Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Long And Suite Preview: The NFC

Both of our experts are unusually optimistic about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this year.
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We're just gonna blow through these quickly - just post our picks for how each division will finish, what each team's record will be, and how the playoff seedings stack up. The heavy analysis as to how and why those things will come about will be in tomorrow's full-season preview. This is just quick and dirty picks. First will be each division's order of finish. The second section will have each team's record (and a pick for each team's respective over/under). The third section will be our top six teams.

Long And Suite Preview: The AFC

Can Peyton Manning lead the Broncos back atop the AFC?
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We're just gonna blow through these quickly - just post our picks for how each division will finish, what each team's record will be, and how the playoff seedings stack up. The heavy analysis as to how and why those things will come about will be in tomorrow's full-season preview. This is just quick and dirty picks. First will be each division's order of finish. The second section will have each team's record (and a pick for each team's respective over/under). The third section will be our top six teams.

Bob Lobel: The Growing Legend of Tom Brady


By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

So Yoda (nickname Brady) and his young Jedi warrior (nickname Jimmy G) are the chosen ones for “the force.”  

Brady, in typical Yoda fashion, will say to his understudy, “fumble or interception, I do not want. My job, take it not!”  

Not yet anyway. "Three more years, Yoda does want.” And so it goes. 

Ryan Mallett has turned to the dark side and now there are the Brady/Belichick understudy three: Mallett, Hoyer and Cassel. All pretty, good but not our Tom. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Patriots and Preseason Trades

Logan Mankins (70) was dealt to Tampa Bay, but will the Patriots suffer for it?
By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin)

Trades in the NFL happen significantly less frequently than they do in the NBA, NHL, and in Major League Baseball. There are a few reasons for this - first and foremost, contracts are structured in the most complicated fashion of the four major sports. There's the total value of the contract, which is split into a signing bonus (guaranteed money) and the player's yearly salary (often un-guaranteed or only partially guaranteed). Those two numbers are then used to calculate a player's "cap hit," or what figure they actually count against the team's salary cap. As NFL contracts are more complicated, it becomes more difficult to trade players for other players - almost exclusively, you see players traded for draft picks.

Trades happen infrequently in the NFL, unless you're talking about the Patriots in the two-week window before the regular season starts.

CMass Football Preview: The 2014 St. John's Pioneers

Though widely known for its offense, look for St. John's to be greatly improved on defense, led by senior middle linebacker Sam Norton (66).
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

St. John's has long been one of, if not the, best high school football programs in Central Mass, but the Pioneers had a monkey they just couldn't get off their back: Rival Leominster.

St. John's came into 2013 having lost four straight to the Blue Devils, including a pair of Division I Central Super Bowls. When Leominster took down the Pioneers 33-22 to start the year, it seemed like another CMass season would belong to their nemesis from the north.

Things got even worse in the coming weeks, as St. John's needed a miracle kickoff return from Michael McGillicuddy to survive Fitchburg, and dropped its second in a row to crosstown rival Shrewsbury. The Pioneers then fell into a 20-7 hole against Marlborough.

But then things began to click.