Tag: saints

Everyone was wrong about the NFC South

Anyone can be wrong… about a team, about a player, about a coach. You’ll find plenty of people who had the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts meeting in the Super Bowl.

(Hell, I had the Baltimore Ravens winning the AFC.)

How are those picks looking right now? Every year, NFL general managers risk their jobs on whether a certain player will be better than another one in the NFL Draft. The entire NFL draft analysis industry annually has players ranked from 1 through 1,000 and then gleefully calls the first-round picks who don’t pan out “busts” despite the fact that most busts were projected as first-round picks in the first place.

But you don’t often see the experts wrong about an entire division in their preseason predictions… and it’s beginning to look like everyone who said the NFC South was the NFL’s weakest division, that it would (guaranteed!) only put one team in the playoffs and that 8-8 or (can you believe it?) 7-9 might just be good enough to win this awful division were wrong.

DROP DEAD WRONG.

Three weeks into the season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the pretty bad team everyone knew they would be. They’re rebuilding. They’re not supposed to be good yet.

The New Orleans Saints have not rebounded from last year’s subpar effort and, in fact, they look even worse, if anything. Last Sunday, Drew Brees didn’t even play, so en route to an 0-3 start they had Luke McCown under center. It definitely looked like the Saints, whether they thought they were or not, were rebuilding as well.

And the Atlanta Falcons? Well, they’re rebuilding too, right? They were lousy last year. They miss Tony Gonzalez. Blah blah blah.

Really?

Are people really surprised that the Atlanta Falcons, who now stand 3-0 having beaten the three best teams in the NFC East, are a lot better this season. Let’s remember, last year their offense was decimated by injuries.

So this year, without having to do much in the draft or through free agency, they get an offense with the excellent but underrated Matt Ryan at quarterback, one of the best receiver tandems in the NFL in Roddy White and Julio Jones, and an offensive line they’ve been working on, highlighted by spending last year’s sixth-overall pick on offensive tackle Jake Matthews.

To juice up the running game, they spent a third-round pick this season on Indiana’s Tevin Coleman to pair him up with last year’s draft pick Devonta Freeman. Yeah, they have a damn good offense, and they didn’t have to spend a king’s ransom to get it.

To pair with it, they have a defense that’s in the process of being revamped by first year head coach Dan Quinn. You may have heard of him — his last job was defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, the best defense in the league three years running. So no, it’s no surprise Atlanta is a damn good team so far, and they will be winning more than eight games this year.

But wait! They have company. The Carolina Panthers, who have more or less had an exclusive deal on having the best defense in the NFC South for a while, are also 3-0.  Granted, they haven’t played the toughest schedule thus far, but just how tough do you think their schedule will get. They play both the Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, but they also play the Eagles and the Colts, who both look about as stable as a Jenga tower at a drunken party. Add in two more games against divisional buddies Tampa and New Orleans and you’ve got a favorable outlook. Their toughest games of the year might be the two showdowns they have coming up with the Falcons.

Carolina’s weak spot has been their lack of firepower at the skill positions, but for now they’ve been riding on the multi-talented shoulders of their quarterback Cam Newton, another underrated former No. 1 overall pick who, while not a superstar, is most assuredly not a bust. There’s a long list of NFL teams that would gladly trade their busted former first-round pick to get Cam, but he isn’t going anywhere.

Except to the playoffs.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Not only does he read defenses, he’s friendly too!

And that’s the point. Both Atlanta and Carolina look too good to miss the playoffs. You can put Arizona in that column as well. Any team that had some other plan of action for getting to the postseason is now clearly on notice.

It’s crowded at the top, and the NFC South has no intention of being underrepresented.

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NFL storylines for Week 3

Most of the talk around the NFL is about the surprise 0-2 teams. It’s still extremely early in the season and many of these squads will turn it around. The Seahawks are already getting Kam Chancellor back from his holdout. In a text to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith he said he has to finish the mission they started two years ago.

It’s a weird time for “cave in” because at 0-2 and with the secondary giving up unusual big plays, you would think he had all the leverage on Seattle. Regardless, they get the Bears and Lions next and should be at 2-2. Jimmy Graham has only been targeted one time each in both first half’s and only twice in Week 2.

For a team who gave up their center, and isn’t running the ball as well as usual, he needs to be more involved.

via USAtoday.com
via USAtoday.com

The Ravens are the most surprising 0-2 team, only because how the lost to Oakland. I predicted the Raiders could be a surprise team and pull some upsets because the new weapons Carr had. But 350 yards? A game-winning drive by Carr to out-duel Flacco?

The Ravens secondary has some real problems and match ups with the Bengals and Steelers looming could spell real trouble.

The Saints era may be coming to an end. Brees doesn’t have the weapons he used to and they still are in salary cap hell. The Lions defense might have taken a step back without Suh and Stafford hasn’t showed the improvement they kept talking about all offseason. The Eagles aren’t is a much trouble as most teams at 0-2. Their offense will get going eventually, if Bradford can start hitting some deeper throws. The running game and Demarco Murrey is their biggest concern.

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The Cowboys have to turn to Brandon Weeden, and that opens the division up for any of the other three teams. The Giants have blown leads in back to back games but a potentially potent passing attack will keep them in the hunt. If Chip Kelly is going to stay off the hot seat, the Eagles have to compete or even win this wide open decision.

Brown’s coach Mike Pettine has named Josh McCown the starter of Johnny Manzeil. I don’t think it will last very long. He got benched multiple times last season and after one or two poor games, the Browns will be forced to go back to Manzeil. He’s looked better than last season, mostly hitting on the deep ball to Travis Benjamin.

via Indystar.com
via Indystar.com

Is the AFC South up for grabs? It’s hard not to think it might not be. The Colts offensive line is in shambles and Pagano’s response to that is Andrew Luck has dealt with it for long enough so he should be better in dealing with it.

(wat?)

That can’t be encouraging for Colts fans but they won’t face defenses as good as Buffalo and the Jets every week. However, this will be the first time in a few years they lose to AFC South teams. The Texans don’t have a quarterback and will probably bench Mallet soon again. The Jaguars showed good flashes verse Miami, especially Allen Robinson making huge plays. The Titans lost to the Browns after a great week one and Mariota didn’t continue his torrid pace.

People are thinking the division winner could be somewhere from 8-8 to 10-6 and it’s hard to disagree with them now.

via SIkids.com
via SIkids.com

Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and Julio Jones look like the most unstoppable players through the first couple of weeks. Brown already has 328 yards and Jones has 22 catches already. Gronk has four scores and all three of these guys may be in line for historic seasons.

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Why @MichaelSamNFL Blowing Off Tony Dungy’s Statements Is The Perfect Response

Michael Sam probably won’t become a distraction at the St. Louis Rams training camp this week, but guess who already has?

Tony Dungy, the former coach of both the Colts and Buccaneers, opened a large box of criticism for recently telling the Tampa Tribune that – if he were still coaching today – he would NOT have drafted Michael.

…not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. It’s not going to be totally smooth… things will happen.

Wait a second… Isn’t Dungy the same guy that tried to get Michael Vick back into the NFL scene?

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Playoff Preview: Saints vs. Seahawks

No matter who you’re rooting for on Saturday, if you plan to attend, be ready to pay up. First-sale tickets for this divisional matchup sold out in under 30 minutes, and, according to SeatGeek, the resale tickets are – so far – the priciest of this year’s playoffs.

Yup, even just an average seat will cost you around $400. Even if you want to save a buck and don’t mind nosebleeds, expect to spend at least $200 per ticket. On the other hand, if you prefer to go big and want the Big Papi Special, club seats are going for around $2,000 each.

Hope you didn’t blow your Christmas money just yet, Seahawks and Saints fans.

These high prices should come as no surprise to any NFL fan, since I’m sure most of us expected this Saturday’s playoff in Seattle to be against the stellar newbie Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles, not the New Orleans Saints. No shade to our friends in the bayou, but their away game record has been, well, less than impressive this year. Winning just 3 of their 8 road games this season, the Saints averaged 17 points less in each away game than at home in the Superdome. 

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Tamara Tells Us Why She Loves Football

The landscape of the female sports fan has changed dramatically over the last ten years and continues to evolve every season. Females represent a significant amount of the football fanbase and because of this, there are numerous women writing about sports, making gameday clothes, creating fun ways to have a Superbowl party and so much more.

Which is why we decided to start featuring these women who are out there making changes in our football landscape. For the next couple weeks, we’re going to be featuring some of the top talent in a female football fan’s world.

Next up in our series is the always lovely Tamara with Blitz and Glam. She’s a triple threat because she knows her stuff, dresses like a star and is absolutely beautiful. Check out her interview on how she became a fan of the game of football and why she decided to start Blitz and Glam!

Back to Football Photo Shoot 25

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