Tag Archives: Jeff Fisher

Week 2 NFL Power Rankings: Robert Griffin III has arrived

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Alex Smith (pictured above) outplayed reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers as the 49ers got a huge victory in the opener at Lambeau Field.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Last season, it was Cam Newton who dazzled us all, throwing for 422 yards in his NFL debut. One year later, Robert Griffin III went into the Superdome, threw for 322 yards, two touchdowns, and beat the Saints. It took awhile Washington, but your quarterback has finally arrived. The Redskins will make some noise in the NFC East this season.

Griffin was just one of many stories through Week 1 of the NFL season. In case you missed it, here’s a quick recap.

Taking over this weeks number one spot in the power rankings are the 49ers, who marched into Lambeau Field and beat the Packers. Another team that made a statement was Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Manning finished 19-26 for 253 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Steelers.

Ah, so much to get to. Where does your team rank after Week 1?

1. San Francisco 49ers (4): 1-0. That was a statement win for the 49ers in Green Bay. Alex Smith outplayed Aaron Rodgers. Impressive. (Next game: vs. Detroit on SNF) Continue reading

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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

“Sayonora Sloan”

Jerry Sloan, the longest tenured coach in any of America's 4 major sports resigned today. Did anybody see this coming?

As the saying goes, in life, there are only two real certainties.  Death and taxes.  And in my lifetime, there has been one other certainty.  Jerry Sloan as the Head Coach of the Utah Jazz.  The guy has been patrolling the sidelines since 1988 (23 years).  He has accomplished many amazing feats during his tenure in Salt Lake. Continue reading

“NFL Week 5 Predictions”

All eyes will be on Number 4, Brett Favre (pictured above), for a change on Monday Night Football. Can he come up big with his new star target Randy Moss?

The NFL regular season is already a quarter of the way complete.  Hard to believe, but true.  Teams are starting to flash their true colors and people are starting to separate the contenders from the pretenders (sort of).

In the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads as follows:

TheSportsKraze:  38                CV3:  37

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Jaguars at Bills:  The Jaguars are coming off an amazing win in which they hit a 59 yard field goal as time expired to shock the Indianapolis Colts.  I will admit I am still shocked that the Jaguars won this game.  The Bills continue to struggle with stopping the run and are in search of their first win.  Well this is their week.  Home field advantage means a lot in the NFL and I expect Jacksonville to fall hard after such a great high they experienced last week.  Bills will surprise the Jags by 3 at home behind a big day for CJ Spiller.

Buccaneers at Bengals:  The Who Deys are coming off of a disastrous loss at in state rival Cleveland.  The Buccaneers looked solid in their first two games, but were absolutely molly whopped by the Steelers in their last game.  The physical nature of the AFC North proved to be too much.  Though the Bengals have struggled all year, I do expect them to take care of business at home.  Maybe Chad and TO can each play well on the same day?  Also this looks to be a day where Cedric Benson can get back on track with some smash mouth running against a Tampa team that struggles to stop the run.  Bengals by 7 at home.

Falcons at Browns:  Atlanta will fly into the Pound on a 3 game winning streak. The Brownies may still be excited about their big win in the Battle of Ohio, but sadly this week, the Falcons are going to shred them apart.  Look for Atlanta’s extremely balanced offense, led by Matt Ryan, to have a field day both passing and running the ball.  I got the Falcons by 9 on the road.

Rams at Lions:  The Rams are 2 and 2.  Yes, 2 and 2.  I will admit that I have picked against them every week.  And sadly, I am going to pick against them for a 5th straight week.  The Lions are a team that has been very close to winning in 3 of it’s 4 contests.  Well this is the week where they notch one up in the win column.  Look for Calvin Johnson to reel in a couple of TDs and for the Lions to win a shootout by 6 at home.

Chiefs at Colts:  Do you know who the lone undefeated team in the National Football League is?  I will give you a hint.  Their home field is in Kansas City and they once had a star running back by the name of Priest.  But this is a team that has lived on a smash mouth rushing attack offensively, and a great defense against the run.  They have not been too good at passing the ball or defending against the pass.  But their rushing attack, led by the 2 headed monster that is Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones has been simply outstanding.  The Colts on the other hand have struggled to stop the run all year, as they are off to their worst start in recent memory.  So all directions would say to pick the Chiefs monster rushing attack to run over the weak Colt’s defense right?  Wrong.  Do not expect a Peyton Manning team to fall under 500.  I got the Colts by 6 at home.

Packers at Redskins:  There is one major statistic in this game that will be the differentiating factor.  The Redskins are 31st in the League at defending against the pass.  Do you know who Green Bay’s quarterback is?  Look for a monster day for Packer Quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay takes one in the nation’s capital.  I got the Cheesesheads by 10 on the road.

Bears at Panthers:  Can the Bears redeem themselves after an embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football by their offensive line?  Honestly, I am not sure.  But I do know that the Bears defense against the run can be flat-out scary at times.  And with a young quarterback in place in Carolina, the Panthers will continue to rely heavily on their ground attack.  Sadly, they will not be able to muster up enough offense to beat Da Bears.  I got Chicago by 3 on the road in a very lackluster game.

Broncos at Ravens:  The Edgar Allen Poes are coming off their biggest win of the season in which they took care of business against the divisional rival Steelers.  Can the Ravens continue to fly against a 2 and 2 Denver team?  Well this matchup pits the number 1 passing team in the League (Denver), against the number 1 ranked defense against the pass in Baltimore.  Talk about an exciting scenario.  Great defenses normally prevail over great offenses.  The Broncos have still not really developed an identity as they play great one week, then awful the next. I got the Ravens winning by 9 at home.

Giants at Texans:  What a performance the Giant’s defense put on against the Bears on Monday Night.  It was quite the show and brought back memories of the Giant’s Super Bowl Team back in 2007.  Sadly for the Giants, they now take on a team that is one of the League’s elite in rushing and passing.  Matt Schaub can rely on the run if the Giant’s pass rush becomes too much.  Too many weapons offensively for the Texans.  I got Houston at home by 7.

Saints at Cardinals:  The defending Super Bowl Champs head to Arizona to take on the NFC West leading Cardinals.  The Saints are struggling offensively without Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.  Luckily for the NOLA boys, they are taking on a Cardinal’s team that has not been able to stop any offense through the air or on the ground all season.  I got the Saints gutting out a tough road victory due to the amazing poise and intelligence of their quarterback, Drew Brees.  Expect a patented Bree’s two-minute drill to win this one.  Saints by 7.

Chargers at Raiders:  In an old school AFC West rivalry, San Diego heads to Oakland to take on a Raider’s team that has suffered two very tough losses in a row.  Believe me, San Diego will show no sympathy.  The Charger’s balance offensive attack will prove too much for the Raiders to handle as Rivers demonstrates a his great arm, and lets his tandem of running backs, Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews shred a weak Oakland defense against the run.  I got the Chargers by 10 on the road.

Titans at Cowboys:  Tennessee heads to Dallas for a rendezvous with Cowboy Nation.  The Titans have been extremely hard to understand this year with their lack of consistent play.  This is a very unusual for  Jeff Fisher led team.  The Cowboys are coming off of their bye week and looked revitalized the last time they took the field, when they smashed a formerly undefeated Texans team.  Expect more of the same in this one.  The Cowboys are just too talented not to make a run at the playoffs.  Look for Dallas to contain Chris Johnson on their way to a hard-fought 6 point victory at home.

Eagles at 49ers:  Philadelphia takes on a highly disappointing 49ers sqaud.  This was a San Francisco team that many picked to win the lowly NFC West and make a run in the playoffs.  Well that has not happened thus far.  Could this be the day where they finally leave the League’s “defeated” ranks?  I think it is.  Look for Frank Gore to make a statement in the Sunday Night Game and for Patrick Willis and the boys to take advantage of a Michael Vickless Eagle’s squad.  49ers by 3 at home. 

Vikings at Jets:  What a matchup this is.  You got the “Return of the Moss” in Minnesota.  And wouldn’t you know his first game with his former team is the Monday Night Game.  Other than last week, the MNF slate has been outstanding and hasn’t disappointed anybody.  Well expect another great one tonight.  Minnesota’s main weakness this year other than Favre’s inability to take care of the ball has been a weak passing attack in general.  Well Moss could be just the medicine the Vikes need.  Either way, I got the Jets winning this time on the bright lights by 3 at home.  Expect an awesome game.

CV3 Picks:

Jaguars over Bills by 3- The Bills are a struggling team and they are not very good at defending the run. MJD is averaging almost 4 yards a carry and if Jacksonville plans well this game belongs to them. They are the better team and should beat the Bills.

Falcons over Browns by 7- The Browns are on a high after a rare win. They will now be brought back down. The Falcons will not make the same mistakes that the Bengals did and will handle the Browns, no matter how much Hillis rushes for.

Rams over Lions by 1- The Rams are on the rise and are beginning to gel. They also have a very stingy defense. The Lions have been able to move the ball very well lately but they make more mistakes than anyone in the league. These mistakes should limit the Lions on offense and defense. 

