Tom Brady: Ready for Payback, Bro!

Tom Brady has waited a long time for another shot at Sherman

Tom Brady has waited a long time for another shot at Sherman

13 years ago, Tom Brady lifted up his first Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. Now he’s gunning for his fourth Super Bowl win in six appearances and the defending Super Bowl champs are standing firmly in his way. Seattle’s defense is a well-oiled machine that takes no prisoners on the field.

However, the Legion on Boom exposed some cracks in the armor two weeks ago against a hobbled Aaron Rodgers when they got clobbered in the first half and clawed out a very unlikely overtime win against the Packers.

The Seattle versus New England game should be a very close and entertaining matchup. A fact that has almost been lost in the shuffle with all of the foolish ramblings about “IdiotGate” and Marshawn Lynch’s disdain for the media.

There are many story lines to focus on, but one of the most important is the mountain-sized CHIP on Tom Brady’s shoulder. He’s more motivated for this game than any other during his storied career for several reasons.

  • FOUR SUPER BOWL RINGS – There is no greater motivator for any quarterback in the game than getting on the short list with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
  • More than any defender in the game, Brady can actually feel father time closing in on him. He’s 37-years-old and his time is definitely running out.
  • You Mad, Bro? Damn right he’s mad. Brady never goes a full day without remembering being called out by the cheery defender named Richey Sherman. I have always wondered if Sherman’s taunt would come back to haunt him, today we will find out.
  • Deflate Gate – Just another motivator for a quarterback who has already played in five Super Bowls and is hell-bent on adding his 4th ring.

Lynch’s Apathy Exposes Cracks in Modern Journalism

Lynch won't play ball with the media and it's driving them over the edge

Lynch won’t play ball with the media and it’s driving them over the edge

I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

“You know why I’m here.”

Those fairly innocuous quotes from Marshawn Lynch have the national media crying foul over the grave injustices that are being heaped upon them by the diabolical Seattle running back.

This is the same media that has long been guilty of showing disrespect and spitting venom at all those who dare to disagree with them. These “journalists” can really dish it out, but it’s obvious that they can’t take it.

This has produced a journalistic subculture of bullies who are always waiting to spring the next nasty question that triggers a negative or inflammatory response.

The fact that Marshawn Lynch has decided to stand up to them, has understandably set off a media firestorm. How dare someone ignore ignorant or petulant questions because they are finally fed up.

These are the same reporters who droned on about “Deflategate” so often that sports fans had to shut off their televisions and radios for a full week before they could actually hear about the game again.

Yes, Lynch makes millions of dollars and is expected to deal with the simple-minded questions. But the fact that he doesn’t answer them the way the bullies actually want to is actually quite entertaining.

Lynch is a phenomenal player, but is he really that interesting? Even when he did speak this week, it barely got any play at all:

“So y’all can go make up whatever y’all want to make up because I don’t say enough for y’all to go and put anything out on me.”

The fact that Lynch has become the focal point of the Super Bowl because he won’t play ball with the media circus is sheer comedy. I’m not a Seattle fan, but wouldn’t it be great theater if Lynch won the Super Bowl MVP? Imagine the non-answers the poor media would have to endure. You don’t have to like Lynch at all, but it’s refreshing to see someone who can so easily frustrate the minions that make up the revered 4th estate.

Josh Gordon – Determined to Throw it All Away

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon is running out of chances to prove that he can stay clean

Josh Gordon has always let his football career take a back seat to partying and he’s proven it again as he stares in the face of another year-long suspension. Even the NFL has its limit on the behavior of its players and the elite talent of Gordon may not be enough stop him from throwing away his career.

After failing yet another drug test, Brown will be subject to another one-year suspension, according to league sources. This is coming after Gordon just served out a 10 game suspension for the 2014 season. He was actually in the process of serving a year-long suspension, when a new set of drug testing and punishment policies reduced his penalty to only ten games.

It’s clear that Gordon needs some type of help because this pattern of behavior dates back well into his high school playing days. During Gordon’s college years at Baylor, he chose to enter the NFL after he was dismissed for a failed marijuana test. So this begs the question, does he still have any shot to play in the NFL?

Gordon’s future is extremely fuzzy at the moment. In the 5 games that Gordon did participate in, he was nothing but mediocre compared to the unbelievable 2013 season he had. After serving a two-game drug suspension, Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards in only 14 games. It doesn’t look good when you compare those numbers to the 2014 season where he caught just 24 passes for 303 yards in five games. There is still much to be said about Gordon and fellow “bad-boy” teammate Johnny Manziel, and whether or not they can ever produce together.

The difficult part for Gordon is that he will have to stay sober for an entire year in order for Roger Goodell to reinstate him. Goodell is mired in a public relations nightmare with the league and he may show no mercy to a repeat offenders like Gordon. The bottom line is that it’s ultimately up to Gordon if he ever wants to get himself straight enough to play in the NFL again.

Can Swaggy P Find his A-Game for the Lakers?

Nick Young has a shot at becoming the man in Los Angeles

Nick Young has a shot at becoming the man in Los Angeles

By Ian Stone –

The season was already pretty much a loss for the Lakers even before Kobe Bryant was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. With the Lakers closing in on the basement in the Western Conference, the team has no reason to risk aggravating Bryant’s shoulder injury. Bryant is the Lakers leading scorer and Nick Young will have to step up and lead that lackluster offense.

Los Angeles has now lost its second player to a season-ending injury (the first being rookie Julius Randle), and their depth across the board is non-existent. Every member of the rotation will see increased playing time in order to fill the void left by one of the greatest players of all time. The most suitable replacement has to be the brash Nick Young. He’s nicknamed Swaggy P and his ever-present in-your-face personality is always on display.

Young’s season hasn’t gone too well to this point. He’s averaging 14.5 points per game on about 39 percent shooting from the field. Young is known for being a volume scorer, but he’s yet to take more than 20 shots in any game this season. Expect that to change sooner rather than later. This is pure speculation, but Young could have been holding back in the games where Bryant was resting in order to keep the clearly defined roles in tact, but now that mentality has to be left behind. Young now has a chance to make the Lakers his team.

Though his shooting percentage still wasn’t great (44 percent) a year ago, he managed to put up 17.9 points and 2.1 3 pointers per contest, and he should be able to reach that level, if not higher. Last season, Young had Gasol to help him score, but now he has even more weight to carry on his shoulders. He should receive some contribution from role players like Carlos Boozer, Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington and Wes Johnson, but Young will be the major benefactor in terms of scoring and 3 pointers.

If he is available on the wire, pick up Young as soon as possible in what could be a very impressive end to the season for the scorer.

10 Things Cooler than DeflateGate

Stay Classy LeGarrette

Stay Classy LeGarrette

By John Adams

LeGarrette Blount could sucker punch another player from a team based in the Pacific Northwest  

Richard Sherman may go Rick Grimes and bite a female reporter instead of screaming at her during a post game interview

Jeremy Lane could require skin grafts after getting torched by Rob Gronkowski

Aaron Hernandez will watch the Super Bowl with the “Sisters Gang” from Shawshank

Richard Sherman will sip a nice juicy Adderall cocktail during warmups

Bill Belichick will finally show off his Gisele Bundchen tattoo

Belichick will implicate Brady regarding the circumstances around his Gisele tattoo

The Patriots could have played with deflated ping pong balls and beaten the Colts by 30

Ravens coach John Harbaugh will sing “Tears on my Pillow” during halftime with Katy Perry

LeGarrette Blunt – Smoking blunts, getting Le’Veon Bell busted and busting out for the Patriots

Super Bowl XLIX Should be One to Remember

Super Bowl XLIX has all the makings for a classic

Super Bowl XLIX has all the makings for a classic

By Connor O’Halloran

Say what you want about Deflate-Gate or Seattle needing the stars to align for their overtime victory against Green Bay, because the two best teams in the NFL are playing in the Superbowl and it should be one hell of a game. It really is a match-up between the Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object. New England has been on a role since their sluggish 2-2 start and Seattle hasn’t lost a game since Week 10.

There are tons of juicy match-ups and story lines to talk about so let’s take a deeper look into what will decide this game and who might come out on top.

New England has been the most dominant team in the NFL since the turn of the century and Tom Brady will be looking for his fourth ring in six appearances. He will have to knock off the defending champs and the new kid on the block, Russell Wilson. Wilson is 10-0 against Superbowl winning quarterbacks and is starting to become the “New Tom Brady”. Brady will be facing one of the best defenses in recent history and Wilson will have to create success against a Belichick defense that will do everything in their power to eliminate the ground game from both Wilson and Marshawn Lynch.

The X Factor in this game is Rob Gronkowski. Both teams have Superbowl-Winning quarterbacks, excellent defenses, power running games and reliable kickers, but there is only one Gronk. Seattle has had a history of shutting down premier tight ends, but Antonio Gates burned them for three touchdowns earlier this season and Gates is no Gronk. Gronk is a nightmare for opposing defenses and will get some one-on-one opportunities if New England can find some success on the ground.

Seattle’s formula all year has been to pound the rock with Beast Mode and let Wilson make some plays with his feet on play action. New England’s game plan will be to eliminate Beast Mode, prevent Wilson from making big plays on the ground and force Wilson to beat New England with his arm from the pocket. New England has the talent to make this happen but Beast Mode has made a living of making big plays and Wilson only needs one big play to light up the scoreboard.

The main advantages I see are Gronk and Belichick for New England and Seattle’s All-World safeties of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas for Seattle. I see a really low scoring game for roughly three quarters and then a few late touchdowns for both teams. I see New England winning this one on a late field goal.

It should be a great game, February 1st can’t come soon enough.

Hidden Gems in This Year’s NBA Rookie Class

Jusuf Nurkić is pure gold for the Denver Nuggets

Jusuf Nurkić is pure gold for the Denver Nuggets

By Ian Stone

This year’s rookie NBA class seemed to have only a few bright spots in Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins, but the overall talent level of the group seems to be ever increasing. Wiggins should be a lock for Rookie of the Year with Parker falling victim to a torn ACL, but there are some other players who have certainly had significant impacts on their respective squads.

Looking at big men, 20-year-old Jusuf Nurkic has really developed into a solid force for the Denver Nuggets. His role will only continue to grow with Timofey Mozgov now a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though his 6.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG don’t jump out at you, one must take into consideration how much he has improved, and his potential to continue to grow and develop into something special. Nurkic has struggled very recently, failing to reach double digits in both scoring and rebounding because he keeps finding himself in foul trouble. Before the fouling issues began, he transforming into a dominant force down low right before our eyes. From late December to early January, he averaged 12.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks over a six-game span. Look for Nurkic to get back on track as the starting center for the Nuggets, as he has little competition for minutes at the position. His potential ceiling is pretty high, especially in rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.

Elfrid Payton is without a doubt the best passer out of the rookie class and is quickly becoming a game-changer for the Orlando Magic. He’s demonstrated the potential to spread the ball around earlier on this year, but has really played at a high level as of late. During his last four games, Payton has averaged 16.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. The only concerning statistic lies in turnovers, as the rookie point guard has also seen a rise in that area, turning the ball over 13 times in his last 3 games. Payton should see more action as he has shown flashes of greatness, as he looks to help lead this young Magic team to the playoffs (Magic are currently 3.5 games back from the 8 seed in the East). Payton should end the season leading all rookies in assists per game, and hopefully he can keep the turnovers down.

The appeal of Andrew Wiggins is very simple, he can do it all. He has proven his explosive 5-stat potential production and has current highs at 31 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 4 steals (personal records in scoring, assists and blocks completed in the same game). The number one overall pick has a unique set of skills, as he can score from anywhere on the floor, ranging from threes to driving to the hoop. Look for his scoring numbers to be consistently decent (around 18-20 points per game) as he gains confidence and becomes more acclimated to the NBA. He’s quick enough to beat his man with dribble penetration and if he and his teammates begin to build rapport, he should get assists when they make strategic cuts to the basket. His rebounding numbers may settle around 5-6 per game, especially with the eventual return of Nikola Pekovic, but his assists and steals should increase slightly in the latter half of the season.

Tentative Play Ultimately Dooms the Packers

Packers did not play to win, they played NOT to lose

The Packers did not play to win, they played NOT to lose

There’s plenty of conjecture as to why the Seahawks were able to come back from a 16-point deficit, but the answer really is NOT so terribly complicated. The Packers 16-point lead should have been much been at least a 20-point lead and Pete Carroll had halftime to correct what was going so terribly wrong.

All Seattle had to do was score one touchdown (which they did) and they were right back in the game.

Green Bay squandered two goal line changes at the beginning of the game and settled for field goals and a lead of 6-0 instead of a 10 or 14 to zip lead. The bottom line is, Green Bay didn’t play to win, they played NOT to lose and it cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.

Despite the loss, this game won’t be the down fall for the Green Bay Packers. As long as the great Aaron Rodgers is healthy and the team can keep most of their weapons – the Packers should have no problem being Super Bowl contenders yet again next season.

Aaron Rodgers would like to play for 10 more years, but that’s not as simple as it seems – just ask Brett Favre. None-the-less, Rodgers has at least 5 to 7 more years in his prime, seeing that he is only 31 years old. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are Rodger’s favorite weapons in his repertoire. Nelson is a non-issue this off-season as he signed a 4-year contract extension during the early days of last training camp. The main priority for the Pack will be to sign Nelson’s running mate Randall Cobb.

It will be interesting to see how much cash the Packers will divvy up to Randall Cobb, because you can bet Cobb and his agent will use Nelson’s contract as a measuring stick. Like Aaron Rogers once said, “R-E-L-A-X.” Just because the Packers lost the NFC championship game brutally to the Seattle Seahawks, doesn’t mean that the franchise will take a nose dive into the ground.

The Packers will always be in playoff contention as long as Rodgers is at the wheel. We can also note that Green Bay shouldn’t need any motivation for next season after their NFC Championship Game breakdown.

Colts Try to Put the Brakes on Brady

Facing a healthy Tom Brady in January often spells disaster for AFC foes

Facing a healthy Tom Brady in January often spells disaster for AFC foes

By Ian Stone:

After upsetting the Denver Broncos, the Colts will look to do so again as they head to New England to take on the Patriots. The Pats were nearly beaten by a surging Ravens offense a week ago, and will be tested once again by Andrew Luck and his high-powered offensive attack.

The Patriots seem destined to make it to the Super Bowl once again and it’s hard to see the young and inexperienced Luck getting in their way. The former number 1 overall pick has gone 0-3 against the Pats in his career, losing by a combined score of 144-66 in those contests. The two teams only met once this season, and the Colts lost 42-20 at home as Jonas Gray rushed for 214 yards and 4 TDs. Expect to see a similar outcome in the final score, but the means of scoring should differ greatly.

The Colts defense finished the season ranked 18th in allowing 113.4 rushing yards per game, and the Pats should be able to run them into the ground. Earlier in the season, Gray exploded in a breakout performance, but his role has been reduced significantly since that Week 11 meeting. LeGarrette Blount has begun to receive more of a workload, and should be able to find the end zone, in addition to around 50 rushing yards.

As for the passing game, Indy was more successful in giving up just 229.3 passing yards per game this season, ranking 12th in the category. However, Tom Brady’s postseason experience should allow him to find success against this difficult opponent.

Expect Brady to overcome this tough matchup through use of his TE Rob Gronkowski, as well as his lesser targets in Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Gronk should be a lock for at least 10 targets, turning that into 90-100 yards and at least 1 touchdown.

In addition to Gronk, hopefully Amendola can keep up his high level of play as he erupted for 81 yards and 2 TDs on 5 receptions in last week’s victory. He should see plenty of action in slot routes across the middle, and secure at least a few catches for around 40-60 yards. QB Tom Brady should turn in another solid performance of at least 300 yards and 2-3 TDs in an easy win.

The toughest part for the Patriots will be limiting Andrew Luck and company, as their defense was not too good against the pass this season. New England finished the season ranked 17th in allowing 239.8 passing yards per contest, and they will really have to be on their game to slow down the Colts. Luck has solid targets in Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Hakeem Nicks, and former college teammate Coby Fleener at his disposal, and it will be more than difficult to shut them all down at once.

Luck has shown the ability to extend plays outside the pocket with his legs, so New England will have to be diligent in its approach to stopping them even after it seems as if the play is over. The Colts have been pretty successful in running the ball through use of tailback Boom Herron, and they will also have to try and limit his impact, as he gets it done when it counts. The Patriots ranked 9th this year in allowing 104.3 rushing yards per game, and should be able to limit his effectiveness.

Expect Andrew Luck to have a solid game in terms of yards and touchdowns, but to also turn the ball over a couple times in a hostile Foxborough environment, against a well-experienced Patriots football team.

Seattle Ready to Put Green Bay on Ice

The Seahawks want to prove that defense wins championships

The Seahawks want to prove that defense still wins championships

By Connor O’Halloran

It’s Championship Game weekend and the NFC match-up has all the ingredients you could ask for as an NFL fan. Seattle and its #1 ranked defense will host Green Bay’s #1 ranked offense. it’s a rematch of the Week 1 contest that ended up as a 36-16 win for Seattle. Many things have changed since then, so let’s take a look at the keys to the game and predict who should come out on top.

What’s changed since Week 1? On Seattle’s side, not much at all. The Legion of Boom is better than ever and Russell Wilson keeps making big plays when his team needs him the most. The only weakness in their game is the fact that they don’t have a wide receiver or tight end who “scares” opposing defenses.

Green Bay has changed for the better. Eddie Lacy has hit his stride and has been averaging almost 100 yard per game on the ground since Week 12. Lacy was not existent in Week 1 where he only had 12 carries for 34 yards and left the game early with a concussion.

Rookie wide receiver Devante Adams has emerged as a legitimate #3 option in the passing game which will help since Seattle does not have much depth in their secondary. All these positive changes are great for Green Bay but their team MVP and likely NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing at full strength as he continues to be bothered with a calf injury he suffered in Week 17.

While Rodgers and the Packers made enough plays to win on Sunday, Seattle’s defense has made a habit of completely shutting down the best offenses the NFL has to offer. Rodgers made some great plays against the Cowboys but he never really escaped from the pocket and made a big play down the field that he seems to make every other week. Given Rodgers health and Green Bay’s sub-par defense, I don’t see this game being close.

Green Bay will hopefully keep things close in the first half, but if Seattle can establish a run game, Russell Wilson will be able to make big plays with his arm and legs on play action passes and if Green Bay has even one turnover, things could get ugly. Even with Rodgers being fully healthy I still think Seattle would win this game by a touchdown but without Rodgers being able to extend plays with his legs, I see Seattle looking to repeat against either the Colts on Patriots on February 1st.