2010 NFL Predictions September 9, 2010Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, NFL predictions, records, Super Bowl
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With the Pro Football season starting tonight, I thought now would be an appropriate time for you to see a quick rundown of my prognostications for the upcoming season.
5 General Predictions
5. RB Jamaal Charles, KC, will be a breakout star this season for the Chiefs and will establish himself among the elite NFL running backs.
4. New Orleans will not repeat as Super Bowl champs. They will play well, but the feat has rarely been accomplished.
3. Minnesota will falter down the stretch. Regardless of whether or not 40 year old Brett Favre has superpowers, he and the Vikings will stumble.
2. Houston will make the playoffs this year and may even challenge Indianapolis for the division. They are too talented not to.
1. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anguan Boldin, Ray Lewis and an elite defense will carry Baltimore to the ultimate prize.
New York Jets 13-3
New England 10-6
San Diego 11-5
Kansas City 6-10
New York Giants 9-7
Green Bay 12-4
New Orleans 12-4
Tampa Bay 3-13
San Francisco 10-6
St. Louis 2-14
AFC Wild Card
Indianapolis def. New England
Houston def. San Diego
NFC Wild Card
Dallas def. Minnesota
San Francisco def. Carolina
Baltimore def. Indianapolis
New York Jets def. Houston
Dallas def. New Orleans
Green Bay def. San Francisco
Baltimore def. New York Jets
Green Bay def. Dallas
Baltimore def. Green Bay
Super Bowl Ruminations February 8, 2010Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: commercials, halftime show, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl, The Who
There is always a certain sadness for football fans on the day following the Super Bowl because we know that our beloved game has reached its close for another year and, though the ensuing eight months will have basketball, baseball and spring football to keep us occupied, nothing will quite fill the emptiness that we feel at this moment…at least not until the 2010 season kicks off in early September.
Yesterday’s Super Bowl was quite entertaining and enjoyable, even though and perhaps because I truly didn’t care who won the game. So, congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for playing a heck of a game and for bringing home their first championship trophy. Oh, by the way, I was right.
The commercials are always a big part of the Super Bowl experience – sometimes even eclipsing the game itself in terms of entertainment – but I found this year’s to be a bit lackluster. The ad that featured Betty White getting leveled on a football field was good, as was the David Letterman-Jay Leno-Oprah spot and the Coke commercial featuring the Simpsons, but overall they weren’t all that great. Even the manufactured controversy surrounding the Focus on the Family piece featuring Saint Tebow wasn’t enough to raise that spot above being a boring waste of time.
Over the past several years the NFL has also seen fit to feature major music acts in its halftime show, something which would normally get a music buff like myself excited, but, for the most part, ever since 2004′s wardrobe malfunction debacle, they’ve played it annoyingly safe. For every great performance – Springsteen in 2009 and Prince in 2007 – there are even more middle-of-the-road, and dare I say, boring, ones – Paul McCartney in 2005, the Rolling Stones in 2006, and Tom Petty in 2008. This year’s halftime show with legendary rock band The Who may be a new low, though. They just sounded old … and Won’t Get Fooled Again should never sound old.
What did you think of the game, the commercials, and the halftime entertainment?
Super Bowl Preview February 5, 2010Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, NFL, predictions, Super Bowl
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Sunday’s Super Bowl offers an intriguing matchup between two high-octane offensive teams – the underdog, and first time Super Bowl contender, from a city on the rebound and the favorite featuring one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees has proven himself to be one of the better QBs in the league over the past few years throwing to Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston, and their running game, led by Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, is effective. The Saints’ defense, led by Jonathan vilma, is decent, but not spectacular. The city of New Orleans, which is still rebuilding after the devastation of Katrina, has rallied around their underdog team and that support may be enough to push them over the top.
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and a win on Sunday may push him into the top spot. He no longer has Marvin Harrison to loft balls to, but that didn’t stop him from putting up great numbers once again. The defense is good, but the condition of Dwight Freeney is a major concern. If he is able to play near full strength, it may propel the Colts to victory. Indy has the advantage of having won the championship in recent years (2007), so they are accustomed to the media attention in a way that the Saints are not.
