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‘Favorite’ is Not the Cleveland Browns’ Favorite Word 0

Posted on October 03, 2017 by Andrew Scott
DeShone Kizer has shown glimpses of potential greatness, but has also struggled at times during his first season in Cleveland.

DeShone Kizer has shown glimpses of potential greatness, but has also struggled at times during his first season in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns are, according to BetNow sportsbook, favored to defeat their current opponent for the second straight week, this time a one-point favorite to beat the New York Jets. Don’t tell the Browns this, though. The mantle of favoritism is one the Browns are so unaccustomed to, that it almost seems, like the Shirt of Nessus, to burn them alive, like it did Heracles. Let’s take for instance their Week 3 matchup with the Colts in Indianapolis; Cleveland was also a one-point favorite then, but not only lost 31-28 but obviously failed to cover the spread as well.

Things went, at least for a while, back to usual for the Browns, as they were deemed three-point home underdogs to the then-equally winless – though improving – Cincinnati Bengals, who then proceeded to score the most and allow the fewest point in their season thus far, as well as pick up their first win, 31-7. The phrase “the team to beat” gets, you know, thrown around a lot, but it’s usually in reference to teams that are actually good. The Browns have truly become the team to beat, but only, mind you, in the sense that whenever a winless team like the Colts or Bengals needs a quick pick-me-up, they can rely on Hue Jackson and his boys.

And speaking of the devil, Hue doesn’t “my record any more than you do or anybody does,” as he said, per ESPN, following the loss to Cincy. The Browns are, at 2-29, in a three-way tie for the worst record in NFL history over a 31-game period, of which Hue is responsible for a dismal 1-19. “It is horrible,” said Jackson. “And I will be the first to tell you that.” Hue being the first of anything? Not very likely. As a matter of fact, John McKay had a worse first 20 games, going 0-26 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976-77. But back to the business at hand, the Browns’ against-the-spread record isn’t all that great either. Cleveland is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in October and 6-22-1 ATS in their last 29 games overall. Read the rest of this entry →

DeShaun Watson Proving He Belongs in the NFL 0

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

Sometimes the decisions made by teams in the NFL Draft can be very strange. Generally, the NFL is a performance-based league, however, when it comes to draft picks, and most especially quarterbacks, choices are often made based on projected ability, instead of how someone has actually performed on the football field.

That was certainly the case in the 2017 NFL Draft when two quarterbacks with relatively average college pedigrees were chosen ahead of one of the most successful quarterbacks in recent college football history. Something that can be confusing and frustrating for those who follow US Sportsbooks.

While DeShaun Watson was leading the Clemson Tigers to back-to-back National Championship Games following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Mitch Trubisky at the University of North Carolina and Pat Mahaomes at Texas Tech were playing on mediocre teams.

Trubisky spent two seasons as a backup quarterback at UNC before he finally earned the starting spot for the 2016 season. Though he was a solid quarterback in his 13 stats, his performance on an 8-5 team hardly give the impression he was the next great NFL player.

While Trubisky tossed 30 touchdowns on the season with only six interceptions, in the five UNC losses, he threw only eight touchdowns while suffering all six of his interceptions. His worst performance of the season was against Virginia Tech when he completed only 39.4% of his passes for 58 yards and two interceptions.

Yet, the Chicago Bears thought enough of Trubisky to trade up to pick him with the second pick in the 2017 Draft.

The son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, Mahomes had significantly more experience than Trubisky during his three college seasons.

Playing on a Texas Tech team that had only one winning year in his three seasons, Mahomes saw significant action as a freshman before starting the last two seasons.

The Red Raiders posted a 12-13 record during those two years while making one bowl appearance. Mahomes racked up huge numbers over the last two seasons tossing 77 touchdowns with 25 interception and compiling over 9,700 yards through the air. For his career, Mahomes completed 63.5% of his passes for 11,252 yards, 93 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Read the rest of this entry →

The Biggest NFL Injuries in Week 2 1

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Roland Fuller
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen suffered  broken foot in their week two win over the Bills.

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen suffered broken foot in their week two win over the Bills.

This article outlines the most important players from the National Football League who got injured in the second week.

  1. Greg Olsen, Tight End for the Carolina Panthers

Olsen suffered an injury to his right foot in the game’s first half, and limped off to the locker room without a shoe on that foot. He was initially declared likely to return, but was then declared out as the second half of the game began. He was next spotted on crutches, with his right foot clad in a walking boot. After the game had finished Olsen let reporters know that his foot was broken, and he will not be able to play for some time.

  1. Marshal Yanda, Offensive Guard for the Baltimore Ravens

Yanda sustained an injury to his left ankle, and it was questionable whether or not he would be able to return. He was then declared out, and, when the game wrapped up, John Harbaugh, head coach for the Ravens, let it be known that Yanda has fractured his ankle and will not be able to play for the rest of the season. Ravens fans are likely to turn their attention to rugby league betting tips for the rest of the season!

  1. Garett Bolles, Offensive Tackle for the Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ starting left tackle suffered an injury to his left leg, and had to be taken off of the field in a cart in the third quarter of the game on Sunday. Bolles, the first-round pick for the Denver Broncos in the April draft, hurt his leg on a five-yard run by Jamaal Charles, after his leg was pinned to the ground. There were fears that Bolles had broken his ankle, and he is set to undergo further tests. He has been seen wearing a walking boot in the meantime. Read the rest of this entry →

2017 NFL Preview: 5 Bold Predictions 0

Posted on September 09, 2017 by Dean Hybl
One big question for 2017 is whether Marshawn Lynch can regain his past Beast Mode greatness after sitting out 2016.

One big question for 2017 is whether Marshawn Lynch can regain his past Beast Mode greatness after sitting out 2016.

The 2017 NFL season got off to an interesting start on Thursday night when the defending champion New England Patriots gave up three fourth quarter touchdowns in a 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

As we kickoff the full schedule Sunday, below are five bold predictions for the season as well as my picks for the playoffs and Super Bowl.

1. The 1972 Miami Dolphins Can Pop The Champagne Now – Based on some of their off-season moves, some thought that ten years after their undefeated regular season the New England Patriots might be poised for another run at perfection.

Well, that thought didn’t last long. The Chiefs exposed the New England defense and the offense showed that the losses of receiver Julian Edelman to injury and running back LeGarrette Blount to the Philadelphia Eagles are harder to replace than might have been expected.

While there are several other teams with talented rosters, including the Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas) Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons, no team looks good enough to be a legitimate threat to perfection.

What may be in jeopardy this season is the 0-16 mark that has been achieved only once, by the Detroit Lions in 2008. While the Cleveland Browns, who went 1-15 last season, appear to be better and will probably win 3-4 games, the New York Jets could be a threat for dubious perfection. They have unloaded a number of talented veterans from their 5-11 team from last season and could struggle every week in 2017.

2. Ezekiel Elliott Will Struggle – After a Federal Judge granted the request by the NFLPA for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of a six-game suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott, it looks like the second year running back for the Dallas Cowboys could play the entire 2017 season.

Last year Elliott took the NFL by storm as he led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards while helping the Cowboys to a 13-3 record.

His off-season has not been as smooth. Elliott has been involved in a number of off-the-field incidents during his brief career and that culminated with a six game suspension from the NFL in August.

Though Elliott may avoid missing time due to the suspension in 2017, it doesn’t mean that the off-the-field issues will not be a distraction. Many players throughout NFL history have been unable to repeat great rookie seasons without the added pressure of the national media spotlight that Elliott has endured in recent weeks and will likely see throughout the season.

While having the great Dallas offensive line will certainly help, it would not be a surprise to see Elliott’s numbers decline a bit in 2017. Read the rest of this entry →

Will This Finally Be the Year for Jerry Kramer? 5

Posted on August 26, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Jerry Kramer (#64) should join his teammate Paul Hornung (#5) in the Pro Football hall of Fame in 2018.

Jerry Kramer (#64) should join his teammate Paul Hornung (#5) in the Pro Football hall of Fame in 2018.

In 1969, former Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jerry Kramer was selected as the greatest offensive lineman of the first 50 years of the NFL. Unless the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee commits a true travesty next February, Kramer will finally be selected to the Hall of Fame as the NFL completes its 98th season.

Much has been written on this site and in many others over the years about how ridiculous it was that Kramer continued to be overlooked for the Hall of Fame. After retiring from the NFL in 1968, Kramer was first a finalist for the HOF in 1974 and was a regular selection finalist nine times between 1974 and 1987 and was also a senior finalist in 1997.

Each time, Kramer failed to the necessary support from the selection committee to earn enshrinement.

Over time, it went from Kramer being an obvious pick, to a theory that there were already a large number of 1960s Packers to in recent year’s disbelief at some of the players and contributors earning induction while Kramer continued to be on the outside.

It has gotten over the last decade to the point where almost every list that looks at potential Hall of Fame candidates listed Kramer as the most deserving player not currently enshrined.

Yet, since 2010 there have been a number of “head scratching” selections, especially among senior candidates (players retired 25 years or more). None of the senior players selected since 2010 were members of the NFL’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team or had played on more than three NFL Championship teams. Read the rest of this entry →

Vintage Sports Movies: Paper Lion 9

Posted on August 13, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Harvard educated writer George Plimpton braved the world of the NFL in the 1960s.

Harvard educated writer George Plimpton braved the world of the NFL in th e 1960s.

In today’s world where Hard Knocks and other similar programs have made it easy for football fans to gain access into the huddle and locker rooms of pro football, it is hard to imagine a time when such access was not the norm. In the 1960s, Sports Illustrated writer George Plimpton went to great extremes to give fans a glimpse into life in the NFL.

When the book and movie Paper Lion came out in the 1960s, it was lauded for getting under the helmet of NFL players.

Plimpton, a Harvard educated writer who looked more like a math teacher than an athlete, was a master at experiential writing and combined his love of sports with a surprising fearlessness to create a number of great experiences and books.

He pitched to baseball All-Stars, got in the ring with boxing champions and in 1963 spent training camp as a quarterback with the Detroit Lions.

The ensuing articles and book gave readers a glimpse into the personalities of NFL players. Though the Detroit Lions were perhaps not one of the NFL’s “glamour” teams of the era, Plimpton brought to life the personalities of players including Milt Plum, Dick “Night Train” Lane (who had retired by 1967, but has a cameo appearance in the movie as a practice video operator), Wayne Walker and Joe Schmidt.

In 1968, the book was turned into a movie starring future M*A*S*H star Alan Alda as Plimpton.

The interesting thing about the movie is that instead of trying to stick exactly to the players and stories of the original book, it took the general concept, but used players and coaches available with the Lions in 1967.

By that time, future Hall of Fame linebacker Joe Schmidt had transitioned from an active player to head coach and defensive tackle Alex Karras, who as referenced in the book, but was suspended by the NFL in 1963 and therefore not at training camp, was back with the Lions and a prominent character in the movie. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bulldog Turner: Two-Way Star
      November 12, 2017 | 8:52 am
      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a two-way star for the dominant Chicago Bears teams of the 1940s.

      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

      Read more »

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