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)

By NoontimeSports.com 

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

By NoontimeSports.com 

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!

By NoontimeSports.com 

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

AFC

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.

NFC

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.