Ebs’ Hot Takes: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia 76ers, Chris Hogan

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WILKES-BARRE, PA – I know most of you are probably on the edge of your seat with anticipation for my thoughts on the Super Bowl matchup.

You’ll have to wait another week.

Yes, I know I was wrong picking both the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers to be victorious on Sunday. But I can’t deny that I’m not happy about at least one of the outcomes. Well, only one of the outcomes. Obviously.

Like I said last week, growing up I was predominantly an Atlanta Falcons fan. I idolized Michael Vick and had jerseys of Vick, Warrick Dunn, John Abraham, Michael Turner and Matt Ryan. One of my all-time favorite players is Roddy White.

It’s also why I’m a fan of the Atlanta Hawks.

While this isn’t the Buffalo Bills reaching the Super Bowl by any means, it’s still pretty cool and something I’ll enjoy.

Why am I a Bills fan you ask? Well, I blame my dad for that.

I was a Bills fan when I was really young, but became polarized by Vick when he came into the league in 2001. As I grew older it became harder and harder to watch the Falcons living in New York and not having the opportunity to see them live every year like I do the Bills, and I was still always a Bills fan. They just took a back seat. However, I did see the Falcons play the New York Jets at the old MetLife Stadium when I was in high school. They won.

Then, when I was heading into my sophomore year of college, I went to Bills training camp for the first time and fell in love with the team again and I never looked back.

So yeah, call me a bandwagoner or whatever. But I’m not.

Anyway, here’s the latest set of Ebs’ Hot Takes. Enjoy!

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Watch out for the Buffalo Sabres. Sure, the Buffalo Sabres still sit second from the bottom in the Atlantic Division, but they’re just five points out of a wild card spot.

With a healthy Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Ennis and Evander Kane all in the mix, the Buffalo offense is potent. Can you believe Colorado would actually want to trade O’Reilly? And for a bunch of scrubs no less.

Oh, and there’s Kyle Okposo, who will be representing the Sabres in the NHL All-Star Game, too.

All Buffalo has to figure out is its goalie situation. I’m looking at you Robin Lehner. If Lehner can shape up, this team just might surprise some people.

Maybe the tank was worth it after all?

The Philadelphia 76ers are no joke. Folks, take a screenshot of this. The Philadelphia 76ers will make the playoffs this season.

Living in Pennsylvania, and working in a sports department of a newspaper during 90 percent of the Sixers games, I’ve gotten to watch them a lot lately. They’re for real.

And when I say “for real” I mean, can sneak into the playoffs and maybe take a series to six games for real. But hey, that’s saying something.

Joel Embiid is a straight up dude. He’s a beast, and deserves to be an all-star.

They are 7-3 since Jan. 3, and that’s without Ben Simmons. The impressive string of wins includes a ferocious comeback against the New York Knicks, by the way.

Trust the process.

Chris Hogan is overrated. If you go anywhere right now – Twitter, Facebook, anything – you’ll see one big narrative from the New England Patriots’ win Sunday: The Buffalo Bills were too stupid to keep Chris Hogan.

Wrong.

They tried – offering a one-year, $1.67 million deal – but the New England Patriots overpaid. They offered a three-year, $12 million deal with a cap hit of $5 million for the season, fully knowing Buffalo had roughly $4.5 million in cap space heading into free agency. The Bills just couldn’t afford him at that price and had holes to fill. If they kept Chris Hogan, players like Lorenzo Alexander and Zach Brown wouldn’t have likely been Bills this season, and you probably still wouldn’t know their names.

It’s similar to what the Bills did to the Miami Dolphins for Charles Clay a couple years back.

And here’s the kicker: Hogan’s cap hit ranks 27th this year. Is he a No. 1 wide receiver? No, not even close.

Not to mention, anyone who follows the Bills knows that Tyrod Taylor’s biggest weakness is throwing in between the hashes, which is where Hogan excels.

Look, I miss Chris Hogan like the next guy, but it’s called the Tom Brady effect.

Come back tomorrow for baby-bouncing Ben Whitney and please follow us on Twitter at @ByDJEberle & @MeetTheMatts, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.

I haven’t shamelessly plugged myself in a while, but hey, if you’re a fan of Penn State football, the Pittsburgh Penguins, live in Pennsylvania or just what to hear what my voice sounds like then give the Times Leader Sports Report a listen. Thanks!

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DJ Eberle: The youngest of our team, DJ is also the largest. Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native used OT for Western New England University - until he graduated in May of 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's a regular on Rugby Wrap Up - his dad played rugby with The Matts. His cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. As for baseball and basketball, it's the Yanks and Atlanta Hawks. Follow him on Twitter: @ByDJEberle.
  • benwhit

    Super Bowl? Pfft. I rushed right over this morning to read about the Buffalo Sabres.

    • DJ Eberle

      If I write about the Super Bowl now, what will I do next Monday? Haha

      • The Brady Effect doesn’t account for the Jersey Effect… Jersey Strong. Jersey Tough… but changing jerseys didn’t hurt, either! We love your stick–to–itiveness, though, DJ! Even mentioning a Bills’ QB as reason NOT to keep a player is gutsy. Absolutely dopey, mind you, but gutsy.

  • Sport Fan Seamus

    Go Sabres! And watch out for the Italian kid Ryan O’Reilly.

  • Different Matt

    Are you basing the 76ers chances of making the playoffs on a win over the Knicks? Bwahahaha.

    • Nick Erbocker

      The Knicks are bad but so are a lot of other teams. I still watch.

    • DJ Eberle

      No. They’ve beating a lot of quality teams like the Toronto Raptors, and it doesn’t take much to be the 8 seed in the East.

  • Buddy Diaz

    Joel Embid is a beast and a great guy to follow on Twitter too

    • There’s a twat joke in here someplace.

    • DJ Eberle

      Oh, he is THE best follow on Twitter!

  • TheRealMelo

    You need a new line of work unless your content covering high school sports in Obscureville.

    • buffalobilly84

      High school players play defense! ha ha

    • TheRealMelo, welcome to Mattville! We listened to the entire podcast and the previous one from DJ’s days spinning in Saratoga. We are not clear what this means: “…unless your content covering high school sports in Obscureville.”

    • DJ Eberle

      Good thing that’s exactly what I do!

  • AngryWard

    Nothing about LeBron or Westbrook? Must be a slow week for those guys. I have to ask, did you still idolize Vick after you found out about him torturing/killing all those dogs?

    • DJ Eberle

      What do you think? I was in high school at that point. No.

      However, I’ve read his book and have given him a second chance. And yes, I own a dog.

    • Junoir Blaber

      I always thought the dog thing was overblown but I never had pets, so…

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