Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Expect Patriots to open title defense versus Pittsburgh

The Super Bowl Mailbag
mmqb.si.com

Likeliest—Pittsburgh (11-5) or Philadelphia (10-6). The Steelers or Eagles are most likely, because they’d be competitive offensively…My guess is Pittsburgh. Tom Brady-Ben Roethlisberger is a pretty promotable game.

Provided Peyton Manning comes back, Manning/Brady 17 will take place in Denver. And should he play out his contract, the two would face off again at SAF@MH in 2016.

OTC: The Chargers really need to draft well

Chargers 2015 Salary Cap Outlook
overthecap.com

The Chargers are an older football team with just 6 players under contract beyond the 2016 season. If things are kept status quo next season they will have 10 starters that are no younger than 29, five of whom will be at least 34. This really is a franchise that is working its way through a transition and likely going to piece things together year by year until they can get more of a talent base in place or are forced to go heavy in free agency. This is partially because of poor decisions that the current front office was saddled with.

Aside from bringing in some young talent via the draft, San Diego's biggest offseason priority is extending Philip Rivers, whose contract runs out after 2015.

As bad as the call was, don’t excuse Russell Wilson’s poor footwork and throw

Seattle's last play was Russell Wilson's fault, not Pete Carroll's
ftw.usatoday.com

But he weakly takes his 2.5-step drop, throws the ball off his back foot and sails it high, right to Butler. If that ball is low and around Lockette’s hip, there’s no chance of an interception. Wilson did everything wrong on that play. Had he received the shotgun, stood tall and whipped the ball to Lockette, Seattle would be planning a Super Bowl parade today.

A better throw probably doesn't result in a touchdown. It may even have resulted in an incompletion, or a tipped pass and interception. But with Wilson's muddy drop and back-foot toss, he deserves a good deal of the blame for the outcome.

Madstradamus: video game predicts score of Super Bowl

Super Bowl spoiler alert: Patriots beat Seahawks 28-24, says Madden NFL 15
www.polygon.com

The final score will be 28-24, says Madden NFL 15, which predicts a Seahawk lead of 24-14 before quarterback Tom Brady rallies New England. The whole thing culminates in a hail-mary pass from Brady to receiver Julian Edelman as time expires.

The sim calls for Brady to throw all four touchdowns the Patriots score in a 335-yard, MVP-worthy effort.

They've run simulations for years now, but this is as dead-on as it gets. The score was exact, including the comeback. The yards by Brady within 10, and his MVP title, which isn't the wildest prediction, but still made correct. I might have prefered the video game's ending.

Chris Harris: Brock Osweiler is the next Joe Flacco

Chris Harris optimistic on Manning’s return, has faith in Osweiler
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“He’s kind of like a young Joe Flacco,” Harris said of Osweiler. “He has that arm. I think him and (Broncos head coach Gary) Kubiak, I think they’re going to fit perfect together. With the way he ran the offense with the Ravens with Joe Flacco, I see Brock as a similar quarterback.”

Not sure if he means Osweiler is going to win a lot of games, develop a stellar postseason resume, and thrive under Gary Kubiak, or he's going to become one of the most hated men in Denver, but we'll assume it's the former.

Demaryius Thomas: Brock Osweiler is building confidence

Demaryius Thomas thinks some Broncos teammates underestimated Colts
sports.yahoo.com

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Brock,” Thomas said. “He hasn’t been around the best quarterback in the game the past two years for nothing. As the years go on, he builds and builds and is more confident. You see him against our first-team defense during the season, and they’ll be going hard, and he’s out there calm and collected. I think he’ll be fine.”

Demaryius says he's going to miss John Fox and really miss Adam Gase, but he's not too worried about free agency, and why should he be?

Here’s the surest sign that Peyton Manning is coming back

Broncos raise ticket prices $2-10 per seat for 2015 season
www.denverpost.com

The Broncos are raising ticket prices, with upper sections going up $2 to $5 and lower sections going up $10 a seat. The team ranked 11th in the NFL last season with an average ticket cost of $99.13 (not including luxury seating). Tickets will go up by an average of 8.5 percent to a little more than $107 in 2015.

What, you think they're gonna raise prices and then trot out Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback? Come on, now.

Peyton: Don’t drag me into Brady’s cheating scandal

Peyton Manning: Texture, not air pressure of footballs is why he created change
blogs.denverpost.com

“I don’t know anything about air pressure in a ball every since the K2 back in the day as a kid. I am not versed in it. Tom and I were part of that rule (change) a couple of years ago to be able to simply have your own ball boys be able to prepare your own footballs,” Manning said…“But that was all texture. That rule was all simply about being able to break them in, if you will.”

This is a guy who's so uptight he tucks his jersey into his jeans on nationally televised commercials. You just know all of these mentions of him during the Pats' latest cheating scandal had him stewing for days.

Eric Decker wants Demaryius Thomas to share in his LOLJets misery

Eric Decker selling free agent Demaryius Thomas on Jets
nypost.com

“I’ve been pushing for the entire year now,” Decker said in a telephone interview with The Post. “It was just another opportunity to talk to him about it. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I think it would be tough for Denver to let him go…If he happens to make it to free agency, I would love to sign him because playing alongside him for four years and especially the last two years made it a lot of fun and made it a lot easier.”

What could the sales pitch possibly be?

Hey man, remember 2011, when the whole team averaged 11 completions per game? If you come to New Jersey, we can do that all over again!

Demaryius Thomas: Broncos were softer team in 2014

Demaryius Thomas: Some Broncos looked past Colts
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

“I feel like some guys, you know, didn’t have the fight or whatever it was,” Thomas said Friday. “It was totally a different team than last year. I think we had more talent this year, but it was a little more fight in that team last year, I think.”

It's just one player's opinion, but a surprising one, particularly given how the 2014 Broncos were supposedly more of a well-rounded, tougher team than the so-called "finesse" squad of 2013.