Tag Archives: Marc Bulger

“NFL Week 3 Predictions”

In possibly the best matchup of Week 3, can Matt Ryan (pictured above), lead the Falcons to a big time win over the defending champs?

So with two weeks completed in this young NFL season, the excitement is still there.  The parity is still there.  Two heavy NFC favorites are 0 and 2 (Vikings and Cowboys).  There are two NFC surprise teams that stand at 2 and 0 (Bears and Buccaneers).  And Miami, Houston, and Kansas City are all leading their respective divisions in the AFC.  You got to love it.

Also, in the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads as follows:

TheSportsKraze: Week 1/2-20                                                   CV3:  Week 1/2-19

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Titans at Giants:  This is one of those toss-up type of games.  And though Chris Johnson may be the most dangerous offensive weapon in the League, the Titans showed kryptonite against the Steelers last week and I expect the same on Sunday.  Eli and the Giants at home will be looking to redeem themselves after an embarrassing Sunday night loss in the “Battle of the Brothers.”  Both of these teams have strong rushing attacks and defend well against the pass.  Look for a low scoring and tight affair, but expect the G Men to come out on the victorious end by 3 utilizing home field advantage.

Steelers at Buccaneers:  Though this hurts me to say, I am going to have to take the Steelers on the road in this one.  Tampa has been a very pleasant surprise leaping out to a 2 and 0 start, but the Steelers are no fluke.  Their defense, led by Troy Polamalu is the real deal.  Also, they will be utilizing the ultimate “Journeyman,” Charlie Batch as their starting quarterback.  So even though the Steelers sport the 31st ranked offense in the League, their outstanding defense will continue to take care of business in this one.  Steeler nation is enjoying every win they can get before the return of Big Ben.  Look for the Steelers to win an ugly one by 6.

Bengals at Panthers:  Welcome to the NFL Jimmy Clausen.  In your first start, you get to match up against a Bengal’s defense that looked flat-out awesome last week against Baltimore.  The great mind of the Bengal’s D-Coordinator vs the Panther’s rookie QB Jimmy Clausen?  I got Zimmer every time.  Carolina has sported an anemic offensive attack thus far this season.  Look for Carson Palmer to start to redeem  himself with a major day through the air, featuring big games for TO, Ocho, and Shipley.  I got the Bengals running away with this one on the road by 9.

Browns at Ravens:  This game may be a great rivalry.  For obvious reasons.  But this Ravens team is very hungry after a heartbreaking loss in Cincinnati last weekend.  Look for Ray Lewis and the boys to lay some bone shattering hits.  And probably even provide some points for the struggling offensive attack.  This may be a game where the Ravens bring in Marc Bulger for a series or two sporting a big lead?  The only way the Browns hang around in this one is through a special teams TD by none other than Joshua Cribbs.  Do not count on the offense mustering more than a TD though.  I got the Edgar Allen Poe’s by 10 at home.

Cowboys at Texans:  This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the week for obvious reasons.  Two teams heading in very different directions.  A Cowboy’s team, that has disappointed the entire country, and a Texan’s team, that is 2 and 0, having defeated two tough opponents.  My head has been saying go with the Texans all week, especially at home.  But in the “Battle of Texas,” I got the Cowboys to reestablish their rushing attack behind a motivated offensive line, on their way to a gutsy 1 point victory over their in-state rival.  Jerry Jones will be a happy man (or as happy as Jerry can be with a 1 and 2 start).

49ers at Chiefs:  Another very tough matchup to call here.  The Chiefs have been a pleasant surprise thus far, while the 49ers are another one of those surprising 0 and 2 teams.  Mike Singletary had his team on the cusp of beating the defending champs on Monday Night Football.  Now his team is back in action, heading to a very tough environment in Kansas City.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have been a 2 headed monster for KC on the ground, but I do not think it will be enough on this day.  Plus Patrick Willis and the 49ers D have done a great job against the run this year.  Alex Smith, the young San Francisco QB, is beginning to show glimmers of a big time leader following his great drive late in the 4th on Monday.  Expect the 49ers to cut down on their mistakes, and nab a big road win by 1.

Lions at Vikings:  Hail Vikings?  Without a victory in this one at home, it may be all over for the Favres.  The Lions have played very well, losing two games in heartbreaking fashion.  They have definitely stepped up their game and are extremely competitive, but it won’t be enough in this one.  Look for AP to run “All Day,” just like his nickname says, and expect Favre to cut down on the INTs.  Minnesota has done well from a statistical standpoint other than in the turnover department.  The Lions on the other hand, have not been the best team statistically, but their aerial attack has been very solid.  Many had the Vikings as a Super Bowl favorite.  Well their trek begins Sunday as they move to 1 and 2 with a 9 point victory over Detriot.

Bills at Patriots:  Da Bills, will get killed.  The Patriots are coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of AFC East Rival, New York (Jets). Belichick , Brady, and Moss all hate to lose.  They showed how dangerous they can be in a major Week 1 romp of Cincinnati.  The Bills are one of the worst teams in football up to this point.  Though the Patriots only major strength thus far has been their passing attack, it will be enough to carry them to an easy home victory over Buffalo.  Look for the Patriots to lay an old-fashioned whooping by 14.

Falcons at Saints:  This is a big time showdown in the NFC South.  Brees showed his grit on Monday Night leading a major drive in the final minute of play.  Atlanta also flapped their wings last Sunday with an offensive outburst against the Cardinals.  Can the Saints hold Atlanta’s outstanding rushing attack in check?  Can the Saints fill the void left by a Reggie Bushless offense?  These will be the determining factors in this one.  And I am going with the Saints by 3 at home in possibly the best game of the Week.

Redskins at Rams:  Sorry St. Louis.  Things are going to continue to get worse.  After a heartbreaking loss against the Texans last week, the Redskins look to recover in a big way under the Arch of St. Louis.  This is just the medicine any team needs after suffering a tough defeat.  Go play the Rams.  Though the Redskins have had little to no ground attack all year and have struggled defending the pass, it won’t matter in this one, as they take on one of the worst in the NFL.  Expect the Redskins to take care of business by 7 on the road.

Eagles at Jaguars:  Michael Vicks heads to Jacksonville as the starter?  Is it 2006 again?  After Andy Reid named Michael Vick the starter earlier this week, the whole city of Brotherly Love breathed a sigh of relief.  The Human Highlight Reel will take the show to alligator central this weekend.  The Jaguars have looked okay in their first two games, but they will have no answer for the best athlete in football on this day.  Look for Michael Vick to “juke” his way to a tough 3 point victory on the road.

Raiders at Cardinals:  The bad and the ugly right here folks.  Two teams that stand at 1 and 1, but are probably in the lower tier of the League in all honesty.  The Cardinals demonstrated how bad their defense can be in giving up 41 points last week.  While the Raiders continue to struggle passing the ball, and will start Bruce Gradkowski in this one.  This is not really a game that I want to tune in to watch.  A lot of this matchup will hinge on how the Cardinals can handle the Raider’s rushing tandem in Bush and McFadden, and how the Raider’s can handle the Cardinal’s receiving duo of Fitzgerald and Breaston.  But I got the Cardinal’s receivers putting up some numbers and rolling to an ugly 6 point victory at home.

Chargers at Seahawks:  The Seahawks have shown glimpses of a quality team.  But the Chargers have been tough for some years now and looked like they woke up from the off-season last week.  Phillip Rivers will have a field day against a weak Seattle secondary on his way to a 14 point win.  There will be rain in Seattle this weekend.

Colts at Broncos:  The Peyton show heads to Mile High.  Just look for more of what you saw last Sunday.  The Colts have a great offense.  And the secondary has done a great job defending against the pass.  Unfortunately for Denver, they do not have their typical tough rushing attack to expose the Colt’s weakness of defending against the run.  Look for Peyton to shred the Broncos all day on the way to a 13 point victory.

Jets at Dolphins:  This is a big time matchup early in the season.  Though the Dolphins sit atop the division, the Jets are still the favorite in my eyes, and most of America.  Can New York produce a 2nd straight big time AFC East Victory?  You better believe it as Sanchez continues to get more and more comfortable in the pocket.  The GQ Star looked great last week, and should continue his solid play against a tough Miami defense.  I got the Jets gutting out a tough 1 point victory on the road.

Packers at Bears:  The Monday Night Games have been as good as ever this season.  I do not see that trend stopping this week either, as two bitter rivals take the prime time stage.  But I will say that Aaron Rodgers will get a chance to show the country why is an elite quarterback against a Bear’s secondary that has struggled.  Two teams looking to take hold of the NFC North early on.  It should be fun.  But look for the Cheeseheads to take care of business by 6 on the road.

