Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

NFL WEEK 11 PICKS

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.

 

 

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Perfectly Dominant, but for how long?

bostonglobe.com
bostonglobe.com

Every great story hits a half way point, for the 2015 New England Patriots that half way point is quickly approaching with the arrival of the Washington Redskins this Sunday. How has the Patriot journey come thus far and where will it eventually lead? After a rough start to the 2014 season, the Patriots fought back with an impressive array of wins and eventually won the Super Bowl beating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. What would be an end to one journey begot the start of another: Redemption. Not that anyone needs to be reminded ,but the Patriots 2015 post Lombardi afterglow was vehemently destroyed by the NFL due to allegations made by the Indianapolis Colts that the Patriots were playing with deflated balls in the AFC Championship game.

goodell-egg

The NFL proceeded to drag both Quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots through the mud with unproven allegations of scheming and cheating. Roger Goodell attempted to suspend Brady for the first four games of the season, comparing his suspicions to an actual act of PED use as basis. Tom Brady won his case in court and prepared to take the field more determined than ever. Many questioned whether Tom Brady and the Patriots could still win amidst this controversy and the unfortunate departures of an elite secondary tandem consisting of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. Taking a look at the first half of the 2015 NFL season, did the Patriots falter or prevail?

at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The New England Patriots battled AFC rival the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium.  The Patriots started off slow allowing Pittsburgh running back DeAngelo Williams to run rough shod over their defense. Much to the chagrin of the Pittsburgh faithful , Tom Brady got his offense rolling and had it not been for a garbage time touchdown by Ben Roethlisberger late in the 4th quarter the final score of 28-21 would not have looked as hotly contested. Keeping the off field shenanigans rolling, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin was quick to complain of headset failure and accused the Patriots of cheating. The NFL, to their credit, cleared up the accusations by pointing out that both teams had issues due to weather.

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Week 2 vs. Buffalo Bills: The Patriots were eager to prove that week one’s victory was no fluke but heading into Buffalo looked to be a daunting task. Rex Ryan, former head coach of chief division rival the New York Jets, was leading the charge in Buffalo and after an impressive thwomping of the Indianapolis Colts in week 1, the Bills were ready to show they could put an end to the Patriots AFC dominance. The Bills came out red hot and scored a touchdown on their first drive. The Patriots looked to be in dire straits but Tom Brady led his team back with a vengeance throwing for an impressive 466 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills had a total of 14 penalties and despite a fourth quarter rally were just outplayed by a better, more disciplined team losing 40-32.

Week 3 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tom Brady became the fourth Quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 touchdowns when the Jacksonville Jaguars came to Gillette Stadium. There really is no way to paint this picture without indicating how dominant the Patriots were against the lowly Jaguars. Tom Brady and company put up a total of 51 points against a team that quite frankly was lucky to score the 17 points that they did.  As the old cliché goes, the Jacksonville Jaguars were playing checkers while the New England Patriots were playing chess.

Week 4- Bye

jerry-jones

Week 5 vs. Dallas Cowboys: With Tony Romo hurt for a good portion of the season and Dez Bryant out with an injury as well, it’s tough to label this victory as something that the New England Patriots can hang their hat on. Heading into Dallas, the Cowboys were ready to unleash newly acquired pass rusher and all around despicable human being, Greg Hardy. Known for his violent and masochistic ways, Greg Hardy was returning to the NFL for the Cowboys after being released by Carolina and serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Hardy made several unprofessional overtures in regards to Tom Brady’s wife Gisele in order to get into the Patriot signal caller’s head.  Sadly, one elite defenseman is not enough to stop the New England Patriots as the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champions crushed the Brandon Weeden led Cowboys and held them without a single touchdown in a 30-06 victory.

via bleacherreport.com
via bleacherreport.com

Week 6 vs. Indianapolis Colts: Heading into Lucas Oil stadium the New England Patriots preached that this game was just “the next game on the schedule”, for fans it was to be something much more. The Indianapolis Colts’ general manager Brian Grigson was the man who brought the entire circus known as Deflategate to the NFL and ultimately the Patriots door. Had it not been for the Indianapolis Colts and their attempts to desecrate all that New England had worked for in 2014, the narrative on the Patriots would simply be Champions. Fans had the Patriots running away with this battle with scores of 70 -10 but the football Gods had different plans. The Indianapolis Colts put up a hell of a fight during the first half cutting off the field and taking away Brady’s short throws, ultimately giving the Colts a 1 point lead heading into the 3rd quarter. The second half brought forth the Indianapolis Colts that have proven to be what they are made of this season.  After what was possibly the worst fake punt play in history, the Colts succumbed to the New England Patriots, 27-34.

Danny Amendola makes an acrobatic catch in 30-23 win over the Jets Photo David Silverman
Danny Amendola makes an acrobatic catch in 30-23 win over the Jets Photo David Silverman

Week 7 vs. The New York Jets: When the New York Jets came to Foxboro they came to play some football and show the Patriots that they were no longer the doormat of the AFC. Gone were the brash Super Bowl predictions from a loud mouthed former head coach, now led by reserved head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets had a 4-1 record and were looking to overtake the current AFC leaders. The rancid under belly to this game of course ties back to Darrelle Revis returning to the Jets after a Super Bowl winning stay in New England. Revis, who is arguably the best cornerback in the NFL, can take an average defense and make them look fantastic by taking away a side of the field and freeing up more players for other assignments. The Jets were the number one rated defense about to take on the number one rated offense led by Tom Brady. The Jets played their hearts out and Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like a superstar for the first three quarters with 295 yards and two touchdowns. Ultimately, fortune shined upon the Patriots showing just how clutch Tom Brady is, as he led his team to victory in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns and left the Jets on the losing end with a final result of 23-30. It would later be revealed that the Jets had the NFL sweep their locker room for bugs and look into a trio of on field Patriot personal. Nothing came of either situation but it is rightly apparent that the Patriots are in their opponents heads.

10-29 Ninkovich hits Tannehill (Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)
10-29 Ninkovich hits Tannehill (Photo: Keith Nordstrom Patriots.com)

Week 8 vs. The Miami Dolphins: After trouncing the Titans 38-10 and the Texans 44-26, the newly invigorated Miami Dolphins felt they were ready to take down the undefeated New England Patriots. When Joe Philbin was fired and Tight End Coach Dan Campbell took his place he simplified both the offense and defense to immediate success. With the two headed beast of Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh now getting more comfortable, surely they would be giving Tom Brady fits. In a game which can only be looked at as a comedy of errors from the Dolphins side, they showed little of that renewed tenacity.  The Patriots dominated the Dolphins in every aspect of play, winning by a score of 36-07. As for Suh and Wake?  Suh was practically a non factor where as unfortunately for Cameron Wake, despite looking quite impressive on that October evening,  his season will now be spent on injured reserve.

In the coming week New England will be taking on the Washington Redskins as they reach their true half way mark to the season. Washington hasn’t played well and from a spectator’s point of view this game looks like another slam dunk for the Patriots. If the Patriots do manage to defeat the Washington Redskins as expected, who will eventually present a challenge? Next week, the Patriots head to New York to face a rival which has ripped away two Super Bowls from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s mantle. Eli manning is not a great quarterback but for some reason he tends to have the Patriot’s number. Could the Giants be the team that takes down the undefeated Patriots?

After facing the Giants, it’s on to perennial adversary; the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos. As of this writing the Denver Broncos have the most intimidating defense in the NFL and on paper present the Patriots with their greatest challenge. Adding fuel to the fire is that the Broncos’ game will be held in Denver which is traditionally a tough place for any visiting team to get a win.  If the Patriots can get past Denver there does not appear to be too much resistance on the horizon with the exception of a trap game from the Eagles in week 13 or a possible upset in the Meadowlands when the face the Jets on their home turf.

The New England Patriots are currently undefeated at 7-0 and with the looming shadow and obvious circumstantial comparisons of 2007 hanging over their heads, its plausible that they could enter the playoffs at 16-0.  Tom Brady is playing the best football of his entire career, his offense is incredible and his defense is better than most will ever give them credit for. As the half way point of the season reaches to a close this Sunday I think it’s safe to say, the New England Patriots haven’t lost a step. In fact, the defending Super Bowl Champions keep getting better, while ridiculous accusations of cheating and treachery are losing any and all credibility.

New England vs. Dallas: Patriots Defensive Line against Dallas Offensive Line

A big focus on this week’s game between the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys will be the Patriots defensive line vs. the Cowboys offensive line. Both are amongst the best in the league for their position groups and a key to victory for New England will be to beat the Cowboys offensive line consistently.

The Patriots defense currently ranks 5th in team sacks, behind the Broncos, Packers, Rams and Steelers who have all played one more game than New England. The Patriots are led by defensive ends Chandler Jones and Jabaal Sheard and linebacker Jamie Collins who make up 8.5 of the teams 13 sacks on the year. Though getting after Brandon Weeden wont be as crucial to the game as it would if Tony Romo was healthy and playing, you don’t want to give any quarterback time in the pocket to make plays and to allow his receivers to get open. The Cowboys had the leagues best offensive line last year headlined by left tackle Tyron Smith and rookie guard Zach Martin and still are the leagues most talented offensive line in the views of most people, despite being amongst one of the leagues most penalized offensive lines early in the season. With that being said, it is a good reason why the Patriots should bring the blitz at Weeden, get after him, and sack him, or be held and move them back and try making Weeden beat you, which lets face it he can’t do.

via cowboysblog.dallasnews.com
via cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

A key will be stopping the Cowboys running game. The Patriots have struggled this year defending the run, they improved vs. Jacksonville but that was in a blowout game where the Jaguars had to throw the ball because they were down by so many points. The Cowboys o-line and running backs are also a lot better than the Jaguars, though Joseph Randle has had fumbling problems as of late and Darren McFadden has looked like he has his whole NFL career, a bust. Travis Frederick and Zach Martin are strong interior blockers and could provide room for whoever is in Dallas’ backfield.

via twitter.com
via twitter.com

In a game that should be an easy win for the Patriots, especially coming off a bye, watching how the defensive line plays will be something of interest to see. The Cowboys offensive line is one of, if not the best in the league and seeing how the Patriots perform against them will be a good test to see if they are as good as they’ve looked so far, and a good test for the defense.

Injures Galore, Does Dallas Stand A Chance Against The Patriots?

On Sunday fans will eagerly pack into the AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas to witness a week five match up of epic proportions. Coach Jason Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys will welcome Coach Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots in what is sure to be an epic nail biter. Future Hall of fame Quarterback Tom Brady will need everything in his arsenal to take down Quarterback Brandon Weeden and the vaunted Dallas Cowboys offense. Wait….what?

at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 4, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For those looking for a battle between highly touted gunslingers Tom Brady and Tony Romo on Sunday accompanied by an all star cast, might I suggest reviewing their match up from October 17th ,2011.  On October 11th, 2015 former Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden will be under center in a matchup which many feel has lost some of the shine which was promised when the NFL schedule was initially released. Brandon Weeden  had little success in Cleveland and is in no way an all star but will do his best to keep the game under control. Sadly for Dallas fans, Romo’s broken clavicle is not the only injury to disappoint those looking for a more heated match up. Cowboys’ star wide receiver Dez Bryant who injured his foot earlier in the season, has yet to return to the field, leaving Weeden  to throw to the likes of ester while receivers,  Lucky Whitehead and Devin Street.

In other areas of discontent, Dallas can’t rely on star running back Demarco Murray as they traded that particular Eagles free agency disappointment months ago.  Running back Lance Dunbar could have been a formidable option to run a tear through what is seemingly a Patriot’s defensive line that has trouble stopping runs, but sadly he went down with a knee injury. The offensive line has not looked as good as it had during last season either but let’s be fair it isn’t solely to blame for Dallas’ recent poor play, although it surely hasn’t helped. One apparent bright spot on the offense for Dallas however, is that all-pro Tight End Jason Witten seems to be in top form this season and will require some efficient game planning to upend.

On the other side of the ball, the Cowboy’s defense looked awfully weak during their encounter with the New Orleans Saints. In yet another unfortunate injury, linebacker Sean Lee was forced out of the game during the first half with a concussion. If Lee is unable to play on Sunday it will be an exceptional loss as he was currently the Cowboys leading tackler. On the bright side, two suspended players should be making their return to the NFL, and their presence should be able to beef up the defense a bit. Defensive End Greg Hardy will be making his debut for Dallas after serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Hardy, who last played for the Carolina Panthers, originally had a 10 game suspension for knocking around his girlfriend and slamming her on to a bed full of semi automatic weapons, but the NFL dropped his suspension to four games in an appeal. Linebacker Rolondo McClain will be returning from a four game substance abuse suspension and like Hardy is expected to make an immediate impact lifting this defense up and making them a force to be reckoned with.

jerry-jones

Perhaps the largest case of unfortunate situations to ravage Dallas is the fact that Tom Brady is not suspended and will in fact be playing. Dallas owner Jerry Jones was one of a handful of influential owners pushing Roger Goodell to uphold Tom Brady’s suspension for being generally aware of footballs being deflated during last year’s Deflategate debacle.  The fact that Jerry Jones pushed for Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft to be a man and accept his ridiculous and overblown punishment for the “good of the NFL”, will not be lost on the New England Patriots or their fabled Bulletin Board.

Tom Brady, with the help of offensive juggernauts such as Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and rising star Dion Lewis have been on an absolute mean streak as of late destroying their first three opposing teams in epic fashion .On paper, Dallas looks to have very little that can put a stop to the New England Patriots and their “Scorched Earth Tour”. Don’t throw a “W” in the win column just yet, if the NFL has taught us anything over the years it’s that players facing the most adversity often rise to the occasion. Sunday may just prove to be one of those odd occasions where David beats Goliath.

New England Patriots: A Juggernaut? Still Too Early To Tell

After Sunday’s 51-17 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars (the most points ever allowed by the Jaguars) at Gillette Stadium the talk has started. Is this year’s New England Patriot team capable of finishing what they started, but couldn’t finish, in 2007? Miami fans are hoping not…Mercury Morris is pacing the floor…Don Shula is preparing his Bill Belicheat speech..and Patriot fans are wondering could lightening strike again.

Pull In The Reigns

As much as fans want to dream about the possibility, it is way too early to even think about it.  The 2007 team started with three impressive victories over the Jets (38-14), Chargers (38-14) and Bills (38-7).  That team held every opponent to less then 30 points up until the final weekend of the regular season, when they defeated the Giants 38-34. Looking back many fans are wondering if New England would have done better in the play-offs by losing that game. The pressure of an undefeated season through the playoffs is intense and a loss would have eased that extra burden…ah, but I digress. (Read Jake Mackey’s article “Be Careful What You Wish For” for more on that)

2015 looks pretty good after 3 games, but the big difference between 2007 and now is DEFENSE!  Although this year’s Pats have no Randy Moss, they do have Rob Gronkowski and both teams showed the ability to rack up big numbers on offense. In fact they have outscored the Brady-Moss combination 119 -114. Unfortunately, in the process they have allowed 57 points compared to 35. Yes, many of the points allowed have been in garbage time, but the defense is still a big question mark, especially in the secondary.

Tom Brady Is Like A Fine WineWine

Last year at this time we were all wondering if Tom Brady was capable of another play-off run at the “old” age of 37. Now, in his 16th season, like a fine wine, he seems to have improved with age. Need some stats to back that up? How about this:

  •  A quarterback rating of 119.6,
  • Tom Terrific has thrown for 9 TDs with 0 (as in zero) interceptions
  • He leads all NFL QBs with 1112 yards in the first 3 games
  • Sunday he became just the fourth QB in NFL history to throw 400 touchdown passes, racking up two more in the lopsided victory.
The OL Has Outperformed Expectations (Photo: David Silverman nepatriots.com)
The OL Has Outperformed Expectations (Photo: David Silverman nepatriots.com)

Brady is playing behind a young offensive line that has outperformed expectations and he has helped with his lightening quick release. Although sacked 6 times, many have been caused by close coverage by defenses and, in almost every case, he has had a chance to be prepared for the sack and gone down without hard contact.

Even The Haters Are Converting

Marshall Faulk sti;; thinks he won the Super Bowl
Marshall Faulk still crying about the Super Bowl loss to Patriots

It seems like everyone, even the haters, have accepted that this year’s team could be special. On the NFL Channel this Sunday Marshall Faulk, who still thinks the Patriots cheated the Rams out of Super Bowl XXXVI, shocked his audience by predicting the Patriots would not lose their first game until week 14 when they play the Texans on the road. How’s this for a backhanded compliment – Houston will win because they are led by a management team that learned how to win from (you guessed it) … the New England Patriots.

Enjoying The Bye-Week

It will be too long before the Patriots travel to Dallas to take on the depleted Cowboys, so here are a few suggestions for next Sunday when the team has their early bye-week:

  • Check out the rest of the teams the Patriots play later this year
  • Shut the TV off all day and enjoy some quality time with friends and family
  • How about a movie? When was the last time you went to a Sunday matinee
  • Go leaf peeping in Vermont for some gorgeous foliage…be sure to take a camera
  • Make your spouse happy with a nice, long brunch at her/his favorite bistro. No need to rush home for the game

I’m sure you can think of more, but…none will live up to watching the 2015 New England Patriots!

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

NFL Stars Ink New Deals

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Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Wednesday  was the deadline for all player’s given the franchise tag to sign a long-term deal.

The deadline came and went yesterday, and when the dust settled all major players aside from Jason Pierre-Paul signed. Justin Houston, a pass rusher for the Kansas City Chiefs, signed a six-year $101 million deal, the biggest contract for a linebacker in NFL history.

The two deals that everyone is more interested in are for the two wide receivers, Dallas’s Dez Bryant and Denver’s Demariyus Thomas. Both signed nearly identical five-year $70 million deals, Bryant’s with $45 million guaranteed, Thomas’s with $43.5 million guaranteed. There were four observations I had from what went down wednesday.

The first observation I had is this: I told you so. Here’s something I wrote on Monday after Dez Bryant threatened to sit out games: https://goallinegazette.com/2015/07/13/dallas-cowboys-dez-bryant-threatens-to-sit-out-games/

Bryant’s threat proved to be empty. The Cowboys were able to sign him for $2 million less a year than Calvin Johnson, even though Bryant had better production last season. Like I said Monday, deadlines have a way of making both sides more reasonable, and that’s just what happened today. The Cowboys have their top receiver locked up for his prime years now.

461349044-demaryius-thomas-of-the-denver-broncos-wait-gettyimagesThe second observation was the fact that the two deals for Dez and Demariyus were nearly identical. Both teams were in similar situations. They had two top talents at the wide receiver position. They wanted to sign both to long-term deals. They also both wanted to be cautious about how much they paid each, because both have young talent that they want to be able to sign down the line. The Cowboys want to keep their young offensive line together, particularly second-year guard Zack Martin, who was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season. The Broncos’ top pass rusher, Von Miller, is entering a contract year, and will likely be given the franchise tag at the end of next year. Neither team wanted to let deals made with these receivers affect their ability to resign their other young players down the road.

Also remember that earlier this week, there were reports of collusion between the Broncos and Cowboys. Notice that these deals were exactly the same, yet they were signed within about an hour of each other. The NFLPA said on Monday that if the two players didn’t sign long-term deals by today, they would move forward with the collusion charges. However, the similarity of these contracts shows that there was likely collusion not only between the two teams, but likely between the two agencies that represent each player. And by the way, this isn’t a bad thing, as it creates a fair market value for two players who are at almost equal levels at this point in their careers.

The third observation I had comes from a unique perspective I have of each player. I live in Denver, and I go to school in Dallas, so I see how each fan base view these respective players. Dez Bryant and Demariyus Thomas are essentially the same player. They were both drafted in 2010, Thomas 22nd overall, Dez 24th. Demariyus has played 69 regular season games in his career, and has compiled 351 receptions for 5,317 yards and 41 touchdowns in five seasons. Bryant has 381 catches for 5,424 yards and 56 touchdowns in 75 career games. Each has played a full 16 games over the last three seasons. Thomas is 6’3 229; Bryant is 6’2 220. They’re both big, physical receivers who are excellent at using their unique combination of size and speed.

However, Bronco fans are nowhere near as supportive of Demariyus Thomas as Cowboy fans are of Dez Bryant. Bronco fans are extremely hesitant to put Demariyus in the same class as Bryant and Calvin Johnson. They will never hesitate to bring up the fact that Thomas didn’t seem to give 100% effort against the Colts in a playoff loss last year. The best explanation I can give for why is this: Cowboy fans have another scapegoat in Tony Romo, whereas Bronco fans worship at the feet of Peyton Manning, and need to find another scapegoat when things go wrong. Both have given almost identical production throughout their careers, and Bryant has definitely had more off-the field/immaturity issues than Thomas has; yet Cowboy fans appreciate Dez as a top-of-the-line receiver, and Bronco fans like to criticize Demariyus. The explanation that makes the most sense is that the Cowboys have Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and a terrible defense to point the finger at for any failures, while Bronco fans would rather kill a family member than blame Peyton Manning or John Elway for anything, even after a horrible performance by Manning against the Colts in the postseason last year. It’s a lot easier for Bronco fans to blame John Fox, or Demariyus Thomas for their shortcomings.

The last observation I have is not only because of these three deals, but also for the big contracts that have been signed over the last few years. If you can play quarterback at a high level, if you can protect the quarterback, if you can tackle the quarterback, or if you can catch the football thrown by the quarterback, you can make a lot of money in the National Football League. Teams have made it clear, that quarterbacks, receivers, left tackles, and pass rushers are the most valuable positions in this league. The Dolphins and Bengals gave fat contracts to their quarterbacks who have all kinds of question marks, yet the Patriots refused to overpay cornerback Darrelle Revis, despite being a vital piece to their Super Bowl run, and the Seahawks traded away one of the best centers in the league for a tight end coming off a bad year. There are four positions where the money is in football, and today’s deals reflected that in a big way.

Note: All stats are courtesy of ESPN

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant Threatens to Sit Out Games

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With the deadline to sign a multiyear deal looming, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant tried to heighten the stakes today, threatening to sit out training camp and regular season games if he and the Cowboys are unable to reach a long-term deal. Dez tweeted out today, “As much as I love football…on my beautiful babies… I apologize #cowboynation but I will not be there if no deal #fact” The tweet came after Bryant reportedly informed Stephen Jones, the son of Jerry Jones (who we all know is actually the one running the team and deserves a lot of credit for the Cowboys recent success) of this information. Stephen Jones denied that Dez had told him that.

The deadline for signing a multiyear franchise deal is 4 p.m. eastern on Wednesday, July 15. If Bryant doesn’t sign by then, he will receive a $12.8 million salary this upcoming season if he agrees to sign the one-year franchise tender. The Cowboys love Dez Bryant, and consider him their best offensive player. They’d like to lock him up long term, but they don’t want to overpay him. Much of the Cowboy’s success last season came from the league’s best offensive line, and they want to keep that group together for a long time. They signed left tackle Tyron Smith to a big contract last summer, and they want to lock up right guard Zack Martin in the upcoming years. In a salary cap league, they won’t be able to do that if they overpay for Dez.

The Cowboys believe Bryant’s threat to be a bluff. While Dez has had all kinds of off the field and on the field issues with his maturity, the one thing that can’t be denied is that Dez loves football, and he loves his team. Even during OTAs and minicamp, while Bryant was still negotiating with the team, he couldn’t keep himself away, participating in individual drills, and being on the sideline watching when his contract situation didn’t allow him to participate. Because of this, the Cowboys aren’t worried about Dez’s threat, and are confident number 88 will be on the field in uniform week 1 against the Giants.

Dez Bryant has established himself as one of the top receivers in football. He’s a part of an elite group that includes Antonio Brown, Demariyus Thomas, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Jordy Nelson. However, Dez has now played in the league for five years, and it wasn’t until last year that he played in his first playoff game. While Bryant had an impressive season, the real secret to the Cowboy’s success in 2014 was due to their much-improved offensive line and their ability to get consistent quarterback play out of Tony Romo for the entire season. If you look at the receivers listed above, their production is based almost entirely on their quarterback’s effectiveness. Demariyus Thomas wasn’t a top tier receiver with Tim Tebow, but he is with Peyton Manning. A.J. Green is a lot better with regular season Andy Dalton than playoff Andy Dalton, who we all know are two different quarterbacks. In Super Bowl XLIX, the best wide receiver in the game was 5’10 college quarterback Julian Edelman. Yet, there were receivers on both teams making tremendous plays.

The point of all of this is that there are plenty of good wide receivers in the NFL, and the fact is a good quarterback will be good with just about any of them. Dez Bryant is incredible, but his value to the Cowboys is nowhere near enough to sacrifice their young offensive line down the road. However, deadlines always seem to make both sides think a little more reasonable, and it won’t surprise anyone if by time 4 pm passes on Wednesday, Dez Bryant will have a new long-term contract with the Dallas Cowboys.