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!

Super Bowl LI

I really can’t start anywhere but the Super Bowl. Super Bowl LI. The first overtime Super Bowl which was, admittedly, shocking considering how terrible most of this postseason’s playoff games were. The New England Patriots came away with a 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. I knew the New England Patriots would win because they just always find away. I had that sinking feeling in my heart the whole time. I was also right about WHY the New England Patriots would win: the Atlanta Falcons’ lackluster defensive secondary. The New England Patriots were held to just 3 points in the first half because the Atlanta Falcons pass rushers were getting to QB Tom Brady before he could make good throws against the porous secondary. Unfortunately, those pass rushers were too tired after the stellar first half to maintain the same level of play in the second half, and Tom Brady carved up the Atlanta Falcons secondary. That said, props to Atlanta Falcons CB Robert Alford, who played admirably without starting CB Desmond Trufant (he even had a pick six!). Robert Alford was the ONLY member of the Atlanta Falcons secondary that came to play.  OK, S Keanu Neal wasn’t called out too much, but CB Jalen Collins did NOT come to play, and CB Brian Poole had what was probably (in the nicest terms possible) the worst performance of any member of any defensive secondary that I have EVER seen in the Super Bowl. Brian Poole had multiple holding calls against him, and he was also burned by the likes of WRs Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell, repeatedly throughout the game. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady set two records: most passing yards in a Super Bowl (466) and most Super Bowls won by a QB (5). New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick also set the record for most Super Bowl wins as a head coach (5). The Atlanta Falcons also had their ONLY turnover of this postseason with QB Matt Ryan‘s fumble. In conclusion, Super Bowl LI was proof that the good guys lose (Atlanta Falcons) and the bad guys win (New England Patriots).

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Two other brief Super Bowl notes:

  1. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could not wait to get off the podium during the Lombardi trophy presentation. The battles between Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (and QB Tom Brady) have been well documented with the cheating scandals that the Patriots always seem to be facing. Roger Goodell left the trophy stage IMMEDIATELY after handing the trophy to Robert Kraft. LOL. Oh, and Robert Kraft took a jab at the whole ‘Deflategate’ situation, too.
  2. The Super Bowl commercials continue to get weaker every year. I honestly can’t really remember any of the commercials from this Super Bowl. 😦

That’s all for TheHaysWay today, make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on Super Bowl LI and/or on the New England Patriots and/or on the Atlanta Falcons and/or on whatever else is related to the Super Bowl 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 support the feeling of being REALLY tired of seeing the Patriots win CONSTANTLY. Have a pleasant tomorrow.

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.