March 27, 2013
There are just a couple weeks left until the NFL Draft so you know what that means…it’s time to judge who “won” and “lost” in free agency. And we’re going to do it only about nine months before we really know how good these teams are and what signings were actually good.
New England Patriots
Yeah they lost Wes Welker to Denver, but signing Danny Amendola is a nice replacement. But that’s not why the Patriots are on the list. It’s because Bernard (Patriot-killer) Pollard has joined the Tennessee Titans. You may remember that it was Pollard who sacked Tom Brady on the play where Brady tore his ACL in 2008. He was also involved in the play when Wes Welker got a torn ACL in 2009 and when Rob Gronkowski got hurt and missed the Super Bowl. And just a couple months ago it was a ferocious hit from Pollard that knocked Stevan Ridley out and forced a crucial fumble in the AFC Championship Game that Baltimore went on to win. But this year, the Patriots don’t have to worry about Pollard because they don’t play the Titans. (I reserve the right to change this opinion if the NFL schedules the Patriots and Titans to play in the preseason.)
Seattle started the offseason with a bang by trading for one of the most dangerous weapons in the league in Percy Harvin. Then they added Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already stellar defense.
The New England defensive back (and new father) just scored a year’s worth of diapers from new Patriot Adrian Wilson for giving up the number 24 jersey, allowing Wilson to keep his number from his days in Arizona.
In one of the strangest free agent developments I can remember, Dumervil was cut from Denver because his agent didn’t get a signed agreement faxed to the team seven minutes earlier. Instead, Elvis was cut by the Broncos even though he wanted to stay and they wanted to keep him. It was an embarrassing situation for everyone involved, but signing a 5-year, $35 million contract with the defending Super Bowl champs is a nice recovery for Dumervil.
If not for the previously mention Dumervil debacle, the Broncos would have an almost perfect off season so far. Adding Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Terrance Knighton fills just about every hole on the roster. If they can bring in Dwight Freeney or John Abraham to replace Dumervil, they will be in great shape heading into the draft.
Even though he isn’t a free agent, Tebow makes the list because there is finally a team that has come forward and said they actually want him on the roster. Yeah it is the Orlando Predators and yeah it is the Arena Football League. But at least he’d get a shot to play quarterback.
The Dolphins landed the biggest fish in free agency when they signed WR Mike Wallace. They have also made a splash by signing WR Brandon Gibson, TE Dustin Keller, and linebackers Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. If all goes well, they could challenge the Patriots in the AFC East. If not, at least they have given their fans some hope and shown that they are going for it.
February 5, 2013
Well that was fun. Congratulations to Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens for becoming world champions in New Orleans on Sunday. But enough about that. Now, by process of elimination, let’s figure out who is going to win the next one in New York.
It is widely known that if you are on the cover of the new Madden football game, you are destined for a poor season. I’m predicting they go with a triple cover featuring Andrew Luck, RGIII and Russell Wilson. This would ensure that Indianapolis, Washington and Seattle are not Super Bowl winners a year from now.
A new curse?
Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver are the three NFL players who have won Dancing With The Stars. All three played for teams who have made a habit of playing in Super Bowls. However, the Steelers, Cowboys and Packers have all failed to reach a Super Bowl since their player won the ballroom dancing competition. Curse or coincidence? I say curse. Goodbye Pittsburgh, Dallas and Green Bay.
Down to 2
So that leaves just the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. Manning vs Brady. The two long-time rivals will give us next year what most were expecting to see this year…an AFC Championship Game showdown. And I see Manning getting the win and playing in the Super Bowl on his brother’s home field. And it will be déjà vu in Denver when a 37-year-old Peyton Manning leads the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory a year after finishing 13-3, getting the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and suffering a devastating playoff loss. (37-year-old John Elway led the Broncos to a Super Bowl win a year after the 13-3, No. 1 seed Broncos fell 30-27 at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars.) Your Super Bowl XLVIII champions will be the Denver Broncos.
October 10, 2012
With the sixth week of the NFL season kicking off tomorrow, we take a look at the biggest games coming up on the schedule. Five weeks into the season, we are finally starting to understand which teams are making moves for the playoffs and which are already falling out of the hunt. These five match-ups in Week 6 should go a long way in helping us figure out which teams belong in each category.
Green Bay at Houston
After a 15-1 season last year, there are few records as shocking as Green Bay’s. At 2-3 on the season, they now head to 5-0 Houston to try and start making their way back to the top of the NFC North. If they can’t, a previously unthinkable 2-4 start would give Chicago and Minnesota a nice cushion atop the division.
NY Giants at San Francisco
A rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game will help us find out where the Giants rank this season. Currently tied for the NFC East lead with Philadelphia, the Giants need a big win to show they aren’t having a Super Bowl hangover this season. While San Francisco is 4-1 and looks to be on its way to the postseason again, they are tied with Arizona for the division lead and need to stick with the underdog Cardinals, who could get a win this week against the struggling Bills.
San Diego at Denver
The AFC West is up for grabs, but the Chargers have possession for the time being. This is a perfect opportunity for Peyton Manning and the Broncos to take possession and start to make their run for the division title. The Manning-era is off to a bumpy 2-3 start, but a win going into the bye week could be what Denver needs to get on track. If the Chargers win, they too would be going into a bye, but with a nice lead in the division.
Baltimore at Dallas
Baltimore has looked impressive so far this season and many people are predicting a deep run in the playoffs for the Ravens. Dallas has been inconsistent so far this season, and a win over the Ravens could be the statement they need to make a run coming out of their bye week. If Baltimore wins, they will be 5-1 heading into a HUGE game against the Texans. This game could be a turning point for both teams.
Detroit at Philadelphia
After making the playoffs last season, the Lions have started out 1-3. Coming off of a bye week, they face a Philadelphia team that is 3-2 despite having quite a problem with turnovers. If the Lions want to climb out of the NFC North basement, this game seems like a must-win. For the Eagles, a win keeps them atop the competitive NFC East heading into their bye week.
August 28, 2012
The 2012 NFL season is set to kick off in just a few short weeks and this season promises to be nothing less than fantastic.
While every team has their own storylines to follow, a few stick out and will shape the NFL landscape in 2012.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the upcoming headlines of the 2012 NFL season.
No. 5: Randy Moss Returns to the NFL
Love him or hate him, Randy Moss is one of the most polarizing wide receivers in NFL history. Now a member of the San Francisco 49ers after taking a season off, Moss is just another reason to believe that the Niners will be serious Super Bowl contenders this season. Their defense became the most feared in the NFL in 2011 as it was their offense that fans were skeptical of. Niners fans should have nothing but smiles on their faces because the organization boosted their offense with the likes of Moss this offseason. Everyone knows that he can be downright awesome when he wants to be and all signs indicate that he wants to be. Keep an eye on Moss.
No. 4: The New York Jets Quarterback Carousel
The New York Jets had a more than interesting offseason. After signing quarterback Mark Sanchez to a healthy extension, the team traded for Tim Tebow. Everybody expected a circus and they won’t be disappointed. The debate on who should start for the J-E-T-S, Jets!, Jets!, Jets! won’t end until one of the contenders is unable to answer the bell. One thing is for certain, Tebow will score at least 12 touchdowns on the ground this year.
No. 3: The Carolina Panthers are a Super Bowl Sleeper
Believe it or not, the Carolina Panthers are a deep Super Bowl sleeper this season. Behind quarterback Cam Newton and wide receiver Steve Smith, the Panthers are explosive on offense. Don’t forget that they have a 1-2 punch in running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, too. Combined with an improved defense and the belief that offensive lineman Ryan Kalil has instilled in the team, the Panthers will be for real. Kalil recently took out a full-page ad in the local newspaper stating that the Panthers would win the Super Bowl this season. Gotta love it.
No. 2: Peyton Manning’s Return from Injury
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is now a member of the Denver Broncos, but fans shouldn’t expect anything but the usual from him this season. Yes, he’s had multiple neck surgeries, but even at 85 percent, Manning is better than 90 percent of NFL quarterbacks. Manning is a true competitor that wants to do nothing less than to prove his doubters wrong.
No. 1: The Highly Anticipated Debuts of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III
Whose better, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III? Who cares, these kids are pure excitement on a field. Drafted No. 1 and 2 overall in the 2012 NFL draft, these guys are the two most anticipated quarterbacks to enter the NFL since Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf in 1998. Not only are fans of the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins in for a treat, but the entire league is in for something special. These guys will simply dominate the headlines this season, get used to it.
August 23, 2012
One year ago, I went three-for-four picking NFL division champs and my Super Bowl team was a last-second missed field goal away from sending the AFC Championship game to overtime. What will happen this season? Only time and reading the rest of this article will tell.
Is it just me or does it feel like there is a changing of the guard happening here? It has been a two-horse race with New England on top with the Jets right behind in the wild card race for the last few seasons. That changes in 2012 because the Buffalo Bills have come to crash the party. Buffalo went on a major spending spree during the offseason and built what could be the best defensive line in the league. If they get a solid season from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills will be in the playoff conversation in December. The Jets will be the most talked about team in the league. But not for the right reasons. Tebowmania has come to New York and already chased one quarterback out of town. This is still Tom Brady’s division but now it will be the Bills trying to keep pace.
Division winner: New England
Three AFC North teams went to the playoffs in 2011 with just the Browns staying home. That won’t happen again. Cleveland had a franchise-altering offseason though, drafting stud running back Trent Richardson and bringing in rookie Brandon Weeden to be the quarterback of the future. There is too much drama already going on in Pittsburgh. Some important players are still banged up. Mike Wallace is still holding out and the team can’t go more than a day or two without a fight at camp. Suddenly, the Bengals look like the team of the future in the North with new quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green leading the way. But this year it will go through Baltimore. The Ravens have several veterans looking for one more shot at a ring after falling just short of the Super Bowl last year.
Division winner: Baltimore
Things can change a lot in a year. The Colts have relinquished their stranglehold on the South and put their future in the hands of Andrew Luck. That leaves the South as Houston’s division to lose. The Texans finally made the jump to division champs last year and may have gone to the Super Bowl if Matt Schaub could have played in the playoffs. If he and Andre Johnson can stay on the field all year, there will be at least one playoff game in Texas in January. The Jaguars and Titans have given the keys to sophomore quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. This could be a real interesting division for years to come with three young quarterbacks going at it. Not much drama in 2012 though.
Division winner: Houston
It’s not very often that a division champion wins a playoff game and then trades its starting quarterback. It’s also not very often that one of the best quarterbacks to ever play becomes available. Peyton Manning replaces Tim Tebow in Denver and will be the story of the West in 2012. It will be the most competitive division in 2012 just like it was in 2011 when everyone but the Chiefs went 8-8 and Kansas City was 7-9. It could come down to Peyton Manning, Darren McFadden, Jamal Charles and Antonio Gates. Who stays healthy? Who has a down year? Who regains their form and has a monster season? We won’t have a winner until week 17 when Oakland goes to San Diego and Kansas City visits Denver.
Division winner: Denver
Wild Card winners: Kansas City, Cincinnati
AFC champion: Houston