Daily Noontime (Monday, Oct. 26, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Monday, everyone! And welcome to the final few days of October – crazy, right?

We’re eight days away from the election – have you voted? If not, there is still plenty of time. And you can visit vote.org to find out how you can vote.

Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) is encouraging all of our fans and friends to vote because your voice matters, so please make sure to cast a vote by mail or in-person. And if you do in-person voting, please make sure to wear a mask, social distance, and bring your own pen!

Alright, let’s begin today’s ‘Daily Noontime’ for Monday, October 26, 2020 – have a great day, everyone!

By now, you probably know our beloved New England Patriots suffered a very bad loss yesterday, falling to Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, Jimmy G. looked good – we all enjoyed seeing our former backup quarterback compete against the unhappy Bill Belichick – but what really caught my attention from yesterday’s contest was the following:

  • Jeff Wilson Jr. had no issue running against the Patriots defense – before departing the game with an injury, he rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.
  • Cam Newton and yes, Jarrett Stidham, both struggled to move the ball down the field – they also combined for four interceptions while the San Francisco defense sacked each signal-caller once.

New England will visit the Buffalo Bills next week for a VERY important divisional matchup.

Buffalo somehow outlasted the New York Jets yesterday, thanks to six field goals by rookie Tyler Bass.

Here are some other news and notes from another bizarre yet interesting day of professional football:

Alright, here is some other news and links from the world wide web:

San Francisco’s Kyle Juszczyk Receives Praise From Bill Belichick

Kyle Juszczyk will be a player to watch on Sunday against the New England Patriots. (PHOTO COURTESY: Twitter)

By Matt Noonan

As many New England football fans know, Bill Belichick has a soft spot for certain positions and players, both past and present, including opposing members of teams his New England Patriots meet on a weekly basis.

When asked about a certain member of the San Francisco 49ers, who will be competing against the Patriots this weekend, Belichick responded with some positive and kind words about their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, who played locally at Harvard University before being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2013 National Football League (NFL) Draft.

Since becoming a professional football player, the former Crimson has recorded 186 catches for 1,722 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 111 yards on 28 carries and two scores in 112 contests. His best season as a pro occurred in 2015 when he hauled in a career-best 41 receptions for 321 yards and four touchdowns. He also moved the sticks 17 times.

While Juszczyk may not receive the same attention or recognition as his other teammates do like quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or tight end George Kittle, he is certainly someone to watch every week, according to Belichick, who considers him a “versatile player,” but also one of the best fullbacks in the league.

“When he was with the Ravens, they used him in a lot of different ways and then San Francisco signed him to a big contract for a fullback,” Belichick said when addressing the media via Zoom this morning. “(He) certainly is the highest paid player at his position by quite a bit if I remember correctly, and he continues be used in a variety of ways.”

Belichick would continue by highlighting the various personnel the 49ers use when he is in the game, including 11, 12 and 21 personnel, before adding that the 49ers “use the fullback more than any other team in the league.”

“He’s been very productive for them,” said Belichick.

Through six games this season, Juszczyk has caught six of ten targets for 75 yards while rushing for 18 yards on three carries and one score. He is averaging close to two targets per game and one catch per contest while averaging 12.0 yards per reception.

Juszczyk will be the third Harvard alum Belichick and the Patriots will face this season – New England defeated Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins in the opening week by a score of 21-11 before falling to Tyler Ott and the Seattle Seahawks in week two.

Daily Noontime (Tuesday, October 13, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to a very rainy Tuesday, everyone! 

It’s going to be a VERY rainy day here in Massachusetts so it is probably best for everyone to stay inside and watch Netflix, right? 

Let’s kick-start your day with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime,’ beginning with some news about Cam Newton and our hometown New England Patriots

As of now, it seems possible that Patriots fans could see Cam Newton on the field next Sunday when the Patriots host the Denver Broncos, but as the team’s head coach Bill Belichick noted during his weekly radio appearance with WEEI‘s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria, the veteran signal-caller “would have to go through medical clearance” before being allowed to rejoin his teammates on the practice field.   

Newton is one of four Patriots to have tested positive for the coronavirus, but according to a few reports this morning, including PatriotsWire, it seems likely that the 2015 National Football League (NFL) quarterback will be back in the huddle at some point this week, which should be considered good news for the Patriots. Additionally, fans should expect Stephon Gilmore back on the field, too – we certainly need his help on defense! 

Sticking with the football theme, the NFL will be testing players and coaches on game days, along with “some other employees of each team,” as noted in Kevin Seifert‘s piece on ESPN.com, which was posted late last night. Seifert also noted a few more tweaks to the league’s update Covid-19 protocols, which include everyone wearing masks during walk-through practices to coaches having to wear either masks or double-layered gaiters during games. 

Let’s switch gears to the Boston Red Sox, who will have the fourth pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. The last time the Red Sox picked fourth in a draft was in 1967. 

Boston concluded its 60-game season with a 24-36 mark, which was good for a fifth-place finish in the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles, who have previously occupied the last spot in the division in previous seasons, finished fourth this year with an overall record of 25-35. 

Did you know that two of six teams in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) were independently owned? And did you know one of those two independently owned teams happens to play in hour home state? 

Yep, the Boston Pride, which recorded the best record last year and also secured a spot in the Isobel Cup, is one of the two teams that independently owned – it appears their setup will be the model for the league’s six teams going forward, according to a recent report (and yes, story, too!) from the New York Times

And finally, make sure to read the latest Boston Cannons legend spotlight on Sean Morris, who played locally at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) before becoming a star of the local Major League Lacrosse (MLL) franchise. It’s a great read! 

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

By NoontimeSports.com 

The first official week of the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season is in the books, which means it is time to unveil our second power rankings of the week, which continues to find the Kansas City Chiefs in the top spot followed by the Baltimore Ravens (second) and Seattle Seahawks (third). 

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 Two Power Rankings (Sept. 15, 2020)

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, LW: No. 1): The defending Super Bowl champions looked pretty impressive last week against the Houston Texans

2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0, LW: No. 3): Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rolled past the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and should have no problem scoring its second win of the 2020 season this weekend when Baltimore visits Houston for a 4:25 p.m. kickoff. 

3. Seattle Seahawks (1-0, LW: No. 9): Russell Wilson was unstoppable on Sunday against an Atlanta Falcons team that did not have an answer with hows to stop the Seahawks’ offense. 

4. New Orleans Saints (1-0, LW: No. 4): Drew Brees and the Saints looked A LOT better than Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5. New England Patriots (1-0, LW: No. 11): In Bill Belichick we trust. And the same should be said for Cam Newton, too. 

6. San Francisco 49ers (0-1, LW: No. 2): The 49ers offense did not look great against the Arizona Cardinals, especially quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

7. Buffalo Bills (1-0, LW: No. 8): Quarterback Josh Allen completed 33 of 46 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a game-high 57 yards on 14 carries in the Bills’ initial win of the 2020 season against the New York ‘Football’ Jets

8. Tennessee Titans (1-0, LW: No. 6): The Titans are a good team. But they did not look great last night against the Denver Broncos, especially the special teams. 

9. Green Bay Packers (1-0, LW: No. 13): The Minnesota Vikings had no answer for Aaron Rodgers, who completed 32 of 44 passes for 364 yards and four touchdowns. 

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0, LW: No. 10): Daniel Jones may have thrown more passes in last night’s contest, but Ben Roethlisberger looked much better as the veteran signal-caller completed 21 of 32 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. 

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1, LW: No. 5): Bruce Arians is not afraid to speak his mind about quarterback Tom Brady. But what will Arians say if Brady and the Bucs don’t beat the Carolina Panthers on Sunday? 

12. Arizona Cardinals (1-0, LW: NR): Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were fun to watch against the 49ers last weekend. 

13. Los Angles Rams (1-0, LW: No. 17): The Rams may have squeaked out an opening day win against Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys but they certainly proved they can march up and down the field. 

14. Dallas Cowboys (0-1, LW: No. 7): Mike McCarthy was NOT happy about a late-game pass interference call, which helped the Rams escape with a three-point win. The Boys are already banged up on both sides of the ball and face a must-win on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. 

15. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1, LW: No. 14): So, who had the Eagles losing to the Washington Football Team in week one? 

16. Houston Texans (0-1, LW: No. 16): The Texans looked OK, but not great last week against the Chiefs. But how will they look this week against the Ravens? 

17. Denver Broncos (0-1, LW: NR): The Broncos had a chance to beat the Titans last night, but Drew Lock and the offense only moved 18 yards on its final drive. 

18. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0, LW: NR): Somehow, the Chargers scored a dramatic opening day win against the Cincinnati Bengals. Will this trend continue this week, as well as going forward? 

19. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0, LW: No. 20): Somehow the Silver and Black won a wild road game against the Carolina Panthers.

20. Atlanta Falcons (0-1, LW: No. 18): The Falcons looked lost against the Seahawks last week, but should be able to attack the Cowboys’ weakness this week: the Dallas secondary. 

On the Rise: Chicago Bears and Washington Football Team 


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

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

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.