Tag Archives: Matt Forte

Is there something in the water?

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Elvis Dumervil (pictured above) was not all smiles this past Saturday.

By Josh Kramer

The first NFL preseason game is still 18 days away, but football is on the mind.  No sport these days even comes close to rivaling the popularity of NFL football (in the USA).  But with NBA free agency, MLB baseball, and The Open set to start tomorrow, one would think that the NFL would be an afterthought.  Unfortunately it isn’t.  I was happy to see Ray Rice and Matt Forte ink multiple year deals.  They are both very deserving.  Both of these major signings are not even the biggest news though.

NFL news is centering on Elvis Dumervil, Marshawn Lynch, and Dez Bryant.  Ever heard the expression no news is good news?  In this case, it would be.  Elvis Dumervil had a moment that could easily work its way into next seasons’ Jersey Shore script.  Marshawn Lynch turned beast mode into DUI mode.  And Dez Bryant, well he allegedly laid hands on his mother.  Is there something in the water?

Here are the three situations:

Elvis Dumervil first provided a little road rage.  I think we all have been guilty of some form of this at one point or another in our lives.  Then he provided a little shirt lifting.  I guess he is a very muscular guy.  Unfortunately, he had firearms on him.  This is where he crossed the line.  Why is an NFL defensive end going around waving a gun in broad daylight?  Finally, Dumervil then lied to the cops and tried to hide the gun.  Lying to the police is never a good idea.  Who else could envision this whole incident occurring on the next season of Jersey Shore? Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ben Sheets (pictured above) started his first Major League game in nearly two years on Sunday. It looked as if he had never left.

By Josh Kramer

Holy Sheets.  Ben Sheets is back.  After a nearly two-year hiatus between Major League starts, Ben Sheets proved that he isn’t done yet.  If I were the Washington Nationals, I would take note.  With Ben Sheets back, Atlanta not only is a wild-card contender, but they are a pennant contender.  Ben Sheets learned the number one rule that applies to all pitchers at a young age and never forgot it.  This rule is the secret to being a successful pitcher.

Throw strikes.

Did you forget when Sheets had a 116/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio back in 2006?  Or his 264/32 mark in 2004?  Guy could paint the corners in a similar fashion to Greg Maddux in the mid-90s while bringing the heat.  These days, the velocity is not going to be the same as it once was for Sheets.  Do not expect to see any 98 mph gas like the good old days.  But do expect to see the ball paint the corners and keep hitters off-balance.

With Beachy still out, the timing could not be better.  In order to compete with the Nationals, Hudson and Hanson desperately need the help of another quality starter.  Ben Sheets is only 33-years-0ld.  Despite all of the injuries and other various setbacks, Sheets could be Atlanta’s ticket back to the playoffs.  In addition, he could very well turn into the MLB’s comeback player of the year.  I know this much.  Sheets will be a hard guy to root against. Continue reading

Food for Thought 6-26-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Kevin Youkilis (pictured above) received a nice curtain call from Red Sox Nation on Sunday. Now he will take the field for baseball’s other Sox (Chicago).

By Josh Kramer

From one Sox to another Sox.  Kevin Youkilis is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.  This is a great transaction for both Sox involved.  Boston rids themselves of a potential ongoing locker room problem (Youkilis/Valentine feud), and gives rising star Will Middlebrooks a chance to spread his wings.  Chicago on the other hand gets a proven All-Star who can provide the team with a 3rd baseman who can indeed bat above the Mendoza line ( Orlando Hudson batting .194 and Brent Morel batting .177).   Youkilis could even potentially bat over .300 (he has done this three times).

After a very successful 8.5 year stint in Boston, where Youkilis helped end the curse and bring Beantown two World Series, it was time to move on.  The great thing  is Boston has a solution in young stud Will Middlebrooks, while Chicago gets a guy who is only 33-years-old.  The White Sox are looking to make a deep playoff run in the present.  As much as Boston would like to be a playoff contender, they currently find themselves near the cellar of the AL East.  It is hard to believe, but with the departure of Youkilis, Big Papi is the only member of the 2004 championship team still left in Beantown.

Chicago’s hitting has been good this year, but not great.  Youkilis has the ability to provide the production out of the 3rd base position needed to help this team reach the next level.  It is no secret that the AL Central is perhaps baseball’s weakest division.  The White Sox have a golden opportunity to make postseason baseball this year.  As we all know, anything can happen in October.  Just ask Youkilis. Continue reading

Final NFL Regular Season Power Rankings: It’s Playoff Time

Photo courtesy of sports.gearlive.com. The Packers have been number one in the power rankings all season long. Can they hold up their end of the bargain and repeat as Super Bowl champions?

By Wesley Kaminsky

In the final edition of power rankings before postseason play starts next weekend, I’m ranking teams on their entire body of work for the 2011 season. It was a crazy season, just as it always is, and one of the most exciting regular seasons we have seen in quite some time.

Some of the wild events just to name a few were “Tebow Mania,” the Packers near run of perfection, and Dan Marino’s single season passing record getting broken (twice). We truly have seen the gamut this season.

Now, it’s the best time of the year, the playoffs. Who will be this years Packers? Or will the Packers win back to back Super Bowls? Continue reading

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings: All Aboard the Tebow Train

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) is having a magical season in every sense of the word.

By Wesley Kaminsky

In Week 14, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers stayed undefeated, the Eagles got rocked in Seattle, and Tim Tebow led another fourth quarter comeback for the Broncos. Yeah, it was just your average week in the 2011 NFL season.

If you are not a Tebowist by now, than you should become one. There’s something special about this kid, and he has turned around the entire Broncos season. He’s helped lead a five game winning streak for the Broncos and has them in first place. You can’t tell me you don’t want to see him in the playoffs. I, for one, wouldn’t want to play him come playoff time.

While Tebow has been impressive though, no player in the NFL is playing better than Aaron Rodgers right now. You just get the sense that he is not going to let the Packers lose this season. Just ask the Giants about that one. At 12-0, they have four more games to go for an undefeated season. I’d put my money on them to do it. Continue reading

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

Photo courtesy of revitalizeyourchurch.blogspot.com. Aaron Rodgers (pictured above) has picked up right where he left off. Nobody is questioning the defending champs off-season workouts, or lackthereof anymore.

By Wesley Kaminsky

If you thought you had a grasp on the 2011 NFL season than you were surely mistaken. The madness is just beginning. Week four was highlighted by two teams, the Eagles and the Cowboys staging second half collapses. Which collapse was worse?

The Cowboys led 27-3 over the Lions, while the Eagles led 23-3 over the 49ers. Now, both teams are searching for answers, and the pressure is on. The “Dream Team” as Vince Young proclaimed isn’t looking so dreamy after all. What happened to that revamped defense? People all over Philadelphia have grown more and more tired of Andy Reid every year, and this year may be the tipping point.

Should the Cowboys hit the panic button? After Tony Romo handed the game away to the Jets in week one, he had back to back gutsy performance to ease the pressure off of him. That pressure is back now, and it’s greater than ever after Romo threw three second half interceptions, with two of them going for touchdowns.

Without further ado, here are the power rankings for week five. It’s not pretty, Eagles fans. 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

“NFC North Preview”

Aaron Rodgers was once Brett Favre's understudy as shown in this picture. Then Aaron took Brett's spot as the Packers quarterback and is now trying to take Brett and the Viking's spot atop the NFC North.

 To finish off my division by division breakdowns, we have the NFC West.  This division has become a  two headed monster.  There are two very good teams at the top, one mediocre squad, and a very weak team at the bottom.  When Brett Favre officially announces his return, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, the Vikings and Packers will begin duking it out for divisional supremacy.  Lets get ready to rumble in the NFC North.

 NFC North:  Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings (alphabetical order)

 Detroit Lions (4th place):  Detroit’s suffering will continue for at least another year.  This team has only won 2 games over the course of the past two years and has not won more than 7 games in a season since the year 2000.  It has been a brutal last 10 years.  Well expect this year to be pretty typical for the Lion’s faithful.  This team had the worst defense in the League last year and an almost equally as bad offensive attack.  Lots of weight will placed on 2nd year quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Can he live up to the lofty expectations?  Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the game.  It is a shame that the Lions cannot really give him another solid receiver to play alongside.  Guys like Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson have not been able to cut the mustard.  From a rushing standpoint, they still have Kevin Smith, who will hopefully be fully recovered from a devastating Week 14 ACL tear (last season).  They also have rookie Jahvid Best.  Do not expect too much from this duo though due to lack of an offensive line.  Defensively it gets worse.  There is really not one player of note on the entire unit other than recently drafted Ndamukong Suh.  Lions’ fans better pray this guy gets signed, lives up to the hype, and is ready to be an instant leader for this team on the defensive side of the ball.  That is a lot to ask of a rookie.  Do not expect the Lion’s

to win more than 5 games this year.

Chicago Bears (3rd place):  Da Bears!  Yes Chris Berman is in the Hall of Fame, but the Bears still do not have the look of a contender sadly.  No matter how excited Chris Berman can get people when talking about the boys out of the windy city, the team is not ready to be a force yet.  The Bears have not been to the postseason since 2006, and do not count on that streak ending this year.  This team suffered without Brian Urlacher last year defensively, and did not do much with the newly acquired Jay Cutler from an offensive standpoint.  Though the Bears finally added a complement to Matt Forte in Chester Taylor, this does not appear to solve the rushing issues.  This team was near the bottom of the League in rushing yards last year, and though Taylor should help a little, these guys do not really compliment each other well in that they each have a very similar style.  I just hope for the Bear’s sake, conflict does not arise between Forte and Taylor.  The receiving corps has not improved either.  This team is still lacking a number 1 threat for Jay Cutler to use his “super” strong-arm to throw too.  So do not expect this team to put up a flurry of points on a weekly basis.  Defensively, the unquestioned leader is still the man with “swag,” Brian Urlacher.  Urlacher along with Lance Briggs make up one of the League’s best linebacker duos.  Also, the addition of Julius Peppers to the defensive line should make an instant impact.  If Urlacher can stay healthy, expect this team to be much better defensively than they were last year.  The secondary did do a solid job against the pass so hopefully with Peppers rushing the opposing quarterback, their jobs can be even easier this year.  The Bears will be a decent team.  But do not expect them to sneak into the playoffs.  I am predicting 7 or 8 wins due to the lack of offensive stability. 

Green Bay Packers (2nd place):  The Cheesheads may be disappointed with another 2nd place appearance, but count on this team to roll deep into the playoffs.  I have them cruising all the way to the Super Bowl.  It will take this team time to gel and it will help when Favre tires down the stretch for the Vikings come playoff time.  This team is led by a lethal offensive attack.  Aaron Rodgers has become one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the League hands down.  They got a great duo at receiver in the up and coming Greg Jennings and the seasoned veteran Donald Driver.  Hopefully Driver is healthy after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on both of his knees this off-season.  But luckily for the Packers, they have young guns James Jones and Jordy Nelson waiting in the wings.  Not to mention they have a very solid tandem of receiving tight ends in Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee.  I also forgot to mention that though this team lives on the pass, do not sleep on Ryan Grant pounding the rock.  The question is who can complement Grant down the stretch?  Possibly the seasoned veteran Ahmad Brooks or the Florida product DeShawn Wynn.  Offensively, this is the only question mark this team has if any.  Defensively the Packers number 2 defense of a season ago will be led by the linebacking trio of Nick Barnett, AJ Hawk, and Clay Matthews.  This the best linebacking trio in the League in my eyes.  They are young, tough, and very fun to watch.  Lastly, you have 2 very strong veterans in Charles Woodson and Al Harris anchoring the secondary.  Good luck scoring points on these guys.  Neither AJ Hawk nor Clay Matthews has really entered their prime yet.  There is lots of upside.  The Packers have the best combination of offense and defense in the entire NFC. 

Minnesota Vikings (1st place):  This team came up just short of making an appearance in the Super Bowl last season.  They are determined to go one step further this year and bring a Super Bowl title back to the twin cities of Minnesota.  And why shouldn’t they be confident?  They have a great core group of guys returning.  Minnesota also possesses both a great offense and defense.  Last season, the Vikings became a pass first offense.  I think Brett Favre is the only player in the League that could make a team that has the one they call “All Day” (Adrian Peterson) a pass first team.  Brett can still really play and put on quite a show last season.  And I fully expect him to put up great numbers again this year.  Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian are a great trio of targets for Favre.  All 3 are young and have a ton of upside.  Look for Favre to be slinging the ball all over the field again this year.  My question is will Sidney Rice be healthy?  Either way the passing attack will be lethal.  Then of course the Vikings do have the luxury of handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who has the ability to turn any play into a big time play.  If AP starts fumbling again though, who is the next guy in? Ryan Moats or the rookie Toby Gerhart?  This team does not really have a sure-fire compliment for Peterson nor do they really need one.  As long as Peterson stays healthy, it will be paradise in the Minnesota backfield.  Then from a defensive standpoint, this team stops the run with the best of them.  Guys like Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Pat Williams are absolutely outstanding.  They not only stop the run, but they pressure the quarterback early and often.  Then in the secondary, the addition of veteran cornerback Lito Shephard should help turn this unit from average, to pretty good.  Big things will also be expected from the outstanding cornerback Antoine Winfield, and their injury prone safety, Madieu Williams.  All I can say is, watch out, because this Viking’s team will be scary.  Do not be surprised to see this team roll deep into the postseason.

So the NFC North should have a repeat champion in the Minnesota Vikings.  But do not sleep on the Green Bay Packers, who I think could overtake the Vikings come playoff time on their way to making an appearance in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1997.  Both of these teams are very strong in nearly all aspects of the game.  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze