Tar Takes 2/4: UNC win over Louisville HUGE, Anthony Davis now will re-sign with 4 teams, Porzingis trade

UNC G Kenny Williams vs. Louisville (Photo via Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes we talk about what UNC basketball’s latest win meant over Louisville, look forward to the Tar Heels’ game vs. NC State, recap the Super Bowl drama and dive into the NBA’s drama led by Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis and LeBron James.

Tar Takes Topics 2/4:

What does the win over Louisville mean for Tar Heel basketball?

Is the game against NC State at home on Tuesday a game the Tar Heels should worry about?

How would you asses the Mack Brown tenure thus far?

NBA: Who won the trade Mavs or Knicks?

Should the Knicks trade a possible top 2 pick for Anthony Davis?

Super Bowl Sunday Takeways:

21 Savage

Dave Portnoy + Barstool Sports

The actual Super Bowl game, was it even exciting? Takeaways from the game.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Atlanta Looks Primed to Win Their First Lombardi Trophy

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

How Each Team Has Gotten Here

New England Patriots

  • 14-2 regular season
  • 1st Round Bye
  • Beat Houston 34-16 in the Divisional Round
  • Beat Pittsburgh 36-17 in the AFC Championship

Atlanta Falcons

  • 11-5 regular season
  • 1st Round Bye
  • Beat Seattle 36-20 in the Divisional Round
  • Beat Green Bay 44-21 in the NFC Championship

This Super Bowl is one of the most exciting matchups in recent memory. There are a number of intriguing storylines: New England’s dynasty versus the up and coming Falcons, the Falcons’ number one offense against the Patriots’ number one defense, the controversy surrounding Deflategate and Roger Goodell, and two MVP candidates, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady, dueling it out.

In yesterday’s article, Each Team’s Keys to Victory, I mentioned that Bill Belichick will look to shut down Julio Jones. Belichick’s known for successfully eliminating players from games based on his game plan. Despite this, I think Jones is poised to have a big day. New England’s defense is overrated. Their talent doesn’t back up their season statistics; they had an easy schedule and Belichick is their coach, which probably created this discrepancy. Furthermore,  Julio Jones should physically dominate New England’s defensive backs. He isn’t going to win the game single-handedly, but his effectiveness will open up opportunities for other players.

Atlanta’s offense this year is the best we’ve seen since Peyton Manning threw for over 50 touchdowns in 2013, a season which culminated in a blowout loss to Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII. I think this year’s Atlanta team may actually be better than that Broncos offense because of their two-headed monster, Freeman and Coleman, who, in tandem, have close to 2500 scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns. They can gash teams through the ground or through the air, and have a nose for the end zone once the Falcons get near the goal line. In terms of competition, New England’s defense doesn’t pose as significant a threat as Seattle’s did in 2013. I expect Atlanta to play a much stronger game than Denver did against Seattle.

Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman || Thunder and Lightning || 2016 ATL Falcons Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2O1aEht5Hs

Atlanta seems to have the momentum and talent, but New England has the experience. Brady and Belichick have been to six straight AFC title games and this will be their 7th Super Bowl. Experience is something that can’t be overlooked, making New England a reasonable (and popular) pick.

However, there has to be a first for everything. I am going to pick the Falcons to win this Sunday. Their offense has been magical during the playoffs and is on a historic run. Even though Brady may have a great day, I think Atlanta’s offense has too much firepower and will overwhelm the Patriots with a historic Super Bowl performance. A Falcons win just feels right. They’re peaking at the right time, they have incredible chemistry, and it seems like this is their year. Matt Ryan might never get back to a Super Bowl, but this year, he’ll be heading home with the Lombardi trophy.

 

Atlanta has proven me wrong every playoff game this year. Hopefully, I am not too late to jump on the bandwagon.

Atlanta 30 New England 28

Super Bowl 51: Each Team’s Keys to Victory

Photo via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

New England’s Keys to Victory

New England’s defense, the top-ranked defense during the regular season, will be the deciding factor in this game. During the regular season, opposing teams only managed 15.6 points per game against them. Their defense has been formidable for the entire season, but I don’t believe it’s as strong as their points against suggests. They rank 9th in the NFL in yards against, which is still good, but it shows that teams can move the ball against their defense.

According to Pro Football Focus’ Player Grades, New England’s right side of their defense is quite weak, which opposing offenses could take advantage of. For example, Ninkovich (DL), Chung (S), Valentine (DT), Rowe (CB), and Robert (LB) all have either poor or average grades for this season. In addition, there are no players considered “elite” on the Patriots defense. McCourty and Butler are close to being elite, but still aren’t there. In comparison to Atlanta’s offense, who the Patriots defense has to face, Atlanta has one player who is considered poor, while New England has three.

The player grades point to one thing. New England’s talent doesn’t represent how their defense has played this season. Just think about it, the defense has no elite players and other major holes. How did they only surrender 15 points per game? I think a lot of it has to do with Bill Belichick’s game plans, which are more innovative than any other coach in NFL history. Players win games, though, and Bill Belichick gives his players the best opportunity to succeed. On Sunday, the Patriots defense will face an elite offense, so a lack of talent may be exposed, unless Bill Belichick’s magic touch is legit.

Belichick and the Patriots need to stop Julio Jones. According to FiveThirtyEight and Pro Football Focus’ player ratings, Julio Jones is the best WR in the league – by far. Jones had a grade this season of 95.4, which is more than six points better than Antonio Brown, who many consider to be the best in the league. It makes sense, as he is a physical specimen. At 6-3 220 LB, Jones is massive, but also extremely fast, running a 4.3 at the NFL scouting combine in 2011. He’s also agile, performing near the top of all athletes at the combine in the 60 yard shuttle. He is one of the rarest forms of size, strength, and speed. To go with that physical package, his skills are also elite. According to the same FiveThirtyEight article, Jones is the only player to rank in the top 40 of each of the following statistics: targets per route, air yards per target, catch rate, yards after catch, and run-blocking grade. His combination of size and athleticism makes him one of the most talented receivers of all-time.

Belichick is going to look to shut down Jones. Belichick seems to always find a way, through the game plan, to take out the opposing team’s best player. Jones has the talent to take over the game and there’s no one even close to the talent of Jones on their defense. Therefore, a big key for New England will be finding a way to stop Julio Jones. If they can, then they’ll go on to win the game. If they can’t, advantage Atlanta.

In regards to New England’s offense, they’ll be fine. This is Tom Brady’s 7th Super Bowl appearance. He has had one of the best seasons ever by an NFL quarterback and they face an average defense in Atlanta. The Patriot’s offense is going to play great no matter what.

Highlights from Julio Jones Massive Day in the NFC Championship Against Green Bay

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWNsptx7FJI

 

Atlanta’s Keys to Victory

Atlanta’s offense should have no issues. However, they’ll need an all-time great performance to beat New England. Luckily, they’ve been playing at an all-time great level (on offense) for most of the season and throughout the playoffs.

New England is going to look to stop Julio Jones, so no matter how well Jones is playing, his game will be limited by Belichick. Atlanta needs Jones to win the Super Bowl. He’s going to have to beat double coverage consistently, and when he does, he needs to make big plays while he has the ball (yards after catch). An early emergence of Jones should open up the game for his teammates. It will be necessary for Ryan to spread the ball around, and he should be able to if Belichick has double coverage on Jones. If Ryan can do that, it’ll force the Patriots to make a decision. Let everyone else dominate, while containing Jones, or take the help off Jones to play a more traditional defense, which Jones will likely take advantage of.

Mohamed Sanu should be a big beneficiary of the Patriots presumed game plan. Look for him to have a big day with many targets early to try and force the Patriots to take the double coverage off Julio Jones.

Defensively, there are not high expectations. They are an improving defense that was horrible at the beginning of the year. The defense just can’t fall apart and can’t give up big plays. They need to make sure that players like Hogan and Edelman don’t get behind them for long gains and touchdowns. In addition, the Patriots are 16-0 with Dion Lewis. I don’t believe that Lewis is the only reason behind those wins, but there’s definitely some correlation. Therefore, Atlanta must contain Lewis.

Atlanta needs to contain New England’s offense. As long as that happens, the game will be close and in the hands of Atlanta’s offense.

Look out for Vic Beasley Jr. and Atlanta’s pass rush. They are going to need constant pressure to help the average Atlanta defense. I don’t see them being able to disrupt Brady, so that’s why stopping him isn’t a major key, but maybe they can get lucky by forcing a fumble or two on Brady. I don’t expect New England to turn the football over, but as always, every turnover will go a long way to Atlanta winning.