Tag Archives: AFC

Weekly Nickel 9-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Brad Keselowski (pictured above) stole the show at Chicagoland Speedway yesterday and clinched his fourth win of the season.

By Josh Kramer

Saturday embodied exactly what college football is all about.  Hotly contested games with unpredictable finishes.  The NFL Week 2 was just as fun as Week 1 with an upset filled Sunday.  And the NHL lockout is on.  Talk about a shame.  Last week was fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Brad Keselowski stole the show as the Chase officially began at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.  It was Keselowski’s fourth win of the season, his seventh in the past two years, and a great start to the Chase for the man who drives the #2 car.  There are still nine more races to go and plenty left to be decided.  Next Sunday, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be the place to be in NASCAR. Continue reading

NFL Week 2 Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Many are talking about the Lions/49ers matchup. Unfortunately, much of the discussion revolves around the animosity between Jim Schwartz (left) and Jim Harbaugh (right).

By Josh Kramer

Week 1 of the NFL season was everything we could have hoped for.  Five teams scored 40 or more points.  Robert Griffin III performed like a Heisman Trophy winner is supposed to.  Peyton Manning showed that playing quarterback in the NFL is like riding a bike for him.  And the replacement referees, though far from perfect, did not directly influence the outcome of a game.

As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”

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.

After Week 1, here is the scoreboard.

BD-11

CB-11

CV3-9

TSK-11

Week 2 Slate: 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

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

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

Manning/Tebow Saga

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tim Tebow (right) was always Josh McDaniel's (left) guy. That fact has been fully brought to light with Peyton's arrival in Denver.

By Wesley Kaminsky

It’s no secret that the biggest question of the NFL off-season has been where Peyton Manning will land. After missing the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, the Colts decided to part ways with Manning after 14 seasons in Indianapolis. After much deliberation as to where Manning would choose, it was announced that he would be going to the Denver Broncos, and they rewarded him with a 5-year, $96 million deal.

Huh? Continue reading

Super Bowl XLVI Preview

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tom Brady (pictured above) was not a happy man four years ago as he exited the field following a loss in Super Bowl XLII. Do not expect the same outcome on Sunday.

By Josh Kramer

Coughlin vs. Belichick.  Manning (Eli) vs. Brady.  New York vs. Boston.  It does not get any better than the scenario that has been set up for Super Bowl XLVI.  There are millions of storylines floating around about America’s most anticipated sporting event of the year.  And 99.9% of the storylines will be moot come Sunday at 6:29PM, when the ball is kicked off in the “House that Peyton Built (Lucas Oil Stadium).”  Four years ago to the day, these two teams representing two of the biggest sports markets in the world met in Glendale, Arizona for rights to the Lombardi Trophy.  If Sunday’s rematch can be half as good as what America was able to witness four years ago, the game will be a memorable one.

For nearly two weeks, we have been well aware of the matchup on Sunday for football’s biggest prize.  And for two weeks, this game has been dissected and analyzed until I feel like there is nothing more to discuss.  It gets to the point every year where it is time to just play the game.  When the analysis and incite loses its luster.  I feel like we have hit that point.  Just like any big sporting event, this game will likely come down to one or two key plays.  Four years ago, “The Catch” was the play that in essence ended Brady, Moss, and New England’s remarkable attempt at football immortality.  Who will make the play this year that changes history? Continue reading

NFL Conference Championships

Photo courtesy of inquisitr.com. Jim Harbaugh (pictured above) has pulled a David Blaine like job in San Francisco. Can he get one more win and help the 49ers get to the Super Bowl?

By Josh Kramer

This Sunday is by no means rocket science in terms of the NFL.  Let me clarify any confusion if there is any. If you win, then you’re in.  If you lose, well, you join the rest of America to watch the country’s biggest sporting spectacle on your couch.  At least the commercials for the big game are good right?  All four of the remaining teams are outstanding groups that are still standing for a reason.  28 teams are already making preparations for next year.  This esteemed group of four has their sights set on the present.  They have their sights set on the one and only Lombardi Trophy.

Tebow Time” may have struck midnight.  And the seemingly invincible team from Green Bay is out, but this weekend will be a treat without a doubt.

Championship Weekend:

Key Storylines:

-Will we get a rematch of the epic game from February 3, 2008?

-Will Jim Harbaugh continue to shock the world?

Ray Lewis or Tom Brady?  Which superstar will represent the AFC in Indy?

-Will the Ravens recent inner turmoil cost them a spot in the big game? Continue reading

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Photo courtesy of bensalloutblitz.blogspot.com. If San Francisco wants any chance against Drew Brees and the potent New Orleans offensive attack, NaVorro Bowman (pictured above) will have to bring his "A" game on Saturday.

By Josh Kramer

We have gone from 32 to 12 to 8.  By the end of this weekend, we will be at 4. Wild-Card weekend lived up to its name.  It was a weekend of “Wild Cards.”  Namely, Mr. Tim Tebow.  Enough time has been spent discussing Tebow as of late though.  How about the phenomenal play of Eli Manning and Drew Brees?  Perhaps Eli actually is an “elite” quarterback as he stated this summer?  A win at Lambeau on Sunday could do a lot to ensure that the Eli-haters stay at a minimum.  This is really the stage when the “Men” are separated from the “Boys.”  The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and not looking ahead is simply impossible.  Let’s focus on the present though.

Divisional Weekend:

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

The Word:  This is your classic “Offense” versus “Defense” matchup. If Vic Fangio (49ers D-Coordinator) can develop a scheme to slow down Drew Brees and the amazing Saints offense, he will be known as “Lord” Fangio by the entire country. Continue reading