Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NFL Week 16 Recap

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Reggie Wayne celebrates after scoring the game winning touchdown in Indianapolis. The
Colts  have won their last two games, after starting of the season 0-13.

Texans vs. Colts: 19-16 Colts
Texans Player of the Week: Arian Foster- 158 rush yards, touchdown
Colts Player of the Week: Reggie Wayne- 8 receptions, 106 receiving yards, touchdown

Yes, it was an ugly game as predicted, but the Colts came out victorious. Indianapolis has now won their last two games after winning none the first 14 weeks. Arian Foster had a great game, but the Texans won't go anywhere in the playoffs if they don't have a passing game.

Broncos vs. Bills: 40-14 Bills
Broncos Player of the Week: Demaryius Thomas- 4 receptions, 76 receiving yards
Bills Player of the Week: CJ Spiller- 111 rush yards, touchdown

The Bills crushed the Broncos to give them their second straight loss. Looks like Tebow's magic is running out. The Bills snapped their seven game losing streak with the win. As crazy as it sounds, the Broncos can still clinch a playoff spot with a win next week.

Cardinals vs. Bengals: 23-16 Bengals
Cardinals Player of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald- 6 receptions, 105 receiving yards, touchdown
Bengals Player of the Week: Jerome Simpson- 5 receptions, 42 receiving yards, touchdown

The Bengals almost blew their 23-0 lead last Sunday, but came away with the win. One more win for the Bengals and they are in the playoffs for the fourth time in team history. Jerome Simpson had the play of the year in this game, converting a full front flip over two defenders, and landing it for a touchdown.

Jaguars vs. Titans: 23-17 Titans
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew- 103 rush yards, touchdown
Titans Player of the Week: Jared Cook- 8 receptions, 169 receiving yards, touchdown

The Maurice Jones-Drew theory proves itself again, as the Jaguars failed to put up more than 10 points not including Jones-Drew. The team finished with 17 thanks to an MJD score, but it wasn't enough to beat the Titans. Even with Chris Johnson and Matt Hasselbeck off their games, the Titans advanced to 8-7.

Raiders vs. Chiefs: 16-13 Raiders (OT)
Raiders Player of the Week: Denarius Moore- 4 receptions, 94 receiving yards, touchdown
Chiefs Player of the Week: Dexter McCluster- 5 receptions 89 receiving yards, 15 rush yards

The Raiders snapped a three game losing streak with a close win over the Chiefs. The Raiders still have  an outside shot of making the playoffs, but they need the Broncos to lose. The Raiders offense wasn't great Sunday, but their defense had their best game in a while, only giving up 13 points.

Dolphins vs. Patriots: 27-24 Patriots
Dolphins Player of the Week: Brandon Marshall- 7 receptions, 156 receiving yards, touchdown
Patriots Player of the Week: Wes Welker- 12 receptions, 138 receiving yards

The Patriots came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat the Dolphins. In the loss, Reggie Bush rushed for 113 yards, and for the first time in his career rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season.

Rams vs. Steelers: 27-0 Steelers
Rams Player of the Week: Steven Jackson- 103 rush yards
Steelers Player of the Week: Rashard Mendenhall- 116 rush yards, touchdown

Even without Big Ben, the Steelers were able to crush the Rams. With a win next week and a Ravens loss, the Steelers will clinch the AFC North and get a first round bye. If the Ravens win though, the Steelers will enter the playoffs as a scary fifth seeded wild-card team.

Vikings vs. Redskins: 33-26 Vikings
Vikings Player of the Week: Joe Webb- 85 pass yards, 34 rush yards, 3 touchdowns
Redskins Player of the Week: Jabar Gaffney- 6 receptions, 77 receiving yards, touchdown

The Vikings got the win last week, but got the worst news possible. Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in the win, and could already miss the beginning of next season. As for Washington, their struggles continue after losing nine of their last 11 games.

Bucs vs. Panthers: 48-16 Panthers
Bucs Player of the Week: N/A
Panthers Player of the Week:Cam Newton- 174 pass yards, 65 rush yards, 4 total touchdowns (1 rush)

The Panthers destroyed the Bucs, as Cam Newton wowed in Carolina. Just a year ago, the Bucs were fighting for a playoff spot, but this season, they are one of the worst teams in the league.

Giants vs. Jets: 29-14 Giants
Giants Player of the Week: Victor Cruz- 3 receptions, 164 receiving yards, touchdown
Jets Player of the Week: Dustin Keller- 8 receptions, 77 receiving yards

The Giants shut Rex Ryan up, and proved that they were the best team in New York. Even though Eli played his worst game of the season, the Giants still came out victorious. Rex and the Jets will now need a few things to go their way Week 17 in order to make the playoffs.

Browns vs. Ravens: 20-14 Ravens
Browns Player of the Week: Peyton Hillis- 112 rush yards
Ravens Player of the Week: Ray Rice- 87 rush yards, 48 receiving yards, touchdown

The Ravens maintained their lead of the AFC North with a win against the Browns. With Colt McCoy out with a concussion, Seneca Wallace failed to throw for more than 150 yards in the loss.

Chargers vs. Lions: 38-10 Lions
Chargers Player of the Week: Malcom Floyd-6 receptions, 95 receiving yards, touchdown
Lions Player of the Week: Matthew Stafford- 373 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 137.6 passer rating

Just when we thought the Chargers were playing well, and actually had a chance of making the playoffs, they put on a horrible performance and got crushed by the Lions. Even better timing, reports are out saying that Jon Gruden will return to coaching, and could take over Norv Turner's job.

Eagles vs. Cowboys: 20-7 Eagles
Eagles Player of the Week: Mike Vick- 293 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 107.9 passer rating
Cowboys Player of the Week: Miles Austin- 4 receptions, 40 receiving yards, touchdown

Even though their season came to an end with a Giants win, the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 20-7. In doing so, the Eagles also knocked out Tony Romo for the game, after injuring him early in the first quarter. Romo said he wil play against the Giants, but he won't be at full strength.

Niners vs. Seahawks: 19-17 Niners
Niners Player of the Week: Frank Gore- 83 rush yards, touchdown
Seahawks Player of the Week: Marshawn Lynch- 107 rush yards, touchdown

The Seahawks kept it close and actually led late in the fourth quarter, but lost to the Niners when David Akers successfully kicked his fourth field-goal of the game. Marshawn Lynch had another great game for Seattle, but it wasn't enough to get the win.

Bears vs. Packers: 35-21 Packers
Bears Player of the Week: Kahlil Bell- 121 rush yards
Packers Player of the Week: Aaron Rodger- 283 pass yards, 5 touchdowns, 142.7 passer rating

The Packers bounced back from an ugly loss against the Chiefs, and easily defeated the Bears on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers threw for a career high five touchdowns in the win.

Falcons vs. Saints: 45-16 Saints
Falcons Player of the Week: Matt Ryan- 372 pass yards, touchdown, 92.9 passer rating
Saints Player of the Week: Drew Brees- 307 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 96.8 passer rating

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a season, as the Saints crushed their division rivals by 29. Going into the last week of the season, the Saints look just as good as the Packers and could give them some trouble late in the playoffs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How The Carolina Panthers Lucked Out In The End

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Cam Newton is having a historic rookie season with the Carolina Panthers. Newton
has already broken numerous records this season, and still has one more game to play.

When the presumed number one pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, Andrew Luck, declared that he would return to Stanford for his junior year, the Carolina Panthers were forced to go with a different plan. Whether it was Plan A, Plan B, or Plan C, the Panthers were not going to end up with the quarterback everyone speculated them to draft.

Plan A was to trade down their pick, and stock up on first round picks for next year. This way they could let Jimmy Clausen get a little more experience under snap, and if that didn't work out, they would have a chance to draft Luck again in 2012.

Plan B was to draft a wide receiver or another skill position. With AJ Green, Patrick Peterson, and Marcell Dareus all available, the Panthers could fix another weakness and save the quarterback position for another year. Plan B would work well with Plan A because the Panthers would get another high first round pick in 2012, but would be able to draft another top rookie.

Plan C, as we know now, was to draft Cam Newton. Newton was coming off an incredible season, winning the Heisman, National Championship Game, and breaking records all over the place. The only problem with drafting Newton, was that they would have to invest a lot of money, pressure, and time on a quarterback who only had one successful year playing Division I football. Clearly the Panthers "lucked out" by taking Newton.

In just his first year in the NFL, Newton has accomplished more than anyone ever thought he would. Newton has broken 11 NFL rookie records, and still has one last game to play. Among his achievements include being the first rookie to throw and rush for 10 touchdowns, becoming the fastest player to throw for 1,000 yards, and throwing for the most yards in a game, and an entire season as a rookie.

Statistically speaking, Newton is having the best rookie season of all-time. Better than Manning, Brady, Unitas, Marino, you name it. The one thing that the Panthers could improve on is their overall record, 6-9.

Although the Panthers are 6-9, their record is very misleading. Six of their nine losses are by eight or less points. Of the six losses, three could have been wins if Olindo Mare didn't miss game-winning field goals. On top of that, the Panthers have held leads in 13 games this season. Also, the Panthers' defense took a major blow when they lost Jon Beason and Thomas Davis very early in the season.

To be fair, let's look at the impact Cam has had on Carolina's offense. The Panthers rank 11th in passing yards, and third in rushing yards this season. Last season the Panthers were dead last in passing yards, and third to last in rushing.

Not only is Cam improving, but he is making everyone else around him better. The Panthers have practically the same group of guys on offense that they had last year. Because of Cam, their passing yards and rushing yards per game have gone up astronomically.

It's hard to say how the Panthers would have been this season with Luck, but it probably wouldn't have been as good as this season with Newton at quarterback. Unlike almost every quarterback who has tried to implement the spread offense from college to the NFL, Cam has succeeded. Analyst always say how NFL teams will pick up on spread option offenses, or that NFL players are quicker and stronger than college players, but Cam has proved them wrong.

The Panthers didn't end up with Andrew Luck, but they sure found luck with Cam Newton.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Guide To The 2011-2012 NBA Season

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Durant and the Thunder are the team to beat in the West.  Their season begins
when they play the Orlando Magic on Christmas Day.

Welcome to the official 2011-2012 guide to the NBA season. The season kicks off Christmas Day with five matchups featuring the best teams in the league. In this guide to the season, all 30 teams will have a quick preview, as well as answers to who will win MVP and ROY. Predictions will be made for conference winners, and all final lingering questions will be answered.

First off is a preview of every NBA team. The system will go as follows: Title Contenders, Next in Line, Past Their Time, and Few Years Away.

Western Conference:

Title Contenders

Dallas Mavericks: No better way to start off then with your defending champs. The Mavericks will pick off where they left off last season, and can make a serious push to win back-to-back titles. The Mavericks lost Tyson Chandler, who signed with the Knicks, but also gained Lamar Odom from the Lakers. They also lost JJ Barea, but as long as Jason Kidd stays healthy, they won't need too much help at point. If Dirk can compete at the same level as he did last year, the Mavericks are bound for success.

Oklahoma City Thunder: This year's favorite to win it all, according to the media, is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Leading the Thunder could be this season's potential MVP, Kevin Durant, who has led the league in scoring the past few years. Durant will get a lot of help this season from his teammates Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Perkins, and James Harden. Harden is the preseason favorite to win 6th Man of they Year this season. His efficiency per minutes played ranks in the top 20 in the league. The Thunder were two wins away from advancing to the Finals last season, but this season could go all the way.

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs might have lost last year in the first round of the playoffs, but don't be surprised if Duncan and the gang make one final push come May and June. Manu Ginobili, who might of been the best player on the team last year, was injured late in the season for San Antonio. If the Spurs don't deal Parker mid season, and rest Duncan to give him energy left in the playoffs, the Spurs are serious contenders for the title as usual.

Los Angeles Lakers: The final team of this section, the Los Angeles Lakers, are still contenders despite a sloppy offseason. This offseason was marred by trades, and lack of trades by Los Angeles. First it looked like the Lakers were getting Chris Paul from New Orleans, but after the trade was vetoed, they were forced to deal an angry and betrayed Lamar Odom to Dallas. Kobe Bryant didn't have a great offseason too. Not only did Kobe's wife recently file for divorce, but the Lakers superstar tore ligaments in his wrist. Nonetheless, Kobe will be Kobe on the court, and will continue to be one of the most clutch players in the league.. Two keys for the Lakers this season are how healthy Andrew Bynum will be, and how the Steve Blake/Derek Fisher point guard situation will work out. Despite a terrible offseason, it's impossible to rule out the Lakers when talking about winning.

Next in Line

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers got heartbreaking news when they found out Brandon Roy was retiring due to career long knee injuries. They also were told that Greg Oden could be out again this season, but then again that is no surprise. Good news for Portland is that they have one of the best power forwards in the league in LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as the NBA's most underrated and hardworking athlete, Gerald Wallace. The Trail Blazers also signed Jamal Crawford over the offseason. Portland doesn't have a star player, but they have 7-8 guys who can seriously ball.

Memphis Grizzlies: Just like Portland, the Grizzlies don't have a star but they have a ton of guys who can make serious impacts on the team. The Grizzlies have one of the best starting five's in the NBA. Zach Randolph had a spectacular postseason for Memphis last year, and if he can carry that talent on to this season, the Grizzlies will be in great shape to make a deep playoff run.

Los Angeles Clippers: Winners of the 2011 NBA offseason, the Clippers will have a huge turnaround this season. They were 18 games under .500 last season, but could be at least 10 games over .500 in a shortened season. It will be super exciting to watch Chris Paul put on a clinic, and throw spectacular passes to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers swept the Lakers in the preseason, and even though it is the preseason, it still says a lot. If the Clippers can finish out better than the Lakers, they will finally come out of their "big brother's shadow".

Denver Nuggets: Just like Portland and Memphis, the Nuggets do not have a star ever since losing Carmelo Anthony, but have one of the deepest rosters in the league. Even with Kenyon Martin, JR Smith, and Wilson Chandler stuck overseas, the Nuggets still go nine guys deep. Danilo Gallinari is set to have a breakout year, and help Denver lead the league in scoring again.

Past Their Time

Houston Rockets: The Rockets got awful news this offseason when they found out their franchise player, Yao Ming, retired. The Rockets are somewhat led by Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, but the Rockets are trying to ship both players and start from scratch. Just a few years ago, the Rockets were playoff contenders year in and year out, but now their glory days are behind them.

Phoenix Suns: The only reason the Suns don't win less than 30 games each year is because of Steve Nash. Due to the shortened schedule, the Suns are bound for an under 30 win season, but in comparison to the rest of the conference, they will be in the bottom half. Just two years ago, the Suns were two games from advancing to the NBA Finals, now they will be lucky to finish in the top 10 of their conference.

New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets could fall under the Few Years Away section, but what separates them from the rest, is the fact that they have seriously competed in past years. That being said, the fun playoff times the Hornets had under the Chris Paul era are now over, as Eric Gordon and a bunch of role players will try to win some games. The Hornets aren't as bad as every thinks; they still have Emeka Okafor, Chris Kaman, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack, and a bunch of youth. Either way, New Orleans was 10 games above .500 last year, and will probably find themselves at least 10 games below .500 this year.

Few Years Away

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves are in better shape than all the rebuilding teams in the Western Conference, and are only a year or two removed from being playoff contenders. The Twolves had a great offseason, bringing in JJ Barea, finally getting Rubio from Spain, and drafting Derrick Williams. Kevin Love will be the next KG in Minnesota.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz lost Deron Williams last season, and lost a few more players this offseason. The Jazz have some talent on the team, and shouldn't finish in the bottom third of the West, but definitely aren't a playoff contender. The Jazz need to find themselves a new superstar, as well as turn their young talents Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, and Enes Kanter into future stars.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors have one of the youngest and most offensively talented teams in the league, but they play no defense whatsoever. New coach Mark Jackson will try to enforce some defensive tactics this season, but odds are they won't work. The Warriors will not win games with Monta/Steph. Trading one of them for a defensive big man (D12?) seems like a smart option.

Sacramento Kings: Well, at least they have Jimmer. The Kings are by far the least talented team in the Western Conference, but at least they have a bunch of young stars. Boogie Cousins, Tyreke Evans, and Jimmer are all exciting young players to watch, but truth is they won't be winning too many games. It's good that the fans of Sacramento are loyal, and that they fought for them to stay in Sacramento, but those fans won't have too much to root for these next few years.

Eastern Conference:

Title Contenders

Miami Heat: The Heat had very few excuses to why they didn't win it all last year. This year they have none. There is no reason why Miami shouldn't win the NBA Finals this year. They have two of the top five most talented players in the league right now, as well as a top 10 big man. As long as LeBron doesn't choke, the Heat have to be huge favorites to win it all this year.

Chicago Bulls: If anyone is to beat the Heat in the East, it's Chicago. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose is still bitter over their loss to Miami last year, and will do anything to get revenge. Two big key for the Bulls this season are whether Carlos Boozer can return to all-star form, and whether Rip Hamilton can be a serious upgrade at shooting guard. If both keys for Chicago work out the way they should, the Bulls have a great shot at winning their first title since the Michael Jordan days.

Next in Line

New York Knicks: The Knicks are borderline Title Contenders. The only problem with the Knicks is that coach D'Antoni might play Amar'e and Carmelo too much to make a statement in the regular season, and totally burn them out when the playoffs come around. Signing Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis this offseason were huge pickups for New York, and raised their title stock higher. The Knicks aren't just quiet ready this year, but starting next year, the Knicks will serious NBA Finals contenders.

Boston Celtics: The Celtics technically fall under the category Past Their Time, but they are still playoff contenders, therefore, are next in line after the Title Contendes. The original Big Three + Rondo are still together, but are on their final legs. A key for Boston this season will be their health. With Jeff Green already out for the season, the Celtics need to keep Garnett, Pierce, and Allen all healthy and set for the playoffs, where they can do their damage.

Atlanta Hawks: The only offseason move for the Hawks was switching Jamal Crawford with Tracy McGrady. The Hawks find themselves in the same situation every year: Not good enough to make a deep playoff run, but not bad enough to miss the playoffs, especially in the East. The Hawks season really depends on Joe Johnson. If he can return to the all-star form he was playing at, before his huge contract, the Hawks can finally take their next step in the playoffs. Josh Smith and Al Horford make a great front-court for Atlanta, it's whether or not their guards can keep up.

Philadelphia Sixers: The Sixers aren't ready to make a deep playoff run, but are one of the better teams in the East. Jrue Holiday is becoming a top point guard in the league, and can lead the Sixers into the playoffs again. The Sixers have a great supporting cast of Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, and the always explosive Andre Iguodala. Although Iguodala could be dealt before the deadline, the Sixers are still on the rise.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers took a huge step this offseason in signing David West. The Pacers have put the pieces together over the years, and have formed one of the deepest rosters in the league. Think of them of the Grizzlies of the East. A starting five of Roy Hibbert, David West, Danny Granger, Paul George, and Darren Collision is as deep as it gets. Add in Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill off the bench, and you've got a very legit seven man rotation. In a shortened season, a deep roster is very important to keep legs fresh.

Past Their Time

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are a mess. They won't admit to rebuilding yet, but aren't anywhere close to making the playoffs. Just a half decade ago, the Pistons were the best team in the East and won an NBA title, hard to believe. The Pistons have a few bright spots on their team, but ultimately are overshadowed by dark, fading spots.

Orlando Magic*: The Magic get a * by their name. If Dwight Howard stays, and if the Magic can even bring in another role player, the Magic jump from Next in Line, to possible Title Contenders. Dwight Howard means so much to the Magic and does practically everything except rack up assists. Even as it is now, the Magic have a pretty good supporting cast of Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Glen Davis, JJ Reddick, and the overpaid Hedo Turkoglu. If Dwight leaves though, the Magic will have seen their better days in the past, and are bound for years of rebuilding.

Few Years Away

Milwaukee Bucks: Probably the best team on this list, the Milwaukee has an outside shot at making the playoffs, sadly. The East is so bad that the 6-8 seeds are always a toss up. That being said, the Bucks are far from being a more than average team in the league. Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings make a fun pair, but they are far from being an above average one, two punch.

New Jersey Nets: The soon to be Brooklyn team's future depends on whether or not Dwight Howard joins them. If Dwight joins, him and D-Will become one of the top pairs in the league. If Dwight doesn't become a Net, Williams will likely opt out of his contract (even though he says he won't), and New Jersey will be doomed for another five years of failure.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors have never been special, ever since the days of Vince Carter and his cousin T-Mac. Even through the Chris Bosh period, the Raptors were never an elite team, but instead a borderline playoff team. The Raptors are turning in the right direction though, and have a bright future ahead.

Washington Wizards: The Wizards could get another top pick in the draft this year. Instead of signing someone who can help John Wall, the Wizards drafted Jan Veseley, who looks like he's scared every time he touches the ball. The Wizards didn't sign anyone important int he offseason, but kept on to Rashard Lewis and Andray Blatche. Great job by the GM!

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs will need more than just a few years to return to a playoff team. It was great to see the Cavs get two top five picks in the draft, but the team doesn't have close to enough talent. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson will be exciting to watch, but the team needs more time and more talent to return to normalcy.

Charlotte Bobcats: Don't be surprised if Charlotte lands the top pick in the draft next year. Right now the Bobcats will star a 6'8 Boris Diaw at center, along with Corey Maggette, Gerald Henderson, DeSagana Diop, and D.J. Augustin. At least they will have Biyombo and Walker coming off the bench, and eventually starting by mid-season. The Bobcats need help, and they need it soon, or else they might need to kiss their NBA butts goodbye.

MVP Candidates: No surprise here, these five players have been around for a while, and have separated themselves from the great to the elite.

Kevin Durant: Durantula has to be the frontrunner for the MVP this season. He is finally ready to completely take over the league, and not only lead the league in scoring, but lead the league in wins, and lead his team to a title. The sky is the limit for Durant, who can score at will from anywhere on the court. His shooting touch combined with his length and agility makes him one of the most versatile players in the league.

LeBron James: James is the most talented player in the league, no doubt, but sharing with Dwyane Wade has to lower his stock. If the Heat go completely nuts this season, and blow everyone out of the water, LeBron will win his third MVP.

Dwight Howard: If Dwight stays in Orlando, leads them to a top five seed in the East, and dominates down low, Dwight will deserve the MVP. No one is "more valuable to their team" than D12. He is the best rebounder, shot-blocker, and low post scorer in the league. If he truly puts all his effort into a game, he can't be stop. No big man in the league has the size, strength, speed, and athleticism to stop Dwight Howard.

Chris Paul: Paul and the next candidate are the two best guards in the league. CP3 is very capable of posting a 20-13 this season, now that he has Griffin and Jordan to throw passes to. Not only will Paul's new team reflect how valuable he is, but his old team, the Hornets, will show how much they miss him. The Clippers and Hornets could have the two biggest turnarounds this season in the win/loss column. 

Derrick Rose: Repeat MVP? This one is unlikely, but if Rose picks up where he left off last season, he will prove to be the best guard in the league. Rose is a better scorer than Paul, and is physically bigger, tougher, and stronger. Paul might better passing abilities than Rose, but Rose is just as flashy and can take it to the basket better than anyone. If the Bulls win the East again, why shouldn't Rose repeat. Nash did it and didn't even lead the Suns to the top seed.

ROY Candidates: This one is not as easy to predict as the MVP. The 2011 rookie class has no stand out superstars, but instead a bunch of guys who have bright futures ahead.

Kyrie Irving: The obvious preseason favorite for the award, the top pick in this year's draft could follow in the footsteps of Griffin, Rose, and James by winning the award after going #1. If Kyrie can lead the Cavs and make them his team, he deserves it.

Tristan Thompson: Irving's counterpart has just as great as a chance to win the award. Many criticized the Cavs for drafting Thompson, and considered the pick a reach, but the Candian and Longhorn standout can prove the critics wrong with a big rookie season. To go along with Irving, if Thompson can post 16 points and eight rebounds a game, he could walk away with the Rookie of the Year. That could be asking for too much, but with no one else to score down low for Cleveland, a lot of pressure is on Thompson.

Kemba Walker: Walker led UCONN to the title last year in March Madness, but UCONN wasn't close to the best team. The Bobcats are arguably the worst team in the entire league, but Walker could get great opportunities to make the team his. Charlotte would love to take Walker under their wing, and make the him the next best scoring guard in a few years.

Derrick Williams: Definitely the most athletic player in the draft, Williams size, speed, and skill makes him a threat right away. Minnesota's depth might have him coming off the bench early in the season, but Williams should make his way into the starting five by the time the season ends. If the Twolves somehow pull off the eight seed in the West, Williams or Rubio should win the Rookie of the Year.

Eastern Conference Finals: Heat vs. Knicks

The Heat making it is a no brainer, the Knicks on the other hand, is not.  With the Celtics aging, the only other threat to make the finals are the Bulls. This one could be risky, but something tells me the Knicks will either not have to play the Bulls, therefore allowing the Heat to knock out Chicago, or they the Knicks will just out duel them. That being said, I think the Heat will beat the Knicks in six, and advance to the NBA Finals. Unless something goes extremely wrong, there is no way, LeBron is screwing this one up again.

Western Conference Finals: Thunder vs. Lakers

The Thunder are favorites to win the conference, but the Lakers are a surprise pick. With a lot of experts picking the Mavs, Blazers, or even the Clippers over the Lakers, a lot of them are forgetting that the Lakers still have the best fourth quarter player in the league. They are also forgetting that Lamar Odom came off the bench, and that the Lakers still have a big three in Kobe, Pau, and Bynum. The Lakers struggle at point guard, but that doesn't matter when Kobe takes over in crunch time. As for the Thunder, they have the best scorer in the league, to go along with a top point guard. Perkins had a great offseason, and along with Ibaka create some force down low. Ultimately though, I like the Lakers to return to the Finals. No one is better than Kobe when it comes to facing criticism. Ever since he was told he couldn't carry a team when Shaq left. Kobe responded with a scoring title, an MVP, and two rings. Durant and the Thunder have an extremely bright future ahead, but they will still need one more year before they can advance to the NBA Finals.

That pretty much sums up the 2011-2012 NBA upcoming season. I hope this guide to the season answered a few of your remaning questions about the season. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

NFL Week 16 Predictions

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Can LeSean McCoy and the Eagles knock off the Cowboys and
continue their unexpected playoff push?

Texans vs. Colts: 21-17 Texans

The Texans will bounce back from an ugly loss to Carolina, but the game will go down to the wire. Both teams are starting backup quarterbacks who can't get the job done. The key component of this matchup is the running game, whether Arian Foster or Donald Brown will find holes in the other team's line.

Giants vs. Jets: 27-22 Giants

The Giants and Jets both played their worst games of the season last week, and both potentially ruined their seasons in the mix. The big difference between the Giants and Jets this season, is that the G-Men have had for the most part, consistent offensive production, while the Jets are unsure if they will score more than 20 points. If anyone is to stop the Giant's arial attack though, it is the Jets who have the best cornerback in the league. Nonetheless, the Giants will win the battle of New York (really New Jersey).

Broncos vs. Bills: 27-20 Broncos

This game could go either way. Last week, Tim Tebow proved he was human after a disappointing performance against the Patriots. Although the Bills are far worse than New England, the Bills could be the team who pulls a Christmas Upset. If Tebow cuts down on his turnovers, and can play smart football for all four quarters, the Broncos should win.

Cardinals vs. Bengals: 23-14 Bengals

The Cardinals streak will end this week, when Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and the rest of the Bengals continue to fight for a playoff spot. If the Bengals win their last two games, they are set to be in the playoffs, which is far better than anyone projected them to be. After losing key components to their offense and defense, many bad the Bengals as a bottom five team in the NFL. The Bengals' rookies will continue to do wonders this season for Cincinnati, and deliver a key win.

Jaguars vs. Titans: 28-13 Titans

If Maurice Jones-Drew wasn't a Jaguar, the team would score less than 10 points a week. Good news for them is that he is still on the team, bad news is that they will still lose. Hopefully Jake Locker gets the start this week for Tennessee, since he has played great when relieving Matt Hasselbeck. The Titans did give the Colts their first win of the season, but they will return to form and beat the woeful Jaguars.

Raiders vs. Chiefs: 20-10 Raiders

In the past few weeks, Oakland has forgot to "Just win, baby". In honor of Al Davis, the Raiders need to win their last two games to have a chance of making the playoffs. Even though the Chiefs beat the Packers, that was the biggest fluke in a few years. Raiders should win easily.

Dolphins vs. Patriots: 38-24 Dolphins

Tom Brady showed how good he is last week, when he tore apart a very good Denver defense. With Miami up next on the schedule, you can only imagine the success Brady will have against them.

Rams vs. Steelers: 30-9 Steelers

Perfect time for Pittsburgh to gain their confidence back. They can afford to give Big Ben some rest, but still deliver a big win against the Rams. James Harrison will be back, and you know he is going to be making some big hits next week.

Vikings vs. Redskins: 29-17 Vikings

Adrian Peterson said last week that he can't be expected to run the ball when the team is down 20. Peterson shouldn't worry about being down 20 this week when the Vikings take on the Redskins. Even though the Vikings are 2-12, they have had some bright spots this season. Jared Allen has been an absolute beast on defense this year, and although he has thrown a lot of interceptions, Christian Ponder has kept games closer than most people expected him to.

Bucs vs. Panthers: 38-20 Panthers

The Panthers have had an explosive offense this season after drafting Cam Newton, and should put a ton of points on the scoreboard when they play Tampa Bay. The Bucs have given up this season ever since they lost to the Texans 37-9, which was six weeks ago.

Browns vs. Ravens: 28-13 Ravens

Just like I wrote for the Steelers, the Ravens have a great opportunity to gain some confidence back, and let Joe Flacco get back into rhythm. The Ravens lead the AFC North thanks to two wins against Pittsburgh, but they can't afford another loss in the regular season.

Chargers vs. Lions: 35-30 Chargers

No one in the NFL is playing better football than the San Diego Chargers. Although they may not make the playoffs, the Chargers have been playing like the team everyone expected them to be in the preseason. Philip Rivers has had no trouble against opposing defenses, and shouldn't struggle against the Lions. Detroit's offense will keep them in the game, but Norv and the Chargers will survive for another week.

Eagles vs. Cowboys: 38-27 Eagles

First it was the Giants, then it was the Jets, next up are the Cowboys. The Eagles have potentially ruined two seasons already, and the crazy thing is that they can still make the playoffs despite a terrible season. Mike Vick is playing like the Mike Vick of last year, and LeSean McCoy has no mercy for defenses. The Eagles will win big, as Dallas will epitomize their typical December collapse

Niners vs. Seahawks: 24-20 Seahawks

When I said the Chargers are playing the best football in the NFL, I lied. The Seahawks have been red hot ever since beating the Ravens over a month ago. Jim Harbaugh and the 49'ers have been one of the best teams this season, but the Seahawks will be playing at home in front of one of the most dedicated crowds in the league. If Marshawn Lynch continues to taste the rainbow, and the defense contains Alex Smith, the Seahawks can upset the 49'ers.

Bears vs. Packers: 30-10 Packers

The Packers will bounce back and have no problem beating the Bears. Caleb Hanie is not close to being an NFL quarterback, and woudlnt' even find success playing in the SEC. Ever since the Bears lost Jay Cutler, their season has gone down the drain.

Falcons vs. Saints: 35-20 Saints

If Aaron Rodgers is this season's MVP, Drew Brees is right behind him in second place. Brees has had a historic season, and is very capable of leading New Orleans back to the Super Bowl. The Falcons put on a very nice display last week, and will get 11 days of rest, but the Saints are by far the better team.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NFL Week 15 Recap

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Reggie Bush rushed for a career high 203 yards in a 30-23 win over the  Bills.

Jaguars vs. Falcons: 41-14 Falcons
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew- 112 rush yards
Falcons Player of the Week: Roddy White- 10 receptions, 135 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Just a week after winning 41-14 against the Bucs, the Jaguars got crushed by the same score by the Falcons. The Jaguars have had a miserable season and have the worst passing game in the NFL. On the other hand, the Falcons had a great passing attack on Thursday night, as Matt Ryan threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

Cowboys vs. Bucs: 31-15 Cowboys
Cowboys Player of the Week: Tony Romo- 249 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 133.9 passer rating
Bucs Player of the Week: Dezmon Briscoe- 3 receptions, 36 receiving yards, touchdown

The Cowboys bounced back from a tough loss to the Giants and regained lead of the NFC East after defeating the Bucs by 16. Overall the Cowboys had a great game offensively and defensively, as Tony Romo led the offense to four scores, while DeMarcus Ware and the defense shut down the Bucs' offense.

Dolphins vs. Bills: 30-23 Dolphins
Dolphins Player of the Week: Reggie Bush- 203 rush yards, touchdown
Bills Player of the Week: CJ Spiller- 93 rush yards,  73 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

The Bills and Dolphins have had, for the most part, disappointing seasons, but both teams have had bright spots at certain times. The Bills started off the season red hot and were 5-2 at one point. Now they are 5-9 following a loss to the Dolphins. Unlike the Bills, the Dolphins have picked up the slack lately and have won five of their last seven games.

Titans vs. Colts: 27-13 Colts
Titans Player of the Week: Nate Washington- 7 touchdown, 62 receiving yards, touchdown
Colts Player of the Week: Donald Brown- 161 rush yards, touchdown

Not only did the Colts get their first win of the season last week, but the Packers also lost their first game. What a fluke week in the NFL.  The Colts pulled off a win against the somewhat decent Tennessee Titans, who actually had a small playoff hope before the loss. Good news for Indianapolis is that they still hold the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Seahawks vs. Bears: 38-14 Seahawks
Seahawks Player of the Week: Defense- 4 sacks, 4 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, fumble recovery
Bears Player of the Week: Kahlil Bell- 65 rush yards, 43 receiving yards, touchdown

The Seahawks are on a roll after winning their last three games, and five of their last six games. Marshawn Lynch didn't rush for over 50 yards, but had two touchdowns in the win.

Redskins vs. Giants: 23-10 Redskins
Redskins Player of the Week: Santana Moss- 2 receptions, 40 receiving yards, touchdown
Giants Player of the Week: Ahmad Bradshaw- 58 rush yards, 21 receiving yards, touchdown

Just a week after a big win against Dallas, the Giants failed to defeat the Redskins for the second time this season. Just a week after being praised as an ELIte quarterback, Peyton's younger brother threw three interceptions and no touchdowns in the loss.

Packers vs. Chiefs: 19-14 Chiefs
Packers Player of the Week: Jermichael Finley- 3 receptions, 81 receiving yards
Chiefs Player of the Week: Kyle Orton- 299 pass yards, 104.1 passer rating

Who drugged the Packers on Sunday and allowed them to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs? For the first time all season, Rodgers completed less than half of his passes, and for only the second time this season, he had a passer rating under 100.

Bengals vs. Rams: 20-13 Bengals
Bengals Player of the Week: Cedric Benson- 76 rush yards, touchdown
Rams Player of the Week: Danario Alexander- 3 receptions, 51 receiving yards, touchdown

Shocker, the Rams lost again. and are now a putrid 2-12. The Bengals have been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this season, and are still fighting for a playoff spot. Andy Dalton and AJ Green have both had superb rookie seasons thus far.

Saints vs. Vikings: 42-20 Saints
Saints Player of the Week: Drew Brees- 412 pass yards, 5 touchdowns, 149.2 passer rating
Vikings Player of the Week: Toby Gerhart- 12 rush yards, 46 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

The Saints are playing like the second best team in the NFL, only trailing the Green Bay Packers. Drew Brees has had a career year, and is on track to break NFL records for passing yards. Brees and the Saints are still undefeated in the Superdome this season, and don't look like they will lose there again.

Panthers vs. Texans: 28-13 Panthers
Panthers Player of the Week: Cam Newton- 149 pass yards, 55 rush yards, 2 touchdown, 105.2 passer rating
Texans Player of the Week: Arian Foster- 109 rush yards, 55 receiving yards, touchdown

The Texans are in trouble come playoff time, as they have shown they can't win big games without a true quarterback. As for the Panthers here are some fun facts about their season: The Panthers are 5-9 this season but could easily be 8-6 had kicker Olindo Mare been a little more accurate. Also, the Panthers have held leads in 13 games this season, but have only held on to five of those leads. Another fact is that they are 5-0 in games when Newton has no turnovers, but 0-9 in games that he does. The record may not completely show it, but Carolina is improving very quickly.

Lions vs. Raiders: 28-27 Lions
Lions Player of the Week: Calvin Johnson- 9 receptions, 214 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Raiders Player of the Week: Darrius Heyward-Bey- 8 receptions, 155 receiving yards, touchdown

The Lions got a much needed win after coming back from 13 with under five minutes to play. Calvin Johnson had a few spectacular plays on the game winning drive, which was led by quarterback Matthew Stafford. Standing at 9-5, the Lions are bound to make their first playoff appearance in over 10 years. Kudos to Jim Schwartz.

Patriots vs. Broncos: 41-23 Patriots
Patriots Player of the Week: Demaryius Thomas- 7 receptions, 116 receiving yards
Broncos Player of the Week: Aaron Hernandez- 9 receptions, 129 receiving yards, touchdown

Tim and the Broncos showed signs early in the game, but Brady and the more experienced Patriots got the decisive win on the road. Brady showed love to his other tight end last week, Aaron Hernandez instead of his usually target, Rob Gronkowski.

Jets vs. Eagles: 45-19 Eagles
Jets Player of the Week: Shonn Greene- 73 rush yards
Eagles Player of the Week: LeSean McCoy- 102 rush yards, 3 touchdowns

Although it might seem crazy, if the Eagles win their remaning games, and get a little help from the Giants, they will be in the playoffs despite their failures this year. The Jets on the other hand, will need a win against their in state rivals next week in order to make the playoffs. Winner of the Jets-Giants game will likely be in the playoffs, while the other will be home watching the games on TV.

Browns vs. Cardinals: 20-17 Cardinals (OT)
Browns Player of the Week: Greg Little- 5 receptions, 131 receiving yards, touchdown
Cardinals Player of the Week: Beanie Wells- 51 rush yards, touchdown

The Cardinals pulled away in OT to win their seventh game of the year. The Cardinals are now 7-7 after four straight wins, and six wins in their last seven games. The Cardinals aren't playoff ready, but are showing good signs of improvement for the future.

Ravens vs. Chargers: 34-14 Chargers
Ravens Player of the Week: Torrey Smith- 6 receptions, 77 receiving yards, touchdown
Chargers Player of the Week: Ryan Mathews- 90 rush yards, 2 touchdowns

Do the Chargers have one last bolt of energy in them to make the playoffs? Despite a terrible mid-season losing streak, the Chargers have been playing some really good football. If the Chargers can run the table and get some help from the Raiders and Broncos, their season will be saved, as well as  Norv Turner's job.

Steelers vs. Niners: 20-3 Niners
Steelers Player of the Week: Jerricho Cotchery- 5 receptions, 93 receiving yards
Niners Player of the Week: Vernon Davis- 6 receptions, 72 receiving yards, touchdown

Two power outages, four quarters, and a bunch of interceptions later, the 49'ers walked away with a big win against the Steelers. Big Ben was hurting on Monday Night, throwing for three interceptions and no touchdowns. Pittsburgh had a great chance to take over lead of the AFC North, but failed to do so.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NFL Week 15 Predictions

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan and the Falcons are looking to keep their playoff position with a win
against the Jaguars Thursday night.

Last Weeks's Record: 13-3
Overall Record:147-61

Falcons vs. Jaguars: 30-13 Falcons

Both teams are coming off wins last week, but this week the Falcons will continue their streak. Despite putting up 41 points last week, the Jaguars' offense is not good enough to keep up with the Falcons. Matt Ryan has stepped it up the past few weeks, including a four touchdown performance last week.

Cowboys vs. Bucs: 35-6 Cowboys

The Cowboys will put their December collapse on hold, when they easily defeat the Bucs. The Bucs are coming off a 41-14 loss to the Jaguars, the same Jaguars team that then lost to Atlanta, 41-14. The Cowboys' offense should not have any trouble against a banged up Tampa Bay defense.

Redskins vs. Giants: 30-13 Giants

Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career, which should help the Giants regain lead of the NFC East. Justin Tuck will be back on defense for the Giants too.

Dolphins vs. Bills: 26-17 Dolphins

Both teams are coming off weak losses, but the Dolphins will this one. Ever since the Bills reached 5-2, they haven't won a game since. That streak will continue as the Dolphins move one.

Seahawks vs. Bears: 24-10 Seahawks

The Bears' offense is averaging less than 14 points a game since Cutler's and Forte's injuries. Marshawn Lynch should be able to produce 14 on his own, leading the Seahawks to 7-7, the same record as the Bears.

Titans vs. Colts: 27-17 Titans

This could be the Colts' last chance to win this season, but they won't get it done. Chris Johnson has stepped it up the past few weeks, and the Titans have a sneaky 7-6 record. A win Sunday can put them in the playoff race.

Packers vs. Chiefs: 37-6 Packers

Best team in the league, coming off 19 straight wins against one of the worst teams in football. Packers win by 100.

Bengals vs. Rams: 24-10 Bengals

The Bengals were in the playoff race a few weeks ago but recent losses have them trailing. A win Sunday can get them back on track.

Saints vs. Vikings: 36-23 Saints

Like the Packers preview, this matchup is one of the best offenses in the league going against one of the worst defenses in the league. Saints should win this one easily.

Panthers vs. Texans: 30-22 Panthers

The Texans are the hottest team in football, but the Panthers will upset them Sunday. Can T.J. Yates compete with Cam Newton?

Lions vs. Raiders: 27-23 Lions

The Raiders have lost all their swagger ever since the Broncos started to catch up to them. The Raiders got embarrassed last week against the Packers, and will likely see their playoff hopes disappear with another loss.

Broncos vs. Patriots: 30-20

Despite really wanting to pick the Broncos to win, it just isn't realistic. Tom Brady is just way more of a complete quarterback than Tim Tebow. If Tebow could pull off this upset though, more chaos will be added to an already chaotic Tim Tebow saga.

Jets vs. Eagles: 28-23 Eagles

Michael Vick and the Eagles love to ruin New York team's playoff hopes. Last year was the Giants, when DeSean Jackson returned a punt for a touchdown, this year will be the Jets.

Browns vs. Cardinals: 24-20 Cardinals

The Cardinals are fresh off an upset win against the 49'ers. Their winning streak will continue when they defeat the struggling Browns.

Ravens vs. Chargers: 27-20 Chargers

Call me crazy. With the Raiders and Broncos set to lose this weekend, nothing would be better than a Chargers win to really wreak havoc in the AFC West. Despite a terrible mid season losing streak, the Chargers are back and playing great football. Can Joe Flacco and Ray Rice keep up with an explosive Chargers offense?

Steelers vs. Niners: 27-10 Steelers

Big Ben and the Steelers will prove to America how overrated the 49'ers are. Sure, their defense ranks  in the top half of league, but Alex Smith cannot lead an offense contending for a Super Bowl. Even without James Harrison, the Steelers will win.

NFL Week 14 Recap

(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Rice and the Ravens had no trouble defeating the Colts 24-10. Rice
rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Browns vs. Steelers: 14-3 Steelers
Browns Player of the Week: D'Qwell Jackson- 13 tackles, sack, recovered fumble
Steelers Player of the Week: Antonio Brown- 5 receptions, 151 receiving yards, touchdown

Not an exciting game, but the Steelers got it done again, and advanced to 10-3. Ben Roethlisberger proved he is the toughest QB in the NFL, by returning to the game after practically breaking his ankle. On the defensive end, James Harrison got fined again for a gruesome hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

Texans vs. Bengals: 20-19 Texans
Texans Player of the Week: T.J. Yates- 300 pass yard, 2 touchdowns, 85.4 passer rating
Bengals Player of the Week: Andy Dalton- 189 pass yards, touchdown, 89.7 passer rating

Rookie T.J. Yates led the Texans to a comeback win over the Bengals. Yates found Kevin Walter in the endzone with only two seconds left, giving Houston the 20-19 win. Not only have the Texans clinched a playoff berth after winning the AFC South, but they can clinch a first round bye as well if they keep it up.

Vikings vs. Lions: 34-28 Lions
Vikings Player of the Week: Joe Webb- 84 pass yards, 109 rush yards, 2 touchdowns
Lions Player of the Week: Matthew Stafford- 227 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 115.2 passer rating

The Lions bounced back from back to back ugly losses, and defeated the 2-10 Vikings. As of now, the Lions are in the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years. Even with Calvin Johnson slowing down in the second half of the season, the Lions continue to win.

Saints vs. Titans: 22-17 Saints
Saints Player of the Week: Marques Colston- 7 receptions, 105 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Titans Player of the Week: Nate Washington- 6 receptions, 130 receiving yards, touchdown

Although the explosiveness wasn't there, the Saints picked up another win, and are now 10-3. In his past four games, Drew Brees has thrown 11 touchdowns, but only one interception.

Eagles vs. Dolphins: 26-10 Eagles
Eagles Player of the Week: LeSean McCoy- 38 rush yards, 2 touchdowns
Dolphins Player of the Week: Reggie Bush- 103 rush yards, 27 receiving yards

With Michael Vick back in the lineup, the Eagles won their first game in three weeks. Although the Eagles have been eliminated from the playoffs, LeSean McCoy continues to impress, scoring two touchdowns on Sunday. Following the loss, the Dolphins fired coach Tony Sparano, who hadn't led them to a winning season since his first year.

Chiefs vs. Jets: 37-10 Jets
Chiefs Player of the Week: Dwayne Bowe- 6 receptions, 69 receiving yards
Jets Player of the Week: Shonn Greene- 129 rush yards, 58 receiving yards, touchdown

The Jets creamed the Chiefs, and have now won three straight games. In the three wins, Sanchez has thrown 7 touchdowns to only one interception. The Chiefs' worries only continue, as they fired coach Todd Haley following the loss.

Patriots vs. Redskins: 34-27 Patriots
Patriots Player of the Week: Rob Gronkowski- 6 receptions, 160 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Redskins Player of the Week: Roy Helu- 126 rush yards

No it was not a blowout, but the Patriots defeated the Redskins, and have now won their last five games. The Brady to Gronkowski connection has been historic this season, as the pair has broken a few records already.

Falcons vs. Panthers: 31-23 Falcons
Falcons Player of the Week: Matt Ryan- 320 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 120.5 passer rating
Panthers Player of the Week: DeAngelo Williams- 87 rush yards, touchdown

The Falcons scored 24 unanswered points in a comeback win against the Panthers. Cam Newton and the Panthers were shut out in the second half after scoring 23 points in the first.

Jaguars vs. Bucs: 41-14 Jaguars
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew- 85 rush yards, 51 receiving yard, 4 total touchdowns
Bucs Player of the Week: LeGarrette Blount- 74 rush yards, touchdown

After getting blown out just a week earlier, the Jaguars destroyed the Bucs, 41-14. Mauice Jones-Drew played his best football of the year, racking up four touchdowns.

Colts vs. Ravens: 24-10 Ravens
Colts Player of the Week: Pierre Garcon- 5 receptions, 46 receiving yards
Ravens Player of the Week: Ray Rice- 103 rush yards, 46 receiving yards, touchdown

The Ravens cruised by the Colts, keeping their AFC North lead. The Ravens have won six out of their last seven games, despite Ray Lewis being out the last four games with a toe injury.

Bears vs. Broncos: 13-10 Broncos
Bears Player of the Week: Marian Barber- 107 rush yards, touchdown, Huge fumble that lost Bears game, and therefore allowed Tebow to win again
Broncos Player of the Week: Tim Tebow- 236 pass yards, 49 rush yards, touchdown

TEEEEEEEEEBBBOOOOWWWW! Tebow did it again, winning in typical overtime fashion. With Tim under snap, the Broncos have won 7 out of their last eight games, and lead the AFC West. Next week will be their toughest matchup, as Tebow takes on Brady and the Pats.

Niners vs. Cardinals: 21-19 Cardinals
Niners Player of the Week: Frank Gore- 72 rush yards, touchdown
Cardinals Player of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald- 7 receptions, 149 receiving yards, touchdown

The Cardinals upset the Niners Sunday, when Andre Roberts caught the only touchdown of the fourth quarter to put Arizona up 21-19. 49'ers' quarterback, Alex Smith, didn't have a good game, throwing for only 175 yards and no touchdowns.

Raiders vs. Packers: 46-16 Packers
Raiders Player of the Week: Michael Bush- 78 rush yards, touchdown
Packers Player of the Week: Ryan Grant- 85 rush yards, touchdown

The Pack did it again, and improved to 13-0 with a blowout win against the Raiders. What will happen first: A Colts win or a Packers loss?

Bills vs. Chargers: 37-10 Chargers
Bills Player of the Week: Stevie Johnson- 4 receptions, 116 receiving yards
Chargers Player of the Week: Philip Rivers- 240 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 123.3 passer rating

Remember the 5-2 Bills that were making a serious playoff run a good six weeks ago? Well those Bills haven't won since, and are now 5-8. The Chargers on the other hand, have turned it on lately and are still fighting for a playoff spot in the AFC West.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 37-34 Giants
Giants Player of the Week: Eli Manning- 400 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 90.7 passer rating
Cowboys Player of the Week: Tony Romo- 321 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 141.3 passer rating

Eli orchestrated another ELIte fourth quarter drive, as the Giants defeated the Cowboys and reclaimed lead of the NFC East. On defense, Jason Pierre-Paul played amazing, totaling, 6 tackles, a sack, a safety, a fumble recovered, and a blocked kick. As for Dallas, their typical December struggles continue.

Rams vs. Seahawks: 30-13 Seahawks
Rams Player of the Week: Steven Jackson- 63 rush yards, 60 receiving yards, touchdown
Seahawks Player of the Week: Marshawn Lynch- 115 rush yards, touchdown

Lynch tasted the rainbow again giving the Seahawks four wins in their last five games. Although it appears too late to make the playoffs, The Seahawks are looking for there first winning season in over three years.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Star Is Born: Jason Pierre-Paul

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Jason Pierre-Paul had his best game for the Giants this season.  He became the first player in
NFL history to record a sack, forced fumble, and blocked field goal in the same game.

The New York Giants got a much needed win on the road Sunday night, when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys after blocking a potential game-tying field goal. Dallas' kicker, Dan Bailey, made his first field goal attempt, but Giants' coach Tom Coughlin called a timeout to ice Bailey, who had a similar result last week vs. Arizona. The second time around, Bailey's attempt was unsuccessful when Giants defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul, came charging up the middle to block the kick, winning the  game for the Giants.

This was not Pierre-Paul's only highlight of the night. The second year defensive end also had a pair of sacks, including a safety on Tony Romo, and a forced fumble. With many injuries to the defense this season, JPP has stepped up and has been a leader on defense this season. He became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, forced fumble, and blocked field goal in the same game

Here is Pierre-Paul's game winning block Sunday night:

With regular starters, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, out extended periods of time this season, Pierre-Paul has filed their roles perfectly in their absence. His 12.5 sacks this season are fifth best in the NFL, and his six pass deflections are fourth best among defensive linemen.

The great thing about Pierre-Paul though, is that he is not even close to reaching his potential. In high school, JPP didn't play football until his senior year. He actually focused on basketball for much of his youth, but a serious leg injury made him focus solely on football.

Pierre-Paul started off his collegiate career at College of the Canyons, a community college in Calfiornia. In his freshman year, he accumulated 14 sacks, and earned  All-American honors. He then moved on to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas where he was an All-American again. Finally, Pierre-Paul made it Division I football his junior year, playing for the University of South Florida. At South Florida, Pierre-Paul excelled and was named First team All Big East, as well as First-team All-America.

He decided to forgo his senior year, and enter the 2010 NFL draft, where he was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants. Many NFL analysts said it was a risky pick, due to the fact that Pierre-Paul only played one year of Division I football, and that he was simply an incredible athlete, not a football player.

Pierre-Paul has proved these analyst wrong again and again this season. He is among the best pass rushers in the NFL, and also won NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

You want to know just how good Pierre-Paul is?

In Michael Strahan's first two seasons he combined for 5.5 sacks. Not even done with his second season, Pierre-Paul already has 17. It took Strahan, who is the all-time sacks leader in Giants history, four years to reach 17 sacks. Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest pass rusher of all time, had only 7.5 sacks through two years. He didn't reach 17 sacks until the end of his third year.

Pierre-Paul has the height, strength, athleticism, and speed to chase down not only quarterbacks, but running backs too. He made a pivotal play in the game, when he chased down running back Felix Jones, and barely forced him out of bounds when the clock was running against Dallas. If it were any other defensive end, Jones would have had at least a first down, maybe more.

If JPP can continue to improve at his current rate, the sky is the limit. Pierre-Paul has a bright future ahead, and should play in multiple Pro Bowls throughout his career.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Robert Griffin III Wins 2011 Heisman Trophy

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Robert Griffin III won the 77th Heisman Trophy, becoming the first ever Baylor player to win the prestigious award.
RG3 made Baylor Bears history, when he became the first athlete from the university to ever win the Heisman. Griffin won the 77th Heisman Trophy, after having an unbelievable junior year for the Bears. When Griffin claimed the prestigious award, he walked up on stage, and showed his superman socks. Griffin was the Superman to the Bears this season, leading them to a 9-3 record and a chance to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Although for the majority of the season, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the frontrunner for the Heisman, it wasn't even close. RG3 lead the nation with a  quarterback rating of 192.3. He also threw for 3998 yards and 36 touchdowns, while only throwing six interceptions. In addition, Griffin rushed for 644 yards and nine touchdowns.

 Before Griffin's arrival at BU, the Bears averaged three wins a season over the last ten years. The team never got more than five wins in a season. Now, Griffin has turned around the program, and has made Baylor an appealing place to go for recruits.

Last season as a sophomore, RG3 led Baylor to a 7-6 record, and their first bowl game in over 15 years.

Under coach Art Briles, Griffin excelled in the Bears passing attack. This season, Baylor threw for the fifth most yards in the country and also scored on average the sixth most points per game at 44 points. If Griffin were to enter the draft this upcoming year, he'd leave Baylor with 46 school records.

Griffin's Heisman campaign began Week One, when he led Baylor to an upset win over TCU. Griffin threw for 359 yards and five touchdowns in the decisive win.

Another highlight of Griffin's season was a 45-38 win over (5) Oklahoma. In the upset win, Griffin threw for 479 yards and four touchdowns, but also ran for 72 yards. Griffin's Heisman moment in the game came when he led Baylor on a game-winning drive with under a minute to play, connecting with Terrance Williams for a 34 yard touchdown.

Before this year, no player in Baylor history had ever finished better than fourth place in Heisman voting, and that was back in 1963.

In second place, came Luck, the preseason favorite for the award. Following him in third, was Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball finished in fourth, and behind him was LSU corner back Tyrann Mathieu.

Griffin collected 405 first place votes, and finished with 1,687 points. Luck got 247 first place votes, and finished with 1,407 points.

Along with the Heisman Trophy, RG3 also took home the Davey O'Brien Award, which is given out to the best quarterback in the country.

With one last game to go to finish off an amazing junior year, Griffin and the Bears take on Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Angel In the Infield, Albert Pujols Signs 10-year, $250 Million contract with Los Angeles

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Albert Pujols will leave St. Louis for Los Angeles, after 11 great years with the Cardinals.
The Angels signed Pujols to a 10-year, $250 million contract, earlier today.

Earlier today, the Angels won the Albert Pujols sweepstakes, signing him to a 10-year, $250 million contract. The three-time MVP winner will leave St. Louis after 11 years, in which he won two World Series.

The Angels seemed to sneak in and win Pujols over, the same way the Phillies signed Cliff Lee last year. The teams interested in Pujols early on were the Marlins, Cubs, and the Cardinals, but in the last 24 hours, the Angels showed huge interest in Pujols, and ended up winning him over.

Pujols' contract is the second largest in MLB history, only behind Alex Rodriguez' contract with the Yankees, and is this third contract ever to go over $200 million. In Pujols' contract is a no-trade clause, something that kept him from signing with the Marlins.

Many speculated that when the Marlins gave up on Pujols after signing Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, the Cardinals would resign Pujols. Despite being unable to resign their franchise player, the Cardinals don't seem bitter over Pujols, but rather seem thankful for him having him this past decade.

The Angels also signed lefty ace CJ Wilson to a five-year $77.5 million contract. Again, the Angels didn't look like the frontrunner for Wilson either, but ended up signing the all-star. Last year's ace Jered Weaver will likely move to No. 2 in the rotation.

To sum up how large Pujols' contract is, when owner Arte Moreno bought the Angels in 2003, he bought them for $184 million. Pujols' contract is $250 million.

The $250 million contract could pay off though. Pujols has been arguably the best player of the decade. Pujols is a lifetime .328 hitter, and has hit 445 home runs in just 11 seasons. The 31-year old slugger is also a nine time all-star, six time silver slugger, two time home run champion, and is already in the top 15 all time in OBP, SLG, and OPS.

On and off the field, Pujols was an icon in St. Louis. Whether he was hitter home runs, or running his family foundation, Pujols did a lot for the city of St. Louis.

Pujols will hopefully turn the Angels around, and finally put them back in the playoffs. The past few years, the Rangers have been the best in the West, but now the Angels are back on top. Last season, the Angels were in the bottom five in scoring in the AL. Their pitching was fantastic, giving up the second least runs in the AL.

With Pujols off the table, the next best player in free agency is Prince Fielder, who is likely to leave the Brewers and sign with a new team. The speculation is that Fielder will sign with the Cubs, but at this point, free-agency is too hard to predict this year.

NFL Week 14 Predictions

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Philip Rivers and the Chargers got a big win on Monday night against the Jaguars. If the
Chargers can get a win against the ice-cold Bills, are they back in the playoff hunt in the Wild AFC West?

Browns vs. Steelers: 27-13 Steelers

The Steelers are clearly the more dominant team in this matchup. Peyton Hillis and the Browns have one of the least productive offenses in the NFL, and the Steelers' notorious defense won't make it any easier on Thursday night.

Texans vs. Bengals: 28-23 Texans

Despite recent injuries, the Texans have been one of the hottest teams in football, winning their last six games. Andy Dalton and the Bengals have been surprisingly good this season, but aren't on the same level as the Texans. Arian Foster has carried the Texans' offense since he returned from an injury.

Vikings vs. Lions: 32-20 Lions

The Lions are coming off of an ugly loss against the Saints, but the Vikings are also coming off a loss to the Broncos. Suh won't play, but the Lions should be able to contain the Vikings, especially with Adrian Peterson unlikely to play.

Saints vs. Titans: 35-21 Saints

Chris Johnson has turned it around in his past three games, but the Saints are overwhelmingly better than the Titans. Drew Brees and the Saints offense are averaging close to 33 points a game, which is second best in the NFL.

Eagles vs. Dolphins: 35-20 Eagles

Michael Vick will be back and playing for the Eagles on Sunday, and although they are eliminated from playoff contention, the Eagles will make a statement with a big win. With Vick, the Eagles' offense will be too much for the Dolphins to handle. If Vick doesn't play though, don't be surprised if the red-hot Dolphins pull out the win.

Chiefs vs. Jets: 24-10 Jets

The Chiefs have been miserable with Tyler Palko at quarterback despite winning last week, but will not get lucky again when they play the Jets. The Jets' defense is one of the best in the league, and as long as Sanchez and the Jets' offense can put 14 points on the board, it should be good enough for the win.

Patriots vs. Redskins: 30-13 Patriots

The Patriots are Super-Bowl worthy this season, while the Redskins are worthy of a high draft pick, and a new quarterback. This one doesn't need more explanation.

Falcons vs. Panthers: 28-20 Panthers

Cam Newton had a great performance last week, while the Falcons had an abysmal past week. The Panthers are playing at home, and if Cam Newton can have another spectacular game, the Panthers will pull of the upset.

Bucs vs. Jaguars: 20-13 Bucs

The Bucs missed Josh Freeman last week, and even though he has been subpar this season, he is much better than Josh Johnson. Blaine Gabbert has struggled immensely this season, and even though Maurice Jones-Drew has been great, the Jaguars offense can't keep up with the rest of the league.

Colts vs. Ravens: 27-13 Ravens

Do you really think the 0-12 Colts will beat the highest ranked team in the AFC ? Thought so.

Bears vs. Broncos: 28-10 Broncos

Tim Tebow will advance to 7-1 as the starting quarterback of the Broncos, when they crush the Bears. The Bears are at a huge disadvantage, with Jay Cutler and Matt Forte both out with injuries.

Niners vs. Cardinals: 27-14 Niners

The Cardinals might have beaten the Cowboys in OT last week, but the 49'ers are coming off of a very impressive shutout win against the Rams. Alex Smith has been fantastic this season, and has been reborn under Jim Harbough.

Raiders vs. Packers: 35-24 Packers

The Giants gave the Packers a little scare last week, but this week the Packers should have no problem getting win number 13. The Raiders are coming off of an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins, and will likely be without Darren McFadden again. The quest to 16-0 will continue for the Packers.

Bills vs. Chargers: 28-10 Chargers

The Bills have been ice-cold since October, while the Chargers have seemed to get their groove back on. The Chargers aren't officially eliminated from the playoffs yet, and you never know what could happen in the wild AFC West. I'm not saying they will win the division, but you never know if they continue to win games.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 28-24 Giants

Both teams are coming off close, heartbreaking losses, but must turn it around to take lead of the NFC East. The Giants trail the Cowboys by a game, but with two games left between the two teams, the Giants can jump back into first place. The Cowboys are notoriously bad in December, and nothing is better than a Tony Romo meltdown, twice to the Giants.

Rams vs. Seahawks: 24-10 Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch will taste the rainbow again, when the Seahawks face off against the Rams on Monday Night. The Rams will likely be starting their third string quarterback, with Bradford out with an injury, and AJ Feeley underperforming.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NFL Week 13 Recap

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Cam Newton scored four times Sunday, including three rushing touchdowns against the Bucs.
Eagles vs. Seahawks: 31-14 Seahawks
Eagles Player of the Week: LeSean McCoy- 84 rush yards, 49 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Seahawks Player of the Week: Marshawn Lynch- 148 rush yards, 2 touchdowns

Marshawn Lynch scored twice, including a ridiculous play where he broke about ten tackles, giving the Seahawks the win against the Eagles. With the win, the Seahawks now have a better record than the Eagles, who are 4-8 following the loss.

Titans vs. Bills: 23-17 Titans
Titans Player of the Week: Chris Johnson- 153 rush yards, 2 touchdowns
Bills Player of the Week: CJ Spiller- 83 rush yards, touchdown

Chris Johnson has returned to his usual form, and the Titans are now 7-5 following a win against the Bills. Buffalo lost its fifth game in a row, and have not won since October, when they beat the Redskins.

Chiefs vs. Bears: 10-3 Chiefs
Chiefs Player of the Week: Dexter McCluster- 61 rush yards, 46 receiving yards, touchdown
Bears Player of the Week: Johnny Knox- 5 receptions, 53 receiving yards

Not only are the Bears without quarterback Jay Cutler, but they will now be without Matt Forte, who sprained his MCL and is out 2-4 weeks. The Bears also suffered another loss since Cutler's injury. The only touchdown of the game, came when Tyler Palko threw a hail mary with no time left in the first half.

Raiders vs. Dolphins: 34-14 Dolphins
Raiders Player of the Week: Carson Palmer- 273 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 76.6 passer rating
Dolphins Player of the Week: Reggie Bush- 100 rush yards, touchdown

The Dolphins crushed the Raiders, and have now won four of their last five games. Matt Moore and Reggie Bush have each really stepped it up late in the season. Moore hasn't thrown an interception in three weeks, and Bush has looked impressive as the lead back.

Broncos vs. Vikings: 35-32 Broncos (OT)
Broncos Player of the Week: Tim Tebow- 202 pass yards, 2 touchdowns 149.3 passer rating
Vikings Player of the Week: Percy Harvin- 8 receptions, 156 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Tebow did it again, giving the Broncos another close win, this time coming in OT against the Vikings. Tebow played his best game of the season, throwing for over 200 yards, and two scores. The Broncos are now 7-5 and tied for the AFC West lead.

Colts vs. Patriots: 31-24 Patriots
Colts Player of the Week: Pierre Garcon- 9 receptions, 150 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Patriots Player of the Week: Rob Gronkowski- 5 receptions, 64 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns (1 rush)

The matchup between the Colts and Patriots wasn't the same this year without Peyton. Although the score makes it seem like it was a close game, the Patriots were up 31-3 at the half, but the Colts scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to narrow the deficit.

Bengals vs. Steelers: 35-7 Steelers
Bengals Player of the Week: AJ Green- 6 receptions, 87 receiving yards, touchdown
Steelers Player of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger- 176 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 117.3 passer rating

The Steelers defense shut down the Bengals last Sunday, while Big Ben and the offense had no problem scoring on Cincinnati. The Bengals are now two games behind the Ravens, who lead the AFC North with a 9-3 record.

Panthers vs. Bucs: 38-19 Panthers
Panthers Player of the Week: Cam Newton- 204 pass yards, 4 touchdowns (3 rush), 106.1 passer rating
Bucs Player of the Week: Mike Williams- 5 receptions, 93 receiving yards

Cam Newton put on a show last week, scoring four total touchdowns, leading the Panthers to back to back wins for the first time in over a year. With the win, the Panthers are no longer the worst team in the NFC south.

Jets vs. Redskins: 34-19 Jets
Jets Player of the Week: Shonn Greene- 88 rush yards, 3 touchdowns
Redskins Player of the Week: Roy Helu- 100 rush yards, 42 receiving yards, touchdown

The Jets are back in the playoff hunt, after defeating the Redskins last Sunday. The game was close until mid-fourth quarter, when Shonn Green scored two rushing touchdowns to open up the lead to 15. The Jets schedule looks pretty easy, with games against the Chiefs, Dolphins, Eagles, and Giants remaining.

Falcons vs. Texans: 17-10 Texans
Falcons Player of the Week: Roddy White- 4 receptions, 51 receiving yards, touchdown
Texans Player of the Week: Arian Foster- 111 rush yards, 41 receiving yards, touchdown

Injuries don't seem to bother the Texans, who have won their last six games. The Texans were without Matt Schaub to start the game, and Andre johnson re-injured his hamstring in the middle of the game. Arian Foster has shown he is not a one year wonder by putting up impressive numbers again this season.

Ravens vs. Browns: 24-10 Ravens
Ravens Player of the Week: Ray Rice- 204 rush yards, 2 touchdowns
Browns Player of the Week: Peyton Hillis- 45 rush yards, 52 receiving yards

The Ravens had no trouble beating the Browns, as Ray Rice rushed for a career-high 204 yards. The Ravens are now 9-3 and lead the AFC North, thanks to sweeping the Steelers earlier this season. As for the Browns, they have lost five of their last six games, and don't look like they will get a win any time soon.

Packers vs. Giants: 38-35 Packers
Packers Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers- 369 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 106.2 passer rating
Giants Player of the Week: Eli Manning- 347 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 100.7 passer rating

The Giants gave the Packers their best fight of the season, but lost when Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay on a game winning drive in under a minute. With the Packers schedule looking pretty weak, they could easily go 16-0. As for New York, the Giants still have two games against the Cowboys, and will mostly likely have to win both in order to make the playoffs.

Cowboys vs. Cardinals: 19-13 Cardinals (OT)
Cowboys Player of the Week: Dez Bryant- 8 receptions, 86 receiving yards, touchdown
Cardinals Player of the Week: LaRod Stephens-Howlings- 1 reception, 51 receiving yards, game winning touchdown

The Cardinals shocked the Cowboys in OT, thanks to a great play by LaRod Stephens-Howlings. The Cowboys, who have been notoriously bad under Romo in December, will face the Giants next week, with the winner taking lead of the NFC East.

Rams vs Niners: 26-0 Niners
Rams Player of the Week: N/A
Niners Player of the Week: Alex Smith- 274 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 142.3 passer rating

The Niners shut out the miserably Rams, improving their record to 10-2. The Niners also clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC West. The Rams have had a miserable season, and are 2-10, will they ever improve?

Lions vs. Saints: 31-17 Saints
Lions Player of the Week: Matt Stafford- 408 pass yards, touchdown, 97.5 passer rating
Saints Player of the Week: Drew Brees- 342 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 129.6 passer rating

The Lions missed Ndamukong Suh on Sunday, as they lost their third of their last four games. Drew Brees had another phenomenal game, throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Saints also improved to 6-0 at home with the win.

Chargers vs. Jaguars: 38-14 Chargers
Chargers Player of the Week: Philip Rivers: 294 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 146.1 passer rating
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew- 97 rush yards, 91 receiving yards, touchdown

The Chargers showed some signs of life Monday night, destroying the Jaguars 38-14. The Chargers snapped their six game losing streak, thanks to a great effort by Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, and the whole Chargers offense.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

College Football Week 14 Review

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
LaMichael James and the Oregon Ducks defeated UCLA 49-31 to win the Pac-12
Championship Game. James rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

This week marked the last week of the regular season in college football. This week was also championship week, where conferences held their championship games. This week six teams in the Top 25 lost. (5) Virginia Tech lost to (20) Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, (6) Houston lost to (24) Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA Championship Game, (10) Oklahoma lost to (3) Oklahoma State, (13) Michigan State lost to (15) Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, (14) Georgia lost to (1) LSU in the SEC Championship Game, and (22) Texas lost to (17) Baylor. Also, (9) Oregon defeated UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game,

New BCS Top 10:
1. LSU Tigers
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys
4. Stanford Cowboys
5. Oregon Ducks
6. Arkansas Razorbacks
7. Boise State Broncos
8. Kansas State Wildcats
9. South Carolina Gamecocks
10. Wisconsin Badgers

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. Wisconsin RB Montee Ball- Ball rushed for 137 yards and scored four times (3 rush, 1 receiving), helping the Badgers defeat the Michigan State Spartans in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Ball now has 38 touchdowns on the year, trailing Barry Sanders' record by just one. Ball's final touchdown came in the last three minutes of play, giving Wisconsin a three point lead, and ultimately the win.
2. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III- Griffin had another Heisman worthy game, passing for 320 and two touchdowns, but also rushing for 32 yards and another two touchdowns. Griffin and the Bears easily defeated Texas 48-24, finishing the regular season with a 10-3 record. Griffin is the frontrunner to win the Heisman this year, leading the nation in quarterback rating, as well as throwing for 36 touchdowns and running in nine more.
3. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd- The sophomore quarterback helped lead Clemson over higher ranked Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. Boyd threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, but also had a rushing touchdown. With the win, Clemson will now play in the Orange Bowl vs. West Virginia

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. BCS System- The BCS System is not a player or team, but it is infamous enough to appear in the Top Three Disappointment a few weeks in a row. The BCS System failed again, putting two teams in the same division, in the same conference, in the National Championship Game. On top of that, it gave Clemson and West Virginia automatic BCS bids over Houston and Boise State. The BCS will have to be renewed in 2013, but something tells me a new system will be created.
2. Houston Cougars- The Cougars had the chance to run the table, play in a BCS bowl game, and help Case Keenum compete for the Heisman, but blew it all when they lost to Southern Mississippi in their last game of the season. Now the Cougars are playing in a mediocre bowl, and Case Keenum is not a Hiesman finalist, despite breaking many NCAA records this season.
3. Oklahoma Sooners- The Sooners were the preseason #1 team this year, but won't even be playing in a BCS bowl game. The Sooners finished with a 9-3 record, including an embarrassing 44-10 loss to Oklahoma State this week.

Game of the Week: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State

The buildup to this game was tremendous. It was the first ever Big Ten Championship Game, against two very deserving teams. Earlier in the season, Wisconsin and Michigan State faced off in one of the most exciting games of the season. This time though, Wisconsin got its revenge, beating Michigan State in the final minutes. Like the first time around, Wisconsin jumped out to an early lead, just to have Michigan State comeback in the second quarter and take over the lead. Both teams would go on to score one touchdown in the third quarter, resulting in a 36-28 lead for Michigan State. Wisconsin would strike first in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to one, but Michigan State answered back and kicked a field goal to make it a four point game. Wisconsin then began their game winning drive, picking up a few key third and fourth downs, including a scramble by Wilson which resulted in a 36 yard pass to Jeff Duckworth . Just one play later, Ball ran in the game winning touchdown to give Wisconsin a 42-39 lead. Michigan State would have a great chance to tie or win the game, forcing Wisconsin to punt the ball. On the punt though, Michigan State safety Isaiah Lewis ran into Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman, resulting in an automatic first down. With no timeouts left, Wisconsin took a knee and ended the game, winning the first ever Big Ten Championship Game.

Top Five Bowl Games:
1. BCS National Championship Game: LSU vs. Alabama- Hopefully the rematch between the two top teams in the country will be more exciting than their 9-6 game earlier in the season. It will be interesting to see how LSU's defense, led by the Tyrann Mathieu, the Honey Badger, matches up against Trent Richardson and the rest of Alabama's offense.
2. BCS Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon- This showdown should be a high scoring duel between two of the best offenses in the country. Also, two of the best running backs in the country will battle it out as LaMichael James and the Ducks take on Montee Ball and the Badgers. Will Ball break Barry Sanders' record for most touchdowns in a season?
3. BCS Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Stanford- This matchup features two teams that easily could have played in the National Championship this season. Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys will face off against Andrew Luck and Stanford.
4. Cotton Bowl- This bowl isn't a BCS bowl, but it is certainly exciting. Arkansas will battle it out against Kansas State. This year, the Cotton Bowl is the most ingraining non BCS bowl.
5. BCS Sugar Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Michigan- This game features two at large BCS teams who didn't win their respective conferences. Nonetheless, it should be an interesting game to see as David Wilson and the Hokies take on Denard Robinson and the Wolverines.