Tag Archives: New York Jets

Weekly Nickel 9-10-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Much will be expected from Mark Trumbo (left) and Albert Pujols (right) if the Angels want to make a playoff run.

By Josh Kramer

Football, football, and more football.  How nice was it to have a Saturday and Sunday jam-packed with football action?  Your weekends may be less productive, but more entertaining for the forseeable future.  Not to mention we are nearing the end of the MLB regular season and the Chase for the Cup is on.  Last week was fun, but you better believe that this week will be a good one in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  The Chase is finally on.  After 31 races spanning over nearly seven months, the field has been whittled down to 12.  There are ten races left starting at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  Who will take it home?  We know that Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch won’t.

4.  Strasburg is doneTeixeira could be done.  The injury-bug has struck as the season nears the final twenty games.  It is September and teams are doing all they can to land a spot in the postseason.  The races of note are taking place in the AL East, the AL Central, and of course for the four wild card spots this year.  My matchup of the week takes place in the friendly confines at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles AngelsWho else envisioned the Angels participating in the Fall Classic this year?  I know I am not alone.  Well the clock is continuing to tick and currently, the Angels will miss the postseason entirely.  Fortunately for them, they open up a four-game set tonight against the team they are chasing.  Got to love how MLB scheduling works out at times.

It is make or break time for the Angels.  There is no better way to track down the team you are chasing than to handle business against them head to head.  The Angels appear to finally be clicking at the right time led by the terrific trio of Trout, Trumbo, and Pujols.  Look for the Angels to close the gap by nabbing three of four in front of a very supportive home crowd.  Also, expect the Angels to catch and pass Oakland when all is said and done.  The remainder of the A’s schedule includes the likes of the Orioles, the Tigers, the Yankees, and lots of Texas. Continue reading

NFL Week 1 Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will make his anxiously awaited debut as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos in his first real NFL action in over 20 months.

By Josh Kramer

The NFL is back in full force after Wednesday night’s opener between the Giants and Cowboys.  It is still odd to me that an NFL game was played on a Wednesday, but life goes on.  Keep in mind that the last three times the Giants and Cowboys have played each other in their opener, one of the two NFC East rivals has gone on to claim the Lombardi Trophy.  Let’s hope the real referees return by then.

Two seasons ago, I created a pick’em challenge with one of my good buddies (CV3).  Last year, we added two new players (CB and DC) to increase the competition level of the second annual “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”  In year three, we have replaced last year’s cellar finisher (DC) with a new player (BD) that will surely be in the hunt.

The participants this season are as follows:

BD-Brien Dulle: A life-long sports fan that has lived all of his life in Cincinnati. Growing up as a sports fan in a tough city for professional teams (Bengals and Reds), Brien never developed strong allegiances for any one particular team. This unbiased vantage point gives him a much broader range of the sporting world. His opinions from sports have been greatly influenced by the likes of individuals like Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Ryen Russillo, Tony Kornheiser, and Michael Wilbon whom he listens to daily.

CB-Craig Baker:  A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.

CV3-Chad Vordenberge:  An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.

TSK (two-time defending champion)-Josh Kramer: Founder/Editor-in-Chief of “TheSportsKraze,” former ESPN intern, current Sunday columnist for the popular SNY Network Blog “It’s About The Money,” and writer for fantasy sports website DraftDay.com.

Rules of the Game: This is how the game works.  We will pick every game each week (outside of the Thursday night games or dare I say Wednesday night games).  Whomever gets the most cumulative games right at the end of the regular season wins.  No spreads.  Just straight up pick’ems for the most parity filled professional sports league in America. Continue reading

From Pretender to Contender, and Vice Versa

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Could Robert Griffin III (pictured above) help transform the Redskins from a pretender into a contender? Our very own Jeremy Powers thinks so.

By Jeremy Powers

The football season is upon us. Put a smile on your face.

Tonight, the Giants travel to the Jerry Jones Dome to revive the rivalry that received plenty of media attention as is typically the case this offseason.

I can’t wait to see which teams will take a step back and which teams will rise from the ruins and contend for a playoff birth. Let’s look at a recent example, shall we.

Last season, Tampa Bay stepped back from a ten-win season in 2010 to a 4-12 record and a last place finish in the NFC South. Ouch, talk about the opposite side of the spectrum. The Bucs were a pretender last season.

Cincinnati, who won four games in 2010—reached the playoffs with rookies leading the way on offense. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green made a formidable duo and the Bengals defense was stout all season long leading the team to a 9-7 record. The Bengals were a contender last season.

This season I expect some of the same parity that we see every season in the NFL. I see a few teams emerging as playoff contenders and some teams falling straight into the depths of their respective divisions.

Contender:

The Washington Redskins were 5-11 last season. Drafting Robert Griffin III is a huge upgrade at quarterback over Rex Grossman and John Beck that will result in two more wins minimum. Not to mention the addition of Pierre Garcon as a big-play threat. Washington’s defense is quite impressive on paper as well. Playing in a 3-4 base defense, the Redskins linebackers will lead them as veteran London Fletcher powers a group that also starts second-year guy Ryan Kerrigan, and All-Pro Brian Orakpo. I think the Redskins get to 8-8 this season, which puts them in the hunt for a wild card spot. Continue reading

NFL Preview 2012-2013

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rob Gronkowski (pictured above) and the New England Patriots will redeem themselves on February 3rd with their fourth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

By Josh Kramer

It has been 208 days since the New England Patriots and more specifically Wes Welker let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers. For those of you in need of a refresher, back on February 5th in the house that Peyton Manning built (Lucas Oil Stadium), the New York Giants once again shocked the New England Patriots in a very closely contested Super Bowl game.  That was then though and this is now.  America’s most popular sport is just five days away from its official kickoff.  Who is ready for some football?

AFC East Champion:  New England Patriots

I am sure you are all shocked at this pick.  New England has only won three straight divisional crowns and qualified for the playoffs eight of the past nine years.  People are already comparing this year’s squad to the greatest team to ever grace the gridiron, but fail to win the Lombardi Trophy (2007 Patriots).  With Brandon Lloyd added to the mix, it is hard to say these comparisons are all that far-fetched.  However, it should be noted that the defense has some flaws, and the offensive line will have its fair of struggles due to the absence of Matt Light (retirement), Brian Waters (possibly retirement), Logan Mankins (ACL tear), and Sebastian Vollmer (back injury).  Luckily for New England, the Jets appear to have taken a step backwards with the acquisition of “God” Tebow, and the Miami Dolphins appear to just be a horrible team (Hard Knocks has provided clear evidence of this).  Buffalo is improved, but does not have nearly the firepower to stick with New England throughout the duration of a grueling 17-week season. Continue reading

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Beware of the Chicago Bears

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Are Jay Cutler (pictured above) and the Chicago Bears poised for a big year in 2012? Our very own Wesley Kaminsky thinks so.

By Wesley Kaminsky

The NFL off-season always seems too long, doesn’t it? In an off-season dominated by Tim Tebow and the New York Jets, it’s that other team in New York who are the reigning Super Bowl champions. They shocked the NFL world a season ago, getting hot at the right time, beating the likes of the Packers, 49ers, and then eventually the Patriots. That takes guts.

With teams such as the Packers, 49ers, Bears, Saints, and Falcons, just to name a few, the NFC is becoming a powerhouse. I didn’t even touch on the NFC East.

In the AFC, the Patriots look like the clear-cut team to beat, as they added more weapons to an already lethal offense and revamped their defense.

Can the Ravens finally get over the hump? Will Peyton Manning return with a vengeance?

These questions will be answered in due time. Continue reading

Five NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat in 2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Leslie Frazier (pictured above) is one of many coaches entering the 2012 season on the hot seat.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Every year in the NFL, coaches get fired. There’s no way around it. When a team is struggling, the blame falls to the head coach.

Last season, Steve Spagnuolo, Tony Sparano, Raheem Morris, Tony Haley, Jack Del Rio, Hue Jackson, and Jim Caldwell were among those who were given the boot. No surprise, none of those teams made the playoffs.

Which coaches have a lot of pressure on them this year? Here is my two cents.

No.5: Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings

Since taking over as interim coach in 2010 for Brad Childress, the Vikings haven’t seen much improvement from Leslie Frazier. After going 3-3 in 2010, Frazier got his interim tag removed, becoming the head coach of the Vikings.

In his first full season in Minnesota, the Vikings had their worst season since 1984, going 3-13. After starting the season with Donovan McNabb at quarterback, the Vikings quickly fell to 1-5. Needing a spark, Frazier turned to rookie Christian Ponder. Ponder managed to go just 2-8 in his rookie season and will be the starting quarterback in 2012.

If Ponder isn’t the answer for the Vikings, that could also very well mean the end for Frazier. With Adrian Peterson coming off of a torn ACL and MCL, you have to wonder if he’ll be the same. If the Vikings start this season slow again, don’t be surprised if he gets fired. Be careful, Leslie.

Final Verdict: Leslie Frazier gets fired halfway through the season. Continue reading

Talk is cheap

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Justin Tuck (pictured above) has spoken out against Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews giving the Giants some much deserved national media attention.

By Josh Kramer

It is no secret that the New York Giants defensive linemen have never been shy with their words.  Guys like Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck will always talk a big game.  Generally, they will also back it up too.  For the past decade, the G-Men have always been known to have a great pass rush.  Despite winning their final six games last year and taking home their fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history, the Giants have received hardly any attention from the national media.  Eli is probably wondering where the love is.  Ironically, their crosstown rival has received the majority of the limelight, despite missing out on the playoffs.

Go figure.  There have been two main instances when the Giants have received some national attention.  One instance was when Osi “the chatterbox” Umenyiora spoke in a positive manner about Tim Tebow and a negative manner regarding Robert Griffin III.  Instance number two was yesterday, when Justin Tuck shot back at Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews for some comments made in a recent Yahoo! Sports interview.

Matthews said, “The fact is, (the Giants) didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves.  We need to play our best ball when it counts. This year, I expect us to be right back where we should be.”

In response, Justin Tuck said, “Thank you for giving us the game, Clay.  I appreciate it a lot.”

Tuck went on to say, “It is football, it is a funny game. Talk is cheap. Play the game. We will see Green Bay again this year so we will see who lays down that week.” Continue reading

Quarterbacks with the most to prove

Photo courtesy of thesportsvmi.com. Will Cam Newton (left) and Andy Dalton (right) be able to avoid the infamous “Sophomore Slump?”

By Josh Kramer

Last year was declared the “Year of the Quarterback.”  It easily could have been called the “Year of the Tight End” as well.  To be a contender these days in the NFL, it all starts with the quarterback position.  Without a solid player under center, a team can kiss the Lombardi Trophy goodbye before they even play a down.  Here are five quarterbacks that have the most to prove heading into the 2012/2013 season.

5.  Andy Dalton/Cam Newton

I have a tie at the five-spot.  While Cam Newton received the vast majority of the national media attention, there was another pretty good rookie quarterback in Cincinnati.  Both rookie stars not only met expectations, but they exceeded them.  This resulted in both booking a trip to the Pro Bowl.  In the NFL, it is widely speculated that there is a thing called the sophomore slump for quarterbacks.  Two recent quarterbacks that come to mind who were victims of this so-called sophomore slump are Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan.  Expectations are high in both Cincinnati and Carolina where most fans are saying playoffs or bust.  Will Dalton and Newton be able to handle the hype in year number two? Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-30-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Many are wondering if Silas Redd (pictured above #25) will return to Penn State next season or take his talents out West to USC.

By Josh Kramer

Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was at least unique, which was one of the things he was going for.  Even the Queen almost cracked a smile.  All eyes in the sporting world are focused on London, as they should be.  But let’s not forget about the rest of the sporting world.  Last week was fun, but this week is sure to be great in its own right.

5.  The “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” continues.  At least now, most NBA fans can focus their attention on Team USA’ s quest for gold in London.  The Howard reality television series has definitely dragged on far too long, but it is still a big story.  Wherever Howard lands, that team is very likely going to be an instant contender.

4.  The world continues to keep an eye on “Happy” Valley in the wake of the harsh NCAA sanctions.  How will the program actually respond outside of saying the right things at press conferences?  How will the new administration ensure nothing like this ever happens in the future at Penn State? What players will stay? What players will go?  Keep a special eye on star running back Silas Redd.  It appears Lane Kiffin is working hard to add a final piece to a USC team poised to make a run at the National Championship. Continue reading

Savvy Sanchez

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Mark Sanchez (pictured above) has the look of a savvy veteran as training camp begins.

By Josh Kramer

Training camp is always a fun time.  It is when the men are separated from the boys.  Team leaders rise to the forefront, and the less talented are tossed aside.  It is the time when fan bases really begin to salivate in anticipation of early September (39 days until opening night).  This year, ESPN has made it clear that the two places to be are Englewood, Colorado and Cortland, New York.  Pretty obvious choices considering what happened during the NFL’s version of March Madness.

The Broncos picked up a four-time MVP and the Jets acquired the Kardashian of professional sports.  Both of these teams shocked the NFL last season.  One exceeded expectations, while the other failed miserably.  A main reason for the Jets becoming a monumental disappointment this past season was the poor performance of quarterback Mark Sanchez down the stretch.  Some of the criticism was warranted, while some was not.  Well Sanchez doesn’t appear to be letting any of it get him down.  If anything, the criticism has brought him up. Continue reading