Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Thoughts On The Broncos and Patriots (And CSU)

Welcome to the 83rd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am completely indifferent to Daylight Savings Time and don’t care about how you feel about the time change. Let’s get into it…

quarter. (Steven Senne/AP)

This is a pretty accurate representation of Sunday afternoon. (Steven Senne/AP)

I think it’s time we all acknowledge that the Broncos are the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. And right now, it doesn’t seem like anyone else is particularly close.

-Mitch Hahn, Tuesdays With Mitch, October 28th 2014

So… about that. Did you guys know that certain portions of my post last week were written as satire? Totally joking! Got y’all good.

Sunday’s beatdown in New England made it pretty clear that the Broncos are not standing alone as the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!. The best team in the league might be the Patriots. Or someone else. I guess it could still be the Broncos. But the Patriots were definitely the best team on the field on Sunday.

And because of that, the Broncos’ regular season just became much more interesting. I’m always using this space to stress that the Broncos are in the middle of a 17 week preseason and none of these games really matter until the playoffs begin. I still feel that way to an extent, but right now it sure looks like getting the one-seed in the AFC is crucial.

Because the Broncos do not look like a team that can beat the Patriots in Foxborough.

So after nine weeks of the NFL season, the Broncos are 6-2. The Patriots are 7-2.

Here is the Broncos’ remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

And here is the Patriots’ remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

The Broncos have five road games and three home games. The Patriots have four road games and three home games (and a bye). Both teams go to San Diego. Both teams host Buffalo. Both teams have what appear to be tough road games.

So you can examine each game on each team’s schedule and try to predict each outcome, but that’s pretty pointless. The bottom line with all of this is that both teams have a whole lot of football to play and a lot of different scenarios can play out. It’s reasonable to foresee either team having home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Naturally after Sunday’s debacle, the thought process around town is that THE SKY IS FALLING and THE BRONCOS SUCK AGAIN. But as disheartening as Sunday afternoon was, I’m always careful not to invest too much into one game. Especially when that game takes place in early November in week nine.

I wrote last week that the Broncos were probably not going to go 15-1. I was right about that. And while playing in New England gave the Broncos an opportunity to make a statement and gain a solid grip on the AFC, it is just one loss. Really! It is! I checked the standings and everything.

The Broncos are still the Super Bowl favorites in Vegas. That kind of surprised me, but Vegas knows more than everyone and they’re not overreacting.

After watching the second quarter on Sunday it’s safe to say the Broncos had no shot beating New England. But– and stick with me here– if the Broncos don’t give up a fairly flukey punt return for a touchdown, and if their kicker kicks the ball six inches to the left and if Wes Welker catches this pass instead of gifting it to the other team, we’re watching a very different football game.

@cjzero

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons for Broncos fans to be concerned. The pass rush wasn’t there. The defense couldn’t get off the field on third and long. The running game couldn’t establish itself. Julius Thomas is essentially a non-factor these days (two targets, two catches, one TD). Wes Welker is essentially a non-factor these days (94 total yards receiving the last four weeks). They don’t seem to have a right tackle. They don’t seem to have a kicker.

And I have no idea how to stop Rob Gronkowski. Look at this freak! He changes everything about the Patriots’ offense dramatically.

@cjzero

So I’m not Mr. Everything-Is-Fine again this week. Especially when I watch those two GIFs. But I’m not ready to crown the Patriots either. And I still think the Broncos have a pretty good shot at hosting each round of the playoffs.

And if they do that, their chances of returning to the Super Bowl are pretty darn good.

Subject change…

Garett Grayson (AP photo)

Garrett Grayson played through a groin injury to lead the Rams to another road win. (AP photo)

Colorado State won again. They won on the road. They won despite battling some injuries. They won despite giving up some big plays. The Rams just know how to win.

We have apparently reached the point in the rise of Colorado State football when fans can say, “Yeah they won the game BUUUUTTT it was closer than it should have been. They actually kind of struggled.”

I suppose this mindset is a good thing because it indicates how much expectations have risen, but you won’t find me complaining about anything after this one. Like I said a couple weeks ago, a road win in conference that comes without any major injuries is never, ever, ever a bad thing.

Speaking of injuries, for a while it looked like the Rams might have suffered two substantial ones. Garrett Grayson was hobbling around with a hurt groin seemingly all game. Rashard Higgins left the game with a shoulder injury. Neither injury is believed to be too serious, though Higgins may sit out Saturday vs. Hawaii.

But I have to give more props to Grayson for coming through with another ballsy performance. He could hardly move out there and had to ride the stationary bike to stay loose when he wasn’t on the field. And the stationary bike sucks. Screw that. But even with all the visible pain and unnecessary cardio, you could tell he wasn’t about to come out of that game. He seems to be a pretty tough dude. Keep in mind he’s also been battling a hurt throwing shoulder for much of the year.

Grayson finished with 290 yards passing and touchdown to Higgins, who still leads the nation in receiving yards and touchdowns after his 8 catch, 143 yard, 1 TD performance. Dee Hart had the best night of the bunch with 104 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

The Spartans were able to make things interesting. They even pulled within one score in the final minutes and were driving with a chance to tie before the Rams came up with a fourth down stop to seal the game. But I think that’s a little deceiving. The Rams had a 14-point lead and came up with an interception that looked like it was going to put them up by 21 with five minutes left untill Trent Matthews fumbled on his 25-yard return. San Jose State would later score on that drive. Then there’s the onside kick San Jose State recovered with just over two minutes left. Onside kicks are always complete flukes and I will never be convinced otherwise. And it helps when the refs don’t let players catch balls while they’re clearly running out of bounds.

The Rams took care of business against a mediocre team on the road in a game that I was actually pretty concerned about. And that’s really all that matters.

Time for your weekly record update! Colorado State is now 8-1 in 2014. They’ve won seven in a row. They’re 12-2 in their last 14 games going back to last season. 14-3 in their last 17; 15-4 in their last 19.

Looking ahead on the schedule, for the Rams to finish 11-1 they just need to beat two awful teams at home– they’re favored by 18.5 against Hawaii on Saturday and I expect a similar line vs. New Mexico in a couple weeks– before heading down the road to Air Force. Air Force has improved quite a bit over last year’s 2-10 team so I’m not taking that one for granted.

Last week I laid out some different bowl scenarios for the Rams. A quick update on those: East Carolina lost on Saturday, which dropped them from the national rankings. So the only things keeping CSU from a New Year’s Bowl are three regular season wins of their own, a Boise State loss, and a Rams’ win at home in the Mountain West Championship game. (If this scenario plays out, I can’t see Marshall being ranked higher than CSU, even if they’re undefeated.)

That Boise State loss though… still doesn’t seem overly likely. Their remaining schedule:

screenshot via ESPN.com

screenshot via ESPN.com

Maybe the ‘Pokes will do CSU a favor in Laramie. Maybe Utah State can go into Boise and get the job done. All the Rams can do is keep winning and see what happens.

Off to the weekly departments…

Douche of the week:

One last thing on the Coloroado State Rams: Being 8-1 in the Mountain West with your only loss coming in Boise in week 2 and not cracking the national rankings is a complete load of shit. That is all.

Stud of the week:

The story of Lauren Hill is one of the most moving stories of the year. She played in her first college basketball game on Sunday. If you’re unfamiliar with her story, start with these few paragraphs I pulled from this Yahoo! Sports article, describing Hill scoring the first basket of the college basketball season.

It was the simplest of plays, yet so much had to go right for it go off without a hitch.

Hill, the Mount St. Joseph College forward with an inoperable brain tumor, first had to live long enough to play in Sunday’s game against Hiram College, no small feat since doctors have told her they expect her not to make it through December. The 19-year-old freshman also had to summon the strength to make it up and down the floor despite the constant headaches and bouts of dizziness and nausea that have plagued her more frequently in recent weeks.

And as if that weren’t enough, there was the little matter of Hill having to attempt the layup with her off hand because the right side of her body is too weak for her hoist it to the rim with her dominant arm. Hill has practiced shooting with her left hand for weeks, but she still missed just as many layups as she made in practice the past two weeks — and that was without a sellout crowd of 10,000 fans standing in her honor and tens of thousands more watching at home from their sofas on national TV.

And this SportsCenter Featured from Tom Rinaldi and ESPN might make things a little dusty.

(If YouTube takes that video down, head here to watch.)

Hill was named the conference player of the week on Monday.

Good, sad, happy, touching, powerful, moving stuff.

And a bunch of other stuff:

I actually really like this play. If you can nail the timing things could go well. If not, this happens:

And here’s a GIF with a different angle.

I never want to meet this creepy guy. Or his eyebrows.

I’m not sure why the Dolphins are giving their coach an ice water bath in week nine and neither is this ref.

The Army band had some fun with Halloween:

A couple links worth sharing:

And finally, this completely incompetent Chevrolet employee absolutely stole the show on Wednesday night after game seven of the World Series. Yes, I’m late to the party on this again this week. (The MLB Postseason schedule did not align favorably with weekly posts on Tuesday.) But this is too good to leave out. An all-time cringe-inducer here.

Chevy Guy’s most famous line, of course, was “Technology and Stuff”:

And props to Chevy, who ran with it and turned it into a legit marketing campaign.

Happy Tuesday and stuff everybody. Thanks for reading and stuff.  See ya next week.

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Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Thoughts on the Broncos’ Loss to the Patriots and What I’m Thankful For

Welcome to the 36th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where if you’re lucky you have the next five days off work. If not, hopefully you have the next four. If not, hopefully you have Thursday off. I’m feeling festive.  Big post, so get to readin.

Before I proceed to the customary sportswriter Thanksgiving column, I have some thoughts on that football game that was played on Sunday night.

Tom Brady beat the Broncos again. AP photo

That was really something, huh?

In the lead-up to the game, I made a few jokes about how much hype and promotion there was surrounding this game. (“I know NBC and the NFL are struggling trying to promote this one, but the Broncos play the Patriots on Sunday Night.”) All that hype was met and exceeded. During that gut-wrenching final quarter and overtime, I couldn’t help but think how rare it is for a regular season game that is pumped up that much to actually meet the vast expectations cast upon it.

This one sure did.

The huge fan bases of the Broncos and Patriots were obviously going to be locked in, but as the Patriots began that epic comeback you could feel the whole nation turning their attention to this one.

And after all the clutch defensive plays, the ballsy quarterback play, the wind, the coaching decisions, the intense crowd and so many intriguing story lines, the deciding play was a punt bouncing into some reserve defensive back’s leg. For that particular game to end like that was a damn shame.

Either way it was fascinating theater and a whole lot of fun for football fans.

You know what happened. 24-0. Then 34-31.

So what does the meltdown/comeback say about the Broncos? I think it says a few things. They are pretty darn good and so are the Patriots. It’s really not very easy to beat the Broncos, but they are beatable.

I feel pretty comfortable saying the Denver Broncos are still the best team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! They have plenty of flaws and I no longer feel like they are head and shoulders above the rest of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! But I still think they’re better than every other team out there. Including the Patriots.

If those two teams played each other on a neutral field, some games in good weather, some in “The Elements” I think the Broncos would win six or seven or even eight times out of ten.

One sentiment floating around is the “If it wasn’t for those Patriots fumbles the Broncos would have gotten killed” argument. Yes, the Patriots gifted the Broncos with three fumbles on their first three drives, but then the Broncos turned the ball over four times. Fumbles always have a flukey feel to them. That goes both ways.

There’s one group out there that knows more about what is going to happen on football fields than me or you or anyone on ESPN or even the people in the locker rooms. One group will refuse to overreact the way your talk radio hosts and many Broncos fans will.

Vegas. Vegas knows more than everybody.

According to Bovada, the Broncos (7-2 odds) have fallen slightly behind the Seahawks (3-1 odds) as the Super Bowl favorites. The Broncos are still favored to win the AFC at 5-4 odds, which math tells me is almost 1-1. The next closest team is the Patriots, who are 5-2. That means Vegas still thinks the Broncos are twice as likely to go to the Super Bowl as the chowdaheads from the northeast.

Now, of course, the Broncos were favored to go to and win the Super Bowl last year and we all know how that ended up.

Still, the Broncos are just fine. Choking away a 24-0 lead is a bad look for the offense, defense and special teams. They collapsed. It was unbecoming.

Every team in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE has flaws. Lots of flaws.

Peyton Manning was cold. AP Photo / Elise Amandola

Peyton Manning and those three receivers are allowed to have a bad week. Maybe it’s because Manning sucks in cold weather. Or maybe it’s because sometimes good offenses simply have a bad week. And if you’re scoring 31 points during a bad week, you’re probably pretty good. I don’t care if 17 of those points came off of turnovers.

Von Miller looks like he’s starting to round into form as the best defensive player in the game again. Knowshon Moreno is reliable. I still insist Champ Bailey will have a positive impact upon his return. So will Julius Thomas. The sky is not falling. Good teams lose games on the road to other good teams.

Playing these types of games will benefit the Broncos come January. Losses like this will benefit the Broncos come January. They should finish the year 14-2. That will get them the 1-seed in the AFC.

And they’ll be Super Bowl favorites again.

Like I’ve said all year long, the Broncos’ real season starts in the playoffs. They have 20 preseason games. Epic contests like last night make for some great debate on television and radio. They make for memorable evenings.

It’s an unpopular belief because people love to analyze football, but for this Broncos team, Sunday night’s loss really didn’t matter much.

And since it’s Thanksgiving week, I find it a good time to reflect on some sports things and some non sports things that I am thankful for:

The Broncos. Teams that are favored for pretty much every game have been few and far between ’round these parts the past few years. I’m truly thankful that John Elway and company have put together the model franchise in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! yet again. Ideally, I’d be more thankful if they don’t rip my heart out in January. But still.

Being in attendance for this moment:

(You know I have to squeeze some Helton in here whenever I can).

Jack Graham. He’s not screwing around. If I set my objectivity aside and embrace my Colorado State fanhood, I am very happy an AD is in place who has his mind set on success and vast improvement in all facets of the athletic department.

Jill Hahn's yams midway through preparation. You can see the pecans in the background and oh dear Lord.

Mom’s yams midway through preparation. You can see the pecans in the background and oh dear Lord. (Yes I like them so  much that I have a picture of them stored on my computer).

My mother’s sweet potatoes. About seven or so years ago my mom tried a new recipe for sweet potatoes that changed my life forever. She puts pecans and brown sugar and probably some other stuff on them and oh dear Lord. I only get them twice a year and oh dear Lord.

High Definition televisions. The technology has changed the sports world more than anything the past 10 years. For the better. For the much, much, much better.

The “mute” button. I don’t understand why or how you all listen to commercials. I’m a professional muter. I would put my muting skills up against anyone in the world. If you can’t improve upon silence, shut up.

GIFs. They’re great. Just look at these:

via deadspin.com

via @guyism

The Iron Shieke‘s fascinatingly bizarre Twitter account. Especially when he praises Fridays and bashes Mondays. Seriously, those make me happy.

Coors Field. It can be almost ruined by the drunk 21-year-olds trying to start the wave and the Rockies’ perennial ineptitude, but let’s be honest, Coors Field is a great, great place to spend an afternoon or evening.

Coors Field is pretty great.

Coors Field is pretty great.

Chipotle Fridays. I’ve gone to Chipotle every Friday for about seven and a half years. It’s the only way to start the weekend. I wish it was Chipotle Friday right now. (I also enjoy hot wings, cereal, sunflower seeds, the Cambridge Skillet at the Egg & I, New York Strips, honeycrisp apples and stringcheeses.)

The drive-through liquor store that is a block away from my house. I can go buy 30 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for about 20 dollars without putting on a shirt or shoes.

Christopher Columbus. We all know that Christopher Columbus was the pilgrim that taught the Indians how to eat turkey and grow corn. If it wasn’t for him and those kind Indians he befriended none of us would get to stuff our faces and drink enough to tolerate our weird relatives all Thursday long. That’s how it happened right?

All of my loyal readers. I wouldn’t be making millions off of this blog if it wasn’t for the hundreds of thousands of devoted followers that read and share my posts every Tuesday afternoon.

Moving on…

Stud of the week: Tom Hilbert. I’m going a little off the board this week. The Colorado State volleyball coach saw his team win two road matches last week and is now ranked 9th in the nation. They clinched their fifth consecutive Mountain West title and have established a legitimate dynasty. I know not many people care about women’s volleyball, but CSU’s volleyball program is probably the best college sports program in the state. And the main reason for all that success is their stud coach. Tom Hilbert: Stud.

Douche of the week: Alex Rodriguez. Again. I’ve already outlined his douchey history. He added to that this week when he “stormed” out of the MLB hearing regarding his suspension because he was so “upset.” He immediately released a statement and made a “surprise” radio interview. In typical A-Roid fashion, the whole thing was a complete joke. Completely scripted and poorly executed. Who are the people coming up with these bizarre ideas? Anyway, I’m very glad all this happened because it produced this incredible YouTube video.

(Background here: Mike Francesa has a huge, New York based radio show and the volatile host kind of fell asleep during an interview a couple years back. Put that together with Rodriguez’s odd performance and you have video gold.)

`

I was literally in tears. Alex Rodriguez: (Still a) Douche.

Tweet of the week:

pft tweet

This of course, came when things were going well for the Broncos against the Patriots and referenced this classic “We Are Killing the Patriots” moment. I don’t care if things went a little poorly in the second half. That’s a great tweet.

What to watch the next seven days:

  • Colorado State will beat Air Force for the first time since 2005 (How crazy is that?) at noon on Saturday. With the win, the Rams will earn their first trip to a bowl game since 2008 and make my season-preview prediction off by only one game. The Rams opened as 14.5 point favorites. Yeah, Air Force is really bad this year.
  • Broncos vs. Chiefs. Third must-watch in a row. Broncos open as 3.5 point favorites. They’ll cover.
  • The Maui Invitational is usually pretty sweet. It’s taking place all week long (mostly on the ESPN family of networks) and the teams are a combined 30-0 going into the tourney. Also read this great article on the history of the event here.
  • Auburn is ranked fourth in the nation. They host #1 Alabama at 1:30 on Saturday in one of the nation’s most intense rivalries. Should be awesome.
  • New Orleans plays Seattle on Monday night. Should be awesome.

OTHER STUFF

The Boston Celtics have a lot of new players and aren’t nearly as good as they’ve been in the past few years. Maybe that’s why I thought this GIF of Rajon Rondo reading the night’s statsheet was so damn funny.

via thenosebleeds.com

Who the hell are these guys?!

Kickers aren’t real people.

`

Ron Burgundy had a great appearance on Conan. This was the most funny part.

`

This article about the athletic and academic culture at Florida State in the wake of the Jameis Winston sexual assault allegations is generating a lot of conversation online. It’s well done and you’ll feel sorry for both the instructors and the privileged athletes. I think it’s worth your time.

If you have the opportunity, I really recommend watching the HBO Real Sports piece on Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. Set the DVR if you can. It’s a heartbreaking story that is really well done. You can watch a couple minutes of the segment here.

And finally, I’m 99 percent sure this is a set-up, but it’s still pretty darn cute.

`

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Happy Tuesday everybody. Have a great Thanksgiving weekend; it’s a truly underrated holiday. Give thanks. And thank you for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

NFL Divisional Round Playoff Predictions

Since I haven’t written a blog in a couple fortnights, here’s a quick post with my picks for the weekend:

Saints over 49ers

Saints over 49ers. AP Photo

I’m taking offense over defense here. There’s been a lot of talk about the Saints being a different team playing outside and on the road. I can buy into that a little bit, but I also think the Saints are just really, really good. The Niners’ have the best rushing defense in the league, but Drew Brees and the Saints don’t really run the ball. I’ll take the Saints by a field goal or two.

 

Packers over Giants

Packers over Giants. Photo couresty Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Giants are a very trendy little upset pick here. The media are drawing all sorts of similarities between this years’ team and the team that went through Lambeau to win the Super Bowl in 2007. That’s kind of a dumb train of thought; we’re talking about two completely different teams in two completely different years. The 15-1 Packers are somehow flying under the radar going into this game, which works out very well for them. Discount Double Check accounts for about four touchdowns and The Pack wins fairly easily.

 

Ravens over Texans.  Photo Courtesy, Steve Mitchell, US Presswire

Ravens over Texans. Photo Courtesy Steve Mitchell, US Presswire

The Ravens are 8-0 at home this season. Houston has the second-strongest (Broncos) running game with Arian Foster and Ben Tate accounting for over 2,100 yards rushing, but the Ravens are the league’s second-best (49ers) team at stopping the run. That match-up will decide this game. I think the Ravens’ D will have some fun with T.J. Yates even though he’s played well since taking over. I’ll take the Ravens by a touchdown in a pretty low-scoring game.

 

Broncos over Patriots.

Broncos over Patriots. Photo Courtesy John Lebya, Denver Post

Screw it.

.