The decision has finally been made. There was no big television program to announce the decision. No charity benefit to immortalize the decision for years to come. Peyton Manning told the media and the media did the rest. Peyton Manning is going to sign with the Denver Broncos, after a little under two weeks of pondering. This weekend, Manning had narrowed it down to three teams, the San Francisco 49ers, The Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos.
Today, Peyton Manning only has one team that is on his mind and I will do my best to deliver why Peyton Manning chose the Denver Broncos over the other two NFL team options. I believe I have a good grasp on why a quarterback of Peyton Manning’s caliber would choose the least attractive option.
First, let us look at the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers seem to have it all. The San Francisco 49ers have a championship defense, a great running game lead by Frank Gore, a coach who loves to develop quarterbacks, and the team just signed recievers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Sounds like the San Francisco 49ers would have been a great place for Peyton Manning to go to right? The 49ers are a wonderful team and I have little doubt Peyton Manning could win a Super Bowl there.
One big issue with the San Francisco 49ers though that most people do not think about. Eli Manning plays in the NFC and I believe that Peyton Manning truly does not want to play in same conference as his brother. If I had a brother and we both played in the NFL I would also want to play in different conferences so there is a chance me and my brother could meet in the Super Bowl. The desire could be the same for the two Manning brothers and that could be one major reason neither wanted to play in the same NFL conference as the other brother. For this reason alone I believe it did not take Peyton Manning long to decide San Francisco would not be his new home.
Secondly, we can look at the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have one of the best running backs in the league in Chris Johnson, a go to receiver in Kenny Britt and a defense that was once the top-rated defense in the league last year. Add Peyton Manning and the Tennessee Titans could be a true force to be reckoned with. In addition, Peyton Manning played his college careeer as a Volunteer at the University of Tennessee. Manning never was able to win a NCAA Championship but Peyton Manning is still one of the most beloved figures in the state of Tennessee. If Peyton Manning had chosen the Titans as his home, there would be no shortage of NFL Fan or even just Tennessee Volunteer love for him.
The familiarity and the dedicated fan base may have been the reason that Peyton Manning decided not to go toTennessee. Peyton Manning seems like the kind of person that likes to prove himself. In Tennessee there is nothing to prove, people will automatically adore Manning wherever he decided to show up. That can be great for some people but to others it is not something that they desire.
This leaves the Denver Broncos and why Peyton Manning chose this specific team. The Denver Broncos have a good running game, a very good defense, and some average receivers. All these things aside, one major component had to influence Peyton Manning’s decision and that is John Elway. John Elway and Peyton Manning’s stories are similar in many different facets. Peyton Manning is trying to accomplish similar to what Elway accomplished at this point in his career. Peyton Manning has made it clear he wants to win another Super Bowl or even two. John Elway has painted the picture that with Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos will have an opportunity to accomplish that feat.
Moreover, The Denver Broncos believe that Peyton Manning can be their savior and have signed Manning to a 5-year 96 million dollar contract. With that kind of money invested in Peyton Manning, everyone knew Tebow Time would no longer be a Denver phenomenon. The New York Jets decided to give Tim Tebow a new home as big as his fan base. The Jets have committed to Mark Sanchez but if Sanchez does struggle Tebow might be called on to take over the starting position.
The courting of Peyton Manning is over. No one will know if Peyton Manning can truly deliver until He takes the field. We will not even know if Peyton Manning can take a hit until he does. We can still only try to make a prediction that Peyton Manning will be the Manning of old we know and love. If it is determined that Manning cannot play after all the hype, will the Denver Broncos be able to recover. The answer is invariably no. The Broncos better hope that Peyton Manning can overcome the odds; they are truly stacked against the new, “Golden Boy” of Denver.
Free agency for the NFL has started and the deals have started flying on the first day. A great deal of teams took advantage of free agency to make some major improvements to their perspective teams. Some moves were expected but no one could have foretold the final outcome after the dust settled.
To start off NFL Free Agency, Randy Moss was quick to find a new home. I had expected Moss to sign with the New Orleans Saints when the reports of an impressive workout surfaced and I considered how wonderful it would be for him to be paired with Drew Brees. Instead, Moss will be the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers. Moss only signed a one year deal but it could be all that he needs to reach the Super Bowl if the 49ers can pull together a run like the last NFL season.
Unfortunately, two problems may stop Randy Moss’s “Road to Glory”. The first problem is no one knows if Moss is motivated enough to actually play to his full potential. Moss has a tendency to play when he is motivated and take plays off when he does not think it is worth the effort. The second issue is Alex Smith is still the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. I like the way Alex Smith played last year but let’s be honest, Smith is no Tom Brady. In additon, Randy Moss depending on Alex Smith to get him the ball does not make me very excited. I am foreseeing another down year for Moss unless Alex Smith can find his inner Peyton Manning. Moss can make a quarterback look much better than he is; Alex Smith is just a very average quarterback.
An unexpected move that happened today was that Brandon Marshall was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Chicago Bears. The trade reunites Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. The Miami Dolphins received two third round picks and the Chicago Bears receive the go-to receiver they have been looking for. With Cutler playing much better as of late, Matt Forte running the ball and receiving out of the backfield, and Brandon Marshall hauling in receptions, Chicago should have a good chance to go far in the playoffs. Of course this relies on the fact that none of the Chicago Bears key players become injured and every player can stay out of off-the-field trouble.
Another player made some waves today by leaving his previous team for greener pastures is Vincent Jackson. Vincent Jackson has been a recipient of most of Phillip Rivers passes besides Antonio Gates over the last seven years. Vincent Jackson has signed a 5-year contract for 55.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This means that Jackson will be the primary receiving threat for Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback, Josh Freeman. I truly do not know what to make of Josh Freeman, because Freeman has never had a real number one receiver to go to. Jackson could be the catalyst to take Freeman’s passing attack to the next level. On the flip side, Vincent Jackson could expose Josh Freeman as just an average quarterback. Whichever outcome happens, one thing we can be sure of is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not afraid to make some major moves this free agency season.
Lastly, how can we talk about free agency and not mention the biggest deal? Calvin Johnson aka Megatron managed to ink a mega deal. The Detroit Lions signed Calvin Johnson to a 132 million, 8-year deal. The deal includes 60 million dollars guaranteed which trumps the Larry Fitzgerald deal which had 50 million guaranteed. Johnson is clearly the best receiver in the league and worth every penny of the deal. No other receiver in the league even comes close to Johnson’s production of almost 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Calvin Johnson is simply the best at his position.
Free agency has just begun and more deals are sure to come, especially as the NFL Draft looms closer. Like every season we will have some free agency winners and losers. A great deal of the time all it takes is the right player in the right season to change a team’s fortune. May the right and wrong free agency moves begin…
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!
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.
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.
We are fully into the bye weeks at this point in the NFL season. Now is the time where all the fantasy football players of the world start panicking. A fantasy football owner’s star player has to sit a week and they have no clue which player to start in place of their star. Fantasy owners are frantically looking over the waiver wire to try to find that player that will break out this season. Sometimes the player that lands in a fantasy owner’s weekly lineup is just some player they are hoping will score them some points. Today we will take a look at some waiver wire wonders that can help fantasy owners fill in a week or even better yet reach the playoffs.
I will start with Christian Ponder, the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder was a hot waiver wire pickup last week. However, Christian Ponder may still be available in quite a few leagues. A great deal of the time fantasy owners like to wait and see on rookie quarterbacks or backups. Ponder did a decent job running the offense and made some good throws. Christian Ponder was 13-32, 219 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ponder will not wow anyone with those statistics but for his first start, that’s a serviceable bye week filler at the quarterback position for sure. Christian Ponder will only become a better quarterback as he becomes more comfortable in the offensive scheme. This means that in the future we should see some much bigger games from Ponder and fewer mistakes.
The next player I would like to talk about is Demarco Murray, the running back for the Dallas Cowboys. No one could have predicted that Murray would play to the level he did on Sunday. I have said before that the Dallas Cowboys need to bench Felix Jones and let someone else carry the load. Murray definitely answered the call on Sunday. Demarco Murray rushed 25 times for 253 yards and one touchdown.Only Adrian Peterson had a better rookie debut at the running back position. After Sunday, if Murray is still available I would grab him now. I do not foresee Felix Jones re-claiming the starting job if Demarco Murray continues to perform at a high level. I know that the Dallas Cowboys played the St. Louis Rams who are far from an NFL elite team. However, If Murray can perform at half the level of his perfromance on Sunday on a weekly basis, I am sure the Dallas Cowboys will be elated in drafting the rookie. In addition, fantasy owners will be able to ride theMurray train into the playoffs.
Another player that fantasy owners need to take a look at is Jake Ballard. Jake Ballard is the starting tight end for the New York Giants. Ballard may not be Jimmy Graham or even Tony Gonzalez, but he is a decent option for the tight end spot. Jake Ballard scored a touchdown in weeks 4 and 5. Moreover, Ballard had season highs in week 6 with five receptions and 81 receiving yards. Jake Ballard has become one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets. Fantasy owners should take note and find a place for Ballard on their team. Jake Ballard could be a valuable number 1 tight end option or great bye week fill-in. Ballard is the real deal for the 2011 fantasy year.
The last addition to add to a budding fantasy team is the San Francisco 49ers defense. Every good fantasy owner knows the Baltimore Ravens Defense or the Pittsburgh Steelers defense as the best two defenses in the league usually. This year the Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough start to the year but seem to have righted the ship. Very few fantasy owners know or have thought about the 49ers defense as an elite defensive squad. If you are using standard scoring the 49ers have been consistent and the last two weeks the 49ers have really brought the pain. The 49ers defense only allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put up three points against them and then the very next week held the high-flying Detroit Lions offense to only 19 points. The 49ers defense is a great defense to lean on the rest of the year. If the 49ers can keep up the defensive intensity, fantasy owners may have found another elite defense to help them win the playoffs and maybe even win the championship.
These are some of the waiver wire additions that will help fantasy owners win some much needed games and rise to the top of the rankings. If these players are still on the waiver wire grab them because each one is just starting to blossom into real fantasy contributor. When these players reach their full potential, they could truly turn around a fantasy season. I would rather be on the receiving of the dividends end than the end that missed out.
Now, let us get down to someNFL news and business. Another week is in the books for the NFL season and once again we have some new revelations. This NFL season has been one of ups and downs. Many of the playoff teams from the previous year are very far from repeating that success. However, some teams that did not make the playoffs last year are proving all of the doubters wrong. A great deal of players changed teams and while some have made an impact, others have led their team down the road to missing the playoffs completely.
This week we have seen the end of a career of one of the most well known players. Donovan McNabb is officially done, whether he is benched or not next week. McNabb has no hope of recapturing any of his former glory. I keep thinking that Donovan McNabb will show us a glimpse of his former self and all he continues to show everyone is the shadow of his former self. The Minnesota Vikings need to go ahead and tell McNabb to pack his bags and put in Christian Ponder. Let the world see what the rookie has to offer. It cannot be worse that what McNabb has shown the last few weeks.
This week we also finally have to confirm that the San Francisco 49ers are for real. The 49ers have been under the radar and quietly been defeating opponents. Alex Smith has developed into an effective game manager and has barely made any mistakes this season. Smith is completing a career high of 63.3% of his passes, has thrown eight touchdown passes, and only two interceptions. Jim Harbaugh has not only helped Alex Smith to become a reliable quarterback but also has changed the whole identity of the 49ers team. The 49ers now play great defense, have a good running game and have a 5-1 record this year. This past Sunday the San Francisco 49ers handed the Detroit Lions their first loss of the season. The 49ers are finally looking like a playoff contender.
Some teams got back on track after significant losing streaks. The Eagles aka former, “Dream Team”, put together a 20-13 win against the Washington Redskins. We saw the Philadelphia Eagles secondary step up and play like a secondary built to dominate the playoffs. Rex Grossman was intercepted four times after playing so well the first few games of the year. Monday, the New York Jets were able to stop their descent out of playoff contention. The Jets played a pathetic Miami Dolphins team which had no playmakers or highlights to speak of. The Jets basically had a game that served as an extra bye week and still failed to put on an impressive performance. We will see if both of these teams can truly turn it around and reach the playoffs.
A great deal of things remained the same in the NFL. The Packers are the best team in NFL. The Cowboys still cannot figure out how to close out games. Baltimore is continuing to prove why they are one of the best teams in the AFC. We are beginning to see which teams are the real contenders and pretenders. This lockout year is definitely going to be one to remember.