaranteeing if Osweiler will even leave Miami. If he keeps winning games and Ryan Tannehill can’t put it all together then maybe the Dolphins will chose to stick with the hot hand. The bottom line though is Osweiler must make the most of these starts and showcase that he’s still competent enough to lead an offense. You have tip your hat to him for even putting himself in this situation.
The New England Patriots are known for Tom Brady and their passing game but the running backs on this roster are also very potent. Sony Michel has been a downhill runner for Bill Belichick’s offense which has been somewhat surprising. Michel was very explosive at Georgia but clearly the rookie has adapted to the tough NFL defenses he’s had to face. The 2018 first round pick is showing more power than he’s done in the past and that’s been a big addition to the Patriot’s offense. By hitting the hole with a head of steam Michel is able to avoid any runs for loss. He’s also kind of a one cut running back and doesn’t try to be too shifty. The result has been 400 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns already guaranteeing that Michel’s rookie campaign will be a successful one. The second tailback in this offense probably should’ve been the MVP of Super Bowl LI and that’s James White. New England’s other ball carrier (White) is a scatback and he’s such a dynamic player. Whether it’s a toss play, a swing pass, or a screen White runs to daylight with amazing speed. This guy is a match up nightmare for teams and he works so well next to Brady in shotgun formation. White is also change of pace from Michel and defenses have to be conscious where he lines up on every snap. If New England can get White matched up against a linebacker then the outcome is usually a big play. Sony Michel is going to be the lead back and he’ll be tasked with wearing down defenses. Then White can come in and use his uptempo style of play to runs circles around his opponents. Make no mistake about it this has been one of the main reasons that the Pats are turning things around. Tom Brady handles the aerial attack and Sony Michel / James White rack up a ton of yardage on the ground.
The Detroit Lions selected Eric Ebron with their first round pick back in the 2014 NFL Draft and the idea was to pair the rookie tight end up with Matthew Stafford. Together those two players were supposed to take Detroit’s passing game to the next level but things never materialized and eventually the Lions cut Ebron. Indianapolis went on to sign the former North Carolina Tar Heel (Ebron) and things have completely changed for the better. Eric Ebron currently has the most touchdowns in the league with 6 trips to the end zone. It’s apparent that the 25 year old has made some significant strides in his development. This was a player who struggled to catch the football and was plagued by drops during his time in the Motor City. Now Ebron is catching everything and really helping Andrew Luck recapture his top form. Indianapolis isn’t very deep at the receiver position so to have a tight end up step up and make such a big impact has been huge for them. Clearly this has been very liberating for Eric Ebron personally. To have his former team bet against him and then to come out and play so well is a little bit of redemption. Indianapolis’ front office is looking like a genius for signing Ebron and once T.Y Hilton is healthy then this offense will have an opportunity to greatly improve. Hilton will create plays on the outside and then Ebron can be a red zone target over the middle or on flag routes. Based off everything we’ve seen so far the Colts new tight end will be on par with the best pass catchers the league has to offer. Which proves adding Eric Ebron was a steal for this organization and he’s been one of the best acquisitions by any team. Everything that the scouts raved about in 2014 is being showcased on the field each week and there’s definitely a star emerging in Indiana.
At the beginning of the season Antonio Brown was falling behind some of the other receivers in the league especially from a stats standpoint. That has changed over the last couple of weeks though and Brown is once again firing on all cylinders. The sideline outbursts are in the past and now Brown is all smiles. It’s because he’s recorded 478 yards and 6 touchdowns through six games and 206 yards and 3 of those touchdowns have come against his last two opponents. Brown even scored the game winning TD against the Bengals last Sunday. Cincinnati tried to all out blitz Ben Roethlisberger and instead Pittsburgh’s QB hit Brown over the middle. That play went for 31 yards and would wind up in the end zone for a Steelers win. Everything is clicking at the moment and now this ball club is looking like a contender again. If Antonio Brown keeps playing at such a high level obviously the Steel City will be a lock to make the playoffs. Not having Le’Veon Bell has hurt but when Brown is balling out that masks a lot of the problems this offense has. Don’t be surprised when Antonio Brown goes over 1,000 receiving yards and records over 10 touchdowns. Which will be another accomplishment in an already prolific career. Not many players have the credentials that number 84 has and he’s going to be a part of the Hall of Fame someday. Although this year has been special because Pittsburgh had to overcome so much adversity. The team struggled out of the gate and Bell’s absence has been a dark cloud hanging over everything. However Brown’s increased production has fans optimistic about the future and that’s also a big reason why the Steelers have a winning record now (3-2-1). Don’t expect Brown to fall off anytime soon and to be honest he’s only going to get better over the next 11 weeks.
Charity of the day: YMCA
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All the people who hoped Antonio Brown’s days were numbered are going to be disappointed. A.B is heating it up.
How many times have we seen Green Bay trailing in the 4th quarter only to have Aaron Rodgers rise to the occasion and help rally his team to a win? To be honest it seems like every Packers game ends that way and last night’s Monday Night Football match up against the 49ers was no different. San Francisco was leading the way for most of this battle but that’s when Rodgers turned it on. Thanks to back to back scoring drives on the Packers final two possessions of the game Rodgers was able to pull another rabbit out of the hat and win the contest in front of his home crowd. As a football fan who’s seen this outcome play out so many times before you still had to be in awe of everything that transpired. By the end of the night Rodgers had thrown for 425 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Proving one again that no stage is too big for him and also that he’s just as dangerous as ever. The other interesting story line was how three of Green Bay receivers went over the 100 yards mark. Davante Adams (132), Jimmy Graham (104), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (103) all had strong performances catching the ball. Adams had 2 touchdowns too including the play that tied things up. Making it evident that there’s still a lot of players on this offense who can create opportunities in the passing game. C.J Beathard led the way for the 49ers throwing for 245 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Beathard did all he could to put San Francisco in a position to win but they ended up letting it slip away down the stretch. Marquise Goodwin also played well for Kyle Shanahan’s offense recording 126 yards and 2 touchdowns. Raheem Mostert was the top rusher for the scarlet and gold he totaled up 87 yards in the defeat. Blake Martinez was the leading tackler for the Green Bay. Martinez ended up having 12 tackles and 1 TFL showing he can still be productive. Kenny Clark was also a force to be reckoned with he registered 7 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. The 49ers best defensive player was Reuben Foster who had 9 tackles and 1 TFL. Ronald Blair played extremely well too he chipped in 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. Overall this was an impressive come from behind win and the Packers are climbing the rankings in the NFC North. In order to complete their goals though they have to start a little bit quicker and avoid getting into situations like they did against the Niners. Green Bay won’t always be able to steal games away from their opponents like they did against San Francisco. However that doesn’t take away from this victory it was one of the more thrilling games of the 2018 season.
Charity of the day: YMCA
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Aaron Rodgers always seems to come up big with the game is on line. Last night against the San Francisco 49ers was no different.
When the New England Patriots were struggling earlier in the season it’s because they lacked weapons. Julian Edelman was suspended because of performance enhancing drugs and there wasn’t any receivers who could open up this offense. Then New England traded for Josh Gordon and got Edelman back in their lineup. The results have been much different since those two players have stepped on the field. Tom Brady and Gordon seem to have some chemistry between the two of them and that’s creating opportunities for the other players in this passing attack. Then of course there’s Julian Edelman and his return helps Brady when he’s under pressure. Edelman knows how to work back to his quarterback no matter what the circumstances are. When you’re trying to make something happen on the fly that can be the difference between scoring touchdowns and being forced to punt. New England scored a lot against Kansas City and then Stephen Gostkowski kicked a game winning field goal to seal the deal. Brady finished the night with 340 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. While Sony Michel ran hard again he ended up with 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski was the most productive pass catcher for the Patriots. Gronkowski had 97 yards and Edelman added the lone receiving touchdown. Patrick Mahomes played well he just needs to clean up his turnovers and he’ll be able to beat anyone in the NFL. Mahomes threw for 352 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs. The other big performance came from Tyreek Hill. Hill is one of the most explosive players the league has ever seen and he put up 142 yards and 3 touchdowns against Bill Belichick’s defense. Kareem Hunt was also amazing he rushed for 80 yards and then added another 105 yards plus a touchdown through the air. Overall there was a lot of offense by both sides but the Patriots had a little bit more once the clock struck zero. On the defensive side of the ball Dont’a Hightower and Duron Harmon both had an interception for the Patriots. Jason McCourty was the leading tackler with 6 stops. The Chiefs on the other hand were paced by Anthony Hitchens’ strong showing. Hitchens contributed 14 tackles plus 2 TFLs. Ron Parker was solid too he tallied up 9 tackles before the final whistle blew. The Patriots find themselves ascending at the right time and this will be a huge confidence boost heading into next week’s game against the Bears. Chicago will have a much tougher defense than Kansas City but it’s hard to bet against New England right now.
The Dallas Cowboys were coming off a loss against the Houston Texans but they definitely got back on track against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Cowboys rolled to a 40-7 victory and Cole Beasley stood out the most in this contest. Beasley hauled in 2 touchdowns and 101 receiving yards showing that he can be Dallas’ number 1 receiver. Dak Prescott has to keep looking his way as the season goes on because those two can bring out the best in each other. Prescott ended up having 183 yards, 2 touchdown, and no interceptions so it was a better game for him. The other star for the Cowboys was hands down Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott continues to get the tough yardage for this team and he finished the day with 106 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. At one point Elliott also laid Calais Campbell out on a pass block. Proving Elliott is willing will to do whatever it takes in order to help the Cowboys win. Blake Bortles struggled for the Jaguars only throwing for 149 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Cowboys defense didn’t give Bortles a whole lot of time to operate and Jacksonville was stagnant for three out of four quarters. T.J Yeldon rushed for 41 yards but this team is clearly missing Leonard Fournette. Dede Westbrook had 38 receiving yards and 1 touchdown but no one else could score for Doug Marrone’s ball club. Defensively the Jags were just as awful. Anytime you give up 40 points it was a rough day at the office. Yannick Ngakoue was the best defender for the Jags with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 TFLs. Calais Campbell also had a strong performance with 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 TFL. Leighton Vander Esch was the top defensive player for Dallas with 10 tackles. Randy Gregory recorded 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. The Cowboys suddenly look like they could end up with a winning season. When they play up to their potential they’re tough to match up with.
