Tag Archives: Phillip Rivers

“NFL Week 11 Predictions”

In the game of the week, Tom Brady (pictured above on the left) and Peyton Manning (pictured above on the right) go to battle in New England. Which super quarterback will lead his team to victory?

The NFL Season is nearing the final quarter of play.  No team has been a dominant force and most divisions are still up for grabs.  All of the insanity will begin to become clearer over the next couple of weeks.

The Bears continue to win behind an anemic offense.  The supposed best team in the NFC (the Giants), looks to redeem itself after getting smacked around by one of the NFC’s worst.  Michael Vick is playing like an MVP.  Plus the Oakland Raiders are tied for first place in the AFC West.  Wow is all I have to say.

Here is a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportskraze:    80                     CV3:  84

I still got a way to go to catch up with CV3’s expertise.

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Bills at Bengals:  Two of the AFC’s worst lock horns in Cincinnati.  Cincinnati is still kicking itself after another gut wrenching loss last Sunday.  The Bills are breathing a sigh of relief after finally joining the  one or more win club (not a very prestigious group).  Look for Cincinnati to demonstrate the potential that everyone envisioned this year with a brutal beating of Buffalo in front of the home crowd.  Also expect the Bengals to run all over Buffalo’s terrible run defense. Bengals by 13 at home.

Lions at Cowboys:  This is an intriguing game between a pair of 2 win teams.  The Lions have lost 5 games by 5 or fewer points this year.  They have shown big time potential and the Shaun Hill to Calvin Johnson connection is dangerous.  The Cowboys on the other hand played inspired football last Sunday under their new coach.  Look for more of the same this week as the Cowboys continue to show the League “What could have been.”  Cowboys by 9 at home.

Redskins at Titans:  Both of these teams are coming off getting whooped last week.  Both squads have been extremely inconsistent and hard to figure out.  Well the difficulty continues this week as I got to the Skins upsetting the Titans on the road by 3.  This will be one of the better games of the week, but expect Washington to stack the box and somewhat contain Chris Johnson.  Also expect Washington to  make the big play when they need it.  Skins by 1 on the road.

Cardinals at Chiefs:  The Cardinals are in the midst of a 4 game skid.  Well expect the streak to be at 5 after Sunday.  Arizona has been a mystery to me all season.  Sadly for the Cardinals, the Chiefs are coming off of two tough losses and plan on pounding the rock all afternoon against the Cardinal’s weak defensive unit.  Expect the Chiefs to run wild at Arrowhead on their way to a 8 point victory.

Packers at Vikings:  Before the season, this was definitely a date circled on most NFL fans’ calendars.  Another shot to watch two big time teams match up, with a plethora of underlying storylines.  Unfortunately, Minnesota has been an absolute circus this year and this game does not really hold a whole lot of meaning towards the playoffs.  Brett is struggling with injuries and the pass rush attack of Miss Jenn Sterger.  Expect the struggles to continue as the Cheeseheads complete the regular season sweep of the Vikes.  Packers by 6.

Texans at Jets:  These are two very quality teams.  Though the Texans do not have the most glamorous record, they are still a very dangerous team that will be in the playoff picture come Week 16 and 17.  The Jets are coming off a gut wrenching win in Cleveland where they had to pull out all the stops.  Good teams can win even when they do not play all that well.  The Jets are a very good team.  I expect their overall balance to be too much for Houston as the Texans stumble to 4 and 6.  Jets by 3 at home.

Raiders at Steelers:  Who would have foreseen this game in September involving two teams tied for first place in their divisions?  I will state that I definitely did not.  I would have expected to find the Raiders in the cellar and the Steelers clawing their way back into the AFC North race due to a rough start without their quarterback.  I was wrong.  These two teams are the real deal.  Oakland lives on running the ball with authority and doing a great job at defending against the pass.  The Steelers clog the run better than any team in the League and just flat-out win.  Well expect the Steelers to win this week by 6 at home.

Ravens at Panthers:  Baltimore heads to Carolina to take on perhaps the worst offensive unit in the League.  Well expect Carolina’s offensive woes to continue with Brian St. Pierre under center.  Who is Brian St. Pierre you ask?  Try a 30-year-old quarterback from Boston College, who has played in 2 total NFL games and attempted 5 passes.  Now I will state that 2 of these 5 passes were completions.  How is John Fox going to pass over Tony Pike to start this guy?!  Good luck playing with a stay at home dad against Ray Lewis and the Ravens.  I fully expect Baltimore to drill the Panthers in every facet of the game.  Ravens by 14 on the road.

Browns at Jaguars:  Cleveland has proven itself a team to be reckoned with over the past month.  Though they have only won 3 total games this season, they have beaten both the Saints and the Patriots.  Not to mention they had the Jets on the ropes last week.  Cleveland can play.  The victories will come behind their strong rushing attack.  Look for the Brownies to upset the Jags on the road by 3.

Buccaneers at 49ers:  The NFC’s “Best” team heads into San Francisco to take on the suddenly hot 49ers.  Tampa Bay is one of those teams that really does not do anything especially well.  They have just found ways to win.  And in all honesty, the W’s are the only stat that matters.  This week unfortunately, I do not see them finding a way to win.  San Francisco is finally beginning to gel like many thought they would, and will secure their first 3 game win streak of the season on Sunday.  49ers by 1 at home in a very exciting game.

Seahawks at Saints:  Seattle heads to NOLA to take on Drew Brees and the dangerous Saint’s aerial attack.  This is not an opportune time for Seattle to be heading to New Orleans.  The Saints look to be regaining their Super Bowl swagger from a year ago and are hungry to catch the division leading Falcons.  Expect Drew Brees to absolutely shred the Seahawks weak secondary on the way to a 10 point victory at home. 

Falcons at Rams:  Atlanta appears to be the NFC’s top team.  They have handled their business in a more consistent fashion than any other team in the conference.  Plus Roddy White has been absolutely exceptional.  Well expect that trend to continue against a much improved St. Louis team.  St. Louis normally is a great run stopping team, but sadly the Falcons also have a very strong passing attack.  Falcons by 6 on the road.

Colts at Patriots:  This is a matchup that I have anxiously been waiting to see for some time now.  Manning vs Brady.   You know you are in for a classic every time these two guys line up against each other.  This time will be absolutely no different as both look to make a statement to the rest of the AFC.  The difference in this one will be New England’s inability to defend against the pass.  Even though the Colts are beat up, I am giving them the nod over Brady and the boys by 3 on the road.

Giants at Eagles:  A big time NFC East battle in the Sunday Night Game.  Who will take sole possession of first place after this one?  Though the Eagles have looked much better in recent weeks, I got to go with the G Men.  New York was embarrassed last week in losing to the abysmal Cowboys.  Plus the Eagles  put on possibly the best offensive performance we have seen the entire season.  Vick will continue to play great, but after every high comes a low.  Look for the G Men to steal this one by 1 in the city of Brotherly Love.

Broncos at Chargers:  This is definitely not your typical Denver team.  They do not run the ball.  They do not defend against the run.  What is going on in Denver?  The Chargers on the other hand sport a very balanced offensive attack and also boast a very strong defensive resume.  Look for the Charger’s overall balance to be too much for Denver as Phillip Rivers leads San Diego to a 7 point win at home.

CV3 Picks:

Cowboys over Lions by 14 (New look Cowboys)
Titans over Redskins by 3
Chiefs over Cardinals by 10
Vikings over Packers by 3 (Home field Advantage)
Jets over Texans by 6
Steelers over Raiders by 4 (Slugfest)
Ravens over Panthers by 18
Browns over Jaguars by 4
Falcons over Rams by 1
Saints over Seahawks by 14
Bucs over 49ers by 6
Eagles over Giants by 3 (Michael Vick Experience)
Chargers over Broncos by 9
Bengals over Bills by 6 (Ugliest game of the week)
Patriots over Colts by 3 (Game of the week)

So there you have the picks for Week 11.  The week is highlighted by the outstanding quarterback duel in Foxborough between Brady and Manning, and  the Sunday Night Game matchup in Philadelphia.  This game should be an absolute thriller between the Giants and Eagles as they contend for NFC East supremacy.

Can I begin to catch CV3?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

Advertisements

“NFL Week 9 Predictions”

Can the two-headed Chad Ochocinco and TO Show finally provide Cincinnati with the marquee victory they have been waiting for?

The NFL regular season is already half way over.  Hard to believe, but true nonetheless.  Randy Moss got traded, then cut, then passed up on by 21 teams.  Now he is a Titan.  Shawn Merriman was cut, then picked up by the worst team in the NFL, the Bills. The Cowboys and Vikings have a combined 3 wins between them.  The Chiefs and Raiders sit atop the AFC West.  And Brett Favre is making headlines for some dirty off the field business (okay that is not surprising).

This is why the NFL is the most exciting and parity filled professional sport we have in America.  Talk about an unpredictable first half.

Here is how the Pick’em scoreboard currently reads as we head into the 2nd half of the season.

TheSportsKraze:  65                          CV3:  70

I got some serious catching up to do..

TheSportsKraze:

Buccaneers at Falcons:  Two of the NFC’s best go to battle in the ATL.  Look for Roddy White to have a field day as the Falcons demonstrate NFC Supremacy by 7 at home.

Bears at Bills:  Da Bears vs the Bills.  This Bills team has lost 2 straight overtime games.  Well the 3rd time will be a charm as they finally notch one in the win column.  Bills by 1 at home.

Patriots at Browns:  The Patriots look to possibly be the elite team in the AFC again.  Maybe Moss was cancerous?  It will not matter in this one as the Patriots win by 10 at the Pound.

Jets at Lions:  The Jets are looking to make up for a very poor effort last week.  Outside of a couple of big plays for CJ, this game will not be close.  Look for the Jets to win on the road by 10.

Saints at Panthers:  The Panthers offensive ineptitude is scary in all aspects.  Look for the Saints to move to 6 and 3 with a 7 point victory on the road.

