Tom’s Tuesday Touchdown: The Return

It’s been a while but now seems like as good a time as any to resurrect what was once a big deal before disappearing off the face of the planet – welcome back to Tom’s Tuesday Touchdown where I, Tom, the guy who this is titled about, rants and raves about the latest goings on in the NFL amongst other things Gridiron related. We’ll see how long it lasts this time…

I think the premise of this feature is pretty simple to follow; I watch NFL games and like to tweet/write/converse about said games so why not bring back something that allows me to talk (or, rather, write) about the games in a sometimes humorous way…that’s where Tom’s Tuesday Touchdown comes in. So let’s get on with it…

THE NFL IS BACK, BAY BAY!!!!!!!

It’s officially here – the return of the NFL. Preseason has been and gone with only a handful of careers temporarily derailed by season-ending injuries and it’s time for us all to look towards a weekend of action-packed football that begins in the very early hours of Friday morning when we have a repeat of the Superbowl to look forward to.

A Peyton Manning-less Denver Broncos side now led by Trevor Siemian versus a Panthers side that looked so good throughout the regular season before seeing their dreams of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy shot down in flames by the Broncos defence. This time around though, I feel that they will make amends and walk away from the Week 1 matchup with a W to their name.

Then there’s a whole host of games this upcoming Sunday to look forward to – highlighted by the Arizona Cardinals hosting a Tom Brady-less New England Patriots on the first Sunday Night Football of the season. As a Cardinals fan, I’m obviously expecting the Cardinals to win that one and I feel that will be the result at some time in the early hours on Monday morning; were Brady playing and not Garoppolo, I think it could have been a much closer game but that’s not to be.

Perhaps we’ll see a full-strength Patriots battle a full-strength Cardinals side when Superbowl 51 takes place in 151 days time? Who knows. Anyway, more on my Superbowl prediction later on in the piece.

Then, as is tradition, we have  a Monday Night Football double-header to round out Week 1 of the 2016 NFL Season. Thankfully this year they haven’t given the Cardinals one of the two games so I’m not forced with getting up at some ridiculous time to watch the game and tweet along with it over on @BritishBirdgang. PLUG.

When that’s all in the books, you’ll have another edition of T.T.T. to read through and, hopefully, enjoy? With a lot more stuff in it like Weekly Awards, Power Rankings, Fantasy Football Studs and Duds and maybe other things in it…depends what I can think up/steal from other similar things in the next seven days.

UGH, PRE-SEASON

Now I know that it is a necessary evil but NFL Preseason isn’t half boring to watch.

Week 1, the starters may play a drive or so and then it’s up to the back-ups and UDFA’s to see out the rest of the game. The end result doesn’t matter.
Week 2, the starters play a little bit more and then they sit out the rest of the game and the other guys on the roster play the rest of the game. Nobody cares about the result.
Week 3, the starters tend to play at least a half of the game and then you get to panic when they look terrible. But the result is meaningless.
Week 4, the starters put their feet up and those fighting for a handful of roster spots fight it out vs. another group of players fighting for a handful of roster spots. Then many of them never see the light of day again.

Of course the most important thing about preseason tends to be ensuring that key players get through it without suffering a horrific season-ending injury that ruins their chances of winning the Superbowl before the season begins. Thankfully the Cardinals were able to navigate preseason relatively unscathed but, for teams like the Minnesota Vikings that lost their starting QB to a season-ending injury, not all teams are as fortunate. Even worse, they now have to endure Sam Bradford…

There’s always talk of the league cutting down preseason to three games were they to extend the regular season; I’m all for lessening pre-season but not to extend the regular season. I’m sure there’s a compromise in there somewhere…but, then again, this is Roger Goodell we’re talking about.

Here’s to next year’s period of trying to avoid serious injury. Otherwise known as preseason.

CARDINALS CORNER

Now, it’s not really a corner as such, but I’m lazy and don’t like the idea of writing several different articles on what is basically the same thing. So I’m introducing the Cardinals Corner as a spot where I can discuss Cardinals-related things. If you don’t care, just skip this bit of the article…you know, if you haven’t already left it.

1. The 53 – So, the cuts are in and the Cardinals have their 53. For now at least before Steve Keim gets to work and brings in some random guy from some school you’ve never heard of before. There weren’t too many shocks in the roster, nor in the Practice Squad. I can’t really think of many that I would have changed aside from keeping Jaxon Shipley on the Practice Squad. But, then again, what does my opinion matter on personnel decisions? Just a #WANNABEGM here…

2. Badger’s Back – when Tyrann Mathieu went down with a second ACL injury I, like many other Cardinals fans, feared the worst for Mathieu. But, perhaps surprisingly, he’s set to play as normal vs. the New England Patriots. A welcome surprise when there were people speculating it could even be mid-season before we saw him back on the field. The organisation are clearly behind him though, highlighted by the big extension they tied him down to in the off-season, so hopefully we can see him get back to the level he was prior to the injury. A pick-six of Jimmy G on SNF would be awesome.

3. CB2 Problems – when you’ve got a guy like Patrick Peterson shutting down his WR, the CB2 is always going to be called upon a lot more as opposing Quarterbacks see them as a better bet than throwing to P2. Problem with the Cardinals is that they don’t really have a solid option to fill that role; Jerraud Powers was there last year but he wasn’t good and is now someone else’s problem. Justin Bethel has had some good games there but has struggled mightily in others and is coming back from an injury that saw him sit out a lot of preseason. Brandon Williams was drafted in the 3rd round and, in time, could become yet another brilliant third round pick by GM Steve Keim but he is raw and has struggled in preseason. Marcus Cooper was brought in from the Chiefs and he could be an option at CB2 but, considering he was close to being cut by KC, that might not be true. Suppose we’d better think of a different name for last year’s “No Fly Zone”…

4. Superbowl? – Last year’s Arizona Cardinals were probably the most talented roster I had seen them have in my years following them. Then they went and strengthened with additions like Evan Mathis, Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche. So I guess THIS is now the most talented roster they have had at their disposal? That, coupled with a whole host of NFL people backing the Cardinals for Lombardi glory this season, means we can’t fail? Right? This is finally the year they get a Superbowl…although the other 30 NFL teams will think otherwise. I didn’t miss one out. The Cleveland Browns have no chance. Come on.

So, that’s that for the Cardinals chatter for this week. I’ll have some thoughts on the New England game and anything else that crops up…

WEEKLY PREDICTIONS

Because why not? 16 games this week, let’s see how many of them I can correctly predict. Then I can update next week with the results and predict Week 2’s games. A rather simple way of doing things, don’t you think?

TNF – Denver vs. Carolina – CAROLINA
Minnesota vs. Tennessee – TENNESSEE
Chicago vs. Houston – HOUSTON
Cleveland vs. Philadelphia – PHILADELPHIA
Buffalo vs. Baltimore – BUFFALO
San Diego vs. Kansas City – KANSAS CITY
Oakland vs New Orleans – NEW ORLEANS
Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta – TAMPA BAY
Cincinnati vs. NYJ – CINCINNATI
Green Bay vs. Jacksonville – GREEN BAY
Miami vs Seattle – SEATTLE
NYG vs. Dallas – NYG
Detroit vs. Indianapolis – INDIANAPOLIS
SNF – New England vs. Arizona – ARIZONA
MNF1 – Pittsburgh vs Washington – PITTSBURGH
MNF2 – Los Angeles vs. San Francisco – LOS AGELES

SEASON PREDICTIONS

Last but not least for this Week 1 edition of Tuesday Touchdown, I’ve got my Season Predictions to share – things like who’ll win the Superbowl, who’ll win each division and then who’ll scoop the NFL Honors…should be Honours but America…

Anyway, here we go with the Division Winners;

AFC North Champion – Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC East Champion – New England Patriots
AFC South Champion – Houston Texans
AFC West Champion – Denver Broncos
————————————–
NFC North Champion – Green Bay Packers
NFC East Champion – New York Giants
NFC South Champion – Carolina Panthers
NFC West Champion – Arizona Cardinals

Before I reveal the Superbowl 51 Champions and runners up – hint, they both win their division – here are the NFL Award winners. See how right I am in 150 Days…

NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers
NFL Offensive Player of the Year – Aaron Rodgers
NFL Defensive Player of the Year – Tyrann Mathieu
NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – Ezekiel Elliot
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jalen Ramsey
NFL Coach of the Year – Mike McCarthy
NFL Comeback Player of the Year – Tyrann Mathieu

And, last but not least, this year’s Superbowl will be between…

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS and the ARIZONA CARDINALS with the Cardinals prevailing.

Who says I’m not a massive Cardinals homer…

Until next week, enjoy Week 1 of the NFL Season.

T.

 

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