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Who will be the next over-35 quarterback to win a Super Bowl? 05.26.15 at 11:16 am ET
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Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady won a title after the age of 35. Which senior signal-caller has the best chance to match him? (Elsa/Getty Images)

Last season, Tom Brady entered into select company on a couple of levels. He wasn’t only the third quarterback to win four Super Bowls as a starter, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw — he became the fifth quarterback to win a Super Bowl after his 35th birthday, joining Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett and John Elway.

In truth, this could be considered a pretty good time to be an older quarterback. This season, six projected starters will be 35 or older (Peyton Manning, Brady, Drew Brees, Josh McCown, Carson Palmer and Tony Romo), and while it’s early to handicap the field, it seems to be a safe bet that at least four of them will make the postseason. But which one of them has the best chance of joining Brady in that exclusive company and being able to boast of winning a ring after his 35th birthday?

Here’s a look at the field:

Peyton Manning: Despite the fact there was talk he wouldn’€™t return for an 18th season, Manning is back in camp with the Broncos. After seeing how he struggled to the finish line last year with Denver, there are questions about his health, as well as a few members of his receiving corps. At 39, he’s slated to be the oldest position player in the league this season, and if he wins a Super Bowl this year with the Broncos, he’d be the oldest quarterback in NFL history to win a title.

Drew Brees: The Saints’ signal-caller turned 36 in January, and while he’s talked about playing into his 40s, he shown little sign of slowing down. He led the NFL in several major passing categories in 2014, including passing yards (4,952, first), completed passes (456, first) and passing yards per game (309.5). Despite the fact that New Orleans was 7-9 last season and underwent some serious personnel changes in the offseason, as long as he stays healthy, Brees will certainly be able to keep the Saints competitive for the foreseeable future.

Josh McCown: Truthfully, we’re just including him on this list because he’s become the default starter for the Browns this season. McCown, who will turn 36 in July, has had some nice moments for the six other teams he’s played for over the course of his career, but at this stage with Cleveland, is a longshot at best to become the next plus-35 quarterback to win a title.

Carson Palmer: The former Bengal, who will turn 36 in December, was looking good as a possible darkhorse last season, as he led the Cardinals to a 6-0 start. Then, he wrecked his knee and had to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines. If he stays healthy this year, it’s reasonable to think that Arizona has progressed to a point where it can be a serious playoff threat in the NFC West.

Tony Romo: Well, he’s certainly not lacking for confidence when it comes to the 2015 season. The Cowboys quarterback, who celebrated his 35th birthday last month, was able to get the first playoff win of his career last year against the Eagles, and if a catch is truly a catch, then there’s the very real chance that Dallas pulls the upset on Green Bay in the divisional playoffs and is going against the Seahawks in the NFC title game. If the Cowboys can keep the running game moving after losing DeMarco Murray and Romo is truly over any past late-season or playoff meltdowns, then Romo has a chance to join fellow Cowboy Staubach and the rest of the over-35 crowd that took home a title.

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Read More: Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Josh McCown, Peyton Manning
Tony Romo jabs Patriots over Deflategate 04.20.15 at 7:30 am ET
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Tony Romo took a jab at the Patriots and the Deflategate controversy Sunday night.

The Cowboys quarterback, who was a presenter at the Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium in Texas, was on stage with co-host Luke Bryan when Bryan asked Romo to throw him a football. Romo acquiesced. That’s when Bryan asked “Is this one of those deflated balls?”

“Blake, we’re the Dallas Cowboys,” Romo replied. “We have real balls.”

The Patriots are scheduled to face the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in 2015.

Read More: because it's the offseason, Deflategate, Luke Bryan, Tony Romo
Fantasy Football: Divisional round daily leagues 01.09.15 at 11:44 am ET
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If you are playing in one of the big contests this weekend, setting your DraftKings lineup is going to be a little tricky. The divisional round games help set up a rare dynamic in daily fantasy football. You have a small number of games (four) and most of the country watched these teams play last week. The exception would be the bye teams, but what’s left to learn about Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers or their respective offenses?

With familiarity at a high point and with available options at a low point, the number of unique fantasy rosters will be few. Good luck finding a contrarian move that half the league isn’t at least thinking about. Yes, it’s a tough week for differentiation. So tough, in fact, that you may want to steer away from it as a major point of strategy and focus more on matchups and lineup synergy.

Let’s try putting a few lineups together. If you are looking for my take on all of this week’s options, go to Rotobahn and check out my full rankings for this round.

QUARTERBACKS

This week I’m going to create two lineups — starting each with a different quarterback and working from there. The two quarterbacks I’m choosing will save me some money while not compromising upside.

Quarterback A

Tom Brady (7,800 units), Patriots vs. Ravens

Quarterback B

Tony Romo (7,600 units), Cowboys at Packers

These are not choices free of risk. Romo always comes with injury concerns and the tendency to go “tilt” at the wrong time, and Brady has a tough matchup for a less-then-mobile quarterback. That said, I see as much risk or more with all the quarterbacks who cost the same or more, and I have no interest in getting into the Joe Flacco or Cam Newton business. I’m not betting against the Patriots defense at home and certainly not Seattle’s.

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Read More: Daniel Herron, Eddie Lacy, Tom Brady, Tony Romo
Fantasy Football: Week 4 starts, sits 09.26.14 at 9:31 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 4 starts and sits! Is it too late to recommend Larry Donnell? Oh well. Don’t fret, we have plenty of other ideas for this weekend. If you need more guidance than I could fit into this space, check out my full lineup rankings over at Rotobahn or participate in our WEEI Sunday morning chat. It starts right here at 11 a.m. and I’ll tweet a link to the chat early Sunday morning as soon as it’s available. Follow me on Twitter to get all the fantasy football info we have to offer.

I will also be back on the air this weekend, so tune in Sunday morning for The Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host and good friend Jim Hackett. You can check out our latest podcast as well. I’ll also be on NFL Sunday with Dickerson, Price and DeOssie at about 10:45 as usual, so don’t miss it.

And, don’t forget to start your Week 5 with us on Tuesday, when I break down the best pickups in the Week 5 waiver wire.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Saints

He’s been shaky in his return from back surgery, but he battled back last week on the road against a better defense. I expect a high-scoring game and a solid fantasy output from Romo. Don’t hesitate to use him in any format.

Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Jaguars

He’s playing very well so far, and this is a very enticing home matchup. Treat Rivers like a QB1 in all formats in Week 4. He’s good for a solid outing.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars at Chargers

He’s a young QB making his first start on the road. That’s normally a red flag situation, but Bortles will be chasing a Chargers offense that can score points in bunches in good matchups like this one. Bortles can score points with his feet and with his arm. That should give him a solid fantasy floor. He can help you in big formats if you need some help in Week 4. If you are unfamiliar with the rookie’s skill set, check out my original scouting report on the UCF product.

Sit

Geno Smith, Jets vs. Lions

This is not a week with a lot of sits for quarterbacks outside of the obvious ones. Smith is a good passer to avoid this week because he struggles more than most when the pocket gets busy, and things certainly will get busy with Detroit’s front four in town. Factor in the injuries to Smith’s receivers and you have a recipe for bad play or at least limited success. Even on a slow week, there are better options out there than Smith.

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Read More: Blake Bortles, Frank Gore, Geno Smith, Khiry Robinson
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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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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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.

1. (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. 

 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.

3. (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.

 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.

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
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