January 31, 2013

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Super Bowl XLVII Predictions

By: Matt Bowen

Super Bowl XLVII is now just days away, which leaves fans to ponder how many pounds of nachos they’ll serve up to their friends and what exactly will transpire in the big game in the Big Easy.

Making predictions is half the fun when it comes to the Super Bowl. NFL fans know that most of the iconic Super Bowl moments have come unexpectedly, and there will no doubt be a few of those this year.

Let’s get to it:

Jacoby Jones Will Take the Opening Kickoff Back for a Touchdown

The Baltimore Ravens acquired Jacoby Jones in the offseason primarily to be an instant threat in the return game. Jones hasn’t disappointed this season as he returned two kicks and a punt for touchdowns.

He’s also a viable weapon as a No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Terrey Smith. Just ask the Denver Broncos if Jones is a difference maker. They seemingly forgot about him in their Divisional Round playoff matchup as he marched into the end zone after a bomb from quarterback Joe Flacco that sent the game to overtime.

Here’s the kicker—Jones is a native of New Orleans, and he’ll be more than ready to steal the show. With his blood flowing early, he’ll start the game off with a bang.

Alex Smith Will Make an Appearance

The San Francisco 49ers made a bold move this season when they benched then starting quarterback Alex Smith for second-year man Colin Kaepernick.

Smith, a former No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft was finally beginning to look like a No. 1 pick. He was coming off arguably the best game of his career, going 18-for-19 for 232 yards and three touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8.

Just when it was looking like Smith had solidified himself, a concussion knocked him out of Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams and inevitably changed the course of his career.

In came Kaepernick, who undoubtedly optimized the Niners offense and propelled them to the Super Bowl.

So, this is the end of Smith, right?

Wrong!

He’ll make an appearance in the Super Bowl and even throw an 18-yard touchdown to tight end Vernon Davis.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh knows he has to pack a bag full of tricks if he’s to beat a veteran Ravens defense. Smith will be one of those tricks, and he’ll make the most of it. On the first possession of the second half, Smith will make his mark.
Justin Tucker Will Kick the Longest Field Goal in Super Bowl History

The Baltimore Ravens made some noise this preseason when they tapped rookie Justin Tucker from the University of Texas to be their place kicker this season.

Tucker proved he’s the man for the job, going 30-for-33 on the season and even notching four field goals longer than 50 yards.

The Super Bowl record for longest field goal is a 54-yarder from Steve Christie of the Buffalo Bills against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Tucker will top that by booting a 56-yard field goal with 3:13 left in the third quarter. He’ll show the world just why the Ravens made a great choice when they chose him.

Randy Moss Will Walk the Walk

In case you haven’t heard, Randy Moss has named himself the “Greatest of All Time” during media day at the Super Bowl this season.

Considering he’s a member of the San Francisco 49ers, that’s a bold statement.

Although his career numbers don’t compare to Hall of Fame 49er Jerry Rice’s, Moss will make a big impact in the Super Bowl. Love him or hate him, he’s really good.

It’s long been known that Moss shows up when he wants to, and, considering it’s the Super Bowl, he’ll be open for business.

The Ravens will have their hands full trying to keep track of receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. Moss will slip by the secondary for an early second quarter touchdown. Don’t be surprised when he is booed after reaching the end zone.

In the end, he’ll have four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Joe Flacco Will Stamp Himself as Elite

Why there’s still a debate to whether Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is elite or not beats me.  All the guy does is win.  Sure, it may not always be pretty, but a win is a win.

Flacco will be a free agent in the offseason, but don’t expect him to leave Baltimore—he’s there to stay.  Taking Super Bowl MVP honors will certainly boost his pocketbook during bargaining.

He may not be the flashiest quarterback, but he’ll have a Super Bowl ring to show off.

In his MVP performance he’ll go 22-for-30 with 301 passing yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning drive that will end in a Ray Rice 12-yard screen pass touchdown.

Final Score: Ravens 24, 49ers 20

February 7, 2012

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10 biggest plays of Super Bowl 46

By: Joe Williams

Ahmad Bradshaw’s “accidental” touchdown gave the New York Giants the lead in the final minute of Super Bowl 46. It will be one of the most talked about plays of the Giants victory because of the Patriots’ decision to let the Giants score and save some time for Tom Brady, but it wasn’t a game-changer. Here are my top 10 plays that led to the Giants win.

Super Bowl 46 had 10 key plays that factored into the Giants Super Bowl win.

The Punt

After the Giants stalled on the first possession of the game, Steve Weatherford punts 36 yards and pinned the Patriots on their own six-yard line, setting up the first score of the game.

