Mark Brunell somehow almost cried about some under-inflated footballs. That's where we're at with all of this. (image courtesy of deadspin.com)

Only in America would every major national news station cover the press conference of a man discussing the inflation levels of some footballs. All this outrage has been drummed up by the media, which is not shocking in the least. Thanks to the 24-hour “news” cycle we get to listen to so-called experts speculate for hours without an ounce of actual evidence. Yet without any evidence, other than the fact 11 out of 12 Patriots’ footballs came in under-inflated, they are already to convict Bill Belichick and Tom Brady of this heinous crime against humanity. Last time I checked in America it’s innocent until proven guilty…Unless of course you’re the New England Patriots.

Let’s take it back to where it all started. Indianapolis sports writer Bob Kravitz was the one to break the news that a source tipped him off about the Patriots using under-inflated footballs during the AFC Championship. The tweet turned out to be true, and the NFL was in fact investigating the Patriots footballs. So far so good, we have a reporter make a claim that gets backed up by facts. That, unfortunately, is where the credibility ended. Continue reading The National Media is to Blame for Deflategate Outrage »

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Bill Belichick and the Patriots celebrate their sixth AFC Championship win in the past 14 years.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The past two seasons we have grown accustomed to watching the Patriots blowout their divisional round opponent only to lose in the AFC Championship game. This year they changed things up for the better. Last week we all sat on the edge of our seats while the Patriots erased two 14-point deficits on route to a huge win over the hated Ravens. On Sunday we all got to relax a bit as the Patriots handled the Colts easily as they advanced to their sixth Super Bowl appearance in 14 years.

- In classic Patriots fashion, the game plan was completely different than last week against the Ravens. Last Saturday, as a team, the Patriots could only muster 14 yards on the ground. Sunday night LaGarrette Blount picked up where he left off against the Colts in last year’s divisional playoff as he rumbled for 148 yards on 30 carries while scoring three touchdowns. The ability to adjust their strategy on a weekly basis depending on the opponent has always been one of the Patriots’ biggest strengths during the Bill Belichick era. As the rain poured down, Blount put his head down and kept pushing his legs forward for another impressive playoff performance.  Continue reading Forget Deflate-Gate: Let’s Look Back to the Actual AFC Championship Game… »

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So the question is, how were 11 of 12 Patriots footballs deflated when Gronk only scored one touchdown? (@RobGronkowski)

Well, this is awkward.

Quarterback Tom Brady laughed it off as “ridiculous.” Coach Bill Belichick all but ignored it (on to Seattle!). Wide receiver Julian Edelman said they didn’t feel any different than usual. Vince Wilfork took the bemused approach and claimed ignorance; after all, he just tackles people. Patriots fans scoffed and all but raised their collective middle finger in labeling the rest of the football world jealous haters with nothing better to do than accuse the New England Patriots of needing to cheat to maintain their dominance.

And now the NFL reportedly found that 11 of the 12 footballs for the Patriots were underinflated, and significantly so, as much as two pounds per square inch. On to Seattle?

Continue reading So This is Awkward…Deflategate Continues as NFL Finds 11 of 12 Patriot Footballs Underinflated »

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Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers can't help marveling at how Ainge's disappearing act that made Austin Rivers magically appear in Los Angeles on the Clippers, among other trade tricks. (ESPN)

And then there was one.

That’s how many players Danny Ainge will have kept in spite of all his flurry of in-season trades. (With plenty left to come, I’m sure.) One player out of five trades, including four in one week.

Just call him Danny the Magician. He makes newly acquired Celtics just…disappear.

Continue reading Danny the Magician: Ainge Making Celtics Disappear in Flurry of Trades »

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Green Bay gave up a 16-point lead, a Championship Round record. There's always next season. (http://hd4desktop.com/)

The Conference Championships are complete, and the Super Bowl is set. Seattle completed a record-setting comeback over Green Bay, and saving Russell Wilson from a quarterback rating of literally zero. The Patriots slaughtered the Colts with a completely demoralizing second half in a rainy New England night later on to advance to face Seattle in Arizona.

While the Pats game didn’t do too much in our standings, the Seahawks sure did; with the Packers not walking away with the win, those who picked Seattle saw their stock on the rise quite a bit, particularly those who correctly guessed a total of five touchdowns in the game (and those who saw a minor day overall for the passing game).

With the shakeups, be sure to check below for the updated results, and come back in two weeks for the Super Bowl selections. Continue reading 2014-2015 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks: Conference Championship Results »

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Seattle faces off against a weakened Aaron Rodgers, but their opponents still won't make it easy. (http://images.nationalgeographic.com/)

The Conference Championships are here. The Patriots face the young upstart Colts, while the Packers visit Seattle as they did for the season’s first game. The round has a great mix of great offenses and defenses, which will certainly make for two great games.

For our picks, one game was easier to pick than the other, which caused a split vote from our panel. Either way, the defenses in Seattle are thought to make that game less of a shootout than their New England counterparts.

As before:

  • Successfully picking the winner of each game is worth two points.
  • Picking the total number of touchdowns scored by both teams COMBINED in each game is worth one point if guessed to within one, or two points if guessed exactly right.
  • Picking the total number of yards thrown in each game by WHICHEVER quarterback throws the most is worth one point if guessed to within 50, or two points if guessed to within 10, or five points if guessed exactly right.

So with that, check out the picks below, and come back later in the day after the games are finished for the results. Continue reading 2014-2015 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks – Conference Championships »

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One area that the Patriots struggled with Saturday night against Baltimore that will need to be improved upon for Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Colts is their pass rush. For most of the night against the Ravens, their pass rush was non-existent and Joe Flacco had plenty of time to find open receivers. In the Colts Divisional Playoff win against Denver, one of the key stories was the amount of time Andrew Luck had in the pocket to throw and that when the rush did get to him, he was able to escape for the most part.

In their previous win over the Colts this season, the Patriots dominated time of possession and their pass rush was not as a big a factor because they scored 43 points and held the ball the majority of the game. Although that result could happen again, it is not guaranteed and the Patriots could find themselves in a close game needing defensive stops. If that becomes the case, the Patriots pass rush could be the deciding factor. Continue reading Patriots Pass Rush Faces Tough Task with Luck »

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