The best offense will be facing off against the best defense at the Meadowlands? Will Peyton Manning lead his team to victory or will the Seattle defense and running game make the difference…what do you think? Vote and tell us why at the comment section below…
If you’re a football fan then this AFC Championship matchup will bring much happiness to your life. Arguably the 2 greatest quarterbacks to ever throw the pigskin are facing off in what will definitely be a game for the ages. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have built a pretty storied rivalry during their tenures in the NFL. Brady has dominated the head-to-head matchups winning 10 of the 14 battles the two have endured. This game has even more excitement behind it because of how Manning just broke Brady’s single season touchdowns record that he had set back in his near perfect season in 2007 (I imagine that every Giants fan will be chuckling after reading that line). In their one matchup this season, Brady led the Patriots to an impressive 24-point deficit comeback to win 34-31 in OT in what was my favorite game of the season…although I would have preferred to see a different result. Based on the history of their rivalry and Brady’s playoff dominance year in and year out, there is no logical explanation why I should be picking the Broncos to win but here are my 5 reasons why they will.
1. Denver’s receiving core is one of the greatest ever: Denver has assembled a receiving core with talent that hasn’t been seen since the greatest show on turf. With Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, it is near impossible to double team anyone. Add that in with the fact that the best quarterback ever is throwing to them and I don’t even see how this team lost 3 games this year. With a secondary ranked in the bottom half of the league, the Patriots can expect to see Manning throw for at least 350 yards in this one.
2. Peyton needs this win more than Brady: As a die-hard Jets fan, I find it very hard to write anything positive about Tom Brady, but I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the best playoff QB I’ve ever seen. When Mo Lewis ended Drew Bledsoe’s career and started the career of a no name kid from Michigan there was no looking back. Tom Brady has proven time and again that he is clutch in every sense of the word. Peyton on the other hand has had record-breaking season after record-breaking season but outside of his one Super Bowl win, he has been a pretty disappointing playoff QB. That won’t be the case this year because Peyton knows this will be one if his final chances to match his little brothers ring total.
3. Home field advantage means a lot: While Brady and the Pats got the best of the Broncos in a big overtime comeback this season, that game was played in Foxborough. This AFC Championship game will be played in the Mile High Stadium. Denver fans are rowdy and will be doing their darndest to get in to Brady and his minions heads. Peyton will have the calming and quieting respect from the fans so he can audible all fucking day if he wants to and when he has that power he is an unstoppable force keeping defenses on their toes. While the temperatures aren’t favorable for Peyton’s reputation, he has recently shown that he can put up Manning-esque numbers even in the worst of weather.
4. Rush defense trumps rush offense: Who would have thought that the Patriots could put up the type of performance they did last week without Brady throwing even one TD? Bill “spy gate” Belicheck has found himself in control of a very solid 3-headed running attack with Lagarrett Blount, Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen giving opposing defenses a lot of different looks. Unfortunately for the Pats, the Broncos have a better than average Rush D that ranked 8th in total yards allowed this year. With the Broncos front 7 and the fact that Peyton will be running up the scoreboard, Brady will be forced to throw a lot more than he probably would like too and unfortunately for him, he does not have nearly the type of offensive weapons that Peyton has at his disposal.
5. Knowshon Moreno is going to go off: This is simple; the Patriots have the 30th ranked rush defense in the NFL and Knowshon Moreno has been showing off his talents that none of us have seen since his years in Georgia. With the amount of spread formations and 4 wide receiver sets that the Broncos offense presents, Moreno will find himself in a very favorable situation quite often. I am expecting Knowshon to go off for over 120 yards in this game and in my mind he will be the ultimate deciding factor for the Broncos to get that W.
Growing up, most kids are told to shoot for the stars and that any goal they put their mind too they can accomplish. But what adults don’t tell you is that there is such a thing as an unrealistic goal. The best player in the NFL, Adrian Peterson, has just set the most unrealistic goal I have ever heard. AP is coming off the greatest comeback season in Pro Sports history and he might be letting it get into his head just a little…OK a lot. Yesterday, Peterson made a statement that has the NFL world buzzing as he proclaimed he will not only break Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record, but he set a date for him to do so. Adrian said that he will break Smith’s record on week 16 of the 2017 season. Not only is this goal unrealistic, it is absolutely absurd.
