Thursday, September 27, 2012

NFL Week 4 Predictions

(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
For the first time in nearly 10 years, Tom Brady and the Patriots are under .500.  Will they bounce
back this week with a win against the Bills, or will they drop their third straight game?

Browns vs. Ravens: 27-6 Ravens

After a subpar record last week, I hope to rebound this week with my picks. Quite frankly, if the Ravens lose this game, the Mayans might be right by saying the world is going to end after all. How in the world can Brandon Weeden and the winless Cleveland Browns beat one of the best and toughest teams in the AFC? They can't.

Panthers vs. Falcons: 27-17 Falcons

Patriots vs. Bills: 31-20 Patriots

Vikings vs. Lions: 35-29 Lions

Chargers vs. Chiefs: 27-22 Chargers

Seahawks vs. Rams: 20-10 Seahawks

Niners vs. Jets: 23-12 Niners

Titans vs. Texans: 30-13 Texans

Raiders vs. Broncos: 28-20 Broncos

Dolphins vs. Cardinals: 23-9 Cardinals

Bengals vs. Jaguars: 29-18 Bengals

Saints vs. Packers: 37-30 Packers

Redskins vs. Bucs: 18-14 Redskins

Giants vs. Eagles: 26-24 Giants

Bears vs. Cowboys: 22-16 Cowboys

NFL Week 3 Recap

(AP Photo/, Joshua Trujillo)
Let's just say its great to have the real referees back

This Week's Record: 7-9
Overall Record: 27-21

Giants vs. Panthers: 36-7 Giants
Giants Player of the Week: Andre Brown- 113 rush yard, 2 touchdowns
Panthers Player of the Week: Greg Olsen- 7 receptions, 91 receiving yards

Let me just say, after posting my first week under .500, I am glad to hear that the real NFL referees are back, starting with tonight's game. Anyways, back to the Giants and Panthers. The Giants came out right at of the gate and couldn't be stopped. By the end of the first half, it was 20-0 Giants, and Andre Brown and Ramses Barden already were having career days. Cam Newton threw three interceptions in the loss.

Rams vs. Bears: 23-6 Bears
Rams Player of the Week: Danny Amendola- 5 receptions, 66 receiving yards
Bears Player of the Week: Michael Bush- 55 rush yards, touchdown

This game wasn't pretty, but the Bears remembered how to score in the fourth quarter and ended up beating the Rams. It is clear that the Bears miss Matt Forte even with Michael Bush healthy in the backfield. Brandon Marshall got 11 targets from Jay Cutler, so it seems that the two have found each other again after not connecting well in Week 2.

Bills vs. Browns: 24-14 Bills
Bills Player of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick- 208 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 107.8 passer rating
Browns Player of the Week: Trent Richardson- 27 rush yards, 24 receiving yards, touchdown

Every time one Bills running back goes down, another one steps up. CJ Spiller was having another nice week before going down with an injury before the half. Tashard Choice stepped in and rushed for 91 yards in the win. Fitzpatrick had a turnover-free day and even tossed three touchdowns. As for the Browns, it seems that they have fallen back into their "We Don't Score More Than Two Touchdowns A Game" phase.

Bucs vs. Cowboys: 16-10 Cowboys
Bucs Player of the Week: Doug Martin-53 rush yards
Cowboys Player of the Week: Miles Austin- 5 receptions, 107 receiving yards

Defense dominated this game. The Cowboys held the Bucs to under 100 yard receiving and 100 yards rushing on the day. The Bucs held the Cowboys to just 38 rush yards, but still allowed Tony Romo to throw for 283 yards.

Lions vs. Titans: 44-41 Titans (OT)
Lions Player of the Week: Calvin Johnson- 10 receptions, 164 receiving yards, touchdown
Titans Player of the Week: Jake Locker- 378 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 113.0 passer rating

This game was the first of many bazaar finishes. With the Titans up by two touchdowns with under a minute left in the game, the Lions managed to tie it up thanks to a touchdown, an onside kick recover, and then a hail mary catch to send the game in to OT. In OT, Rob Bironas kicked a 26 yard field goal to win the game for the Titans. Despite the win, Chris Johnson was still MIA, rushing for just 24 yards on 14 carries.

Jaguars vs. Colts: 22-17 Jaguars
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones- Drew- 177 rush yards, touchdown
Colts Player of the Week: T.Y. Hilton- 4 receptions, 113 receiving yards, touchdown

Just when the Colts thought they won the game, Blaine Gabbert found Cecil Shorts up the middle for a 80-yard game winning touchdown. Andrew Luck played a good game, throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns.

Jets vs. Dolphins: 23-20 Jets (OT)
Jets Player of the Week: Santonio Holmes- 9 receptions, 147 receiving yards,
Dolphins Player of the Week: Daniel Thomas- 69 rush yards, touchdown

The Jets didn't win this game, Dan Carpenter just lost it for the Dolphins. Carpenter missed two chances to win the game for the 'Fins. Both teams suffered big losses in the game. The Jets lost Darrelle Revis for the season due to an ACL tear while Reggie Bush left the game early for Miami.

Niners vs. Vikings: 24-13 Vikings
Niners Player of the Week: Vernon Davis- 5 receptions, 53 receiving yards, touchdown
Vikings Player of the Week: Kyle Rudolph- 5 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

After hyping up the 49'ers by saying that they were the best team in the league, they lost to Minnesota by 11. The supposedly unstoppable San Francisco defense allowed 146 rush yards and nearly 200 pass yards in the loss. Christian Ponder played great for the Vikings, a sign he has shown a few times this season already.

Chiefs vs. Saints: 27 -24 Chiefs (OT)
Chiefs Player of the Week: Jamaal Charles- 233 rush yards, 55 receiving yards, touchdown
Saints Player of the Week: Drew Brees- 240 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, interception, 92.4 passer rating

The Saints were up 24-6 with the third quarter half way finished, but somehow allowed the Chiefs to sneak back into the game and eventually win it. Jamaal Charles had a monstrous day and now leads the NFL in rushing yards.

Bengals vs. Redskins: 38-31 Bengals
Bengals Player of the Week: AJ Green- 9 receptions, 183 receiving yards, touchdown
Redskins Player of the Week: Robert Griffin III- 221 pass yards, 85 rush yards, 2 touchdowns, 90.4 passer rating

As we learned this past weekend, RG3 can't do it alone. Despite leading the team in passing and rushing yards, RG3 lost his home debut to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Dalton actually had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 328 yards, three touchdowns, and posting a 132.9 passer rating in the win.

Eagles vs. Cardinals: 27-6 Cardinals
Eagles Player of the Week: LeSean McCoy- 70 rush yards
Cardinals Player of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald- 9 receptions, 114 pass yards, touchdown

Boy was I wrong about this one. As it turns out, the Eagles have a few problems they have to take care of on offense, while the Cardinals may be surprisingly one of the better teams in the league. Kevin Kolb continues to impress while the Cardinals D continues to shut down every offense they face.

Falcons vs. Chargers: 27-6
Falcons Player of the Week: Matt Ryan- 275 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 107.8 passer rating
Chargers Player of the Week: Ryan Mathews- 44 rush yards, 32 receiving yards

The Falcons confirmed that they are an elite team last week when they demolished the Chargers on the road. Matt Ryan had another stellar performance, throwing three touchdowns to three different receivers. As for the Chargers, Ryan Mathews is back from injury, but they didn't look good at all on Sunday.

Texans vs. Broncos: 31-25 Texans
Texans Player of the Week: Matt Schaub- 290 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 115.3 passer rating
Broncos Player of the Week: Peyton Manning- 330 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 83.0 passer rating

The Texans seem to be the most complete team in the NFL. They've got an incredibly talented offense as well as a stone wall defense. When was the last time a team had the offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year on the same team, because JJ Watt and Arian Foster are both playing out of their minds.

Steelers vs. Raiders: 34-31 Raiders
Steelers Player of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger- 384 pass yards, 4 touchdowns, 123.2 passer rating
Raiders Player of the Week: Darren McFadden- 113 rush yards, touchdown

How did the Steelers blow this one, especially when Big Ben played a phenomenal game? The fact of the matter is that the Raiders needed that win more than anything. It's very likely that they lose their next two games and fall to 1-4. Hopefully, the Raiders use the momentum from their win and play hard these next few weeks.

Patriots vs. Ravens: 31-30 Patriots
Patriots Player of the Week: Wes Welker- 8 receptions, 142 receiving yards
Ravens Player of the Week: Torrey Smith- 6 receptions, 127 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

If it weren't for Torrey Smith's courageousness and the tragedy he dealt with last weekend, I would have been very disappointed in the Patriots in losing this game. The Pats led most of the game, but blew it late. In the end, Justin Tucker kicked a game winning field goal for Baltimore, but was it really through the uprights?

