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.
Noontime’s Week Six Power Rankings (Oct. 14, 2020)
1. Seattle Seahawks (5-0, LW: No. 2): Somehow, the Seahawks pulled out a win on Sunday evening against the Minnesota Vikings.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1, LW: No. 1): The Chiefs suffered their first setback since last November, which seems or sounds crazy, right? Maybe the loss was exactly what coach Andy Reid and his team needed.
3. Green Bay Packers (4-0, LW: No. 3): The Packers were idle this past weekend, but they have looked pretty good through four weeks. This week, Green Bay will visit Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what should be a decent matchup.
4. Baltimore Ravens (4-1, LW: No. 4): Baltimore’s defense shined against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but the offense seems to be inconsistent.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0, LW: No. 6): The Steelers are really good at drafting receivers.
6. Tennessee Titans (4-0, LW: No. 7): The Titans returned to the gridiron last night for the first time in a few weeks and looked really good. And we mean, really good!
7. Buffalo Bills (4-1, LW: No. 5): Did the Bills come down to earth last night or are they still pretty good?
8. Cleveland Browns (4-1, LW: No. 14): Something is different about this Browns team than previous years. Maybe this is finally the year the Browns officially turn the corner and establish a winning culture?
9. New England Patriots (2-2, LW: No. 8): It’s been a chaotic past few days for the Patriots, but let’s hope things start going in the right direction, especially with today’s news about Cam Newton returning to the practice field tomorrow.
10. Los Angeles Rams (4-1, LW: No. 11): The Rams returned to their original form from earlier this season with a runaway win over the Washington Football Team this past weekend. Their early season success should continue against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.
11. New Orleans Saints (3-2, LW: No. 10): The Los Angeles Chargers did not make things easy for Drew Brees and the Saints on Monday in Louisiana.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2, LW: No. 9): Can someone please tell Tom Brady that there are four downs in football, not five!
13. Carolina Panthers (3-2, LW: No. 16): After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Panthers have bounced back with three-straight wins. Is it time to consider them a contender for the NFC South?
14. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2, LW: No. 19): Whatever the Raiders did this past weekend against the Chiefs, they must do going forward.
15. Chicago Bears (4-1, LW: No. 15): Did you know the Bears have won four of five contests this season? Are they flying under the radar with Nick Foles?
16. San Francisco 49ers (2-3, LW: No. 13): Injuries are piling up and the 49ers are looking like a one-hit-wonder (in our minds!).
17. Dallas Cowboys (2-3, LW: No. 17): The Cowboys secured the top spot in the NFC East last week with a much-needed divisional win over the New York Giants, but did lose Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury. Ouch!
18. Indianapolis Colts (3-2, LW: No. 12): Maybe the three-game winning streak from the earlier this season was a fluke?
19. Arizona Cardinals (3-2, LW: No. 18): The Cardinals have beaten the following teams: San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, and the Washington Football Team. And they have suffered setbacks to these teams: Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers. So, how good is this team?
20. Miami Dolphins (2-3, LW: NR): The Dolphins came close to beating the Seahawks two weeks ago, but did score a much-needed win over the 49ers on Sunday. Is something cooking in South Beach that we don’t know about?
On the Rise: Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles
It wasn’t easy, but somehow another week of the National Football League (NFL) checked the box on another week, despite two games being impact over the past few days by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While it may not be business as usual in New York City these days, which is where the NFL calls home, they are somehow moving forward to the fifth week, which begins Thursday, October 8 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the Chicago Bears. And before that game kicks-off, let’s unveil our latest Top 20 Noontime Sports Power Rankings for Week Five.
Noontime’s Week Five Power Rankings (Oct. 6, 2020)
1. Kansas City Cheifs (4-0, LW: No. 1): Sure, they moved Sunday’s game to Monday, but it certainly did not have an effect on Patrick Mahomes or Andy Reid.
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0, LW: No. 2): Russell Wilson and the Seahawks cooked up their fourth opponent on Sunday.
3. Green Bay Packers (4-0, LW: No. 4): After four games, it is fair to say we underestimated Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Sorry, Green Bay!
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, LW: No. 3): The Ravens scored a bounce-back win over the Washington Football Team this past weekend and will continue their winning ways this week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
5. Buffalo Bills (4-0, LW: No. 6): As long as Josh Allen stays healthy, this team will be tough to stop.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, LW: No. 5): The Steelers were idle this past week due to their game being postponed because of the coronavirus. But this week, they should be able to score their fourth win against the Philadelphia Eagles.
7. Tennessee Titans (3-0, LW: No. 7): Nine players could be sidelined this week against the Bills due to the team’s recently Covid-19 outbreak.
8. New England Patriots (2-2, LW: No. 8): The Patriots had a chance to win last night’s game against the Chiefs, but unfortunately struggled to contain Patrick Mahomes and the offense during the final minutes of the fourth quarter. New England’s defense is getting better and they should be able to bounce back this weekend against the Denver Broncos.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1, LW: No. 10): Tom Brady and the Buccaneers rallied to beat the Los Angeles Chargers for their third-straight win. Sure, it wasn’t the prettiest win, but something seems to be clicking between Brady and the Bucs offense.
10. New Orleans Saints (2-2, LW: No. 12): The Saints snapped their two-game skid with a much-needed win over the Detroit Lions. Once they welcome back Michael Thomas, they will be a tough team to stop.
11. Los Angeles Rams (3-1, LW: No. 9): The Rams barely beat the New York “Football” Giants this past week. They will need to play A LOT better this weekend against Washington.
12. Indianapolis Colts (3-1, LW: No. 14): Did you know the Colts have won three games this season? Neither did we!
13. San Francisco 49ers (2-2, LW: No. 11): The 49ers are banged up and desperately need their starters to come back quickly so they can keep pace with the Rams and Seahawks.
14. Cleveland Browns (3-1, LW: No. 16): Kevin Stefanski is enjoying a successful start in his first year with the Browns.
15. Chicago Bears (3-1, LW: No. 13): The Bears’ winning streak officially concluded this past weekend against Indianapolis. Can they return to the win column this week when they host Tampa Bay?
16. Carolina Panthers (2-2, LW: On The Rise): The Panthers have won two-straight and should be able to win a third-straight contest this weekend against the winless Atlanta Falcons.
17. Dallas Cowboys (1-3, LW: No. 15): The Cowboys could easily be 0-4, but somehow their special teams saved them two weeks ago against Atlanta. Mike McCarthy better figure things out quickly otherwise his time in Dallas may not last more than one year.
18. Arizona Cardinals (2-2, LW: No. 17): The Cardinals looked like a real threat earlier this season, but have looked like the Cardinals of the past these past few weeks. They should be able to bounce back this week against the New York Jets.
19. Las Vegas Raiders (2-2, LW: No. 18): The Raiders impressed us two weeks ago, but are now winless against the AFC East.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1, LW: NR): The Eagles finally cracked the win column on Sunday against San Francisco while securing the top spot in the NFC East.
On the Rise: Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins
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