Category:NFL
Posted on: September 14, 2010 5:05 pm
 

Week 1 Thoughts

The NFL is off and running. Week 1 had a lot of games come down to the wire. Here are some thoughts I had during Week 1 throughout the NFL.
- The Vikings and Brett Favre better realize this year's schedule is much more difficult than last year's. They can't treat the first four games like its preseason games for Favre like they did last year.
- I hope the NFL looks into why the referee overruled the Visanthe Shiancoe catch. The first ref called it a completion, but was overruled by a ref who appeared to have no angle on it. If it was called complete like it should have, it would not have been reversed.
- Thank you Cris Carter for supporting what I have been saying the past three years. Jason Garrett doesn't seem to know what he is doing and it looks like the Cowboys don't believe in his offense. Not calling a kneel is on him. Why is he not on the hot seat?
- That wasn't a hold at the end of the game...that was attempted murder. Is strangling covered in the rule book?
- Redskins fans should enjoy the Week 1 win, but remember, your defense is outscoring your offense.
- Albert Haynesworth is a disgusting joke  to say the least. How can any owner justify trading for him? He's not an American.
- It didn't even take 30 minutes before controversy hit the Bengals. Not a surprise by any means. Bengals looked like kittens.
- A win is a win, but the Dolphins and Bears have to feel like they're 0-1. 
- The Colts Bob Sanders has to have the saddest career. The Defensive Player of the Year has now missed more games than played.
- The Texans have finally made their mark. They still have a tough schedule, but they look like they're ready to dethrone the Colts.
- The most hyped player I ever have seen makes his debut in his college area. 2 carries for 2 yards. Nice debut Tim Tebow.
- Did anybody else hear the Giants crowd cheer for their ex punter? They chanted "Feagles, Feagles" after a blocked punt. Funny!
- Good win for the Steelers. The fans were excited when they woke up in overtime.
- Vince Young looks really good. Nice to see him mature. What happend to that QB he beat in college? What was his name again?
- I watched Stewart Bradley get up and stumble to the ground to walk off the field. When I saw him back on the field a few plays later, I was absolutely stunned. Did the Eagles want to see a player die on the field? Is there a fine for an obvious lapse in judgement?
- It didn't take long for the Eagles to boo Kevin Kolb. You see Donovan McNabb, the Eagles fans aren't racist, they're just stupid.
- Mike Williams is a feel good story about a young man who lost his way, matured, and has found himself again. Michael Vick is not a feel good story. He would still be murdering dogs right now if he wasn't caught. He looks good, but he will never win back certain fans.
- I wasn't surprised to hear the Cardinals tried to get Kurt Warner to come back. Thank you for not making a soap opera about it.
- If I hear a peep of smack talk from the Jets again, I'm going to laugh. Good job Rex Ryan for putting pressure on your second year QB Mark Sanchez who appears to be a long ways away from being a good NFL QB.
- To top it off, the Jets haven't learned from the past. Don't get Ray Lewis fired up. He actually lives up to the talk.
- The Jets kept on talking; quoth the Raven "Nevermore".
- The Chiefs look like early winners in the 2010 draft. They have explosiveness like no other team. Now all they have to do is sustain a drive.
- There is a line between being a competitor and being a crybaby. Chargers QB Phillip Rivers was being a crybaby. The QB is supposed to be the leader of the offense. Pointing at your teammates and crying like a baby is not being a leader. It was embarrassing to watch.

Posted on: September 6, 2010 8:23 pm
 

Bold NFL Predictions for 2010

Here are my bold NFL predictions for the 2010 season.

 NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys- 10-6- An old offensive line with a bad offensive coordinator aren’t a good mix, but talent will prevail in the end. Talent can only take you so far, however.

New York Giants- 10-6- The young receivers step it up another notch and Eli has his best year yet. Could this be another wild card run?

Washington Redskins- 9-7- McNabb gets back at Philly twice, but it won’t be enough to get the Redskins a playoff berth. Redskins will look back at a few plays and wonder what could have been.

Philadelphia Eagles- 9-7- A winning record isn’t enough for Kolb’s first season as starter. Kolb starts to feel McNabb’s pain with the Philly fans as cries for Vick become a distraction.

 

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans Saints- 12-4- The Saints offense is again too much for the rest of the division. After being the first in the odd trend last year (first team to lose last three games and win a super bowl), they seem to want to make it a tradition.

Atlanta Falcons- 11-5- Young QB Ryan shows leadership skills as he leads the Falcons to the playoffs in a late run.  Ryan, Turner, and White give Falcons fans security that they will be a playoff team for years to come.

Carolina Panthers- 7-9- Matt Moore cools off during offseason and struggles throughout. The running game just isn’t enough to overcome a weak WR core.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 3-13- The record seem to be a justification of how well the young Bucs will play. The step back will seem like a step forward to many as the Bucs look to be on the verge of breaking through next year.

 

NFC NORTH

Green Bay Packers- 12-4- The Packers run away with the division and the talk of Aaron Rodgers being the best Packers QB ever is the big topic at the end of the year. Will the talk interfere with playoff aspirations?

Minnesota Vikings- 8-8- The Vikings realize that last year’s start may have been a fluke as this year’s schedule is much tougher. There won’t be any room for Favre to ease into his QB role this year. Coach Childress becomes another infamous stat of Favre’s; Third consecutive coach to get fired with Favre’s exit who finally retires.

Chicago Bears- 6-10- The Bears have glimpses of breaking through, but lack of leadership keeps the team buried below .500. Bad end of season gets Coach Lovie Smith the pink slip.

Detroit Lions- 2-14- Injuries and a tough schedule keep the Lions from progressing. Detroit loses leads in a lot games as they find out they don’t have a “closer” for a RB. The weak defense gives up big costly plays again.

 

NFC WEST

San Francisco 49ers- 11-5- The 49ers dominate the division, but many are skeptical as their losses are against the better teams on their schedule. Will they prove the skeptics wrong?

Arizona Cardinals- 6-10- Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t seem to be the same with all the changes. The running game seems to be the better part of the Cards of offense. The Cards get a spark from QB Max Hall at the end of the season.

Seattle Seahawks- 3-13- The record will enrage Seahawks faithful and they’ll lay blame on the wrong man, Coach Pete Carroll. The team has little talent since super bowl and this year, everyone will finally realize it.

St. Louis Rams- 1-15- It won’t be a dramatic 1-15 season, the win will come early, but there will be a lot of improvement for years to come for the young Rams. Steven Jackson may be moved before the end of the season.

 

AFC EAST

New England Patriots- 12-4- The Patriots’ offense looks like the old Patriots offense now that QB Tom Brady has one year under his new knee. Laurence Maroney has his best season.

Miami Dolphins- 10-6- The Dolphins error-free football will not pay off with a playoff spot. The lack of another player stepping up to take the heat off of new addition Brandon Marshall will cost them the playoffs.

New York Jets- 10-6- The Jets improve their record from last year, but feel the pain of a new season as they fail to make the playoffs. The love for QB Mark Sanchez will be questioned by many New Yorkers as his mistakes prove costly this year.

Buffalo Bills- 4-12- RB CJ Spiller will challenge for the Rookie of the Year recognition by the end of the year. That will be the only bright spot for the Bills.

 

AFC SOUTH

Indianapolis Colts- 13-3- QB Peyton Manning is the true professional and will not allow his team to take a step back. The Colts will not lose a beat from Super Bowl loss.

Houston Texans- 11-5- The Texans finally prove the experts right who have been predicting them to make the playoffs the last three years. WR Jacoby Jones and RB Arian Foster will have big years that get the Texans over the top.

Tennessee Titans- 8-8- The Titans lack of WRs prove to be costly as Chris Johnson is shut down in key games.  There will be many questions for the Titans going into next year.

Jacksonville Jaguars- 2-14- RB Maurice Jones-Drew’s ‘minor’ knee surgery turns into major as he can’t get the job done by himself. Coach Del Rio will be another coach looking for a job.

 

 

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens- 12-4- The Ravens run away with their division, but have to play the entire season to clinch a bye week in the playoffs. The defense’s health will be the big question going into the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals- 10-6- The Bengals have a solid year and a couple of big wins will break the tie-breaker to get them in the playoffs. Will they be the dark horse of the playoffs like the Jets last year?

Pittsburgh Steelers- 7-9- The bad start and a rusty Ben Roethlisberger topped with a sloppy offensive line and a locker room with tension is a recipe of disaster for the Steelers. Steelers’ nation will wonder what will be the future of the Steelers for years to come.

Cleveland Browns- 5-11- The Browns band aids will not stop the bleeding. They may be able to pull out a couple of tough wins, but the playoffs are not in their future.

 

AFC WEST

San Diego Chargers- 12-4- The Chargers have no problem overcoming the loss of WR Vincent Jackson as rookie sensation RB Ryan Mathews has big year. Will the rookie get them past the hump in the playoffs?

Oakland-8-8- The Raiders defense keeps them in games, but the lack of offense will cost them games. QB Jason Campbell will manage  Raiders- games well, but doesn’t have the weapons to get it done late in games.

Kansas City Chiefs- 8-8- Nobody has talked about the Chiefs potential all offseason and the Chiefs will be hitting themselves after they let a few games slip out of their grasp. The Chiefs will shock a few teams.

Denver Broncos- 3-13- The Broncos look hopeless by their bye week. They traded away all their weapons and Coach Josh McDaniels may lose the locker room by end of season which may cost him his job.

 

PLAYOFFS

WILD CARD ROUND

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys defense proves too much for the Falcons and the Cowboys move on in a game that is secured late in the fourth quarter. Cowboys 23, Falcons 17.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers- The Giants show the green 49ers what the playoffs are all about and get revenge for a playoff loss in the 90’s. Giants 24, 49ers 10.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers- The tides turn for the Chargers as the Bengals miss a last minute field goal to tie the game, Chargers 27, Bengals 24.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots- The Patriots faithful begin questioning their faith as the Patriots get shocked at home again by the up and coming Texans. Texans, 30, Patriots 20.

 

DIVISIONAL ROUND

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints- Talk of the Cowboys becoming the first team to play at home in a Super Bowl is silenced in the Big Easy. The Cowboys defense does well, but it’s the offense, again, that is the disappointment. Saints 24, Cowboys 10.

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers- Unlike a few years ago, Aaron Rodgers leads the Packers against the Giants and doesn’t throw a game ending pick. Packers 31, Giants 20.

San Diego Chargers at Baltimore Ravens- The Chargers may have personnel changes, but things remain the same as their team looks at each other with blank stares. Who will be the man to blame this year? Ravens 31, Chargers 14.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts- The game of the year goes down to a field goal and Peyton Manning can shake his errors away. Colts 34, Texans 31.

 

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints- The experts think the Saints are lucky to avoid Lambeau Field his time of year, but so are the explosive Packers who out duel the Saints in a offensive show case. Packers 38, Saints 34.

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts- It’s a battle that is meant to be and Baltimore fans celebrate as they take down the evil Colts who left their city years ago. The Ravens stun the Colts in Indy with a solid run game led by Ray Rice. Ravens 31, Colts 24.

 

SUPER BOWL XLV

Baltimore Ravens versus Green Bay Packers at Cowboys Stadium

A great match up lives up to its expectations early, but the Packers pull away from the aging Ravens defense and prevail. Packers 31, Ravens 17. Aaron Rodgers is named MVP.

 

SEASON AWARDS

MVP- Aaron Rodgers- his running game will viewed as less and he’ll upset Peyton Manning in a close race.

Coach of the Year- John Harbaugh- The Ravens look to be a dominate team for a long time under Harbaugh’s leadership.

Rookie of the Year- Offense- CJ Spiller- Beats out Ryan Mathews who has slightly better numbers, but Spiller has no support.

Rookie of the Year- Defense- Nadomukong Suh- He won’t have many stats either, but teams will double team him all season. A DT hasn’t demanded this much respect since Warren Sapp.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 8, 2010 10:21 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 12:01 pm
 

2,000 Yard Rushers

There have been only six NFL running backs to eclipt the 2,000 yard mark rushing, and I will explain to you what I think is the best rushers to do so. It's not a career thing, it's a single season thing. These are the best 2,000 yard seasons in my opinion.
WARNING: This may offend you...Barry Sanders fans.
1. Terrell Davis, Denver Broncos, is the best 2,000 yard rusher I have ever seen and in my heart, is the best RB I have ever seen play the game. There was a great reason why John Elway didn't win a title until his last two seasons, and that reason was Terrell Davis. Davis punished defenders in every facet of the game. He would juke you and if the defender didn't buy the juke, he would bull doze his way through. Many will say that Mike Shanahan's zone blcoking scheme had many RBs gain over 1,000 yards, but the fact was Shanahan could never find another like Davis who destroyed opponents. Davis may not have had that flashy TD score, but he did what football die hards appreciate the most...he mad the trenches even more painful for defenses. Elway rarely had to deal with a long situation because it was a guarantee that Davis was going to win yards with just his effort.
2. Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams- Dickerson led a team with absolutely nothing to the playoffs and played in a close game, lost 10-7 to the NY Giants. He had Jeff Kemp for a QB and his leading WR had 34 catches for the entire season. Yet, Dickerson was able to earn over 2,000 yards. If there is any RB in the history of the NFL who had nothing, it was Eric Dickerson, and he shattered a record in the process. Dickerson did gain over 120 yards in the Rams defeat in the playoffs.
3. Jamal Lewis, Baltimore Ravens- Lewis came into the NFL and helped a bad offensive team win a super bowl. His 2,000 yard season didn't happen until a couple of years after the super bowl run. Everybody remembers that Trent Dilfer was the QB for the Ravens when they won a super bowl. What people refuse to remember is that Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright were the Ravens QBs during Jamal Lewis' phenomenal season over 2,000 yards. It did help playing the Browns twice during that season, but a division title is a division title. Lewis' only help was TE Todd Heap who led the team in receptions with 57 receptions. Who was their best WR? Travis Taylor. Need I say more?
4. OJ Simpson, Buffalo Bills- Simpson had his single season rushing yars records broken, but I think he is secure to never have his yards per game average broken. Simpson averaged 143 yards per game in his then NFL record season. He only played 14 games which was the standard in the NFL during his era. Dickerson broke his record but at fewer yards per game due to the elongated season. Simpson's Bills had a respectable 9-5 record, but back in his days, it wasn't good enough to make the playoffs. Simpson didn't have any help at all either when it came to receivers taking the pressure off the running back. The leading WR for the Bills had 30 receptions in his record year. OJ may be hated for reasons off the football field, understandably so, but the fact remains he was one of the best in the NFL at running the ball.
5. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans- Sanders fans have to be stewing by now, but let me make my last few points. Chris Johnson, the only player to rush for than 2,000 yards whose team didn't make the playoffs in the modern era, was the only focus of the Tennessee Titans. Johnson, like others on this list had no help. His biggest fault is that his team dedicated the end of their season to helping him get over 2,000 yards. Their goal was to break the record and they fell short. The Titans had the worst record out of all the 2,000 yard rushers, but when you look at their roster, it was of no surprise. What makes Johnson's season great is that he was only in his second season and he also shatter Marshal Faulk's single season record for total yards. What that means is that not only was Johnson a threat with the ball out of the backfield, he was a threat catching the ball as well. Johnson had to deal with a QB change as well as having nothing for WRs to take the pressure off of him.
6. Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions- In my opinion, Barry Sanders' 2,000 yard season was the least important out of all of the RBs who conquered the feat. Sanders proved that age was not a factor in the record as he was 29 years old when he gained over 2,000 yards. However, Sanders greatness during the season did not translate into the playoffs. His amazing 6.1 yards a carry was almost cut in half in the playoffs versus the Buccaneers, the same team he burnt during the season for 215 yards. 18 carries for 65 yards does not cut it for a 2,000 yard rusher, and I don't care who the defense is. People can argue that Sanders' QB was ineffective, Scott Mitchell- 79 QB rating, but he had studs for WRs, Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton. Moore had 104 receptions and Morton had 80.
Terrell Davis is the only RB to gain over 2,000 yards and win a super bowl. Many want to claim he was just part of a great system, but I think he was the the reason why the system became great. Part of the greatness for a running back is making every yard count. Every time the QB gives you the ball, make it count. Part of making it count is by reading holes and not losing yards that can easily change the flow of the drive. Davis exemplified making every yard count. He refused to lose yardage and when the QB gave him the ball, it would be at worst, a different down with the same amount of yardage to go. Maybe it's his very short career or even the hype of John Elway, Elway deserves the hype, but Davis is lost in  the argument for greatest RBs of all time. Obviously, a bad RB doesn't get 2,000 yards. It's an elite class of its own. In my opinion, Terrell Davis leads that elite class. My argument for him other than that will continue...
Posted on: August 1, 2010 10:09 am
 

The X Factors in the NFC

I will discuss what the 'X' factors are for each team in the NFC to have a successful season. Obviously, success is different for each team as I think just being competitive in each game will be a success for some teams. Playoffs are not in the cards for every team even though they are all 0-0 right now. I will have in-depth predictions before the season starts.  

 NFC EAST 

Dallas Cowboys- Jason Garrett- Garrett is probably the most overrated offensive coordinator in the NFL. His offense is often predictable (Ray Lewis said the Cowboys were the easiest team he has ever game planned against) and with all the weapons the Cowboys have had the past three years, they have only won one playoff game. The Cowboys couldn't even muster a touchdown, or even move the ball after the first quarter, in the embarrassing loss to Vikings last year. If that horrible offensive output didn't put Garrett on the hot seat this year, I'm not sure what would. This year, the talk is about how good the wide receivers are on the Cowboys and it will be up to Garrett to utilize those weapons. 

Philadelphia Eagles- LeSean McCoy- The biggest mistake the Eagles could make this year is putting too much pressure on Kevin Kolb. He already inherited a lot of pressure after the Eagles traded their franchise QB Donovan McNabb to division rival Redskins. Taking away that pressure will mean McCoy running well. McCoy has high expectations for him as the Eagles do not have depth at RB. He never broke 100 yards in a game last year and he will have to break the 100 yard mark several times this season if the Eagles want to succeed. His 4.1 average per carry will have to improve as well. Just like Kolb, McCoy is replacing a fan favorite, Brian Westbrook, who was a major reason for the Eagles success the last seven years.

 New York Giants-Defensive line- The G-men had one of the strangest seasons last year in which they started off 5-0 and finished their 8-8 season losing their last two games by a combined 85-16 score.  Eli Manning had his best year in the NFL last year and Steve Smith emerged as a legit number one receiver.  The biggest problem was their bread and butter that won them a super bowl three years ago, defensive line, had a bad year.  Can’t put all the blame on the defensive line last year, but if the Giants want to go back to their winning ways, it will start with the defensive line.

Washington Redskins- Devin Thomas / Malcom Kelly- Last year, the Redskins bored everyone to death with their offense, but the Redskins have some excitement this year bringing in Mike Shanahan as the new coach and trading for Donovan McNabb. McNabb has solid TEs in Fred Davis and Chris Cooley, but they’re lacking a second receiver to compliment the aging Santana Moss. In 2008, the Redskins believed they drafted possibly two possession receivers to compliment the short Moss (6’2” Thomas and 6’4” Kelly), but both have been disappointments. Davis worked out as he was a second rounder as well. For the ‘Skins to be successful in 2010, one of the two, perhaps both will have to step up and start producing.



NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears- Mike Martz- Martz has a lot of work to do. His first priority is to instill confidence in his QB, Jay Cutler, who had his worst year after publicly demanding a trade out of Denver. Cutler has to improve his attitude and become a better leader because the Bears success depends on him. The Bears were 1-9 last year when Cutler’s TD-INT ratio was equal or in favor of the INTs. That means they were 6-0 when Cutler threw more TDs than INTs. Martz’s second priority is finding the rookie phenom, Matt Forte, who had a bad sophomore slump. If Forte can go back to his ways as a rookie, that can only help Cutler out. Finally, Martz has to get production from his WRs. The WRs didn’t help Cutler’s QB rating last year as they dropped a lot of balls and some of those drops resulted in INTs. They have the speed, but somebody has to step up and be a go to guy that Cutler can depend on.

Detroit Lions- Matthew Stafford- There are a lot of problems with the Lions, who infinitely improved with two wins last year (yeah, that was a cheap shot), but winning more games will start with Stafford. Stafford will have to manage the game better because turning the ball over won’t help a bad defense that already gives up a lot points. He has an elite receiver in Calvin Johnson to depend on and hopefully the newly acquired Nate Burleson will help as well. The Lions drafted Jahvid Best last year who will compete with Kevin Smith who a down year last year and may not be ready by the start of the season after tearing his ACL at the end of last year.  Stafford will have to make quick decisions as the offensive line will probably still be a problem.

Green Bay Packers- Dom Capers- the Packers have an explosive offense and improved throughout the season last year after Aaron Rodgers stopped holding on to the ball, but the Packers defense was inconsistent and at times, looked like a red carpet leading to the end zone. Capers installed his 3-4 defense last year so he needs to get the defense more consistent this season. Capers will have to find a replacement for Johnny Jolly who had a solid season last year, but was recently busted for an amazing amount of codeine.

Minnesota Vikings- Adrian Peterson- Yes, I’m going to beat a dead horse, but that dead horse will be beaten until it’s proven to be gone. That dead horse is Peterson’s fumbling issues. Peterson has to become the leader of the Vikings and a leader has to have the coach’s confidence. Right now, Coach Childress will cringe every time Peterson’s number is called in close games and nobody can blame him. I don’t consider Brett Favre a leader because Favre doesn’t attend OTAs and may not attend a full camp again. People claim his absence is okay with everybody, but that isn’t true with all his teammates. Everybody thought that was the case for the Packers and Jets and as soon as Favre and it wasn’t. Peterson has to be the leader on the field and the locker room as he is the Vikings future.


NFC SOUTH

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Defensive line- The Buccaneers continue to struggle on offense and this doesn’t look like it’s going to be any different. That means, once again, the defense will have to pick up the slack. The defense attempted to use something different from their famous Tampa-2 defense, but it didn’t work out at all. Coach Raheem Morris is bringing it back and that means he has to find the right players on the defensive line to put pressure on the QB. The Bucs drafted DT Gerald McCoy who will have a lot of pressure as a rookie as he will have to lead the line made up of unknowns. DE Stylez White led the team in sacks last year with only 6.5 sacks. That total will have to increase to make the Tampa-2 effective enough to win games.

Atlanta Falcons- Michael Turner- the Falcons had two consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history after last season, but that didn’t mean much without a playoff berth. After having a monster season in 2008, RB Michael Turner couldn’t get himself out of the training room last season and the Falcons were ineffective and sophomore QB Matt Ryan struggled. The Falcons need Turner to keep the pressure off of Ryan and that will mean staying healthy. The Falcons will have to manage Turner's carries (over 370 carries two seasons ago) better so they do not over use him.

Carolina Panthers- Matt Moore- the Panthers finished the season strong last year, 4-1 in their last five, after benching QB Jake Delhomme in favor of Moore. In those five games, Moore finished with a 98.5 QB rating throwing 8 TDs to 2 INTs. The Panthers have two great RBs, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who both finished with over 1,100 yards rushing, the first time a team has done that in the NFL. It will be up to Matt Moore to manage the game and hopefully he can build off of last season’s success. It will be a tougher job if WR Steve Smith isn’t ready by the start of the season. 

New Orleans Saints- Darren Sharper- the Super Bowl champs won’t have any worries on offense as long as Drew Brees is there, but there were some concerns with the defense last year. The defense made huge plays throughout the season and during Saints playoff run last year, including the pick six in the super bowl that put the game out of reach, and a huge part of those big plays was defensive leader, SS Darren Sharper. Sharper had micro-fracture knee surgery this past offseason and his health will be the key factor the Saints defense.


NFC WEST

San Francisco 49ers- Alex Smith- Alex Smith has to prove this year he was worth the first overall pick. This is a make or break season for Smith. He is in his sixth season and he has some very good talent around him with second year wide out Michael Crabtree, TE Vernon Davis who has the potential to be the best TE in the league and RB Frank Gore who can reel off 200 yards in any given game. The 49ers success will be in the hands of Smith. In past seasons, the 49ers have started multiple QBs, not because of injuries, but because of no production. If Smith can play consistently and manage the game, the 49ers can live up to their high expectations. They are the favorite to win the NFC West by many.

Arizona Cardinals- Matt Leinart- the Cardinals have lost their starting QB, Kurt Warner, to retirement, and now it’s time for Leinart to show what he is worth. Leinart will have higher expectations than other first time starters because he has been in the league for a while. He will probably be compared to Tony Romo’s first year as Romo didn’t start until mid-season of his fifth year. Leinart has had a few starts prior to this season with little to no success and that will have to change for the Cardinals to have success this year.

St. Louis Rams- Offensive line- Let’s be honest, the Rams don’t have much hope this year. They can, however, do some things that will be stepping stones to success in future seasons. One of those things is going to be protecting rookie first pick, Sam Bradford. Coach Spagnuolo will have to make sure he keeps Bradford out of obvious passing downs. Bradford had shoulder issues in college and missed most of last year’s college season. Bradford also has added pressure with a league record deal. Part of taking that pressure off will be feeding the beast in the backfield, RB Steven Jackson. Jackson had an outstanding year last year, considering his circumstances. The best thing for the Rams this year will be getting Bradford experience and building his confidence up. If Bradford shows progression this year, the season will be a success.

Seattle Seahawks- Matt Hasselbeck- in Hasselbeck’s best NFL season, the Seahawks went to the super bowl and lost. Since that 2005 season, Hasselbeck has completed only one full season and the Seahawks have not been competitive. The Seahawks are giving Coach Pete Carroll a second chance after he failed in New England years ago. Carroll had great success as USC head coach, but he left the school in probation for rules violations so his motive for joining the Seahawks is in question after Carroll repeatedly turned down NFL offers throughout the year. Carroll has shown no loyalty to his ex-USC players as he has cut a few of his former players. He will have to create an offense that will keep Hasselbeck healthy and that may be a tough task as there aren’t too many weapons on offense that will scare the defenses in the league. Hasselbeck will have to manage the game better than he has in the past and stay healthy for success in Seattle.
Posted on: March 25, 2010 7:59 am
Edited on: March 25, 2010 8:08 am
 

My Take On the New NFL Rules

Hidden beneath the overtime rule controversy, a few other rules have been passed. I don't see these rules as "game changers" like the overtime rule. In my opinion, there was no need for an overtime rule. The teams have four quarters to end the game. It's terrible watching the ultra conservative play during those four quarters that cause overtime. The new overtime rule won't change the worsening conservative play calling in the NFL, it will actually make it worse. In the early 2000's (2004 playoffs to be exact), the St. Louis Rams had one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Mike Martz had plenty of time left to score the game winning touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, but instead, opted to settle for the field goal to go to overtime. It was horrible to watch as a NFL fan. This new overtime rule will not change that new 'content' attitude in the NFL. It could actually make it much worse which could make the NFL unwatchable. Coaches weren't scared of the 'unfair' coin flip, and they certainly won't be afraid of going to overtime with the new change.

Here are some of the new rules passed yesterday:

During a field goal or extra point attempt, the defensive team can't position any player on the line directly across from the snapper. Previously, a player needed to have his helmet outside the snapper's shoulder pads.

This rule is pretty silly as I see it having no impact at all. It may suggest blocked kicks will no longer come from attacking the middle, but there will be slanting on the lines that will create a hole every now and then.

A dead ball personal foul on the final play of the second or fourth quarters will cause a 15-yard penalty on the second half or overtime kickoff. Previously in those situations, no penalty was enforced, although players subsequently could be fined by Goodell.

This is one of the new no-brainer rules. Even though it didn't seem to be a problem, it addresses a possible issue in the future. Just imagine a huge fight breaking out at the end of a heated game before going to an overtime period and nothing being done about it. If the overtime rule (old one) caused controversy, this scenario certainly would to.

If a punt returner makes a fair catch signal and muffs the ball, he is entitled to "reasonable opportunity" to catch the muff before it hits the ground without interference of the coverage team. The ball will be rewarded at the spot of the interference, but there will be no penalty yardage marked off.

This rule is intended to keep the punt returner safe from injuries, but it still wouldn't have prevented Dante Wesley, Panthers, from blatantly cheap shotting the Bucs Clifton Smith last year. It's always a terrible idea adding rules that are this subjective, "reasonable opportunity". I'm pretty sure if you talk to ten refs about their interpretation of this, you will get ten different responses.

When a ball strikes a videoboard (as one punt did last preseason at the new Cowboys Stadium), guide wire or sky cam, the play is whistled dead and replayed. The game clock is reset to when that play started.

Another no brainer. Where are all my friends who laughed at me when I told them a ball would never hit the scoreboard last season? *Crickets* Exactly. I'm still owed an avatar of Tony Romo for a month by you guessed it...a Steelers fan. He pulled a Houdini.

The replay judge will be allowed to initiate a review if he believes there was some sort of interference with the ball. This is the only case outside of the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters and overtime that the booth can order a replay. Coaches can also challenge whether there was interference with the ball.

These two statements do go well together. What if the replay judge doesn't see the ball get interfered with, but the coach does and has to challenge; then it happens again to the other team, but the review judge sees that one? If the coach has to use a challenge on an interfered ball, he should not lose a challenge. For example, a coach lost his first challenge and wins an interfered ball challenge. Regardless of winning the second challenge, he has zero challenges left for the game because a review judge missed the interference. Basically, a coach can get penalized for an incompetent review judge. You would think this would be addressed in this rule change. There has already been instances where reviews were not held in the final two minutes for controversial calls.

If the clock is stopped in the final minute of either half for a replay review, but would not have stopped without the review, officials will run off 10 seconds before resuming play. Either team could take a timeout to void the 10-second runoff.


This is a fair rule change. A wide receiver slides in for a catch with 30 seconds left and a review is held. The team has no time outs left and benefits from this stoppage of play. The call is upheld so they run 10 seconds off. Only fair way to do it. I would like to see someone argue this rule. Although, a deep ball would run more time off the clock.

Posted on: February 3, 2010 9:23 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2010 9:24 pm
 

Super Bowl XLIV Prediction

First, if my Cowboys can't make the big game, I really couldn't have thought of a better match up this year besides these two teams. You have, perhaps, the greatest QB of all time, Peyton Manning on the Colts going against the likable Drew Brees who has proved a lot of doubters wrong with his abilities since his major shoulder surgery four years ago.
You can't name any prima donnas on either team. Both teams have likable players on both sides of the ball. Reggie Wayne has followed Marvin Harrison's way by being one of the best WRs in the game every year and being quiet. The Saints' Marques Colston was one pick away from being Mr. Irrelevant. Both teams have RBs that don't mind sharing the ball. Both teams have players that are team first that work their butts off. I really can't think of anything to dislike about either team.
Indianapolis is no stranger to super bowls and New Orleans has hosted many super bowls, but this is the first super bowl for the Saints. The city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and lost the Saints for a year after the stadium was destroyed. Now, the Saints have united the citizens of New Orleans and has brought an excitement that has never been seen before. That says a lot for a city that hosts one of the biggest parties in the world, Mardis Gras.
The game will also have two teams that combined to be 26-0 in the first 14 weeks of the season. The worse thing about this super bowl is one team has to lose.
Now to my prediction. Dwight Freeney will attempt to play through the game, but will be limited to 10 snaps or less.
The Saints will be a little overwhelmed to start the game. Manning will lead the Colts down field on opening drive and get the Colts into the end zone to begin the game. Reggie Wayne will be more involved than he has throughout these playoffs and score a TD. The Saints will follow with a nervous looking three and out. The Colts will march down field, but the Saints will score a moral victory and hold them to a FG. The Saints will loosen up a bit, but fall short of the end zone and cut the score to 10-3 which will be the first quarter score.
The Colts will, again, be able to move the ball rather easy and Manning will get Addai a goal line score to make it 17-3. It will look like a blow out in the making, but Brees will calm his guys down and start taking advantage of a Freeney less Colts defense. The Saints will get the run game going to keep the defense guessing and will have another one of their methodical drives they have been known for all season. Brees will end the drive with a play action pass to Heath Evans. Colts 17, Saints 10. With the momentum swinging, the Colts will try to answer back, but will stall at mid field. The Saints will have a chance to tie with less than five minutes to go before half. They will score again, a strike to Lance Moore, but will score too quickly and leave almost two minutes for Manning to work his magic. Manning will lead the Colts down field again, but a tipped pass to Dallas Clark will result in an INT. No damage will be done as there will be little time left and the half will end 17-17.
The half time will feature the Who, as in who cares, but the lower middle aged crowd will start to cheer when they play the theme song to CSI. The main theme to half time will be "Oh yeah, I remember hearing that song".
People will be interested the first five seconds into the Tim Tebow commercial, but will lose interest around the seven second mark and will be begging for more funny commercials.
The seemingly never ending half time show will finally end and the football game will again play on.
The Siants will look cold again and stall early in their drive. The Colts get the ball back and will stall in FG range and take a 20-17 lead. Questions about the long half time will start being the main theme as the two teams will look stiff as they exchange possessions with no points. A good punt return by Reggie Bush will spark the Saints as they close the third with the ball and in scoring position. The Saints will score on a Pierre Thomas run and take a 24-20 lead. Manning will do what he's been doing all season and lead the Colts on a long drive spreading the ball all over the field. He will find Austin Collie in the back of the end zone to take the lead 27-24. With time not on their side, the Saints manage to get into field position. They will fail to convert a third and long and will be in easy FG range, but they will be upset because they will leave too much time on the clock. The Saints will tie it up, but the Colts will have the ball with 1:39 to go on their own 29 yard line. Manning will convert on their first quick third down and will get the Colts to the Saints thirty yard line. Matt Stover will come in and miss a 47 yard FG with time expiring. However, time never expired as Saints coach Sean Payton called a last second time out. Stover will nail the second 47 yard FG with no problem. Colts 30, Saints 27.
Peyton Manning will be named MVP and will solidify his supporters arguments as the best QB to play the game.
The time out call will be the big controversy of Super Bowl XLIV, but will quickly fade as the question will forever be, could the Colts have gone undefeated? 
Category: NFL
Posted on: February 1, 2010 9:17 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Team By Team MVP's

AFC EAST
Bills- Fred Jackson- He took advantage of Marshawn Lynch's two game suspension to start the year, but the Bills forgot about him in the middle of the season. If they kept with him, they may have won a couple of more games.
Dolphins- Chad Henne- If stats don't prove and their three game losing streak at the end of the season killed their playoff chances, but the fact is this was his first year and they were very competitive at the helm. He gives Dolphins fans hope next year.
Patriots- Wes Welker- He was the move the chains guy and it was obvious how important to the team he was in the playoffs. He had a huge season, 123 catches, and he missed two games.
Jets- Darrelle Revis- Best CB in the game. Played at an outstanding level throughout the entire season and didn't have a good offense to keep his team in game's like Charles Woodson.

AFC WEST
Broncos- Elvis Dumervil- Brandon Marshall looked to put training camp behind him, but then went back to his immature ways in the end. The nod goes to Elvis Dumervil who had 17 sacks on a very improved defense.
Chiefs- Jamaal Charles- The fans spoke loud and clear and clearly made the right call. Forget about Larry Johnson because Jamaal Charles was far better better last year. At 5.9 yards per carry, Charles probably should have started sooner.
Raiders- Nnamdi Asomugha- Still one of the best CBs on one of the worst teams. It's a shame he plays on such a bad owned team as he should be mentioned with Revis and Woodson, but his offense is just pathetic.
Chargers- Philip Rivers- He had another great year passing for the division winning Chargers. Their goals fell short with an upset loss, but he is good enough to get over it. Look at some other great QBs and they have had early heartbreaks as well.

AFC NORTH
Ravens- Ray Rice- Took advantage of his opportunities when Willis McGahee got hurt. Averaged 5.0 yards per carry on a team that doesn't have much of a passing game besides Joe Flacco's arm. Great future RB for the Ravens.
Bengals- Cedric Benson- Was the key to the Bengals success. 5-0 when he ran for 100 plus yards during the regular season. The passing game went down the drain late in the season.
Browns- Joshua Cribbs- Was the only thing that appeared living in Cleveland. The browns need to pay the man his money well earned.
Steelers- Troy Polamalu- MVP by subtraction. The curse of Madden's football game not only killed his season, but his teams. The Steelers went 4-1 with him and his three INTs and went 5-6 without him. The defense couldn't stop the worse teams without him.

AFC SOUTH
Texans- Andre Johnson- Matt Schaub is 1b as MVP with his best season, but I think his best season has more to do with Andre Johnson's dominance. I don't think anyone can stop him. Mark your calendars for the Johnson versus Revis battle next year.
Colts- Peyton Manning- A true no brainer. Looks like watching Michael Jordan NFL style. He could be the Coach of the Year as well.
Jaguars- Maurice Jones-Drew- Had another solid year for a team with not much of a passing game. Despite the disappointing season, MJD will be the main man for the Jaguars for years to come.
Titans- Vince Young- After having some mental issues, Young came back strong and was the inspirational story of the year. Has a better winning percentage than Peyton Manning. Only Tom Brady has a better winning percentage than Young among active QBs, and that includes the winningest QB of all time, Brett Favre.

NFC EAST
Cowboys- Miles Austin- Tony Romo is 1b, but without Austin having a break out year, it is hard to believe Romo would have had the same type of season. The Cowboys need to resign Austin as he seemed to be the only WR Romo was comfortable throwing to.
Giants- Steve Smith- Had a career year and was a big reason for the Giants success. Giants fans don't have much to appreciate besides Smith in their strange fall after starting 5-0. Eli Manning's foot injury didn't help.
Eagles- DeSean Jackson- The Eagles lost their previous MVP, Brian Westbrook, for most of the season, but Jackson picked up the explosiveness that was lost. He is the play making WR the Eagles have been looking for.
Redskins- London Fletcher- He is probably the most underrated player, perhaps, in league history. He gets the job done and gets no respect. The Redskins also have a great young player in Brian Orakpo.

NFC WEST
Cardinals- Kurt Warner- He will be a huge loss next season as Matt Leinart doesn't appear to be able to take over. If not one of the best all time, he has to be regarded as one of the best playoff QBs of all time for sure.
49ers- Patrick Willis- Is a great replacement for Ray Lewis, whose career is coming to an end, as the most exciting LB to watch in the league. Willis is a Lewis type player who can take over games on defense. The 49ers just need to find a QB to go with Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and Michael Crabtree. The offense has been holding the 49ers back from the playoffs with a lack of a QB.
Seahawks- David Hawthorne- The toughest team to pick a MVP and not because they were good. Hawthorne was in his second year and led his team in tackles and tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Seahawks have more work to do on offense.
Rams- Steven Jackson- His 2009 season may go down as one of the best forgotten seasons. He did so much with the least amount of talent. The work horse is a top five back in the NFL and is rarely mentioned. Doesn't get nearly enough credit for what he did.

NFC NORTH
Bears- Jay Cutler- Probably most controversial pick of all, and I'm definitely not a Cutler supporter. He is a baby. He probably has the most reason to be though. I watched a lot of Bears games and a lot of Cutler's INTs were the WRs fault in my opinion. He probably had one of the worst WRs in the league. His attitude does need to change, and will if he gets help at WR.
Lions- Calvin Johnson- Wins MVP by default for being most talented player on team. It's amazing the Lions have fans as they have been bad for quite some time. Hopefully, Matthew Stafford can improve next year. That will help Megatron's stats.
Packers- Aaron Rodgers- Had the best two years to start a career as a Packer and that says a lot with a franchise that had Bart Starr and Brett Favre. Rodgers made great improvements in the middle of the season and helped the Packers get to the playoffs. The Packers have another great QB that will have them competing year in and year out.
Vikings- Brett Favre- He had his best year in his long career at the age of 40. Played error free all season, but made another mistake in the playoffs that will hurt for a while. Proved a lot of nay sayers wrong during the season including myself.

NFC SOUTH
Falcons- Roddy White- Matt Ryan struggled his sophomore season and White's stats were down from a year ago. Their record went down with them. Tony Gonzalez had a great season, but didn't help the team's record. It didn't seem they went to White enough.
Panthers- Jonathan Stewart- Did a great job stepping in for the injured DeAngelo Williams who had a record setting season for the Panthers last year. The Panthers were 6-0 when Stewart carried the ball 15 or more times.
Saints- Drew Brees- One of the best QBs in the league all season. Even more important, he is the vocal team leader that is the ignition source for the Saints. Has the Saints in their first super bowl with a rather regular cast of receivers.
Buccaneers- Kellen Winslow- He didn't have the best stats out of all the TEs, but 77 catches for 884 yards on a terrible team is a lot. His work ethic on and off the field is something the Bucs hope the young players catch on to.
Category: NFL
Posted on: January 22, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2010 12:52 pm
 

Playoffs- Conference Championships

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
This is an interesting match up as karma could come back to haunt the Colts. In week 16, the Colts had a 15-10 lead in the third quarter over the Jets and pulled their players and lost the game. The fans were verry disgusted with the decision and rightfully so. The Jets would have been eliminated from the playoffs if they lost that game and are now just one win away from the Super Bowl.
Neither team can worry about the past. The Jets #1 defense against the Colts and Peyton Manning will be a fun chess match to watch. The Jets have Darrelle Revis, arguably the best cover corner in years, and it will be interesting how the Jets use him. Revis usually covers the #1 WR, but last week was used to cover different WRs in an upset victory over the Chargers. Revis was only thrown at four times last week and one was completed for a loss of four yards and he had one INT. The Jets could use him to cover Reggie Wayne, but Peyton Manning has a few other weapons in WRs Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. And of course, the great Dallas Clark.
On the other side of the ball, the Jets have a new found weapon, Shonn Greene. Greene has been big for the Jets this post season with two great games. It will be important for him and Thomas Jones to get the run game going and moving moving the chains so there isn't as much pressure on rookie QB Mark Sanchez. The Colts will do their best trying to put as much pressure on Sanchez and that starts with stopping the run and forcing obvious passing situations. Sanchez cannot make mistakes or this game could get ugly.
My Prediction: The Colts have the twelth man with the home crowd and have a solid defense that doesn't allow big plays. I expect the Colts to stop the run and take control of this game with turnovers. The Jets will play close most of the game, but the defense will be on the field too long and wear out in the end. Colts 27, Jets 13.

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
This game is subtitled "The Starcaps Bowl" as it features four players, two from each team, that avoided suspension for illegal substance abuse. Both teams have a balanced offense. Surprisingly, the Vikings have been the more pass happy team the last half of the season. The Vikings have been able to win games without Adrian Peterson having great games, but that will need to happen this week. The Vikings won't have the luxury of a home dome crowd and wil have to deal with the same level of noise on the road. They will have to use a silent count which means the Saints DEs will have a jump on the ball over the tackles which could spell trouble for the Vikes Brett Favre. The Vikings will have to find success running the ball and take an early lead to silence the crowd. The Cardinals did last week, but allowed the Saints to easily march down field for a score and the game was over from that point on.
The Saints will have to prevent the big plays that killed the Cowboys last week and that starts with covering the deep threat, Sidney Rice. Percy Harvin has the ability to make the big play with his speed, but Rice has been the main guy down field. The Saints have Darren Sharper, a veteran leader who is familiar with Favre as they were teammates in Green Bay. Will Sharper be able to bait Favre into throwing INTS is the question. The answer will depend on how much pressure they can put on Favre.
The Vikings defensive line will have to play the way it did against the Cowboys last week. If they give Drew Brees too much time, he will pick them apart with all the weapons they have. The Saints have seven receivers with 35 catches or more.
My Prediction: I have to give the edge to the team with the twelth man again. The Saints have too many weapons and if the Vikings are forced to be a one dimensional pass happy team again, I think the Saints will be able to pressure Favre who will have to use a silent count. Saints 30, Vikings 20.

I haven't seen any information on this but when was the last time there were three dome teams in the championship round? The Super Bowl has never featured two dome teams and will have at least one there this year. The Rams, 1999, were the first dome team to win the super bowl.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com