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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

1) Tom Brady is a machine. The way he orchestrates his offense is a thing of beauty and in my opinion, no one has ever done it better. You can argue that he’s a system QB or his success is because of superior coaching, but he’s guy on the field making the reads and executing the game-plan. At 39 years old he’s better than ever, with no signs of slowing down.

My all time greatest quarterback list goes like this, Brady, Joe Montana and Peyton Manning, in that order. John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Dan Marino belong in the team picture as well.

2) There were only two games worth watching in the NFL playoffs, Green Bay’s three point win in Dallas and Pittsburgh’s 2 point win in Kansas City. The average margin of victory in the other 8 games was 19 points. I’m really hoping for a good close game in Super Bowl LI.

The odds makers believe it will be a close, but also a high scoring game, and I’d be OK with that. Even though I’ll be at a Super Bowl party, a close, exciting game is a must.

2a) How do you prefer to watch the Super Bowl, home or at a party?

3) I guess now is as good a time for my SBLI prediction.

I’ll take the New England Patriots to beat the Atlanta Falcons with a final score of 38-31. Both offenses should be able to move the ball, but I think the Patriots will get their running game going, which will slow down the Falcon pass rush. If the Falcons can’t get to Brady without blitzing, he’ll have a field day. Then again, if Atlanta does bring the blitz, odds are that Brady will carve that up too.

On the other side of the ball, New England will come up a way to make Atlanta really work to drive the length of the field.

I did not realize the the Patriots had the toughest D to score on in 2016, allowing only 15.6 points per game.

I wouldn’t be surprised with the Falcons winning, but it’s hard to bet against Tom Brady (also my pick for SBLI MVP) and head coach Bill Belichick.

Make sure you guys all get your SB prediction in the comment section.

4) In one of the most Belichick things ever, after his team’s win he had this to say when asked about facing the Falcons, “I didn't even know they won." His laser like focus probably had him starting to prepare for the Falcons Sunday evening, but before the AFC Championship game, it was the Steelers that took up 100% of his time.

5) Steeler outside linebacker James Harrison, 39 years old this May, said after the game that he’s returning for a 15th season, "I'm not done yet." Harrison may be one of the best undrafted free agents of all time.

I wonder if the 5 time Pro Bowler, 2 time Super Bowl champ and 2008 Defensive Player of the Year has a shot at the Hall Of Fame?

6) Harrison may be sticking around, but his teammate, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, may be ready to hang ‘em up at 34 years old. "I'm going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan's The Cook and Poni Show. "To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there's going to be a next season."

When a 5 time Pro Bowl, 2 time Super Bowl winning franchise QB makes a statement like that, it deserved a follow question and when asked if he was serious, he reiterated, "I'm going to take some time and evaluate with my family and just do a lot of praying about it and make sure it's the right thing for me and my family."

A surprise retirement would put another team in the market for a QB.

7) Every year NFL fans complain about the Pro Bowl, yet every year it garners really good ratings. This year they are adding a skills competition to the festivities, so I’m wondering will you guys watch any or all of the Pro Bowl week?

I haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in years.

8) Johnny Manziel is clean and sober and ready to take another shot at the NFL. "I refuse to let my entire life of sports from the age of 4 be squandered by partying.” Manziel told ESPN’s Ed Werder. “I just got sick of it. One day I didn't like what I saw in the mirror and realized I could really help people in the position I'm in.”

As a fan of the way he played in college, I’ll be rooting for him to find an opportunity. Hopefully he’s really changed and is serious about a comeback.

"I love sports, I love football and when you take something away from yourself you realize it the hard way. The happiness from doing it sober has been ASTRONOMICAL. Beyond my wildest imagination and once that continued other good things started happening in my life and it just clicked."

If he has turned his life around, would you want to see your favorite team sign him?

9) If you’re looking for an ex-Chicago Bears connection in the Super Bowl before deciding which team to root for I got you covered right here.

New England has the following former Bears on the team.

Shea McClellin - LB
Martellus Bennett - TE

Atlanta has these ex-Bears hanging around.

LaRoy Reynolds - LB
Eric Weems - WR
Bryan Cox - DL Coach
Keith Armstrong - Special Teams Coordinator
Phil Emery - National Scout

Which former Bears are you rooting for to get a ring?

10) In case you missed it the Bears had another player make the Pro Bowl, which gives them two. They also had three players make the PFWA All Rookie team. When your team just wrapped up a disappointing season, you gotta take wins where ever you can get them.

In a recent article, some more kudos were handed out for one of the Bears, and it was rookie center Cody Whitehair that was listed as an Unsung Hero.

The 2016 draft class was packed with excellent offensive linemen -- and the best one might have been taken in the second round. Whitehair helped pave the way for rookie running back Jordan Howard's excellent season and gives Chicago plenty of flexibility moving forward. The Bears are one free-agent acquisition (and some good fortune, health-wise) away from a top-five offensive line.

My initial reaction to the Whitehair selection last draft was negative, considering the other directions I thought they could have gone. But I quickly realized they were drafting the top interior o-line prospect and came to my senses.

I really enjoyed watching him grow into his new position on the line and I expect him to push for a Pro Bowl spot in 2017.