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NFL: Super Bowl Sunday

Eli Manning

Over the last several years, we’ve seen football teams get “hot” at the end of the year. As a matter fact, the New York Giants are the best example of a team that was wallowing in mediocrity and somehow got it together four years ago. They did that same thing this year. They were 6-6. People were laughing at Eli Manning and his characterization of himself as an elite quarterback. Many in New York were calling for Tom Coughlin to be fired.

The defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator were under fire all year long. Yet, somehow, they put together a string of wins and now sit as champions of the NFC.

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots had different struggles. Their offense was simply okay. Their defense was abysmal. They got rid of Albert Haynesworth and slowly began to play better team defense. Their offense still struggles at times but, midway through the season, they started to play more consistent football. There were glimpses of the old, super successful New England Patriots. When New England went to Denver and gave Tim Tebow and his Broncos beat down, that harkened back to the New England Patriots a few years ago. Early in the season, New England played Buffalo and had an uncharacteristic day. Tom Brady threw four interceptions. The New England Patriots lost. This was a theme that we would see throughout the season. If they took care of the ball then New England had an excellent opportunity to win. If they didn’t take of the ball, New England would have a difficult time winning. When New England played the New York Giants in week nine, we saw the same pattern. Tom Brady had a sack fumble. He also had a couple of interceptions. The New England Patriots lost that game.

Unlike in years past, there’s not a defensive juggernaut at the Super Bowl. Both of these defenses can be extremely vulnerable to either the pass or the run. The question for this Super Bowl is which offensive line will dominate. The offensive line that dominates will lead their team to victory. Both quarterbacks can hit wide-open receivers. Both quarterbacks can read defenses extremely well. The key to this game, in my opinion, is the offensive line. I believe that the offensive line of the New York Giants will hold up better and give Eli Manning just a fraction more time. That’s all you need in the NFL, just a fraction more time. The key to a possible Giants victory is the play of the tremendous defensive front four. If they dominate… Tom Brady will become frustrated. He needs a clean pocket. They need to consistently apply pressure and alleviate some of the stress on their subpar secondary.

My predictions over the last several weeks have been awful. There’s no other way to categorize them. Yet, like a punchdrunk fighter, I keep predicting anyway. I give a slight edge in this game to New York Giants.

By |2012-02-04T13:58:03-04:00February 4th, 2012|NFL|Comments Off on NFL: Super Bowl Sunday

NFL: week five – Hits and Misses

There’s no way that I can go any further without talking about Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos are playing mediocre to awful football. Kyle Orton is struggling in the current system. Last year at this time, he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. This year he has seven interceptions and eight touchdowns. He has a quarterback rating of 75.7. That makes him the 28th-ranked quarterback in the league. The Denver fans are screaming for Tim Tebow. All I can say is – be careful what you wish for. Yes, Tim Tebow has made some exciting plays over the last year. Do you want exciting plays or do you want to go to a Super Bowl? In this league, you go to the Super Bowl with a quarterback who stays in the pocket and protects the ball. You do not go to the Super Bowl with a running quarterback. For all those people who said that he won in college, so? Chris Weinke also won in college. He had a less than stellar pro career. He had all the intangibles. He was 6’4″ tall. He weighed 232 pounds. He threw the ball well. He came from a college system that was much like the pros. Nevertheless, he ended his career with a quarterback rating of 62.2. He threw 26 interceptions, compared to 15 touchdowns.

Detroit Lions – I wanted to mention that I said that the Detroit Lions were going to win and they did. I think it’s clear that Detroit is playing some actually fabulous football. Their front seven on defense have been dominating. They’re controlling the line of scrimmage. As a matter fact, they’re playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage. This is making things easier for the offense. I’m still not quite believing in Matthew Stafford. He had some unfortunate overthrows. If the Detroit offense had been clicking on all cylinders, they could have used this opportunity to blow out the Bears, who looked terrible – false starts, couldn’t protect Cutler, couldn’t cover. I’m really looking forward to next week (see below).

San Francisco 49ers – Who would’ve thought? Last year, the 49ers couldn’t do anything right. As a matter fact, they didn’t look all that great at the beginning of this year. Now, they have a record of 4-1. They simply dismantled what I thought was a pretty good Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Josh Freeman looked inept. The 49er defense was opportunistic. The 49er offense was clicking on all cylinders. Alex Smith, a quarterback who I thought was never going to make it in the NFL, is starting to throw the ball pretty well. He is not throwing for a ton of yards but he’s been very efficient. Frank Gore turned in one of his best performances of the year. Vernon Davis is a beast in the middle and it looks like they have a second tight end, Delanie Walker, who can play ball. The 49ers play the Detroit Lions next Sunday. This may be the game of the week. Two young teams that are starting to show something. I’m looking forward to this.

New England Patriots/Green Bay Packers – both these teams seem to keep rolling on. Personally, I think that the Green Bay Packers are probably the best team in the NFL, but I think you can make a case for the New England Patriots. I know that the Detroit Lions are still undefeated and I think that they are good, but I don’t think they’re as good as the Packers or the Patriots.

Seattle Seahawks – I thought they were awful earlier this year. I’m still not quite ready to buy the fact that they may be okay. I’m not going to say that they’re actually good. They put a lot of pressure on Eli Manning and he started spraying the ball. A couple of tip balls could’ve gone either way, but on Sunday they went the way of the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s say that they had a good game on Sunday and just wait and see what they deliver next Sunday.

Matt Cassell – QB rating of 138.9. 4 td’s and no ints!

Jahvid Best – 12 carries for 163 yards and 1 td. He was one of the main reasons that the Lions won.

Philadelphia Eagles – I know that it’s fashionable to beat up on Michael Vick and the Eagles these days. The fact is that the Eagles had an opportunity to have one of their patented fourth-quarter comebacks if it weren’t for a few tipped balls. They do have to figure out how to tackle on defense. They don’t seem to be able to stop the run, which may be their biggest problem. They have to figure out a way to stop the turnovers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to be thought of as one of the elite teams in the NFC. Unfortunately, they have to go back to the drawing board. They got thoroughly beaten on Sunday. Nothing looked good. Josh Freeman looked lost. There was no running game. Their defense was simply awful (actually worse than that, but I can’t think of a word that would be fitting – abysmal?)

New York Jets – Although I don’t think it’s time to panic in Philadelphia, it’s clearly time to panic in New York. The New York Jets are not what they thought they were going to be. They thought they were going to be better than last year. They aren’t. They’re not running the ball. Their offensive line is not creating running lanes. Their passing game is simply average. The biggest problem with the New York Jets is their front seven on defense. They simply aren’t the dominant front seven that the Jets had last year or the year before. Losing Shaun Ellis and Kris Jenkins has really hurt the Jets. The Jets traded or gave away Derrick Mason but that’s not going to fix their problems. They simply need to get tougher on defense.

More later.

By |2011-10-11T23:31:57-04:00October 11th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL: week five – Hits and Misses

NFL: What I Know

  • Tim Tebrow might have been a great college football player. In time, he may be a great NFL quarterback. Right now, he’s not that good.
  • I have no idea what to expect from the New York Jets. One week they’re okay and the next week they’re awful.
  • I really don’t understand what’s going on with the Pittsburgh Steelers either. I have no idea why they didn’t play better today. Their defense was good but not great.
  • I thought the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers told us that his team was the best in the NFC – NOT. They lose to the Detroit Lions when Detroit has a third string quarterback. Pitiful. Congrats to the Lions who have been playing hard all year.
  • As I see it, there are only two players who should be mentioned in the discussion for NFL MVPMichael Vick and Tom Brady. By the way, when was the last time Tom Brady ran for 130 yards and threw for three TDs? Michael Vick’s performance today was off the chains.
  • San Diego? What’s the deal? You have one of the best quarterbacks in the league. You have one of the best defenses in the league. Yet you can’t play consistent football?
  • New Orleans Saints had to beat the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have been almost great all year. The Saints are like a fancy sports car missing one spark plug. Neither team seems to have whatever it takes to go to the Super Bowl this year. Saints lose a close one.
  • Many in the windy city were thinking that this just maybe Chicago’s year. They seemed to be putting all of the pieces together. Then they played the Patriots. The Bears aren’t ready yet.

  • The Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals (who lost Terrell Owens to a knee injury today – his career may be over) and the Cleveland Browns need to start their own league called the Almost NFL.
  • Why can’t the Jacksonville Jaguars run the football when they need to? I don’t understand.
  • Peyton Manning plays great football when he has his own receivers he’s already worked with. No surprise here. I’m really sorry that Austin Collie got hurt again today.
  • The Kansas City Chiefs are going to the playoffs. They’re playing pretty good football. Jamaal Charles is one of the league’s best running backs.
  • Can someone explain what happened to the Houston Texans? They started the year playing so well. They were firing on all cylinders. Then… what happened? They just got tattooed by the Tennessee Titans. The Tennessee Titans! The Tennessee Titans haven’t been able to beat almost anybody the last three or four weeks.
  • The Atlanta Falcons may not be flashy but they figure out ways to win games. When push comes to shove, though, I don’t think they’re good enough to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs.
  • Jason Campbell is not as bad as we all thought. As a matter fact, I never thought he was that bad. I just thought he needed the right team with the right quarterback coach. Oakland played through adversity today and beat the Denver Broncos who had no quarterback. Yes, this is another dig at Tim Tebrow.
  • The Miami Dolphins, the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers are all fighting for the award for the Biggest Disappointment of the Year. All three of these teams had high hopes at the beginning of the year only to lay an egg. To quote Deion Sanders, “the Dallas defensive secondary is atrocious.”
  • The two best games of the year were played today. If you didn’t see them you need to catch them somehow, some way. The New York Giants really dominated the Philadelphia Eagles for almost three quarters. The game should’ve gone into overtime. The New York Jets versus the Pittsburgh Steelers was another classic. Neither team played their best but both fought hard. I thought Ben Roethlisberger was going to pull off another last-minute heroic. If you love football you MUST see these two games!! They are the best that the NFL has to offer.
  • It really doesn’t matter who wins between the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers just haven’t played that well the last couple of weeks. I would be flabbergasted if the Packers win this game. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are playing fabulous football (I really hate to say that). They are clearly the best team in the NFL… Right now.
By |2010-12-19T21:02:48-04:00December 19th, 2010|Sports|Comments Off on NFL: What I Know
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