All Roads Lead To The Super Bowl

Many different paths often lead to the same place. For some, that place is familiar. For others, it’s folklore. That place is the Super Bowl. To understand how the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles’ paths led to Super Bowl LII, we must look to Championship Sunday: 1 part same old story, 1 part shock and awe….

What Else Is New?!

No Gronk, no problem.

The New England Patriots deserve praise. Hell, they deserve their own holiday on the calendar. What the Patriots continue to do, against the toughest of odds, is incredible. The Jets fan inside dies a little bit every time I compliment the Patriots.

Tom Brady received stitches on his throwing hand just days prior to the AFC Championship. It didn’t matter. The Patriots were down 14-3 in the 1st half. It didn’t matter. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski (concussion) for the game just before halftime. It didn’t matter. The Patriots were down 10 points, with 9 minutes to play. It didn’t matter. No matter the adversity, they persevere.

In any significant Patriots’ victory, there’s always a play that stands out. A play you can point to, and say, there it is, NOW they’re going to win. Most teams wouldn’t understand. 3rd & 18, down 10, with 10:49 to play, Brady connected with Danny Amendola for a 1st down (21 yards). It sounds simple, but it embodies the Patriots’ spirit. This is why scoring a game-winning touchdown, with 2:10 to play, is not as dramatic as it sounds. A Patriots’ victory was never in doubt.

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The Jaguars, however, deserve credit (sort of). They played a near perfect 1st half, carrying a 14-10 lead into the locker room. The offensive play calling was perfect, easy throws for Blake Bortles and plenty of rushing attempts. Bortles impressed, completing 17 of 23 passes (73.9%) in the 1st half. But then, Bortles turned back into a pumpkin, going 6 for 13 (46.1%) in the 2nd half. And that, as they say, was all she wrote.

With their 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots will play in their 8th Super Bowl in the last 17 years (10th appearance in their history). They’ll look to win back-to-back Super Bowls for the 1st time since 2004, when they defeated the Eagles (24-21). For New England, the cast of characters are practically the same. As for Philadelphia, it’s a lifetime ago.

I Did Not See That Coming!!

The Philadelphia Eagles entered the NFC Championship as underdogs. They left as champions. Despite being underdogs in consecutive games, the Eagles have overcome. Doubt. Injury. Public perception. They overcame it all and find themselves in their 3rd Super Bowl in franchise history.

If you tried to adjust your television set during yesterday’s game, you weren’t the only one. I thought there was a Tom Brady sighting in both games too. Yes, Nick Foles played that good of a game. Foles, who finished with 352 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, tore up a stringent, Vikings defense. This was a Vikings defense who ranked top-5 in nearly every statistical category during the regular season.

After a dramatic win over the Saints in the Divisional Round, it appeared the Vikings were simply happy to be here.

The Vikings marched down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown. Then continued to force a punt on the Eagles’ 1st possession. The city of Philadelphia was probably collectively hurling things at their TVs. But after an interception returned for a touchdown, it was all Eagles. With 14:10 left to play, the Eagles took a 38-7 lead, and I, turned off my TV.

 

Did you doubt the Patriots yesterday?? Did Nick Foles play the best game of his career?? Tell me the truth in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

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The NFL Playoffs Are Finally Here!!!!

kamara

After enduring 17 weeks of mediocrity, the real stuff is finally upon us. Saturday afternoon, the NFL Playoffs commence with Wild Card Weekend. Despite the large “spreads” in each of the 4 impending games, expect entertaining, competitive football. And if all 4 games turn into blowouts, it beats the hell out of shoveling snow….

Tennessee Titans (5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4) – 4:20 P.M. EST on ESPN 

The Kansas City Chiefs’ season started on as high of a note as possible. They beat up the defending Super Bowl Champion, New England Patriots (42-27), in Foxborough, sending a message to the rest of the league. They started the season 5-0, and climbed to the top of the NFL Power Rankings. And then, the wheels started to fall off. They lost 6 of their next 7, including a loss to my wretched New York Jets. And then, the Chiefs flipped another switch, winning their final 4 games. You figure it out….

All you need to know about the Tennessee Titans is Marcus Mariota threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13) this season. Also, Demarco Murray has been ruled out for this game. While the Chiefs aren’t a blow-you-out kind of offense, this is the 1 game that may get out of hand this weekend.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Titans 20  

Atlanta Falcons (6) @ Los Angeles Rams (3) – 8:15 P.M. EST on NBC

If going out in -2° is your thing, enjoy!! For the rest of the normal people out there, Saturday Night Football will keep you warm. Expect a high scoring affair between the ‘new look’ Rams and the defending NFC Champion, Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have had a weird season. Some call it a Super Bowl Hangover. I call it regression to the mean. At no point throughout this season did I think the Falcons were a good team. Matt Ryan certainly didn’t play anywhere near his 2016 MVP level, and their backfield was littered with injuries all season.

We all saw what the Rams are capable of when they walloped the Seahawks 42-7 (Week 15). I don’t anticipate a whooping of those proportions, however, I do think they win handily. Todd Gurley will prove why he SHOULD be this season’s MVP.

Prediction: Rams 34, Falcons 27

To Sunday we go….

Buffalo Bills (6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3) – 1:05 P.M. EST on CBS

The Buffalo Bills are hoping to continue their celebration from Week 17. After not having made the playoffs since 1999, advancing to the Divisional Round, aka the get routed by the Patriots round, would be the overachievement of the century. With Lesean McCoy’s health in question, I see little chance of that happening.

The only way the Bills win this game is if Blake Bortles throws 3 interceptions and Lesean McCoy hits 100 yards rushing. Yes, Bortles is a walking interception, but I think the combination of the Jaguars’ defense and Leonard Fournette will ultimately be too much for the Bills too handle.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Bills 17  

Carolina Panthers (5) @ New Orleans Saints (4) – 4:40 P.M. EST on FOX

3rd time’s the charm?? The Carolina Panthers certainly hope so. The New Orleans Saints swept the season series with the Panthers. Yes, Cam Newton’s ceiling is WAY higher than most, but this isn’t his year. His own team traded away his top receiver (Kelvin Benjamin). Greg Olsen hasn’t been right all year. And their usually strong secondary, isn’t what it used to be.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Saints aren’t what they used to be either — in a good way. The Saints actually have a defense worth writing home about. I guess firing Rob Ryan was a good idea. WHO KNEW?! They have the best rushing attack in the NFL. And Drew Brees is still, well, Drew Brees.

Prediction: Saints 30, Panthers 24 

 

Who do you think will win this weekend?? Post your predictions in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

SURPRISE!! Another Guy You’ve Never Heard Of Won The U.S. Open

brooks-koepka-us-open

Brooks Koepka. Tommy Fleetwood. Xander Schauffele. Brian Harman. Stop me when I get to someone you’ve heard of before. If you were 1 of the 6 people watching the U.S. Open yesterday, you probably know who these guys are. As for the rest of you, I’m betting you couldn’t pick them out of a lineup. They would be 4 of the top 5 finishers at this year’s U.S. Open. The other? Hideki Matsuyama. Oh..you’ve never heard of him either? I was giving you too much credit. Sorry.

Brooks Koepka pulled away from the field on Sunday, with 3 birdies in a row on the back-9 (holes 14-16). Koepka finished at -16, winning his 1st Major. Koepka’s -16 is tied for the lowest score to par in U.S. Open history (Rory Mcilroy – 2011). Mcilroy, golf’s #2 ranked golfer, missed the cut this year. As did golf’s #1 and #3 ranked golfers. Mcilroy has now missed the cut in consecutive U.S Opens. This says a lot about the state of golf.

This marks the 7th consecutive year the U.S. Open has been won by a 1st-time Major winner. This ALSO says a lot about the state of golf. Without Tiger Woods, or a notable superstar, golf is fairly unwatchable. Die-hard golf fans will always be there, watching every tournament no matter who’s on the leaderboard. But I’m not talking about the die-hard fans. I’m talking about the casual golf fans, ya know the ones every sport needs to keep their bank accounts overflowing.

Golf is starving for its next great superstar.

Since when does FOX cover golf by the way?! And since when does Joe Buck do golf?! I thought their coverage was atrocious. I know Fox signed a 12-year contract to cover the U.S. Open back in 2015, but we need a breach of contract over here. Pleaseeee. I know golf is struggling, but do they think Joe Buck screaming BRIAN HARMAN FOR THE BIRDIE is going to help matters?? Newsflash, this is golf, not an NFL Sunday with Aaron Rodgers dropping back to pass!! Joe, as talented of an announcer as you are, we can tell you don’t know anything about golf. You sound like you’re reading off a list of stats and facts about each golfer. I have an idea. Why don’t we take some of that $15 million you’re worth, and get you some golf lessons. What do you say?? It may help retain those 6 viewers.

Like the majority of sports fans, I won’t watch another golf tournament until the 2017 Open Championship (British Open). Mark July 20th through the 23rd on your calendar to see who will hoist the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Or don’t. Either way. Either way is fine. For golf’s sake, I hope Phil Mickelson plays and golf’s top golfers make the cut this time. I don’t really want to watch Trey Mullinax win his 1st Major. Oh no, he is a real person. I didn’t make him up. He is ranked 373rd in the world, and just finished tied for 9th (-8) at the U.S. Open. It’s not Mr. Mullinax’s fault, but his success is the reason why golf is struggling.

I don’t see golf’s savior anywhere on the horizon….

Did you watch the U.S. Open?? How many golf tournaments do you watch each year??

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!