The Safety

The Patriots first play from scrimmage was possibly their worst play from scrimmage. Starting on his own six-yard-line, Tom Brady dropped back to pass in the end zone and was immediately pressured. Brady knew he had to get rid of the ball so he launched it 40 yards down the middle of the field. Only problem was that there was no receiver in the area. Two points for the Giants – two points that would have made a difference in how the fourth quarter played out.

The Fumble

The Giants had third-and-three from the Patriots 11-yard line. Eli Manning completes a short pass to Victor Cruz and he fumbles. Brandon Spikes recovers for the Patriots, but the play is nullified after New England is called for 12 men on the field. Two plays later, Cruz is doing the salsa dance and New York leads 9-0.

The Sack

The New England offense was rolling – covering 178 yards and two touchdowns on the last two possessions. It looked like they had the Giants guessing on defense. But on a third down from the Patriots 19, Brady was sacked by Justin Tuck. This was a huge three-and-out for the defense to regain its confidence, get off the field and change the momentum of the game.

The Fumble II

With the ball at the New England 47, Manning hit Hakeem Nicks for a 17-yard gain but the ball popped out of his hands. Fortunately for Nicks, Henry Hynoski was the first one to get on the football and the Giants maintained possession. They would go on to kick a field goal and cut the lead to 17-15.

The Pick

On the second play of the fourth quarter Brady committed the only turnover in the game. It wasn’t terrible as turnovers go. When Chase Blackburn intercepted Brady’s deep ball at the Giants eight-yard line, it was basically no different than a punt. But it kept the ball out of Brady’s hands and added to the Giants momentum in the fourth quarter.

The Fumble III

Another fumble by the Giants and another recovery by the Giants. This time it was Ahmad Bradshaw who put the ball on the ground and Chris Snee who fell on it. With this play beginning at the Giants eight-yard line, this would have been a game-changer if the Pats had recovered.

The Offside

Rob Ninkovich jumped offside, turning a third-and-seven and an incomplete pass into third-and-two and a completion for a Giants first down. The Giants ended up punting the ball away, but not until after New York gained another 46 yards which dramatically altered the field position for a New England possession that could have put the game away with a touchdown.

The Drop

It’s second-and-11 on the New York 44 and the Patriots lead 17-15. Brady finds Wes Welker streaking down the field with nobody near him. Brady’s throw wasn’t perfect but it was a catch we have seen Welker make countless times in his career. Only this time, he didn’t. A completion would have put New England well within field goal range and on the verge of a championship clinching touchdown. Instead, after another incomplete pass, the Patriots were forced to punt, setting up Eli Manning for more fourth quarter heroics.

The Throw and Catch

With 3:46 left in the game, the Giants final drive begins on their 12-yard line. On first down, Manning throws deep down the sideline for Mario Manningham. He put the ball right between two defenders in the only place Manningham could have caught it. And he made an incredible over the shoulder catch and somehow managed to get both feet down and maintain possession. Not only was it was the longest play from scrimmage in the game. Not only did it put the Giants at midfield with plenty of time to set up a game-winning field goal. But it also forced Bill Belichick to challenge the play. When the play was upheld, it cost New England a timeout that would have greatly increased their chances of scoring at the end of the game.

February 3, 2012

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Sports Viewing Schedule – Super Bowl Edition

By: Junior

While many people think they have their sports viewing schedule covered with the Super Bowl, that isn’t going to cut it for the real sports fan. This weekend is packed with must-see games, and like every other week, we want to make sure you catch all of the big games. Here is how we envision your weekend sports viewing schedule. (All times EST).

We get you ready for all of the games to watch before Super Bowl XLVI.

Friday night

Winnipeg @ Florida – NHL – 7:30pm

This is a game that has plenty at stake as we come back from the All-Star break. The Florida Panthers are the 3rd seed in the East right now, while Winnipeg is on the outside looking in as the 10th seed. So why is it intriguing? Winnipeg only trails Florida by 3 points. The Southeast division is a tight race that will be fun to watch as the season goes on.  Florida has been taking advantage of power play opportunities, while the Jets have been doing well to kill them. These teams are very even statistically, and should start off the weekend right.

Saturday

Ohio State @ Wisconsin – MCBB – 2:00pm

Saturday kicks off with the Battle for the Big Ten. Ohio State has a half game lead on Wisconsin, but the Big Ten has had a rough time finding wins on the road. Wisconsin has had a rough time against ranked opponents this season though, going 2-4. However, the Badgers have won 6 in a row including their 2 wins against ranked opponents. Ohio State’s three losses have all come on the road, but they crushed Nebraska in their last road game. This game should provide a lot of back and forth with two teams trying to claim their spot atop the Big Ten.

#12 Creighton @ Northern Iowa – MCBB -5:00pm

I know what you are thinking. “Mid-majors? In the middle of my Saturday?” The fact is #12 Creighton deserves the credit they have been getting this season. The Blue Jays are first in the nation in Field Goal percentage and only have two losses on the season. Still, Northern Iowa gave them all they could handle, 63-60 AT Creighton, in January. Now, the Blue Jays have to go on the road and try to pull off another win against a Panthers squad that would like nothing more than to get a W against the a ranked team.

Orlando @ Indiana – NBA – 7:00pm

We might come into this game a little bit after tip-off, but plenty of time to catch most of the action. This will be the 3rd time in a little of over 2 weeks the teams have played. Orlando won the first contest at Indiana by 19, only to have the Pacers come to Orlando to win by 21. The rubber match will be played in Indiana, and should be a very entertaining game. Indiana 11-4 in their last 15, while the Magic are 8-7 and battling the drama of when Dwight Howard will be traded.  After both teams suffered a blowout at the hands of the other, this 3rd battle should be full of intensity.

UFC 143 – MMA – 10:00pm

An event that was supposed to be headlined by Georges St. Pierre, we now get to crown an interim welterweight Champion. Nick Diaz, the fighter originally set to face St. Pierre, will now face Carlos Condit in what should be a great fight. Also on the card is a guy you have to love watch fight, Roy Nelson. Taking on Fabricio Werdum, Nelson looks like he just came from out of the crowd. A large beard and larger belly, Nelson looks out of place in the UFC ring. However at 16-6, not many people are laughing at him. I am only a casual UFC fan, so I can’t make any guarantees on excitement, but I am rarely disappointed when I tune in to watch.

Sunday

#22 Michigan @ #10 Michigan State – MCBB- 2:00pm

What?! Basketball on Super Sunday?! Relax; there will be plenty of time for that. Rather than watch hours of pregame, tune in to a rematch of two rivals whose previous contest in January was won by Michigan 60-59. A rivalry where both schools really just don’t like each other, you know this game will have plenty of action. The Spartans won 15 games in a row before dropping 3 of their last five, and would like to back on track with a win over the Wolverines. Michigan has had a tough time winning on the road this year, and a road victory at the Breslin Center would look great on their tournament resume. Factor into this that Michigan (.5 back) and Michigan St. (1 back) are both close to claiming the Big Ten, and another close game could be just the way to kick off Super Sunday.

Giants vs. Patriots – NFL – 6:29pm

We have finally made it to the main event! Of course the game of the weekend will be the Patriots and Giants, which should be a great matchup. The drama leading up to the game has all been focused on the ankle of Rob Gronkowski, which we all know will play, but how effectively? A rematch from Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots once again need to defeat Eli Manning and the Giants to get their 4th Super Bowl win. The Giants pass rush has been terrorizing quarterbacks this postseason and Manning and his receivers have been clicking. No one has performed like Tom Brady when it comes to Super Bowls, but can Eli and the Giants be his kryptonite again? Enjoy what should be a great Super Bowl and very entertaining sports weekend!

February 2, 2012

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Super Bowl XLVI Top 10 Sellers

By: Junior

I wanted to take a look into which Fatheads have sold the most in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI. I wanted to know if I could gain any insight into what people were expecting to happen in the game based on who or what they were purchasing. We knew the Top 10 Fatheads would be dominated by the New England Patriots and New York Giants, but who and what from each team could be valuable information on the outcome of the game.
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1. Super Bowl  XLVI Party Pack

This was the obvious #1. First of all, whether or not your team made the big game, you still need to have the best decorations at your Super Bowl party. Then, add in all of the Patriots and Giants fans who want this as a memorable reminder of what they hope to be a Super Bowl win for their team, and this had to be #1.

2. Tom Brady

Now we start to see what people are thinking. Already having 3 Super Bowl rings and going down as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Tom Brady is the safe purchase for any Patriots fan. Add to that his mass appeal around the world, and I’m still not taking much from this ranking.

3. Rob Gronkowski

Now we start getting some answers. While Gronkowski has been the talk of the Super Bowl as of late (or at least his ankle), people purchasing his Fathead more than any other position makes me think people still think he will have a big game on Sunday.

Even with his ankle injury, Fathead customers expect Gronkowski to have a big Super Bowl.

4. Tim Tebow “Tebowing”

Many would say this is the first non-Super Bowl Fathead on the list, but they would be wrong. Not only was Tim Tebow spotted in Indy this week, but he has his own prop bet during the game. People can bet on how many times he will be mentions during the broadcast, and according to these sales it would seem multiple times. While I don’t think this lets us know how people feel about the game, if Tebow has an effect on Sunday, don’t say this post didn’t warn you.  

5. Eli Manning – Quarterback

Sadly, this might be the most telling sale of all. Not that Eli is 5th, but that this is the first Giants Fathead on the List. Still, Giants fans have had their faith restored in Eli, and this shows that they are confident he can deliver another Super Bowl to New York. Sure, Patriots fans are more confident in Brady, but if Eli beats him in yet another Super Bowl? I would guess Eli Fatheads would be a hot purchase  if that happened.

6. New York Giants Helmet

The Giants helmet comes in at #7 on our list, and it worries me that more skill players for the Giants aren’t being confided in. However, the helmet is a great way to show support of the whole team, so maybe fans don’t want to pick a favorite. Normally, I would guess this is to support the defense, but the Giants have a lot of defensive players with fatheads, so I’ll chalk this up to just supporting the team as whole.

7. Victor Cruz

Ask and I shall receive. Finally, the Giants get a skill position on the board. What does this tell me? Giants fans think there will be some salsa dancing lessons going on this weekend. Cruz has had a breakout season, and is the Giants version of Rob Gronkowski. These two players will both be playing in their first Super Bowl, and with it being their first season under the spotlight, whoever shines brighter could be the difference in the game.

8. New England Patriots Logo

Much like the Giants helmet, I can’t gather a lot of information out of this purchase. It could be a purchase focusing on the tradition of the organization. Having had so many players come and go through their Super Bowl runs, maybe they want a Fathead that encompasses all of the teams. Regardless, it doesn’t give much insight into the game coming up.

9. Eli Manning

Now we get even more complex. Could this be why Eli was so low with his first ranking? Now having two separate Fatheads on the list, Giants fans show just how much faith they do have in Eli. This pulls his number closer to Brady’s, much like how people are starting to regard Eli closer to Brady in real life. After the last Super Bowl meeting between these two teams, had you told someone Eli would face Brady in another Super Bowl before Peyton, most would have laughed. Now, Eli could continue to build on his legacy by obtaining more rings than his brother.

10. New England Patriots Helmet

The final Fathead again leaves us without another clue for the game on Sunday. The Patriots and Giants both hold 4 Fatheads on this Top 10 list, plus a split with their Super Bowl package. They also both only have their QB and go to receiving threat on the list. So what does that tell us? That they believe there will be no running game. Our customers believe that as the quarterbacks go, so go their teams. Finally, that they think it will be a high scoring game, with both games looking to go to the air early and often. If the score is as close as these purchase trends, we should all have a great game to look forward to this Sunday.

February 1, 2012

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Records Tom Brady Could Break During Super Bowl XLVI

By: Matt Bowen

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has history on the line when he takes the field in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI. The 34-year-old could tie or break all of the major Super Bowl records for quarterbacks.

Brady has been the best the NFL has to offer over the last decade and there’s no sign of him slowing down anytime soon. He threw for 5,235 yards this season—a career best.  When the big game gets underway on Super Bowl Sunday it’ll be Brady’s fifth, which will tie him with John Elway for the most all-time starts by a quarterback in the Super Bowl.  While this is quite an accomplishment, there are many more records to be had by Brady with a spectacular game.

He needs just 156 passing yards in order to surpass Kurt Warner’s record of 1,156. Given, Warner did this in three games compared to Brady’s five, but who’ll remember that in 20 years? This record is almost inevitable—the New York Giants have a really good defense, but no team is good enough to hold a quarterback of Brady’s caliber to less than 156 yards. He may own this record before halftime.  

Big catches from Larry Fitzgerald helped Kurt Warner add to his total yards in Super Bowl 43.

Brady already owns the records for attempts(155) and completions(100) in the Super Bowl—he’ll only add to those.

With four touchdown tosses Brady will tie Joe Montana for most career touchdown passes in Super Bowl history with 11. Now, four touchdowns against a strong Giants squad may seem preposterous, but football fans should know not to doubt Brady—ever. After all, he threw six against the Denver Broncos just a few weeks ago.

One more Super Bowl victory would put Brady as the greatest of all time. With one win he would best Montana for most all-time playoff wins with 17. One more win on the biggest stage in all of sports would give Brady his fourth ring—tying him with Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

It’s no secret that Brady grew up imitating his boyhood hero Joe Montana.

On Super Bowl Sunday, he could become him.