Noonan: Super Bowl XLVI Prediction – New England vs. New York

Can Tom Brady earn his fourth Super Bowl ring on Sunday? (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Well, it’s time for me, (Matt Noonan) to deem a NFL champion for Noontime Sports.

It’s been a LONG season, and 32 teams have dwindled down to just two, New England and New York, and once the clock strikes zero in the fourth quarter, we’ll officially have a winner, right?

OK… there might be overtime or a second or third, but you get my drift.

Although, how bizarre is it that pigskin lovers get to watch a rematch of Super Bowl XLII?

Doesn’t it seem like yesterday that New Englanders were crossing their fingers for Tom Brady to recover from his awful performance against the San Diego Chargers in the 2007 AFC title match?

Well, he didn’t do that well against the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, so should we expect déjà vu all over again? Who knows!

The Giants are a mediocre squad. Seriously, they’re 9-7, which means they’re OK, but not great, and as someone who is a true Dallas Cowboys supporter, it pains me to see Eli Manning leading his troops in the “big game” instead of Tony Romo. However, Manning certainly has taken a step forward toward the upper echelon of “elite quarterbacks” in the NFL, but now the question remains … can he beat Brady and the Patriots on Sunday, again?

I certainly think it’s possible, especially since New York has a variety of offensive weapons that can stretch the field, and attack Bill Belichick’s questionable and fragile secondary.

Also, I believe the Giants front seven will attempt to mimic their actions from four years ago when they recorded five sacks in Arizona. However, they never forced Brady to throw an interception, but this past November when the two teams met in Foxborough, the G-Men tallied two sacks and two interceptions, as well as a win, too.

New England hasn’t defeated New York since that epic clash in December of 2007, which was when the Patriots registered their 16th victory, and ended the regular season with a perfect record. Yet, ever since that night in New Jersey, the Giants have had their number in the championship and regular season matches, which probably means they’re better, right?

Hard to answer that particular question, but overall, I think these two teams are even. And yes, I know I labeled the Giants as “mediocre,” but all in all, I think we’re going to be watching a true heavyweight bout.

Super Bowl XLVI Prediction: The Giants rallied to beat the Patriots earlier this season, and it’s certainly possible that Manning could lead a last minute drive and hook up with Jake Ballard or Victor Cruz for the game-winning touchdown.

However, I believe in the motto, “In Bill, We Trust.” New England’s defense has ratcheted up their intensity over the past few weeks, and certainly defied the odds against Baltimore and Denver in the playoffs.

Although, shouldn’t every defense be able to stop Tim Tebow and the Broncos offense? I think so!

If New England can establish the run and maintain the time of possession, then I’m expecting the Patriots to win. Although, if Manning and his offense to can beat up the Patriots front seven and tear apart the secondary, then the Giants should win.

Overall, it’s a tough decision, but I going to stick with my gut and say… New England 20, New York 17

Mistakes, Penalties Hurt Dallas Against New York

10 Penalties and a fumble by Felix Jones were some of the reasons why the Cowboys lost on Sunday! (Photo Credit: Star-Telegram)

By Matt Noonan 

Against the New York Giants, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo tossed four touchdowns, and completed 21-of-34 passes for 321 yards. Yet, his team didn’t win, but instead, lost their second contest in a row.

The Cowboys are clearly in a funk, and something has to change immediately.

They may have exhibited one of the worst collapses on Sunday Night Football, but now they need to follow orders from head coach Jason Garrett, who often preaches to the media, “let’s put this behind us.”

Can Dallas recover? Can they overcome their dramatic two losses? I don’t know.

“I thought it was a hard fought game, and I think everybody on our football team put it out there, put it out there for four quarters,” said Garrett via his team’s website.

The head coach continued to dissect the loss by saying, “We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end. There were a lot of things that were disappointing within the game. I don’t think effort, intensity was an issue at all, [but] there were some execution issues down the stretch, and we got to get those cleaned up.”

One of the biggest factors in this particular game that clearly hurt the Cowboys chances were penalties. Dallas was flagged 10 times, both on offense and defense, which allowed them to lose all sorts of momentum, and practically hand the game to the Giants, literally.

Dallas’ defense also yielded 510 yards, as quarterback Eli Manning finished the game with 400 passing yards, while running back Brandon Jacobs tallied 101 yards on the ground.

“The nature of our team has been we’ve played a lot of close games and we’ve won probably half of them, and we lost some other ones,” said Garret. “And just because you’ve figured out how to do it once, doesn’t mean you’re going to do it all the time. I think that’s just the nature of the [NFL and] we’ve just got to keep finding ways to do much more often than we have [thus far].”

The Cowboys will have a short week before traveling to Tampa Bay on Saturday, so certainly, Garrett and his team will want to figure out their mistakes sooner than later, otherwise, they’ll be sitting at home in mid-January.

Rapid Reaction: Giants Stun Cowboys, 37-34

Giants QB Eli Manning tossed 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys, as New York snapped their four-game losing streak on Sunday in Dallas! (Photo Credit: CNBC.com)

By Matt Noonan 

This wasn’t supposed to happen, right?

The Dallas Cowboys were the bigger, faster and stronger team on Sunday, but in the end, déjà vu occurred, as rookie place kicker Dan Bailey once again failed to convert an end of the game field goal, which allowed the New York Giants to march off the grassy turf of Cowboys Stadium with a much needed conference win.

New York entered the contest on a four-game losing streak, but now, they’re three wins away from wrapping up the NFC East, which originally belonged to the Cowboys.

Yet, how could this happen?

Tony Romo provided a much-needed spark to his offense in the second half, as well as helped Dallas earn a critical 12-point lead. However, Rob Ryan’s defense surrendered 15-points in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, which helped the Giants steal all the momentum away from the Boys.

Quarterback Eli Manning lit up the Dallas secondary like a Christmas tree, as he tossed two touchdowns and completed 27-of-47 passes for 400 yards, while running back Brandon Jacobs rushed for two scores on 19 carries and 101 yards.

The Cowboys also suffered some serious injuries, as rooking running back DeMarco Murray limped off the field after his fifth carry, and was later diagnosed with a broken right ankle. Cornerback Mike Jenkins injured his shoulder and center Phil Costa was knocked out with a concussion.

Dallas has now lost two games in a row, and will look to snap their current trend immediately on Saturday when they travel to Tampa Bay to face an up-and-down Buccaneers squad, while the Giants will head home for three contests in New Jersey.

We’ll have more NFL coverage on this particular game, and other interesting moments from Week 14 later on Monday, so make sure to check back with us soon!

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter @NoontimeSports

The Cowboys Grind Out An Important Victory Against The Fish On Thanksgiving

The Cowboys extended their winning streak to four games on Thursday against the Dolphins!

By Matt Noonan 

How would one describe the Dallas-Miami game on Thanksgiving Day?

Is there even a word other than “Wow” or “Amazing” that could be used to describe the ugly and epic outcome?

OK, we might need to rearrange the word to be something like, “thankful” or “lucky,” but if you’re a Dallas Cowboys supporter, I’m sure you’re breathing a little easier than a few hours ago, right?

The Cowboys are like the Boston Red Sox. They’re a good team on paper and should smoke their opponents, but instead, they like to lie down to underachieving squads like the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

On Thursday, the Cowboys had no reason to lose to the Fish, and even though they won, it certainly seems like they lost.

“It’s hard to win in the NFL. Miami has been playing very well recently and had some big wins and they came in here and we knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle against those guys,” said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett via the team’s website.

“Well we’ve obviously been in that situation a few times this year and we’ve been successful a number of times now and we kind of know some of the things we like to do and depending upon what the defense is doing obviously, and when you need a field goal, it’s kind of be aggressive, be aggressive, and once you get in position, it’s time to throttle back a little bit and obviously give the o-line and DeMarco [Murray] a chance to just set it up, and they did a great job of that [on Thursday],” said quarterback Tony Romo via the team’s website.

Dallas did a great job of grinding out their seventh win, but a victory against Miami shouldn’t be a sign of greatness or something to boast about, right?

The Cowboys allowed the Dolphins to rally and take a lead, while Romo and the offense practically spent the entire third quarter on the bench watching Miami’s gunslinger, Matt Moore and running back Reggie Bush look like perennial all-stars against Roby Ryan’s defense. However, when the fourth quarter rolled around, the Cowboys miraculously mustered 10 critical points to secure the win, and Romo’s fifth victory on Thanksgiving.

“I thought a lot of guys just kind of hung in there, and as a quarterback, I thought Tony did a really good job just playing through this game. A couple turnovers early on in the game, a little bit of out of rhythm and he just kind of kept hanging in there,” said Garrett.

Perhaps this particular game was Romo’s coming out party or maybe it’s a sign that Dallas needs to be taken seriously for the remainder of the season? Hey, this is the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team,” and if we’ve learned something over the past two weeks, it’s that the Boys will battle for 60-minutes and grind out wins.

“[Thursday’s game], it’s a “W,” it counts in the win column, and at the end of the year, those things will add up, and that’s what will be talked about when the season’s over, these “w’s,” what your record was, what you did in the playoffs, what you did at the end of the year,” said Romo. “It’s about winning, [and] that’s what we’re in this job for is to go out here, play, [and] we’re lucky enough to do it and we’re blessed to be in this position, but what makes it really enjoyable is winning when you’re doing it and it’s fun right now when you’re winning a couple in a row.”

The Cowboys will certainly enjoy 10-days of rest before heading to the desert to face Arizona, another underachieving squad. If the Cowboys are who we think they are, then it’s expected to watch Dallas win against a bad team that’ll challenge their defense and force Romo to make mistakes. Yet, when the final whistle blows, expect Dallas to walk off the field with either a one, two or three point victory.

Dallas might be onto something and Romo may have officially found his mojo too.

Thanksgiving Football Prediction: Dallas-Miami

Can Tony Romo keep his "November to Remember" streak going against the Dolphins on Thursday?

By Matt Noonan 

On paper this seems like a dangerous matchup, but in reality the Cowboys should certainly win this game and extend their current winning streak to four games.

“What we’ve done the last three weeks really doesn’t mean anything in terms of this game [on Thursday] against the Dolphins. We’ve got to prepare the right way and then go play our best football,” said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett via the team’s website.

Quarterback Tony Romo hasn’t lost a Thanksgiving tilt since being named the starter mid-way through the ’06 season, and also hasn’t tossed an interception since his team fell to Philadelphia three weeks ago.

The emergence of rookie running back DeMarco Murray and wide receiver Laurent Robinson has helped the Cowboys offense dramatically, while second-year linebacker Sean Lee leads the team with 65 tackles, (43 tackles, 22 assists). Expect all three players to assist the team against the Dolphins, as well as play vital parts in a must-win contest.

As for the Dolphins, they enter Thursday’s game with a three-game winning streak. Quarterback Matt Moore recorded three touchdowns against Buffalo and Kansas City, while running back Reggie Bush recorded four rushing scores in the past three weeks. Miami’s defense ranks sixth in points against, and seventh against the run.

FUN FACT – The last time both teams met on Thanksgiving was in ’03, and yes, the Dolphins beat the Cowboys, 40-21. Jay Fiedler tossed three touchdowns to Chris Chambers, while Ricky Williams recorded 104 yards on 31 carries.    

PREDICTION – The Cowboys are the better team, and need to focus on protecting the football and Romo, as well as forcing Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore into making multiple mistakes. Dallas 31 – Miami 10