Tag Archives: Patrick Willis

Food for Thought 1-24-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Billy Cundiff (pictured above) is now the most hated man in Baltimore sadly.

By Josh Kramer

Championship Game Scapegoats

How would you have liked being Billy Cundiff or Kyle Williams on Sunday? New members have joined the exclusive club that features the likes of Bill Buckner, Dan Goodale, and Steve Bartman.  Okay maybe not Steve Bartman.  And maybe not even Bill Buckner for that matter.  But Billy Cundiff and Kyle Williams joined an exclusive club of “Choke Artists” on Sunday.  Now I am a person who firmly believes that all teams win as a team, and lose as a team.  It is never just one specific individuals fault.  But the common fan and the media love to portray losses squarely on the shoulders of a specific individual.  It is just the way our culture operates, especially in regards to sports.  The blame game simplifies things.  It keeps complex situations black and white.  This is the beauty of scapegoating. Continue reading

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“NFL Week 10 Predictions”

Eagle's Quarterback, Michael Vick (pictured above), sports the highest QB Passing Rating in the League. Can he lead Philly to a big Monday Night win in the nation's capital?

NFL Week 10 is already upon us.  The Falcons shocked the Ravens last night in the ATL with a major drive in the last 65 seconds of play.  Atlanta may be the cream of the crop in the NFC.  Or at least when they get to play at home.  Matt Ryan is now 18 and 1 all time as a NFL starting quarterback when playing at home.  Roddy White, even though he had a couple of drops, continues to put up MVP type numbers.

Do not sleep on the Ravens though.  They are still one of the AFC’s elite. 

Lets take a look at the Pick’em scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:   73                          CV3:  78

I still got to make up a good amount of ground the expert out of Ohio University.

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Lions at Bills:  The Bills have been heartbroken 3 straight weeks.  That streak ends this week against a team that has lost 4 games by 5 or less points.  Sorry Lions.  I feel another heartbreaker coming this week in Buffalo.  Bills by 3 at home.

Vikings at Bears:  Brett Favre and his off field issues versus Da Bears.  It is a shame that Miss Sterger cannot start at linebacker alongside Urlacher and Briggs.  It won’t matter on this night.  The Vikings have way too much inner team turmoil to beat a tough Bear’s team in Chicago.  Bears by 7 at home.

Jets at Browns:  I know the Browns are hot.  I realize that they are coming off two big time wins over the Saints and Patriots.  But the Jets are my AFC favorite for a reason.  They run the ball with great efficiency and also stop the run as good as anybody.  The difference in this one will be the Brown’s inability to shut down the Jet’s vaunted rushing attack.  I got New York by 7 on the road.

Panthers at Buccaneers:  Tampa Bay is coming off a tough loss to the Falcons and really looking to demonstrate why they feel they are one of the NFC’s elite teams.  Well they are fortunate enough to get to play one of the NFL’s worst teams at home coming off of a loss.  The Panthers have been horrific in nearly every facet of the game all year.  The Buccaneers may struggle early, but look for Tampa to win by 10 at home.

Texans at Jaguars:  Both of these teams are tied in the AFC South Divisional race.  Honestly through 8 games, the Texans have been one of the League’s most dissapointing teams after showing so much promise early on.  They have a prolific offense that is arguably the most balanced in the League.  But they struggle to stop the pass.  Luckily for Houston, they are taking on a Jaguar squad with an anemic passing attack.  Look for Houston to steal one on the road by 7.

Bengals at Colts:  The Who Deys travel to Indy after a heartbreaking loss on Monday Night to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.  I realize that the Colts are beat up at nearly every position (except quarterback).  But they have Peyton Manning.  I will admit I was utterly shocked to see Indy lose last week to Philly.  Do not expect them to lose for a 2nd week in a row though.  For the first time all year, I am picking against my home town team.  Colts by 7 at home.

Titans at Dolphins:  The 1st place Titans head down to Miami to take on a really inconsistent Miami team.  A Miami team that has not won a home game all season long.  Look for Chris Johnson to go wild after having a bye week to rest his legs.  Titans run away with this battle by 8 on the road.

Chiefs at Broncos:  I wanted to pick the Broncos to upset the KC boys in this one.  But I can’t do it.  The Chiefs have the number 1 rushing attack in the NFL.  Denver is the 2nd worst team in the League at defending against the run.  Expect big numbers out of the Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.  KC by 13 on the road.

Cowboys at Giants:  America’s team heads to the Meadowlands to take on the G Men.  Arguably the NFC’s best team versus the NFC’s worst team.  I realize that Dallas has talent, but they have way too much inner turmoil and finger pointing going on to pull off this upset.  It may be a rivalry game, but the Giants have the best offensive and defensive balance in the NFC, and possibly the entire NFL.  Look for the Giants to make a statement with a 14 point win at home.

Seahawks at Cardinals:  The Seahawks head to Arizona after being thoroughly embarassed by the G Men last week.  Well expect the losing to continue.  Neither of these teams really stand out in any way.  I just know that the Seahawks looked like a mid level college team last week and I expect their horrific play to continue.  Cards by 9 at home.

Rams at 49ers:  These are two teams that have shocked the experts for opposite reasons.  One team has thoroughly exceeded expectations while the other has under achieved in a big way.  I think the Rams are much improved from last year’s embarassment, but I see them choking a big one on the road this week.  Expect Patrick Willis and the 49ers D to confuse rookie Sam Bradford late in the game on their way to a big 3 point victory at home.

Patriots at Steelers:  Two of the AFC’s best lock horns in the Sunday Night Game.  The Patriots were embarrassed by an Ohio team last week while the Steelers ripped another Ohio team’s heart out.  The Steelers continue to wow the entire League with their great defense and innate ability to win big games.  I normally would never pick a NE to lose coming off of a loss.  But I just think that the Steelers are too tough.  Pittsburgh by 1 in the best game of the week.

Eagles at Redskins:  The team that sports the quarterback with the highest QB rating flies into the nation’s capital for the primetime game of the week.  Can Mr. Vick continue to lead the Eagle’s high powered offense against one of the worst pass defenses in the League?  You better believe it.  Eagles over the Skins by 3 in the Monday Night Affair.

CV3’s Picks

Bills over Lions by 3
Vikings over Bears by 7
Jets over Browns by 3
Titans over Dolphins by 7
Buccaneers over Panthers by 14
Texans over Jags by 6
Chiefs over Broncos by 7
Cowboys (inspired with new coach) over Giants by 3
Cards over Seahawks by 1
Rams over 49ers by 6
Pats over Steelers by 3
Eagles over Redskins by 7
UPSET ALERT
Bengals over Colts by 3
They won’t miss the field goals this time

So there you have it.  The two major games to keep an eye on are the Patriots/Steelers rumble on Sunday Night and the Eagles/Redskins duel on Monday Night.

Also, I realize that CV3 and myself missed out on picking the Thursday Night Game.  But I would like to keep the format the same way and put out on picks on the Friday every week.  So the Thursday game will be a pass game every week, and one we get to watch for straight enjoyment.

It should be a great weekend in the NFL.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 7 Predictions”

James Harrison (pictured above) will be looking to bring the noise with some big hits this week. I expect many bone shattering hits at stadiums all across the country as players make a statement to League officials.

As with College Football, last weekend was also a very tough one for my NFL picks as well.  I am doing all in my power though to prove that last week was just a meer fluke. 

The Jets are appearing to be the real deal.  They were my preseason Super Bowl pick.  They have looked outstanding.  The AFC South has a 3 way tie at the top.  Could this be the end of the Colt’s near decade long reign?  And finally, both the Cowboys and the 49ers, two major favorites to win their divisions remain in the cellar spots.  You got to love the NFL.

The pick’em scoreboard after 6 weeks reads:

TheSportsKraze: 51                          CV3:  52

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Bengals at Falcons:  I am a homer and I got the Bengals waking up after a much-needed bye week.  Carson shreds the Falcons on the way to a big 3 point victory on the road!

Redskins at Bears:  Look for the Bears to redeem themselves after a shocking home loss to the Seahawks.  Donovan Mcnabb will need some Chunky soup after he deals with Urlacher, Briggs, and Co.  Bears by 6.

Rams at Buccaneers:  Both of these teams have been major enigmas.  For some reason my gut is telling me that Sam Bradford, Stephen Jackson, and the Rams are going to have a ball in Tampa.  I got the Rams by 3 on the road.

49ers at Panthers:  Look for Patrick Willis and the 49ers D to give Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike and the whole Panthers quarterback depth chart fits.  I got the 49ers winning by 7 on the road.

Bills at Ravens:  This one could get ugly.  I got the Ravens by 14 coming off a very tough loss to the Patriots.

Eagles at Titans:  Have a day Chris Johnson in front of the home crowd.  The Eagles do not stop the run and Chris Johnson is going to run them out of Cashville.  Titans by 10.

Jaguars at Chiefs:  Both of these teams can really wreak havoc on the ground.  The only difference is KC can actually stop the run too.  I got the Chiefs by 3 at  home.

Steelers at Dolphins:  The Dolphins are a solid team.  But the Steelers defense can be flat-out nasty.  I got the Steelers behind Big Ben and the mighty D stealing a road win by 6.

Browns at Saints:  Last year this game would have been a joke.  This year, the Saints continue to struggle due to a lack of solid rushing options.  It won’t matter on this day in front of a big time NOLA crowd.  Saints by 10 at home.

Cardinals at Seahawks:  The Cardinals have been abysmal in nearly every statistical category.  Yet they are 3 and 2.  Also they have won 4 straight against Seattle.  Can they fly high over Seahawks on the road?  I think not.  The rain will stifle the Cardinals as Seattle takes the W by 3.

Patriots at Chargers:  San Diego is the best at throwing the ball and the best at defending against the pass in the League.  New England can’t run the ball.  I am taking the Patriots by 3 on the road.

Raiders at Broncos:  In a great rivalry game, I got the Broncos taking care of business at home by 7.

Vikings at Packers:  Will Brett Favre’s off field issues affect his on the field play?  It probably will, as the Vikings drop a “must win” on the road to the Cheeseheads by 3.

Giants at Cowboys:  The Cowboy’s lacking rushing attack will kill them in this one.  I got the Giants on the road embarrassing America’s team in front of all of America.  G Men by 6.

CV3 Picks:

Redskins over Bears by 4

Titans over Eagles by 3

Chiefs over Jaguars by 10

Steelers over Dolphins by 6

Saints over Brownies by 7

Rams over Buccaneers by 9

Carolina over 49ers by 6

Ravens over Bills by 17

Seahawks over Cards by 12

Raiders over Broncos by 3

Patriots over Chargers by 10

 

Vikings over Packers 1

Giants over Cowboys by 9

Bengals over Falcons by 1(Hopefully a bye gave them a little time to put things together)

So there you have the Week 7 picks.  I am looking to make up ground on CV3 this week and establish myself as a force to be reckoned with in the pick’em game.

Look for some hard hits as the players look to make a statement towards League Officials.  Let the boys play.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 5 Predictions”

All eyes will be on Number 4, Brett Favre (pictured above), for a change on Monday Night Football. Can he come up big with his new star target Randy Moss?

The NFL regular season is already a quarter of the way complete.  Hard to believe, but true.  Teams are starting to flash their true colors and people are starting to separate the contenders from the pretenders (sort of).

In the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads as follows:

TheSportsKraze:  38                CV3:  37

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Jaguars at Bills:  The Jaguars are coming off an amazing win in which they hit a 59 yard field goal as time expired to shock the Indianapolis Colts.  I will admit I am still shocked that the Jaguars won this game.  The Bills continue to struggle with stopping the run and are in search of their first win.  Well this is their week.  Home field advantage means a lot in the NFL and I expect Jacksonville to fall hard after such a great high they experienced last week.  Bills will surprise the Jags by 3 at home behind a big day for CJ Spiller.

Buccaneers at Bengals:  The Who Deys are coming off of a disastrous loss at in state rival Cleveland.  The Buccaneers looked solid in their first two games, but were absolutely molly whopped by the Steelers in their last game.  The physical nature of the AFC North proved to be too much.  Though the Bengals have struggled all year, I do expect them to take care of business at home.  Maybe Chad and TO can each play well on the same day?  Also this looks to be a day where Cedric Benson can get back on track with some smash mouth running against a Tampa team that struggles to stop the run.  Bengals by 7 at home.

Falcons at Browns:  Atlanta will fly into the Pound on a 3 game winning streak. The Brownies may still be excited about their big win in the Battle of Ohio, but sadly this week, the Falcons are going to shred them apart.  Look for Atlanta’s extremely balanced offense, led by Matt Ryan, to have a field day both passing and running the ball.  I got the Falcons by 9 on the road.

Rams at Lions:  The Rams are 2 and 2.  Yes, 2 and 2.  I will admit that I have picked against them every week.  And sadly, I am going to pick against them for a 5th straight week.  The Lions are a team that has been very close to winning in 3 of it’s 4 contests.  Well this is the week where they notch one up in the win column.  Look for Calvin Johnson to reel in a couple of TDs and for the Lions to win a shootout by 6 at home.

Chiefs at Colts:  Do you know who the lone undefeated team in the National Football League is?  I will give you a hint.  Their home field is in Kansas City and they once had a star running back by the name of Priest.  But this is a team that has lived on a smash mouth rushing attack offensively, and a great defense against the run.  They have not been too good at passing the ball or defending against the pass.  But their rushing attack, led by the 2 headed monster that is Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones has been simply outstanding.  The Colts on the other hand have struggled to stop the run all year, as they are off to their worst start in recent memory.  So all directions would say to pick the Chiefs monster rushing attack to run over the weak Colt’s defense right?  Wrong.  Do not expect a Peyton Manning team to fall under 500.  I got the Colts by 6 at home.

Packers at Redskins:  There is one major statistic in this game that will be the differentiating factor.  The Redskins are 31st in the League at defending against the pass.  Do you know who Green Bay’s quarterback is?  Look for a monster day for Packer Quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay takes one in the nation’s capital.  I got the Cheesesheads by 10 on the road.

Bears at Panthers:  Can the Bears redeem themselves after an embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football by their offensive line?  Honestly, I am not sure.  But I do know that the Bears defense against the run can be flat-out scary at times.  And with a young quarterback in place in Carolina, the Panthers will continue to rely heavily on their ground attack.  Sadly, they will not be able to muster up enough offense to beat Da Bears.  I got Chicago by 3 on the road in a very lackluster game.

Broncos at Ravens:  The Edgar Allen Poes are coming off their biggest win of the season in which they took care of business against the divisional rival Steelers.  Can the Ravens continue to fly against a 2 and 2 Denver team?  Well this matchup pits the number 1 passing team in the League (Denver), against the number 1 ranked defense against the pass in Baltimore.  Talk about an exciting scenario.  Great defenses normally prevail over great offenses.  The Broncos have still not really developed an identity as they play great one week, then awful the next. I got the Ravens winning by 9 at home.

Giants at Texans:  What a performance the Giant’s defense put on against the Bears on Monday Night.  It was quite the show and brought back memories of the Giant’s Super Bowl Team back in 2007.  Sadly for the Giants, they now take on a team that is one of the League’s elite in rushing and passing.  Matt Schaub can rely on the run if the Giant’s pass rush becomes too much.  Too many weapons offensively for the Texans.  I got Houston at home by 7.

Saints at Cardinals:  The defending Super Bowl Champs head to Arizona to take on the NFC West leading Cardinals.  The Saints are struggling offensively without Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.  Luckily for the NOLA boys, they are taking on a Cardinal’s team that has not been able to stop any offense through the air or on the ground all season.  I got the Saints gutting out a tough road victory due to the amazing poise and intelligence of their quarterback, Drew Brees.  Expect a patented Bree’s two-minute drill to win this one.  Saints by 7.

Chargers at Raiders:  In an old school AFC West rivalry, San Diego heads to Oakland to take on a Raider’s team that has suffered two very tough losses in a row.  Believe me, San Diego will show no sympathy.  The Charger’s balance offensive attack will prove too much for the Raiders to handle as Rivers demonstrates a his great arm, and lets his tandem of running backs, Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews shred a weak Oakland defense against the run.  I got the Chargers by 10 on the road.

Titans at Cowboys:  Tennessee heads to Dallas for a rendezvous with Cowboy Nation.  The Titans have been extremely hard to understand this year with their lack of consistent play.  This is a very unusual for  Jeff Fisher led team.  The Cowboys are coming off of their bye week and looked revitalized the last time they took the field, when they smashed a formerly undefeated Texans team.  Expect more of the same in this one.  The Cowboys are just too talented not to make a run at the playoffs.  Look for Dallas to contain Chris Johnson on their way to a hard-fought 6 point victory at home.

Eagles at 49ers:  Philadelphia takes on a highly disappointing 49ers sqaud.  This was a San Francisco team that many picked to win the lowly NFC West and make a run in the playoffs.  Well that has not happened thus far.  Could this be the day where they finally leave the League’s “defeated” ranks?  I think it is.  Look for Frank Gore to make a statement in the Sunday Night Game and for Patrick Willis and the boys to take advantage of a Michael Vickless Eagle’s squad.  49ers by 3 at home. 

Vikings at Jets:  What a matchup this is.  You got the “Return of the Moss” in Minnesota.  And wouldn’t you know his first game with his former team is the Monday Night Game.  Other than last week, the MNF slate has been outstanding and hasn’t disappointed anybody.  Well expect another great one tonight.  Minnesota’s main weakness this year other than Favre’s inability to take care of the ball has been a weak passing attack in general.  Well Moss could be just the medicine the Vikes need.  Either way, I got the Jets winning this time on the bright lights by 3 at home.  Expect an awesome game.

CV3 Picks:

Jaguars over Bills by 3- The Bills are a struggling team and they are not very good at defending the run. MJD is averaging almost 4 yards a carry and if Jacksonville plans well this game belongs to them. They are the better team and should beat the Bills.

Falcons over Browns by 7- The Browns are on a high after a rare win. They will now be brought back down. The Falcons will not make the same mistakes that the Bengals did and will handle the Browns, no matter how much Hillis rushes for.

Rams over Lions by 1- The Rams are on the rise and are beginning to gel. They also have a very stingy defense. The Lions have been able to move the ball very well lately but they make more mistakes than anyone in the league. These mistakes should limit the Lions on offense and defense. 

Colts over Chiefs by 7- The Colts are at home and are not happy coming off of a division loss. Peyton should stop the Chiefs surprising run of 3 straight victories. I don’t think the Colts will be shocked again. 

Packers over Redskins by 6- With the Packers having a better defense than the Redskins and both having pretty even offenses, I go with the Pack. Aaron Rodgers will outperform the elder McNabb who has nothing special to play for this week after beating the Eagles last week.

Bears over Panthers by 10- The Panthers have a lot more to build before they can win a game this season, especially against the high powered Bears. The Bears new offense will be too much for the Panthers to handle.

Saints over Cardinals by 10- The Saints have not completely gelled yet this season but they have too many weapons for the Cards to handle. The Cards have won two games against lower level teams and been dominated by good teams. The Saints are a good team that will roll.

Texans over Giants by 3- This should be a close game but the Texans are a good team, solid on offense but they give yards through the air. This could be a shootout but the game will end close.

Cowboys over Titans by 7- The Boys are fresh coming off of a bye and have had two full weeks to prepare for this game. They will get to .500 after this week and begin a roll towards making the playoffs. They have all of the right pieces and once they put them all together they will be dangerous.

Raiders upset Chargers by 3- The Raiders have not beat the Chargers in their last 13 games. However, the Raiders can now run the ball and stop the pass. This is my upset pick for the week.

Ravens over Broncos by 3- While the Broncos seem to be passing at will and the Ravens cannot get anything going on offense, you would expect the Broncos to just outscore the Ravens. However, the Ravens can run the ball and the Broncos cannot. The Ravens will also have a good defensive game plan to stop the pass. The Ravens are at home and remind me of the 2006 Steelers. Just barely getting by, but getting by.

49ers over Eagles by 6- With Vick gone it will be tough for the Eagles to win the game. San Fran should get their first victory in this by limiting Kolb in Vick’s absence. 

Jets over Vikings by 6- Randy Moss will not go off against the Jets this time. They will be prepared for the Vikings passing game. If they can hold AP they should be able to limit the Vikings in this one.

Bengals over Bucs by 6- Bengals will limit mistakes and be able to outscore the Bucs bruising run game. I don’t know the exact statistic but when Benson gets the ball 25+ times they are hard to beat. Go back to the run Bengals and make some big plays in the passing game.

So there you have the picks for Week 5.  It should definitely be a dandy capped off by an awesome Monday Night matchup.  You got to love the NFL.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFL Week 3 Predictions”

In possibly the best matchup of Week 3, can Matt Ryan (pictured above), lead the Falcons to a big time win over the defending champs?

So with two weeks completed in this young NFL season, the excitement is still there.  The parity is still there.  Two heavy NFC favorites are 0 and 2 (Vikings and Cowboys).  There are two NFC surprise teams that stand at 2 and 0 (Bears and Buccaneers).  And Miami, Houston, and Kansas City are all leading their respective divisions in the AFC.  You got to love it.

Also, in the pick’em challenge, the scoreboard reads as follows:

TheSportsKraze: Week 1/2-20                                                   CV3:  Week 1/2-19

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Titans at Giants:  This is one of those toss-up type of games.  And though Chris Johnson may be the most dangerous offensive weapon in the League, the Titans showed kryptonite against the Steelers last week and I expect the same on Sunday.  Eli and the Giants at home will be looking to redeem themselves after an embarrassing Sunday night loss in the “Battle of the Brothers.”  Both of these teams have strong rushing attacks and defend well against the pass.  Look for a low scoring and tight affair, but expect the G Men to come out on the victorious end by 3 utilizing home field advantage.

Steelers at Buccaneers:  Though this hurts me to say, I am going to have to take the Steelers on the road in this one.  Tampa has been a very pleasant surprise leaping out to a 2 and 0 start, but the Steelers are no fluke.  Their defense, led by Troy Polamalu is the real deal.  Also, they will be utilizing the ultimate “Journeyman,” Charlie Batch as their starting quarterback.  So even though the Steelers sport the 31st ranked offense in the League, their outstanding defense will continue to take care of business in this one.  Steeler nation is enjoying every win they can get before the return of Big Ben.  Look for the Steelers to win an ugly one by 6.

Bengals at Panthers:  Welcome to the NFL Jimmy Clausen.  In your first start, you get to match up against a Bengal’s defense that looked flat-out awesome last week against Baltimore.  The great mind of the Bengal’s D-Coordinator vs the Panther’s rookie QB Jimmy Clausen?  I got Zimmer every time.  Carolina has sported an anemic offensive attack thus far this season.  Look for Carson Palmer to start to redeem  himself with a major day through the air, featuring big games for TO, Ocho, and Shipley.  I got the Bengals running away with this one on the road by 9.

Browns at Ravens:  This game may be a great rivalry.  For obvious reasons.  But this Ravens team is very hungry after a heartbreaking loss in Cincinnati last weekend.  Look for Ray Lewis and the boys to lay some bone shattering hits.  And probably even provide some points for the struggling offensive attack.  This may be a game where the Ravens bring in Marc Bulger for a series or two sporting a big lead?  The only way the Browns hang around in this one is through a special teams TD by none other than Joshua Cribbs.  Do not count on the offense mustering more than a TD though.  I got the Edgar Allen Poe’s by 10 at home.

Cowboys at Texans:  This is one of the most intriguing matchups of the week for obvious reasons.  Two teams heading in very different directions.  A Cowboy’s team, that has disappointed the entire country, and a Texan’s team, that is 2 and 0, having defeated two tough opponents.  My head has been saying go with the Texans all week, especially at home.  But in the “Battle of Texas,” I got the Cowboys to reestablish their rushing attack behind a motivated offensive line, on their way to a gutsy 1 point victory over their in-state rival.  Jerry Jones will be a happy man (or as happy as Jerry can be with a 1 and 2 start).

49ers at Chiefs:  Another very tough matchup to call here.  The Chiefs have been a pleasant surprise thus far, while the 49ers are another one of those surprising 0 and 2 teams.  Mike Singletary had his team on the cusp of beating the defending champs on Monday Night Football.  Now his team is back in action, heading to a very tough environment in Kansas City.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have been a 2 headed monster for KC on the ground, but I do not think it will be enough on this day.  Plus Patrick Willis and the 49ers D have done a great job against the run this year.  Alex Smith, the young San Francisco QB, is beginning to show glimmers of a big time leader following his great drive late in the 4th on Monday.  Expect the 49ers to cut down on their mistakes, and nab a big road win by 1.

Lions at Vikings:  Hail Vikings?  Without a victory in this one at home, it may be all over for the Favres.  The Lions have played very well, losing two games in heartbreaking fashion.  They have definitely stepped up their game and are extremely competitive, but it won’t be enough in this one.  Look for AP to run “All Day,” just like his nickname says, and expect Favre to cut down on the INTs.  Minnesota has done well from a statistical standpoint other than in the turnover department.  The Lions on the other hand, have not been the best team statistically, but their aerial attack has been very solid.  Many had the Vikings as a Super Bowl favorite.  Well their trek begins Sunday as they move to 1 and 2 with a 9 point victory over Detriot.

Bills at Patriots:  Da Bills, will get killed.  The Patriots are coming off an embarrassing defeat at the hands of AFC East Rival, New York (Jets). Belichick , Brady, and Moss all hate to lose.  They showed how dangerous they can be in a major Week 1 romp of Cincinnati.  The Bills are one of the worst teams in football up to this point.  Though the Patriots only major strength thus far has been their passing attack, it will be enough to carry them to an easy home victory over Buffalo.  Look for the Patriots to lay an old-fashioned whooping by 14.

Falcons at Saints:  This is a big time showdown in the NFC South.  Brees showed his grit on Monday Night leading a major drive in the final minute of play.  Atlanta also flapped their wings last Sunday with an offensive outburst against the Cardinals.  Can the Saints hold Atlanta’s outstanding rushing attack in check?  Can the Saints fill the void left by a Reggie Bushless offense?  These will be the determining factors in this one.  And I am going with the Saints by 3 at home in possibly the best game of the Week.

Redskins at Rams:  Sorry St. Louis.  Things are going to continue to get worse.  After a heartbreaking loss against the Texans last week, the Redskins look to recover in a big way under the Arch of St. Louis.  This is just the medicine any team needs after suffering a tough defeat.  Go play the Rams.  Though the Redskins have had little to no ground attack all year and have struggled defending the pass, it won’t matter in this one, as they take on one of the worst in the NFL.  Expect the Redskins to take care of business by 7 on the road.

Eagles at Jaguars:  Michael Vicks heads to Jacksonville as the starter?  Is it 2006 again?  After Andy Reid named Michael Vick the starter earlier this week, the whole city of Brotherly Love breathed a sigh of relief.  The Human Highlight Reel will take the show to alligator central this weekend.  The Jaguars have looked okay in their first two games, but they will have no answer for the best athlete in football on this day.  Look for Michael Vick to “juke” his way to a tough 3 point victory on the road.

Raiders at Cardinals:  The bad and the ugly right here folks.  Two teams that stand at 1 and 1, but are probably in the lower tier of the League in all honesty.  The Cardinals demonstrated how bad their defense can be in giving up 41 points last week.  While the Raiders continue to struggle passing the ball, and will start Bruce Gradkowski in this one.  This is not really a game that I want to tune in to watch.  A lot of this matchup will hinge on how the Cardinals can handle the Raider’s rushing tandem in Bush and McFadden, and how the Raider’s can handle the Cardinal’s receiving duo of Fitzgerald and Breaston.  But I got the Cardinal’s receivers putting up some numbers and rolling to an ugly 6 point victory at home.

Chargers at Seahawks:  The Seahawks have shown glimpses of a quality team.  But the Chargers have been tough for some years now and looked like they woke up from the off-season last week.  Phillip Rivers will have a field day against a weak Seattle secondary on his way to a 14 point win.  There will be rain in Seattle this weekend.

Colts at Broncos:  The Peyton show heads to Mile High.  Just look for more of what you saw last Sunday.  The Colts have a great offense.  And the secondary has done a great job defending against the pass.  Unfortunately for Denver, they do not have their typical tough rushing attack to expose the Colt’s weakness of defending against the run.  Look for Peyton to shred the Broncos all day on the way to a 13 point victory.

Jets at Dolphins:  This is a big time matchup early in the season.  Though the Dolphins sit atop the division, the Jets are still the favorite in my eyes, and most of America.  Can New York produce a 2nd straight big time AFC East Victory?  You better believe it as Sanchez continues to get more and more comfortable in the pocket.  The GQ Star looked great last week, and should continue his solid play against a tough Miami defense.  I got the Jets gutting out a tough 1 point victory on the road.

Packers at Bears:  The Monday Night Games have been as good as ever this season.  I do not see that trend stopping this week either, as two bitter rivals take the prime time stage.  But I will say that Aaron Rodgers will get a chance to show the country why is an elite quarterback against a Bear’s secondary that has struggled.  Two teams looking to take hold of the NFC North early on.  It should be fun.  But look for the Cheeseheads to take care of business by 6 on the road.

CV3 Picks:

49ers over Chiefs by 9- The San Fran D should dominate the Chief’s offense while Frank Gore tears apart the Chief’s linebacking core. Mike Singletary has his team under going in the right direction.

Vikings over Lions by 14- C’mon Vikings… A disappointing start to a season that might end with a wild card bid. I can’t see them going to 0-3, especially against the lions. It’s likely that Brett will get into a groove now that he has a couple games under his belt for the season (since he strategically missed most of the preseason, again).

Patriots over Bills by…. who knows, but it will be a lot- The Pats can’t be satisfied with their play against the Jets. Sorry Bills, but you have to face them on their bounce-back week. Brady will put up huge numbers in this one.

Ravens over Browns by 8- Cribbs will score a long touchdown, but that’s it. Baltimore’s D is still elite and it doesn’t matter that their offense sucks because the Browns suck. With anger brewing due to some questionable calls from last week, look for the Ravens to hit hard in this one and probably score on D.

Texans over Boys by 3- In the Battle of Texas, I take the Texans. They are high powered on offense and have shown they can beat a team on the ground and in the air. That powerful offense is backed by a solid D that should extend the Boys downward spiral for another week. Sorry Jerry but you need an O-line. Maybe you can buy it??

Eagles over Jags by 10- Luckily for Eagles fans their coach watched the game tape. I’m a Vick fan too (on the football field). I feel like going back to Madden ’04 and running from sideline to sideline making a fool of defenders. The Eagles have a lot of weapons and Vick will continue to impress as a starter.

Colts over Broncos by 5 1/2- Two offenses that rely on the pass. The Colts D is back on track but this one still should be a shootout. You have to believe that Peyton reigns supreme over Orton in this one though.

Raiders over Cardinals by 3- Go MAC quarterbacks! Bruce will hand the ball off and make a few good passes to Zach Miller in this Raiders win. Hopefully Michael Bush will get involved in the action as well. He is a fun player to watch and the Raiders may start to show that they have a great tandem in McFadden and Bush. Plus, the Cardinals one hope for this season is busy putting his moves down on the dance floor.

Chargers over Seahawks by 10- I thought the Chargers were going to have some management troubles that would trickle down to the field and effect their play, I was wrong. I still don’t like A.J. Smith, especially for what he did to Marty but it looks like Norv has them focused on the opponent rather than their internal struggles. They should roll in this one.

Giants over Titans by 1- This should be a tight one with two similar teams with good running games and a good pass defense. I give this one to the G-Men only because they are playing at home. 

Steelers over Buccaneers by 4- Unfortunately, for Steelers haters, the Curtain is back. As long as Troy stays healthy they could run Akili Smith out there at quarterback and it wouldn’t matter. They are going to win in ugly fashion with defense doing most of the work. Good luck trying to score more than one touchdown Bucs.

Skins over Rams by 6- Again, Bradford will keep this one close with a decent performance but the Skins D is better than the Ram’s.

Jets over the Fins in this one by 3- Both teams are playing stellar D but the Jets have a lot of confidence after beating their conference foes. If the coaches don’t limit Sanchize then the Jets should fly high to their second victory.

Saints over Falcons by 7- I’m picking the defending champs every week until they lose! No Reggie, no problem, maybe… this one could be close with Matty Ice leading his squad.

Bears over Packers by 3- Why will the Pack be upset? Because its Monday night! Hopefully this adds to the thrilling Monday night games we have seen so far. Two top passers with two solid defenses. Something has got to give in this one the defenses or the offenses, I’m betting its the D. In shootout fashion this high scoring game will end with a game winning field goal.

Bengals over Panthers by 10- C’mon Zimmer, destroy Jimmy Clausen!! Get to the quarterback! Even if the Bengals lack pressure on the QB they will win with solid D and a better offense. Brat better come out with a plan to spread the field otherwise a tough Carolina run D will delay the start of the Palmer show. Who Dey? Not the Panthers!

It should be a great Week 3.  Feel free to see how your picks stack up against mine and CV3’s in the comments.

Get ready for some football folks.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“NFC West Preview”

See any resemblance to Joe Montana or Steve Young? Well Alex Smith is ready to lead the 49ers back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

The NFC’s version of the Wild Wild West has not been the most glamorous conference in recent memory.  In fact, they have not sent 2 teams to the playoffs since 2003.  They also have not had more than one team with an above 500 record since 2003.  So generally, you have one team do solid, another team do around 500, and the other 2 just finish absolutely abysmal.  This year appeared like it could be different.  It appeared that there could possibly be 2 teams with a fighting chance to make their way into the playoffs.  That was until Arizona lost their quarterback to retirement and one of the best receivers to the Ravens (Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin). 

NFC West: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, 49ers (alphabetical order)

St. Louis Rams (4th place):  The Rams had a nightmarish season last year.  And though I think they will do better than one win this season, I do not see them finding themselves out of the division cellar just yet.  Sure they drafted a very talented quarterback in Sam Bradford.  And sure they have an outstanding running back in Stephen Jackson.  But really what else is there?  I mean Albert Pujols cannot suit up for this squad.  This squad featured one of the worst passing games I have ever seen in recent memory.  And to think, we are only 10 years removed from the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Guys like Donnie Avery and Laurent Robinson must step up and provide the rookie Bradford with some targets.  Sure Stephen Jackson is a great guy to have for rookie Sam Bradford to hand the ball off too.  But the NFL has become a pass first League.  You cannot win without some sort of passing attack.  The Rams, unfortunately, are going to struggle in this department all year.  The Rams defense is not to amazing either.  In fact, it looks to be on its way to a horrific year.  I guess a team that goes 1 and 15 generally is not too strong in many areas.  James Laurinaitis will have a ton of weight put on his shoulder to anchor the defense.  He is no longer a rookie and will be expected to be the engine that makes the defense go.  But other than that, there is not a whole lot of promising prospects on this defense.  I do think they will finish better than 1 and 15, but not much.

Seattle Seahawks (3rd place):  Rainy Seattle will once again fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.  This team features both a sub par offense and defense.  Matt Hasselbeck is a very savvy veteran that really just does not have much to work with.  Sure TJ Houshmandzadeh is a great possession receiver, but the loss of Nate Burleson hurts.  Golden Tate, the outstanding receiver out of Notre Dame will be expected to produce from Day 1.  He will be expected to be a big play guy similar to a Steve Smith type of mold (lots of pressure on the little guy).  This team cannot survive simply with Houshmandzadeh.  I mean this team does not have much of a rushing attack.  Justin Forsett and Leon Washington are not necessarily gamebreakers.  Maybe Washington will surprise some people and start to really produce, but I wouldn’t count on it.  Then you look at the Seahawks on the other side of the ball.  And there really isn’t a whole lot of star power to look at.  Who will step up?  Nobody really knows.  The main thing Seattle has going for them is the arrival of former USC Head Coach, Pete Carroll.  Now normally coaches do not do so hot going back and forth between the League and College in any sport.  But this guy has been running a professional program for years now.  Plus he had 15 years of “official” professional coaching experience before he arrived in Trojanville.  Just ask USC what they think about it.  Maybe he could get this team to come somewhere near 8 and 8?  I would say it is highly doubtful they win 8 games, but who knows, it could happen.

Arizona Cardinals (2nd place):  This is a team that probably lost the most of any team in this division.  They lost a big time number 2 receiver in Anquan Boldin.  They lost a big time quarterback in Kurt Warner.  And with Kurt and Anquan, goes a major part of the high-flying attack that has carried the Cardinals for the past couple of years.  This is a team that has lived and died on the pass reminiscent of the way many college teams play today.  They had a rushing attack that did not even average 100 yards a game.  Yet they advanced to the playoffs?  Go figure.  Times have really changed.  Offenses have slowly but surely turned into pass first teams all around the League.  I mean the Cardinals do have 2 decent running backs in the massive Chris “Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower.  But neither of these guys get many opportunities in this pass happy Cardinal’s offensive scheme.  If Steve Breaston does not emerge as a big time number 2, Arizona’s offense could collapse in that teams will double on Fitzgerald and the passing attack will die.  And this does not even get me started on Matt Leinart.  The man came into the League with so much upside but has vastly underachieved.  This year will be his chance.  There is also a defensive side of the ball.  And the Cardinals are not too good at defending.  They like to play shootout style games where they score a ton of points, and give up lots of points.  A way that you can tell this team has struggled defensively is players like  Adrian Wilson and Antrel Rolle are 2 of the top 4 tacklers on the team.  These guys both play in the secondary.  So I feel like this team will probably win 6 to 8 games.  But there have been too many losses on the offensive side of the ball for them to outscore all of their opponents and their defense does not appear too promising on paper.

San Francisco 49ers (1st place):  Yes, this is the year we have all been waiting for.  The 49ers long awaited return to the playoffs.  There were the Joe Montana days.  Then the Steve Young days.  Now there are the..Alex Smith days?  You better believe it.  This team has not gone over .500 since 2002.  Well that all changes this year.  There will be a changing of the guard, or at least a retro look in the West.  With the 49ers back on top.  This team has been knocking on the door for a few years now and is ready to come inside. The 49ers have a solid defense that is led by in my eyes the best linebacker in the game, Patrick Willis.  You should have heard of this guy already, but if you have not, he is here to stay.  They also have the veteran leadership of a linebacker that has been around the block in Takeo Spikes.  This team boasts arguably the best linebacking core in the League.  They also have a solid secondary led by former Pro Bowler Nate Clements, and the veteran Mark Roman.  So expect this team to be ranked among the League’s elite on the defensive side of the ball.  And on offense, this team looks to improve from a dismal showing last year.  They will be led by a young group in Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Josh Morgan.  These guys are all young, but ready to show that they are entering the primes of their careers.  Also do not forget about the always dangerous Ted Ginn Jr.  This team will not be one of the League’s elite offensively, but you better believe that they will put on a much better performance than last year as they begin to gel and enter the primes of their careers.  Hopefully the 49ers can keep this core group on the offensive side of the ball together for years to come.  San Francisco will return to the playoffs for the first time in 8 years.

So there you have it, a changing of the guard in the NFC West.  A return to the old.  The 49ers are back and look poised to be solid for the next few years with a relatively young group.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze