Tag Archives: ‘super’
As a player, Terry Bradshaw played in plenty of bad-weather games as quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he never played in a cold or snowy Super Bowl, and doesn’t think anyone else should either.
The Hall of Fame quarterback sounded off on Wednesday about this season’s Super Bowl being held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It will be the first Super Bowl held outdoors in a cold-weather city.
Bradshaw did not like it and he expressed this on the “Joe & Evan Show” on WFAN in New York (via CBS New York’s website):
“Thank you commissioner, thank you Super Bowl committee for putting us in New York,” Bradshaw said. “And we all know why we’re in New York, it’s because they were paid for that stupid stadium in New Jersey … By the way, not a gorgeous stadium either.”
Bradshaw does have a point about the cold and sterile MetLife Stadium one of the worst stadiums built in any sport in recent memory. Then he started to swing away at the possibility of snow and cold-weather having an effect on the game.
“It’s freakin’ outside in New York, are you kidding me? Not even New York — New Jersey. It’s not like Minnesota, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Detroit, it’s a dome. It’s not like it’s Indy, it’s a dome,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t want it to be bad, cause I’m there. I want it to be nice, but I don’t think you should be putting Super Bowls in northern cities in the winter time.”
The entirety of Bradshaw’s 14-year NFL career – a career that included four Super Bowl titles and three Pro Bowl selections – was spent in Pittsburgh where the average winter weather is routinely below freezing.
He then went on to use some logic that simply doesn’t hold up.
“You should be in Florida or California or Arizona, where there is no excuses,” Bradshaw said. “What if the Saints make it there? What if Seattle? Bradshaw said. “Teams that run the football will have a bigger advantage than teams that throw the football. What if we get two passing teams? What if they get Denver there? What if it’s pouring down snow? You get a bad game.”
On the flip side, playing in a dome or in a warm climate helps passing teams that make the Super Bowl and can hurt “teams that run the football.”
There’s also the fallacy behind the weather hurting a passing team. Super Bowl XLI, played on Feb. 4, 2007 in a downpour, saw the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. The Colts had the league’s second best passing offense and still won despite the heavy rain.
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Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo Sports. He can be followed for news and random tweetingson Twitter @KristianRDyer
Brett Favre seems to be enjoying his life out of the spotlight.
That seems odd, right? The last few years of his career were marked by his level of waffling about retirement and the attention that came along with that. It might be years before the jokes about Brett Favre and coming out of retirement die down.
But the former NFL great hasn’t done much to put himself in the public light since retiring for good. He hasn’t sought a regular national TV gig, or been around the NFL much at all. He’s quite happy coaching high school ball.
Favre, who has volunteered as Oak Grove High School’s offensive coordinator for three seasons, was thrilled when the Warriors won the Class 6A state championship in Mississippi last week. It was the first state title in school history. And Favre was excited for the kids he coaches.
“I can’t say it’s a Super Bowl, but it’s pretty close,” Favre told the Hattiesburg American. “It really is. It’s a different kind of feeling, but I’m awfully proud of these kids.”
Favre won Super Bowl XXXI with the Packers. And, in some ways, it’s understandable why Favre would compare the two moments.
Surely, helping teenagers reach their goal of winning state had to be rewarding for Favre. He wouldn’t be coaching the team on his own time if that wasn’t a big deal for him.
Favre was famous for his competitive nature during his NFL career. It’s good to see he’s found something to keep that fire going.
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The Seahawks are close to unbeatable at home. Since Russell Wilson took over at quarterback last year, Seattle is 13-0 at CenturyLink Field.
The Saints are close to unbeatable at home, too. Not counting the season coach Sean Payton was suspended, or a Week 17 loss in 2010 when New Orleans rested starters, the Saints have won 18 straight home games, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune. The last time the Saints had Payton and something to play for and lost at the Superdome was Oct. 24, 2010.
In the playoffs it will be even harder to beat those teams at home, if that’s possible. It’s hard to imagine either one getting clipped at home in January with a Super Bowl berth on the line. That’s what makes Monday night’s game enormous.
The game is in Seattle and might be the last call for anyone to stop Seattle from grabbing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Seahawks are 10-1, and with a win against the Saints would have at least a two-game lead on every other NFC team with four games to play. They would also hold the tiebreaker over the Saints and Panthers, the only other teams in the NFC with three or fewer losses.
If there’s a team that could stop the Seahawks from getting the No. 1 seed, it might be the Saints. New Orleans is 9-2, and has been one of the few dominant teams in the league. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is capable of beating any team in any venue, especially because the Seahawks are a bit thin at defensive back due to Walter Thurmond’s suspension and an injury/upcoming suspension to Brandon Browner.
This is one of the greatest late-season matchups in the history of “Monday Night Football.” Counting games from Week 10 forward, the Saints and Seahawks have the second-best combined winning percentage (.864) for two Monday night combatants. The only Monday night matchup that topped that was the 1990 meeting between the 49ers and Giants, who were both 10-1.
It’s a great matchup and both teams probably realize it will likely determine where the NFC championship game will be held.
(Here are the other NFL games this week, from best to worst (all times Eastern, all games Sunday unless noted otherwise):
2. Denver at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m.: It says something about Saints-Seahawks that a meeting between two 9-2 teams isn’t the best game of the week. The Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-17 two weeks ago, but that was in Denver. Arrowhead Stadium will be revved up for a game that could very well determine the AFC West champions and the top seed in the conference.
3. Cincinnati at San Diego, 4:25 p.m.: This has huge playoff implications too. The 5-6 Chargers will be right in the mix for a wild-card spot with a win. The Bengals still have a good shot at a first-round bye, but can’t afford many more losses.
4. Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: A few weeks ago this game didn’t look appealing, but both teams have been playing very well. The Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East and the Cardinals are 7-4 and battling for a playoff spot. Can the Eagles’ offense keep rolling against a very good Cardinals defense?
5. Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. (Thurs.): The third of three Thanksgiving games probably won’t be a high-scoring affair, because this rivalry always produces hard-hitting grinders. Both teams are tied for the sixth spot in the AFC at 5-6, so it’s an important game in the playoff picture.
6. Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Tennessee is yet another 5-6 AFC team looking for a playoff spot. They had the Colts on the ropes a couple weeks ago, but let Indianapolis rally for a win. The Titans would be just one game back in the AFC South with a win over the reeling Colts.
7. Green Bay at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. (Thurs.): A classic Thanksgiving matchup. Only a half-game separates these teams in the NFC North. The Lions need this win to break a two-game losing streak and take back control of the division.
8. Miami at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.: In the never-ending parade of 5-6 AFC teams, here are two more. The loser is going to be in a lot of trouble in the playoff race.
9. St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Last year’s meeting in San Francisco produced an odd tie. The 49ers can’t afford a loss (or a tie) with so much competition for NFC wild-card spots.
10. Oakland at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. (Thurs.): The Raiders have gotten some good play from rookie quarterback Matt McGloin the past two weeks. The Cowboys secondary is bad, so McGloin has a chance to impress again.
11. Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Vikings running back Adrian Peterson goes against the 32nd-ranked run defense in the NFL. That could get ugly.
12. Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: This could actually be a sneaky-good game. The Buccaneers are playing a lot better and have won three straight after an 0-8 start. The Panthers need to win to stay in the hunt for the NFC South title.
13. New England at Houston, 1 p.m.: A few months ago we assumed this would be up there with Saints-Seahawks and Broncos-Chiefs. That’s before Houston fell apart. The Texans have lost nine in a row.
14. N.Y. Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m.: It’s a great historic rivalry, but both of these teams are pretty bad.
15. Atlanta at Buffalo, 4:05 p.m.: The Bills are playing this one in Toronto. The poor folks up there deserve better than this snoozer.
16. Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Who doesn’t want to see a game between quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne?
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The Carolina Panthers are a couple early-season plays away from being an obvious choice as one of the top few teams in the NFL.
In Week 1, DeAngelo Williams fumbled inside the 10-yard line in the final minutes with the Panthers trailing Seattle 12-7. Carolina never got the ball back. In Week 2, the Bills drove 80 yards for a last-second game-winning touchdown, after Panthers coach Ron Rivera decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on fourth and 1 in the final two minutes.
A play here or there in the first two weeks, the Panthers might be 8-1 and an undisputed member of the Super Bowl contenders club. At 6-3? It seems a little tougher to gauge.
The Panthers are still chasing a very good Saints team in the NFC South, and they probably need to win the division to make a long playoff run. And they probably need to sweep New Orleans to win the division.
But there are reasons to believe. The Panthers defense is as good as any in football. Carolina held San Francisco to 45 second-half yards, and just 4 yards in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Cam Newton has greatness in him. And any team that can go into San Francisco and beat a hot 49ers team has to get a long look.
Besides, if Carolina isn’t on the list of teams that can win the Super Bowl, we’re dealing with a very, very short list of teams, as you’ll see. (I think No. 1 through 3 on this week’s rankings are obvious contenders, No. 4 through 8 are in the “under the right circumstances, absolutely” category, and No. 9 and 10 do just enough that you can’t cross them off. And that’s it. We’re not accepting any applications from No. 11 on down.)
Carolina deserves to be on any list of Super Bowl contenders for now, something even the most optimistic preseason prognosis of them couldn’t have envisioned. Now we’ll see if they can keep that status by beating New England next Monday.
Here are this week’s power rankings:
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, Last week: 32)
Well, they were out of this spot for about 32 hours or so.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8, LW: 31)
No player, coach or anyone associated with a team wants the scarlet letter of 0-16 for the rest of their careers. Big difference between zero wins and one.
30. Minnesota Vikings (2-7, LW: 30)
It would be entertaining if Christian Ponder played just well enough the rest of the season to get the Vikings front office talking themselves into another season of him at quarterback.
29. Atlanta Falcons (2-7, LW: 27)
Last season, Atlanta beat Seattle in a playoff game. Sunday, they were outgained 490-226 by Seattle in a 33-10 home loss. Julio Jones’ injury doesn’t make that big of a difference.
28. Houston Texans (2-7, LW: 25)
Again, keep in mind that both their victories were semi-miraculous. There’s way too much talent there to be this bad.
27. New York Giants (3-6, LW: 29)
They could get to 6-6. Then after that they play at San Diego, vs. Seattle and at Detroit. Remember that when the “Giants are alive!” stories keep popping up.
26. Washington Redskins (3-6, LW: 23)
Any hopes of winning the putrid NFC East were realistically dashed last Thursday. When you can’t beat Minnesota, it’s over.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6, LW: 26)
The Ben Roethlisberger trade rumors make no sense for anyone, really. Are the Steelers better off without him? And what team would benefit that much from sending valuable picks for a quarterback who will be 32 in March with a lot of miles on his body?
24. Oakland Raiders (3-6, LW: 24)
The Giants tried giving them a win, and they wouldn’t take it. They’ve now lost 12 straight games on the East Coast.
23. Buffalo Bills (3-7, LW: 20)
Thought they’d play better than that at Pittsburgh. The rest of the season has to be about good performances to lay a foundation for 2014 and beyond.
22. St. Louis Rams (4-6, LW: 28)
The next step is getting Tavon Austin the ball more. He had three offensive touches and two went for long scores. But we can’t expect them to figure out this “use Tavon Austin” thing all at once.
21. Tennessee Titans (4-5, LW: 17)
Went from being excited about this team’s second-half prospects to being totally out on the Titans in about three hours Sunday. What a horrible afternoon against Jacksonville.
20. Miami Dolphins (4-5, LW: 15)
With everything going on with this team, their 4-5 record seems more like 1-8. They’re very much in the AFC playoff race, but does it feel like that’s the case?
19. Baltimore Ravens (4-5, LW: 22)
Good win over the Bengals even though they made it harder than it needed to be. I don’t like them yet, but it’s not like the AFC’s playoff spots are locked up.
18. Cleveland Browns (4-5, LW: 18)
They play at Cincinnati on Sunday. Win that, and Browns fans should legitimately get excited about their chances of winning the AFC North.
17. Green Bay Packers (5-4, LW: 10)
New Orleans, Denver, New England, Cincinnati, Carolina, Indianapolis … they all have looked at the Packers in the last week or so and thought, “We’re one hit away from that being us.”
16. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5, LW: 21)
I don’t think this is a roster with .500 talent. Chip Kelly must be doing something right.
15. Dallas Cowboys (5-5, LW: 13)
The 2012 Saints gave up the most yards in NFL history. They allowed 440.1 per game. The 2013 Cowboys are allowing 439.8 yards per game.
14. Arizona Cardinals (5-4, LW: 19)
I don’t really know how it happened, but they’re right in the mix. They’ve beaten the Lions and Panthers. I’m not sure I get it, but it’s real.
13. San Diego Chargers (4-5, LW: 14)
We can mark San Diego at Miami this week as an elimination game. The loser isn’t going to be playing in January.
12. New York Jets (5-4, LW: 16)
Look at the 4-5 teams in the AFC. Look at the teams below them. I don’t love the Jets but they’re the No. 6 seed now, and can anyone beat them?
11. Chicago Bears (5-4, LW: 12)
We’ll never know if they would have beat the Lions if Josh McCown was sent in earlier. But it’s something that’ll be really interesting to look back on after Week 17.
10. Detroit Lions (6-3, LW: 11)
They look better every week. But can’t you just see a really dumb roughing the passer penalty happening to them at exactly the wrong time in January?
9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4, LW: 8)
Losing twice in overtime on the road isn’t all that bad, although they were lucky to even get to overtime against the Ravens. Feel free to panic if they lose to the Browns this week.
8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3, LW: 5)
Seems like a big drop for a one-point home loss, but No. 6 and 7 on the list already won at San Francisco this year.
7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, LW: 1)
Inconsistent and impossible to get a read on. Good enough to beat the 49ers by 20 on the road and yet lose by 30 to the Rams at home. Figure that one out.
6. Carolina Panthers (6-3, LW: 9)
A really bad record in close games is due to some bad luck. See the Panthers recovering both of their fumbles in the final two minutes on Sunday. They finally caught a couple breaks.
5. New England Patriots (7-2, LW: 7)
Interesting to see if Tom Brady can keep it rolling this week against that fantastic Panthers defense. Finally, a great Monday night matchup.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0, LW: 6)
Before you tweet and email, also holler at Las Vegas oddsmakers, who made the Broncos eight-point favorites this week. And remember their livelihood depends on that kind of thing.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-2, LW: 4)
At the Superdome, they’re No. 1 on the list. Anywhere else, not so much. That’s what makes the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC so interesting.
2. Seattle Seahawks (9-1, LW: 3)
Whatever happened against St. Louis and Tampa Bay might have just been a weird fluke … and they won both games. They looked strong in the rout at Atlanta. Carry on.
1. Denver Broncos (8-1, LW: 2)
That was a complete game against a very good team at San Diego on Sunday. Peyton Manning’s health willing, they once again look like the AFC favorite, even if the offensive line makes you wonder.
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The Super Bowl is the premier sporting event in America, and this year’s Super Bowl will be unique because of it will be played outside in the shadow of New York City.
But is attending Super Bowl XLVIII worth $ 19,000? The Las Vegas-based company Fandeavor thinks so.
For just $ 18,989 per person, you can get an “ultra luxury experience” for this season’s championship game, according to a story in The Star-Ledger.
And what does that modest price get you?
A luxury car ride to the game. Accommodations at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Access to the Maxim party the night before the game and the official pregame party the day of the Super Bowl. And, of course, a ticket to the game.
No, you don’t get to take snaps from under center in the first quarter or hand the winning coach the Lombardi Trophy. Without that, no football game seems worth $ 19,000 to attend, but to each their own.
“The response from customers has been pretty incredible,” Fandeavor CEO Tom Ellingson told The Star-Ledger.
Many companies offer these five-figure packages, as The Star-Ledger wrote. Some provide bonuses like a lunch with an NFL legend in addition to other perks. The NFL has its own official packages that start at $ 3,099 and go up to $ 5,399 for the best seats according to The Star-Ledger. The 300-level tickets alone at MetLife Stadium for the game are priced by the NFL at $ 800, $ 1,000 or $ 1,200, The Star-Ledger said. Some tickets are more than double the price of similar seats for the Super Bowl in New Orleans last season.
So this year’s big game, which might be chilly, will be expensive. Depending on how many VIP extras you want to add on, it could get really, really expensive.
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About a third of the NFL still hasn’t won a Super Bowl. In that ignominious list are such historic names as the Seahawks, the Eagles and the Vikings. The Bengals are a member of that crew as well, and their odds of getting off that list took a hit Thursday night in their loss to the Dolphins. In today’s podcast, we discuss which teams might possibly have a chance to get off that list (hint: only one) and which have seen the window shut, sealed, and walled over.
We also run a spread offense of topics this time around, including:
• Halloween candy protocol, including whether to steal from your kids (yes) and which candies are the worst (anything with coconut)
• Horse racing and dog racing, and whether it’s possible to watch either sober
• Why a NASCAR race is different from an NFL game (hint: they don’t let you walk to within five feet of the field in the NFL. You also might not get a toe bitten off.)
• The NFL TV experience, and whether it’s more fun to watch a game live or on TV.
The Shutdown Corner podcast is the product of Kevin Kaduk, Frank Schwab and Jay Busbee. You can listen to this episode by clicking here. If you’d like to subscribe, and we heartily recommend you do, go to the iTunes page right here. (The non-iTunes link to subscribe is here.) It’s all free, don’t cost nothin’. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday!
In January of 1975, after the Vikings lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl, Emmett Pearson made a promise. He wouldn’t shave his beard until the Vikings won a Super Bowl. He kept that promise, too.
Most likely, Pearson never figured he’d live another 38 years without shaving – a trim, maybe – and die with his beard intact.
The fan from Welch Township, Minn., who got a bit of attention a few years ago when the Vikings almost made the Super Bowl (including a story and video from KARE 11 in Minneapolis), died at 83 years old on Monday, according to his obituary.
Pearson was 31 years old for the Vikings’ first season in 1961, and lived until he was 83. And he never saw his team win it all. The Vikings lost four Super Bowls and had a good chance to win it all a few other times, most notably 1998 and 2009, only to fall short in heartbreaking fashion in the NFC championship game.
Pearson seemed to live a good life. He was a farmer, involved in the local school board and his church, and was married to his wife for 56 years, according to his obituary. He is survived by five children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
[Dan Wetzel: Rams' wooing of Brett Favre highlights NFL's QB dilemma]
It’s just too bad he couldn’t see the Vikings win a Super Bowl and have that celebratory shave.
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Dexter Jackson was the safety who intercepted two passes in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII victory over the Oakland Raiders. You know, when the team was good.
Now things have turned sour.
Jackson told 98.7 The Fan, via CBS Local, that embattled head coach Greg Schiano, whose Bucs are 0-6 this season, tried to run him off while Jackson was watching practice one day.
“Schiano sent his guy over to run me out of practice one day,” Jackson said. “This guy said, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here? You can’t be here.’ I said, ‘go get the Glazers if you want me to leave.’ He (Schiano) tried to run me out.”
Jackson has tried to stay close to the franchise in recent years but says he was warned by friends of his in the organization about the way thing are now inside the walls.
“I even tried to get a job there,” Jackson said. “Some people said, ‘Be careful, man, you don’t want to work here,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m a Buccaneer,’ and people have been telling me to be careful.”
The Buccaneers told Pro Football Talk that the incident happened in 2012, not this season, and that it wasn’t quite as bad as Jackson is claiming.
“Dexter showed up unannounced at the facility during a Saturday walk thru before our game against the Philadelphia Eagles last season,” Bucs cirector of communications Nelson Luis told PFT via email. “Because he wasn’t expected, one of the football staffers, who had never met Dexter, approached him and asked if he could help him. Dexter said that he was a former player and that he had been told he could come out whenever he wanted. The staffer explained that we would be happy to have him out at the facility but that the usual protocol with former players is to tell us they are coming.
“Dexter was allowed to stay for the remainder of practice and actually spent a few minutes after practice on the field with a couple of the players and was formally introduced to Coach Schiano.”
Jackson works with area kids but says he was asked to stop bringing them to Friday practices, even though he had done so under previous Bucs head coaches. The reason? They were a distraction, Jackson was told.
“I usually bring kids to One Buc Place, 4th and 5th graders in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County doing my case management work with a lot of youth in this area,” Jackson said. “They told me to stop bringing kids on Friday because I’m distracting professional players.”
Again, the Bucs countered with a reasonable explanation for what Jackson is claiming.
“We have an established community program that allows select groups of elementary school students to take tours of One Buccaneer Place as an incentive program,” Luis told PFT. “The tours are conducted on Tuesdays because that is the players’ day off and allows access to many of the most compelling areas of the facility such as the locker room, training room, weight room, etc. The Buccaneer organization is deeply committed to children and education as the core of our community relations platforms and coach Schiano has been supportive of our efforts in those areas. …
“We would have been happy to work with Dexter to find an appropriate day and time to assist him with the commendable work he is doing with his children in the community. However, Fridays during the NFL season are an important day of final preparations for the upcoming game and would not be the ideal day to host a group of children.”
Is Schiano to blame? Is Jackson making too much of this? It’s difficult to decipher, but these types of stories only seem to come out when a team is flagging badly.
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When you have a first-class defense that can hold an NFL team to fewer than 100 yards through three quarters on their home field, you have a good chance.
When you have a first-rate quarterback who wears down defenses mentally and physically with his athletic, gutsy style, you have a great chance.
Throw in just enough playmakers, including a workhorse running back, and terrific special teams, and you have a Super Bowl-winning formula.
But there’s a problem: You must be able to block. Right now, the Seahawks struggle in that department.
Russell Wilson displayed an uncanny ability to make plays in the Seattle Seahawks’ 34-22 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, and he threw for 235 yards and three TDs. But he also was sacked three times in 32 dropbacks, hit an unacceptable nine times and stripped twice of the ball.
On one of the sacks, Wilson held the ball too long. But most of the night, the Seahawks’ offensive line — down both of its starting tackles to injury — was beaten by the Cardinals’ playoff-caliber (and that’s about the only unit on the team that is) front seven time after time by quickness, leverage and power.
On top of that, they lost left guard James Carpenter, maybe the best of the remaining bunch, to injury in the game, but he came back later. There is hope that left tackle Russell Okung can come off the short-term injured reserve in five or six games, and right tackle Breno Giacomeni should be back well before that.
They need to hurry up. Replacement right tackle Michael Bowie, a seventh-rounder this year, had a horrible game, beaten several times and called for a penalty that almost cost the Seahawks points. McQuistan was beaten by Cardinals defensive end John Abraham for a strip sack and otherwise didn’t acquit himself all that well. Lemuel Jeanpierre, if he has to play, appears to be a sub-adequate performer. Max Unger is an anchor inside, but the other performers are nothing special at all and could lose key point-of-attack battles when the weather gets colder and the competition gets better.
Everything else is there for a championship formula. It was all on display in Thursday night’s victory, which was close on the scoreboard — mostly because of the two strip sacks — but not to the eyeball, or by any other metric. Consider, too, that they are without linebacker Bobby Wagner and receiver-returner Percy Harvin, who are expected to come back soon as well.
The Seahawks have something special going. When Wilson is dialed in, he’s as maddening to defend as almost any quarterback out there. When he can make plays like the third-down throw to Zach Miller while being tackled, Wilson is as good as there is in the NFL.
And if the Seahawks have a lead, watch out: That’s when the defense starts taking chances, and Marshawn Lynch inflicts his will on the other side of the ball.
But if that line doesn’t get healthy, and better once the starters return, the Seahawks will not win a Super Bowl — home-field advantage in the postseason, or not. It’s that simple.
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The Falcons went 13-3 last year and were 10 yards away from going to the Super Bowl. They couldn’t get those final 10 yards to beat the 49ers, and there was no guarantee they would get that close again this season.
A lot went right for the Falcons last year, and there were flaws, most notably a defense that was average at best. This season, they’re not catching the same breaks, and the flaws still exist. After an exciting comeback fell short on Sunday night in a 30-23 loss to the Patriots at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons are 1-3, matching their loss total from all of last year.
In the Falcons’ defense, the Patriots aren’t nearly as dead as some fans want to believe. They’re 4-0 and will at some point get receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back Shane Vereen back from injuries. They’re off to a great start, considering the circumstances. But, given that the Patriots were so shorthanded on offense, a strong contender should beat them at home. Instead, the Falcons trailed 30-13 in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons’ comeback was thrilling (what about that deep Julio Jones catch on their last drive?) but Atlanta needed a furious rally because it was thoroughly outplayed for most of the second half. Not long after the final incompletion to Roddy White fell to the ground in the end zone, it probably started setting in that the Falcons now have a pretty long road ahead of them.
Atlanta still has a fantastic passing game, and it will get better when White is fully healthy from an ankle injury. The running game will improve when Steven Jackson returns from a hamstring injury. There was a telling sequence in the fourth quarter after Atlanta recovered an onside kick and drove inside the red zone. Atlanta had a second and 1, but chose to pass twice rather than run for the first down. They threw two incompletions and kicked a field goal. The Falcons arguably should have gone for it on fourth and 1. There just wasn’t much trust in the running game to get that yard.
Atlanta’s defense still isn’t very good. Even against New England’s odd cast of characters surrounding quarterback Tom Brady, the Falcons couldn’t slow the Patriots down. Brady had 316 yards and two touchdowns, and the Patriots also rushed for more than 100 yards.
The fourth quarter was a roller coaster, with Atlanta getting extra chances because of a recovered onside kick and a fumbled snap on fourth down and 1 by Brady. But in the end it was just another loss. The Falcons can’t afford many more if they want to be a contender again this season.