Let’s start with his opening statements; Adrian finished just 9 rushing yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record mark of 2,106. Peterson first went on to say that he will not only break that mark this year but he will finish with 2,500 yards. Are you f-en kidding me? For all of you non-math whizzes out there, that means Adrian would not only have to play in all 16 games in this upcoming season but he would have to average 156.25 yards a game. To put that in perspective for all of you, AP led the NFL in yards/per game last season with 131.1. The next closest RB to him on that list was my boy Alfred Morris who only averaged 100.8/per game. I can guarantee to everyone out there that AP has absolutely NO CHANCE of hitting the 2,500 mark in one season. It would be nice, but it’s not going to happen.
We shouldn’t forget that Peterson had just come back from a torn ACL and MCL before last season and what he accomplished after that was nothing short of a miracle. I am a huge fan of watching AP play and I will definitely love to see him hit these marks he has set but there is no shot in hell of that happening. For Adrian to break Emmitt’s record by the 16th week of the 2017 season he will have to average an unobtainable 121 yards/per game for 79 straight games. After making this ludicrous proclamation, Peterson went on to tell the Star-Tribune:
“Whoo. That’s pushing it, huh? But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it,”
It sounds like he is motivated and pumped to get to this mark, but I see it more as Peterson having major delusions of grandeur. There is no question that he is the best Running Back the game has to offer and there isn’t even a close second, but for him to think he can actually accomplish the goals he has set forth is nothing short of crazy stupidity. AP is 28 years old and has already gone through a surgery that most people wouldn’t even be able to recover from. AP has played 6 full seasons and he isn’t even halfway to the Dancing with the Star’s season 3 Champions mark. (Yeah that’s right, Emmitt Smith won season 3 of Dancing with the Stars) Adrian Peterson must be out of his damn mind if he actually believes what he said to be true.
Dear Adrian Peterson,
While I would love for all of your statements to come true, I now fear for your health because you just put a giant target on your back for every defensive player in the NFL to aim for. I understand that you have the second worst QB in the NFL, behind Mark Suckchez of course, and you will probably be getting the most carries in the NFL this year, but that only means that these gigantic defensive players are going to have more opportunities to make you eat your words. I wish you luck, but I think you might have just stalled what could have been one of the best Running Back careers ever.
With both the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers both winning, the Sports Debaters have started with a perfect 2-0 record in our playoff predictions. Yesterday’s games were relatively easy to predict while today’s quality matchups are not so cut and dry. I have to admit that while the Packers and Vikings always provide entertaining games, the battles that are happening today are the teams we were really looking forward to watching. I mean out of the two games today there are THREE rookie Quarterbacks starting. That is absolutely unreal! Here are our previews and predictions for the Sunday’s NFL Wild Card games.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens: The first contest of today’s games features two completely different squads. The Colts enter the game as one of the youngest teams in the NFL, while the Ravens boast one of the oldest. Indianapolis’ turn around is nothing short of remarkable as they were the worst team in the the league last year. With the first pick of the draft the Colts chose the heavily sought-after Andrew Luck who they expected to help rebuild their once prominent franchise. Little did they know that he would be able to return them to glory in his rookie campaign. Andrew Luck is starting to look eerily similar to the last quality QB that led the Colts to the Super Bowl not to long ago. The Ravens seem to always be in the AFC Playoffs and their way of getting there is usually the same strategy…DEFENSE! Sunday will mark the last ever home game for arguably the greatest linebacker in NFL history, Ray Lewis. Lewis announced he was retiring after this year, so the Ravens would love nothing more then to reward the dominant force with his second Super Bowl win. We feel that this game is going to come down to how well the Ravens can manage the clock. For Baltimore to be successful, they must be able to ride Ray Rice the entire game. If Flacco is relied on too heavily then the Ravens will sputter. For the Colts to win, they must clamp down on the defensive end and make sure that Rice doesn’t eat them alive. Luck will be able to provide enough offense to give them a win so if the defense plays their part then the Colts will move on. All that being said, we feel that the greatest story in football this year, Chuck Pagano, will have lots of Luck on his side to upset the Ravens in Baltimore.
Prediction: Colts 27 – Ravens 23
Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins: The second matchup on Sunday is without question the most intriguing Wild Card matchup in this year’s playoffs. Two of the most fascinating rookie QB’s in recent memory will face off in what should be a great NFC rivalry for year’s to come. The NFL Draft had the football world buzzing this past year with plenty of potential superstars, but one player that no one was talking about after the draft was the Seahawks Russell Wilson. In the offseason, Seattle went out on the Free Agent market and signed Matt Flynn to a big contract, so everyone thought that Wilson was being drafted to play the role of backup. A few months and a training camp later and Flynn found himself relegated back to his familiar spot on the bench while Russell Wilson proved that he shouldn’t have been overlooked by so many. Wilson plays with a poise that is rare to see in most veterans let alone a rookie who had to fight his way into the starting lineup. Benefiting from Wilson’s beautiful play is Marshawn Lynch who broke out with a career year and deserves way more recognition then he has been receiving. NYBobby and myself were talking about how sick Lynch has been these past few years yet he is never mentioned when people talk about the premiere backs in the NFL. Wilson and Lynch are going to have a hard time finding a grove as they will be playing in a Redskins stadium that hasn’t hosted a playoff game in 13 years. The Washington Redskins season has been quite a roller coaster as they started the season a dismal 3-6 and ended it with 7 straight wins to take the tough NFC East title. We feel that RG3 is the front runner for Rookie of the Year based solely on the fact that he completely redefined the QB position this season. He runs like a Pro Bowl back and throws like a Pro Bowl QB. He manages the clock like a seasoned veteran and he seems to be making everyone around him better. Along with RG3’s masterful play this season, we have witnessed the emergence of Alfred Morris, who looks like he will be a top back for many more years. The back and forth combination of Griffin and Morris has confused the hell out of every opponent in the second half of the season and we are expecting nothing less in this playoff matchup with Seattle. If the stadiums were reversed and the Seahawks had the advantage of their “12th man” then our prediction could have easily been swayed, but with the momentum that the Redskins have as well as Coach Mike Shanahan’s playoff resume, we feel that RG3 will escape this fun contest with his first ever playoff W.
Prediction: Redskins 21 – Seattle 16
Check in next week for our previews and predictions for next weeks playoff matchups and more!
The time has come. Even though we are a New York based site and both the Jets and Giants crapped the bed this year, that doesn’t mean that Sports Debaters interest in the NFL playoffs lessens. The Wild Card Round is upon us and there are some extremely exciting match-ups. Here is our breakdown and predictions for both of Saturday’s Wild-Card games.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans: In a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game, the Bengals and Texans will face off in Houston to open this year’s festivities. The Houston Texans were in the drivers seat all season long, and many experts expected them to win the AFC’s home field throughout the playoffs. However, over the past few weeks, they have come back to earth and their loss last week to the Colts forced them into action the opening weekend. The Bengals have played an impressive brand of football the past few weeks, and their Week 16 nail biting win over the Steelers catapulted them into today’s game. Last year, the Texans beat the Bengals 31-10 behind QB T.J. Yates, as starter Matt Schaub went down with an injury heading into the playoffs. This year, Schaub is back and ready to prove himself in the post season for the first time. The Bengal’s Andy Dalton and AJ Green are easily among the best young QB/WR combinations in the NFL and it is a sure bet that they will be a presence in the playoffs for years to come. However, we expect the Texans, behind Arian Foster, J.J. Watt and the rest of the supporting cast to take care of business in front of their home crowd. Prediction: Houston 21- Bengals 17.
Minnesota Packers vs. Green Bay Packers: Anytime two division rivals matchup in the playoffs, players on both teams inevitably bring their best games. In a rematch of a game that was played only a week ago, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay 37-34 in a thrilling game to clinch a playoff spot. Adrian Peterson came into the game needing 208 yards to break the all-time rushing record one year after tearing up his knee, and he came a mere 9 yards short. In the two games against Green Bay this year, Peterson has put up 210 and 199 yards so we can expect a similar performance in this battle. Unfortunately for the Vikings, there is a well known QB opposing them in the likes of Aaron Rodgers, who has completed 75% of his passes against the Vikes in the past five seasons. Greg Jennings finally looks healthy and he will join forces with Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones as the best set of wideouts in the NFL. Although Viking’s QB Christian Ponder threw for three TD’s against the Pack last week, Green Bay’s Charles Woodson will return to action and will surely make life more difficult for the Sophomore QB who is 1-3 in his career against Green Bay. We expect a close, high-scoring game and a lot of Peterson yards but in the end Aaron Rodgers will out-duel Christian Ponder by a margin that even Peterson can’t overcome. Green Bay will make up for last year’s disappointing home loss to the Giants and a 2-4 record in their last 6 playoff games at Lambeau, and move on to the Divisional round next weekend. Final Score: Packers 38- Vikings 28
Check in tomorrow prior to kickoff for our predictions on the Colts vs. Ravens and Seahawks vs. Redskins.
Every year there seems to be one person that emerges from the NFL Draft and represents themselves as a dying franchises savior. This season, there is not only one player, but three, that have completely redefined and revamped franchises that seemed to be slowly deteriorating. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have all taken the reigns over their teams and not only improved them but they all turned them into potentially dangerous playoff teams. The great thing about these three superb athletes is that they have all taken a different approach to the new age NFL and made it look extremely easy to succeed in a league that players average only 3 years for an entire career. A lot of people say that it takes time to develop at the professional level, but when you are born with the God given talents that these three players possess, time is no longer a necessity.
Andrew Luck was the first overall pick of the NFL Draft. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts after they finished the season with a league worst 2-14 record. Luck was given the very unpleasant task of filling the shoes of arguably the greatest QB of all time, Peyton Manning. The last time the Colts had the #1 overall pick in the draft was when they took Manning 14 years ago. Manning showed signs of brilliance but the Colts still finished with a less than impressive 3-13 record in his rookie campaign. Luck on the other hand has taken the worst team in the NFL and turned them into a playoff bound 9-5 electrifying squad that has the 8th best passing attack in the league. Andrew set the NFL Rookie record for most passing yards in a single game by torching the Miami Dolphins for 433 earlier this season. More impressively, Luck has already passed the NFL Rookie record for most yards in a season (3,739) set by Manning back in 1998 by already accumulating 3,978 and he is on pace to break the all time rookie mark that Cam Newton set last year when he threw for 4,051. Luck has shown signs of some rookie jitters but all in all he has looked like a seasoned professional and has an unbelievably bright future ahead of him.
Luck Stats: Passing Yards 3,978, 308 completions, 20 Touchdowns passing and 5 Touchdowns rushing
The second overall pick of this past year’s NFL Draft was the Heisman Trophy winning Robert Griffin III. The man they can RG3 has taken the NFL by storm and has redefined how coaches will look at the Quarterback position. He runs as well as any running back (most rushing yards for a rookie QB 748 and counting), he throws as hard and accurate as any Quarterback and he manages a game as well as any coach. He plays the game at the pro level like he has been there for decades yet he has only started 13 games all season. He started the season working out the problems that led the Redskins to the NFL’s second worst record from a year ago and now has them sitting on top of the best division in football, the NFC East. Washington started slow with a 3-6 record, but the emergence and maturation of RG3 has led to the Skins reeling off 5 straight victories and now they have complete control over their own destiny. RG3 has impressed everyone and even though he suffered a little set back a couple of weeks ago when he injured his knee, he is still bound to have an NFL MVP award within a handful of years.
RG3 Stats: Passing Yards 2,902, Rushing Yards 748, 18 Passing Touchdowns to only 4 Interceptions, 6 Rushing TD’s, Best YPC in NFL 6.7
Rarely does the 75th overall pick of the NFL Draft make a big impact on his team in their rookie season, let alone lead them at the QB position to a playoff bound 9-5 record. That is exactly what Russel Wilson has done this season after stealing the starting QB position from the highly touted, waste of money signing, of the Green Bay Packers, Matt Flynn. In the preseason Wilson showed signs of a mobile QB that had the ability to sling the ball down field. He had great command for the game and was a perfect complement to the running attack that Pete Carroll, who I despise by the way, implemented with the ever-talented Marshawn Lynch. While Wilson’s stat line isn’t nearly as impressive as Luck’s or RG3’s, his game management and record sure as hell are. The Seahawks are known as a defensive reliant team yet Wilson has led his team to back to back games that have totaled more than 100 points combined. On top of that, with two games remaining in the season, Wilson has helped lead his team from a 7 win season a year ago to 9 already this year. While I don’t think Wilson will be able to steal the NFL Rookie of the Year away from Luck or RG3, I do feel that he will be a playoff QB for many more years.
Wilson’s Stats: 2,697 Passing Yards on 63% completion percentage, 402 Rushing Yards, 21 Passing Touchdowns
As a huge New York Jets, Mets and Knicks fan, Monday was a very trying day for me. Even though everything that could go wrong went wrong , I have taken more of an optimistic view over my three teams. Yesterday, the New York Jets proved the world correct by finally ending what I consider to be the most pathetic and embarrassing season for a franchise that has been a joke for most of its existence. The New York Mets became the first team since 1998 to trade away the past year’s Cy Young Award winner by dealing fan favorite RA Dickey to the Blue Jays (1998-Blue Jays traded Roger Clemens to the Yankees). The New York Knicks had a visit from the most popular player in the league a year ago, Jeremy Lin, and got shellacked by him for the second time this season. If you are a fan of any of these teams, or all three like myself, then Monday looked like and extremely rough day. I am going to explain why I feel there is a silver lining for each of these tumultuous events.
Let’s start with J-E-T-S (Just End The Season); Thank God they did! I have never in my life rooted for one of my teams to lose…except for last night. The Jets have been an absolute CIRCUS since the end of last season. The acquisition of Tim Tebow was a mistake from the get-go and not once did the Jets and their coaching staff try to rectify that situation. The pathetic Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, was fired only to be replaced by an even worse one, Tony Sparano. Mark Sanchez’s ability as a QB receded worse that Lebron James’ hair line. The Jets had arguably the worst receiving core in NFL history and couldn’t develop a running attack against any formidable opponents. So why was I rooting against the Jets yesterday, even with their playoff chances still intact if they had won? Because it would have all been the same shit again next year if the Jets showed even the slightest bit of success. With this mortifying loss on Monday Night Football last night no Jets fans will ever have to watch Mark Sanchez at the QB position ever again! Ii has been announced that Greg McElroy will start Sunday against the Chargers. The Jets GM, Mike Tannenbaum, is either going to be replaced or he is going to be put on such a hot seat that he will have no choice but to fix this never-ending pile of issues. The Jets need to be completely revamped and there is no way that would have happened without them losing last night so there is the silver lining.
My New York Knicks have not given their fans much to complain about this season. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and have looked like a title contender the whole year. They have really only hit one speed bump this season and their name is the Houston Rockets. The last time the Knicks had to worry about the Rockets was in 1994 when they met in the NBA Finals and went to an exhilarating game 7 which the Knicks inevitably ended up losing. Ever since Jeremy Lin left the Knicks for a more than generous contract with the Rockets, there has been a target on his back. Unfortunately for the Knickerbockers, that target was too small to see because for the second time this season, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets manhandled them. I never had any ill will towards Lin once he left, especially because I knew what the Knicks overall plan was and he just wasn’t the right fit for Woodson’s game plan. So what’s the upside to the Knicks losing twice to a supposedly inferior team? First, the Rockets most likely won’t make the playoffs this year so the Knicks won’t be playing them again until next year. Secondly, there was no way the Knicks were going to go 77-5 so we were bound to lose eventually. Finally, the real silver lining behind this most recent loss at the Garden to the slightly above average Houston Rockets is that we now know exactly what we need Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire for. Shumpert wasn’t really an issue but everyone was questioning where Amare would fit in and the truth of the matter is that STAT is an extremely talented player and in situations where Melo or even Tyson or Kidd or Felton are out with injury, STAT can be a viable option that can help earn that W.
