Tag Archives: James Harrison

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

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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 Week 8 Predictions

Photo courtesy of abcnews.go.com. The game of the week takes place in Pittsburgh. Who will have their team more ready to play? Belichick (left) or Tomlin (right)?

By Josh Kramer

The NFL season rolls on to Week 8.  Up to this point in the season, we have learned a lot.  The Packers are living up to all of the hype and more, appearing poised to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.  Teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals missed the memo and have decided to be contenders.  And people are finally starting to realize just how valuable Peyton Manning was to his team..  Football fans across the country are witnessing what the Colts are like without #18.

As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”

The participants this season are as follows:

TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.

CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.

CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.

DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team.  After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.

After Week 7, here is the scoreboard.

CB-68

TSK-70

CV3-68

DC-64

Week 8 Slate: Continue reading

“NFL Divisional Playoff Roundup”

Can my Preseason Super Bowl Pick pull off the unthinkable and shock the Patriots in Foxborough? LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured above) will be a key to the Jet's success on Sunday.

Our very own Wesley Kaminsky has already given his predictions for this weekend’s slate of NFL games.  Now it is my turn.  Last week had some great football games, highlighted by the shocker in Seattle.  Marshawn Lynch’s run was arguably the greatest rushing attempt I have ever witnessed in my life.  After making a play like that, you had to believe that destiny was on Seattle’s side.

This week the matchups appear to be even better.  Lets take a closer look. Continue reading

“If You Were a Professional Athlete”

Newly acquired Phillie's ace, Cliff Lee (pictured above), has helped demonstrate to me why the MLB would be the best professional sport to participated in.

Recently, I was involved in a discussion with some of  my fellow sports fanatics regarding professional sports, and which would be the best one to play.  Now obviously, none of us have a shot of being a professional athlete.  Those days are long gone.  But every guy can dream a little right?

So the discussion, which rapidly got very heated centered around the topic of, “If you were a professional athlete, which sport would you want it to be and why.”  Oddly enough, we all had differing opinions.  Is there no ideal professional sport to play?  Or is there..

The following is a G Rated version of the main points brought up in our recent discussion and my ultimate list in order of preference.

5. Professional soccer was immediately thrown out.  Does anybody really want to play in the MLS?  Sure, soccer is the world’s most popular sport.  But this is the United States my friends.  Soccer has been the next big thing for 30+ years now it seems.  Will it ever become the “current” big thing?  Plenty of players in the MLS make just $40,000 a year.  Then you have your Landon Donovan’s, who make a little over $2 million a year.  In actuality though, the League minimum is $33,000 a year.  The League average salary is $138,000.  Also, take note that this number is highly distorted due to players like David Beckham and Thierry Henry making far more than the rest of the League.  On average, players on the practice squads for NFL football teams make over $80,000 a year.  Next..

4.  A few of the guys in the room said golf.  They had no real tangible reason other than you get to travel the world and staying in peak shape is not essential.  Typical response of a lazy couch potato right? But I think my friends failed to realize a key factor on the PGA Tour.  There is no League minimum.  There is no minimum salary.  So if you sustain a major injury or a major funk, you could come out making piss poor money.  Maybe you get to travel the world, but on whose penny?

3. Then there was talk about the most popular League in American sports, the NFL.  The NFL looks great.  Who does not love to sit down on Sundays and watch the NFL?  And in this game, you only play one game a week.  This is where the numbers start getting better.  The League minimum for a rookie is $285,000.  For a second year player, it is $360,000.  By your 5th year, it is $595,000.  But I also realize that the average NFL career is only 3 years for a reason.  Guys like Ray Lewis, James Harrison, and Brian Urlacher are mainstays in this League.  Fear of injury and a lack of guarantees would sway my vote away from the NFL.  But if you remain healthy, the money is very good.

2.  Then you got the NBA.  As a rookie, the League minimum is right around $470,000 (wow).  By year 2, it has already skyrocketed to around $760,000.  Sorry, NFL, but this money is better.  And injuries are less prevalent.  Granted the average NBA roster carries only 12 active players a game (can have up to 15 guys on the roster).  In the NFL, 53 players can be on the roster, with 45 active guys on gameday.  So sure, this might be why NBA players rake in higher salaries at least from a minimum standpoint, because there are less of them.  The NBA gets my nod over the NFL without question.

1.  My winner though, by the slimmest of margins, is the MLB.  Did anybody just witness the recent Cliff Lee bonanza?  Guy turned down a $150 million dollar contract.  Alex Rodriguez was making $33 million in straight salary last year.  I mean give me a break.  Sure baseball is a grind nearly every day for over 6 months.  162 games is a lot of games.  Sure I have a bias in that baseball is my favorite sport out of all of these to play.  But lets take a look at some of the numbers and facts.  Number one, injuries are less frequent in the MLB, than the NFL or NBA.  Guarantees are much more secure regardless of injuries.  The average MLB career lasts 5.6 years.  An average NFL career is right around 3 seasons.  The average NBA career is just below 5 years.  So the MLB average career length is the longest of the big 3.  The league minimum in the MLB is $400,000.  Which is slightly less than the NBA league minimum for a rookie, but more than an NFL rookie.  But here is the most eye-popping stat, that separate the MLB and NBA from the rest of the pack.  The average MLB player makes $3 million dollars (average Yankee made $7.6 million this past year).  And in the NBA, the average salary is around $5 million.  So I guess my case is flawed in the straight money aspect.  But who ever said it was all about the money?

