Saturday, November 21, 2009

NFL Week 11

Alright football fans...Here is my preview for Week 11 of the NFL season...
1.Miami vs. Carolina- I'll be Miami will beat Carolina 24-17. Ok, the game was played Thursday, I'm a little late on it. But did you see Ricky Williams?!? Wow, he looks like he did when he first came into the league.
2.Indianapolis vs. Baltimore- I'm going with the Colts here. I said it a few years ago, I will pick the Colts in just about every game until they show me they can't win alot of games anymore. I'm assuming that will be when Peyton Manning retires. So until then, Colts win.
3. Washington vs. Dallas- Is this game still one of the best rivalries in football? Probably not, but I can guarantee you, it's still a big rivalry to the teams involved and the fans. Washington would love nothing more then knock Dallas down a little bit more after the Cowboys laid an egg last week in Green Bay. Dallas on the other hand is probably very happy to be home for a two game stretch. The stretch is also "on-paper" pretty friendly since they play Washington then Oakland on Thanksgiving. So, since it's not December yet and Dallas really is not a bad team I'm going with the Cowboys. Cowboys win.
4. Cleveland vs. Detroit- UGGHHH. Do I have to explain anything about this game? It's two of the worst teams playing for the first overall pick. I guess I'll pick the home team...Detroit wins.
5. San Francisco vs. Green Bay- For the second straight week, the Packers get a 90's style playoff rival at home. They took care of Dallas last week, and I'm pretty confident they take care of the 49ers this week. One interesting storyline for this game is the Aaron Rodgers vs. Alex Smith matchup. In 2005 there was a big debate as to which one of these guys would go number 1 overall. Alex Smith went to San Fran. and Rodgers plummeted to #24 to the Pack. Both QB's don't really care, there is no rivalry. But this could be a good game filled with defense. I'm picking the Packers in this one. Packers win.
6. Buffalo vs. Jacksonville- Right off the bat, I'll say it. Jacksonville wins. Maurice Jones Drew is playing lights out. Buffalo's run D is getting it's lights knocked out of them. There is no reason for MJD and Co. to lose this game. Buffalo is coming off a rough week after firing head coach Dick Jauron, so I'm assuming the whole franchise is in a state of chaos. This was easy for me to pick. Plus. very quietly, Jacksonville is in the playoff hunt. Jacksonville wins.
7. Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City- Pittsburgh all day. With or without Polamalu, the defense will take care of the Chiefs. Pittsburgh wins.
8. Seattle vs. Minnesota- OK, first off let me say this. I am not crazy. I don't know why, but I have a weird feeling about this game. Before I publicly humiliate myself let me explain my reasoning. I really don't think Seattle is that bad of a team. Julius Jones being out is actually a good thing for the Hawks. Justin Forsett might be better...might. Seattle's defense is up and down, so for them to win this game they have to play up this week. Minnesota is due. They have been cruising through the season. This is around the time we should see Brett Favre start to fall apart. Ok, honestly none of my reasons are good reasons but I just have a gut feeling, and I ALWAYS follow my gut....Seattle wins.
9. Atlanta vs. New York Giants- Feels like forever since I last saw the Giants play. It's been even longer since I've seen them win. Atlanta's Michael Turner is doubtful which will hurt the team alot. I'm picking the Giants. They are a desperate team coming off of a bye. I think this could actually be a blow out, Tom Coughlin has something special lined up for the Falcons. Giants win.
10. New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay- Tampa has about as much chance at winning this game as this blog does of me writing alot about this game. New Orleans win.
11. Arizona vs. St. Louis- I love how the Rams are playing for their new coach Steve Spagnoulo. They are playing hard, they just are not a good enough team to win alot of games. They will be in a few years though. With Spags coaching background and connections I'm very confident in his drafting abilities. He will turn this team into a winner. As for this game? Well, I picked Seattle to beat Minnesota, so I'll go on ahead and do it. St. Louis wins.
12. San Diego vs. Denver- Game of the week. The 6-3 Broncos bring their 3 game losing streak (do the math, 6-3, 3 game losing streak, yep, they started 6-0 and have lost 3 straight) to the game while the 6-3 Chargers have 5 of their last 7. This game is for first place in the AFC West, and in my opinion is probably for the division title and a playoff spot. I like the Chargers in this one, I think the Broncos have lost their magic. Plus Kyle Orton is out, and that wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for Chris Simms being the back-up. Chargers win.
13. New York Jets vs. New England Patriots- Remember way back in week 2, when Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan made a big deal about the Pats coming to New York and the Jets won and that was the last we all heard of them? Well, that's all I really need to say about this game and the Jets season. The Patriots will stomp the Jets. I don't think this game will be close. Patriots win...big.
14. Cinncinnatti vs. Oakland- Hmmm, (I'm looking for a storyline), I guess the best reason to watch this game is for the possibility that the Bengals could "unleash" Larry Johnson, whom they signed earlier this week. Cedric Benson is out, Jamarcus Russell was benched. The one thing I have to say that may mean this game might actually be close, is that all season the Bengals have played up or down to their competition. So, beware Bengal fans, could be close. But, I'm going with Cincy. Bengals win.
15. Philadelphia vs. Chicago- This Sunday Night Football game puts poor Jay Cutler back on prime time where he has thrown a million interceptions. The Eagles are riding low on a 2 game losing streak. They need this game, especially if Dallas and New York win earlier in the day. I think they do it. I really don't think Chicago is that good this year. They need WR's and a defense...oh, and an OFFENSIVE LINE to protect Cutler. I'm going Philly. Eagles win.
16. Tennessee vs. Houston- I really really like this Monday Nighter. Tennessee is 3-0 with Vince Young at the helm. Houston is quietly getting things done and trying to get in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. This is probably the toughest game to pick. Titan's RB Chris Johnson is playing the best football in the NFL. He should run all over the Houston defense. But Matt Shaub and his high scoring offense should do something against the Tennessee defense. I really am having a hard time picking who is going to win this game, so when I can't decide I don one of two things. Follow the gut, or pick the home team. My gut isn't really telling me a whole lot. I'm going with the home team. Houston wins.
17. Check back on Monday for my weekly installment of "The Day After Yesterday" where I'll re-cap all the games and see how my picks went. Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

College Basketball

It's early in the season so I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert, but here are some things I think about some of these college basketball teams.
1. Defending champion North Carolina, is a very good year. This year they are a good team, with tons of talent and potential. But tunrovers are a huge problem. The one thing you can guarentee from this team is this: they WILL get better as the season goes on. Maybe even make some noise in the tournament. Tyler Zeller, the Wear twins, and Ed "Old School" Davis look like some real playmakers. Jury is still out for me on whether or not Larry Drew II can fill the huge holes of Ty Lawson, but I can truly see another championship in this team's future. As for now though, #4 is way to high of a ranking.
2. Syracuse's Wesley Johnson will be a very very good player...this year in college, and in the Pro's. He just looks like a natural talent. He bleeds all-star. I am looking forward to watching this kid.
3. Kansas is obviously the #1 team. It actually might not even be close. They are an experienced old (old in a good way) team. That being said though, this team goes as Collins goes. But, I think he goes far, so Kansas will go far.
4. Kentucky, like UNC, is ranked high only because of who their coach is. I think Kentucky is overrated the same way I think UNC is overrated. I'm sure though that once John Calipari gets his team the way he wants it, Kentucky will be a very good team. So, I'll go on ahead and do this now..the 2011-2012 National Championship will be North Carolina defeating Kentucky.
5. My prediction for THIS year? a long shot.
6. I'm looking forward to watching this year's season move on so I can have more opinions with more logic. Until then...enjoy!!

College Football

I just wanted to say a few things about the College Football world, since now we are starting to get into the home stretch.
-Florida vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship game is pretty much the National Championship game...unless your Texas.
-I like Texas as the one and only opportunity to knock Florida, Alabama, and the SEC off its high horse. Even though it is mostly unlikely, I think that Colt McCoy and Co. have a good chance a beating one of them should they get into the Big Game.
-Take a look at the Top 10 BCS rankings. Sans the top 3 (Florida, Alabama, and Texas), the rest of the top 7 are somewhat surprising, historically speaking...TCU, Boise State, Cinncinnatti, and Georgia Tech are fairly new to the BCS game. Of course, Ohio State, LSU, and Pitt are in familiar territory.
-Speaking of Boise State, I honestly feel that one year they will get their shot at a National Championship. They need to keep going about their business, hope the top teams faulter in one or two games, and hope for a little love from the BCS Computers. Who knows, maybe in the next two or three years we will see a Boise State vs. Oklahoma wouldn't that be fun?
-What happened to USC? Are they in a rebuilding year? I didn't think USC was ever supposed to be in a rebuilding year. The Armor is dented, and in some place completely broken. There are some upstart schools coming up in the PAC-10 including Oregon that want to remain at the top. USC better get that chip off their shoulder.
-This weekend is Ohio State vs. Michigan. Even though Ohio State is constantly overrated, and Michigan is in a Great Depression, this game is still the highlight of the weekend whenever it's on. There are hospitals in both Michigan and Ohio that wrap newborn babies in keepsake blankets the week of the game. This rivalry is up there with UNC vs. Duke Basketball, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Cowboys vs. Redskins, and Lakers vs. Celtics. It's a must watch every year.
-Finally, my prediction for National Champion: Until someone beats them and stops Tim Tebow I'm going with Florida, every day, every game.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NFL Injuries...Ouch!!!!

Was it just me or did Week 10 in the NFL seem like the most painful week of them all? As I was sitting there watching the games, I felt like there were more injuries then least more injuries to prominent players. Here's a look at some of them and their as-of-Tuesday updates.

Cedric Benson- Hip Injury suffered during game at Pittsburgh. As of now, all they say is he is "iffy" vs. Oakland this weekend. For insurance in the future the Bengals signed cast-off RB from Kansas City Larry Johnson. This could be a move that in the future will help take the load off of Benson. Stay tuned.
Kyle Orton- Some think this could be great for Denver, or reall bad for Denver. Orton suffered an ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the Redskins. Chris Simms came in and did...well...did nothing. Maybe with a week to prepare Simms could help the Broncos get off the snide. It won't get easy with super hot San Diego coming to town with first place on the line. I don't think Orton plays this weekend.
Marc Colombo- Dallas Cowboys' starting right tackle and leader of the o-line is most likely out for the year with a broken fibula. The injury came during Dallas' pathetic loss to Green Bay. Doug Free will start in his place, and Dallas better hope he fits in nicely, because the Cowboys' schedule does not get any easier.
Brian Westbrook- Westbrook suffered his second concussion of the season, and all reports are that he could be shut down for the season. Head Coach Andy Reid said that "football comes second" in this case. And rightfully so. There are many issues going on these days with players and concussions, and the worse thing that could happen is a great back like Westbrook having any problems in the future. Westbrook is very concerned about this leading some to speculate retirement could be closer in Westbrook's future.
Michael Turner- Turner was running all over Carolina before suffering a sprained ankle. As of right now he is doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Football Giants. Jason Snelling looks like the primary ball carrier unless Jerious Norwood comes in healthier then expected. I'm guessing this will be the kind of injury that will bother Turner for a couple of weeks, hopefully it doesn't hurt the Falcons playoff chances too much.
Julius Jones- Jones bruised a lung in sunday's loss to Arizona. He is doubtful for this week's game and Justin Forsett looks like he will be the primary ball carrier for Seattle. This brusied lung thing seems like the chic injury for 2009. I never heard of it until this year. First Andre Johnson bruised his lung, then some guy in college football (sorry I don't know who it is) and now Jones.
Terrell Suggs- Perhaps the most controversial injury of the week. Suggs injured his knee when Browns QB Brady Quinn cheap-shotted (yes, cheap-shotted, I may have made that up but it's a word to me, and also yes, I believe Quinn's hit was a cheap-shot) him after an interception. The Ravens and everyone involved are pissed. Suggs' agent even chimed in on the injury. Quinn has reportedly apologized, but I haven't heard if Suggs has accepted it or not. Regardless, I believe Suggs sits out this week, but should be good to go next week. Stay tuned for any fines that may be handed out.
Jordan Gross- Gross is out for the season with a broken ankle. He was carted off the field Sunday. This is a huge downgrade for the Panthers offense. Gross is their best lineman and it will hurt all aspects of their offense. The run game and pass game (if there is one) will suffer because of this injury.
Josh Cribbs- "Dear Coach Mangini, Thanks again, Signed, Cleveland Browns fans." Cribbs was injured on the last play of Monday Night Footballs Ravens beat down of the Browns. The Browns loss 16-0, and Mangini tried on the last play to do...well, I don't know, score? get a first down? I don't know. Anyway WR/KR Josh Cribbs suffered an undisclosed head injury. It's unknown whether or not it was a concussion or whether or not Cribbs will play this weekend in Clevelands epic showdown with Detroit (First overall pick on the line?). Either way, there are alot of upset people in Cleveland with Mangini's apparent carelessness for his players...again.
Ronnie Brown- If Miami has any shot of salvaging their season (which I think they realistically do) they have to have Ronnie Brown in the line-up. Well, that might not happen. Brown left the wild game versus Tampa with a foot injury. Initial reports are that he might have to sit out a week, but now leaks are starting to come out that maybe he could be out for the season. If this happens, Miami's season is over. Done. El Finito. Stay tuned to this. On the plus side though, it could give Ricky Williams a chance to return to a prominant role in the offense.
Troy Polamalu- The Madden Curse strikes again...again. Polamalu left Pittsburgh loss to the Bengals with a knee injury. He is listed as questionable for this Sunday's game. Without Polamalu, the Steelers defense is clearly different. Fans better hope he gets healthy for the playoff push, or the NFL could see a playoff schedule without the defending champs
Dwayne Bowe (susp)- Ok, this isn't an injury but Kansas City Chiefs budding young superstar will be suspended for four games because of...what else...steroids. The young WR tested positive and will be forced to serve the four game suspension immediatley. This is extremely disappointing seeing as how Bowe is considered one od the best young WR's in the league.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Day After Yesterday...Week 10

Just some things I noticed from the NFL games on Sunday...
1. The New York Jets remind me of a TV show more then a football team. So much un-due hype surrounds this team. QB Mark Sanchez wrote a speech before speaking to the media after yesterdays 24-22 loss to the Jags. The speech reminded me of a award acceptance/thank you speech. Rex Ryan will surely come up with another lame excuse as to why the Jets went from being very overrated to...well...not rated at all.
2. As for this season, I will not being talking about the Bungles. Instead I will say the AFC North leading Cinncinnatti Bengals. The Bengals beat the Steelers 18-12 in Pittsburgh to strengthen their neck hold on the division. For those keeping score, the Bengals (THE BENGALS?!?!?) are 5-0 in the division which includes the defending Super Bowl Champion (Steelers) and AFC runner up Ravens. What a turn around. This team is fun to watch, and I am officially interested to see what they do in the playoff.
3. Well, Vince Young is 3-0....?
4. The free fall for the Broncos continues. They lost to the very lowly Washington Redskins 27-17. They also lost QB Kyle Orton. Chris Simms is looking like the starter for now, which probably won't help the cause. Both the Skins and Broncos have big games next week. The Skins play NFC East leader and bitter rival Dallas Cowboys. I'm sure they would love to knock them off their high horse. The Broncos suddenly are not running away with the AFC West and are facing a tie with rival San Diego Chargers, who by the way they play next week.
5. Looks like the Cardinals are going to take care of the NFC West....maybe...we'll see, no team deserves to win that division in my mind.
6. After filling the bandwagon with plenty of people last week in Philadelphia, the Dallas Cowboys laid a huge egg in Green Bay, losing 17-7 to the desperate Packers. This game had ugly written all over it. Dallas was obviously unprepared. Tony Romo was sacked 5 times. Marion Barber had one second half carry. Jason Garrett needs to figure out what kind of team he wants to run. Because the play calling was atrocious. Wade Phillips better figure out where he wants to work next season, because his lack of ability to prepare a football team for a game is apparent. On the bright side, the Packers survive another week in the playoff hunt.
7. What happened to Philadelphia?
8. Holy smokes. Did you watch that New England vs. Indianapolis game last night? Instant Classic. One of those games that NFL fans will remember for a long time. Time and time again it seemed the Colts were done. Brady and Co. had their way up and down the field. But Manning Inc. found a way to get it done. They fought and stayed in there. But seriously, what the hell was Patriots coach Bill Belichek thinking? 4th and 2 from your OWN 28 YARD LINE. And you go for it? I'm sorry, I don't care who the QB is, who the team is, how the game has been punt there every single time. Every. Single. Time. Belichek is a cocky coach who has always gotten away with being "different." This time his cockiness came and bit him in the rear-end. He out coached and out smarted himself. He deserved to lose...On the other hand though, the Colts are 9-0 and looking like a Super Bowl team.
9. Tonight's game? Well, first off I am highly disappointed that the Browns have a Monday Night Game. Second off, The Browns might put up a fight. Playing at home. Brady Quinn back at QB. The Ravens struggling a bit lately. Could be closer then most think. With that being said though, Raven 24 Browns 17.
10. Head coaching openings after this season (my predictions): Washington, Dallas, Carolina, Chicago, Green Bay, Buffalo, Tennessee, Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, San Diego, Oakland...that's a lot of spots for just a few of those legendary coaches supposedly coming back.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Storylines Week 10

Here's the "supposed to be weekly" storyline for week 10 in the NFL....
Chicago vs. San Francisco- This thursday night matchup places two teams struggling to find their way up against each other in a game not many people will watch. The NFL Network had a really good commercial for this game showing clips of former Bears LB and current 49ers head coach Mike Singletary intertwined with 49ers current beast LB Patrick Willis. Obviously head coaches have coached against their former teams before, so the fact the Network used that as an attention grabber shows that this game doesn't have a whole lot of sexiness.
Cinncinnatti vs. Pittsburgh- If it wasn't for a few other good matchups this would be THE game to watch this week. The Bengals are 4-0 in the division and Steelers are riding high after dismantling the Broncos on Monday night. The obvoious storylines are the massiveness of this game on the AFC playoff race and AFC North division race. I for one can't wait to watch this one.
New England vs. Indianapolis- This game is the real reason I wanted to write this. This game for the last decade has been the best rivalry in the NFL. The two best QB's in the game in Tom Brady and Payton Manning have been shooting it out with each other since both have been starters together. The Colts are 8-0 and playing on another level then most teams, and it seems Brady and Co. have re-gained their mojo and are starting to look like the 2007 team that lost only one game. If you don't watch any games this week, at least watch this one. It's a Sunday Night Football extravaganza, so no excuses.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I will now fix the Cleveland Browns...

I am not an expert on the NFL. Trust me, I don't know everything about contracts, handshake agreements, or salary caps. But as a fan of the NFL with what I believe is a fairly extensive knowledge of the sport...and for argument sake I would like to take a stab at fixing the franchise that is the Cleveland Browns. This franchise deserves to win. They have a great knowledgable and loyal fan base, their fans deserve better. With the news of owner Randy Lerner firing GM George Kokinis, I couldn't help but think that this is not the answer. So, I will pretend to be Lerner, venturing into the 2010 offseason and little no to regards for money...
First thing first, I am FIRING ERIC MANGINI and the entire coaching staff. I do not understand the hype of this guy. He got all of his credit for beating the NEw England Patriots when he was a rookie head coach for the New York Jets in 2006. He beat them after he lost to them after the first time they played them...SINCE that game, where "Mangenius" beat the Pats he has gone 19-28, including a late season collapse in 2008, a 4-12 season in 2007, 1-7 to start this season, oh, and becoming the NFL's biggest snitch after busting the Patriots for cheating (Didn't Mangini coach with the Patriots during the time that he alleges the Patriots cheated?). This guy is a joke. All bark, no he is OUT. So who do I hire to lead this team? I need to make a decision on this before re-doing the roster. This team needs identity. Let's take a look at some of candidates...there are alot.
Bill, not going to Cleveland after being loyal to Pittsburgh, plus living in the Carolina's, I have a feeling he might be a Panther next year.
Mike Shanahan...possible, but doubt it. Despite all the "not gonna do it's" that I've read, I think Shanahan is going to Washington.
Jon Gruden...this seems likely as well, but I have a feeling Gruden is either staying put as the next John Madden, or going to a higher profile job...but really don't count it out.
My vote for the next Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns? Mike Holmgren. This guy is PERFECT. He will want to play GM as well, and quite frankly he can have the job. It just means one less guy I have to hire. Holmgren has a proven track record of turning abysmal teams to gold and finding a QB he can grow with. Think of pre-Holmgren and Brett Favre Green Bay, and pre-Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck Seattle. Both of those teams became Super Bowl contenders because of Holmgren's abilities to draft and find free agent gold mines. So Mike Holmgren, welcome to the Cleveland Browns.
Second, that pesky little QB situation. Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn? NEITHER. Both guys have big contracts and both guys have a hard time completing more then 10 passes in a game. I'm trading both of these guys for draft picks. I'm thinking I could pawn a third rounder for Quinn to a desperate franchise (Washington, Seattle, San Fransisco, Tennessee, or St. Louis), and Anderson might get me a fifth. So there are two-three, maybe more extra picks for Holmgren to play with.
Speaking of the draft, what would Holmgren do? I'm thinking the Browns are in line for a top three pick in a draft with ALOT of QB's. The offensive line is already fairly solid, WR's are definitley an issue, I need a RB (Jamal Lewis said he's retiring after this season, but whether he's telling the truth or not, he's got to go.), and I need defense. All of it. So let's draft a team.
First pick, Jake Locker, QB University of Washington. If Holmgren and the front office can stay away from all the hype of Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, I'm thinking Locker will be the best QB in the draft. He's got mobility like Tony Romo, and great arm, and has played in a system that isn't like the spread formations those other guys played in. So Locker, welcome to the team.
If I can finagle a trade or two to get back into the first round or another second rounder, this is where I go defense. I need an attitude and a face for my defense. This is where I pick Brandon Spikes ILB from Florida. This guy is a beast and I think he will be perfect to give my defense some attitude.
Now, I need some weapons for my young QB. A good running game is the best friend of a young QB. There are a few options here, and this could be the least likely but a very good option. I want a young RB, but do I really want a rookie back there to pick up blitzes and keep my QB safe? NO. So I'm doing two things. One, signing Steelers RB Willie Parker. He may have lost a step but I think he can still provide something for us. Second, calling an old trade partner, Jerry Jones from the Dallas Cowboys, and I am trying to swing a trade (a second, third, fourth, and/or fifth) for Marion Barber or Tashard Choice. Both RB's are young, good, and can pick up blitzes. I'm not sure if they would do this, but it's worth a shot, and I've traded with Jones before.
Ok, it's the day after the draft. I have a QB, a LB, a couple RB's and some excitement. Now for the free agent market. There is a possibility that the salary cap may not be an issue. So, I'm looking to spend some money. To bolster my defense, I'm throwing the entire city at Panther's DE Julius Peppers. With him and Shaun Rogers in the middle, I could have the makings of a pretty good Defensive Line. I also have rookie Spikes at MLB. I need more though on defense. I need a secondary. Based off of preliminary free agent possiblities safties Dawan Landry from Baltimore and Will Allen from Miami might be available. What about WR? I need a playmaker, a great WR, and someone who is not going to cause problems. If I don't draft a guy like Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State or Mike Williams from Syracuse, I'll need to find someone. I already like the potential of Mohammad Massaquoi as a number 2 WR, but I want someone to be the "go-to" guy. I'm going to go with Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin. I'm swinging a trade, giving him a big contract and getting him the ball.
After all these changes, I may not be setting the Browns up for a Super Bowl Championship in 2010, but I have gone with a youth movement and a veteran leader in Mike Holmgren. This team is set for the future.
I have fixed the Cleveland Browns.