Tag Archives: Charles Woodson

“NFL Conference Championship Outlook”

Packer's Cornerback, #38 Tramon Williams (pictured above) has been outstanding all year long, and especially in the playoffs. With 3 interceptions in the postseason already, look for him to add to that total on Sunday.

We are getting closer to Dallas people.  To be exact, we are just over 2 weeks away from the big game.  The NFL is America’s most popular professional sport.  And the Super Bowl is the culminating event.  It has been another phenomenal year full of stellar on the field play, injuries, on/off the field issues, #4 shenanigans, and upsets galore.  Plus there is the looming issue with the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).

Well now we are down to the NFL’s version of the Final Four.  We have already heard our very own Wesley Kaminsky’s outlook for the two Conference Championship Games.  Now it is my turn. Continue reading

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“Food for Thought 1-11-11”

 

Former San Diego State and Ball State Coach, Brady Hoke (pictured above), is the new Head Coach at Michigan. Can he live up to the high expectations in Ann Arbor?

What a last 24 hours in the sporting world.  Major headlines galore.  It is a heck of a time to be a sporting fan.  And I pose the question to you.  When is it not a good time to be a sports fan in this day and age?

Here is a look at some of the main topics going on.

SEC Supremacy Continues

Most of you probably tuned in to  the BCS National Title game last evening.  From the record-setting TV ratings, it is very likely actually that you watched this game.  Well either way, you are aware that an SEC School brought home the title for an unprecedented 5th consecutive years. Though an entertaining game, it came nowhere near the 2006 National Title matchup between Vince Young’s Longhorns and the supposedly “unbeatable” (and cheating)” USC Trojans.  The game last night went somewhat as I expected.  The first quarter was a demonstration of both teams crapping their pants.  Neither team executed offensively the way they are capable of.  Consequently, neither team put up any points.  This is typical with the nerves that come from playing in a National Championship game.  Ultimately, the game came down to the wrist of Auburn’s Freshman Running Back, Michael Dyer.  What a game for the Freshman out of Little Rock.  But nobody wanted the game to come down to a call that is still very debatable in my eyes.  So it was a fun game to watch regardless of the sloppy play.  But here are some key takeaways.

-Number one, give me a playoff.  Neither of these teams had played a game in well over a month, and boy did it show.  That was not the Oregon offense that averaged over 49 points a game this season.  Now kudos to Mr. Fairley, and Auburn’s defense, which put together a stellar effort, but the time off hurt Oregon.  In addition, that was not the Cam Newton that we watched in the SEC Championship game against South Carolina.  Sure Newton played well, and did enough to win, but much of his momentum had been lost.

-Also, my apologies to TCU.  Sure they are acting like they do not care and are very happy with a year in which they got to win the prestigious Rose Bowl.  But you are going to tell me that they did not want or deserve some sort of shot at the title?

-I realize that the game was on the West Coast, but it went entirely too late.  Anybody who worked yesterday had to be struggling to stay awake for the 4th quarter. 

How does it feel to know that you were at best the 3rd choice for a job?

I will admit that statement above is a bit harsh, yet it is true.   Jim Harbaugh passed.  Les Miles passed (whether Michigan’s AD admits it or not).  And now Brady Hoke is the new coach in Ann Arbor.  Boy does he have a tall task ahead of him.  Yet, I have a good feeling about this guy for some reason.  Maybe it is the optimist in me, but the winningest program in NCAA history will eventually have to turn things around.  People will just have to be patient.  Former Wolverines like Charles Woodson, Tom Brady, and Lloyd Carr all rave about this guy.  Believe me, they are not being forced to hype this guy up.  They could always just give a “no comment” or an extremely generic answer.  These guys seem ecstatic to have this Hoke guy running things in the The Big House.  I just have one piece of advice for Mr. Hoke as he steps into his supposed “dream job.”  Make sure to put up an over 500 record in The Big House.  Or Hoke will be let out the back door inside of 3 years without questions asked.

The Closer Shuts the Door

It is hard to fathom, but the time has come.  Trevor Hoffman is finally hanging up the cleats.  Arguably the greatest closer of all time, Hoffman is calling it quits after 17 years.  He retires with 601 saves, the most in MLB history (41 ahead of Mariano Rivera).  Will the game ever see a closer hit 600 saves again? In an era where consistent relief pitchers are few and far between, Hoffman flourished over the better part of 2 decades.  The MLB will definitely miss this sure-fire Hall of Famer.  Cincinnati has to be kicking themselves for not keeping the kid that they drafted out of Arizona University in 1989. 

So I realize there are many other major headlines going on today.  Ron Rivera was hired as the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers.  Ed Reed has returned to his 2nd family, the Baltimore Ravens, after tending to some family business.  And the NHL has revealed their All Star Roster in full.

Please steer any questions or thoughts you have to the comments section or shoot me an email at contact@thesportskraze.com

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL WildCard Weekend”

Perhaps the biggest snub from the Pro Bowl this year was Aaron Rodgers (pictured above). Look for Rodgers to make a statement in leading the Packers to a huge victory over the Eagles on the road.

