Deflategate ruling to be made this week

Tom Brady showing up to court today. (Photo From Sportingnews.com)

Tom Brady showing up to court today.
(Photo From Sportingnews.com)

Tom Brady and Rodger Goodell were back in a New York courtroom today for only 10 minutes, to state they will not settle.

Judge Berman announced the two sides will not settle, so he will make the decision on Brady’s four game suspension as early as Tuesday and no later than Friday.

“I have no qualms about everybody’s dedication,” Judge Berman said.

Brady and Goodell did not look at each in the courtroom today, nor did they seem to be in a good mood, according to Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel’s tweet.

This week, at some point, we will know if Brady will appear in the first four games of the season.

No matter the decision, the losing side will probably appeal the decision, so the true end to deflategate may be a ways off.

Predicting NFL division winners

 

Manning, Romo, Rodgers, Luck, Flacco, and Brady. (Photo From CBS Dallas)

Manning, Romo, Rodgers, Luck, Flacco, and Brady.
(Photo From CBS Dallas)

The NFL regular season is only 13 days away!

The Patriots will get things started on Thursday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will give my best predictions for each NFC and AFC division winners this year.

Here are the teams I believe are destined for the postseason as division champions, starting with the AFC.

Brady, Manning, and Luck. (Photo From USA Today Sports)

Brady, Manning, and Luck.
(Photo From USA Today Sports)

AFC East: New England Patriots. 

Miami has come a long way, but not enough to overtake the Brady led Patriots. This year is still New England’s time and not Miami’s.

I believe Miami will finish 2nd, Buffalo 3rd, and the Jets 4th.

AFC West: Denver Broncos. 

I don’t know if Peyton can make the entire season healthy, and I don’t know if he is past his prime, but I wouldn’t bet against him during the regular season….. Just the postseason.

I have the Chargers finishing 2nd, Chiefs 3rd, and Raiders 4th.

AFC North: Baltimore Ravens. 

This is a hard one. The Bengals, Steelers, and Ravens are all playoff teams, so picking a division winner is tough. I’ll just go with the Ravens for right now, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Steelers and Bengals both made the postseason. I hope the Ravens don’t make the postseason because they are the toughest out, but I’m guessing they will. I have the Steelers finishing 2nd, Bengals 3rd, and the Browns 4th.

AFC South: Indianapolis Colts. 

Andrew Luck has been good since day one of his NFL career and he’s only getting better. The offense is too powerful for the Texans or Titans or Jaguars to dethrone them. Their defense is what will hold them back from a trip to Super Bowl 50.

I have the Texans finishing 2nd, Jaguars 3rd, and Titans 4th.

Photo from SportingNews.com's "Predicting AFC and NFC division winners.

Photo from SportingNews.com’s “Predicting AFC and NFC division winners.”

Let’s now move on to the NFC and who I believe will win each division.

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys.

Tony Romo is the best QB in the division with the best OL and a decent defense. Darren McFadden may be in for a career year running behind that OL if he can stay healthy and how will the other defenses in the division stop the Romo-to-Bryant connection? It’s time to say it and admit it, Romo is a dang good QB and he will get his team to the postseason.

I have the Giants finishing 2nd, Eagles 3rd, and Redskins 4th.

NFC West: St. Louis Rams.

What!? Did I just pick a team to win the West other than the Seahawks and is that team really the Rams!?

Yes, I did and yes it is. The Rams defense is every bit as good as Seattle’s with an unreal front line. They gave Seattle all sorts of trouble last season with no QB and now they have a QB. Nick Foles is good and I really like him with this team and I believe he will lead them to the postseason as division champions. I just love this team this year.

I have Seattle finishing 2nd although I don’t like the injuries they are dealing with, Cardinals 3rd and 49ers 4th.

NFC North: Green Bay Packers. 

Even without Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers will still be the excellent QB he always is, and lead his team to a division title. Green Bay will probably be the number one seed overall.

I have the Lions finishing 2nd, Bears 3rd, and Vikings 4th.

NFC South: New Orleans Saints. 

Drew Brees will be back in the postseason this year! They will have a very good running game and improved pass protection, so there isn’t any reason they won’t succeed in a bad division. The defense should also be better.

I have the Falcons finishing 2nd, Panthers 3rd, and Tampa Bay 4th.

 

 

 

 

 

James Develin suffers broken tibia in preseason win against Carolina

James Develin during last night's game. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

James Develin during last night’s game.
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Patriots fullback James Develin broke his right tibia during the fourth quarter of last night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. 

Develin was carted off the field.

Develin will undergo surgery in Charlotte, his injury is a clean break in his right leg.

“He didn’t come back with us on the trip. He still down there in Charlotte. I don’t really have anything at this point,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in his day-after-game conference call.

The hope for recovery will be 6-8 weeks, according to reports.

Photos from The Patriots win over Carolina

Scott Chandler catches a touchdown pass against the Panthers before the half. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Scott Chandler catches a touchdown pass against the Panthers before the half. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Scott Chandler celebrates his touchdown. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Scott Chandler celebrates his touchdown.
(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Brandon Bolden. (Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

Brandon Bolden.
(Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

FS Devin McCourty back at his safety spot, makes the play. (Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

FS Devin McCourty back at his safety spot, makes the play.
(Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

Tom Brady hands off to Jonas Gray. (Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

Tom Brady hands off to Jonas Gray.
(Photo By: Keith Nordstrom)

 Stephen Gostkowski  nails a 53 yard field goal to give the Pats their 2nd straight preseason win. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Stephen Gostkowski nails a 53 yard field goal to give the Pats their 2nd straight preseason win.
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

 Jimmy Garoppolo rushes four times for 16 yards in the Pats win last night. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Jimmy Garoppolo rushes four times for 16 yards in the Pats win last night.
(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Former college rivals, Hightower (Alabama) and Cam Newton (Auburn) hug after the game last night. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Former college rivals, Hightower (Alabama) and Cam Newton (Auburn) hug after the game last night.
(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

(All photos from patriots.com)

Dion Lewis flashes as the Patriots top the Carolina Panthers

Dion Lewis makes waves in an attempt to make the team.  (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Dion Lewis makes waves in an attempt to make the team.
(AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

The Patriots defeated the Panthers 17-16 on Friday night, to improve to 2-1 in the preseason.

Tom Brady is playing without three key players on offense, Edelman, LaFell, and Gronk, and most of the starters on the OL are not playing. And, this is the preseason and the starters don’t really care anyways, they just want to get out of the game healthy, so don’t make anything of the “struggles” Brady is having through 3 preseason games.

Brady went 7-13 for 84 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. He also rushed twice for 18 yards. But, in the 2 minute drill right before half, Brady looked like his usual self, leading the team up the field and throwing a beautiful fade to tight end Scott Chandler for the touchdown. Pats went up 7-6 at half time.

WR Aaron Dobson’s night was not pretty. He had Brady’s first interception ripped out of his hand by Charles Tillman and then did not finish his route on the 2nd Brady interception and Brady did not see the safety. Plays like that will not get him in the game with Brady. Later on, with Garoppolo at QB, he did make a nice catch on a deep 40 yard pass. He finished with 2 catches for 51 yards.

Scott Chandler looked good with Tom Brady at QB, especially on that beautiful touchdown. It makes you think the Pats will be hard to stop in the red zone with the big bodies of Chandler and Gronk. Chandler finished with 3 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots defense was solid through the game. Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower made their debuts and boosted the linebackers. The defense made the plays in the first half, including holding on four downs to force a turnover and force 3 punts and 2 field goals.

In the second half, the Panthers would score a touchdown, a 2 yard pass from Cam Newton to Mike Tolbert, for the Panthers to go up 13-7 in the 3rd. This would come against the 2nd string defense, but after that, the defense would only allow one more field goal for the Panthers final points of the night, 16.

Malcolm Butler is the team’s number one corner, that has been obvious all off-season, but the 2nd spot is being claimed by Tarell Brown. He’s had a monster off-season with the Pats and continues that in the past two preseason games. The third corner is looking more like a job for Bradley Fletcher. The combination of Butler, Fletcher, and Brown worked out really well for the Pats last night.

DL Dominique Easley had an awesome night, looking every bit the force he was in college. He was disruptive on almost every single play, regardless if it was run or pass. Easley and Chandler Jones, both had a sack in the game.

In the 4th quarter, Jimmy Garoppolo finally got things going, leading the team up the field for a touchdown. He threw a 9 yard TD to RB Dion Lewis, to close the gap on the Panthers, 14-16. Blount rushed twice for 11 yards on the drive, and Garoppolo hit Dobson for a 40 yard gain.

After a quick 3 and out by the Panthers, Garoppolo and the offense went up the field for a field goal, a 53 yard attempt that was money by Stephen Gostkowski. That would come around 7 minutes left in the game, but gave us the final score, 17-16.

RB Dion Lewis lined up as a WR on that touchdown catch, and has been flashing so much this preseason, many believe he is the front runner for the third-down back role and I can’t blame them for thinking that. Bolden got the start, but Lewis has been showing some much potential. He has the quick feet and speed to match and he can block. James White has also looked good, but Lewis just flashes at you. I think the Pats have three running backs who can win that job and can do good, so it’s a good problem to have. Lewis finished with 3 rushes for 12 yards, and 4 catches for 20 yards and a touchdown.

The Pats aren’t looking great or horrible this preseason, but thankfully it is just preseason.

 

 

Patriots Vs Panthers: 5 Players to watch

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady during the 2014 season game against the Bills. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady during the 2014 season game against the Bills.
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots will play the Carolina Panthers tonight at 7:30 pm EST in Charlotte, N.C.

If you live in Boston, you can catch the game on WBZ-TV Ch. 4. If you won’t be home for the game, you can listen to it on the radio at 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub.

Here are the five things to watch for in tonight’s preseason game number three.

1. QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He’s coming off an excellent game against the Saints, where he led the Patriots back from a 21-0 deficit, to win the game. Tonight, he will play against a better defense, so it’ll be fun to see how he does. He has a chance to continue building off his great game from last week.

2. LB Jamie Collins: The last time the Pats played Carolina, he killed them with his legs. Jamie Collins will be tested tonight with trying to bottle up the run-happy Quarterback. The defensive ends will be tested also because if they over -pursue Newton, he will get big yardage.

3. DT Malcom Brown: He will be huge this season in stopping the run and tonight he will go against a team that loves to run the football. It will be a huge test for the rookie and a great one.

4. WR Reggie Wayne: I’m not sure he will play tonight, but reports are he was the first player on the field today, so he might. If he does, he might be running with Tom Brady and that’s the only reason you need to watch number 15 on the field. Let’s see how they look together.

5. CB Bradley Fletcher: Darryl Roberts may be out for the year after a promising camp, so the Pats need corners stepping up big time, and they need depth. Fletcher has been solid all camp and preseason, tonight he has a chance to increase his role within the team. He needs to. Others to watch include Robert McClain and Tarell Brown.

Here’s an interesting report floating around out there in cyberspace, Clete Blakeman will serve as a ref for the Pats-Panthers game tonight, according to Footballzebras.com

Blakeman has a connection to the deflategate scandal. He was mentioned in the Wells report as one of the two refs who were testing the PSI during halftime of the AFC Championship Game. That is when 11 of the 12 footballs were discovered to be under the regular PSI limits, barely.

Blakeman also referred the game between the Patriots and Panthers in 2013, where a non-call was the talk of ESPN for a week. Back judge Terrence Miles threw a flag on Panthers LB Luke Kuechly for a hold, or better yet a bear hug, on Rob Gronkowski, but Blakeman picked the flag up after a discussion with the other refs.

Well, this should be fun.

Bryan Stork, Brandon LaFell among players expected to miss tonight’s game

ESPN’s Mike Reiss put together a list of players he expects not to play tonight, which include Bryan Stork and Brandon LaFell. 

Rob Gronkowski probably won’t play either, he hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2012. Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo has yet to make their preseason debut, same for Edelman and Dobson.

Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Robert McClain, Nate Ebner, and Ryan Linley went through warm ups.

Dobson and Trey Flowers were going through pregame stretches along with Jerod Mayo. They might play tonight, jury still out on that one though.

Reggie Wayne was the first player on the field, all of this according to Mark Daniels. 

Here’s Mike Reiss list of players who aren’t likely to play tonight.

Patriots Tight End Jake Bequette placed on IR

Formerly a New England Patriots defensive end Jake Bequette, in camp this years as a tight end, catches a pass during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

 Jake Bequette will land the team’s IR after clearing waivers. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

 

The Patriots released former defensive end, current tight end Jake Bequette, and three others the team announced yesterday.

Bequette was released with the injury designation, and nobody claimed the Arkansas product, so he landed on the Patriots IR today.

The Pats also released DL Antonio Johnson, G Mark Asper and LB Cameron Gordon.