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There are 32 NFL franchises <a title="Mike Remmers Jersey" href="http://www.vikingscheapstore.com/mike-remmers-jersey-cheap">Mike Remmers Jersey</a> , and probably 32 questions we can ask about each of them.
Some are quite pertinent: Carson Wentz or Nick Foles behind center in Philadelphia? Will J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson return healthy to Houston and carry the Texans back to the AFC South lead? Will fans be screaming for their first-round rookie quarterback to get on the field, like, yesterday?
Good questions all.
But we’re concerned here with the irrelevant queries. Such as:
1-Can Tom Brady win at age 41?
Maybe you should ask this question when he is 51 – just kidding, Gisele.
At 40, Brady was as Tom Terrific as ever, even without his favorite receiver, Julian Edelman, for the entire season. To think he suddenly will go over the hill with the way he trains and his smarts and competitive fire is foolhardy.
”Obviously, I evaluate last season and things I can do better. I don’t think this offseason was any different for me,” he has said.
No, Brady won’t play forever; the Jets, Bills and Dolphins surely can’t wait until he disappears, not to mention the rest of the AFC. But wondering about Brady’s competence in 2018, when he just might win his fourth league MVP award, is an irrelevant task.
2-Will the Browns win a game?
Yes they will, maybe even in Week 1 at home against their archrivals, the Steelers, but more likely somewhere else in the first half of a schedule that isn’t exactly daunting.
We understand that every matchup for a club that is 1-31 under coach Hue Jackson is challenging. Still, the Browns added enough talent to win a handful of games or more – and that’s not even considering what top overall draft pick Baker Mayfield might provide at quarterback if he gets on the field.
3-Will Jimmy Garoppolo ever lose a game?
Yes <a title="Mike Hull Jersey" href="http://www.dolphinscheapstore.com/mike-hull-jersey-cheap">Mike Hull Jersey</a> , he will – plenty of them.
Sure, Jimmy G is 7-0 as a starter, including 5-0 when he took the reins in San Francisco last year. Look for that first loss to come early this season, perhaps in the opener at Minnesota, a major challenge for the rebuilding 49ers.
Visits to the Chiefs and Chargers also are on the September docket.
So thoughts of Garoppolo remaining unblemished are irrelevant.
That doesn’t mean he won’t improve; he might do so significantly.
”I don’t know how much of a jump you’re going to see,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. ”When you talk about expectations, I don’t know how you’re going to live up to that. He did very good last year. If we had 400 yards a game, does that mean we need to have 600 the first five games to improve? I don’t know what the numbers will be, but we will be a better offense.”
4-Will the NFL and players’ union find common ground on national anthem protocol. Or anything else?
Nope. Not even close.
The 10-year labor agreement expires after the 2020 season. The union has fought the league on virtually every topic in it and quite a few outside of it. The anthem policy unilaterally imposed by the league and teams is the latest sticking point.
Common ground between these sides? Irrelevant.
5-Is Jon Gruden headed back to the broadcast booth after this season?
It might be tempting for Gruden once he sees how much pro football locker rooms and player approaches have changed since he previously worked a sideline 10 years ago. Still, to suggest a guy with his enthusiasm, intelligence and creative streak is going to sour on coaching so soon is … irrelevant.
Gruden could be hard-pressed to win much this season with Oakland, but he’ll put his stamp on the Raiders, and they will be better for it down the line – when he’ll almost certainly be around.
6-In how many stadiums will Roger Goodell be booed this season?
Let’s see: There are 31 homes for the teams (the Jets and Giants share MetLife Stadium), plus Azteca in Mexico City, Wembley and the new Tottenham Stadium in London. So 34 works.
Thinking the commissioner won’t get booed in any of them? Irrelevant.
The New England Patriots are 5-2 in Super Bowls with Tom Brady.
They were thisclose to being 7-0.
So when folks wonder why the spread against Philadelphia is between 5 and 6 points, they should consider that the total difference in scoring in those seven games is 12 points: Patriots 169, opponents 157.
”If you look at a Patriots Super Bowl, a lot of people feel that the Patriots are going to be dominant and they should just wipe the floor with whoever they play,” says Jay Kornegay of the Westgate Las Vegas sports book.
”The reality is all their Super Bowl wins have been in very close games. Last year’s six-point victory was their largest margin of victory in all their Super Bowls.
”We expect the Eagles to be competitive and we expect them to get some support from the general public. This is the only event we make a line that depends on public opinion. There’s so much money from the public on this game than you would get from the so-called sharks.”
New England has not exactly been a pool of sharks in those Super Bowls. Consider that the Patriots have not scored a point in the opening quarter of any of those seven games. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
And while Brady certainly has deserved his four Super Bowl MVP trophies <a title="David Sharpe Jersey" href="http://www.raiderscheapstore.com/david-sharpe-jersey-cheap">David Sharpe Jersey</a> , particularly in the past two Patriots wins, aside from the most successful quarterback in the modern NFL era, there hasn’t been much to separate New England from the vanquished opposition.
Patriots 20, Rams 17: Super Bowl 36, Feb. 3, 2002
New England’s defense was masterful against the ”Greatest Show on Turf”, playing an ultra-physical style that eventually led to some rules changes on how defenders could interact with receivers. Still, the Patriots blew a 17-3 lead and St. Louis tied it with 1:30 left.
That’s when Brady first showed he was, well, Brady. Rams coach Mike Martz, who ignored star running back Marshall Faulk far too often on a day begging for a run game, thought New England would play for OT. Instead, Brady, then 24, led his team to Adam Vinatieri’s winning field goal.
Patriots 32, Panthers 29: Super Bowl 38, Feb. 1, 2004
Again, the Patriots lost a late lead in a strange game <a title="Marcus Cannon Jersey" href="http://www.patriotscheapstore.com/marcus-cannon-jersey-cheap">Marcus Cannon Jersey</a> , with all the scoring coming in the second and fourth quarters. The Panthers’ John Kasay, one of the league’s most reliable kickers, sent the kickoff following the tying TD out of bounds with 1:08 remaining. From their 40, the Patriots easily moved in position for another winning field goal by Vinatieri.
Patriots 24, Eagles 21: Super Bowl 39, Feb. 6, 2005
New England repeated, helped greatly by Philadelphia’s ineffectiveness in a hurry-up offense – and Eagles QB Donovan McNabb vomiting in the huddle at one point. But Philly did have the ball and a chance to win with less than a minute left before Rodney Harrison’s interception.
Giants 17, Patriots 14: Super Bowl 42, Feb. 3, 2008
This is the biggest head scratcher because the Patriots were undefeated, unstoppable on offense and chasing history. Yet Tom Coughlin and his staff outcoached Bill Belichick and his assistants, and a New England squad that averaged nearly 37 points was befuddled by New York’s pressure D.
Giants 21, Patriots 17: Super Bowl 46, Feb. 5, 2012
Coughlin and Eli Manning got the better of Belichick and Brady again, with a similar formula and some huge plays. But, just as in the 2008 Super Bowl, New England led late in the fourth quarter.
Patriots 28 <a title="Aaron Ripkowski Jersey" href="http://www.packerscheapstore.com/aaron-ripkowski-jersey-cheap">Aaron Ripkowski Jersey</a> , Seahawks 24: Super Bowl 49, Feb. 1, 2015
This one will always be remembered for Seattle’s incomprehensible decision to throw from the New England 1-yard line in the final moments rather than hand off to Marshawn Lynch – who, incidentally, is nicknamed ”Beast Mode”.
The Patriots were within a few feet and a few ticks of the clock of losing a third straight Super Bowl appearance. But Brady was sensational in bringing his team back from a 24-14 fourth-quarter deficit. At the time, that was the biggest second-half rally in Super Bowl history.
Patriots 34, Falcons 28, OT: Super Bowl 51, Feb. 5, 2017
Still shaking your head over this one? So is the rest of the nation outside New England – and maybe some folks there, as well.
This is when Brady leaped beyond the Joe Montanas and Otto Grahams of pro football to establish himself as the measuring stick at his position. Keeping his team hungry and focused while down 28-3 in the third quarter cemented his unequaled leadership.
Remember, though, that the tiring Falcons had an 8-point lead and were within easy field goal range as the clock ticked down. They came away with nothing after some curious and ill-advised play calling, instead playing right into Brady’s hands.
The lessons here are clear, for fans (and bettors) of all kinds:
New England has been beatable in its past seven Super Bowl appearances. And it lost only twice.
AP Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg contributed.
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