Detroit Lions

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2012 College Football NCAA Championship and Other News

Well I was going to write on the College National Championship Football game today, that was played between LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide last night. Unfortunately, the game was extremely boring as LSU decided they were still on a holiday and never got out of bed. Alabama made LSU look like a NCAA Division II team had actually taken the field as the Tigers never scored. With a final score of 21-0, not much more to say about the game other than if Les Miles is the “Mad Hatter”, Nick Saban is the “Mad Genius.” Saban is the only coach since the inception of the BCS to win three National Championship titles. All indications point to Nick Saban being far from done with his winning ways. We know Saban will win again, we just do not know how long until he is hoisting the Championship trophy up again.

In NFL Football Playoff news, an update to my predictions from last week, I did pretty well. I correctly predictied the winners of three out of four games on the NFL Playoff Wild Card Weekend. In addition, two of my predicted scores were almost the exact scores of the game. The game between the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints ended up being a final score of 45-28 in favor of the Saints. I had predicted that the score would be 42-28 in favor of the Saints. The score between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals was 31-10 in favor of the Texans. I had predicted that score to be 31-14 in favor of the Texans. In addition, I predicted that the New York Giants would win over the Atlanta Falcons but thought the score would be much closer than the 24-2 final score in favor of the Giants. I truly had no idea the Falcons would not show up to play at all. The Falcons could not even convert a 4th and inches at all the whole game and they had multiple chances.

The only game that I completely missed on was the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was not the only one that was completely wrong about this game. The majority of experts and analysts also picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win. After three bad weeks to end the season, my faith in “Tebow Time” had definitely diminished. I did not believe that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos could pull of a victory to continue their dream season.

However, I was very wrong and the Denver Broncos accomplished what seemed to be the impossible. The Denver Broncos played their best game of the season, led by spectacular play of Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow threw for 316 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Tim Tebow rushed for another touchdown on the ground. The pass of the night was in overtime when after running on first down all game, the Denver Broncos trusted in Tim Tebow’s arm and threw on first down. Tim Tebow completed an 80 yard pass to Demaryius Thomas for the game-winning score. Thomas was Tim Tebow’s favorite target during the game, totaling 204 receiving yards for the game. The final score of the game ended up being 29-23 in favor of the Denver Broncos. The Tim Tebow Train survives but arrives in Foxboro Stadium this week. The playoff rematch should be interesting as we see if Tebow Time can finally overcome the Brady Factor.

Like every other NFL fan I have enjoyed this NFL season and the NFL playoffs have not disappointed me either. I would have not wanted to miss all the drama, big plays, and great games of this NFL. I am glad that we still have some football action coming up this weekend. I have to say my thank you again to the NFL owners and NFL players for reaching an agreement. Thank you for allowing us to have a football season this year because it has been one of the best.


NFL Playoffs Are Here!

The Playoffs are upon us and the games are all set. We will be missing some of the normal playoff contenders this year, such as the Indianapolis Colts, who failed dismally without Peyton Manning (See the Jim Mora Video above to understand how the Colts really feel.) This weekend NFL playoff football starts on Saturday and we are looking at some exciting football action both days. We might even see some dark horses rise up and claim a victory. The records are reset for the playoffs. It is either Win or go Home.

The first game that we will see this weekend will be between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans. I am impressed by Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and the Bengals defense. However, I am more impressed by the Houston Texans number one ranked defense, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson. I do not believe the Bengals have enough firepower to overcome the Texans defense and keep up scoring wise with the Texans. I will predict that the Houston Texans win this game 31-14.

The second game that will be played on Saturday will be between Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints. If the Detroit Lions were playing some other NFC team, excluding the Green Bay Packers, I would say they have a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the Lions have drawn the short straw and have to play the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees and company will comfortably and easily outscore the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a good team with a nice high-flying act featuring none other than Calvin Johnson. The problem is the Lions high-flying act pales in comparison to the Drew Brees air show. The Saints silence the Lions roar with a final score of 42-28

On to Sunday’s games and the first game that we will see on Sunday will be the Atlanta Falcons versus the New York Giants. This will be the closest game of the whole weekend. We have two teams that play like an elite NFL team on some days and look dismal on others. This means that which ever team between the Falcons and the Giants brings their “A” game on Sunday, will win the game. The New York Giants have been playing better as of late and so the edge in the game goes to them. That does not mean that we immediately count Atlanta out of the running. The Falcons have an “X” factor in a running back named Michael Turner. If Michael Turner gets going and the Atlanta Falcons can control the tempo of the game, we could see the Falcons advancing to the next week instead of the Giants. In the end, I believe that intangibles of Eli Manning and his ability to play at times like his big brother Peyton Manning, will be the difference. The Giants will win the battle in the 4th quarter with a final score of 28-24

The last game will be one of the most interesting. Interesting because we have no idea what will really happen. The Denver Broncos take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last game of the weekend. I am not sure which Broncos we will see though. I want to see the 4th quarter come-back, winning Broncos come out and play their hearts out, giving them chance to win the game. I fear we may see the not so productive Broncos and the team will get blown out. No matter which Denver Broncos team shows up, the result should be the same. The Pittsburgh Steelers will come out with the win. The Steelers defense is too good to allow Tim Tebow and company to work any “Tebow Time” magic in the 4th quarter. Even with Big Ben not playing at full strength and Rashard MendenHall out for the playoffs, The Pittsburgh Steelers will score enough points to win. The final score of this game will be 21-7 in the favor of Pittsburgh.

There you have it, a complete preview of the first weekend of NFL playoff football. The regular season may be over but now the real battle starts as NFL teams try to win each week. No mistakes are allowed, any team that loses is done. To the victor goes the spoils and a chance to play another day. Time for each NFL playoff team to prove they belong in the playoffs and the pretenders to be eliminated. Now is the time for teams to go after it all or be sent home to watch television. The stakes are high and the winner will be greatly rewarded.

Football and More Football

The punishment for Ndamukong Suh has been finally delivered and Suh will receive a ban of two games. Ndamukong Suh may be only one player but he is the leader of not only the Detroit Lions defense but also the overall team. Suh has changed the identity of the Detroit Lions from a laugh stock to a team that was respected. However, now Detroit is truly labeled the “Bad Boys” of the NFL and they have been give the identity of a team who plays dirty. No excuse can be given that justifies Ndamukong Suh stomping on another player because he is frustrated. I have no problem with a player playing hard but when a player starts to take cheap shots at other players, the player’s team should take some measures to keep that player under control. Ray Lewis is similar to Suh in the passion he has for the game. Ray Lewis plays with the same type of dominance Suh does in each game. Yet I cannot remember the last time I saw Ray Lewis do anything like Suh did on Thanksgiving Day. Ray Lewis plays hard, fast but keep his play clean. Ndamukong Suh may want to take some lessons from Ray Lewis on how to channel his anger and frustration in the right direction.

On a more positive note the Green Bay Packers are looking more and more like the greatest team in NFL History. The Packers look like they will go undefeated as I cannot see that there is any team that can beat them. When teams play the Green Bay Packers it truly reminds me of college football. The reason it reminds me of college football is because the Green Bay Packers play on a level that is so much higher than any other NFL team. On any given Sunday, a team comes to play the Green Bay Packers and before long the Green Bay Packers are up with a lead and never look back. If anyone wants to see an amazing, no mistake team in action, just watch a game with the Green Bay Packers. Barring an injury to Aaron Rodgers I do not see how the Green Bay Packers can lose a game this season. The Packers are truly poetry in motion to watch.

We return back to college football to finish off this week’s post. I am convinced that we will have a rematch for the national championship game. Looks like LSU and Alabama will be the two teams playing for the national championship, barring a defeat of LSU in the SEC championship game. If LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC championship game, they will be bumped from BCS National title game. In the BCS polls, when you lose is just as important as to who you lose to. A loss for LSU would be catastrophic to their national title hopes. I doubt that this scenario will actually take place though, because LSU has been looking like the most dominant team all year long. The only other way we do not see the LSU and Alabama rematch is if Oklahoma State defeats Oklahoma this week and then Oklahoma State jumps Alabama in the polls. Even if Oklahoma State wins I do not see them surpassing Alabama to get an opportunity at the national title game. A defeat of a number ten nationally ranked team is just not enough for Oklahoma State to make the jump over Alabama. I am all for a rematch of the LSU and Alabama game. The last game was exciting with all the plays one would expect in a BCS national championship game. The rematch should even be more entertaining with each team having over a month to plan for the other team. We should be in for one of the most exciting games of the year.

Football is gearing up for some great finishes this year. The NFL playoffs should be exciting as some unexpected teams are going to make the playoffs for the first time in a few years. In addition, all the college bowl games should provide us with some great matchups over the holiday season. We have a great deal of good football to look forward to over the next few months as the start of the post season nears. Our football excitement meter should once again be on high

Sports and Holidays: Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has come and gone with some great games. We have had seen truly exceptional performances and then some exceptional things in a bad way as well. With all that being said, no one says we have to stop saying thanks when Thanksgiving Day is over. We are going to give thanks to some teams and players, not only in the NFL but in a number of sports. Let the celebration begin:

We first have to give thanks to the NBA players and owner for tentatively getting a deal done. Barring some catastrophic set back it looks like we will finally have some NBA basketball. The agreement states there will be a 66 game season that will start December 25, 2011, with training camps opening December 9th. The deal also included a 50/50 split for revenue between the players and owners. The most important part is that the negotiation is done and it will be a few years before we have to deal with this type of situation again.

Next we have to thank college football coach Urban Meyer for proving that money talks. Meyer was adamant that he was done with college football when he retired in 2010. Urban Meyer said he needed to spend time with his family and concentrate on his health. Meyer even denied reports that a college had contacted him for a coaching position. All that changed when Ohio State did actually come calling and offered Urban Meyer a six year deal which is worth an average of 4 million per year. Urban Meyer says he loves college football, but he could have sat on the couch, loved college football, and enjoyed time with his family. Instead we see how enough money can motivate anyone to change their tune.

In the NFL, we have a couple of players to thank for tasteless displays this week. First we have Ndamukong Suh, who decided it would be a good idea to step on an opposing team’s offensive lineman. The play was over; there was really no good reason for Suh to do anything. However, Ndamukong Suh decided to step on Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Deitrich-Smith during Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game. The League has not officially issued any punishment for Suh, but we can rest assured some form of punishment is coming. Even a first time offender would feel the hammer of justice from Commissioner Roger Goodell come down upon them. Suh is far from a first time offender. Expect to not see the Detroit Lion’s defensive leader for a few games.

Speaking of repeat offenders, we have another individual who decided to do something that should have never been done. Stevie Johnson, the receiver from the Buffalo Bills, decided to make fun of Plaxico Buress and the Jets in a touchdown celebration. Johnson scored a touchdown catch, then preceeded to dance, and act like he shot himself in the foot, mocking Plaxico Buress. Plaxico Buress went to jail for two years for doing such an incident in real life. This should not be an event that anyone would want to make fun of. Moreover, after making fun of Plaxico Buress’s situation, Stevie Johnson then decided to act like a jet plane was crashing, making fun of the New York Jets further. Johnson should get a heavy fine for something so offensive and directed at another player. To top it all off, the Buffalo Bills lost the game and Stevie Johnson dropped quite a few passes that would of helped the team win. Johnson does not seem much like team player to me, but more like one who only cares about himself.

The season of giving thanks never truly comes to an end when we are dealing with sports. Something is always happening, whether good or bad, that we can say thank you about. Whether it is something as bad as Jerome Simpson’s flop, or something amazing like watching Drew Brees put 350 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, one rushing touch down, and no interceptions in a Monday night game. The ups and downs each week is what makes watching sports a good time. We love our sports and are thankful for every team, every play, and every game.

NFL Football: The Thanksgiving Day Preview

Turkey Day is upon us and football is going to be a major part of many family celebrations. Thanksgiving has three matchups that should be interesting to watch. All three games will be must watch television on Thanksgiving Day

The most intriguing game of Thanksgiving Day will be the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Watching Frank Gore rush against the defensive line of the Ravens will be a battle I will be excited to see. In addition, we get a chance to see if Alex Smith can truly handle the secondary of Ed Reed and company. On the other side of the field, Ray Rice will do his best to dominate the 49ers defense. Rice is a force to be reckoned with running or catching passes out of the backfield. The X factor in this game will be the play of Joe Flacco. Through the first part of the season, Flacco has had games where he looked brilliant and then other weeks we are begging for him to take a seat on the bench. From week to week we never know which Joe Flacco we are going to see.

The thing that makes this game extra interesting is that the coaches of both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens are in fact family. Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh are brothers and grew up together. Jim Harbaugh coaches the San Francisco 49ers. John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens. The Harbaugh brothers actually shared a room for 18 years of their lives. To say that the two opposing coaches know each other well would be a huge understatement.  We have a rare opportunity in the NFL to see two brothers compete head to head against one another. Moreover, the scenario is even rarer since both brothers are not only head coaches but head coaches of potentially good playoff contending teams. This family feud game should be at the top of the list of any football fan’s schedule.

The second game which will be better than watching an Air Force Thunderbirds air show is the Green Bay Packers versus the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson is one of the best quarterback-receiver duos in football. The Detroit Lions should put up some points early and often as they come out of the gate throwing. Kevin Smith will once again be starting at running back but the Packers present a much stronger run defense than the Panthers did the previous week. Do not expect a repeat of the rushing and recieving numbers Kevin Smith was able to put up last week. I used to think the, “Bad Boys of Detroit”, only existed on the NBA Basketball court. I was sadly mistaken as the Detroit Lions have gone from a laughing stock of an NFL Football team to a team that plays, “Hit the opponent in the mouth” style of football. Ndamukong Suh leads the Detroit defense into battle and the Lions have a fierce pass rush. The Detroit Lions Defense is truly scary at times on the field as they can dominate an offensive line at will.

However, for all that Detroit can do on the defensive side of the ball; the Green Bay Packers can do the same on the offensive side of the ball. The Green Bay Packers are packed with talent at just about every positon. However, the most impressive player on the Green Bay Packers roster is Aaron Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers is a like a painter creating a masterpiece when he is orchestrating the offense. Rodgers spreads the ball around to whichever of the many Green Bay Packers weapons are open. Rodgers can throw from the pocket or on the run, can scramble, and make every deep throw possible. No quarterback is playing better than Aaron Rodgers is right now. As long as Aaron Rodgers continues his streak of playing at the high level he has been playing each week, the Packers win.

The game that I am least excited about is the Dallas Cowboys playing against the hapless Miami Dolphins. I believe this will be similar to a high school or college home coming game. In college or high school, a team schedules an opposing team on their schedule they know they can beat. Dallas should have no problem putting a smack down on the Miami Dolphins who barely have any semblance of a real NFL offense. Reggie Bush running the ball and Matt Moore throwing the ball is far from a consistent winning formula.

Tony Romo has been playing stellar football the last three weeks. The only criticism anyone can make of Romo at this point is, “Where was this Tony Romo in the beginning of the season?” The Dallas Cowboys now have a real running back in Demarco Murray. Murray is a much improved option as an every down back over Felix Jones. Felix Jones is clearly better suited to a change of pace kind of role in the Dallas cowboys offense. With Felix Jones and Demarco Murray complimenting each other Dallas will finally have the ground game, fans have come to know and love. I am expecting a blowout by Dallas in this game. The game should be over by Halftime and will allow football fans to get a nap before the evening game.

Thanksgiving is definitely a dream day for any football fan. We have good food and great football games all day. Christmas is definitely coming a little bit early this year as today should have some memorable games that we can talk about for the next few weeks. Everyone enjoy the day. Eat well, drink your favorite drink and be merry all day long. Have a great Thursday and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Sports News: Celebration and Disbelief

Well since Tuesday of this week as the sports world turns so do new stories always seem to pop up. One of the most significant stories in sports right is that the Duke Blue Devils Coach Mike Krzyzewski, reached the accomplishment of 903 wins. 903 wins gives Coach K, as some call him, the most wins in NCAA basketball history. Coach K passed Bobby Knight who had 902 wins and held the record for many years. Everyone thought it would be nearly impossible to exceed 902 wins. Coach K has in fact done the impossible and not only passed 902 wins but also will keep adding to his total. For 37 years Coach K developed the Duke Blue Devils basketball team into a winning program. Coach K has become an icon on the Duke Campus. The Duke Basketball program just will not be the same, once Mike Kryzewski does finally decide to retire. Thankfully, it looks like that day is far away and we will get to see Coach K orchestrate some more victories and maybe win some more NCAA Basketball championships. Even if some of my readers are not Duke Blue Devils fans, anyone has to appreciate what Coach K has done and brings to each NCAA college basketball game he coaches.

Back on the NFL front we have more Tim Tebow news. This week the coach of the Denver Broncos, John Fox, slammed Tebow.  John Fox stated, “Do whatever the hell it takes,” he laughed. “I mean what the hell? You don’t get points for style in this league. Let me tell you something: My man is really good in this offense. You know what I mean? If we were trying to run a regular offense, he’d be screwed.” Wow John, way to support your starting quarterback there buddy! Coach Fox should have just said “Tim Tebow is not a real NFL quarterback. He should have quit after college, but since I am forced to play him, I will run a college offense because this guy cannot even begin to be good enough to run a real NFL offense.” However, Coach Fox was not the only one that wanted to take shots at Tebow this week. Darelle Revis of the New York Jets, whom the Denver Broncos play this week, had something to say too. Darelle Revis said, “We can’t fall asleep back there in the secondary,” Revis said. “It can get boring, especially when a team just keeps running the ball, series after series, play after play.” I guess I can see where Revis is coming from. Revis is a cover guy and what’s the point of being a great cover corner if the majority of plays called are run plays. On the other hand, Darelle Revis is supposed to be a professional. No matter what offense the other team is running, Revis should be prepared to defend against any offensive scheme. Darelle Revis needs to let his play do the talking.

In other quick hits, I cannot understand why teams keep kicking to Devin Hester, the kick returner for the Chicgo Bears. On Sunday, Hester returned another kick back to the opposing teams endzone. This time the victim was the Detroit Lions who decided that this would be a good move. The young Detroit Lions learned why every ball should be kicked to the opposite side of the field Devin Hester is on. Devin Hester returned the kick for 82 yards, proving he is the best return man in NFL history.  I am excited about quite a few games this weekend but one team I have lost  all excitement to watch is the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are playing at such a high level that the majority of the teams do not stand any chance of winning. This week will be no different as the game against theTampa Bay Buccaneers will be over by halftime. Just an everyday occurrence in Packer nation, they win, the other team loses, enough said. The NBA lockout is still in effect, games have been cancelled all the way up to December 15 so far. It is still looking like there is no end in sight to the lockout. In addition, there is a good chance the games on Christmas day are going to be cancelled too.  I guess the only way people might see some NBA action this year is if they go out and buy NBA 2k12 and play the games on the favorite video game system. At least on the video game, a lockout is not an option and the games always are played on time.

That is all the news I have for this week. I am geared up for another great weekend in sports and some great NFL games on Thanksgiving Day. The second half of the NFL football season is in full swing. We can finally see which teams are real contenders and which ones are pretenders. The holiday season is here; let the surprises begin

NFL Week 8: Costumes and Uniforms

Yesterday was Halloween and that means that Week 8 is in the books. Halloween is the time of year where things become rather strange and this week was definitely on the strange side. Teams that were predicted to lose, instead ended up winning. Teams that should have claimed victory rolled over and played dead. Some teams are even seeing a resurrection and have gained new life and focus.

Today I am going to play costume or uniform with my readers. Costume or uniform deals with how certain teams are playing so far this season. Does a team have a uniform on and playing up to their potential or is a team simply wearing a costume and fooling everyone.

Let’s get started with the teams who are wearing costumes:

1: Dallas Cowboys

2: Tennessee Titans

3: Washington Redskins

4: Philadelphia Eagles

5: San Diego Chargers

6: Kansas City Chiefs

7:New England Patriots

8: New York Giants

9: New York Jets

10: Atlanta Falcons

11: Chicago Bears

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. Oakland Raiders

This is a pretty good amount of teams that are not really who we think they are. Dallas tops the list and  is what I call a yo-yo team. Every week we never know if Dallas is going to wow us or just fail all together. The Cowboys continue to make some great plays and then make some horrible decisions. Some people still believe that Dallas can make the playoffs. This scenario is not likely this year. I can hear Jim Mora saying, ” Playoffs? Playoffs???……”, we all know the rest of the famous rant. Cowboys are going to need a great deal of luck to turn this season around.

The Washington Redskins have been playing better this year. The Redskins have a decent running game, led by whoever is Shannahan’s favorite back of the week. Similarly, Washington does not have an identity at quarterback. Neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is an exceptional NFL quarterback. The Washington Redskins started out on fire at 3-0 and now the team is 3-4 after four straight losses. Washington had us fooled at the beginning of the season but now we see their true colors shining through. On the bright side next year’s NFL draft is fast approaching.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed here because they have been showing us signs of greatness and signs of a bad team all season. The Eagles won their first game of the season and then proceeded to lose the next four games. Now Philadelphia has won two straight games and things are once again looking up. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like the fabled, “Dream Team”, in their win over the Dallas Cowboys. A part of me wonders if this team is similar to the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat, that they will have major ups and downs all season and then find some way to make it to the playoffs. If the Eagles can obtain a spot in the playoffs they will definitely be one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run.

The New England Patriots are on this list because of their defense. The Patriots can score with anybody in the league but their defense is lacking in a big way. The Patriots are ranked 32 out of 32 teams in the NFL in defense. The Patriots are similar to many college teams which run the spread offense and depend on outscoring opponents to win games. This theory is great but it hardly ever works against the elite teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots will make the playoffs but unless the defensive issues of the team are fixed, they will be knocked out early.

The last team I will talk about out of this list is going to be the New York Jets. The Jets for the last two years have found a way to make it to the AFC championship game. This year looks like a year that we will see a new team in the AFC championship team besides the Jets. The running game from last years is not as dominant. The defense is giving up more yards each game than the last two years. Mark Sanchez or “The Sanchize” is only improving his acting and modeling skills off the field. Sanchez’s quarterbacking skills have not made the leap they should have made coming into this year. The Jets are talking big talk but I do not believe they can walk the walk.

Flipping to the other side of the NFL football spectrum we see the teams who are playing up to their potential. These teams are wearing the uniform of an NFL team and deserve to have the record they have accumalated over the first few weeks.

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Buffalo Bills

6. Detroit Lions

7. Houston Texans

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. San Francisco 49ers

10 Carolina Panthers

I know some of my readers are thinking, why are the Carolina Panthers on this list? The reason the Carolina Panthers make the list is because they have been playing competitive all season long. From the first week until now, the Panthers have been surprising everyone, due to the play of Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have established an identity for themselves and each week the team is becoming better. The Panthers have not won many games but they are very close to winning just about every game. Last year each Carolina Panthers game was a blowout, this year there have been no blowouts. Give it a couple of years and the Panthers will make a return to the playoffs.

I have written about the Detroit Lions before. I claimed that the Detroit Lions are a good team and they have not dissapointed me yet. I knew they would lose at some point during the year but good NFL teams rebound after losses well and the Detroit Lions finally proved they could do that this past week. The Detroit Lions have turned things around for the team this year. The Lions used to be the team that every team knew they could beat. Now the Detroit Lions, Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense and Ndamukong Suh on defense, are a team contending for a playoff spot. The Lions will continue to be turnaround story of the year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a shaky start this year going 2-2 in the first four games. The Steelers defense was playing horrible during that four game stretch. Experts and fans were calling the Pittsburgh Steelers old and washed up. Then the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love returned. The Steelers offense started being productive, their defense unit stepped up and started playing well. The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost another game since. At this rate the Steelers will reclaim their normal playoff spot.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been good and bad over the last few years. The Bengals came into the year with a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and an almost completely revamped defense. No one expected the Bengals to do much with all the changes the team was going through. The Bengals obviously believed they could be a good team and have proven it through the first part of the season. The Bengals are now 5-2 and looking like a team that is poised to make the playoffs this year. The Bengals are looking like a team that can potentially be a playoff team for quite a few years going forward. Maybe we might even see them bring out the Ickey Shuffle dance.

The last team that I will talk about in uniform is the San Francisco 49ers.  I have said it before and will say it again the 49ers are for real. San Francisco has always had a running game with Frank Gore as the primary back. Now Alex Smith has finally come around and started playing like a starting quarterback should. Smith is finally living up to his number one draft position after all of these years. The San Francisco 49ers defense has become an elite defensive unit. Jim Harbaugh should get coach of the year for molding the 49ers into a winning organization again. The SanFrancisco 49ers should easily win the division this year and make their first playoff appearance in years. The 49ers can be a playoff Dark Horse and play spoiler to some teams playoff hopes.

Well that is all for today. We will see as the season progresses which teams really are wearing a football player uniform and which teams are just wearing the costume. Some teams may even shed their costume for a uniform as the football season continues and vice versa. The playoffs are fast approaching it is time for time to put up or lie down and let the real teams play.

NFL Trade Deadline: Wheel’in and Deal’in Until the End

The trade deadline for the NFL has come and gone. In a year where not much was expected to happen by the trade deadline, a great deal of player movement has transpired. Some deals were made because the injury bug hit a few teams. Injuries have been more frequent this year due to the time every NFL team missed because of the NFL lockout. Many teams have lost players for the year and are now looking for some help. Tuesday was the last chance NFL teams would have to make those all important small or  huge blockbuster trades.

The biggest trade that was completed before the deadline was a deal made for Carson Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Palmer has been requesting a trade for some time now. The owner of the Bengals, Mike Brown, promised that he would never cave to someone wanting a trade. Brown stated that every player would have to play out of their contract. Mike Brown is known for being a man of his word, so the likelihood of the Bengals moving Carson Palmer before the trade deadline seemed unlikely. That was until the Raiders came calling with a deal the Bengals owner could not resist.

The Oakland Raiders lost Jason Campbell for the year and needed a quarterback. The Raiders gave up all future hope and are now taking the attitude, “Win Now or Bust.” The Raiders gave up a 1st round pick in 2012 and a 2nd round pick which can conditionally become a 1st round pick in 2013 if the Oakland Raiders win a playoff game. This is a high price to pay for a quarterback that has not particularly played well in recent years. Carson Palmer has not thrown for over 4000 yards since 2007 and has had numerous surgeries to different areas of his body. I am not sure Carson Palmer still has a 4000 yard season left in him. In addition, who really knows if Palmer’s body will hold up to the rigors of a football season after holding out and not playing during the pre-season or regular season until this point?

If Carson Palmer can survive the season I believe he is an upgrade over Jason Campbell at the quarterback position. Carson Palmer definitely has better arm strength and ability to stretch the field more than Jason Campbell. However, it remains to be seen how much the Raiders will use Carson Palmer to the fullest extent of his abilities. The Oakland Raiders are a run-heavy offense and lean on the shoulders of Darren McFadden more often than any other player. I do not foresee the Raiders balancing out their offensive play style anytime soon. After a few games we should be able to tell whether the Oakland Raiders really want the prolific 4000 yard Carson Palmer or whether they just want a game manager who will not make mistakes.

Another trade that took place before the deadline is the Denver Broncos traded Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams. Usually a team that is poised to start a new quarterback wants to have all of its weapons available to make that quarterback successful. The Denver Broncos have done the opposite and given away arguably their best player. The Rams gave up a 6th round pick that could become a 5th round pick if Lloyd catches 30 passes by the end of the year. The Denver Broncos have benched Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow has been named the starter.

All year the Broncos fans have been calling for Tim Tebow and now they have gotten their wish. However, by trading Lloyd are the Broncos looking towards the future or are they trying to set Tim Tebow up for failure. The controversy will continue each week as Tebow continues to pile up wins or losses. We will get a chance to see if he can survive without a true number one receiver to throw to. The St. Louis Rams acquire what they have been searching for, which is a number one receiver in Lloyd. However, the Rams are lacking in so many areas that even someone as talented as Brandon Lloyd may not make a significant difference in how many games the St. Louis Rams win. Controversy on both ends of this trade and only time will tell which team won and which team lost by completing this trade.

The last significant move before the trade deadline was the trade of Ronnie Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions were in dire need of a running back because Jahvid Best was suffering from concussion like symptoms after the game on Sunday. From all reports, the symptoms could actually be career ending for Best or he could play this upcoming Sunday. Obviously, the Detroit Lions did not want to take any chances, if their leading rusher had to miss a significant amount of time. Detroit traded Jerome Harrison and an undisclosed draft pick in 2013 to Philadelphia.

Ronnie Brown has reached that point in his career where he is beginning to team hop. Team hopping is when a player starts moving from team to team each year , hoping to rekindle their career. To me team hopping is the first step down to the road of football insignificance. If Brown does not prove he can still play in Detroit, this may be his last stop in his short career. Hopefully, for Detroit, Jahvid Best recovers and they only need Brown in a complimentary role and not as a workhorse. A timeshare between Ronnie Brown and Jahvid Best will put Detroit in the best position to be successful. Detroit can position Best as their home run hitter and Ronnie Brown could be that 1st and 2nd down back they have been looking for. If Detroit does have to rely on Brown to be the workhorse back , because Best has to miss some time, there are questions can he truly answer the call. Detroit could rejuvenate Ronnie Brown’s career or end it completely.

Tuesday reminds us that each NFL franchise is still a business and NFL teams are going to do what best helps their teams, regardless of what they say to the media. Mike Brown had to make the Carson Palmer deal at some point. The Broncos had to see what they have in Tebow after Kyle Orton failed to put together some wins. Moreover, the Lions could not afford to wait around to see if Jahvid Best would pass his concussion symptom test and be cleared to play. The time to make deals was Tuesday, it was now or never. Some teams could not afford to let the opportunity pass them by.

NFL Week 3: True Grit

Week three of the NFL is in the books and what a week of surprises it was. I will name this week officially, “True Grit Week.” This is the week that certain teams and players showed they have the ability to overcome impossible circumstances. The best part about this week is a great deal of the surprise performances came from unexpected teams or players. With that being said, let’s get on with looking at week three.

The first gritty performance of the week includes Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. I am used to writing about the pitfalls and disaster of performances Tony Romo is known for when his team needs him most. However, this week all anyone can say is Tony Romo is a true leader. Romo suffered fractured ribs and a punctured lung in the Dallas Cowboys week two victory over the 49ers. Tony Romo was not even able to sleep in a bed all week because of the pain and still played in this week’s game. Tony Romo was able to put the Dallas Cowboys in position to win the game and beat the Washington Redskins. Tony Romo did not throw a touchdown but he stayed in the game and setup Dan “It’s a Daily Thing” Bailey for 6 field goals. Bailey may have scored the points but none of this would have been possible without the play of Tony Romo. All this makes me think of is that if Tony Romo can play with fractured ribs and a punctured lung, what was Jay Cutler’s excuse for not playing in the NFC championship game last year? Leaders have to tough and resilient, some quarterbacks have it and some do not.

The second gritty performance of the week goes to the Buffalo Bills. Every year there is a team that everyone is rooting for because of what the team has gone through in previous years. The Buffalo Bills have not been a particularly good team since the days of Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and James Lofton. Back in those days we would see the Buffalo Bills not only make the playoffs but also make the Super Bowl multiple years. I am not going to say that this Bills team is in that class of greatness yet but they are taking the right steps. This week the Buffalo Bills were down 21-0 to the New England Patriots at Halftime. During Halftime the Bills must have had some, “Flutie Flakes” because they took the field as a completely different team. The Buffalo Bills offense started clicking, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler, and Fred Jackson. The Bills defense stepped up causing Tom Brady and the Patriots to turn the ball over four times. The Buffalo Bills ended up rallying from a 21-0 halftime deficit to win the game by a final score of 34-31. The Bills had lost to the New England Patriots on the last 15 meetings of the two teams. On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills finally were able to be on the winning side instead of the losing side for the first time in many years.

The third gritty performance of the week goes to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions are very similar to the Buffalo Bills in that the Lions have not been very good for many years. The difference is that the Detroit Lions have never had any success in the playoffs. Last year the Detroit Lions ended the 2010 season with a record of 6-10. The promising part of 2010 was the Lions ended the season with four victories. The victories have continued into the 2011 season and this week would be no different. However the Detroit Lions did start Sunday’s game with an exceptionally bad start. The Lions were down 20-0 by halftime to the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions looked like they had reverted to some old habits. As the Lions came out in the third quarter, no one could have predicted the Lions would mount a comeback except maybe the Lions themselves. The Lions came out on fire and looked the part of a team who had won 10 games straight dating back to last year, including their four pre-season games. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson hooked up for 2 touchdowns during the game. The second touchdown tied the game up and put the game into overtime. Jason Hanson then completed the rally in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings with a field goal to make the final score 26-23. The Lions proved they have developed the resilience to find a way to win even against impossible odds.

Week three had a great deal of great performances by individual players and teams. These performances stood out above the rest. The 2011 NFL season has been full of unexpected twists and turns. Week four is on its way, we will see if these teams and players keep surprising us or will they revert to a version of their former selves.

The NFL Season Begins and The Predictions are Here!

Labor Day has passed and that means later this week the NFL season will finally start. Football fans can finally rejoice and be glad that NFL football will take up television time for the next seventeen weeks. Fantasy football fans can set their lineups for the first time. All is well in “Football Land” again and I am loving every minute of it! Today I will be making some bold predictions about the upcoming season.

Prediction # 1: The Dallas Cowboys will miss the playoffs.Dallas is officially the most over-hyped team in the NFL. I have been hearing for years from friends and fans alike Dallas is the favorite to win the Super Bowl. This year that could not be further from the truth. I am only seeing an 8-8 team maybe a 9-7 team here and I do not believe that record will be good enough to make the playoffs this year. Dallas has a rough schedule including playing the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles twice, the opportunities for victories are looking limited. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys would have to work some serious magic to win more games than nine. Maybe they need to go sign “Rudy” to a contract so they can be extra inspired.

Prediction # 2: The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the Super Bowl. The Eagles are looking like a Dream Team on paper and in Madden, but have not exactly played like one in reality. I understand that pre-season does not account for what can happen in the regular season. However,Philadelphia has not shown the team chemistry that is needed to win it all. The Eagles need to have more chemistry on offense and defense for the team to accomplish their goal. Right now the Philadelphia Eagles are like an expensive suit, I love the look but I am not sure I am buying it.

Prediction # 3: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is a master at bringing out the best out of players. I believe fearless Patriots leader will bring Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth back to prominence. Both players have talked about how happy they are now and how great the Patriot experience has been thus far. I believe both players will outperform all expectations. Ochocinco and Haynesworth will help the Patriots get over the hump. I see the Patriots with Brady raising the Lombardi Trophy over his head.

Prediction #4: Peyton Manning will be the Comeback Player of the Year. Manning will be out for a while nursing a neck injury. The injury has not quite yet healed as expected and Peyton Manning could miss a significant amount of time. When Manning once again takes the field again, he will come back with something to prove. Manning will come back in and set the league on fire with his first game and continue to play like the Manning of old the rest of the year. The moral of the story is never count Peyton out, or you will pay the consequences.

Prediction # 5: The Detroit Lions will make the playoffs. The Lions are looking great. The Detroit Lions defense is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL. The Lions Defense is a force to be reckoned with, anchored by Ndamukong Suh. When Nick Fairley can finally make his debut, Suh and Fairley together will bring some much needed pain to opposing quarterbacks. Moreover, if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy the Lions offensive production should take a leap forward. Stafford is a better quarterback than any of the other Lions quarterback options. With Matthew Stafford running the show the Detroit Lions season is looking bright. I can already hear the Lions roar starting up as they amass wins this year.

Prediction #6: The Jets will not make the AFC Championship game this year. My prediction for the AFC championship game is the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. I like the Jets but the Steelers still have the number one defense in the league and more playoff experience. The Patriots have the Tom Brady factor, which makes them Super Bowl contenders every year. In addition, seeing Brady will have another year under his belt with his current starters, his chemistry with the team will only increase. The additions of Chad OchoCinco and Haynesworth will be the pieces to make the Patriot puzzle complete.

Prediction # 7: The Atlanta Falcons will play the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game. I think this is the year that the Falcons step up and take the next step. The next step for the Falcons will be making it to the NFC Championship game. However, I am confident the Philadelphia Eagles will beat the Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons do not have enough defensive firepower to deal with Michael Vick. The Eagles will defeat the Falcons to make it to the Super Bowl. The Michael Vick saga will continue to give people good vibrations, granting him redemption.

I know that some readers may disagree with what my predictions but only time will tell if I am right or completely wrong. Either way the NFL season should be one to remember. With hardly any NFL training camps and off-season we will see which teams truly have team chemistry and a heart of a champion. Let’s get the games started, I am ready for kickoff.


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