Bryce Petty would be the best option for the Jets moving forward:

Photo credit: Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets will get Ryan Fitzpatrick back from an MCL injury and now the Jets are faced with the decision of starting Fitzpatrick or Bryce Petty at quarterback position. Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan recently said the Jets “don’t have any regrets” about signing Fitzpatrick and he shouldn’t because that was the right decision for this team at the time. However as things progressed on it has become clear that Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t working out this season and now it would be best for the Jets to develop Petty for the future. The Jets are 3-7 and currently sitting in dead last in the AFC East. They don’t really have a shot at getting back into the playoff picture so now is the perfect time to move past Ryan Fitzpatrick and see what Petty can do. Bryce Petty threw for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Los Angeles Rams last weekend. Really moving forwards it’s about letting Petty start these next 6 games and letting him get comfortable against NFL competition. The more reps Bryce Petty gets the more he will understand what it takes to succeed in this league and that’s why now is the perfect time for the Jets to hand him the reins. Petty is a 6’3 230 pound guy, so he has that big NFL frame that league executives love out of their quarterbacks. Now it’s about getting down the rhythm and timing of the game and developing cohesion with the players around him. When all of that happens Bryce Petty will have a chance at uplifting this football team and right now he looks like the Jets number 1 guy from here on out. Petty is under contract till 2018 as well so if the Jets do go with him they can release Fitzpatrick in the off-season and save $12 million dollars next season. That money could then be spent on building up the offensive line and other positions around Petty. First though the Jets need to give Petty the nod and see if he can get the job done in the next several weeks. Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t be happen with that choice but it’s the right move for this team at the moment.

Charity of the day: International Peace Institute

Go donate!: www.ipinst.org

Football online: Marcus Mariota has shown strong signs of development in his 2nd season

Photo credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Football online!

Tennessee Titans Quarterback Marcus Mariota lit the Green Bay Packers up last game for 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Mariota was nearly perfect in that contest and in the end the Titans rolled the Packers 47-25. If Mariota can play week in and week out like he did against the Packers, the Titans will have a great shot at winning football games and you have to like the direction this team is heading. Just last season the Titans were depleted morale wise but Tennessee added DeMarco Murray in free agency, they drafted Jack Conklin and Derrick Henry, and then they traded for Dennis Kelly. All of these moves helped build up the Titans offense on the offensive line and in the offensive backfield. That has alleviated pressure from Marcus Mariota and now the 2nd year quarterback is in a terrific environment which will help him succeed. Mariota has thrown for 21 touchdown passes and only 8 interceptions for the year. So if Mariota can keep throwing touchdowns and eliminate turnovers he could have a great season individually and the Titans could overtake the Texans if Houston has a few missteps. Marcus Mariota has to keep churning out 4 touchdown pass games in order for that to happen and the Titans have to get a little lucky as well. Houston can win out and ride into the playoffs with all the momentum on their side, or they could stumble and open the door Mariota and the Titans. For Tennessee they just have to win every game from here on out regardless of who is on the schedule. Truthfully it feels like the Titans are still an off-season away from being truly successful but anything is possible and it will be exciting watching them compete down the stretch. 7 straight wins would definitely put the pressure on the Texans and give the Titans a chance to win the division. That won’t be possible unless Marcus Mariota is at his very best.

Charity of the day: Habitat for Humanity International

Go donate! www.habitat.org

A.J Green is 46 yards away from his 6th straight season of 1,000 yards receiving:

Photo credit: Andy Lyon / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cincinnati Bengals have been struggling this season with a 3-5-1 record but A.J Green has done anything but struggle individually. The Bengals wide receiver is currently 46 yards away from his 6th consecutive season of at least 1,000 receiving yards. Green has never had under 1,000 yards receiving in a season since entering the National Football League back in 2011. The value and production Green brings to the Bengals can’t be understated. This is a guy that goes out and gets it game in and game out for the Bengals and Cincinnati’s offense would take a huge hit without Green in the line up. The good news for the Bengals is Green will be under contract with the team until 2019 and that means no matter what happens to Marvin Lewis, Green will still be in the mix for Cincinnati moving forward. That sets a good precedent of what is to come offensively for Cincinnati and now this team has to add some talent to their number 24th ranked defense who is surrendering 375.4 yards per game. The offense is doing their job ranking in at 8th in the league with 380.8 yards per game. So it will be up to the Bengals to improve on the defensive side of the ball this off-season and try to add a couple of lineman/playmakers to improve the offense as well. Regardless Green will be there unless Cincinnati tries to trade their top receiver. However with how consistent Green has been that is very unlikely just because you know what you’re getting when you sign A.J Green to a contract. It’s best for this team to build around him that is why you can expect to see A.J Green to be in a Bengals uniform for most of his playing days. Give credit where credit is due and A.J Green deserves a lot of recognition for how prolific he has truly been.

Charity of the day: Habitat for Humanity International

Go donate! www.habitat.org

Giants overwhelm Bengals 21-20 in Monday Night Football showdown:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants got their 6th win of the season when they beat up the Cincinnati Bengals 21-20. In that contest Giants starting Quarterback Eli Manning was able to outshine Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton and the difference between their play was night and day. Manning threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns passes compared to Dalton’s 204 yards and 1 touchdown pass. That extra boost in offensive production that the Giants got from Manning was enough to edge out the Bengals by 1 point in a tough showdown at MetLife Stadium. Odell Beckham Jr. continued his strong season hauling in 97 yards and 1 touchdown pass. Beckham gives this team a huge uplift when he is on and tonight against the Bengals he was just that. Rookie Sterling Shepard also got in on the scoring action recording 42 yards and 1 touchdown on the evening. Tight End Jerrell Adams was the 3rd Giant to catch a touchdown pass in this game and it’s tough to account for all of New York’s pass catching threats. Defensively Landon Collins had another huge game for the Giants. Collins recorded 5 tackles and a clutch interception late in the game. Olivier Vernon had 10 tackles and 1 sack for New York’s defensive validating the Giants decision to sign Vernon. Jeremy Hill and A.J Green each scored a touchdown for the Bengals offense. While Vontaze Burfict (11 tackles, forced fumble) and Vincent Rey (14 tackles) led the way for the Cincinnati’s defensive unit. The Bengals fall to 3-5-1 on the season and will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010. New York on the other hand improves to 6-3 and will have a legitimate shot at making a wild card spot when the postseason rolls around.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

Seahawks prove the key to beating the Patriots is by rattling Tom Brady:

Photo credit: Billie Weiss / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots lost last year in the AFC Championship to the Denver Broncos who stifled Tom Brady and knocked the Patriots offense out of sync. Brady threw for 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions vs the Broncos and that is uncharacteristic for Brady considering he usually throws for 3 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions in football games. Now with the Seattle Seahawks recently beating the Patriots yesterday in a Sunday Night Football match up. You see the same pattern of the Patriots being vulnerable to teams with a great defensive front. When New England gets into these bigger match ups against the toughest defenses in the league. The Patriots have a tendency to let the defensive pressure collapse them and that flusters Tom Brady in the pocket. Brady threw for 0 touchdown passes and 1 interception against the Seahawks and it was the first time all season his quarterback rating was under 100. The Patriots fired their offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo this past off-season in hopes of sending a message that people will be held accountable in their organization for poor performance. New England is the 12th best team when it comes to protecting the quarterback giving up only 19 sacks on the year. When you get to those upper echelon teams pass protection is so essential because the defense become so good, that you almost have to be better than 12th best in the league in order to survive in the postseason. We will see if New England can take corrective measures as the season progresses on but if they do end up losing games this will be the underlining factor why. The Patriots have a huge match up against the Broncos on December 18th at Sports Authority Field in Denver. That will be another huge test for the Patriots offensive line and will tell whether New England will have a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl at the end of the year. Last year Denver’s defense was too good for the Patriots to overcome.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

After 10 weeks the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in the National Football League:

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Dallas Cowboys came into a Sunday match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers and proved why they are the top team in the National Football League this season. The Cowboys got their 8th win of the season beating Pittsburgh 35-30 and Ezekiel Elliott continued his historic rookie season by becoming the 2nd Dallas Cowboys rookie running back to rush for 1,000 yards (Tony Dorsett also did back in 1977). Elliott rushed for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Steelers and paved the way for the Cowboys in that victory. Elliott now has 1,005 rushing yards for the entire season and is definitely a finalist for the Most Value Player award. Ezekiel Elliott has lifted the Cowboys to their best start since 2007 and he will be the x-factor for this team for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. Dak Prescott also continued his stellar rookie campaign, he threw for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Cowboys. Prescott keeps coming up big for Jerry Jones and now the team has officially stated that he will be the full time starter when Tony Romo comes back. So Dallas has turned the page from the Tony Romo era and truthfully that was the right move at the end of the day. Prescott is playing too well to pass up and the Cowboys have found a rhythm under the young signal caller. Dez Bryant also had a great day against the Steelers, Bryant hauled in 116 yards and 1 touchdown showing he can be the 3rd piece to this offense. Together Elliott, Prescott, and Bryant will have a tremendous impact on the outcome of games for the Dallas Cowboys and when they are all performing well this team is nearly unbeatable. Ben Roethlisberger did manage to throw 408 yards and 3 touchdowns for Pittsburgh. However Dallas was led by Byron Jones (12 combined tackles) and Sean Lee (9 combined tackles) who helped limit Le’Veon Bell to 57 rushing yards. That took the running game out of the mix for the Steelers and it’s hard to win in the National Football League when your offense is 1 dimensional. The Cowboys will take on the Ravens next week and they have to be happy about what they’ve accomplished this far, they currently have the best record in the league.

Charity of the day: NAMI

Go donate! www.nami.org

Broncos top Saints 25-23 in the final minutes of the game:

Photo credit: Wesley Hitt / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints played in a thriller today at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In that match up it was the Broncos who eventually came out on top in the end. After the Saints trailed late in 4th quarter Drew Brees connected with Brandin Cooks on a miracle touchdown pass to tie the game up. On the extra point though Broncos defensive back Justin Simmons jumped over the New Orleans Saints snapper and blocked the kick. Will Parks scooped up that block kick for Denver and took it all the way to the end zone for a 2 point conversion for the Broncos. In the end the Broncos would win because of that play 25-23 and it was a spectacular special teams effort from Denver that made it possible. Trevor Siemian threw for 258 yards, 2 touchdown passes, and 2 interceptions in this contest for the Broncos. Demaryius Thomas also got in on the scoring action he recorded 8 receptions for 87 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensively Darian Stewart led the way for the Broncos defense, the free safety had 2 tackles and 2 interceptions for the day. For the Saints Drew Brees finished the game with 21 completions out of 29 attempts for 303 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Brandin Cooks also contributed 98 yards and 1 touchdown to the Saints offensive efforts. Defensively Cameron Jordan had 9 tackles and 1 sacks for New Orleans. While Kenny Vaccaro had 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception. The Broncos improve to 6-3 on the season, on the other hand the Saints fall to 4-5. Denver is a tight race in the AFC West and needs every win possible to win the division and get back to playoffs. The Raiders and Chiefs will do everything they can down the stretch to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Charity of the day: NAMI

Go donate! www.nami.org

Amari Cooper has been extremely productive for the Oakland Raiders this season:

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Oakland Raiders drafted Amari Cooper with the 4th overall pick in the 2015 Draft and Cooper has done a great job of living up to the Raiders’ expectations over the first 2 seasons. Amari Cooper is currently ranked 3rd in the entire National Football League in receiving yards with 843. Only Julio Jones and A.J Green have more yards than Cooper and that just goes to show the class that this guy has been in this season. Cooper had 1,070 receiving yards last year as a rookie as well so the Raiders 2nd year receiver has been extremely productive since entering the league and Reggie McKenzie has to be extremely pleased with drafting the former Alabama wide receiver. Amari Cooper has been Quarterback Derek Carr’s number 1 receiver this year and you can expect him to be in that role for at least several more seasons. Cooper blends well with Michael Crabtree in Oakland receiving corps and if those two players can keep churning out big games it’s very likely the Raiders could make a deep playoff run at the end of the year. That is something Raider fans couldn’t even dream of the last decade or so and that just goes to show the impact that Amari Cooper, Derek Carr, and the rest of these young players are having for this football team. If there is one area that Cooper does need to improve a little bit it would have to be in the touchdown reception category. Cooper only has 2 touchdowns catches this season and 8 over the course of 2 year career. If number 89 can find the end zone more often that would give the Raiders that extra boost on offense and help them win those close games down the stretch. Regardless though Amari Cooper has been a very special player and it’s been awesome to watch him develop into a top tier player in this league.

Charity of the day: Global Hunger Project

Go donate! www.thp.org

What the NFL can learn from the UFC:

Photo credit: Gary Milller / Getty Images Entertainment

Author: Jon Kuzma

With UFC 205 less than 24 hours away it’s time to assess the soaring Ultimate Fighting Championship to the peaked National Football League. If you’re not aware the UFC is currently valued at $4 billion dollars compared to the NFL which is valued at north of $60 billion dollars. The NFL has broadcasting contracts with CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC (NFL Network as well). Due to those contractual obligations the NFL has to be extremely politically correct and it’s really sapped the life out of their brand. That’s in contrast to the UFC which has a deal with Fox, and BT Sports but also does their marketing through other means such as social media and Youtube. The fact that the UFC hasn’t had to play by all these major networks’ rules has allowed Dana White and all of the UFC’s fighters to be very transparent in their marketing approach and they don’t have to dull themselves down like the NFL does. Instead in the UFC you’ll see Dana White dropping F-bombs all over Twitter. You’ll see UFC fighters cussing other fighters out during promo events and while that might not be great for the younger demographic, it has been golden in terms of building an audience for the UFC. Vince McMahon built a multi-billion dollar business (WWE) with this type of approach and people are attracted to what the UFC is doing because it has so much character and bravado built into it. The NFL on the other hand feels stale lately because they are doing everything they can to make the players of this league look completely innocent and they are failing to let their players be true to their nature. Everyone in world knows football players aren’t saints and to try to push them off on fans as outstanding individuals 24 hours a day 365 days a year feels beyond a little bit sugarcoated. There is a reason Richard Sherman has spoke out recently against the shield stating “the league doesn’t let players build their personal brand.” Sherman was absolutely right when he made that comment and the NFL has to get hip again if they want to prevent their ratings from continuing to drop. They could start by looking at what the UFC is doing and by incorporating some of the UFC’s philosophies into their own game plan.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

Casey Hayward is playing at a very high level for the San Diego Chargers right now:

Photo credit: Joe Amon / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

5th year Defensive Back Casey Hayward is currently tied with Marcus Peters for the most interceptions in the NFL with 5. The Chargers signed Hayward away from the Green Bay Packers this off-season and so far it’s been a huge acquisition for the Chargers defense. Hayward who was drafted in the 2nd round by Green Bay has developed into a takeaway machine. His career high for interceptions in a season is 6 back in 2012 with the Packers. However with 7 games left Hayward should be able to top that total and have his best year ever as a pro. One other notable stat that is worth mentioning is Hayward also has a defensive touchdown this year as well. When you have a player on your defense that can take the ball away from the offense and turn those takeaways into touchdowns, you have a very special player and the Chargers certainly have that in Casey Hayward. The Chargers are trending in the right direction and it’s because they added players like Joey Bosa, Casey Hayward, and Brandon Mebane to this defense. That has raised the overall talent level on this roster and the Chargers could be an off-season away from really being competitive in the AFC West. The Chargers will take on the Dolphins this Sunday in a competition that involves 2 4 win football teams. The Chargers need this win to get back to a .500 record and Hayward will have an opportunity to get his 6th interception of the season. Ryan Tannehill has only thrown 8 touchdowns passes and 7 interceptions this season. So he isn’t an elite level quarterback and that tilts the odds in Hayward and the Chargers defense’s favor. The other key to that game for the Chargers D will be stopping Jay Ajayi the Dolphins emerging running back. If San Diego can minimize Tannehill and Ajayi’s production they will have a great shot at winning that match up.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

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