I am excited to cap the work week with a brand new Football Friday Notebook – it is a piece of content I look forward to producing, so hopefully the stories (and news below) is something you enjoy reading.
Additionally, make sure to enjoy a brand new Football Friday Podcast, which you can listen to in this post, thanks to our friends from Spotify!
Alright, let’s share some news and links from the gridiron – as usual, be well, stay safe and have a wonderful weekend!
Football Friday Notebook: Friday, February 19, 2021
Carson Wentz will be playing for a new team next season, but according to various reports, including SB Nation, the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller had some serious fall out in the locker room. Additionally, he stopped talking with former head coach Doug Pederson “for weeks.”
Sticking with Carson Wentz – I mean, what else happened these past few days? – he was quite happy to be a member of the Indianapolis Colts, according to Kenny Moore II.
This will be an interesting offseason for every National Football League (NFL) team, which may have less money to spend, due to the potential salary cap. And this is certainly is not good news for my Dallas Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott.
Speaking of Dak, he donated meals to 1,000 homeless people that are “freezing” in Dallas, Texas, due to the bad weather that barreled through the state this week.
Alex Smith, who was named the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, told Kyle Brandt on the 10 Questions podcast that the country was apparently not ready for Colin Kapernick, who the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback claimed “was ahead of his time” when it came to social injustice.
It’s time to start producing some football content for NoontimeSports.com – we love football.
And while we know this fall will be different – we will miss covering the small colleges here in New England – it is time to kick-off our National Football League (NFL) coverage with our first (of many) Noontime Top 20 Polls.
Like we have in the past, specifically with our New England D-III Football Poll, we will be producing a weekly Noontime Sports NFL Top 20 Poll, pending of course there is a season and games are played. But as we know, nothing is certain, especially during a pandemic, so hopefully this post (and poll) provides you with some hope for the 2020 season.
Noontime’s Preseason Top 20 NFL Poll (Tuesday, August 4, 2020)
1. Kansas City Chiefs: The defending Super Bowl champions will certainly have a target on their back once they begin their title defense on Thursday, September 10 against the Houston Texans.
2. Baltimore Ravens: Quarterback Lamar Jackson seems extremely motivated to lead his team on a deep postseason run. Will that happen this year?
3. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers were the best team in the NFC last year and should once again be a team to watch (and beat) in what should be a rather competitive NFC West.
4. New Orleans Saints: The Saints want to erase the memories of last year’s early postseason exit to the Minnesota Vikings. Expect another big year from quarterback Drew Brees, along with some new acquisitions, including Malcolm Jenkins and D.J. Swearinger.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Never count out Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, but will they be able to continue their previous momentum from years past without fans in the stands this year?
7. Tennessee Titans: As long as the Titans stay healthy, this team will be tough to stop. Also, can quarterback Ryan Tannehill continue his success from a year ago? And will this team once again run through halfback Derrick Henry?
8. New England Patriots: Yes, the Patriots have lost a great deal of depth and experience with eight players electing to opt-out for the upcoming season, but it is hard to count out coach Bill Belichick and newly acquired signal-caller Cam Newton.
9. Buffalo Bills: The Bills will certainly challenge the New England Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East, especially with some impressive new pieces on both sides of the ball, including Josh Norman and Stefon Diggs. Hopefully, quarterback Josh Allen has improved his accuracy (fingers crossed!).
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz played an entire season last fall for the Green and White, and should continue his progress – he is one of the best signal-callers in the game (in our opinion). In addition to Wentz taking another step forward, every member of the organization must stay healthy, too.
11. Green Bay Packers: So, what is the future hold for quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Who knows, but as long as he is under center, then we should not count out Go Pack Go.
12. Dallas Cowboys: A new sheriff is in town – his name is Mike McCarthy – and his resume includes a Super Bowl championship with the Green Bay Packers. We are excited to see the new schemes McCarthy implements, as well as some touchdown passes from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger wants to do everything he can to lead the Steelers to victory, but does he have enough left in the tank?
14. Indianapolis Colts: Can Philip Rivers make the Colts a team to beat not just in the AFC South, but the entire conference? Also, similar to Ben Roethlisberger, how much is left in the tank?
15. Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings were like the Dallas Cowboys last season, but made the playoffs. This team has the potential to win big games, but can they put it all together for an entire season, as well as 60 minutes?
16. Houston Texans: Every year, it seems like this team has the potential to do great things, but never does. For starters, the offensive line needs to do a better job protecting Deshaun Watson, while the defense needs to improve.
17. Cleveland Browns: A new era begins in Cleveland – how many times have you heard this saying before? – but will first-year coach Kevin Stefanski really get this team trending in the right direction?
18. Los Angeles Rams: It is hard to count out the Rams, especially with so much talent on both sides of the ball, but they took a step backward last season. The Blue and Yellow may be playing in a new stadium this fall – they will also be wearing some new uniforms, too – but they bid farewell to some key pieces on both sides of the ball, as well as defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
19. Atlanta Falcons: After a bad start to its 2019 campaign, the Falcons regrouped and won six of eight contests, including an end of season win against the Buccaneers in overtime. Expect that end of season momentum to translate to future success in 2020.
20. Arizona Cardinals: Yes, the Cardinals of Arizona are on our list. And the reason: wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
On The Rise: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Miami Dolphins
And the answer for who the Patriots would play in week one was a familiar foe, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yep, the Steel Curtain will invade Gillette Stadium on the first Sunday evening of the 2019 season, and you know it will be a great game with hopefully the Patriots prevailing.
With a new season just months away, but a schedule now available to analyze (and think about), why not share some thoughts on how the hometown team will do in each contest, beginning with its week one match-up with the Steelers.
Noonan’s 2019 Game-By-Game Predictions
Week One: Pittsburg Steelers at Patriots (Sept. 8th, 2019 | 8:30 p.m.): There will be a lot of storylines heading into this one, but the most important one will be how will the Patriots do with Rob Gronkowski? I think they will do just fine. There will be some growing pains, of course, but in the end, the Patriots should find a way to sneak past the Steelers without two of their key pieces from the past few seasons. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Steelers 21
Week Two: Patriots at Miami Dolphins (Sept. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Coach Bill Belichick takes on former defensive coordinator Brian Flores. This will be yet another one of those master versus apprentice battles, but in the end, I think the Dolphins win this one, but the Pats will even the score later in the season. PREDICTION: Dolphins 24, Patriots 17
Week Three: New York Jets at Patriots (Sept. 22, 2019 | 1 p.m.):Adam Gase seems to think the Jets are better suited than his former team to beat the Patriots. He even inspired them to bring back a bad (and remixed) version of their Neil O’Donnell uniforms, too. The Patriots will be eager to bounce back from their week two loss to the Dolphins and earn their first divisional win. PREDICTION: Patriots 37, Jets 15
Week Four: Patriots at Buffalo Bills (Sept. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): After cruising past the Jets, the Patriots should have no problem ending the month of September with a second-straight AFC East victory. PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Bills 10
Week Five: Patriots at Washington Redskins (Oct. 6th, 2019 |1p.m.): The last time the Patriots and Redskins squared-off in our nation’s capital, I believe there was some sort of shouting match between Tom Brady and Bill O’Brien. I don’t see Brady yelling at O’Brien this year – he coaches the Houston Texans, by the way – but I do see our hometown hero yelling at his teammates during the pregame to fire them up for another win. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Redskins 21
Week Six: New York Giants at Patriots (Oct. 10th, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): It seems like ages ago when these two teams met in the Super Bowl, but this game won’t be like the ‘big game.’ Nope, the Giants are rebuilding – should be competitive, though – but in the end, this has the makings for Sony Michel two or three-touchdown game. PREDICTION: Patriots 35, Giants 17
Week Seven: Patriots at New York Jets (Oct. 21, 2019 | 8:15 p.m.): As usual, the Jets usually play well at home, but can they rebound from a week three setback to the Patriots? Probably not, right? PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Jets 17
Week Eight: Cleveland Browns at Patriots (Oct. 27th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Welcome to Foxboro, Baker Mayfield. The Browns should be in the mix for an AFC Championship this season – yes, I know what I just wrote (and said in my head!) – but somehow I see the Patriots pulling this out with a late touchdown. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Browns 24
Week Nine: Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (Nov. 3rd, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): Coach Belichick versus quarterback Lamar Jackson should be an enticing game of chess. The Ravens always play the Patriots tough, and I think this is a tough spot for New England to secure a win before the bye week. PREDICTION: Ravens 21, Patriots 17
Week Ten: Bye Week (Nov. 10th, 2019)
Week 11: Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 17th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): Coming off their bye week (and a disappointing setback to the Ravens), the Patriots will return to their early season form and cause havoc to quarterback Carson Wentz. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Eagles 20
Week 12: Dallas Cowboys at Patriots (Nov. 24th, 2019 | 4:24 p.m.): Quarterback Dak Prescott does quite well in chilly temperatures – cold weather doesn’t seem to bother the young signal-caller. This should be a competitive game like the 2011 meeting, but in the end, I somehow see Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott winning the game on a one-yard score. PREDICTION: Cowboys 21, Patriots 18
Week 13: Patriots at Houston Texans (Dec. 1st, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.): After a tough loss to the Cowboys – I know, I showed some bias to my second favorite football team – the Patriots will find a way back into the win column, but it won’t be an easy win. PREDICTION: Patriots 29, Texans 23
Week 14: Kansas City Chiefs at Patriots (Dec. 8th, 2019 | 4:25 p.m.): This has the making for a very exciting contest – perhaps the winner could take over the top spot in the AFC for the upcoming playoffs. The Chiefs almost beat the Patriots last season but should be a tougher opponent this year, thanks to new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Patriots 27
Week 15: Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (Dec. 15th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): Welcome to the beginning of a three-game winning streak. Sure, the Bengals will have a new coach this year, but they won’t be able to stop the Patriots at this point of the season. PREDICTION: Patriots 31, Bengals 20
Week 16: Buffalo Bills at Patriots (Dec. 21st or 22nd | TBD): The pre-Christmas game at Foxboro usually results in a win for the hometown team. Who knows what shape the Bills will be in at this point of the season, but the Patriots will once again dominate their divisional foe. PREDICTION: Patriots 28, Bills 14
Week 17: Miami Dolphins at Patriots (Dec. 29th, 2019 | 1 p.m.): One week after handing Buffalo an early holiday present, the Patriots will once again dish out an early Happy New Year gift by beating the Dolphins before the postseason. PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Dolphins 10
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