Okay, so it is a toss-up between the NBA and MLB I guess.  My nod goes to the MLB because I enjoy playing baseball more, but it is very close.  Also my apologies for the lack of mention of the NHL.  If forced to choose though, I would place it in 4th behind the NFL.  The average salary is much better than in the MLS or on the PGA Tour, but the injuries are just far too prevalent.  Plus, does hockey’s popularity in the US compare to that of baseball, basketball or football?

What are your thoughts?  If you were a professional athlete, what sport would you want it to be?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Food for Thought on 12-1-10”

Here are a few of my top thoughts on this Wednesday morning:

Would Jon Gruden (pictured above on the far right) really leave the booth to get back into coaching at the U?

Will Derek Jeter wake up and return to the Yankees?

I honestly believe that Derek Jeter and his agent will come to their senses.  The 3 year, 45 million dollar offer is a more than fair deal for the Yankee Captain.  I know it is hard for anyone to take a pay cut, but in the MLB, players age.  Derek is aging, which was demonstrated threw his .270 batting average this past season (34 points below his career average) and his career lows in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage.  But the Yankee shortstop does not feel that he is done yet.  Besides, he will still be the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball (Hanley Ramirez next highest paid shortstop at 11 million).  Also, do you really think another team will offer him more than 15 million dollars a year?

So I do think Derek Jeter will be wearing the Pinstripes come next April..

Will James Harrison need to alter the way he plays?

Coach Tomlin has mentioned that Harrison may need to alter some elements of his style of play.  But lets be entirely honest.  James Harrison is going to be James Harrison.  He has made a living off of his aggressive play.  Do you really think a guy like Harrison is going to bow down to the man?

Coach Tomlin was quoted as saying, “Man life isn’t fair.  I’m not concerned about fairness. I’m really not. I’m concerned about preparing for the Baltimore Ravens.” 

Harrison is also concerned about preparing for Baltimore.  But you better believe his style will not be altered when two of the League’s most physical teams go head to head for AFC North supremacy.  Football can be a brutal game.

Can the Lakers return to dominance even in the midst of a tough 3 game slide?

So the Lakers have dropped 3 games in a row.  Do you really think Kobe, Phil, and the LakeShow are panicking?  Give me a break.  Even with the recent skid, they still sit atop the Pacific Division by 4.5 games.  This team has won the Western Conference 3 consecutive years and is looking for a 3rd straight NBA Championship.  Great teams know when they have to get it together.

Also realize that the Lakers now go on a 4 game stretch where they play the Rockets, the Kings, the Wizards, and the Clippers.  Realize that none of these teams have won more than 5 games thus far.  The 4 bottom feeders have a total of 17 wins between them on the season.

 Look for the Lakers to reel off 4 straight wins and hush the critics.

You better believe that this Laker team is still the best team in the League.

Is the Big Ten now the supreme conference in College Basketball?

After being dominated by the ACC for over a decade, the Big Ten finally won the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge last season.  They are currently ahead 4 to 2 this year, and look to be bringing home the hardware again.  Currently, the mighty Big Ten has 5 teams ranked in the top 25.  Two of these squads are in the top 10.

The perennial top basketball conference, the Big East, has 6 teams in the AP top 25.  With 3 in the top 10.  I will admit that preseason I had the Big Ten as the top conference and the Big East as a very close number 2.  I still stand by this pick even with the Big East currently sporting 1 more top 25 team.

The difference is at the top.  I do not think the Big East’s top teams are as strong as the Big Ten’s top squads.  Do you really think that Pittsburgh, Nova, or UConn for that matter are better than Ohio State or Michigan State?  It is still early though.

A lot of this depends on what you define as the criteria for the best conference though.  Most Final Four Contenders?  Most overall tournament teams?  Most overall depth?  The best teams at the top?

But please note that the Big Ten has only 11 teams, while the Big East has 16.  I give the nod to the Big Ten at this time, but barely.

Will Lebron survive his visit to Cleveland on Thursday?

The NBA has provided heightened security for the Miami Heat wherever they have traveled all season.  They better up the ante in Cleveland big time though.  People in Northern Ohio are still extremely bitter towards their former “King.”  They will do all in the power to make sure that LBJ has a horrible stay in his former home state.

I do not see anything tragic happening.  But do expect this game to sport a playoff atmosphere.  The Cleveland team will play inspired basketball and do all in their power to please the crowd in probably the biggest game of the season for this Cavs team.  Miami on the other hand will also come out and play with a tenacity that we have not seen yet.  Lebron wants this game.  He left Cleveland to win titles.  You better believe that he will be highly disappointed if he gets beaten by his former squad.

Is Jon Gruden actually considering going to Coach at the U?

Gruden claims he loves his job as a Monday Night Football Analyst.  And can you really blame the guy?  He has every man’s dream job.  Sure the Head Coaching job at the University of Miami is one of the most sought after positions in College Football.  Yet they have not made a BCS Bowl Game since 2004. And, over the years, high-profile coaches moving from the NFL to College and vice versa has not been the most successful business venture.

I do admit that I think Gruden has a hint of interest.  But at this time, I do not see him leaving. 

So there is my food for thought on the days hottest topics in sports.  Let me hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 7 Predictions”

James Harrison (pictured above) will be looking to bring the noise with some big hits this week. I expect many bone shattering hits at stadiums all across the country as players make a statement to League officials.

As with College Football, last weekend was also a very tough one for my NFL picks as well.  I am doing all in my power though to prove that last week was just a meer fluke. 

The Jets are appearing to be the real deal.  They were my preseason Super Bowl pick.  They have looked outstanding.  The AFC South has a 3 way tie at the top.  Could this be the end of the Colt’s near decade long reign?  And finally, both the Cowboys and the 49ers, two major favorites to win their divisions remain in the cellar spots.  You got to love the NFL.

The pick’em scoreboard after 6 weeks reads:

TheSportsKraze: 51                          CV3:  52

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Bengals at Falcons:  I am a homer and I got the Bengals waking up after a much-needed bye week.  Carson shreds the Falcons on the way to a big 3 point victory on the road!

Redskins at Bears:  Look for the Bears to redeem themselves after a shocking home loss to the Seahawks.  Donovan Mcnabb will need some Chunky soup after he deals with Urlacher, Briggs, and Co.  Bears by 6.

Rams at Buccaneers:  Both of these teams have been major enigmas.  For some reason my gut is telling me that Sam Bradford, Stephen Jackson, and the Rams are going to have a ball in Tampa.  I got the Rams by 3 on the road.

49ers at Panthers:  Look for Patrick Willis and the 49ers D to give Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike and the whole Panthers quarterback depth chart fits.  I got the 49ers winning by 7 on the road.

Bills at Ravens:  This one could get ugly.  I got the Ravens by 14 coming off a very tough loss to the Patriots.

Eagles at Titans:  Have a day Chris Johnson in front of the home crowd.  The Eagles do not stop the run and Chris Johnson is going to run them out of Cashville.  Titans by 10.

Jaguars at Chiefs:  Both of these teams can really wreak havoc on the ground.  The only difference is KC can actually stop the run too.  I got the Chiefs by 3 at  home.

Steelers at Dolphins:  The Dolphins are a solid team.  But the Steelers defense can be flat-out nasty.  I got the Steelers behind Big Ben and the mighty D stealing a road win by 6.

Browns at Saints:  Last year this game would have been a joke.  This year, the Saints continue to struggle due to a lack of solid rushing options.  It won’t matter on this day in front of a big time NOLA crowd.  Saints by 10 at home.

Cardinals at Seahawks:  The Cardinals have been abysmal in nearly every statistical category.  Yet they are 3 and 2.  Also they have won 4 straight against Seattle.  Can they fly high over Seahawks on the road?  I think not.  The rain will stifle the Cardinals as Seattle takes the W by 3.

Patriots at Chargers:  San Diego is the best at throwing the ball and the best at defending against the pass in the League.  New England can’t run the ball.  I am taking the Patriots by 3 on the road.

Raiders at Broncos:  In a great rivalry game, I got the Broncos taking care of business at home by 7.

Vikings at Packers:  Will Brett Favre’s off field issues affect his on the field play?  It probably will, as the Vikings drop a “must win” on the road to the Cheeseheads by 3.

Giants at Cowboys:  The Cowboy’s lacking rushing attack will kill them in this one.  I got the Giants on the road embarrassing America’s team in front of all of America.  G Men by 6.

CV3 Picks:

Redskins over Bears by 4

Titans over Eagles by 3

Chiefs over Jaguars by 10

Steelers over Dolphins by 6

Saints over Brownies by 7

Rams over Buccaneers by 9

Carolina over 49ers by 6

Ravens over Bills by 17

Seahawks over Cards by 12

Raiders over Broncos by 3

Patriots over Chargers by 10

 

Vikings over Packers 1

Giants over Cowboys by 9

Bengals over Falcons by 1(Hopefully a bye gave them a little time to put things together)

So there you have the Week 7 picks.  I am looking to make up ground on CV3 this week and establish myself as a force to be reckoned with in the pick’em game.

Look for some hard hits as the players look to make a statement towards League Officials.  Let the boys play.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze