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 done. Teixeira 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 Angels: Who 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
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged AL Central, AL East, Alabama Crimson Tide, Albert Pujols, Andy Murray, Arkansas Razorbacks, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Orioles, Cam Newton, Carl Edwards, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Detroit Tigers, Drew Brees, Florida Gators, Green Bay Packers, Kyle Busch, Los Angeles Angels, Louisville Cardinals, Mark Teixeira, Mark Trumbo, Matt Ryan, Michigan State Spartans, Mike Trout, MLB, NASCAR, New Orlean's Saints, New York Jets, New York Yankees, North Carolina Tar Heels, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Novak Djokovic, Oakland Athletics, Penn State Nittany Lions, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, San Francisco 49ers, Savannah State Tigers, Stanford Cardinal, Stephen Strasburg, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas Rangers, US Open, USC Trojans, Wisconsin Badgers
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
Posted in NFL
Tagged AFC, Andrew Luck, Arizona Cardinals, Art Modell, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Marshall, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshawn Lynch, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rob Horton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
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
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Andre Johnson, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arian Foster, Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Lloyd, Brian Waters, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Darren Mcfadden, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Ed Reed, Eli Manning, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, James Harrison, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Joe Montana, Jon Beason, Kansas City Chiefs, Logan Mankins, Luke Kuechly, Mario Manningham, Matt Light, Matt Schaub, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Rob Gronkowski, Robert Griffin III, San Diego Chargers, Sebastian Vollmer, Steve Young, Super Bowl, Terrell Suggs, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Troy Polamalu, Wes Welker
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
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC, Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Weeden, Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers, Greg Schiano, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jamaal Charles, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher, Joe Flacco, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Leslie Frazier, Mario Williams, Matt Flynn, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Vick, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Pete Carroll, Peyton Hillis, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III, Roddy White, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Payton, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins, Wesley Kaminsky
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ben Sheets (pictured above) started his first Major League game in nearly two years on Sunday. It looked as if he had never left.
By Josh Kramer
Holy Sheets. Ben Sheets is back. After a nearly two-year hiatus between Major League starts, Ben Sheets proved that he isn’t done yet. If I were the Washington Nationals, I would take note. With Ben Sheets back, Atlanta not only is a wild-card contender, but they are a pennant contender. Ben Sheets learned the number one rule that applies to all pitchers at a young age and never forgot it. This rule is the secret to being a successful pitcher.
Did you forget when Sheets had a 116/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio back in 2006? Or his 264/32 mark in 2004? Guy could paint the corners in a similar fashion to Greg Maddux in the mid-90s while bringing the heat. These days, the velocity is not going to be the same as it once was for Sheets. Do not expect to see any 98 mph gas like the good old days. But do expect to see the ball paint the corners and keep hitters off-balance.
With Beachy still out, the timing could not be better. In order to compete with the Nationals, Hudson and Hanson desperately need the help of another quality starter. Ben Sheets is only 33-years-0ld. Despite all of the injuries and other various setbacks, Sheets could be Atlanta’s ticket back to the playoffs. In addition, he could very well turn into the MLB’s comeback player of the year. I know this much. Sheets will be a hard guy to root against. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Atlanta Braves, Barry Larkin, Ben Sheets, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Reds, Denver Broncos, Dwight Howard, Elvis Dumervil, Greg Maddux, Jason Kidd, Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, Matt Forte, NL East, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tim Hudson, Todd Walker, Tommy Hanson, Washington Nationals
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Youkilis (pictured above) received a nice curtain call from Red Sox Nation on Sunday. Now he will take the field for baseball’s other Sox (Chicago).
By Josh Kramer
From one Sox to another Sox. Kevin Youkilis is now a member of the Chicago White Sox. This is a great transaction for both Sox involved. Boston rids themselves of a potential ongoing locker room problem (Youkilis/Valentine feud), and gives rising star Will Middlebrooks a chance to spread his wings. Chicago on the other hand gets a proven All-Star who can provide the team with a 3rd baseman who can indeed bat above the Mendoza line ( Orlando Hudson batting .194 and Brent Morel batting .177). Youkilis could even potentially bat over .300 (he has done this three times).
After a very successful 8.5 year stint in Boston, where Youkilis helped end the curse and bring Beantown two World Series, it was time to move on. The great thing is Boston has a solution in young stud Will Middlebrooks, while Chicago gets a guy who is only 33-years-old. The White Sox are looking to make a deep playoff run in the present. As much as Boston would like to be a playoff contender, they currently find themselves near the cellar of the AL East. It is hard to believe, but with the departure of Youkilis, Big Papi is the only member of the 2004 championship team still left in Beantown.
Chicago’s hitting has been good this year, but not great. Youkilis has the ability to provide the production out of the 3rd base position needed to help this team reach the next level. It is no secret that the AL Central is perhaps baseball’s weakest division. The White Sox have a golden opportunity to make postseason baseball this year. As we all know, anything can happen in October. Just ask Youkilis. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged AL East, Arian Foster, Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox, Brandon Marshall, Brent Morel, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Chris Johnson, Christina McHale, David Ortiz, Elena Visnina, England, Euro 2012, French Open, Kevin Youkilis, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, NFC North, Orlando Hudson, Serena Williams, Tennessee Titans, Venus Williams, Will Middlebrooks, Wimbledon
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. It appeared all over in Dallas after Dez Bryant (pictured above) scored on a 50-yard strike midway through the 4th. Sadly for the Cowboys, the lead did not hold up and it is a whole new ballgame in the NFC East now.
By Wesley Kaminsky
On 2nd and 11, with 5 minutes and 52 seconds left, the Cowboys led the Giants 27-22. Then, Tony Romo connected with a wide open Dez Bryant for a 50 yard touchdown, as the Cowboys took a 34-22 lead with 5:41 left. The Cowboys were about to end the Giants season and take control of the NFC East.
Eli Manning had something to say about that though. Manning orchestrated two beautiful drives as the Giants did the improbable, and won in Dallas 37-34, on a Jason Pierre-Paul blocked field goal. Now, it’s the Giants division to lose, and it might just come down to Week 17 when they meet again, at the Meadowlands.
That wasn’t the only thrilling finish in Week 14 though. T.J. Yates, in just his second career start, threw the game winning touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with two seconds left to lead the Texans to the franchises first playoff berth.
And then of course, there were the Broncos, who overcame a 10-0 deficit with 4:34 seconds remaining. The Bears are just another team on what is becoming a long list, who have been “Tebowed,” which has become the most popular expression of the 2011 NFL season. It’s amazing how much this Broncos team believes in Tim Tebow and I can’t say enough about it. The guy is just a winner. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Chicago Bears, Colt Mccoy, Dallas Cowboys, Dan Bailey, Denver Broncos, Dez Bryant, Eli Manning, Jake Locker, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jim Mora, Joe Webb, Kevin Walter, Marion Barber, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew, New York Giants, Ray Rice, Rex Grossman, Steven Jackson, T.J. Yates, Tim Tebow, Todd Haley, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Wesley Kaminsky