Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. Tonight is the Men's March Madness Finals, featuring three seed Michigan taking on one seed Villanova, who will be in their second Finals in the last three years. This should be a great game, and a close outcome. I'll be breaking down what I think will be the biggest factors in tonight's game, and I'll be giving my pick to win the National Championship. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Michigan vs. Villanova:
I would first like to acknowledge that I picked Kansas to win against Villanova in the Final Four, and I was dead wrong. What I said in that article, though, does not change my view of Villanova and their vulnerability. Everything I said their, I'm about to say now.
If you've watched Villanova this year, you know that this team is the definition of living and dying by the three. In their last game versus Kansas, they didn't just live, they elevated themselves to God status. They had been shooting at a historic rate all tournament long, but making 18 threes is on another level. They had 13 in the first half, shooting over 50%, and that is what basically put the game out of reach. Nova had seven different players hit a three point shot, which also shows their depth of shooters. What I've said before though, is that teams have bad nights, and they usually come at inopportune times. Michigan is a team that lives on defense and great coaching, which is exactly what counteracts great three point shooting. If Michigan can hold Villanova to a more pedestrian three point shooting night, then this game could be right down to the wire.
I expect this game to be right down to the wire.
On Michigan's end of things, I think what stands out the most is the Moe Wagner mismatch. Villanova's best big man is Omari Spellman, and he's a great modern big man. He can shoot the three, and he has shown the ability to make plays close to the rim. Moe Wagner is another animal though. Wagner single handedly kept Michigan afloat through thirty minutes of bad basketball to start their Final Four game against Loyola Chicago. Wagner is also a modern big man who can shoot, but I like his post game a lot more than I do Spellman's. Wagner's points production is a lot less reliant on his three point shot, and he showed last game that he can get rebounds on the offensive end. Those kind of second chance points are huge against a team as good as Villanova. Wagner could start to take over this game though, and I think if he makes a couple big threes while also playing his game in the post, Michigan will have a chance to win this game down the stretch.
The last thing I say before I tell you my pick is something that Colin Cowherd brought up on his show today on FS1. I've always taken this into account when picking big games, and although I didn't vocalize it in my last post about Villanova and Kansas, I feel like after seeing Vegas setting Nova as 6.5 point favorites I should bring this up. Villanova is one of these scrappy, no name, consistent teams. They play as a well coached unit, and they aren't dominated by big name freshman recruits every year the way other major programs are. Their system is developing players into their later seasons, and then churning out wins with those players. Jalen Brunson is a great example of that system and mentality, and as we've all seen this year he is pivotal to their success. What I'm getting at here is that Villanova is at their best when they're this no name, underdog lineup. They've always had to fight for their wins, and it's usually a surprise when they beat marquee players and programs. This game, that isn't the case. Villanova is huge favorites, and are expected to win with authority. They've proven all year long that they're the best team in the country, and tonight everyone expects them to put the period on that sentence. This is not the Villanova way though. I really wonder how this team is going to play with the expectations and pressure on them, while Michigan comes in with nothing to lose and a scrappy will to win themselves.
This all takes me to my pick. I took Kansas over Villanova because I had second thoughts about Nova's matchups against that team. Tonight, I fear, even more, those same issues. I know that Nova shut me up last time, and I acknowledge that this is the best team in the country, but in a tournament that's been riddled with out of left field upsets, I'm calling for another one. I'm taking Michigan tonight, in what is not the smart or safe pick to win the game. I've just had a gut feeling about Nova these last couple of days, and I think that they could fall apart in an instant. My final score is 72-71, Michigan in a stunner. I'm praying to the basketball gods that I'm right with this one, because picking against Villanova two games in a row is risky, but I've watched a lot of film and I like the mismatches. Michigan is your 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. I'm here to talk about the Super Bowl today (sorry that it's taken so long for me to get this out), and I'm excited to analyze the biggest takeaways from the game. Also, make sure that you share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Okay, so first of all, I'd like to quickly note that I almost didn't include the first four paragraphs of my Super Bowl preview because I didn't know if many of you would care very much about the coaches on both teams. I am incredibly glad that I did write those sections, because now I can say that I beat everyone else to the chase. All that I've seen this week is how Doug Pederson had the coaching performance of a lifetime, and that it was his aggressive style that led Philadelphia to victory. It's Pederson's coaching style and decisions that made me pick the Eagles to win the Super Bowl, and I feel like I covered almost everything that he did right during the game in my preview (you can go check that out to see what I mean).
Anyways, this Super Bowl was one for the offensive junkies. This game had the most yards from scrimmage in a game in NFL Playoff history, and a game many said would be decided by defense ended up being a dominated by both offenses. The Eagles had a lot of success running the football, with LeGarrette Blount finding the endzone against his former team. Passing the football...lets just say Philly had more than just success. Nick Foles was absolutely incredible, throwing passes fearlessly into tight coverage time and time again, only achieving success due to his perfect ball placement. The man easily deserved Super Bowl MVP. Foles also caught a touchdown pass, although I don't want to dwell on that since everyone else has already beaten that trick play to death with praise (that play by the way is a great example of Pederson's coaching style).
Foles couldn't have had all of that success though without absolutely spectacular play from Alshon Jeffery, who I think deserves more credit than he's receiving. Jeffery came to play, making multiple spectacular catches. He deserves more praise than he's getting.
Zach Ertz also had a great game, catching seven balls for 67 yards and the games final touchdown. I said that New England would either game plan him or the run game out in my prediction, but obviously neither happened in what was the worst showing by the Patriots defense all year.
I feel like the Eagles defense doesn't deserve any of my time since they were disgusting, so I'm going to get straight into Tom Brady. Brady passed for 505 yards and 3 touchdowns, which on paper is by far the best quarterback performance in a Super Bowl. That's why on First Take, my favorite show on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Damien Woody both said that Max Kellerman was crazy for saying Tom Brady's performance starting next season is going to "fall off a cliff." I love both Smith and Woody, but they, along with the rest of the majority media, are really stupid sometimes. Honestly, how can football analysts go from saying "the tape doesn't lie" to completely ignoring the tape and looking only at statistics. What I'm getting at is that Tom Brady's tape was gross. He missed a lot of open throws, and the first half was apparently hunting season since he was heaving ducks all over the place. What Brady did have success with was the first two drives of the second half where he basically exclusively threw the ball to Rob Gronkowski (who is always open), throwing his same old dump offs and screen plays, and hitting receivers who had defenders not even within 15 yards of them downfield. Brady's stats are skewed from the number of wide open throws he had downfield, some of which by the way could have gone for touchdowns had he not been throwing so inaccurately.
So here is what I don't understand: How is it that analysis who watch football and report on it for a living can see the same game that I do, watch the same poor throws that I do, and then come back the next day and tell the nation that Tom Brady was, flawless, spectacular, and great out on the field when he clearly wasn't. I'm not trying to take away anything from his impressive performance, because it was impressive, but the lack of time and recognition that these broadcasters give to Brady's issues is astounding to me. By saying that Brady solidified himself as the greatest of all time by LOSING a Super Bowl, and on top of that ignoring the clear flaws in his performance is lying to the viewers. If any other quarterback had lost that Super Bowl despite having the greatest coach of all time on their side (with the exact same performance as Brady), their legacy would have been hurt rather than solidified. By the way, if Aaron Rodgers had missed those throws everybody would be talking about age catching up to him, since they weren't throws he'd missed in the past.
Now that I'm done with Brady, I want to talk about the Patriots dynasty moving forward. There was big news yesterday when Josh McDaniels backed out of the Colts head coaching job to remain with the Patriots, because Matt Patricia is also leaving for a head coaching job with the Lions. This gives the Pats way more stability with the coaching staff moving into next year, and that'll help a lot because of what I'm about to bring up:
The Patriots, multiple years in a row now, have looked old and slow compared to the top teams in the NFL. The best teams these days usually have a young, fast, big play offense with a solid pass rush, or they'll have an elite defense. That Patriots offense struggles when there is pressure on Brady because he collapses and makes poor decision due to his lack of mobility. The Patriots defense, although always in the top half of the league, usually the top ten, has looked slow against newer high paced and speedy offenses. All of this leads me to my point, which is that Brady and Belichick could only have a year left. With Patricia gone for good and McDaniels willing to leave (although he may now stay to take over when Belichick leaves), the Pats are going to lack continuity in the coaching staff, and that leads to worse performance on the field. On top of that, the majority of the Patriots top players are old and close to retirement. New England doesn't have a lot of time left, and although I'd be a fool to rule them out, the Patriots may have just seen their last Super Bowl appearance of this era.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today I want to just quickly go over the biggest stories from Week 15 in the NFL. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow. Also, it's a busy time in school, so this may be my last article before I take a Christmas break, so if there's nothing else posted after this Happy Holidays to everyone.
Patriots Controversial Win Over Steelers:
I'm going to have a hard time not being biased in this section because of the hatred I possess towards the Patriots. I'm going to try and keep it short and simple. Everyone watching that game understands that Jesse James caught the football, turned his body up field, and dove across the goal line to win the game. Everyone also should understand, though, that the NFL has spent so much time messing with the definition of a catch, that by rule, technically, James did not catch the football. I've heard people say this is a Dez Bryant situation, so they had to stay consistent with the call. This is not a Dez Bryant situation because Dez was sprinting with the ball, didn't clearly catch it, and THEN make a move towards the endzone. Dez was running, tried to possess the ball in stride and made a move towards the endzone too quickly for me to believe he actually caught it. James very clearly caught the ball, had possession, and then turned his body up field towards the endzone. Unlike Dez, the play was not all one motion, there were two very different portions to the play. The NFL needs to turn back towards common sense in deciphering what is and isn't a catch, and less about confusing phrases that have multiple interpretations. Otherwise, fans and players will continue to be frustrated with the league and its officials.
Quick side note on this play as well--not only does common sense show that he caught the ball, but he crossed the plain (goal line) with the ball, so the part where the ball shifts in James's hands shouldn't even be looked at. The NFL's rules about what goes on in the endzone are also screwed up, so that's something they need to fix (I'll talk about that more on a later date).
Rams Smash Seahawks:
As Colin Cowherd said, "This was not a passing of the baton, this was the Rams yanking it out of Pete Carroll's hands." The Rams thrashed Seattle 42-7 at the Seahawks home field. L.A. looked younger, faster, smarter, more creative, and like a cohesive unit; on the contrary Seattle had players calling each other out on Twitter after the game was over. I liked Seattle coming into this season, but the injuries have proven to be too much to overcome, and the Seahawks are now faced with the question of whether or not they need to rebuild. They clearly can't keep pace with younger teems anymore, and I'm saddened and scared that this year could be the end of the Legion of Boom.
Lets all be honest now, and admit despite widespread predictions for the Jaguars to be good this year, nobody thought they would be THIS good. Their defense is the best in the NFL in my opinion, and the offense has found rhythm, especially since they seem to get the ball around the 35 yard line every time a possession starts. This team could be dangerous in the Playoffs now that it's official, and they're in. They could also be hosting a Playoff game for the first time in about 20 years. This is crazy, as one of the leagues biggest laughing stocks is now looking like a powerhouse.
Dallas's Win Over Raiders:
This was a crazy game to watch, as it was close all of the way to the end. The game was host to a mind boggling moment though, as the referees had to take a folded over piece of paper, slide it in between the ball and first down marker, and judge whether the ball was far enough for the first. The referees gave Dallas what was a crucial first down, but there was a huge reaction across social media, as a sheet of paper pretty much decided the outcome of the game. The game was also important in that it kept Dallas's Playoff hopes alive for another week. These hopes are also getting a boost because of...
Zeke's Upcoming Return:
This week Ezekiel Elliot is returning to the Cowboys from his suspension, and he could provide them a lift as the regular season comes to its close. This is a huge boost for a Cowboys offense that has struggled at times without him.
Aaron Rodgers Shut Down For Season:
Today Aaron Rodgers was shut down for the season, as the Packers placed him on season ending IR. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers took too many hits in that game, which is fair since he was sacked three times and hit seven times. After last night's win for the Falcons on MNF, the Packers were officially eliminated from the Playoffs, so I agree with this move, because the Packers should insure Rodgers is 100% healthy at the start of next season.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Usually on a Tuesday I'd give my reaction to the biggest story lines coming out of the NFL from that said week, but today I'm doing something different. On Fox Sports 1 Colin Cowherd said a couple things on his show that rubbed me the wrong way, so I want to quickly give my take on that. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Before I start I want to give some quick background. Colin Cowherd, on his show The Herd, claimed that the Patriots proved themselves to be the clearly superior team to the Falcons this past Sunday. I completely agree with that, and I have no issues. What I did find to be wrong is what I'll be discussing below.
"The Patriots are one field goal away from 6-1."
Cowherd said on his show that the Patriots, a 5-2 team, are one field goal away from 6-1. That may be true, but they also very well could have been 2-5. The game against the Houston Texans week three of this year the Pats should have lost. Brady almost threw 2 interceptions on that final drive, and he fumbled the ball after being sacked. In all three instances, the ball was either dropped by a defender or the Patriots luckily recovered the football. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an NFL caliber kicker on their roster they also would have beaten the Patriots. Three missed field goals lead to the Bucs 19-14 loss in week five. Two weeks ago the Jets were robbed of a touchdown when Austin Seferian Jenkins had his touchdown nullified and the ball given to the Pats because of a fumble call that clearly wasn't a fumble. 99% of non Patriots fans who watched that game all agreed that the Jets should have gotten the touchdown, which would have left the Jets only down three. The Jets defense held the Pats to two punts to end the game, and if they had gotten the touchdown not only would they have had the momentum, they would have had a chance to win the game.
I guess what I'm saying overall is that the Patriots are not what their record shows. They have not been themselves this year and continually win close games due to a lucky call of fluke play. They are in NO WAY, a 6-1 team.
"The 28-3 lead is the anomaly, not that the Patriots came back from down that score."
Cowherd said on his show that the fluke in last year's Super Bowl was that the Falcons had a 28-3 lead, not that the Patriots came back from down that score. Everything that I just explained in the above paragraphs refutes what Cowherd said. THE PATS ARE NOT THE TEAM THEY USED TO BE. They are very close to being a bad team this year, and that is not like them. For the first time in over five years, the AFC East Champion is not a given. The Pats defense looks old and slow just like it did in the first half of the Super Bowl last year. The Pats are relying completely on the passing game and on multiple occasions defenses are taking away short routes forcing Brady to struggle and throw the ball deep...just like in the first half of last year's Super Bowl. I completely disagree with Cowherd, and if anything I believe that the second half of the Super Bowl is the anomaly. The first half and the 28-3 deficit has been more reminiscent of New England this season than anything else, and if it weren't for coaching errors on the Falcons side of the ball (which the Pats don't struggle with because everyone can agree Bill Belicheat is probably the greatest coach of all time) then we would be standing here talking about the Falcons odds to repeat as Super Bowl Champs.
As a Miami Dolphins fan I obviously have biases about the Patriots, but I have done everything to keep those under check while evaluating New England this year. I don't like how the media always gives the Pats the benefit of the doubt when their play is questionable. Admittedly, New England has earned that right with their excellence over the last decade and a half, but someone needs to stand up and really take a long, hard look at this team. They have issues, just like every other roster in the NFL. Don't just overlook the issues, analyze them and make a smart judgement about where New England is really headed this season, and seasons down the road. They aren't who they used to be.
The NFL is Back!!! Brady is NOT the GOAT, My Super Bowl Prediction, and My Pick for Tonight's Pats - Chiefs Game
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today has been marked on my calendar since the end of Super Bowl 51, because today football is back. Tonight the defending champion Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs, in what should be a great match up. Before I give you my pick for tonight's game though, I'll be giving my prediction for this years Super Bowl match up and winner. Remember to share this article, as it helps TTR grow.
Super Bowl Prediction:
New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The rational part of my mind is telling me that the Super Bowl game consists of the Seahawks and Pats, but I've been dying to see Aaron Rodgers play Tom Brady in the biggest game on Earth. Rodgers has the most talent around him since his last Super Bowl appearance, and that can't go unnoticed. Green Bay has a real shot to make the Super Bowl this year. On the Patriots side of things, I don't really need to explain much. On paper this is possibly the most talented roster in history, and with Bill Belichick leading this team there isn't much that can stop this team. Except the Packers. I think that it's the Miami Dolphins fan inside of me that refuses to let me pick the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, but at the same time there are reasons to be worried about this team in February. Tom Brady, "the greatest quarterback of all time" (says nobody with any sense), has not played as well as advertised in Super Bowls. Here are his stats:
XXXVI: 16-27, 145 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions - 59% completion is not good, average yards per attempt was 5 (not good) and any other QB would be endlessly ridiculed for a 145 yard game in a Super Bowl.
XXXVIII: 32-48, 354 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception - This performance against the Panthers was in my opinion by far his best in a Super Bowl, and there isn't much besides a pick to criticize. Once again though, his average yards per attempt wasn't incredible (7), although it definitely improved.
XXXIX: 23/33, 236 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions - This was a solid outing from Brady, but nowhere near spectacular. The average yards per attempt was once again 7, which again is nothing to write home about, and 236 yards is average.
XLII: 29-48, 266 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions - The next two Super Bowls (both against the Giants) should be nicknamed Tom Brady meets a pass rush. Brady throughout his career has been a deer in headlights when defenses take away his short routes, and then he caves into the pressure of opposing defensive lines. His completion percentage was 60 (not good), and his average yards per attempt was only 5. This was not a good performance in the slightest.
XLVI: 27-41, 276 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception - In his second match up against the G-Men Brady improved upon his last performance, but once again wasn't great. 276 yards is once again average, and his aypa was 6 (not very good). Brady was once again flustered by the pass rush, and didn't preform like the G.O.A.T.
XLIX: 37/50, 328 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions - Brady received a lot of credit for beating the Seahawks in this Super Bowl, but he didn't deserve it. He had a good completion percentage, posted over 300 yards, and had 4 TDs but those stats misconstrue his true performance. Brady completed almost no deep passes and continually dumped the ball off in the flats to avoid throwing at the Legion of Boom. He also threw 2 terrible interceptions, both of which would have cost them the game if it weren't for Pete Carroll making the worst call in NFL history. Also, his aypa was only 6, proving that he didn't have an incredibly efficient game.
LI: 43/62, 466 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception - I am not going to deny that this was the greatest comeback of all time. The Patriots were incredible in the second half, but a lot of things had to go right for this team to erase what was a terrible first half by Tom Brady and the Pats (ex. the Falcons didn't run the ball when that's ALL THEY HAD TO DO TO WIN). Brady threw a terrible pick-6, and through the whole game only completed 3 passes over 15 yards. That means the other 40 were the classic Brady quick slants to avoid turning the ball over. Even in the second half when the Pats comeback happened Brady was not making incredible throws, it was mostly short passes (aypa was 7). This was Brady's most memorable game, but it, along with his other Super Bowl performances, were not his finest.
Anyways, Brady has yet to go out and win a Super Bowl by himself, which is something I can see Aaron Rodgers doing any day. I think this year we will see a huge upset, and it will help boost Aaron Rodgers stock in the debate for all-time greats.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots:
Tonight, like most of the country, I'm taking the Patriots to win. This is one of the best rosters in the history of the game, and I think they'll show all of that talent off tonight. I don't think it'll be a blowout though; quite the contrary in fact. This should be a close, gritty, and fun game to watch as an opening to this new season. I'm excited to see what happens.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.