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NFL schedule: Quick hits from a wild NFL Sunday

Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Author: Joey Carr

Odell Beckham Jr. Suspended 1 game for his Actions

Probably the most entertaining thing that occurred on Sunday was the near all-out brawl between Giants offensive star Odell Beckham and Panthers stud cornerback Josh Norman. There was a ton of hype surrounding this particular matchup leading up to Sunday’s game between Carolina and New York. Norman had made the star receivers of the league (Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Desean Jackson to name a few) irrelevant in his previous games, but Beckham is a different type of monster. This was no doubt going to be an engaging matchup, but what ensued was nothing less than disturbing. In the first half, Norman held Beckham to no catches, but that wasn’t the biggest story; the two young stars were going at each other’s throats all half long, pushing each other violently and knocking each other down on almost every play, and the second half was no better. Beckham began to gain some yards and get under Norman’s skin, but his mindset hadn’t changed; in the fourth quarter, on a running play, the former LSU standout charged at Norman, put his head down, and rammed into the cornerback’s head. He was not ejected, if you can believe that, but was suspended 1 game by the NFL today. He is expected to appeal, but I can’t see any way that he wins that appeal. The Giants have a huge game against the Vikings next week, and without Beckham, their chances of winning go down dramatically, which would effectively eliminate them from playoff contention.

Seattle, Chiefs, and Steelers all Stay Hot, Remain in Playoff Contention

If you can somehow believe this, the Kansas City Chiefs were once 1-6. The Seattle Seahawks were 2-4. The Pittsburgh Steelers were starting Michael Vick and Landry Jones at one point in the season without Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. However, here they are all, right in the thick of the playoff hunt. Seattle has already clinched a spot in the NFC bracket, but the Chiefs and Steelers both need to win out and get some help from their AFC foes in order for them both play January football. However, what they’ve all done is pretty amazing, and one thing’s for sure: no team wants to play Seattle, Pitt, or KC come playoff time.

Injuries Continue to Plague the League

Is it me, or does it seem like injuries have been more rampant than ever this year? Before the season even started, ACL injuries were making their way to nearly every training camp. Kevin White, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Orlando Scandrick, and Ryan Clady are just a few names that haven’t played a down in 2015 due to ACL injuries, and there are plenty more where they came from. Quarterbacks have been missing games more than ever (Big Ben, Andy Dalton Peyton Manning), and some teams, like the Patriots, have been decimated by the injury bug. For example: New England promoted running back Joey Iosefa from the practice squad for yesterday’s game. Iosefa is an undrafted rookie out of Hawaii who was cut by Tampa Bay because they felt he wasn’t good enough; but now, he’s racking up 51 yards in week 15 for the defending champs. Injuries have been the name of the game this season, and if it doesn’t end soon, we might be seeing an AFC South vs. NFC East Super Bowl this year (maybe not that extreme but you get my point).

Cam Newton has all but Shored Up the MVP Award

If I’m being perfectly honest, I do not like Cam Newton. I think he is a showoff and too cocky for his own britches that has some inflated stats; however, he is the MVP this season, hands down. Schedule and inflated stats (most of his touchdown passes are from 3 yards out) aside, Newton has played very well this year; he’s led the Panthers to an undefeated record and his offense is the best in the NFL, scoring over 30 points almost every game this season. Yesterday, he directed a perfectly executed 2-minute drill to set up the game winning field goal against New York after squandering a 28 point lead in the second half. Of course, Carolina hasn’t played the best teams this year (they’ve played 1…. Yes 1 team with a record of over .500) but Cam has done a good job of winning the games he’s supposed to win. It’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers play when they play a good Seattle team or a tough Arizona squad in the playoffs, where Carolina is not the best team; I’ll have my popcorn ready when it happens though.

The AFC South and the NFC East are Still Bad

Get this: the 5-9 Jacksonville Jaguars are still alive in the race for the AFC South crown. The 4-10 Dallas Cowboys were JUST NOW eliminated from the NFC East Title. Historically, these are two of the worst divisions in NFL history; we could possibly see a three way 7-9 tie in the NFC East, and who knows who’s going to walk away with the AFC South. The Houston Texans are currently in the lead after defeating the Colts yesterday, but we would be naïve to think that they’re going to hold onto it. Meanwhile in the NFC East, the Eagles, yes the Eagles, are in the best position to win the division, but only because they own the tiebreaker. They play the Redskins in the final game of the season, which could ultimately decide the division.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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The return of Kam Chancellor a great sign for the Seahawks:

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Photo credit: Ryan Lock

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 on the season, however they’ve been without their star safety Kam Chancellor. Chancellor has been one of the keys to the Seahawks defense during their Super Bowl run in 2013 and their Super Bowl runner up appearance in 2014. The legion of boom get their boom from Chancellors big time hits and ability to make big plays in clutch situations. In fact when the pressure was on Chancellor was at his best. During the playoffs when a players’ clutch rating comes into account. Chancellors has managed not only to play at superior level, but also score points defensively and change the outcome of games for the Seahawks. So when Chancellor decided to hold out during the 2015 season, some Seahawks’ fans were angry while others understood that Kam had earned the right to renegotiate a pay raise. Regardless of how you felt about the issue one thing was clear. Chancellor was instrumental in the Seahawks runs and they would be hard pressed to have that kind of success without him. To get an example of how good he was during the 2013, and 2014 postseason you have to look at his stats. During those two post seasons he was able to record 61 tackles and 3 interceptions. Keep in mind some players don’t record 3 interceptions in a 16 game regular season. Chancellor was able to record those stats in 7 games. A testament of just how good he has been for the Seahawks. He will likely play a huge role in getting this team back on track. Only time will tell if it’s too late however sitting at 0-2. The team has more problems than just on the defensive side of the ball.Still with 31 in the defensive secondary it still makes for a brighter day.

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Charity of the day: American Red Cross

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Have we already seen the best of Russell Wilson?

Seahawks at Redskins 10/6/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

There comes a point when a pro athlete becomes so high profile that sometimes they can’t deal with that amount of fame. How many times have we seen a pro athlete make it to the top and become complacent? A story all to familiar in pro sports, and Wilson is heading into that same uncharted territory. Just a year after making it to the Super Bowl and bringing a title back to Seattle. Wilson found himself on the goal line of the end zone ready to repeat as Super Bowl champion. If Wilson is as bright and calculated as he tries to appear how come he didn’t have the football I.Q to change that play at the line of scrimmage? Even if he didn’t tell anyone else on the offense what was happening, he could have took that snap and kept it himself on a run up the gut for the win. That lack of ability to understand the circumstances and have the moxie and guts to break the chain of command is what makes Super Bowl Winners. Notice how winners is plural. Do you honestly think Tom Brady or Eli Manning would of let that play happen? Not to mention Wilson has numerous distractions going on in his personal life. He is currently now dating singer Ciara, how many times have we seen a high profile athlete date a high profile celebrity and regress on the field? Justin Verlander was an outstanding pitcher for the Detroit Tigers until he reached the summit and landed Kate Upton. That same formula could end up hurting Wilson down the stretch. Finally, lately as he becomes more of a public figure you can tell Wilson is trying to unveil his true self. Which seems to be a religious freak. His attempt to say his “spirit water” helped him recover from a concussion in a playoff game is only a comment that a religious nut job would make. The guy seems like a great guy at first glance, but so do most politicians as well. Most at endzoneblog.com are not sold on Russell Wilson and it will be interesting to see if he falls short or exceeds expectations this upcoming season.

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Charity of the day: Ocean Conservancy

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At 29 years old Marshawn Lynch is showing no signs of slowing down:

Seahawks at Redskins 10/6/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Nobody should of been more disappointed with the results of last years Super Bowl than Marshawn Lynch. After Lynch had just carried the Seahawks down to the Patriots two yard line after a successful run. The Seahawks then chose to do the unthinkable and pass the ball. That pass was intercepted by Malcom Butler the Patriots won the game and the rest is history. After when the press asked Lynch if he was shocked about the play call he stated “no, because football is a team game”. A testament that even though Lynch was upset he understood the call because at the end of the day football is a team sport. The obvious correct decision looking back on that play would be to give Lynch the ball again and go bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Seattle. Lynch had been not only outstanding that regular season but basically every season he has been in Seattle. Since the Seahawks acquired Lynch he has rushed for 1,000 yards every season and has rushed for over 10 touchdowns in every season. The only time he didn’t was in 2010 when he was traded to Seattle from Buffalo and that was only because he was playing a shortened season in Seattle. The stats don’t lie the Seahawks made a bad choice by going away from the guy who helped build their identity in the Super Bowl. Luckily for them though they managed to re-sign Lynch to a two year extension and at 29 years old Lynch shows no signs of slowing down. He could easily continue his production over the length of this contract and then that will likely be it for the all-pro running back. Lynch has stated in the past he has contemplated retirement. So while he shows no signs of slowing down, at most it will be two more years of beast mode and then he will ride off into the sunset. Lets see how far he can take the Seahawks before that time.

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Charity of the day: Proliteracy Worldwide

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Seahawks won’t return to the Super Bowl without Kam Chancellor:

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Photo credit: Ryan Lock

In the last two years of NFL action it’s hard to find a player that has been a tougher s.o.b than Kam Chancellor. Nate Burleson got it right when he said “Chancellor puts the boom in legion of boom.” The guy has been an absolute force for the Seahawks the last two seasons and in particular during the postseason when performance matters most. In the 2013 and 2014 postseason combined Chancellor has intercepted 3 passes. Some defensive backs play a whole regular season which is sixteen games and finish with less interceptions than that. Not to mention Chancellor is the Seahawks’ brick wall defender. Leveling guys not only in the secondary on pass plays. But also coming up in run support and acting as an enforcer for the Seahawks defense. Not many guys have had as big as an impact for their team as Kam Chancellor has and he is a vital piece to the Seahawks puzzle. Now, with Kam Chancellor threatening to hold out and Michael Robinson stating that “Chancellor will sit out the whole year”. The Seahawks are left with two options. Either open up negotiations and extend Chancellors contract. Or ignore Chancellors demands and risk him sitting out the season. Really the longer the Seahawks wait the more the morale is going to drop for the Seahawks collectively. You don’t want Chancellor feeling like he isn’t wanted in Seattle. When a player’s happiness drops typically performance does as well. On top of that Chancellor is indeed a key performer for the Seahawks and has earned his money. It makes sense to address the issue as quickly as possible if your the team’s front office. Yet with giving a new deal to Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and Bobby Wagner. Cap space might be getting tight for the Seahawks. It will be interesting to see how this things play out and more importantly how Seattle reels Chancellor back into the fold.

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Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

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Jimmy Graham will put up monumental numbers in Seattle

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks were big winners this off-season landing a deal with the New Orleans Saints who sent arguably the best tight end in the game (outside Gronkowski) to the Hawks. With the acquisition Russell Wilson will have a superstar threat to throw to when things break down. Anyone who has been around the game of football knows that tight ends can be a quarterbacks best friend because the distance of throws to a tight end is relatively shorter than to a wide receiver. Making the pass to the tight end a much more high percentage play for success. Another thing that stands out when watching great tight ends is they have a bigger frame typically. Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzales, Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, and Kellen Winslow Sr. are all outstanding tight end’s in their own rights and all of them also come in around the 6’5 250 lbs range. Jimmy Graham has this same similar size, and he is exceptionally athletic despite that size. You could see that athleticism last year against the 49ers when he nearly stole the show completing a hail mary reception over Perrish Cox. The play would go on to eventually get over turned but it was scary to see how well Graham could elevate over defense backs. A position that is typically more athletic then tight ends.

The next thing that will be big for Graham is the system that he plays in. The Seahawks run many zone read concepts. Where Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch combine to really incorporate to plays in one. The run to Lynch and the quarterback keeper to Wilson. It will be interesting to see how the superstar tight end meshes into that whole process. With so much emphasize needed to be committed to the run, the middle of the field might be wide open where the linebackers just left from to fill the run. It seems to be an ideal situation for Graham and a betting man would bet on an up year from Jimmy Graham.

Projection: 12 touchdowns. Football players; Jimmy Graham.

Charity of the day: National Urban League

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