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NFL Wildcard Weekend 2012

Cincinnati Bengals versus Houston Texans – The Houston Texans have been snakebitten all year. Losing your quarterback and your premier receiver is difficult to overcome. When you then lose your All-Pro defensive end, you have to feel like the football gods are conspiring against you. Cincinnati is a solid team. Their defense seemed to be a lot stouter earlier this year. In spite of that, you have to like the chemistry that is developing between Andy Dalton and his young receiver AJ Green. I’m leaning toward Cincinnati.

Detroit Lions versus New Orleans Saints – Don’t fall asleep on the New Orleans Saints. Last year was somewhat of a head scratcher and they started a little slowly earlier this season, but the New Orleans Saints are playing great offensive football. Their formula to win is a simple one – high-powered offense and a defense that will give up some big plays but will also create turnovers. Drew Brees is playing as well as any NFL quarterback, including Matthew Stafford. This game should be a shootout and when the dust settles the New Orleans Saints will be moving on – victorious. (BTW, the Saints don’t lose in their dome.)

Atlanta Falcons versus New York Giants – To me, the Atlanta Falcons have been somewhat of a head scratcher all year. I’ve been looking for their defense to improve and to reflect the personality of their tough and defensive-minded head coach. That simply hasn’t happened. The key to this game is the defensive front four of the New York Giants. If they play well, they will shut down the run and make it difficult to throw. If they play poorly, they’ll expose a very vulnerable secondary. Matt Ryan is a good quarterback, but not great. He hasn’t been able to take his game to the next level. I think this game will be close. I’m going to give a slight edge to the Atlanta Falcons because of their strong running game. (For Giant fans, yes, Eli is going to put up some numbers. I think he’ll play well. The question is whether his receivers are going to catch the ball or not.)

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Denver Broncos – Can somebody officially state that the Tebow magic is gone? Okay, I’ll say it. The Tebow magic is gone. The disciplined defensive players of the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to suffocate, harass and otherwise beat up Tim Tebow and the anemic Broncos offense. I would be surprised if this game is close. I look for the Pittsburgh Steelers to roll in this game.

By |2012-01-07T15:24:07-04:00January 7th, 2012|NFL|Comments Off on NFL Wildcard Weekend 2012

NFL week one: Hits and Misses

I’m not sure that I had many expectations for week one. The NFL suffered a strike with the subsequent lockout. Both sides looked like they had dug in for the long haul. Suddenly, somebody came to their senses and an agreement was made and there was a shortened training camp season. Therefore, I wasn’t expecting much. Pre-season looked like bad college football at times. I was pleasantly surprised that week one was much better than I thought it would be. So, here are my thoughts at the end of week one.

Hits
In my opinion, the NFL was the big winner. The quality of football was very good. There were too many kickoffs, run back and punts returned for touchdowns. Still, there was plenty of excitement.

New England Patriots – I thought there were as many questions surrounding this team as any other in the NFL. They made multiple adjustments. They brought in new talent, including Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco, both of whom are excellent football players with checkered pasts. The Patriots came out and simply dominated a vastly inferior Miami Dolphins team. It is clear to me that Tom Brady and the Patriots sent a message to the NFL that they plan on winning the Super Bowl – this season.

Baltimore Ravens – To me, the Baltimore Ravens have seemed just a little too old the last couple seasons. They seem to start off the season very well and they seem to peter out toward the end. On Sunday they faced their rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. They dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers like I haven’t seen in five to eight years. The feared rushing attack of the Steelers ran or tumbled for less than 70 yards. At the same time the Baltimore Ravens were able to run over the Pittsburgh Steelers for more than 170 yards on the ground. The Baltimore Ravens made a statement.

Chicago Bears – I wasn’t sure what to think of the Chicago Bears this year. I’m not sure that I have bought into Jay Cutler. It is clear that he has the tools to be a great NFL quarterback. It just appears that sometimes his mind is not in the game. On Sunday, Jay Cutler, the offense of the Chicago Bears and the rest of the team simply manhandled the Atlanta Falcons. The game wasn’t even as close as a 30-12 score would indicate. The defense of the Monsters of the Midway was the story. They crushed the offensive line of the Falcons. Matt Ryan was running and ducking and being tackled most of the day. Even the greatest quarterbacks need time to throw. He had none. I don’t think that the Bears could have drawn up the script any better.

Misses
What is with the new kickoff rule? If they don’t want high-intensity collisions then eliminate the kickoff altogether. Everybody gets the ball on the 20- or the 30-yard line. This exercise where the ball is routinely kicked out of the back of the end zone is a waste of time.

Dallas Cowboys – At the end of last season, the Dallas Cowboys had a laundry list of things that needed to be corrected. Their special teams were suspect. Their defense was porous, to say the least. Teams routinely decided that it was much easier to throw against Dallas then to run against them. Last year, Vince Young looked like a potential Hall of Famer riddling the Dallas Cowboys defense. So, one would figure that Jerry Jones and company would fix the problems in the defense. The secondary looked exactly the same as last year. Sure, Terence Newman was hurt. Michael Jenkins got hurt. Orlando Scandrick was also missing in action. Where is the new talent? Oh, yeah, Jerry Jones drafted Josh Thomas in the fifth round and he didn’t make the team? Did Jerry Jones believe that new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could make chicken soup out of (oh, I shouldn’t go there). Yet it wasn’t the ineptitude of the Dallas defense that killed the Cowboys on Sunday night. I don’t understand how you get a punt blocked at a critical time in the game. This is the NFL, where certain things that simply cannot happen if you want to be thought of as an elite, playoff team. Don’t get me started on the failures of Tony Romo. How do you spend a week preparing for a team and with a game on the line, roll out and throw into clear double coverage? If you’re a Dallas fan, it was infuriating.

Donovan McNabb – How do you end a game 7 for 15 for a total of 39 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the whole game?

Indianapolis Colts – How do you put all of your marbles in one basket? I know that Peyton Manning is going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He should go down as one of the most durable quarterbacks of all time, sure, but how do you not have a viable backup? This isn’t badminton. It is football. Players get hurt all of the time. How do you call somebody off of their Barcalounger to play quarterback for you? The problem in Indianapolis is they’ve developed an offensive system that is tailor-made for Peyton Manning. Nobody else can run that system. Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers or Drew Brees can’t run that system. It isn’t just the offense that is tailor-made for Peyton Manning. It is the whole team. Their defense is built to slow down opposing offenses (that’s all that they needed because Peyton would deliver 30 points), not crush them in their wake.  So now that Peyton Manning has had his third neck operation in 19 months, what do the Indianapolis Colts do? If they are honest, they will refund the money of all their season-ticket holders.

By |2011-09-14T01:28:59-04:00September 14th, 2011|Sports|Comments Off on NFL week one: 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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