Shout it from the top of Mount Washington: It’s the Game of the Year!

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Perhaps the Game of the Decade!! Maybe the Game of the Millennium!!!
Or Womens Damien Harris Jersey , very possibly, a big dud. Until their flop in Miami on Monday night, the way the New England Patriots were performing was the way so
many predicted they would heading into the season: a powerhouse. And how the
Pittsburgh Steelers were squeezing past inferior foes brought into question
whether they could slow down the Foxborough freight train. Then the Dolphins did
so one day after the Steelers needed another late rally to edge archrival
Baltimore and clinch the AFC North. So while Sunday’s contest at Heinz Field
will almost certainly decide the top seed in the AFC, it’s not exactly
Ali-Frazier, two undefeated heavyweights facing off. ”It’s good to be in big
games than be in ones nobody’s watching,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says. ”We
better be appreciative of this spot and not resist it in any way. This is what
we’ve been fighting for since March. Why would you fight that? It’s an awesome
thing.” Forget their `A’ game, which the Steelers (11-2) seem to have misplaced
for much of the past two months despite winning eight straight, with a
half-dozen of them close (decided by one, three, three, three, five and six
points. They will need their `AAA game’ against New England (10-3), which knows
a loss eliminates it from topping the conference heading into the postseason.
”It’s all about us being prepared to play Pittsburgh,” Patriots safety Devin
McCourty says, mimicking his coach. ”All the extra stuff comes with it, but it’s
just if we worry about the playoffs, we’ll go down there and we’ll get killed,
honestly.” The action got started Thursday night in a game with no playoff
implications, the Denver Broncos’ 25-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Brock Osweiler threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in relief of the
injured Trevor Siemian, and C.J. Anderson rushed for 158 yards on 30 carries as
Denver (5-9) won its second straight and handed the Colts (3-11) their fifth
consecutive loss. Siemian injured his left shoulder in the first quarter and did
not return. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) at Kansas City (7-6), Saturday night Win
this and you have the inside track to the AFC West title. That would have seemed
very impressive in the summer, when this was thought to be the NFL’s best
sector. Instead, it’s so mediocre that the winner probably will be a No. 4 seed
in the playoffs. Kansas City had a 24-20 win in September, when it was starting
off 5-0. It broke a four-game slide with a big victory over Oakland last week.
The Bolts have been, well, charging, winning four straight and seven of nine,
their best nine-game stretch since 2010. But they’ve dropped seven in a row to
the Chiefs. Dallas (7-6) at Oakland (6-7) Oakland might need to win out for any
shot at the postseason. Same for Dallas, chasing a wild card in the
much-stronger NFC. With star RB Zeke Elliott suspended for one more game, the
combination of Dak Prescott throwing to Jason Witten and Dez Bryant has been the
focal point on offense. Prescott’s coming off his first 300-yard passing game of
the season with a career-high 332 against the woeful Giants. After fizzling in
KC Authentic Damien Harris Jersey , Oakland needs to rediscover its offense and get pressure on Prescott from Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack. Los Angeles Rams
(9-4) at Seattle (8-5) The Rams lost two of four in the midst of a very
difficult stretch. Now, the key division matchup with the banged-up,
penalty-prone Seahawks. Seattle, whose air of invincibility at home has been
punctured with two losses in the past three, won the first meeting and would
have the tiebreaker with a repeat. This easily could come down to Russell Wilson
, making a late run for league MVP, lighting up the skies against Rams QB Jared
Goff, one of the NFL’s most-improved players in 2017. LA is 3-0 after a loss;
the Eagles beat the Rams last Sunday. Green Bay (7-6) at Carolina (9-4) Huge one
for both sides, and this time the Packers head into it with Aaron Rodgers back
at quarterback. Recovered from his broken collarbone – Green Bay stayed relevant
without him, going 3-4 – Rodgers might have some rust. Still, was there ever any
doubt he would replace Brett Hundley when his wing was healed? ”Hopefully it
gives a lift to some of the guys but I’m not coming back to save this team,”
Rodgers said. ”I’m coming back to play quarterback the way I know how to play
it.” Rodgers will face a formidable defense that includes end Julius Peppers,
who left Green Bay for a return to Carolina this season and has 5+ sacks in the
past four games against his former team, and LB Luke Kuechly (100 tackles in six
straight seasons.) New York Jets (5-8) at New Orleans (9-4) New Orleans owns the
tiebreaker over Carolina thanks to a season sweep, and gets fortunate here. Josh
McCown, having the best season of his lengthy, vagabond pro career, has a broken
hand, so untested Bryce Petty gets the start. The Saints lost two of their past
three, against top-level opponents, so they aren’t likely to fall into any
traps. Their well-balanced and top-ranked offense could go wild against the
inconsistent Jets, and no team has improved more on D than Nawlins. Atlanta
(8-5) at Tampa Bay (4-9), Monday night While the Buccaneers spiral enough to put
coach Dirk Koetter’s job security in question, it’s the defending NFC champ
Falcons who have been maddeningly up and down. Get this: Atlanta is 4-3 in its
new, billion dollar palace. That means the Monday night spotlight should be
fine, especially for WR Julio Jones. He had a season-best 12 receptions for 253
yards and two TDs against the Bucs three weeks ago – his NFL-record third game
with 250-plus yards receiving. No other receiver in league history has more than
one. Cincinnati (5-8) at Minnesota (10-3) Vikings will secure NFC North crown
for second time in three seasons by winning, and the Bengals have never won in
five trips to Minnesota. Cincinnati didn’t even show up at home last Sunday in
being routed by the Bears. Yes, the Bears. Minnesota’s defense had an off day at
Carolina, but is formidable enough to win big. The combined record of teams the
Vikings have lost to is 27-12. Combined record of teams the Bengals have beaten,
counting the Browns twice Damien Harris Jersey Boys , is 14-51. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for the Bengals under current coach Marvin Lewis from 2008-2013. And
here’s a strange stat: Lewis has never lost to any former assistant, going
6-0-1. Philadelphia (11-2) at New York Giants (2-11) An Eagles victory and a
Vikings loss makes Philly the place to go through in the NFC playoffs. Of
course, Eagles fans mostly are looking at the bleak side: Carson Wentz, the
superb young quarterback who has engineered much of this year’s turnaround, tore
his left ACL at the Rams and is done for the season. Then again, Philly probably
could suit up Ron Jaworski instead of Nick Foles and win this by letting its
top-notch defense loose against the beleaguered Giants. The Eagles have won six
of seven and 15 of the past 19 against the Giants. Houston (4-9) at Jacksonville
(9-4) OK, take a deep breath and listen: Jacksonville clinches a playoff berth
with a win. It can even get in with help in other cities despite a loss. Not
only that, the Jaguars, with their terrific pass rush and strong ground game,
have a shot at a first-round playoff bye. ”To be at the bottom and to finally
fight our way, work our way and get back up, just to be in the position that
we’re at now, it’s great and it shows you that we’ve finally started to earn the
right to win,” linebacker Paul Posluszny says. ”Now we want more.” Houston might
have been in position for more in 2017 had the injury bug not ravaged the
roster. The Texans, already minus brilliant DE J.J. Watt and excellent LB
Whitney Mercilus, are down to their third quarterback, T.J. Yates. Tennessee
(8-5) at San Francisco (3-10) The Titans can’t afford a stumble against the
suddenly competitive Niners. San Francisco lost its first nine, but now has won
three of four. Jimmy Garoppolo is playing like he will fill that franchise QB
role the Niners hoped he would when they dealt with New England to get him.
Tennessee has a showdown in Music City in Week 17 with the Jaguars. The Titans
can make that a winner-take-the-division matchup if they beat San Francisco and
then the Rams in Nashville next week. Miami (6-7) at Buffalo (7-6) After
stunning New England, the Dolphins go to a place they don’t much like,
particularly in December. RB Kenyan Drake has emerged and receiver Jarvis Landry
remains steady. The defense befuddled Brady last Monday night, and expected
starter Tyrod Taylor is no Brady. Bills star LeSean McCoy probably has been
doing a snow dance all week. He was dominant in last weekend’s 13-7 overtime win
a blizzard against Indianapolis, the second time in his career the running back
has dashed through the snow like that. Baltimore (7-6) at Cleveland (0-13) A
sputtering offense came to life for the Ravens at Pittsburgh, where they should
have won to make them a solid leader for a wild card. Even if that attack goes
back to its previous ways, seeing Baltimore destroy much of its postseason
chances in this one is unlikely. A 3-0 finish gets the Ravens in. A 3-0 finish
would be miraculous for the Browns, the first team in NFL history to start 0-13
in consecutive seasons. Chicago (4-9) at Detroit (7-6), Saturday Although the
Lions are mathematically in the NFC playoff chase, they sure don’t look much
like a threat. Except, perhaps, to the Bears: Detroit has won eight of nine vs.
Chicago. Bears running back Jordan Howard is the first in franchise history to
rush for 1,000-plus yards in each of his first two seasons. Arizona (6-7) at
Washington (5-8) Of interest here – wait Infant Damien Harris Jersey , we’ll find something – is Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson, who needs one rushing TD to reach 100 and 37 yards to pass the great
Jim Brown (12,312) on the career rushing list. But Peterson is battling a neck
problem that could sideline him for the final three games. — Patriots vs.
Jaguars: Fan Notes from the Game Yuck.Make no mistake and don’t attempt to spin
anything; the Jaguars straight up handled the Patriots yesterday in a way I
haven’t seen a team do in a long time. The Patriots have lost games in the past,
and like all of those, this one ultimately isn’t that big a deal. But it’s rare
to see a team outmuscle the Patriots so thoroughly on both sides of the ball to
the point where there wasn’t a single time during this game where I thought New
England had any momentum whatsoever. This kind of game seems to happen every
year, doesn’t it -and usually in September. Just one of those situations where
the team kind of forgets to show up, gets back in it, and then some big play
puts the game away. Oh well. No reason to think to much about it other than know
that, as always, it’s kind of par for the course in New England.CBS decided to
finish showing the Steelers crap the bed against the Chiefs before tuning to the
Pats game, so the very first thing I saw yesterday was Jacob Hollister catching
a 23 yard completion. Then the Patriots did absolutely nothing with the rest of
their drive and Ghost shanked the long field goal. The Jags then marched right
down the field and scored. Sorry, folks.Who’d have thought thought that Tommy B
is no good in hot weather games? Must have something to do with the rate at
which avocado ice cream melts.Speaking of hot weather - quick offensive drives
is the absolute worst thing you can do for a defense, especially early in the
game. The Patriots didn’t get anything going on their opening drive, and then
went three and out immediately to follow it. Jacksonville, however, had opening
drives of nine and seven plays that ate up a combined eight minutes of clock.
The defense was gassed before the first quarter came to an end.Glad to see the
NFL is back to normal with the commercial breaks every 45 seconds or so. For a
minute I was worried that the league actually made a positive step towards
making the game more enjoyable for fans for the first time since the advent of
the first down marker.When Keelan Cole made that one handed catch, I had a
feeling it probably wasn’t going to be New England’s day.When he scored a
touchdown on basically the very next play, I knew it wasn’t going to be New
England’s day.And when Tommy B threw his fourth straight pass into the ground at
the receivers feet, I started thinking about what I might want to eat for dinner
last night. Pizza, in case anyone is interested.Even the punting was great for
the Jags. They were just firing on all cylinders yesterday and all you can
really do is tip your cap. They were talking about how much this game meant to
them, and it showed.What’s most frustrating about losses like this one, even
though we see it almost every single year without fail, are those brief periods
where the Patriots suddenly remember that there’s a football game going on that
day.And when that happened, they looked great. There was that drive towards the
end of the 2nd half that was more or less the James White show before it stalled
in the red zone, which was nice. And they had a pretty solid mid-third through
mid-fourth quarter. So that was OK too, I suppose.Chris Hogan drew a flag
yesterday by taking the exact same kind of hit that made me fall in love with
football. Screw this game.Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: a defense
gets pressure on Brady early and doesn’t give him time to settle. As a result,
he was inaccurate, drives stalled, and the Patriots looked lousy. On the other
side of the ball, the opposing offense put together a lot of long drives full of
stretch runs for positive yards and high probability throws that made the
Patriots defense look foolish.To save myself time on future Fan Notes Damien Harris Jersey Draft , please excuse the following boilerplate comment that I can just cut and paste for the next few years:You really have to be impressed
with the way the TEAM was able to generate pressure with only four yesterday.
Brady was never able to settle into the pocket, and as a result his accuracy was
off and he never quite found a rhythm. I was especially impressed with the way
that PLAYER collapsed the center of the line and didn’t allow Brady to step up.
Receivers also had trouble getting separation on TEAM’s secondary, which led to
a lot of three and outs. On the other side of the ball, QUARTERBACK controlled
the tempo of the game with stretch runs to RUNNING BACK and a lot of short
crossing routes to RECEIVER and TIGHT END, and New England had no answer.New
England telegraphed their blitz packages more than usual yesterday. Not sure if
that’s Brian Flores trying to send a message with this unit or Blake Bortles
managing the snap count exceptionally well.If I had to sum up this entire game,
it would be the last two drives for each team before halftime. The Patriots
drove down and kicked a field goal, and then the Jaguars immediately drove right
back and scored a touchdown.And then, of course, Jacksonville New Englanded New
England and double dipped with the end of 2nd quarter/start of third quarter
score. And when it was 24-3, that was all she wrote. I mean this team has never
come back when down 24-3, right?Bringing extra bodies on the defense is
obviously a solid way to get additional pressure on the quarterback. The problem
is that the crossing routes were wide open.Eric Rowe should probably just walk
home to Foxboro. He should also just walk home to Foxboro in full pads and
cleats.The loss of Trey Flowers is something that few people are talking about
today, probably because the defense was so ineffective all over the field. But
Flowers is their best edge-setting lineman, and I can remember at least three
times yesterday where Bortles was able to scramble to the outside for a third
down conversion. I’m not saying that the Patriots win this game with Flowers in
- they don’t - but I think it would have been closer.In 2017, the play that the
Patriots simply couldn’t stop was the RB wheel route out of the backfield. The
2018 version of that might just be the quick slant for 16 yards on 3rd and
short.That the Patriots recovered a fumble, got the ball and midfield, and Tommy
B gave us the longest rush of the day up to that point tells you everything you
need to know about this offense at this point in the season.I liked that little
Sony Michel run, though. Didn’t expect that kind of bulldozer-style running from
him. Mixed bag overall, but there are a lot worse ways for a rookie to debut.The
Patriots woke up about halfway through the third quarter, but it was just a bit
too late at that point, and that’s OK. The Pats are going to be fine. They’re
going to figure it out. They always do. Just wake me up in October when games
start to matter.Now that the Patriots have five championships and Tommy B has
already cemented his legacy as the greatest of all time, I find myself really
enjoying how much pleasure opposing fans take in beating the Patriots. A lot of
players in this league have never beaten New England, and a lot of fans can
barely remember the last time their team won a game against this team. So to see
fan celebrate a Week 2 win harder than Patriots fans celebrated their third
Super Bowl trophy was kind of cool. I can’t even remember the last time I got
excited about a Week 2 win, to be honest, and that’s kind of a bummer. Maybe I’m
just getting soft in my old age, but I had a lot of fun watching the Jags fans
go nuts over this game. Hopefully there was some good smack talk from them on
the message boards.The Patriots have two games coming up that are very, very
winnable, and I think we’ll know a lot more about this team once October hits.
Time to move on and put this game behind us.
Posted 25 Oct 2019

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