The Falcons have the ultimate two back system, Freeman and Coleman can wear down opposing defenses:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Atlanta Falcons are 2-0 on the season after beating the Green Bay Packers 34-23 and if you’ve watch Atlanta play you probably noticed their two dominant running backs. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are tasked with carrying the load for the Falcons and each player brings a unique running style to this offense. Freeman is the lead back and is extremely shifty. Devonta Freeman can beat you with outstanding lower body strength and a downhill running style. He is a little bit smaller than Tevin Coleman but what Freeman lack in size he has made up in production (121 yards, 3 touchdowns). On the other hand Tevin Coleman is a little bit bigger and actually a step or two faster than Freeman. Coleman hasn’t been able to put together the body of the work that Devonta Freeman has but he is an excellent back up and provides Atlanta with a decent spark every time he comes on the field. The best thing about these two players is when the defense gets tired, the other running back can come on field fresh and make exhausted defenders pay. That naturally creates a match up advantage for the Falcons and to be honest Atlanta doesn’t have to throw the ball to beat teams. Everyone thinks about Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Mohamed Sanu when talking about the Falcons. However this team can beat you with it’s running attack and that helps set up the dynamic passing game. Every team in the National Football League strives to have a balanced offense, fortunately for the Falcons they have one of the best offensive groups and these two guys(Freeman/Coleman) are big part of that. There’s a reason Atlanta went to the Super Bowl last year it’s because they’re so explosive when it comes to putting points on the board. Expect Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to score a boatload of touchdown before the season ends. There’s no stopping the Falcons stable of running backs.

Charity of the day: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Go donate! www.christopherreeve.org

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Ziggy Ansah’s 3 sacks help the Lions knock off the Giants 24-10, Stafford outplays Manning:

Photo credit: Steve Dykes

Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Detroit Lions went on the road and took it to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Ziggy Ansah led the way for the Detroit Lions recording 6 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Ansah was a force off the right edge of the Lions defense and frequently hit Eli Manning throughout this football game. That set the tone for the Lions and there was no looking back for Jim Caldwell’s team. Matthew Stafford played exceptionally well in this contest too, he showed up Eli Manning throwing for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ameer Abdullah also ran the ball hard for the Lions offense racking up 86 yards on 17 rushing attempts. Eric Ebron and Marvin Jones both had a good night for Detroit receiving wise, both Ebron and Jones hauled in a touchdown reception. Manning struggled for most of this game he was sacked five times and could never find a groove. Manning’s stat line ended up being 239 passing yards, 1 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That 1 touchdown pass that Manning did throw went to rookie Tight End Evan Engram. Special teams also played a huge role in this game, Detroit rookie Jamal Agnew took a punt return 88 yards for a score. On the defensive side of the ball Glover Quin made some big time plays for the Lions and finished with 6 tackles. Tahir Whitehead put up 8 tackles and an interception for Detroit’s defense as well. The Giants were led by Dominique Rodgers Cromartie’s 11 tackles. Calvin Munson, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Kerry Wynn all had a sack for New York’s pass rush. In the end the Lions rolled and had the momentum for all four quarters of the game. At no point did the Giants lead in this match up and that has to be concern if you’re a New York fan. Detroit on the other hand improves to 2-0 and look like one of the better teams in the NFC.

Charity of the day: CJ First Candle

Go donate! www.cjfirstcandle.org

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Julius Peppers has been dominant for the Carolina Panthers over the first two weeks, Peppers has 2.5 sacks this year:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers made a huge acquisition when they signed free agent Julius Peppers away from the Green Bay Packers. While Green Bay may have thought Peppers was getting too old and losing a step on the field. Clearly that hasn’t been the case so far and Peppers has recorded 2.5 sacks over the Panthers first two games. It’s become apparent that Peppers is more than just a role player, he is instead a huge contributor. Which helps raise the bar for the Carolina defensive line. Not only do the Panthers have Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis who can get it done on the defensive side of the ball. With Peppers there too quarterbacks are constantly on their heels and doing everything they can to escape the veterans overwhelming pass rush. At 37 years old nobody could have predicted that Peppers would come out of the gate this hot but then again this is a future Hall of Famer and anything is possible with the right determination. The Packers foolishly undervalued Peppers significance and now Carolina will get a boatload of production from Peppers who actually started his career in Carolina back in 2002. Eventually Julius Peppers would suit up for the Chicago and then Green Bay but it’s pretty special story that the North Carolina native would wind up back in his home state playing for the team that drafted him (Panthers). Ultimately that has to help Peppers with his comfort level because there is no place like home. Sometimes the support you have around you can pay big dividends and so far that seems to be the case with the 16 year pro. Keep an eye on how Peppers plays for the rest of the season and whether or not he can maintain the success he has had over the first two games? It won’t be easy but then again Julius Peppers is a very rare type of athlete.

