Podcast update

So… the podcast is out! Well, the trailer/preview episode is. I’m still awaiting confirmation from Apple that they’ve given it the green light but you can find it on Anchor, Spotify and some other podcast scrapers.

Be sure to give it a listen and hit subscribe so you’ll get Episode 1 as soon as it drops.

Thanks

Podcast

So I’m edging ever closer to FINALLY getting a podcast of my own. I’ve taken inspiration from others and decided F it, I’m doing it.

It’s been a long time coming but it’ll come to fruition soon.

One thing I wanted to do was start a blog, which I have done. Admittedly I’ve not written as much as I’d like but baby steps haha.

With the launch of the podcast it will help spur me on to write more because I need things to chat about on the pod and in turn write about.

All to be revealed soon!

Gronk retires

It’s with a heavy heart that I write today that Robert James Gronkowski has retired from the NFL.

He has been a pivotal part of the time I’ve been watching the New England Patriots. His fun, carefree attitude out with his work ethic and dedication to his craft has been awe inspiring. He’s ran cruise ship boat parties, appeared in Demi Lovato videos and been a general dude around town. I think this was epitomised when Brandin Cooks piggybacked on Gronk’s back in celebration for him to later say in the press conference We got yelled at we aren’t allowed to talk about celebrations. But I kind of want to talk about it, but I kinda don’t because I will get in trouble. So I don’t know what to do.

The Man is a sure thing, 1st ballot Hall of Famer and will go down in history as one of the greatest Tight End’s in the history of the sport and definitely the greatest in New England’s history.

His career stats and records are phenomenal and hard to beat so only time will tell how others follow in his footsteps.

In the latter stages he became more of a blocker with his production falling and that ill-fated play in the Miami Miracle could’ve been a legacy tarnished but in the post-season he stepped up in KC AND in the Super Bowl itself. “Thank goodness” I said to myself.Phew! A huge sigh of relief.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the next man up with HUGE shoes to fill. Fingers crossed he’s half as good.

Let’s see how the draft plays out also.

(This was originally written on April 10th but forgot to post it)

SUPER BOWL LIII

So… I’ve been shit and not written since week 2 of the regular season. One of my new year resolutions is to write more on this site and here we are at Super Bowl Sunday with my first post of the year. Oh well, I promise myself I’ll get better.

I did start to write before the Colts game but fell asleep and woke up with the game in progress and posting a preview seemed silly. Anyways, on to the BIG GAME!!!!

I thought before the AFC Championships game that if we got past the Chiefs, we’d win the Super Bowl. Going in to Arrowhead I felt that it was a difficult, hostile place to go and the toughest challenge of the season. The hostility was there but in comparison to the Super Dome in New Orleans it lacked a bit of punch. I think that was down to Arrowhead being an open top bowl shape and the noise going up into the ether. We won the game and here we are, so why the nervousness?! To me the game against Kansas City was very dominant and one sided until the fourth quarter when Andy Reid and his Chiefs finally adjusted and started making plays. Let’s hope that if something similar happens in Atlanta, the Patriots are out of sight by 25 points to nullify anything that’s done towards the end of the game.

My main concern comes from the Rams RPO and screen plays very similar to what Philadelphia did last year. I remember screaming at my TV as Corey Clement came off the edge a few times to little or no coverage and picked up big yards. This is what Gurley will be used for this weekend. We saw it against the Saints but he was off form that night and dropped a couple of passes. The other fear is the soft zone coverage that’s built in to the Rams playbook. Goff will look for the crossing routes between the lines to Cooks or Woods who then switch on the afterburners as they race away from the linebackers. Cooks is an obvious outside threat with his speed but I think he’ll be used more horizontally and Reynolds could be the unexpected deep threat like Hogan is for us.

I’m not sure how much the Tightends will be a factor. My guess is Higbee and Everett will have a lot of paint on their boots as they hug the sidelines looking to gain 3 and 4 yard plays. They’ll maybe try to match them up against the McCourty twins but I think they’ll be placed on the heels of Cooks and Woods with the receivers going more deep and an option 1 or 2 read with option 3 being the Tightend on a shorter play gain. Enough to keep them marching downfield. CJ Anderson will lose the necessary 5 stone his doctor will have advised him to do in this game alone! He will be a huge bowling ball trying to knock over the Patriots skittles and happily be the bell cow that’s required to chip away at the Patriots.

LA might be a flashy place with Hollywood and the like on the doorstep of their building and the Rams may have flashy/brash players like Aqib Talib and Ndomukong Suh but Sean McVey will have a Patriots approach to this match and be happy to march down the field, keep the chains moving, keep the clock going towards zero and keep Tom Brady off the field. As much as it would be amazing for the neutral (and casual viewer) I don’t think this will be a hundred point game similar to the Chiefs game but you will still see a great game nonetheless.

What we saw the Patriots do in overtime of the Championship game, is what the Rams will try to emulate as the great saying goes “If you can’t beat’em, join em.”. Trying to play Coach Belichick at his own game is madness and that’s why I’m sayin “PATRIOTS WIN BABY! WOOOOO!!!”

Seriously though, I’m sticking to what I said at the start and what I said 2 weeks ago. This is a neutral field that will feel like home cos the New England Patriots fans always travel well. This nonsense that everything is taken for granted is bullshit. The true fans (and this year especially) never take getting to a Super Bowl for granted. The atmosphere will completely different and I don’t even think the Patriots haters in the crowd will be able to silence the Patriots fans.

As much as Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots love to apparently bore everyone with how they approach games, the razzmatazz will be from the men in white uniforms. Expect a flea-flicker or two and the guy who Tweeted a requestabet to SkyBet has a similar theory to me. Julian Edelman to score a TD PASS is not out with the realms of possibility and I’d give it a 65/35% chance of happening. Look back at some of Baltimore’s games with Jackson under centre and I think that’s how the Patriots nullify Suh and Donald. Outsmart them and out power them. Push the line one way or the other and Michel can run that way or James White can catch the opposite. Bootlegs and screens will be huge to the Patriots and Brady to catch a pass (maybe even a TD from Edelman) might well be the play that clinches ring number 6. What a story that would be!

Jaguars – Review & Josh Gordon

So…you’ve probably read a million reviews by now or listened to podcasts that have all said similar things and I’m in agreement with pretty much all of it.

We stuffed the inside and dared Bortles to go over the top and make throws and guess what? He made throws. It was said last season and this that as long as the Jags are in front then they can trundle along and win most times but they’d struggle from behind. Well they commanded this one…and then some. There were mistakes made that will hopefully be ironed out such as Gilmore getting beat by Moncrief for the TD (which I believe should never have happened) but one thing I’m not sure anyone could’ve banked on was the game Corey Grant would have.

Grant freewheeled out of the backfield in acres of space far too often, where I think most of us thought that would be Yeldon’s job since he’s not great at charging down the middle, breaking tackles. If they (The Jags) can keep up the dynamism when Fournette is back then they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

I thought the we had the possibility to go 0-2 to start the season so to come out 1-1 isn’t the worst that could happen. Watson just wasn’t at the races and keep up the offence’s end of the bargain that the defence were trying to forge. Jacksonville has not been a sanctuary for the Jags in recent seasons but Doug Marrone looks to change that and wins against the Patriots will push that mindset to the forefront.

Going forward I saw promising signs from Sony Michel – who I don’t think anyone expected to play – and along with Burkhead and White our running game is good but not great. For as high a draft pick as Michel was, he doesn’t come across as the studd back like Kareem Hunt or Le’Veon Bell. Maybe we can steal him in the next off-season?!

The receiving corps has expanded and contracted this week with the addition of the notorious Josh Gordon and release of Corey Coleman (although he has since been signed to the practice squad). Gordon will go straight in to reps and more likely than not, be featured heavily on Sunday Night Football. He’ll stretch the field and create opportunities but I’ve still got that niggling feeling that he is a trash can fire waiting to blow.

Who says “The Hoody” has some devine right to shake him like a stick and get all the bad stuff out of him? He’s clearly an addict and only addicts can help addicts. They have to cry for help before others can help them. It’s a gamble worth taking but whether the lights and sounds will signal a jackpot win, I’m not so sure. The House always wins at the end of the day and in this instance, Gordon’s substance abuse is the House.

