Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will make his anxiously awaited debut as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos in his first real NFL action in over 20 months.
By Josh Kramer
The NFL is back in full force after Wednesday night’s opener between the Giants and Cowboys. It is still odd to me that an NFL game was played on a Wednesday, but life goes on. Keep in mind that the last three times the Giants and Cowboys have played each other in their opener, one of the two NFC East rivals has gone on to claim the Lombardi Trophy. Let’s hope the real referees return by then.
Two seasons ago, I created a pick’em challenge with one of my good buddies (CV3). Last year, we added two new players (CB and DC) to increase the competition level of the second annual “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.” In year three, we have replaced last year’s cellar finisher (DC) with a new player (BD) that will surely be in the hunt.
The participants this season are as follows:
BD-Brien Dulle: A life-long sports fan that has lived all of his life in Cincinnati. Growing up as a sports fan in a tough city for professional teams (Bengals and Reds), Brien never developed strong allegiances for any one particular team. This unbiased vantage point gives him a much broader range of the sporting world. His opinions from sports have been greatly influenced by the likes of individuals like Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Ryen Russillo, Tony Kornheiser, and Michael Wilbon whom he listens to daily.
CB-Craig Baker: A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge: An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
TSK (two-time defending champion)-Josh Kramer: Founder/Editor-in-Chief of “TheSportsKraze,” former ESPN intern, current Sunday columnist for the popular SNY Network Blog “It’s About The Money,” and writer for fantasy sports website DraftDay.com.
Rules of the Game: This is how the game works. We will pick every game each week (outside of the Thursday night games or dare I say Wednesday night games). Whomever gets the most cumulative games right at the end of the regular season wins. No spreads. Just straight up pick’ems for the most parity filled professional sports league in America. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged AFC, Andrew Luck, Arizona Cardinals, Art Modell, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Marshall, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshawn Lynch, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rob Horton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Could Robert Griffin III (pictured above) help transform the Redskins from a pretender into a contender? Our very own Jeremy Powers thinks so.
By Jeremy Powers
The football season is upon us. Put a smile on your face.
Tonight, the Giants travel to the Jerry Jones Dome to revive the rivalry that received plenty of media attention as is typically the case this offseason.
I can’t wait to see which teams will take a step back and which teams will rise from the ruins and contend for a playoff birth. Let’s look at a recent example, shall we.
Last season, Tampa Bay stepped back from a ten-win season in 2010 to a 4-12 record and a last place finish in the NFC South. Ouch, talk about the opposite side of the spectrum. The Bucs were a pretender last season.
Cincinnati, who won four games in 2010—reached the playoffs with rookies leading the way on offense. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green made a formidable duo and the Bengals defense was stout all season long leading the team to a 9-7 record. The Bengals were a contender last season.
This season I expect some of the same parity that we see every season in the NFL. I see a few teams emerging as playoff contenders and some teams falling straight into the depths of their respective divisions.
The Washington Redskins were 5-11 last season. Drafting Robert Griffin III is a huge upgrade at quarterback over Rex Grossman and John Beck that will result in two more wins minimum. Not to mention the addition of Pierre Garcon as a big-play threat. Washington’s defense is quite impressive on paper as well. Playing in a 3-4 base defense, the Redskins linebackers will lead them as veteran London Fletcher powers a group that also starts second-year guy Ryan Kerrigan, and All-Pro Brian Orakpo. I think the Redskins get to 8-8 this season, which puts them in the hunt for a wild card spot. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Brian Orakpo, Buffalo Bills, Chan Gailey, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Drayton Florence, Fred Jackson, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jeremy Powers, Jerry Jones, John Beck, Lee Corso, London Fletcher, Mario Williams, Miami Dolphins, Mike Munchak, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC South, NFL, Pierre Garcon, Rex Grossman, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Kerrigan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennesse Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rob Gronkowski (pictured above) and the New England Patriots will redeem themselves on February 3rd with their fourth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
By Josh Kramer
It has been 208 days since the New England Patriots and more specifically Wes Welker let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers. For those of you in need of a refresher, back on February 5th in the house that Peyton Manning built (Lucas Oil Stadium), the New York Giants once again shocked the New England Patriots in a very closely contested Super Bowl game. That was then though and this is now. America’s most popular sport is just five days away from its official kickoff. Who is ready for some football?
AFC East Champion: New England Patriots
I am sure you are all shocked at this pick. New England has only won three straight divisional crowns and qualified for the playoffs eight of the past nine years. People are already comparing this year’s squad to the greatest team to ever grace the gridiron, but fail to win the Lombardi Trophy (2007 Patriots). With Brandon Lloyd added to the mix, it is hard to say these comparisons are all that far-fetched. However, it should be noted that the defense has some flaws, and the offensive line will have its fair of struggles due to the absence of Matt Light (retirement), Brian Waters (possibly retirement), Logan Mankins (ACL tear), and Sebastian Vollmer (back injury). Luckily for New England, the Jets appear to have taken a step backwards with the acquisition of “God” Tebow, and the Miami Dolphins appear to just be a horrible team (Hard Knocks has provided clear evidence of this). Buffalo is improved, but does not have nearly the firepower to stick with New England throughout the duration of a grueling 17-week season. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Andre Johnson, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arian Foster, Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Lloyd, Brian Waters, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Darren Mcfadden, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Ed Reed, Eli Manning, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, James Harrison, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Joe Montana, Jon Beason, Kansas City Chiefs, Logan Mankins, Luke Kuechly, Mario Manningham, Matt Light, Matt Schaub, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Rob Gronkowski, Robert Griffin III, San Diego Chargers, Sebastian Vollmer, Steve Young, Super Bowl, Terrell Suggs, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Troy Polamalu, Wes Welker
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
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC, Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Weeden, Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers, Greg Schiano, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jamaal Charles, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher, Joe Flacco, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Leslie Frazier, Mario Williams, Matt Flynn, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Vick, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Pete Carroll, Peyton Hillis, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III, Roddy White, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Payton, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins, Wesley Kaminsky
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Jake Locker (pictured above) will be the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback in the season opener against New England.
By Josh Kramer
Preseason NFL football has turned into “Quarterback Gossip Central.” Where is the media attention for the cornerback competitions? Or how about the many wide receiver battles? I guess it makes sense though. There is no position of more importance to a football team than the quarterback. Plus, there can only be one starter per team. Let’s go around the League and delve into a couple of the current “Quarterback Controversies.”
Recently, it was announced that Jake Locker will be the starter in Tennessee for opening night against the New England Patriots. Is anyone really surprised though? Sure, Matt Hasselbeck has been in the League since 1999, but Jake Locker was a first-round draft pick. When a quarterback is selected in the first-round, they are expected to start within two years of being drafted. It’s the way it is. Hasselbeck can still play, but he is far past his prime at the ripe age of 36. Plus, Locker is 24-years-old and oozing with talent. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged ACC, Bret Bielema, Buffalo Bills, Chad Johnson, Danny O'Brien, David Garrard, Heisman Trophy, Jake Locker, Joe Philbin, Kirk Cousins, Lebron James, Maryland Terrapins, Matt Flynn, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins, Michael Jordan, New England Patriots, NFL, Randy Edsall, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Seattle Seahawks, Shawn Merriman, Tennessee Titans, Terrell Owens, Washington Redskins, Wisconsin Badgers
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Matt Flynn (pictured above) is going toe to toe with Russell Wilson for the starting quarterback job in Seattle.
By Jeremy Powers
They say competition is healthy. When NFL training camps open, the hot topic always centers on who will win the starting job. Not at running back, not at wide receiver, but at quarterback of course.
There are several teams with quarterback competitions at full speed as the second week of preseason approaches. Ironically, quarterback uncertainty is plaguing the same franchises every season. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and New York Giants, among others have had the quarterback position nailed down with their Pro Bowl throwers, making them oblivious to what it’s like to have a competition for the top spot on the depth chart. For other teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, and Miami Dolphins, the coaching staff does not have that luxury and all they can do is hope they make the right decision.
These four situations may not be black and white, so here is my analysis of which quarterback is the best fit under center for their respective teams.
4. Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll has one of the more interesting competitions to focus on in the NFL. Management went out in the offseason and signed free agent Matt Flynn to a nice contract after he showed unique abilities in Green Bay. The question becomes, is Flynn really a franchise guy, or was he only the product of an efficient system under Mike McCarthy? The only way to find out is to put him to the test this preseason. The other player in the mix is rookie Russell Wilson, who on paper doesn’t look like a viable option (Tarvaris Jackson seems to have faded out of the race for the starting spot). But the more and more you watch him you see what kind of athlete he really is, and he really makes you want to give him the reigns. My prognosis, start Flynn. I think his abilities are sufficient, and if he really does fail to win games, then go to Wilson. The Seahawks defense should win them games anyway. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Andy Reid, Arizona Cardinals, David Garrard, Green Bay Packers, Jake Locker, Jeremy Powers, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Flynn, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins, Mike McCarthy, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, NFL, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Seattle Seahawks, Tarvaris Jackson, Tennessee Titans
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Aroldis Chapman (pictured above) is looking to become the first relief pitcher to win a Cy Young since 2003 and perhaps the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher ever to win the prestigious award.
By Josh Kramer
The Reds may be the oldest team in professional baseball history (established in 1869), but there is one thing this proud franchise has never done. No Cincinnati pitcher has ever claimed the Cy Young Award. Just to put that into perspective, the Diamondbacks (established in 1998) have sported five winners of the prestigious award for the best pitcher in their respective League. I know there is a still a month and a half left in the regular season, but a pair of serious Cy Young candidates currently reside in Cincinnati. I will give you a hint. One is a starter, while the other is a relief pitcher. Despite the absence of star Joey Votto, the Reds have somehow managed to go a remarkable 19 and 8. So much for staying afloat and playing .500 ball with the all-world Votto sidelined.
Sure plenty of players have stepped up in the absence of the MLB’s best all-around hitter (such as Ryan Ludwick and Brandon Phillips), but two players have been getting the job done all year. Johnny Cueto has not only proven himself to be a formidable number one starter, but he has also proven to be arguably the best pitcher in the National League. Cueto currently is tied for the NL lead with 15 wins and ranks third in ERA (2.45). Make sure to note that the two pitchers with better ERA’s than Cueto in the present have 10 wins and 9 wins respectively (Vogelsong and Zimmermann) Then there is the Cuban Missile. Outside of one short-lived rough patch just before the All-Star break, Aroldis Chapman has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball. Chapman has been simply unhittable as of late going a remarkable 22 straight appearances without allowing a run. Also, in 51.2 innings against National League foes, Chapman has surrendered one earned run. Lastly he has given up just 25 hits. Really think about those statistics. Could we be on the verge of the first relief-pitcher to take home the Cy Young Award since Eric Gagne in 2003? Or perhaps the first Reds Cy Young Award winner ever? Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Aroldis Chapman, Boston Celtics, Brandi Chastain, Brandon Phillips, Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Reds, Cy Young, Dwight Howard, Eric Gagne, Hope Solo, Janoris Jenkins, Jered Weaver, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers, LSU Tigers, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Ryan Ludwick, Ryan Vogelsong, Seatte Seahawks, Terrell Owens, Tyrann Mathieu