Noonan: On Sunday, The Patriots Will ‘Ignore The Noise’ Against Seattle

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (left) and quarter Tom Brady (right) will look to capture their fourth Super Bowl on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (left) and quarter Tom Brady (right) will look to capture their fourth Super Bowl on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s finally Sunday.

One more game remains on the 2014 NFL Schedule: Super Bowl XLIX.

New England versus Seattle, clam chowder and great seafood versus Starbucks and the artists. Bill Belichick against Pete ‘How ‘Bout Our Defense’ Carroll, Tom Brady versus Russell Wilson, and East Coast versus West Coast.

The list goes on and on, but this Super Bowl has a different meaning. Instead of two teams competing for the ultimate prize – the Vince Lombardi Trophy (Yes, I used Lombardi’s first name) – this game is about the Patriots against the World.

Everyone wants to see the Patriots crumble, especially against a defense – The Legion of Boom – that is prepared to burst through the line of scrimmage on each snap. Fans want to see New England – a team that has been under scrutiny for the past two weeks because of “Deflate Gate” – lose.

Enough, people!

This is the NFL, the most popular sport in the North America, and instead of getting excited about two great teams competing for a championship, we’ve been wrapped up in Deflate Gate, as well as pondering the question: Is Tom Brady a cheater?

Belichick’s mantra has always been to ignore the noise, and you can bet New England did that this week while preparing for their final test. Say what you want – go ahead, are they cheaters? – but the Patriots first faced adversity when they finished the month of September with an excruciating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady and the Patriots were "done" after ending September with a 41-14 setback. (Photo Credit: The Big Lead/USA Today Sports).
Tom Brady and the Patriots were “done” after ending September with a 41-14 setback. (Photo Credit: The Big Lead/USA Today Sports)

Against Kansas City, Brady completed 14 of 23 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Brandon LaFell hauled in six catches for 119 yards, including one touchdown reception, while the defense allowed 26 first downs 443 yards.

Yep, the Patriots were done after this game. At 2-2, the “experts” said it was time for Brady to take a seat and make way for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Yet, as I stated above, the Patriots ignored the noise, turned their attention to their week five opponent: Cincinnati Bengals. And in a span of six days, the Patriots went from non-contenders to contenders, blowing out their opponent by a score of 43-17.

Following their win, New England rattled off seven straight wins, including victories against Denver, Indianapolis and San Diego. They finished atop the AFC East again – surprise, surprise! – and claimed home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Still think the Patriots should have folded following their 2-2 start?

In the postseason, they earned impressive wins against Baltimore (35-31) and Indianapolis (45-7). Their win against the Ravens featured a formation that continues to baffle John Harbaugh – Baltimore’s head coach – but again, did that faze these Pats?

The answer: nope!

Say all you want about Belichick, who was punished for SpyGate in 2007, but the man knows the game of football. He knows how to coach a team, which is ready and prepared to compete against the Seahawks, who humiliated Peyton Manning and the Broncos literally one year ago.

So, while you may think that Deflate Gate or SpyGate or any sort-of-gate is going to bring down these Patriots, think again.

Tonight, we could see history play out in Arizona as Brady and Belichick look to capture their fourth Super Bowl crown since the 2001 season. Sure, it is the same playing field that saw these Patriots conclude their almost perfect season to the New York Giants, but this team is clearly different from the 18-1 squad.

My prediction: I like the Patriots against the Seahawks. It will be close, but New England will squeak past Seattle, claiming their fourth Lombardi trophy, setting up an interesting handshake between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell.

Again, say what you want – call them cheaters or benders-of-the-rules, but these Patriots will ignore the noise and figure out a way to conclude a controversial season with some hardware.

Daily Noontime – March 15, 2012

Kevin Garnett's late fourth quarter heroics lifted Boston past Golden State! (Photo Credit: Comcast Sports/Bay Area)


Good Thursday to everyone, and welcome into yet another amazing rendition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s kick-start the day with some news from the city of champions!

* Kevin Garnett’s 20-foot jumper with six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter provided the Boston Celtics with a 105-103 win on Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors. Garnett paced the Green and White with 24 points, while Brandon Bass added 22 points. Boston is now 2-1 on their current eight-game swing, and will return to the court on Friday when they tip-off against the Sacramento Kings.

* Sources confirmed on Wednesday evening that Celtics forward/center Chris Wilcox will undergo aortic surgery on Mar. 29, and miss the remainder of the season.

* Sources have confirmed that the Celtics are possibly considering trading Paul Pierce to the Portland Trailblazers. The NBA trade deadline is set to conclude at 3PM on Thursday, and it’s likely that president of operations Danny Ainge will pull the trigger.

* The Boston Bruins will look to snap their three-game skid on Thursday evening when they face-off against the Panthers in Florida. The Panthers enter the contest having won two of their last three matchups against Carolina and Toronto.

* Harvard University’s men’s basketball team will begin their quest toward NCAA glory on Thursday when they tip-off against Vanderbilt University. Also, UMass will play its second round NIT game against Seton Hall on Saturday, Mar. 17, at 11AM.

* Finally, the New England Patriots acquired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene on Wednesday, as well as inked his name to a three-year, $12 million deal. Fanene has spent the past seven season with the Bengals, as well as ended this pasts season with 24 tackles, 17 solo tackles and 6.5 sacks.

NFL Postseason Schedule Announced


The NFL announced the 2011 playoff schedule on Sunday, and here are the potential match-ups.

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 – Wild Card Round 

* (No. 6) Cincinnati at (No. 3) Houston Texans — 4:30pm eastern 

* (No. 6) Detroit at (No. 3)  New Orleans — 8:00pm eastern 

Sunday, January 8, 2012 — Wild Card Round 

* (No. 5) Atlanta at (No. 4) New York — 1:00pm easter 

* (No. 5) Pittsburgh at (No. 4)  Denver — 4:30PM eastern 

Saturday, January 14, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Atlanta/New York/New Orleans at (No. 2) San Francisco (Afternoon) 

* Cincinnati/Denver/Pittsburgh at (No. 1) New England (Evening)

Sunday, January 15, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Denver/Houston/Pittsburgh at  (No. 2) Baltimore (Afternoon)

* Atlanta/Detroit/New York at (No. 1) Green Bay (Afternoon) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012 — AFC/NFC Championship Games

* AFC Championship — 3:30pm eastern 

* NFC Championship — 6:30pm eastern 

Sunday, January 29, 2012 — NFL Pro Bowl

* AFC vs. NFC — Time TBA 

Sunday, February  5, 2012

* AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion — Time TBA 

Breaking Down the AFC Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: Logo Inspirations

By Brian Willwerth 

With one week left in the regular season, here’s the way the AFC is shaping up…

The New England Patriots have clinched the East and a first-round bye. If they beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, they’ll wrap up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

In the North, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have both clinched playoff spots.  One of them will win the division; the other will be a wild card. Baltimore owns the tiebreaker by virtue of beating Pittsburgh twice. The Ravens will travel to Cincinnati, while the Steelers play at Cleveland.

The Houston Texans have won the South, and are locked into the No. 3 seed.

The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are tied atop of the West. If they’re still tied after next week, Denver owns the tiebreaker. Those two teams face the Chiefs and Chargers, respectively. Whoever doesn’t win the division will be out.

That leaves one card spot open. The “win and you’re in” team is Cincinnati. All the Bengals have to do is beat the Ravens at home, in one of the marquee games of the final weekend. If Cincy stumbles, the Raiders, Titans and Jets can all sneak in, but they’ll also need help from the respective squads.

NFL Playoff Update

The NFL playoff race is alive and well!


With four games left in the regular season, here’s a quick look at the races for the division titles and wild cards.


EAST:  Nothing has changed since last week. The Patriots and Jets both won on Sunday, so New England still owns a two-game lead over New York, as well as the tiebreaker.

NORTH:  This is now a two-team race. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are both [9-3], with the Ravens owning the tiebreaker. The Bengals pretty much lost any hope of winning the division when they got blown out by the Steelers yesterday.

SOUTH:  The Texans continue their amazing season. They’re [9-3], and remain two games ahead of the resurgent Titans. These two teams meet on the final weekend of the season. Houston won the first meeting in Nashville.

WEST:  This should be fun to watch down the stretch. The Broncos moved into a tie for first place with the Raiders at [7-5]. Denver rallied to beat Minnesota, while Oakland got blown out in Miami on Sunday.

WILD CARDS RIGHT NOW:  Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Bengals are in a four-way tie for the final spot with the Raiders, Titans and Jets.


EAST:  The Cowboys and Giants both lost on Sunday, so Dallas still has a one-game lead. These teams still play each other twice in the next four weeks, starting with next Sunday night.

NORTH:  The Packers have clinched the division.

SOUTH:  The Saints increased their lead over the Falcons to two games. New Orleans is hitting on all cylinders right now, and has already beaten Atlanta once.

WEST:  The 49ers have clinched the division.

WILD CARDS RIGHT NOW:  Chicago and Atlanta are both [7-5]. So is Detroit.

Willwerth: Breaking Down The AFC

Could Tim Tebow help the Denver Broncos win the AFC West? (Photo Credit: Predominantly Orange)

By Brian Willwerth 

A quick overview of the division races in the AFC with five games remaining…


The Patriots are in great shape. They have a two-game lead over the Jets, and own the tiebreaker by virtue of beating New York twice already. Their next two games are against the winless Colts and the subpar Redskins. It looks more and more like there will be another home playoff game in Foxboro in January.

The Jets came up with a much-needed win over the Bills last Sunday to stay in the playoff hunt. Buffalo, after getting off to such a hot start, has dropped four straight and now sits at 5-6.


This is the best division in football. The Ravens and Steelers are tied atop the division at [8-3] records, but Baltimore has the edge because it has beaten Pittsburgh twice. What makes the North so intriguing is the surprising play of the Bengals. They’re [7-4], just one game out of first place. But they’ve already lost to both Pittsburgh and Baltimore once, so the Bengals would have to beat those teams the second time around to have any shot at the division title. Still, it is very possible that both wild cards could come from the North.


The Texans are [8-3], riding a five-game winning streak, and have one of the best defenses in the league. But who’s going to play quarterback for them the rest of the way?  Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are both done for the year with injuries.  Right now T.J. Yates is the man, but you’d have to think Houston’s going to pick someone up for the stretch run. Tennessee is in the hunt at [6-5], and if Chris Johnson keeps running like he did Sunday against the Buccaneers, watch out.


While the North may be the best division in football, the West may be the most interesting to watch down the stretch. And it’s all because of one guy: Tim Tebow. People can say what they want, but he’s [5-1] as a starter. As much hype as there is surrounding Tebow, people tend to overlook the fact that the Raiders have a one-game lead over Denver, and are coming off a big win at home against the Bears. Oakland and Denver split the head-to-head matchups during the season.

So who is the best team in the AFC? Take your pick. There is a four-way tie for the top spot between the Pats, Ravens, Steelers and Texans. We may not know who gets the byes until the final weekend.

NFL Week 12 – Afternoon/Evening Scoreboard

By Brian Willwerth 

JETS 28, BILLS 24 – We’ll start at the Meadowlands for our Game of the Day. It was a matchup between a pair of teams in desperate need of a win. Mark Sanchez was the hero for the Jets. He threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Santonio Holmes with just over a minute remaining. He completed barely half of his passes, but came through when he needed to. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three TD passes for Buffalo in a losing effort. Another thing that will be talked about is the play of Buffalo wide receiver Stevie Johnson. After catching a TD pass, his ensuing celebration won the “poor taste” award, since he made fun of the Plaxico Burress nightclub incident from three years ago, (if you saw the game, you know what I mean). Then late in the fourth quarter, he was wide open down the middle of the field, and dropped a pass that would’ve gone for a huge gain. In the end, the Jets swept the season series from the Bills.

FALCONS 24, VIKINGS 14 – At the Georgia Dome, Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes as Atlanta hung on to beat Minnesota. Here’s the stat of the game: Percy Harvin returned a kickoff 104 yards late in the fourth quarter, but did not score a touchdown. The Vikes ended up getting stuffed by the Falcons’ defense.

BENGALS 23, BROWNS 20 – What a wild finish at Paul Brown Stadium. With less than two minutes to play, Phil Dawson missed a 55-yard FG that would’ve given Cleveland the lead. Cincinnati raced right back down the field, courtesy of a 51-yard pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green. Mike Nugent’s 26-yard FG allowed the Bengals to improve to [7-4], and remain very much alive in the AFC playoff picture.

TITANS 23, BUCCANEERS 17 – This was the breakout game Chris Johnson has been waiting for. He rushed for 190 yards. But ultimately it was Matt Hasselbeck’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Damian Williams on fourth down that gave Tennessee the win at home. The Bucs drove down the field in the closing seconds, but Josh Freeman fumbled a snap on fourth down that sealed Tampa Bay’s fate. There were nine turnovers in this sloppy game: five by the Bucs, four by the Titans.

PANTHERS 27, COLTS 19 –Carolina won its first road game in nearly two years.  DeAngelo Williams rushed for two touchdowns as the Panthers sent the Colts to [0-11] on the season. It doesn’t get any easier for Indy; a trip to Foxboro awaits them next Sunday.

CARDINALS 23, RAMS 20 – This was a good game between a couple of struggling teams. The star of the game was Arizona running back Beanie Wells, who set a franchise record with 228 yards on the ground, including a 71-yard touchdown.  Patrick Peterson also returned a punt for a TD for the fourth time this season.

TEXANS 20, JAGUARS 13 – Houston keeps losing quarterbacks, but continues to win games. In Jacksonville, Matt Leinart injured his throwing shoulder in the Texans’ victory over the Jags. They’ve already lost Matt Schaub for the season with a right foot injury. T.J. Yates played the rest of the way on Sunday.  Fortunately for the Texans, their defense is outstanding. They sacked Blaine Gabbert six times.

PATRIOTS 38, EAGLES 20 – At one point, the score was 10-0 Philadelphia. Then Tom Brady and company got down to business. Brady was (24-34, 361 yards and three touchdowns), including two to Wes Welker. The Pats also got two rushing touchdowns from BenJarvus Green-Ellis. New England is [8-3], while the Eagles – a team that had such high expectations – fell to [4-7].

RAIDERS 25, BEARS 20 – In Oakland, the Raiders stayed in first place in the AFC West. Sebastian Janikowski tied a team-record with six field goals, four of them from 40+ yards. Chicago QB Caleb Hanie, filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, was picked off three times.

REDSKINS 23, SEAHAWKS 17 – Washington scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to rally for the win in Seattle. The game-winner was a 50-yard scoring pass from Rex Grossman to Anthony Armstrong with just over six minutes remaining. The Redskins snapped their six-game losing streak.

BRONCOS 16, CHARGERS 13  (OT)  — In San Diego, it took nearly five full quarters of football to determine the winner. Matt Prater kicked 37-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining in overtime as Denver won its fourth straight and kept pace with the Raiders in the division. Earlier in OT, Nick Novak missed a 53-yarder that would’ve won the game for San Diego. Tim Tebow threw for 143 yards and rushed for 67 more.