Tag Archives: Houston Texans

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 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

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

How I got to know Doc

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. 2008 was not the best of years for Carson Palmer (pictured above) and the Cincinnati Bengals.

By Josh Kramer

Now I want you all to think back to the Bengal days before Big Red and A.J. Green arrived at Paul Brown Stadium and took the city of Cincinnati by storm. A time where flashiness seemed to outweigh heart, and the name on the back of the jersey seemed more important than the name on the front.  It is October 26, 2008.  Ryan Fitzpatrick (alumnus of the same fine academic institution as Jeremy Lin) was filling in for an injured Carson Palmer.  Cincinnati has just lost for the third straight week by 20+ points.  On this particular day, the Who Deys took one on the head at Reliant Stadium to those pesky Houston Texans (sound familiar?).  Cincinnati now finds themselves 0 for 8 on the year and in the midst of another lost season.  People in Cincinnati are already done with NFL football, and their focus has shifted to college football and the upcoming college hoops season.  Any city that is fortunate enough to have a professional football team shouldn’t be finished with America’s most popular sport by the end of October. It just isn’t right.  It is a major problem.

I reached out to Paul a little more than three years ago on a whim in regards to a school project.  My group was tasked with discussing a major problem in Cincinnati.  So naturally, as Cincinnati sports fans, we chose the Bengals as our problem. Continue reading

NFL Playoffs 2012: Divisional Playoff Weekend Recap

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The often criticized Alex Smith (pictured above) has finally turned the corner and had a Montana-like moment on Saturday. Can he lead San Francisco past the Giants and into the Super Bowl?

By Wesley Kaminsky

After a Wild-Card weekend that featured Tim Tebow shocking the Steelers in overtime, nobody thought the divisional weekend could top the one prior.  Everybody was wrong.

The divisional playoffs started off with a bang Saturday afternoon, when the 49ers and Saints combined for 28 points in the final four minutes of the game, with Alex Smith hitting Vernon Davis for the winning touchdown with nine seconds left. That game was just more proof of the amazing job Jim Harbaugh has done this season in San Francisco, and it’s not over yet. Harbaugh transformed Alex Smith from Ryan Leaf to Joe Montana. (Okay, at least for one game). He inherited an almost identical 49ers team that struggled in 2010 and made them a contender. There is something about that Harbaugh family. 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

NFL Season 2012: Ranking the Remaining Playoff Teams

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tom Brady (pictued above) has not won a playoff game in four years. Can he regain his postseason swagger against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos?

By Wesley Kaminsky

The 2012 NFL playoffs are among us, and during Wild-Card Weekend, things started off with a bang. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap of each game.

Game 1: Houston Texans 31, Cincinnati Bengals 10. If you had told me in the beginning of the season that rookie T.J. Yates would be hosting a playoff game against fellow rookie, Andy Dalton, I would have called you crazy. However, led by their strong defenses, both teams were able to find a way into the playoffs, with the Texans winning their first playoff game in franchise history. Arian Foster led the way for the Texans, rushing for 153 yards on 24 carries. Continue reading

NFL Wild-Card Weekend

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Much of the talk regarding the Bengals/Texans matchup on Saturday has been centered on the rookie quarterbacks. The return of Andre Johnson (pictured above) may have a heavy impact on the outcome as well.

By Josh Kramer

It is finally the time that we have all been waiting for.  And no I am not referring to “Tebow Time,” though there is a possibility of some “Tebowing.”  America’s most popular sport is now down to the final 12.  By Sunday night, the field will be narrowed down to eight, as teams desperately try to book a trip to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl on February 5th.  What team will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy around 10:30PM on February 5th?

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting the final “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge” results.  The final standings were as follows:

TSK:  172

CV3:  163

CB:  161

DC: 158

(TSK is the champion for a second consecutive year)

Let’s take a deeper look at the upcoming weekend.

Wild-Card Weekend:

Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

The Word:  A game of firsts.  Houston is in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and Cincinnati has not won a postseason game since January 6th, of 1991. Continue reading