Michigan Football Preview 2015

2015 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 147 of 163

146 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2015 FOOTBALL PREVIEW Top Wolverine Matchups In 2015 All times listed are Eastern • Oct. 4, 1 p.m.: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals The Bengals' Leon Hall is the only former Wolverine in the NFL currently playing cornerback, and the Chiefs present two fel- low former U-M standouts that he might be matched up with — wideouts Jason Avant and Junior Hemingway. Hall and Avant played in Ann Arbor together from 2003-05. • Oct. 25, 1 p.m.: New York Jets at New England Patriots Just like it has for the better part of the last decade, this division rivalry will once again pit two of the most successful Wol- verine veterans in the NFL against each other. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will lead the attack against New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris, who is also the leader of his unit. The first matchup comes in New England's sixth game of the year, so it will be Brady's second game back from suspen- sion, unless it is reduced later this summer. The second of the teams' two annual contests will be Dec. 27 at 1 p.m. in the Meadowlands. • Dec. 6, 4:25 p.m.: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots Another former Wolverine defender puts Brady in his crosshairs in this one, with pass-rushing linebacker Brandon Graham on the Eagles' unit. This game will at least tie for the most former U-M players on the field in any single NFL game this season — both teams feature a pair of former Michigan lettermen, and no franchise has more than two on their roster, as of early June. In addition to Brady, the Patriots boast defensive tackle Alan Branch, while the Eagles' roster also includes center David Molk, who started four games last year. If the latter plays in this one, chances are high that he and Branch will meet in the trenches. By The Numbers 3 Quarterbacks in NFL history have won four Super Bowls — New England star Tom Brady is the most recent, joining Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh) and Joe Montana (San Francisco). 4 Straight seasons that offensive tackle Jake Long has ended the season on injured reserve. The free agent big man started seven games for the St. Louis Rams last year. 12 Of Brady's 13 seasons as the Patriots' starting quarterback have ended with the team in the playoffs. 13 Receptions for 152 yards made by veteran wideout Jason Avant in five games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, which nearly equaled his production in the first 11 contests of the year with the Carolina Panthers (21 catches for 201 yards and one touchdown). 16 Was where Tennessee Titans' tackle Taylor Le- wan checked in on ESPN Insider's re-ranking of the 2014 NFL Draft; he was originally selected 11th. 26 Million dollar, four-year contract was given to linebacker Brandon Graham by the Phila- delphia Eagles this offseason; he is expected to nab a starting role this fall. 60 Career interceptions made by Oakland Raid- ers safety Charles Woodson; he is one of just 11 players in league history with that many. He has returned 12 for touchdowns, which is just one shy of tying Rod Woodson for the most all time. 1,019 Career tackles for New York Jets linebacker David Harris, which ranks him third in team history. 2008 Was the last time that Michigan produced two picks in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft before 2015 — Devin Funchess and Frank Clark were both second-round selections this year. Still On The Market A few U-M veterans were still available free agents, as of early June. Here's a list of guys who might be signed before the start of the 2015 campaign: Pos. Name Years In NFL 2014 Team K Jay Feely 14 Chicago Bears OL Jonathan Goodwin 13 New Orleans Saints DL Tim Jamison 6 Houston Texans OT Jake Long 7 St. Louis Rams WR Mario Manningham 7 New York Giants* * Did not appear in a regular-season game, was hurt in preseason. David Harris— who notched his 1,000th career tackle with a sack of fellow former U-M star Tom Brady in 2014 — and the Jets will get two shots at the defending champion Patriots in 2015. PHOTO COURTESY NEW YORK JETS WOODSON PHOTO COURTESY OAKLAND RAIDERS

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