Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Without Brandon Spikes: Charting the Response of the Patriots Linebackers

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Brandon Spikes’ season-ending knee injury has thrust the Patriots linebackers into the spotlight as the Indianapolis Colts await. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

On a 1st-and-10 with 5:03 remaining in Week 17, Brandon Spikes’ season came to an end.

It transpired as Buffalo Bills halfback C.J. Spiller pierced through the sodden Gillette Stadium hashes and crossed outward to the flat, where he created separation beyond the New England Patriots linebacker.

Buffalo quarterback Thaddeus Lewis found his target in stride. And from there, the ball-carrier veered past the 50-yard line, shedding the arcing arms of nickelback Kyle Arrington as Spikes closed in.

Yet at the New England 48, Spiller redirected.

Spikes did not, nor could he. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Rankings (Oliver Thomas)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin has a rare combination of size and speed. And in turn, he has the attention of NFL scouting departments. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

January is a month of divergence for the NFL. Eight teams are left in the Super Bowl hunt; 24 others have cleared out lockers and dispersed for the offseason. But before long, all 32 will be back in the same lane, preparing for the 2014 NFL draft.

It’s a process of personnel evaluation from now through May. There will be all-star games, combines and pro days to gauge a player’s value in the same setting as their peers. Yet in actuality, 90 percent of their value has already been determined.

It’s been determined by the game film and the eyes viewing it.

Now big boards and positional rankings must be taken with a grain of salt. It ultimately comes down to preference, need, and fit.

One area where that rings especially true is at wide receiver.

Over the last three drafts, 90 receivers have been selected by NFL teams – including the Cleveland Browns’ compensatory pick of Josh Gordon in 2012. Of those 90, 36 were chosen within the first three rounds, netting an average of 12 annually.

That trend is expected to continue this spring. (more…)


NFL Wild-Card Weekend: Scouting the Patriots’ Potential Divisional-Round Opponents

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

This wild-card weekend, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves battling for a Week 5 rematch with New England. Two other teams, however, are in contention to do the same. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will be playing a Cover-3 defense this wild-card weekend, as potential divisional-round opponents in the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals fight to advance.

All three sit at 11-5. All three have their respective strengths. And while no team in the AFC is without weakness, all three carry the traits to exploit New England’s. The Patriots will be a favorite in all three of the games – feel free to find a place to bet at SportsBettingDime.com – as the Patriots are 7/2 to win the AFC. The Broncos are the favorite at 5/7.

There are few certainties in the wide-open AFC playoff picture; Kansas City and Indianapolis will play on Saturday, and Cincinnati and the San Diego Chargers will play on Sunday.

All the Patriots can do is prepare to host the highest remaining seed on Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m. (more…)


Clearing Lanes: Exploring the Purpose of Patriots Defensive Tackle Sealver Siliga

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Sealver Siliga is on his fourth team in three years, but he’s fighting for an extended stay in Foxborough. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

It was after 6 p.m. on an October Tuesday when the news broke. But the news wasn’t announced via press release, an agent or a reporter.

It came directly from the source.

“Proud to say I am now officially a New England Patriot!,” 23-year-old defensive tackle Sealver Siliga posted on Twitter, along with a photo of himself pointing to the Patriots poster surfacing the wall behind him.

New England had signed Siliga the practice squad – a familiar destination for the well-traveled Utah Ute. And perhaps because of that, expectations were tempered.

Since going undrafted as a junior entrant in 2011, Siliga had been cut by the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos, traded to the Seattle Seahawks and cut thrice more. The 6’2”, 325-pounder had been a member of two practice squads and played in one career game.

Although after just five weeks on New England’s eight-man roster, Siliga was promoted to the 53-man roster. He’s played in five games since, starting four of them. He’s totaled 23 tackles and three sacks over that span.

Yet as an interior defensive lineman, Siliga’s true purpose with the Patriots hasn’t been seen in numbers.

It’s been seen in the lanes he’s cleared for teammates. (more…)


New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: Week 17 Observations

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

LeGarrette Blount had Bill Belichick’s back in the Patriots’ regular season finale. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

The New England Patriots will enter the playoffs as the AFC’s second seed after defeating the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 34-20 in what was a game characterized by outstanding success on the ground, which was able to successfully mask a pedestrian passing game and questionable defense. Read on for five observations from the victory.

(more…)


New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: Ten Keys to Week 17

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

The most productive back on the NFL’s number two rushing offense, Fred Jackson is one of the most well-rounded runners in the league. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

The New England Patriots have a chance to secure a first-round bye in their season finale this afternoon, but in order to do so they’ll have to win a divisional matchup against the 6-9 Buffalo Bills, a team which nearly beat New England earlier in the season and which boasts a strong running game and an aggressive defense which currently ranks first in sacks and fifth vs. the pass. Read on for ten keys to New England’s last regular-season contest of 2013.

(more…)


2014 NFL Draft: Postseason Thoughts on Four Tight Ends

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz should garner plenty of interest leading up to May’s NFL draft. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The NFL regular season is in its final week, which means that many front offices are setting their sights towards May’s NFL draft. Yet like all organizations in playoff contention, the offseason evaluations of the 11-4 New England Patriots remain on the back burner.

But with many college prospects suiting up for perhaps the final time this bowl season, an unrelenting reminder is in place – the NFL’s future is only months away. And one position that figures to draw its share of intrigue in the near future is tight end.

For Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and football research director Ernie Adams, it’s a position that will be monitored closely from here on out.

(more…)




  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives