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AFC/NFC Championship Picks: Who’s Super Bowl Bound?

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NFL Blog - AFC/NFC Championship Picks: Who's Super Bowl Bound?

NFL Blog - AFC/NFC Championship Picks: Who's Super Bowl Bound? 1The last time these two teams faced off was in last years Wild Card round. The Carolina Panthers were the underdog team entering the game and they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-16. This time around the Cardinals are the underdog.

Of course the last time these two teams played Carson Palmer was not dressed in a uniform for the game because Palmer tore his ACL during a regular season game against the St. Louis Rams. Ryan Lindley was under center for this playoff game. With Cam Newton and Carson Palmer being the first Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks to go head to head in a playoff game, this is definitely going to make for an exciting Sunday NFC Championship game.

What Does Each Team Need To do To Win?

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers as you all know were looking to make history until that week 16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Cam Newton is the MVP in my eyes, but this team needs to do just one thing in order to win, finish. The Panthers scored 31 points in the first half last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, but 0 points in the entire second half. That can't happen this Sunday in order for this team to advance to Super Bowl 50 and Cam Newton even said that. If the Panthers can just play the way they have been playing and finish in the end, they won't have any problem at all dabbing their way to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California.

Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals survived a near comeback from Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last weekend, but now it's time to shake that off. I believe Carson Palmer got all the jitters out of his system, which means he is going to play his heart out. In order for Arizona to win, Palmer must throw 2 touchdown passes and have 0 turnovers. If Palmer can just be good enough for his defense to take over in the final quarter, they will win this game.

X-Factor (Panthers) - Cam Newton
X-Factor (Cardinals) - David Johnson

My Pick: Cardinals 27 - Panthers 23

~~~

NFL Blog - AFC/NFC Championship Picks: Who's Super Bowl Bound? 2The last time the Broncos and Patriots went head to head earlier this season was when Brock Osweiler led the Broncos to victory over the at the time, undefeated Patriots.

It may be the Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots on Sunday and that may be exactly what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning say it is, but everyone knows it's another Manning vs. Brady classic. Even though Brady holds the record of 11-5 against Manning, every time these two have played in the playoffs the home team comes out on top. So why are we even discussing this? Manning and the Broncos are at home which means they should win, right?

What Does Each Team Need To do To Win?

Denver Broncos
The Broncos have the advantage in this game that is huge in the Manning vs. Brady rivalry, the fact they are the home team. The thing is Manning doesn't have to win this game for the Broncos, he just needs to be the on the field game manager he has been so great at this season. The defense led by former Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware has been outstanding all season. The running game Coach Gary Kubiak brought to Denver has been the best thing for Manning's career. Manning just doesn't have to sit back and pick apart defenses anymore, he just needs to have 0 turnovers and make the plays, when plays need to be made. The Broncos need to hold Tom Brady in check and the running game is what will win this game. Denver needs to run the ball down the Patriots throats and that's when the Broncos will win this game. But the hardest thing to do in any level of sports is to beat a team twice in one season. 

New England Patriots
It's a simple explanation, Tom Brady is still playing at an elite level and that's why this team is so good. Brady has played games this season with almost a new offensive lineman every week it feels like and with a new wide receiver in the game. Health has been the biggest problem for the Patriots this season and they still are recovering. The Patriots just have to play Patriot football and Brady needs to out play this Denver defense and then they will win this ball game.

My gut is telling me this one. I just would love to see Peyton Manning go out on top.

X-Factor (Broncos) - Von Miller
X-Factor (Patriots) - Tom Brady

My Pick: Broncos 27 - Patriots 26

Everyone enjoy the game Sunday because it will probably be for the last time, so in memory here is a video of the greatest game of all time that took place in the Manning vs. Brady rivalry.

Brady vs. Manning (Top 10 Games) | #1: 2006 AFC Championship | NFL

To top off the list, the 2006 AFC Championship was not only a memorable Manning vs. Brady matchup but one of the greatest games of all time. Subscribe to the NFL YouTube channel to see immediate in-game highlights from your favorite teams and players, daily fantasy football updates, all your favorite NFL Network podcasts, and more!



Dallas Cowboy fan just like you, only difference is I get to write about them. I am an award winning radio broadcaster, who finished 3rd in my state. That gave me chances like: PxP Broadcaster for ESPN 3. PxP Broadcaster for ESPN Radio. I attend Indiana State University. #CowboysNation Follow me on Twitter @WZIS_CoreyClark

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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