Top 5 NFL rookies to watch this season

NFL rookie Melvin GordonMelvin Gordon San Diego Chargers – Running back

Melvin Gordan has suffered a slow start to winning over San Diego fans – especially after a subdued debut – and none more so than his own mum, who declared she won’t be pulling on the Chargers’ jersey until Gordon’s earned it. The 2014 Heisman runner-up proved impressive enough during his college days to receive her approval and there is no doubt she’ll be donning the blue, white and gold soon. While other recent Wisconsin graduates may have struggled in previous seasons, this tightly-coiled ball of speed and nimble touch is set to excite from the off. Rapid over short distances and a quick learner, this downhill running back is seen as Ryan Matthews’ replacement starter.

Jameis Winston Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quarterback

Doubts have crept in during pre-season over Jameis Winston’s ability to slot instantly into the demanding rigours of the NFL following a disappointing first fixture against Minnesota Vikings. Yet hidden among the match stats were signs indicating why the former Florida State quarterback was Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ No.1 draft pick. His roaring eight-yard rushing touchdown, including a dive over Jabari Price, capped off a splendid 76-yard drive, showing the power and dexterity that encouraged admirers to rate him so highly in college football. Coupled with his long-arm capabilities and on-field intelligence and there is every expectation that, much like his time with the Seminoles where he grew into the role, he will form a formidable partnership with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans this season.

Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders – wide receiver

A record-breaking Alabama alumna, Amari Cooper is predicted to quickly provide large returns for Oakland Raiders’ eye-watering investment in him. Enjoying electric footwork and explosive running, the Biletnikoff award-winner has swiftly gone about embracing the requirements put down by coach Jack Del Rio. Cooper got a high workload early on against St Louis Rams in their preseason encounter, touching half of the Raiders’ opening eight snaps for a 25-yard total, as quarterback Derek Carr looks to form a promising partnership. If Carr can delivery the killer pass, then expect Cooper to improve Raiders’ fortunes, with 1,000 yards not beyond his maiden season prospects.

Leonard Williams New York Jets – Defensive end

There didn’t look to be an immediate route into the New York Jets side for Leonard Williams when the draft was first made, however, with team-mate Sheldon Richardson’s off-field indiscretions seeing him banned for the first four games of the regular-season, an opening has arisen. The No.6 overall pick is adamant he can impress, and has already spoken on his desire to be a playmaker. While substituting for Richardson might not suit Williams’ play entirely, under the stewardship of coach Todd Bowles there is hope that the 6-foot-5, two-time All-American will thrive performing the forceful defensive duties Bowles will likely enforce.

Maxx Williams Baltimore Ravens – tight end

Maxx Williams is well known for his hurdling ability having jumped numerous tackles in college football, but while his astounding 54-yard effort for Minnesota Gophers ended in a remarkable touchdown, it is the deft leap versus a New Orleans Saints cornerback in their preseason match that could prove the most crucial for his career. Required to make 20-yards, his innovative manoeuvre ensured the Ravens reached 22. An athletic, determined individual, Williams has wowed team-mates in practice with his safe catching and inventive style of play. Although opportunities might not come straightaway – Crockett Gilmore is predicted to be ahead currently – back Williams to take any chance he gets.


FRANCIS KELLYfrancis avatar is a sports writer who has contributed to the Independent, the Guardian and The Cricketer magazine. He can be found waxing lyrical about Norwich City on Twitter

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Can Philly fathom Rodgers?

Eagles vs. Packers should be a classic on Sunday

Aaron Rodgers is looking for another huge performance against the Eagles on Sunday!

It’s all eyes on Lambeau Field in Green Bay this Sunday when the Eagles travel to the Packers in what promises to be one of the top games of the NFL regular season’s Week 11 action.

Philadelphia looked good storming past the Carolina Panthers last Monday, whilst the Pack annihilated their bitter rivals from Chicago in a laughably one-sided affair. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has been in MVP form for most of the fall so far, threw for an amazing six first-half touchdowns – becoming only the second player in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Whilst we can’t reasonably expect more of the same this time around, Rodgers could be in for another big game as the Eagles’ defense is hardly anything to write home about. Ranked 12th in the league in points allowed per game and only 21st in yards allowed per game, head coach Chip Kelly and his staff are going to have to find something special to keep Rodgers on the leash.

On the other side of the ball, however, the Eagles are a different story altogether. At 404.3 yards per game so far they are right up their amongst the best and the good news is that regular quarterback Nick Foles’ injury doesn’t seem to have affected them. Stand-in Mark Sanchez, making his first NFL start in almost two years, did everything right against the Panthers with 332 yards and two TDs in the 45-21 win. He may have been found not good enough by the New York Jets, who are now one of the worst team in the NFL, but confidence still seems to be high and Sanchez will be relishing the challenge of resurrecting what looked like a floundering career.

The Packers have lost just three of their last 35 regular season games at Lambeau Field with Rodgers at the helm and they should prevail this time around, but their Cheesehead fans shouldn’t expect them to have an easy ride in what could yet prove to be a dress-rehearsal for the NFC Championship Game in January!

NFL Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers Betting Odds:

Philadelphia Eagles 3.1
Green Bay Packers 1.4

To win the NFC Championship Odds:

Green Bay Packers 4.0
Seattle Seahawks 4.0
Philadelphia Eagles 7.0
Arizona Cardinals 7.5

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Battle royal at Soldier Field!

Packers vs. Bears on Sunday!

A fierce NFL rivalry continues when the Packers face the Bears!

It’s time for one of the oldest and fiercest rivalries in the NFL to take centre stage again this weekend when the Green Bay Packers travel to the Chicago Bears for a matchup that could have serious consequences as far as the rest of the season in the NFC North is concerned.

Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, perennial favourites to take the division, are currently bottom of the standings after losing two of their first three games this season. Ok, ok, they can be forgiven for not coming away from Seattle with a win on the opening day of the season, but a shaky come-from-behind win at home to the Jets and another loss on the road at the Detroit Lions are hardly the best preparation for a trip to Soldier Field.

After slipping up at home to the Bills in Week 1, the Bears have put together back-to-back prime-time road victories at the 49ers and the Jets to make a real statement of intent for the upcoming season. Quarterback Jay Cutler, whose ability and character under pressure have been questioned in the past, is looking good and his stats even overshadow those of Rodgers as we head towards their showdown. Many experts are expecting both playmakers to shine in this high-profile duel and so a high-scoring game could well be on the cards.

The Bears lead the all-time stats between the two teams by 93 wins to 89 (6 ties), but it’s the Packers who have taken nine of their last 11 meetings and everyone in green and yellow will be doing their utmost to further improve that record this time around and get the franchsie back on track.

NFL Week 4: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears Betting Odds

Green Bay Packers 1.8
Chicago Bears 2.05

To win the NFC North Betting Odds:

Green Bay Packers    2.35
Detroit Lions             2.6
Chicago Bears           3.5
Minnesota Vikings   34.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Brady Bunch need to bounce back!

Can the Pats bounce back against the Vikings?

Tom Brady and the Patriots are feeling the heat after their Week 1 loss!

Superstar NFL quarterback Tom Brady has experienced many things in his amazing career so far, but being alone in last place in the AFC East division is something completely new to him. The Patriots 33-20 loss to division rivals Miami on Sunday, coupled with the Buffalo’s upset win at Chicago and the NY Jets victory against Oakland means New England is propping up the standings on its own for the first time since Brady became the franchise’s starter in 2001.

Ok, ok, it’s only Week 1 of a 17-week season and there is still little doubt that the Pats will bounce back in style, but it will be interesting to see how a team that is used to dominating a division with such ease will react to what was a poor performance indeed.

New England’s defense found no answer to marauding Dolphins’ running back Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 134 yards and a crucial fourth-quarter TD that sealed the deal for the home team. Miami outscored coach Bill Belichik’s team 23-0 in the second half to rack up their highest score against their nemesis since 1994.

Brady just couldn’t get his offense into gear in the blistering heat in Florida and finished with stats of just 29 completions from 56 passes for 249 yards.

Next up for the Patriots is a trip Minnesota where they face a Vikings team that was a positive surprise in Week 1. Led by WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who ran for 102 yards on just three carries, with a 67-yard scoring run, the Vikes swamped the St. Louis Rams on the road to run away to a 34-6 victory. Buoyed by this great start to the season, they will certainly provide the Brady Bunch with the sternest of tests in front of their own fans on Sunday – could the visitors slip up again?

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings, Betting Odds:

New England Patriots     1.63
Minnesota Vikings          2.40

To Win The Super Bowl, Betting Odds (Selection):

Seattle Seahawks            4.5
Denver Broncos              5.0
New England Patriots   12.0
Cincinnati Bengals         21.0
Indianapolis Colts          31.0
Minnesota Vikings         67.0

Odds provided by http://www.allyoubet.ag are current as of today, but subject to change.

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI