Time Out for Sports V: Free Agent Frenzy

Time Out for Sports V: Free Agent Frenzy

There has been a ton of huge NFL moves that have been made recently so I’ve taken it upon myself to give my analysis and breakdown eight of the massive free agent swaps.

1. The Green Bay Packers Shuffle

The first Super Bowl winners have been shuffling their cards after being dealt a terrible hand last season, finishing without all-star QB Aaron Rodgers and a record of 7-9. The Packers made a surprising trade with the Cleveland Browns, swapping their cornerback Damarious Randall for Cleveland’s breakout QB DeShone Kizer. Kizer will present a more competent backup (and potential future franchise starter) to replace the ill-fated Brett Hundley, who started ten games last season. Additionally, the Packers announced today that star wide receiver Jordy Nelson had been cut from the team, before swiftly announcing the acquisition of Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, which should give Rodgers a much needed, large target.

2. The Legion of Boom No More

The Seattle Seahawks have completely fallen apart. Star cornerback Richard Sherman signed with the regenerated San Francisco 49ers. Michael Bennett moved to Philadelphia to become an Eagle. And now, Jimmy Graham has made the transition to Green Bay. What’s next for the Seattle Seahawks now that the dream team has disbanded? Only time will tell, but things do not bode well for the former Super Bowl champions.

3. Remember the Titans

The Tennessee Titans stunned the world by not only clinching a wild card spot last season, but upset the favorited Kansas City Chiefs. While they could not overcome the dynasty Patriots in the divisional round, they did, however, steal one. New England ‘s Super Bowl savior cornerback Malcom Butler signed with the Tennessee Titans a deal worth $61 million. Will this bring Tennessee back to the Super Bowl? Probably not, but a playoff appearance could be on the cards for this team.

4. Jets Making a Comeback?

The New York Jets’ biggest move was signing Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson for $15 million, but they made two big moves at QB this offseason. While the fan backlash over signing Josh McCown is justified, it’s the other QB selection that intrigues me. While McCown may start, the Jets also signed Minnesota Vikings playmaker Teddy Bridgewater. The veteran QB suffered a sizable injury back in 2016 that removed him from the team’s immediate future. Now because of another major move I will talk about in a minute, Teddy is available to have a future again in this league and I think his best shot of that is in New York.

5. Cardinals’ New QB

Speaking of Vikings’ quarterbacks, Sam Bradford made the move to Arizona today, signing a deal worth $20 million. The Cardinals do need a QB and Sam is solid enough to fit the bill, despite him starting two games last season in Minnesota. However, veteran RB Adrian Peterson just left the team, so the Cardinals may not be in the best shape offensively.

6. Cleveland Browns: AFC Champions?

After going 0-16 last season, the Browns have been beefing up their squad so far this offseason. The aforementioned trade for Demarious Thomas and a three year deal with Bengals DE Chris Smith has given the team a much needed shot in the arm on defense. The team also signed Steelers OT Chris Hubbard to a five year, $37.5 million deal, which is an incredible move for a team many considered dead. Other notable acquisitions include Bills QB Tyrod Taylor and Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry, who are undeniably huge picks for an already impressive offense. With the top pick and a slew of solid choices, the Browns are in a good position to turn the ship around and make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

7. Revenge of the Denver Broncos

After failing to find any valid follow-up to the Peyton Manning era Broncos, Denver has finally locked down breakout sensation Case Keenum to a $74 million deal. Case is largest profile QB to play for the Broncos since the short-lived Tim Tebow era. Can Case lead the Broncos back to the playoffs? Potentially, but, once again, only time will tell if Case was a one-seasons wonder or the real deal.

8. Minnesota Vikings: Super Bowl Champions?

The Minnesota Vikings were easily one of the strongest teams in the league last season, finishing 13-3 under the leadership of backup QB Case Keenum and pulled of a Minneapolis Miracle to get to NFC championship game, where the fell to the Philadelphia Eagles. Now with one of the top defenses in the league, spearheaded by a squad including Defensive End Everson Griffen, Linebacker Anthony Barr, Defensive End Brian Robison, Tackle Linval Joseph, and Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, as well as boasting an impressive offensive crew of Wide Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen, as well as Running Backs Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, and all-star Tight End Kyle Rudolph. Now, the already impressive team have filled their only hole in signing Quarterback Kirk Cousins in a monumental deal worth $84 million. Do the Vikings have a shot at winning the Super Bowl? It appears so. It’s still very early in the year, but on paper, these trades seem to be massive ones to watch out for.

Advertisements

Time Out for Sports IV: Bring It Home

Time Out for Sports IV: Bring It Home

Let’s Just Relive This For A Moment

 

Okay now with that out of the way, it’s time to talk about the Championship round!

 

AFC Championship:

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are the obvious choice here. They had a nice showing last week against the Titans. Now, here’s the kicker. The Jacksonville Jaguars are their opponents this week. The Jags are an unstoppable force of nature on defense, absolutely stunning the Steelers last week. It’s the Jags year to play in the Super Bowl and they’re gunning for Tom Brady. Brady is easy to fluster if you can stay in his face and that’s exactly what the Jags will do. I see Sacksonville bringing it and dethroning the reigning AFC champions. The Jags will win, 50-35.

NFC Championship:

The world is on the side of the Vikings now. Case Keenum and the Vikings pulled of a miracle last week (see above video). They are on a collision course with the Lombardi trophy and nothing is stopping them. The Philadelphia Eagles have a good defense, I just don’t think they will be able to shut down this incredible offense. The Vikings defense is also going to ruin Nick Foles and the offense’s day. It’s a Minnesota victory, 28-14.

My Super Bowl prediction remains in tact, so until next week, when we have the official Super Bowl LII lineup, this is Kaleb signing off.

Printable-NFL-Playoff-Bracket-2017-2018

Time Out For Sports III: The Thunderdome

Time Out For Sports III: The Thunderdome

Hello everyone. It’s been an entire football season since I’ve written a Time Out For Sports piece, so what better time to come back and revisit the NFL than with another playoff essay. Today, I’m going to examine the final two weeks of 2018 NFL playoffs and end with my prediction for who will be in Super Bowl LII. I do want to make Time Out For Sports a weekly mini-series until we reach Super Bowl LII. So here we go.

Previously On The Playoffs

At the start of the playoffs, this is what we saw for the playoff seedings.

AFC:

  1. New England Patriots (13-3)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
  5. Tennessee Titans (9-7)
  6. Buffalo Bills (9-7)

NFC:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-3)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
  3. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  4. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
  5. Carolina Panthers (11-5)
  6. Atlanta Falcons (10-6)

NFC Wild Cards

The Atlanta Falcons faced the Los Angeles Rams in the deciding game that launched the NFC Playoffs. Matt Ryan and the offense led the team to a round one victory over the Jared Goff and the Rams, seeing the defending NFC champions eliminate a fan favorite early on. The Falcons will advance to Philadelphia this Saturday to play the seemingly unstoppable Eagles, under the leadership of Nick Foles.

The second wild card game pit two rivals against each other to reach the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints pulled out a narrow victory over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, setting up a playoff rematch between two bitter enemies.

AFC Wild Cards

The AFC playoffs are always rather dull and weird, and this year was no exception. Marcus Mariota led the Tennessee Titans to an amazing comeback victory over Alex Smith and the favored Kansas City Chiefs. The upset Titans team is now poised to play Tom Brady and the legendary New England Patriots on Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills eeked into the playoffs thanks to a Ravens loss in week 17. The team found themselves locked out of the end zone by the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. Blake Bortles and the offense were able to put one touchdown’s distance between them and Tyrod Taylor’s Bills. A last second Bills QB injury resulted in the infamous Peterman taking the field for a late, valiant drive that ended in the game winning Jacksonville interception. The Jags will be traveling to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers next Sunday.

NFC Divisional

The Minnesota Vikings are having their best season since 2009 when Brett Favre led them to the championship game. Coincidentally, the current team will be facing the same team that ended their 2009 playoff run in Drew Brees and the Saints. Led by the surprise MVP candidate Case Keenum, the Vikes are a complete team, marked by the league’s top defense, featuring a murderer’s row including Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes, and an underrated offense consisting of a strong WR corp in Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph and a powerhouse run game with Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon. What’s even more impressive? This team is playing on second strings. Case stepped in for Sam Bradford in week 2 and never left. After 4 weeks, Murray & McKinnon got their shot after rookie sensation Dalvin Cook suffered a season ending injury. So just them being this good is a feat. However, they aren’t done. They rematch the team that stopped them from appearing in Super Bowl XLIV, something Vikings fans and players alike haven’t forgotten. The fact that the Vikings are hosting the New Orleans Saints is going to affect a lot. The Vikings are going to pull out the victory, holding Brees’ offense to just 14 points and ending with a score of 28-14.

The Eagles were looking like an unbeatable playoff team. Then they lost MVP QB Carson Wentz to a torn ACL. While Nick Foles is a solid placeholder, he’s not going to lead them to a Super Bowl. At best, he leads them to a first round bye and faceoff with the defending Atlanta Falcons. Ryan’s team will be hyped up from their previous victory and will have rings on the brain. The Falcons will upset the Eagles and land the birds the Philly, 35-24.

AFC Divisional

The Jacksonville Jaguars squaring off with the Pittsburgh Steelers is a matchup many will predict going one way. The Steelers are strong offense with a solid defense. That was until Antonio Brown’s injury. Now the Steelers are in a bad position going into this game, especially against a well-rounded shock team like the Jags. The Jags will upset, holding Ben Rothlisberger to just 14. Final score: 42-14, Jags.

The Patriots are a team everyone has their eyes on. Many assumed last year’s Super Bowl win would have signaled the retirement of Tom Brady and the end of the Pats dynasty. Brady crushed that idea with his return and 13-3 record. The Pats had a solid year, but aren’t a well-rounded team. In fact, the defense is bad. The offense is only good because of Tom Brady. The Titans may not be the most even match, but the surprise upset over the Chiefs could provide the required momentum to stop Brady from another championship. As much as I hate that team, I have to side with the Patriots. 28-14, Pats.

NFC Championship Game

The Minnesota Vikings have a home field Super Bowl on their minds and nothing will stop them from reaching that game. Having defeated them once before, the Atlanta Falcons might be the easiest game left for the Vikings to win, but it’ll still be a fun one. The unstoppable defense of the Vikings will neutralize Ryan’s offense, while the Falcons defense just won’t be able to hold Keenum’s strong offense. 24-7, Vikes.

AFC Championship Game

Here’s where Brady’s season ends. The Jaguars defense will be the MVP of this game, shutting down Brady and holding him to just 14 points. Bortles and his offense will show how weak the Pats defense is and run up the score as much as possible, finishing with a 28-14 win.

Super Bowl LII

The 52nd Super Bowl is an article for another day, mainly next week for updated analysis, but to give a quick prediction, I’m saying a Vikings/Jaguars Super Bowl is on the cards and would be the most evenly matched game of the season. The difference would come down to the offensive game. Keenum’s team will be a difficult one for the Jags to cover as efficiently, while Bortles’ team won’t be able to put up as many points against the top defense. The Vikes will bring home their first Lombardi, winning 35-21. Check back next week for updated analysis and predictions following the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs.

Playoffs Bracket

Time Out for Sports II: The Super Bowl

Time Out for Sports II: The Super Bowl

The Vince Lombardi Trophy

To thousands on thousands of football fans across the nation, these four words are the ultimate prize in all of football. The prize won for winning in the Super Bowl, the biggest annual sporting event of all time. This year is a big year for football fans. This year Super Bowl 50. And after that ultimate prize has been the best teams the NFL have to offer. After week of playing off through a large bracket to get to the Super Bowl, only two teams stand: the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. The Bronocs upset and won over the New England Patriots, 20-18. The Panthers crushed the Arizona Cardinals 49-15.

In two weeks from the time this is being written, these two teams will go head to head in Super Bowl 50. I’m personally rooting for senior quarterback Peyton Manning & the Denver Broncos to win. However, you can never rule out the opposing team, especially when that opposing team is the Carolina Panthers, led by young quarterback Cam Newton. Cam has an Arsenal of receivers to throw to including tight end Greg Olsen. Their run game, while not the greatest, is still pretty strong.

The Broncos, on the other hand, have a good pass game & run game, with a very seasoned quarterback at the helm.

I think this game could go either way. However, I would have to put my money on the Denver Broncos, 35-21. I look forward to seeing this final game as well as watching Coldplay at halftime & the best commercials of the year.

Time Out for Sports: An NFL Playoff Essay

Time Out for Sports: An NFL Playoff Essay

The NFL Wild Card round has come and gone, much to my disappointment. My favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings, who were heartbreakingly defeated in the last minutes of the game by the visiting Seattle Seahawks (10-9). My AFC choice team, the Cincinnati Bengals, were also beaten in the last seconds of the game by the Pittsburg Steelers (18-16). Other victories included a shutout win for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Houston Texans (30-0) and the Green Bay Packers clinching a victory against the Washington Redskins (35-18).

This weekend is the Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, with the remaining teams battling to get to Super Bowl 50 and win the shiny gold Vince Lombardi trophy. This weekend we have the following match-ups:

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) at New England Patriots (12-4)at 3:35pm* on CBS (1/16)

Green Bay Packers (11-6) at Arizona Cardinals (13-3) at 7:15pm* on NBC (1/16)

Seattle Seahawks (11-6) at Carolina Panthers (15-1) at 12:05pm* on FOX (1/17)

Pittsburg Steelers (11-6) at Denver Broncos (12-4) at 3:40pm* on CBS (1/17)

*All times Central.

Taking a look at the games, it seems like a bunch of good matches. The Chiefs have a strong defense with a semi-strong offense. The Patriots strengths come from their offense, mainly all-star quarterback Tom Brady. Brady can make a receiver out of just about anyone; his favorite being Julian Edelman. The Patriots’ pass dominant offense should be a force to reckon with for Kansas City. However, on the flip side of the coin, the Chiefs have one of the best pass rush defenses in the NFL, not to mention Knile Davis being a beast running back. My prediction for this game is a very slim Chiefs victory, 21-14.

The Green Bay Packers are another strong defense, they have four strong players who are the go-too gladiators for the team: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson carry the pass game, Eddie “The Locomotive” Lacey leading the rush game, and rounding us out as the head of the Green Bay defense, Clay Matthews. The Packers are a well rounded team that would normally give any team a run for its money. Except their opponents are the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league this year, holding the second seed in the National Football Conference (NFC). The Arizona Cardinals last played the Green Bay Packers in week 16 of the regular season, where the Cardinals absolutely annihilated the Green Bay Packers, the final score being 38-8. The Cardinals have a solid offense with quarterback Carson Palmer and veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, as well as Michael Floyd at WR and Andre Ellington as running back. The Cardinals also have one of the most difficult pass rush defenses to beat. The last time the Packers and Cardinals played, the Packers were quickly disassembled as a team, with Aaron Rodgers completing just 15 passes¬†of his 28 attempts, gaining just 151 yards, and throwing one interception. Compare that to Carson Palmer’s 18/27 and a total of 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fitzgerald gained a touchdown and received 4 catches for 29 yards.
It will be a difficult game for Green Bay to win. My prediction for this one is an Arizona Cardinals victory, 35-14.

Now we come to a game that looks very clear cut on paper, but could very well be the best game of the round: the Seattle Seahawks at the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have the better offense, with Cam Newton at Quarterback and his wide array of receivers. The Seahawks have a strong offense with quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. The absence of Lynch, and the Seahawks offense in general, almost cost the Seahawks their wild card game. If the team doesn’t come out stronger than they did last week, they do not stand a chance against Cam and the Panthers. My prediction is a Panthers victory, 28-21.

The last game of the round is another seemingly simple game, that I believe to be rather cut and dried, however there is no such thing in this game. The Pittsburg Steelers will travel to Colorado to face the Denver Broncos. The Steelers will be coming into this game with a large handicap, their best wide reciever Antonio Brown is injured and their star quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is questionable. The Broncos will be coming out strong with all-star QB Peytun Manning and his army. I’m predicting this one to be a W for the Broncos, 21-7.

Updates:

The New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-20, advancing them to the AFC Championship game.

The Green Bay Packers fell in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals, 26-20. The Cardinals will advance to the NFC Championship.

The Carolina Panthers overtook the Seattle Seahawks, 31-24, and will advance to play the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.

The Denver Broncos beat the Pittsburg Steelers, 23-16, and will advance to Boston to play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.