Noontime’s Take: The NFL Has A Covid Problem

By Matt Noonan 

The headline of this blog post says it all: The National Football League (NFL) has a Covid-19 problem. And the league must do something about it sooner than later. 

Whether you agree or disagree, playing football during a pandemic comes with risks, and unfortunately, the NFL, which may have been blinded by this feeling from the get-go seems to believe they can operate at full-blast. But clearly, we – the fans of this league – are slowly realizing the NFL was never equipped nor ready to combat its biggest opponent of the 2020 season: Covid-19. 

For three weeks, the NFL seemed invisible. 48 games were played with no positive tests. But as we began to turn the page to the fourth week, things went in a different direction. 

Two teams – the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans – became the league’s epicenter for the virus while other squads have recently announced at least one – maybe two? – positive test results over the past few days. And due to an uptick in positive cases, the Patriots’ matchup on Monday with the Denver Broncos has been postponed (again!) to next Sunday, October 18. 

As of this morning, nothing has been said nor reported about Tuesday’s matchup between the Titans and Buffalo Bills, but I think if the league is going to move the Patriots-Broncos game to next weekend then they better reschedule this particular matchup, too. 

Sure, postponing or canceling games will throw a wrench into the current schedule, but if the NFL wants to continue its 101st season then they better consider some alternative plans that should begin with an emphasis on finding ways to keep its entire organization safe and healthy. 

The NFL in my opinion is more interested in playing games and keeping their partners and sponsors happy, but instead, they’re creating a chaotic environment with so much uncertainty and certainly a not of clarity. 

If I were Roger Goodell, who is the commissioner of the league, I would do the following to save the 2020 season: 

  • First, press the pause button on games this week and next week – we need to find a way to slow the spread of this virus. 
  • Second, call an emergency meeting between the owners and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) – we may also want to include/connect with our league’s stakeholders, partners, and sponsors, too, so we can alert them of our plan for returning to the field either later this month or at some point in November or December.
  • Third, it is time to adopt or re-think the “bubble” environment. And while establishing a “bubble” at this juncture of both the season and year may not be entirely feasible, perhaps the league could create regional bubbles where teams like the New England Patriots, New York JetsNew York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Philadelphia Eagles played each other twice. 

    Of course, creating a “regional bubble” would impact the current schedule, but if there is one thing I guess we’re learning from the college football world is that conference play seems to be working, and that might be the only way to salve the 2020 NFL season. 

These are just a few thoughts and ideas I have at this exact moment – of course, I am sure I could generate other thoughts, too, so please stand by! – but if there is one thing that seems to be working, especially in 2020, it is establishing a “bubble” environment. It has worked well for other sports and seems to be working for certain family members or friends of mine, so if the NFL really wants to play football then maybe it is time to create a “bubble” while putting the health and safety of every member of its organization at the top of the list.  

Like you, I want to see football played every Sunday, but as of this morning – and yes, the past few days, too – it just seems like the NFL has ignored this virus and thinks its business as usual. But unfortunately, 2020 is not business as usual, and we all know that. 

Noontime’s NFL Power Rankings: Week Four (Sept. 29, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

After a much-needed bye week – we apologize for the radio silence! – we’re back to producing a weekly National Football League (NFL) Power Rankings. And we’re excited to generate this list every week. 

So, let’s unveil this week’s Top 20 teams through three weeks! 

As usual, make sure to stop by every day for brand new football content while following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!


Noontime’s Week Four Power Rankings (Sept. 29, 2020)

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0, Previously: No. 1): Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs looked pretty well last night against the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, we think they looked really good! 

2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0, Previously: No. 3): If you let Russell Wilson cook, then he will make a delicious meal. And so far, Wilson is cooking up some magic after three impressive outings. 

3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1, Previously: No. 2): Yes, the Ravens lost to the Chiefs last night, but they are still the second-best team in the AFC. 

4. Green Bay Packers (3-0, Previously: No. 9): Initially, we thought the Packers would take a step back this year, but apparently our preseason thought has been incorrect, especially with three weeks of the 2020 season in the books. 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, Previously: No. 10): Ben Roethlisberger has looked pretty good thus far, but the same could be said for the Pittsburgh defense. Maybe they will be able to challenge the Ravens for the top spot in the AFC North? 

6. Buffalo Bills (3-0, Previously: No. 7): Josh Allen is having a great season thus far. And their win against the Los Angeles Rams was an important one, especially after they squandered a 28-3 advantage. 

7. Tennessee Titans (3-0, Previously: No. 8): Yes, we know the Titans and Minnesota Vikings will be sidelined until this weekend due to eight members of the Tennessee organization testing positive for the coronavirus. But whether they play or not this upcoming week, these Titans should not be overlooked – they’re a good football team. And they certainly remain the favorites in the AFC South. 

8. New England Patriots (2-1, Previously: No. 5): The Patriots are proving they can win games with everyone in their locker room – we saw that on Sunday when they leaned heavily on Rex Burkhead, who rushed for three touchdowns. This week, the Pats face their toughest test of the season: Kansas City. 

9. Los Angeles Rams (2-1, Previously: No. 13): The Rams came close to beating the Bills this past weekend but struggled to stop Josh Allen and the offense down the stretch. But as Sean McVay said after the game, the team will learn from this setback and bounce back. And we certainly expect that to happen this week against the New York Giants

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1, Previously: No. 11): Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have won back-to-back contests. And they should be able to string together another win this week against the Los Angeles Chargers (fingers crossed!). 

11. San Francisco 49ers (2-1, Previously: No. 6): The 49ers have scored back-to-back wins against perhaps the two worst teams in the NFL – that would be the New York Giants and New York Jets. They should tack on another win this week against the winless Philadelphia Eagles

12. New Orleans Saints (1-2, Previously: No. 4): Sure, the Saints have stumbled since beating Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, but this team needs to win this week to regain its week one mojo. 

13. Chicago Bears (3-0, Previously: On The Rise): Somehow, Matt Nagy and the Bears have won three-straight games. Can they continue this momentum this week against the Indianapolis Colts

14. Indianapolis Colts (2-1, Previously: No. Not Ranked): Philip Rivers and the Colts have won back-to-back contests, but face a good test this week against the undefeated Bears. 

15. Dallas Cowboys (1-2, Previously: No. 14): The Cowboys have the talent, but are also banged up. Give the Boys credit for putting up a fight against the Seahawks, but they should be able to learn from this game, as well as their week one loss heading into a must-win contest on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns

16. Cleveland Browns (2-1, Previously: Not Ranked): Nick Chubb highlighted his team’s second-straight win of the 2020 season. He will certainly be a player to watch this week against the Cowboys. 

17. Arizona Cardinals (2-1, Previously: No. 12): The Cardinals should have beaten the Detroit Lions, but instead faltered down the stretch. Can they rebound this week against the 1-2 Carolina Panthers? We’ll have to wait and see! 

18. Las Vegas Raiders (2-1, Previously: No. 19): The Silver and Black sustained their first setback of the season to the Patriots on Sunday, but have looked somewhat decent against both the Panthers and Saints. 

19. Miami Dolphins (1-2, Previously: Not Ranked): The Dolphins finally cracked the win column last week thanks to their tenured quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick

20. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2, Previously: No. 18): The Chargers looked good against the Chiefs one week ago, but did not look good against the Panthers, especially down the stretch. 

On the Rise: Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans 


Noontime’s Preseason Rankings (Aug. 4, 2020) 

Noontime’s Week One Power Rankings (Sept. 8, 2020) 

Noontime’s Week Two Power Rankings (Sept. 15, 2020) 

Team Noontime’s NFL Week Two Picks

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s time to kick off the second week of the National Football League (NFL) this evening, which means it is time to unveil our ‘Team Noontime Week Two Picks!’ 

Liz H. Noonan predicted eight of 16 contests correctly while Matt Noonan enters a new week boasting a 7-9 record. 

As always, thanks for stopping by and seeing our predictions, and enjoy the second week of the NFL! 

 

Team Noontime’s NFL Week Two Picks 

Matt Noonan’s Picks

Liz H. Noonan’s Picks

Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns
Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Carolina Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers over Denver Broncos  Pittsburgh Steelers over Denver Broncos 
Philadelphia Eagles over Los Angeles Rams  Los Angeles Rams over Philadelphia Eagles 
San Francisco 49ers over New York Jets  San Francisco 49ers over New York Jets
Buffalo Bills over Miami Dolphins  Buffalo Bills over Miami Dolphins 
Minnesota Vikings over Indianapolis Colts  Minnesota Vikings over Indianapolis Colts 
Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions  Green Bay Packers over Detroit Lions 
Dallas Cowboys over Atlanta Falcons  Dallas Cowboys over Atlanta Falcons 
Chicago Bears over New York Giants  Chicago Bears over New York Giants 
Arizona Cardinals over Washington Football Team  Arizona Cardinals over Washington Football Team 
Kansas City Chiefs over Los Angles Chargers  Kansas City Chiefs over Los Angles Chargers 
Baltimore Ravens over Houston Texans  Baltimore Ravens over Houston Texans 
New England Patriots over Seattle Seahawks  New England Patriots over Seattle Seahawks 
New Orleans Saints over Las Vegas Raiders New Orleans Saints over Las Vegas Raiders

Matt Noonan’s record: 7-9 

Liz H. Noonan’s record: 8-8

We’ll be posting our Team Noontime NFL Picks every Thursday and will be keeping track of who was correct with their predictions, too! 

Belichick On No Fans: It’s Like Scrimmaging The Titans

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick compared his team’s win in front of no fans to a “practice” environment. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan 

Bill Belichick never seemed fazed about playing football games this year without fans in the stands due to the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

So when asked shortly after his team’s season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins what today’s atmosphere was like at Gillette Stadium with no fans in attendance, the long-time New England Patriots sideline boss said it was like “practice.” 

Practice

Yep, that was exactly how Belichick answered the reporter’s question, who seemed curious about the game day atmosphere. 

Belichick would eventually expand on his answer, saying the following: “It’s like scrimmaging the (TennesseeTitans or scrimmaging Detroit (Lions) or scrimmaging the teams that we scrimmage. There’s – there are a few fans there, but basically there’s no fans there. It’s basically a competition and there’s some energy from your teammates and your own energy. So, that is what it is.” 

And without fans in the stands, the Patriots looked just fine, thanks to a solid showing by both the offensive and defensive units, which limited the Dolphins to just 11 points and 269 total yards.

The Patriots will play in front of no fans next weekend when they visit the Seattle Seahawks for an 8:20 p.m. kickoff. Seattle also scored a win in front of no fans this afternoon by cruising past the Atlanta Falcons in Georgia. 

Cam Newton Scores His First Win With New England

Cam Newton rushed for two touchdowns in his New England Patriots debut. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

By Matt Noonan 

With no fans in the stands, Cam Newton still shined, leading the New England Patriots to a hard-fought 21-11 victory over the Miami Dolphins

Newton completed 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards while rushing for a game-high 75 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. 

The first-year Patriots signal-caller almost recorded three touchdowns after converting a fourth-and-one at the Miami five-yard line late in the fourth quarter, but he was stopped just short of the goal line by Jerome Baker and Zach Sieler. New England would score on its next play as Sony Michelle burst up the middle for a one-yard score. 

While today’s performance may have not mimicked Tom Brady, Newton certainly provided New England’s fans with an exciting glimpse of what he can do, both with his arm and feet. 

Newton concluded the game with 60 rushing touchdowns, which is the most recorded by any single quarterback in National Football League (NFL) history.