Packers vs. Seahawks: 14-12 Seahawks
Packers Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers- 223 pass yards, 81.5 passer rating
Seahawks Player of the Week: Golden Tate- 3 receptions, 68 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Regardless of the poor officiating, and arguably the worst Monday Night call of all-time, we can't forget how great the Seahawks played on Monday Night. For crying out loud, their defense sacked the reigning MVP eight times. You read that right, EIGHT times. I mentioned last week that it is almost impossible to beat the Seahawks at home. Well, whether the team plays fantastic or gets some help from the referees, it is truly difficult to beat the Seahawks at home.

College Football Week 4 Review

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
EJ Manuel has just been spectacular this season. If he continues
to lead Florida State to an undefeated season, will be be this year's Heisman winner?

This past weekend in the college football, five teams in the Top 25 lost but only two of the five teams were upset. (6) Oklahoma was upset at home by (15) Kansas State. (10) Clemson fell to (4) Florida State in a high scoring battle. (18) Michigan lost to (11) Notre Dame thanks to four interceptions by Denard Robinson.  (19) UCLA was upset by unranked Oregon State at home. Finally, (22) Arizona got absolutely demolished by (3) Oregon by a score of 49-0.

New AP Top 10:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Oregon Ducks
3. LSU Tigers
4. Florida State Seminoles
5. Georgia Bulldogs 
6. South Carolina Gamecocks
7. Kansas State Wildcats
8. Stanford Cardinal
9. West Virginia Mountaineers
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. Kansas State Wildcats- Led by quarterback Collin Klein, the Wildcats upset Oklahoma this past week on the road. Kansas State is 4-0 this year and look as if they are a serious contender in the Big 12.
2. Florida State QB EJ Manuel- The Heisman hopeful had another spectacular game this week, helping his team fight off a tough Clemson squad. Manuel threw for 380 yards and two touchdowns, but even ran for an additional 102 yards in the win. 
3. Oregon State Beavers- The Beavers are 2-0 and once again ranked in the Top 25 after defeating UCLA last week. In their first game, Oregon State also defeated Wisconsin and knocked them out of the AP Top 25. Quarterback Sean Mannion has done a great job leading his team in two tough wins early in the season.

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. Michigan Wolverines QB Denard Robinson- Shoelace threw four interceptions in Michigan's second loss of the season. In a game that went down to the wire, those four turnovers seemed to be the difference maker for the Wolverines. If Robinson played smarter, Michigan escapes South Bend with a win.
2. Arizona Wildcats- After an impressive 3-0 start including a win over Oklohoma State, Arizona got shutout out big time by Oregon. The Ducks dropped 49 points on the Wildcats defense, and didn't allow a single score on their side of the field. What happened to Arizona last week?
3. Oklahoma Sooners- The Sooners got beaten on their home turf badly last week. They only managed to score 19 points and struggled running the football. It seems year after year that we predict Oklahoma to be the best in the Big 12, just to have them lose mid season once again.

Game of the Week: (2) LSU vs. Auburn
Two years ago, this game would be hands down the "Game of the Week". This year, especially with matchups like Florida State vs. Clemson, and Oklahoma vs. Kansas State, this game seemed a little questionable at first. Well, surely enough it lived up to its expectations. Despite a low scoring turnout, this game preached SEC football. Tough defenses, possible upset opportunity, and great coaching. LSU got on the scoreboard first, after tackling Auburn running back Tre Mason in the endzone, resulting in a safety. Soon after on the next drive, running back Michael Ford ran in a one yard score. Auburn answered on their next drive, as their other running back, Onterio McCalebb ran in a four yard touchdown with no time left in the first quarter. Defense dominated the second quarter, but with just a minute left to go in the half, Auburn kicker Cody Parker drilled a 40 yard field goal to put Auburn up 10-9. In the third quarter, both defenses continued to shut down the opposing offenses, but LSU caught a break and kicked a field goal to put themselves up 12-10. It turned out that Drew Alleman's 30 yard field goal would be the game winner. LSU might have won the game, but the close call was enough to drop them one spot in the AP poll. Auburn dropped to 1-3 on the season with the loss.

Next Week's Five Intriguing Matchups:
1. (9)West Virginia vs. (25) Baylor- How will Geno Smith and the Mountainners fare against their first real test of the season?
2. (12) Ohio State vs. (20) Michigan State- Ohio State has trailed in every game they've played so far. Will the Spartans be the first team to hold their lead this weekend?
3. (18) Oregon State vs. Arizona- How will the Wildcats bounce back after a rough loss to Oregon?
4. (22) Nebraska vs. Wisconsin- The Badgers are ready to return to the Top 25. Do they have what it takes to beat Nebraska in Lincoln?
5. (12) Texas vs. Oklahoma State- Is Texas back to being a national powerhouse in the college football world?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NFL Week 3 Predictions

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
It's about time Drew Brees and the Saints get their first win of the season. Will it
come this week when they play the Kansas City Chiefs at home?

Giants vs. Panthers: 27-22 Giants

Why take the Giants when they are without four starters on offense, still have a banged up secondary, and are playing on the road? The answer's easy. Eli and the Giants play best when least expected. Every year, the Giants start off the season a little slow and gradually work their way back to being one of the best teams in the league. The Giants won't win this game with ease, but they'll figure out a way to get the job done. Cam Newton has had a hot and cold season so far. In the season opener, Cam failed to operate the offense and the Panthers were shut down offensively. In week two, Newton dominated the Saints on the ground and in the air, and helped the Panthers get their first win of the season. The Giants might have a banged up secondary, but their front four are surely going to bother Cam Newton and the Panthers on Thursday night.

Rams vs. Bears: 27-17 Bears

Don't care if Matt Forte is out this week; the Bears will still come out strong at home and defeat the Rams. As long as Jay Cutler can play smart and safe football, the Bears shouldn't have a problem with this one.

Bills vs. Browns: 30-16 Bills

I'm not too sure why people are picking the Browns to beat the Bills in this matchup. CJ Spiller seems to be unstoppable after his performance last week against the Chiefs. Also, the Bills defense looks like they have finally gotten their mojo back. Plus, we're talking about Brendan Weeden at quarterback for the Browns. Enough said.

Bucs vs. Cowboys: 24-20 Cowboys

Regardless of their loss last week to the Seahawks, the Cowboys are still a good team. I think Tony Romo and the Cowboys' offense bounce back strong enough to beat the Bucs. It's going to be a tough day for the Bucs' offense though, having to go up against DeMarcus Ware and a very good secondary.

Lions vs. Titans: 35-13 Lions

When your team's star running back is averaging just over one yard per carry, you're in trouble. Lions take this one with ease.

Jaguars vs. Colts: 24-10 Colts

Andrew Luck adjusted last week and played a great game against the Vikings. I think Luck continues to play well this week against the Jaguars and helps the Colts get the win.

Jets vs. Dolphins: 24-23 Jets

Reggie Bush played a fantastic game last week and I think he will continue to have a great season, but this week his team is going up against a much tougher defense. The Jets will return to form after a loss to the Steelers last week and beat the Dolphins in Miami.

Niners vs. Vikings: 27-14 Niners

Expect Adrian Peterson to out-run Frank Gore, but that will be about it for Minnesota. The Niners are the best team in football and should win this one easily.

Chiefs vs. Saints: 30-27 Saints

I'm feeling a barnburner in the Superdome this week for the two 0-2 teams. Drew Brees and the Saints will squeeze this one out in a high scoring game down in New Orleans. It's about time the Saints start winning.

Bengals vs. Redskins: 24-20 Redskins

Even after a weak loss to the Rams in their last game, the Redskins will beat the Bengals in RG3's home opener. It will be a close one, but ultimately Griffin III will take control late in the fourth to win his team the game.

Eagles vs. Cardinals: 27-13 Eagles

In this battle of the birds, Michael Vick and the Eagles will come out on top. I don't care if everyone is hyping up the Cardinals defense or saying how bad the 2-0 Eagles are. In fact, I think Vick plays his best game of the season as the Eagles take this one by two touchdowns.

Falcons vs. Chargers: 34-26 Falcons

Both teams are 2-0 and looking impressive early in the season. Unfortunately for the Chargers though, Matty Ice and the Falcons will spoil Ryan Mathews' season debut.

Texans vs. Broncos: 24-20 Texans

Peyton Manning is 14-2 in his career vs. the Texans, but this time he is with a different team. The Texans have progressed so much in the last few years, and this time, they are actually the favorites to win. Houston has the most complete offense in the NFL, led by star running back Arian Foster, and also have a very compatible defense. Texans take this showdown.

Steelers vs. Raiders: 27-18 Steelers

The Raiders just look depressing this season. They've got nothing going for them, and their schedule just keeps getting harder and harder. The Steelers defeated the Jets last week to get back to .500 and will run with that momentum. Steelers will win this one by more than a touchdown.

