The legend of Jimmy Garoppolo continues to grow after the 49ers quarterback improves to 2-0 on the season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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To say the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo have started off on the right foot would be an understatement. Garoppolo is 2-0 since being named the 49ers starting quarterback and now we are seeing firsthand how much an elite QB can improve a football team. San Francisco only had one win the entire year before trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. So it’s not hard to piece together what the underlining factor in the 49ers’ success is. The combination of Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo will make magic happen for years to come and you can already see that unfolding every Sunday when this team laces up. San Francisco has a brutal schedule the rest of the way facing the Titans, Jaguars, and Rams. However if Jimmy G can win at least two of those games it would be huge for this franchise heading into the off-season. These next three opponents are not only huge for Garoppolo as a leader, they will also serve as a recruiting pitch to the upcoming free agents around the league. Therefore you can easily see how detrimental going 0-3 could be in that regard compared to going 2-1 or 3-0. One thing that is without a doubt is the quarterback position is the most important in the National Football League. A good signal caller is the difference between the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. John Lynch gave up a 2nd round draft pick to acquire Garoppolo from the New England Patriots and so far that seems to be a steal. The future is definitely brighter in Northern California because now the scarlet and gold have an identity. From here on out it’s about building the team around their main guy (Garoppolo) and getting the right role players in order to compete. You have to believe this organization will eventually get it right they’ve been making a splash with this new regime.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Aaron Rodgers has been cleared by the Packers medical staff, he will start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Aaron Rodgers has been given the green light by the Packers medical staff and it appears Rodgers will be thrown right into the fire against the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Former Packer Julius Pepper will be gunning for Rodgers but this is a great opportunity for the veteran QB to to improve his legacy. If Rodgers comes out and immediately impresses it will go a long way in uplifting the morale up this football team. Now to be fair it’s a bit of a long shot that Green Bay gets into the postseason. This team is currently the 9th seed in the NFC playoff picture and they need the Falcons, Seahawks, and Lions to stumble a little bit in order to get in. Not only that but the Packers have to win out so you can see how the odds are somewhat against Rodgers and company. The good news is Green Bay has found themselves in a similar situation before. Just last year Rodgers rattled off six straight wins to help Mike McCarthy’s team win the NFC North and clinch a playoff spot. So three straight wins seems a little bit more achievable than what this team had to go through a season ago. Seattle and Atlanta both have tough schedules over the next three games too, so there could be a realistic shot that someone besides the Seahawks or Falcons claims that 6th seed. The question is can Aaron Rodgers fresh off an injury win against the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions? That seems like a gauntlet for this franchise but if Rogers can pull it out they will definitely tell tails of this guy’s excellence. Remember Aaron Rodgers has the highest QB rating in NFL history for a reason, he is known for making miracles happen.

Charity of the day: National Kidney Foundation

Go donate! www.kidney.org

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Nobody wants to play the Jacksonville Jaguars when the playoffs roll around, they’ll shake things up this postseason:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have been having a terrific year and now the other teams in the National Football League have to look out. Jacksonville is the new kid on the block and you know the AFC is nervous about the potential this team has. Usually we expect the Patriots, Steelers, and Chiefs to be the top three teams out of that side of the bracket but it really feels like Jacksonville can shake up the status quo. To be honest it seems like the Steelers are the best team in this whole conference but if Pittsburgh doesn’t play up to their ability or if Mike Tomlin’s team has a few injuries, the Jags can beat them. There’s a lot of reasons why Jacksonville has turned into such a competitor including their top ranked rushing attacking and their number 1 pass defense. Leonard Fournette has been a freak of nature on the ground helping the Jags average 149.9 yards per game. While Jalen Ramsey and A.J Bouye have clamped down as the NFL’s best secondary. All of these young pieces are causing a resurgence in Northeast Florida and it was only a matter of time before this franchise became a powerhouse. The era of the Jaguar seems to be upon us and it’s clear why this team is first in the AFC South division. They have talent on both sides of the ball and suddenly Blake Bortles is hitting his stride. Bortles has thrown for 16 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions so the fourth year QB has done a much better job of taking care of the football in 2017. When you improve in every phase of the game and when you have one of the youngest rosters in all football those are two huge factors. Jacksonville has a very bright future and expect to see some fireworks as the season continues to unfold.

Charity of the day: National Kidney Foundation

Go donate! www.kidney.org

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Miami upsets New England 27-20 in Monday Night Football match up, Cutler throws for 3 touchdowns:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Miami Dolphins were able to pull an upset over the New England Patriots during this week’s edition of Monday Night Football. Jay Cutler actually out dueled Tom Brady and that was a big factor in Miami’s ability to win this football game. Cutler threw for 263 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions against a lackluster Patriots defense. Kenyan Drake was also a big factor for Miami, he rushed for a 114 yards for the night. Jarvis Landry showed why he is one the premier receivers in the league by hauling in 2 touchdowns and 46 receiving yards. Jakeem Grant grabbed the other Dolphins receiving touchdown and ended up with 42 yards. Tom Brady played below his own standards Brady threw for 233 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Rex Burkhead scored New England’s lone rushing touchdown which was on a 3 yard run. Danny Amendola led the way for the Patriots with 76 receiving yards. While James White hauled in a 3 yard touchdown pass from Brady. As you can see from the stats New England’s offense was a shell of their usual self. Bill Belichick’s defense continues to struggle as well and suddenly you can see that this team could fade away if they don’t pick it up a little bit. Miami really sucked the life out of New England in every phase of the game. You know the other teams in this league are going to use this film as a blueprint of how to beat the Pats. Really the main thing you take away from that game tape is the fact that the Dolphins secondary blanketed the Patriots’ wide outs. Usually Tom Brady and Brandin Cooks have a field day through the air, this week not one receiver went over 100 yards. On the defensive side of things T.J McDonald led the way with 8 tackles for the Dolphins. Kiko Alonso put together 7 tackles too and those two guys really put the pressure on New England’s running game. Coincidentally that’s the other underlining factor to defeating the Patriots you have to stop their rushing attack. Devin McCourty had 7 tackles and 1 sack for Belichick’s defense. Patrick Chung chipped in 7 tackles as well. Miami improves to 6-7 record wise and are currently the 10th seed. Adam Gase and the Dolphins will have to win out if they want a chance at making the postseason. It’s a reach for this team but anything is possible. The Bills, Ravens, Chargers, and Raiders will all have to struggle over the next three game in order for Miami to get in.

Charity of the day: Save the Children

Go donate! www.savethechildren.org

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The Eagles are a wounded bird after Carson Wentz is lost for the rest of the season with a left ACL tear:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Philadelphia Eagles were having a spectacular year and were the best team in football for most of the regular season however Carson Wentz won’t be playing the rest of the way. Wentz tore his left ACL against the Los Angeles Rams and now the second year quarterback is done for the season. As good as things were going for Philly this drastically changes the future and now the Eagles will comeback down to earth. There’s no way this football team wins a Super Bowl without Wentz and it’s obvious when you look at the former North Dakota State University alum’s stat line. Wentz was having the best year of any Eagles QB ever (33 touchdowns) which helped captivate the entire city. The culture surrounding Philadelphia is better than it’s been in so long and it’s because this organization knows they have something special in their young signal caller. That enthusiasm is shared by the fans too and you have to imagine everyone in Philly is just devastated right now to see everything fall apart because Wentz ended up tearing up his knee. Head Coach Doug Pederson and his staff had a Super Bowl contending team with Carson Wentz at the helm. Now this team will be lucky to even win a playoff game. We saw a similar situation with the Oakland Raiders last year when Derek Carr broke his fibula and then the Raiders lost their wildcard match up against the Texans. Philadelphia finds themselves in closely related circumstances and don’t be surprised if this team stumbles even before the playoffs start without Wentz. There’s three regular season games left and it will be tough for the Eagles to sustain the success they’ve been able to have over the first thirteen games. The x factor will be Nick Foles and everything he can bring to the table, one thing is for certain he definitely has big shoes to fill.

Charity of the day: Save the Children

Go donate! www.savethechildren.org

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Steelers rally to beat the Ravens 39-38, Ben Roethlisberger throws for over 500 yards:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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No NFL player has more 500 yard passing games than Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers’ quarterback threw for 506 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions in a win over Baltimore. It was the 3rd time Roethelisberger put up over 500 yards through the air and more importantly the Steelers got their 11th win of the season. Le’Veon Bell was also sensational for Pittsburgh’s offense he recorded 3 total touchdowns two rushing and one on the ground. Antonio Brown benefited greatly from Roethlisberger’s big day, Brown hauled 213 receiving yards and is making a case to be the first wide receiver who wins the Most Valuable Player award. Usually that accomplishment goes to a quarterback however Brown has 5 straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and winning MVP would be a great way to reward the Steelers wide out for his production on the field. Fullback Roosevelt Nix-Jones got in on the scoring action too, he caught a 1 yard touchdown pass late in the game and helped propel Mike Tomlin’s ball club to a win. Joe Flacco played good throwing for 269 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception but the Ravens offense stalled out in the final quarter of play. One bright spot for the Ravens though was Running Back Alex Collins who finished the game with 120 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. Chris Moore and Patrick Ricard both grabbed touchdowns in this contest but it’s clear Baltimore needs more receivers in order to be more explosive in the passing game. The Steelers defense was definitely missing Ryan Shazier but a couple players did step up. Sean Davis continues to play well in the Pittsburgh secondary he ended the night with 12 tackles and 1 interception. T.J Watt did his part in the win as well he recorded 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. C.J Mosley led the Ravens D with 14 total tackles which is a pretty sharp performance. Tony Jefferson was also tough in this match up he chipped in 11 tackles and half a sack. The Steelers are better than they were at this time last season. In 2016 Pittsburgh was 8-5 by the end of week 14 and now they are 11-2. Those improvements that helped this team include significantly bolstering their defense with Sean Davis and Artie Burns. Getting Cameron Heyward back from an injury that sidelined him in 2016 has been another huge uplift for the Steel City. On the offensive side of the ball the Steelers added another gear when Martavis Bryant returned from a suspension. Ju-Ju Smith Schuster didn’t play against the Ravens but he has been a big piece of the winning puzzle as well. Nobody in the postseason wants to play the Pittsburgh Steelers right now this team has too many weapons and they always find a way to win.

Charity of the day: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

Go donate! www.fallenheroesfund.org

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Dak Prescott keeps the Cowboys’ playoff hopes alive with 3 touchdowns in a 30-10 win over the Giants:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Cowboys couldn’t afford to lose another game and Dak Prescott did everything he could to make sure that didn’t happen. Prescott threw for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns to help Dallas steamroll the Giants 30-10. Rod Smith also had a huge day for the Cowboys offense, Smith had 160 combined yards on the ground and through the air. Rod Smith punched in one rushing touchdown and 1 receiving touchdown too so it’s obvious the running back had a monster day. As far as the receivers went for Dallas, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten both caught touchdown catches. When Jerry Jones’ team plays like this you have to like their chances because this was a complete performance on both sides of the ball. Eli Manning gave it all he had after getting the nod this week for New York. Manning threw for 228 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions against a tough defensive line. Wayne Gallman was the leading rusher for the G-Men he finished with 59 rushing yards but couldn’t score any points. Evan Engram had a team high 54 receiving yards while Rhett Ellison caught the lone touchdown for Big Blue. As far as defense goes Sean Lee had one of the most impressive performances of the day. Lee racked up 18 tackles and 1 interception. Anthony Hitchens played extremely well also he finished with 14 tackles and 1 forced fumble. Landon Collins had a decent showing for the Giants defense he put together a 7 tackle outing. Damon Harrison had a good contribution on the defensive front for New York he went for 5 tackles. Overall the Cowboys played high octane football and improve to 7-6 for the year. There’s still hope hope in Texas that this team can win out and sneak into the playoffs. If Dak Prescott keeps playing like this anything is possible.

Charity of the day: Trust for Public Land

Go donate! www.tpl.org

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Bill Belichick is first on the list when it comes to the top 5 head football coaches on the planet, the other four might surprise you:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s plenty of great football coaches on planet earth but to be in the top 5 in the world shows you’re the best of the best. Obviously everyone knows Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest football coach ever but there’s four other main guys who help make up that upper echelon of the coaching game. On this list it doesn’t matter what level each coach works at it’s more focused on who is compiling the most wins and who is dialing up the best x and os? Without further ado here are the best coaches around.

5. Andy Reid comes in at our number five spot and it’s easy to see why. With 19 years of experience and 179 NFL wins Reid has constantly overachieved when it comes to developing talent. A true player’s coach Reid is known for being well respected by his guys, a lot of that comes from the fact that Reid is very loyal. The Chief’s head coach often chooses to retain his own players avoiding personnel turnover. A good example of that would be Alex Smith and how Reid has stuck with him through thick and thin. That consistency has been a formula for success for the Eagles and Chiefs during the Andy Reid eras and it’s also helped the old ball coach become one of the best team builders in the world.

4. Urban Meyer is the fourth best football coach around and he might be the best x and os guy in the entire world. One of the early pioneers of the spread offense, Meyer took the influences of John L. Smith, Scott Linehan, Bill Snyder, and Rich Rodriguez then put his own spin on things. The result was one of the most dynamic offensive systems the world has ever seen and neither Nick Saban nor Urban Meyer have ever had a losing season in their lifetime. As a guy who clearly understands he has a gift you have to wonder if Meyer would ever consider coaching at the NFL level? The Browns and Bengals coaching jobs both could be opening up soon, Meyer would be a great hire for either organization.

3. Pete Carroll is maybe the most original coach on the list. Carroll is completely against the grain when it comes to everything we’ve ever known about a football coach in the fact that he is even more of player’s coach than Andy Reid is. What that means is Carroll has a pulse on his locker room and he understand he has to allow his player’s to express themselves. That trust Pete Carroll establishes with his players allows him to build one of the best football cultures around. That’s ultimately why we see the Seahawks constantly reload and stay competitive. It’s hard to believe that Carroll struggled in his initial two gigs in the NFL but ever since USC and Seattle it’s been smooth sailing.

2. Nick Saban is such a detail orientated guy and in that matter he is only surpassed by Bill Belichick. Saban has developed a brand that is the standard of excellence in college football which includes 5 national championships. The best players in the world want to play for the best coach and that’s why we see Alabama recruit better than everyone else every off-season. No college football coach is churning out professional prospects like Saban does and he also does a great job of preparing his players for life. When it comes to football there’s not enough good things you can say about Nick Saban and don’t be surprised if he wins another national championship this year after barely getting into the college football playoffs.

1. They say save your best for last and Bill Belichick is hands down the best football coach in the world and maybe ever. Belichick has won an amazing 7 Super Bowls in his lifetime (5 as a head coach and 2 as an assistant coach). Which speaks volumes about how the Patriots coach operates on game day. Belichick has helped so many of his assistants land their own head coaching jobs and that tells how well he is at developing his staff. Not only that, Belichick also focuses on building the best team possible. A lot of that involves finding players who fit into roles rather than bringing in the most talented players. There’s no doubt that Belichick believes in analytics that’s why we see players like Rex Burkhead and Chris Hogan flourish in their system despite being low cost acquisitions. It’s clear Belichick will do anything he can to improve his football team and he doesn’t just do that in off-season, he upgrades his roster throughout the entire year.

Charity of the day: HelpMeSee

Go donate! www.helpmesee.org

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Josh Gordon excelled in his first game back, now sets his sights on destroying the Green Bay Packers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Well we all knew Josh Gordon could play but nobody could have expected Gordon would be as good as he was against the Chargers last week. After missing almost three full seasons of NFL action due to violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, Gordon finally returned against Los Angeles and didn’t skip a beat. There were times Josh Gordon looked so impressive you could just tell that the defender guarding him (Casey Hayward) had his hands full. Gordon went on to finish with 4 receptions for 85 yards but that was certainly a victory for the 26 year old considering everything he had to overcome to get back on the football field. Now with the Green Bay coming to town Sunday Gordon will do his best to best to carve up the Packers 26th ranked pass defense. Expect Flash Gordon to get better with each game he plays because there’s no way his conditioning can be up to par yet. Essentially this guy just came off the couch and started blowing past NFL defensive backs. One thing that really stands out about Gordon is his size, he has 6’4 220 pound frame which is simply too big for most secondary players. Then there’s the speed and hands the Browns’ receiver brings to the table it’s been stated that Gordon ran a 4.3 40 yard dash at practice. Which is a blazing fast time and if any football even comes near him it’s almost guaranteed that Josh Gordon is going to come down with it. The combination of all those skill sets make the former Baylor alum an elite receiver at the professional level. Really the only thing Gordon has to avoid is relapsing and getting suspended again. As long as he stay clean the Browns should get a huge boost from having their star wide out back in the mix.

Charity of the day: HelpMeSee

Go donate! www.helpmesee.org

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The Atlanta Falcons strengthen their playoff chances by beating the New Orleans Saints 20-17

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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This week’s Thursday Night Football match up was an NFC South showdown between the Falcons and Saints. The Falcons started the game off very cold but were eventually able to comeback and win 20-17. Matt Ryan threw 3 interceptions early on but he did throw for 221 yards and a touchdown too. Devonta Freeman also had a decent night, he added 91 yards and 1 touchdown to the offensive effort. Julio Jones was Atlanta’s leading receiver Jones hauled in 5 catches for 98 yards. Mohamed Sanu was also a factor in the passing game, Sanu caught 6 balls for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. As far as the Saints go Drew Brees tossed 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 271 passing yards. Brees had a better night individually than Ryan did but New Orleans couldn’t bring home a victory. Michael Thomas had a pretty big night for the gold and black. Thomas racked up 117 receiving yards and 1 touchdown reception. Tommylee Lewis grabbed a fade route for a Saints touchdown as well however Sean Payton’s team ended up giving this game away in the 4th quarter though. The Falcons put together 10 unanswered point in the final quarter of play while Drew Brees and company faded away. The Saints seized up with the pressure on and they really could have used this win to keep morale high. On the defensive side of the ball the Falcons got a huge night from Deion Jones. Jones racked up 13 tackles and the game clinching interception with time winding down. Dontari Poe also had solid night for the Dirty Birds upfront, Poe chipped in 5 tackles and 1 sack. Manti Te’o was the top defender for New Orleans, Te’o totaled up 10 tackles. While Marshon Lattimore held up fairly well against Julio Jones recording 3 tackles and 1 interception. Atlanta takes a step towards the postseason with this win and should be able to hold off Seattle and Detroit the rest of the way. Dan Quinn’s team has to feel confidant moving forward.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

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