Favorite Link Friday – January 30, 2015

Favorite Link Friday NFL January 30

We’re kicking off Super Bowl weekend with some of our favorite NFL stories from the web this week.

Here’s your Super Bowl edition of Favorite Link Friday:

If you have 5 minutes to kill…

1. When They Were Younger – Continuing their series from last year, the MMQB reached out to Super Bowl players’ former college and high school coaches and asked them to share favorite memories. Stories include QB Tom Brady being stuffed in a locker, Pats tight end Tim Wright and his hair-cutting skills, and Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka’s 3.8 GPA as a neuroscience major.

If you have 10 minutes to kill…

2. The Real DeflateGate Scandal Is That Anyone Cares – Chris Kluwe was known for being an outspoken player during his eight seasons as a punter with the Vikings and he doesn’t hold back in this essay posted on Time’s website. Whether you agree or disagree with him, he brings up some interesting points related to the league and DeflateGate.

If you have 20 minutes to kill…

3. Tom Brady Cannot Stop – Maybe you think Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time or maybe you think he’s a pretty boy and he annoys the heck out of you – either way you should read this in-depth profile on Tom from the New York Times. Well-written and full of interesting details, this article shows what makes this 37-year-old tick. Just think of it as a human interest story, where the subject happens to be married to a super model.

There’s no “if” here – this is a must-watch…

4. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch (a.k.a. Skittles) and Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (a.k.a. Gronk) hang out with Conan O’Brien and play video games. Almost wet ourselves watching this. Too many good one-liners to count. Gronk is always entertaining, but this is the side of Skittles we don’t get to see and we love it.

Hope these articles get you ready for what is sure to be a great Super Bowl!

– Michelle & Val

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Our Thoughts – 2014 NFL Week 15 Recap

Our Thoughts Week 15 NFL Recap

Oh, snap – we are so late on the week 15 NFL game summaries. Shame on us. (To be honest though, we’d feel worse if we weren’t off gallivanting across town attending football-related events that provide great content blog posts. I’m still reliving the Chung Changing Lives Open Mic Night and I can’t wait to write about a spectacular sports professional that I met last night.)

So even though you might have already written off week 15, we’d still like to give you a quick refresher so you know what’s at stake this weekend. THE PLAYOFFS ARE COMING, PEOPLE!

(Here’s the current playoff picture, so you know which teams are still fighting for a spot.)

FYI – There are two Saturday games this week. Yes, that’s weird, especially since the league is referring to them as special editions of Thursday Night Football. Whatever – that means more football, so I’m not complaining. In case you don’t have any plans, Philly plays Washington at 4:30 EST and San Diego plays San Francisco at 8:30 EST.

Here’s what we thought about week 15 in the NFL…

Arizona (12), St. Louis (6) – This was the Cardinals’ first Thursday win since 1948 and the first game in two years without a touchdown from either team. In this battle of the defenses, Arizona fared slightly better, despite losing QB Drew Stanton to a knee injury. Sounds like Stanton should be back for the playoffs, but with all their starting quarterback injuries this year, it speaks to the coaching job Bruce Arians has done.

Pittsburgh (27), Atlanta (20) – Unfortunately for the Falcons, they were without their star wide receiver Julio Jones. On the flip side for the Falcons, they play in the weak NFC South and even with a 5-9 record, can still win the division and make it to the playoffs. The Steelers seem to be gaining momentum and this was one of the few games where they had an even showing from both their offense and defense. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger isn’t often mentioned with the names of other great quarterbacks, but he is quietly having a great season.

Baltimore (20), Jacksonville (12) – Blake Bortles, Jax’s QB, is still making rookie mistakes, but it’s not entirely his fault as his offensive line is not effective. Jax’s defense is underrated – coach Gus Bradley has them playing hard. The Raven’s defensive line had another strong game and their offense has benefited from the addition of former Houston coach Gary Kubiak as offensive coordinator. Baltimore needed this win to stay in contention to win the AFC North.

