Tag Archives: Clay Matthews

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

“It All Comes Down to This: Super Bowl XLV Preview”

Our very own Wesley Kaminsky has provided his Super Bowl analysis. One of the key matchups is that at the Quarterback position. Roethlisberger (left) versus Rodgers (right).

 Wesley is a sports expert and journalist out of Philadelphia that writes for Bleacher Report.  You can check out all of his work at  http://bleacherreport.com/users/88810-wesley-kaminsky or follow his twitter @Wesley_Kaminsky

In a season in which we’ve seen everything from Michael Vick’s rebirth to Sal Alosi tripping Nolan Carroll, the NFL season is finally coming to a close. The Packers and Steelers, two of the most storied franchises in NFL history, will battle for the Lombardi Trophy, You could not ask for a better match-up for Super Bowl 45. Which ever team wins, it will be an amazing story for either Ben Roethlisberger, or Aaron Rodgers. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 2-1-11”

Yesterday, Troy Polamalu (left) edged out Clay Matthews (right) for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award by 2 votes. Come Sunday they will be going head to head for the Super Bowl Title. The real question though is who has the better hair?

It is another Tuesday in the sporting world, which can only mean one thing.  Lets jump into a another “Food for Thought.”  These are hot topics that have been discussed or at least running through my head all day.

Who has the better hair? Continue reading

“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

“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

“Kaminsky’s NFL Wildcard Preview”

Today we are in for a special treat.  Over the Holiday Break, “TheSportsKraze” added a new writer out of Philadelphia.  His name is Wesley Kaminsky.

Wesley is a sports expert and journalist out of Philadelphia that writes for Bleacher Report.  You can check out all of his work at  http://bleacherreport.com/users/88810-wesley-kaminsky or follow his twitter @Wesley_Kaminsky

The 2010 NFL regular season is in the books, and it was one of the most interesting, unpredictable seasons to date. In the NFC, there is no clear-cut favorite as to who will be heading to the Super Bowl, unlike the AFC, where the Patriots appear to be on a mission.

Here are some questions for every game this weekend.

Can the Seahawks keep it close against the Saints?

Will Mark Sanchez out-duel Peyton Manning?

Can the Chiefs’ running attack beat the Ravens?

Our very own, Wesley Kaminsky, has Mark Sanchez (pictured above) and the Jets taking care of business against the Indianpolis Colts this weekend.

Will the Packers prove they are as good as people think they are?

Game 1: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks, 4:30 EST on NBC (Saturday)

The first game of the weekend features the 11-5 Saints traveling to Seattle to play the 7-9 Seahawks, who snuck into the playoffs thanks to their win over the Rams.

Yep, you are reading this correctly. A team with a losing record has made the playoffs, while the Giants and Buccaneers, both 10-6, are on the outside looking in.

Do the Seahawks have a chance in this game?

For the Seahawks to win this game, their defense will have to play its best game of the season, and either Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst will also have to play his best game of the season.

One big problem though: The Seahawks rank 27th in the league in total defense and 28th in the league in total offense.

It doesn’t matter which quarterback starts; the Seahawks will need a miracle to win this game.

As I’ve mentioned, the NFC is wide open, and the Saints have their sights set on a Super Bowl return. With an offense as explosive as theirs and a defense that forces turnovers, they have all the pieces to make a run to Dallas.

These two teams met in Week 11 in New Orleans with the Saints winning 34-19. It will be no different here—the Saints will cruise to victory.

Fearless Forecast: Saints 34, Seahawks 17

Game 2: New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, 8:00 EST on NBC (Saturday)

The second game of the weekend is an AFC Championship Game rematch from last season between the Jets and the Colts. Last year, the Colts took down the Jets 30-17 on their way to the Super Bowl, but now it’s the Jets’ turn to get revenge.

Although the Colts won the AFC South, something just doesn’t seem right with them, and they are struggling to win games. They struggle in two major categories: running the ball and stopping the run. They rank 25th in the NFL in rush defense, giving up 127 yards a game, and 29th in the NFL in rushing, with just 92.7 yards a game.

Is that a cause for concern? Sure, it was in the regular season, but it’s a whole new season now, and remember 2006, when the Colts figured out how to stop the run on their way to a Super Bowl title?

From the offseason on, this season has been a circus for the New York Jets. Between Hard Knocks and Sal Alosi tripping Nolan Carroll, the Jets have become one of the most arrogant, hated teams in the whole league.

Are they good enough to win in Indianapolis? Sure they are. Just like they did last year in the playoffs to reach the AFC Championship Game, the Jets will pound the ball and try to wear you down with their defense. For them to win this game, though, Mark Sanchez is going to have to outplay Peyton Manning, and there are not too many people who believe he can.

I’ve been one of the biggest Jets haters all season long, and it pains me to say this, but I like the Jets’ chances in this one. The Jets win here and set up a rematch in New England with the Patriots.

Fearless Forecast: Jets 23, Colts 20

Game 3: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs, 1:00 EST on CBS (Sunday)

To kick things off on Sunday, the Ravens’ scary defense will try to contain the Chiefs’ rushing attack of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

Do I think the Chiefs will win? No. They have a chance though, and I’ll tell you why.

To win in the playoffs, you need to have a good rushing attack, which the Chiefs do have. They led the league in rushing in the regular season, averaging 164.2 yards per game.

This is highlighted by Jamaal Charles’ ridiculous stat of 6.4 yards per carry. He is as explosive a player as we have in the league today, and as long as the Ravens can stop him, they will be in good shape. That’s easier said than done, however.

In addition to Charles, Matt Cassel will need to play his best football for the Chiefs to have any chance in this game. Cassel is coming off his worst game of the season, in which he went 11-of-33 for 115 yards and two interceptions. Don’t let that fool you into thinking Cassel isn’t capable of leading the Chiefs to a win, because he sure is. This season, he finished with 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, hooking up with Dwayne Bowe not once, not twice, but 15 times for a touchdown.

The Ravens won’t be taking the Chiefs lightly; they know this won’t be easy. Similar to the Chiefs, the Ravens have a nice rushing attack, led by Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, and a defense that is always scary. Would you want to be stared down by Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed? I didn’t think so.

The Chiefs may keep it close for a little bit, but I expect the Ravens to pull away and advance to the second round.

Fearless Forecast: Ravens 27, Chiefs 13

Game 4: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:30 EST on Fox (Sunday)

The final game of the weekend is perhaps the one everyone is looking forward to. The Eagles and the Packers, two high-powered offenses, will square off in a rematch from Week 1. This time, though, things are a little different than the first time around.

When Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion thanks to a hit from Clay Matthews, the Eagles’ season was forever changed. Michael Vick came in, looking sharp and nearly bringing the Eagles back from a 27-10 deficit. That was enough for Andy Reid to see, and Vick was named the starting quarterback of the Eagles.

Now Vick gets his chance to do what the Eagles couldn’t do in Week 1: Beat the Packers in Philly.

The Packers come into this game having won their last two games and are being deemed the most dangerous team in the NFC. With Aaron Rodgers playing at a high level and a defense that ranks fifth in the league, this Packers team is scary. Vick has struggled to handle the blitz recently, and the Packers will try to swarm him like the Bears, Giants (for three quarters) and the Vikings did.

If the Eagles want to win this game, they will need to run the football more. The Eagles have strayed from the run, and it doesn’t make much sense why. LeSean McCoy is averaging 5.2 yards per carry but is getting just 13 rushes a game. To win in the playoffs you are going to need to run the ball, and the Eagles can do it, but don’t. Vick is hurting, and he won’t be able to do it all.

The Packers, since losing Ryan Grant in Week 1, have struggled to run the football as well; they rank 24th in the NFL with 100.4 yards per game.

The difference in this game, though, will be which defense can step up and make the big plays, and I think the Packers will do that.

It is tough for me to say this as an Eagles fan, but I think the Packers are simply the better team and will beat the Eagles for the second time this season.

Fearless Forecast: Packers 28, Eagles 24

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