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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 →

Did the Dallas Cowboys Go Right With Ezekiel Elliot? 1

Posted on August 05, 2016 by Andrew Scott
After being chosen with the 4th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, there is a lot of pressure on Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys.

After being chosen with the 4th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, there is a lot of pressure on Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys.

Conventional football betting wisdom suggested that the Dallas Cowboys should have gone with a QB in the 2016 NFL draft; someone that they could groom to become 36 year old Tony Romo’s near-future replacement. Notwithstanding that, having the 4th overall pick meant that top QB selections Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were pretty much out of their reach. Moreover, Cowboys management must have felt differently, because they waited until the fourth round to select Mississippi State’s quarterback Dak Prescott (the 135th overall pick). Others thought they should have added a defensive player. But most agreed that the offensive line was more than fine as it was.

At the end of the day, Dallas went with running back Ezekiel Elliot from Ohio State – which is a sort of compromise, if you think about it. While not a direct addition to an already stacked O-line (which includes Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Doug Free), Elliot is the kind of player that can make the most of arguably the best offensive line in the league. For example, the 21 year old can carry the load on a three-down basis for an offense that wants to return to a ground-and-pound style. By any measures, Elliot and the Cowboys are the right fit for both parties. Football betting experts have already pegged Elliot as an early candidate for the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year, as well as rushing champion and rookie rushing record. In any other team with a different O-line, expectations simply would not be as high for Elliot.

According to Romo, Elliot is adapting well in the Cowboys training camp. “He’s done a good job. There’s a lot to learn in the offense. It’s not easy coming into the NFL and having a system, especially like ours, where we ask you to do so much in the run game and the pass game.” the QB said. “I think he’s handled it well. You can see his ability. We’re excited about him coming out and playing good.” Romo added that Elliot has been asking the right questions, but could always ask more. Either way, the veteran quarterback is “in his ear enough.” Like an earworm? There is something not quite right about having Tony Romo serenading you right in the ear, so let’s not picture that, shall we? Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Original Patriot: Gino Cappelletti
      September 3, 2017 | 6:54 pm
      Gino Cappelletti

      Gino Cappelletti

      In recognition of the start of football season, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is one of the original stars for the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

      In many ways, Gino Cappelletti epitomized the early years of the American Football League. While the NFL was becoming more specialized and tougher to break into, the AFL provided former college stars with a new place to play and its “wild west” mentality allowed players to contribute in a wide variety of ways.

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