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FOOTBALL FREAK: NFL teams decide to start rebuilding

['John Turner']
['John Turner']

Trade deadline adds excitement at midpoint of season

The NFL trade deadline is only a couple of days away, and already two teams have decided to press the rebuild button and move out some of their underachieving players and veterans with big salaries.  
The Raiders and Giants have decided to start rebuilding now, with Oakland trading wide receiver Amari Cooper while the Giants moved veteran Damon (Snacks) Harrison and Eli (Bad) Apple.
There were never any trades near this deadline for many years, but trading has picked up the past few years. It’s actually a very exciting time during the midpoint of the season.

Sure thing
New England showed it can win on the road with its special teams, and now they head home on the back page of the sports section with the Red Sox in the World Series. Coach Belichick likes the back pages, and the Patriots will destroy the Bills.
Division games are usually close, but the Chiefs are hosting the Broncos in this AFC West match. Kansas City pounds Denver, and watch the fire sale begin in Bronco Country as the trade deadline looms.
The Freak never likes betting against elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, but going on the road to Rams’ country is a big task, especially with how good this football team is on both sides of the ball. Can anyone stop Todd Gurley? Don’t think the Pack has the D to slow down the Rams. Take L.A.
Everyone counted the Steelers out after the first two weeks, and The Freak may have been one of them. Coach Tomlin seems to have the team under control, and the D is showing signs of life. The Browns find ways to lose every week, and this will continue in Pittsburgh. Take the Black and Yellow in this one.

Don’t mortgage the house
Going to London won’t hide the fact that Blake Bortles is a bad starting quarterback in the NFL, except that he lights it up when playing “across the pond.” Meanwhile, the Eagles blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead at home against Carolina, and are still in shock. When the schedule came out, the Brits thought this could be a possible Super Bowl matchup. No chance that will happen. Take the Eagles as they have the better quarterback.
The Bears have one of the best defences in the league, and they host rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the Jets. He will look like a deer in the headlights in this game in cold Chicago. The Bears get back to their winning ways.
Seattle might not have the “Legion of Boom” anymore, but its defence is still very good. Detroit traded for Snacks Harrison to improve the worst run defence in the league, and he’s a run-stuffing machine. This one is for Snacks. Take the Lions at home.
One thing that is true about the Bucs-Bengals’ game is it will be a shootout in the jungle. AJ Green continues to perform, and will have a big game in this one. Welcome to the jungle Tampa, Cincy wins.

Flip a coin
Baltimore is another tough team to figure out, just like the Panthers. Carolina will be energized after a huge fourth-quarter comeback against the Eagles while the Ravens are still hungover from the first career extra-point miss by Justin Tucker. The underdog Panthers win at home.
New York traded two starters on its defence, which won’t help them in this game against Washington. Can the Giants protect so Eli can throw the football? This will be close, but the Giants will find another way to lose at home. Boo birds are alive and well in New York.
Remember the last time New Orleans was in Minnesota – Case Keenum’s Hail Mary was caught by Stefon Diggs to shock the Saints. If this game was outdoors in Minnesota, The Freak would take the Vikes. But Drew Brees loves indoor games, so take the Saints on the road.
In the yawner of the week, San Fran visits Arizona in a battle of 2-12 teams. Great way to take a nap after supper. Both teams are banged up on both sides of the ball, but there will finally be a David Johnson sighting this week. Red birds win.

Upset special
The boo birds might also fly and make an appearance in Oakland, which will host Indy in the “Black Hole.”  
Coach Gruden has blown up the Raiders’ roster, and this will be a wake-up call for Oakland’s young players to perform.
You won’t recognize many of the Raiders’ offensive players, but they will do enough to upset the Colts.

John Turner is a Summerside school teacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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