How the Atlanta Falcons were able to humble the Carolina Panthers:

Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox

Author: Jon Kuzma

Defense defense defense. That is how the Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers yesterday ultimately ending the Panthers dreams of an undefeated season. When you build a team it’s always important to prioritize defense and focus on the running game. The Falcons took away the Panthers rushing attack and then they kept Cam Newton in check in the passing game. Newton finished the day with 17 completions out of 30 passing attempts for only 142 yards through the air. Effectively keeping the M.V.P frontrunner candidate in check like no other team has been able to do up to this point. Not one Panther was able to rush or catch for a 100 yards either. So when you have such a strong defensive effort collectively good things are going to happen for your football team. Robert Alford was the leader of Atlanta’s defensive efforts with 7 total tackles. Vic Beasley Jr. also added 4 tackles and a sack in the match up. Offensively for the Falcons Matt Ryan was phenomenal as well. Ryan finished the day with 306 passing yards and 1 touchdown on the day. Finding Julio Jones for that touchdown reception. Jones was absurdly effective against the Panthers defense as well. He recorded 9 receptions for 178 receiving yards. Showing why he has easily been one of the best wide receivers in the league this year. Devonta Freeman also contributed 73 yards rushing and a touchdown to the Falcons offensive efforts. When you look at this games’ stats it becomes alarmingly clear that the Panthers didn’t run the ball enough. The Panthers had 20 rushing attempts to the Falcons 30 rushing attempts. When the Panthers were at their best earlier in the season they were running the football effectively and asking Cam to make the play when he had to. Yesterday the Panthers took the offensive approach of just putting it all on Cam’s shoulders. The team has been clearly missing the absence of Jonathan Stewart and will certainly get a boost offensively when they can get him back. For the Falcons it was a good win but this team has to be feeling the letdown of missing out on the playoffs. After starting off the season red hot the Falcons stumbled down the stretch. Resulting in another wasted season for Matt Ryan and company…

Charity of the day: American Kidney Fund

Go donate! www.kidneyfund.org

Bill Belichick makes a foolish decision that cost the Patriots the game:

Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Patriots kicked the ball in overtime yesterday against the New York Jets it wasn’t the first time Bill Belichick chose to kick the ball in overtime rather than receive. Belichick made the same exact call back in 2013 against the Denver Broncos however when electing to kick in that game his defense 3 and outed the Broncos offense and the Patriots were able to win the football game after receiving good field position. Against the Jets the strategy didn’t pay off so rewardingly. Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to live up to his moniker “Fitz Magic”. Fitzpatrick was phenomenal in overtime doing what he had to do to get this Jets team the win. On that drive in overtime Fitzpatrick was able to complete 3 passes for 74 yards. Eventually sealing the game with a 6 yard pass to Eric Decker for the game winning touchdown. Fitzpatrick finished the day with 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions for 296 yards. Impressive numbers for the former 7th round draft pick out of Harvard. Fitzpatrick has managed to hang around the NFL long enough to become an outstanding player. Showing that hard work and perseverance are still the keys to success in the National Football League. Brandon Marshall also had an outstanding day for the Jets offense hauling in 2 touchdown receptions and 115 yards receiving. Marshall had a day against a tough Patriots defense and was a huge factor in this victory. The Jets defense was also impressive and they were able to finish six plays behind the offensive line of scrimmage. 2 sacks and 4 tackles for losses making it tough for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense to get in a rhythm. That has been the recipe for success all season long for the Jets defense. Get pressure on the quarterback with the defensive line and blitz. While the back 7 players get to flow and make plays. Another big factor was the fact that the Patriots were nonexistent in the running game. Their leading rusher on the night Brandon Bolden finished the game with only 30 yards rushing. A problem the Patriots will have to fix moving forward. You can tell they are hoping Steven Jackson can fill that role already being handed 7 rushing attempts. However he only produced 15 yards on those 7 attempts showing that he has to get back in game shape. At the end of the day this game came down to Bill Belichick’s bad call and miscalculation. He will have to man up and admit he was wrong to the team and commit to never kicking the ball in overtime again heading into the future. Coaches have to evolve and elevate themselves just like players are asked to do so. Belichick is no different.

Charity of the day: American Kidney Fund

Go donate! www.kidneyfund.org

Beast in the east: Redskins claim division title and playoff spot with win over Eagles

Photo credit: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Washington Redskins have been having a great year. They started the season off with a lot of question marks on whether or not they should stick with Robert Griffin as their starting quarterback or make the switch to Kirk Cousins. Ultimately the Redskins decided the change to Cousins would be a move that would best suit this football team. That decision has paid off big time now that Cousins has led the Redskins to an NFC East division championship and a playoff birth. Cousins was brilliant in last nights match up against the Philadelphia Eagles and he did a great job of showing why the Redskins have been the more talented team all season. Cousins finished the day with 4 touchdowns and 365 yards through the air. Showing that he can handle the pressure and keep his poise in the big game. You really have to give Cousins praise how he left no doubt about his own personal performance with 4 touchdowns on the day. When you factor in he plays the most important position in the game of football. You begin to realize just how vital he was to this NFC East championship and playoff appearance. The Redskins are a legitimate football team for the first time since 2012. Other notable performances for the Redskins were Jordon Reed who hauled in 2 touchdowns and 129 yards receiving. Reed looked very impressive against the Eagles defense and is developing a great connection with Cousins. Look for him to keep developing as time goes on. He is already the teams leading receiver. Defensively for the Redskins Deangelo Hall was able to contribute a defensive touchdown after scooping and scoring on a 17 yard fumble recover for touchdown. For the Eagles Sam Bradford was able to finish the day with 380 yards and a passing touchdown. While Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews both went over 100 yards receiving on the day. The loss eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention. While the Redskins go marching on to the postseason.

Charity of the day: Scholarship America

Go date! www.scholarshipamerica.org

cards pack

Score predictions for each week 16 game

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Author: Joey Carr

Redskins vs. Eagles: Saturday December 26th 8:25 p.m.
Prediction: WAS 30 PHI 22
Kirk Cousins: 280 yards 3 TD’s
Demarco Murray: 4 yards 4 carries

Colts vs. Dolphins: Sunday December 27th 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: MIA 20 IND 17
Lamar Miller: 115 yards rushing 1 TD
Matt Hasselbeck: 200 yards 2 INT’s

Bears vs. Buccaneers: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: TB 27 CHI 17
Jameis Winston: 250 yards passing 2 TD’s
Doug Martin: 100 yards rushing 1 TD

Browns vs. Chiefs: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: KC 34 CLE 20
Alex Smith: 300 yards 3 TD’s
Charcandrick West: 80 yards rushing 1 TD

Patriots vs. Jets: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: NE 27 NYJ 23
Tom Brady: 310 yards 2 TD’s
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 280 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT

Cowboys vs. Bills: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: BUF 20 DAL 13
Tyrod Taylor: 250 yards passing 2 TD’s
Sammy Watkins: 110 yards 2 TD’s

Panthers vs. Falcons: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: CAR 28 ATL 23
Cam Newton: 250 yards passing 3 TD’s
Julio Jones: 100 yards 1 TD

49ers vs. Lions: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: SF 23 DET 21
Blaine Gabbert: 200 yards passing 2 TD’s 1 INT
Calvin Johnson: 60 yards

Texans vs. Titans: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: TEN 21 HOU 20
Brandon Weeden: 180 yards 1 TD 3 INT’s
Zach Mettenberger: 230 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT

Steelers vs. Ravens: 1:00 p.m.
Prediction: PIT 34 BAL 14
Ben Roethlisberger: 340 yards 4 TD’s
Antonio Brown: 170 yards 2 TD’s

Jaguars vs. Saints: 4:05 p.m.
Prediction: JAX 26 NO 24
Blake Bortles: 260 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT
Allen Robinson: 110 yards 1TD
Drew Brees: 250 yards 3 TD’s

Rams vs. Seahawks: 4:25 p.m.
Prediction: STL 24 SEA 23
Todd Gurley: 140 yards 2 TD’s
Russell Wilson: 230 yards passing 2 TD’s 1 INT

Packers vs. Cardinals: 4:25 p.m.
Prediction: ARI 31 GB 28
Carson Palmer: 300 yards 3 TD’s 1 INT
Aaron Rodgers: 280 yards 3 TD’s

Giants vs. Vikings: 8:30 p.m.
Prediction: MIN 25 NYG 20
Teddy Bridgewater: 210 yards passing 2 TD’s
Adrian Peterson: 105 yards 1 TD
Eli Manning: 230 yards 1 TD 3 INT’s

Bengals vs. Broncos: Monday December 28th 8:30 p.m.
Prediction: DEN 21 CIN 17
Brock Osweiler: 220 yards 2 TD’s 1 INT
A.J. Green: 80 yards 1 TD

Charity of the day: Witness for Peace

Go donate! www.witnessforpeace.org

Charles Woodson is capping off a remarkable career:

Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Charles Woodson has officially announced he is retiring from pro football after this season. The former Heisman winner and NFL defensive player of the year has truly put together a remarkable career. Woodson is the only primary defensive player to ever win the Heisman in college football and he won the award by beating out Peyton Manning. Now after 18 NFL seasons Woodson has decided to move on to the next chapter of life. He has 65 career interceptions heading into his final game of the season. Along with 11 defensive touchdowns. Patrick Peterson recently tweeted that Charles Woodson’s 18 seasons of work are his “career goals”. Meaning that Peterson hopes to aspire to Woodson’s level someday. A very tough feat when you consider the longevity of his body of work. Not many players will be blessed enough to finish their career with 18 seasons of professional football. Peyton Manning is on his 18th season as well but unlike Manning Woodson is still flourishing. Woodson could easily play 2 or 3 more seasons, but Charles Woodson is a family man now. He would like to get back to spending more time around his children. He also gets to walk away from the game with no major injuries. Something that is becoming rarer and rarer in today’s age. Raiders owner Mark Davis has already stated that “Woodson can comeback and work in any capacity”. Expect Woodson to come back and work for the Raiders in a role that will help this team improve moving into the future. He told the fans “he would never leave them” maybe he was hinting at taking a gig as a scout or G.M for the Raiders. Only time will tell but it seems like he is interested in starting his work as a football executive with the silver and black.

Charity of the day: Witness for Peace

Go donate! www.witnessforpeace.org

 

Raiders are able to knock off Chargers 23-20 in California showdown:

Photo credit: Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Raider and Chargers met up in a Christmas eve showdown in California on Thursday Night Football. These teams might be sharing a stadium in Los Angeles next year but they are still rivals on the football field. Yesterday was another example of why the Raiders are slowly emerging and why the Chargers need to be more balanced in order to win football games. Derrick Carr and company were able to notch the victory in overtime on a 31 yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Notable performances for the Raiders included Michael Crabtree who finished the day with 6 receptions and a touchdown. While Latavius Murray was able to contribute 79 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Still this Raiders attack all starts with Carr. The former second round draft pick out of Fresno State has been slowly resurrecting this Oakland franchise. Carr put up modest numbers in yesterdays match up with only 204 yards passing and 1 touchdown. However it’s his leadership and ability to make plays downfield that have breathed life into the silver and black. With the foundation they’ve laid the Raiders have put themselves in a position to succeed in 2016. They just have to add a few more pieces to the puzzle and do their best to retain everyone this offseason. Defensively Malcolm Smith had a tremendous day for the Raiders. He registered 14 total tackles and two tackles for loss. Showing he can be a dominant force for this defense moving forward. Ben Heeney was also able to finish with 9 tackles and a tackle for loss. For the Chargers it was another night of Rivers throwing the ball an absurd amount of times. Rivers had 49 passing attempts against the Raiders. If this team wants to get back to playing winning football, they first must learn to become a balanced football team. Woodhead needs to have more than 11 carries on the evening. If this team can get their number 1 running back to have 20 carries a game heading forward good things will happen for this team. On top of that they should spell a back up running back for at least 5 carries a game. Doing so will take pressure off Rivers and keep the Chargers in games. Notable performances for San Diego were Dontrelle Inman who finished with 82 receiving yards and a touchdown. While Denzel Perryman led the way for the Chargers defensively with 11 tackles, a sack, and a tackle for loss. The Raiders improve to 7-8 while the Chargers fall to 4-11.

Charity of the day: Child’s Wish Foundation

Go donate!  www.childrenswish.org

 

 

 

We could have a playoff preview in three games this weekend:

Photo credit: George Gojkovich

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Green Bay Packers take on the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. It will be an NFC playoff preview. These teams could very easily meet each other in the postseason and this weekend will serve as a great measuring stick of what that match up might look like. The Cardinals will be without big time free safety Tyrann Mathieu but still possess enough firepower on offense to win football games. Carson Palmer and this offense still know how to make opposing defenses pay the price. They have success with key players like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd both talented wide receivers who can get separation away from defenders. The Cardinals ground game has gotten a boost recently with the emergence of David Johnson as the team’s running back. Johnson can make big plays and take some of the pressure off Palmer. A good alternate for this Cardinals offense. The Packers on the other hand look to get back to the postseason and avenge last years letdown. To do so Aaron Rodger will have to be at his best. Rodgers will always be the key for the Packers when it comes to postseason success. If he can make the big plays when necessary then good things are going to happen for this football team. Look for Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Richard Rodgers to be on the receiving end of Rodgers’ efforts. Those 3 players have contributed 21 touchdowns to this Packers offense and will play a large role not only in the game Sunday but also in the playoffs in the future. A win here would go a long way for the Packers confidence but don’t count on that happening.

The second potential playoff match up will be in the AFC division where the New England Patriots take on the New York Jets. The Jets have been having an outstanding year and played the Patriots tough the last time these two teams faced off. Yet it’s the Patriots who are the ones looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions and should be respected as the champs till someone dethrones them. The New York Jets pass rush have been outstanding but it will be difficult to shake Brady’s poise. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can show up and play the best game of his life then the Jets have a shot. He must feed Brandon Marshall early and help the Jets do their best to rattle this Patriots defense. That has been a tall task all season for opposing offenses and the results most likely won’t be too much different from the last match up. Expect another Patriots victory.

The Denver Broncos will take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the third potential playoff preview. If these two teams meet in the playoffs it will pit two great defenses against each other. Regardless if they meet in the playoffs or not though. They will indeed meet Sunday and we will all get to witness who has the better defense and what team started the season off with the better back up quarterback. Both teams will enter the game with players who didn’t start the season as their starting quarterback. Brock Osweiler will lead the Broncos while AJ McCarron will lead the Bengals. Both young players have managed to find wins for their teams in other outings. However this will be the match to really evaluate both players. With the pressure being so high the match should be a good indicator of how they will perform in the playoffs. Something to keep an eye on Sunday. Expect Osweiler to be the better of the two and look for the Broncos to get the win.

Charity of the day: Youth Development Fund

Go donate! www.youthdevelopmentfund.com

The loss of Tyrann Mathieu is a big setback for this Cardinals defense:

Photo credit: Elsa / Getty Images

Author: Jon Kuzma

When Tyrann Mathieu tore his ACL in the December 20th match up against the Philadelphia Eagles it was a major setback for the Cardinals. The team losses a playmaker whose skills translated well from the collegiate to the professional level. Mathieu is a very instinctive football player and he does a great job of using his awareness to defeat opposing offenses. He can bait opposing quarterbacks to think he is playing high coverage and in an instant break to the flats and finish plays by intercepting passes. Mathieu or the “honey badger” as some like to refer to him also does a great job of playing sideline to sideline at the free safety position. That ability to cover all of that ground on the backend of the Cardinals defense has resulted in him hauling in 5 interceptions on the season. The Cardinals total defense is ranked 7th in the league but it earned that ranking with plays from Tyrann Mathieu back in that secondary. Moving forward the Cardinals defense will have to find the next guy in line to plug in and make plays. Not a very achievable task when you factor in how good Mathieu has been this season. After taking college football by storm at LSU. Mathieu lost all his support by smoking marijuana and that was a big reason why he slipped to the third round in the 2013 draft. Since then though Mathieu has managed to turn his life around and has avoided any substance abuse problems. Now in his 3rd year of pro football he has managed to record 8 interceptions over the duration of his career. Showing that he still has that playmaker ability inside of him that he possessed at LSU. Can the Cardinals replace the honey badger? Absolutely not and it will certainly be a major setback as they try to make it to the Super Bowl. It maybe even enough to cost them an appearance.

Charity of the day: Youth Development Fund

Go donate! www.youthdevelopmentfund.com

The stakes are high for Redskins and Eagles in NFC East showdown this weekend:

Photo credit: Robb Carr / Getty Images

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Washington Redskins have a clear cut path to the post season and it all starts with this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. After the division was sluggish all year the Redskins have positioned theirselves for postseason success with a 7-7 record. Every other team in that division has a record that is below .500. So when the 6-8 Eagles meet the Redskins this weekend, everything will be on the line with 2 games left in the regular season remaining. A win would give the Eagles a chance at making the postseason but right now the Redskins own the tiebreaker with a 23-20 victory in their first match up. It will be up to the Redskins to fend off Chip Kelly and the Eagles who suffered a devastating loss last weekend to the Cardinals 40-17. That was last weekend though and the Eagles can make up for that letdown with a big win against the Redskins this Sunday. It will be up to Sam Bradford to out play Kirk Cousins and lead his team to victory. With the pressure heightened due to the postseason being at stake, the most important position on the field has to have a big day. That position is hands down the quarterback position. Both of these quarterbacks have been emerging this year and the first step of solidifying their legacy would be winning this game and taking a step closer to the playoffs. From there both players will have a chance at making a little postseason magic happening however it all starts with a win Sunday. Keep an eye on that match and who performs better. It will certainly be a key factor in determining the winner of this outcome. Right now you have to believe that the Redskins have the edge. They’ve been playing better football all year and even won the last match up between these two teams. That is why we play the game though to test both these teams abilities and leave nothing unsettled. It should be a good one.

Charity of the day: Resources for the Future

Go donate! www.rff.org

Odell Beckham Jr. should of been fined 200K not suspended:

Photo credit: Michael Reaves / Getty Images

Author: Jon Kuzma

Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman got into several scuffles this past Sunday in the Panthers and Giants match up. The personal battle between the wide receiver and corner got so heated that eventually Beckham Jr. would target Norman on a hit. The practice that Beckham Jr. used on that play was called “head hunting” in the game of football. Instead of focusing on the play Beckham Jr. focused on Norman and stalked him in until he could get a clear knock out shot. When Beckham Jr. lined up Norman he accelerated full speed and delivered a helmet to helmet shot to the right side of Josh Normans’ helmet. After watching the play several times the whistle was not blown by the referees. Which means while the play was clearly suspect it was within the duration of the play. With that being said the NFL discipline committee has to look at past helmet to helmet infractions and assess the magnitude of this hit. First and foremost this is a rare situation because usually it’s defenders being fined for tackling offensive players and striking them helmet to helmet. Yet there have been a few instances where offensive offenders have been fined for illegally using their helmet. One incident that took place in the past was when San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde was fined twenty three thousand dollars for a helmet to helmet hit on defender John Beason. That hit was a fine rather than a suspension. A few other examples of helmet to helmet fines are Olivier Vernon who was fined twenty thousand dollars for striking Marcus Mariota in the head. James Harrison striking Colt McCoy helmet to helmet resulted in a seventy five thousand dollar fine. Finally Dashon Goldson was fined one hundred thousand dollars for his hit on Darren Sproles. All of those helmet to helmet hits were vicious but Odell Beckham Jr.’s hit was even worse because it was at the tail end of a play. With that being said you have to make his discipline one of the highest helmet to helmet penalties given out. A fair discipline for both Beckham Jr. and the league would of been to give the wide receiver a two hundred thousand dollar fine for his actions. This route of discipline is based off case precedent which means we used previous examples to determine our judgement. Something the NFL discipline system clearly lacks when determining their outcomes. The fine would hit Beckham Jr. where it hurts most, his wallet. While also letting him know those type of actions are unacceptable. At the same time this course of action acknowledges that it was in the heat of the moment and emotions were running high. 200K it’s about as fair as it gets.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

1 196 197 198 199 200 223