Patriots vs. Ravens: 26-20 Patriots

In this rematch of the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady and the Patriots will win again. Who cares how badly they looked last week against the Cardinals, the Patriots are still the Patriots. In the end, it will come down to Joe Flacco, and his inability to keep up with Brady.

Packers vs. Seahawks: 22-10 Packers

Last week, I said that it was almost impossible to beat the Seahawks at home. That almost comes into play this week when the Seahawks face the might Packers at Qwest Field. The Packers have way more experience than the Seahawks and it will show this week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

NFL Week 2 Recap

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Reggie Bush single-handedly beat the Raiders last week. Bush rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
This Week's Record: 9-7
Overall Record: 20-12

Bears vs. Packers: 23-10 Packers
Bears Player of the Week: Matt Forte- 31 rush yards, 49 receiving yards
Packers Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers- 219 pass yards, touchdown, 85.3 passer rating

The Packers flat out demolished the Bears last Thursday night. They forced Jay Cutler to throw not one, not two, not three, but FOUR interceptions. It also says something when the Bears' most productive player left the game half way through with an injury. The Packers' offense can still turn it up another notch, but it was definitely an improvement from their first game vs. the Niners.

Chiefs vs. Bills: 35-17 Bills
Chiefs Player of the Week: Dwayne Bowe- 8 receptions, 102 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Bills Player of the Week: CJ Spiller- 123 rush yards, 47 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Before the Chiefs tacked on two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, this was a 35-3 beating by the Bills. CJ Spiller had a career day and will likely make Fred Jackson's injury unnoticeable. As for the Chiefs, they've got to worry a bit since they're 0-2 and had their star running back re-injury his knee.

Browns vs. Bengals: 34-27 Bengals
Browns Player of the Week: Trent Richardson- 109 rush yards, 36 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Bengals Player of the Week: Andy Dalton- 318 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 128.2 passer rating

Not only did Trent Richardson kill my fantasy matchup last week, but he also had the first 100 yard game of his career. Props to Richardson on the accomplishment, but in all seriousness, who knew this game would total for more than 60 points (With an O/U pre-game set at 40)? I expected something like 24-10 Bengals but woah, these two teams had no problem scoring last week. Good signs for the Bengals though after a tough Week 1 loss to the Ravens

Bucs vs. Giants: 41-34 Giants
Bucs Player of the Week: Vincent Jackson- 5 receptions. 128 receiving yards, touchdown
Giants Player of the Week: Eli Manning- 510 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 89.5 passer rating

Well, that's New York Giants football for ya. After throwing three first half interceptions and making it seem like it would be a long, dreaded season for the defending champs, Eli turned it around in the second half and picked apart the Bucs' secondary. Play after play, Eli was throwing bombs to Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz. Good thing the Giants won though, because an 0-2 start going into a Thursday night game at Carolina isn't something most teams wish for.

Vikings vs. Colts: 23-20 Colts
Vikings Player of the Week: Christian Ponder- 245 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 114.6 passer rating
Colts Player of the Week: Andrew Luck- 224 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 107.5 passer rating

Andrew Luck quieted the critics for now after playing great last week. Luck played interception-free football, and did a great job controlling Indianapolis' offense. Hey, when you're playing in the same division as the Titans and Jaguars, second place doesn't seem too unrealistic.

Raiders vs. Dolphins: 35-13 Dolphins
Raiders Player of the Week: Carson Palmer- 373 pass yards, touchdown, 74.4 passer rating
Dolphins Player of the Week: Reggie Bush- 172 rush yards, 2 touchdowns

Boy was I wrong about this game. The Raiders flat out stink. Even worse, their next three games are against the Steelers, Broncos, and Falcons. Another season down the drain for Oakland. On the other hand, the Dolphins impressed in their win. Reggie Bush seems to have found his niche running the ball for the Dolphins. The more successful the Dolphins' run game is, the less work and pressure is on Tannehill.

Cardinals vs. Patriots: 20-18 Cardinals
Cardinals Player of the Week: Kevin Kolb- 140 pass yards, touchdown, 82.3 passer rating
Patriots Player of the Week: Rob Gronkowski- 6 receptions, 75 receiving yards, touchdown

Wow, I don't think one person in the US (outside of Arizona) thought that the Cardinals would beat Tom Brady on his home turf. The Patriots had a great chance to win the game too, thanks to a fumble by Ryan Williams, but kicker Stephen Gostkowski shanked the kick with no time left in the fourth quarter.

Ravens vs. Eagles: 24-23 Eagles
Ravens Player of the Week: Ray Rice- 99 rush yards, 53 receiving yards
Eagles Player of the Week: Brent Celek- 8 receptions, 153 receiving yards

Another one point win for the Eageles. Like two weeks ago, the Eagles came back and won it with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Vick wasn't pretty, but again, he got the job done in the end. The Eagles are literally the only team NFL history to start off the season 2-0 with two one-point victories.

Saints vs. Panthers: 27-35 Panthers
Saints Player of the Week: Darren Sproles- 13 receptions, 128 receiving yards
Panthers Player of the Week: : Cam Newton- 253 pass yards, 71 rush yards, 2 total touchdowns (1 run, 1 pass) 129.2 passer rating

Two lessons learned from this game:
1. Regardless of getting their suspended players back, the Saints are NOT the team they were last season. Really goes to show how great of a coach Sean Payton is.
2. Cam is back baby! Newton led the team in passing and rushing last week and dominated the Saints' weak defense all game. After RG3 drew comparisons to Newton in Week 1, Cam backed up his game  last week.

Texans vs. Jaguars: 27-7 Texans
Texans Player of the Week: Ben Tate And Arian Foster- Combined 184 rush yards, 60 receiving yards 3 touchdowns
Jaguars Player of the Week: Maurice Jones Drew- 60 rush yards, 7 receiving yards, touchdown

It's safe to say that the Texans are by far the best team in the AFC South. They just demolished the Jaguars who almost beat the Colts, and let's be real, the Titans have some serious issues too. It doesn't get any easier than when your team runs the ball close to 50 times for over 215 yards and three touchdowns.

Redskins vs. Rams: 31-28 Rams
Redskins Player of the Week: Robert Griffin III- 206 pass yards, 82 rush yards, 3 touchdowns (2 pass, 1 run) 86.3 passer rating 
Rams Player of the Week: Danny Amendola- 15 receptions, 160 receiving yards, touchdown

Just a week after beating the Saints and gaining all of the NFL world's attention, the Redskins lost to the Rams. No, that's not a typo, they lost to the Rams. Sam Bradford and Danny Amendola must have had some ESP going on, because the two connected for 15 passes, 160 yards, and a touchdown.

Cowboys vs. Seahawks: 27-7 Seahawks
Cowboys Player of the Week: Miles Austin- 5 receptions, 63 receiving yards, touchdown
Seahawks Player of the Week: Russell Wilson- 151 pass yards, touchdown, 112.7 passer rating

The Seahawks are nearly impossible to beat on their home turf. The Cowboys learned that the hard way Sunday, after losing by 20 points. The Cowboys were coming off an extremely impressive win against the Giants, but lost all their respect after losing to the Seahawks. The Seahawks shut down the entire Cowboys' offense, and did well enough on offense to produce 27 points.

Jets vs. Steelers: 27-10 Steelers
Jets Player of the Week: Santonio Holmes- 3 receptions, 28 receiving yards, touchdown
Steelers Player of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger- 275 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 125.1 passer rating

Here's what we learned this week: The Jets are back to being the Jets, and the Steelers are back to being the Steelers. After eating the Bills alive last week, the Jets were swallowed by the Steelers. Big Ben did a great job orchestrating the Steelers' offense, while Ryan Clark was stellar in his season debut for the Steelers.

Titans vs. Chargers: 38-10 Chargers
Titans Player of the Week: N/A
Chargers Player of the Week: Philip Rivers- 284 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 119.8 passer rating

Is it safe to say that the Titans are now the most dysfunctional team in the NFL? Chris Johnson has just a few more rushing yards than me this season. This should be a serious problem to think about considering the fact that I haven't suited up for a football game once in my life. Credit is due to the Chargers though. They're 2-0 and have shown that their offense is one of the best in the league, even without running back Ryan Mathews.

Lions vs. Niners: 27-19 Niners
Lions Player of the Week: Calvin Johnson- 8 receptions, 94 receiving yards
Niners Player of the Week: Alex Smith- 226 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 107.7 passer rating

It seems like Alex Smith is turning into the quarterback that San Francisco expected him to be eight years ago. Smith had another great game after playing well in the Niners' season opener against Green Bay. The Niners have the best defense in the NFL and therefore are overall the best team in the league at the moment.

Broncos vs. Falcons: 27-21 Falcons
Broncos Player of the Week: Willis McGahee- 113 rush yards, 2 touchdowns 
Falcons Player of the Week: Matt Ryan- 219 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 101.5 passer rating

If the Niners were just declared the best team in the NFL, the Falcons are pretty damn close. The Falcons beat the Chiefs in a one-sided game Week 1, and are coming off a pretty easy win (first three quarters) against the Broncos. For Denver, they took a step back after losing to the Falcons, but shouldn't be ruled out as a team that can compete for a playoff spot in a few months.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

College Football Week 3 Review

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Senior running back Stepfan Taylor led his team to victory last week as Stanford defeated USC 21-14.

This week in college football, four teams in the AP Top 25 lost. (2) USC was upset by (21) Stanford at "The Farm". Matt Barkley and the Trojans were shut out in the second half by Stanford. (10) Michigan lost at home to (20) Notre Dame. It looks like Brian Kelly has turned around the program and Notre Dame is back to being a threat. (13) Virginia Tech was upset by unranked Pittsburgh on the road. It was Paul Chryst's first win as the head coach of the Panthers. And finally, (23) Tennessee lost to lower ranked (18) Florida in front of the ESPN gameday crew. The Volunteers led at half, but were outscored 27-6 in the second half.

New AP Top 10:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. LSU Tigers
3. Oregon Ducks
4. Florida State Seminoles
5. Georgia Bulldogs
6. Oklahoma Sooners
7. South Carolina Gamecocks
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
9. Stanford Cardinal
10. Clemson Tigers

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. Stanford Cardinal- "Nerd Nation" proved that they are still an elite football program without Andrew Luck. The Cardinal shut down USC's perennial attack led by Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley. Shout out to senior running back Stepfan Taylor who picked up over 200 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
2. Boise State RB D.J. Harper- The senior running back dominated Miami (OH) last week. He rushed for over 190 yards and three touchdowns, and even caught another 21 yard pass for a touchdown. Harper's career day helped the Broncos get back in the AP Top 25.
3. Florida Gators- The Gators are back, after two subpar seasons. Their big win on the road last week proved that they can contend in the almighty SEC Conference. Jeff Driskel had a great game throwing the ball, while wildcat dual-threat quarterback Trey Burton rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on only three carries.

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. USC QB Matt Barkley- Going into the season, Barkley was projected to be a Heisman winning quarterback who led his school back to a BCS National Championship. After a subpar game vs. Stanford last week, both of those projections are likely history.
2. Arkansas Razorbacks- Even though Arkansas was without their quarterback, Tyler Wilson, they still could have put up a better fight than a 51-0 loss to Alabama. After starting off the season ranked in the Top 10, the Razorbacks will be lucky if they finish in the Top 25.
3. Auburn Tigers- Remember the same Auburn Tigers who won a National Championship just two years ago? Yeah, well those Tigers needed OT to beat Louisiana-Monroe to get their first win of the season. Did I mention that they paid ULM $1 million to play them? Pathetic if you ask me.

Game of the Week: (18) Florida vs. (23) Tennessee

The classic SEC matchup was chosen as ESPN's Gameday destination last week. Florida struck first when dual-threat quarterback Trey Burton ran for a 14 yard touchdown halfway through the first quarter. With three minutes left in the first quarter, Tennessee tied up the game when quarterback Tyler Bray hit Cordarrelle Patterson for a two yard score. Then early in the second quarter, Bray threw another short pass, this time to Mychal Rivera for a six yard touchdown. Florida struggled to move the ball in the second quarter, but would kick a field goal as time expired to end the first half. The Gators would wake up in the second half, and dominate both sides of the ball. The Gators scored 17 points in the third quarter, including another touchdown by Trey Burton. This time the dual-thread quarterback faked a handoff and took the ball 80 yards the other way to tie up the game at 20. In the fourth, the Gators shutout the Vols, and would add 10 points of their own, including a 75 yard touchdown pass by Jeff Driskel  to Frankie Hammond. The Gators' big win on the road showed that they can be contenders in the SEC this year. They have tough games coming up against LSU, South Carolina, and Georgia so going 2-1 in those games would be great for Florida.

Next Week's Five Intriguing Matchups:
1. (10) Clemson vs. (4) Florida State- Will Florida State's first test of the season prove that they are legitimately good, or that they ran up the score against weak opponents?
2. (22) Arizona vs. (3) Oregon- Arizona has already upset one team; are the Ducks their next victim?
3. (15) Kansas State vs. (6) Oklahoma- Can Collin Klein and the Wildcats upset Landry Jones and the Sooners this week?
4. (18) Michigan vs. (18) Notre Dame- Is D-Rob set for another killer game, or will it be the Irish who get the best of the Wolverines?
5. (13) USC vs. California- How will the Trojans respond after losing to Stanford last week?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NFL Week 2 Predictions

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will rebound after losing to the 49'ers at home last week.
The Bears should put up a good fight, but in the end the home team will get the win.

Bears vs. Packers: 34-29 Packers

This one was tough. The Bears are very tempting to pick after last week's performance, but in the end I don't see the Packers losing back-to-back games at Lambeau Field. The Packers faced arguably the best defense in the NFL last week, but this week they will be going up against a slightly above average defense. A top three quarterback in the NFL should be able to score against a top 15 defense in the league. I don't see the Bears struggling to score, but in the end, I think the Packers will win the shootout on their home turf.

Chiefs vs. Bills: 27-17 Chiefs

The smart move would be to take the Chiefs, especially after the way the Bills played last week vs. the Jets, but I'm going with my gut feeling on this pick. Before the season, everyone was saying that the Bills were for real this season and that they had a shot at making the playoffs. I think that they come out strong in their home opener, shut down the Chiefs' offense, and pull out a victory.

Giants vs. Bucs: 23-14 Giants

No chance the Giants start off their season 0-2. The Bucs might have looked impressive last week, but they are no match for the defending Super Bowl champs. Eli Manning reverts back to being the two-time Super Bowl MVP he is, and the Giants win this one to get back to .500.

Browns vs. Bengals: 23-10 Bengals

Any team in the league that goes up against the Browns has a great chance of beating them this season. With Brandon Weeden under center with no quality receivers to bail him out, its going to be a long season for Cleveland. The Bengals lost badly last week, but the game was close up until the pick-six. This time, the Bengals will take an early lead and be able to control the tempo of the game.

Vikings vs. Colts: 28-20 Vikings

If Adrian Peterson is as healthy as he appeared last week, the Vikings will easily win two or three more games than expected. The Colts are one of those teams that the Vikings need to take advantage of. Andrew Luck had a rough debut last week and the Vikings are about to make his rookie season a whole lot tougher.

Raiders vs. Dolphins: 23-13 Raiders

Two reasons why the Raiders will win this game:
1. Take away all the botched snaps last week vs. San Diego and the Raiders are 1-0.
2. Ryan Tannehill showed alarming signs in his NFL debut last week and the Raiders' defense will give him trouble again this week.

Cardinals vs. Patriots: 36-18 Patriots

The Patriots looked incredible in their opening game last week. They had a great balance between the run and pass games on offense, and also looked younger and quicker on defense. The Cardinals squeezed out a win last week vs. the Seahawks, but will face a much harder opponent this week. As always, Tom Brady >>>>>>>> Kevin Kolb.

Ravens vs. Eagles: 29-17 Ravens

These teams had polar opposite opening games. The Eagles struggled to barely defeat arguably the worst team in the NFL while the Ravens demolished on Monday Night Football and proved that they should be the Super Bowl favorites. Ravens are the more complete team, and therefore should get the win on Sunday.

Saints vs. Panthers: 32-30 Saints

Both teams are coming off tough Week 1 losses, but the Saints will bounce back with a win against the Panthers. In addition, both teams ran the ball poorly, so it will come down to Drew Brees out-slinging Cam Newton.

Texans vs. Jaguars: 31-13 Texans

The Jaguars played better than expected Week 1, but they are no match for the Texans. Blaine Gabbert is going to revert back to the way he played last season when he goes up against the Texans' defense. On the other end, Schaub, Foster, and Andre Johnson shouldn't have an issue finding the endzone this week.

Redskins vs. Rams: 29-12 Redskins

I hate to say it, but the Redskins looked impressive Week 1. If they could beat the Saints (and even torch their defense for 40 points), then they should have no issue beating the Rams this week.

Cowboys vs. Seahawks: 23-17 Seahawks

The Cowboys are coming off a very impressive win while the Seahawks are coming off of a weak loss. So why take the Seahawks? Well, not only have I not lost faith in Bill Simmons' Super Bowl prediction, but the Seahawks are a completely different team at home. When they have their "12th" man pissing off every Cowboys' player, it is a huge advantage. Seahawks in a close one.

Jets vs. Steelers: 29-20 Jets

Am I really jumping on the bandwagon this early? The Jets were extremely impressive in their Week 1 win over the Bill and I think that momentum carries them this week. The Steelers are coming off a rough loss to the  Broncos, and don't appear to be the same team they were in past years. They have no run game, a weak offensive line, and an old defense.

Titans vs. Chargers: 26-18 Chargers

I'm sticking with my AFC West champs in this Week 2 matchup. Ryan Mathews is probably out again, but Philip Rivers should be able to beat the Titans' secondary all day. Plus, if Chris Johnson rushes for another four yards, the Titans will be in for a long season.

Lions vs. Niners: 27-21 Niners

The Niners did the opposite of regressing in their Week 1 domination against the Packers. Now playing at home, the Niners should have no problem shutting down another elite offense. As long as Alex Smith plays as well as he did against the Packers, the 49'ers should win this game.

Broncos vs. Falcons: 35-31 Falcons

It's extremely tempting to take Peyton Manning and the Broncos, especially after their big win last week, but the Falcons are unstoppable when they play in their dome. Matt Ryan looked like an MVP last week, and will continue to have success this week with a big win against the Broncos.

NFL Week 1 Recap

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Not only did Robert Griffin III start a new phenomena (Griffining) but he also shined in his
NFL debut. RG3 had the highest quarterback rating in the NFL last week after burning the Saints 40-32.

This Week's Record: 11-5
Overall Record: 11-5

Cowboys vs. Giants: 24-17 Cowboys
Cowboys Player of the Week: Kevin Ogletree- 8 receptions, 114 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Giants Player of the Week: Ahmad Bradshaw- 78 rush yards, 15 receiving yards, touchdown

The Cowboys defeated the reigning Super Bowl champs at the Meadowlands last Wednesday. Tony Romo, who usually plays subpar vs. the Giants, played a fantastic game. Romo threw for over 300 yards, three touchdowns, and threw only one interception.

Colts vs. Bears: 41-21 Bears
Colts Player of the Week: Reggie Wayne- 9 receptions, 134 yards
Bears Player of the Week: Brandon Marshall- 9 receptions, 119 yards, touchdown

The Bears spoiled Andrew Luck's NFL debut thanks in part to their efficient offense and tough defense. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall each gained over 115 yards of offense and scored  touchdowns in the win. On the defensive end, the Bears' D picked off Luck three times and also forced two fumbles.

Eagles vs. Browns: 17-16 Eagles
Eagles Player of the Week: Jeremy Maclin- 7 receptions, 96 yards, touchdown
Browns Player of the Week: D'Qwell Jackson- 3 tackles, fumble recovery, interception, touchdown

It surely wasn't pretty, but the Eagles got it done on Sunday. Despite turning over the ball five times, the Eagles were able to defeat the Browns. It certainly helped that Brandon Weeden played even worse than Michael Vick. In his NFL debut, Weeden threw four interceptions, and finished with a quarterback rating of 5.1

Rams vs. Lions: 27-23 Lions
Rams Player of the Week: Sam Bradford- 198 pass yards, touchdown 105.1 passer rating
Lions Player of the Week: Kevin Smith- 62 rush yards, 27 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

It looked as if the Rams would upset the Lions Week 1, but Kevin Smith scored a touchdown with just ten seconds left in the game. Matt Stafford had a subpar game, throwing for three interceptions and only one touchdown. A win's a win, but the Lions need to step up their game if they want to contend for the playoffs again.

Patriots vs. Titans: 34-13 Patriots
Patriots Player of the Week: Stevan Ridley- 125 rush yards, 27 receiving yards, touchdown
Titans Player of the Week: Jake Locker- 229 pass yards, touchdown, interception, 89.2 passer rating

The Patriots' quest to return to the Super Bowl started off well with a big win against the Titans. Tom Brady had another stellar game, while the Patriots' rush game exceeded expectations. Chris Johnson's four rush yards on 11 carries is not a good sign for the Titans. Tennessee has got to figure out what's up with this guy after giving him a big contract just last season.

Falcons vs. Chiefs: 40-24 Falcons
Falcons Player of the Week: Matt Ryan- 299 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 136.4 passer rating
Chiefs Player of the Week: Jamaal Charles- 87 rush yards

The Falcons laid a smack down on the Chiefs last week. Matt Ryan absolutely played up to the expectations in Week 1, and could be a dark horse for the MVP. With everything that's going on in New Orleans, this could finally be the Falcons' year.

Jaguars vs. Vikings: 26-23 (OT) Vikings
Jaguars Player of the Week: Blaine Gabbert- 260 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 96.1 passer rating
Vikings Player of the Week: Adrian Peterson- 84 rush yards, 2 touchdowns

What's was more surprising for the Vikings on Sunday: Adrian Peterson's big return, or rookie kicker Blair Walsh going 4/4 on the day including a 55 yard field goal to send the game into OT, and another one to win it. On the bright side for the Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert definitely showed signs of improvement from last season.

Redskins vs. Saints: 40-32 Redskins
Redskins Player of the Week: Robert Griffin III- 320 pass yards, 42 rush yards, 3 touchdowns, 139.9 passer rating
Saints Player of the Week: Lance Moore- 6 receptions, 120 receiving yards, touchdown

Wow, possibly the most exciting game of the week as RG3 upset Drew Brees and the Saints at home! RG3 was the only rookie to win on Sunday, and did it in tremendous fashion. Don't want to jump on the bandwagon too soon, but the Redskins have lots of potential.

Bills vs. Jets: 48-28 Jets
Bills Player of the Week: CJ Spiller- 149 rush yards, touchdown
Jets Player of the Week: Mark Sanchez- 266 pass yards, 3 touchdowns, 123.4 passer rating

Who would have thought that the team that scored only one touchdown in the preseason would score the most points Week 1? Mark Sanchez played arguably the best game of his NFL career, and definitely has the starting spot locked in (for now). On the bright side for the Bills, CJ Spiller played like a stud, and will certainly make Fred Jackson's injury less noticeable.

Dolphins vs. Texans: 30-10 Texans
Dolphins Player of the Week: Reggie Bush- 69 rush yards, 46 receiving yards
Texans Player of the Week: Arian Foster- 79 rush yards, 2 touchdowns

The Texans destroyed the Dolphins on Sunday, while Ryan Tannehill's NFL debut was less than memorable. Tannehill threw three interceptions and finished the game with a quarterback rating of 39.0. The Texans seemed to show good signs on both offense and defense. After finishing the game with 119 receiving yards and a touchdown, Andre Johnson finally seems to be at 100%.

Niners vs. Packers: 30-22 Niners
Niners Player of the Week: Alex Smith- 211 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 125.6 passer rating
Packers Player of the Week: Aaron Rodgers- 303 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 93.3 passer rating

The Niners proved they haven't regressed since last season, and could possibly even be Super Bowl threats this year. San Francisco controlled the game and was able to capitalize on most opportunities. Frank Gore looked as healthy as ever, after rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Seahawks vs. Cardinals: 20-16 Cardinals
Seahawks Player of the Week: Sidney Rice- 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, touchdown
Cardinals Player of the Week: Kevin Kolb- 66 pass yards (on six throws), touchdown, 138.5 passer rating

Maybe I jumped on Bill Simmons' Seahawks bandwagon before they had a chance to prove themselves. Quite frankly, neither team played that great, but in the end, the Cardinals pulled out the victory. After a sketchy extra timeout was rewarded to the Seahawks with less then a minute to go, the Cardinals were able to stop Seattle from scoring in the redzone.

Panthers vs. Bucs: 16-10 Bucs
Panthers Player of the Week: Steve Smith- 7 receptions, 106 receiving yards
Bucs Player of the Week: Josh Freeman- 136 pass yards, touchdown, 95.5 passer rating

Greg Schiano's NFL debut with the Bucs was a hit after shutting down Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Bucs did an exceptionally well job denying Carolina's run game. Many people have the Bucs being a dark horse team with the way Schiano is running things, and they may not be wrong.

Steelers vs. Broncos: 31-19 Broncos
Steelers Player of the Week: Heat Miller- 4 receptions, 50 receiving yards, touchdown
Broncos Player of the Week: Peyton Manning- 253 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 129.2 passer rating

Did Peyton Manning even miss a season? After watching the way Manning played Sunday Night, its as if he was coming off another Pro Bowl season. The Steelers didn't look great on either end. The defense gave up 31 points, which is a lot by Pittsburgh standards, and the offense failed to rush for over 80 yards. Did this game show us that the Broncos are for real, the Steelers aren't that good, or a little of both?

Bengals vs. Ravens: 44-13 Ravens
Bengals Player of the Week: BenJarvus Green-Ellis- 91 rush yards, touchdown
Ravens Player of the Week: Joe Flacco- 299 pass yards, 2 touchdowns, 128.4 passer rating

The Ravens demolished the Bengals on Monday night, clearly showing who the AFC North favorites are this season. Even without Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, the Ravens shut down the Bengals' offense. Offensively for Baltimore, Joe Flacco gave us a little preview of what's in store this season. If it's anything like the season opener, the Ravens will be going far this year.

Chargers vs. Raiders: 22-14 Chargers
Chargers Player of the Week: Philip Rivers- 231 pass yards, touchdown, 102.0 passer rating
Raiders Player of the Week: Darren McFadden - 32 rush yards, 86 receiving yards

The Chargers shut down the Raiders offensively and limited them to only one touchdown on Monday night. The Chargers didn't have too many problems on offense despite missing running back Ryan Mathews. Will the Chargers return to the playoffs this year, or will this be the end for Norv Turner.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

College Football Week 2 Review

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Heisman frontrunner Matt Barkley threw for a career high six touchdowns last week vs. Syracuse.
After an upset-free Week 1 in college football, this week featured four Top 25 upsets. (8) Arkansas was upset by Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in OT. The Razorbacks were without Heisman hopeful quarterback Tyler Wilson in the second half. Wilson was knocked out of the game after suffering an apparent head injury. (13) Wisconsin fell to Oregon State by a score of 10-7 in Corvallis. The Badgers didn't get on the scoreboard until their was only 1:31 left in the fourth quarter. The Beavers' defense did a great job of shutting down former Heisman candidate Montee Ball. The other Big 10 team to get upset last week, (16) Nebraska, lost to UCLA 36-30 out in Los Angeles. And just a week after winning their Week 1 game 84-0, (18) Oklahoma State lost to Arizona 59-38. 

New AP Top 10:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. USC Trojans
3. LSU Tigers
4. Oregon Ducks
5. Oklahoma Sooners
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Georgia Bulldogs 
8. South Carolina Gamecocks
9. West Virginia Mountaineers
10. Michigan State Spartans

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. USC QB Matt Barkley- The Heisman frontrunner threw a career-high six touchdown passes against Syracuse last week. In addition, Barkley threw for 187 yards and helped his team fight off Syracuse after a slow start at the Meadowlands.
2. Oregon Ducks RB's-Both Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas tore it up against Fresno State last week. The dynamic duo rushed for over 300 yards and five touchdowns. It's gonna take an NFL defense to stop the best running game in college football.
3. Arizona QB Matt Scott- The senior quarterback really showed his leadership skills last week when Arizona upset Oklahoma State. Scott threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 55 yards and an additional score.

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. Oklahoma State Cowboys- After obliterating Savannah State 84-0 in Week 1, the Cowboys failed to even keep it close with Arizona last week. The Cowboys allowed 59 points which is the most points they've allowed in a game since 2008. 
2. Wisconsin Badgers- The reigning Rose Bowl champs hadn't lost a non-conference regular season game since 2003. Even worse, the usually explosive Wisconsin offense was only held to seven points. Danny O'Brien is no Russell Wilson, but he's still got to lead the Badgers on offense along with Montee Ball.
3. Arkansas Razorbacks- The Razorbacks became the first team to drop out of the AP Top 25 after being ranked 8th or lower. Arkansas choked a 28-7 lead, partially due to the fact that their starting quarterback, Tyler Wilson, was knocked out of the game with a head injury.

Game of the Week: (7) Georgia vs. Missouri

Missouri's welcome to the SEC was not as they had planned. The Georgia Bulldogs came into town, and defeated the Tigers 41-20. Despite what the score might read, the game was extremely close for the first three quarters of play. In fact, by the end of the first half, the Missouri Tigers were winning 10-9. Missouri increased their lead to eight after L'Damian Washington scored a 69 yard touchdown from James Franklin. Georgia would fight back in the third quarter, and tie it up at 17 after Aaron Murray hit Tavarres King for a seven-yard score. Missouri responded later in the third and went back up after drilling a 25-yard field goal. Unfortunately for Missouri, Georgia dominated the game from there. The Bulldogs went on to score the last 24 points of the game, including a 17 point fourth quarter. Georgia Quarterback Aaron Murray finished the day with 242 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Next Week's Five Intriguing Matchups:
1. (2) USC vs. (21) Stanford- Can Matt Barkley defeat Stanford for the first time in his career?
2.  (1) Alabama vs. Arkansas- Remember, Arkansas was ranked in the Top 10 just last week.
3. (10) Michigan State vs. (20) Notre Dame- Is Notre Dame football officially back to being elite?
4. (18) Florida vs. (23) Tennessee- The two SEC teams will clash it out in Knoxville this week.
5. (4) Oregon vs. Louisiana Tech- Can anyone stop the most dangerous offense in the nation?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

College Football Week 1 Review

(AP Photo/LM Otero)
It will be extremely difficult to dethrone the reigning BCS champs. The Alabama Crimson Tide
defeated Michigan with ease last Saturday by a score of 41-14.

College football has returned. Will this be the year the SEC is finally dethroned as BCS champions?Will this be the "Year of Return" for USC? How will Penn State play this season after the darkest offseason in their history? Impressions have been made, expectations have been set, so sit back, relax and enjoy the show! 

As typical first game traditions go in college football, most Top 25 teams blew out unranked opponents. The only two teams to lose in the Top 25 were to higher ranked teams. (8) Michigan lost to (2) Alabama 41-14 at Cowboy Stadium while (24) Boise State lost to (13) Michigan State by a score of 17-13.

New AP Top 10:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. USC Trojans
3. LSU Tigers
4.  Oregon Ducks
5. Oklahoma Sooners
6. Florida State Seminoles
7. Georgia Bulldogs
8. Arkansas Razorbacks
9. South Carolina Gamecocks
10. West Virginia Mountaineers

Top Three Performances by Team or Player:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide- The defending BCS champions started off their year with a big win against (8) Michigan. Everyone knew their defense would be incredible, but who knew their offense would score 41 points against a team ranked in the Top 10? The Tide shut down Denard Robinson from the start, forcing him to throw two interceptions. On the offensive end, it was a team effort in scoring 41 points. Returning junior quarterback, AJ McCarron threw for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns while the combined running effort rushed for over 225 yards and two touchdowns of their own. It's gonna be tough to dethrone the reigning champs this year.
2. USC QB Matt Barkley- The preseason Heisman favorite stepped up to the task in his first game of the season. Despite playing unranked Hawaii, Barkley still put up impressive Heisman-esque numbers. On just the first play of the game, Barkley hit wide receiver Marqise Lee for a 75-yard touchdown. Barkley would go on to throw three more touchdowns and ended the day with 372 passing yards. Not bad for a first impression.
3. Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell- If it weren't for the "Bell-dozer" at running back last Saturday, the Spartans may have had a rough night. Bell rushed for both of the teams' touchdowns and accounted for more than half of their total yardage. Boise State traditionally has a pretty solid defense and doesn't lose too often, so it is says a lot when a running back can rush for 210 yards and can pick up an additional 55 receiving yards.

Top Three Disappointments by Player or Team:
1. Michigan Wolverines- It is a tough task to start off your season by playing the reigning BCS champs, but Michigan didn't even put up a fight. The Wolverines were demolished by the Tide at Cowboy Stadium, and before the first quarter even ended, it was 21-0 Alabama. A lot of teams may learn from the way Alabama shut down quarterback Denard Robinson. Hopefully Brady Hoke and Michigan can turn it around.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions- Yes, no one expected Penn State to have a good season, but no one expected the Nittany Lions to lose their first game in front of nearly 100,000 fans to a mid-major school. A 24-14 defeat to the Ohio Bobcats is definitely a red flag. Does Bill O'Brien realize what he signed up for yet?
3. Sportsmanship- I know this isn't a player or team, but an exception has to be made. I understand that it is important to give your starters reps in order to prepare for bigger games later in the season, but certain teams crossed the line last week. Did Oklahoma State really need to put up 84 points on a team that had no business playing them? Did Oregon need to score 50 points before the first half even ended? I know this may not be that big of a deal, but certain teams definitely crossed the line of sportsmanship last week and I hope that will change.

Game of the Week: (16) Virginia Tech vs Georgia Tech

This Monday night thriller definitely lived up to expectations, unlike other highly anticipated games last week (cough, cough Michigan). Each of the last five years, the winner of the "Tech Bowl" has gone on to win the ACC Coastal division. Virginia Tech struck first when junior quarterback, Logan Thomas, found Eric Martin for a 5-yard touchdown. The Yellow Jackets answered just 26 seconds into the second quarter though, when Robert Godhigh scored on a 12-yard run. The third quarter was scoreless, which meant that the two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at seven. Trailing Virginia Tech late in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech's Tevin Washington threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Deon Hill with just 44 seconds remaining in the game. The score shocked fans packed into Lane Stadium, home of the Hokies. The Hokies shockingly marched up the field, and were able to tie the game at 17 as Cody Journell kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired.This led to the first overtime game ever at Lane Stadium. Luckily for Virginia Tech fans, the Hokies were able to come out on top after Journell drilled another field goal in the first OT to win it, 20-17.

Next Week's Five Intriguing Matchups:
1. (7) Georgia vs. Missouri- How will Missouri do in it's first in-conference SEC game?
2. (6) Florida State vs. Savannah State- Will the Seminoles cover the ridiculous 70.5 point spread? 
3. (2) USC vs. Syracuse- How will Matt Barkley and the Trojans play at MetLife Stadium?
4. Penn State vs. Virginia- Will the misery continue for the Nittany Lions?
5. (4) Oregon vs. Fresno State- How many touchdowns will Heisman hopeful De'Anthony Thomas score?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NFL Week 1 Predictions

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Tony Romo has been historically bad against the Giants. Will Romo get his first win in six starts
vs. the defending champs, or will Eli Manning and the Giants be too much for Dallas to handle. 

After posting up a better record than every NFL expert over at ESPN and CBS, I hope to have similar success this season. Here is a brief prediction and pick for the first game of the season: Cowboys vs. Giants. The rest of the predictions and picks for the rest of the week will be up shortly.

Cowboys vs. Giants: 31-20 Giants
The reigning Super Bowl champs will start off their 2012-2013 campaign Wednesday night when one of their longtime divisional rivals comes to town. Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback, Tony Romo, hasn't had great success vs. the Giants in his career. In 11 starts against New York, Romo has been sacked 22 times, and hasn't beat them in his last five starts. Overall he is 4-7 vs. Big Blue. Eli Manning and the Giants' offense will be put to the test in this Week 1 showdown. Dallas has brought in two new cornerbacks to hopefully shut down the dynamic duo if Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. On the other hand, the Giants defense will likely give Tony Romo's offense some trouble. Romo's two favorite targets, Jason Witten and Miles Austin are banged up with injuries but will suit up.

Colts vs. Bears: 27-17 Bears
Unfortunately for Andrew Luck, his first professional start in the NFL will result in a loss. Although the Colts will improve this season, they aren't good enough to beat a great team like Chicago. The Bears are ready to return to playoff form, and must start off the season with a win. Expect big games from Matt Forte and newcomer Brandon Marshall in the season opener.

Eagles vs. Browns: 31-10 Eagles
The Eagles are ready to prove that last season was a fluke, and that they are 100% focused this season. There's no better way to start off the season with a good old blowout. It will be interesting to see how Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson play in the first game of their NFL careers. Expect the Eagles offense to unleash on the Browns.

Rams vs. Lions: 30-16 Lions
Can anyone say Stafford to Megatron (over and over again)? Expect the Lions to come out strong and pick up where they left off last season. The Rams have a new coach in Jeff Fisher, but even he won't be enough to knock off Detroit. The Rams simply don't have the firepower to keep up with the Lions' potent offense.

Patriots vs. Titans: 28-13 Patriots
Not only is Tom Brady arguably the best quarterback in the league, but his receiving core is pretty damn good too. Brady will have the pleasure of throwing touchdowns to Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, and the one and only Gronk throughout the season. The Titans have made improvements this offseason, and it will be exciting to see how Jake Locker and Chris Johnson play, but they are no match for the reigning AFC champs.

Falcons vs. Chiefs: 27-20 Falcons
Both teams have a lot to prove this season. The Chiefs want to prove that with Jamaal Charles back, they can return to being a playoff team. The Falcons know they are a playoff team already, but they want to prove that they can take it to the next level and be Super Bowl contenders. I think the Falcons have a few more weapons in this game, and end up winning it by a touchdown.

Jaguars vs. Vikings: 24-6 Vikings
Even with Adrian Peterson not completely healthy, the Vikings will still pull out the win. The Jaguars might have MJD back, but he won't even get the majority of the carries in Week 1. Expect Percy Harvin himself to outscore the Jaguars on Sunday. Since Ponder took over as starting quarterback, Harvin has being targeted the most out of all receivers in the league, by over 25 targets.

Redskins vs. Saints: 37-20 Saints
After finding out that their previously suspended players are no longer suspended, the Saints jump back to being a serious contender in the NFC. Even without coach Sean Payton, the Saints' offense will be too much for the Redskins to handle. Drew Brees will spoil RG3's NFL debut. Who Dat nation will start off the year 1-0.

Bills vs. Jets: 20-17 Jets
This may surprise a few, but I think the Jets' defense is good enough to contain the Bills. I also believe that the Jets will turn it around on offense whether Tebow is involved or not. Don't get me wrong, the Bills will have a great season, and might make a run for the playoffs, but I like Gang Green in their season opener.

Dolphins vs. Texans: 32-12 Texans
The Dolphins are about to live the Hard Knock life after Sunday's game. Miami is no match for Houston's offense or defense. With Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson all ready to go, the Dolphins' defense might be in for a long day.

Niners vs. Packers: 30-20 Packers
What this game comes down to is the quarterback matchup: Alex Smith vs. Aaron Rodgers. Both have strong defenses, but the Packers have a huge advantage on offense. Green Bay is going to come out of the game with a huge chip on their shoulders, trying to prove that they should be the defending champs. I'm with Bill Simmons on this one, the Niners might be regressing this season.

Seahawks vs. Cardinals: 24-13 Seahawks
The Seahawks have everything going their way while the Cardinals can't quite figure anything out. After Sunday's games, Russell Wilson will be the only rookie quarterback (out of five total starting Week 1) to win in his first start. Wilson will get help from the Seahawks' relentless defense and the Cardinals' nonexistent offense.

Panthers vs. Bucs: 26-17 Panthers
Last year's Rookie of the Year Cam Newton is back and ready to prove that the sophomore slump isn't for him. His first game will be a tough one vs. divisional rival Tampa Bay, but Cam and the Panthers should pull out the victory. They are getting back two of their best defensive players who missed the majority of last season with injuries. If the Panthers can stay healthy, this might be a big year for the franchise.

Steelers vs. Broncos: 24-13 Broncos
Both teams have a lot of questions that will be answered in their Week 1 showdown. The Broncos want to prove that Peyton Manning is healthy and back to being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Steelers want to prove that they can be an elite team despite having no run game, and just getting back Mike Wallace last week. It also might hurt the Steelers that safety Ryan Clark will miss the game due to his sickle cell disease.

Bengals vs. Ravens: 23-13 Ravens
The Ravens want to prove that they can make it to the Super Bowl even without Terrell Suggs. Many experts and analysts are predicting it to be Joe Flacco's breakout year. It doesn't hurt that they also have arguably the best running back in the league, Ray Rice. The Bengals might have made the playoffs last year, but they struggled in both games vs. the Ravens.

Chargers vs. Raiders: 28-23 Chargers
Both teams are ready to take the next step towards becoming playoff teams this season. If the Chargers don't get off to a hot start, that could mean the end of Norv Turner. The Chargers will be without Ryan Mathews, but will have a healthy Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. Darren McFadden is also healthy for the Raiders, but it won't be enough to beat the Chargers on Monday night.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012-2013 NFL Team Previews

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Manning and the Giants took home their second Super Bowl in five years last season.
Are the Giants ready to repeat as champs, or will their be a new champion this season?

After a two month hiatus, we're back and better than ever. There's no better way to get back in the writing game than an NFL season preview, so here it is!

AFC East:

The Favorite- New England Patriots: The Pats are the reigning AFC champs and it will take a lot to stop them from repeating this season. They lost BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but gained Brandon Lloyd and upgraded their defense. What also helps New England is that they are playing in one of the weakest divisions in football, and also have an easy out-of-division schedule. Expect big things from Brady, Belichick, and Co.

The Sleeper- Buffalo Bills: Remember when the Bills got off to an extremely hot start in 2011? What you probably forgot is that almost half of their starters got injured by Week 8. In addition, the Bills picked up one of the best defensive players in football, Mario Williams. With Fred Jackson back and healthy, and a defense that is rearing to go, expect the Bills to surprise the league.

The In-Between- New York Jets: The Jets aren't expected to make the playoffs this season, but then again, they aren't expected to come in last either. This is why the Jets make a great "In-Between" team. In any other division the Jets would probably fall to last place, but their weak division and schedule gives them hope to win a few more games than they should. Even though they struggle to put points on the scoreboard, Gang Green has one of the best defenses in the league. We'll see if Tebow can work his magic this year.

The Hopeless- Miami Dolphins: Despite being on Hard Knocks, the Dolphins really have no hype going into the season. While they made a few moves this offseason, the Dolphins will be the same old Dolphins. With Ryan Tannehill under center, who knows what can happen. The Dolphins won't be a Bottom 5 team in the NFL this season, but they definitely have no shot at making the playoffs.

NFC East:

The Favorite- Philadelphia Eagles: Did I trick you with this one? This one hurts being a Giants fan, but as most Giants fans know, they usually fly under the radar to start the season. The Eagles on the other hand usually start off the season as the favorites. If Philly can stay healthy, there is no reason as to why they shouldn't make the playoffs. They have one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and have a defense that is chomping at the bit. The key to their season lies in the hands of Michael Vick; if he starts over 12 games this season, they should make the playoffs, but if not they might have another disappointing season.

The Sleeper- New York Giants: The Blue Crew is back and ready to repeat in 2012. The Giants lost a few key players this offseason, but also gained some players back from injury. The Giants have one of the harder schedules in the league, so that might give them some trouble. What we've all learned over these years though, is that you can never count out Eli Manning. Sometimes he plays like a deer stuck in headlights, but other times he plays like a 2-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. It will be a tale of two Eli's for the Giants this season.

The In-Between- Dallas Cowboys: With the Giants and Eagles in their division, it makes it tough for the Cowboys. They have a great team but some rough competition. Injuries will play a key role in the Cowboys' season. If their injured players come back strong and stay healthy, the Cowboys may be able to make a run for the playoffs.

The Hopeless- Washington Redskins: Although the Redskins won't be making the playoffs this year, they have something to look forward to in Robert Griffin III. The Redskins still lack many problems, like a solid running game and wide receiver options for starters. They recently signed Anthony Armstrong to catch balls for them, but is that really the help they need. Pierre Garçon has never played as a No. 1 receiver, and usually doesn't have the top cornerbacks guarding him. It will be another painful season for Washington fans.

AFC North:

The Favorite- Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens might have lost Terrell Suggs for the season, but they are still favorites to win the AFC North. Even without Suggs, the Ravens still have one of the best defenses in football. Now add arguably the best running back in the league and you've got yourself a winning combination. If Joe Flacco can stay steady, the Ravens should be a lock to make the playoffs again.

The Sleeper- Pittsburgh Steelers: It sounds weird to call the Steelers "The Sleeper" but that is the role they fit this season. They return most of their defense from last year which is great news. In addition, Mike Wallace recently reported to camp and should be ready to go in Week 1.  They have running back problems to deal with, but that's about it. Look for the Steelers to take one of the Wild Card spots this year.

The In-Between- Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals surprisingly made the playoffs last season, but may not have the same results again. They lost practically no one, and gained BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but they still aren't strong enough to be favored to make the playoffs. Who knows if Andy Dalton and AJ Green will find the same success they had in their rookie seasons. They say sophomore slump is the worst year for players. Don't expect the Bengals to be terrible, but expect them to be floating around the .500 line all year long.

The Hopeless- Cleveland Browns: Just when you though the Browns might turn it around in the offseason, they unsurprisingly failed again. They added Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden to the offense this offseason, but who knows what good that will do. They have the worst receiving core in the league, and a subpar, 28-year old rookie quarterback throwing the ball. Another long, cold, hopeless, and dull season for Cleveland.

NFC North:

The Favorite- Green Bay Packers: The Packers are still shocked that they didn't win the Super Bowl last year. With revenge stirring up inside of them, it's gonna be tough to stop the Packers again this season. They lost nobody in the offseason, and even picked up Jeff Saturday. It's obvious they will be in the playoffs, the real question is, will they win the Super Bowl?

The Sleeper-Chicago Bears: Did I surprise anyone with this pick? Football fans have to remember that before Jay Cutler got hurt, the Bears were one of the hottest teams in football. That might have even helped the Lions make the playoffs. The Bears are an all-around great team. Their offense is finally complete after bringing in Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush in the offseason. Their defense is also above-par. Cutler is the key to their season; If he stays calm,cool, and healthy they are making a run for the playoffs, if not, another sorry season for Bears' fans.

The In-Between- Detroit Lions: The Lions are definitely on the upside, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sold on the fact that they are a guaranteed playoff team. They play in a tough division, have a tough schedule, and have no run game for now. If Stafford and Megatron can continue to put up prolific numbers though, the Lions will be in playoff discussions come December.

The Hopeless- Minnesota Vikings: Good News is that Adrian Peterson has healed way ahead of schedule. The bad news is that they play in a division with three playoff worthy teams, and have many questions to answer this season. The first starting with Christian Ponder. Is Ponder a starter in the NFL, or will the Vikings need to rethink that draft pick from two years ago? The Vikings will be better than they were last season, but still won't be at the level they need to be.

AFC South:

The Favorite- Houston Texans: What else is there to be said about the Texans. They have one of the most complete offenses in the NFL, have a Top 10 defense, and also play in the current worst division in football. If the Texans don't make the playoffs this season, I guess the Mayans were right after all.

The Sleeper- Indianapolis Colts: No way are the Colts playoff-worth yet, but they made the most improvement this offseason in comparison with the other teams in the division. The Colts have Andrew Luck at quarterback for starters, in addition to filling in a few other depth chart holes. The Colts are not nearly as good as they were when they had Peyton, but they are absolutely making progress.

The In-Between- Tennessee Titans: The Titans have a huge question mark next to their name this year. Jake Locker can be a hit-or-miss guy for them this year. Chris Johnson is back, but can he regain his epic 2010 form? Kenny Britt was only suspended one game, but will he end up getting injured by Week 5? If everything goes the Titans' way, they will probably finish second in the division. If they can't figure out their issues though, expect them to be at the bottom with the Jags.

The Hopeless- Jacksonville Jaguars: Good news is that Maurice Jones-Drew is back and ready to go. The bad news is that the Jaguars have one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league, in addition to a horrendous receiving core. It's gonna be another one of those years for the Jaguars, and by "one of those years" I mean 4-12 or worse.

NFC South:

The Favorite- Atlanta Falcons: After what New Orleans went through this offseason, it's tough to make them the favorites heading into the season. Plus, the Falcons haven't regressed at all since last year. The Falcons have the best potential on offense this season. This could be the year Matt Ryan finally makes the leap into the elite category of quarterbacks. This could also be the year Julio Jones makes the leap into the elite category of wide receivers. If their defense continues to play well, Atlanta might make a Super Bowl push in 2013.

The Sleeper- New Orleans Saints: Despite all the suspensions and punishments they were hit with this offseason, the Saints are still a great team. Their offense will be just as explosive as last year. Plus, Drew Brees has the brains of an NFL Head Coach anyways. The Saints will be good, the question is will they be good enough to make the playoffs in a very competitive conference?

The In-Between- Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are without a doubt on the rise, but they aren't quite at the top of their peak yet. Despite how great Cam Newton's rookie season was, he might catch a bad case of the sophomore slump. One spot where the Panthers greatly improved in is their defense. In addition to Jon Beason and Thomas Davis returning from injuries, the Panthers also drafted defensive stud Luke Kuechly this offseason. It should be an exciting and interesting year for the Panthers.

The Hopeless- Tampa Bay Bucs: They Bucs aren't necessarily hopeless, they just happen to be the worst team in their division. They replaced their head coach this offseason, and brought in a few big name players, but the Bucs aren't good enough to make the playoffs. They play in arguably the best division in football, and a very competitive conference. The Bucs will improve from last year, but won't make the playoffs.

AFC West:

The Favorite- San Diego Chargers: It's hard to predict the AFC West. All four teams could fall under all four categories by Week 8. For preseason predictions though, it's a safe bet to go with the Chargers as the favorites. Their offense will continue to put plenty of points on the scoreboard, so their concern is their defense. If Norv Turner can turn this defense around, the Chargers will be back in the playoff hunt. 

The Sleeper- Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have a ton of upside. They also have a ton of problems.  A lot of things have to go right if the Raiders want to make the playoffs. They need Carson Palmer to be a reliable starting quarterback, they need Darren McFadden to stay healthy, and they need their defense to step up. It's a large task, but very possible.

The In-Between- Denver Broncos: Yes, they got Peyton Manning under center, but Peyton himself is very "In-Between". He can go back to being a Top 5 quarterback in the league, or he can regress and never regain his throwing strength and velocity. They also have one of the toughest schedules. The Broncos have a great team on paper, but it will be interesting to see how they turn out. 

The Hopeless- Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs made great offseason moves and have greatly improved, but who knows how they'll pan out. The Charles/Hillis running back scheme is exciting, and their defense is impressive, but they have a tough schedule. They are not hopeless, but fans shouldn't be hopeful.

NFC West:

The Favorite- San Francisco 49ers: The Niners improved their offense over the offseason, and should give the Packers, Falcons, and Giants a run for their money in the playoffs. Although the wild, wild, NFC West is always hard to predict, the Niners are the safest bet to win the division.

The Sleeper- Seattle Seahawks: Just when Matt Flynn thought he was a starting quarterback, Russell Wilson came to town and stole it right out of his hands. Wilson is no loser at quarterback though. Expect the Seahawks to shock a few teams this year and float closely around the .500 line.

The In-Between- Arizona Cardinals: It's too bad this division can't have two hopeless teams. The Cardinals have one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. Right now they have John Skelton starting, but Kevin Kolb might get the chance by Week 3. Their running game also has a ton of issues. They made a late season push last season, but expect the Cardinals to be as miserable as they were last year at the beginning of the season.

The Hopeless- St. Louis Rams: Nothing ever goes right for the Rams. Their offense is about the opposite of explosive, and their defense is far from tough. Sam Bradford might turn out to be $78 million mistake. At least St. Louis has got the Cardinals and the Blues, because the Rams won't be good for a while.