Look for my Lions preview before Sunday and hit me up on Twitter @MattInksterNFL with any comments.

Week 2 – Jacksonville Jaguars – Preview

So this Sunday at 9:25pm UK time, the AFC Championship rematch, as it’s being billed, takes place in the Sunshine State. Admittedly the Patriots don’t have the greatest of weapons at the minute but does that mean we should be worried? Should we be trembling at the thought of Sacksonville in Jacksonville?

At the start of the season I would’ve said yes but now I’m not so sure. Fournette is struggling with a hamstring injury, Yeldon is more of a backfield catcher than straight up grab the ball and run kind of guy and then there’s Blake Bortles… They don’t have a true number one receiver (or at least not figured out who it is yet) as last week the receptions were spread around with Westbrook getting 5 and Cole 3 whilst other receptions were shared between the runners and Seferian-Jenkins.

Until Doug Marrone trusts his QB to take them to the house with aggressive play start to finish then Bortles and the Jaguars will continue to struggle when it matters. They’re a run first team and when everyone knows you’re a run first team it’s easier to defend. Couple that with a promising glimpse of Patriots pass-rush, then I feel a lot happier about going in to TIAA Bank Field and taking home a W.

Match-ups to look out for:

Rob Gronkowski vs Jalen Ramsey – If you need to put your best Corner up against a TE then it says it all. It’s a waste of a Corner Back and plays in to Gronk’s hands.

Corderelle Patterson vs anyone – I have a sneaky feeling that Patterson might have a reasonably big involvement in this game than last week, especially now that Jeremy Hill has been confirmed on IR for the season. You could also replace Patterson with Corey Coleman as he could be thrown in on a few plays to surprise the Jags.

Yannick Ngakoue vs Trent Brown – This match-up is so intriguing it gives me goosebumps. If Brown repeats last week’s performance then he should keep Ngakoue quiet and Brady on his feet but if there’s any chink in the armour he could be flat on his back, along with Brady and the chances of a Patriots win.

All in all I feel relatively confident about this one but wouldn’t be surprised if we do lose. I’d rather take a loss now than in January when it really matters and being 1-1 is better than the 0-2 I thought we’d be to start the season.

Prediction: Patriots 24 – Jaguars 20

Week 1 – Houston Texans – Review

So with the intention of doing a preview blog for the Texans, I would’ve put the Texans down for the W. However a sick child needed tending to and I didn’t write my preview.

The Patriots usually have a slow start to the season but Gillette is something of a fortress to the team as well. The Texans have had a good grasp on us recently and with the D fully loaded to take on our O line and down Brady. It didn’t pan out like that though.

Trent Brown kept Jadeveon Clowney quiet all game, Deshaun Watson wasn’t as dynamic as expected and Sweet Feet had a solid as usual performance. Watson will feel his way into the season after his ACL injury cut short last season, where he was on for a huge rookie year. On Sunday vs the Patriots it wasn’t to be and those 7 games of available tape might be all that’s needed by the opposition to work out how to stop the Texans offense.

Even though they gave up 20 points, the 7 point difference was flattering towards a Texans team who weren’t really at the races. Watson had a 50% completion for 176 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in comparison to Brady who had a 67% completion for 277 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT.

The New England Patriots were on point, efficient and ruthless. It wasn’t a stellar performance that will be remembered come Christmas but it was enough to start 1-0 as they head to Florida and take on the updated version of the Legion of Boom.

One sad note from week 1 is that Jeremy Hill’s season is over as he was placed on IR Tuesday with a torn ACL picked up from a collision with James Develin. Belichick said of the injury “He’s a tough kid, I know he’ll work hard and I’m sure he’ll be back.”

Every week I’ll have some takeaways from each game. Here they are for this week:

MOTM – Rob Gronkowski / Trent Brown
One to watch – Phillip Dorsett
Must do better – Chris Hogan

On to Jacksonville next and a rematch of the AFC Championship game. Will they be 2-0 after Sunday? Look our for my preview blog going up soon with my prediction.