Daily Noontime (Friday, Nov. 6, 2020)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to Friday, everyone – hope everyone is having a great morning thus far!

Let’s kick-off the day with some news and links, beginning with some good news from basketball world: the 2020-21 National Basketball Association (NBA) season will begin in a few weeks – Tuesday, December 22, to be exact. However, there is still a few things that need to be sorted out before training camp could begin on Tuesday, December 1, including free agency.

The 2020-21 NBA season would consist of 72 games and should wrap up in time for players to compete next summer at the Olympics in Japan.

Hearing the NBA will startup its 2020-21 season in a few weeks should excited our Boston Celtics fans and friends, which were treated to a special memory last night on Twitter. The team revisited an epic performance by Gordon Hayward against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and now, we’re eager for a brand new season of Celtics basketball to begin!

Let’s switch gears to a network that would carry a slew of NBA games this winter – that would be ESPN, which you may have heard laid off 300 employees yesterday while announcing they would not fill 200 open positions. The news did not sit well with Bob Ley, who tweeted some interesting thoughts about his former employer.

In case you missed it, the Green Bay Packers dominated the San Francisco 49ers last night by a score of 34-17. Aaron Rodgers finished the game with four touchdown passes and 305 passing yards while Davante Adams caught 10 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown.

After the game concluded, Davante Adams told the media that he is best receiver in the National Football League (NFL).

Adams and the Packers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday, November 15 while the San Francisco 49ers will visit the New Orleans Saints.

Speaking of the Saints, they will be the team to watch on Sunday evening against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game has potential to be a shootout, as well as a touchdown passing clinic by two of the best signal-callers in the game: Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

Alright, that will do it for now, but as usual, be well, stay safe, and think happy thoughts, everyone! And have a great weekend, too!

Noontime’s ‘What If’ NFL Playoff Predictions (Week Nine)

Heading into the second half of the 2020 NFL season, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. (PHOTO COURTESY: CNBC.com/David Eulitt)

By Matt Noonan

The second half of the 2020 National Football League‘s (NFL) season kicks-off this evening with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers.

Yet, before we turn our attention to the game, allow me to share the first of many ‘what if‘ posts from Noontime Sports that will highlight the 14 teams in the postseason at the beginning of the remaining weeks of the 2020 season, as well as what teams I (Matt ‘Noontime’ Noonan) believe will win their respective conference crowns.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our initial ‘what if‘ post for the ninth week of the NFL season!

Who’s in the AFC Playoffs?

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
  3. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
  4. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
  6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
  7. Cleveland Browns (5-3)

Who’s in the NFC Playoffs?

  1. Seattle Seahawks (6-1)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
  3. Green Bay Packers (5-2)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
  5. New Orleans Saints (5-2)
  6. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)

Most intriguing first-round matchups:

  • Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts appear to be flying under the radar – yes, their schedule gets tougher, beginning this week with a must-see matchup on Sunday, November 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. Four days later, they’ll take on the Tennessee Titans, so we’ll certainly learn more about Indianapolis over the next week or so, but this team seems equipped to beat the Bills, who squeaked past the New England Patriots last weekend.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams: The match-up to watch in this game would be Jared Goff vs. the Buccaneers defense. I am not sure how Goff would do against these Bucs front seven, but I would certainly be interested in seeing how Tom Brady and the offense fared against the Rams defense, too. The Bucs offense – if healthy, of course – could pose serious problems for opposing defenses, not just the Rams, but everyone they would face in the postseason.

AFC Championship Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Chiefs and Steelers are the best teams in the AFC. And most likely, these two teams will be competing in the conference championship. But in the end, Kansas City will prevail, thanks to Patrick Mahomes. PREDICTION: Kansas City over Pittsburgh

NFC Championship Prediction: Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Similar to Kansas City and Pittsburgh, Seattle and Tampa Bay appear to be the best teams in the NFC. The Seahawks defense will need to improve over the next few weeks, especially if they want to stop Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay over Seattle

Super Bowl Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This seems like a logical matchup, especially at the halfway point, right? As much as I would love to see Tom Brady win another ring, I just have a weird feeling – maybe a hunch? – that Kansas City will prevail by at least a touchdown. PREDICTION: Kansas City over Tampa Bay

Alright, that will do it for now, but keep your eyes out for more ‘what if’ Noontime Sports content over the next few days and weeks!

Daily Noontime (Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Welcome to Thursday, everyone!

Hopefully everyone is doing well and thinking optimistically as we anxiously await the outcome of the election. Can it please end today?

Alright, let’s get to some news, beginning with the National Football League (NFL) as part two of the 2020 season begins tonight in Santa Clara, California with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers at 8:20 p.m. (eastern).

Here are some pregame reads to get you excited for tonight’s matchup:

Let’s switch gears to basketball – I prefer to call it hoops (😉)! – as we may know later today if the 2020-21 National Basketball Association (NBA) will tip-off next month or perhaps in mid-January.

As we all know, the 2019-20 season concluded last month in the Orlando, Florida, so the turnaround time would be much shorter than a typical offseason, but according to a few reports, the league is planning to play 72-game season instead of the typical 82-game season.

And finally, here are some additional news and links from the world wide web – have a great day, everyone!

  • According to Sportico‘s Anthony Crupi, ESPN is eliminating 500 jobs.
  • Apparently the first Mid-American Conference (MAC) football game of the 2020 season took place last night and featured a power outage – yikes!
  • While we anxiously await the outcome of the 2020 election, we did learn recently that three more states – Louisiana, Maryland, and Soith Dakota – will allow wagers “on sporting events,” which is good news for DraftKings and FanDuel.
  • Could Alex Cora become the next manager of the Boston Red Sox? It seems like a second stint is possible, according to multiple reports over the past few days, including MLBTradeRumors.com.

Enjoy a BRAND new Noontime Sports Podcast this morning (or afternoon) – today, we welcomed Darryl Konicki, who is the associate commissioner of the Little East Conference (LEC), to discuss the content he and his the league have produced over these past few weeks and months without games being played.

You can listen to today’s podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor and wherever you get your podcasts!

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.