NFL Top 10 Players of 2017

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I realized that the NBA Awards are not the only interesting sports awards happening tonight because NFL Network‘s Top 100 Players of 2017 concludes tonight at 8 pm ET on (you guessed it!) NFL Network. Although the NBA Awards are a little more official and have flashier trophies that come with them, the NFL’s list of the Top 100 players is always interesting to see because it gives an inside look at what NFL players think of their peers. Today, the list of names in the Top 10 was released in alphabetical order, so let’s reorder them in order of greatness as a guess for how the ranking will shake out this evening:

  1. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (16 games: 69.9 completion % for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 3 fumbles for a 117.1 passer rating)
  2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (16 games: 65.7 completion % for 4,428 yards and 40 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 104.2 passer rating)
  3. Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos (16 games: 78 combined tackles, 13.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles with 0 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions and 0 touchdowns)
  4. Odell Beckham Jr, WR, New York Giants (16 games: 101 receptions on 169 targets for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns with 1 fumble)
  5. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (15 games: 106 receptions on 155 targets for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns with 0 fumbles)
  6. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (15 games: 322 carries for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns with 5 fumbles; 32 catches on 40 targets for 363 yards and 1 touchdown with 0 fumbles)
  7. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (14 games: 83 receptions on 129 targets for 1,409 yards and 6 touchdowns with 0 fumbles)
  8. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (12 games: 67.4 completion % for 3,554 yards and 28 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and 4 fumbles for a 112.2 passer rating)
  9. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (12 games: 261 carries for 1,268 yards and 7 touchdowns with 3 fumbles; 75 catches on 94 targets for 616 yards and 2 touchdowns with 1 fumble)
  10. Khalil Mack, DE, Oakland Raiders (16 games: 73 combined tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles with 3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception and 1 touchdown)

Explanations:

  • I have Khalil Mack ranked last because all the Derek Carr fans seem to think that Carr does everything by himself on CARR’S team. Apparently, despite statistics indicating the contrary, Carr outperformed Dak Prescott last year just because the Raiders have a lesser RB, O-line, and defense. If the Raiders have a lesser defense, so be it. So, I ranked Mack pretty much solely on resentment for all Oakland Derek Carrs (I mean, Oakland Raiders) fans, Derek Carr fans, Fresno State fans, and people from the city of Oakland.
  • You’ll notice that the other 9 players are first organized by number of games played. For those of you who read my NBA Awards post last night, you’ll remember that I said I value most the players that stay injury and suspension free to be there for their team when their team needs them. That rings true for the NFL, too.
  • Tom Brady is ranked above Le’Veon Bell in the “12 games” category because Brady once again led the New England Patriots to their most thrilling Super Bowl victory yet.
  • In the “15 games” category, I ranked Antonio Brown over Ezekiel Elliott because Brown didn’t have any turnovers. The two most important things for an offensive player are holding on to the ball and scoring. Brown was +5 in the holding on to the ball category and Zeke was +4 in the scoring category. 5>4, so Brown edges Zeke.
  • The “16 games” category was the trickiest because there were four players (not including Khalil Mack, of course) who fell into that category. Ultimately, I put the two QBs at the top because QBs are the most valuable players for a franchise. The two Super Bowl teams were both led by QBs on this Top 10 list (Matt Ryan for the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady for the New England Patriots), while the teams without definitive starting QBs include the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets, the Los Angeles Rams, etc. The one anomaly was the Houston Texans, who got to the playoffs (and defeated the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs, by the way!) on the arms of Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage.
  • So, 3 and 4 were between Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. I chose Miller over Beckham because, although I love OBJ as a fan of Big Blue, a defensive player usually manages to crack the top 3. Also, OBJ’s stats dropped off this year from last year. Also-also (yes, I meant to put two “also”s there), 13.5 sacks in the NFL is very impressive, especially on a defense that almost carried the Denver Broncos to the playoffs despite Trevor Siemian (don’t get me started on Northwestern) starting at QB.
  • 1 and 2 were easy from there. Matt Ryan a higher completion %, more yards, fewer fumbles, and a higher passer rating than Aaron Rodgers. Oh, Ryan also won the MVP award and led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl, so there’s that.

