Down goes Syracuse!!

Wednesday night saw the BC Eagles go up against the Syracuse Orange in an ACC men’s basketball matchup that had blowout written all over it with the Orange coming in 25-0 and BC coming in with a 6-18 record. Syracuse has played a lot of close games as of late but have been able to find a way to squeak out with wins no matter how impossible it looked. BC pulled off the upset of the year beating Syracuse 62-59 in OT. The loss leaves Wichita State(28-0) as the only undefeated left in the NCAA.
Leading all scorers with 20 points were C.J Fair of Syracuse and Olivier Hanlan. The magic seemed to just simply run out for Syracuse in tonight’s ACC matchup proving in college basketball any team can win on any night. If this game doesn’t get you itching for March Madness I don’t know what will.
Syracuse (25-1) will more then likely still go into the tourney with a #1 seed and BC (7-18) will likely miss out on the big dance again but this will be the talk of the town for the week as it will knock Syracuse off of their #1 seed they’ve had a stranglehold this season.
“When you get in enough of these games, there’s going to be one you’re not going to make a play. That’s what happens,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “At the end of games, you get into enough of these games, you’re not going to win.
Is it tournament time yet?!?

Brendan Nadeau / multi sport contributor
Twitter: @brennadeau

Ed Reed

Ed Reed had $50,000 stolen out of his car. Reed was in Houston when he made the large withdrawal and right after the withdrawal he drove to another bank to make another transaction. It was at this time Reed’s vehicle was broken into (his passenger window was shattered) and the $50,000 and the bag it was in was taken out of the car.
Not much of a sports story I understand but what in the world is he doing with $50,000 in straight cash homie? The next Ed Reed story I would like to break is if he is playing next season and with what team he’s joining. The aging safety is coming off of in my opinion his worse season that saw him being cut by the Houston Texans and signing with the loud mouth hard hitting Jets.
He signed with the Jets even after all signs pointed to him going to the New England Patriots but he stated that he “didn’t want to learn a difficult system ” which is understanding especially mid season but now with a full off season available to him I could see that as a possibility. Is this where I start the public out cry for Ed Reed as a Patriot?

Brendan Nadeau /baseball and football contributor
Twitter : @brennadeau

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Beast Mode

As I sit back and watch all of the media sessions that lead up to the Super Bowl there’s a few things that pop out. The most intriguing thing to me is the media sessions with the one and only Marshawn Lynch. I’m completely drawn to this guy for so many reasons. Now I’ve been a Lynch fan since his days in Buffalo and yet I like everybody else have a limited knowledge of him personally.
I’ve seen the E:60 report that was on go a couple years ago that highlighted his business ventures but he is one of those players that constantly attempts to avoid the media. With all the noise about how Richard Sherman is being painted as a distraction (amongst other things i completely disagree with) because of his post-game comments following the NFC Championship game. Now I’m watching NFL Network and ESPN trying to paint Marshawn Lynch as a distraction because of his quiet nature and this is only based on his dislike for media attention. How hypocritical is that. One Seahawk is a distraction because his statements after a game and now Lynch is a distraction because he won’t have a half hour conversation with reporters?
I couldn’t disagree more with what is being said about one of my personally favorite NFL players. Lynch has not said anything that could be considered selfish or even distracting. He has followed the rules of the NFL by making himself available to the media but doesn’t have much to say when he’s there. Personally I love the fact that he just wants to go about his business and play football as opposed to talking to the media. It seems to work for Marshawn considering since he has arrived in Seattle he has finished no lower then 7th in the NFL in rushing and is constantly in the top 5 in the NFL in touchdowns since landing in Seattle via trade with the Buffalo Bills.
His first full year in Seattle “Beast Mode” finished the 2011 campaign with 1,204 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns (also adding 212 receiving yards and 1 touchdown) which was good for 7th in the NFL. In his second full year (2012) he finished with 1,590 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns to go with 23 receptions for 196 yards and 1 touchdown. That rushing total was good for 3rd in the NFL. This past season he has totaled 1,257 rushing yards (good for 6th in the NFL) with 12 touchdowns to go with 36 receptions for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns.
He also leads the NFL in rushing yards during the playoffs. Marshawn hasn’t talked to the media all season (as proof by his $50,000 fine he received for not making himself available to the media a few weeks back) and it has yet to be a distraction. Lynch is the centerpiece of this Seattle offense and sets the physical tone they love so much. I just wish the big media outlets would leave him be and stop trying to make a story out of nothing. If and when the Seahawks win this Sunday in New Jersey Marshawn Lynch will undoubtedly be in the conversation as Superbowl MVP. Let the guy do his thing and on Sunday strap on your chin straps because I’m sure he will be running physical and put on the show that Seahawks fans have loved watching since he’s shown up.

Article written by: Brendan Nadeau / NFL/ MLB contributor
Follow him in Twitter @Brennadeau

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Sunday’s X Factors

With this Sunday’s AFC Championship being marketed as yet another Brady / Manning classic. While they may in fact be the most prominent names on the field Sunday that is not exactly a “matchup” that will change the face of the game considering neither QB will line up on defense for their respective teams.
Aquib Talib / Demarius Thomas :
This will undoubtedly be the most talked about 1:1 matchup this week. Talib has done a terrific job shutting down opposing teams #1 weapon (see Jimmy Graham stats vs Patriots for your best example). Talib is playing on a one year contract and is looking to cash in this off season and this could be the make or break game for him and the make or break matchup of the game. Thomas is one of the best weapons in the league and most physical gifted receiver on the Broncos roster and will give Aquib a run for his money and test that hip that has hampered him for most of the season.

Jamie Collins / Julius Thomas :
This matchup may not be as talked about but could in fact change the face of this AFC Championship game one way or another. When the Patriots / Broncos faced off in week 12 Julius Thomas did not play and Jacob Tamme was able to be effective against the Patriots. With Jamie Collins inserting himself into the defense in the absence of Brandon Spikes he will undoubtedly see significant time covering Julius Thomas as he is the best coverage LB on the roster. Last week may have been Collins’ coming out party but the Patriots will need another big game to beat Denver.

Legarette Blount / Broncos rush Defense :
Alot has been said about the Broncos and their “#7 ranked rush defense”. Statistics may very well be misleading in this category as I will bring up the Broncos have had the lead in many of their games forcing their opponents to throw the ball instead of running it. The one game that I constantly think about regarding the Broncos rush defense is the game vs the Chargers when Ryan Matthews was able to have a terrific day rushing the ball helping his team beat the Broncos. If the Patriots can slow down the fast paced Broncos attack and force the pace a hot Legarette Blount may be the last thing the Broncos see this season as he has had his way the past 3 games this year.

Patriots Injury Report

Early Wednesday afternoon the big news out of Gillette Stadium was the absence of Tom Brady from the media portion of practice today with what was later disclosed as an “illness”. With that being said long snapper Danny Aiken suddenly came down with the same diagnosis. Without knowing exactly what’s going on in Foxboro it is a possibility that Tom Brady and Danny Aiken were in fact somewhere in the facility together practicing snapping and holding the field goal snaps away from the media since Punter Ryan Allen injured his shoulder in the victory vs the Colts and will not be able to hold on Sunday. Just some food for thought before I give you the injury report for the New England Patriots for the Conference Championship game.

Did Not Participate :
Player Position Injury
Danny Aiken : LS Illness
Tom Brady: QB Shoulder / Illness

Limited Participation :
Player Position Injury
Ryan Allen: P Shoulder
D Amendola:WR Groin
K.Arrington :CB. Groin
A. Dennard : CB. Knee / Shoulder
A Dobson : WR Foot
D.Fletcher: LB Groin
D.Hightower: LB Ankle
K. Thompkins: WR. Hip / Concussion
S. Vereen : RB Groin

Brendan Nadeau / Patriots Contributor
Twitter : @Brennadeau

Brandon Spikes IR

Questions were circling around Foxboro all week with people wondering what exactly Brandon Spikes was placed on season ending IR for. Sources have released that the reason Spikes was placed on IR while preparation for the playoffs was beginning was in fact due to Brandon Spikes being late to a meeting. At a time where minor mistakes create huge problems (just ask Andrew Luck) it seems as though Spikes just isn’t ready or mature enough to handle that responsibility.
With Spikes out other linebackers were given the chance to step up and received more playing time as a result. In Coach Bellichick’s system it’s all about “doing your job” and when your time comes up to step into a bigger role you better be prepared to do so. This week with the absence of Spikes rookie Linebacker Jamie Collins was given a chance to step up and step up he did. Collins finished the game with 6 tackles 1 sack and 1 huge interception that helped the Patriots put the game on ice. With Spikes out the rest of the playoffs with an injured ego it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the linebackers especially Jamie Collins continue to play when the teams get tougher and games get closer.

Brendan Nadeau / multi sport contributor
Twitter : @Brennadeau

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5 Reasons Pats fans should be confident about Saturday

#5 – A Well Balanced Patriots Attack
While it’s been said Tom Brady has “no real offensive weapons” he was able to put up very respectable if not MVP type numbers considering the circumstances. Tom Brady was able to complete 60.5% of his passes for 4,343 yards with 25 td’s to only 11 interceptions. To put those numbers in perspective as I stated they were “MVP” type numbers he has done this with the off season losses of Wes Welker (Denver Broncos) & Aaron Hernandez (Dartmouth H.O.C). Also his #1 target and safety blanket Rob Gronkowski missed the start and finish of the season with a back injury and leg injury respectively. Also mix in the time missed by others like Danny Ammendola , Aaron Dobson, and Shane Vereen amongst others. We have also seen that the Patriots can effectively run the ball if need be with the newest addition to the backs Legarette Blount who had 772 rushing yards with 8 touchdowns this season. Out of his 772 yards his past few games have shown the Patriots and NFL he can carry a team with a solid game vs the Ravens and an all time great game vs the Bills in the season finale ( 189 rushing yards 2 touchdowns to go along with 145 return yards). It’s not just a one man show as Steven Ridley was able to put up 773 yards and 7 touchdowns despite missing time due to fumble-itus and the always dangerous Shane Vereen catching passes out of the backfield.
#4- The Colts Are One Dimensional
Unlike the Patriots the Colts are entirely a one dimensional team. They are a mediocre passing team ranking in the middle of every statistic offensively regarding the pass and in the lower end of the league in regards to rushing the ball. The Colts avg. 232.8 passing yards/per game (17th in the NFL) and an anemic 108.9 yards/game rushing (21st in the NFL). Even with the addition of former top 10 pick Trent Richardson the Colts have not been able to rush the ball consistently all year. Richardson finished the season with a mere 563 yards and 3 touchdowns while coughing up the ball 2 times (and once last week vs the Chiefs). While they can strike quickly with their fast receivers it is looking like a bad weather game (60% chance of rain 16 mph winds Saturday night) which means they will have to run the ball which has proven a weakness for the Colts.
#3- Patriots had time to rest and heal
With all the injuries the Patriots have suffered this season the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for them. Guys like Aquib Talib (hip injury) , Aaron Dobson (foot), Shane Vereen (groin) amongst many others were given the chance to take it a little easy and get healthier for this weeks game which can only benefit the Patriots.
#2 – Gilette Stadium
The New England Patriots are a perfect 8-0 at home this season (knock on wood) while the Colts are a mediocre 5-3 on the road. The Colts have had some big wins this season against good competition but have also been wildly inconsistent and suffered some horrific losses. For example the Colts were blown out by the Bengals (48-28) and the Cardinals (40-11) both on the road. While the Patriots aren’t perfect at home (having to have some amazing comebacks against a few teams like the Broncos and Browns) they seemingly derive from the Foxboro crowd and just find a way to win.
#1- Andrew Luck
Yes I understand Luck might very well be seamed the next big thing for NFL QB’s but this game Saturday isn’t about the future it’s about the here and now and right now Andrew Luck is inconsistent just like the Colts. All season Luck has been able to cut his interceptions in half from last year (18..just think about that for a second I’ll wait)… to this year (9 much better) this isn’t the regular season anymore. With that being said Andrew Luck in one playoff game this season has thrown 1/3 of the interceptions he had all season (3 last game). In 2 career playoff games Luck has thrown for over 600 yards with 4 touchdowns 4 interceptions and a fumble with a 1-1 record. While the Colts got “Lucky” last week if he continues to play like history shows Indianapolis will be heading back home for a long off season again. Even with the remarkable comeback last week you can’t expect the Patriots who are known to make other teams beat themselves while they play sound football to let Luck get away with turnovers like he did against the Chiefs. All this being said I have the Patriot winning 34-23 at home this week heading back to the AFC championship game yet again.

Brendan Nadeau
Twitter- @Brennadeau

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