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FOOTBALL FREAK: What a 2004 draft it was for QBs

SUMMERSIDE - The Freak can remember the excitement like it was yesterday.

Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.

It was the 2004 NFL draft, when the New York Giants traded with San Diego for Eli Manning after picking Phillip Rivers with their fourth overall pick to get the franchise quarterback. 
This draft might go down as the best one for quarterbacks as Manning, Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger were all taken in the top 11 picks. Not many drafts have two quarterbacks with two Super Bowl rings each – Manning and Roethlisberger – while all three have over 45,000 passing yards and counting. 
As Eli gets ready to play the Steelers and Big Ben for only the fourth time in his career, he said this about his draft class this week: “I think you always kind of keep up with your draft class, and I think you always kind of want your draft place to be remembered in a good way. I’m kind of proud of Ben and proud of Philip, proud of the fact people hopefully one day will talk about the ’04 quarterbacks in the draft.’’
Stat of the week
Tyreek Hill became the first player since Gale Sayers in 1965 to score a touchdown rushing, receiving and returning one on special teams.

Bonehead play of the week
Yes, there is light air in Denver, but Coach Kubiak going for a 62-yard field goal in overtime, which is only two yards short of the all-time record, was stupid. 
Brandon McManus missed the kick, the Chiefs got the ball on the Denver 48 and went on to kick the winning field goal.

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Sure thing
The Broncos hit the road to play the poor old Jags, who have been a major disappointment. Denver needs a win to stay in the playoff race with the Chiefs, Raiders and Dolphins. Denver’s defence will flex their muscles in the warm Florida sun, and return to cold Denver with a win.
All you need to know is a rookie quarterback, Jared Goff, has to face Coach Belichick’s defensive scheme for the first time. This is never pretty for a rookie. Pats win big.
The Bills haven’t won in Oakland since 1966, and the Raiders are starting to play solid football on both sides of the ball. Buffalo can take advantage of the 28th-ranked pass defence, but the problem is the Bills are ranked dead last in the passing game. The Raiders move to 10-2.
Don’t mortgage the house picks
The last time the Giants and Steelers played in Pittsburgh in 2008, the losing team (Pittsburgh) won the Super Bowl. It’s probably the last regular-season game between Eli and Big Ben, who were both drafted in the first round in 2004. This game could decide if their team has any chance of going back to the Super Bowl. The Giants have won six in a row, but the streak will come to an end in Pittsburgh.
The Cowboys will score 24 points with their offensive line and running game. Minnesota’s offence can’t score more than 20 points against any team. Unless the Vikings’ D or special teams score, this game won’t be that close. Cowboys win on the road.
There’s a big difference for some teams when they play at home, and that can be said of the Falcons. They are an offensive machine at home while it’s a different story on the road. However, they are at home versus a good Chiefs’ team, but Alex Smith and his offence won’t be able to match the touchdowns with Atlanta. The Falcons win a close one.

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to

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