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Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Before this game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, there was lots of talk in the NFL about whether Jim Harbaugh really made the right decision by switching to Colin Kaepernick from Alex Smith. Alex Smith was playing good football. If I’m not mistaken, his quarterback rating was over 100. He was not turning the ball over. It was not exciting football, but he was winning. I think most, if not all, critics have now been silenced. Wow!

Colin Kaepernick completely and totally exposed the Green Bay Packers defense. He rushed for 181 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. He rushed… 181 yards. From a quarterback. This fact is, in and of itself, mind-boggling. Then, he threw the ball for another 263 yards.

The Green Bay Packers are going to have to go back to the drawing board on defense. On the third down, the money down, the Packers allowed the 49ers to convert 62% of their third downs. The Green Bay Packers gave up 579 yards of total offense. You simply can’t win in the playoffs when your defense is this porous.

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the best teams in football all year. They were completely dominating and looked fantastic and suddenly, out of nowhere, they would lay an egg. For example, they absolutely clobbered the New England Patriots on national TV. It was a game when you expected Tom Brady, Wes Welker and the rest of the New England Patriots to make a national statement. It didn’t happen. It was another great game for Colin Kaepernick. Then, the following week, the San Francisco 49ers got absolutely manhandled by the Seattle Seahawks.

I do not know if the San Francisco 49ers will put together two more fabulous games and walk away with the Lombardi trophy. I do know that Colin Kaepernick is the real deal.

By |2013-11-03T18:19:07-04:00January 13th, 2013|NFL|Comments Off on Colin Kaepernick

NFL Week 16: Thoughts and Predictions

For the last 20 years, the NFL has worked as hard as they possibly could to make sure that it would be difficult for you to turn off your television set. If you like football, this is going to be a great football weekend. I can’t remember whether 15 or 16 teams are still in the playoff hunt. Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles all have an opportunity to make the postseason. At some point during the season, every single one of these teams has been written off. Although parity has brought us this very highly competitive football, it has, in my opinion, also elevated the importance of the quarterback. Now, more than ever, you need a quarterback who can make plays from the pocket.

Reggie Wayne

Congratulations to Indianapolis for winning their second game and probably saving their head coach’s job at least for another season. The Houston Texans proved, once again, that you need a competent quarterback to take you down the stretch.

Cleveland Browns versus Baltimore Ravens – if Baltimore really is serious about winning the AFC, they have to take care of business against the Cleveland Browns. I look for Baltimore to win this one handily.

Denver Broncos versus Buffalo Bills – Buffalo has been decimated by injuries. Buffalo also needs one or two more surehanded receivers. They desperately need their All-Pro running back, who is hurt. A little bit of air has been taken out of the Tim Tebow balloon after their loss to the New England Patriots. As I was looking at a lot of passing stats, one thing jumped out at me – Tim Tebow’s completion percentage. 48.6%, the worst in the league. He has a quarterback rating of 83.6, which isn’t bad. He needs to be more accurate if he wants to keep that starting quarterback position. The Buffalo Bills are not that good against the run. The Denver Broncos are not that good against the pass. I’m going to lean slightly towards the Buffalo Bills.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus Carolina Panthers – Carolina

Oakland Raiders versus Kansas City Chiefs – Kansas City’s defense has been playing much better the last two weeks. The Oakland Raiders have been floundering. I guess if you lose your starting running back and your starting quarterback, you’re in trouble (ask the Chicago Bears). I’m leaning towards Kansas City.

Arizona Cardinals versus Cincinnati Bengals – Where is all the hype that should be surrounding John Skelton? If Tim Tebow gets hype for fourth-quarter comebacks, how come Jon Skelton isn’t getting his due? He has won five of the last six games he has played with huge comebacks. Both of these teams have an opportunity to go to the playoffs. I look for the Cincinnati Bengals to pound Arizona Cardinals into submission. (Larry Fitzgerald proves week after week that he is still one of the best receivers in the NFL.)

Miami Dolphins versus New England Patriots – I know that Reggie Bush has started running the ball like we thought he would five years ago when he came into the league. He is running hard. Matt Morris is playing fairly well as a starting quarterback for the Dolphins. It is December, though, and Tom Brady will find a way to win.

New York Giants versus New York Jets – This is clearly the game of the week. It may be the game of the month or the game of the year. The loser of this game is out of the playoffs. The winner of this game is still alive. Eli Manning has been playing extremely well. The rest of the New York Giants have not been playing all that well. This includes his wide receivers. Even in that fourth-quarter comeback against the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago, these receivers were dropping perfectly thrown passes. In my mind, this game comes down to Mark Sanchez versus a highly suspect New York Giants’ secondary. Can Sanchez make the throws? The answer is – maybe. When Sanchez was a rookie, the New York Jets depended on him to make long deep throws. For some reason, probably interceptions, they have gotten away from that. I think they need to go back to that today. I think the Jets have an uphill battle. I think Eli Manning gives the Giants the upper hand in this game. Yet, for some irrational reason, I think that Mark Sanchez will make enough plays for the Jets to win.

St. Louis Rams versus the Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh. This will be a pretty ugly game.

Jacksonville Jaguars versus Tennessee Titans – It is hard to win consistently in the NFL if your quarterback is continually turning the ball over and missing open receivers. I’m not sure how much money they’re paying Blaine Gabbert, but Jack Del Rio (who’s been fired) and the Jacksonville fans need their money back. Blaine has been really awful. Tennessee should win this one easily.

Minnesota Vikings versus Washington Redskins – Washington has been playing much better over the last couple of weeks. Their defense is very stout. It’ll be interesting see if Leslie Frazier (head coach of the Vikings) keeps his job. I look for the Redskins to win this one.

Afternoon games

Drew Brees

San Diego Chargers versus Detroit Lions – The Detroit Lions need this game in a big way. If they win, their playoff hopes are still alive. Unfortunately for the Detroit Lions, the San Diego Chargers have finally gotten healthy and have fixed their woes on the offensive line. Philip Rivers has found his Pro Bowl form. Ryan Matthews is finally running like the running back San Diego was hoping for when he was drafted. I think that San Diego will take this one, even though Matthew Stafford will once again try to pull off his fourth-quarter heroics. (Look for San Diego to began covering Calvin Johnson from the moment he steps off the bus. They will make Matthew Stafford find somebody else to beat them.) This should be a great game.

Philadelphia Eagles versus Dallas Cowboys – It is pretty amazing that the Philadelphia Eagles are still in the playoff hunt. Michael Vick is back. The Dallas secondary is simply awful. If Dallas can pull out a win, they will have eliminated the Eagles from the playoffs. As an added bonus, if they win and the Giants lose, they have basically wrapped up the NFC East. In recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have found a way to lose important games. Felix Jones is hurt. DeMarcus Ware is hurt. Jay Ratliff is hurt. If the Cowboys can force a couple of turnovers they have an opportunity to win this game. If you remember Philadelphia’s complete drubbing of the Cowboys earlier this year, the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line was plagued by penalties and gave Tony Romo no protection. Tony Romo and the gang have let me down in too many of these situations. I’m leaning towards the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a must-watch game.

San Francisco 49ers versus Seattle Seahawks – If you watched the Monday night game, you saw that San Francisco looked very good. San Francisco’s defense was tremendous. I don’t see how Seattle can overcome that. San Francisco should win this one in spite of the fact that Seattle has resurrected their season.

Christmas Night
Chicago Bears versus Green Bay Packers – Last week, we found out a couple of things about the Green Bay Packers. First, the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers can be overwhelmed. Secondly, Jordy Nelson has trouble beating double coverage. Thirdly, Jermichael Finley dropped a few passes that were right in his hands. One of the things that many NFL fans take for granted is the front office. These are the guys who are making player personnel decisions behind the scenes. Somebody, buried deep in the Chicago Bears organization, someone decided that Caleb Hanie was good enough to carry the team while Jay Cutler was hurt. Wow, were they wrong. Caleb Hanie (50% completion percentage, next to last in the league and quarterback rating of 41.9) has been an epic failure. Donovan McNabb was available. Sure, Donovan McNabb is not the Pro Bowl quarterback he used to be, but he has proven to be better than Caleb Hanie and Christian Ponder. The poor decision by the front office has cost the Chicago Bears their season. Green Bay will figure out a way to win this game.

Monday Night Football
Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints – Now, everybody is looking at Drew Brees. He had some trouble early in the year with turnovers. He fixed that. He is currently playing some absolutely fabulous football. If Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were in the NFC East, they would’ve clinched home field and the division by now. Unfortunately, they’re not. I just don’t think that the Atlanta Falcons are ready. I’m taking the New Orleans Saints.

Game probabilities from the New York Times:

Pwin GAME Pwin
0.85 Houston at Indianapolis 0.15
0.61 Oakland at Kansas City 0.39
0.31 Jacksonville at Tennessee 0.69
0.24 Miami at New England 0.76
0.35 Arizona at Cincinnati 0.65
0.36 Denver at Buffalo 0.64
0.11 St. Louis at Pittsburgh 0.89
0.56 Giants at Jets 0.44
0.24 Minnesota at Washington 0.76
0.30 Tampa Bay at Carolina 0.70
0.21 Cleveland at Baltimore 0.79
0.42 San Diego at Detroit 0.58
0.44 Philadelphia at Dallas 0.56
0.53 San Francisco at Seattle 0.47
0.25 Chicago at Green Bay 0.75
0.31 Atlanta at New Orleans 0.69
By |2011-12-24T12:11:40-04:00December 24th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL Week 16: Thoughts and Predictions

NFL week 8: hits and misses

Cincinnati Bengals – Did you know that the Cincinnati Bengals are 5-2? Andy Dalton is playing just well enough with a quarterback rating of 82.7. It is their defense that’s keeping them on the field. Cincinnati is ranked fourth in overall defense. They are second in stopping the run.

Philadelphia Eagles – Every time I try to write off Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, they do something spectacular. Towards the end of last season and now for most of this season, we haven’t seen the pinpoint accuracy that Michael Vick showed in the middle of last season. Well, that pinpoint accuracy came back and dissected the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Reid had a genius game plan. He took advantage of a extremely aggressive DeMarcus Ware and pulled a tight end to block him out of the play as the Eagles successfully ran trap play after trap play.

Pittsburgh Steelers – After the Pittsburgh Steelers were destroyed on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens, everybody, including myself, wrote them off. Well, Mike Tomlin is proving to be a very resilient coach. He’s got the Pittsburgh Steelers playing at a high level. The Steelers play ball control offense and really controlled that game from the opening snap and kept the Patriots defense off-balance. Ben Roethlisberger played extremely well. This was probably his best game of the season.

Dallas Cowboys – It’s okay to get beaten on national TV. It’s not okay to get spanked by a division rival. The Dallas Cowboys were never in this game. Not for a minute. I watched this game a couple times. The Cowboys could not stop the run and they couldn’t stop the pass. On offense, they made several mistakes early, resulting in penalties and sacks. Once they punted the football to Philadelphia the first time and Philadelphia scored again, the game was over (14-0). Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg, long-time Dallas Cowboys announcers, stated that the Cowboys needed to forget this game and move on. I don’t think so. I think the Cowboys need to study this game. I know the rest of the league is studying this game and trying to figure out how they can replicate some of the plays. If the Dallas Cowboys defense doesn’t get this fixed, it’s going to be a long season.

Washington Redskins – What happened? As bad as the Dallas Cowboys were beaten, you could probably argue that the Washington Redskins were beaten even worse. Their offense was inept. Their defense was ineffectual. Their defense, as with the Dallas Cowboys, was supposed to be the strength of the team. Fred Jackson, arguably one of the best running backs in the league, ran for 120 yards. It was an embarrassing performance by the Redskins. I’m still confused as to why Mike Shanahan thought that Rex Grossman was the answer. Maybe he looks really, really good in practice.

New Orleans Saints – Just as I’m ready to jump on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon and was beginning to believe that they’re playing good football, they lay an egg. What was that? They made the St. Louis Rams look like a playoff team. St. Louis was beating them on both sides of the football. It was ugly. Drew Breeze had absolutely no time to look over the field. He seemed to be sacked about 100 times (it was only six). The Saints have some issues. They’ve got to get them fixed if they’re going to make a run for the playoffs.

Honorable mentions – I’m still not believing in Tim Tebow. As a quarterback in this league, you have to be able throw the ball accurately… He can’t or hasn’t. BTW, this has nothing to do with believing in him. It has to do with the hard work that it takes to throw the ball accurately. Eli Manning played well but I’m not sure why the Giants had to struggle to get a win over the Miami Dolphins. I don’t know what to think about Joe Flacco. I know that he has to play well in order for the Ravens to win. When you’re looking at Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow and some of these other young quarterbacks, you should compare them to Cam Newton, who is playing some really fantastic football. I’m not sure that San Francisco is as good as some people say their are. Let’s wait a couple weeks before we crown them, but I do tip my hat to anyone who’s played as consistently well as they have. I’m not sure what to make out of the Kansas City Chiefs. I do know that the San Diego Chargers are not playing that well.

By |2011-11-05T12:07:55-04:00November 5th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL week 8: hits and misses
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