CV3 Picks:

49ers over Chiefs by 9- The San Fran D should dominate the Chief’s offense while Frank Gore tears apart the Chief’s linebacking core. Mike Singletary has his team under going in the right direction.

Vikings over Lions by 14- C’mon Vikings… A disappointing start to a season that might end with a wild card bid. I can’t see them going to 0-3, especially against the lions. It’s likely that Brett will get into a groove now that he has a couple games under his belt for the season (since he strategically missed most of the preseason, again).

Patriots over Bills by…. who knows, but it will be a lot- The Pats can’t be satisfied with their play against the Jets. Sorry Bills, but you have to face them on their bounce-back week. Brady will put up huge numbers in this one.

Ravens over Browns by 8- Cribbs will score a long touchdown, but that’s it. Baltimore’s D is still elite and it doesn’t matter that their offense sucks because the Browns suck. With anger brewing due to some questionable calls from last week, look for the Ravens to hit hard in this one and probably score on D.

Texans over Boys by 3- In the Battle of Texas, I take the Texans. They are high powered on offense and have shown they can beat a team on the ground and in the air. That powerful offense is backed by a solid D that should extend the Boys downward spiral for another week. Sorry Jerry but you need an O-line. Maybe you can buy it??

Eagles over Jags by 10- Luckily for Eagles fans their coach watched the game tape. I’m a Vick fan too (on the football field). I feel like going back to Madden ’04 and running from sideline to sideline making a fool of defenders. The Eagles have a lot of weapons and Vick will continue to impress as a starter.

Colts over Broncos by 5 1/2- Two offenses that rely on the pass. The Colts D is back on track but this one still should be a shootout. You have to believe that Peyton reigns supreme over Orton in this one though.

Raiders over Cardinals by 3- Go MAC quarterbacks! Bruce will hand the ball off and make a few good passes to Zach Miller in this Raiders win. Hopefully Michael Bush will get involved in the action as well. He is a fun player to watch and the Raiders may start to show that they have a great tandem in McFadden and Bush. Plus, the Cardinals one hope for this season is busy putting his moves down on the dance floor.

Chargers over Seahawks by 10- I thought the Chargers were going to have some management troubles that would trickle down to the field and effect their play, I was wrong. I still don’t like A.J. Smith, especially for what he did to Marty but it looks like Norv has them focused on the opponent rather than their internal struggles. They should roll in this one.

Giants over Titans by 1- This should be a tight one with two similar teams with good running games and a good pass defense. I give this one to the G-Men only because they are playing at home. 

Steelers over Buccaneers by 4- Unfortunately, for Steelers haters, the Curtain is back. As long as Troy stays healthy they could run Akili Smith out there at quarterback and it wouldn’t matter. They are going to win in ugly fashion with defense doing most of the work. Good luck trying to score more than one touchdown Bucs.

Skins over Rams by 6- Again, Bradford will keep this one close with a decent performance but the Skins D is better than the Ram’s.

Jets over the Fins in this one by 3- Both teams are playing stellar D but the Jets have a lot of confidence after beating their conference foes. If the coaches don’t limit Sanchize then the Jets should fly high to their second victory.

Saints over Falcons by 7- I’m picking the defending champs every week until they lose! No Reggie, no problem, maybe… this one could be close with Matty Ice leading his squad.

Bears over Packers by 3- Why will the Pack be upset? Because its Monday night! Hopefully this adds to the thrilling Monday night games we have seen so far. Two top passers with two solid defenses. Something has got to give in this one the defenses or the offenses, I’m betting its the D. In shootout fashion this high scoring game will end with a game winning field goal.

Bengals over Panthers by 10- C’mon Zimmer, destroy Jimmy Clausen!! Get to the quarterback! Even if the Bengals lack pressure on the QB they will win with solid D and a better offense. Brat better come out with a plan to spread the field otherwise a tough Carolina run D will delay the start of the Palmer show. Who Dey? Not the Panthers!

It should be a great Week 3.  Feel free to see how your picks stack up against mine and CV3’s in the comments.

Get ready for some football folks.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

Advertisements

“Bengals vs Ravens In Game”

Mike Nugent (pictured above), the former Ohio State Buckeye star, came up big today for the Bengals with 5 field goals on the afternoon.

So today I have decided to try something a little different.  I am going to give you an “in-game” look at the marquee matchup of Week 2 in my eyes, the AFC North battle, between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.  These are two teams that had very different types of opening games.  The Bengals got blown out by an upstart New England Patriot’s team.  While the Ravens came up with an outstanding defensive effort and took care of a business against a favored Jets team on the road. 

Marvin Lewis is 9 and 5 all time against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens.  And has a Bengals team, that went 6 and 0 against the rugged AFC North last season and is looking to win their 8th consecutive divisional matchup.  Can the Bengals rebound today?  Can Joe Flacco learn how to throw an accurate pass?  We will find out in less than 5 minutes, as the Ravens travel to Paul Brown Stadium to take on the Who Deys in Cincinnati.

Today I will also have some esteemed guests contributing with their in-game thoughts.  We will have “DC,” David Clark and  Mr. “Beezy,” Chris O’Brien.  Let the games begin.

1st Quarter:

The Bengals have looked solid overall in the first quarter.  Carson is looking more and more comfortable as his offensive line is giving him ample time to get the ball out to his receiving weapons.  Minus a few inaccurate throws to TO, he seems to be looking like a big time quarterback.  In addition, Cedric Benson and Jordan Shipley have looked very solid.  Benson has made some crucial 3rd down conversions and Shipley continues to catch everything thrown at him.  I just wish Chad could resist talking trash at his opponents.

Joe Flacco continues to struggle and the Ravens offense looks in shambles.  0 of 4 for 0 yards sums it up for the former Delaware star.  Their defense is still laying out the big hits, but are beginning to not get the push that they got last week.  Could the short week be hurting them?

Mr. Breezy:  “The offensive line (for the Bengals) is day and night compared to last week.”

DC:  “My biggest surprise of this game is Joe Flacco’s inability to pass.”

2nd Quarter:

The only way to describe this one so far is, “Ugly.” Both quarterbacks are under 100 yards passing. Both teams are under 150 total yards (the Ravens are under 80).  It has been a defensive struggle.  The Bengals have blown some key Red Zone opportunities and only go into the half up 6 to 0.  But I will state this 1st half has been night and day compared to last weeks for Cincinnati. 

The Who Deys must cut down on the penalties.  6 is entirely too many and will come back to bite them if it continues.  Palmer also continues to struggle with his accuracy, though he has not been nearly as bad as Joe Flacco.  Should be a down to the wire finish in the 2nd half though with these two bitter rivals.

Mr. Breezy: “The Bengals would be winning by a lot more if they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot with penalties.”

DC: “Ravens are lucky to only be down 6 to 0.  If the Bengals keep shooting themselves in the feet with penalties, then they cannot expect to win this game.”

3rd Quarter:

Joe Flacco has woken up folks (somewhat).  Not good news for the Bengals.  The Bengal’s offense has looked like they are struggling with communication.  This is a major problem especially against a team with a defense like the Ravens.  TO continues to struggle with the physicality of the AFC North.  Palmer is continuing to be inconsistent.  Plus the Bengals lucked out with a tripping penalty on Ray Lewis to save this crucial drive.  I have a hunch this game  will come down to the final drive.

Mr. Breezy:  “The Bengals are just far too inconsistent.”

DC: “Bengals need to capitalize on a Joe Flacco interception.  This drive at the end of the 3rd quarter will decide the outcome of the game.”

4th Quarter:

Really just a back and forth battle between two teams that really wanted this one.  Neither team could really muster up any offensive fluidity.  Possession and field goal kicking were the name of the game.  And the Bengals took care of the ball, and hit their field goal chances.

Mr. Breezy: “This was a big time win for the Bengals.  Though it was ugly, a win is a win.”

DC:  “I will take the W, but Bratkowski has to develop a new game plan offensively.

Post Game Recap:

So there you have it.  It was not pretty by any means.  But the Bengals continued to exude AFC North dominance with a major victory in Week 2 over the rival Ravens.  Mike Nugent and the Bengal’s defense are Co-MVP’s in this game in my eyes.  Really, Joe Flacco could be considered the LVP (Least Valuable Player). 

The man had 0 passing yards in the entire first quarter.  Threw 4 picks.  And had a quarterback rating of 23.8.  Could it be time to consider giving Marc Bulger a go under center?  And though the Bengals got the win, Carson completed just 16 of 35 passes, and missed open receivers time and time again.  Can Palmer still play like the guy that we saw in 2005?

Taking care of the difference in this one.  4 interceptions to 0 gave the Bengals a big time win today.

Hope you enjoyed the first annual “In game” analysis.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Ravens Could Fly High”

As a Bengal, TJ Houshmandzadeh was a bitter rival of the Baltimore Ravens. Now could he be the final piece in helping the Ravens capture their first Super Bowl Title since January of 2001?

 In breaking NFL News yesterday, the Ravens made another major acquisition at the wide receiver spot.  They picked up one of the best possession receivers the League has to offer.  One of the toughest wide outs in the League.  A guy who has a distinct familiarity with the AFC North.  A man who has a very recognizable pony tail.  The man with the longest last name in the game (tied with Big Ben).  None other than the former Oregon State, Cincinnati Bengal, and Seattle Seahawk’s star, TJ  Houshmandzadeh (14 letters). 

And boy was this a major pick up for Baltimore, who recently saw off-season acquisition, Donte Stallworth, go down with a broken foot.  It is truly amazing to me how much the look of a team can change during the course of a decade.  In the year 2000, Baltimore not only sported the well-known and highly acclaimed drug wire, but they also sported quite possibly the meanest, baddest, and best all around defense of all time.  Records were set, and the reputation of this unit was just flat-out scary.  And even though the Ravens over the past few years have developed a better and more reliable offense each year, they have still always been known as a defense first team.  Well that is all about to change.  Talk a about an off-season makeover.  

The Ravens possibly sport the most dangerous offense in the AFC North now, and maybe even the League (hard to say until we see them in action).  They have the prototypical NFL Pocket Passer in Joe Flacco.  They have an outstanding 3 headed (not your normal 2 headed) attack in the back field, made up of Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and big boy, Le’Ron McClain.  And now they have quite possibly the best receiving unit in the League with the newly acquired vet, in TJ Houshmandzadeh.    They have Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, and TJ.  Plus they have when healthy, one of the League’s most consistent tight ends over the past 10 years in Todd Heap.  Can the offensive line hold up?  Michael Oher, Mr. Blindside himself, continues to show great progress.  Ben Grubbs has progressed at guard.  And Matt Birk is a very savvy and dare I say intelligent (Harvard grad) Center.   The offensive line is always the real question when discussing the fate of most offensive units in the NFL.  But there are not too many teams that can say they sport the weapons at the skill positions on offense that the Ravens have.  Lastly, offensively, they have a very solid back up quarterback in Marc Bulger.  If Flacco were to go down with an injury, they have a QB who has been in the League for 10 years and a starter for 7 of them.  A guy who though he has declined over the past few years, provides the Ravens with an opportunity to still make the playoffs if their starter goes down.  Now how many teams can confidently say that if their starting quarterback were to go down early in the year, that they could ride their backup to a playoff appearance?  I will give you a hint, not many. 

Now defensively, the Ravens are not what they once were.  And out of the teams that appear to be contenders, they probably have the most glaring weakness of anyone.  They have no proven cornerbacks!  And in a division that has teams like the Bengals, with some major big play receivers, this could hurt.  But they do still have a great linebacking unit led by future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.  They have a solid D line, and of course Ed Reed (who will be back by Week 6 or 7), holding down the safety spot. 

But back to the addition of TJ.  Joe Flacco is now entering his 3rd year in the NFL, and his 3rd year as a full-time starter.  What are the 3 keys to any quarterback’s success in this League?  An offensive line that can protect him and give him time to get the ball out.  A strong rushing attack that keeps the defense honest.  And a sure handed possession receiver.  Well with the addition of TJ, at least of two of those keys to success are taken care of (O-Line appears solid, but is always a question with any team).  Flacco has been able to work with solid receivers such as Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton, but he has never had a guy who is as tough and sure handed as TJ.  This guy has had 70 or more catches for 6 consecutive seasons.  He has a total of 5 fumbles in his 9 year career (as a receiver).  The guy gets you yards flat-out.  Come 3rd down, the Ravens are going to be very happy they signed this guy.  The real question is can TJ fit in with Ray Lewis and the boys in the locker room? 

It has been somewhat undocumented, but there have always been rumors of TJ not being the most well liked guy behind the scenes in the locker room.  Honestly, I do not see this being a problem in that the guy appears to be in a win now mode, as are the Ravens.  Not to mention the Ravens have Ray Lewis patrolling the locker room and making sure all the guys are on the same page.  With this major acquisition yesterday, the Ravens could be flying high this season.  The magic for Baltimore starts next Monday in a date with the New York Jets. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze