When the Bills moved up to fourth overall in May’s draft to select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins, they got a physical specimen who was polished enough to be an instant play maker. Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said, “We thought it was a calculated risk and a risk we were willing to take.” The Bills are hoping that risk turns into an elite playmaker for a franchise that has been at the bottom of the AFC East for a decade.

A rib injury cut in to Watkins’ training camp, forcing him to miss significant time and preventing him from ever getting in a rhythm with Manuel. Through four games, Watkins has shown flashes of that ability but has also lacked some effort on plays across the middle and did not click with E.J. Manuel. He seemed to be on the same page with new starter Kyle Orton, registering seven catches for 87 yards in a 17-14 win in Detroit. He also made a key 20-yard grab to set up the Bills winning field goal. Continue reading Containing Sammy Watkins Will be a Priority for the Patriots »

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If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 5

October 7, 2014 at 5:29pm in NFL
Eagles vs Chargers: Week 5's prediction for the Super Bowl

Five weeks into the season, and there are no unbeaten teams left. While plenty of teams are doing well, there haven’t been any teams that have emerged as big favorites as of yet. Injuries are taking their toll, and others just aren’t performing as well as was expected. It’s a turbulent time, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Tuesday, October 7: Continue reading If the Playoffs Started Today – NFL Week 5 »

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Tom Brady had plenty to celebrate as he had his best game of the season Sunday night against the Bengals. (AP Photo/Steven Senne

What a difference a week makes. After all the doom and gloom from the media that the Patriots were meeting their demise, Tom Brady was too old, and Bill Belichick wasn’t the same coach, the Patriots came out in prime time and handled the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL. If it wasn’t for the 12 penalties for 114 yards called on the Patriots, Sunday night’s game wouldn’t be as close as it was. The Patriots came out with fire and intensity and never relinquished the controls. A showing like Sunday night was exactly what the Patriots needed to reassure all the quaking media members, but it was expected from those who have seen what this team has done over the past 13 years after an embarrassing loss the week before.

- Through the early part of the season the offensive line has warranted some concern. Sunday night the Patriots started their third different offensive line combination in as many games. This combination was undoubtedly the best all season. Left to right the starters were Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, and Sebastian Vollmer. The veterans of Connolly and Wendell provided the best guard play that the Patriots have seen all year. Solder looked like his old self and kept the pressure away from Brady’s blind-side. The rookie Stork looked good as well, creating holes in the run game and keeping the middle of the pocket clean. Of course this is just one game but Sunday’s game was the first positive sign the offensive line has given us all year so we’ll take it. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 5: Patriots Return to Form, Blow Out Bengals 43-17 »

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Tom Brady surpasses 50,000 yards for his career and leads the Patriots to a 20-3 halftime lead against the Cincinnati Bengals. (USA Today)

“Brady! Brady! Brady!”

That chant by the home crowd at Gillette Stadium tells you all you need to know about the first half of the Sunday Night Football contest between the New England Patriots and the Cincinnati Bengals.

After getting trampled last Monday night by the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots have been a completely different team so far on Sunday night, jumping out to a 20-3 lead at halftime. The offense already has 16 first downs, three more than in four quarters in Week 4, and 256 total yards, nearly as much as last week. Tom Brady accounted for 153 yards in the air, including a 27-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski to surpass 50,000 yards passing for his career.

Continue reading Halftime Report: Patriots Up 20-3 on Bengals as Brady Surpasses 50,000 Yards »

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The New England Patriots get set to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the Sunday Night Football spotlight, which for once I wish weren't the case. (Patriots.com)

Normally when the New England Patriots play in prime time, I get all revved up for a big game on the national stage.

Living in New York City, it means I get to watch the game in the quiet of my own apartment, which I can shatter with epithets and flying objects or (more ideally) overwrought celebrations. It means I get focused analysis of the Patriots on national television, as if my team, my fandom is important (it’s not).

Tonight, when the Patriots take in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football on NBC, will not be one of those games.

Continue reading Patriots Preview: Why I Wish New England Wasn’t Playing the Bengals in Prime Time (Or At All, Really) »

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Brandon Browner could see his first action as a Patriot this weekend after completing a four game suspension for a substance abuse violation.  At 6’4” and 221 pounds, Browner is hands down the biggest cornerback on the Patriots roster. He is also a strong, physical corner who produced at a high level while playing alongside Richard Sherman in Seattle. He is also an intimidating presence on the field which is something the Patriots have not had consistently since Rodney Harrison played his last snaps with the team in 2008.  Browner is presented with a similar situation in New England as he was in Seattle by getting the opportunity to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

There are two potential ways the Patriots could use Browner on defense. The first is to have Revis cover the opponent’s top receiver and Browner the number two. The Patriots could then have Devin McCourty provide help over the top to either one, choosing which corner to help more based on the match up. Revis’ elite skills as a cover corner, especially in press man coverage, would be able to be showcased and Browner’s physicality and intimidation would make the field that much smaller for the quarterback. Continue reading What to Expect From the Return of Brandon Browner »

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2014 NFL Betting Tips: Week 5

October 4, 2014 at 4:49pm in Featured, NFL, Now!, Opinion
Get your free money!

Well my so called “Lock” of last week could not have been any further from the truth, as The New England Patriots were thoroughly embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs 41-14 on Monday Night Football. I picked the Pats to win 30-21 on Monday, and my record is 6-7 overall. I am confident in bouncing back this week just like in week two of the NFL, (3-1 record in week 2).

Take the Washington Redskins (+7) over the Seattle Seahawks.

Washington is going to help redeem my debacle of a pick Monday night. The Skins are hosting the Seahawks on Monday Night Football this week, and Washington will be coming off 10 days of rest, (Seattle off a bye). Continue reading 2014 NFL Betting Tips: Week 5 »

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