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Video – First Take: Bill Belichick Would Rather Have Aaron Rodgers Than Tom Brady

Week 9 of the 2018-19 NFL season features a heavyweight matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, as two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game square off in Foxborough: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. First Take’s Max Kellerman says despite winning five Super Bowl rings with Brady at the helm, Pats head coach Bill Belichick would rather have Rodgers, if given the choice. Stephen A. Smith disagrees, and even apologizes to Patriots’ legend and ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi for even being a part of the discussion.

Packers Ship Running Back Ty Montgomery to the Ravens for a 7th Round Pick

Just two days after a fumble that drew the ire of not only the coaches but quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have shipped running back Ty Montgomery to the Baltimore Ravens.

In exchange, the Ravens send a 2020 seventh-round pick back to Green Bay. The move for the Pack comes just two days after Montgomery had a huge late game fumble on a kickoff that cost Green Bay a chance against the Rams in Los Angeles.

Montgomery was upset the series before, and many felt that he defied the coaches by try9ing to run the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff instead of downing it and starting at the 25.

Montgomery will join current Ravens running backs Alex Collins and Buck Allen. This season Montgomery has rushed for just 105 yards with one score.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Looking to Get Rid of Brace Before Big Stretch of Games

Aaron Rodgers still hopes to play without the brace he’s worn on his left knee since his Week 1 injury, but he couldn’t say yet whether that will be the case in Week 8 — even after the benefit of a bye week, Rob Demovsky of ESPN reports.

The Packers quarterback is looking for any edge he can find entering what might be the toughest stretch of his NFL career.

The Packers begin a stretch of four road games in five weeks on Sunday at the undefeated Los Angeles Rams, where the Packers are the biggest underdogs (8.5 points) they’ve been since Rodgers became a starter in 2008. It continues at the New England Patriots and also includes road games at the Seattle Seahawks (on a Thursday night in a short week) and at the Minnesota Vikings. The lone game at Lambeau Field, against the Miami Dolphins, comes between the games at New England and Seattle.

With or without the knee brace, Rodgers said the Packers (3-2-1) are “going to have to play better, we’re going to have to play a lot better than we have to win those games.”

Rodgers said Tuesday that he could not remember a tougher stretch of games during his career.

“This is three division winners on the road and some tough tests for us,” Rodgers said. “This week, obviously, a really hot team and then going against Tom [Brady] and Bill [Belichick] and those guys, fantastic organization that’s obviously won a lot of championships, coming home and playing a tough Miami team, going on the road to one of the toughest places to play in the NFL and then obviously a big division rival game. It’s a tough stretch.”

The Packers’ next five opponents have a combined record of 23-10-1, and only the Seahawks (3-3) don’t have a winning record.

“This is an important stretch in our season,” Rodgers said. “I’m not going to say it’s going to define our season, but it’s definitely going to shake things out when we get on the other side of this and get back home in six weeks on where we’re at in the race and what we’re playing for.”

Rodgers did not practice on Tuesday — a day the Packers treated like a Wednesday because they’re leaving for Los Angeles on Friday. Rodgers hasn’t practiced on a Wednesday since the injury, but he hopes to do so on Thursday.

Will The Packers And The NFL Miss A Chance On Esports?

The Packers have had brilliant track record. In 2017, they received $277 million from the NFL’s eye-popping $8 billion raked in revenues. And while the season is now in full blast and the team continues to stay on top of their game, there may be yet more opportunities to monetize on the popularity of NFL, other than commercials and broadcast rights.

A new breed of sports fans has emerged. Youths with plenty of disposable income who love their sport as much as they love their esports. In fact, some of the NFL’s own stars have embraced esports and jumped in the thick of it in the hours between training sessions, including JuJu Smith-Schuster who is playing for FaZe Clan, a popular esports powerhouse that often attracts real athletes to compete in video games.

Should the NFL and Franchises Such as Packers Pursue Investment Opportunity?

There are a lot of arguments in favor and against. Esports alone generate overwhelming amount of viewership, although admittedly, not for digital version of the NFL. Nevertheless, the NBA 2K, a newly-established NBA-inspired esports league, are hoping to whip up sufficient interest and drive revenue from their digital arm. A similar idea could be pursued by the NFL.

Another interesting and potentially lucrative revenue stream to be explored is esports betting, which strikes home with the NFL. The NFL has been one of the originators of fantasy betting, which has been both loved and hated, though any negative segment has stemmed from ossified legislators for the most part.

Can the Packers Gab turn that to their benefit? It remains to be seen. A great example can be given by pointing out to the recent sponsorship between the English Premier League (EPL), the world’s most-watched football tournament and Electronic Arts (EA).

Each of the mainstream football clubs will field their own digital contesters. Many of the teams in the league in fact already have FIFA teams, including Manchester City and West Ham, and others.

The Dangerous of Playing with Esports

Beyond the reproach that esports are not as much of a noble sport as, well, their mainstream counterparts there seem to be other dangers associated to this professional. A recent shooting during an EA Madden NFL 2019 qualifying event left three gamers dead in Jacksonville, Florida, after a gamer who had just lost opened fire on his fellow competitors.

The wanton deaths of the players have had its effects with the game’s producer and publisher, EA, now pushing up the standards of all qualifying events. The original NFL has had to deal with security issues for decades, but the freshly-minted segment of esports is new to the idea that someone would lash out and start shooting at people, even if the nature of the game is sometimes quite violent indeed.

Most of esports have been recreational. And the electronic NFL is not the only mainstream sport that has been brought to the digital realm. The NBA and FIFA are also transformed into games that are enjoyed by both the actual players who compete and the parent organizations and gamers.

In the case of the NBA, for example, the NBA 2K League has been set-up. NBA Commissioner Adam Smith has called it a fully-fledged member of the mainstream sporting body.

NFL and Riding the Wave

Understandably, the NFL has not been in a particular hurry to embrace the segment. But it may be worth knowing that esports are developing and doing so quickly. Even if the NFL remains at the top of the charts with its $14 billion in annual revenue, esports are developing and worth $350 million in the United States alone, and they have a much greater international reach, unlike the NFL.

However, breaking the numbers further down, esports events such as the Dota 2 International have prize pools that may soon come to rival those of established competitions, such as Wimbledon.

The NFL can truly benefit from the expansion of esports by bringing fans from overseas. Understandably, adapting the franchises to an esports-oriented marketing would be a mean feat at first, but so far – all mainstream sporting bodies that experimented with it are happy with the upshot.

Intelligence companies, such as NewZoo and Sensor Tower have all been pointing to the imminent rise of esports as a discipline that will channel new business opportunities for mainstream sporting bodies. The question is if NFL wants to make use of these new opportunities.

Packers Looking to Get a Healthy Fast Start Monday Night Against Niners

Following a tough loss in Detroit on Sunday, the Packers will be in action this week on Monday night, as they will take the field to play host to the San Francisco 49’ers on Monday night football.

If you have looked at free tips from the team at OLBG, you’ll see that the Packers are early 7.5 point favorites, and the overall thought is that Green Bay should be able to bounce back from the setback to the Lions.

Aaron Rodgers is playing hurt, Davante Adams is playing with a calf injury, and Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb are two more players on offense that are banged up and looking to try to work their way back to health.

The 49’ers on the other hand, are also a group that isn’t 100 percent, as they likely will enter Monday night without their top running back, Matt Breida.

Breida sprained his ankle in his team’s 28-18 loss to the Cardinals last weekend. He is “doubtful” to play against the Packers in Week 6, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Monday.

San Francisco worked out five running backs on Tuesday to try and find a suitable replacement for Breida, as veteran tailbacks Shane Vereen, Charcandrick West and Andre Ellington all were at the complex looking to land a roster spot.

The key for the Packers this week will be to try and get an early lead on the Niners and make them play from behind. Last week the Lions laid the wood early in the game, and made it tough for the Packers to comeback.

Green Bay did mount a second half comeback, but by then it was much too late, and it seems same formula week after week for the Pack, that being fall behind and then try to rally.

It worked in week one against he Bears, but was no such luck this last week in Detroit. If the Packers want to get to 3-2-1, they have got two goals this week – find their way back to health, and get an early lead against the Niners on Monday night.

Packers Leading WR Davante Adams Suffers Calf Injury in Wednesday Practice

The injuries to the wide receiving corps of the Packers continue to mount with the news that Davante Adams suffered a calf injury at practice on Wednesday and will not practice on Thursday according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Mid-week injuries are always a concern, and they are even more worrying when followed by a missed practice. It is possible Adams returns Friday and is ready to face the Lions this weekend, but he has to be considered questionable at best.

He joins the walking wounded along with Randall Cobb, who missed last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills and seems virtually certain to be out again this Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and Geronimo Allison, who suffered a concussion in the Bills game and remains in the concussion protocol.

The Packers currently have three healthy wideouts on their roster-Marquez Valdes-Scantling, J’Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown-but all three are rookies. Aaron Rodgers looks to be sailing in uncharted waters in what is projected to be a shootout in Detroit.

Video: Packers Defense Dominates Buffalo in 22-0 Shutout

An Old Fashioned Brawl; That’s What You Can Expect Between the Packers and Vikings Sunday

Week Two in the NFL will see a good old fashioned brawl in Green Bay as there will be a tough NFC North matchup as the Minnesota Vikings come to town to take on the Green Bay Packers, a game that is destined to be one of the better games in week two in the NFL.

Buffalo Wild Wings sports will be a great place to watch the game Sunday, and it also will be a great place to see if Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be able to take the field as his injury has been the big story all week not only in just Green Bay but in most NFL circles.

Don’t tell the Vikings that the Packers quarterback won’t be playing Sunday.

“I don’t know if he’s mobile. I don’t know if he can run. We don’t know anything,” Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen said. “We’re just going to go in with a game plan, that he’s running and we’re going to go out there and execute our assignment.”

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has gone on record saying that Rodgers does not need to take the practice field at all in order to play, leading even more to think that he’s going to find his way on the field this Sunday in the huge game against the Vikings.

Rodgers seems to feel that he doesn’t have to do much in order to play, and his miracle recovery on Sunday night against the Chicago Bears was evidence enough that he is a quick healer.

“I think as you saw the other night, just because I wasn’t escaping the pocket, I was still moving in the pocket — subtle movements on the throw to (receiver Davante Adams) up in the pocket, and subtle movements on the throw to (Randall Cobb) on the last touchdown of the game,” Rodgers said.

Keeping Rodgers healthy is going to be key (assuming that he’s going to be able to play), and also establishing some type of a run game would be a huge plus for the Packers as well.

One other key would be Rodgers keeping the ball away from the ball hawking Vikings, something he’s doen well, as Rodgers has thrown only six interceptions in 19 games as a starter against the Vikings, including one playoff game.

Over the last seven seasons, the Vikings have picked him off three times in 13 games.

Keep an eye on Rodgers heading into Sunday, but expect him to play, and expect the Packers to do just enough to pull out a 23-20 win.