That’s all for TheHaysWay for now, please leave a comment with your thoughts on my Top 10 ranking and/or on your own Top 10 ranking and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always welcome to help me improve my blog. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to improve your greatness ranking (and mine, too) 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow!

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Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Previous and Upcoming Games

We now know which teams will be playing in the Super Bowl.

The Atlanta Falcons are the NFC Champions after a 44-21 shellacking of the Green Bay Packers today.

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The New England Patriots are the AFC Champions after a 36-17 demolition of the Pittsburgh Steelers today.

So Super Bowl LI will feature the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. A team that has never won a Super Bowl against a team that has won 4 Super Bowls since the turn of the century. The top two MVP candidates: Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Patriots QB Tom Brady. The top scoring offense of the Falcons against the top scoring defense of the Patriots. All-in-all, this matchup looks GREAT on paper. However, I thought the same about the NFC Championship, the Falcons-Seahawks Divisional game, the Raiders-Texans Wild Card game, and the Giants-Packers Wild Card game. Those were all blowouts. So, here are some keys to victory for both teams:

New England Patriots

  • Tom Brady needs to keep being Tom Brady.
  • Their defense MUST get stops. If they can get two or three turnovers and some points off of them, they will be golden.
  • When I say their defense, I mean CB Malcolm Butler. He was the hero of Super Bowl XLIX with his endzone interception at the end of the game. He can be the hero again if he can shut down Falcons WR Julio Jones.

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Atlanta Falcons

  • Matt Ryan needs to keep being Matt Ryan. If he allows the top scoring defense to score, the Falcons will be in serious trouble.
  • Julio Jones needs to best Malcolm Butler. This one-on-one matchup will HUGELY impact the game. The Falcons need their top WR to be productive if they are going to take down the dynasty team.
  • The Falcons pass rush must continue to show up. They played phenomenally against the Packers o-line today. In fact, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was pressured on 50% of his drop backs in the NFC Championship. The Falcons had him shook. Also, the New York Giants pass rush is what toppled Brady and the Pats back in Super Bowl 42. If the Falcons can’t pressure Brady, they will lose. Their secondary NEEDS their pass rush to survive.

If you have been following my preseason predictions, you know that I picked a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl. I came close, but I’m glad that the Falcons made it instead. Being that my prediction was broken, I suppose I should give a new prediction:

New England Patriots 38, Atlanta Falcons 30

Unfortunately, I do believe the Patriots dynasty will have another Super Bowl Championship to their name. I don’t think the Falcons are ready for the biggest stage in sports. While their offense looked phenomenal today, they were playing a decimated Packers secondary. They won’t play as well against the top scoring defense. Also, I think the Patriots o-line will review the tape from the NFC Championship so they know what to block for. That will allow Brady to eat the Falcons secondary alive, as they showed some definite holes, even against a Aaron Rodgers that was under fire all day.

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That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the results of the NFL Conference Championship games and/or on your Super Bowl LI predictions and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to make me feel like a Conference Champion. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.

#29: Team Management, Weekend, and More

Before I begin, a quick recap of my weekend:

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  1. I finished the weekend with a 3-2 record in NBA 2K13 against one of my friends here at DU. He beat me and another friend of ours in a game of 21 (real basketball, not video games), then I beat both of them in a game of PIG (again, real. Also, similar to HORSE, just fewer letters). So, a decent weekend for me in terms of my skills as an athlete and gamer.
  2. My brand new football is busted. I was playing with it on Friday, and it was perfectly fine. I picked it up on Sunday, and it was totally deflated. I pumped it up to 9 lbs of pressure, and a minute later, it was down to less than 1 lb of pressure. Somehow, someway, my football broke in between Friday and Sunday, without being used at all. I have no idea how it happened, but that’s not team management.
  3. Team management. That’s a thing for me now. All things have something to do with team management. My friend said those two words during a game of Madden, and they’ve stuck with me. I’ve taken them to a whole new level; It’s practically my catchphrase, even when it doesn’t make any sense. (ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t make any sense.)
  4. This weekend was a triple win weekend for me. On Thursday, the Boise State Broncos won (and the Houston Cougars lost!), so I will see the 7-0 #13 Boise State Broncos in Laramie, WY next weekend for an important matchup against the Wyoming Cowboys, that will essentially decide the Mountain division of the Mountain West conference. On Friday and Saturday night, the DU Hockey team took down the Michigan State Spartans. Congrats Pios!!! On Sunday morning (EARLY Sunday morning), the New York Giants took down the Los Angeles Rams in London. Despite another lackluster performance from the non-existent offense of the Giants, the defense came through with four interceptions of Rams QB Case Keenum, including a pick-six (courtesy of S Landon Collins), which ended up being the final point differential. So, the G-men head into their bye week with a winning, 4-3 record.
  5. Boise State grad and Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi became the fourth player in NFL history to record back-to-back 200+ yard rushing performances, today. This opens up a big opportunity for Boise State. With the success of both Ajayi and Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (also a former Boise State grad), they have the opportunity to recruit more, great RBs with the selling point of being a ‘RB University’. Furthermore, current Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols is having another great season in his illustrious Boise State career, and the successes of Ajayi and Martin could help his draft stock, as well. Congrats Ajayi!
  6. The Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals tied in Arizona on Sunday Night Football, 6-6. Wow. I don’t like ties.
  7. Great weekend for my friends and family (in terms of football), as well. The New York Jets won (my mom’s team), the Detroit Lions won (my dad’s team), the Oakland Raiders won (my friend, Ben’s team), the Kansas City Chiefs won (my friend, George’s team), and the New England Patriots won (my friends, Connor’s, Brendan’s, and Michael’s team). Thanks world! You have done right by me this weekend!

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On to the highly-anticipated #29:

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The Song

’29’ is the title of an album by Ryan Adams. I have never heard of this album before, and the name Ryan Adams isn’t ringing any bells, either. So, I’ll be listening to a song from the album for the first time, immediately preceding this post being published.

NASA

I’m not entirely sure what this expedition was all about, and I’m tired. Let me know if you know what it’s about, or if you find out what it’s about.

Atlanta Falcons

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Founded: 1966

All-Time Winning Percentage: 43.7%

All-Time Record: (312-402-6)

Honestly, the Falcons team of recent years is probably their best in history. QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones have been having a magnificent season, along with RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, despite their loss to the San Diego Chargers, today. You might remember, the Falcons had QB Michael Vick prior to his issues with dogs. They might’ve had quite a few good seasons with him, had he been a good person. Nevertheless, it’s remarkable that the Falcons have the same all-time winning percentage as their biggest rival, the New Orleans Saints. Unlike the Saints, however, the Falcons have yet to win a Super Bowl. Their defense will need to improve significantly if they wish to change that.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the events of the weekend (mine or yours) and/or on the song ’29’ and/or on the NASA mission and/or on the Atlanta Falcons…

…I’m sorry, do you have a song (or songS) that make(s) you stop in your tracks to listen to? Well, I listen to a big Spotify playlist while I blog, and one of those songs came on for me. It’s called “New Year’s Day“, written and performed by the A Capella group, Pentatonix. It is a deep song for me. Most of my life’s regrets have come this year, so I can’t wait for New Year’s Day. It’s just over two months away, now. Anyway, that song makes me long for a New Year, a fresh start, because it currently reminds me of high school (ie my friends back home, my ex, an awkward and too uneventful summer, and many other goodbyes). That song takes me on a weird emotional roller coaster, and it’s only like 3 minutes long. Really weird…

…and/or on whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you are not yet a follower, become a follower to witness my fresh start, coming January 1, 2017 (at least in my mind, though I know I’ve had multiple opportunities to start anew, already, and I will have many more before January 1, but that’s not the point!). 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Daily Update: August 25, 2016

As I begin writing this, I don’t know where I want to start in terms of topic. Well, I’ve started putting together a playlist of my favorite songs of all-time, which were featured in Madden games. I’ve found this to be a little distracting while I’m playing because I listen to the music instead of the broadcast. Mistakes were made while I was jamming to some of my tunes. In fact, in one game (against the Lions) I went off-controller to fix my music playlist for ONE PLAY, and the Lions scored an 80-yard TD on that play. Don’t trust the CPU players to win for your team. THEY SUCK! Anyway, I made a comeback after that to remain undefeated in Madden NFL 17, but it was still highly frustrating. Also, another great catch, this one courtesy of WR Cody Latimer:

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Now on to NFL Game Results:

  1. Atlanta Falcons 6 @ Miami Dolphins 17- Both starting QBs (Matt Ryan ATL and Ryan Tannehill MIA) threw INTs. The important RBs (Devonta Freeman ATL, Jay Ajayi MIA, and Arian Foster MIA) failed to stand out, as Foster was the only one of those three to score a TD, and he also led in YPC with 2. There were no receiving TDs, but Atlanta’s WR Aldrick Robinson (3 rec, 70 yds) continued to impress, along with Miami’s star receiver, Jarvis Landry (4 rec, 40 yds). The two star defensive backs (CB Desmond Trufant ATL and S Rashad Jones MIA) both had an interception. Miami’s defense had two forced fumbles, one from DB Shamiel Gary (who had a great game: 5 TAC, 2 ATAC with the FF), and the other from S Michael Thomas (also had 1 TAC). Overall, the defenses showed off in this game. Atlanta’s defense seems slightly improved from a year ago (not that it could’ve gotten worse),  and Miami’s defense doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat (2 SAC), despite losing DEs Olivier Vernon and Derrick Shelby during the offseason.
  2. Dallas Cowboys 10 @ Seattle Seahawks 27 (In Progress)- Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo left in the first quater and was holding his back. There is no official word on the severity of the injury, yet. The good news for the ‘Boys is that QB Dak Prescott (17-23, 116 yds, 1 TD) continues to impress. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (16-21, 192 yds, 2 TDs) also impressed, though, that’s no surprise. Both starting RBs (Ezekiel Elliott DAL (7 car, 48 yds) and Christine Michael SEA (because Thomas Rawls didn’t play: 7 car, 58 yds)) were fairly impressive. Top receiver in the game is WR Tyler Lockett (3 rec, 41 yds, 1 TD).

Now for some NFL general news:

  1. The New England Patriots continued their offseason trading spree. Today, they dealt a 5th round pick to the Cleveland Browns, in exchange for former-1st round pick, LB Barkevious Mingo. Interesting acquisition. This definitely seems like a Bill Belichick move. Mingo has loads of potential, he just hasn’t lived up to it yet. Belichick has a way of getting that potential out of his players.
  2. Former Cleveland Browns S Donte Whitner is visiting the Carolina Panthers. My advice: Carolina, SIGN HIM! I actually forgot that Whitner is still a free agent. He’s getting a little old, but I still believe that he is a very capable safety, and Carolina could definitely use the help in their secondary.
  3. The Detroit Lions released RB Stevan Ridley. Ridley was once a promising young RB for the Patriots, but sustained an ACL tear in 2014, which has quickly derailed his career. This could be the end of said career, after Ridley failed to stick with the New York Jets and Detroit Lions, both of which, have been in serious need of RBs during the last couple of seasons.
  4. Three huge injuries occurred this evening in preseason play. Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo left the ‘Boys game against the Seattle Seahawks after sustaining a back injury. The injury is not thought to be serious, though Romo didn’t return to the game. Miami Dolphins DT Ndamukong Suh suffered an ankle injury early in the ‘Fins game against the Atlanta Falcons, and he did not return. The severity of the injury is unknown at this point. Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones also got an ankle injury in the Falcons-Dolphins matchup, and didn’t return. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the game results and/or the daily news and/or whatever is on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like. If you like what you read and you aren’t a follower, please become one because that makes me happy. 🙂 Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Weekend in Review: July 10, 2016

(Very minor language in the following scene)”When life gives you lemons? Don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad!” -Cave Johnson, Founder of Aperture Science

For those of you who have played Portal 2, you likely remember the EXACT moment this was said in the game. It is a FANTASTIC rant. For those of you who haven’t played Portal 2, I HIGHLY encourage you to give it a shot. It is a very well-done game and it’s loads of fun. I actually have played through the solo campaign AT LEAST 15 times. I once played it so many times in a row, that I memorized it, and finished the whole campaign in about 3 hours. (Hey, I’m proud of it! I don’t care how nerdy it is! It’s fun!) Even for those of you who aren’t gamers, you will likely find something fascinating throughout this game. I LOVE this rant. He’s SO right. Life throws a lot of crap at us that we don’t want, and we don’t deserve. Don’t just take it. Fight back. It’s like bullying. If you are the victim, the best way to stop the bully is to fight back and beat him/her. So fight back against life. Show life that the crap it throws at you is beneficial for you. There is a positive for every negative, and all you have to do is find it and embrace it. For example, the death of my beloved television was one instance of life giving me lemons. But I didn’t just take it. I fought back with a NEW television. A BETTER television. So my Madden, Portal 2, and Star Wars (I got an AWESOME new Kylo Ren lightsaber over the weekend!) marathon experiences now have a sharper picture! Take THAT life! Getting mad isn’t even the best way to do it. If you can beat the crap that life throws your way without letting it get to you, you are even better off. Again paralleling bullying, the bully (life) wants to affect you to hurt your self-esteem. If you don’t let it affect you, it will stop bullying you. There is always a way to succeed. Life will NEVER beat you when you STOP it. Now the news:

  1. Former NFL QB Michael Vick posted a photo-shopped picture of himself wearing a Golden State Warriors jersey today. I really only have one word for that: No.
  2. University of Oregon WR Devon Allen has booked his flight for the Rio Olympics. He placed FIRST in the US qualifying finals of the 110-meter hurdles yesterday night. INCREDIBLY impressive for a college athlete. Good for him, and best of luck at the Olympics. Bring home the gold for the US!
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell has been injured since tearing his MCL and PCL in Week 8 of last season. He believes he is on track with his rehab, and claims he will be ready for training camp. Though most players exaggerate how well they are doing in rehab, this is GREAT news for the Steelers. Bell is one of the best RBs in the NFL today, and the Steelers are FANTASTIC when their big three of Bell, QB Ben Roethlisberger, and WR Antonio Brown are all healthy.
  4. Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley came out and said that he “couldn’t ask for better QB” of rookie Rams QB Jared Goff. Goff appears to be doing all the right things so far in gaining the support of prominent teammates like Gurley. How well he performs as a QB at the NFL level won’t be displayed until he hits the field in REAL games. If Gurley is right, the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will need to watch their backs in the NFC West sooner, rather than later.
  5. There has been a lot of controversy lately regarding which WRs are the best in the league due to some questionable rankings in the “Top 100 Players of 2016” list. Personally, I believe Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is the top dog in that group due to his consistent production every season. The next two are (supposedly) WR Odell Beckham Jr (duh) and WR Julio Jones? Beckham has the best hands in the league by far, so I believe he should be number 2 over Jones. I don’t believe Jones is number three. Who is, then? Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery? Definite possibility because he has been putting up big numbers with JAY CUTLER as his QB. He was also good enough to push WR Brandon Marshall and TE Martellus Bennett out of town. Cincinnati Bengals WR AJ Green? He has been the lone wolf receiving threat in Cincinnati (until TE Tyler Eifert’s emergence last season) and has put up big numbers. Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant? Played well even in the absence of starting QB Tony Romo. Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas? Has played VERY well despite receiving from QB Tim Tebow, and past-prime QB Peyton Manning. Okay, for last season ALONE, Jones definitely has a shot at the number three spot. However, personally, I would go with WR AJ Green. He really allowed for the emergence of both QB Andy Dalton and TE Tyler Eifert last season. Why did I bring this up? I bought an awesome statuette of New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr over the weekend! If you haven’t heard of McFarlane Figures, check them out because they make a lot of NFL player statuettes. So, I now have my OBJ one on my desk next to my New York Giants WR Victor Cruz one. Hopefully, the New York Giants starting offense this season will have the same duo.

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment on the daily quote and/or the daily news and/or anything that’s on your mind, along with a much-appreciated like (quick shout-out: my last post received quite a few likes, so thank you all VERY much for that and PLEASE tell me what you liked so much so that I can continue to improve like count 🙂 ). Have a pleasant tomorrow.