Tag Archives: Cincinnati Bengals

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

Weekly Nickel 9-3-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Adam Jones (pictured above) has been a main reason why the Baltimore Orioles are in contention for their first AL East title since 1997.

By Josh Kramer

Labor Day typically means two things other than a day off of work.  First of all, the dog days of August are over.  Secondly, America’s favorite sport is back.  College football took over this weekend and guess what?  The NFL is right around the corner.  Last week was a whole lot of fun, but this week will be good in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Richmond International Speedway will be the place to be next Saturday in terms of NASCAR.  This is the final race before the Chase for the Cup begins at Chicagoland Speedway on the 16th.  In other words, Richmond is for all of the marbles.  Find a way into the top ten, or pray that you nab one of the two wild card spots.  I am looking at you Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.

4.  The dog days are finally over.  Players are smiling from ear to ear due to the dog days finally ending, the expanded rosters, and of course the home stretch to the regular season.  We have learned a few things along the way.  The Baltimore Orioles are the real deal.  Crazy, I know.  Much of this is thanks to their star center fielder Adam Jones. 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

Food for Thought 8-7-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Terrell Owens (pictured above) last played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. It appears he will be suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.

By Josh Kramer

The three-headed quarterback controversy in Seattle is just a minor story compared to yesterday’s news.  It appears the “TO Show” will have another season after all. This time in Seattle.  Yes, the Seahawks have rolled the dice on the 38-year-old locker room killer that is Terrell Owens.

Owens last played in the NFL in 2010 with the Cincinnati Bengals.  Despite putting up solid numbers in Cincinnati, a torn ACL, a riddled past, and old age made him unappealing to NFL teams.  Not to mention Cincinnati went a pitiful 4 and 12 after making the playoffs the year before.  After playing in the Indoor Fooball League, Owens is ready for one final hoorah in the NFL.  The real question is why?

No, I am not asking why Owens is motivated to return to the NFL.  Those reasons are obvious (money).  I am asking why the Seattle Seahawks, a team coming off of a 7 and 9 season, a wild offseason that has included “Beast Mode” going into “DUI Mode,” and a major quarterback competition, is willing to put Owens on a roster with an inexperienced quarterback (all three competitors are fairly inexperienced in the NFL).

I am aware that Seattle finished 22nd in the NFL in passing yards during the 2011 season.  So there is definite room for improvement.  Also, do not forget that Seattle already brought in another troubled wide-receiver this off-season, in Braylon Edwards.  The star power is definitely lacking at the position.  But sometimes that is the best way to go with a young quarterback (See Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in Cincinnati).  A chemistry can form that has lasting power.  Pete Carroll was always a mastermind at managing big egos and star power while at USC.  He still has not proven the ability to do this since coming to Seattle in 2010.

The way I see it, fans in Seattle should be praying for three things in terms of their wide receivers:  Continued improvement from Doug Baldwin.  A healthy Sidney Rice.  Plus, Golden Tate finally living up to the hype he demonstrated in South Bend.  Also they should wish for a fourth thing:  A very low-key and subdued Owens (if that is possible).

There is a reason why the “T.O. Show” has already been cancelled by five NFL teams. 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

NFL Games of the Week

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost an overtime thriller to the Denver Broncos back in January. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will do all in his power to get Denver another victory over the Black and Yellow in Week 1.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night is still well over a month away (September 5th), but anticipation for the 2012 NFL season is mounting.  With training camps, fantasy drafts, and more, people are all ears in regards to the 2012 NFL season.  The following is a guide for the upcoming season with a game a week to have circled on your calendar regardless of your fan allegiance.

Week 1:  Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

Date/Time/Station:  9-9-2012/4:25PM/NBC

The Word:  What transpired on January 8, 2012 left a bitter taste in the mouths of Steeler Nation.  Tim Tebow may be gone, but Peyton Manning has arrived. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-24-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Penn State will have to turn their back on the tarnished legacy of Joe Paterno (pictured above) moving forward.

By Josh Kramer

Think back to November 22, 1997.  On that particular day in history, Penn State defeated Wisconsin 35 to 10 at Beaver Stadium.  Mike McQueary was the starting quarterback and Jerry Sandusky was the defensive coordinator for Penn State.  Talk about the irony.  After Mark Emmert and the NCAA officially came down with the wrath of fury on the Penn State football program yesterday morning, this somewhat insignificant day of nearly 15 years ago will go down as the final victory of Joe Paterno’s career.

I know this will be hard for many of you to believe, but I am floored by the NCAA’s extremely harsh punishment on Penn State.  This punishment makes the infamous death penalty of 25 years ago at SMU look like child’s play.  I realize what went on at Penn State was arguably the most egregious act ever to occur in collegiate athletics.  I am well-aware of the magnitude.  These were despicable acts, but “criminal” acts at their core.  I feel the NCAA has completely overstepped their bounds and now are making current players and coaches, who had nothing to do with these horrific acts, pay the price.  And yes, I feel for the victims and their families who are still feeling the pain of the monster that is Jerry Sandusky.  Their pain is far deeper than that of the current players and coaches. Continue reading

Cincinnati’s Greatest

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Joey Votto (pictured above) is having a year for the ages. Is it the greatest Cincinnati has ever seen?

By Victor Kamesar

Victor Kamesar is a die-hard Cincinnatian who currently finds himself across the country.  Despite being out in Cowboy Country (Norman, Oklahoma), Victor still finds time to follow his hometown Reds, Bengals, and Bearcats.

It didn’t hit me until a few weeks ago when I read a Jayson Stark headline proclaiming “Joey Votto hitting like the Bambino.” Cincinnati’s very own gold glove first baseman is having the best season in baseball since the Babe in some categories. Votto is on pace for 197 hits and a ridiculous 127 walks.  As Stark pointed out, the only player ever to put up those types of walk numbers in a season in which they amassed 200 hits was “Babe Ruth, The Greaaat Bambino.” As a lifelong Cincinnati sports fanatic, I began to wonder, is Votto having the best season any athlete wearing Cincinnati threads has had since I’ve been alive (FYI I was born in 1990)? Continue reading