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Patriots select QB Jimmy Garoppolo with their pick at No. 62 in second round 05.09.14 at 9:30 pm ET
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Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was taken by the Patriots in the second round Friday. (AP)

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was taken by the Patriots in the second round Friday. (AP)

The Patriots took another step in the eventual replacement of Tom Brady on Friday night when they selected Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with their second-round pick, 62nd overall.

The all-time leading passer at Eastern Illinois (the school where Tony Romo played) is known for his quick release and his footwork. In his bio, Garoppolo listed his favorite NFL player as Tom Brady. Now he’ll get a chance to work with Brady every day in training camp and practice.

“I can’t imagine a better situation,” Garoppolo told the NFL Network moments after being selected. “I’m going to go to work every day like I am the starter and make it work.”

As a senior in 2013, he broke Romo’s school records for career passing touchdowns and yards, as well as passing touchdowns in a season. He also won the Walter Payton Award as the top player in the Football Championship Series.

Garoppolo played football for Eastern Illinois from 2010-13. In his freshman year, he started eight games, passing for 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns and earning All-OVC Newcomer Team honors. Garoppolo went on to start every further game in his time at Eastern Illinois, passing for 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011, 3,823 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2012 and 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns in 2013.

In his senior season he won the Walter Payton Award and set the school record for career pass completions. He also won the 2013 College Football Performance FCS National Quarterback of the Year.

With the selection of Garoppolo, speculation will intensify about the future of 2011 third-round pick Ryan Mallett. Mallett is set to become a free agent after this season and has been the subject of trade rumors on the eve of this year’s draft, with the Texans often mentioned as a possible landing spot.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots, NFL Draft
Peter King on M&M: ‘Every AFC team is flawed, and every AFC team has a decent shot’ 12.27.13 at 12:56 pm ET
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Peter King

Peter King

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King made his weekly appearance with the Mut & Merloni show Friday to talk about the Patriots and news from around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With the Patriots in line for a No. 2 seed — and the possibility of getting No. 1 or No. 3 — New Englanders have their eye on the playoffs in an AFC that lacks a dominant team.

“The problem with the AFC this year is that is that it reminds me exactly of the AFC last year,” King said. “The Baltimore Ravens could be the 6 seed; I think last year they were 5 [actually 4]. They could be a road wild card team, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Ravens make noise in the playoffs. Or I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Kansas City Chiefs get to the Super Bowl.

“I think every AFC team is flawed, and I think every AFC team has a decent shot. I don’t love a single team in the AFC. How can you? Every one of them has shown in the past month that they can be vulnerable.

“There’s a reason why there’s only been one time in the last 19 years that the two No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Super Bowl. Think about that for a second. You’ve got all these advantages — you’re playing at home, you have a bye, you get to play both games at home to get to the Super Bowl. And imagine, it’s only happened once in the last 19 years. That, to me, is stunning. And it says that what [former commissioner] Pete Rozelle designed the NFL to be is exactly what it is. Which is, there’s 18 teams right now in play for the playoffs entering the last weekend of the season. Out of the 16 games this weekend, 13 — as of 1 o’clock anyway — have some playoff implications. It’s exactly what the NFL wants.”

Looking at the NFC, King said there’s also a great deal of uncertainty there, as the Sehawks and 49ers appear to have come back to the pack.

“Before Monday I would have said that San Francisco is the second-best team in football. Now I might say it’s Carolina,” King said. “San Francisco was on such a great roll coming into Monday, and then they looked pretty mortal. Just like Seattle looked mortal against Arizona on Sunday, also at home.

“I think the last couple of weeks going to back to New Orleans dismantling Carolina at home three weeks ago, I think that has shown us that every team in the NFC can be beaten, exactly like the AFC. And that’s why I think this postseason is as wide open as any I remember.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, kyle orton, Peter King
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: Seahawks still No. 1 despite loss 12.24.13 at 8:48 am ET
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The Seahawks stumbled but didn’t fall in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Despite suffering a setback in Week 16, Seattle stands pat because of its overall dominance. The 49ers, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots, who all have secured playoff spots, round out the top five.

As we head into the last week of the season, division titles and playoff spots still are up for grabs. Four teams are fighting for one spot in the AFC: the Chargers (11), Ravens (13), Dolphins (15) and Steelers (17). The NFC is wide open, with three divisions and a wild card spot on the line. The Eagles (12) will look to become the 11th consecutive team in the NFL to finish in last place and then go on to win the division the very next year, and it will take a win over the Cowboys (19) on Sunday to accomplish that feat. Philadelphia’s odds of winning the NFC East improved dramatically on Monday after it was reported that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be sidelined due to a back problem.

The conclusion of the 2013 regular season promises to be a wild one. Be sure to check in next week after all is decided for the playoff edition of the Power Rankings.

Seattle Seahawks1. (1) Seahawks (12-3) – The NFC took notice that the Seahawks are vulnerable in Seattle. They lost at home for the first time in two years. Penalties and a struggling passing attack hurt Pete Carroll‘s team Sunday. 

San Francisco 49ers 2. (2) 49ers (11-4) — They’ve clinched and now have won five straight. The Niners are the type of seasoned, well-balanced team that is capable of going into Seattle and winning if the situation were to arise.

Carolina Panthers3. (3) Panthers (11-4) — The Panthers have the tools to reach the Super Bowl. Cam Newton has proven this year that the big moment doesn’t negatively affect him. Carolina’s defense forces turnovers, rushes the passer well and allows the fewest points per game in the league.

Denver Broncos 4. (4) Broncos (11-3) — Much is being made about the loss of Von Miller, but the Broncos won their first six games this season when the Pro Bowl linebacker was suspended. If Denver doesn’t reach the Super Bowl, it won’t be because Miller is out.

New England Patriots 5. (6) Patriots (11-4) — You can’t count this team out as long as Tom Brady is behind center and Bill Belichick is on the sideline. They’ve proven that this year more than ever.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bills, Chris Johnson, NFL Power Rankings
Fantasy Football: Week 16 starts, sits 12.22.12 at 11:30 am ET
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rotobahn-logoWelcome to the Week 16 starts and sits. If you are reading this article, then there’s a good chance you are in the championship game for your league. Congratulations on that. Now let’s see if we can give you a little guidance on some of this week’s tough lineup choices. I will also be hosting our final Sunday morning chat this weekend, so feel free to swing by if you have any tough choices. We kick off the chat at 11 a.m. If you need comprehensive lineup help, join us at Rotobahn, where I will have full lineup rankings posted later Saturday.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Robert Griffin III, Redskins at Eagles

If he plays, you should play him. Washington sat him last week, so you know the coaches have some standards in place. They won’t just throw him out there. The matchup is favorable and he’s an effective QB even without his typical mobility. Unless you happen to have another elite option, you should start RGIII and just accept the risks. His upside merits it in my view.

Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Saints

Dez Bryant proved that he can be a factor with his injury last week and this is a solid home matchup. Romo has been a fantasy asset over the last eight weeks and we expect that to continue in Week 16. Expect QB1 results in a high-scoring game.

Sam Bradford, Rams at Buccaneers

Bradford is playing well, has a nice matchup and has a full complement of weapons to work with now that Danny Amendola is back. He makes a solid start this week if you are in need. Start him in all leagues.

SITS

Josh Freeman, Buccaneers vs. Rams

Freeman is reeling along with the entire Bucs offense. After last week’s debacle, we’d be very leery of starting him against a solid yet inconsistent St. Louis defense. If you have another viable option, I’d use it.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. 49ers

Yes, we love this kid, but this is not a great week to use him unless you are weak at the position. Wilson is viable, but we have him ranked as an average QB2 this week, not the monster he was in Week 15. He’s not running for a bunch of scores on San Francisco. At least, we’re not willing to bet our season on it.

Jake Locker, Titans at Packers

For those in deep leagues, don’t let Green Bay’s recent defensive struggles tempt you into using Locker. He’s missing way too many throws right now for you to trust your title game to him. He’s an exciting young player, but he could let you down on the road in Green Bay and hasn’t topped 20 points since Week 3. If you are a Freeman owner looking for another option, keep looking and avoid Locker in Week 16.

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Read More: Josh Freeman, Robert Griffin III, Sam Bradford, Tony Romo
Fantasy Football: Week 13 starts, sits 11.30.12 at 12:06 pm ET
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Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits. I know it’s a high-stakes weekend for a lot of you GMs. I’ve tried to look at the options that are not totally obvious as I usually do, but there’s no way I can get to every possible scenario. With that in mind, please feel free to join us for our Sunday morning chat, when I can address your specific lineup questions. There are full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com, so that is another good resource and I’ll be updating the rankings this weekend. Best of luck to all you folks fighting for a playoff berth and props to those who are sitting pretty or playing for a first-round bye.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Rams

He’s been very good so far and he gets you points with his feet, which raises his fantasy floor. If you need help at quarterback in Week 13, Kaepernick could be the answer in any league size. He’s actually available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is a joke. This guy should be owned everywhere.

Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Eagles

Not only is Romo a good play this week, but it would not shock me if he is the best play at the position in Week 13. The Cowboys have a chance to light up the Eagles. Romo is a great option in any league.

Chad Henne, Jaguars at Bills

Need help? Henne can be the answer to your QB problem and he is available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Start him in Week 13 if you are in need. He has QB1 potential. The one thing to check is the status of his starting receivers, but we expect Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon to play at this point.

SITS

Sam Bradford, Rams vs. 49ers

With injuries to his receivers and a rough matchup, Bradford should be avoided despite his modest success in recent weeks. Without a healthy Danny Amendola, Bradford might not have enough options in the middle of the field, and the 49ers will do a good job of taking away Chris Givens on the outside. Look elsewhere if possible.

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Read More: Chad Henne, Colin Kaepernick, Sam Bradford, Tony Romo
Fantasy Football: Week 11 starts, sits 11.16.12 at 9:04 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 11 starts and sits. It’s the year’s final bye week, so things will get easier going forward. Of course, the stakes only get higher, so you can replace all the busywork with playoff-chase stress. At this point, most people’s seasons are well-defined. You are either chasing a playoff spot or you are trying to hold on to one. Here’s my take on some of the tougher lineup choices for Week 11. If you are left wanting further assistance, check out our full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. I’ll be updating it over the weekend. I’ll also be hosting our usual 11 a.m. chat here at WEEI on Sunday morning. Join us if you have any last-minute lineup questions.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Browns

Romo had a few bad fantasy outings early on, but he’s settled in since then and he’s averaging in excess of 20 points per game over the last three weeks. The Browns defense shouldn’t scare anybody, especially on the road. Romo’s receivers are healthy, and Felix Jones is functioning adequately as Demarco Murray’s replacement at tailback. The Dallas signal-caller should have a solid day for fantasy GMs and has upside to have a big day if things break right.

Josh Freeman, Bucs at Panthers

Overall, Freeman has been too good to sit, and though he was just decent in Week 10, he has a stronger matchup in Week 11 against Carolina. The Panthers have been a nice surprise on defense, but they have struggled some against the pass and we doubt they can shut down Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Freeman is a QB1 in 12-team leagues for this week.

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Chiefs

Dalton can start for you this week against a Chiefs team that, while not without defensive talent, can be had on most weeks. Dalton is using his alternative weapons and not relying solely on stud receiver A.J. Green, and that makes him a reasonable starting option in 12-team leagues. He is Rotobahn’s 13th-ranked QB for Week 11.

SITS

Joe Flacco, Ravens at Pittsburgh

Flacco is a viable option as a starter in 12-team leagues, but we’d prefer to avoid him in Week 11. The Steelers are always a tough matchup at home and they will be loaded for bear knowing that their offense is limited without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. Flacco was great last week in a great matchup, but we’d avoid him in this bad one if you have a better option on your roster.

Jason Campbell, Bears at 49ers

Don’t get cute. The Bears backup is an upgrade over what Chicago has had in the past behind starter Jay Cutler, but you don’t want to use him here. Not against the 49ers on the road. Avoid.

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Read More: Andy Dalton, joe flacco, Josh Freeman, Tony Romo
Bill Belichick and Nick Saban hanging at Pebble Beach 02.11.12 at 6:29 pm ET
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By Greg Cameron

Just six days removed from last Sunday’s Super Bowl loss to the Giants, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hit the links as a part of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as the amateur playing partner of PGA golfer Ricky Barnes. Currently, the pair sits in a tie for seventh place in the tournament heading into Sunday’s final round.

After teeing off on the famed course’s par-3 17th hole, Belichick and University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was playing with former Crimson Tide golf standout Bud Cauley in a foursome with the perpetually hoodie-clad  coach (including during play on Saturday) and Barnes, spoke to CBS Sports’s Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo. In addition to being critiqued on the finer points of their golf swings, both coaches, who are long-time friends talked about their time playing together in the tournament and blowing off steam after Super Bowl XLVI.

On what it was like playing together at Pebble Beach:
BB: “Oh it is. It’s awesome. It’s great to spend time with Nick and the pros here at Pebble Beach. It’s a great weekend.”
NS: “This is a fantastic place I’ve never been here before. This is my old friend and pal, and one of my real mentors in coaching and it’s great to be able to spend time with him as well.”

On playing so well with Barnes in the tournament despite not playing much golf in recent months:
BB: “Ricky Barnes has been playing great. He’s having a great tournament and he’s been carrying me the entire time out here. He’s going to have a back massage out here tonight.”

On what it’s been like after last week’s Super Bowl and the reactions from the gallery:
BB: “The reaction out here has been great. The fans have been great and it’s fun to be out here. It was a tough loss, a tough couple [of] days. But Pebble Beach is a great spot to take your mind off of some of the other problems we had.”

On making the cut with Barnes:
BB: “It’ll be fun. I’ve never done that before and played here on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that.”

Belichick is joined in the Pebble Beach field with other entrants with NFL ties including 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, Packers quarterback and newly minted league MVP Aaron Rodgers, former Jets coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who is playing with Tiger Woods this weekend.

Here’s video of Belichick and Saban chatting with the CBS crew after their round Saturday:

Read More: aaron rodgers, Bill Belichick, Bud Cauley, Herm Edwards
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