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Peyton Manning – DEN vs. GB

If there was ever a 6-0 start to a season that raised eyebrows, the 2015 Denver Broncos would fit the bill. Denver has ridden its defense to an Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboysunblemished record, an accomplishment that has been marred by the whimsical play of Peyton Manning. The arm strength of the future first-ballot Hall of Famer has been palpable with passes fluttering in the air that seemingly take forever to come down. Despite one of the most dynamic wide receiver duos in football with speedster Emmanuel Sanders and behemoth Demaryius Thomas, the passing-game Gary Kubiak envisioned he was inheriting has been a mere mirage. Facing a stout Green Bay defense this week, it will be difficult to lean on Peyton Manning and the Denver pass-game.

Jay Cutler – CHI vs. MIN
Stringing together three consecutive impressive starts vs. mediocre pass defenses (Oak, KC, and DET), Jay Cutler and the Bears’ Jay Cutleroffense faces a tougher task this weekend with the Vikings coming to town. As we’ve yet to see Cutler’s turnover mantra come to fruition this season, I think this is a weekend you’ll begin to see an uptick in the Bears total number of turnovers (currently at eight). Despite coming off the bye with a healthy Alshon Jeffery, a date with the divisional-foe Vikings and their 11th ranked pass-defense poses a larger threat.

Colin Kaepernick  – SF @ STL
After posting 20 + fantasy points in weeks 6 and 7, the Seahawks stymied Kaepernick and the 49ers offense holding them to Colin Kaepernick81passing yards and 142 total yards. It doesn’t get much easier for Kaepernick and the middling 49ers offense as they travel to St. Louis to take on a ferocious Rams front-7 who stifled the Browns offense last week. Unable to rely on Carlos Hyde, who has been playing through a stress fracture in his foot, the Rams defense won’t have to stack the box in anticipation of a run-first offense, effectively closing the passing-lanes for the erratic Kaepernick. In what has been a tumultuous season in San Francisco, don’t expect this offense to get in-sync anytime soon.

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In lieu of tonight’s Rams/49ers game, I had to dig into the crates for this classic exchange between former Quarterback, Jim “Chris” Everett, and talkshow host Jim Rome.

The Rams and 49ers met in the 1989 NFC Championship, a game where Everett was rattled by the 49ers pass rush. Everett took what was later deemed the “phantom sack” on a play where he fell to the ground in anticipation of the pass rush, but the 49ers had yet to get close to him.

In 1994, Everett appeared on Rome’s show “Talk2” on ESPN2. Rome wasted no time calling him Chris Everett, after the female tennis player. While many thought this was a staged exchange, Deadspin did an interview with Everett in 2012, that debunks that claim. Everett threw for 34,837 yards, 203 TDs, and 175 INTs in his 12-year career.

And now, the featured presentation:

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Former heavyweight champion, Ken Norton Sr, passed away today at the age of 70.  Norton’s boxing career was highlighted by capturing the heavyweight title in 1973 when he defeated Muhammad Ali.

As a seven-year-old, I had no real grasp on the sport of boxing. I couldn’t tell you much about Ken Norton Sr, or his last career fight that was six and a half years before I was born. Yet, one of my first favorite players in the NFL was his son, former 49ers Linebacker, Ken Norton Jr.

Acknowledging that Norton Jr. celebrated his touchdowns as a tribute to his father, I understood at an early age how endearing it was for Norton Jr.’s touchdown celebrations to transcend football.

I’ll always cherish one of the earliest sports memories from my childhood, exhibited below, and may the late legend, Ken Norton Sr, rest in peace.

 

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If you believe Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick aren’t motivated enough by their pursuit of the Lombardi trophy, then go ahead and put your own fantasy spin on this, but I think I’ll stand pat.

Either way, it’s always interesting when two of the NFL’s brightest stars put a side wager on a game. It just so happens to be even more interesting when eyebrows are at stake. Kaepernick and Wilson shared their bet in a recent take of a Madden 25 commercial.

Both of these QBs have as good a chance as any to be representing the NFC in the Meadowlands on February 2nd in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Watch the bet below: