Tag Archives: Maurice Jones-Drew

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

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Weekly Nickel 7-30-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Many are wondering if Silas Redd (pictured above #25) will return to Penn State next season or take his talents out West to USC.

By Josh Kramer

Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was at least unique, which was one of the things he was going for.  Even the Queen almost cracked a smile.  All eyes in the sporting world are focused on London, as they should be.  But let’s not forget about the rest of the sporting world.  Last week was fun, but this week is sure to be great in its own right.

5.  The “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” continues.  At least now, most NBA fans can focus their attention on Team USA’ s quest for gold in London.  The Howard reality television series has definitely dragged on far too long, but it is still a big story.  Wherever Howard lands, that team is very likely going to be an instant contender.

4.  The world continues to keep an eye on “Happy” Valley in the wake of the harsh NCAA sanctions.  How will the program actually respond outside of saying the right things at press conferences?  How will the new administration ensure nothing like this ever happens in the future at Penn State? What players will stay? What players will go?  Keep a special eye on star running back Silas Redd.  It appears Lane Kiffin is working hard to add a final piece to a USC team poised to make a run at the National Championship. Continue reading

Week 15 NFL Power Rankings: Giants Save Season With Comeback Win

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. It appeared all over in Dallas after Dez Bryant (pictured above) scored on a 50-yard strike midway through the 4th. Sadly for the Cowboys, the lead did not hold up and it is a whole new ballgame in the NFC East now.

By Wesley Kaminsky

On 2nd and 11, with 5 minutes and 52 seconds left, the Cowboys led the Giants 27-22. Then, Tony Romo connected with a wide open Dez Bryant for a 50 yard touchdown, as the Cowboys took a 34-22 lead with 5:41 left. The Cowboys were about to end the Giants season and take control of the NFC East.

Eli Manning had something to say about that though. Manning orchestrated two beautiful drives as the Giants did the improbable, and won in Dallas 37-34, on a Jason Pierre-Paul blocked field goal. Now, it’s the Giants division to lose, and it might just come down to Week 17 when they meet again, at the Meadowlands.

That wasn’t the only thrilling finish in Week 14 though. T.J. Yates, in just his second career start, threw the game winning touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with two seconds left to lead the Texans to the franchises first playoff berth.

And then of course, there were the Broncos, who overcame a 10-0 deficit with 4:34 seconds remaining. The Bears are just another team on what is becoming a long list, who have been “Tebowed,” which has become the most popular expression of the 2011 NFL season. It’s amazing how much this Broncos team believes in Tim Tebow and I can’t say enough about it. The guy is just a winner. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 1-25-11”

Could any of you see the Yankee Captain Derek Jeter (pictured above) playing anywhere but shortstop? Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman does.

It is another Momentous Tuesday in the wide world of sports and you all know what that means.  It is time for my weekly “Food for Thought.”  So lets jump right into some of the major headlines. Continue reading

“NFL Week 16 Predictions”

After a heartbreaking loss last week to Philadelphia, New York Giant's quarterback Eli Manning (pictured above), leads the G Men into a must win game at Lambeau.

It is Week 16 baby.  Closing time is near.  The playoff picture is starting to become clearer.  There are plenty of teams that have basically closed up shop and are looking ahead to next season.  But there are still a good few teams fighting for their playoff lives. 

Lets take a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:   131                  CV3:  134

I am still 3 back on the great CV3.  Is there any way I can finally catch him during these final two weeks? 

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Cowboys at Cardinals:  NFL action on Christmas?  After a day full of NBA games, the ratings might not be top-notch for this affair, but a good amount of people will still tune in.  In the “Post Wade Phillips Era,” the Cowboys offense has scored 30 plus points every game.  It has been an impressive offensive outburst for Jerry Jone’s squad.  Maybe Jon Kitna is not so bad?  The Cardinals on the other hand are coming off of a loss to perhaps football’s worst team, the Carolina Panthers.  Expect Dallas to shred a very weak Arizona defense all night.  Cowboys by 9 on the road.

Patriots at Bills:  The Patriots have appeared nearly unstoppable over the past month and a half.  Winners of 6 straight, no team has held the potent Pat’s offense under 30 points since the beginning of November.  Do not expect that to change in Buffalo.  Sure the Bills have won 2 straight games, but they have not played a team the caliber of NE.  Good luck slowing down Brady, Welker, Branch, and Woodhead.  Patriots by 9 in most likely atrocious Buffalo weather.

Jets at Bears:  This is one of Week 16’s best matchups.  Though the Bears have already clinched a divisional title, they are still playing for seeding.  Home games in a cold Chicago could be a major advantage in postseason play.  The Jets on the other hand answered their critics with a huge victory in Pittsburgh last week.  Can they answer the critics for a second straight week?  This will be an old-fashioned defensive struggle at Soldier Field.  The difference in this one will be New York’s ability to run the ball effectively against anyone.  Jets by 3 on the road in a very exciting game.

Ravens at Browns:  The Ravens look to keep pace with the Steelers atop the AFC North as they head to face their bitter rival, Cleveland.  You better believe that this will be a cold and physical affair.  Is Peyton Hillis ready to take on the Raven’s mighty defense?  If the Ravens can stop the run, they will win this game.  And my money is on Baltimore to stop the Brown’s solid rushing attack.  Sadly, Cleveland is about to experience their first 3 game losing streak since they started the season on a 3 game skid.  Ravens by 7 on the road.

Titans at Chiefs:  The Titans ended their horrific 6 game losing streak with authority against the Texans last week.  The Chiefs on the other hand look to remain atop the AFC West.  After a huge victory over the Rams, the Chiefs remain a game ahead of a hot Charger’s team.  Can they hold on to their lead?  I am going to go out on a limb and pick the Chiefs to choke away this one.  The Titans have struggled this year.  But with Chris Johnson, they have a guy who can score on any play.  Look for CJ to give KC a little taste of their own medicine.  And run the Chief’s defense ragged all day.  I got the Titans shocking KC by 1 on the road. 

49ers at Rams:  This is San Francisco’s last chance.  If they want any hope of salvaging their season, this is a must win.  Can they make good on their team owner’s promise of the season not being over when the team struggled to an 0 and 5 start?  I think they can.  St. Louis has had a season where they have exceeded expectations in a big way.  Sam Bradford has been even better than advertised.  There is no logic to why I am picking the 49ers.  But I think they will make this NFC West fiasco turn into a photo finish with a victory in this one.  49ers by 3 on the road.

Lions at Dolphins:  Detroit has shocked the world over the past couple of weeks.  Knocking off the likes of a tough Packers team and a solid Buccaneers team.  Can they keep rolling as they head to Miami?  I think so.  Miami has struggled at home this year for some odd reason.  Detroit is playing their best football.  Look for the Lions to continue their late push with a 3 point victory in Miami.

Redskins at Jaguars:  Washington has lost 4 straight games and Jacksonville just let Indianapolis back into the picture.  Neither team is very happy heading into this rumble in Jacksonville.  Sadly for the Jags, it appears Maurice Jones-Drew will not be suiting up.  Without MJD, the Jaguar’s offense will have to rely on its less that stellar passing attack.  Luckily for them, Washington has a very weak secondary.  This will be an ugly game in every sense of the word.  I do expect the Jags to survive and conquer by 3 though.

Colts at Raiders:  Peyton and the boys are once again full of life after a huge victory over divisional foe, Jacksonville last week.  Indy is a team that strictly relies on a lethal passing attack.  The Raiders are the polar opposite, placing all of their offensive stress on the ground attack.  Old school vs new school.  I am taking the new school.  As long as Indy has Peyton Manning under center, it is very hard to pick against the Colts in any must win game.  Colts by 7 on the road.

Texans at Broncos:  Two teams whose seasons are long over.  Back to the drawing board.  Just based on raw talent, the Texans are an obvious choice to win this game.  Denver’s horrific defense will struggle with the Texan’s balanced offensive attack.  I expected much bigger things from the team out of Houston.  But I still go them winning this game.  Texans by 7 in Denver.

Chargers at Bengals:  Teams heading in very different directions.  Both of these teams were favorites in their respective divisions heading into the season.  Cincy got off to a decent start while San Diego got off to their normal very slow start.  Following a Week 3 win, the Bengals then went on to lose 10 straight games.  Even though the losing streak is finally over for the Who Deys, the bleeding is not. The Chargers will demonstrate their great balance in every aspect of the game.  The real question in Cincinnat is who will they draft and which players/coaches will return.  Chargers by 9 on the road.

Giants at Packers:  This is possibly the biggest game of the week with respect to the NFC Playoff picture.  Two teams fighting for their respective playoff lives.  The Giants possibly suffered their most heartbreaking loss in franchise history last Sunday.  The Packers on the other hand, almost shocked the Patriots without their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.  These are two teams that are very solid in all facets of the game.  It is a toss-up.  I am going out on a limb and taking the heartbroken Giants by 1 on the road.

Seahawks at Buccaneers:  This is a must win for the Buccaneers.  So was last week’s game vs the Lions.  Can the Buccaneers redeem themselves?  I think that they can, but it will not matter.  I see the Buccaneers just missing out on the playoffs even with a win over Seattle on Sunday.  Bucs by 7 at home.

Vikings at Eagles:  Will Brett Favre play?  Who really cares.  Philadelphia is flying high behind their outstanding offensive attack.  Expect to see the Eagles continue to fly high, with a big victory at home.  Eagles by 12.

Saints at Falcons:  Battle for the NFC South.  Roddy White has made it publicly known that his team will be ready.  The Falcons have won 8 straight games.  New Orleans had won 6 straight until they traveled to Baltimore on Sunday.  I would pick the defending champs if this game was being played in NOLA.  But it isn’t.  Atlanta does not lose at home with Matt Ryan behind center.  Falcons by 1 at home.

CV3 Picks:

Pats over Bills by 9
Jets over Bears by 10
Ravens over Browns by 3
Titans over Chiefs by 6
Rams over 49ers by 10
Lions over Dolphins by 6
Jags over Redskins by 10
Raiders over Colts by 7
Texans over Broncos by 8
Packers over Giants by 9
Bucs over Seahawks by 10
Eagles over Vikings by 21
Bengals over Chargers by 1
Falcons over Saints by 3

It is crunch time in the NFL now.  This week will make or break many team’s playoff hopes.  Most teams are looking to do all in their power to clinch a spot in the postseason heading into Week 17.  Enjoy the great matchups highlighted by a big time Monday Night Affair between the Saints and Falcons.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 14 Predictions”

New England QB, Tom Brady (pictured above), has without question been the MVP through 14 weeks of play. Can he lead the Patriots to an 11th victory against a tough Chicago team on Sunday?

Welcome to NFL Week 14.  This is the time of year when the real colors show up.  Who are the real Super Bowl contenders?  The Falcons appear to have flown to the top of the NFC and are now the favorites.  In the NFC West, the Rams, led by rookie stud, Sam Bradford, are currently in first.  And the Patriots once again have risen to the top of the AFC.

Lets take a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:  114                        CV3: 118

Sadly, I did not make up any games on the tenacious CV3.  Can I begin the comeback trek this week?

Browns at Bills:  The Bills were traditionally a powerhouse in the mid 90s while the Browns have been in the crapper for some time.  That is not the case this year.  Cleveland has won 2 straight games, and are coming off a big time road victory in South Beach.  I got two words for Buffalo fans. “Peyton Hillis.”  Sure the Cleveland bruiser was slowed by a tough Dolphin’s defensive front.  Well this week Hillis gets to stack up against the worst rush defense in the NFL.  Expect the Browns to ride their bruising back to a 7 point victory in bitterly cold Buffalo.

Bengals at Steelers:  One of football’s best rivalries will add another chapter on Sunday at Heinz Field.  Sadly this year, the Bengals are having possibly the most disappointing year of any team in the League.  Cincinnati has not won a game since September 26th.  Do not expect that to change Sunday against the Steeler’s outstanding defense.  Cincy may make it close, but sadly, I do not see the Who Deys pulling off the upset.  Pittsburgh by 6 at home.

Packers at Lions:  Both of these teams live and die on the pass.  Sadly for Detroit though, they have not figured out a way to win close games this season.  In order to beat Green Bay, you have to be able to win a tight game.  Ford Field will witness a 6th straight loss as Aaron Rodgers shreds a mediocre Lion’s defense.  Packers by 5 over the Try’n Lions.

Giants at Vikings:  In the preseason, this appeared to be one of those games that would go a long way towards determining the NFC playoff picture.  The G Men have won 2 straight games and looked awesome last week against the Skins.  The Vikings on the other hand looked great last week.  Granted they were playing against the Bills.  Can they pull off the upset at home over NY?  All logic points towards the Giants winning this one.  But I got the Vikings playing inspired football as they have nothing to lose.  Vikes by 1 at home in a wild one.

Buccaneers at Redskins:  The Redskins have gone from good, to mediocre, to horrible.  They are on a downward trend.  Sadly for them, the schedule does not get any easier this week against a pretty solid Tampa team.  I think there will be two key determining factors in this one.  First of all, McNabb has struggled with the turnover bug lately.  Josh Freeman has been a pretty good game manager.  Secondly, Tampa can run the ball effectively.  The Skins can not.  These will be the difference as Tampa wins by 3 in DC.

Falcons at Panthers:  This week’s most lopsided matchup.  The NFC’s best vs the NFC’s worst.  Carolina has lost 6 straight games.  Number 7 is on the way.  Atlanta will continue to fly behind an outstanding offensive attack and a stingy defense.  The ATL boys by 14 in a blowout.

Raiders at Jaguars:  Both of these team are coming off big time victories last weekend and are still right in the thick of things in their divisional races.  In addition both of these teams run the ball with great effectiveness, yet struggle with their aerial attacks.  Maurice Jones-Dream vs Darren McFadden.  Who you got?  I am going with MJD and the Jags at home.  Jaguars by 3 at home in a very exciting game that goes down to the wire.

Seahawks at 49ers:  A good old-fashioned battle between a pair of NFC West rivals.  Can the Seahawks keep pace with the Rams?  Or will the 49ers wreck the day as they look to make a run of their own?  Look for SF to bounce back in a big way after a disappointing lost to the Cheeseheads last week.  Neither of these squads do anything especially well.  But I expect the 49ers to come out motivated in front of the home crowd and nab the divisional victory.  49ers by 6 at home.

Rams at Saints:  If you would have asked me about this game during the preseason, I would have laughed.  I would have said, you got the NFC’s best team at home vs possibly the worst team in all of football.  Give me a break.  Ironically, the Rams are leading their division, while the Saints are in 2nd in the NFC South.  The Rams are playing solid football behind their fearless rookie QB, Sam Bradford.  Sadly, it will not be enough though against a Saints team that has now won 5 straight.  Too much offense from the defending champs who have put up 30 plus in 4 straight games.  Saints by 10 at home.

Dolphins at Jets:  The Dolphins are a solid team.  They play solid football on both sides of the ball.  Sadly for them, they have to face a very talented Jets team coming off of a horrific loss on Monday Night Football.  Can you say redemption time?  New York will come out with a chip on their shoulder and show the world that last week was a fluke.  The Jets are the real deal, and will demonstrate this with an easy victory at home.  Jets by 11.

Broncos at Cardinals:  Both of these teams are in the midst of horrible years.  They have a combined 6 wins between them.  Their years are over and they are already looking ahead to next year.  Now the Broncos have been bad in losing 3 straight games, but they are have not been nearly as bad as the Cardinals, who have now lost 7 straight games.  Expect the 2 month losing streak to continue as the Denver boys play inspired football behind a new coach.  Broncos by 3 on the road.

Chiefs at Chargers:  Welcome to the AFC West.  This game means a ton for both teams in their hopes to make the playoffs.  The Chargers had been on a tear until last week’s setback against the Raiders.  KC on the other hand has answered the call of a rising SD team and has won 3 straight games.  Both of these teams get the job done in very different ways.  KC lives on a lethal two-headed rushing attack, while the Chargers air it out better than any team in the League.  This is a pass first League now right?  Chargers by 3 at home.

Patriots at Bears:  The Jets are the frontrunners in the AFC East?  Give me a break.  New England showed the world who the real favorite was on the big Monday Night stage.  This Pats team has been rolling behind monster numbers from their QB, Tom Brady.  Well this week they take on one of the NFC’s best.  No problem right?  Chi Town’s finest has won 5 straight games and currently sit atop the NFC North.  Can they handle the Patriot’s potent offensive attack?  I don’t think so.  Pats by 3 in a barn burner at Soldier Field.

Eagles at Cowboys:  A bitter NFC East rivalry is renewed.  Many envisioned the Cowboys sitting atop this division a few months ago.  Many were wrong.  The Michael Vick led Eagles are currently tied for first, while the Cowboys sit in last.  Can they contain Vick and the potent Eagle’s offense?  Well they gave up 35 points last week to the Colts.  Yet they still won in Indy.  I am going out on a limb and taking the Boys at home to shock the Eagles.  Cowboys by 1.

Ravens at Texans: The Monday Night Affair pits two of the AFC’s most talented groups.  Baltimore is coming off of a devastating 3 point loss at the hands of the Black and Yellow boys last week, while the Texans were “Michael Vicked” by the Eagles.  Though this game is in Texas, I expect Baltimore to display a sense of urgency and really shut down a potent Texan’s offensive attack.  Ravens by 3 on the road.

CV3 Picks:

Browns over Bills by 3
Packers over Lions by 9
Giants over Vikings by 10 (Vikings haven’t beaten a good team yet)
Bucs over Skins by 3
Falcons over Panthers by 14
Saints over Rams by 7
Jags over Raiders by 9 (Battle of two teams that know how to run the ball)
Seahawks over 49ers by 1
Bears over Patriots by 3 (Will the Pats be prepared after a hyped up Monday night win)
Jets over Dolphins by 9 (The only thing buried in this game may be the Phins)
Broncos over Cards by 5
Chargers over Chiefs by 17
Eagles over Cowboys by 7
Ravens over Texans by 1 (Monday night thriller)
Bengals over Steelers by 6 (Big Ben with one Pick 6 and the Bengals hold on to the ball this time)

So there you have a look at this week’s games.  Hard to believe that it is already Week 14.  But realize there is no full slate of College Football games this weekend.  So make sure to savor Sunday.  It is the one full day of football we will get this week.

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