Sunday, November 30, 2014

MusketFire: Final Thoughts on New England Patriots & Green Bay Packers

Final Thoughts on New England Patriots & Green Bay Packers

The New England Patriots end a week of hype about their match-up with the top team in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers. With storylines such as the first ever match-up between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers there has been plenty written about this game. With game time fast approaching, here are a final few thoughts on the Patriots and Packers epic match-up at Lambeau Field focusing on how New England will likely attack the Packers defense, how the Patriots secondary will cover the dynamic duo of Green Bay receivers, and how the Packers expect to rush Brady and cover Rob Gronkowski.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

FirstStopFantasy: BUFFALO BILLS VS CLEVELAND BROWNS WEEK THIRTEEN GAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – First Stop Fantasy

BUFFALO BILLS VS CLEVELAND BROWNS WEEK THIRTEEN GAME PREVIEW AND PREDICTION – First Stop Fantasy

The Buffalo Bills returned home to Buffalo after flying out to Detroit for a “home” game where they spanked AFC East rivals the New York Jets 38-3. At 6-5 and still in the playoff hunt, the Bills welcome the AFC North’s Cleveland Browns to the snow-cleared Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns are in the middle of the logjam in the AFC North with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Browns all 7-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals just a half-game ahead of the trio at 7-3-1. With both teams on the fringes of the playoffs, the implications of this game could be a key to which team ultimately rewards their fans with a playoff game in January.

FirstStopFantasy: Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills Week Thirteen Game Preview and Prediction – First Stop Fantasy

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills Week Thirteen Game Preview and Prediction – First Stop Fantasy

The Cleveland Browns are in the middle of the logjam in the AFC North with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Browns all 7-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals just a half-game ahead of the trio at 7-3-1. The Buffalo Bills returned home to Buffalo after flying out to Detroit for a “home” game where they spanked AFC East rivals the New York Jets 38-3. At 6-5 and still in the playoff hunt, the Bills welcome the AFC North’s Cleveland Browns to the snow-cleared Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday. With both teams on the fringes of the playoffs, the implications of this game could be a key to which team ultimately rewards their fans with a playoff game in January.

MusketFire: New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers: Game Preview

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers: Game Preview

The New England Patriots have what may be their toughest match-up this week as they visit the historic grounds of Lambeau Field and take to the frozen tundra in an attempt to extend their seven game winning streak. The Packers are on a streak of their own having won three straight and seven of eight. Now, entering their week thirteen showdown, the Patriots are at the top of the NFL averaging 32.5 points per game while the Packers are right behind them averaging 32.2 points per game.



Who do you think is going to win on Sunday afternoon? Will it be  a blowout, or is it going to be a close game? Who do you see as the difference-maker on the field?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cover32: New England Patriots moves continue to pay dividends | New England Patriots

New England Patriots moves continue to pay dividends | New England Patriots

The Patriots' strong off-season and the recent additions of Blount, Casillas, Branch and Ayers have given the Patriots the depth to weather injuries to key contributors. This mid-year roster tweaking for the Patriots has allowed the Patriots to keep winning after turning around the season in week five. The question now is whether New England is able to continue their run versus the best of the NFC. Rather than taking a step back, amazingly the mid-season acquisitions have allowed the team to take a step forward and continue to overpower their strong opponents.



Who do you think has been the biggest off-season acquisition? Who has been the biggest in-season pick-up? Do they have the depth to make it through the playoffs?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

H4TV: Boston Red Sox Busy Off-season is Just Warming Up - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Busy Off-season is Just Warming Up - The Sports Journal

The Boston Red Sox are having a Happy Thanksgiving having already brought in free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Hanley Ramirez, but there are still free agent moves and trades to make. Time to take stock of the surplus and the hard decisions the Sox need to make still.

What do you think the Red Sox still have to do to get back to the Playoffs in 2015?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Lions? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Lions? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots continued their winning ways on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Detroit Lions 34-9 at Gillette Stadium. The Grades are out for the Patriots Passing and Rushing Offense and Passing and Rushing Defense.



What do you think was the most impressive part of the Patriots win over the Lions?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

MusketFire.com: New England Patriots Soundly Defeat Detroit Lions

New England Patriots Soundly Defeat Detroit Lions

The Patriots passing offense controlled the game throughout and the defense kept the Lions out of the end-zone. It was a penalty-filled game, but the Patriots had more than enough in the tank to wear down the Lions defense and the defense shutdown two dynamic receivers to allow the Patriots to beat the Lions 34-9.

MusketFire: New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions: Game Preview & Prediction

New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions: Game Preview & Prediction

The AFC East leading New England Patriots face-off against the NFC Central leading Detroit Lions this weekend at Gillette Stadium in a battle of contrasts. The Lions defense is built around a powerful defensive line that pressures the quarterback and stuffs the running game. The Patriots defense is built around a dynamic secondary and their athletic linebackers. On offense, the teams have different philosophies but the Lions offense has struggled since looking like a juggernaut in 2011 under former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. New England, under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, has continued to adapt and change on a game-by-game basis depending on the opposition.

How does the game end? Can the Patriots put up enough points to pull off the win?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

H4TV: Is the New England Patriots Running Game a Mirage? - The Sports Journal

Is the New England Patriots Running Game a Mirage? - The Sports Journal

As is often the case, the Patriots fan base is awash in joy with the emergence of Gray after the loss of starting running back Stevan Ridley for the season to a knee injury. However, despite the optimism on social media, there is reason to pump the brakes on the enthusiasm in the running game. To date, the Patriots season have topped 200 yards on the ground just twice this season. In fact, in six of their ten games, the Patriots have failed to rush for at least ninety yards as a team.



A large part of the success on the ground has had to do with the game plan and the opponent...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Colts? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who performed best in the New England Patriots win over the Colts? | New England Patriots

The Grades are in for the Patriots 42-20 win over the Colts on Sunday Night. Who do you think performed the best for the Patriots? Who was the star performer everyone overlooked? How did they shut down the best offense in the NFL? How did they do so well on offense with Brady struggling like he did in the first half?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts Game Preview

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts Game Preview

One last Game Preview for what could be an epic Sunday Night Football match-up featuring two of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL as the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts face-off.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cover32: What do the New England Patriots have to do to beat the Indianapolis Colts? | New England Patriots

What do the New England Patriots have to do to beat the Indianapolis Colts? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have to be ready to face the entire Indianapolis Colts offense, not just quarterback Andrew Luck. If the Patriots are going to add to their five-game winning streak they will need to win some key match-ups against the Colts in the secondary.

YouGabSports - Sports Friday with Hal AFC East Theories.11 13 2014

- Sports Friday with Hal AFC East Theories.11 13 2014

Why does the AFC East stink year-after-year? Here's one look back at what the other teams have done and a theory about their current roster-building moves that shows why they keep looking up at Bill Belichick and Tom Brady:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

H4-Entertainment: New England Patriots Second Half of Season Has No Easy Wins - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots Second Half of Season Has No Easy Wins - The Sports Journal

The New England Patriots sit at seven wins and two losses and at the bye week are in control of the top seed of the AFC. The team is clicking on both sides of the ball with the offense third in the NFL at 31.2 points per game and twelfth on defense at 22.0 points per game (all stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com). Despite a five game winning streak, the road gets more difficult.
AFC South leading Indianapolis is first up with young superstar quarterback Andrew Luck leading the Colts to the number one offense in the NFL averaging 32.2 points per game while jumping out to a 6-3 record. The Patriots travel to Indianapolis with both teams coming off a bye week. The Colts lost two close games to open the season to Denver and Philadelphia before winning six of seven. Look for New England to borrow freely from the Pittsburgh Steelers game plan that put 51 points up on the Colts in week eight
The next week gets no easier for New England as NFC North leading Detroit comes to Gillette Stadium.

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Three Key Under-the-Radar Match-ups

New England Patriots: Three Key Under-the-Radar Match-ups

In preparation for the Colts-Patriots game, here are three key match-ups to watch for on Sunday night beyond the boring “Brady vs. Luck” talk (they’re not even on the field at the same time!), who is going to cover Gronk, and who covers Reggie Wayne andT.Y. Hilton. These are the under-the-radar battles that often are a major factor in determining who comes out on top in the game and will help decide who arises in this battle for AFC supremacy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cover32: New England Patriots players set to break out in the second-half of the season | New England Patriots

New England Patriots players set to break out in the second-half of the season | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots sit at 7-2 in first place in the AFC East and would be the top seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. As the Patriots prepare for a grueling second half schedule, the team is in position to continue their hot stretch as they’ve won five consecutive games after a 2-2 start. To continue their winning ways, however, New England has to continue to get contributions from players not expected to contribute early on in the season.



Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, after no receptions in the first two games of the season, has come on strong as a top target for Tom Brady. Young linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins have stepped up in their third and second seasons, respectively, to take on the multi-faceted roles required in the Bill Belichick defense as they rush the passer, cover tight ends and running backs, and stick their nose into gaps to stuff the run.



Here are some other players that have not made a big impact in the first half of the season who may be in position to make a significant and surprising impact for the Patriots in their final seven games:

Monday, November 10, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots Go 3-0 During the Bye Week

New England Patriots Go 3-0 During the Bye Week

It was a fruitful bye week for the New England Patriots as they picked up an extra game on their division rivals in the AFC East and got a gift from the New York Jets. The Miami Dolphins went into Detroit and lost 20-16 losing a lead late in the game in heartbreaking fashion. The Buffalo Bills hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter before falling 17-13. Finally, after conference rival Pittsburgh emerged as a legitimate challenger for the AFC crown the past few weeks, Jets head coach Rex Ryan dialed-up a game plan that showed how to shut down Ben Roethlisberger and the potent Steelers passing attack.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

MusketFire: Can the New England Patriots Rushing Attack Carry Them?

Can the New England Patriots Rushing Attack Carry Them?

The New England Patriots are on the bye week during week ten of the NFL season and are in first place in the AFC East with a 7-2 record. Having beaten Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last week, the Patriots have the number one seed in their grasp with that valuable head-to-head tiebreaker for home field throughout the playoffs. However, the schedule looks intimidating with matchups against the AFC South leading Indianapolis Colts, NFC North powerhouses Detroit and Green Bay, travelling across the country to face the San Diego Chargers, the surprising Dolphins and then after the Jets in week fifteen, the Patriots close out the season with the resurgent Buffalo Bills.



With this difficult stretch of the season coming post-bye week for the Patriots the team needs to be able to pull out victories in difficult environments. Quarterback Tom Brady and the passing offense showed how they can thrive despite the cold and wind last week against Denver as the Patriots offense saw four different receivers catch five or more passes as Brady threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. However, as the team goes on the road to play Indianapolis, Green Bay, San Diego, and the Jets the offense needs to be able to quiet the loud crowds in opposing stadiums.



One way to do that is to run the ball effectively.

H4TV:" Boston Red Sox Need to Make a Free Agent Splash This Off-Season - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Need to Make a Free Agent Splash This Off-Season - The Sports Journal

The Boston Red Sox ended the 2014 season in last place in the American League East with a 71-91 record just one season after winning the World Series. The Red Sox still feature some established stars such as designated hitter David Ortiz, first baseman Mike Napoli, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and closer Koji Uehara who should contribute significantly to the team again in 2015. The roster also has a number of young players and young veterans who should contribute to the team next year.
Despite their disappointing 2014 campaign, there is enough talent both young and old on this roster to get back into the playoff race with some strategic moves this off-season. The Red Sox have some interesting talent on offense such as Rusney CastilloMookie BettsXander Bogaerts, and Yoenis Cespedes, some intriguing arms in the rotation such as Joe KellyAllen Webster, and Rubby De LaRosa. However, the team has needs that need to be addressed this winter.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Cover32: Who exactly are these New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

Who exactly are these New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots head into their bye week with a 7-2 record and their usual spot on top of the AFC East. However, the journey has been far more different than anyone could have predicted: a rough September, a struggling Tom Brady, a Rob Gronkowski struggling to get healthy, Brandon LaFell struggling to get involved into the offense and a defense struggling to find an identity.



After nine games, the Patriots’ offense has taken center stage as it is second in the NFL in points at 31.2 points per game. After reaching 30 points just once in the first four weeks of the season, the Patriots turned around the season as they put up 43, 37, 27, 51 and 43 points despite losing starting running back Stevan Ridley to a knee injury.



The defense has been no slouch either as it helped keep the Patriots above .500.

MusketFire: New England Patriots Offense Ready for Improvement

New England Patriots Offense Ready for Improvement

At the mid-season bye week the New England Patriots are taking a week off from playing the games and it is the perfect time to take a look back and a look forward to the second half of the 2014 season. If the playoffs began right now, the Patriots would be the number one seed in the AFC with their 7-2 record and tie-breaking victory over the Denver Broncos. A major part of that turnaround has been the play of quarterback Tom Brady and the offense. However, with Miami and Buffalo at 5-3 heading into this weekend, the Patriots have a long road and a tough schedule to get through to get to the playoffs and win the AFC East again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Cover32: Grade Day: Who shined in the New England Patriots win over the Broncos? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: Who shined in the New England Patriots win over the Broncos? | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots turned in a stellar performance Sunday afternoon against the Denver Broncos. In a cold and windy Gillette Stadium, with the unseasonal snow already ended, the Patriots gave the Broncos a blast of aggressive play on both sides of the ball.



The Patriots jumped out to a 27-7 lead at the half as quarterback Tom Brady threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Julian Edelman had a huge first half as he exploded for 66 yards on six receptions, while adding a scintillating 84-yard punt return for a touchdown. On defense the Patriots forced three punts, a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and a momentum-changing interception to Rob Ninkovich.



Despite allowing two second half touchdowns, the Patriots tightened up in the fourth quarter as the Broncos failed to convert fourth downs on all three drives, stalling out in New England territory three times. Rob Gronkowski made the play of the game with a dramatic one-handed, 20-yard reception at the beginning of the fourth quarter to set-up his one-yard touchdown on the next play.



As we do each week at Cover32.com, it is time to dig into the game film and hand out the grades for the Patriots.

Monday, November 03, 2014

MusketFire: Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Win over Denver

Patriots Pick Six: Leftovers from Sunday's Win over Denver

The New England Patriots had a huge win at home against the defending AFC Champion Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning. The Patriots got big plays in all three phases of the game to top the Broncos 43 to 21 as they created turnovers, exploited holes in the vaulted Broncos defense, and quarterback Tom Brady continued his run of strong play in the passing game as he continued to shake off his slow start in September.



Here are six key points that may have been overlooked from the Patriots win over the Broncos.





1. The Denver Broncos made a tactical mistake during the season that hurt the team in the first quarter and affected them throughout the game...

Saturday, November 01, 2014

FirstStopFantasy.com: Week Nine Game Preview: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

Week Nine Game Preview: New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – First Stop Fantasy

For the New York Jets, the thought of challenging New England for the division lead seems a distant preseason memory. Instead, the focus is on ending the seven game losing streak and spending the second-half of the season building towards 2015 while playing spoiler.  Another loss would tie second-longest losing streak in team history and now the Jets face the 4-3 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.



The Jets turned to quarterback Michael Vick last week after a historically terrible first quarter versus Buffalo last week by second-year quarterback Geno Smith.  Smith threw three picks as the Jets fell behind 14-0. While Vick provided an initial burst of energy, he still had fumbling issues of his own with four total fumbles and he threw an interception while being sacked four times (all stats from NFL.com).

FullPressCoverage.com: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...