Preseason Predictions 1: The AFC East

I’m going to give predictions for each division in the 2017 NFL season. I’ll start with the most important one: the AFC East. 

1. Patriots (12+ wins)

The Pats are definitely winning the division, even with the loss of their most important offensive weapon. 

2. Bills (6-9 wins)

Buffalo could pull off 9 wins, but I think it’s more likely they’ll end up with 7 or 8. The AFC West will be tough opponents. Their playoff streak (or rather, lack of playoff streak) will continue.

3. Dolphins (6-8 wins)

Miami will end up losing to the Bills at least once, and Buffalo will get the tiebreaker. Jay Cutler isn’t going to set the world on fire.

4. Jets (3- wins)

My #boldprediction for this year is that the Jets will have the number 1 pick in the NFL draft in 2018. They’re going to be absolutely abysmal.

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Movie Idea

Just something I came up with at work. I suppose it’s loosely based on Invincible, and a little touch of that one episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia that makes fun of that movie.

My movie idea is “Next Man Up”, a sports comedy about a coach who’s considered so great that he can turn nobodies into stars. In fact, he could take a lacrosse player, or someone who isn’t even a pro athlete, and turn him into a star receiver. (Sound familiar?)

One of his star players gets injured for the season (in a much more entertaining way than it usually happens), and he decides to test himself by finding the least likely replacement possible. He holds a tryout, and hundreds of hopefuls show up. He ends up picking an out of shape, sloppy, clumsy grocery store clerk, who then has to train and practice with the team having never played football before.

I think this idea came to me partially because of the Edelman injury, which is a huge loss for the Patriots. But I think it could be a pretty funny movie if anyone actually decided to make it.

Initial Reaction: Edelman

Julian Edelman most likely tore his ACL, meaning he’s almost certainly out for the season. 

SHIT.

He’s one of the best players on the team, and pretty indispensable to the offense. Hopefully one of the young guys steps up. Austin Carr looked pretty good, albeit a bit slow, in the slot. Brandin Cooks could potentially fill much of that void. 

Hopefully it isn’t as bad as it looked. But it looked horrible.

Would You Take A Picture With Roger Goodell?

This has been a topic for the last several days. A bunch of Pats fans got photographed with Roger Goodell in a borderline guerilla attack, and suddenly everyone is up in arms. Dale and Holly with Keefe on WEEI couldn’t stop talking about it. 

So it opened up the quesrion: would you take a photo with Roger if you were asked? Plenty of people had opinions. Here’s mine:

I would do it conditionally. If I were paid, or given some sort of merchandise for it, I’d do it (but I wouldn’t smile). I would do it for the chance to make some sort of face or gesture to show my displeasure for the man who tried to screw the Patriots for two years. I would never do it just to take a photo with a famous person or because I like football, nor do I think people should “get over it”. What Goodell did was wrong, and a blatant middle finger to Pats fans. He now finally has the gall to show up in Foxboro, and I hope they give him the welcome he deserves. 

Jay Cutler Signed With The Dolphins

Here we go.

I think Jay Cutler could be a dangerous quarterback for the Dolphins. He thrived under Adam Gase in Chicago, and given a good team around him he might actually want to compete. But I’m not worried about losing the division title to Miami. The Patriots are too good to let that happen. 

It is interesting that a lot of people thought Colin Kaepernick would be given a shot in Miami, despite his praise of Fidel Castro and Miami’s large Cuban population. To be honest, Cutler is better than Kaepernick as a passer, and the warmth of Miami is a great place to let that skill develop (as opposed to windy and cold Chicago). But it says a lot about how the league reacts to a player’s involvement in polarizing political debates, especially given that Cutler had retired before signing with Miami and Kaepernick hasn’t appeared to get a chance with anyone since leaving San Francisco.

Don’t You Dare Trade Brady

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Possibly the greatst football player of all time. He turned one of the worst franchises in the NFL into a perennial winner that’s always at least in the AFC championship game. 

But a lot of people think Brady should be traded while he’s still performing at a high level, since his time in a uniform is nearing its end. Send him the way of Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, etc. Those guys got traded or released, so why shouldn’t we?

Because Brady is better than both, and his dominance is only getting stronger with age. At 39 he had perhaps the best super bowl performance ever. He’s had one severe injury that lasted one season, and came back just as strong if not stronger. He’s still The best quarterback in the league at 40 years old, poised to attack for his sixth super bowl. 

More importantly, he’s far and away the best player this franchise has ever had. Nobody comes close. Other franchises that traded their star players had other stars that were either just as big or better, even at other positions. But most importantly, no other franchise had a player who brought them 5 super bowls. He is the only 4 time super bowl MVP. He holds just about every passing record in tthe postseason and super bowl. He has 2 more appearances in super bowls than the next quarterback, and has the potential to expand everything I just mentioned.

Tom Brady is a once in a lifetime player for whom Patriots fans should be immensely grateful. It would look so wrong to see him wearing another team’s uniform. Brady is a Patriot, and to have him play every game for this team (especially if he doesn’t have a dramatic decline) would be an honor.

Rob Ninkovic Retired

I heard the news yesterday that Rib Ninkovic retired, and I’m sad to see him go.

He was an excellent pass rusher and edge defender. Though he had trouble starting for the Dolphins and Saints, Bill Belichick knows how to maximize a player’s impact, and Ninkovic ended up being a major piece of two super bowl runs.

I think his best feature as a player was that he had a “nose for the ball”. He knew how to get to the quarterback, and seemed to be in the right place to cause or pick up fumbles. In the last decade, he’s the only player in the NFL to have 45+ sacks AND 14+ fumble recoveries. He was also noted for being able to guide opposing linemen in ways that gave him and teammates access to ball carriers and quarterbacks.

Ninkovic was a great Patriot: quiet, humble, and diligent. He embodied the “do your job” mentality well. Someday he may be in the Patriots Hall of Fame, along with his numerical predecessor Mike Vrabel. The Patriots will have a hard time making up for the impact he had on their defensive success.