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The 2018 National Football League season is upon us. We’re just days away from kickoff for the first game of the season – this year’s first matchup sees the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6.

As always, there's plenty to anticipate. Lots that we know, lots that we don't know - and a whole lot that we think we might know but don't actually really know. Anybody who has read one of these previews in the past know that I live my life in that last category.

And so once again, I will be attempting to anticipate how the season will play out. Once again, I will do my best impression of a monkey with a dartboard in an effort to make some sort of sense out of the whole mess. I’m even going to try to predict the 2018 regular season records of each team – a fool’s errand inside a fool’s errand.

(For those interested, I will also be continuing our popular “Kibbles and Picks” online-only feature, wherein I attempt to pick the winners in each week's schedule of NFL games and try to achieve a greater rate of success than that reached by my dog Stella (who has defeated me handily the last three years in a row and in four of five seasons overall, by the way). Check our website at www.themaineedge.com every Thursday or find Kibbles and Picks on Facebook to see if man can even the score against beast; it's possible, but I wouldn't count on it. She’s far better at this than I am.)

And so here it is - your almost-certain-to-be-way-off 2018 Maine Edge NFL Preview.

(y = division winner; x = wild card)

Published in Cover Story

There are a lot of reasons that the NFL has become the preeminent league in American professional sports. The telegenic nature of the game, the strength of the marketing machine, the undeniably impressive on-field athleticism – all key components to the game’s massive success.

But one of the very biggest has to be the proliferation of fantasy football.

As we approach the season’s kickoff, thousands of fantasy football leagues are the in process of holding their drafts. Millions of people are making their selections, deciding which combination of players gives them the best chance of coming out on top and winning money, trophies and/or bragging rights.

There’s an entire industry built around giving advice to fantasy football players. There are experts out there who spend countless hours breaking down statistics and trying to project which players are going to have big years and which ones are going to regress. They’ll tell you why you should select a player and when.

I am not one of those experts.

What I am is someone who has played fantasy football regularly for nearly two decades. I’ve won a championship or two along the way. I’ve also finished dead last once or twice. Mostly, I’ve fallen somewhere in-between. And since I’ve lived my fantasy life as part of that vast middle class, I thought it might be interesting to pass along a few bits of wisdom that I’ve picked up along the way.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:35

Your newest New England Patriots

This past weekend, the future of the NFL was unfolding in Dallas.

The NFL Draft took place over the course of three days as representatives from all 32 teams selected players from among the cream of the collegiate crop in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff and hopefully land the next NFL superstars.

The Patriots haven’t been major players early in the draft for some time, but this year saw New England pick in the first round for the first time since 2015 – and they did it TWICE.

Don’t worry: Bill Belichick and company did plenty of wheeling and dealing in the middle rounds, moving up and down, stockpiling future picks (and landing offensive lineman Trent Brown) along the way.

Still, there’s something exciting about New England actually adding first-rounders to a team that made it to the Super Bowl last season. And they actually used more draft picks than usual; their haul of nine picks more than doubles the total of four they selected in 2017. New doesn’t always equal better, but it’ll be exciting to see how this all plays out.

Let’s meet the new guys.

(Obligatory annual caveat: This is not an effort to grade the Patriots draft class. Literally nothing has changed about any of these players except that they have been given an opportunity to potentially make an NFL roster. As to whether any or all of them cash in on that opportunity, well … I can’t say. And neither can anyone else, no matter how authoritative the sound on TV or on the internet. Grading a draft that just happened is nonsense; a worthless exercise. This is just an introduction.)

Published in Sports

Every life features moments that can change everything. There are some choices whose effects will reverberate throughout the rest of our lifetimes, coloring every subsequent experience and largely defining the kind of person that history will judge us to be.

And so it is that with great humility and great hope, I, Allen Adams, must once again declare myself eligible for the draft. Sorry – drafts.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:44

An exodus from New England

Patriots say so long to some free agent talents

Published in Sports

The Oakland Raiders recently announced that their longtime placekicker Sebastian Janikowski would not be returning to the team for the 2018 season. This news comes after Janikowski spent the entirety of 2017 on injured reserve; while there’s certainly a possibility that he gets picked up for another team, this could well mark the end of the road for the veteran kicker.

So why am I writing about this particular kicker? Well – I have a long and complicated relationship with Sebastian Janikowski.

See, here’s the thing – I played fantasy football for the very first time in 2002. I have played in at least one league every year since. Sometimes more than one. I have had ups and downs, good teams and bad. I’ve won championships and finished dead last and been plain old mediocre. My teams have reflected every facet of the fantasy football experience. And all of those 20-plus teams had exactly one thing in common.

Sebastian Janikowski.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 15:08

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces 2018 class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio just got a little bigger.

Five players – linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and defensive back Brian Dawkins – were tapped for induction by the modern-era committee. Joining them will be Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile via the senior committee and personnel executive Bobby Beathard as a contributor.

The list of finalists was trimmed from 15 to 10 and then to five, with those five being subject to a simple yea-or-nay vote – all five ultimately received the thumbs up.

The trio of first-time nominees that made the cut is an impressive bunch.

Published in Sports

Hm. So this is what hubris feels like.

My celebratory gloating following my triumph over Stella in the Wild Card round seems to have come back to give me a karmic bite on the behind. Our records for the Divisional Round were reversed – this time, it was Stella’s turn to go 3-1 and my turn to correctly pick just one single solitary game.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 13:30

UMaine alum Brian Gaine named Houston Texans GM

HOUSTON – The newest general manager of the NFL’s Houston Texans has ties to the University of Maine.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:43

Pro Football Hall of Fame announces finalists

First-timers Lewis, Moss, Urlacher among 15 on ballot

Published in Sports
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