Buffalo (21), Green Bay (13) – Not many people saw this one coming. Green Bay’s high-powered offense did not look like themselves. Statistically speaking, this was Aaron Rodgers’ (Green Bay QB) worst game ever with a completion rate of 40.5%, a passer rating of 34.3, and a bunch of dropped passes by his usually reliable receivers. The Bills defense was impressive – their offense, not so much. Big playoff implications – this game might have cost the Packers the 1st seed in the NFC, and it kept playoff hopes alive for the Bills.

Carolina (19), Tampa Bay (17) – Backup QB Derek Anderson started for the Panthers with Cam Newton being side lined after a scary car accident this week. He got the job done, and Carolina’s defense handled the Buccaneers, who might have the worst offensive line in the NFL. It’s been a disappointing and tough first season for head coach Lovie Smith down in Tampa Bay. Just like we noted above with the Falcons, the Panthers also have a shot to win the NFC South with a 5-8-1 record.

Cincinnati (30), Cleveland (0) – This was Johnny Football’s (QB Johnny Manziel) first game as a starter and it did not go well – two interceptions, three sacks and no points on the board. I’d use the word pathetic, but I don’t know that I would have fared much better in his situation. The Bengals defense had a grand old time – they mocked Johnny by throwing up his “money-rubbing” celebration gesture every time sacked him. Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 148 yards and 2 TDs. That’s a good day at work.

Indianapolis (17), Houston (10) – The Colts won the AFC South with this victory over the Texans. QB Andrew Luck was inconsistent and this was statistically one of his worst games. It doesn’t help that they don’t have a strong running game to turn to. Talk about having some bad luck – the Texans started the season with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, benched him for Ryan Mallet, who then tore a pectoral muscle that ended his season, and then went back to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who broke his leg in the second quarter of the game and is out for the rest of the year. The Texans had to turn to rookie Tom Savage, who had never thrown a pass in a regular season NFL game. As for what Houston defensive end J.J. Watt did, he had two sacks, a blocked pass, and two quarterback hits.

Kansas City (31), Oakland (13) – The Chiefs snapped a three game losing streak and got redemption against a struggling Raiders team that notched their first victory of their season against the Chiefs a few weeks ago. The Raiders do not have much talent on offense, and rookie QB Derek Carr took a beating from the Chief’s defense. As for the Chiefs offense, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how they get the job done – they are the only team in the league that has yet to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver.

New England (41), Miami (13) – A close first half was followed by Patriot domination after halftime. Pats D looked good – linebacker Jamie Collins has been a beast lately and our boy, safety Pat Chung, got an interception. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill wasn’t the reason the Dolphins lost the game. With this win, the Pats clinched their 6th straight AFC East title.

(Did anyone see Gronk on Top Chef this week? He judged a sausage quick fire challenge. Hilarious.)

New York Giants (24), Washington (13) – Nothing too exciting coming from this penalty-laden game between two non-playoff teams, other than Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. doing more touchdown celebrations. Washington decided to start Colt McCoy at quarterback. Since things are never easy for the Redskins, he got injured and is out for the rest of the year. RG3 went back in the game, and well, they lost.

Denver (22), San Diego (10) – With this victory the Broncos won the AFC West title. However the Broncos suffered quite a few injuries, including QB Peyton Manning who was suffering from flu-like symptoms and had to leave the game to get treatment for a thigh injury. The Broncos are relying heavily on their run game, which is starting rumors that it’s necessary because Peyton’s arm strength is decreasing. Denver’s defense is surprisingly one of the best statistically in the league. The Charger’s offense struggled, and the absence of running back Ryan Mathews was felt. San Diego needs to win their remaining two games to have a chance to make the play-offs.

New York Jets (16), Tennessee (11) – This was battle of the 2-11 teams, also known as the battle for the first draft pick. There weren’t too many highlights from this game – it only got attention for the huge fight that broke out between the two teams. It started with some smack talk, escalated to a punch to Jets QB Geno Smith’s helmet and then all hell broke loose. Shame on you.

Detroit (16), Minnesota (14) – The Lions defense helped them overcome a 14-point deficit to stay alive in the race for the NFC North division title. QB Matt Stafford and the offense struggled. Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater started off on a roll, but then the defense got his number as he threw two picks and was shut out by halftime after helping put the first 14 points on the board. Special teams played a role in the outcome of this game – the normally reliable Vikings kicker Blair Walsh was 0 for 3 on field goals (the Lions blocked one and another was a “hail mary” from a long distance out as time expired). I’m sure you can do the math, but at 3 points a piece, even one of those field goals might have won the game for the Vikings.

Seattle (17), San Francisco (7) – This rivalry used to be a little bit more competitive, but the 49ers’ offense has been in a bit of a funk lately. Seattle made some good halftime adjustments in order to come back and shut-out the 49ers in the second half. This loss knocked the 49ers out of playoff contention and now everyone is talking about Jim Harbaugh losing his head coaching job.

Dallas (38), Philadelphia (27) – Two weeks after losing to the Eagles at home, Dallas reminded us that they are capable of comebacks and they shouldn’t be counted out just yet. After an early 21-0 Dallas lead, the Eagles put up 24 points to grab the lead, thanks to 3 running TDs and a field goal. The Cowboys rallied, making Eagles QB Mark Sanchez look pretty bad – he had 2 interceptions and 4 sacks. Dez Bryant (Cowboys WR) had 3 TDs and DeMarco Murray (Cowboys RB) had 2 TDs in this Sunday Night thriller. Fun fact of the week: The Eagles record against teams with a winning record is 2-4.

New Orleans (31), Chicago (15) – Bad Jay Cutler headlined this game. He was so bad that the team is going to bench him and start Jimmy Clausen in week 16. This was apparently shocking to Jay, who is making bank this year with a gigantic contract. Look for him to be traded this off-season to a quarterback-desperate team. Saints QB Drew Brees had a good game, propelling the team to first place in the weak NFC South.

We’ve got about 30 followers on Facebook and 30 followers on Twitter. This is significantly more than we had a few months ago and we’re so thankful for every one of you. Please continue to share the love and suggest that your friends like our page or follow us! We’re figuring out a special treat for one lucky follower when we hit 100 on either Facebook or Twitter. We have no clue what this treat is yet, but we’re sure it will be fantastic.

– Val and Michelle

Favorite Link Friday – December 12, 2014

Favorite Link Friday - NFL Stories - December 12, 2014

We haven’t done a Favorite Link Friday in a while, but with the release of Gronk’s ESPN interview and kitten pictures…well, we had no choice.

Here’s your Gronk-tastic edition of Favorite Link Friday:

If you have 1 minute to kill…

1. Gronk Photo Gallery – Please do yourself a favor and click through the Gronk photo gallery. I’m still deciding which one I want blown up to poster size so Val can give it to me for Christmas. He’s a special one.

If you have 5 minutes to kill…

2. Gronk! The Interview – This gives you a taste of what goes on inside Gronk’s head. It’s a little scary, but I wouldn’t expect anything else.

If you have 5 more minutes to kill…

3. Gronk Goes Holiday Gift Shopping –  Join Gronk on his shopping trip around Patriot Place trying to figure out what to get his family. He starts his trip in Victoria’s Secret and then Gronk-spikes an Ugg boot. Laugh all you want, but the man has got it all figured out why it’s good to get socks for gifts.

Unlike Gronk, I’ve still got some holiday shopping left to finish. If you’re still searching for the perfect gift, check out our Football Fan gift guide to get some ideas for the football lovin’ ladies in your life. Val and I will accept any of these. Or a gigantic poster of Gronk with a kitten. That works too.

– Michelle

Our Thoughts – 2014 NFL Week 5 Recap

The Snap Football Blog NFL Week 5 Recap

Week 5 in the NFL was the first weekend of October, which meant it was time to bring out the pink accessories. Yay breast cancer awareness! We’ll take this opportunity to encourage you ladies out there to feel yourself up for your monthly exam. If you’re in public, it can wait until later.

This is what we thought about week 5…

Green Bay (42), Minnesota (10) – Let’s just call this Thursday Night Smackdown – Part 5! The lopsided Thursday night match-ups continued with this divisional game in Green Bay. Eddie Lacy (Packers RB) had a good night running all over the place and into the end zone twice. My fantasy crush Jordy Nelson got me some more points. Julius Peppers (Packers DE) took his first Lambeau Leap after he returned an interception for a touchdown and said it was tough to get up into the stands after running down the field. Probably not as tough as watching game film this week for the 2-3, still Teddy Bridgewater-less (rookie QB) Vikings. (M)

Carolina (31), Chicago (24) – Cam Newton (Panthers QB) is playing some of his best football and this week the defense helped him out. The only thing that sucks is that Carolina’s running backs are still injured. On the other side of the field, we got to see Good Cutler/Bad Cutler (Bears QB) again, playing well the first half and not-so-much in the second. What a shame – Chicago has so many offensive weapons and is having trouble getting the job done. (V)

Dallas (20), Houston (17) – I do believe the Cowboys are on a four-game winning streak! Who woulda thunk? This Lone Star State battle went into overtime. DeMarco Murray (Cowboys RB) continues to kill it with his 5th 100-yard game of the season. J.J. Watt (Texans DE) showed up on highlight videos, but not for the usual reason. Tony Romo (Cowboys QB) evaded a sack attempt from Watt, something that doesn’t happen too often. (M)

Buffalo (17), Detroit (14) – This was Kyle Orton’s first start at QB for the Bills after the benching of EJ Manuel. He started slow but got his act together after her was helped out by rookie WR Sammy Watkins, who had some impressive catches. Fred Jackson (Bills RB) still rocks it even though he’s getting old. The Lions offense, which looked so good going back to week 1, has regressed. It doesn’t help that Megatron (Calvin Johnson, Lions WR) is hurt and is only being used as a decoy. This was Jim Schwartz’s revenge game, returning to Detroit as defensive coordinator of the Bills. (He was previously Detroit’s head coach.) The Lions only waited until Monday morning to release their kicker, Alex Henry, after he missed three field goals in this game. Do the math – at three points each, that would have added nine points to Detroit’s total and probably won them the game. (V)

Indianapolis (20), Baltimore (13) – This game was all about defense. There were seven turnovers, four Joe Flacco (Ravens QB) sacks, and failed fourth-down conversions by both teams, so if you were looking for some sexy offense, this game was not for you. (M)

Pittsburgh (17), Jacksonville (9) – The Steelers continue to rack up the penalties. This makes Mike Tomlin (head coach) mad. The 0-5 Jaguars were feisty, especially their defense. Bortles (Jaguars QB) showed some good signs, but is still a work in progress. (Aren’t we all?) Jacksonville doesn’t have much of a ground game. They also have lots of young wide receivers that drop balls, which is not good considering it’s their job to catch and hold onto the ball. (V)

New Orleans (37), Tampa Bay (31) – Another divisional thriller! Drew Brees (Saints QB) made some questionable decisions, resulting in 3 interceptions. Luckily he had Pierre Thomas (Saints RB) to cover his butt with 2 TDs. Jimmy Graham (Saints TE) got hurt. The Buccaneers were also hurt – shooting themselves in the proverbial foot with 15 penalties. C’mon man! Mike Glennon (Buccaneers QB) looked good, making it more likely that he’ll keep the starting job when Josh McCown is healthy again. (M)

New York Giants (30), Atlanta (20) – The Giants are on a 3-game winning streak, keeping things exciting in the NFC East. Their o-line is doing well, which has had a positive impact on their run game. Atlanta’s o-line, on the other hand, is a problem. They’ve had too many injuries, which has negatively impacted their run game. The Falcons have not won a game on the road yet this year (they are notorious for this), even though Matty Ice (Matt Ryan, Falcons QB) is playing well. I hate saying the Giants look like they’re clicking, but they are with rookies Odell Beckham (WR) and Andre Williams (RB) making plays. (V)

Philadelphia (34), St. Louis (28) – For all the talk about Chip Kelly (Eagles head coach) and his fast-paced offense, it’s the Philly special teams that are putting lots of points on the board. The Eagles run game is suffering because of o-line injuries, and LeSean McCoy (Eagles RB) is pretty far off from the numbers he put up last year. Nick Foles (Eagles QB) has his highs and his lows. Eagles almost lost this one, as they let the Rams come back from a 27-point deficit in fourth quarter. Speaking of the Rams, Austin Davis (Rams QB) is better than anyone expected. He took a while to get going, but finished lights-out in the second half. (V)

Cleveland (29), Tennessee (28) – The Browns like to keep things exciting. Nothing like putting up 26 unanswered points in a crazy fourth quarter comeback. It was the largest come from behind victory for a road team in NFL history. Jake Locker (Titans QB) looked ok coming back from injury, but then hurt his thumb and his status is now questionable. Refs played a big role in this game with lots of penalties going Cleveland’s way. Ben Tate (Browns RB) was back from injury and did not disappoint. (V)

Denver (41), Arizona (20) – With his first touchdown of this game, Peyton Manning (Broncos QB) became the second quarterback in history (Brett Favre is the other) to throw 500 touchdowns. He then tossed touchdowns 501, 502, and 503. Wish I had Demaryius Thomas (Broncos WR) on my fantasy team because he set a franchise record with 226 yards in the game (almost the most by any WR in a game this season so far) and two touchdowns. (He would have had a third if not for a penalty on the Broncos.) Von Miller (Broncos LB) and DeMarcus Ware (Broncos DE) are turning out to be quite the pairing for Denver. Arizona’s backup quarterback, Drew Stanton, in for Carson Palmer, got a concussion and so they moved to their third string quarterback, rookie Logan Thomas. (V)

San Diego (31), New York Jets (0) – “I want to apologize to the fans…those that are left,” joked Jets head coach Rex Ryan after this season’s first shut-out game. QB Geno Smith was benched during the second half, but replacement Michael Vick didn’t fare any better. In fact, the Jets didn’t cross the 50-yard line until there were about 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Ouch. The Chargers just all-around dominated. Rivers (Chargers QB) threw 2 TDs to Antonio Gates (TE), proving that age ain’t nothin’ but a number. Chargers rookie RB Branden Oliver had a good day with 2 trips to the end zone, as well. (M)

San Francisco (22), Kansas City (17) – Alex Smith (Chiefs QB) returned to San Francisco for the first time since being traded by the team to the Chiefs. After Jamaal Charles (Chiefs RB) embarrassed the Patriots last week, Andy Reid (Chiefs head coach) didn’t use him as much as he should have. The Chiefs kept trying to throw the ball on short yardage, which was some questionable game-calling. Jim Harbaugh (49ers head coach) called for a fake punt, which is always exciting. Alex Smith started hot but a pick sealed the game for the 49ers. Kansas City is going to have a hard time making the playoffs with anything other than a wild card spot having the Chargers and Broncos in their division, barring any catastrophes. (V)

New England (43), Cincinnati (17) – The Patriots are giving me whiplash this year, but this week, it was the good kind. Tom Brady looked like Tom Brady. The o-line gave him time to make decisions, which was weird, but wonderful, to see. Revis Island was back on the map. There was a lot of tight end action, which is one of the best kinds of action, in my humble opinion. Tim Wright (TE), the guy they got as part of the Logan Mankins trade with the Bucs, had his coming out party. Gronk had over 100 yards receiving and a Gronk spike after a nice TD. Did the Pats play a perfect game? No, but it was a heck of a lot better than last week. It was really nice to hear Gillette Stadium get loud and see the players get emotional. They had a lot of bulletin board material (another name for all the negative press they got) to work with this week and boy-oh-boy, did it show! My only complaint was the officiating. So. Many. Flags. Calm down, zebra boys.

Our vote for best NFL moment of the week goes to the Patriots’ tribute to Devon Still and his daughter.

If you don’t follow Devon on Instagram, you should. (M)

Seattle (27), Washington (17) – Russell Wilson (Seahawks QB) set the record for most rushing yards by a QB in a Monday night football game (122). Percy Harvin (Seahawks WR) had three touchdowns nullified by penalties…my fantasy team could have used those points. Seattle had a lot of penalties. DeSean Jackson (Redskins WR) did a great job against the Seattle defense, but it wasn’t enough to win the game. Kirk Cousins (Redskins QB) definitely looked better than the blowout from last week against the Giants, but isn’t doing enough to keep the starting job when RG3 comes back from injury. Seattle has great special teams and punter, which usually go under the radar. They played a big part in this game in giving Washington tough field position. (V)

What did you think about this week’s games? Anything that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

– Val and Michelle