Colts over Chiefs by 7- The Colts are at home and are not happy coming off of a division loss. Peyton should stop the Chiefs surprising run of 3 straight victories. I don’t think the Colts will be shocked again. 

Packers over Redskins by 6- With the Packers having a better defense than the Redskins and both having pretty even offenses, I go with the Pack. Aaron Rodgers will outperform the elder McNabb who has nothing special to play for this week after beating the Eagles last week.

Bears over Panthers by 10- The Panthers have a lot more to build before they can win a game this season, especially against the high powered Bears. The Bears new offense will be too much for the Panthers to handle.

Saints over Cardinals by 10- The Saints have not completely gelled yet this season but they have too many weapons for the Cards to handle. The Cards have won two games against lower level teams and been dominated by good teams. The Saints are a good team that will roll.

Texans over Giants by 3- This should be a close game but the Texans are a good team, solid on offense but they give yards through the air. This could be a shootout but the game will end close.

Cowboys over Titans by 7- The Boys are fresh coming off of a bye and have had two full weeks to prepare for this game. They will get to .500 after this week and begin a roll towards making the playoffs. They have all of the right pieces and once they put them all together they will be dangerous.

Raiders upset Chargers by 3- The Raiders have not beat the Chargers in their last 13 games. However, the Raiders can now run the ball and stop the pass. This is my upset pick for the week.

Ravens over Broncos by 3- While the Broncos seem to be passing at will and the Ravens cannot get anything going on offense, you would expect the Broncos to just outscore the Ravens. However, the Ravens can run the ball and the Broncos cannot. The Ravens will also have a good defensive game plan to stop the pass. The Ravens are at home and remind me of the 2006 Steelers. Just barely getting by, but getting by.

49ers over Eagles by 6- With Vick gone it will be tough for the Eagles to win the game. San Fran should get their first victory in this by limiting Kolb in Vick’s absence. 

Jets over Vikings by 6- Randy Moss will not go off against the Jets this time. They will be prepared for the Vikings passing game. If they can hold AP they should be able to limit the Vikings in this one.

Bengals over Bucs by 6- Bengals will limit mistakes and be able to outscore the Bucs bruising run game. I don’t know the exact statistic but when Benson gets the ball 25+ times they are hard to beat. Go back to the run Bengals and make some big plays in the passing game.

So there you have the picks for Week 5.  It should definitely be a dandy capped off by an awesome Monday Night matchup.  You got to love the NFL.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“AFC South Preview”

Superstar quarterback Peyton Manning is looking to lead the Colts to a 9th consecutive playoff appearance.

Though I would love to talk about the TO Show arrival in Cincinnati, I will hold off and continue with my NFL Divisional previews.  This is another division where 3 teams could easily win 8 or more games.  A division that features a Colt’s team looking for redemption, a Titan’s team looking to continue to roll, and a Texan’s team still trying to get over the hump.

AFC South:  Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans (alphabetical order)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4th place):  I do see the Jacksonville boys ending up in the divisional cellar for the 3rd consecutive year.  This team is not terrible by any means, but playing in the AFC South is no easy task.  The Jaguars feature a middle of the road offense and a fairly sub par defense.  In this division, a weaker defense will get lit up by a team like the Colts.  Jacksonville has still not adjusted to the new look “pass first” NFL.  Garrard is a decent quarterback, but Jacksonville has not shown enough confidence in the guy, which in my eyes has led to him struggling the past couple of years.  Do not expect to see Garrard have an over 100 passing rating as he did in 2007.  Now Maurice Jones-Drew has developed into one of the League’s elite running backs, but there is no compliment for him.  There is no dual running back threat, plus the receiving corps is not the best, led by Mike Sims-Walker.  Do not expect to see this team come out victorious in shootouts with teams like the Colts.  Then on the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars feature one of the League’s weakest secondaries and do an okay job at stopping the run.  Can Daryl Smith at linebacker lead this unit to respectability?  You better believe the loss of savvy veteran John Henderson is going to hurt.  I do not expect this team to win more than 7 games, but I could see them stringing together 5 or 6 victories.

Tennessee Titans (3rd place):  Who cares if Jeff Fisher and the Titans are suing Lane Kiffin.  Doesn’t it seem like everyone wants a piece of USC right now?  This team has a strong offensive attack that features possibly the best mix of run/pass in the League.  This is a differentiating factor that this team has in their repertoire.  They can both run and pass the ball, and not just do one or the other in desperation.  The Titans got off to a horrific start last year and fought their way back into contention behind the former Texas Longhorn, Vince Young.  Expect this team to wake up from hibernation much earlier this year.  We all already know about the Chris Johnson show.  Last year’s League leader in rushing yards.  Also, we know that this team has a compliment for Chris in Lendale White.  Lendale  truly pounded  the rock on the goal line reminiscent to how the old bus (Jerome Bettis) used to do it in Pittsburgh in the 2008 season.  Maybe Tennessee will return to this tactic if Chris doesn’t score from 70 yards out every game?  But this team is definitely lacking a number 1 receiver.  Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are solid, but neither is ready to be a number 1 receiver on a playoff team.  Also do not be surprised to see former USC standout Damian Williams making some noise at the 3rd receiver spot towards the end of the season.    But the real question is can this team’s defense hold their opponents in check?  Most directions point to no.  The loss of their defensive leader Keith Bullock will really sting on a defense that was already reeling.  I feel that overall team defense and the lack of a number 1 receiver will cost this team a playoff spot barely.  I see them finishing 8 and 8 or 9 and 7 though, but coming up just short.  Next offseason they will need to get a number 1 receiver and improve the defense to really make a run at this thing.    

Houston Texans (2nd place):  For a 4th consecutive year, I see these boys falling just short of their 1st playoff appearance in franchise history.  I feel like this team is definitely good enough, but drawing the NFC East is the deciding factor that will prevent them from advancing on.  The Houston Texans have a fairly punishing defense led by DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing (Cushing will miss the first 4 games due to suspension though).  Easily one of the top 5 linebacking units in the League though.  They also have guys like Mario Williams on the line who can really play.  Do not be surprised if this team finishes in the League’s top 5 at stopping the run.  The question is can their secondary do as well as their front 7?  Offensively, this team has developed into one of the League’s elite.  They fit the League mold of being a pass happy team.  They have one of the most dangerous aerial attacks in the NFL led by their superstar Andre Johnson and quarterback Matt Schaub.  This guy may be the best receiver in the  AFC or the entire NFL.  Can Kevin Walter step up as a big time number 2 threat to relieve some of the pressure off of Andre?  I feel the play of Walter in the 2 slot could really make or break this team’s playoff chances.  He needs to produce much better than he did last season.  The Texans also have a solid running back in Steve Slaton, but will truly miss the production of Ryan Moats.  Though this is a pass first team, it is truly a mystery who is going to step up and be the 2nd back.  If Brian Cushing was not suspended for the first 4 games, and they were not matched up against the NFC East, I would have this team finishing 10 and 6 or 11 and 5 and easily claiming a Wild Card.  I think they are very close to the Titans and they should finish within a game of each other.  But I do see them coming out 9 and 7  and falling just short of the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts (1st place):  The boys from Indianapolis will make the playoffs for the 9th consecutive year.  The legendary career of Peyton Manning will continue to roll.  This team still has the capability of putting up big numbers offensively, though last year the flash seemed to have disappeared.  The Colts really did not blow opponents out, but did just enough to win.  And believe me, Indianapolis was fine with their 14 and 2 finish and appearance in the Super Bowl.  Their plus 109 point differential was only 5th in the League, even though they had the most wins.  I mean who really cares though?  Peyton Manning does as good or a better job than any other quarterback in managing the game and spreading the ball around to all of his targets.  He does not necessarily have the best targets anymore, but in Michael Jordanesque fashion, he turns them into stars.  Guys like Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark have really reaped the benefits.  Who had ever heard of Garcon or Collie before last year?  Joseph Addai is one of the League’s best running backs at doing what he needs to do to help his team win. He will not blow you away with his numbers, but he will do just enough.  Also look for Donald Brown to carry more of the load than he did last year as he enters his 2nd season in the NFL.  Then you look at the Colt’s defense and you have guys like Bethea, Session, hopefully a healthy Bob Sanders, and I could go on.  The Colt’s defense last year typically bent, but did not break.  And was a key in the 14 win season.  Expect more of the same style this year. Also do not sleep on stars like Dwight Freeney and Gary Brackett.  This is a solid defense that has the luxury of playing on a team that features Peyton Manning offensively.  There are no dramatic changes to this team from last year’s AFC Champions.  These guys are just tough and they know how to win.  Never question Peyton Manning’s ability to win games.  Expect to see these guys make another deep run in the playoffs.

So there you have it, another year with the Colts on top.  But also do not sleep on the Texans susprising some people and sneaking into the playoffs.  If they did not have to play the NFC East this year, I would definitely have the Texans as a Wild Card team (sadly they play the NFC East).  Should be a fun year in the AFC South.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze