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Football Forecast: Week 13

In General, NFL on December 3, 2009 at 10:15 am

Since most NFL weeks from here on out have a Thursday game, we are going to drop the Friday and just start calling this the Football Forecast until I can think of something better (suggestions?). So enjoy this weeks picks and let me know what you guys think:

New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills – In a battle of AFC East rivals, the Jets take on the Bills. Both teams are coming off of wins last week that they are hoping will get them back on track. The Jets were lead to victory by quarterback Jake Delhomme (that’s right the Panthers QB) as he handed them four interceptions and the game. The Bills meanwhile are coming off of a big fourth-quarter in a surprising win against Miami. TO finally seems to be getting back on track and will have a good test against the Jets this week, despite New York’s recent struggles on defense. I think the Jets make just enough plays to pull this one out.

Jets 17, Bills 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons – A couple of weeks ago this would have been an easy pick, Atlanta, a very tough team to beat at home, against Philly, a team who lost to the Raiders of the NCAA on the road earlier this season. But injuries and poor play have sidetracked the Falcons while the Eagles are dealing with injury issues of their own in the hunt for the NFC East division title. Falcons QB and leader Matt Ryan is expected to sit this one out, and stud RB Michael Turner is dealing with his own injury issues, which should add up to a pretty easy win for the Eagles.

Eagles 27, Falcons 13

St. Louis Rams vs. Chicago Bears – After weeks of struggling, the Bears finally get a team they should be able to beat. Should being the key word, because as we’ve learned this season with the Bears, nothing is guaranteed. There is a very good possibility that Steven Jackson runs all over the Bears and wins this game by himself, but I think Jay Cutler will finally have a good game and semi-remind people why the Bears gave up so much for him in the off-season.

Bears 28, Rams 17

Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals – After a disappointing loss to the Raiders two weeks ago, the Bengals have been blessed with back-to-back softies on the schedule. After an easy yet ugly win against the Browns last week, Cincy gets the inept Lions this weekend. Detroit came crashing back down to reality on Thanksgiving against the Packers after their thriller of a win against Cleveland and shouldn’t provide too much trouble for a Bengals team in search of a division title and possible bye in the playoffs.

Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – In this clash of old AFC rivals, the Steelers get two things they desperately need, the return of Ben Roethlisberger and a second bye week, otherwise known as a home game against the Oakland Raiders of the NCAA. We all know the Raiders can spring an upset (just ask the Eagles and Bengals) but that basically only has a remote possibility of happening when games are played in Oakland. Seeing as this game is in Pittsburgh, the Steelers are trying to remain in the playoff hunt, and Pittsburgh is frustrated with back-to-back losses to a weak team and a division rival, this one has all the makings of a beat down. The Steelers should relieve all their frustrations this weekend.

Steelers 34, Raiders 6

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts – Another Football Forecast, another Upset of the Week prediction in the Colts game. They can’t keep pulling out these come-from-behind wins can they? The Colts won for the fifth week in a row in comeback fashion to keep their now 20-game winning streak alive, and are one win away from tying the NFL record for consecutive wins. Their opponent this week? One of the hottest teams in the league in the Titans. Tennessee, as everyone remembers, started 0-6, highlighted by a 59-0 beating at the hands of New England, and was easily the most disappointing team in the league. Plug Vince Young in at quarterback, sprinkle in some Chris Johnson, and you have five straight wins, a 5-6 record and a sleeper team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs. If the Titans have any hope of making the playoffs they must win this game, and I think that’s exactly what they will do with a strong running game and some strong clock management.

Titans 24, Colts 21

Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs – In an AFC West clash, the Chiefs welcome the Broncos to Arrowhead. This is a very tricky game for Denver, it should be an easy win and help them continue to rebound from their free-fall since a 6-0 start, however Kansas City is tough at home, just ask the Steelers. The Chiefs have a good chance at springing the upset here, Denver has been shaky on offense and defense the past month, and are looking more vulnerable than ever. However I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they worked out the kinks in their Thanksgiving win over the Giants, they should make it two straight wins this weekend.

Broncos 21, Chiefs 17

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins – This is a tale of two teams coming off of disappointing losses. The Dolphins are coming off that aforementioned loss to the Bills that for all intents and purposes knocked them out of the playoff race, they now need a miracle to get in. The Pats meanwhile are coming off a shockingly easy 38-17 loss to the Saints on Monday night. New England looked old and slow on defense, and was finished by the third quarter against New Orleans quick strike offense. If the Dolphins can get things going quickly on the ground, the Pats could be in for a long day, however I see them rebounding this week with a nice road win.

Pats 27, Dolphins 17

New Orleans Saints vs. Washington Redskins – The trendiest team in the NFL heads to the capital this weekend as the Saints take on the Skins. New Orleans is coming off that previously mentioned 38-17 shellacking of the Patriots on prime time, once and for all showing everyone (including the Sports Authority) that they are for real. This could be a letdown game for the Saints, coming off a huge victory and taking what should be an easy opponent too lightly. However the Redskins are dealing with too many injuries and don’t have the weapons to hang with the Saints in this one. Look for Drew Brees to have another huge day.

Saints 38, Skins 13

Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Carolina Panthers – in an NFC South battle, the Panthers welcome the Bucs into town. This game has certainly lost the luster of years past, with both teams struggling and not really giving much reason to anticipate this game. However an NFC South game is still going to be a smash-mouthed, physical fight, regardless of the teams records. The Panthers turn to Matt Moore at quarterback this week with Jake Delhomme sidelined with a broken finger (and ego) after a four interception game last weekend. As it turns out, the fact that Carolina lost its starting QB is actually bad news for the Bucs, I mean Moore can’t play any worse than Delhomme right? The Panthers should control the ground game and pull out a rough, not-fun-to-watch home win.

Panthers 17, Bucs 10

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – In yet another game featuring two teams coming off of disappointing and possibly season-crushing losses, the Jags host the Texans. Jacksonville is coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Niners that hurt but didn’t completely destroy their playoff chances. The same can’t be said for Houston, coming off a devastating loss to the Colts in which they lead 17-0 before falling 35-27. The loss put the Texans even further back in the playoff race and could prove even more costly if star receiver Andre Johnson pushes for a trade after the season due to the Texans inability to make the playoffs. Despite the Jags needing this game more, I think the Texans pull out a road win to rebound from last weeks loss and put themselves back on life-support in the playoff race.

Texans 27, Jags 21

San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns – One of the hottest teams in the league heads to Cleveland to face a doormat when the Browns host the Chargers. This is one of those games that should be over by halftime, I really can’t think of any reason to believe the Browns will put up a fight. The Chargers are in a tight race for a division title and a possible first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, and seem too focused to slip up against a Browns squad that has done nothing this season but beat themselves. The only intrigue in this game should be which electrifying return man could break one off when Darren Sproles and Joshua Cribbs stand back and await kick-offs and punts.

Chargers 38, Browns 10

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants – This game could very well decide who wins the NFC East as the Cowboys head to New York to face the Giants. Every time these two squads face off its a tough game that is tight at the end and this weekend should be no different. Despite its 8-3 record, not many people are picking the Cowboys to do much come playoff time, probably because they haven’t won a playoff game since the 90’s and they have Tony Romo at QB, but I’m not going to get into that whole thing again. The Giants have been beyond disappointing since their 5-0 start, and desperately need a win here if they have any notion of entertaining thoughts of the playoffs.

Giants 21, Cowboys 17

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks – This was a game many people expected would have huge implications on the NFC West division title before the season started. Then teams actually started playing and the Cardinals quickly proved to be the class of the division. The Seahawks are getting older and slower and look nothing like the Super Bowl squad of a couple years back, while the Niners are floundering after a strong start, yet still are on the bubble as far as making the playoffs is concerned. The Niners should pull this game out and keep their slim hopes alive of making the Wild Card.

Niners 24, Seahawks 14

Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals – Sunday nights primetime game brings us the defending NFC champs against what could very well be the next NFC champ. The Vikings are rolling at 10-1, their only blemish being a road loss to the Steelers, and are looking more and more like a team on a mission. The Cardinals meanwhile are coming off of a crushing loss to the Titans that was basically given away by the defense, who allowed a 99-yard drive to lose it, including a touchdown with no time left on the clock. This one has the potential to be an upset, especially if Kurt Warner is healthy. The Cardinals can hang with the offensive firepower that the Vikings have, but Minnesota’s defense should be the difference in this one.

Vikings 24, Cardinals 20

Baltimore Ravens vs. Green Bay Packers – MNF returns to Lambeau this week when the Packers host the Ravens. Both teams are feeling very confident, the Packers on a roll lately and the Ravens coming off of a big win against the Steelers last weekend. Aaron Rodgers is playing at a Pro Bowl-level the past couple of weeks, and faces a real test against the Ravens defense. However, Baltimore is coming off a game that went into overtime against a Pittsburgh team being lead by their inexperienced third-string quarterback. I know it was a division game, but that should never happen, especially against the Ravens defense. I think the home-field advantage is the difference in a pretty evenly matched game.

Packers 17, Ravens 16

Tackle Tuesday: Week 12

In General, NFL on December 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

With just five weeks to go in the regular season, the playoff and division races are starting to heat up, here’s a look back at last weekends games.

 

Upset of the Week: Buffalo Bills 31 Miami Dolphins 14 –

In a week lacking of any real big upsets, the game that surprised me the most was the one between Miami and Buffalo. What was surprising wasn’t that the Bills won, it was how they did it. Buffalo came out and scored 24 points in the fourth quarter alone while holding Miami scoreless, and all but effectively ended the Dolphins season. Defensively the Bills played great, specifically in the fourth, and Buffalo used a bunch of big plays to take the lead and never look back.

Game MVP: Terrell Owens, WR, Bills (5 rec, 96 yds, 1 TD) – Remember him? Owens came through big for the Bills on Sunday, scoring on a 51-yard bomb to seal the game. Owens started the season slow but in the past couple of weeks has slowly been coming back to the form we all have grown accustomed to.

Game LVP: Dolphins 4th Quarter – Heading into the fourth quarter of this game, Miami lead 14-7, knowing that they had 15 more minutes to take a must-win game. It’s pretty simple if you’re the Dolphins, you sit at 5-5, and you have to keep winning to have a shot at the playoffs. So what do they do? Come out and collapse against Buffalo. Literally the entire team is to blame for this loss, from the offense not producing and making costly mistakes to the defense not being able to hold the lead to the special teams not even doing their job. This is what I like to call a Shake-your-head game, because after the season when the Fins look back at this loss, all their going to be able to do is shake their heads in disbelief.

Game of the Week: Tennessee Titans 20 Arizona Cardinals 17 –

Vince Young! Matt Leinart! Wait is this 2005 all over again? Nope, it’s 2009, and the once greatly-hyped quarterback prospects were facing off again. You remember what happened last time they played, Rose Bowl, national championship, Vince Young runs it in for the late score and win. Well different level, same results this week. Young came out and played well, leading the Titans on a 99-yard drive in the final minutes, and capping it off with a 10-yard touchdown strike to rookie Kenny Britt with no time on the clock to give the Titans their fifth straight win. Young, who threw for 387 yards and that touchdown, took over the starting job after Tennessee started 0-6 and hasn’t looked back since, winning five in a row and leading the Titans into the playoff chatter. Something that was completely unthinkable just a month ago.

The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:

Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans –

Arizona leads Tennesse 17-13, six seconds left, Vince Young from the shotgun, and well, you know what happens next.

Stud of the Week:

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (18-23, 371 yds, 5 TD)- There’s no way anyone else could get this award this week. Brees came out and absolutely dismantled the Patriots secondary on his way to five (FIVE!) touchdown passes. Brees became the first player to ever throw three touchdown passes in a quarter against a Bellichek lead defense,  and looks more and more like the leagues MVP. Whenever the Pats seemed like they were going to make a game out of it, Brees would lead a quick-strike drive to silence them quickly and efficiently. The Saints are for real folks.

NFL Top 5 After Week 12:

1. New Orleans Saints (11-0) – Well that was impressive. Every week the analysts and critics come out and ask if the Saints are for real, if they could beat one of the top tier teams in the League, and if they can be considered a Super Bowl contender. Then the Patriots came into town and were demolished 38-17, which answered those questions as yes, yes, and a resounding YES. In showing their big-play ability and smacking the Pats in the mouth, the Saints showed everyone they could not only hang, but convincingly outplay the leagues elite.

2. Indianapolis Colts (11-0) – In what seems to be becoming a weekly theme, the Colts had yet another rally on their way to keeping their undefeated season rolling along. After falling behind 17-0 at Houston, Peyton Manning lead the Colts to yet another comeback victory, extending their regular-season winning streak to 20 games, one shy of the NFL record. If there’s one negative to point out about this undefeated team, it’s that they allow lesser teams to hang around and make games that shouldn’t be close into tight battles.

3. Minnesota Vikings (10-1) – If it wasn’t for the two undefeated teams ahead of them, the Vikes would be number one in the rankings every week. Still the most complete team in the league, the Vikings continue to get the job done on a weekly basis. The difference between Minnesota and the teams ahead of them is that the Vikings take care of business when they’re supposed to, blowing out weaker teams and leaving no chance for an upset. This is a team on a mission that knows what their end goal is and are doing whatever it takes to get there.

4. San Diego Chargers (8-3) – Remember back when the Chargers were 2-3, and people were questioning if this was a playoff team? I was telling everyone who would listen that the Chargers are annually a second-half team, that they would overtake the Choke Artists Formerly Known as the Broncos, and that they would go streaking into the playoffs as a favorite. Six weeks later, the Chargers are on a six-game winning streak, look dominant on both sides of the ball, and are slowly becoming the team nobody wants to play in the AFC Playoffs. LT looks young again and Phillip Rivers is quietly becoming one of the best big play quarterbacks in the league. That all being said, just imagine what this team would look like had they kept Drew Brees, one can only dream.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (8-3) – A lot of people are going to be calling for the Cowboys to be up here, especially since Cincinnati has an unimpressive win against the Browns and a loss to the Raiders in the past two weeks, but to the detractors I offer to reasons for not putting the Cowboys up here. First, the Bengals just completed division play with a record of 6-0, in one of  the toughest divisions in the NFL. Granted two of those wins were against the Doo-Doo Browns, but they also swept the Steelers and Ravens impressively. Secondly, and I can’t stress this point enough, the Boys have Tony Romo at quarterback, the Bengals do not. Game, set, match. Seriously, no Tony Romo lead team can be looked at as Top 5 in the NFL, they just can’t.

Friday Football Forecast: Week 12

In General, NFL on November 26, 2009 at 11:21 am

Welcome back everyone! With another week of Thursday games I bring you another week of an early Friday Football Forecast. There are some great games this week, even if Turkey day doesn’t really provide us with much drama. Everyone enjoy your weekend off, kick back and watch some football. Eid Mubarak and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

 

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions –In the first of the Turkey Bowl games this season, two old rivals collide in Detroit when the Lions host the Packers. The Lions, as most of you know, are coming off of what was quite possibly the game of the year last weekend against Cleveland, and are feeling pretty good right now about their squad. The Packers meanwhile, are coming in minus two starters from a defense that is ranked number one in the NFL in total yards allowed per game, Al Harris and Aaron Kampan, who were both lost for the season last week against San Francisco. The Lions aren’t without injuries themselves, reigning NFC Player of the Week and Tackle Tuesday Stud of the Week (wonder which is more of an honor?) Matt Stafford is expected to play despite a separated (non-throwing) shoulder. Although I am tempted to pick the Lions here, the fact remains they are the Lions, and they’re playing a Green Bay team in the playoff hunt this week, not the Browns. Add that to the fact that the Lions have been outscored 179-62 the last five Thanksgiving games, and you come out with a Packers win.

Packers 27, Lions 14

Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys – Another Thursday game, another team coming off a big win, and no it’s not the Cowboys. The Raiders shocked the football world last week by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in a 20-17 nail-biter that came down to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal at the end. Dallas meanwhile, is coming off of a disgustingly ugly, 7-6 win over Washington last weekend. This is a game that Dallas must be weary of, the Raiders have a lot of confidence right now, and the Cowboys look a little bit shaky. Who am I kidding? They look a lot a bit shaky, and as long as they have an inconsistent Tony Romo as their starting QB, they’re going to continue to look shaky. Romo makes bad decisions at bad times, like the interception he threw late in the fourth quarter last week against Washington before his defense gave him a second chance, and if the Cowboys really want to win the NFC East he’s going to have to step up big. Unfortunately for us, Dallas is most likely going to beat up on the Raiders, and Romo will probably play well (which he tends to do against bad teams) and we’re going to have to hear about how much of a superstar Romo is for the rest of the week. Just remember one thing folks, HE’S NEVER ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING, so let’s not get too excited just because he’s the quarterback of “Americas Team”

Cowboys 27, Raiders 13

New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos – In the finale of Turkey Bowl games, the relieved Giants take on the reeling Broncos in a game that definitely looks a lot less fun that it did a couple weeks ago. You’ll remember the Giants started 5-0 and the Broncos 6-0, but a month later we stand here with both teams at 6-4, limping in the playoff race. The Giants are just happy to have gotten a win last week, snapping a four-game losing streak that saw them go from NFC leader to Wild-Card hopeful. The Broncos meanwhile are reeling in every sense of the word. In-house turmoil, questionable coaching, defensive collapse, injury, you name it, the Broncos are going through it. After having a three and a half game lead on San Diego, the Broncos were embarrassed at home by the Chargers last week 32-3, and now trail San Diego by a game in the division. This game will make or break someone’s season, the winner going on to continue contending in their respective divisions and conference Wild Cards, the loser getting one step closer to an embarrassing collapse.

Giants 24, Broncos 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons – Speaking of teams faltering mid-season, remember when the Falcons were 4-1 and looking very solid with Matt Ryan running the offense and a stingy defense? Fast forward to this weekend and they have lost four of five, including a heart-breaker to the Giants last weekend after a great come back from a two touchdown deficit, and now find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. The Bucs meanwhile, well they’re just happy to have that one win. Despite some nice play from rookie QB Josh Freeman, this team is going nowhere any time soon. Take a team that’s 4-0 at home and put them up against a team that’s 0-4 on the road, and you have a pretty easy decision to make come prediction time.

Falcons 17, Bucs 7

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills – Finally, we have a team that is actually playing well after a slow start instead of playing poorly after a good start. Miami started this season 0-3, but today stand at 5-5 and in the middle of the AFC Wild Card race. They seem to only be gaining momentum, and they can thank this weeks opponent for that. Miami won their first game against Buffalo, relying heavily on their high-powered ground game in a 38-10 blowout. This week should be no different, despite losing Ronnie Brown for the season, Ricky Williams has given the Fins back to back 100-yard games, and the Bills poor run defense should mean that Williams has a field day this weekend.

Dolphins 24, Bills 13

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals – Coming off a horrible road loss, the Bengals look to get back on the winning track and forget all the problems that plagued them last week. The perfect cure? A home game against the Browns. All you have to do is ask the Lions what it can do to boost the morale of your team. The Bengals looked like the Bungles last week, fumbling off a kick-off in the final 30 seconds to allow the Raiders to score the upset. The Browns meanwhile looked like a contender, until you remember they were playing the 1-8 (at the time) Lions. Cleveland will come crashing back down to Earth this week, and the Bengals will get back on track in the race for the AFC North title.

Bengals 31, Browns 10

Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams – In an NFC West clash (for dramatic effect) the Rams host the Seahawks in what should be a boring game between a team that’s 1-9 and hasn’t won a home game in ten contests (St.Louis) and a team that is 3-7 and hasn’t been within double digits of any opponent in its last six road contests (Seattle). Obviously, something has to give this week. The Seahawks have won 10 straight against the Rams, not losing to St. Louis since 2004. However the Rams are coming off a game they played pretty well in last week against Arizona, and with Stephen Jackson they believe they can hang with anyone, despite the poor record. I’m inclined to believe that for one game at least, the Rams will ride Jackson to the win, and get one of the games best backs some much-deserved publicity, for a week at least.

Rams 21, Seahawks 17

Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets – Two teams fading in the playoff picture collide this week when the Jets take on the Panthers. Both teams sit at 4-6, but have taken different paths to where they are now. The Jets you’ll remember, started of 3-0, including a big win against the Patriots in Week 2, and were the darlings of the NFL. The Panthers, started off 0-3 after finishing last season 12-4 and were among the leagues biggest disappointments. The Jets then proceeded to lose six of their next seven, while the Panthers have gone 4-3 since to get themselves to within two games in the NFC Wild Card race. This game should feature plenty of running, as it has two quarterbacks who are up there in the league lead in interceptions in Mark Sanchez and Jake Delhomme. The winner of this game will keep their slight playoff hopes alive, while the loser can start planning their off-season now.

Panthers 24, Jets 21

Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles – In the NFC East battle of the week, the Eagles host the Redskins. The Eagles are involved in basically a three-team race for the division title with the Cowboys and Giants, and host the divisions cellar-dweller in Washington. Coming off a big road win against Chicago that gave their season and division title aspirations hope, the Eagles look to continue their winning ways. The Redskins on the other hand just want to get a win, coming off a 7-6 loss against Dallas where they actually played really good defense until the end, the Redskins are having a season to forget. A win against the Eagles would definitely make this season better, but unfortunately for the ‘Skins I think we have a better chance of seeing Mike Vick run for 100-yards this weekend (remember when that was a common thing?)

Eagles 31, Redskins 13

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans – A couple weeks ago, when the Texans visited the Colts, I picked Houston to win that game. A late Kris Brown missed field goal later, I was wrong and the Colts had pulled out a squeaker at home, 20-17. The Colts are now 10-0, riding a 19-game regular season winning streak, and need wins against the Texans this week, Titans next week, and the Broncos a week after to set the NFL record for consecutive regular season wins. I have picked the Colts to lose as my Upset of the Week more than a couple of times, and you know what, I’m going to do it again. The Texans have played the Colts close in the last couple contests, losing by single digits and coming oh-so-close to pulling the upset. I think they get it this week, in what could be the biggest home win in Texans history, to keep them in the Wild Card hunt.

Texans 24, Colts 22

Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers – With both teams coming off impressive wins last week, the Chiefs and Chargers clash in an AFC West divisional game. The Chiefs are coming off a huge upset, beating the Steelers in overtime last weekend in what might just be the upset of the season. The Chargers meanwhile are coming off a 32-3 dismantling of the Broncos that gave them control in the division race. The Chargers are arguably the hottest team in the NFL, winning five straight, including road wins in New York against the Giants, in Denver, and a home win against the Eagles. Also in that winning streak is a 37-7 shellacking of the Chiefs in Kansas City. If the Chiefs can’t stay within 30 points at home, what would make you think they can hang in San Diego?

Chargers 34, Chiefs 14

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers – Two teams going in opposite directions face off in San Francisco this weekend as the Niners host the Jags. The last time the Jags came out to the West Coast, they were hammered 41-0 by a poor Seattle squad, and it turned to be the turning point in their season. Since then the Jags have won four of five, and three straight, to jump right into the middle of the AFC Wild Card race. The Niners meanwhile, looked like a playoff team at the beginning of this season, but now sit at 4-6 and are all but out of the playoff picture in the NFC. They can start salvaging a lost season with a win this weekend that would ruin the Jags playoff chances, but the Jags are too focused right now to slip up.

Jaguars 21, Niners 20

Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings – When looking at this game on the schedule at the beginning of the season, wasn’t everyone predicting this to be an NFC title game preview? That’s why they play the games. The Vikings have held up their end of the bargain, going 9-1 and despite being a game behind the undefeated Saints in the standings, are the team to beat in the NFC. The Bears meanwhile are falling apart, struggling greatly to get the ball moving with Jay Cutler at QB. The man who was supposed to be a superstar and lead Chicago to greater things, leads the NFL in interceptions thrown, and has struggled without a real number one receiver. The Vikings should continue to roll with Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson leading the way, as they are one Saints loss away from claiming home-field advantage.

Vikings 27, Bears 10

Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans – The NFL’s reigning road warriors hit the road against one of the leagues hottest teams when the Cardinals take on the Titans. The Cardinals are 5-0 on the road this season, en route to a 7-3 record and control of the NFC West. Arizona’s road success started in the playoffs last season and has continued into this season. The Titans meanwhile, started this season 0-6, including an embarrassing 59-0 loss to the Patriots, after an NFL-best 13-3 record last season. In the past four weeks however, Tennessee has turned it around behind Vince Young. Rejuvenated by the quarterback change and following the lead of Chris Johnson on the ground, the Titans have won four straight and given themselves (albeit tiny) a chance at the playoffs. A win this week for the Titans would set up a clash with the Colts next week that will really let us know how for real the Titans are. I’m going to go out on a limb and make a second Upset of the Week pick, hey it’s a holiday weekend, consider this a gift.

Titans 21, Cardinals 17

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens – In a key AFC North game, bitter rivals face off as the Ravens and Steelers take the field. The animosity between these two teams is well known, and the physical nature of these games are something for all to enjoy. The Steelers are coming in off of two consecutive losses, including an embarrassing road loss to Kansas City, while the Ravens are coming in off a two-point home loss to the Colts that they should have won, if not for a late Joe Flacco INT in the red zone. The winner of this game will be in prime position to get into the playoffs, while the loser will have to basically win out to get in. Despite the fact that it’s a home game for the Ravens, you can never go against the Super Bowl Champs in a big road game, especially with the season on the line.

Steelers 17, Ravens 13

New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints – The undefeated Saints get a real test this Monday night when the Patriots come to town. The Saints are sitting at 10-0, living off of a fast-scoring offense that can blow a game open in minutes. The Pats come in doing what they usually do, winning games while making other teams play at their pace and style. This is a big litmus test for the Saints, we will really see if they are for real and a true Super Bowl contender when they host a tough team in a primetime game. This is easily the Game of the Week, and will be very fun to watch. Two of the highest-powered offenses will be facing off, and two of the games best at quarterback with Drew Brees and Tom Brady taking shots downfield. I think that we will leave this game knowing that not only are the New Orleans Saints for real, but Drew Brees is playing better at quarterback than anyone in the league this season. This game will be a shoot-out, no doubt about it, but in the end, the Saints will continue marching in to a historical season.

Saints 41, Patriots 35

Wow.

In General, NBA, NFL on November 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

Some video gifts for you guys, now that the holidays are rolling around.

First is from the NBA and my favorite non-Laker, Derrick Rose, this kid is a beast, period. Sorry Greg Oden!

Second is from the best receiver in the NFL, Andre Johnson, yeah I said it. Only him and Larry Fitzgerald could do all these things in one play.

Tackle Tuesday: Week 11

In General, NFL on November 24, 2009 at 9:42 am

This was such a confusing, exciting, and just fun-filled week in the NFL. The Browns-Lions giving us a classic (no seriously) and the Chiefs and Raiders reminding us that on any given Sunday, any team can win.

Upset of the Week:

Oakland Raiders of the NCAA 20 Cincinnati Bengals 17-

What the hell happened? Last week, everyone (including the Sports Authority) was fawning over the Bengals, how they’re for real, a team to be reckoned with in the AFC after beating the Steelers for the second time this season. Fast forward to this weekend and they’re the Bungles again, losing to the Raiders of the NCAA, and some dude named Gradkowski, huh? I don’t even know what to make of this loss, the Bengals had a 17-10 lead with about 30 seconds left, give up a 30-yard game-tying touchdown, fumble away the ensuing kickoff, and a Sebastian Janikowski field goal later are leaving Oakland with a loss. Huh? Seriously a lot of confusing things in the NFL this season, but the Eagles and Bengals losing to the Raiders a couple weeks apart could be quite possibly the weirdest thing to happen this season.

Game MVP: Bruce Gradkowski (17-34, 183 yards, 2 TD’s) – For the first time, I had trouble actually finding an MVP for this. Looking at the stats, I really have no idea how the Raiders of the NCAA won, I mean their QB didn’t break 200 yards passing, their running back didn’t break 100, their kicker missed a field goal, I mean seriously, this win makes NO sense.

Game LVP: Cincinnati Bungles (INT, 3 Lost Fumbles, 0 Sacks) – This was a stink job by the entire team, they all played horribly. Actually not the entire team, Rookie RB Bernard Scott had 21 carries for 119 yards while filling in for Cedric Benson, but the rest of the squad was horrible. Seriously I am so confused by this loss that I don’t ever want to talk about it again.

Game of the Week:

Detroit Lions 38 Cleveland Browns 37

Who knew? Go back to my Friday Football Forecast and I have to be honest, I predicted this to be one of the worst games of the season, a 10-6 win for the Lions. Who knew this would turn out to be possibly the game of the season? Who knew Brady Quinn could play a little, throwing for four touchdowns? Who knew that Matt Stafford was really the best rookie QB this season, not Mark Sanchez? Who knew that I would be on my couch screaming after Stafford threw that game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock, his fifth of the day, for the win? Seriously though, only the Browns could lose a game like this, a pass interference call with no time left on the clock in the endzone, setting up an amazing finish. Stafford was driven into the ground on that hail mary throw, separating his left (non-throwing) shoulder and having to leave the game. By NFL rule, an injured player cannot return the next play unless a timeout is called. Thanks to Eric “did we really used to call this guy Mangenius?” Mangini and his horrible game management, that’s exactly what happened. Stafford dodged four team medical personnel, ran back onto the field telling his coach to call a pass, threw the game winning touchdown and immediately turned to the sideline in pain saying “It’s Out! It’s Out!” in reference to his dislocated shoulder. I loved this game, it was fun to watch and reminded me exactly why I watch football. And it all happened in Detroit, against the Browns in a battle of two of the worst teams in the NFL, who knew?

The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:

Dallas Clark, TE, Indianapolis Colts

On the opening drive of the Colts-Ravens game, Peyton Manning dropped back and threw to his trusty TE Dallas Clark, who pulled in this insane one-handed grab for a 3-yard TD. What’s so impressive about this catch is that after the grab, Clark has the presence of mind to make sure he gets both feet inbounds. There aren’t many wide receivers out there who can make a grab like this, and the fact that Clark is a tight end makes this catch even more impressive

Stud of the Week:

Matt Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions (26-43, 422 yards, 5 TD)-

Really, I can’t get over this game. Did you expect me to give Stud of the Week to anyone but Stafford? He defined stud at the end of that game on Sunday, coming back on the field with a dislocated shoulder and throwing the winning touchdown. I don’t think many people understand the risk of this play, he’s on the field with a separated shoulder, it’s not in place, meaning if he gets hit there his career could have been finished, that’s how serious of an injury this could have been. Stafford became the youngest player in NFL history to throw for five touchdowns in a game, showing everyone why he was the first overall pick in the draft, and perhaps turning around an entire franchise with this win. Matt Stafford, I salute you.

NFL Top 5 after Week 11:

1. New Orleans Saints (10-0) – Another week, another win for the Saints. New Orleans remained undefeated with a 38-7 thrashing of the Bucs in Tampa. Although the Bucs record isn’t that great, they had been playing well the past couple weeks making this impressive. The biggest challenge standing between them and 16-0 comes to the dome on Monday night when the Pats visit.

2. Indianapolis Colts (10-0) – In what seems to be becoming a tradition for Indy, the Colts pulled out another gritty, ugly win this week on the road in Baltimore. Regardless of how the Ravens are struggling, a win in Baltimore is nonetheless impressive. Peyton Manning and Co. have now won 19 consecutive regular season games.

3. Minnesota Vikings (9-1) – I said it once, I’ll say it again, this is the team to beat in the NFL, period. With Brett Favre passing for another four TD’s on Sunday and the Vikes defense obliterating the Seahawks offense, this team is clicking on all cylinders. Seattle had 10 first downs the entire game, and four yards total on the ground. This is still the team nobody wants to see in the NFC come playoff time.

4.  San Diego Chargers (7-3) – San Diego…….. SUPER CHARGERS! That’s exactly what the Bolts looked like last week in their domination of the Broncos. They too are clicking, the running game finally coming around to match Phillip Rivers in the air, and a defense that is finally playing like we’re accustomed to seeing. With the Bolts surging and the Broncos falling off (again) this team is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.

5. Arizona Cardinals (7-3) – Before you guys flip a table and go crazy about the Cards being in the Top 5 over the Cowboys, I want you to remember two things. First, the Cards went to the Super Bowl last season, have won six out of seven, and we know what they bring. The Cowboys just beat the Redskins 7-6, have Tony Romo at QB, haven’t won a playoff game since the 90’s, oh and they have Tony Romo at QB!  Kurt Warner’s injury will be interesting though, and could knock the Cards out of this spot in a week. But it could be worse, seriously they could have Tony Romo at QB.

Friday Football Forecast: Week 11

In General, NFL on November 19, 2009 at 12:46 pm

With a Thursday night game tonight, I decided to go ahead and give you guys the Forecast a day early instead of predicting just one game and adding the rest tomorrow, so enjoy!

Miami Dolphins – Carolina Panthers –

Another week, another Thursday night game for the NFL. This one brings us the Panthers hosting the Dolphins in an interesting match-up. Miami is coming off a last-second win over 1-8 Tampa, but are reeling from the loss of leading rusher/ Wildcat initiator Ronnie Brown. Meanwhile the Panthers seem to finally be clicking for the first time this season, coming off a big win against Atlanta last weekend. This game will come down to a couple of things. First, can Jake Delhomme continue playing well and not throwing interceptions as he has the past three weeks, or will he go back to the ways that had people calling for his benching? Also, how effective will the Dolphins be in the Wildcat without Brown? Unfortunately for the Dolphins, I don’t think they will be very effective at all.

Panthers 17, Dolphins 13

Washington Redskins – Dallas Cowboys

Remember when this used to be one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL? That definitely seems like it was forever ago. Regardless, it remains a rivalry and with the Skins coming in off a big win against the Broncos and the Boys coming in off an embarrassing loss to the Packers, this game should be interesting. Washington wants to come out and build off of the big win last week while Dallas wants to come out and forget their last loss and re-focus on taking the NFC East crown. This game will hinge on how effective Washington is on the ground and which Tony Romo shows up for Dallas. Although you can never really count any team out in a rivalry like this, the game being in Dallas and the added motivation of forgetting their Lambeau trip are enough to push the Boys to a win this week.

Cowboys 24, Redskins 14

Cleveland Browns – Detroit Lions

Can it get any worse than this? This game could be one of the worst match-ups we’ve seen in the NFL since, well since the Raiders-Chiefs game last week. In all seriousness though, something has to give in this game. Either Cleveland is finally going to start scoring or Detroit is finally going to shut someone down. Right now I can’t think of any reason to pick either of these teams, neither has any type of advantage, the only thing that I can do here is pick the home team, because both of these teams are so terrible that it seems like that’s the only advantage in this game. And because of that I’m going with the Lions to double their win total.

Lions 10, Browns 6

San Francisco 49ers – Green Bay Packers

This is another one of those games that used to be a big rivalry, but with Brett Favre in Minny and Steve Young over  on ESPN, the only real story in this game is which former first-round pick will play better. For those that don’t remember, Alex Smith went first in the 2005 draft, and was picked over Aaron Rodgers, who went on a free-fall all the way to 24 and the Packers. Whichever one of those QBs plays better will determine who wins this game. And although Smith has played well since regaining the starting position, I think Rodgers outplays him in the Lambeau cold.

Packers 21, Niners 17

Pittsburgh Steelers – Kansas City Chiefs

This one is my Upset Pick of the Week…. okay not really, actually this is probably the easiest game to pick. The Steelers are coming off of a tough home loss to the Bengals and what better way to rebound from that then a game against the lowly Chiefs? Pittsburgh should work out all the kinks in this game and dominate it from start to finish, getting back on track to trying to grab that AFC North title.

Steelers 34, Chiefs 7

Seattle Seahawks – Minnesota Vikings

In the pre-season this looked like it would be a key Week 11 game, possibly the inside track to home – field advantage on the line. But injuries have ravaged the Seahawks to the point that they are 3-6, and probably already looking ahead to who they want to take with their high first-round pick. The Vikings meanwhile look more and more complete with every passing week. Despite the fact that the Saints are undefeated the Vikings are still the team to beat in the NFC, and really what’s not to like? The best running back in the game in Adrian Peterson, a more efficient than we’ve seen in years Brett Favre, and the best lines in the league. Minnesota should roll easily in this one.

Vikings 31, Seahawks 10

Atlanta Falcons – New York Giants

This is a big game for both teams, but not in the way we might have thought it would be a couple weeks ago. Both teams are reeling right now, the Giants coming off a bye week and four straight losses since a 5-0 start, the Falcons coming off a loss to Carolina and looking like they might be ready to fade away at this point. Neither team can afford another loss, otherwise they fall behind in the wild-card and division races, and put themselves in a position where they might not have to win out to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to be pretty damn close. The main advantage here is for New York, and that is they are playing at home. The Falcons have not looked good on the road at all this season, and I expect that trend to continue this weekend.

Giants 21, Falcons 13

New Orleans Saints – Tampa Bay Bucs

After an 0-7 start, the Bucs have been a team rejuvenated since putting rookie Josh Freeman in at quarterback. Despite the loss last week to Miami, Freeman lead Tampa to another fourth-quarter comeback, and had them in a position to win it at the end before the defense faltered. New Orleans meanwhile just keeps chugging along. Coming off a less than impressive win over St. Louis last week, the Saints are 9-0 and seem like team 1A in the NFC along with Minnesota. I think they’re offense will get back on track after a lackluster (by their insane standards) past couple games.

Saints 35, Bucs 17

Buffalo Bills – Jacksonville Jaguars

This is the first game for the Bills since changing coaches and quarterbacks. Dick Jauron was fire early this week, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for struggling Buffalo. Meanwhile the Jags seem to be clicking at the right time, although the AFC is so stacked this season that it may not make a difference. In the end this game will come down to the fact that Jacksonville needs it more if they have any hope of making the playoffs. Don’t expect to catch this one on TV though, as we get yet another blacked out Jags home game, you paying attention LA?

Jags 17, Bills 10

Indianapolis Colts – Baltimore Ravens

The Colts are coming off a thrilling 35-34 not-loss to the Pats over the weekend. The reason I call it a not-loss is because they didn’t win so much as the Pats lost it thanks to Bill Belichicks fourth-and-2 blunder to basically hand Peyton Manning the game. The Colts are now 9-0 as well, having won 18 consecutive regular season games for the second most all-time. But they have been struggling lately, winning a couple close games in a row. Meanwhile Baltimore is coming off a 16-0 blanking of the Browns on MNF, which considering the competition isn’t really that impressive. However I think this has all the makings of an upset win for the Ravens, and that’s why this is my Upset Pick of the Week and I’m serious this time.

Ravens 24, Colts 20

Arizona Cardinals – St. Louis Rams

The Rams very nearly pulled off the upset of the season last week, barely losing to the Saints at home. This week they welcome the defending NFC Champion Cardinals (still sounds weird), who are just getting on a roll the past couple weeks. Arizona sits at 6-3, in control of the NFC West and looking for another playoff run. This should be a tune-up game for them as they look ahead to the rest of the season. Although Steven Jackson could go wild and win this game himself if the Cards aren’t careful.

Cardinals 31, Rams 13

San Diego Chargers – Denver Broncos

Wow what a difference a month makes. Five weeks ago, the Broncos had just beaten the Chargers in San Diego on MNF, were 6-0 and had a commanding three and a half game lead over the then 2-3 Chargers. But we wake up this morning with both teams at 6-3 and this game suddenly a slugfest to determine who has control over the AFC West the rest of the way. Right now the Broncos are reeling, coming off a loss to the lowly Redskins in which they lost quarterback Kyle Orton to an ankle injury. The Chargers meanwhile are rolling, with back to back big wins against NFC East opponents in the Giants and Eagles, and they are out looking for revenge. The Broncos are vulnerable right now, and with the possibility of Orton sitting out this weekend all signs point to a Chargers victory.

Chargers 27, Broncos 17

Cincinnati Bengals – Oakland Raiders of the NCAA

Before the season started, this looked like the game to avoid this week, the Bungles and the Faders? Who would ever want to watch that? Well, nobody besides Cincy and Oakland fans will probably want to watch this game still, the Bengals are 7-2 and on a roll. Although leading rusher Cedric Benson may be out, the Bengals signed former Chief Larry Johnson to fill in and he should have an immediate impact. The Raiders meanwhile are, well they’re the Raiders. Every week they look more and more like a college team, and they switched things up this week to try and improve, benching Jamarcus Russell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski or Charlie Frye, the starter of the latter two is yet to be decided. Seriously, you know you’re team is bad when you bench you’re starter and can’t decide if you want to put in the second or third stringer to start. Let’s just move on.

Bengals 31, Raiders 6

New York Jets – New England Patriots

FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO! Okay now that that’s out of the way let’s forget Week 10 and focus on Week 11. Remember the last time these two teams met? The Jets shocked a lot of people and knocked off the Pats, backing up a lot of trash-talk and guarantees to pull off the win en route to a 3-0 start. Fast-forward to this week, the Jets are 4-5, the Pats are a playoff team and all is well again in the world. The Patriots are always lethal after a loss, having not lost two in a row in nearly three years. Expect them to continue that streak in this one.

Pats 27, Jets 10

Philadelphia Eagles – Chicago Bears

In a big NFC game, both of these pre-season favorites are coming off of tough losses in California. The Bears lost to the Niners on the road due largely in part to Jay Cutlers FIVE picks, which were a result of great coverage and even greater cockiness on Cutlers part. The Eagles meanwhile are coming off a 31-23 loss to the Chargers that wasn’t as close as the final score for most of the game. Both of these teams desperately need a win if they want to stay in the playoff picture, and despite being a home-game for the Bears, Cutler is in too much of a funk right now for anyone to take that team seriously. Add that to the fact that this is a home-coming game for Chicago product Donovan McNabb and you have all the makings of a big road win for Philly.

Eagles 21, Bears 13

Tennessee Titans – Houston Texans

The Titans continue to just roll along since plugging Vince Young in at quarterback, going 3-0 since an 0-6 start. The Texans meanwhile are still out to prove to everyone they are a legitimate playoff team, and for the first time in a long time, host a MNF game for a national audience. If there was ever a game for Houston to show the country they are for real this would be it. But, I think Chris Johnson is going to run wild in this game and show everyone why some people have him in the conversation with Adrian Peterson as the best back in the NFL.

Titans 24, Texans 17

 

Tackle Tuesday Week 10

In General, NFL on November 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Surprise of the Week:

Redskins 27  Broncos 17

Well this one was definitely a shocker. The Broncos were coming in at 6-2, off two straight tough losses to AFC North opponents, and just looking for a game to rebound and snap that mini-losing streak. The Redskins were well, the Redskins, coming in at 2-6 and having all types of issues all season long, seeming like with each week came a new problem.  But I guess that’s why they play the game, because this one turned into a surprise with Redskins keeping pace with the Broncos and only trailing 17-14 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter the Redskins came out gunning in the fourth. outscoring the Broncos 13-0 and taking the lead for good on a one-yard TD run by Ladell Betts with 2:44 left. The loss was the third straight for Denver, and dropped them into a tie with the Chargers in the AFC West, just 4 weeks after having a three-game division lead. Does any of that sound familiar to you Bronco fans?

Game MVP: Ladell Betts (26 carries, 114 yds, 1 TD) – Filling in for an injured Clinton Portis, Betts handled the workload on the ground and proved to be the difference in the game. He ran for 91 yards in the second half alone, and his lone TD was the difference in the game, leading the Skins to the upset.

Game LVP: Chris Simms (3-13, 13 yds, INT) – Another injury fill-in, Simms took over for an injured Kyle Orton to start the second half and lead the Broncos to a whole lot of nothing. The team had a grand total of 32 yards after halftime, and they looked absolutely nothing like the team that we saw start this season at 6-0.

 

Game of the Week:

Colts 35 Patriots 34

Up 31-14 early in the fourth, and 34-21 with just over four minutes left in the game, on the road, at undefeated Indianapolis, you would think that Bill “The Genius” Belichick would be able to hold on to the win right? Especially after Peyton Manning and the Colts had scored to cut the lead to 34-28, and the Pats have a fourth-and-2 from their own 28, with over two minutes left, you just punt it and have faith in your defense right? I mean nobody on Earth would go for it and risk giving Peyton freakin’ Manning the ball less than 30-yards away from a win, we can all agree on that can’t we? Well that is of course unless your Belichick, and you are cocky enough to go for it in that situation. So what happened next? The Pats fall a half-yard short, Manning scores in three plays and somehow a game the Pats dominated for 58 minutes turns into a 35-34 loss that leaves us all questioning the Coach, and leaves the Pats defense with a definite message, letting them know that Belichick doesn’t have faith in them to stop Manning from going 70 yards, he’d rather risk it all and hope is offense can run out the clock. The Colts meanwhile are now 9-0, have won 18 straight regular season games, and have the toughest game on their schedule out of the way. This is one everyone can question, I mean in all honesty, Norv Turner wouldn’t have gone for it on that play, and he’s probably the worst head-coach in NFL history. Congrats Bill Belichick, you allowed your arrogance to rob your team of a hard-fought and well-deserved road victory.

 

The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:

Bernard Scott, KR, Cincinnati Bengals

Great play here, Scott takes the kickoff on a bounce and zig-zags through a bunch of Steelers before barely beating out a couple more Pittsburgh players to the end zone for a 96-yard TD on the kick return. This play provided an early spark in what proved to be a huge Cincinnati win.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWWpRYaBmhA

 

Stud of the Week:

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (26 carries, 132 yds, 2 TDs) –

This seems to be a weekly award for Johnson now. He came through big yet again, leading the Titans to their third consecutive victory. He has almost single-handedly backed up his guarantee that the Titans will win their last 10 after an 0-6 start, and he is doing the unthinkable, putting himself up there in the conversation for best running back in the NFL along with Adrian Peterson. If Johnson continues to play like this and the Titans somehow make a miracle run, you might be looking at the NFL MVP.

 

NFL Top 5 after Week 10:

1. New Orleans Saints (9-0) – A surprisingly close win over the now 1-8 Rams in St.Louis, but the Saints are still chugging along, scoring in the boat-loads and playing some strong defense. This is a team that will be in it no matter who they are playing because they can score at anytime, from anywhere, with no warning.

2. Indianapolis Colts (9-0) – Still undefeated, 18 straight wins in the regular season, and the best quarterback alive right now (yes that includes Drew Brees), this team is the favorite in the AFC for now, but they have looked shaky the past three weeks and could be in for an upset real soon.

3. Minnesota Vikings (8-1) – This is still my current Super Bowl pick, there is no team more complete right now than the Vikes. Look at the stats from last week, AP has 133 yards and 2 TDs, Favre throws for 344 yards and a TD and Sidney Rice has over 200 yards receiving. They  have the best lines in football on both sides of the ball, and they look better and better every week.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (7-2) – I have to admit, every week the Bengals shock me. I thought the Steelers would massacre them and show us all what a fluke that 6-2 start was, but as of today, I am a Bengals Believer, this team is for real folks.

5A. San Diego Chargers (6-3) – I couldn’t decide who to put at the 5 so we’re going to have to split them. The Chargers come in at 5A, they’ve  won four straight after a loss to the Broncos dropped them to 2-3. The last two wins have been especially impressive, a last-second road win against the Giants and then a domination of the Eagles at home. The Chargers are looking better by the week as they recover from their annual slow-start.

5B. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) –  I can’t drop the Steelers much, they did lose to another top 5 team and it was a close game, so I have no real reason to drop them out of the top 5. They still are the defending Super Bowl Champs, and are still the team nobody wants to see come playoff time, this is one team nobody should make the mistake of counting out.

 

Pre-Friday Football Forecast

In General, NFL on November 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Since there’s a football game tonight before the normal Friday Football Forecast comes out, I’m gonna just do a quick prediction for the Bears-Niners game.

Chicago Bears – San Francisco 49ers

A couple weeks ago this looked like a lock to be one of better games for week 10. But both teams have very quickly come crashing down. After a 35-0 win over the St. Louis Rams, the Niners were 3-1 and looked poised to not only win their division but compete for a high seed in the NFC playoffs. 4 games (and losses) later, the Niners sit at 3-5 and are a couple of losses away from starting to scout which college stud they want to take with the high first round pick they’ll be receiving. The Bears meanwhile are a team that has greatly underwhelmed everyone this season. There was plenty of hype surrounding this team, all we had heard for decades it seemed was that the Bears were one good quarterback away from being a Super Bowl team. That was all supposed to be solved this off-season when they traded for supposed “Superstar” Jay Cutler.  However while on paper they seemed like an upgraded team, everyone forgot that no matter how good your quarterback is you can’t accomplish anything with no receivers. For crying out loud this teams go-to receiver is a corner back in Devin Hester. Matt Forte has taken a step back this season after having an impressive rushing season his rookie year, and the defense as a whole has greatly declined, hurting from the loss of Brian Urlacher more and more each week. In the end, this is a game that pits two disappointments against each other, a loss probably knocks either team out of the playoff picture. A win keeping alive slim hopes. The Bears are coming off an embarrassing home thrashing at the hands of the Cardinals and are out for revenge. The Niners are coming off an even more embarassing loss to the 2-6 Titans. I think this game comes down to which team can dictate play with their offense, and I look for the Niners to get back on track finally. Watch out for Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore in this one.

Niners 24 Bears 17

Tackle Tuesday: Week 9

In General, NFL on November 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Sorry for the day delay, but here’s this weeks version of Tackle Tuesday.

Surprise of the Week:

Tampa Bay Bucs 38 Green Bay Packers 28

For the first time in Tackle Tuesday history, the New York Giants are not the on the losing end of the Surprise of the Week. This weeks honor goes to the Green Bay Packers, who went into Tampa Bay and lost to a winless team being lead by a Rookie QB in his first career start. The Bucs, in their throw-back orange uniforms, used 21 fourth-quarter points, including a pick-six off of Aaron Rodgers, to seal their first win of the season and Coach Raheem Morris’ first career win.

Game MVP: Josh Freeman, Bucs

The Rook took over the starting reigns for Tampa and looked poised, especially in the fourth quarter. Although his numbers don’t seem that great, 14/31 for 205 yards and a pick, he also threw for three touchdowns in the air, including two in the fourth quarter comeback.

Game LVP: Green Bay Packers

I was going to give this to Aaron Rodgers who had three picks, but a loss to a winless team with a rookie QB is something you have to pin on the entire team. This was a pathetic effort from a team that is supposedly fighting for a playoff spot, but looks to be regressing as the weeks go by.

Game of the Week:

 San Diego Chargers 21  New York Giants 20

This game started off pretty boring, a defensive battle that wasn’t very intriguing. Then the fourth quarter started and things got interesting. As I sat watching this from Giordanos pizza in Chicago, surrounded by a bunch of drunk, bitter Bears fans, a defensive battle turned into a shoot-out in a must win for both teams. The Chargers were 4-3, a loss would have dropped them further behind the Broncos in the division and possibly out of the playoff race. The Giants were 5-3, but had lost three straight and were quickly fading in the NFC East. The Giants held a 17-14 lead when Phillip Rivers was intercepted and the ball returned into the red-zone for the Giants, which seemed to put the game away. But the Chargers D came through for once, and held the G-Men to a field goal, meaning a touchdown would win it for the Bolts. Phillip Rivers then took on the form of John Elway, decisively driving the Chargers down field, and hitting Vincent “Big-Play” Jackson for a touchdown with 23 seconds left to seal the win. What a huge road win for the Chargers and a devastating home loss for the Giants.

The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:

 Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots

Being out on the road I wasn’t able to catch many NFL highlights for games I missed, but one that I saw that was pretty sweet was a one-handed grab by Randy Moss for about a 40-yard gain. Here’s the replay of the grab, and if I missed anything let me know, I’ll post those plays as well.

Stud of the Week:

Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Warner had an outstanding game for the Cardinals, leading them to a 41-21 beat down in Chicago, a surprisingly easy win for such an up-and-down team. The Cardinals are now 4-0 on the road, and a big part of it is because of Warner. He was 22/32 for 261 yards and 5 (five!) TD’s against a Bears defense that is getting softer than Cool Hu-whip (shout-out to Stewie, and if you don’t know, you really need to watch Family Guy). Warner threw for four of his TD’s in the first-half, finally utilizing the best WR in the entire Universe, Larry Fitzgerald. Here’s to you Mr. Warner, you are the Stud of the Week.

 

NFL Top 5 after Week 9:

1. New Orleans Saints (8-0) –

Another week, another win as the Saints keep marching. After falling behind 17-0, the Saints outscored the Panthers 30-3 en route to a comeback and the first 8-0 start in the franchise history. A lot is made about the Saints offense, and rightfully so, but did you know the Saints defense has 7 touchdowns this season, otherwise known as two more then the Cleveland Browns offense has all season.

2. Indianapolis Colts (8-0)-

In what is seeming to become a weekly occurrence, the Colts survived a come-back bid by the Texans and won 20-17. It was the 17th consecutive regular-season win for the Colts, and kept them undefeated on the season. This is a team not too worried about regular season wins though, it’s the post-season that counts and those wins have eluded them recently.

3. Minnesota Vikings (7-1) –

A bye week for them changes absolutely nothing. They still have the best RB in the world in Adrian Peterson, they have a QB that can throw with anyone in Brett Favre, and they own the line of scrimmage in every game they play. This is as complete a team as there is in the NFL, period.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) –

Dominating road-win on Monday Night Football for the defending Super Bowl Champs. The Steelers went into Denver and completely beat up the Broncos in the second-half, moving the ball at will and grinding the Bronco offense to a complete halt. They easily could have won by much more if not for a couple of turnovers in the red zone during the third quarter. This is a very, very scary team for anyone in the AFC and the NFL in general. (That last sentence killed me a little on the inside)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) –

The most surprising team in the NFL, the Bengals continue to win against squads that you would have never thought they would beat at the beginning of the season. Chad Ocho Cinco is playing like the receiver we knew him to be, and Carson Palmer looks great. It’s crazy to think this team is one lucky tip play away from being 7-1. By the way, major shout-out to Ocho Cinco for pretending to bribe the refs during a challenge, that was CLASSIC. Here’s the video for those of you who haven’t seen it.

 

 

 

Tackle Tuesday: Week 8

In General, NFL on November 3, 2009 at 11:52 am

Surprise of the Week:

 Philadelphia Eagles 40, New York Giants 17

For the second straight week the Giants are the losers in the Surprise of the Week. Well let’s start with the good, I went 8-4 with my picks over the weekend. The bad, I completely swung and missed on this one. The Eagles came out and absolutely demolished the Giants from the beginning, jumping out to a 16-0 lead. The Giants scored on the first play of after the two-minute warning, but that’s when the Eagles exploded. One play later Donovan McNabb hits Desean Jackson for a 54-yard touchdown. Then after a Eli Manning pick, McNabb hits Jeremy Maclin for a 23-yard score and all of the sudden its 30-7 at the half, and the game is over. Unbelievable performance by the Eagles, staking a big claim to favorites in the very tough NFC East after dominating the quickly-fading Giants, who are 0-3 after a 5-0 start.

 

Game MVP: Donovan McNabb, Eagles – McNabb went 17-23 for 240 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead the Eagles to the win. McNabb delivered the type of leadership and game-management that the Eagles will need to go far in the NFC.

 

Game LVP: Eli Manning, Giants – And for the second straight week this, ummm, honor (?) goes to Manning who once again turned in a stinker. Manning was 20-39 for 222 yards, a TD and two picks. But the picks were especially costly because the lead directly to Eagles touchdowns. Manning’s poor start to the game ultimately put the Giants in a hole they could never recover from. The close runner-up for this award would have to be the Giants defense, who gave up 30 first-half points, although the great field position Philly was getting could directly be attributed to Manning and the Giants offense.

 

Co-surprise of the Week:

Baltimore Ravens 30, Denver Broncos 7

Well that ended quickly. The Broncos came into this game 6-0, rolling through emotional wins all season, and the Ravens were 3-3 and reeling after a 3-0 start. That apparently meant nothing as the Ravens dominated the Broncos from the beginning of the second-half on. After taking a 6-0 lead into halftime, the Ravens Ladarius Webb returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a score. After a Knowshon Moreno TD made it 13-7, the Ravens scored the last 17 points of the game and the defense dominated Denver limiting them to 200 yards of total offense.

 

Game MVP: Baltimore defense and special teams – Just looking at the turnovers, Baltimore’s defense didn’t do much, only recovering one fumble for the lone turnover of the game. However Baltimore was able to turn that into a touchdown, and the defense dominated Denver  by limiting them to only 200 yards of offense, including just 66 on the ground. The Baltimore special teams provided the spark they needed when Webb took the second-kick 95 yards for the score.

 

Game LVP: Kyle Orton, Broncos – Somebody has to take the blame for Denver’s lack of offense, and that would be Orton. Although he didn’t throw a pick, he didn’t throw a touchdown either, only throwing for 152 yards on 23 completions, which shows you that Orton really wasn’t doing much through the air. Orton has been praised for his game management, but it was his lack of explosiveness that ended up costing Denver this week. 

 

Game of the Week:

Minnesota Vikings over Green Bay Packers:

Did you really think I would go with another game? This was the one match-up we heard about literally all week long, Favre to Lambeau! Favre returns as a villain! Favre! Favre! Favre! In all seriousness though, this game lived up to the hype. The Vikings jumped out to a 24-3 lead early in the third quarter before the Packers slowly were able to make a game out of it. Despite taking a beating for the second straight time against the Vikings defense, Rodgers was able to pass for three second-half touchdowns to get the Packers close. In the end, Brett Favre was able to do enough to get the Vikings a win in his return, throwing four touchdown passes, going 17-28 for 244 yards. In the losing effort, Rodgers went 26-41 for 287 yards and three touchdowns, but was sacked six more times taking the total to 14  in the two games between the teams.

 

The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:

Ted Ginn Jr., Miami Dolphins

Time for the weekly award, un-officially named after Adrian Peterson, and if you don’t know why, check the Highlight of the Week for Week 7. This week’s play belongs to Ginn Jr., who returned not one, but TWO kicks for touchdowns against the New York Jets in the third quarter on Sunday. Providing the spark the Dolphins needed for the win in a 30-25 game. This is the second of those kick-returns, where Ginn dodges two would-be tacklers, finds a hole and breaks up the sideline for a touchdown.

 

 

Stud of the Week:

 Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

FINALLY! The Titans got their first win this season, and while a lot of it had to do with Vince Young’s game management in his first start this year, Johnson was the reason for it. Look at this boxscore:

 

CAR YDS AVG TD LG
C. Johnson 24 228 9.5 2 89

 

That is insane. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry, on twenty-four carries. His touchdown runs were of 52 and 89 yards, absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know what’s crazier, that Johnson box score, or the fact that the Titans who won a league-high 13 games last season and took until week 8 to get their first win of the season. Who would have thought the Broncos, who lost three straight to blow their division at 8-8 last season, would lose their first game the same weekend the Titans won their first. I mean if this was week 2 it would make sense, but it’s week 8, and my head is spinning at this point.

 

NFL’s Top 5 after Week 8:

In Order

 

1. New Orleans Saints (7-0) –

The Saints leap past the Colts this week after an impressive showing on Monday Night Football. Brees threw for another 308 yards, adding two touch-downs and helping the Saints improve to 7-0 for the first time since 1991.

 

2. Indianapolis Colts (7-0)-

Last weeks number 1 finally had a game to forget in their 18-14 win over the Niners. The Colts looked sluggish all game long, but were able to pull out the ugly win. What makes less sense, that Peyton Manning didn’t throw a touchdown and the Colts won, or that the winning points came on a touchdown pass by Colts running back Joseph Addai? Either way, it’s another win for the Colts, who make it 16 straight in the regular season.

 

3. Minnesota Vikings (7-1)-

We’ve heard enough about their last game, so all I’m going to say is this. Impressive win for this team at Lambeau, which is always a tough place to win. And with Brett Favre passing the way he is, and Adrian Peterson at running back, this is still the team to beat in the NFC if you ask me.

 

4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-2)-

What an impressive win that was. The Eagles showed just how tough they really are with a 40-17 pummeling of the Giants, and leap into the top five this week. If they keep playing the way they did Sunday the will run away with this division, that is as long as the team that showed up in Oakland never shows up again. Ever.

 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)-

An off-week won’t drop this team out of the top 5. The defending Super Bowl Champs still have one of the strongest defenses in the league, a clutch quarterback in Big Ben, and a system that rarely ever goes wrong. This will be a team to reckon with for the rest of the season, and if you want their title you will have to literally wrestle it away from them.