Can Tampa Bay End their Playoff Drought

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a long run of bad luck the past 9 years, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007, and their last Postseason win dates back to winning Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The Bucs have been through many changes since then, and they now seem to have a winning combination with Head Coach Dirk Koetter, and 3rd year QB Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay went 9 wins and 7 losses and came a game away from making it to the playoffs last season.

After the 2014 season in which the Bucs went 2 wins and 14 losses, they’ve been steadily improving, in Winston’s rookie season they doubled their win total the following season and added three more wins last year. The Buccaneers have an offense that was ranked 18th in both points and yards per game, and their defense is a tough as well, coming in at 15th in the league, led by anchor at Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy who had 6.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.

Winston has developed into a very strong and productive leader, and that’s going to have to happen again this year if they’re to end this drought. In his rookie season, Winston threw 22 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, in his second year those numbers improved to 28 touchdowns, and his rating was almost 2 more notches higher than his rookie season. What makes this even more impressive, is that he’s done this while having to get used to Koetter as his new head coach last year after Lovie Smith was fired following Winston’s rookie season.

In addition to Winston’s rising star, the Bucs have also added another weapon to their passing game in Desean Jackson who was signed on after spending a few years with the Redskins. The Bucs already have a go to receiver in Vincent Jackson, so adding another speedy wideout to the mix should make Tampa Bay’s passing attack even more potent.

But when it comes to late season football, you need a good running game to get those tough bruising yards, and Tampa Bay has that in their star running back, Doug Martin. Despite missing 8 games due to a suspension, Martin is still a dangerous back, he may not produce 1,000 yards annually, but he knows the offense, and hopefully when his suspension is lifted this season, he can get back to wowing fans with his running abilities.

In a brief segment on NFL Network’s ‘NFL Total Access’ there was a discussion about which NFL team would most likely end their Playoff drought. The consensus was that the Bucs would be the team to do so, and with these weapons on Offense, coupled with a solid defense, they just might end it during the 2017-2018 season.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_Bay_Buccaneers  

http://www.nfl.com/teams/tampabaybuccaneers/statistics?team=TB

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/tam/2016.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Martin_(running_back)

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The Packers’ 2017 NFL Schedule: A Look Ahead and Season Predictions

 

Last week on the 19th of April, the NFL announced its 2017 regular and preseason schedule for the entire league. The Packers have been touted as having one of the easier schedules this season with their opponents having a winning percentage .480 of last year. Green Bay opens the regular season up at Lambeau Field against the Seattle Seahawks, who have acquired former Running Back Eddie Lacy this past offseason.

After that, the Packers will travel to Atlanta to christen the Falcons’ new stadium on Sunday Night Football, giving the Pack a chance to avenge their losses against the Falcons last year, including a 48-21 beatdown in the NFC Title game the previous season. The two teams also met up in week 8, and the Packers lost in a 33-32 heartbreaker. This should give Green Bay plenty of motivation to take down the defending NFC Champs on their new home field. This year, the Packers will face only 4 teams that were in the playoffs a year ago, (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Seattle, and Dallas). So the Packers should be able to have a relatively successful season.

The most anticipated game of the season this year, outside of Eddie Lacy’s return to Lambeau, will be a week 5 match-up against the Dallas Cowboys on the road that will air on Fox at 4:25pm. The Packers narrowly defeated Dallas 34-31, in the divisional round of the 2016-17 playoffs, on a last second field goal by Kicker Mason Crosby.

The Packers will come into 2017 with high hopes as well as question marks surrounding their team, ‘Will their running game improve?’ and ‘Can their defense regain their oppressive nature once more?’ These answers and more will present themselves as the season approaches, but right now, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic. When the Packers are healthy they’re a very dangerous football team, the most recent example of a healthy Packer team doing a lot of damage was in 2014, when the Packers went 12 wins and 4 losses only to lose in the NFC Title Game in Seattle. The Packers have gone to the NFC Championship game twice in the last three years, hopefully the Packers can break through the wall and earn a chance to win a Super Bowl once again, and perhaps have the tandem of Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Quarterback Aaron Rodgers be Super Bowl Champions again. Time is running out on A-Rod’s career, but as long as he’s still playing at a high level, and the other question marks about the team get answered, there’s no reason why Green Bay won’t have another successful run.

I predict that the Packers will make yet another playoff run and win the NFC North Division yet again with an 11-5 record. A lot of people may be thinking that the Pack will get back to the Super Bowl, but only time will tell if that’ll be the case.

 

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2017/1/2/14147148/2017-nfl-strength-of-schedule-for-all-32-nfl-teams

http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2017/04/20/green-bay-packers-2017-schedule/100585542/

Why Teams Really Don’t Want Kaepernick

                                                    

Back in week 11 of 2012 The 49ers let second year QB Colin Kaepernick get his first NFL start against the Bears. The result was beating the Bears 32-7 at home, which sparked a Super Bowl run that resulted in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers would return to the NFC Championship game the following season only to lose 23-17 to divisional rival Seattle. Since then things have changed dramatically, Kap has lost and regained his job repeatedly throughout the last 3 years, and the 49ers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2013. Kap’s inconsistent play coupled with his refusal to salute the flag, but rather take a knee for reasons of protesting the corrupt justice system’s ways of being racially unfair against blacks and other minorities have made him an unwanted free agent.

A lot of people have been speculating why Kaepernick hasn’t been picked up by a team after being released by the 49ers and have come up with several reasons that dance around the obvious. One article has cited that Kap’s Vegan diet and commitment to the game as reasons why he’s not a viable pick for any team, but we all know that’s not the case at all. Teams may claim he’d be a distraction, but the real reason is that these teams are afraid that of Kap, is because they don’t want to deal with his protesting, which may in turn hurt the team’s reputation. Kaepernick has played okay the past three years, throwing 41 Touchdown passes Vs. 20 Interceptions, and has amassed a QB rating of 81.5 since 2014. He still has the ability to scramble out of the pocket and hurt defenses on the run, so talent wise, he can still pull it off. The 49ers have struggled the past few years for more pressing reasons, getting rid of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh hurt the team immensely, when Harbaugh was fired, the team started to fall apart, sparking the bad luck of the last 3 years. The talent around Kaepernick hasn’t been that strong either, offensively, the 49ers ranked 25th in 2014, 32nd in 2015, and 27th in 2016. But Kaepernick has been one of the few elements of the team that has been successful. The 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan on February 6th, as their new head coach, and it looks as if he’ll have QB questions on his hands.  Kaepernick is a free agent and the QB’s on the 49ers’ roster don’t conjure up much confidence.

Kaepernick has been a very polarizing figure the past year or so since he infamously kneeled during the nation anthem, as long as teams continue to make excuses for Kap not being a team worthy asset, the more obvious it is to me that they don’t want the added attention on their team or the scrutiny from the media over this. Their reputations are too precious for these teams to maintain to hire a wildcard that certainly still has enough talent to get the job done.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sfo/2016.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sfo/2015.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/sfo/2014.htm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonogus/2017/04/03/nfl-teams-reportedly-concerned-about-colin-kaepernicks-commitment-and-vegan-diet/#4f3f391f170f  

Rodgers or Favre

                                                               Who’s the Better Quarterback?

                                                                           Favre or Rodgers 

They’re arguably two of the greatest football players of all-time, one being a maverick Gunslinger that held many records in the NFL for a few years. The other, a former pupil that has managed to forge his own uniquely impressive career. Both Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre have brought many joyous moments to the Green Bay Packers in the past 25 years, but which one of them is better? Favre may be my favorite player, but is he truly better than Rodgers? What are you looking for in an NFL QB? Do you want the risk taker or the more efficient player that makes better decisions most of the time? The following are my opinions on the ups and downs of both players, and I ask that anyone who reads this and is angered by my thoughts to accept the fact that these are OPINIONS, and not facts, let’s get started.

The most pressing thing to look at first is the ratings of both Favre and Rodgers, Favre may be a Hall of Famer, but his rating is only 86.0 and he holds the record for most interceptions in NFL history, (336). Rodgers on the other hand has been in the NFL for 13 years and only has 72 interceptions versus 297 touchdown passes. Giving Rodgers a 104.1 career QB rating, making him the highest rated QB in NFL History, as well as the only QB to have a rating of 100.0 or more. Favre was best known for taking chances that sometimes worked out, and other times, not so much. He had a lot of confidence in his arm, and sometimes there’d be costly mistakes on his part from taking chances. In 2010, Favre led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game against the Saints and threw a costly pick when he should’ve tried to scramble on a crucial play that ended up costing the Vikings the game. Now while Rodgers hasn’t had much luck in the past two NFC title games that he’s been a part of, he most likely would’ve taken the open lane and run for it.

Another trait of Rodgers that Favre didn’t show off as much of in his career is his ability to scramble and extend plays. If you could get pressure on Favre he’d be more liable to throw costly turnovers, Rodgers on the other hand can be just as dangerous on the run as he is in a clean pocket. Rodgers has made hundreds of great throws while on the run and usually those occur in the redzone and go for touchdowns as well. Also, he’s great at going for a run if he can’t find a receiver and instead finds a running lane to exploit. Rodgers has 25 rushing scores and 2544 rushing yards in his career, he even ran for a career high 369 yards in 2016. Favre, while a creative playmaker in his earlier days only has 1844 rushing yards and 14 rushing scores in his career.

However, Favre does have a few elements of his game that Rodgers isn’t very prolific at, Favre started 321 games in a row in his career, (Including the Playoffs) Rodgers has missed several games in his career during 2013 when he broke his collarbone. Favre never missed a game from 1992 to December 5th, 2010 but that ended when the Vikings played the New York Giants the following week. Favre has played through several painful injuries, including, A Separated Shoulder, Broken Thumb, and has suffered several concussions throughout his career. To be fair Rodgers has played through pain too, like a slightly torn calf muscle in 2014, and he managed to play well the final two weeks of the season. He also separated his shoulder back in 2008, (His First Year as a starter) and managed to beat Seattle on the road that year after suffering the injury. In 2016 He suffered another calf injury during a week 12 game in Philadelphia, which sparked the 6 game winning streak to end the season and got Green Bay into the playoffs. But still, Favre is the epitome of playing with pain so one of two points will go to Favre as I partake in my second point for Favre.

Who would you want at QB when the game is on the line, Favre or Rodgers? Favre has pulled off 30 game winning come backs in his career. While Rodgers is a great player in his own right, he only has 10 comebacks to his name, meaning that Favre has saved the day three times as much in the clutch compared to Rodgers. In fact, Favre’s first NFL win was a result of a game winning 35 yard touchdown pass to Kitrick Taylor that sparked his legendary career in Green Bay. So both Favre and Rodgers are tied in terms of things one can do better than the other, can Rodgers somehow break the tie? Let’s look at or final category and find out!

The final aspect I want to look at is whether or not one of these fine players were able to generate championships in their time as starters for the Green and Gold. In that case, both Rodgers and Favre are tied in that aspect as well. Favre may have gone to two straight Super Bowls back to back, but he only won one title. Rodgers has only won one title too, and he also won the MVP award in Super Bowl XLV, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Favre beat the Patriots in 1997 35-21, but lost to Denver the following year 31-24. Rodgers may still be undefeated in the big game, but so far he’s only been to a Super Bowl once, despite having several chances to make it back since the 2010 season, as has Favre. So it all really comes down to who you’d prefer to have as your signal caller. Rodgers is only 33, so he does have some time to win a second Lombardi Trophy before he hangs’em up. Favre will have to relish the one ring he has and all the other accomplishments he has made over the course of his career. I may think Rodgers is the better player statistically, but at the end of the day, both players are the same in terms of bringing joy to Packer fans everywhere. It’s just that Rodgers is more safe with his ball handling than Favre’s, but it doesn’t matter who’s your guy under center, as long as he can make more good plays than bad, then have fun watching your hero play.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Favre

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/F/FavrBr00.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/R/RodgAa00.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Rodgers

Packers Draft Needs and Preview

                                                    The Packers’ 2017 Draft Needs

Last season was one to remember for sure, Green Bay entered week 12 with 4 wins and 6 losses, only to go on a magical run that ended in the NFC Title game in Atlanta. As Green Bay gets ready to reload for this season, there are a few pressing needs in the draft that need to be addressed if they are to have a repeat performance or go further in the 2017-18 season. There are a few aspects of the current roster that present problems that need to be addressed.

As the season ended, SI Writer Chris Burke mentioned that Green Bay would be up for the 29th pick of the draft, and they should look for an edge rusher. Star Linebacker Clay Matthews was out with injuries throughout the bulk of last season and the Pack, (“Owes him over $26 million for the next two seasons,” Burke, p. 1) Matthews only managed 5 sacks in 12 games this season, so Green Bay may be taking a risk on him if they hope for a bounce back 2017 season.

Furthermore, Nick Perry and the aging veteran Julius Peppers became free agents as well as Datone Jones who alternates between DE and OLB, only contribute more to the problems that plague the pass rush. Especially when you consider the fact that Jones is looking to play elsewhere and Peppers has signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers. Peppers came to Green Bay in 2014 from Chicago and has enjoyed three playoff appearances as a result. Since 2014, Peppers has had 25 sacks, 2 interceptions, and over 100 tackles, but there’s no telling how age will affect his production at 37. But the Panthers will find that out for themselves this year, and the Panthers will host the Packers at an undetermined date.

One possibility for the Pack, is to draft T.J. Watt from Wisconsin to try and fill the void at Linebacker, the Younger brother of Houston Texans’ star J.J. Watt just might be able to help Green Bay become dangerous again. Plus, Watt won’t have to move very far if he is drafted by the Green and Gold.

The Packers have also parted ways with DBs Sam Shields and Micah Hyde, losing two veterans in the secondary may do more harm than good. Dumping Shields makes some sense because he’s been constantly sidelined with concussions the past few seasons. But getting rid of Hyde might be the point where these moves on the defense are poor. The Packers were one of the worse teams in the league defending the pass, giving up 269.2 passing yards a game ranking 30th in the league. So getting rid of these players aren’t the best choices. The Packers were more competent at stopping the run, ranking 8th in that category, giving up only 94.7 yards on ground per game. This puts the Packers at the 22nd best defense in the league, leaving a lot to be desired and a lot of room for improvement.

The second most pressing need for the Packers is on the offensive side of the ball, the running game took a huge hit last year with Eddie Lacy being out for most of the season due to injury. This forced second year wideout Ty Montgomery to take over as the running back. Montgomery’s best game was against Chicago in week 15 when he ran for 162 yards and 2 tds in a 30-27 win at Soldier Field. As for Lacy, he is currently in the free agent market having finished a promising meeting with the Vikings. The Packers have been rumored to go after Adrian Peterson, but the former Vikings RB seems more interested in other teams as opposed to the Green and Gold. Forcing the Packers to think outside the box for what they want in the running game. Montgomery is a solid back, but unlike Lacy, Montgomery doesn’t have the power to plow through defenders like Lacy. He does possess agility so Green Bay’s going to need a strong O-Line to plow the lanes out for Montgomery.

Another possible need in the draft is a TE, Jared Cook is no longer in Green Bay, but the team has signed Lance Kendricks and Martellus Bennett. The Packers will have new version of their offensive game for the 2017, with 3 Tight Ends on the roster, this isn’t as much of a pressing need for the Packers, but these moves have been a bit unpredictable so there’s no telling what the Packers may do for the remainder of the offseason.

The Packers have high hopes for this season after falling one game short of the Super Bowl the previous season for the second time in the past 3 seasons. Getting rid of Lacy, Cook, Shields, and Hyde seem like foolish moves, but we’ll just have to wait until the season starts to know for sure if these moves were truly worth it.

http://www.si.com/nfl/2017/01/23/nfl-draft-2017-packers-steelers-positional-needs  

http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/37916/martellus-bennett-lance-kendricks-could-change-look-of-packers-offense

http://seahawkswire.usatoday.com/2017/03/13/seahawks-free-agency-updates-adrian-peterson-still-in-seattle/

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/stats/GB/green-bay-packers

Romo: Where and Should He play Next Year

                                                Tony Romo, where will he play next?

 

Veteran Quarterback Tony Romo has certainly fallen from grace the past few seasons hasn’t he? He missed virtually the entire 2016 season, and only played in four games in 2015. However, this doesn’t mean that Romo’s value as a potential free agent is low. There are reportedly 9 NFL teams that could be a possible new home for the 37 year old QB. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, “The teams he’s looking at most closely are Denver, Kansas City, and the one he’s most interested in is the Houston Texans.”  The Houston Texans, one of the teams that are probably in the most need for a QB, Brock Osweiler wasn’t a huge playmaker for Houston in 2016, throwing 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Sure the Texans made the playoffs, but they were blown out by the Patriots, with Osweiler throwing 3 turnovers in the process.

As for the other teams Romo may join, Kansas City is the place that needs him the least, because the Chiefs already have a solid QB in Alex Smith. Smith came to Kansas City from the 49ers in 2013 and has been to the playoffs in 3 of the last 4 years. Bringing in Romo would just be heartbreaking for Smith, who already lost his job in San Francisco to Colin Kaepernick in 2012. So having this happen again would be an insult to Alex Smith and what he’s accomplished in KC.

The 49ers are a team desperately in need of a QB, Kaepernick and Gabbert have done nothing of value for San Fran and could use a competent QB to lead the team. The same thing can be said for the Cleveland Browns, both teams need a leader, and in Cleveland’s case they don’t have a useful signal caller either.

Two of the best places for Romo to land would be either Houston or Denver, because those teams have strong playmakers on both offense and defense. The Broncos have an intimidating Defense lead by Von Miller and they have a good running back in C.J. Anderson, which can take the pressure off of Romo to produce. Houston has pieces of a good offense but they (as said before) lack a QB that can make a difference. But according to Mike Florio of Profootball talk at NBCSports.com Romo may just be content with the idea of being released, that would give him the freedom of doing one or two things, 1. Choosing his next team, which would allow 2. His alleged new team to not get hurt by this, or 3. Romo will receive a new contract on the market. The price in this case would be 14 million dollars reportedly, Romo could face an even bigger paycheck if his new team doesn’t give up a draft pick in the process.

It has also been reported that the Chicago Bears may be interested in Romo as a potential tradeoff to get rid of Jay Cutler. Cutler hasn’t been very successful as of late for the Bears, and his ability to throw interceptions in bucket loads has made Cutler wear out his welcome there in the windy city. This would be an average option for Romo, the Bears may have a running back in Jordan Howard, but outside of a few receivers, the Bears aren’t strong defensively (Which historically has been their trademark) and it would seem that the Bears would be depending on Romo too much to make some plays. As said before, going to Denver would be a better fit because Romo would have a talented offense and a strong defense to support him.

Romo could also still be paid by the Cowboys to stand on the sidelines or they could cut him, either way it doesn’t seem promising. Romo hasn’t play a full NFL season since 2012, his age and knack for getting hurt may ‘hurt’ (pun intended) his viability as a starting QB. But then again, Peyton Manning joined the Denver Broncos at age 36, coming off neck surgery and he ended up leading the Broncos to 2 Super Bowl appearances, including a win in Super Bowl 50. If the Cowboys cut Romo, and none of these 9 teams are interested in him, it may be time for Romo to retire. I personally think that Romo may have at least ONE more good season in him, but he’s so injury prone that it may be time to hang’em up. This whole situation is much more complex than a simple “Yes or No,” decision, but perhaps Romo has played his last down, time will tell though.

http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys/article133303354.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/sports/football/tony-romo-dallas-cowboys-new-team.html

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2017/02/19/trading-tony-romo-wont-be-easy-if-romo-doesnt-want-it/

Packers plow through Pats in Preseason opener

Hello everybody, I’m going to start off this blog where I’ll give you my thoughts and analysis of a notable football game I’ve recently seen. With that said, let’s talk about the Green Bay Ppackers preseason opener in New England. Seeing how these two teams boast 12-4 it’s safe to assume both teams would trade game changing blows. Especially considering the fact that Green Bay defeated New England 26-21 last season, however that game was at Lambeau Field, not Foxboro.

If the first preseason game teaches us anything, it certainly teaches us that one must finish off a drive with a touchdown. Especially when said team makes its way into the redzone, which the Packers have struggled with recently. Thursday’s game was no exception, despite Green Bay’s 22-11 victory, the red zone offense wasn’t very good. Even with the starters on the field, league MVP Aaron Rodgers finished 11-17, 117 yards, no TDs or Ints wasn’t too shabby.

Tom Brady on the other hand looked very rusty, and possibly a bit distracted from his off the field problems. The Super Bowl champ went 1-4, 10 yards and was used sparsely, obviously to give backup QB Jimmy Garappolo a chance to show he can play. Jimmy G took quite a beating while the Packers backups shined brightly. All told the Packers’ backup QBs combined for almost 200 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

In short, what started off as a competitive game became a decisive 11 point win for Green Bay that showed exemplary play from backup QBs Scott Tolzien and Brett Hundley. Garappolo struggled mightily, so while it seems the Packers have answers for their offense, the Patriots definitely are in need of some answers for themselves. If Brady’s suspension is to be upheld that is.