Tag Archives: NFL

Hotard: NFL Postseason Picks

The NFL preseason teases people more than the girl who “friend zoned” you in high school. As I told my buddies in high school, it gets better. All the teasing comes to an end this Thursday when the defending champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers. As exciting as the offseason and preseason were, from Geno Smith getting punched out of 10 games (literally) to Deflategate, the real thing is FINALLY upon us. It is going to be glorious. With that being said, every year there is always so much uncertainty looming around the NFL season.

Now is the time for fans and analysts to make all of their predictions regarding their favorite teams and players for the upcoming season, just so we can laugh at every blunder from now until February. According to NFL.com, at least four new teams have made the playoffs each year since 1990, with that number climbing more toward five in the last decade. The landscape is constantly changing in the NFL, which is why I believe people seem to crave it more with every season. It also helps that there is not 82 or 162 games. Each week becomes more meaningful than the next. That is what makes the NFL special.

Without further ado, I will introduce my lucky 12 teams to earn a playoff birth, along with my conference championship and Super Bowl teams.

AFC

1- New England Patriots 13-3

Is it really hard to understand why I take the Patriots as the top team in the AFC? Tom Brady had his four-game suspension lifted and I believe he will have a fantastic year because he is competitive to a fault. I feel like he wants to stick it to the commissioner. He is climbing in age and certainly isn’t the guy he was in 2007, but he still finds ways to win games. Since taking over the starting role for Drew Bledsoe in what seems like centuries ago, he has made the conference title game practically every other year (not an exaggeration).

2- Indianapolis Colts 12-4

The Colts made some great signings this offseason adding longtime Texans receiver and future Hall of Famer Andre Johnson, along with former 49ers running back Frank Gore. I think some veteran presence is exactly what the Colts need and they got it. I also loved them picking Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett in the draft. They still have issues on the offensive line, but that hasn’t seemed to phase Andrew Luck yet.

3- Baltimore Ravens 10-6

The Ravens are just a sound football team and its built from the ground up, which is why they seem to be at their best come playoff time. A solid front seven on defense and a solid offensive front is enough reason for me to believe Ravens will once again find themselves deep in the postseason.

4- Denver Broncos 10-6

Much like Brady, Peyton Manning has been winning for so long that it seems impossible to bet against him. I just have to wonder if the Peyton every football guru gushes over actually shows up. If he does, how long does it last? His first half of the season last year was typical Peyton numbers. He was erratic for the last 8 games due to injuries. So which guy are we going to get? He is still one of the best to ever play, no question, but age is definitely catching up.

5- Miami Dolphins 11-5

Yes, I love the Phins this year. Ndamakung Suh was a big win for Miami. Pairing him on that front line with Oliver Vernon and Cameron Wake will certainly be a trio that is tough to stop. Former LSU star, Jarvis Landry posted a solid rookie campaign with over 700 yards and five touchdowns. Miami was aggressive to get pass catchers this offseason as they snagged receivers Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings, as well as tight end Jordan Cameron. As icing on the cake, they drafted the speedster from Louisville Devante Parker in the first round. All I can say for the latest big money quarterback Ryan Tannehill is…pick your poison.

6- Buffalo Bills 10-6

A lot of people don’t like Rex Ryan as a head coach, but I do. Although I am unsure about Tyrod Taylor as a starting quarterback, it doesn’t matter. That offense is set up for success with running back Lesean McCoy and receiver Sammy Watkins. IF Percy Harvin can stay healthy, that offense is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Defensively, they did lose linebacker Kiko Alonso as part of the McCoy trade, but they still have a front four that includes Marcel Dareus and Mario Williams. With Sexy Rex running the show, that defense won’t miss a beat.

NFC

1- Green Bay Packers 12-4

I know receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the year, but Aaron Rodgers was a fantastic quarterback prior to having Nelson and it won’t change now. Donald Adams showed some flashes of potential last season and he finally gets to showcase it. Plus they still have a healthy Randall Cobb. Not saying you can just replace Nelson, but the best quarterback in the game will be just fine. Unless 12 goes down, they’re still the top dog this year.

2- Philadelphia Eagles 12-4

Unfortunately Sam Bradford has one massive question mark on his head. I was listening to The Herd on Fox Sports today and Troy Aikman said if he stays healthy, Bradford could be an MVP candidate. I don’t know if I am buying that, but I am not selling it either. I hope the former Sooner can stay healthy because I want to see the fireworks that follow.

3- Seattle Seahawks 11-5

Losing center Max Unger in the trade for tight end Jimmy Graham will be tough on the offensive side. Although, I do love that Russell Wilson finally has a big name to throw the rock to. The big question is coming on defense though. Safety Earl Thomas is expected to play in the season opener. Great news for Seattle fans, however, fellow safety Kam Chancellor is unhappy and plans to hold out. The team is still loaded, but that hurts and is why I have them dropping to 11-5.

4- New Orleans Saints 10-6

I feel like I am being a bit of a homer here, but the Saints have a favorable schedule so I think they can manage to sneak out of the division with the title. There are just so many questions. How will the defense rebound with all the injuries? Who is the go-to-guy on offense? Are they really going to focus heavily on the run game? I love that the offensive line is looking damn good again, on paper. The reason Dallas looked like the best team in football come playoff time was their offensive line and of course Demarco Murray. The defense was below average, but it was masked because they were rarely on the field. I think the Saints could use a similar formula to reach the playoffs again.

5- Arizona Cardinals 11-5

Defensively, the Cardinals won’t miss a beat. Offensively, it comes down to Carson Palmer. Much like Sam Bradford, if Palmer can put together a healthy year, this is a dangerous football team. Cardinals already had a solid offensive line and they wound up getting former 49ers guard Mike Iupati, which only boosts the offense.

6- Minnesota Vikings 10-6

Adrian Peterson makes his triumphant return and he finally has a solid signal caller to play off of. Teams will not be able to just stack the box anymore. Good luck covering Mike Wallace if you choose to do so. Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic toward the end of last season notching in a pair of three-hundred-yard outings and managed to not dip below a 68 percent completion rate in the final five contests.

Championship Sunday Picks: 

AFC- Ravens @ Colts

NFC- Seahawks @ Packers

Super Bowl Pick: 

Packers over Colts –

MVP- Aaron Rodgers

Hotard- 10 Best Athletes I have ever seen

As I was driving home from work, an idea popped in my head. I began thinking about the best athletes I have seen during my 24 years in this world and I decided to put together a list of the top 10.
My brainstorming came to 20 total athletes ranging from four different sports: basketball, baseball, football and soccer.
While soccer, baseball and football have always been in my wheelhouse from the time I was a young child, basketball really began to come into the mix around 2009-10. I always followed it, just not as in depth as I do now.
After much self debate and narrowing down, I finally have it. I can confidently say that performing surgery might have been easier.
Before reading ahead, please make notes that I set several ground rules for myself before coming up with the list…
-The athlete must play in a team sport. That means superstars like Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods are ineligible. Trust me, both of them would be on the list otherwise.
-You had to watch the athlete with your own two eyes and understand what you were seeing. Sorry to the people my age who will complain that my list doesn’t have the great Michael Jordan. Why you ask? Because I was 7 when he won his last title. The only recollection I have from Michael Jordan is Space Jam, which trolls may say is reason enough for him to make the list.
-The athlete may not have translated to the professional realm, but perhaps you loved watching them so much in college and it is two to four years you wish you could have back.
The parameters are set. Let’s do it!

Honorable Mention

fullycoveredsports.com

Ken Griffey Jr, Outfielder, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox
Career Stats: .284, 630 Home Runs, 1,836 RBIs

Junior will be the only honorable mention for my list because I feel dirty leaving him off. He was THE GUY growing up in the late 1990’s. Let’s be honest, who didn’t love Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball on Nintendo 64? He was truly a transcendent star because of his “I am here to have fun” kind of attitude. He also had one of the smoothest swings I have ever seen to go along with his smooth demeanor. Unfortunately, the second half of his career was injury-plagued. I always wonder how good his numbers could have been if he stayed healthy? Either way, the Kid will always be one of the greats that I will never forget.

10- Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers
Career Stats: 982 rec, 15,292 yards, 156 TDs

It did not take Moss long to show his talent. The first round pick from Marshall caught 17 touchdowns in his rookie season. From 1998 to 2004, Moss only had one season where he didn’t reach double digits in touchdowns and under 1,200 yards. Everyone thought his career was dead when he joined the Oakland Raiders (Rightfully so). After two long seasons, he returned to form and set the bar for receiving touchdowns in a season with 23 when he jumped ship to the New England Patriots. How many times have you heard someone scream that a defender got “Mossed” in a pick up game? There is a reason for that. Personally, I am glad he revitalized his career when he joined the Patriots because people began to forget how good he really was because of his off the field antics and his two years in limbo.

kobe-bryant-2419- Kobe Bryant, Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 25.4 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 5.4 rebounds per game

Unfortunately, basketball was not a top priority for me when he and Shaq three-peated and tore up the league. However, the black mamba has had enough in the tank to sustain greatness for the last 18 years. The last two or three have been rough though. I started to really get into a basketball around the time of Kobe’s second run with Pau Gasol. Bryant has that “killer instinct” you always hear about. He is also one of the most gifted scorers in the history of the league. Unlike some of the elite scorers of today, like the Houston Rocket’s James Harden, Bryant gave the Lakers both ends of the floor. Because of his scoring ability, I feel like a lot of fans forget that he has accolades for his defensive prowess, like 9 time All-NBA defensive team. Much like Moss, when people shoot turn around jumpers, there’s a reason they yell “Kobe” in your local recreation leagues. He is a true transcendent star of the NBA.

ladainian_tomlinson-3638- LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers and New York Jets
Career Stats: 13,684 rush yards, 145 rush TDs, 4,772 rec yards, 17 TDs

Size, speed, power, the total package for a running back. LT was a blessing to watch through the early 2000’s. The three-time first team all-pro running back played in a time where the backfield fueled the offenses. He currently sits at fifth for most rushing yards and third in total touchdowns for a career. He also holds the record for touchdowns scored in a single season with 31. In 2003, he became the first and only running back to have over 1,000 yards rushing and catch 100 passes. I am just not sure there will ever be another running back who has a 9 year stretch of dominance the way LT did.

soc_g_wambacha_5767- Abby Wambach, United States Forward
Career Stats: 183 international goals, World Cup Champion, Three-time Gold Medalist

The girl has a knack for scoring goals as she holds the international record for women. Not only did she score, she scored when it mattered most. I saw it happen time and time again. The header she sailed in the net during the 122nd minute against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal match will always be a play I remember. It sent the game to a shootout, which the United States went on to win. I remember when Wambach first stormed onto the scene, she garnered comparisons to the great Mia Hamm. Wambach certainly lived up to all of the hype and it was amazing to see her finally get her first and only World Cup as a player.

15556320-mmmain6. Derek Jeter, Shortstop, New York Yankees
Career Stats: .310, 3,465 hits, 260 Home Runs, 1,311 RBIs

Loyalty. Honor. Respect. Jeter epitomizes the type of athlete you want your favorite organization to have. Spending his entire career with the New York Yankees, he helped them claim five World Series Titles. He was probably the most consistent athlete I have seen in my lifetime thus far. I mean, how many times did we see him poke a ball into right field for a base hit? His last at bat EVER was a freaking walk-off hit through the gap between first and second base. I have only seen one Major League Baseball game, which was in Tampa for Jeter’s last season. The second he announced 2014 would be his last year, I knew I had to go see the captain play. In that game, he made the same game winning RBI single he had made his entire career.

FBL-ESP-CUP-BARCELONA-GETAFE5- Lionel Messi, Forward, Barcelona and Argentina
Career Stats: 286 Club Goals, 46 International Goals, Four-Time Footballer of the Year

Messi is the biggest football/soccer star in the world right now. Messi is a god with a soccer ball. How is he so fast, yet so effective in keeping the ball attached to his feet? I have gone on Youtube binges in awe of his highlights. He knows how to slice defenders like butter and then finish at the goal. Despite the Argentine not winning a World Cup, he still receives recognition for arguably being the greatest of all time. He certainly is the best player that I have ever seen.

cnbc_sports_defectors_bonds24- Barry Bonds, Outfield, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants
Career Stats: .298, 762 Home Runs, 1,996 RBIs, 514 Stolen Bases

To all the baseball purists who would scoff that I have Bonds on this list, stop. He was great before he started taking PEDs and he was great after. Baseball was infested with doping and I am tired of the argument so save it. Although I think Bonds is an arrogant jerk, good God he was talented. People forget that before his head and body swelled like a balloon from all the steroids, he was a 30 home run and 30 steal kind of player. On top of the that, he was a phenomenal defender. In 2001, he finished the season with 156 hits, 73 were Home Runs. People can try to erase what he did in his career, but my eyes and mind will always have vivid memories of Bonds crushing the crap out of the ball at the most pitcher-friendly ball park in the MLB.

bloody-tebow3- Tim Tebow, Quarterback ,Florida Gators
Career Stats: 8,927 passing yards, 83 TDs/16 Ints, 2,947 rushing yards, 57 Rush TDs, Heisman Trophy Winner, Three-time Heisman finalist, Two-time National Champion

He is the greatest college football player that I have ever seen, period. Look above to the accolades and it is fairly easy to see why I believe that. His NFL career may not have panned out, but you can’t take away what he did at the college level. Urban Meyer knew he had a special talent in Tebow, which is why he used his QB as his main running back as well. At 6’3 and 240 plus pounds, Tebow is a monster and tough to bring down. If you stacked the box, he had weapons such as Riley Cooper, Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez to throw to. Tebow made it damn near impossible to stop Florida’s offense. I always loved his spirit and competitive nature. There will always be a spot in my memory bank for number 15.

peyton-manning2- Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos
Career Stats: 69,691 Passing Yards, 530 TDs/234 INTs, Five-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl Champion

Peyton Manning was the face of the NFL growing up. You could find him on every other commercial on NFL Sundays. There is a good reason for it, he helped change the game into what the quarterback position is now. Quarterbacks now need a greater understanding for the position before a snap is even taken. They now have to control the line of scrimmage and make pre-snap reads and audible if need be. Still to this day, I don’t believe there is a quarterback in the league who is nearly as good at the line of scrimmage. Towards the end of the season, Manning underperforms due to his age. If the latter for him is 35+ touchdowns and 4,600+ yards, most guys can’t do that in their best season. That’s not too shabby.

AP_lebron3_ml_140711_16x9_9921- LeBron James, Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat
Career Stats: 27.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 6.9 apg, Four-time NBA MVP, Two-time NBA Champion

Since being drafted in 2003, he has been the most decorated player since Michael Jordan. He has also been the most criticized athlete I have ever seen. He has reached the finals five straight years, which is incredible. It is mesmerizing watching him play every year. There isn’t a single athlete who I have enjoyed more than LeBron. At 6’8 and 260+ pounds, he is a mammoth of a man. The fact he can dribble and pass the basketball like a point guard is amazing. There is no weakness in his overall game. He can score, rebound, pass and defend. He can literally do it all. Because of his size, speed and overall athleticism, he can defend a team’s best player regardless of position. That is sick. Even though Cleveland lost this past year’s NBA finals, watching LeBron do what he did during that run is something I don’t think we will ever see again. For all those who hate on him because you worship Michael Jordan, stop and enjoy the show. Put your fists away for a minute and enjoy the talent. There will never be a greater specimen than LeBron James.

BONUS…

While a lot of thought went into my top 10, I started thinking about the top 5 athletes of tomorrow. I will give you a short list of five young stars who I think could make their way onto this top 10 by the time their career is finished.

neymar-may-not-score-as-many-goals-for-barcelona-as-messi-but-he-might-end-up-a-better-international-star-than-even-pele5- Neymar, 23, Forward, Brazil and Barcelona
Career Stats: 44 International Goals, 31 Club Goals

He is one of the brightest young stars in soccer at just 23. Neymar helped lead Brazil all the way to the 2014 Fifa World Cup Finals where they were demolished by Germany in his absence. The fact he is playing alongside Messi on Barcelona will only help him long term.

MLB: NLDS-San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals4- Bryce Harper, 22, Outfield, Washington Nationals
Career: .284, 82 Home Runs, 211 RBIs

I have been following Harper since he was in high school. Hype always surrounded him because of his ability to hit the long ball. So far, he has not been a disappointment. Harper is having a magnificent season in 2015 with a .330 average, 27 home runs and 64 RBIs.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks3- Russell Wilson, 26, Quarterback Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 9.950 Pass yards, 72 TDs/26 INTs, 1,877 Rush yds, 11 rush TDs, Super Bowl Champion

Since coming to Seattle in 2012, he has been to two Super Bowls. I understand he has a great running back in Marshawn Lynch and one of the best defenses of all-time. I seem to remember a young guy by the name of Patriots Tom Brady having a similar set up early in his career, so let’s not use that as a write off to how good Wilson is. The 5’11 quarterback knows how to manipulate the pocket and make plays on the run. I see it about four or five times a game where makes a throw 25-30 yards downfield placing it in a perfect spot to where only the receiver can get to it. I am excited to see what he does with a legitimate go-to guy in Jimmy Graham.

anthony-davis-nba-boston-celtics-new-orleans-pelicans-850x5602- Anthony Davis, 22, Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
Career: 19.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Davis is coming off of a fantastic 2015 campaign where he finished with 24 ppg, 10 rpg and nearly 3 bpg. With new head coach, Alvin Gentry, Davis is about to be milked into an even bigger star now that a high octane offense is coming to the Big Easy and I can’t wait to watch.

Andrew-Luck_crop_north1- Andrew Luck, 25, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 12,957 Pass yards, 86 TDs/43 INTs

When Luck was drafted three years ago, I believed all the hype that he was destined to be a Hall of Fame QB and maybe the greatest to ever play. He took a 3-13 Colts team and made them a playoff contender. In his first three seasons, the Colts have yet to miss the playoffs and he has improved each year working with limited weapons and an abysmal offensive line. No signal caller has been pressured or hit more since Luck has entered the league. Luck has been knocked down or sacked 352 times in three years. Yet, he has not missed the playoffs and also managed to throw 40 touchdowns last season. Yep, I am still believing he could be the greatest of all time 10 years from now.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Hotard’s Top 10 Quarterbacks Heading into 2015-16

As the NFL season knocks on the door, analysts and journalist have began compiling their respective lists of the top signal callers in the NFL.
I figured now would be a good time to take a crack at my top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2015-16 NFL season.
Before I begin my list, keep in mind that the NFL and sports in general are about the “what have you done for me lately,” mentality. I remember when San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick was being looked at as a one of the future gems of the NFL.
After a down year, he is sitting in limbo trying to figure out his identity. It seems like a century ago when Kaep was a stud.
Bottom line, it never ceases to amaze me what a few years of game film and success can do to a quarterback. The game changes quick, so it is best to evolve with it.

LETS BEGIN…

fancloud.com10- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

I may be in the minority to include Tannehill into my top 10, but I love the guy. He has steadily improved his numbers every single year since his rookie season (2012). He finished last year just north of 4,000 yards to pair with a 66% completion rate. Icing on the cake, 27 touchdowns to 12 interceptions isn’t too shabby either. The only knock so far has been his record. He and the Dolphins have not eclipsed eight wins in a season yet, but I am thinking this may be the year.

Joe Flacco fanspeak.com9- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

I remember when Flacco claimed he was the best quarterback in the NFL and everyone laughed. Only problem was, the joke was on them as he went on to win his first and only Super Bowl. Flacco has been one of the more consistent play callers in the league. Since entering the league in 2008, he and the Ravens have only missed the playoffs one season. When the Ravens make the playoffs, Flacco isn’t exactly a quarterback you want to face. The guy has yet to go one-and-done in the postseason and hoists a record of 10-5. In his 15 appearences, he has thrown for 3,223 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Tony_Romo-geeksandcleats8- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Still to this day, he is the most unfairly critiqued quarterback in the NFL simply because of the logo on his helmet. People hate the cowboys thus hating the quarterback. We all know the narrative that Tony Romo is not clutch. FALSE. He has the highest 4th quarter QB rating of ALL TIME. The problem is, all of his meltdowns have typically been when everyone has watched. Many times, it is because he is making a throw into a tight window. Oddly enough, didn’t Brett Favre miss out on two Super Bowls because of that same “gutsy” decision making? When Romo does it, it’s “bone headed.” People, especially fans, always want it both ways. I digress. Bottom line, he is coming off his best season and will always find a way on my top 10 list.

100710-Ben-Roethlisberger-SW-PI_20101007230653_660_3207- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Something about Big Ben that I cannot put my finger on just always leaves him out of the top 5. I watch him play and he is great, don’t get me wrong, but I just have never liked him enough to put him in that top 5 spot. There is no denying his ability to manipulate and move around the pocket and fire downfield. Now that he has a top receiver in Antonio Brown, he will age well moving forward.
Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints6- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Normally, I would stick Brees in the top five, but he has lost that big play ability it seems. I am not sure what to make of Brees heading into 2015. As a Saints fan, I have noticed he held on to the ball too long last year and doesn’t have the same strength to make throws he made three years ago. Is he still one of the best quarterbacks in the league? Absolutely, no question. I’ll take a Brees down year over most guys’ best season. Just not sure he is top five anymore. With some tweaks to the offensive line and moves that signify the Saints could be shifting to a more run-oriented offense, he could go on to have an outstanding year relying on play-action, much like Romo did last year.

5- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Maybe my favorite guy to watch in the NFL right now. His ability to make plays downfield by avoiding the pass rush is incredible. He has helped the Seattle Seahawks reach the last two Super Bowls and I firmly believe (Prediction alert) he is about to make round three. I’m salivating over the fact he now has a big target in Jimmy Graham. For a while, they made hype about how great he is at home because they were literally unbeatable at Century Link Field for two years. More impressive are his numbers on the road and being poised and confident away from the rabid Seattle fans. Last season, Wilson threw for just under 2,000 yards, 14 touchdowns and just 1 interception on the road. For those who have claimed he is a “game manager,” game managers don’t do that.

peyton-manning-run24- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

It is evident that Manning, like Brees, has lost some luster in his arm and wears down more rapidly. However, Manning is still a tower at 6’5. He was on pace to have another historic season early last year, but wear and tear caught up in the second half. He is still one of the most intelligent signal callers of all time. Combine that with his size, the guy won’t be hurting too much to sustain success.

Crouch-Brady-Deflategate-Press-Confrence-12003- Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Part of me wanted to slate him out of the top 5 due to his suspension for Deflategate. The guy is still coming off of his fourth Super Bowl win and sixth appearance. The combination of him and Head Coach Bill Belichick is just unfair. I suspect they will back near the top and fighting for a Super Bowl.

AndrewLuck2- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The most can’t miss QB prospect has been everything he was expected to be and more. It is truly a treat to watch him play. He is the next transcendent star that the NFL has to offer. Luck really is a combination of Peyton Manning (intelligence) and John Elway (athleticism and arm). He could easily make a case for the top spot. It only took Luck three years to toss 40 touchdowns in a season. That is with a sub par offensive line as he has been hit more than any quarterback the last three years and without a true number one receiver.

tumblr_m12fz1K7XN1qdyvixo1_5001- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The two time and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player tops the list, no surprise here. Maybe the most impressive thing about Aaron Rodgers is that he isn’t slinging the ball 40 times per game and yet he still puts up nearly 40 touchdowns and 4,400 yards each season. His touchdown to interception ratio is obnoxious every year. He has a massive arm and can pinpoint it anywhere. Let’s be honest, Rodgers has made a career off the back shoulder throw. No matter, who he throws to, they become stars. RODGERS! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!

Now that I have spewed my top 10 list, share yours below or tell me what an idiot I am because of something that you may not agree with. I welcome it.

The Five Greatest #1 Picks Draft History

Each year there is a huge conversation about who is going to be the next best thing coming into the NFL, however some of those players live up to their potential others just flop away.

Please note three things about this list.

  1. This list was created in a chronological order.
  2. Bo Jackson was not included because he did not play in the season in which he was drafted No. 1.
  3. Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton did not make the list only because they are still in the league.

Year Position Player School Team Drafted By
1949 C, LB Chuck Bednarik Penn Philadelphia Eagles
AP

Accomplishments

  • 8x Pro- Bowler
  • 2x NFL Champion
  • Hall of Famer

Year Position Player School Team Drafted By
1970 QB Terry Bradshaw Louisiana Tech Pittsburgh Steelers

Accomplishments

Photo: AP
Photo: AP
  • 3x Time Pro-Bowler
  • 4x Super Bowl Champion
  • 2x Super Bowl MVP
  • League MVP
  • Hall of Famer
Year Position Player School Team Drafted By
1979 RB Earl Campbell Texas Houston Oilers

Accomplishments

Photo: Geary Broadnax, HP Staff
Photo: Geary Broadnax, HP Staff
  • 5x Pro- Bowler
  • League MVP
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Hall of Famer


Year Position Player School Team Drafted By
1983 QB John Elway Stanford Baltimore Colts

Accomplishments

Photo: AP
Photo: AP
  • 2x Super Bowl Champ
  • 9x Pro- Bowler
  • Super Bowl MVP
  • NFL MVP
  • Hall of Famer

Year Position Player School Team Drafted By
1989 QB Troy Aikman UCLA Dallas Cowboys

Accomplishments

  • 3x Super Bowls
  • 6 Pro Bowls
  • Super Bowl MVP
  • Hall of Famer

Cover Photo: AP

Did your favorite not make the list?

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Bell to miss first three games

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without Pro Bowl running back, Le’Veon Bell for three games because of marijuana possession and a DUI he received last season.

The NFL decision was handed down on Thursday morning. Bell is expected to appeal.

Bell was in the vehicle with then teammate, Legarrette Blount who received a one game suspension for marijuana possession.

Photo: NFL

Mad respect for Chris Borland

At the age of 24, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland decided to call it a career on Monday because of safety issues.

“I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve ever been. For me, it’s wanting to be proactive,” Borland said. “I’m concerned that if you wait ’til you have symptoms, it’s too late. … There are a lot of unknowns. I can’t claim that X will happen. I just want to live a long, healthy life, and I don’t want to have any neurological diseases or die younger than I would otherwise.”- The former Wisconsin Badger said.

I’m sure this was not an easy decision for Borland to make. His career just began and he had already made an impact for the team in the absence of Patrick Willis, who also retired this offseason. What he is commendable. Not everyone is willing to walk away from a huge paycheck in the name of his or her health. He had over $1.8 million left on his contract for the final three years.

In fourteen games, Borland had 108 tackles and 2 interceptions.

Borland told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that he planned to return to school to obtain a degree in sports management.

Personally, I do not know if I could have done it so early in my career. Assuming my dream has always been to make it to the NFL, I would have spent my high school years and college years just to get a taste of my dream. Maybe living out the first contract would have been a better idea. However, if the heart is not in willing to be apart of the NFL why take a roster spot of someone who really wants to play.

Photo by: AP

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Bush and Hawk cut

Wednesday was a tough day for veterans in the NFL as A.J. Hawk, Jacoby Jones, and Reggie Bush were both released by their high profiled teams.

Linebacker, A.J. Hawk, is the leading tackler in Green Bay history with 1,118 in nine seasons. After the season was over he had surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle.

“A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons,” “He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.” Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter reported that Reggie Bush, Lions running back, was shown the door after two seasons. This will save the team over $3 million in 2015. In the 2014-2015 season he only played in eleven games. Detroit has two stud backs, however. Joique Bell and Theo Riddick have the capabilities of being a great combo back duo.

I would think that both players will be highly sought after as second tier players who are still capable of being great.

Photo by: Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America

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20 offensive skill unrestricted free agents every team will want

The players listed below are eligible to become free agents when the period opens on March 10th at 4 p.m. eastern standard time. Players on this list can resign with their respected teams before the free agency period begins.

  1. Dez Bryant, WR

  2. Randall Cobb, WR

  3. Jeremy Maclin, WR 


  4. DeMarco Murray, RB

  5. Demaryius Thomas, WR

  6. Mark Ingram, RB 


  7. Julius Thomas, TE

  8. Reggie Wayne, WR

  9. Frank Gore, RB

  10. Michael Crabtree, WR 


  11. Torrey Smith, WR

  12. C.J. Spiller, RB 


  13. Jordan Cameron, TE

  14. Charles Clay, TE 


  15. Ryan Matthews, RB

  16. Justin Forsett, RB

  17. Steven Ridley, RB

  18. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB 


  19. Cecil Shorts, WR

  20. Shane Vereen, RB

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Super Bowl Halftime Performer Katy Perry Top 10

This week’s top 10 features the Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer, Katy Perry.

Perry joins Bruno Mars, The Who, Prince, Beyoncé, Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson, and many other previous headlining acts.

As of now we know that only Lenny Kravitz will be performing alongside the Grammy-winner.

Every Friday on the Breakfast Club, a weekday syndicated radio show on Power 105.1 out of New York, DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God perform a karaoke version of Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)”. It’s a man jam that we can all sing and belt out, regardless of gender.

The Super Bowl will be on NBC in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ on February 1.

The Songs that did not make the top 10.

California Girls


Part of Me


Wide Awake


The Katy Perry Top 10.

10. The One That Got Away


9. Hot N Cold


8. Waking Up in Vegas


7. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) 


6. E.T.


To continue to the top 5 Katy Perry songs please continue to the next page. 

5 Things to watch instead of the Pro Bowl

Personally speaking, the Pro Bowl and all other all-star games are jokes. Yes, it’s great that all of our favorite players come together for one night, but really there’s no game. No one takes the event serious. It’s just another way for the NFL to expand revenue and we, as football lovers will watch anything that has football in the description.

However, there are 7 things that will be a bit more exiting than the Pro Bowl Sunday night, which is at 8 PM EST.

1. Catch up on House of Cards. It returns February 27.


2. The Royal Rumble will be happening on the WWE Network for $9.99.

Picture by: Jonathan Bachman Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar
Picture by: Jonathan Bachman
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar

3. Screen Actors Guild Awards on TNT

boyhood


4. 4th Round of the Australian Open

Paul Kane / Getty Images AsiaPac
Paul Kane / Getty Images AsiaPac

5. Cutthroat Kitchen

blog.foodnetwork.com
blog.foodnetwork.com

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Falcons new stadium is… WOW

The Atlanta Falcons will open the 2017 season inside a brand new home.

Below is a video of what the new stadium will look like inside and outside.

The new home is being estimated at $1.2 billion dollars.

The Dirty Birds have played in the Georgia Dome since 1992.

This is not only stadium that is being constructed in Atlanta. The Braves will open SunTrust Park also in 2017.

For a an up to the minute update on the Falcons new playground you can head to newstadium.atlantafalcons.com/.

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2015 NFL Championship Preview

The playoffs continue this weekend with two rematches from the regular season. Now I’m not one to brag, but in my preseason Super Bowl selection I said that Seattle would face Indianapolis in Arizona. I also said that Jay Gruden would win Coach of the Year, but that is beside the point and has nothing to do with this conversation.

The playoffs continue this weekend with two exact rematches from the regular season. Now I’m not one to brag, but in my preseason Super Bowl selection I said that Seattle would face Indianapolis in Arizona. I also said that Jay Gruden would win Coach of the Year, but that is beside the point and has nothing to do with this conversation.

Green Bay vs. Seattle 3:05 PM EST FOX

In the regular season opener Seattle manhandled the Packers 36-16. Russell Wilson passed for two touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards and two scores. Aaron Rodgers threw one pass for a touchdown, but the running game never got going for GB. The team had a total of 80 yards on the ground. Also, in that game Rodgers did not consider challenging Richard Sherman.

For Green Bay to win this week they will need a healthy Rodgers because the Seattle D will make him move around to make plays. Eddie Lacy will have to touch the ball early and often.

The Seahawks will need to do more than lean on Russell Wilson. In a lot of the games late in the season he had to make plays with his feet to stay alive. Good thing Wilson has the Legion of Boom on his side.

Who wins?

I have to stay true to my preseason selection and go with the Hawks. The defense has been on fire since they have become healthy. I also believe that Rodgers’ calf injury will play a huge part in this game. Last week he was able to adjust, but please know that the Dallas D is not the Seattle D.

Score: 24-17


Indianapolis vs. New England 6:40 PM EST CBS

In the first meeting between these two AFC foes the Pats ran over the Colts. Remember the name Jonas Gray. Don’t worry I didn’t remember him either. Gray had his coming out party that Sunday night in Indy. He rushed for 201 yards and four scores. Ahmad Bradshaw injured his lower left leg in the contest and was later put on IR along side the Indy running game. The team also has a little media attention. You can read the articles about Trent Richardson and Josh McNary here.

To me the Colts are still a mystery. Andrew Luck in just his third year in the NFL is the only threat the Patriots really need to be aware. Daniel Herron appears to be a good back, but he is not consistent. Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton are both healthy so expect Luck to be passing all game log. Maybe he might take a trip to Revis Island.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are gonna have some type of new offensive strategy for this game. Maybe they will use four linemen again. It’s possible that LeGarrette Blount may lead a heavy rushing attack. Who knows?

Who wins?

The right thing for me to do is to go with my previous selection and select the Colts. However, that is not the team that will win this contest. New England wins because of experience and a more balanced attack.

Score: 38-24


There it is New England vs. Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX


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Josh McNary placed on Exempt List

Josh McNary, linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, was placed on the exempt list early Thursday morning.

The 26-year-old has been charged with rape, battery resulting in bodily injury, and criminal confinement with bodily injury.

The Colts organization put out a statement that said:

“After reviewing the documents supporting the very serious criminal charges filed yesterday afternoon against Josh McNary, the Colts have requested Commissioner Goodell to immediately place Josh on the league’s Commissioner Exemption list,” the Colts said in a statement released Thursday.

“That designation will permit the investigation provided by the league’s Personal Conduct Policy to run its course and will afford Josh the opportunity to focus on his defense against the charges. The Colts sincerely hope this extraordinarily serious matter will be resolved expeditiously and that justice will prevail.”

McNary, 2nd year player, “unhesitatingly” denies the rape allegations.

He may not be apart of any team activities. He may not practice or attend any games.

He had 28 combined tackles and .5 sacks.

The Colts take this field this weekend in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.

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Bowles Joins Jets

Todd Bowles told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he will become the 18th head coach of the New York Jets. He will be signing a four-year deal.

Bowles had been the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals for the past two seasons. This season the Cards defense was 8th in defense, 3rd in passing yards allowed, and 12th in rushing yards allowed.

Now that the Jets job has been taken only five head coaching vacancies remain. They are Denver, San Francisco, Oakland, Atlanta, and Chicago.

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Fox and Broncos Go Separate Ways

It has been reported that John Fox will no longer be the coach of the Denver Broncos.

Under Fox the Denver went 46-18 and 3-3 in the playoffs. His total record as a head coach is 119-89.

On Sunday, Peyton Manning said that he is unsure about his future. Are these two things related? Who knows, but if Manning plays next season the Denver coaching position will be the most desirable.

I would assume that John Fox’s name will come up in other head coach conversations. Chicago, New York (A), Oakland, San Francisco, and Atlanta all have vacancies.

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Richardson a bust?

Trent Richardson will not suit up for the Indianapolis Colts divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos. He will be a healthy inactive player.

Last week, Richardson played only one snap.

So, is it time to label Richardson a bust? Typically, when young athletes go to the University of Alabama they expect to have a great career. As a member of the “Roll Tide” he had over 3,700 total yards. He was so good that the Cleveland Browns drafted him third overall in 2012. (Go figure)

In 17 games with the Browns, he rushed for 1,055 before being traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

As a Colt, he rushed for a lackluster 977 yards in the past two seasons. His career average is 3.3 yards per rush.

Hopefully, he gets a chance with another team next year, but as of now the future for Trent Richardson seems very unsuccessful.

You may also like to see the preview of the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

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2015 NFL Divisional Round Preview

After going a perfect 4-0 last week I return to inform everyone of what’s going to occur during the 2015 divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The “few notes section” does come from ESPN.

Saturday Games

Baltimore vs. New England 4:35 EST NBC

Personally, I believe the first game of the divisional round will be the best one.

Joe Flacco leads a hot Ravens squad into Foxboro. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards over the regular season and Justin Forsett rushed for over 1,200. Their balanced attack has been elevated thanks to the Smith twins, Steve and Torry. The biggest weapon that Baltimore has, however, is the defense. No one will run the ball against them. NOBODY! Which means it will be tough for the non-existent Pats running game. Jonas Gray and LaGarrette Blount will not rush for over 50 yards combined.

New England does have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Do they need any more? I can’t tell you anything you do not know about what they will do. Expect Gronk to have at least 6 receptions for 120.

Few Notes:

  • Tom Brady is 1-2 in his postseason career at home against the Ravens, and 11-1 against everyone else.
  • Joe Flacco has 10 playoff wins (5 straight) since he entered the league in 2008, twice as many as any other QB in the NFL. His 7 road playoff wins and 11 road playoff starts are most by any QB in NFL history.
  • In Tom Brady’s career, he has 7 postseason game-winning drives, more than 3 times the amount of any other remaining QB in the playoffs. In fact, if you added up the total game-winning drives in the playoffs from the other 7 QB in the postseason, Flacco, Wilson, Romo, Manning, Luck, Rodgers and Newton they would equal…7…the same amount of game-winning postseason drives as Brady.

Who wins?

Baltimore rolls once again. The defense will win it for them and Flacco won’t lose it. Brady will at least have two picks.

Score: 24-17


Carolina vs. Seattle 8:15 EST FOX

It’s the battle of the read offense and the two best mobile quarterbacks in the NFL.

The Panthers are riding a five game winning streak and Cam is looking better than ever. Who knew that getting in a wreck could be a good thing? Carolina has always been a running team and the help of healthy running backs, Stewart and Williams, the Panthers could be a tough out.

The defending champs seem to be everyone’s pick to win it all. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because they have home field advantage and the Legion of Doom is back. Russell Wilson is carrying the offense because he doesn’t have a respectable receiver. Doug Baldwin has been MIA for the majority of the season.

Few Notes:

  • The Panthers and Seahawks follow the same plan: run the ball and play defense. Since Week 12, the two teams have been the best in several key rushing and defensive stats.
  • At least one road team was won in the Divisional playoffs in the previous nine seasons (2005-13), the second-longest streak in NFL history (road team won in 13 straight years from 1975-87). 2004 was the last season in which all four home teams won on Divisional weekend.
  • The Panthers and Seahawks have combined for 69 points in their previous three meetings and the two teams have only scored touchdowns on two of their 15 red-zone drives.

Who wins?

This will be a tough defensive game. The score will be tight. Seattle will soar.

Score: 20-17


Sunday Games 

Dallas vs. Green Bay 1:05 FOX

This game will be played on the frooooozen tundra. The running backs will be the feature of this contest. I see big games for both Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray.

Dallas was lead by the great of the referees last week. That was not professional, but the ‘boys should have lost. I still can’t ignore the great play of Tony Romo. He has lead this team far better than in years before. In the second half last week, it was fair for spectators to assume he was going to throw a costly interception but he didn’t.

Green Bay has a gigantic quarterback question. Is Aaron Rodgers healthy? We will be able to see how good that leg is after kickoff. Lacy will have to be driving force behind the Packers offense.

Few Notes:

  • Aaron Rodgers’ calf injury could limit his mobility. No QB has more Pass TD (33) from out of the pocket than Rodgers the last 5 seasons.
  • Including playoffs, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home in his last 477 pass attempts. He’s played 16 games since his last interception at home, throwing 38 Pass TD in that time.
  • The Cowboys went 8-0 on the road this season. The Packers went 8-0 at home this season. According to Elias, only once since the merger has an unbeaten home team hosted an unbeaten road team in the playoffs. In 1972 the Dolphins (7-0 on the road) defeated the Steelers (7-0 at home) 21-17 in the AFC Conference Championship game.

Who wins?

How Bout Dem Cowboys?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Especially, if Chris Christie shows up.

Score: 30-24


Indianapolis vs. Denver 4:40 EST CBS

This is the battle of old versus new. Many people have already proclaimed Andrew Luck as a Hall of Famer and G.O.A.T. but he will still has yet to go to a conference championship. Is he Peyton Manning? No!

As I stated last week, it will be difficult for Indy to do anything on offense because of their ability to run the ball. He will have to pass over 45 times if his team wants an opportunity and his defense will have to show up and stop the run for once. CJ Anderson cannot have a huge game. If he does, the Colts don’t stand a chance.

The Broncos have Peyton Manning. End of story.

Few Notes:

  • Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Peyton Manning ranked 30th in red zone completion percentage (39 percent) and 22nd in red zone Total QBR (18) out of 32 qualified quarterbacks. Manning ranked first in both completion percentage (78 percent) and Total QBR (97) in the red zone in the season’s first 12 weeks.
  • Peyton Manning was off target on seven of his 16 red zone passes to Demaryius Thomas in the last five weeks of the regular season. Thomas had more drops (2) than receptions (1) in the red zone during that span.

Who wins?

Denver wins and it won’t be close.

Score: 35-21

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2015 NFL Wild Card Preview

The 2015 NFL Wild Card round is will begin this weekend and there will be four great contests. All of the “few notes” are from ESPN Stats and Information.

Saturday Games

Arizona vs. Carolina

I would not want to face the Panthers in the post season. This team is smoking hot. They’re riding a four game win streak and the defense is firing on all cylinders. They beat Atlanta 34-3 last week to get into the playoffs. Just because they are 7-8-1 DO NOT take this team lightly. Since Cam Newton’s wreck they have seemed to be invincible.

For the banged up Cards, they must be feeling like they are the most underrated team remaining. Injuries have mounted at nearly every skill position, but they have been able to implement the next man up philosophy. Ryan Lindley is a third string quarterback who will have to lead this team to possibly four victories. Is it possible?

Few Notes

  • Over the last 10 seasons, the Panthers are the 5th team to make the playoffs with a record of .500 or worse…each of the previous 3 teams went on to win in the Wild Card round.
  • Teams that finished .500 or worse in the regular season have won 5 of their last 6 Wild Card games. No team that finished .500 or worse has made it past the Divisional Playoffs, however.
  • From Elias: If Ryan Lindleystarts for the Cardinals, he will be the 7th QB since the 1970 merger to start a playoff game after having 1-or-fewer regular-season wins as a starter. Those QBs are a combined 2-4 and haven’t won since Gifford Nielsen won in 1979 for the Oilers.

Who wins?

I believe that this game will not be close. Bruce Arians has done a phenomenal job at motivating his team and preparing his troops for the next battle. However, Carolina is clicking and it will be tough for Arizona to stay in it.

Score: 27-10


Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh

This is the only divisional contest this weekend and it is fueled by hatred and that alone. The squads split the regular season contests by both winning on their home turf. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14.

Baltimore clinched the final playoff spot by defeating the Browns in there finale 20-10. They have a balanced offense that is being fueled by the strong running of Justin Forsett. He shockingly ran for over 1200 yards.

It’s still no secret that I have had it in for the Steelers all season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been more consistent than the Steelers. Remember this is the same team that lost to both the Bucs and Jets. They have won four games straight so they will be looking to keep their spark lit. The biggest question mark for Pitt is the health of arguably the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell. He has a right knee injury and he did not practice on Thursday.

Bell said, “I feel really good. I didn’t expect to be feeling this well this early. But I am, so I’m just going to take it day by day and see where it goes.”

Few Notes

  • Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14
  • The Steelers were an NFL-best 6-1 against teams that finished over .500 this season.
  • The Ravens are 6-1 in the Wild Card Playoffs in team history, the best record in the NFL among the 29 teams to play at least 4 Wild Card games.

Who wins?

Well if I have not been that excited the Steelers through the regular season, do you really think I pick them now. Baltimore wins by a field goal.

Score: 23-20


Sunday Games

Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis

I have no idea what to expect in this contest. Both teams have the ability to put up points, but they can also stink up the joint. On paper we can expect a high scoring game, but if it is low scoring I would not be surprised.

The only way Cincinnati can win is if AJ Green plays. He did not practice on Friday due to the NFL concussion protocol. Can Andy Dalton lead this team to victory win it counts? Will the Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard run for at least 150 to take some pressure off of Dalton? There are way too many questions and I have no answers.

I have the same doubts about Indy. They can’t run the ball. The defense is more off pitch than Idina Menzel singing at a New Year’s Eve performance. Click here for the performance.

Few Notes

  • Marvin Lewis has lost his 1st 5 postseason games as head coach. Lewis has won 100 games in the regular season and joins Jim Mora as the only coaches with at least 100 wins and 0 postseason wins in NFL history.
  • The Colts defense allowed just 7 pass TD and a 27.1 Total QBR at home this season, both best in the NFL.
  • The Bengals had 135 yards of offense and went 1-of-13 on 3rd down in the Week 7 shutout loss to the Colts. It was the Bengals worst offensive performance since getting shutout in Week 17 against the Jets in 2009, when the starters didn’t play the full game.
  • Andrew Luck has thrown 8 interceptions in 3 career playoff games. Luck is the 1st QB to throw 8+ interceptions in his 1st 3 playoff games since Dan Fouts (1979-80 seasons).

Who wins?

By default I have to give the win to the Colts.

Score: 27-17


Detroit vs. Dallas

This will be the best matchup over the course of the weekend. This will be a battle of the lines. Can the Cowboys o-line stop the Detroit d-line? The Lions have been the best team against the run this season only allowing 69 yards per outing.

Matthew Stafford will have to have a perfect game if he wants to beat the ‘Boys. I’m sure Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will some pressure off of Stafford, but he cannot have another playoff letdown.

Dallas very well may be the best team in the league. They can pass, run, and defend. Murray and Romo have both made claims for the MVP award. They finished 6-1 to polish a very good regular season.

Few Notes

  • If history tells us anything, the Cowboys should go ahead and pack their bags for Green Bay. Matthew Staffordis 0-16 in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, the 3rd-most losses without a win in such games for any quarterback since the 1970 merger.
  • The Lions allowed an NFL-low 3.3 yards per rush on first down during the regular season. Only three teams have allowed fewer yards per rush on first down in a season in the last five years.
  • With Nick Fairleyreturning to practice, the Lions run defense could get another boost after Ndamukong Suh’s suspension was overturned earlier in the week. The Lions allowed 2.48 yards per rush against 86 carries with that duo on the field together this season. Those numbers dropped off significantly when 1, or both were out of the game.

Who wins?

How ‘bout the Cowboys????

Score: 31- 20

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Week 17 NFL, Black Monday, Hot Seat, Picks

Normally, I give a huge spill about what’s huge storylines, but this week there is only one storyline. It’s either win or go home.

AFC North

If you had asked me a few weeks if these two teams would make the playoffs I would have laughed in your face. Jeremy Hill seems to be a great compliment to Gio Bernard. With both in the backfield Andy Dalton should have more time to throw the rock. It is no secret that I have been a little mean to the Steeler Nation. I still don’t believe them however to go deep into the playoffs.

NFC North

There will be a huge game on the “Frozen Tundra” known as Lambeau Field. Green Bay has been unstoppable at home this season. They are 7-0 and averaging 41.1 points per game. Detroit is hot on offense. The question is will the front line be able to put some kind of pressure on Rodgers.

NFC South

Both the Falcons and Panthers deserve a playoff spot by the way they have both ended the season. Both teams are on hot and they have apparently saved both of their head coach’s jobs. I have no problem with a team under .500 making the playoffs as long as they have some type of positive momentum ending the regular season.

AFC Wildcard

Teams are still jockeying for the final AFC Wildcard spot. San Diego has the opportunity to serve out for the position. They will travel to Kansas City for a chance to do that. Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City are all still alive.

Josh Gordon

Earlier this week he was suspended by the Browns for the regular season finale against the Ravens.

Final Hot Seat

I can see the following teams cleaning house:

  • Chicago
  • Oakland
  • New York (A)
  • New York (N)

Last Week:    10-6

Overall:          169-80-1

Percentage:   .676

NEW ENGLAND over Buffalo

BALTIMORE over Cleveland

WASHINGTON over Dallas

MINNESOTA over Chicago

HOUSTON over Jacksonville

Indianapolis over TENNESSEE

MIAMI over New York (A)

San Diego over KANSAS CITY

TAMPA BAY over New Orleans

NEW YORK (N) over Philadelphia

ATLANTA over Carolina

DENVER over Oakland

GREEN BAY over Detroit

SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona

SEATTLE over St. Louis

PITTSBURGH over Cincinnati

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Week 16, Storylines, Picks, Cleveland, MVP, OROY, McDonald

There is a big bear in the room and we need to address it. I like Jay Cutler there I said it. (See week 11 post and week 8) Should he have been the highest paid offensive player in the league? No, but who else could Chicago have gotten to be their starter. This has been a let down season for Cutler, but this is not completely his fault. I blame coaching and defense. When the defense allows so many points, the quarterback must take more risks to catch back up. Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league, why is he not touching the ball? It’s a shame Jay played better under Lovie Smith, a defensive minded coach, than Marc Trestman. The entire front office should be cleared out.

Jimmy Clausen will get the start this Sunday.

Week 16 Storylines

  • The Marcus Mariota Bowl will be on Thursday, as the Titans will face the Jags. Is that a reason to watch? Uh no.
  • Really, who wants to win the NFC South?
  • Can RG3 save his Washington roster spot?
  • Will DeMarco Murray play just days after having hand surgery?
  • Is Phillip Rivers healthy enough to lead his team to a possible playoff spot?

Offensive Rookie of the Year

  1. Mike Evans
  2. Kelvin Benjamin
  3. Odell Beckham Jr.

MVP Race

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. DeMarco Murray
  4. JJ Watt
  5. Peyton Manning
  6. Russell Wilson

I don’t understand the argument against JJ Watt winning the MVP. The Texans would still be a contender for the number one pick without Watt. According to ESPN Watt has 16.5 sacks, 64 combined tackles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 5 total touchdowns. I think of JJ the way I think of a pitcher in baseball A pitcher has a specialty but they can affect the scoreboard and momentum and the same applies to Watt. Clayton Kershaw (in the regular season) = JJ Watt.

Teams that have clinched a playoff berth:

Arizona, New England, Indianapolis, and Denver

Manziel

Johnny Manziel will never be mentioned in the MVP Race of peewee league. Anyone knows me knows that I am not one to brag. Refer back to last week’s article about the switch to Johnny Interception. Oh, I also mentioned it in Week 14. You may now call me Mr. Cleo.

Ray McDonald

Click here to read the article written earlier this week about him.

Jon Gruden

The former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach announced Monday night that he signed an extension to remain in the Monday Night Football booth through 2021. Hopefully, this puts an end to all of the rumors about him heading back to the sidelines. This is a huge announcement for the Gruden family. His brother Jay, coach of Washington, may need a new gig in the next couple of years.

Head Coaching Vacancies

These are the jobs that are certain to be open on Black Monday:

San Francisco

New York (N)

Chicago

New York (A)

Atlanta

Oakland

Possibly Tennessee & Jacksonville

Last Week:      12-4

Overall:             159-74-1

Percentage:     .679

JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee

Philadelphia over WASHINGTON

San Diego over SAN FRANCISCO

Baltimore over HOUSTON

Detroit over CHICAGO

Kansas City over PITTSBURGH

New England over NEW YORK (A)

CAROLINA over Cleveland

Green Bay over TAMPA BAY

MIAMI over Minnesota

Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS

Buffalo over OAKLAND

ST. LOUIS over New York (N)

Indianapolis over DALLAS

Seattle over ARIZONA

CINCINNATI over Denver

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