NBC Sports' Ross Tucker high on Kaepernick


NBC Sports' Ross Tucker high on Kaepernick

The 2012-13 NFL season is in the books, and the Baltimore Ravens are the Super Bowl Champions.

Joe Flacco won the game's MVP Award, furthering his claim that he's one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. But where does he rank?

NBC Sports' Ross Tucker says right around Top 5.

"I've said for a long time that he's been in my Top 8. This probably puts him around No. 5 or No. 6. I don't know that he's been consistent enough in the regular season to break though that Top 5 but he's right there."

That said, it's not Flacco that Tucker wants on his team for the next 10 years. He tweeted:

"Can't think of a QB I'd take over Kaepernick for the next 10 years."

So why is he so high on Kaepernick?

"Maybe if you said the next five years, maybe a guy like Aaron Rodgers, but I'm telling you this guy's skill set is off the charts. His arm is as strong as anybody, he's pretty much as fast as anybody as a quarterback. The touch is there, people didn't think it was, we saw this postseason the touch is there, the accuracy was also stellar throughout. And how about the poise?"

The 49ers, led by Kaepernick should be real players for a Super Bowl title for years to come, but will they see the Patriots there? Maybe. Tucker gives his take on the Patriots' chances of winning a Super Bowl of their own again.

"They're knocking on the door every year, you think one of these years they're going to break through when they keep having these long extended playoff runs. And as long as they've got the B&B duo. You got Belichick and Brady, they're going to be in the mix."

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32


Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.