Tag Archives: Jamaal Charles

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

Chief Manning?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Our very own Andrew McNeil thinks that Kansas City would be the best place for Manning to play in 2012.

By Andrew McNeil

The biggest free agent in the history of the NFL hit the market Wednesday at 4.pm.  Peyton Manning will be putting on a different helmet next year. Manning has reportedly said that he wants to make his decision about which team he will be playing for quickly. This really comes as no surprise. There’s about 12 teams that are reportedly interested in his services, but if Manning truly wants to win, he should sign with the Kansas City Chiefs. I know that KC is not the most glamorous franchise of his current options, but the Chiefs have the best situation for him to win immediately. Continue reading

Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Photo courtesy of nfltouchdown.com. Former Harvard star Ryan Fitzpatrick (pictured above) has the Bills thinking playoffs for the first time since 1999.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Before the season started, if I were to tell you that the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and Detroit Lions would all be 2-0 by the beginning of Week 3, you would have thought I was crazy. Yet, here we are, two weeks into the 2011 season and all three of these teams are surprising everyone. Both the Bills and Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, and the fans in Buffalo and Detroit deserve a playoff team, badly. Could this be the year they both do it? We are a long way away from the playoffs, but it’s just a thought to think about.

1. Green Bay Packers (1): 2-0. The Super Bowl champs overcame an early deficit to beat the Panthers in Carolina, forcing four turnovers in the process. Next up for the Packers is a trip to Soldier Field for an NFC Championship game rematch. Continue reading

Food for Thought 9-20-2011

Photo courtesy of graphicshunt.com. Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (pictured above) went from goat to hero in just one week. Perceptions of athletes can change at the drop of a hat.

By Josh Kramer

Football is back in full force.  The MLB playoff races are heading for the home stretch.  Floyd Mayweather is now 42 and 0* (by way of a cheap shot).  And that is just the tip of iceberg.

The following are what has caught my attention lately.

Who saw the disaster in KC coming?

It is safe to say that the Kansas City Chiefs will very likely fail to make the postseason for a second consecutive year.  This team has looked just flat-out awful thus far, and may be the worst team in the entire NFL.  There is one extremely foretelling statistic that typifies Weeks 1 and 2 for the Chiefs.

Their point differential is -79! 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

“NFL Week 13 Predictions”

Welcome to Week 13.  We are entering the final quarter stretch.  3 of the AFC

Can Big Ben (pictured above) lead the Steelers to a huge victory over their divisional rival Baltimore on Sunday Night despite foot injuries?

Divisions have ties at the top.  The NFC West leader has a record of under 500.  Plus the Vikings and Cowboys, 2 of the preseason favorites have a combined 7 victories.  Parity.  The NFL has it.  And you got to love it.

Here is a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:  103                         CV3:  107

I still got a ways to go to catch Mr. CV3.

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Saints at Bengals:  The defending Champs head to Cincinnati to take on a struggling Bengal’s team.  This team has self destructed, and all parties involved are already looking towards next year.  The Saints are perhaps involved in the best divisional race that the NFC has to offer.  Expect Drew Brees and the phenomenal Saint’s aerial attack to pick apart a depleted Bengal’s secondary.  Saints by 10 on the road.

Bears at Lions:  Da Bears head to Ford Field to take on the 2 and 9 Lions.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  The Bears have won 4 straight games and appear to really be coming together both offensively and defensively, while the Lions have lost 4 straight.  In addition, the Lions have not even really looked competitive the past couple of weeks.  It may be freezing in Detroit, but the Bears are going to continue rolling behind their stellar defense.  Bears by 7 on the road.

49ers at Packers:  Green Bay is doing all they can to keep up with Chicago and remain in the playoff picture while the 49ers have vaulted themselves back into the NFC West race.  After starting out 0 and 5, the 49ers are now 4 and 7, and just 1 game out of 1st place.  The 49ers have not really wowed me any respect all season though.  And with Frank Gore going down for the season, they will struggle in the tundra that will be Lambeau on Sunday.  The Packers need a win in a big way to stay in the playoff hunt and they will do just that in front of the home crowd.  Packers by 3 at home in a freeze bowl.

Jaguars at Titans:  Who would have thought that the Jaguars would be sitting atop the AFC South come December?  I know that I did not.  Jacksonville has looked very sharp lately, despite coming off a tough 4 point loss in New York last weekend.  The Titans on the other hand have dealt with much inner turmoil and are currently on a 4 game losing skid.  Well that skid ends this week as Jeff Fisher gets his team hyped, and lights a fire under Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, and the entire Titan’s offense.  The race in the AFC South could involve 3 teams down the stretch.  Titans by 6 at home.

Broncos at Chiefs:  Times have changed.  And in a hurry.  The Broncos are now the AFC West bottom dwellers while the Chiefs sit at the top.  The Chiefs sport the best rushing attack in the League while the Broncos sport one of the worst.  In a cold weather atmosphere, running the ball efficiently is the key to success. The Chiefs are able to do this while the Broncos cannot.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will be the difference in this game.  Chiefs by 7 at home.

Browns at Dolphins:  The Browns are playing good football.  Yes I said it.  The Browns are actually a team that can go out and beat most teams in this League.  Peyton Hillis, a former 3rd stringer at Arkansas (granted he was behind Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) is turning into one of the best backs in the League.  The Dolphins on the other hand are coming off a big time victory over a tough Raider’s team.  Conventional wisdom would point towards the Dolphins winning this game considering they are playing at home.  Oddly enough the Dolphins are just 1 and 4 at home this season.  Maybe the distraction of that South Beach Basketball All Stars has hindered their performance?  Whatever it is, I am taking the Brownies on the road by 3 in a great game.

Bills at Vikings:  The Bills have played very strong football lately and really should have beaten Pittsburgh last weekend.  The Vikings played better than they have played in a month in Washington last Sunday.  My gut is telling me to pick Buffalo in this one, but logically, I am thinking to go with the home team.  Expect Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, or whomever the Vikings throw in the backfield to have a field day.  Vikings by 3 at home.

Redskins at Giants:  This is a good old-fashioned NFC East throwdown.  In the division that sports the best rivalries in the NFL, there are no gimme games.  Sadly this year, the Giants appear to be far superior in every facet of the game.  I fully expect the Giant’s extremely balanced offensive attack to shred a Redskin’s defense that is lacking in all sorts of ways.  I got the Giants by 9 at home.

Raiders at Chargers:  After a very slow start, the Chargers leapfrogged the Raiders last weekend in the suddenly very competitive race in the AFC West.  Since a major victory in overtime over the Chiefs on November 7th, the Raiders have just looked abysmal.  The Chargers on the other hand have looked awesome since Halloween in winning 4 straight games.  And you better believe that the Chargers are looking for some payback from an October loss to the Oakland boys.  The Chargers will exploit a weak Raider’s running defense which will open up the pass for one of the best QB’s in football, Philip Rivers.  Chargers by 9 at home.

Panthers at Seahawks:  The Panthers are probably the worst team in  football.  They are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and do not appear to be making improvement in any facet of the game.  They can’t pass the ball.  They struggle running the ball.  And you better believe that they cannot stop the run.  The Seahawks on the other hand have not been much better in getting blown out the past two weeks. Call me crazy but I am taking Carolina on the road.  They are bound to win again sometime.  Panthers by 1 in Seattle. 

Falcons at Buccaneers:  Two of the NFC’s best will link up in Tampa this weekend.  The Bucs are coming off a tough loss to a very good Baltimore team and are looking to make a statement to the rest of the NFC.  And I will admit that their chances to pull off the upset improve dramatically in getting to play at home, but the Falcons appear to be just too strong all around to drop this one.  The Falcons are looking to remain atop the Saints in the NFC South and will put on a great performance in Tampa.  Roddy White will have a huge day against a weak Buccaneers secondary.  Falcons by 7 on the road.

Rams at Cardinals:  The Cardinals have lost 6 straight games and in the words of Derek Anderson, “This isn’t funny.”  Derek is right, but sadly for Arizona, they are playing a Rams team that continues to improve each week.  Even with Arizona at home, I got the Rams behind rookie Sam Bradford to keep rolling.  The NFC West is wide open folks.  Rams by 3 on the road.

Cowboys at Colts:  In September, this appeared to be a big time matchup where one of the NFC’s best would get to take on one of the AFC’s best.  Sadly, the Cowboys did not pan out the way people expected.  In addition, due to a plethora of injuries, the Colts have struggled more than people expected as well.  Well expect those struggles to end.  Peyton does not ever lose 3 games in a row.  Though I think this will be a very close and high scoring affair, I got Indy by 3 at home.

Steelers at Ravens:  What a matchup this will be.  It is almost as good as the Monday Night Affair.  The NFL got it right in scheduling the night games for this week.  This is probably the best combo of Sunday Night/Monday Night games we will get all year.  Both teams are rolling at the moment and are living large on their stellar defensive units.  Earlier this year, Pittsburgh fell in a very close game against the divisional rival Ravens.  You better believe that they still have that loss on their mind as they head into Sunday Night.  Expect the Steelers to play inspired football behind a banged up Ben Roethlisberger.  Steelers by 1 on the road.

Jets at Patriots:  This may be the best matchup of the entire season thus far.  These two teams realize the importance of this game in gaining a divisional title and possible home field advantage.  Both squads are extremely familiar with each other and have been rolling.  The Patriots have been winning behind an electric offense while the Jets have been relying on their great defensive unit and the timely big play offensively.  The Jets beat the Patriots at home earlier this season by 2 TDs.  Due to home field advantage and a chip on their shoulder from the earlier defeat, I got the Pats by 1 at home in a thriller.

CV3’s Picks:

Saints over Bungles by 16
Bears over Lions by 3
Pack over Niners by 10
Jags over Titans by 3
Chiefs over Broncos by 14
Dolphins over Browns by 1
Vikings over Bills by 17
Giants over Skins by 12
Chargers over Raiders by 2
Colts over Cowboys by 21
Rams over Cards by 7
Panthers over Seahawks by 8
Falcons over Bucs by 10
Steelers over Ravens by 10
Patriots over Jets by 14

This is just a great slate of games.  The AFC will be much clearer after this weekend.  The two night games are especially exciting though as both teams at the top of the AFC East and AFC North lock horns for divisional supremacy.  Can Rex Ryan outsmart the ultimate coach in Bill Belichick?  Who will survive the physical struggle that will ensue in Baltimore this weekend? 

He could go all the way..or could he?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze