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Steelers Fan

What Steelers Ugly Loss says about Future of 2014 season? posted by Steelers Fan

The Steelers had looked like the unstoppable team in the AFC. With Roethlisberger setting passing records and the defense shutting down every offense it faced.

However, when the Steelers faced off against the one win New York Jets Sunday, what Steeler team showed up was a far cry from the dominating presence that had been there for the last several games.

While one loss or one win doesn’t usually say much about the future of a team’s season, when a first place team loses to a one loss team, AND loses to that one loss team in a humiliating, demoralizing way, then there is cause for concern.

From the start of the game, the Jets ran the ball all over the Steelers D, going up 10-0 early in the game, but instead of rallying the Steelers had their next 3 drives end with turnovers. Hardly a display of urgency on a part of the offense, as they went into the half only scoring 3 points.

In the second half, Roethlisberger was picked off again, one of 4 Steeler turnovers on the day. While the stats look good on paper, it was the complete lack of urgency from the Steelers' offense. The no-huddle, which has paid major dividends in the last three weeks and the last two in particular, didn't make an appearance until the final minutes of the game. 

To watch the Steelers on Sunday against the Jets, one would not believe this was a team tied for first place.

They played down to an inferior opponent. They abandoned everything that worked on offense. Losing to a one-win team isn't going to help convince anyone that the Steelers are truly legitimate threats to reach the playoffs, let alone win a Super Bowl. This was a major step back that the Steelers should not have made. 

Continue reading "What Steelers Ugly Loss says about ..."


Steelers Fan

The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers posted by Steelers Fan

The Pittsburgh Steelers won six of their last eight games last season, salvaging what looked like a lost campaign and ending the year with an even 8-8 record. This season, the team looks forward to building from that strong showing and perhaps entering the playoffs.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, throwing for 4,261 yards and 28 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions. Like his team, he started slowly with six scores and six picks in his first four outings. But he caught fire late in the season, and the Steelers hope he’ll bring that momentum in the new season.

But he’ll have to play without Emmanuel Sanders who was their starting receiver. Antonio Brown is still there and the receiver was impressive last year with 110 receptions. Still, the Steelers will need another receiver to step up.  Some of the more promising candidates to step up to the challenge are rookie Martavis Bryant and third-year pro Markus Wheaton.

The improved play of the Steelers offensive line was one of the top stories for the team last year. Guards David DeCastro and Ramon Foster were their top blockers last year, surrendering only two sacks.  Left tackle Kevin Beachum also did a stellar job of protecting the blind side of their quarterback, surrendering only one sack in the last six games of the season.

The Steelers have always taken pride in their defense, but they were uncharacteristically a step slower on defense the past year. In fact they allowed opposing teams to score 23 points per game against them.  The team hopes that two rookies--- Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt---- would provide the spark in defense. Michael Mitchell was also signed to boost the defense as he’ll start next to Troy Polamalu and in lieu of the ineffective Ryan Clark.

Continue reading "The 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers"


Steelers Fan

NFL Betting and Pittsburgh Steelers In 2013 posted by Steelers Fan

Some betting experts discourage people from placing a wager on their favourite team or even the season’s favourites. They instead advise people to remain objective as they place wagers on the teams. Most newbies tend to focus on their own team and this leads them to vote for teams with very poor chances of winning. Pros do their homework. They bet on a team based on facts instead of feelings. If you do this it can dramatically increase your chances of winning.

If you're a newbie, or simply can't bring yourself to bet against your own team then you might be better suited for other sides of online gambling, like for example online casinos. Take your pick from literally hundreds of slots machines available at places like Lucky Nugget who can be found at http://www.luckynuggetcasino.com/online-slots/ If you're not looking to branch too much into the world of casino game then don't be intimidated. Even though some people do enjoy intense games like poker, a bit of light-hearted, sports based fun like the slots found at the above URL can earn you a fair deal of money too. If this doesn't appeal to you at all, then do read on and we will try and ensure you a winning betting slip this weekend!


It is also important not to be too withdrawn; it takes away the fun and is counter intuitive. In order to follow the game closely, you need to have passion. If you are planning to engage in sports betting for the first time you may want to pick a sport that you love. Your experience, knowledge and willingness to learn will help you make better choices.
NFL Football betting is by far the most popular sports that people wager on. While baseball gives more options on how you can wager, football is simple and uncomplicated. This makes it easier for beginners to understand and feel comfortable with. If you are a Steels fan then you need to brace yourself for an unpredictable but exciting season.

Continue reading "NFL Betting and Pittsburgh Steelers In 2013"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 in the NFL season has arrived! With two weeks left in the season, I don’t need to tell you how important these games are for those teams still in the hunt. It’s time to get into all the storylines in The Opening Drive!

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons at

(4-10) Detroit Lions

Saturday night football has arrived! And it’s… relatively meaningless. The Falcons are very close to locking down their one seed (only need one win) and the Lions could be another embarrassing loss away from blowing things up. This could be an entertaining (but non-competitive) contest to open the week.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints at

(8-6) Dallas Cowboys

I’ve already seen a LOT of coverage for this game, which only features one possible playoff participant. The Cowboys can win the division if they win their final two games, and that starts with an interesting match-up against the Saints. Drew Brees won’t take it light on a Dallas secondary that has been hit-or-miss this year. But I think the Saint defense won’t play as well as it appeared to last week versus the Bucs.

(5-9) San Diego Chargers at

(6-8) New York Jets

Wait. There has to be a reason I put this game on the list. THE GREG MCELROY ERA HAS BEGUN! But honestly, I don’t know if any of the Jets’ quarterbacks will be on the roster next season. And the Chargers? They’re a train wreck. AND I LOVE IT.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 14, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

There were some wildly surprising results from week 14 in the NFL. Before we move on from the weekend’s action, it’s time to recap the best stories in The Final Drive!

(7-6) Dallas Cowboys 20

(7-6) Cincinnati Bengals 19

Not only is it impressive that the Cowboys focused up and found a way to win on the road against a quality opponent, but they did it while facing such enormous adversity. Losing a teammate 24 hours before the game has to be a shock to their system, but they maintained composure and kept themselves in the playoff race. Meanwhile, Cincy lost out on a prime opportunity to pull away from the Steelers, who lost a shocker. They dropped a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and couldn’t get A.J. Green the ball. Both of which are concerns for a supposed playoff team.

(9-4) Indianapolis Colts 27

(4-9) Tennessee Titans 23

Dude. Andrew Luck. Stop it. We get it. You’re SUPER clutch. Next time you face an inferior team can you just blow the doors off them right away and not spot them points by throwing stupid interceptions? Obviously I love the drama, but I’m betting your fans could use less heart attacks.

(5-8) San Diego Chargers 34

(7-6) Pittsburgh Steelers 24

This was definitely the WTF game of the weekend. How the Steelers came out this flat at home against a team in such turmoil we’ve never know. Norv Turner pulled out all the tricks in this one, but this is just the biggest damn fluke I’ve ever seen. Shame on you Pittsburgh. Shame.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 14, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 13, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 13 of the NFL put a lot of races in the proper perspective. Teams began to clinch playoff spots/division titles and can now aim for loftier goals. Other teams had their struggles, including one squad that faced the unimaginable. It’s time for The Final Drive.

(11-1) Atlanta Falcons 23

(5-7) New Orleans Saints 13

Can we all just stop thinking the Saints are making the playoffs? Because it’s REALLY not happening. This may not have been the throat-stomping win for Atlanta that everyone wanted, but it was a solid victory that can only build on their confidence as they streak toward the number one seed in the NFC.

 

(8-4) Indianapolis Colts 35

(4-8) Detroit Lions 33

Luck does it again. I’m not a huge fan of all the interceptions he’s thrown, but he’s brought his team back all year long and has them primed for a playoff spot. It’s extraordinarily impressive. And he’s just going to get better. For Detroit, this is just another crushing loss in a season of disappointments. Put them out of their misery.

(8-4) Green Bay Packers 23

(6-6) Minnesota Vikings 14

Even when Adrian Peterson goes off for 210 yards on only 21 carries, Aaron Rodgers refuses to let his team lose. It’s pretty stunning what he can do sometimes. The Packers dominated time of possession, keeping Peterson on the sideline for almost two-thirds of the game. That’s the way to win.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 13, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 10, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Capped by what can only be called “putrid” primetime contests, week 10 of the NFL season isn’t actually all that bad! We have some very interesting divisional match-ups, including a “losing coach gets fired” match in the NFC East and a possible trap for our lone undefeated squad. Let’s hop into The Opening Drive!

  

(5-3) Indianapolis Colts at

(1-7) Jacksonville Jaguars

Gross NFL Network. Gross. Indianapolis is a winning team, sure. But they’re not good enough to make this game overly enjoyable. Well, unless you like watching bad football. Like this guy. Jacksonville will entertain me all night long.

(6-3) New York Giants at

(3-5) Cincinnati Bengals

The Giants are apparently “slumping” after losing to the Steelers, so of course they’ll probably come out this week and expose the Bengals as pretenders. Hakeem Nicks says he’s going to play, so Eli will likely bust out of the passing rut he’s in. Cincy hasn’t proven that they can beat the good teams, only that they can hang with them. That shouldn’t change on Sunday.

(4-4) Detroit Lions at

(5-4) Minnesota Vikings

Early this year we thought the Vikings were for real and that the Lions were terrible. A handful of bad Christian Ponder performances in Minnesota and special teams adjustments in Detroit have since leveled the playing field. A win Sunday can put one of these teams in the clustered mix for a possible wildcard spot. (Because let’s face it, neither of them are winning the division.) I like the Lions’ one-dimensional offense over the Vikings’ one-dimensional offense.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 10, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 7, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

The NFL is full of parity through six weeks of this season, clearly evident by the fact that only two teams in the AFC are above .500. In week seven we get to see new takes on division rivalries and a battle for supremacy in the AFC. Let’s break down some games!

(4-2) Seattle Seahawks at

(4-2) San Francisco 49ers

Rookie QB Russell Wilson has been hit at home and miss on the road so far in 2012. Tonight, he gets to take on one of the best defenses in football. Unfortunately, they were embarrassed by Eli Manning last week and will probably take their frustration out on him. The Niners don’t like to play from behind, but I’m unconvinced the Seahawks are capable of pulling away. Seattle needs to keep this one close or else they could lose out on the division race.

(3-3) Green Bay Packers at

(3-3) St. Louis Rams

It’s been some time since a game between the Packers and the Rams would have been this intriguing. I’m not saying it’ll be close though. Green Bay is pulling itself out of a deep hole and is facing a stringy defense that likes aggressive, physical coverage. Aaron Rodgers could light up the scoreboard for a second straight week, leaving Sam Bradford and the out-manned Rams offense in catch-up mode. They just won’t be able to put up the same level of points if their defense can’t hold up. If the Rams are going to win this game, it’ll be because their defensive line pounded Aaron Rodgers into the ground. And with that Packer o-line? It’s a possibility.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 7, 2012"


Amari Harris

First Down Friday: Week Two posted by Amari Harris

First Down Friday

Evening football fans,

Week one of the NFL season is in the books and week two is on deck.  We’ve already seen the Packers vindicate themselves on Thursday night football after their week one loss, but this definitely doesn’t look like the 15-1 team from 2011 or the Super Bowl team from 2010.  Everyone had high expectations for the Bears after some offseason upgrades (Brandon Marshall & Michael Bush), and they seemed to justify those expectation with a week one drubbing of the Colts 41-21.  But last night’s game seemed to foreshadow the unpredictability of the 2012 NFL season and it feels as though we may know less after week two than we did after week one (if that’s possible).  Here are my thoughts about this upcoming weekend’s games:

  1. Scoring up?  Big Whoop!

Many fans and experts alike took note of the record breaking scoring that went on in week one, and a majority seemed concerned that this was a bad sign for the league.  The fact remains that the NFL has evolved into a more fast paced, passing-centered game that will result in more high scores.  Almost all new developments in the game are designed to enhance the passing game, increase the scoring, and bring more excitement to the game.  The NFL’s researchers know that audiences love the air shows that quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Aaron Rogers, and Tom Brady conduct on a weekly basis. 

However, there is still room in this game for punishing defense and an effective run game.  That’s how the 49ers were able to beat up on that 15-1 Packers team from a year ago despite the Pack’s upgrades at several positions.  That’s how the Cowboys were able to get revenge on the Super Bowl champion Giants.  While the passing game will get you points, put you in a position to win games, and get you to the playoffs, defense and the running game keeps the other team off the board, ends games, and wins you a championship.  Some will argue that the last few Super Bowl champions didn’t have great regular season defenses, but if you look at any of those teams playoff runs, you will see that each of those defenses was playing the best at the time.  We’ll see if that trend continues or if the league will completely shift to an offense dominated game. 

Continue reading "First Down Friday: Week Two"


Charles Bisbee

Another Unpredictable NFL Season On the Way posted by Charles Bisbee

With the 2012 NFL season fast approaching, pundits are busy serving up another round of fearless predictions. I enjoy reading these predictions because 1. they are bold and 2. more often than not they prove be woefully inaccurate.

This is the great thing about the NFL: no one has a clue and anyone who says they do is full of baloney. The league has mostly been a crapshoot over the past 10 years (save for the Pats, Steelers, and Manning-lead Colts), with teams jostling for position like ping pong balls in a lottery draw.

And still some writers insist on using phrases like “up and coming” and “back of the pack” in an attempt to project a team’s un-chartable trajectory. History should have taught us that in the NFL the up and coming team is generally an illusion. Look at the Buccaneers, for example, who went a “promising” 10-6 in 2010 and then fell to 4-12 in 2011 (despite having largely the same roster). Now Si.com’s Don Banks predicts new head coach Greg Schiano  “easily will better the Bucs’ record of last year and have [the] club being identified by year’s end as one to watch in 2013.” Only in the NFL can a team go from up-and-comer to bottom of the pack to up-and-comer again in the span of 12 months.

The 49ers, on the other hand, flipped the script after a dismal 6-10 campaign in 2010, hired a new coach and finished 13-3 in 2011. Meanwhile, the Rams went a "promising" 7-9 under rookie quarterback Sam Bradford in 2010, kept the roster largely intact and then finished 2-14 last year. Where is the rhyme? Where is the reason? What can account for this anual see-saw?

Continue reading "Another Unpredictable NFL Season On the Way"

Pittsburgh Steelers News

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Steelers, Bengals still going at nasty rivalry in offseason (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Tom Brady merchandise sold more than any other NFL player in 2015-16 (Shutdown Corner)

You like him, you really like him! (Well, some people do. Based on tweets and internet comments we've seen, a lot of people aren't so fond of him.) At any rate, when the NFL Players' Assocaition released the top 50 player sales list on Monday morning, ranking sales of merchandise for the 2015-2016 season ( March 1, 2015 through February 29, 2016 ), New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was atop the chart. According to a release from the NFLPA, the rankings include player-identified products sold by over 80 companies licensed by the union, through online and traditional retailers. Sales of NFL player merchandise topped $1.5 billion last year. Predictably, quarterbacks dominate the top of the list, as the top four are all players at the position: after Brady is recently-retired Denver Broncos' QB Peyton Manning, the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson, and the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers. Receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys was the first non-QB on the list, at No. 5. Regining league MVP Cam Newton is on the list at seven; the NFLPA said sales of Newton's Auburn No. 1 merchandise was tops in collegiate co-branded items. Brady's No. 10 from his days at Michigan. Here's the full list of the top 50: 1.      Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots 2.      Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos 3.      Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks 4.      Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers 5.      Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys 6.      Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants 7.      Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers 8.      Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots 9.      J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans 10.     Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys 11.     Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers 12.     Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys 13.     Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers 14.     Richard Sherman, DB, Seattle Seahawks 15.     Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks 16.     Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans 17.     Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers 18.     Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers 19.     Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts 20.     Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints 21.     DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles 22.     Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks 23.     Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots 24.     Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos 25.     Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings 26.     Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals 27.     Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers 28.     Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions 29.     Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders 30.     Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31.     Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders 32.     Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers 33.     Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers 34.     Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins 35.     Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants 36.     A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals 37.     Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos 38.     Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears 39.     Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers 40.     Kam Chancellor, SS, Seattle Seahawks 41.     Joe Haden, DB, Cleveland Browns 42.     Khalil Mack, LB, Oakland Raiders 43.     Jarryd Hayne, RB, San Francisco 49ers 44.     Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs 45.     Darrelle Revis, DB, New York Jets 46.     Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers 47.     Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills 48.     Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers 49.     LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills 50.     Earl Thomas, DB, Seattle Seahawks [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


2016 NFL schedule: Top 10 games we can't wait to watch (Shutdown Corner)

Now that we know the "when" in the who-what-when-where equation of the 2016 NFL regular-season schedule, here's a look at the top 10 games we can't wait to watch (all times listed are Eastern). 10. Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, Week 8 (Oct. 30, 4:25 p.m.) The NFC championship game got out of hand early, with the Panthers up 17-0 before the first quarter was  over. Carolina rolled to a 49-15 home win for a spot in Super Bowl 50. Both of these teams should be strong again, and jockeying for the top seeds in the conference. One thing to look for: Will Carson Palmer be haunted by his four-interception performance? 9. Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins, Week 4 (Oct. 2, 1 p.m.) Could we see Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins start for their respective teams? Drafted No. 2 by Washington in 2012, Griffin lost the starter’s job last season to Cousins, whom the team drafted 100 spots after him that year. Signed with the Browns after he was released by Washington, Griffin is hoping to revive his career under the tutelage of Hue Jackson. Washington designated Cousins as its franchise player after he led the organization to the playoffs. 8. New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, Week 5 (Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m.) The Giants have spent a ton of money in free agency, loading up their defense with DE Olivier Vernon, CB Janoris Jenkins and DT Damon Harrison, at a whopping price tag of nearly $194 million. Is it money well spent? Playing against one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, New York will get a sense of whether it was worth it. The game in Green Bay is the second of back-to-back, prime-time road games; the week before, the Giants are at Minnesota.  7. New England Patriots at Denver Broncos, Week 15 (Dec. 18, 4:25 p.m.) These teams met twice last season, with Denver winning both; the first meeting, in November, marked the Patriots’ first loss of the season. The second, in the AFC title game, sent the Broncos to the Super Bowl. Denver looks quite different now, the biggest difference being at quarterback – Peyton Manning retired, Osweiler took Houston’s money and ran, and Colin Kaepernick rightfully told John Elway he wasn’t taking a $5 million pay cut to leave San Francisco. At the moment, Denver is starting its championship defense with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. 6. Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks, Week 1 (Sept. 11, 4:05 p.m.) The Dolphins scooped up the hottest head-coaching name in the game in January, signing former Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase to a five-year deal. It’s the first head-coaching gig Gase has held at any level, and his tenure is starting off on the road – because of stadium construction, the Dolphins asked for their opening games to be away , and the NFL gave them Seattle and New England. Yikes. 5. Brock Osweiler’s first game as quarterback of the Houston Texans, vs. Chicago Bears, Week 1 (Sept. 11, 1 p.m. EST) Osweiler has exactly seven NFL starts to his name, but that didn’t stop the Texans from giving him about $5 million per start in guaranteed money in his four-year, $72 million contract. He’s being paid like a franchise quarterback but will Osweiler play like one? His first two games in Texans blue are at home, starting with the Bears, and the Kansas City Chiefs, the team that shut out Houston in the wild-card round in January.  4. Patriots at San Francisco 49ers, Week 11 (Nov. 20, 4:25 p.m. EST) If we assume the Patriots are still playing like the Patriots have for over a decade and the 49ers are still struggling as they’ve done in recent years, this game doesn’t look like an interesting one. But it piques the interest because it will be the first – and possibly only – time in his storied career that Tom Brady plays at “home”; when New England played in old Candlestick Park during the 2008 season, Brady was on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Brady played his high school ball about 18 miles from Candlestick (the Niners now play at Levi’s Stadium), and as a preschooler was in the stands for “The Catch” in the 1982 NFC championship game.  3. Los Angeles Rams’ first game in Los Angeles, vs. Seattle Seahawks, Week 2 (Sept. 18, 4:05 p.m.) The Rams got their hype machine going on Thursday morning when they announced they’d acquired the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft from the Tennessee Titans. It remains to be seen who they’ll take with that selection, but it might not matter – at long last, the NFL is back in Los Angeles.  2. Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 2 (Sept. 18, 1 p.m.) These two teams already hated one another, and that was before their wild wild-card round playoff meeting in January. In general we’re all in favor of the officials letting the players play, but this one might need famed boxing ref Mills Lane to come out of retirement to keep things from getting out of hand. 1. Panthers at Denver, Week 1 (Sept. 8, 8:30 p.m. EST) Does this need an explanation? Cam Newton, Von Miller, and a rematch of Super Bowl 50 for the now-traditional Thursday night regular-season kickoff extravaganza. Oh, and the Broncos will likely be unveiling their championship banner with the Panthers looking on. Throw in the dog-riding monkeys and it's a perfect night. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

2016 NFL schedule: Why so much Bears, Eagles, Skins in prime time? (Shutdown Corner)

The 2016 NFL prime-time schedule on Sunday and Monday nights, which are considered some of the league’s marquee games, features some goof early-season battles between non-conference teams. The league's Thursday games are still considered the weakest night for evening football, but Sunday and Monday typically still deliver after dark. Most weeks, anyway. Much of the schedule looks stacked, but there are still a handful of teams with multiple prime-time games that we just don't get. The Chicago Bears? The Philadelphia Eagles? The Washington Redskins? Those teams get three games each on Sunday and Monday nights —the same as the Super Bowl-winning Broncos have. We're a little confused with some of the team choices, even though other matchups look downright delicious. Here's a look, week by week, at the Sunday night and Monday night games —and which ones we recommend actually watching: WEEK 1 Sunday: New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals Monday: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins; Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Our take: The Chandler Jones-Jonathan Cooper Bowl, eh? OK, so the interesting trade this offseason might not be the only reason to watch this one. After all, these are the two conference runners-up from 2015, and there's still a chance Tom Brady could be suspended for this one. But we will take a Bruce Arians-Bill Belichick showdown anytime. The first Monday nighter is ... hmm. Yes, these are two playoff teams facing off, and it's two of the stronger fan bases and traditional franchises in the NFL. Plus, they don't often meet. So we get that. Expect a lot of Steelers fans in the house for Le'Veon Bell's possible return. The late game is about what we expected, although we thought the Rams might open in the Coliseum. Nope, this one is up the coast at Levi's. You kids might not remember it, but Rams-49ers used to be a good little rivalry back in the day, and this being the first game of Rams 2.0 and the first Chip Kelly game in San Fran, there are some decent storylines. Oh, and whomever the Rams pick first in the draft could be making their debut; if it's Jared Goff, he's a Bay Area kid, for what it's worth. WEEK 2 Sunday: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Monday: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears Our take: The Vikings get to open their new stadium against their old rivals. As it should be. We thought this might happen in Week 1, but the Vikings instead open on the road and then host this one in what should be a big night in the Twin Cities. Last we saw, the building looked gorgeous, although they have had one or two setbacks. This rivalry is great, and the Vikings beat the Packers for the division a year ago. Fun matchup, assuming a healthy Jordy Nelson can lift the Packers. Interesting battle in the Windy City the next night, as three-quarters on the NFC North is on display this week. No super compelling angles for this one, really, depending on what the Eagles do at quarterback in the draft, but we still expect Sam Bradford to open the season as the starter. Maybe fog will roll in and we'll have a replay of that game back in 1988 . WEEK 3 Sunday: Bears at Dallas Cowboys Monday: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Our take: Bears? Again? So on paper, we get the allure of Bears at Cowboys. Two traditional teams —heck, two Mike Ditka teams —but really? Yes, we think both teams have a chance to be good. But something is a bit missing here for us that we might not be seeing. The Saints host their rival Falcons nearly 10 years to the day of the Steve Gleason game —the night the Superdome reopened after Hurricane Katrina and Gleason, who now suffers from ALS but is a big part of the franchise and community still, blocked a punt that never will be forgotten by the locals. This one will have extra meaning, too, following the death of Saints legends Will Smith and Hokie Gajan, although they do play at home in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders. WEEK 4 Sunday: Kansas City Chiefs at Steelers Monday: New York Giants at Vikings Our take: Two dangerous 2015 wild-card teams meet in what could be a good, old-fashioned matchup of heavyweights, as Andy Reid returns to the state in which he coached for 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. With Bell and the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, two of the NFL's best backs —both shut down by ACLs last season —could square off. Both these teams have to feel like they can make runs at a Super Bowl. The Vikings host another game at night in their new digs. This game is a rematch of the one played last year at TCF Bank Stadium, with the Vikings slamming the Odell Beckham-less Giants, 49-17, in Tom Coughlin's penultimate game as head coach. This time, it will be Ben McAdoo leading the Jints, and yeah, he and the networks both hope OBJ is on the field. WEEK 5 Sunday: Giants at Green Bay Packers Monday: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Our take: The first game features former Super Bowl MVPs squaring off with Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers going head to head. And did you know the Giants have won the past thre matchups head to head, all by double digits? The first of those was a stunner —the Giants taking down the 15-1 Packers at Lambeau en route to winning it all in the 2011 season. Good game for two of the richest NFL franchises ever. The Packers and Giants have a long history, dating back to 1928 when Mule Wilson scored the only TD for the Giants in a 6-0 upset at old City Stadium in front of about 7,000 fans. There's symmetry here, too, with two No. 1 overall picks squaring off. Jameis Winston has his first Monday night game and a tough battle against the Panthers' defense. Meanwhile, this is becoming old hat for Cam Newton. He's been on prime time a lot and is sure to be a lot more for many years. WEEK 6 Sunday: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Monday: New York Jets at Cardinals Our take: Andrew Luck missed the last matchup between these AFC South rivals in Houston, and Matt Hasselbeck —now doing the TV thing —was the unexpected hero. Now J.J. Watt and Brock Osweiler and Co. will try to keep the Texans' division crown in this game. Are we pumped for it? Meh. But Luck and Watt are marquee names, so we get it. We like the sneaky good matchup in the Monday game between Arians and his former understudy. Todd Bowles did a marvelous job for the Jets in his first season, allthings considered, and he returns to the place where he did good work with the Cards' defense. WEEK 7 Sunday: Seattle Seahawks at Cardinals Monday: Texans at Denver Broncos Our take: THE NFL LOVES ARIANS! There's no other explanation! This is now three prime-time games for the beautiful birds in seven weeks. Pretty unreal. Oh, and Cardinals-Seahawks is the new 49ers-Seahawks. It's a down-and-dirty battle. We love it any time of the day. Ok, here's your Osweiler revenge game. You know the story. He played for the Broncos and yadda ya, Peyton Manning, benching, unhappy, free agency, John Elway, and boom —instant storyline magic. Not sure why someone who got paid $18 mil a year should be mad, but who am I? Two good defenses, too, for what it's worth. Wade Phillips was a big reason why ... for both teams. WEEK 8 Sunday: Eagles at Cowboys Monday: Vikings at Bears Our take: The DeMarco Murray Bo--oh, never mind. This is just a regular-ole rivalry game for two teams that probably should have made a run at the division a year ago but fell short. And in the Cowboys' case, way short. Crazy things have happened in this rivalry in Dallas, so it should be fun. Bears again? The Vikings we get, but the Fighting John Foxes are getting a lot of air time. I mean, we'll watch —heck, we're based in Chicago, so we likely will be there. But nothing too sexy off the hoof with this game. It's Halloween night, which is cool and all that. But if Chicago Cubs fans have their way, there actually could be a World Series game happening up the road in Chicago this same night, as the baseball season started late this year because of the calendar. Oh and yes, I just jinxed the Cubs, who now will lose 19 of their next 24 games. WEEK 9 Sunday: Broncos at Raiders Monday: Buffalo Bills at Seahawks Our take: By this point in the season, we should have a good idea whether the Raiders —sure to be everyone's preseason "sleeper" playoff club —are legit or not. This is a big one for the Raiders. Jack Del Rio used to run the Broncos' defense (and was their interim head coach when John Fox got sick in the Super Bowl season), and Derek Carr has a chance to be a star. Great test here under the lights. We like the idea of two scrambling, whirling dervishes on display in the Monday game, but that's assuming the Bills are still wedded to Tyrod Taylor by this point. He and Russell Wilson are as fun to watch as they are annoying for defense to try to corral. Cool trivia: Taylor beat out Wilson for ACC Player of the Year in 2010, back when he was at N.C. State before heading to Wisconsin. The last time the Bills played in Seattle it was a 38-9 romp by the visitors, led by Willis McGahee and Drew Bledsoe, besting the Hasselbeck- and Shaun Alexander-led Seahawks. WEEK 10 Sunday: Seahawks at Patriots Monday: Cincinnati Bengals at Giants Our take: The Seahawks third prime-time game in a four-week span just so happens to be against the team that beat them in stunning fashion in Super Bowl XLIX. So there's that. But no Marshawn Lynch and thus no chance for a do-over on the goal line. Instead, we get what looks to be a fantastic matchup again in what should be a raucous Gillette Stadium. The Bengals make their first appearance on this list, although they will be in stand-alone slots in a Week 4 Thursday game as well as the early London game two weeks (and the bye) prior to this contest in East Rutherford. Interestingly, it will be only the 10th all-time meeting of the Bengals and Giants, and yet seven of the nine matchups have been one-score games. But what happens with OBJ and Vontaze Burfict meet on the same field? WEEK 11 Sunday: Packers at Redskins Monday: Texans at Raiders Our take: Did we really need a rematch of the playoff game in D.C.? Again, we know that these are "ratings" teams and all that. But we really feel we're getting set up for a letdown here, but maybe Rodgers goes nuclear and throw for half a grand against this defense. There might not be anything too thrilling about the Monday game, but we like the promise of it. Carr looks poised for a breakout year, and we get to watch Khalil Mack face off against a hopefully healthy Jadeveon Clowney and Watt in a good but not great defensive battle. These teams are both contender, though. WEEK 12 Sunday: Patriots at Jets Monday: Packers at Eagles Our take: It's Thanksgiving week in the NFL, and it's back-to-back night games for the Patriots. A Buttfumble tradition reborn? We can only hope. Something fun always happens when these teams meet. We love history, so naturally we saw this matchup and thought of the "4th and 26" game (we refuse to call it the Freddie Mitchell game), but seriously what's up with all the Eagles? I get it, they're a big team and all that. But are they that good? I don't know. Maybe the NFL knows something we don't. WEEK 13 Sunday: Panthers at Seahawks Monday: Colts at Jets Our take: Now that Brady-Manning is no longer a thing, we suggest Newton-Wilson take its place. This will be meeting No. 7 since 2012, with two of those coming in the playoffs, and the average margin victory has been a mere six points. Wilson's Seahawks have won four of the six games, but Newton and the Panthers came back to beat the Seahawks improbably in the regular season and then withstood a major Seahawks comeback in the playoffs to win both games. This one looks tremendous. Colts-Jets frankly is a bit of a leftdown in comparison. We don't have much to say about it. Both teams could be good, but we are not drooling over this one frankly. WEEK 14 Sunday: Cowboys at Giants Monday: Baltimore Ravens at Patriots Our take: Cowboys-Giants on prime time? You don't say. It only has happened each of the past eight seasons, although we frankly expected one of these games earlier on this list, and as early as Week 1 even. What else can you say? The past six meetings have been tremendously close, with five being decided by one score. We might not get too many more of these Eli Manning-Tony Romo battles, so we will enjoy the heck out of each of them. Our first Ravens appearance on this list, and oh joy! It's Patriots week. Look, these organizations don't so much like each other, OK? Lot of bad blood between Bill Belichick's team and John Harbaugh's squad. They have a fun rivalry over the years, and it will be a return to the scene of the 2014 season crime when the Ravens blew two 14-point leads at Foxboro and complained about formations afterward. We look forward to this. Mark our words: The Ravens are much, much better than last season showed. WEEK 15 Sunday: Steelers at Bengals Monday: Panthers at Redskins Our take: Oh boy. You need a reminder what happened in the wild-card slop in January? Likely not. It was ugly, and the Bengals blew a golden chance to end their now decades-long playoff losing streak, which sits at seven because Jeremy Hill can't hang onto the football and Burfict and Pacman Jones can't keep their cool. The Steelers were the beneficiaries of that one, and these teams both look strong again. Another fun, but ugly one. The Panthers, we get. The Redskins? Man, they felt like a slightly fluky division champ a year ago. We hope we're wrong and that Kirk Cousins does for "You like that?!" what Newton has done for the dab. But we suspect things won't go as smoothly this season. Oh well. WEEK 16 Sunday: Ravens at Steelers; Broncos at Chiefs Monday: Detroit Lions at Cowboys Our take: A Christmas miracle! A doubleheader wrapped up nicely for us, and two division games to boot. We love them both. What's not to like about two sets of bitter rival wanting to tear each other up on the holy holiday? Welcome, Lions! You get to go on the road for Xmas to the other team that hosts Thanksgiving games. Oh, and it's the place where the refs screwed you in the playoffs a few years back. Joy to the world! - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

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Hall of Famer Lynn Swann named athletic director at USC (Yahoo Sports)

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