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. 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.
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 →
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Brian Orakpo, Buffalo Bills, Chan Gailey, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Drayton Florence, Fred Jackson, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jeremy Powers, Jerry Jones, John Beck, Lee Corso, London Fletcher, Mario Williams, Miami Dolphins, Mike Munchak, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC South, NFL, Pierre Garcon, Rex Grossman, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Kerrigan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennesse Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
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 courtesty of zimbio.com. Dwight Howard (pictured above) is the latest great big man to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers.
By Josh Kramer
Happy Monday to you all. It wasn’t easy, but Team USA went all the way and handled Spain late in the fourth. Abby Wambach and Co. handled business. Tiger Woods, well you know the drill (at least Rory was good). And Andrew Luck demonstrated that it wasn’t “luck” that he was drafted number one in his professional debut. Last week was a great one, but this week should be fun in its own right. Here are the events to keep an eye on.
5. Marcos Ambrose came out victorious in a wild race at the Glen. The countdown to the Chase is down to four. There are just four more races before the big boys battle it out for the Cup. This Sunday, the gang heads to Michigan International Speedway as Kyle Busch looks to defend his crown at the Pure Michigan 400.
4. The history is well-documented: George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal. Add Dwight Howard to the list. I am not sure how the Lake Show pulled this blockbuster deal off, but Kobe Bryant’s chances at number six improved immensely when Superman signed with Jack Nicholson’s favorite team. Watching Team USA bring home gold at the Olympics was exciting, but the prospects of a LeBron/Kobe finals matchup has me even more excited. It may only be August, but the 2012/2013 NBA seasons is shaping up to be a memorable. Plus, the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has finally come to a close. Continue reading →
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Abby Wambach, Andrew Luck, Andy Murray, C.C. Sabathia, Cincinnati Reds, Donald Brown, Dwight Howard, George Mikan, Indianapolis Colts, Joey Votto, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Kyle Busch, Lebron James, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Marcos Ambrose, Maria Sharapova, NASCAR, New York Yankees, NL West, Peyton Manning, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, San Francisco Giants, Serena Williams, Shaquille O'Neal, Texas Rangers, Tiger Woods, US Open, Victoria Azarenka, Washington Nationals, Wilt Chamberlain
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Chad Ochocinco (pictured above) is no longer the dominant receiver he once was between 2003 to 2007. Now he is just an average player who struggles to learn the playbook.
By Josh Kramer
Think back to the year 2007. Who was the best wide receiver in all of football? Now right away Randy Moss should come to mind after reeling in a record 23 touchdown receptions and nearly helping the Patriots complete the first perfect season in the NFL since 1972 (Dolphins). On most people’s list Chad Johnson would rank as number two or three. Between the years of 2003 to 2007, Chad Johnson was no only one of the most entertaining players in the game, he was always one of the elite. During the four-year span of 2003 to 2006, Chad Johnson became the only player in NFL history to lead his conference in receiving yards for four consecutive seasons.
Boy have times changed. Not only has his game seen a colossal decline, his name has changed. Yesterday, Ochocinco hit rock-bottom when he was released by the New England Patriots after just one season. As mentioned earlier, Ochocino was one of the best players on the planet not that long ago. Since, he has become arguably the most influential athlete in the world of social media, and possibly the least influential on the actual field. Ochocinco may have nearly 3.5 million followers on Twitter, but he amassed an abysmal 15 catches last season for a meager 276 yards and one touchdown. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tom Coughlin (pictured above) has been highly criticized over the years. Yesterday, he finally received some of the credit he deserves in signing a three-year extension worth 20 million dollars.
By Josh Kramer
Tom Coughlin never actually looks happy. He was likely smiling on the inside yesterday though when he signed a three-year contract worth 20 million dollars. Not too many coaches have sat on a hotter seat than Coach Coughlin has during his “tumultuous” eight years roaming the sidelines at the Meadowlands. Yesterday, Coughlin was finally awarded monetarily for bringing the Giants their second Super Bowl championship in five years.
The harshest critics in the world reside in New York City. If you can’t take the heat, then get out is the motto in the Big Apple. Over the years, Tom Coughlin has dealt with as much, or more heat, than any other coach in the NFL (that still has a job). If we are being entirely honest, if the Giants had failed to win in Week 16 and Week 17 last year, Coughlin likely would have been fired. Instead, the Giants went on a magical run of six straight victories resulting in the organization’s fourth Super Bowl championship.
I for one have never understood the skepticism in regards to Coughlin. Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Drew Brees (pictured above) and the New Orleans Saints are struggling to see eye to eye in regards to a new contract. Things continue to get worse for Who Dat Nation.
By Josh Kramer
5,476 passing yards? 46 touchdown passes? The leader of a franchise for the past six years that was a key cog in reawakening a franchise and uplifting a city? Priceless.
Yet no long-term deal?
The New Orleans Saints still have not signed the rock of their franchise to a long term deal. After all Brees has done for the organization and the city of New Orleans, ownership is going to try to give him the shaft via a franchise tag? Give me a break.
Money does not grow on trees. The NFL does have salary restrictions. Drew Brees is 33-years-old. Also, being the general manager of a professional sports franchise is no easy task by any means. But this is a no-brainer. Currently, New Orleans is having more problems than O.J. Simpson was back in 1994. The franchise is a mess from top to bottom. Yet, they haven’t signed their star player and team leader? Continue reading →
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andre Ethier (pictured above) was a main reason for the Dodgers solid start in 2011. The real cause for LA's mild success though by the end of the season was Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp.
By Josh Kramer
We have hit the 15th week of “Throwback Saturdays.” It has been fun taking a trip down memory lane every Saturday. What was happening on April 28, 2011? How about on April 28, 2010? Let’s find out.
One year ago..
Loan Bright Spot in Dodgertown
Here is a snippet..
The Los Angeles Dodgers have not exactly had a story book season thus far. Really not much has gone right on or off the field. Surprisingly though, the team has not completely flopped. Or at least not yet. Sitting at 13 and 13, they are still in 2nd in the NL West. With a run differential of -16, they are not exactly competitive every night. They either win big. Or they lose big. A weak run differential normally catches up with a team as they get a couple of months into the season. So the odds do not look to be in LA’s favor.
But there has been one lone bright spot in Dodgertown. That bright spot is not Kobe Bryant, though his courage and amazing toughness is a shining light in that city. Say hello to Los Angeles Dodger’s star right fielder, Andre Ethier. Ethier has been simply phenomenal this season, and is a main reason why the Dodgers are currently playing 500 baseball. Without him, the entire ship may have already sunk on this season even just 26 games in (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading →
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Alex Smith, Andre Ethier, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Clayton Kershaw, Indianapolis Colts, Jamarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mario Williams, Matt Kemp, NFL Draft, NL West, Reggie Bush, Sam Bradford, Steve Young, Vince Young
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. If I were running the show in Minnesota, I would take Justin Blackmon (pictured above) at number three on Thursday.
By Josh Kramer
Number three is for me. The NFL Draft is just about here (finally). After all of the analysis, sports science, and insane amounts of minutia, Thursday night, it all goes down. 253 players will learn much more about their future over the course of the three day extravaganza when their name is called. We have a semblance of idea how the first fifteen minutes will play out.
“With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select… Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford Cardinal.”
Followed by a huge smile and a very mild-mannered interview with Andrew Luck.
“With the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select…Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor Bears.”
RGIII will be all smiles and of course we will get to see his goofy socks during the interview.
Then what happens?
The ball is in Minnesota’s court. They have been on the clock for months in essence. Everyone has known for well over two months now that Luck and Griffin would be the top two picks. But who will go at number three? Many have proclaimed Matt Kalil, from USC, as the guy. Others are saying Morris Claiborne from LSU. Some are even saying Justin Blackmon, the young clone of TO, out of Oklahoma State.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that Justin Blackmon is the Vikings man. Continue reading →
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged A.J. Green, Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Baylor Bears, Bobby Massie, Brandon Marshall, Bryce Harper, Calvin Johnson, Charlotte Bobcats, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Edwin Jackson, Gio Gonzalez, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Indianapolis Colts, James Harden, Jonathan Martin, Jordan Zimmerman, Jordy Nelson, Justin Blackmon, Larry Brown, LSU Tigers, Matt Kalil, Metta World Peace, Mike Adams, Minnesota Vikings, Morris Claiborne, NFC North, NFL Draft, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Percy Harvin, Robert Griffin III, Ross Detwiler, SMU Mustangs, Stanford Cardinal, Stephen Strasburg, Terrell Owens, USC Trojans, Washington Nationals, Washington Redskins
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Tim Tebow (right) was always Josh McDaniel's (left) guy. That fact has been fully brought to light with Peyton's arrival in Denver.
By Wesley Kaminsky
It’s no secret that the biggest question of the NFL off-season has been where Peyton Manning will land. After missing the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, the Colts decided to part ways with Manning after 14 seasons in Indianapolis. After much deliberation as to where Manning would choose, it was announced that he would be going to the Denver Broncos, and they rewarded him with a 5-year, $96 million deal.
Huh? Continue reading →
Posted in NFL
Tagged AFC, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, John Elway, John Fox, Josh McDaniels, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, NFC, NFL, Peyton Manning, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins, Wesley Kaminsky