Tag Archives: 2015 NFL season opening night


Obviously, the Jaguars beat the Titans on TNF.

Raiders (0) over LIONS –

The Oakland Raiders need this win more than anything.  They are tied with Kansas City in the AFC South, and they MUST win this game if they want to have a chance to make the playoffs.  Detroit is 4th in their division, so they aren’t really playing for anything, except the win.  While the game is in Detroit, the Raiders have more pressure to win the game, and more heart.  I believe the Oakland Raiders will win the game.

 FALCONS (-6) over Colts

This is a MUST win for both teams. The game is in Atlanta, so the Falcons will have home field advantage.  I had a hard time making this pick, however I do believe the Atlanta Falcons will come out with the win.  First off, Andrew Luck is not expected to play, which will make it much harder for the Colts to win.  Second, I just don’t see the Colts defense stopping the Atlanta offense.  It will be very hard to stop Devonta Freeman, who is playing at his best this year.

EAGLES (-7) over Bucs

This is also another MUST win for both teams if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs.  However, I am picking the Eagles to win this game.  While the Eagles have their issues which I’ll explain in a bit, I just don’t see a Jameis Winston led team being able to pull out the win.  Part of the issue is Tampa Bay’s defense which is not great at all.  The Eagles biggest issue is, Mark Sanchez.  There are obviously more factors, but last week the Eagles played a great first half, then Sam Bradford got hurt of course, and Mark Sanchez subbed in.  Then, in the fourth quarter, when you have to be clutch, Mark Sanchez could not finish the game.  I think this will be a very close game, but the Eagles will be able to pull out the win.  Mark Sanchez will throw at least one interception, and I think the reason why the Eagles will win this game is because of their running game, especially with DeMarco Murray in the backfield.

BEARS (0) over Broncos

With the Bears coming off a HUGE road win against the Rams last week, they will be ready to come out and battle the Broncos at home on Sunday.  It will be a lot harder for the Broncos to win without Peyton Manning, as Brock Osweiler will be the starting quarterback for the Broncos.  However, I am picking the Denver Broncos to win the football game.  Many may disagree, however, in my opinion, I think the Saint Louis Rams made some mistakes which caused the Bears to win the football game.  The Chicago Bears will lose this week to the Broncos as reality will set in.

Rams (+2.5) over RAVENS

This may be a difficult game to pick based on the stat sheet, but it is quite easy for me.  I am picking the Rams to win the game.  The Rams are 2nd in their division and need to come out with the win if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs.  As for the 2-7 Ravens, it would be a good win, but it wouldn’t do much as they have very little chance of making the playoffs.

DOLPHINS (0) over Cowboys

I think the Dallas Cowboys are not mentally tough enough to beat the Dolphins.  Each week the players are getting in fights with the media, firing snarky comments at their opponents, and they just lose.  They are currently on a seven game losing streak.  To make matters worse, they are playing on the road against the Miami Dolphins who are not consistent, but are a much better football team in my opinion.  This is an easy pick.  I pick the Miami Dolphins to win the game.

Redskins (+8.5) over PANTHERS

The Panthers will come out with the win this week.  They are the better football team overall, and Carolina is the home team.  Washington is 0-4 on the road so far this season, so I don’t think they can just come into Carolina and win.  I am picking the Carolina Panthers to win the game.

Chiefs (-3) over CHARGERS

While the Chargers are the home team in this game, I still believe the Chiefs will win.  This is a division game, so lots of things can happen, but the Chiefs NEED to win this game if they have any chance at making the playoffs.  I don’t think it will be a blowout, but Philip Rivers and the Chargers just are not playing well at all this year.  I am picking the Kansas City Chiefs to win this game.

VIKINGS  (0) over Packers

The Packers NEED to win this game, and so do the Vikings, but the Vikings are the home team, and Green Bay is 2-2 on the road this season.  Things in Green Bay just haven’t been clicking these last 3 games, and it is time for them to turn it around.  I think it will be a close game, but in the end Aaron Rodgers will have a great performance, and the Packers will get their much needed win.  This is a very hard pick to make, but in the end I am picking the Green Bay Packers to win the game.

49ers (+13.5) over SEAHAWKS

For this game, Seattle is the home team.  The 49ers are 0-4 on the road this season, and Century Link Field is a very hard stadium to play at.  I believe the Seahawks will pull off the win, especially because Colin Kaepernick has been placed on season ending IR, which will make it very tough for the 49ers.  Seattle’s defense will play a great game, and Seattle’s offense will put up just enough points to pull out the win.  However, it should be close.  I am picking the Seattle Seahawks to win the game.

Jets (-2.5) over TEXANS

While the Texans are the home team, and it will be tough for the Jets to win the game, but they will come through.  The Houston Texans just haven’t shown me enough this year.  They are pretty inconsistent to say the least.  And this isn’t the Rex Ryan coached Jets, this is the 2015 Jets, who have proven to be much better than last year’s squad.  I am picking the New York Jets to win the game.

Bengals (+5) over CARDINALS

This is going to be a tough game.  The Bengals lost to the Texans last week, and now they are going on the road to play the Cardinals.  While the Bengals are a great road team, I just don’t see their defense playing well.  Obviously Arizona has a great defense, with Patrick Peterson at the DB and Tyrann Mathieu at safety.  So, I think Cardinals’ defense will make it tough for the Bengals to score points, and it will be easier for the Cardinals to score on the Bengals defense.  I am picking the Arizona Cardinals to win the game.

PATRIOTS (-8.5) over Bills

Rex Ryan is all hyped up about that win over his former team, the New York Jets.  While the Bills did play a good game and got a good win, Rex Ryan gets all cocky when he wins games.  In week one, after Rex Ryan and the Bills got a good win against the Colts, he started talking smack about the Patriots and how he was going to beat them.  Once again, the Bills won the previous week and Rex Ryan is getting all cocky again.  Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will shut him up, as they did week 2 on the road in Buffalo.  If that isn’t enough, the Patriots are also the home team.  I do think this will be a close game, but in the end, I am picking the New England Patriots to win the game.



Patriots Take Advantage Of Steelers Mistakes And Get The Victory

The 2015 National Football League regular season has finally begun, and it began Thursday night when the New England Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21. The game started out with the two teams struggling to score. On the first series of the game, Pittsburgh took the ball down the field but were stopped inside the thirty-yard line. Steelers kicker Josh Scobee missed his first of two field goals on the night, the first being a forty-four yard attempt.

The unfortunate part of the series for the Patriots was that second-year defensive lineman Dominique Easley went down with a hip injury and did not return to the game. It would be tough for the team to lose him for a significant period of time, seeing how well the Steelers ran the ball on the Patriots Thursday night.

On offense, the Patriots and Tom Brady moved the ball up and down the field with ease all night long. Tom Brady finished 25 of 32, for 288 yards, and four touchdown passes. He was sharp as he has ever been, and with the victory he surpassed Brett Favre as the winning quarterback with one single franchise with 161 wins. All the off field noise and distractions did not seem to bother him one bit.

The real story of the night offensively for the New England Patriots was the play of Rob Gronkowski. He is without a doubt the most dominating offensive weapon in the game. He finished the game with five receptions, for 94 yards, and three touchdowns. Gronkowski just makes it so easy for Tom Brady, all he needs to do is put the ball high in the air in the end zone. In addition, the Patriots received a contribution from another tight end, Scott Chandler who had a three-yard touchdown reception.


The Patriots received big time offensive contributions as well from Julian Edelman, and the surprise player of training camp Dion Lewis. Lewis finished with 69 yards on 15 carries. He did however fumble the ball inside the five yard line at a key moment in the fourth quarter. Luckily it was recovered by Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots scored a few plays later.

Even though Julian Edelman did not play at all in the preseason, and was sidelined for much of camp with an ankle injury, he did not show any rust on Thursday night. Edelman brought in 11 catches, for 97 yards. He was as always, the spark plug in the Patriots offense catching short passes and consistently getting yards after the catch. Fans need to pray that he stays heathy, because it will be nearly impossible to replace that production.

The Patriots defense started out fast and with energy, but tailed off greatly as the night went on. The front seven was decent and got to the quarterback when they needed to. Nevertheless, DeAngelo Williams ran for 127 yards, mostly right through the middle of the defense. In addition, the secondary was as expected, inconsistent.

Malcolm Butler was manned up for the vast majority of the game against Antonio Brown, who is an absolute freak. That is no excuse for poor play from Butler, he should be expected to take on top tier receivers as the teams number one corner. He did fight hard against Brown and had a few flashes, but for the most part he just seemed out matched and out talented.


Antonio Brown finished with nine catches on eleven targets, for 133 yards, and a touchdown. The secondary certainly will be a work in progress, and one main takeaway from the week one victory is that they did not give up many points and made stops when they had to.

In conclusion, the Patriots made a statement win on Thursday night while putting all the distractions from outside behind them and focusing on, “Doing their Job.” Tom Brady was phenomenal, and the offense with two rookie lineman, looked like the best in the league. The defense is for sure a work in progress but nothing is perfect in week one.

Now the team has a nice break over the weekend, and they will need it because Ralph Wilson Stadium will be raucous next Sunday when the Patriots travel to take on Rex Ryan and the new look Buffalo Bills. You can almost bet on that game being much tougher than Thursday nights game. Winning the first game is nice, now its on to Buffalo.

Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Thursday Night Kickoff

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reacts on the sideline after throwing an interception to Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Mark Barron in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

The beer has been purchased, the nachos have been made, and hell, even the lawsuits have been settled. All of this brings us here, on the eve of our first football game of the season.

With our drafts firmly in the rearview mirror, it’s time to set our sights on the first of hopefully plenty of W’s. With some injury news still in the air concerning some Sunday studs (lookin’ at you Alshon), it could make for some interesting lineup decisions in week one, where our knowledge of playing time, or team roles remain somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Let’s see which Patriots and Steelers players are worthy of week one consideration, and which others might be better off left riding the pine.

Start ‘Em

Heath Miller, PIT TE

With star running back Le’Veon Bell and sophomore speedster Martavis Bryant both out for week one, Big Ben will be looking to use each and every weapon at his disposal, and Miller is my favorite.

The Patriots ranked 13th in the NFL in allowing fantasy points to opposing tight ends last season, and with such limited options to throw to, don’t be surprised to see a lot of Miller early and often.

Julian Edelman, NE WR

Not surprisingly, New England hasn’t released much (read: nothing) regarding the ankle of their number one wideout. It’s hard to imagine Edelman missing the start of the season, especially after a flame-emoji worthy hype video on Wednesday. 

Give me Edelman, or give me death.

Sit ‘Em

Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis, NE RB’s

With the Patriots seemingly wanting to rip the soul out of each and every opponent this season, you can bet plenty of points will be scored. With the hooded one, Bill Belichick, calling the shots, who knows which back will get the most carries, touches, or goal line looks.

While Brandon Bolden will probably receive more carries, Dion Lewis is expected to take over the ‘Shane Vereen’ role for the Pats this season, which could make him an interesting PPR play in the future. Key word there is ‘future’.

Until LaGarette Blount returns from his suspension, avoid the murky New England backfield.

Be Afraid NFL, Brady’s Back and he’s pissed

With the NFL season about to start we can all finally focus on football and not any faulty or biased news going against the Patriots. The man happiest about all of this, Tom Brady. Brady and the whole “DeflateGate” BS scandal has been the news headline for the past seven and a half months and is all that has been talked about. The NFL and ESPN have set out to ruin Brady’s name and his legacy with all of the false information that has been put out and I guarantee that Brady is pissed, and I love it. This is not the guy you want to make mad, when he’s angry he is unstoppable, and on a whole different level and there in no one who can beat him. Now with the season about to be underway Brady can focus on one thing, getting ring number five. I’d like to thank the league in advance for creating this monster who is going to be on the field in 2015 and who is going to lead the Patriots to back to back Super Bowls. (Again)

via gillettesgallerygods.wordpress.com
via gillettesgallerygods.wordpress.com

When the world doubts Brady he pretty much gives them the middle finger, goes out drops 50 points and just dominates and teams should learn this by now and be scared to play Brady and the Patriots. Last years Patriots team struggled out the gate going 2-2 to start the season and suffered an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first four games Brady passed for only 791 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Critics started coming for Brady saying that he and the Patriots were done and in the words of Trent Dilfer “just not good anymore”. Brady made them eat their words and think twice about what they said going 4-0 over the next four games passing for 1,268 yards and 14 touchdowns with no interceptions. Against the Bears alone Brady looked like he was going to pass for 10 touchdowns passing for five touchdowns and 354 yards only a little into the third quarter before being taken out of the game. Brady finished the year with over 4,100 yards, 33 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in the regular season and his fourth Super Bowl championship.

via titletownsoundoff.com
via titletownsoundoff.com

Brady’s anger, determination and leadership is what lead his team throughout the season and ultimately to the Super Bowl they ended up winning in February. And this anger was only due to people saying that he was no longer an elite quarterback and not at the top of his game, nowhere near what people were saying about him this offseason. He was made out to be a cheater in the public eye and that he was tarnishing the game of football when he did nothing wrong and Judge Richard Berman ultimately agreed with Brady and his team, that he did nothing wrong with no evidence from the league and the Wells Report. The last time something like this happened was in 2007 with the “SpyGate” scandal and Brady played with a vengeance setting many records.

In 2007 Brady passed for over 4,800 yards and set the record for most passing touchdowns in a season in NFL history with 50. Brady played with a vengeance and anger this season that I think will be even worse this season. During this season Steelers safety Anthony Smith made the idiotic claim of guaranteeing a victory against the Patriots. This surely made Brady mad because he threw at Smith time and time again and made him look foolish on the field.

via nydailynews.com
via nydailynews.com

Brady was never referenced as having a role in “SpyGate”, unlike “DeflateGate” has been referenced solely as Brady being involved. During the preseason you could tell Brady didn’t look like himself on or off the field and I think it had a lot to do with everything that was going on. Though the NFL is appealing Judge Berman’s decision to lift Brady’s suspension, this is all pretty much behind Brady and he can focus on doing the thing he loves most playing football. He doesn’t have to worry about having to go to court hearings and having to fight the league he has been apart of the past 16 years about something he had no involvement with. He can go out and focus on playing football each and every week and being the best he can and dominating his opponent, because even though he no longer has to think about “DeflateGate” he is going to take all the anger and emotions he has had about it over the past several months out on the football field and it all starts against Pittsburgh. The Banner is going to be raised, Gillette Stadium will be electric and Tom Brady will be under center playing quarterback and would not surprise me if he goes out there and throws for 400-500 yards and four or five touchdowns. He is going to show no mercy on Pittsburgh or any other opponent this season and the rest of the 31 teams in the NFL should be worried.

Stopping Gronk? Good luck with that Pittsburgh

The Steelers were ranked 27th in pass defense last season and they plan on improving that this season, and according to two Steelers players they plan on doing that in week one by stopping Rob Gronkowski. Yes they seriously think they are going to stop Rob Gronkowski.

via fansided.com
via fansided.com

Steelers’ linebacker Ryan Shazier and safety Mike Mitchell said that the Steelers have a game plan to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in Thursday’s opening game. The two said that they are going to be physical with Gronkowski and not give him an easy welcoming into the 2015 season. The fact that these two could even say this is just foolish. Gronkowski is the best tight end in the league without question, and when healthy might be the most dominating player in the league at any position. You’re going to be physical with Gronkowski? Gronk is 6’6 and 265 pounds of all muscle while Shazier stands 6’2 229 pounds and Mitchell is 6’ 210 pounds, so if you think you’re going to be able to be physical and stop Gronkowski you can have fun with that because it won’t happen.

via zimbio.com
via zimbio.com

Gronkowski has played well against every team he’s played against; one team in particular he has dominated against has been the Steelers. In three games against Pittsburgh, Gronkowski has 309 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. Saying you are going to stop Rob Gronkowski is a lot easier said than done. Last season Gronk showed his dominance throughout the whole season by staying healthy and not missing anytime. In 2014 he recorded 82 receptions, 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is a defensive nightmare for opposing teams with his size, strength, speed, catching ability and his ability to block and be physical. Not many in the league are able to match up against Gronk defensively and he has shown time and time again that he just cannot be stopped. Gronkowski will have a great game against Pittsburgh, like he always does, and will go on to have another fantastic and possibly his best season yet in New England.

via sportsofboston.com
via sportsofboston.com

These guys should think next time before they want to make claims like this and talk before playing against the Patriots. Back in 2007 Steelers safety Anthony Smith guaranteed a victory against the undefeated Patriots. It didn’t work out too well for Smith whose Steelers were badly beaten 34-13, and Smith was embarrassed multiple times during the game by having Brady just constantly throw at him, constantly beating him. Like the Patriots and Tom Brady didn’t have enough fire and anger entering the 2015 season these two are just adding more fuel to the fire. I’m looking to see Brady and Gronk dominate once again and beat the Steelers, and also hope to see Gronk “throw someone out the club” like he did last year to Colts safety Sergio Brown, quite frankly just because its fun to see.

Week 1 Preview: Patriots vs. Steelers Positional Breakdown


By Sam Pericolo

Ahhh it is finally that time. Football is back and the New England Patriots are ready to defend their title. Let’s see how they match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Do I really need to say anything here? Ben Roetlisberger is a very good quarterback. However, Tom Brady is the best ever. He’s coming off another Super Bowl MVP and is looking to stick it to the NFL.

Advantage Patriots

Running Back

The Steelers have one of the best running backs in the game. However, he will not suit up. Le’Veon Bell is suspended. As if the Patriots’ starting back, LeGarrette Blount. Jonas Gray has been cut so the Patriots have absolutely nothing in the backfield as of right now. While Bell is suspended, Deangelo Williams runs circles around any back the Patriots have on their roster.

Advantage Steelers

Wide Receiver

If Brandon LaFell and Julian Edelman were both healthy, they it MIGHT be CLOSE. However, we could be looking at Danny Amendola as the top receiver for Brady on Thursday night. That makes it a pretty easy decision, as Antonio Brown is arguably the best in football.

Advantage Steelers

Tight End

As easy as it was to pick the Steelers in the receiver position, it is equally as easy to pick the Patriots at tight end. Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in football and Scott Chandler is a matchup nightmare with his size. Look for Gronk to have a huge game as he is one of fes targets Brady will have, and he cannot be covered.

Advantage Patriots

Offensive Line

Both teams have solid lines; however, the Steelers are missing their best lineman with Maurkice Pouncey out until week 9. David DeCastro is still a great lineman, though. I am going to give the Patriots the slight edge, but if Bryan Stork does not play, then I believe the Steelers have the edge. Stork totally transforms that offensive line. The Patriots need to have him in there.

Advantage Patriots

Defensive Line

The Steelers do not have much of a defense. The Patriots, while it was totally changed in the offseason, still have some talent. Most of it is in the front seven. Their defensive line could be one of the best in football this year. Malcom Brown will be the big body in the middle that Vince Wilfork was, Dominique Easley looks healthy and ready to go, and Trey Flowers has looked great in preseason

Advantage Patriots


The Pats already have one of the best linebacking corps in football. When healthy, Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Jerod Mayo are some of the best. Add Jabaal Sheard to that list and you have the ability to have a great rotation to keep everybody healthy.

Advantage Patriots


Yes, the Patriots lost Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington. However, Malcolm Butler looks to take the next step, Devin McCourty is still around, and the Steelers cannot defense the passing game to save themselves.

Advantage Patriots

Special Teams

Bill Belichick prides himself on special teams. Jonas Gray was probably cut because he does not play special teams and Brandon Bolden does. Matt Slater is still the best as is Steven Gostkowski.

Advantage Patriots


Bill Belichick went 11-5 with Matt Cassel.

Advantage Patriots

While it may seem that the Patriots should run away with the game based on the positional breakdown, I would not look at it like that. Many of them are close calls. The Steelers are a very good team who can make up for their defensive struggles with a high powered offense. Plus, what the hell does any of this actually mean come Thursday night? We just have to see how it is all played out.

You can follow Sam on twitter @SamPericolo

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

New England Patriots: Thoughts going into the Steelers Game

Image: Rantsports.com
Image: Rantsports.com

Dion Lewis’ steady play caused the Pats to make a tough decision in cutting second year RB Jonas Gray. Although Gray showed flashes, he was never consistent enough as a runner or pass catcher this pre-season. Although it feels like a waste to cut him after a year, it shows that Belichick and McDaniels can ill afford to be prideful when it comes to owning up to a mistake quickly. Lewis will take the Vereen role, which might be the most overlooked and important part of this offense. It doesn’t hurt that Lewis is donning Kevin Faulk’s old number, who is probably the best 3rd down back of all time.

With FB James Develin going on season ending IR, it often comes back to the question: Will the Pats go get a fullback or stick with what they have? With the decision to keep 4 TE’s (Gronk, Chandler, Hooman and Williams), it shows that the Pats will go to more 2 TE sets to emphasize more of a 7 man blocking front. Hooman can go in the backfield as he has done in the past, but I wouldn’t be so sure that if a good FB appeared on the market, the Pats wouldn’t swoop him up (Note: Henry Hynoski of the Giants was just cut, couldn’t be a better fit)

The idea to keep Dobson is the smart decision when it comes down to the numbers. Dobson showed flashes of what made him a second round pick in 2013 this pre-season, but still missed some time due to his chronic injury issues. Even though Chris Harper clearly out played him, they already have quick route runners on their team with Edelman and Amendola. Dobson is the only legitimate deep threat the Patriots had on their roster and even if he isn’t someone that can play every game. He could be the way the Pats stretch the field this year and is someone who teams will have to keep an eye on.

The much maligned secondary is shaping up to be a liability but has some promise. Basically, they kept 2 zone CBs (Ryan, and Brown) and 2 man/press CB’s (Butler and Fletcher). This shows that they will be team specific when it comes to what they will do with their lineup weekly, but it looks like Butler and Ryan will start with Brown taking Kyle Arrington’s old spot at Nickle. The fact that they kept S Tavon Wilson over special teamer Nate Ebner was the smart decision overall. The former second rounder in 2012 looked much approved this preseason and has the ability to play both safety positions and corner and be a contributor on special teams. Belichick loves versatility with guys like Wilson, and that is why he got the nod.

Even though the team looks set going into the Pittsburgh game, there is still a chance that there will be some big contributors on this squad that isn’t on the team yet. They already brought in 8 players for workouts (none of note) and can still sign someone before Thursday. Also, the practice squad will be set and will make a difference who they will sign from other squads. Watching what positions they will sign will show what positions are issues and need depth beyond the 53 roster. For instance, if they sign 2 CB’s, that might mean that a man on the current roster is on the bubble and is trying to bring along someone throughout the year in their system that can replace him if he doesn’t play well enough initially. It’s something to keep in mind as the team sets up their practice squad. It can show more about the state of the team and what they want to do than you would think.