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THE NFL DRAFT GOES TO CHICAGO

March 25th 2015 00:27
THE NFL DRAFT GOES TO CHICAGO

The Rockettes will be occupying Radio City Music Hall in New York City while the 2015 NFL Draft comes out to the “2nd City” for the first time in 51 years. The historic (although smaller) Auditorium Theatre will host the event that will also spill out the front door and occupy a good chunk of downtown Chicago for 3 weeks, at least that’s what the league is asking for. And it looks like Chicago brass is likely to comply despite the snarled mess of traffic that will ensue. The NFL also asked for $0 venue rental fee and $4,000,000 in promotional support… Is this the kind of scheme the Olympics would have brought?...

Is it worth it? As a longtime fan of the NFL, I find myself less and less enthralled with the draft. A much needed rookie wage scale was implemented (QB Sam Bradford was the last to cash in on #1 cash)recently but I think it could even be taken further. Veterans are still getting the shaft (and cut) in youth movements that are frankly taking away from the quality of play (massive QB shortage). I think the draft is less about what a former NCAA player can bring to a team and more about a regime change (after a bad year leading to a high, press-worthy pick) and a “recommitment” by the ownership to take big steps toward a Super Bowl march. The spotlight is on bigtime after a league-worst record, so there is a protocol that has to be followed to keep the fans happy, right?

2015 NFL Draft Chicago
2015 NFL Draft Chicago


The league is pulling out every promotional plan in its arsenal and will be looking to charge a price for just about any kind of real access to real events/personnel. There basically will be just a lot more ropes to stay behind spread out in and around the theatre and surrounding hotels and plazas. While veterans chasing their NFL dreams took part in a special first-time combine just for them this past weekend in relative obscurity, the top 20-30 prospects in the draft will be pampered and talked about endlessly.

What would be a refreshing change would be a reversal of those events where the veterans who have actually played a down in the league and struggled with roster changes and injuries affecting their families lives as they move around the country looking for the best match of their skills to team needs get a grand event and get picked up by teams vying for their services. Yes there are still rookies that impact the game right away, but that’s usually because of all the veteran help around them, veteran help that is too often kicked to the curb when something shiny and new comes along.

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SUPER BOWL XLIX - PREVIEW – New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

#SuperBowlXLIX


Strengths – The Patriots’ game planning has gone to another level in recent years given how much talent has left the offensive side of the ball. They haven’t made it all the way because their insanely resourceful offense has been waiting for the defense to catch up. They have this year. CB Darrelle Revis has been waiting for a Super Bowl opportunity for a long time and Brandon Browner came from Seattle to New England in the off season and brought their secrets with him. DBs Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington are very solid as well. They will excel in the kind of man coverage that should have been deployed by the Packers in the NFC Championship as stud linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower will patrol and control the mid-range targets.

The Seahawks will run a lot of run-option with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Lynch was also effective against the Packers as a receiving option. While the Pats will prepare for this, stopping Lynch is easier said than done. Lynch is the key to a repeat for Seattle as any tricky plays will be negated by New England’s disciplined defense.

Weaknesses – One big weakness for New England is giving up big plays, which is exactly what Seattle exploited in the historic defensive collapse against the Packers in the NFC Championship game. I’ve never seen such a drop in quality of a defense that had been playing very well up until the last 4 minutes of regulation. But with the excellent coaching and team football intelligence, such a collapse shouldn’t be a problem for the Patriots with this much time for preparation, controversies aside.

For Seattle, their weakness lies in their 26th ranked passing attack. While Russell Wilson can create down-field opportunities late in a play, this will be schemed against with New England. The Seahawks don’t have a go-to guy among their receivers which will make it difficult for them if they need points for a comeback.

Bottom Line – I see the Patriots winning. RB Shane Vereen will play a bigger part running the Seattle defense ragged while LeGarrette Blount pounds them inside. TE Rob Gronkowski and WRs Julian Edelman & Brandon LaFell accounted for over 3000 yards receiving this season and will be as focused and ready as Tom Brady is to make plays down the field. I actually dare to say this will be a double-digit win for the Patriots.

The Patriots have the hunger, focus and drive. Seattle is still the upstart at this point; the Pats are still a dynasty with Belichick and Brady. New England will be entering their 6th Super Bowl in 14 years and having lost the last two in heartbreaking fashion to the New York Giants. They have a championship level hunger for a title game win. Couple an underdog status and the overconfidence on a young, brash Seattle squad, and you have a recipe for a big New England win.

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AFC Championship – New England Patriots 45, Indianapolis Colts 7

#NFLPlayoffs

#AFCChampionship

#INDvsNE

Impact Players –
LeGarrette Blount returned to New England during the season after Pittsburgh had no use for him. He repeated his 2013 playoff performance and dominated with 148 yards and 3 TDs. Tom Brady had his typical efficient postseason game with a 100.4 QB rating and 3 TDs. WR Julian Edelman chipped into the first down total of 28 with chain moving catches (caught 9 of his 11 targets totally 98 yards).

Game Changing Moments – There was no game changing moment other than New England stepping onto their home field with domination on their minds. The offense totaled nearly 400 yards and the defense held Indy’s offense to 209 total yards. Not to mention their 2 INTs of Andrew Luck’s passing and holding him to a terrible 126 yard, 36.4 completion rate. This was the number one passing offense in the league for almost the entire year. It just goes to show you the expert preparation and unflappable focus the great Patriots have. The system works.

What’s next? – The Colts will be perennial contenders in the playoffs but will obviously have a lot to still learn as a team to get to the ultimate goal. The Patriots fulfill many predictions with a Super Bowl 49 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. It should be a great game.

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NFC Championship – Seattle Seahawks 28, Green Bay Packers 22

#NFLPlayoffs

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NFL Playoff Preview – AFC Championship – Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

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NFL Playoff Preview - NFC Championship – Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

#NFLPlayoffs

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NFL Playoff Recap - AFC Divisional Round – Indianapolis 24, Denver 13

#NFLPlayoffs

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NFL Playoff Recap - NFC Divisional Round – Green Bay 26, Dallas 21

#NFLPlayoffs

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NFL Playoff Recap - NFC Divisional Round – Seattle 31, Carolina 17

#NFLPlayoffs

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NFL Playoff Recap - AFC Divisional Round– New England 35, Baltimore 31

#NFLPlayoffs

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