The New York Mets are very good at being very bad. Outside of a handful of years that Mike Piazza was destroying anything in his way, the Mets have been completely irrelevant for nearly a quarter century. Last year the Mets let one of their franchise’s greatest players ever, Jose Reyes, leave to their divisional foe, the Miami Marlins, due to their money issues. Worst part about that was that Reyes was coming off of his best ever year and the National League Batting Title. Yesterday, the Mets completed a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays which ended with the reigning CY Young Winner and Mets fan favorite RA Dickey leaving after one of the greatest pitching seasons in NY Mets history. So how can losing your best pitcher and biggest ticket attraction have any positives behind it? Well, I’ll start by saying that with or without Dickey, the Mets were not going anywhere any time soon. Having said that, the Mets have no money and they need to figure out new ways to rebuild a franchise that does not have much going for it right now. I feel that they did the right thing by signing David Wright for pretty much the rest of his career. Now they have to figure out who will hit around him and what direction they want their franchise to go. Between Wheeler and Harvey the Mets have some talented pitching coming up soon. In the trade for Dickey, the Mets acquired arguably one of the best young talents in the Minors, catcher Travis d’Arnaud. On top of that they saved a butt load of money and have positioned themselves to be a formidable opponent within a few years. I see some bright things in the Mets future and I think it starts with Travis d’Arnaud.
So even if you are still having a hard time recovering from yesterday’s exhausting and trying events, just know that each of them have a silver lining and everything should be okay soon enough.
My first ever article as a Sports Debater was written about the Bounty Gate scandal, specifically, my feeling that the entire issue was overblown. It appeared to me that the accused parties were involved in a system that has deep roots in NFL locker rooms and that Roger Goodell had no right to punish the players involved to the degree that he did. The entire scenario seemed like a witch hunt in which the NFL higher-ups sat around the table in a Salem meeting house and threw out players names to execute publicly, with the intention of scaring the rest of the league. Jonathan Vilma was burned at the stake, while Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were tarred and feathered.
Let’s fast forward 7 months. Today, ex-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who has been asked to oversee and make a decision on the case as an objective arbitrator, found that Goodell’s original penalties were way too harsh. Tagliabue, who looked at the same exact evidence Goodell made his original ruling on, said today that all evidence had clearly been tainted and did not warrant suspensions or serious fines.
I have no idea how two men could look at the same evidential material and formulate such different opinions on the matter. How is it possible that one man believed Jonathan Vilma should be suspended for a complete season, losing all his pay and his reputation while another believed his actions didn’t warrant a serious fine?
When the news of a scandal broke, Roger Goodell needed to act quick. He felt as if the Saints had deceived the NFL and it was his job to come down as hard on them as possible. He suspended Head Coach Sean Payton for a full season and the defensive coordinator indefinitely. He punished all players who were “linked” with this scandal in a magnitude never seen before in league history. Goodell acted as the judge, jury and executioner and now he looks like the biggest asshole of all.
The commissioner has caused much more damage to the league than the bounty scandal itself. In a democratic country that is built around systems of checks and balances so that the rulings made by the leaders of our country can be transparent, Roger Goodell acted as a king, as a dictator. In his kingdom, one of the villages acted out of order and he took it upon himself to punish and ultimately doom all of the citizens involved. Lord Goodell didn’t want to have a fair, honest investigation into the matter. He wanted to see people suffer, so he painted a scarlet letter across the Saints that will linger for years. Then Roger Goodell sat on his throne far away from New Orleans, smiling as the Saints struggled to a 5-8 record. Now, like all evil dictators in world history, it is time for Mr. Goodell to pay the price for his arrogance.