If Dwight Freeney is not able to perform near his normal level, the Colts will have trouble stopping the Saints. I expect both quarterbacks to play well in a high-scoring, entertaining shoot-out, but in the end, my prediction is:
New Orleans 31 – Indianapolis 27
What do you think?
NFL Conference Champion Predictions January 24, 2010Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: NFL playoffs, predictions
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Minnesota 31 – New Orleans 20
Indianapolis 27 – New York Jets 13
Thoughts? What’s your prediction?
Freedom and Consequences October 15, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL, politics.
Tags: capitalism, Conservatives, free market, NFL, politics, race, Rush Limbaugh, St. Louis Rams
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As I’m sure most if not all of you have seen, one of the more dominant news stories this week has revolved around Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to become a part owner of the St. Louis Rams NFL team. After a public outcry against his inclusion, the right-wing talk show host was dropped from the group seeking to buy the team, but the story was carried through several news cycles and prompted many on either side of the fence to speak out.
Something that may surprise you about this though, is that I, as someone who is very liberal politically and is a big football fan, am actually torn by this issue.
First of all, I’m bothered by the fact that, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist nation, many think that he should not be allowed to spend his personal money on this business enterprise. My initial thought is that this just seems un-American to block a citizen’s freedom in this manner. It may be true that he has regularly shown great contempt for those whose skin color is darker than his own and that the NFL is 2/3 African-American, but should that be a deciding factor in whether or not he is allowed to spend his finances freely? I have a hard time with those who say that he should not be permitted to use his personal money as he wishes.
On the other hand, Limbaugh seems to think that words (at least his words) do not have consequences. Rather than acknowledging that a reaction to his vitriol may be leading the opposition, he seems to be blaming it all on some liberal conspiracy to squelch conservative voices. This is despite the fact that most NFL owners are decidedly conservative and left-thinking people are not calling for their ousters.
Of course, the best solution to this current situation would have been for the purchasing group to have weighed the consequences and to have never included Limbaugh in the first place, which would have avoided this circus altogether.
In the end, this matter merely gives credence to Limbaugh and his followers, who lie awake at night fearing a liberal conspiracy to raise their taxes, take away their guns and force them into gay marriages. It raises his notoriety and bolsters his audience while Rush laughs all the way to the bank.
2009 NFL Predictions – Road to the Super Bowl September 10, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: 2009 predictions, NFL, playoffs, San Diego Chargers, Super Bowl
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To begin, here are the predicted seeds:
3. New England
4. San Diego
5. Houston (WC)
6. Baltimore (WC)
1. New York Giants
5. Chicago (WC)
6. Dallas (WC)
AFC Wild Card
San Diego def. Baltimore
New England def. Houston
NFC Wild Card
Arizona def. Dallas
Chicago def. Atlanta
San Diego def. Tennessee
New England def. Pittsburgh
New York Giants def. Arizona
Chicago def. Minnesota
San Diego def. New England
Chicago def. New York Giants
Super Bowl XLIV
San Diego def. Chicago
So, there you go. Write it down, call your bookie, do whatever you need to do and watch out for those Chargers.
2009 NFL Predictions – Part 2 September 9, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: 2009 predictions, Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York Giants, NFC, NFL, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington
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New York Giants 13-3
Green Bay 9-7
New Orleans 9-7
Tampa Bay 6-10
San Francisco 7-9
St. Louis 2-14
New York Giants – The 2007 Super Bowl champs failed in their bid to repeat last year despite tying Carolina for an NFC-best record of 12-4 during the regular season. They return Eli Manning, 2-time 1,000 yard rusher Brandon Jacobs, a top-notch defense, and one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Giants are almost a sure thing for the playoffs and an early favorite to play in their second Super Bowl in three years.
Dallas – Yeah, I know I’m a homer with this pick over the Eagles, but as a longtime Cowboy fan I can’t help myself. Terrell Owens is gone and the passing game will no doubt be hurt because of it, but the team atmosphere will probably improve a good deal. Dallas has a great defense and a very good running game which includes former Razorback star Felix Jones, so I’m doubly a fan now. They will battle Philly for a wild card spot, but give this one to my favorites.
Philadelphia – The verdict remains out on how large ex-con Michael Vick’s impact will be on a very good Eagle team. Will there be friction between he and longtime Philly quarterback Donovan McNabb? The Eagles also return one of the better defenses in the league as well as an elite offensive line, so there is no doubt that they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Washington – The Redskins have seen better days and, despite their mediocre 8-8 record in 2008, I expect a dropoff in Jim Zorn’s second year as head coach. Quarterback Jason Campbell will never be better than average, his receivers are aging, and the defense is average at best. RB Clinton Portis will carry the team again but it won’t be enough for a winning record.
Minnesota – With a stellar defense and the best running back in the league today, many had the Vikings penciled in as early favorites soon after the 2008 season ended. Thus, the addition of future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is icing on the cake. The Vikings are in a tough division and they will fight some tough battle against Chicago and Green Bay, but I expect them to come out on top in the end.
Chicago – Is there a front office in the NFL that brokered a better trade this offseason than Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton? Cutler proved himself to be among the best QBs in the league in Denver and he may be just what the Bears need to invigorate their stagnant offense. Second year RB Matt Forte will also put up some great numbers and the Bears return another excellent defense, led by perennial Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Tommie Harris. Chicago will battle Minnesota for the division this season, but, even if they do lose that, they should make the playoffs.
Green Bay – In his first season as a starter, QB Aaron Rodgers quickly moved up the ranks in the NFL to become one of the best young signal-callers in the league today. He, along with third year RB Ryan Grant and WR Gregg Jennings, anchor an offense that could be great for years to come. The Pack also return an excellent defense that should be able to hang with any team they face. Green Bay will definitely be in the hunt for either a spot as division champ or a wild card playoff berth, but they may be hurt by being in such a strong division.
Detroit – Ewww…. Once again, the Lions are awful, just awful. According to reports, many Lions players are unhappy with the decision to start top draft pick Matthew Stafford at quarterback from the beginning of the season and that’s never a good sign. Once again, Detroit will be in the fight for a number one draft pick.
Atlanta – The Falcons had a huge turnaround last season, going from a 4-12 record in 2007 to 11-5 with a playoff appearance in 2008. This season they look to continue their excellent play led by second year QB Matt Ryan and the elite play of RB Michael Turner. The addition of Tony Gonzalez, one of the best tight ends to ever play in the league, will only bolster their chances to win the division and skate into the postseason. The only problem I see for the Falcons is that their division is very tough and they may find themselves battling it out with Carolina and New Orleans for an elusive playoff spot.
Carolina – The Panthers broke through in a big way in 2008, putting together a 12-4 record before falling early in the playoffs. Their running game, led by former University of Memphis star DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, was among the best in the NFL and their defense was above average. The Panthers have a good shot at returning to the playoffs but, again, their tough division will take its toll on the team.
New Orleans – In three seasons, Sean Payton has amassed a yawn-inducing 25-23 record as the Saints’ head coach, despite having one of the top performing QBs in the league in Drew Brees. The emergence of RB Pierre Thomas in 2008 to displace the underachieving Reggie Bush is a major plus and their receiving corps is excellent. Their defense is below average, but serviceable. I expect New Orleans to fight for a playoff spot but to eventually fall due to their lack of elite defensive players.
Tampa Bay – First year coach Raheem Morris may have his work cut out for him this season with the Bucs, but at least the cupboard isn’t completely bare. WR Antonio Bryant finally broke through as a receiving threat in 2009 and TE Kellen Winslow is still among the league’s best at his position. The Tampa Bay defense may not have a lot of marquee players, but they are pretty good and should be competitive. This division will just be too tough for the Bucs this season, though, and I expect them to finish a few games under .500.
Arizona – Last year’s surprise Super Bowl runner-ups are back form more in 2009 and this time, for perhaps the first time ever, they actually carry with them the expectation of winning. I would be a little concerned about counting on the fragile and aging Kurt Warner at QB, but with the Cardinals’ selection of receiving targets, it seems as though anyone could play under center. The defense is decent, but that’s good enough to be perhaps the best in the weak NFC East. Due to their poor division, Arizona should make the playoffs by default.
San Francisco – The 49ers top draft pick, the still-unsigned Michael Crabtree, grabbed most of the headlines for the Frisco squad, but there are a few other good players to discuss – namely RB Frank Gore. Gore may not find the endzone as many times as some backs, but he is still a great back in his prime. The defense is poor, as is the offensive line, so don’t expect much from the 49ers in 2009.
Seattle – On the plus side, the Seahawks have an excellent veteran corps of receivers, led by former Bengal TJ Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, and Deion Branch. Then there’s the rest of the team. If you are a Seattle fan, I suggest you learn to hold your nose.
St. Louis – There are plenty of bad teams in the NFL this season, but there may be nobody worse than the squad that will be fielded in St. Louis this year. Words can’t describe just how horrible this team is. They’ll be lucky to beat anybody.
Next: The Playoffs and the Super Bowl
2009 NFL Predictions September 9, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: 2009 predictions, AFC, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, New England, New York Jets, NFL, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Tennessee
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New England 12-4
New York Jets 6-10
San Diego 11-5
Kansas City 5-11
New England – The Patriots’ fortunes for 2009 hinge on the much-awaited return of QB Tom Brady. New England’s offense and defense are both stacked to the brim with talent and, despite being down a bit in 2008, they are the team to beat again and they should easily waltz into the postseason.
Miami – The Dolphins were a huge surprise in the 2008 season, head coach Tony Sparano’s first, improving from 1-15 the previous year to an improbable 11-5. Though they return most of their weapons from last season, I expect them to take a step back this time around.
Buffalo – The Bills made one of the most hyped moves of the offseason, bringing in volatile veteran receiver Terrell Owens to line up alongside Lee Evans. If Trent Edwards can come along as a quarterback and the defense plays well enough, Buffalo could make some noise in the NFC East.
New York Jets – New coach Rex Ryan and rookie QB Mark Sanchez will have their work cut out for them in 2009. With last season’s Brett Favre experiment now a thing of the past, the Jets will continue building for the future, so don’t expect much this season.
Pittsburgh – The returning Super Bowl champs are loaded and back for more in 2009. All of the Steelers’ offensive pieces remain in place and their top-notch defense, led by 2008 Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison and a host of other Pro Bowl players, should again be a dominant force.
Baltimore – The Ravens are another year older but their defense is still one of the most stifling to be found in the league. Second year quarterback Joe Flacco was impressive as a rookie and should be even better this time around. The Ravens should definitely be in the hunt for a playoff spot again in 2009.
Cincinnati – 2009 was a difficult year for the Bengal faithful, who watched their star quarterback Carson Palmer fall to injury early in the season. Though Palmer is healthy and returning this season, their lack of an offensive line and below average defense will again doom Cincy to mediocrity.
Cleveland – Bringing in new head coach Eric Mangini was a good move for a cellar-dwelling Browns franchise that is floundering to climb out of the basement, but I wouldn’t expect too much from them in 2009.
Tennessee – The Titans were impressive in 2009, rallying behind veteran quarterback Kerry Collins to win their division before falling in the playoffs. The running back duo of Chris Johnson and Lendale White proved to be one of the better tandems to be found in 2008 and they should again be the driving force behind Tennessee’s offense. The defense is full of experienced veterans and should be one of the best in the league. The Titan’s playoff spot is ready and waiting.
Houston – After two consecutive 8-8 seasons, it is time for the talented Texans to take another step forward. Though they may not be to the level of the Titans or a perennial favorite like the Colts, this squad is solid behind players like WR Andre Johnson and DE Mario Williams. Look for the Texans to finally challenge for a playoff spot.
Indianapolis – The Colts have been perennial picks for several years, always winning their customary 11-13 games each season riding on the arm of future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning. There has been a full change in the coaching staff for 2009, an event which I think will affect the team’s performance in the coming season. Add to that the unstoppable aging process and I expect to see a dip in the Colts’ performance for 2009. They will still challenge for a playoff spot and may even earn one, but it will be a tougher road than in the past.
Jacksonville – Fred Taylor is out of town, leaving the rushing duties squarely in the hands of the capable Maurice Jones-Drew, who I would expect to have a huge season. The rest of the cast is less than ideal, though, and will most likely struggle their way to a .500 or so season in 2009.
San Diego – The Chargers were a big letdown in 2008, only racking up an 8-8 record for the season, but I’m looking for a rebound this time around. The recent charges against defensive star Shawne Merriman will hurt if they stick, but the offense, led by QB Philip Rivers and the elite running back tandem of Ladanian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles, should again shine in a poor division.
Oakland – As a lifelong Razorback fan, I love Darren McFadden and I want to see him do great things, but I just cannot imagine his team reaching any level of respectability. If defensive great Richard Seymour, who was just acquired from New England, ever shows up, it will be a great boon to a poor unit, but besides that there is little to cheer for in Raider land.
Kansas City – The Chiefs’ biggest offseason pickup, former New England quarterback Matt Cassel, set the tone for the season when he was injured on his first pass play in the preseason. Yep, it’s going to be a long year in Kansas City.
Denver – In one of the most negatively scrutinized moves of the offseason, the Broncos sent star quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago for Kyle Orton. With a QB who defines mediocrity, a receiver (Brandon Marshall) who can’t stay out of trouble, and a repugnant defense, the Broncos are in good form to earn the number one draft pick for next season.
Next: The NFC
The Boss Brings It… February 2, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: Bruce Springsteen, halftime, Super Bowl, video
In recent years, the NFL has paid special attention to their Super Bowl halftime reporters, with greats like the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, and the incredible Prince taking the stage. Last night’s twelve minute show blew them all out of the water.
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Born to Run
Working on a Dream
And there was a good football game on, too.
P.S. Anybody up for a road trip to see Springsteen in a couple of months? Atlanta? Tulsa?
On the Upcoming Super Bowl XLIII January 29, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, prediction, Super Bowl
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That most wonderful time of the year, Super Bowl Sunday, is upon us and millions of people around the world will tune in for the gargantuan spectacle. With funny commercials and a halftime show by the great Bruce Springsteen, it can be easy for us to overlook the reason for the season, football, but today you are in luck. I give this to you as my gift, wrapped nicely beneath the brightly lit Super Bowl tree – my preview of the teams and a prediction that you can take to the bank.
We’ll start with the Arizona Cardinals, perhaps the unlikeliest of teams from this year’s playoffs to advance to the big game. Finishing the regular season by losing 4 of the final 6 games, for an overall 9-7 record seemed to doom the Cards to Wild Card loss obscurity. But, somehow, someway, these southwestern birds rose to the challenge. Led by centenarian quarterback Kurt Warner, two top-notch receivers, and a defense that suddenly recalled how to tackle, Arizona marched through their adversaries, showing not only the might of their aerial offense, but also the new-found heft of their defense. Their keys for the game will revolve around injured and discontented receiver Anquan Boldin (will he play and, if he does, will he care?), a defense that must play above their ability, and Kurt Warner’s continued imbibing from the fountain of youth.
Pittsburgh played very well all season to reach their 12-4 mark, then cruised through their two playoff games to reach their second Super Bowl in 4 years. On offense, the Steelers are an effective, yet fairly nondescript, bunch. Ben Roethlisberger is not a great quarterback, but he is a proven winner, but much of his production may revolve around the effectiveness of an injured Hines Ward. Pitt’s real strength is on defense, where they set up a veritable stone wall against their opponents, stuffing rushers to the tune of only 80 yards per game (ranked 2nd in the league), stifling passers to only 157 yards (ranked 1st) and keeping their adversaries to under 14 points per game. Their key to the game will be their ability to stop Arizona’s passing game.
The biggest matchup of the game is, without a doubt, between Arizona’s aerial attack and Pittsburgh’s top-rated pass defense. In my opinion, the old adage that “defense wins games,” will again hold true.
Pitt 31 – AZ 21
But, then again, I did pick a Dallas/San Diego championship back in August.
What do you think?