Charity of the day: CJ First Candle

Go donate! www.cjfirstcandle.org

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Broncos thump the Cowboys 42-17, Trevor Siemian threw for 4 touchdown passes:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Broncos and Cowboys game was rain delayed for an hour but when it was all said and done the Broncos stood victorious 42-17. Trevor Siemian had a great day throwing the ball for the Broncos offense, Siemian finished with 231 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. That was Trevor Siemian’s second game of at least 4 touchdowns passes, he also threw 4 TDs against the Cincinnati Bengals last year. Emmanuel Sanders caught 2 of those touchdown receptions for the Broncos offense. Sanders also added 62 yards and was Denver’s most significant contributor through the air. CJ Anderson played extremely well for the Broncos too, Anderson rushed for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. One year removed from a season ending injury Anderson also caught a touchdown pass showing he can make an impact as a ball carrier and as a pass catcher. When Denver’s offense plays like this they can be flat out lethal and expect to see Vance Joseph’s team in the postseason when everything plays out. On the opposite sideline Dak Prescott struggled throwing 238 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Prescott threw 4 interceptions in all of 2016, so he already has half that total after facing Denver’s defense. Jason Witten had 97 yards and 1 touchdown for Dallas, Dez Bryant also caught a touchdown pass and added 59 receiving yards. Chris Harris and Aqib Talib both had interceptions for the Broncos defense. Talib managed to turn his interception into a pick six though returning the pass all the way for a Denver score. Von Miller was virtually unstoppable in this contest too, he finished the game with 2 tackles and 2 sacks. Sean Lee led the way for Dallas with 9 defensive stops. Demarcus Lawrence was a force as well he had 7 tackles and 2 sacks for the Cowboys. Denver is now 2-0 in 2017 and have taken significant strides from the team they were a season ago. Dallas on the other had seems to be struggling to maintain the success they had last season.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

Go donate! www.finca.org
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Jay Ajayi rushes for 122 yards to help the Dolphins beat the Chargers 19-17, Cody Parker had 4 field goals for Miami:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Miami Dolphins had their hands full early on against the Los Angeles Chargers but the Dolphins showed their resiliency. After making it to the playoffs last season the Dolphins continued to trend upward by battling back in the second half against LA putting up 16 points in the 3rd and 4th quarter. The ability to not fold when the pressure is on is definitely an outstanding characteristic of Miami and much of that stems from Adam Gase’s leadership. Gase knew he could put points on the board if he trusted his stand out Running Back Jay Ajayi and the London born Ajayi was impressive rushing for 122 yards against the Chargers defense. Jay Cutler also played well enough to get the victory, Cutler had 24 completions for 230 passing yards and 1 touchdown. What was most impressive about that performance is the fact Cutler didn’t turn the ball over and that was huge down the stretch as the Dolphins mounted their comeback. As good as Ajayi and Cutler were during this contest maybe the most notable performance went to Cody Parker. Parker kicked 4 field goals for Miami including a game winning field goal with under 2 minutes remaining in this match up. That ultimately sealed the win for the Dolphins and spoiled what was a solid performance for the Chargers up until that point. Philip Rivers did have a big day for Los Angeles he ended up throwing for 331 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. LA didn’t get enough from their running backs though, their group of ball carriers only finished with 44 yards total. That’s something Anthony Lynn has to correct going forward if he wants his team to be competitive. On the defensive side of things Mike Hull had 10 tackles for Miami. Xavien Howard also registered 7 tackles for Gase’s defense. Jatavis Brown led the way for the Chargers he had had 12 tackles, while Melvin Ingram finished the battle with 4 tackles and a sack. Miami improves to 1-0 on the year, on the other hand the Chargers fall to 0-2.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

Go donate! www.finca.org

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LeSean McCoy is still breaking defender’s ankles on the football field, the Bill RB is showing no signs of slowing down:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Every year plenty of football fans wonder whether or not this will be the year LeSean McCoy loses a step and it seems like every season McCoy proves other wise. The Buffalo Bills running back is as shifty as ever and the contributions McCoy produces for the Buffalo offense are amazing. LeSean McCoy had 14 total touchdowns last year for the Bills and that’s a significant chunk of output. You don’t put up big time stats like that unless you have a serious gift athletically and when you watch McCoy play a few things become evident. The first thing is McCoy has outstanding vision which allows him see the play develop before the other players on the field can. The 9th year ball carrier understands it’s his job to run to daylight, which means to attack the unoccupied parts of the field by rushing towards those areas. McCoy has made a career out of his ability to see the field well and that allows him to make cuts into different gaps which other running backs simply can’t do. The second biggest trait about LeSean McCoy’s game is the fact that he is flat out elusive. With a combination of jukes, cross over cuts, spin moves, and field reversals McCoy can change directions on a dime and leave defenders in his dust. Those attributes simply can’t be coached you either are born with them or you’re not. Not only was McCoy genetically a superior athlete than most, he has spent his entire life refining those skills through hard work and training. You can’t replicate what Shady McCoy does because his skill set is a cumulative effect of decades in the making. It all started at Bishop McDevitt High School in Pennsylvania where McCoy rushed for 31 touchdowns in a season. Then McCoy continued to develop himself during his time at the University of Pittsburgh where he registered 36 rushing touchdowns overs two years. All of that paved the way for the LeSean McCoy you see now who has amassed 9,064 yards and 60 rushing touchdowns as a pro. This guy is as good as anybody else in the NFL right now and there’s no question about it.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Antonio Brown has recorded 182 yards after 1 week of action, that great start will help Brown in his quest to lead the league in receiving yards:

Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s no secret that Antonio Brown wants to have more receiving yards than anyone else in the league every time a new year starts. If you don’t remember Brown participated in a bet with Brandon Marshall last year, that wager was a head to head challenge between both players and the loser was expected to buy the winner a car. Brown ended up winning that gamble but in the end T.Y Hilton (1,448) finished with the most yards in the league for the 2016 season. Clearly that didn’t sit well with Brown and that’s why the veteran receiver recommitted himself to physical fitness. All off-season Antonio Brown was seen going the extra mile with his training regimens and Jugs catching exercises. Obviously those extra efforts have shown positive results for Brown on the football field and after only one game Brown is just shy of 200 yards receiving. There’s no doubt that Brown’s strong start to the season will go a long way in propelling him to the top of the receiving board. You would figure that guy like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and Mike Evans would push Brown for that title. However Antonio Brown has a very special connection with Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The trust and cohesion both of those guys have allow Brown’s offensive output to go through the roof. Ultimately that rapport has been a big reason A.B has went over the 1,000 yards receiving mark 5 times in his career. The numbers don’t lie Brown is extremely prolific and this guy will be vital to the Steelers success for as long as they have him. Brown is under contract until 2021 so Pittsburgh will be his home for foreseeable future. Expect the fans in the Steel City to be swinging those terrible towels frequently over the next five seasons because Antonio Brown is going to make a lot of plays for this team.  

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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DeShaun Watson leads the Houston Texans to a 13-9 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the rookie showed off his elusiveness with a 49 yard TD run:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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DeShaun Watson is known for his historic collegiate football career and now Watson has his first regular season win as a starter under his belt. DeShaun Watson didn’t necessary blow fans away with his passing abilities in his first NFL start but Watson did do enough to lead the Texans past the Bengals. Perhaps DeShaun Watson’s biggest play of the night came on a 49 yard scamper for a touchdown, the former Clemson QB made a number of Bengals defenders miss on that quarterback keeper for a score. Watson is by no means a slouch athletically but this particular touchdown run was magic and it really showed how much upside the rookie has in this league. When it was all said and done Watson finished the game with 125 passing yards, 67 rushing yards, and 1 rushing touchdown. Houston also go a boost from Lamar Miller who added 61 rushing yards to go along with the Texans ground efforts. DeAndre Hopkins handled the majority of the Texans’ aerial assault he hauled in 73 receiving yards through the air. Andy Dalton continued his less than stellar 2017 season, after throwing 4 interceptions in week 1. Dalton failed to throw any touchdowns for his second straight game and after 8 scoreless quarters the Bengals have to be concerned with their lack of offensive output. A.J Green did look good for Cincinnati on the receiving end of things but Marvin Lewis’ team simply doesn’t go to their number one receiver enough. Green finished with 5 receptions for 67 yards but those numbers need to be doubled in order for team’s offensive production to increase. Defensively Kareem Jackson had a great night for Houston putting up 7 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble. Benardrick McKinney also contributed 6 tackles and 2 sacks to the Texans defensive efforts. For the Bengals Vincent Rey led the way with 11 tackles, while Geno Atkins had a big night with 5 tackles and 2 sacks. Houston improves to 1-1 and are suddenly back on track with hopes of defending their AFC South division title. It feels like Jacksonville will be the biggest threat to that goal moving forward.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Never lost a step: Marshawn Lynch set the tone for the Raiders offense in week 1

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Oakland Raiders won a tough week 1 match up against the Tennessee Titans 26-16 and Marshawn Lynch set the tone for this team by running with tenacity on every handoff he took. Beast mode was in full effect making defenders miss and delivering punishing stiff arms, which has to excite football fans in the Oakland area. It wasn’t for certain that Lynch was going to handle his time away from football positively but as soon as the pads were put back on Lynch showed exactly what made him a superstar to begin with. That’s mainly a gritty style of play which wears down opposing defenders and the ability to rack up a ton of yards after initial contact. It takes more than one defender to bring Lynch down and it’s looking like the Raiders made the right move by not re-signing Latavius Murray. Murray played well for the Raiders last season but after surgery the now Minnesota Viking lost the starting running back job to Dalvin Cook. Meanwhile Oakland seems to be riding high now that they have Marshawn Lynch so everything panned out in the end for the Silver and Black. It would have been nice to see the Raiders beat the Titans more convincingly but then again it is week 1 and there are still plenty of wrinkles to iron out. The bottom line though is Jack Del Rio’s team is going to be very balanced, meaning they can have success through the air or on the ground. Lynch also makes life on Carr much easier because now the Raiders can hand the ball off 30 times a game and trust their ball carriers to get the job done. After Lynch’s strong performance in the opener expect to see the Raiders shift their run to pass ratio even more in the run’s favor. That initial game wasn’t only big for Lynch’s confidence it also gives the Raiders a stronger belief in their veteran running back because we were all wondering how Lynch would respond to spending a whole year off? We know now that all systems are go in Oakland and Lynch should end up over the 1,000 yards rushing mark as long as he doesn’t get injured.

Charity of the day: Mercy Corps

Go donate! www.mercycorps.org

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The National Football League is keeping their attendance problems on the hush:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Pro football kicked off their new season with a great weekend of hard hitting action but there were some concerns if you’re the National Football League. The two most obvious situations for the league were the fact that the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers were suffering from low attendance. While the NFL released attendance stats that said both games sold plenty of tickets, if you were actually watching the events you would have saw that each stadium was only half full. The NFL could be losing fans for a number of reasons but instead of speculating whether or not this happened because of Colin Kapeernick or kneeling players we have to examine a few angles. First both teams were California teams and you have to wonder if the people from the Golden State were just occupied doing something else. In California there are more attractions to compete with and football can sometimes be secondary compared to places like Texas that live and breathe the game. The Rams also are a new team so they are still developing their fan base in the LA community and they have a reason if things aren’t transitioning smoothly to their new home. The 49ers on the other hand are very concerning, this is a team that has always had a lot of prestige. Kaepernick used to play for the 49ers so his movement definitely could be playing a role in San Francisco’s ability to draw fans. Yet you would figure there is still enough support for the team based on their past success, at least enough to fill an entire stadium for a regular season opener. The other major theory for lack of fan interest could be the fact that football is being attacked lately for all of the injuries and health issues that come with playing the sport. Maybe fans want to see the brutality that comes with the game put to an end? Whatever the reason the NFL seems to have a problem on their hands and the league can’t afford any errors rights now. The American people are watching and it’s clear they are becoming annoyed with some of the ways the National Football League conducts itself.

Charity of the day: International Medical Corps

Go donate! www.internationalmedicalcorps.org
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