Jalen Ramsey is having a rough season so far. The talented but controversial Jaguars cornerback put himself in the crosshairs when he called out a list of NFL players. All that did was put an enormous amount of pressure on Ramsey and to be honest he hasn’t responded well now that there’s a target on his back. The most obvious evidence to support this claim has been Ramsey’s lackluster production. Jacksonville’s former 1st round draft pick (Ramsey) has yet to intercept any passes. You can’t be the guy that talks like you’re bigger and better than everyone else and then come out and tank. Most NFL players are smarter than that but Ramsey was certain that he could easily dominate anyone he goes against. Instead he’s been shown up by his rivals and that Tyreek Hill match up was extremely embarrassing. Ramsey called out Hill and suggested that most of his accomplishments have come on special teams. Then Hill ended up torching Ramsey on the field. At this point it’s becoming obvious that Jalen Ramsey’s brand is taking a hit. Hopefully he’ll learn from this and find a way to bounce back. However there’s no room for anymore trash talking on Ramsey’s behalf. He’ll probably never scale it back but that’s what he should do if he’s serious about accomplishing his goals. All of the press and media attention are only distracting him and it’s very unlikely he’ll make the Pro Bowl this year. Instead the 23 year old will be known as the player was overly braggadocios and then failed to back it up. Jacksonville has also underachieved when you consider how much talent they have. It’s because they have too many people in that organization who allow this diva mentality to permeate. Someone should’ve shut down Ramsey before he even considered voicing his opinions to GQ. There was no leader to reel him though and that’s why things haven’t been going as smooth as they should be.
The Washington Redskins felt good about their situation when they let Kirk Cousins go and then replaced him with Alex Smith. Smith was supposed to bring in some veteran leadership and help this team become a more cohesive unit. While Washington has a 2-2 record and is currently sitting in second place in the NFC East. If Smith doesn’t doesn’t deliver against the Carolina Panthers he could find himself on the hot seat. The Redskins have only scored 83 points this season and that ranks 29th in the league. We all know the quarterback position shoulders most of the blame for a lack offense and that’s why Smith needs a big game against Carolina. Falling to 2-3 isn’t acceptable and the fans in the D.C area would end up growing frustrated with the direction their heading in. To make matters even worse the Panthers are 3-1 and are clearly more talented than the Redskins. It’s going to be a long shot for Jay Gruden’s team to win this game and everyone in that organization knows the pressure is on. Smith isn’t the only individual who is running out of time. Gruden’s window is also closing and the loss against the Saints already has people wondering if Washington is on the cusp of unraveling? Therefore this franchise is at a crossroads moment and this next game will determine whether they’re a legitimate contender in their division or just another middle of the road ball club who isn’t a threat?. Philadelphia is getting their act together and that’s going to come at Dallas, New York, and Washington’s expense. With the Eagles rapidly improving Smith needs to outduel Cam Newton and keep his teammate’s morale high. If not then upper management might starting thinking about the long term picture and draft another quarterback this upcoming off-season. Smith has been through that situation before and he has to avoid letting that become a reoccurring theme in his career. Winning is the only thing which will cure these problems.
Not many teams had a better off-season than the Los Angeles Rams. First they landed Marcus Peters, Brandin Cooks, and Ndamukong Suh. Then LA struck gold again when they signed Aaron Donald to a huge $135M dollar extension. Most people thought that Suh and Donald would completely dominate but the Rams defense is actually ranked 18th against the run and 22nd in sacks. Where Suh and Donald do have a huge presence though is late in games. There’s so much action in the second half of NFL match ups because one team is always trying to rally back. Donald does a great job of coming alive when his opponents are fatigued and that’s definitely helping Los Angeles put the dagger in their rivals. A good example of this was the Vikings game when Aaron Donald swam Tom Compton and took Kirk Cousins down for a sack. Then in this past game against Seattle Donald was able to take Russell Wilson down for a loss. Those are plays that swing the momentum in the Rams favor and everyone on that roster is inspired when Donald leads the way. You can’t measure that impact with stats but it’s definitely big for the team in the heat of battle. These high profile players prove that Sean McVay’s ball club means business and they should start to gel as time goes on. Maybe they won’t become a top 10 ranked group but if they win a Super Bowl then it doesn’t really matter. It’ll be up to the defensive lineman to iron out their wrinkles and clog up those running lanes. The outside linebackers also have to take a lot of responsibility for the lack of sacks but there’s really not that much to complain about because Los Angeles is 5-0. Wade Philips just has to make sure he is putting Donald and Suh in the right spots and avoid letting the run defense spiral too far out of control. Other than that Aaron Donald and this defense have done enough to be perfect record wise.
Charity of the day: Huntington’s Disease Society of America