Well the Super Bowl has come and gone. As expected by most of the experts and myself the Giants won but it was definitely not in the dominant manner most predicted. The New York Giants won 21-17 over the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the company put up quite a fight that went down to the last play. We will never know if the outcome would have been different if the Patriots had Rob Gronkowski at full strength and not the very limited role he played.
What we do know however is that Tom Brady needed some major help on the receiving end, and the answer was not Chad Ochocinco. Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez all dropped balls at crucial times that would of helped the Patriots maybe win the game. I am not sure if it was nerves or not but catches these players would normally make were all of a sudden being dropped all over the field.
It could have been the aftermath of the Tebow effect, as Tim Tebow was on the news more than the actual Super Bowl was during the weeks before the game. Especially the last week before the game I saw more airtime devoted to Tim Tebow than to what was going on with the Super Bowl. On the other hand, maybe it was the Peyton Manning Curse because they desecrated the stadium he built (figuratively speaking) by replacing his picture with that of the hated Tom Brady.
I am being facetious but I have heard all the stories and excuses as to why the Patriots loss. Tom Brady’s significant other put it plainly, “My husband cannot throw and catch the ball at the same time.” And so the finger pointing has begun from the fans, public and even some sports analysts, even though Tom Brady, Coach Belicheck, and owner Robert Kraft are all optimistic about next year and the direction the Patriots are moving.
And what is not to be excited about? The New England Patriots have two first round picks and two second round picks in this years upcoming NFL Draft. They have a largely young team with some up and coming stars. The Patriots also have one of the best quarterbacks in the league that took a team with the worst defense all the way to the Super Bowl in Tom Brady. The future is looking bright in Patriots Land.
On the other side of the field, we have the Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. No one at the beginning of the year picked the Giants to do anything significant at all. Matter of fact, most experts had claimed the Atlanta Falcons or the Philadelphia Eagles to be the team that had a chance to win the whole thing. Little did anyone know that Eli Manning would turn the corner from good quarterback to elite NFL quarterback during this NFL season. The running joke has become more true than ever that we cannot truly have Elite without Eli being included.
Eli Manning has had a dream season that was something like out of a movie. If we were in the theater watching this story with some popcorn, every person would have come out saying, “Wow that movie was great!” Even if a person is not a New York Giants fan, they have to recognize that the New York Giants did something very inspiring over this last NFL season.
I did not see one inspiring story from the New England Patriots side of the field other than that the players were playing for the owner’s wife who passed. That is a great cause for the players but it is hard for the public to really connect to. In addition, that story was a very small part of what was heard from the Patriots camp. Most of what I heard all week was jokes about Rob Gronkowski’s ankle.
That is wonderful to have a sense of humor but on the New York Giants side of the ball, I heard a story about Justin Tuck who wears a special wrist band from a child he befriended that dealt with cancer and eventually died from the disease. I, like every other fan, that saw the story looked to see if Justin Tuck had it on during the Super Bowl and true to his word it was on his wrist. That is the kind of story that touches the soul of people. Or I also saw a story about Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad who was blind and has never seen his son play, but listens and cheers for his son every game. The first game that Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad came to was the Super Bowl. They showed him at the game, enjoying the game and listening to the game.
If a person was not a Patriots fan, how could they not love what the New York Giants represented coming up to the game. The New York Giants had player stories that would connect with the hearts of many people who saw them and heard them. Even if someone did not really care if the Giants won or lost, people would connect with a certain player and want them to do well because of their story. I am sure some people as the game continued wanted the Giants to win not because they were fans but because of the connection that person had developed with a certain player, due to these different heart-touching stories.
I can safely say that this has been one of the most enjoyable NFL seasons in a long time. The ups and downs were frequent and it was a great to see some new teams rise up and challenge the veteran teams. The Detroit Lions, The San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and the Cincinnati Bengals all look to have bright futures ahead of them. Off season is officially here, let the excitement for next season begin today as we dream of another great season next year. Do not look at this as the end but only the beginning of another great year.
This weekend to most sports fan is the biggest weekend of the year. It is Super Bowl Weekend and all of the NFL fans have been waiting all year to see which teams would be the ones to overcome all the odds to land in the big game. This year we have the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. It must be the Northern air that has given both of these teams the will to persevere.
No one could have guessed that these would be the two teams left out of all the 32 NFL teams at the beginning of the year. That being said, no NFL football fan can be disappointed by the matchup. This is a game that some might even call the Heroes versus the Villains. I only say this because New England has developed a reputation of having such a swagger that it truly rubs many fans the wrong way. I have heard so many people say to me lately, “I want anyone to win other than the New England Patriots.” This makes New England the villain that people want to see taken down. What better team to accomplish the goal of stopping New England than the last team that beat them in the Super Bowl?
Is this really how most people see the upcoming Super Bowl Game??
In 2007, New England had gone 18-0 and needed one more game for a perfect season. Everybody saw the writing on the wall, and it was a foregone conclusion New England would not lose the Super Bowl. However, New England happened to play the New York Giants who had got one similar hot streak to this year’s playoff run. The Giants ended up doing the impossible and taking down their own giant in the unbeatable Patriots. The not so distant past.
Fast forward five years and we have a rematch, except this time no one is saying the Patriots is unbeatable. The majority of people are favoring the New York Giants in the game as no one has any faith in the New England Patriots very suspect defense. Fans and some experts are claiming that the Patriots will notch another loss this time around, and it will solidify Eli Manning’s legacy as an elite quarterback.
The game itself has everything a football fan could want; two potent offenses, an NFL elite defense, some rising stars and two of the best quarterbacks in the game– Tom Brady and Eli Manning. With two quarterbacks that surpassed the 5000 yard passing mark, we should see some amazing passes and catches. In addition, we can count on some great defensive plays, and of course as always some Belichick trickery. Bill Belichick definitely gets the Les Miles title of the Mad Hatter in the NFL.
The New England Patriots definitely have a high scoring offense that can put up points on any NFL team. However, the job of scoring will not be such an easy task against a New York Giants defense that is ranked #2 in the post season in total defense. Tom Brady will be under pressure all day from the New York Giants dominant front four which include Osi Umeniyora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Chris Canty or Dave Tollefson. Tom Brady will not have time to sit in the pocket all day and pick apart the defense has he has been able to in previous games. Brady will have to get the ball out of his hands quick or suffer the consequences.
Another significant point to take notice of is that Rob Gronkowski, aka “The Gronk” aka Tom Brady’s favorite target is dealing with a high ankle sprain. No matter how much rehab Rob Gronkowski does, he will not be 100 percent when he enters the game on Sunday. I am not saying that Tom Brady cannot adjust to Rob Gronkowski being injured. However, when you are used to having a very reliable option every week and then that option is suddenly very limited or not there at all, Tom Brady’s day will be much harder. It will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots deal with the New York Giants front four rush.
Can “The Gronk” recover in time for the big game on Sunday??
On the other side of the field, we have Eli Manning and the New York Giants. The Patriots do not have the same luxury as the New York Giants with having a dominant front four. The Patriots will have to employ a more conventional blitzing scheme which employs linebackers. Eli Manning was able to pick apart the San Francisco 49ers defense which has superior linebackers and a superior defensive line. I have no doubt that Eli Manning can do quite a bit of damage through the air to the Patriots defense. The only issue that the Giants face is trying to keep up with the Patriots scoring attack. If the game starts to get into a high scoring affair, the New York Giants may be in trouble. I am not sure if the Giants can keep up with the Patriots where defense is an afterthought.
As my readers know I would not leave without giving some sort of prediction. I am going to predict that the New York Giants defense will indeed be able to pressure Tom Brady enough to get him off his normal rhythm. The Giants will win to the score of 31-24 over the Patriots.
Well that is it boys and girls. The final game of the football season is on the horizon and soon we will have a Super Bowl Champion. We have had a great NFL season and even when it is all over we will be immediately thinking about the NFL Draft and next season. Enjoy the Big Game, have a great Super Bowl party or attend one, and I will see everyone on the other side.
By Michelle Zehr
Zehr is a contributing writer for Gold Star Games, a tailgating games company.
The year 2007 was a story of David and Goliath when it came to the Superbowl. The New England Patriots dominated the NFL with an 18-0 record. The Patriots appeared to be unstoppable and were looking to make history. On the other hand, the New York Giants were given very little credit. Vegas and the general public had written the Giants off. The Giants took the long, hard road to the Superbowl, which included a stop at Lambeau Field to take on Brett Favre and the Packers.
Then there was the Superbowl, the Giants put an end to the Patriots’ perfect season. With an amazing defense, an explosive offense and a receiving miracle that occurred when David Tyree caught the ball with the help of his helmet to set up a Plaxico touchdown pass.
Now, back to the present. The Patriots finished the season on top of the AFC. On the other hand, the New York Giants finished fourth in the NFC and had to win a tough road game versus San Francisco to make it to the Superbowl.
This has long been the opportunity Bill Bellcheck and the New England Patriots have been waiting for over the past five years. Bellcheck now has the chance to redeem himself from what was quite possibly the most devastating loss in Superbowl history and earn a fourth Superbowl ring for the New England Patriots’ franchise.
On the other hand, you have Eli Manning, who is looking to legitimize his career by receiving his second Superbowl ring, which would be one more than his big brother, Peyton, has. Manning has the chance to prove himself as an elite quarterback.
We have one team looking for redemption and other team looking to write their place in NFL history as one of the best teams in the past decade. This is bound to be a Superbowl for the ages, one that everyone (whether you like the Giants and/or Patriots or not) will be looking forward to.
Well the weekend was quite eventful. First and foremost the most important event that took place over the weekend was the death of an icon. Joe Paterno passed away this past weekend at the age of 85. Paterno was the head coach and the face ofPennStateUniversityfor many years. When people thought of PennState, they immediately thought of Joe Paterno.
The Penn State scandal that took place late last year and cost Joe Paterno his job was the beginning of the end. Before the scandal hit the news Joe Paterno had said he would still coach through the end of the season and beyond. Due to the Penn State scandal though, Joe Paterno lost the only job he had known for 45 years. I believe that even though Joe Paterno said he was dealing with it fine, that in truth, the whole situation crushed him.
After losing his head coaching position at Penn State, the reports started rolling in that Paterno was sick, dealing with lung cancer and other ailments. Before the Penn State scandal was public knowledge, we had no idea Joe Paterno was even sick at all. While no one can take away anything from what Joe Paterno accomplished in his time at PennState, I believe the loss of one of the things he loved most was too much for Paterno to handle. Ultimately, once the decision was final and Joe Paterno no longer had any Saturday games to prepare for, no kids to share his wisdom with, and no more college football victories to celebrate, Paterno lost the will to carry on any further. Truly this weekend was a sad end to the legacy of a great man.
College football was not the only football world shaken up this weekend though. We still had NFL Football Conference Championship games this weekend. The two games featured the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants. Both games lived up to the hype. Neither game was a blowout and both came down to the last few plays.
The first game of the weekend was AFC Championship game featuring Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens played a great game. Joe Flacco actually out played Tom Brady and showed why he is the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback. Joe Flacco threw for 306 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Tom Brady only threw for 239 yards and zero touchdowns. Joe Flacco made all the right throws other than a couple of throws here and there. One crucial throw that Joe Flacco missed was to Torrey Smith, where Smith was wide open downfield and Flacco just overthrew him. If Joe Flacco had hit Torrey Smith on that throw, Smith would have out run the New England Patriots defender for a touchdown.
Ray Rice did not have a particularly impressive game only rushing for 67 yards. The Patriots did a good job of keeping Ray Rice in check all day. Benjarvus Green-Ellis of the New England Patriots actually ran for more yards than Ray Rice by one yard and was able to score a touchdown as well. Even though Tom Brady did not throw for a touchdown, Brady did run for a touchdown by diving over a pile of defenders. Tom Brady showed that he had the heart and will to win with that dive.
The game ultimately came down to the last 30 seconds with the Patriots up 23-20. Joe Flacco threw what should have been the game winning pass to Lee Evans. As Lee Evans caught the pass and tried to secure the ball, the ball was knocked out by Sterling Moore. If we looked at the catch that Lee Evans had, we could debate whether he had the ball long enough to be declared a touchdown. However, since there was no call for it being a touchdown, the play was never reviewed. Then the Baltimore Ravens had one more chance to tie the game up and go to over time with a Billy Cundiff 32 yard field goal. Cundiff ran out on the field, lined up for the kick, and missed the field goal wide left. Any NFL kicker should be able to convert a 32 yard field goal and Cundiff missed it completely. If I was the Ravens I would be looking for a new kicker for next season.
The final game on Sunday was the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. The fans got exactly what they expected out of this game. This game was a down to the wire game where both defenses of the 49ers and Giants played their hearts out. Everyone was able to see how dominating the Giants defensive front can truly be. In addition, the 49ers linebacker corps showed why they are one of the best in the league. Patrick Willis and company caused Eli Manning havoc all day.
Alex Smith after having a great game last week had a pretty terrible game this past weekend. Smith threw for 196 yard and 2 touchdowns but watching smith play was not poetry in motion like it was against the New Orleans Saints. Vernon Davis made Alex Smith’s bad day be a passable quarterback performance as Davis made up for the majority of Alex Smith’s passing yards on just 3 catches for 112 yards. We were able to witness the difference between an elite quarterback and a good quarterback as Eli Manning played a great game. Eli Manning threw for 316 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in less than favorable weather conditions as the rain came down upon the field. Despite the play of Alex Smith, the 49ers were still able to keep up with the New York Giants. The two plays that gave the New York Giants the victory were two plays made by the same player.
Kyle Williams, the replacement for Ted Ginn Jr. because of an injury, was given the job of returning kicks. Two times during the game Williams made huge errors on kick returns. The first time happened during the second half where the ball was kicked to Williams on a punt and Williams was going to field the punt but then decided not to. However, when Williams decided not to field the punt the ball bounced off the leg of Kyle Williams and The New York Giants recovered the ball in great field position. The second incident was in overtime. Kyle Williams was returning a punt again and this time he had the ball stripped from his grasp on the return. These are two very crucial errors that probably do not happen if Tedd Ginn Jr. was on the field. The second fumble allowed the New York Giants to setup and kick the game winning field goal. My heart goes out to Kyle Williams because he was trying to do the right thing both times and just happened to make the two most costly mistakes of the game. Hopefully, Kyle Williams will be able to put this behind him and move on to do some wonderful things for the 49ers down the road. The final score ended up being 20-17 in favor of the New York Giants.
The Super Bowl is no set and looks like we will have a rematch of the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. We should see a great game as we see one of the top offenses in the league try to out smart one of the best defenses in the league and vice versa. I am ready to see if Eli can get that second ring or will Brady get his fourth ring. The battle should be one to remember. The final game of the season is looming closer. I am ready to see who will be the Super Bowl Champion but I am also sad the season will be over.
Well the weekend is almost here again and that means some great NFL conference Championship action is on the way. This weekend will determine who plays in the NFL Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots will meet for the AFC Championship game. TheSan Francisco49ers and New York Giants will meet for the NFC Championship game. The clash of four best teams in the NFL will begin on Saturday.
The first game this Sunday is between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best defenses in the NFL and the New England Patriots have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens ended the season ranked the number three defense in the NFL only allowing 288 yards per game to their opponents. In addition, the Ravens have limited opponents to score an average of 16.6 points in a game. The Ravens do not make it an easy task for opponents to put the ball in the end zone.
However, on the other side of the field, the New England Patriots are one of the highest scoring offenses in the NFL. The Patriots seem to have the ability to score at will and literally run up the score on whoever they play. The New England Patriots ended the regular season ranked the number two ranked offense in the NFL averaging 32.1 points a game. While I do not think that the Patriots can put up 32 points on the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots will definitely score a few times.
Tom Brady is a master at dissecting defenses and once he finds a team weakness, the game is over. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are nightmare matchups for anyone who tries to cover the prolific tight end duo. Gronkowski will find the end zone at least one time during the game and if “The Gronk” can find the end zone multiple times, we are sure to see the Patriots running out of the Super Bowl tunnel in February. The Baltimore Ravens cannot afford to let the New England tight ends dominate the game. Hopefully, the Baltimore Ravens can disguise their defensive coverage enough to prevent Tom Brady from taking advantage.
Ray Lewis and company have their work cut out for them. The one factor that the Baltimore Ravens have working in their favor, besides their defense, is they have a great running game. Ray Rice is arguably the best running back in the league running the ball and receiving out of the backfield. Rice is capable of taking over a game on his own and allowing the Ravens to run a ball control type of game. Ray Rice ran for 1,346 during the regular season, second most in the NFL. In addition, Ray Rice had an impressive 704 receiving yards. If the Baltimore Ravens can get Ray Rice going, they have a chance of limiting how much Tom Brady sees the field. The Ravens will have to control the clock and have a significantly greater time of possession than the Patriots to come out with the win. Unfortunately, I do not believe the Baltimore Ravens can accomplish this goal. The final score to the game between the Patriots-Ravens game will be 24-17 in favor of the Patriots.
The second game on Sunday is between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Joe Montana and Phil Simms will take the field… oh wait…we are 2012, not some throwback game. I had to reminisce for a second because it has been so long since we have seen these two teams play in a NFC Championship game. The San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants are almost mirror images of each other in the type of game that they would like to run each week. Both teams can run the ball and control the time of possession of the game. Both teams have great defenses that can strike fear into opponents and cause turnovers. Before last week, I would have said that the New York Giants have an advantage in the passing game.
However, after seeing Alex Smith play last week I am not sure who is the better quarterback. Eli Manning has proven it more times this season but Smith has played mistake-free football all season long. Alex Smith may not have put up the gaudy passing numbers but Smith gets the job done most weeks. Last week though Alex Smith threw for 299 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Alex Smith even showed that he had an additional dimension to his game by running for a touchdown as well. No one can knock Alex Smith anymore for just being a game manager, Smith can make the throws.
This game will come down to two very important factors. The team the runs the ball better and has less turnovers will win the game. On the running side of the ball, the New York Giants feature Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. The San Francisco 49ers feature Frank Gore, who every year proves, that he is over his injury plagued seasons. Gore is a fierce downhill runner that has the speed to break for a long score at any time. Gore was the number six running back in the league this year with 1,211 rushing yards. I like the New York Giants running game in the post season but hard to bet against Frank Gore in any game that he plays. The San Francisco 49ers have the edge in the running game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the front four of the New York Giants is one of the best in the league with Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck, and Chris Canty. With these four players rushing the offensive line in different formations, most teams will have a tough time having a productive day. The Giants can definitely bring the pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stop the run. The San Francisco 49ers on the other side of the field have Justin Smith along with linebackers Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. I love what the 49ers are doing on their defensive front but San Francisco still has a good way to go before their defense is on the same level as the New York Giants. That being said, the New York Giants have the edge on defense. In the end, the San Francisco 49ers will win the game due to the play of Frank Gore running the ball well and Alex Smith continuing to prove he deserved his number one draft status in 2005. The San Francisco 49ers will claim victory with a score of 34-31.
This is the final weekend before we reach the big game. It has been quite a long season but a great one. I cannot believe that we almost missed it because of a financial dispute between players and owners. Have to thank the players and owners one more time for getting it all worked out. Playoff action is in full effect and soon we will have our Super Bowl teams. All teams not only need to bring their “A” game but their “A+” game. Let the division champion be crowned.
This past weekend I made the mistake in my judgment of some NFL teams playing. I know that to make it to the NFL Super Bowl game and win the game, a team has to have heart. The team has to be able to overcome adversity and push through to make the clutch plays needed to win games. A team has to be able to overcome the odds and come out on top.
Due to my error in trying to find the teams with heart, I went 0-4 in all of my predictions this past weekend. I know that I cannot be perfect in my predictions but to get all of them wrong was very unusual. Then I realized I was putting too much confidence in teams that I thought would dig down deep inside to claim the victory in this past weekend’s playoff games.
The first game I will talk about is the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. I thought that the Denver Broncos would be able to run the ball on the Patriots last ranked NFL defense. I believed that the Denver Broncos could limit the amount of time Tom Brady was on the field. I even considered that the Denver Broncos might be able to slow down the New England Patriots passing game. Everything was in place for some Tebow Time revenge. Then it all fell apart as Tom Brady dismantled the Denver Broncos defense like a bad Lego imitation. The Denver Broncos who played inspired football most of the season, led by Tim Tebow, delivered a truly lackluster performance this weekend. Tom Brady passed for 363 yards and 6 touchdown passes, tying an NFL playoff record. Rob Gronkowski looked unstoppable as he caught 10 passes for 145 yard and three touchdowns. The game resembled what would take place if a top ten ranked college team took on a high school team. The Denver Broncos tried to put up a fight but were clearly outmatched. At one point the game was so out of hand Tom Brady even took over punting duties. The game ended with the New England Patriots winning 45-10 over the Denver Broncos.
The other game between two AFC teams was a closer a game as expected. The Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans took the field to battle it out. I considered that the Texans might be able to out play the Ravens. I figured Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and a great Texans Defense would be enough to take down Ray Lewis and company. However, I did not anticipate that the rookie T.J. Yates would not be able to muster even one touchdown against a Ravens defensive unit comprised of older veterans past their prime. I should have known that Ray Lewis would inspire the Ravens defensive unit to play some of their best ball of their careers.The Ravens gave up 132 yards on the ground to Arian Foster but the passing game of the Houston Texans was limited to 184 yards. Ed Reed and Ladarius Webb both grabbed interceptions in the 4th Quarter to dash all hope of a Texans comeback. On the other side of the field, Joe Flacco managed to throw two touchdowns and those two touchdowns plus two field goals sealed the fate of the Houston Texans with a score of 20-13 in favor of the Baltimore Ravens.
Switching to the NFC action, the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants met on Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers came into the game with a record of 15-1 during the regular season. Aaron Rodgers had one of the greatest seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers had everything in place to make it to another Super Bowl. The only problem was that the New York Giants were in the way, looking to deny the Green Bay Packers a chance at a repeat. The Giants accomplished their goal through making all the plays on offense and playing great defense. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers looked completely out of sync. Aaron Rodgers who had been averaging over 350 yards a game was reduced to less than 300 yards. The Giants defense sacked Aaron Rodgers 4 times and intercepted him once. On the other hand, Eli Manning had one of the best games of his season throwing for 330 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The New York Giants outplayed the Green Bay Packers in every facet of the game. The final score ended up being 37-20 in favor of the New York Giants.
The last game and the most exciting game of the weekend was the New Orleans Saints versus the San Francisco 49ers. I figured that the San Francisco 49ers defense would come to play and be able to hold the Saints to a lower scoring affair than normal. I believed that the 49ers would be able to hold the Saints for a few quarters but New Orleans would eventually pull away from the San Francisco scoring wise. I had no idea that the San Francisco 49ers would unleash their secret weapon, Alex Smith. All season long we never saw the 49ers allow Alex Smith the open up the passing game like this past weekend. Smith proved that he can make all the throws this weekend throwing for 299 passing yards and three touchdowns. Alex Smith also ran for one touchdown on the day. We knew that Drew Brees would come out throwing the ball and he did not disappoint either throwing for 462 yards and 4 touchdowns for the New Orleans Saints. The difference in the game was the amount of turnovers. The Saints had a total of 5 turnovers, including 2 interceptions by Drew Brees. The San Francisco 49ers played virtually mistake free football with only one turnover and Alex Smith threw no interceptions. The New Orleans Saints were still almost able to win the game but a last second touchdown from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis sealed the victory with a final score of 36-32 in favor of the 49ers.
We now have two NFL Division Championship games this weekend and the predictions and analysis will come later in the week. However, I am truly excited to see both games. The Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants should both provide us great football action. I only have one thing to say to all my readers, “Are you ready for some Division Championship football?”
The second week of the NFL playoffs are upon us and football mania continues. This means, yep you have guessed it, more projections for this weekend. I went three of four last week on projections for the playoffs. Let’s see how I do this weekend.
The first game of the weekend is the New Orleans Saints versus theSan Francisco49ers. I love this matchup actually because the 49ers defense has been one of the best all year long. On the flip side, the New Orleans Saints have one of the best, if not the best, offense in football. I am not expecting a blowout in this game, like I have, in the last few New Orleans Saints game. However, I do believe that the New Orleans Saints will win. Drew Brees is just playing on a completely different level than any other quarterback in the league right now. Brees is picking teams apart week in and week out and this week will be no different. Drew Brees will expose the holes in the 49ers defense and show why he holds the record for most passing yards in a season. The final score will be 38-24 in favor of the New Orleans Saints.
The second game on Saturday will feature none other than the Tebow Train. The Denver Broncos land in Foxboro Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. Common sense tells anyone to pick the Patriots over the Denver Broncos. What to expect from Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos each week just defies common sense altogether. Some weeks Tim Tebow does the impossible, other weeks the Broncos look like they are not even an NFL team. I am going to defy logic this week and pick the Broncos to win. I believe that the Tebow Time will happen and Tom Brady will not be able to explain it in the press conference after. Bill Belichick will be even at a greater loss for words. The final score will be 31-24 with the Denver Broncos advancing for another week.
The first game on Sunday will be the Baltimore Ravens versus the Houston Texans. This should be the closest game of the weekend. We have two great defenses that will clash on the football field, in Houston and Baltimore. The Ravens defense is made up of older veterans, while the Texans defense is much younger but still very tough. The battle of experience versus youth has always been one of the most exciting to watch.
In addition, we have two of the best running backs in football on both teams. The Baltimore Ravens feature Ray Rice who is a phenomenal talent running and catching the ball. The Houston Texans have Arian Foster who after being injured at the beginning of the season has returned to his former dominance in the running game. I do not expect a significant amount of passing yards in this game as the two ground games battle it out for supremacy. I believe the “X” factor will be the play of Joe Flacco though and if Flacco can play mistake free football. Flacco has had some good weeks but on other weeks he has some dismal performances at the quarterback position. Joe Flacco will not have a good game on Sunday due to the pass rush of the Texans defense. Demeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, and company will bring the pressure on Flacco and cause some turnovers. The Ravens will lose to the Texans in a defensive battle to the score of 27-14
The last game of the weekend will be New York Giants versus Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. I love that the New York Giants are playing some inspired football right now. The Giants are one of the hottest teams in the league and are overcoming all of the odds. However, the Green Bay Packers are the NFL elite this season. Aaron Rodgers may have not passed for as many yards as Drew Brees but Rodgers played mistake free football all season throwing 45 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. I am still not sure how the Green Bay Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs after watching them all season long. That being said, I believe the Green Bay Packers will play their best football this weekend and outscore the New York Giants. Victor Cruz will have a great game and make all the catches to make the Sportscenter highlights. Unfortunately, highlights do not always mean you win the game. The Green Bay Packers will end up with more points in the end as Aaron Rodgers throws to multiple receivers and runs one touchdown in himself. Rodgers will be doing his famous Championship Belt end zone celebration as the Packers beat the Giants 45-35.
This NFL season is drawing closer to the time when we will determine who is the best team in the World. The battles are becoming more intense in each week. It is time for teams to dig down deep and play their best football. This is the time that NFL teams have to leave everything on the field or be sent home packing. Let the elimination continue and the champions rise to the top.
This week in the NFL felt like there was a full moon out and about. Strange happenings were the norm all around the league. No one could have predicted all of what took place over the weekend, but that is why we love NFL football. We never know what will happen when we sit down to watch a game. Any given Sunday, any team can rise up and claim victory.
The most significant event of the weekend was the Green Bay Packers have finally lost a game. Most believed that Aaron Rodgers could will the Green Bay Packers to the win in any situation. However, the only way that Rodgers could be prevented from making this a true statement is if a team could keep Rodgers on the sideline. The Kansas City Chiefs worked that game plan to perfection. The Chiefs held the ball for 36 minutes as opposed to the Packers who only had the ball for 23 minutes. As a result Aaron Rodgers did not see the field a great deal and the Packers were limited in the amount of points they could score. The mighty Green Bay Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs to the score 19-14.
Speaking of the mighty falling, The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots took the field this past Sunday. If anyone had told me these two teams were playing at the beginning of the year, it would not have been one of the must-see games on television. However, since the emergence of Tim Tebow, the 4th quarter super-hero, I have been anticipating this game all week. The first two quarters, the Tebow-Mcgahee train was in full effect. Denver was playing like a team that could take down the New England Patriots. Then in the second half, Tom Brady took over and showed why he is a Super Bowl Champion quarterback. Brady was able to carve up the Denver Broncos secondary to the tune of 320 yards, and two touchdowns. In addition, the Denver Broncos turned the ball over three times in the second half, which led to New England amassing a 41-23 lead. New England did not allow any 4th quarter “Tim Tebow Time” heroics and when the game clock ran out, the Denver Broncos were finally on the losing end.
The strangeness does not end there though. The Indianapolis Colts were able to obtain their first win of the season versus the Tennessee Titans. The Titans did not look like the same team we have seen over the last few weeks. The Tennessee Titans had no balance on offense throughout the whole game. Chris Johnson reverted back to his earlier ways by only contributing 55 yards on 15 carries. Matt Hasselbeck was not even able to throw a touchdown. The Titans defense allowed Donald Brown to run for 161 yards and a touchdown on only 16 carries. The Tennessee Titans played awful and the Indianapolis Colts took advantage. The Colts are no longer the winless wonders of the league but they are still the front runners for the Luck Lottery.
The Baltimore Ravens ran into the Norv Turner Express. We knew at some point the San Diego Chargers would have a streak of good games and it looks like the Chargers have finally found their identity. Earlier in the year I am not sure who that other team was that took the field in San Diego Chargers uniforms but some days the team looked like they were in complete disarray. Now it seems that the Chargers have turned their fortune around as the Baltimore Ravens came to town. The Baltimore Ravens got a good ole’ fashioned beat down by the San Diego Chargers. Ray Rice barely exceeded 100 yards combined in rushing and receiving yards for the game with no touchdowns. Joe Flacco was able to throw a couple of touchdowns but to no avail. Ray Lewis and the famed Ravens defense were not able to contain the San Diego Chargers offense. Ryan Matthews was able to run for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Philip Rivers threw for 270 yards and a touchdown. The San Diego Chargers won the game with a score of 34-14.
The weekend did not put an end to strange things going on in the NFL. The Monday night game was riddled with power outages. The first power outage was before the game even started leading to a delay to the beginning of Monday Night Football. The second power outage came in the middle of the second quarter. The power outages were due to a blown transformer that was local to the area of the stadium. All the power outages gave new meaning to the name of the stadium being called Candlestick Park. Football by candlelight might have been a very interesting proposition had the stadium lights gone out a third time. Fortuanately for all involved the lights stayed on after the second power outage the game was able to be finished
The San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers played a game that was an all out defensive battle. Big Ben Roethlisberger decided to play with high ankle sprain injury and was ineffective in the game because of limited mobility. The 49ers did not fair much better on the offensive end but did manage to put up more points winning the game by a score of 20-3 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The highlight of the game was the San Francisco 49ers rookie defensive player Aldon Smith Recording 2 sacks during the game giving him a total of 13 sacks for the year. Aldon smith broke the record for sacks for a rookie for the 49ers franchise. Congratulations to Mr. smith for his stellar performance all year long. The 49ers defensive future is looking very bright.
James Harrison definitely tweeted the right thing to sum up the Pittsburgh Steelers game saying,” If I can’t play, then nobody can’t play, lights out!” Harrison was saying the quote in reference to the power outages but in reality the Steelers played like the lights never came on in the stadium. Monday was a fitting end to a week of strange occurrences all around the league. Christmas week is now upon us, it is a season of giving and receiving. By the end of this upcoming week we will see which teams will be generous and which teams will be the recipient of gifts. Let the Christmas exchange begin!
Two things that we know every week that will always happen is Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will win and Tim Tebow will lead the Denver Broncos in accomplishing the same. While Rodgers and the Packers usually dominate their opponent, Tebow and the Broncos always win in a dramatic come from behind fashion in the fourth quarter or come through in overtime. We know that the Green Bay Packers most likely destination is the Super Bowl game. The more interesting question to ask is how deep in the playoffs can the Denver Broncos actually go?
Improbable as it does sound, the Broncos could actually win out. It will not be an easy road for the Denver Broncos to achieve this goal but it could actually happen. The most significant test of the Denver Broncos comes this week when the red hot New England Patriots come to Mile High stadium. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Rob Gronkowski aka “The Gronk”, and company always come to play and put up a good amount of the points on the scoreboard. The Patriots are averaging 30.5 points a game and the majority of the Denver Broncos victories consist of low scoring games. The Denver Broncos truly have their work cut out for them if they plan to claim victory against the New England Patriots.
While anyone can look at the New England Patriots this year and say they have proven that they are one of the elite NFL teams. The last few weeks, since Tim Tebow has taken over, the Denver Broncos have played like an elite NFL team. Ask anyone at the beginning of the year who would win the matchup between the Broncos and Patriots, a great deal of people would have said the New England Patriots. However, ask the same question now and the answer is not so clear and definitive. People will actually have to think and consider that the Denver Broncos could actually pull off another miracle win.
In addition, if the Denver Broncos do actually win the game versus the New England Patriots and their last two games, against the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs, can that momentum carry them to the Super Bowl? It would definitely make for the most interesting Super Bowl in years if the game ends up containing the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos. Aaron Rodgers is definitely a likeable guy but Tebow Mania would definitely be in full effect all the way up to the day of the big game. The possibility could actually become a reality if the Denver Broncos can somehow keep stringing wins together.
While the majority of people may see it as unlikely that the Denver Broncos make it to the Super Bowl , the same was said about the Arizona Cardinals when Kurt Warner lead the Cardinals to the “Big Game”. The Denver Broncos will hope to accomplish the same goal. If the Denver Broncos not only make it to the Super Bowl but also win the whole thing it will be an even more inspiring story than the Green Bay Packers actually repeating as NFL champions and accomplishing an undefeated season.
Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos may not be the favorite to accomplish much this season. However, Tebow and the Broncos are proving that they do not need to be the favorite team to win. At the beginning of the season no one thought the Denver Broncos would be leading their division. However, that was before Tim Tebow and Tebow Time in every 4th quarter, since he took over at quarterback. The Denver Broncos players and all the Denver Broncos fans believe that Tebow Time can help their team reach new heights. Tebow Time may not be all the time but it is always on time and the right time.
Well it has been two weeks since the infamous Carson Palmer trade and no one is quite sure who Palmer is as quarterback. Palmer showed flashes of greatness and then flashes of why Bengals fans had begun to lose confidence in their former starting quarterback, the interceptions. Proving last week was no fluke Carson Palmer proceeded to throw three more interceptions this week. On the bright side, Carson Palmer also managed to rack up 332 yards and three touchdowns through the air as well. While it was not a complete disaster, I can already hear Raider Nation tweeting and dialing up Jason Campbell, and doing whatever they can, to get Campbell back on the field.
The most beloved player in the nation took the field again on Sunday. No I do not mean Tom Brady or Michael Vick, but Tim, “I will prove them wrong”, Tebow. After seeing Tebow play on Sunday I am thoroughly convinced that Tebow should switch positions to running back. It would fix all the controversy that Tim Tebow is facing. If Tebow was a running back, Denver could run a halfback pass, and no one would complain about his accuracy. Tim Tebow would be able to do what he does best, which is run the ball. I could see Tim Tebow breaking 1,000 yards in his first season, if he was purely a running back. In addition, Tim Tebow could change the old Bo Jackson, “Bo Knows” advertising campaign to “Tebow knows”.
Ok back to reality, Tim Tebow is still the quarterback of the Denver Broncos and was able to muster a mediocre passing effort at 10-21 for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Tebow managed to avoid throwing interceptions by scrambling for 118 yards. For all the bad that Tim Tebow represents at the quarterback position, Tebow has managed to win two games in his last three starts. Last time I checked, winning is the most important quality in the NFL. Tim Tebow may not win pretty, but he is winning. I know every fan, teammate, coach, and owner alike will take ugly wins over losing pretty any day.
Speaking of losing pretty, Tom Brady knows all about it. Let’s face it the New England Patriots can score with any NFL team. New England have one of the most prolific offenses in the league. Unfortunately, for the Patriots, they still have no real defensive presence. Some days the defense looks better than other days but in general the New England Patriots defense is far from good. In Sunday’s game, with 1:36 left on the game clock in the 4th quarter and up by three points, the Patriots could not stop the Giants from advancing on a game winning drive. The New England Patriots allowed the New York Giants to march down the field, ending in a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Jake Ballard. The touchdown pass came with only 15 seconds left on the game clock. The Patriots might want to call up Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison to come back. Maybe they can get Ty Law to stretch those old bones and join the team again. Whatever needs to be done, New England needs some help on defense, some serious help.
This NFL season never ceases to amaze me with all that happens every week. To think, if the NFL lockout did not end, we would have missed out on all this would have been a true tragedy. The ups and downs, all of the controversy is all what makes the NFL the most interesting sports league to watch. I have to thank the NFL owners and players for getting it worked out. Since we may not have an NBA season this year, I will take their catch phrase and say, “NFL Football, It’s fantastic!”
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.
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.