The NFL playoffs start today.  Where did the regular season go?  For many it has been over for months, and for a chosen few, it still may have another month left to go.

Here is a look at the final Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze: 150

CV3: 149

I was down by 5 games heading into Week 17.  I finally caught the expert that is CV3 in the end though.  It was a very fun challenge.  More of you will have to get involved next year.

After already getting picks from our very own Wesley Kaminsky yesterday, I am now going to give some picks of my own.

Saturday

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

The defending champs head to the rainy city to take on an under 500 Seattle team.  Yes I said it, the Seahawks are under 500.  They won just 7 games this year, and they have home field in the first round of the playoffs?  Sorry New York and Tampa.  You got shafted.  Seattle is a typical 7 win team.  They really do not do anything especially well.  Get ready to watch Drew Brees run circles around the League’s 27th ranked secondary.  This one will not even be close.  Saints by 14 on the road as they look to keep their hopes of repeating alive.

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

These two teams are polar opposites in every sense of the word.  They both are very good at their craft though.  The Jets will pound the ball on the ground at you all night, while the Colts will air it out with the best of them.  The difference in this one will be the Jets ability to defend against the pass. The Colt’s on the other hand are unable to stop the run.  I realize that Indy has home field advantage.  I realize that they are led by arguably the best quarterback of all time in Peyton Manning.  But it will not be enough on this day.  The Jets were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl.  And I have them taking care of business.  Indy will get shocked at home today as the Jets exact some revenge from last year’s AFC Championship Game.  Jets by 3 in a great game.

Sunday

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs

KC rides their two-headed rushing attack of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones every week.  They run the ball more effectively than any team in the League.  Baltimore on the other hand has had one of the League’s scariest defensive units for over a decade now.  Now I do realize that the Chiefs only dropped one home game all year.  The Ravens on the other hand finished 5 and 3 on the road.  Yet this team is just absolutely loaded in every sense of the word.  They have playmakers on both ides of the ball, that I do not see KC being able to keep up with.  It has been a great year for the Chiefs and they vastly exceeded expectations.  But the Ravens have won 4 games in a row, and do not appear ready to lose this week.  The difference will be the experience of the Raven linebackers and their ability to shut down KC’s lethal rushing attack. Baltimore by 3 in a very ugly physical game.

Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles

This may be the most intriguing and highly anticipated matchup of the entire weekend.  All year Michael Vick has been a “running” headline.  How do you contain the guy?  The Eagles are full of playmakers.  Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy, and Vick are some of the League’s best and most exciting players at their respective positions.  But the Packers have some playmakers of their own.  Do not sleep on Charles Woodson anchoring the secondary and Clay Matthews reeking havoc all over the field.  Lastly, Aaron Rodgers has not gotten love this entire year.  Talk about a Pro Bowl snub.  Look for this guy to continue his hot streak and absolutely shred the Eagle’s mediocre secondary.  I love watching the Eagles play.  But the Packers were my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  Well I got them winning this one.  Packers by 1 in the most exciting game of the weekend.

So there you have my picks.  Enjoy the two days of NFL games leading up to the NCAA Championship Game on Monday.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFC North Preview”

Aaron Rodgers was once Brett Favre's understudy as shown in this picture. Then Aaron took Brett's spot as the Packers quarterback and is now trying to take Brett and the Viking's spot atop the NFC North.

 To finish off my division by division breakdowns, we have the NFC West.  This division has become a  two headed monster.  There are two very good teams at the top, one mediocre squad, and a very weak team at the bottom.  When Brett Favre officially announces his return, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, the Vikings and Packers will begin duking it out for divisional supremacy.  Lets get ready to rumble in the NFC North.

 NFC North:  Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings (alphabetical order)

 Detroit Lions (4th place):  Detroit’s suffering will continue for at least another year.  This team has only won 2 games over the course of the past two years and has not won more than 7 games in a season since the year 2000.  It has been a brutal last 10 years.  Well expect this year to be pretty typical for the Lion’s faithful.  This team had the worst defense in the League last year and an almost equally as bad offensive attack.  Lots of weight will placed on 2nd year quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Can he live up to the lofty expectations?  Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the game.  It is a shame that the Lions cannot really give him another solid receiver to play alongside.  Guys like Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson have not been able to cut the mustard.  From a rushing standpoint, they still have Kevin Smith, who will hopefully be fully recovered from a devastating Week 14 ACL tear (last season).  They also have rookie Jahvid Best.  Do not expect too much from this duo though due to lack of an offensive line.  Defensively it gets worse.  There is really not one player of note on the entire unit other than recently drafted Ndamukong Suh.  Lions’ fans better pray this guy gets signed, lives up to the hype, and is ready to be an instant leader for this team on the defensive side of the ball.  That is a lot to ask of a rookie.  Do not expect the Lion’s

to win more than 5 games this year.

Chicago Bears (3rd place):  Da Bears!  Yes Chris Berman is in the Hall of Fame, but the Bears still do not have the look of a contender sadly.  No matter how excited Chris Berman can get people when talking about the boys out of the windy city, the team is not ready to be a force yet.  The Bears have not been to the postseason since 2006, and do not count on that streak ending this year.  This team suffered without Brian Urlacher last year defensively, and did not do much with the newly acquired Jay Cutler from an offensive standpoint.  Though the Bears finally added a complement to Matt Forte in Chester Taylor, this does not appear to solve the rushing issues.  This team was near the bottom of the League in rushing yards last year, and though Taylor should help a little, these guys do not really compliment each other well in that they each have a very similar style.  I just hope for the Bear’s sake, conflict does not arise between Forte and Taylor.  The receiving corps has not improved either.  This team is still lacking a number 1 threat for Jay Cutler to use his “super” strong-arm to throw too.  So do not expect this team to put up a flurry of points on a weekly basis.  Defensively, the unquestioned leader is still the man with “swag,” Brian Urlacher.  Urlacher along with Lance Briggs make up one of the League’s best linebacker duos.  Also, the addition of Julius Peppers to the defensive line should make an instant impact.  If Urlacher can stay healthy, expect this team to be much better defensively than they were last year.  The secondary did do a solid job against the pass so hopefully with Peppers rushing the opposing quarterback, their jobs can be even easier this year.  The Bears will be a decent team.  But do not expect them to sneak into the playoffs.  I am predicting 7 or 8 wins due to the lack of offensive stability. 

Green Bay Packers (2nd place):  The Cheesheads may be disappointed with another 2nd place appearance, but count on this team to roll deep into the playoffs.  I have them cruising all the way to the Super Bowl.  It will take this team time to gel and it will help when Favre tires down the stretch for the Vikings come playoff time.  This team is led by a lethal offensive attack.  Aaron Rodgers has become one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the League hands down.  They got a great duo at receiver in the up and coming Greg Jennings and the seasoned veteran Donald Driver.  Hopefully Driver is healthy after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on both of his knees this off-season.  But luckily for the Packers, they have young guns James Jones and Jordy Nelson waiting in the wings.  Not to mention they have a very solid tandem of receiving tight ends in Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee.  I also forgot to mention that though this team lives on the pass, do not sleep on Ryan Grant pounding the rock.  The question is who can complement Grant down the stretch?  Possibly the seasoned veteran Ahmad Brooks or the Florida product DeShawn Wynn.  Offensively, this is the only question mark this team has if any.  Defensively the Packers number 2 defense of a season ago will be led by the linebacking trio of Nick Barnett, AJ Hawk, and Clay Matthews.  This the best linebacking trio in the League in my eyes.  They are young, tough, and very fun to watch.  Lastly, you have 2 very strong veterans in Charles Woodson and Al Harris anchoring the secondary.  Good luck scoring points on these guys.  Neither AJ Hawk nor Clay Matthews has really entered their prime yet.  There is lots of upside.  The Packers have the best combination of offense and defense in the entire NFC. 

Minnesota Vikings (1st place):  This team came up just short of making an appearance in the Super Bowl last season.  They are determined to go one step further this year and bring a Super Bowl title back to the twin cities of Minnesota.  And why shouldn’t they be confident?  They have a great core group of guys returning.  Minnesota also possesses both a great offense and defense.  Last season, the Vikings became a pass first offense.  I think Brett Favre is the only player in the League that could make a team that has the one they call “All Day” (Adrian Peterson) a pass first team.  Brett can still really play and put on quite a show last season.  And I fully expect him to put up great numbers again this year.  Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian are a great trio of targets for Favre.  All 3 are young and have a ton of upside.  Look for Favre to be slinging the ball all over the field again this year.  My question is will Sidney Rice be healthy?  Either way the passing attack will be lethal.  Then of course the Vikings do have the luxury of handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who has the ability to turn any play into a big time play.  If AP starts fumbling again though, who is the next guy in? Ryan Moats or the rookie Toby Gerhart?  This team does not really have a sure-fire compliment for Peterson nor do they really need one.  As long as Peterson stays healthy, it will be paradise in the Minnesota backfield.  Then from a defensive standpoint, this team stops the run with the best of them.  Guys like Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Pat Williams are absolutely outstanding.  They not only stop the run, but they pressure the quarterback early and often.  Then in the secondary, the addition of veteran cornerback Lito Shephard should help turn this unit from average, to pretty good.  Big things will also be expected from the outstanding cornerback Antoine Winfield, and their injury prone safety, Madieu Williams.  All I can say is, watch out, because this Viking’s team will be scary.  Do not be surprised to see this team roll deep into the postseason.

So the NFC North should have a repeat champion in the Minnesota Vikings.  But do not sleep on the Green Bay Packers, who I think could overtake the Vikings come playoff time on their way to making an appearance in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1997.  Both of these teams are very strong in nearly all aspects of the game.  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze