|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on January 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
Well I went 2-2 in my wild card picks and that isn't anything to be proud of but I'd like to find one non-Bronco fan out there that picked Denver over Pittsburgh. Here are my thoughts on the divisional round of the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints vs. SanFrancisco 49ers
I can't believe what a turn around the 49ers made under Harbaugh in his first season this year. I really didn't think that they would be able to play defense the way they do and I didn't think that Harbaugh would have the patience to stick with Alex Smith all year. To Harbaugh's credit he put all his cards in Smith's hands and the QB played just well enough to win games on the legs of Frank Gore and behind a stiff defense. The Saints on the other hand play average defense at best but they are led by an incredible offense that has an embarassment of talent at the skill positions. I think that Darren Sproles might be the most under rated player in the NFL and he is in my opinion the Saints most valuable player behind Drew Brees. Sproles fits the RB position in the Saints offense perfectly. As for a pick I honestly am up in the air to a certain extent. If Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman can pressure Brees consistently I like the 49ers chances to get turnovers and keep the game low scoring but my gut says Brees and the Saints offense is going to stay on fire and get a win something like 31-20 in a very good game.
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots
Tebow played very respectably against the Pittsburgh Steelers and obviousy surprised me by coming away with the win. BUT what in the world was the defensive strategy that the Steelers were going with in overtime? It seemed to me that they were asking to get beat deep, and they did. I understand selling out to stop the run agains the Broncos but Tebow had connected deep with Thomas on several passes in regulation and it was obvious to see what was about to happen with ZERO safeties deep. Long story short I don't think the Patriots will make the same defensive mistakes and I think they have a much more potent offense than the Steelers. I think the Broncos should be congratulated for playing very well and exceeding almost everybodies expectations but the Patriots are going to win this game at home and I don't think it's going to be pretty. Patriots 34 Broncos 17.
Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens
Is it just me or are the AFC matchups much less exciting than the NFC matchups? I didn't think the Texans would beat the Bengals because of the fact that TJ Yates is their starting QB, I was wrong about that but the Ravens defense is better than the Bengals and this game is in Baltimore rather than Houston. The only way I can think of for the Texans to win this game is if Andre Johnson's hamstring is 100% and if he goes absolutely nuts. Arian Foster is a heck of a running back (that run against the Bengals where it looked like he used jedi mind control to get the defender to run away from him down the sideline was incredible) but I think the Ravens defense will have a defender or two or three dedicated to locking him down all game long. I still think he may finish with a respectable yardage total and a TD but he won't win the game, only a healthy Andre Johnson will be capable of that and I don't see it happening. While I don't think Joe Flacco is anything to write home about he is much better than Yates and it will show on Sunday. Ravens 27 Texans 13.
New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers
This is the game of the week in my opinion. I HATE the Giants but one thing is for sure, they can put pressure on a quarterback. Eli Manning is having an incredible season and they have two running backs that compliment each other very well. The Packers are insanely good on offense. If I was a GM starting a NFL football team Aaron Rodgers would be the first player I'd take hands down no questions asked. Here is the thing though: The Packers don't run the ball particularly well, statistically they have the worst defense in the league and I think they might be a bit over confident. I can't believe I'm going to pick against them because of how dangerous they are to score at any time but I do believe that defense and a running game are the keys to winning in the NFL playoffs. Granted the Packers won the whole thing last year with basically the same type of team so it isn't unheard of and I just picked the Saints offense over the 49ers D and Frank Gore but the Giants bring the best pass rush in the NFL, two quality RB's and a passing game into Lambeau on Sunday. I think the more complete team will win. I hope I'm wrong but... Giants 24 Packers 20.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on January 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
Pittsburgh at Denver
I have a lot of respect for Tim Tebow as a human being. I think that it is awesome that he has the ability to live his life in front of the entire country in a way that not many people understand and that some people hate and he does it with character. I don’t think I could do it BUT I think Tim Tebow is a horrible NFL quarterback. I hear the arguments about wins and losses and it’s not that I’m afraid that he will change the way the position is played. I just think the guy plain out stinks at throwing the football. My prediction for this game is that the Steelers win 17 to 6. The Steelers D and passing game trumps Tebow’s heart and hard work.
Detroit at New Orleans
This game has potential to go down in the record books as the highest scoring game ever. These teams also have the potential to set all kinds of single game playoff passing and receiving records. This game also has the potential of including Ndamukong Suh murdering Drew Brees, which would pretty much end the Saints chances for breaking scoring and passing records. My prediction is that Suh does not kill Brees and that the Saints go on to win 42 to 35.
Cincinnati at Houston
Does anybody want to watch this game? I certainly don’t. The other games feature QB matchups like Tebow vs. Roethlisberger, Manning vs. Ryan and Stafford vs. Brees. This game is Dalton vs. Yates, how are these teams in the playoffs? On second thought this game might actually feature two of the better TEAMS in the playoffs if they were able to carry rookie QB’s like Dalton and Yates into the playoffs. See I can come up with a reason to get excited about watching almost any NFL game. I’m going to go with the Bengals to beat the Texans 24 to 20. I guess my reasoning is that the Texans made it with 6 games vs. the Colts, Titans and Jaguars, while the Bengals played the Steelers and Ravens twice each. If nothing else the Bengals should be more highly tested.
Atlanta at New York
Eli Manning is the opposite of Tim Tebow in my book. I have no respect for Eli Manning and I never have since the way he entered the NFL crying about being the top overall pick and more or less forcing the Chargers to trade him to the Giants. On the other hand he just finished one of the best seasons a QB has ever had. He doesn’t get much credit because of Rodgers, Brees and Brady but Eli is a stud at QB. Overall I really think the Falcons and Giants have very comparable teams and in my opinion the outcome of this game completely depends on which Giants team shows up. Will it be the team that went 0-2 vs. my miserable Redskins? Or will it be the team that went 2-0 vs. the semi-miserable Cowboys in do or die games? I think it will be the later and the Giants will win 27 to 23.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on September 8, 2011 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
I’m going to take this opportunity to make my NFL Week 1 game by game predictions. I figured I need to get the picks posted before the Packers vs. Saints game tonight and I’ve finished the NFC preview so now is as good a time as any. Leave a comment with your predictions so we can see who is smarter.
Green Bay 30 over New Orleans 24:
Rodgers and Brees are equally talented but the talent on the rest of the Packers roster gives them the upper hand at home.
Atlanta 24 over Chicago 13:
I’m not completely sold on this pick as I think the lockout favors the Bears defense over the Falcons offense but in the end Ryan to White is hard to stop and I don’t think the Bears will be able to keep pace with the Falcons.
Cleveland 17 over Cincinnati 9:
The battle of who could care less. The best thing about this game is that one of these teams has to start the season undefeated.
Kansas City 24 over Buffalo 13:
The way I see it is that Kansas City isn’t good and Buffalo is bad. I’m picking the Chiefs because they have a slightly better QB and Jamaal Charles whereas the Bills only weapon is Steve Johnson and I’m not sure that he wasn’t just a flash in the pan last season.
Philadelphia 31 over St. Louis 13:
This is a great matchup for the Eagles “dream team”. The Rams will provide just enough resistance that the Eagles will have to play well as a team but the Rams aren’t quite good enough to really be a threat.
Tampa Bay 17 over Detroit 16:
Josh Freeman is going to get hit hard, but so is Matt Stafford. As you can tell by the score I’ve predicted I think this game is a bit of a toss up but the Bucs will win at home because Detroit will pass on an extra point attempt to tie the game and fail to convert a 2 point conversion on the last play of the game.
Tennessee 21 over Jacksonville 13:
This game looked a lot difference before Chris Johnson signed his contract and before David Garrard was cut. Then I would have definitely picked the Jags, now I can’t see Luke McCown leading a weak Jacksonville team to a week 1 win.
Pittsburgh 20 over Baltimore 16:
This is currently the best rivalry in professional football. Baltimore will miss McGahee in the redzone and will have to settle for a lot of field goals. The plethora of speedy wide Pittsburgh wide receivers will find holes in the revamped Ravens secondary and James Harrison will be fined 50K for a hit on Joe Flacco.
Houston 27 over Indianapolis 10:
Kerry Collins is really old and the running game isn’t good for the Colts. Houston doesn’t have a great defense but it won’t take a lot to stop the Manningless Colts and Andre Johnson will have a big game in what might be the beginning of the end for the Colts AFC South dominance.
New York Giants 20 over Washington 17:
This game will be closer than most people might expect just because the Redskins defense is under rated and the Giants offense is over rated. Even though the game will be closer the result will still be the same as years past.
San Francisco 13 over Seattle 3:
If you read my NFC West preview you know exactly how I feel about these two teams. Frank Gore will get in the end zone once for the 49ers but Seattle will be held to a field goal because Tarvaris Jackson will have his helmet on backwards and Pete Carroll won’t be able to find his clipboard.
San Diego 28 over Minnesota 20:
Donovan McNabb will have a decent game because he will be trying to prove last year with the Skins was a fluke, but he won’t be nearly as good as Philip Rivers. Adrian Peterson will make the game interesting for Vikings fans but in the end the better team will come out on top.
Arizona 21 over Carolina 10:
Cam Newton won’t be able to reverse the Panthers fortunes this early and Larry Fitzgerald will just be happy to have a half decent QB pitching the ball to him.
New York Jets 17 over Dallas 14:
The Jets defense will suffocate the Dallas offense but the score will remain close because the Jets don’t have any game changers on offense and the Dallas D will harass Mark Sanchez all game long.
New England 35 over Miami 10:
Bill Parcells and Tom Brady never pull punches and this is a brutal week 1 matchup for the Dolphins. It might actually be too much to expect the Dolphins to score 10 points with Henne at the QB spot but I have Brandon Marshall in my fantasy league so here is hoping he finds the end zone.
Denver 20 over Oakland 16:
I think this game is a toss up. Denver has the edge on offense and Oakland has the edge on defense. In this case I’m going with the home team and hoping that the Denver coaches don’t do anything stupid like pull Orton for Tebow.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on September 8, 2011 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Here is my preview of the NFC West. In my opinion this is easily the worst division in the NFL. I think I'll discuss my thoughts about a team making the playoffs with a losing record (see the 2010 Seattle Seahawks) in a future post but for now let's just say that I think it will take more than a 7-9 record to win the division this year... but not a lot more. As always, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.
1) Arizona Cardinals (8-8 ): I expect the Cardinals to be a streaky team this year. When I look at their schedule I see six consecutive losses from week five through week eleven and then I see them finishing out the season winning six of seven to sneak to the top of the division and into the playoffs. I think the Cardinals only offensive strength will be the Kolb to Fitzgerald connection. I also think the addition of Todd Heap is an under rated offseason move that will help Kolb get comfortable in the new offense. Other than Fitz, Kolb, Heap and the left side of the offensive line the rest of the offense is horrible. The Cardinals were the worts rushing team in the league last year and since then they have only gotten worse by trading Tim Hightower and losing Ryan Williams for the season with a torn ACL. Beanie Wells is not a good NFL running back and the right side of the offensive line might as well not exist. Defensively I like their down linemen and I like the backfield but the linebackers in their 3-4 set are pretty weak and having good linebacker play in the 3-4 is pivotal. Overall I say the ceiling for this team is 8-8 and the floor is 6-10. I'm picking them to go 8-8 because somebody has to win the division and I think Larry Fitzgerald will carry them over the ridiculously weak competition in the NFC West.
2) St. Louis Rams (7-9): Similar to the Cardinals I expect the Rams to have a season of two halves. My guess is that the Rams start the season 1-6 and finish the season 6-2. I actually think that the Rams are a better offensive team than the Cardinals from top to bottom. I think Sam Bradford is the best young quarterback in th NFL and I think that Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola are under rated offensive players. Another strength for the Rams offense is their line, which I think is one of the best in the league, and is definitely the best in the division. The biggest problem I see for the offense is wheter or not Amendola improves and whether or not any other wide receivers can step up and get open for Bradford. On defense I like the bookends they have at the defensive end postions and I think Laurinaitis is a solid middle linebacker. Outside of the DE's and MLB position there isn't a lot to be excited about here, especially with the departure of Atogwe. The ceiling for this team is 8-8 and the floor is 6-10. I think the only thing holding them back from beating out the Cardinals is the lack of offensive fire power. I say they finish 7-9 (again) and just miss the playoffs (again), but look for the Rams to be division favorites in the near future.
3) San Francisco 49ers (4-12): I don’t even feel like wasting my time discussing the 49ers and Seahawks. The 49ers do have some talent in Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Braylon Edwards and Michael Crabtree. They also have a very solid left side of the offensive line with Staley and Iupati, but they do not have a quarterback and the wide receivers, while talented, have never lived up to expectations. The picture on defense is not any better. They do have Patrick Willis, who might be the best defender in the league, but impact players on defense can’t carry a team the way an offense player (like Fitzgerald) can. The defensive line is a joke, the secondary is a joke and the only reason to take the linebackers seriously is Willis. The ceiling for this team is 5-11; the floor is 3-13. I say they split the difference at 4-12. Jim Harbaugh has quite a daunting task in front of him to turn this team around, but at least he gets to do it in the NFC West.
4) Seattle Seahawks (3-13): That’s right last year’s division winner and victor in a shocking playoff game versus the Saints will finish last in the division with only 3 wins this season. The Seahawks plan on starting Tarvaris Jackson, which should tell you everything you need to know. Football decisions like releasing Hasselbeck and in turn starting Jackson show you why Pete Carroll had to cheat at USC to win. The starting running back is Marshawn Lynch; he was so bad that Buffalo cut him. The starting wide receivers are okay but the only bright spot on the offensive line is Okung (who seems to be hurt more than he is healthy). The defense has one good lineman (Branch), one good young linebacker (Curry) one okay cornerback (Trufant) and two decent young safeties (Chancellor and Thomas). In my eyes there is nothing to get excited about and so I’m not getting excited. The ceiling for this team is 5-11; the floor is 3-13. I say Pete Carroll can’t coach his way out of a paper bag and that Tarvaris Jackson is the worst starting QB in the league. All in all this adds up to a 3-13 record, which might wind up being good enough for 3rd in the division but for now I have them in the cellar of the worst division in the NFL.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on September 7, 2011 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Here is my preview of the NFC South. Make sure you let me know what you think by leaving a comment, I’d love to debate these rankings back and forth… Let’s get started.
1) New Orleans Saints (12-4): Drew Brees, enoug hsaid. The NFL has morphed into a pass happy league and so having a top QB paired with a deep and experienced receiving core helps set the Saints near the top of the league. The running game doesn’t have a huge name (other than the rookie Mark Ingram) but they do have backs that can pass protect and catch out of the backfield. The defense doesn’t have an individual player that excites me but the unit as a whole is very good and is very experienced. Overall I think the ceiling for this team is 13-3 and I think the floor is 10-6, even though I do think the NFC South is a really strong division I expect the talent and experience of the Saints to translate into a 12-4 season.
2) Atlanta Falcons (11-5): The Falcons are going to be really good. I think Matt Ryan is going to be a really good NFL quarterback (even though I can’t stand him because of the 2007 BC vs VT game). I also like Michael Turner and the Falcons depth at RB. Roddy White is a ridiculously talented wide receiver, Tony Gonzalez is still a great TE and I personally think Julio Jones will be a productive player this year. I’m not as convinced that the Falcons defense will be much if any better this year than last but last year they were good enough to finish 13-3. The ceiling for this team is 13-3 and the floor is 10-6. I say they regress a little bit, mainly because I don’t think Matt Ryan will be able to repeat his 2010 season, and the Falcons will finish 11-5, which will be good enough to grab a wild card spot in the playoffs.
3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8): This preview will sound a lot like the Falcons and it’s because I think they have very similar teams. Josh Freeman is a young QB that I think will be very good, but he won’t be able to repeat his 2010 season (like Matt Ryan). LeGarrette Blount is a big physical RB (like Michael Turner). The Buccaneers have a good WR (Williams) and a good TE (Winslow), they also have a solid, but not spectacular defense. The main difference I see between the Falcons and Bucs is the depth at RB and WR and that they have less experience on offense. I think the ceiling is 9-7 and the floor is 6-10. I say the Buccaneers regress from last year when they finished 10-6 and finish at .500, which will be considered a disappointment, even though it shouldn’t be. This team will be major factor in the playoff race in the next year or two.
4) Carolina Panthers (2-14): I think the Panthers will be one of the worst teams in football this year. Cam Newton may eventually be the savior this franchise needs but the NFC South isn’t the SEC and he won’t be able to win games by himself in the NFL. Having two top tight ends (Olsen and Shockey) will be very helpful for Newton and the depth at RB (Williams and Stewart) will also be a strength but the team does not have any wide receivers who are good enough to be considered top options. I also don’t think the defense will be very good and a schedule that includes 6 games versus the Bucs, Falcons and Saints isn’t conducive to winning many games. The ceiling for the Panthers is 4-12, the floor is 1-15 and I only say that because I can’t see anybody going “defeated” this year with as many teams as there are who will be breaking in new quarterbacks. I say the Panthers finish 2-14, but that they get the winless monkey off their back early by beating the Jaguars in their week 3 matchup.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on September 7, 2011 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
Here is my preview of the NFC North. I’m going to continue breaking these blog posts up by division so that it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to read a blog post… Let’s get started:
1) Green Bay Packers (13-3): I think the Packers are stacked. They have, in my opinion, the best quarterback in the NFL. They also have a top 5 defense and they play in what I consider to be a pretty weak division. The only weakness for the Packers is the backfield. Ryan Grant can’t be trusted and James Starks is an average #2 RB at best. Honestly I think the ceiling for this team is 16-0 and I think the floor is 12-4, which I knowis a really wide spread but with the parody in the NFL I can’t see picking a team with a questionable running game to win more than 13 games.
2) Chicago Bears (9-7): I think the Bears will take a small step back this year. I, like most people in this world, don’t trust Jay Cutler, especially without Greg Olsen. The defense is only getting older and one of the Bears best linebackers (Briggs) doesn’t even want to be in Chicago.On top of all that the Bears biggest advantage over the rest of the league (Devin Hester) has been negated by the change in the location of the kickoff. One positive thing that I will say is that I think that Matt Forte is extremely under rated; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish as a top 10 RB this year. The ceiling for this team is 10-6 and the floor is 8-8. I say 9-7, which won’t be enough to make it into the playoffs.
3) Detroit Lions (6-10): Even though I expect the record to be the same as in 2010 I think the 2011 Lions will be better. I love the defensive line they have built, I love the WRs and I think the defense overall will be pretty good. I am not a fan of Stafford, even if he stays healthy, and I also don’t think they have a good enough rushing attack to scare the Bears or Packers. Give the Lions one or two more years and they might be back in line for the post season. The ceiling is 7-9 and the floor is 5-11. I say they split the difference and finish 6-10 for the second year in a row.
4) Minnesota Vikings (5-11): I love Brett Favre. It’s that simple, he is my favorite player in the history of the NFL, other than maybe Darrell Green. BUT the Brett Favre experiment in Minnesota was devastating for the Vikings franchise. The only thing the Vikings have going for them is Adrian Peterson, which is no small thing, but McNabb needs more out of his WRs than he use to and Shiancoe hasn’t taken advantage of his potential at TE. The defense is okay but the at least one of the DTs is facing his second round of suspensions for steroid use and I just can’t see the Viking competing in this division. Theceiling is 7-9, the floor is 4-12. I say they finish a disappointing 5-11 and that AP requests a trade in the offseason.
Let me know what you think in the comment section. Oh and also I know it says posted by Linda Crandall but that is just because this site is under Linda's email address (which is still registered to her maiden name). Obviously anything related to sports was written by Justin.
|Posted by Justin and Linda Summers on September 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM||comments (0)|
Alright. So this is my first blog post, ever, and I'm not sure whether I should feel cool or nerdy but right now I'm definitely leaning towards nerdy. Also two things I've noticed about myself when I write are that I can tend to ramble (which is weird because I'm not a particularly talkative person) and that I don't use the best grammar or punctuation. Hopefully my rambling tendencies will make reading my posts seem more "conversational" (or something like that) and hopefully you aren't a professional spell checker because if you are you will probably go crazy. Anyways lets jump into my 2011 NFL Season Preview starting with the NFC EAST.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-4): I guess you could say that I'm a believer in the moves the Eagles made this off season. They will probably have the best defensive backfield in the NFL and their offense shouldn't struggle as much in the red-zone with the addition of Ronnie Brown. There are two big questions for the Eagles. 1) Can all of the new pieces gel? 2) Can Vick, McCoy, Jackson and Maclin stay healthy? For question 1 I say that the amount of individual talent they have will cover up the lack of "cohesion" for the first half of the season and by week 8 they will be hard to handle. For question 2 I suppose we just have to see, it's almost impossible to project injuries. All in all I think the ceiling for this team is 13-3 and the floor is10-6. My prediction is a 12-4 record, which will be good enough to win the NFC East.
2. New York Giants (9-7): I think that the Giants offense is under rated, and I hate saying that because I don't like Eli Manning at all. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs make up one of the best backfield combinations in the NFL, I mean who wants to tackle a 6'4" 265 pound RB and that’s the backup. Also, everybody made way too big of a deal about Kevin Boss leaving. Travis Beckum will be a very good NFL TE. The defensive line has been great for a decade now and I expect that to continue. My concerns for theGiants are the offensive line (OLD) the wide receivers (no more Steve Smith) and the Linebackers (Goff and Sintim out for the year). Overall I think the Giants are under rated and that the defense will be just good enough to keep the Giants and their potent rushing attack in most of their games. The ceiling for this team is 10-6 and the floor is 7-9. My prediction is 9-7 and they will be the last team in the playoffs.
3. Dallas Cowboys (8-8 ): I don't have a lot of faith in the Cowboys, who have been perennial under achievers since the glory days of the 90's. I actually do like Jason Garrett and I think he has a shot at reversing the trend of under achieving, but I also think that a reversal will take another year or two. A big part of the Cowboys under achieving ways is TonyRomo. TONY ROMO IS NOT AN ELITE NFL QUARTERBACK. Don't get me wrong, Tony Romo is good I mean I root for a team that will be quarterbacked by Rex Grossman but Tony Romo is not an elite NFL quarterback and as such we shouldn't expect him to lead a team with no offensive line, a young hothead #2 receiver and a questionable defense to the playoffs. I'll put this another way. In the NFC West Dallas would be the clear number 1 and easily in the playoffs but in the NFC East, where you have to play Philly and the Giants four times expectations need to be tempered. The ceiling for the Cowboys is 10-6 and the floor is 7-9. My prediction is 8-8.
4. Washington Redskins (6-10): I don't have a lot of faithin the Redskins either. They are my favorite NFL team but how can you have any faith in a team that was picking between Rex Grossman and John Beck as their starting QB? On top of that whoever the QB may be only has two real targets: Sanatana Moss (old, will eventually lose a step) and Chris Cooley (bad knees and ankles). The only bright spot of the offense is an improving O-line and a deep RB corps. Unfortunately even the Redskins depth at RB is a bit of a weakness as none of the RBs are clear top options; I mean the Arizona Cardinals (worst rushing team in 2010) cut Tim Hightower who is now the Redskins top RB option. I am much more optimistic about the defense. The D-line will be better I like the addition of Barry Cofield a lot and the linebackers will definitely be the strength of the team. The cornerbacks will be okay and the safeties should be exceptional but overall you just can't expect much out of this team for the 2011 season. The ceiling for this team is 8-8 and the floor is 5-11. Ithink the team will go 6-10, which will include a 4 game winning streak week 7 through week 10.
The rest of the NFC will come tomorrow and the AFC will come on Thursday. Let me know what you think in the comments.