Thursday, September 05, 2013

NFL Preview 2013: Playoff Predictions

The second of my two-part team-by-team NFL preview.

Yesterday I broke down the bottom 16 teams. Today it’s all about the contenders. There are usually around 16 teams in the playoff mix come year’s end, and while I predicted one of the bottom 16 would make the playoffs, the true contenders fall in this grouping.

Now, shall we continue?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

NFL Preview 2013: The Battle For Jadeveon Clowney

The first of my two-part team-by-team NFL preview.

The NFL kicks off tomorrow with the Broncos hosting the Ravens in a rematch of a thrilling AFC Divisional playoff game from 2012. But before that game officially starts the race to New York — and a Super Bowl in the cold — there are 32 teams that all think they’re contenders. But play it out logically, and the list dwindles to about 16. Here are the ones you can feel confident in writing off.

Now, shall we begin?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peyton Manning Must Take The Fall For Denver’s Loss

I want to clear up two things: I’m a Tom Brady fan and I hold Peyton Manning to the same standards as I do Brady — or any other quarterback for that matter.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what I said after Brady lost the Patriots last year’s Super Bowl. I focus on the Giants for most of the post (feel free to ignore all the hype I gave Peyton’s brother Eli, hindsight can be cruel...), but if you scroll down to “The Patriots Lost When,” you’ll see I don’t make any excuses for Brady.

When Brady grossly overthrew Wes Welker on second down what would have been a first down to preserve a critical drive to milk most of the clock in last year’s Super Bowl, I laid the blame at Brady’s feet. Yes the throw hit Welker in the hands, but only after he jumped as high as his 5-foot-9 body would allow him to. Brady had enough space to hit him in stride for a first down, instead the throw sailed high over Welker’s head. The Patriots failed to convert third down, then punted and the Giants drove the dagger into their hearts. Brady had to take the fall for that loss (not to mention his opening throw, intentional grounding in the end zone that resulted in a safety).

Brady is my guy, but he should have a fourth (and arguably fifth) ring by now (though he did not lose the 2007 Super Bowl the way he did 2011).

Here’s my biggest problem with Manning supporters, and it’s not just fans. It’s media pundits, columnists, you know, people who should be able to evaluate without bias the sports they watch. Most of them are so quick to give Manning ALL the credit and marginalize his supporting cast in victory, but the second he falls short of a title they instantly make excuses and lay the blame on the team around him.

And the people that make excuses for Manning’s latest playoff failure are not only shortsighted, they’re downright wrong. He is not solely at fault, nobody ever is solely to blame in such a team sport, but he certainly deserves the most blame. Just as he deserves the most credit in his team’s successes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Browns Need to Solve Quarterback Problem

Rob Chudzinski is already an improvement from Pat Shurmur.

Since Chud hasn’t coached a single NFL game yet that shows how bad Shurmur was. There is no doubt in my mind that, especially if Norv Turner signs on as offensive coordinator, the Browns will improve in 2013.

But the Cleveland’s ceiling will always be limited by its quarterback play.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm Baaaack!!!

It's been about four months and all of the NFL season is in the books. But I'm ready to return to blogging, just not as extensively as I was before. Expect regular updates every Tuesday, with perhaps a bonus post later in the week as I see fit. I return on January 15th!

Friday, September 21, 2012

NFL Quarterbacks Off to Slow Starts

Plus: The Power 10 has a new No. 1 and two new additions.

If you play fantasy football I am sure that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were the first three quarterbacks taken, in that order. Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that Matthew Stafford was a probable fourth.

Stafford has four interceptions to two touchdown passes, Brees’ Saints are 0-2. Brady didn’t put up big numbers against the Titans and struggled against the Cardinals while the 49ers made Rodgers look downright silly. And in all honesty, the Bears defense did too, it’s just Chicago’s offense was even more inept than Green Bay’s.

What gives? ESPN hailed last season the year of the quarterback and many are clamoring for defenses to go the way of Arena Football and play for one stop. Clearly these theories are overblown.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Browns Trent Richardson is The Key to Continued Offensive Success

The Browns looked much better against Cincinnati on Sunday. In fact one may even go so far to say Cleveland’s offense looked respectable. And it all starts with Trent Richardson.

The third overall pick was beastly against the Bengals. His 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts — combined with four catches for 36 yards and another score — immediately shows immense improvement from his 39 yards on 19 attempts and just five yards receiving on one catch with no touchdowns from Week 1.

But if you watched the game, the box score doesn’t do Richardson’s performance justice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don’t Overreact to NFL Week 1

Plus: Week 1 shook up my Power 10 with two debuts and a new No. 1.

Theme of the week: Relax.

It’s just Week 1, these things happen all the time. Teams pull big upsets, come out of nowhere and have eye-popping performances. Then by Week 7, the cream rises to the crop. So here are a few things not to overreact to based on one game, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cleveland Browns First Game Couldn’t Be Any Worse

Now that it’s Wednesday and that disastrous “football game” involving the Browns is three days past, Cleveland fans can take a step back and think rationally about it.

That doesn’t mean rational thinking is far off from the extreme overreaction day-of. Bottom line is the Browns looked just as bad as they did in 1999, when they were an expansion team. Quite frankly, Cleveland is still trying to get off the ground and it must dishearten fans to see other expansion franchises — Houston — build more than just a one-hit wonder with a team that looks ready to contend for a playoff spot for the next few years.

But back to the Browns.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pac-12 Better Than The SEC?

Plus: A BCS Buster emerges.

Talk about a conference flexing its muscle — three unranked teams knocking off top 20 teams at home. I don’t care if the Big Ten has a dismal record on the west coast, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oklahoma State all should have won each of their respective games against mid-tier Pac-12 teams.

But they didn’t, and now the Pac-12 — combined with a bad weekend for the SEC — has some ammunition in the greatest conference debate.