Jags are coming off impressive win but still remain a game out of the AFC South lead:

Jaguars at Ravens 12/14/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely throttled the Indianapolis Colts last weekend 51-16. In that match up quarterback Blake Bortles was able to throw for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day. Making it look easy and taking advantage of the Colts secondary time and time again. Believe it or not the Colts are the division leader tied along with the Houston Texans. So when you see the Jaguars hang 50 points on the Colts you think oh yea the Jaguars are going to catch the Colts and Texans pass them and win this division. That might not be the case though with the Colts and Texans playing each other this week. One of those teams is going to continue their one game advantage while the Jags will be taking on the Falcons. Not a very easy game especially since Atlanta has been frustrated with their struggles lately. They will be looking to take their anger out on the Jaguars who are a very winnable game for the Falcons. While the Jaguars have made tremendous strides this year. You really have to go back to their week 12 loss against the Chargers and their week 13 loss against the Titans. Both of those games were chances for the Jaguars to pull ahead in this division against evenly matched opponents talent wise. Instead the Jaguars stumbled and fell to the position they are in now. Bortles second year development has been impressive but you would really like to see the young quarterback win those games that the team should win. Don’t get me wrong Bortles is one of the games most promising young passers but losses also to the Buccaneers and Dolphins concern you about Bortles consistency winning wise. There will be a small chance with 3 weeks remaining that the Jags can win out and potentially make it to the post season. They will face the Falcons, Saints, and Texans. We will find out a lot about the Jaguars and Bortles ability to over come the odds during those three games. It’s officially sink or swim for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Eagles flying high after last Sundays win against the Bills:

Eagles at Redskins 10/04/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles are back on track after a big win last weekend against the Buffalo Bills. The win pushes Philly one step closer to the postseason and winning the NFC East division. The Eagles are currently in a three way tie for first place of that division along with the Giants and Redskins who are all sitting at 6-7 on the year. A loss Sunday would of been a big set back for Chip Kelly and company however the Eagles were able to edge out a close fourth quarter victory 23-20. Chip Kelly keeps the naysayers off his back for another week, who have been challenging the coaches tendencies lately. After making several bold offseason moves Kelly has seen his support wane in the Philadelphia area. There have even been talks of Kelly returning to the college level after the season finishes up. While Kelly has put those rumors to rest stating that he enjoys “the pro lifestyle” it’s still important to note that he must produce in order for his employers to feel the need to retain the coaches services. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has praised Kelly but that could all change if the Eagles fail to make the postseason. The NFL is a win now league and every head coach is on a very short leash. When it comes down to it though, Kelly knows how to coach the game of football. Whatever level he is coaching at is truthfully irrelevant. A great coach such as Kelly will adapt to his situation and reposition himself for success. He has done that by slowly building the team to match his vision. Nelson Agholor who was drafted during Kelly’s tenure scored his first touchdown Sunday and had his best day as a pro. The rookie out of USC is being depended on by the Eagles and they are hopeful he can be a big contributor heading into the future. Even Sam Bradford looked serviceable in the Bills match up. Bradford threw for 247 yards and 1 touchdown. Doing enough to bring home the win for the Eagles. It’s additions like this that might not provide huge returns right away but are providing enough return to keep the Eagles in the playoff picture. The jury is still out whether Kelly will be hailed or hated by Eagles fans. Yet every win brings him a step closer to success and the postseason.

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Eli shines as Giants knock off Dolphins 31-24 in MNF:

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Author: Jon Kuzma

Eli Manning had a heck of an outing last night against the Miami Dolphins in Monday Night Football. Manning was able to throw for 4 touchdown and 337 yards to lead the Giants past the Dolphins. Manning’s poise and comfort level in the pocket were on display all night as he continuously picked apart the Dolphins defense. With a rating of 151.5 Manning played nearly a perfect game and didn’t turn the ball over one time on the evening. When you get that kind of production from a player and have no turnovers good things are going to happen. The other star on the night for the Giants was clearly Odell Beckham Jr. who was on the receiving end of most of Manning’s passes. Beckham finished the game 7 catches for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns on the evening. Showing that he is as advertised. Beckham truly is one of the most dynamic young receivers in the NFL right now and he has a number of ways that he can beat you. He had two big plays on post routes where he was able to evade the Miami defense and get behind the safeties. It’s plays like this that provide a spark for the Giants offense and that energy has a ripple effect throughout that team. For the Dolphins there were a few bright spots one in particular was Lamar Miller. Miller finished the night 89 rushing yards on 12 attempts. He also was able to contribute two touchdowns to this Miami offense. The way Miller is able to read defenses and make cuts based off those reads shows how skilled of a running back he truly is. Miami would be smart to give him more than 12 carries in each game for the remainder of the season. That seems like a much more sound game plan than putting it all Tannehill’s shoulders. Who is a good player but still needs a few more seasons of NFL polish. The Giants improve to 6-7  while the Dolphins fall to 5-8.

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Steelers top Bengals 33-20: Dalton injured with broken right thumb

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Photo credit: Steelcityhobbies

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers were all over the Cincinnati Bengals 33-20 Sunday in NFL action. The Steelers got a break when Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went down with a right thumb injury. Making the match a much easier victory for the Steelers. There is an old saying in football “knock out the quarterback and win the game.” That is exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to accomplish. While I’m sure the Steelers didn’t want to see Dalton sidelined for the rest of the season which he very well might be. It still was a major factor in allowing the Steelers to win this AFC North match up and get one step closer to the postseason. The Bengals on the other hand look like they are in a world of trouble. After having a fantastic season and turning into one of the better teams in the whole league. The Bengals now find them selves searching for answers about how to overcome the problems at the quarterback position? AJ McCarron ended up finishing the game for the Bengals and will be tasked with filling the void throughout the rest of the year. The former University of Alabama quarterback is hoping to have a similar year to Tom Brady when he replaced injured quarterback Drew Bledsoe back in 2001 and went on to win the Super Bowl. Definitely a tough spot to be thrown into but McCarron did play in the tough SEC conference during his collegiate days. There were no easy games in that conference and while the pros is much tougher. Those development days at Bama might prove to be valuable for McCarron on Sundays. It will be interesting to see if McCarron can keep this team on track or not. The team is still extremely talented at a variety of different positions on the field However Andy Dalton has developed into a fine quarterback and it will be tough to match that production as the season continues on.

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Khalil Mack shows why he was the most raved about player in 2014 draft:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos met today in a week 14 match up in which Khalil Mack absolutely dominated. Mack contributed 5 sacks to the Oakland Raiders defense. Putting him in rare company with other big name pass rushers such as Howie Long and Vonnie Holliday who also had 5 sacks in a single game. Mack was overwhelming the Broncos offensive line from the get go. Beating them with bull rushes, rip moves, swim moves, and spin moves. Showing that Mack is versatile in his pass rushing efforts. The one thing that really impresses you when you plug in the tape on Mack is the fact that he can penetrate deep into the offensive backfield on nearly every snap. Causing panic and frustration for opposing offensive units, while at the same time uplifting the Raiders defense. The number 5 pick in the 2014 draft class was a steal for the Raiders and now they are reaping the benefits of that choice. Can you imagine this Raiders defense without Mack? There is now way the Raiders would of beat the Broncos with out Mack’s production on the field today. Besides having those five sacks he also recorded 7 total tackles and 5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Showing that he is a complete player against the run as well. On one particular play Mack bull rushed Broncos left tackle Ryan Harris and absolutely ate the guys lunch. Harris was thrown to the ground on his back before Mack finished the play by sacking Brock Osweiler for his fourth sack of the night. Just when you thought Khalil Mack had turned the lights out on Sports Authority field. Mack was able to get his fifth sack of the night using his speed off the left edge to blow past the right tackle and bring down a fleeing Osweiler. Truly one of the most dominant performances we’ve seen all season and there will be plenty more of that for the silver and black as the season continues on.

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Charity of the day: Witness for Peace

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How the Chargers can become relevant this off-season:

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Diego Chargers enter week 14 with a 3-9 record on the year and they look like a team that is desperate to get something going. While offensively the Chargers have been sound. Ranking in the top ten in both passing offense and total yards. The team has still struggled to find it’s running game. Melvin Gordon is the teams leading rusher 565 yards on the season, but he has yet to score a touchdown during his rookie campaign. Having less of an impact than the Chargers had hoped for when they drafted him 15th overall in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. So while it’s not their first priority this off-season adding a lineman or two mid-draft or even a running back would be a smart choice for this football team. Defensively is where this team starts to show their problems. The Chargers are ranked 26th against the run and 21st against the pass. In total yards surrendered they are the 24th ranked team, showing that at the end of they day they are just giving up too many yards both on the ground and through the air. The first thing you can do to improve any defense, is improve the defensive line upfront. Especially when you are running a 3-4 defense where so much depends on the nose tackle position and having a player who can control both A-gaps. Remember when the Chargers had Jamal Williams? The former 3 time Pro Bowl nose tackle was a nightmare for opposing offensive lines. The Chargers need to take his mold which was 6’3 348 pounds and do their best to find a player in the draft that fits that same profile in terms of ferocity. Maybe that is a guy like Andrew Billings out of Baylor or Kenny Clark out of UCLA. It’s just imperative that the Chargers assess every players’ game tape at the nose tackle position and make an educated choice about who would fit their team the best. The Chargers also have a few other spots to fill on the defense to be relevant. So maybe trading down and tacking a nose tackle with a later pick and going a different position on defense first might be key. That way the team can acquire more picks via trade and ultimately fill more holes. At the end of the day though, those first picks still have to be on the defensive front somewhere. If you can win upfront everyone on the back end gets better.

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Buffalo Bills are better than the Philadelphia Eagles on paper:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Author: Jon Kuzma

When the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles meet on Sunday it will be a match up that showcases two teams fighting for a playoff spot. Both teams are on the bubble as far as the playoff picture goes, and a win or loss will go a big way in sealing either team’s fate down the stretch. If you’re in to projections and forecasting games, which we know a lot of you football fans are. You really have to look at the match ups across the board and determine who has the advantage. When you do a side by side comparison of both teams it becomes overwhelming clear that the Buffalo Bills have the advantage heading into this football game. Lets start at the quarterback position which is the most important position on the field. The Buffalo Bills have been riding high with Tyrod Taylor at the helm. Taylor has thrown for 17 touchdowns on the year compared to Sam Bradford’s 13 touchdowns. What is even more impressive is Taylor has done that with even less throw attempts than Bradford. Showing that Taylor not only throws more touchdowns but he is also more efficient as well. At the running back position you would think the Eagles have the clear advantage with their three running back backfield of Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Darren Sproles. Yet the running back who has run for the most yards on either team is Lesean McCoy who was shipped to the Bills by the Eagles this past offseason. McCoy has ran for 792 yards on the year compared to Murray’s 569 yards who leads the Eagles. When you factor in Bills back up running back Karlos Williams who also has contributed 5 touchdowns to this Bills offense. You have to give the advantage to the Bills at running back as well. When you go to the receiver position the Eagles finally take this one with Jordan Matthews who has 661 receiving yards on the year. Just barely edging out Sammy Watkins of the Bills with 635 yards. However it must be noted that Watkins has 6 touchdowns to Matthews 4, so while the Eagles win in reception yards the Bills win in touchdowns at the top receiver spot. Showing that collectively on offense the Bills should be the team that comes out and outperforms the Eagles come Sunday. As far as defense goes the Bills have surrendered fewer yards per game and are ranked better at 20th compared to the Eagles at 26. In the category of fewer points surrendered by a defense. The Bills also ranked better at 16th compared to the Eagles at 25th. So if you’re a betting man this weekend it would be wise to hop on the Rex Ryan bandwagon and lay your money on the Bills Mafia. They’ve been a more complete football team all year.

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Whats happening around the league: Week 14

Eagles at Redskins 10/04/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

Chip Kelly says he handled trading Lesean McCoy the wrong way:

Chip Kelly admitted that he didn’t do a great job of handling the situation when he traded running back Lesean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. Apparently Chip stated “the money was too high” when asked about McCoy and a big reason they traded him for Kiko Alonzo was it was a good move salary cap wise for the Eagles. Kelly went on to acknowledge that he never got the chance to speak to McCoy because the deal was processed by the league sooner than expected. So by the time Kelly heard about the transaction it was the same time McCoy was hearing about the deal. Looking at Kelly’s statements it almost feels like he didn’t have enough respect for McCoy to tell him they were even negotiating a deal that included him. However Kelly tried to save face by saying “I’d still shake his hand” and he “regretted the way he handled it.” It’s easier to look back now and say I should of did it this way or that. Kelly should of been a man and told McCoy straight up he was thinking about dealing him. As much as I’m a Chip Kelly fan football wise. He seems to have a constant pattern or irking his players with his methods. Not a recipe for success in the NFL.

Julian Edelman returns to practice for New England Patriots:

The New England Patriots star wide receiver Julian Edelman returned to practice after missing several weeks with a broken bone in his foot. Edelman was rumored to look out of game form however due to the injury. Many witnesses reported that the Patriots receiver was having trouble in and out of cuts. Showing that the foot isn’t necessarily a 100% yet and it still could be some time before he makes it back to the starting line up. Still the fact that Edelman showed up and participated in practice is a good sign for things to come.

Rumors leak out of Philadelphia about Demarco Murray being unhappy:

We first heard that Demarco Murray was trying to be cut by the Philadelphia Eagles so he could return back to the Dallas Cowboys and continue his career where it all started. Now we are being told that Eagles might be looking to potentially deal Murray in the offseason. With Murray, Matthews, and Sproles in the Philadelphia backfield the position is clearly overloaded. The team went heavy at the running back position and it seems to have caused some conflict chemistry wise. Murray is unhappy and seems to be a bad fit for that scheme. So what would be the point of the Eagles keeping him? Look for both parties to part ways in the future, that is unless they can resolve their issues.

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Charity of the day: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

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Cardinals soar past Vikings 23-20 in Thursday Night Football:

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Photo credit: Todd Jones

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Cardinals and Vikings played each other in a quality Thursday Night Football match up. The game showcased two teams going back and fourth punch for punch all night long. As most football fans are probably aware, football is a momentum game. Almost in the way that boxing was a momentum sport. Teams have to capitalize on that momentum in order to achieve success in the game of football. This game was just one of those matches where every time a blow was given to a team. The team responded by giving a blow right back. The scoring started early and often where the teams combined for 17 points in the first quarter alone. Which included a Chandler Catanzaro field goal and a John Brown touchdown for the Cardinals and an Adrian Peterson touchdown for the Vikings. In the second and third quarters the action really slowed down. Only a Blair Walsh field goal was scored for the Vikings. While Michael Floyd was able to grab a 42 yard touchdown pass from Palmer. The scoring picked up again in the fourth quarter when each team was able to hit a field goal early on. Giving another field to Blair Walsh’s and Chandler Catanzaro’s season stats and at the same time making the game 20-13 with the Cardinals leading. With 10 minutes left in the fourth Teddy Bridgwater was able to lead the Vikings down field on a 11 play 88 yard drive. Which was capped off by a 7 yard touchdown reception by Mike Wallace compliments of Teddy Bridgewater. With four minutes left in the game however it was David Johnson who would step up and be the hero. The young Cardinals running back was able to beat the Vikings defense both on the ground and through the air catching the football. Johnson touched the ball on four plays of that final drive. Showing that this Cardinals offense can rely on him when they need him to make a big play down the stretch. The Cardinals would go on to close out the game 23-20 and clinch a playoff spot. A heck of a run so far in Bruce Arians third season as the head coach of the Cardinals. Give him and Palmer a ton of credit for the Cardinals accomplishments. They look like an unstoppable force heading into the playoffs.

Charity of the day: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

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The two top AFC North teams will square off when Steelers meet Bengals:

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Photo credit: SteeleCity Hobbies

Author: Jon Kuzma

The game of the week in week 14 certainly has to be the Steelers vs the Bengals. The match up will showcase two top tier offenses going head to head. The Steelers had to overcome missing personnel all season long and still have managed to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Now with Martavis Bryant back up and running on all cylinders the team adds that much needed second option. We know Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are going to produce week in and week out. When Bryant is going as well it gives the Steelers that wide out that can go deep and create big plays behind the safeties. Together the tandem give Roethlisberger the best chance to win in a long time. On the opposite side of the ball the Bengals offense has been no slouch either. Andy Dalton has played phenomenal this year throwing for 25 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Dalton’s poise has been a big reason the Bengals have been one of the most dominant teams in the AFC. When you factor in the weapons he has around him like A.J Green and Tyler Eifert you understand why this Bengals passing attack is so feared. Don’t be surprised if they are able to gash the Steelers defense through the air when the game is on the line. The x-factor of the match up seems to be the Bengals defense. Both of the offenses are good, however the Bengals defense is truly special. With Atkins, and Dunlap upfront they can get pressure early and often. Making it a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Look for that to be the difference maker in this match up.

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Charity of the day: Wounded Warrior Project

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