Tag Archives: NFC South

From Pretender to Contender, and Vice Versa

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.

Contender:

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

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NFL Games of the Week

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost an overtime thriller to the Denver Broncos back in January. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will do all in his power to get Denver another victory over the Black and Yellow in Week 1.

By Josh Kramer

Opening night is still well over a month away (September 5th), but anticipation for the 2012 NFL season is mounting.  With training camps, fantasy drafts, and more, people are all ears in regards to the 2012 NFL season.  The following is a guide for the upcoming season with a game a week to have circled on your calendar regardless of your fan allegiance.

Week 1:  Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

Date/Time/Station:  9-9-2012/4:25PM/NBC

The Word:  What transpired on January 8, 2012 left a bitter taste in the mouths of Steeler Nation.  Tim Tebow may be gone, but Peyton Manning has arrived. Continue reading

NFL Week 10 Predictions

Photo courtesy of boutsportsreport.com. Can Mark Sanchez (pictured above) help the Jets take control in the AFC East with a victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots?

By Josh Kramer

Last week was a wild one to say the least filled with nail-biters and crazy endings.  Tim Tebow once again found a way to win.  The Cincinnati Bengals continued their improbable run.  Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers continued to flex their defending champion swagger.  And Joe Flacco had his “One Shining Moment.”

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 9, here is the scoreboard.

CB-86

TSK-90

CV3-83

DC-82

Week 10 Slate: Continue reading

NFL Preview 2011-2012

Photo courtesy of sports.popcrunch.com. Tom Brady (pictured above) has a great shot to capture the 4th Super Bowl Title of his career come February 5th in Indianapolis.

By Josh Kramer

After the longest lockout in NFL History, America’s most popular sport is back.  And luckily for all parties involved, no games were missed (outside of the Hall of Fame Game).  Last year was a year defined by storied franchises.  What is in store for the 2011/2012 season?

AFC East Champion:  New England Patriots

-Surprise, surprise right?  Teams that win a division are the ones that are able to maintain focus throughout the entire 16 game  (17 week) regular season.  The Patriots know what it takes to win a division title (they have won the East two straight years).  And though the New York Jets are going to be awfully tough this year, they still have not demonstrated the ability to maintain focus throughout the entire grind from September until February.  Could “Brady to Ochocinco” become a familiar catchphrase in Foxborough? Continue reading

“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

“NFL Week 4 Predictions”

Future Hall of Fame Linebacker, Ray Lewis (pictured above), looks to lead his Ravens to a big time road victory over bitter divisional rival, Pittsburgh.

 After this week, most teams will be done with a fourth of the games already.  Boy does time fly by.  But this is the time of year where many of the pretenders start to get weeded out and the contenders show that they are in fact the real deal.  

There are 3 teams that are currently still undefeated.  Those teams are the Chicago Bears, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I have none of these teams making the playoffs and they are truly demonstrating how amazing the parity in the NFL can be. 

After 3 weeks in the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads: 

TheSportsKraze:  30                                    CV3:  28 

TheSportsKraze Picks

49ers at Falcons:  An underachieving San Francisco team versus an Atlanta team that is flying high after a big win over the defending champs.  Conventional wisdon would say to pick the Falcons in this one.  The Falcons have ridden a phenomenal offense, that features one of the game’s best rushing attacks to first place in the NFC South.  The 49ers have been very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde like, showing glimpses of a playoff caliber team at times.  If this game was on the west coast, I will give the 49ers a chance.  The 49ers were the “it” pick in the NFC West.  Sadly they will fall to 0 and 4 with a 10 point loss to the Falcons. 

Bengals at Browns:  The Battle of Ohio.  Always a fun game where the stats get thrown out the window.  The Cincinnati offense has looked anemic and many have been calling for a quarterback change, or at least, re-evaluation.  Fortunately for Cincinnati, they are taking on a Cleveland team that is winless for a reason.  They have not gotten the job done from an offensive or defensive standpoint.  Well the Who Deys have owned this series throughout the Marvin Lewis era and I expect a similar outcome on Sunday.  Look for the Bengals to move to 3 and 1 with a 13 point victory against an overmatched Cleveland squad. 

Jets at Bills:  I will admit the Bills surprised me with their effort against New England last week.  They showed some guts and even dare I say, moxy (whatever that is).  But it will not be enough against arguably the best team in the AFC.  The Jet’s stats are misleading due to a horrible offensive performance in Week 1.  Mark Sanchez is finally starting to look more comfortable out there as is the Jets rushing attack.  And good luck to Buffalo in putting up points against these outstanding Jet’s defense whether Revis plays or not.  Buffalo sports the worst overall offense in the League thus far for a reason.  Look for the Jets to run away with this one on the road by 13. 

Seahawks at Rams:  Two teams that each pulled off surprise victories in Week 3.  Seattle has looked very solid in 2 of their 3 games, while St. Louis appeared to finally awake from a preseason hangover against the Redskins.  Do I think either of these teams are serious playoff contenders?  Not really.  But anybody has a shot in the very weak NFC West, that the Seahawks are currently leading.  Neither of these teams rank too well offensively or defensively from a stats standpoint.  But I see the Seahawks demonstrating some poise down the stretch and following the lead of their veteran Matt Hassleback to their 3rd victory of the season.  It will be close, but a costly Bradford interception down the stretch will help Seattle prevail by 3 on the road. 

Broncos at Titans:  An underachieving Broncos team heads to the music city to take on a Tennessee team that has had 2 awesome games, and one against Pittsburgh that they would like to forget.  Though Denver has been solid against the run this year, it will not be enough to stop Chris Johnson and Co.  Look for CJ to be the difference in this game as Tennessee saves face at  home with a 7 points victory. 

Lions at Packers:  The Try’n Lions head to Lambeau to take on the Cheeseheads.  The Packers are coming off of a heartbreaking Monday Night loss to their bitter rival, Chicago.  I feel bad for Detroit is all I have to say.  I would not want to play arguably the most talented team in the League, coming off of a loss on the road.  Though Detroit has had a legitimate chance to win 2 of their 3 games, they have not faced off with a team that has an offense like Green Bay.  The Lions have one of the worst defenses in the League and struggle to stop the run or pass.  Look for Aaron Rodgers to light up the scoreboard as the Packers come out with a vengeance.  This one will be a laugher with the Packers coming out on top by 17. 

Ravens at Steelers:  One of the best rivalries in football here.  The Edgar Allen Poes head to Heinz Field looking to gain back a throne that many expected them to hold atop the AFC North.  The Steelers have shocked everyone, including myself, by starting out 3 and 0 without Big Ben.  This Steelers’s team has looked solid, living on their phenomenal defensive unit.  Pittsburgh’s offensive unit may be ranked dead last in the NFL, but they are also 1 of only 3 undefeated teams heading into Week 4.  The big question mark for a Baltimore team that many expect to possibly win the AFC was their cornerback position.  Well the Ravens are the top rated team against the pass in the NFL.  So they are doing something right.  I see Joe Flacco continuing to demonstrate his ability to make big plays with Anquan Boldin, as the Ravens steal a very close one on the road.  The Ravens will have just a little bit more offensive firepower in this matchup of two of the game’s best defensive units.  I got the Ravens by 1. 

Panthers at Saints:  Sorry Carolina.  Things are about to get worst as you head to Bourbon Street.  This is a similar scenario to which the Lions find themselves in this week.  Playing a very talented team coming off of their first loss of the season on the road.  Good luck.  Drew Brees and the Saints, even though their offense is ReggieBushless, will put up some numbers.  And their defense will feast on whatever young quarterback Carolina puts out there.  New Orleans may not possess a running game, but their aerial attack is one of the best in the game.  Carolina corners better make plays when opportunities are presented to them, unlike they did last week, or this game will be over fast.  I got the Saints by 14 at home. 

Colts at Jaguars:  Peyton Manning heads down to Jacksonville.  The Jags have looked terrible since Week 1.  And they have a major issue in this matchup.  They do not stop the pass.  And they are going up against Peyton Manning, possibly the greatest pocket passer of all time.  Pick your poison in this one.  All directions put to the Jaguars losing a game that shouldn’t even be close to Indy.  I got the Colts by 10 in this one. 

Texans at Raiders:  Houston finally got their wake up call.  The Cowboys took Houston “Back to life, back to reality.”  Well this week, they come back to a good reality.  As they match up with a pretty abysmal Oakland team.  Now I will admit Oakland’s D has been pretty solid so far.  But they also have not faced top-tier offenses like Houston has.  If Oakland clogs the run, look for Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub to hook up early and often.  If Oakland decides to not stack 8 in the box, look for Arian Foster to have a field day.  Either way, Oakland does not possess the horses to score enough points to keep up with the Texans exciting offensive attack.  I got Houston by 13 on the road. 

Redskins at Eagles:  This is quite possibly the most exciting matchup of the week.  Mentor vs Mentee.  Speed vs speed.  Righty vs Lefty.  You name it, the VickNabb show will be fun to watch.  Sadly for Washington though, they do not possess the overall team yet to compete with an Eagles squad that has gelled very quickly.  Now when these two teams match up again on Monday Night Football in November, it will be a completely different story.  But Donovan and this offense have not clicked in any way yet, and will not be able to put up enough points to support a defense that will struggle all day to contain the most athletic player in football.  It will be close, but I got the Eagles by 6 at home. 

Cardinals at Chargers:  Two teams that have surprised for different reasons are matchup up in San Diego.  The Cardinals are an unexpected 2 and 1, while the Chargers have surprised many with a rough 1 and 2 start.  Well the Chargers always start off the year slow.  This is a pick me up game where they get the ball going.  Look for Phillip Rivers to put up some big numbers and lead San Diego to a much-needed victory at home. This will begin a winning streak for the Chargers as they head into a very easy stretch on their schedule. Chargers by 7  in this one. 

Bears at Giants:  Da Bears looked awesome Monday Night.  The Giants on the other hand continued to disappoint and show their lack of consistency.  I got the Bears behind their phenomenal run defense taking care of business on the road and moving to 4 and 0.  Eli will have to have a big day in the air for the Giants to have any prayer.  And I just do not see it happening this week.  Bears by 6 on the road. 

Patriots at Dolphins:  What a great Monday Night Game folks.  Two bitter divisional rivals, looking to make an early statement.  These are two very different teams.  New England lives and dies on their vaunted aerial attack which features Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker.  The Dolphins really survive on a very solid defense led by Jason Allen and Yeremiah Bell.  Monday Night Football Games are very tough to predict in that the underdog commonly walks away the victor.  But for some reason, I expect Brady, who always performs well on the big stage, to lead the Patriots to a huge divisional victory by 1 on the road.  Patriots by 1. 

CV3’s Picks:

There is a distinct possibility that there could be 5 winless teams left in the NFL after week 4. Will those teams fight for a win to avoid the embarrassment of being winless? Also, there are some upset opportunities with the Raiders and Bills looking to shock some teams that are considered on their way to the elite class. Should be an interesting week to watch.

 Falcons over 49ers by 3- If we are following a trend here it is time for San Fran to play well this week. Even if they do, they will still have to overcome a good-looking Atlanta team at home. I take the chances of the Falcons playing well over the chance of San Fran coming out like they did against the Saints.

Packers over Lions by 10- Green Bay should trample the Lions at Lambeau. The Pack has proved that their D is strong and they will eliminate the mistakes made last week against Da Bears. Best should be in the line-up this week but he will be limited by the backers in green and yellow.

Jets over Bills by 8- I want to say the Bills are going to upset the Jets after competing with the Pats last week but I don’t think it is going to happen. The one way it could happen is if the Bills can pressure Sanchize. Again, I don’t think this will happen but I would love to see the J E T S go down this week to a 0-3 team.

Rams over Seahawks by 5- Seahawks have lost the last 16 of 19 on the road. Rams are energized this year with Bradford running the show. Look for them to impress the home crowd.

Titans over Broncos by 3- Chris Johnson is scary but so is Denver’s #1 passing offense. Kyle Orton can have a big day against the Titan’s secondary starting a rookie in place of an injured corner. I still have to go with the Titans because in the NFL you still have to be able to run the ball and the Broncos have too much trouble on the ground. 

Steelers over Ravens by 1- Everyone knows that this will be a low scoring SLUGFEST. If you do not like defense, do not watch this game but you will see some of the hardest hits all season during this game. Steelers take this round at home in this fight.

Saints over Panthers by 14- Notre Dame sucks, so does Jimmy Clausen. Saints win! (Take that BK) 

Colts over Jags by 7- These two seem to play each other tough. In their last 5 match-ups the winning team has won by 7 points or less. This one swings in favor of the Colts with Peyton’s boys clicking. 

Texans over Raiders by 10- The Raiders will prove to be a big match-up problem for Houston. With the Best corner in the league limiting Andre the Giant to 5 catches and 94 yards in their last three meetings, the Texans will need to find another way to get the job done. Either Houston clicks and blows through Oakland or they lose in an upset caused by one the NFL’s top defenses.

Chargers over Cardinals by 7- Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates. As long as these two are still on the field Sunday, San Diego will win the game.

Eagles over Redskins by 6- Michael Vick. 

Bears over Gmen by 9- The Bears offense is catching up to its D. The Giants lost last week at home, look for it to happen again with a pass happy Bears team rolling into town. Don’t kick it to Devin Hester, Gmen. Then maybe you have a chance.

Patriots over Dolphins by 3- Another Monday night thriller is ahead of us with an emerging team taking on the perennial Goliath in the division. The Patriots offense will be too difficult to stop and they will disappoint Miami fans who think they can hang in the division. Sorry Dolphins, you’re number 3, the first two spots are taken.

Bengals over Brownies by 8- D’Natti is making a trip to Cleveland, who will not win a championship in any sport in the foreseeable future. Zimmer will smother the Browns on offense and the Cleveland fans will still remain without hope for their Browns, Cavs and Indians. Hopefully Cincinnati fans get to see some life from Carson Palmer who hasn’t clicked with his new weapons at tight end and receiver yet. WHO DEY

So there you have both my and CV3’s picks.  A lot of very good matchups mixed in with some very lopsided looking affairs.  But the NFL is always unpredictable and fun.  Upsets are inevitable. It is very hard to pick which ones they will be. 

Enjoy the games folks. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“NFL Overall Predictions”

TheSportsKraze has the Jets and Packers facing off in Super Bowl 45 on February 6th. Who do you have?

 Since Monday, I have been giving a somewhat in-depth (but not too in-depth) division by division breakdown for this upcoming year in the NFL.  It is never easy to pick the always unpredictable and parity filled League. But I am pretty confident in my picks and very excited for the first game come September.  

In summary, here are my NFL overall predictions: 

AFC East:  New York Jets, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills (in order of predicted finish) 

AFC East Champion:  New York Jets 

The Jets have had the best off-season of any team in the League.  They made a phenomenal run last year all the way to the AFC Championship game.  This team is better than last year’s squad and hungry to go all the way.  It all starts with capturing the AFC East Crown.  This team will be very fun to watch on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” television series. 

AFC West:  San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders (in order of predicted finish) 

AFC West Champion:  San Diego Chargers 

The Chargers have been holding court in the AFC West for well over 4 years now.  And why would it change this year?  Sure they need to figure out what the deal is with star receiver Vincent Jackson, but there is no reason why these guys should not capture a 5th straight West title.  The loss of LT may sting locker room morale, but look for the Chargers to possibly meet up with their old franchise player come playoff time. 

AFC South:  Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars (in order of predicted finish) 

AFC South Champion:  Indianapolis Colts 

Peyton Manning and the Colts have owned the AFC South for nearly a decade now.  This team is not only talented, but they are mentally tough, led by the game’s best quarterback.  Expect the Indy boys to make another deep run as they ride their star for yet another year. 

AFC North:  Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns (in order of predicted finish) 

AFC North Champion:  Cincinnati Bengals 

It is TO Mania at Georgetown College where the Bengals are holding training camp.  This team has both a strong offense and defense.  The Bengals possess the deepest and most talented team of the Marvin Lewis era.  Can they repeat as AFC North champs for the first time in my lifetime?  You better believe it as America gets to witness the “Ocho/TO Show,” aka  the  “Carson Palmer Show.” 

Wildcards:  Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots 

The Ravens in my opinion are one of the top few teams in the entire AFC.  They just unfortunately share a division with another one of the top couple of teams, the Bengals.  Finally, the Ravens have a receiving corps that makes this team have a solid offensive attack to go along with their always scary defense.  The Patriots are the Patriots.  They are not the most talented team this year, but they are led by the best coach in the game and the best big game quarterback in the game.  Expect these guys to have a solid year, but an early exit from the playoffs. 

AFC Championship:  New York Jets defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 

The Jets will knock the Bengals out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.  Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and the Jet’s secondary will be up to the challenge of stifling the Bengal’s very talented receiving corps. 

NFC East:  Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles (in order of predicted finish) 

NFC East Champion:  Dallas Cowboys 

So what if Dez Bryant does not want to be hazed by his teammates?  The guy has big time potential to help out an already strong passing attack led by Miles Austin, Jason Witten, and Tony Romo.  Could the Cowboys make this Super Bowl a home game?  We will find out come February 6th. 

NFC West:  San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams (in order of predicted finish) 

NFC West Champion: San Francisco 49ers 

Okay, so this is one of the weakest conferences in the entire NFL.  But the 49ers look to finally be somewhat back.  Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and the entire San Francisco Bay area will be very proud to see these guys make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade (8 years). 

NFC South:  New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (in order of predicted finish) 

NFC South Champion:  New Orleans Saints 

The party on Bourbon Street is still going on from last year’s Super Bowl Championship.  Luckily for the Saints, most of the team has been kept intact.  Expect Drew Brees to lead these guys to another outstanding season. 

NFC North:  Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions (in order of predicted finish) 

NFC North Champion:  Minnesota Vikings 

This division has two of football’s best at the top.  Brett Favre (if he returns), will get the better of his former team in the regular season.  All eyes should be on the dates of October 24th and November 21st as these two powerhouses go head to head.  But watch out for the Packers come postseason time as they steamroll their former franchise player. 

Wildcards:  Green Bay Packers, New York Giants 

The Green Bay Packers are in my opinion the best team in the NFC.  They just have to deal with the second best team, the Minnesota Vikings, before their quarterback gets tired.  So these guys will be ready to roll come playoff time.  The Giants participate in football’s best conference top to bottom.  I just feel like they are the team who will find their way out of the 3 team battle between Philly, Washington, and themselves for 2nd place in the East, and the 2nd Wild Card spot. 

NFC Championship:  Green Bay Packers defeating the New Orleans Saints 

Revenge will be sweet for the Cheeseheads as they see Brett once again come up short of making his first appearance in a Super Bowl since 1997.  Will Brett go for it again in 2011-2012?  This game though will be an absolute aerial assualt, but the Packer’s ability to defend will help them come out victorious in a nail biter over the defending champion Saints. 

Super Bowl Prediction:  New York Jets defeating the Green Bay Packers 31 to 28. 

This will just be an absolutely outstanding game in all aspects, as football’s two best teams battle it out in Cowboys Stadium.  Expect Darrelle Revis to come up with some big time plays and help stifle the Packer’s amazing aerial attack.  Rex Ryan will make the whole media aspect of this game quite entertaining.  New York will go nuts. 

So there you have it.  Those are the predictions from TheSportsKraze for the upcoming NFL Season/Postseason. 

Let me hear your thoughts on what should be an outstanding year in the NFL. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze