Tag Archives: Tom Brady

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’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.

Super Bowl Preview

Wow, I can’t believe that I have now written twenty-one NFL previews this season. For those of you keeping score at home that’s seventeen regular season, three playoff games, and one Super Bowl. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for someone who has read all of these previews.

Before we get to the game, let’s remember that Katy Perry will be performing at halftime with Lenny Kravitz. You can view the Katy Perry top 10 songs here.

Anyways, let’s get back to football. This Sunday the New England Patriots will face Seattle Seahawks.

I’m sure you already know about Deflategate, so I we will stroll around that topic.

New England’s offense will have to depend on someone besides Tom Brady and the Gronk. Everyone knows that Bill Belichick will have some trick up his sleeve. People are expecting LaGarrette Blount to have a huge game, but will Belichick go to Jonas Gray instead. The Patriots also have a great defense led by a vacation destination Revis Island. New England is solid team that will be tough to beat.

Quick question: If the Patriots win, is it fine to say that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time? He would have four rings in six trips to the big dance. The same question applies for Belichick. Reply below with what you think.

The Seattle defense will have to set the pace for the offense, however they are banged up. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were both injured in the Seahawks last outing against Green Bay. Both players have been participants in practice all week.

”I feel so much better. Each day, it’s surprised me because this is my first time with the injury and you don’t know what to expect. It has been just positive results from the trainers.” Thomas said.

Russell Wilson has been the heartbeat for the Seahawks all season. He personally, has engineered the offense. It surely has not been his lifeless teammates known as receivers.

Mr. I’m Just Here So I Don’t Get Fined will also need to have a beast mode type of game.

Who wins?

This game is really the battle between good and evil or old vs. young. Will we see a changing of the guard? Can the Seahawks defeat another Hall of Famer in the Super Bowl? I am going with the New England Patriots. This team was left for dead at the beginning of the season. Someone even asked Coach Belichick if Brady should be benched. Regardless of how you feel about this team, you have to acknowledge their success.

Score 31-27

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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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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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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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NFL, Week 11, Picks, Adrian Peterson, and maybe a little Taylor Swift

You know, I feel heartbroken. I have gone far out of my way to support a few teams this season and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. The only other person who knows who knows about this degree of heartbreak is Taylor Swift. Her most recent classic “Blank Space” has inspired me to fill in the blank space that a few teams have created.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are overrated beyond belief. So this team dominated both the Colts and Ravens, but the couldn’t beat the sorry Jets. Quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, and Phillip Rivers have all lit up the Jets, but Mr. twelve-touchdown passer, Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t pass gas against the New York. I have no faith in Pittsburgh. Actually, no one should have faith in Steelers. Earlier, in the season the Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. I sincerely like Mike Tomlin, but I believe he is ready to take over a new position with a team that worth his talents.

By the way, who was the genius that decided to invite Justin Beiber to bible study? His music career has been hit by a steel curtain for gosh sake. Why keep losers around your team? He screws up everything he is involved with.

Chicago Bears

Fans of Da Bears should feel extremely disgusted by the lack of production the extremely talented team has put on the field. Jay Cutler is making Brian Hoyer look like Tom Brady. A few weeks ago I said that Jay was not the only reason for the mournful play of the Chicago team. Since week seven the defense has allowed 133 points. Marc Trestman should be shown the door. The team has gotten significantly worse since he has taken over leadership over the franchise.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton should apply for Affordable Healthcare. Apparently, Cam Newton is still not 100%. It also doesn’t help that his offensive line is worse than the secret service. Below is the list of quarterback hits in the past four seasons:

  1. Cam Newton 531
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick 272
  3. Alex Smith 257
  4. Joe Flacco 254

No one can make a great play when they are lying on the ground. Ron Rivera has done a fantastic job as head coach, but if I were he I would be checking out prices for U-Haul rentals.

Week 11 Storylines

  • Is it possible for the Cards to remain at the top of the league without Carson Palmer?
  • Can the Seahawks beat a quality Chiefs team?
  • Will the Giants show they are worth something as they face the 9ers?
  • Can the Chip Kelly system defeat GB? The winner may be the Ayatollah of the NFC.
  • Which team is actually 2nd best in the AFC? Is it Indy or NE?
  • Is Cincy worth anything?
  • Can Teddy lead his team to a win at Soldier Field?

Adrian Peterson

Hopefully, AP gets reinstated this week. He should be allowed back into the league immediately because what he did is questionable. What do I mean by questionable? He is this harsh violent football player, but he was not charged with any crime. I know people who were not whipped who turned out to be good people and I also know some who are now the scum of the earth. I ended up fine. Every time I did something wrong I was whipped. It’s how I learned right from wrong. Peterson thought he did the right thing for his child and the NFL should not be able to punish him for that.

Week 11

Last Week:                9-4

Total:                         107-49-1

Percentage:               .682

Byes

New York (A), Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville

FYI: 1st time this season I have been confused on more than one game.

MIAMI over Buffalo

CLEVELAND over Houston

CHICAGO over Minnesota

Denver over St. Louis

NEW YORK (N) over San Francisco

CAROLINA over Atlanta

Cincinnati over NEW ORLEANS

KANSAS CITY over Seattle

WASHINGTON over Tampa Bay

Detroit over ARIZONA

SAN DIEGO over Oakland

GREEN BAY over Philadelphia

INDIANAPOLIS over New England

TENNEESSEE over Pittsburgh

Week 9 Preview, NFL, London, Storylines, Hot Seat, Love/Hate

by Regis Welch

Follow at @regisjwelch

Down the Line Sports

Normally, I write a positive lead, but for week 9 that task seems impossible. Last week, I seen some of the worst play I have ever seen in any sport. Jets quarterback, Geno Smith, played worse than Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez combined. Do you know how bad you have to play to do that? Before he was pulled for Michael Vick, Smith had already thrown three picks en route to a QBR less that 0.1. Watching this team seriously made my eyes hurt.

Two weeks ago the entire city of Chicago wanted to kill Jay Cutler, but he was not the reason they lost last week. Da Bears were trumped 51-23 in Boston. Their defense had no answers for Brady, Gronkowski, or LaFell. I really don’t understand this team. Chicago is way too good to be so bad.

I remember when the Oakland Raiders was a respected sports franchise. Now, they are possibly worse than President Obama’s approval rating on foxnews.com. I like Derek Carr and the receivers that he has, but that’s about it. The coaching is awful and the defense is miserable. Al Davis is rolling over in his grave and the people in the faithful black hole should consider giving up their season tickets for the foreseeable future.

Week 9 Storylines

  • Who really is better Peyton or Brady?
  • Can Tony Romo stay healthy for the duration of the season? We’ve talked so much about DeMarco Murray playing in all sixteen games, but no one has mentioned Romo. They cannot win without him, but they can lose with him.
  • Who are the Houston Texans? This week against Philly they will have an opportunity to play like the playoff team they should be.
  • What is Washington thinking? Do they ever think? Colt McCoy has won back-to-back games and they bench him. RG3 has garbage when he was healthy and Kirk Cousins played like a Jets quarterback. In the NFC East it is never too late for a team to make a come back and win the division. Expect Robert Griffin to come back to the trainer’s room within the next three weeks. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
  • Can Ben Roethlisberger repeat his record-breaking performance last week? Heinz Field is still on fire as Big Ben had his way with the Colts.

London

londonpub.com.au
londonpub.com.au

For the life of me I cant understand why the NFL wants to take over the London market and put a team there. This week we will have the Seattle Seahawks go against the London Monarchs. Who will want to travel all that way? How about putting an NFL team in LA, Portland (OR), Toronto, Mexico City, Maui, Vegas, or San Antonio. Remember NFL Europe, how did that end? The Beijing Communists, Australian Kangaroos, Egypt Pyramids, and the Rome Chicken Parmesans will be on the docket ten years from now.

Coaches on the Hot Seat

nydailynews.com
nydailynews.com
  • Rex Ryan- I like him, but he knows that he has been set up to fail this season. The Jets have way too much cap room not to bring in quality players. Last week, the Jets had a receiver playing cornerback. With all of that money they can’t get a mediocre cornerback or quarterback. Something seems off. I hope he get another head coaching job.
  • Marvin Lewis- This Bengals coach has had a great team since he’s been in Cincy, but he has not made a significant push in the post season. Nothing will change this year. The AFC will run through New England and Denver. Cincinnati will have no say so.
  • Tom Coughlin- This two-time SB champion has run out of luck. I predict that the G-Men will go 7-9 and miss the playoffs. Since Coughlin joined the team in 2004 they have missed the playoffs in five of his ten seasons.s

The team I am beginning to LOVE:

Arizona- This was the best team last season to not make the playoffs and they are now showing teams that they are for real. Carson Palmer is possibly playing the best ball that he has ever played and he is doing it by not passing to Larry Fitzgerald on every down. They are also +9 on turnovers. I do not, however, like the way Patrick Peterson is playing. He is a shadow of what he was last season. Quarterbacks are no longer afraid to go after him.

The team I am beginning to HATE:

San Diego- The Chargers started the off hot, but they are starting to simmer off. Phillip Rivers is a great QB, but there is only so much he can do on the offensive side of the ball. Brandon Oliver has done an okay job in starting in the place of Ryan Matthews, but they need more. Especially since Denver is starting to pull away in the AFC West.

Dummy of the Week:

This award was made for Lamar Houston. His Bears were being blown out. Houston got a sack on the Patriots backup QB before he decided to celebrate. In which this happened.

lamear.0

Last Week:    9-6

Total:             79-41-1

Percentage:   .653

Byes: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee 

CAROLINA over New Orleans

CLEVELAND over Tampa Bay

Arizona over DALLAS

KANSAS CITY over New York (A)

MINNESOTA over Washington

CINCINNATI over Jacksonville

Philadelphia over HOUSTON

MIAMI over San Diego

SAN FRANCISCO over St. Louis

SEATTLE over Oakland

Baltimore over PITTSBURGH

Indianapolis over NEW YORK (N)

NFL Midseason Award Ceremony

NFL shield
NFL shield

As we have reached the half- way point of the NFL season it is time to give out awards and announce the Power Rankings

MVP– Tom Brady

The Golden Boy has done the most with the talent, or lack thereof, around him thus far.

Most Improved Team- New Orleans Aints, I mean Saints

Okay, it is apparent that I hate this team more than the Tea Party hates poor people, but I must give this team their just do.  For people who do not think that coaching is important, Sean Payton and Rob Ryan have worked wonders for the Aints.

Coach of the Year– Andy Reid

The Chiefs have the best record, and no one expected the team to be this good.

Biggest Disappointment (Player)– Larry Fitzgerald

No, he has played great, but the Cardinals franchise has failed Larry.  He deserves to be apart of a better team.  Maybe a team that would appreciate his efforts on the gridiron.

Biggest Disappointment (Team)– Tampa Bay

The team spent a great deal of money for an 0-8 record.

Rookie of the Year– Geno Smith

The J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS are 5-4 and this team has risen.

Power Rankings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. Indianapolis Colts
  5. New England Patriots
  6. Green Bay Packers
  7. San Francisco 49ers
  8. New Orleans Saints***
  9. Cincinnati Bengals
  10. Carolina Panthers
  11. Detroit Lions
  12. Chicago Bears
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Philadelphia Eagles
  15. New York Jets
  16. San Diego Chargers
  17. Miami Dolphins
  18. Tennessee Titans
  19. Cleveland Browns
  20. Washington Redskins
  21. Arizona Cardinals
  22. Baltimore Ravens
  23. St. Louis Rams
  24. Buffalo Bills
  25. Pittsburgh Steelers
  26. Oakland Raiders
  27. New York Giants
  28. Atlanta Falcons
  29. Houston Texans
  30. Minnesota Vikings
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars

***Personally, the worst team ever, but they are far from #1.