Tag Archives: Matt Cassel

NFL Week 11 Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ray Lewis (pictured above) is always excited to meet rookie quarterbacks. On Sunday, he will get his first introductions to Cincinnati rookie QB Andy Dalton.

By Josh Kramer

Everyone is more than aware that football is a rough sport and that the NFL is the pinnacle of physicality.  But last week was flat-out bad.  I cannot think of a week in recent memory where more guys went down.  Despite all of the injuries though, there were some great games.  San Francisco found a way to beat a tough Giants team in New York.  The Pittsburgh Steelers ripped the hearts out of their rivals in Cincinnati, ending the Who Dey’s first five-game winning streak since 1988.  And the Green Bay Packers continued their march towards perfection with a phenomenal showing on Monday Night Football.

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 10, here is the scoreboard.

CB-94

TSK-97

CV3-92

DC-90

Week 11 Slate: Continue reading

Week 11 NFL Power Rankings: Eagles Hit Rock Bottom

Photo courtesy of withfriendship.com. Andy Reid (pictured above) appears to be sitting on a boiling seat these days. His time in Philadelphia appears about done.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Eagles 34, Cowboys 7. That was the score three weeks ago when the Eagles dominated the Cowboys, winning their second straight game, leading people to believe that the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” had finally figured it out.

How fooled we all were.

After a Week 9 home loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football, Eagles fans had all but lost hope. Week 10 was a new low, as they lost to the John Skelton-led Cardinals in Philadelphia 21-17. At 3-6, Andy Reid’s seat has never been hotter, and the city of Philadelphia has lost its patience. Michael Vick has regressed this season, and his status is in doubt for their Sunday Night game in New York. If he cannot go, Vince Young, the very man who proclaimed the Eagles the “Dream Team” would start. Oh, joy. Continue reading

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

Photo courtesy of PigskinBuzz.com. Heavy expectations were placed on the shoulders of second-year starter Sam Bradford (pictured above) and the St. Louis Rams. The first three weeks have not gone as planned for Bradford and the boys.

By Wesley Kaminsky

Week three of the NFL season has come and gone, and football fans were in for a treat. It was a week in which streaks were broken, and games went down to the wire.

Both the Bills and Lions, two of the seasons biggest surprises, have not made the playoffs since 1999. Sunday was another step in that direction as they both improved to 3-0. The Lions won in Minnesota, 26-23, a place where they hadn’t won in 13 years, while the Bills snapped a 15 game losing streak against the Patriots. What makes both of these teams so fun to watch is the fact they play with no fear and think they can beat anybody in the league. Both of them overcame 20 point deficits on Sunday to remain undefeated, and the bandwagon for both of these teams is growing.

Jump on now while you have the chance. Continue reading

“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

“AFC West Preview”

Jamaal Charles shocked many with an outstanding 2nd year. Could he lead the Chiefs back into contention this year?

Lets head out to the Wild Wild West.  This division was once the playground of the Denver Broncos, but has been all San Diego for the past few years.  The Chargers have maintained a stranglehold in the AFC West, bringing home the last 4 divisional titles.  And with Phillip Rivers at the helm, do you think this is really going to change?

In all honesty, this was a pretty weak division last year.  You had a dominant team in the Chargers that appeared to be the best in the AFC until the Jets shocked them in the playoffs.  Then you had everyone else.  Sure Denver started out the year hot and really surprised some people.  But they finished the year on a 4 game losing streak, which is starting to become a team tradition.  They also lost 3 in a row to end the season in 08.  But other than these two, both the Chiefs and Raiders have been pretty horrendous.  Neither have been at all relevant since the Chiefs went 9 and 7 in 2006.

AFC West:  Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders (alphabetical order)

Oakland Raiders (4th):  This once proud franchise has been utterly woeful for the last 8 years.  They have not had a winning season since 2002.  They have not even won more than 5 games in a season since 2002.  What is going on with Raider Nation?  Well first of all their former number 1 draft pick Jamarcus Russell was one of the biggest busts of all time.  Both on and off the field if you want to talk about his recent drug bust.  So they have not had a quarterback really since Rich Gannon.  This year, their offensive attack will be led by Jason Campbell, who was the guy who could never cut the mustard in Washington.  They have Darren McFadden and Michael Bush as their combo at running back , who are mediocre at best.  And though Darren has big time abilities, he suffered turf toe and some knee injuries which really hurt his performance.  Also, it is hard to run the ball effectively on a team that has such an anemic passing attack.  Unfortunately, for Darren, the Raider’s most recognizable receiving threat is still their tight end, Zach Miller.  The only bright spot on this team really is a very strong secondary, led by Nnamdi Asomugha.  But other than that, the future still looks very dim for Raider nation.  Do not expect this team to make much noise.

Kansas City Chiefs (3rd):  This is another team in the AFC West that has struggled for the past few years.  The days of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson pounding the ball are long gone.  The Chiefs have not won more than 4 games in a season since 2006.  It has been quite ugly to sum things up.  This is a squad that had a weak offense, and an even worse defense.  This team could not stop the run or the pass.  Which led to a lot of long games.  There was really only one bright spot for this team.  The emergence of Jamaal Charles as a big time back.  Is this the Chief’s new version of Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson?  Kansas City certainly hopes so.  Also the Chiefs made a solid pickup in getting Thomas Jones.  Now the KC boys have a pretty strong 2 headed running back attack in Jamaal Charles and the savvy veteran Thomas Jones.  Matt Cassel has potential to be a solid quarterback.  He has put up numbers for a couple of years now.  Guys like Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, and the rookie out of Ole Miss, Dexter McCluster really need to step up.  It was embarrassing how anemic this team’s aerial attack was last year considering they have an arm like Matt Cassel to work with.  With an enthused running attack, possibly the passing game will fall in line.  Demorrio Williams, Corey Mays, and Glenn Dorsey will have to bring the defense back to respectability though if this team wants to sniff contention in the West.  I will state this team has some potential to do some damage with an outstanding rushing attack and possibly a decent aerial attack.  But can the defense hold up?  This will decide if the Chiefs win 4 games or 8 games.  Do not be surprised if this team makes a little noise though.

Denver Broncos (2nd):  Mike Shanahan is now coaching in Denver.  The former legend is now with another team.  Josh McDaniel is fully in the saddle now.  There will be no offseason conflict or jabbering with Jay Cutler.  It is strictly football in Denver for Josh and the Broncos.   Denver, a team that dominated the late 90s, have not made an appearance in the playoffs since 2005.  The Mile High Boys are thirsting a return to playoff football.  Due to a few late season collapses, this team has just fallen short for the past 4 years.  Kyle Orton will once again be at the helm.  And despite heavy criticism during the duration of his 4 year career, he has dramatically improved each season and is coming off the best year of his career.  So he is not a quarterback that is going to put a team on his back, but he can help a team win ball games.  Denver was a middle of the road defensive team last year, and a pretty strong offensive power led by the typical tough Denver rushing attack.  Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter once again proved that Denver can always run the ball no matter who the backs are.  Expect this attack to be even better this season.  But also expect Cutler to have a much tougher time passing the ball this year.  There will be no instances where he can count on a guy to make 21 catches in a game.  The Brandon Marshall soap opera is over, but guys like Eddie Royal, Gaffney, and Stokley are all solid.  They will all three have to step up in a big way though to give this team a chance at contending.  Lastly, the defense will be solid.  Led by the guy with the coolest name in the NFL, Elvis Dumervil, do not expect an amazing defense, but expect a respectable one.  So the Broncos are an AFC Wild Card bubble team.  I have them finishing either 8 and 8 or 9 and 7.  But I do think the playoff drought continues into a 5th year.

San Diego Chargers (1st):  Expect a 5th straight West title to come back to San Diego.  This team is the best on paper, and should have no trouble conquering the division again.  Phillip Rivers has turned into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.  Expect another big year from a guy that throws to the outside of the field better than any other QB in the game.  LT will be missed though from a rushing standpoint.  I do think Darren Sproles is game to take on the challenge.  But is Mike Tolbert ready to step into the number 2 role?  As I have mentioned many times before, the NFL has become a game where you must have 2 running backs ready to compliment each other every game.  Will the Chargers be able to do this?  Vincent Jackson has emerged as possibly the best deep threat in the entire AFC.  Due to some offseason troubles (DUI), nobody is sure when he will be suiting up though.  But between Jackson, Gates, and Phillips amazing passing ability, you better believe this aerial attack will be outstanding again.  Do not be surprised if there is another top 5 passing performance in San Diego.  Last year, the Charger’s defense was just good enough not to lose them games.  With the loss of Antonio Cromartie, I do not see where the defense really improved.  I do expect them to possibly fade a bit as a defensive unit which could cost them some games.  Can Shawn Merriman save the defense singlehandedly?  Once again I see the Chargers winning the division, but possibly in less dominant of a fashion.  Maybe they will only win 10 or 11 games this year.  Look for LT to seek redemption come playoff time on the franchise that he once put on his shoulders.

So I got the Chargers winning the AFC West for a 5th straight year.  Overall, I think this is a fairly weak division, where the team at the top did not improve.  The Chargers will still be good enough to bring home the divisional title, but do not be surprised if the Chiefs turn some heads this season behind their outstanding rushing attack.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze