Julian Edelman will return to the Patriots starting line up this year and that’s going to be big for Tom Brady:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Patriots always seem to find a way to get passed an injury and keep pushing on towards their goals. Bill Belichick’s team did that last season when Julian Edelman went down with an ACL tear and New England was a couple scores away from winning their sixth Super Bowl of the Belichick and Brady era. Make no mistake about it though if Julian Edelman was in the line up that night there’s a good chance the Patriots could have put up at least one more touchdown. They would’ve had to make the two point conversion too but having Edelman in the line up definitely makes that game a much closer match up. A couple of breaks here or there and Belichick would’ve had another Super Bowl ring to add to his collection. So you can see how big it is for this ball club getting Julian Edelman back for 2018. Edelman recorded 1,106 receiving yards back in 2016 which gives you a good indication of the value he brings to this passing offense. How Tom Brady managed to pick up the slack when one of his top targets went down is beyond impressive. The good news is Brady doesn’t have to worry anymore Julian Edelman will return and that’s going to be critical when you consider the rapport both of those players have. We’re talking about almost a decade of time spent together in the trenches. Throughout all those training camps and practices Brady and Edelman have hashed out all the little intricacies of each route and passing concept. Edelman is also very good on bubble screens and in the quick passing game. By putting the ball in number 11’s hands Edelman can create plays in space and rack up plenty of yards after the catch. It’s almost like having another running back split out wide because Edelman thrives on making defenders miss and moving the sticks. One thing is for certain because of that Tom Brady has to be upbeat about what the future holds? Number 12 and 11 for New England are definitely one of the better quarterback and receiver tandems in the league and they’re finally back in business.

Charity of the day: MAP International

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Get ready for Julian Edelman’s return to the Patriots!

Odell Beckham Jr. will be the Comeback Player of the Year award winner this season. New York’s offense will benefit greatly from having their spark plug back:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s no secret Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the best football players in the world. Beckham jr. only played in four games in 2017 and despite that he still has 4,424 receiving yards heading into his fifth year. When you can miss a whole season and still average 1,000 receiving yards over four seasons that says how prolific you were in the three years before the injury. If New York gets that same guy back in 2018 there’s no doubt Odell Beckham Jr. will be the Comeback Player of the Year. Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Saquon Barkley are all terrific talents that will contribute a ton of plays for this offense. However not one of those guys gives the amount of output that Beckham Jr. brings to this table. Saquon Barkley might be close but right now Beckham Jr. is still the most proven and until something changes he’s bigger than Broadway. Only Kristap Porzingis or Aaron Judge can rival Beckham Jr’s stardom in NYC but truthfully it feels like Beckham Jr. is still the biggest act. Everyone wants to watch the Giants’ receiver play because of the highlight reel catches he’s had over his career. Between that and the consistency week in and week out sports fans have anointed OBJ as one of their favorite athletes. You don’t become a star like that unless people can see the monumental impact you’re making for your team. It also helps that Odell Beckham Jr. gets to play in New York which serves as a huge platform for his brand. There’s no place like the City That Never Sleeps and there’s no superstar quite like Odell Beckham Jr. He’s truly a celebrity because of pro football and definitely a frontrunner to win Comeback Player of the Year. Eli Manning is going to get Beckham Jr. the ball more than any other receiver in that offense. So you can see why all signs point to the 25 year old dominating when he returns.

Charity of the day: MAP International

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The Betting Blueprint by Endzoneblog.com. Over under betting (NFL)

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NFL Line / Pick Ems  Strategies/ Tips  The Numbers

Endzoneblog.com’s Michael Gelb is covering all the latest NFL betting trends. Find out where the action is and which team’s are most likely to win next Sunday? The three tabs above can help you navigate through the Betting Blueprint’s web pages which all contain different insight and data that will help you increase your winning percentage.

 

 

Kyle Shanahan draws up the plays and Jimmy Garoppolo makes it happen. Why the combination of the two is so important to the 49ers success:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Ever since San Francisco hired Kyle Shanahan there’s been a lot more hope in terms of what the 49ers can accomplish? Every player in that locker room believes in Shanahan’s ability to create plays on the offensive side of the ball. In the modern era of the sport that’s so critical because we’re playing an advanced level of the game compared to the past. The rise of the spread offense has really opened things up big time and Shanahan knows how to apply those principles perfectly to his game plan. We saw it early on in Kyle Shanahan’s career with the Falcons, Redskins, Browns, and Texans. Now the San Francisco 49ers are benefiting from their young coach’s schemes and philosophies which are far beyond a lot of the other coaches in the league. As important as Shanahan is, the 49ers also need someone who can go out and execute the calls from the sidelines. Jimmy Garoppolo is that guy and what a terrific job the former 2nd rounder has done. Garoppolo is one of the league’s brightest young stars winning five straight games after arriving in San Francisco and bringing a swagger back to the Bay Area. There hasn’t been this much excitement for the 49ers since Jim Harbaugh was in town and it’s good to see this organization back on track. Together the tandem of Shanahan and Garoppolo will be a formula for success for years to come. Remember everyone said Jimmy Garoppolo was lighting it up for New England Patriots in practice. Shanahan really did well with Matt Ryan in Atlanta and he might be able to do even better with Garoppolo as his long term quarterback solution. It’s almost like a match made in heaven because both guys can bring out the best in each other. So the mutual benefits are really what make the Shanahan and Garoppolo pairing such a fascinating one.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

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The 49ers success comes from Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo’s offensive execution.

Travis Kelce is the biggest act in Kansas City. The Chiefs tight end has been the best player at his position the past two years:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce has been a staple in Andy Reid’s offense for the past four years. Kelce has four straight seasons of at least 800 yards and he’s been very impressive in so many different phases of the game. The first thing that stands out when you watch the Cleveland native play is Kelce’s ability to run routes much smoother than most tight ends can. This is a 6’6 260 pound guy that can run like the wind and that creates a match problem for most defenders. Defensive backs are too small and Kelce can box them out and make an easy grab. On the other hand Linebackers are too slow to stay on Kelce’s hip and then when you add in the 3x Pro Bowlers ability to dip in and out of his breaks quickly, it’s obvious why nobody can cover number 87. It’s not just Travis Kelce’s catching skills that stand out on tape either. Kelce can hook or drive block defenders and kick them out of the play. If Kelce gets up on a second level defender it’s usually a win for the Chiefs too. All of that makes the former University of Cincinnati star an elite offensive weapon in Reid’s passing attack. When you picture Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill also being a part of that group it’s clear things will be exciting at Arrowhead this fall. Travis Kelce is also instrumental when it comes to Kansas City’s morale when they head into battle. We all know Kelce is a lightning rod for momentum on the gridiron. He brings a unique energy to the game and plays with a ton a heart. The other players in the Chiefs locker room look at that and it inspires them to play better themselves. So in terms of everything Travis Kelce brings to this ball club we’re talking about a massive amount of leadership and production. Things that aren’t easily replaced.

Charity of the day: FINCA International

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Travis Kelce is the biggest act in Kansas City.

Blake Borles could be heading for a breakout season. Experience and additional talent around Bortles are the reasons why:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Jacksonville Jaguars starting Quarterback Blake Bortles has been criticized often throughout his career and some of that has been unfair. Yes Bortles has struggled with turnovers during his four NFL seasons but there was also times when the Jaguars quarterback has played exceptionally well. The 2015 season is a great example of that and Bortles threw for an impressive 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. So it’s definitely in Blake Bortles somewhere he just has to dig deep and get back to playing at an elite level. Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars it appears that could be this year. The additions of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Andrew Norwell, and Donte Moncrief will help make Jacksonville’s environment much more conducive for success. It feels like Bortles will benefit greatly from that and turn things around. Which could end up being the difference maker for this ball club. Having a quarterback that is in command of the offense should breath life into this team. It all starts with the QB and trickles down from there. Bortles is at the point of his career where he feels comfortable competing with whoever’s defense he goes against. In the AFC South the Texans and Titans are going to pose the biggest threat to Bortles and the Jags but it’s unlikely either team supplants Jacksonville just yet. Especially when Bortles comes out and wings it in 2018. Everyone in that locker room has Super Bowl expectations on their mind and Blake Bortles had that pressure on him all offseason. There’s no excuse if the former UCF Golden Knight isn’t ready and that’s why you have to believe Blake Bortles will continue to build on his strong OTA performances. You learn how to execute in training camp and all the practices leading up to the regular season. Bortles has looked good throughout that process and he is definitely poised as things get on their way.

Charity of the day: Fisher House Foundation

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It feels like we’re due for a Blake Bortles breakout season.

Aaron Rodgers wants an opt-out clause in his next contract and that’s because the Packers have alienated Rodgers with poor decision making:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Aaron Rodgers has been quietly hinting at his frustration with the Packers for sometime now. Rodgers has subtly questioned Green Bay’s decisions to release Jordy Nelson and fire former Quarterback Coach Alex Van Pelt. Now the 2x M.V.P is negotiating more player control in his next deal and what that basically means is Rodgers wants more power in order to stay in Wisconsin. That way there is no more unexpected departures roster wise and in a lot of ways this will help Green Bay keep their starting QB in good standing as far as Rodgers’ overall happiness goes. The other part of the deal that has to be mentioned is the fact that number 12 wants an opt-out clause in his agreement. A lot of people are saying that this is because Rodgers doesn’t want a bunch of other quarterbacks to sign new deals and surpass him salary wise. However the opt-out clause is really just incase Aaron Rodgers gets sick of playing for the Packers and wants to try his luck somewhere else. The only reason Rodgers isn’t being truthful about that is because of the politics that comes with his role. Aaron Rodgers appreciates the fans in Green Bay and he doesn’t want to punish them because the organization is the real source of his resentment. Why would the 34 year old (Rodgers) risk his health if he isn’t fully onboard with how the Packers handling their business? Obviously Rodgers wouldn’t and that’s why he is fighting for all these extra privileges. Then if things aren’t done properly Rodgers can at least have an escape plan and go find a new home. Clearly that’s the reality of the situation and it seems like a lot of cheesehead fans are reluctant to admit it. Don’t deny the truth though the front office and coaching staff have tried to minimize Aaron Rodgers at times because they are threatened by his stardom. Rodgers is fighting back though by throwing his weight around and having his agent make some serious demands.

Charity of the day: Fisher House Foundation

Go donate! www.fisherhouse.org

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Aaron Rodgers wants an opt-out clause just incase the Packers keep up their poor decision making.

Josh Gordon is going to feast on NFL defenders this upcoming season. Gordon’s comeback story has just begun:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Cleveland Browns made a number of significant acquisitions this past offseason but one move that can’t be overlooked is getting Josh Gordon back for the entire season. Gordon played in only five games last year but having him in the line up for all sixteen games is going be such a difference maker for the Browns. There’s not many defenders that can go toe to toe with Gordon and defensive coordinators have a match up nightmare on their hands when they’re playing Cleveland. It really comes down to a combination of size and speed when you’re talking about Josh Gordon’s game. At 6’3 225 pounds the prolific wide out has a frame that can overmatch most defensive backs. Then there was the report by Cleveland.com that Gordon clocked a 4.35 40 yard dash. To think that a 6 foot 3 225 pound athlete could move that fast is just unheard of.  With that in mind Tyrod Taylor is coming into such a favorable situation with Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman and Gordon to throw to. Jarvis Landry in particular is a very special player but it still feels like Gordon is better. Even though Landry is consistent and has great hands. Gordon just has athleticism that’s on another level. All Josh Gordon has to do is stay clean and he’s going to end up being one of the best receivers in all of football. Ability has never once been the problem for this guy, it’s just been all off the field stuff. It feels like Gordon has taken action to improve his life outside of the sport and now that the former Baylor playmaker is at peace. There’s no telling how much further the talented Brown can rise in the future? One thing is for certain though and that’s Josh Gordon is cut from a different cloth. Hue Jackson knows he needs to get his top receiver the ball more than any other player in this offense.

Charity of the day: International Rescue Committee

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New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas is chasing greatness. Thomas can be one of the best to ever play the game if he keeps maintaining his elite production:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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New Orleans Saints OTAs have been a Michael Thomas highlight real so far. Thomas has dominated every single player he’s gone up against and the former Ohio State standout has battled with Marshon Lattimore who is also a former Buckeye. The Saints hope these frequent head to head competitions between Thomas and Lattimore are going to result in both guys being the best version of themselves. Regardless though it appears Michael Thomas is going to end up getting his. The twenty five year old is a 6’3 212 pound pass catching phenom who always seems to come down with the football. Thomas also shows no fear when it’s time to go over the middle. The third year offensive star does some of his best work on slants and post routes. You’d be surprised how many players are timid when asked to attack that area of the field because there’s always linebackers sitting in their hook zones waiting to deliver a big hit on any receiver who comes their way. Fortunately for New Orleans not only does Thomas excel in that part of the game, he also knows how to protect himself in those situations. Thomas has back to back 1,000 yard seasons and from the looks of things at OTAs there isn’t going to be a decrease in production anytime soon. Expect Drew Brees to rely on Michael Thomas as his first option all season long and it’s going to be extremely hard to stop that tandem. Both players are near the top of the rankings at their individual positions and together it’s a work of art. You have to give Thomas a ton of credit for the effort he’s given when it comes to perfecting his craft. You don’t become this consistent unless you’re seriously committed to becoming the best player you can be. There’s no question Michael Thomas wants to be great and he’s been showing it for a couple of weeks at Saints work outs.

Charity of the day: International Rescue Committee

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It’s clear in New Orleans that Michael Thomas is chasing greatness.

The Vikings like what they see out of Kirk Cousins. Minnesota’s new starting quarterback can be the difference maker for their offense:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Minnesota Vikings found themselves in a tough situation when Sam Bradford went down last season. Even though Case Keenum stepped into the starting line up and had a tremendous amount of success. It’s still hard for a team to fulfill their goals when their starting quarterback is sidelined for a long period of time with an injury. Mike Zimmer believes those problems are in the past though and now Kirk Cousins will be the focal point of this offense. In fact Cousins has thrown for over 12,000 yards and 75 touchdowns in his last three seasons alone. Sam Bradford hasn’t even come close to matching that output over any three years he was a starter. So there’s definitely a huge quarterback advantage for Minnesota this time around and that should yield some big returns in the passing game. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs should see a nice spike in their production as well. There’s just going to be more opportunity to make plays and that has to have those Minnesota wide outs excited for what the future hold? Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray will also force some of the defenses they face to commit to stopping the run. By blitzing to fill those running lanes that will leave the secondary in unfavorable circumstances and we know Cousins is good enough to take advantage of man coverage. The situation as a whole is just perfect for the Former Redskins QB and that’s why Cousins picked the Vikings over any other squad. This organization needs to win a super Bowl within the next couple of seasons because that’s their window to make something happen. The other franchises will evolve extremely fast and eventually someone will surpass this team as a contender. Which is exactly why Mike Zimmer stated that if he doesn’t get the quarterback decision right this offseason he’ll likely be fired. The margin for error is so small in the National Football League but it seems like this ball club got it right with Cousins.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

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The Vikings like what they see out of Kirk Cousins and now team is on the rise.

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