Dolphins at Ravens:  Miami is a tough team.  But the Ravens are tougher.  Look for Baltimore to ride their wide array of offensive weapons to a 7 point home victory.

Chargers at Texans:  Both of these teams made major realizations last week.  The Chargers realized that they should be winning and the Texans realize just how tough it is going to be to steel the AFC South from Peyton and Co.  Well sadly for the Texans, this week is not any easier as Phillip Rivers and the Chargers continue to figure out the winning formula.  Chargers by 3 on the road.

Cardinals at Vikings:  Neither of these teams have really shown much promise in any facet of the game.  I do like the Vikings at home by 6 with or without #4.

Giants at Seahawks:  The G Men are looking to make it rain in Seattle.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  Matt Hassleback is in for a very long day against the Giant’s intimidating D-Line.  Giants by 10 on the road.

Colts at Eagles:  If I were the Eagles, I would fly away.  Peyton and the Indy Boys finally look to be getting in gear.  The hot streak will continue with a 13 point victory in the fighting city.

Chiefs at Raiders:  This is an absolutely intriguing matchup with much at stake.  Who would have imagined saying that 2 months ago?  Both of these teams can really run the ball with authority.  The only difference is KC can actually stop the run too.  Chiefs by 3 on the road in a great game.

Cowboys at Packers:  The Cowboys outside of Dez Bryant have been horrific in every way.  Though the Packers are beat up physically at many positions, they will have no trouble handling a dysfunctional Dallas team at home.  Cheeseheads by 10.

Steelers at Bengals:  What a Monday Night Thriller this will be for the people of Cincinnati.  This is a game that could make or break the Bengals entire season.  And true to my city, I got the Who Deys providing another Monday Night gem of a game that shocks the country.  The Bengals get up for this one and put on a dazzling show with a 1 point victory over the hated Steelers.

CV3 Picks:

Falcons over Bucs by 10

Bills over Bears by 3

Pats over Bowns by 7

Jets over Lions by 5

Vikes over Cards by 3

Saints over Panthers by 14

Ravens over Phins by 7

Chargers over Texans by 6

Gmen over Seahawks by 10

Chiefs over Raiders by 3

Pack over Boys by 14

Colts over Eagles by 10

Bengals over Steelers by 1- C’mon Bengals

This is really a great slate of games.  Who will reign supreme in the AFC West?  Can the Bengals save their season?  What a weekend of NFL Football this will be.

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 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 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

“AFC West Preview”

Jamaal Charles shocked many with an outstanding 2nd year. Could he lead the Chiefs back into contention this year?

Lets head out to the Wild Wild West.  This division was once the playground of the Denver Broncos, but has been all San Diego for the past few years.  The Chargers have maintained a stranglehold in the AFC West, bringing home the last 4 divisional titles.  And with Phillip Rivers at the helm, do you think this is really going to change?

In all honesty, this was a pretty weak division last year.  You had a dominant team in the Chargers that appeared to be the best in the AFC until the Jets shocked them in the playoffs.  Then you had everyone else.  Sure Denver started out the year hot and really surprised some people.  But they finished the year on a 4 game losing streak, which is starting to become a team tradition.  They also lost 3 in a row to end the season in 08.  But other than these two, both the Chiefs and Raiders have been pretty horrendous.  Neither have been at all relevant since the Chiefs went 9 and 7 in 2006.

AFC West:  Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders (alphabetical order)

Oakland Raiders (4th):  This once proud franchise has been utterly woeful for the last 8 years.  They have not had a winning season since 2002.  They have not even won more than 5 games in a season since 2002.  What is going on with Raider Nation?  Well first of all their former number 1 draft pick Jamarcus Russell was one of the biggest busts of all time.  Both on and off the field if you want to talk about his recent drug bust.  So they have not had a quarterback really since Rich Gannon.  This year, their offensive attack will be led by Jason Campbell, who was the guy who could never cut the mustard in Washington.  They have Darren McFadden and Michael Bush as their combo at running back , who are mediocre at best.  And though Darren has big time abilities, he suffered turf toe and some knee injuries which really hurt his performance.  Also, it is hard to run the ball effectively on a team that has such an anemic passing attack.  Unfortunately, for Darren, the Raider’s most recognizable receiving threat is still their tight end, Zach Miller.  The only bright spot on this team really is a very strong secondary, led by Nnamdi Asomugha.  But other than that, the future still looks very dim for Raider nation.  Do not expect this team to make much noise.

Kansas City Chiefs (3rd):  This is another team in the AFC West that has struggled for the past few years.  The days of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson pounding the ball are long gone.  The Chiefs have not won more than 4 games in a season since 2006.  It has been quite ugly to sum things up.  This is a squad that had a weak offense, and an even worse defense.  This team could not stop the run or the pass.  Which led to a lot of long games.  There was really only one bright spot for this team.  The emergence of Jamaal Charles as a big time back.  Is this the Chief’s new version of Priest Holmes or Larry Johnson?  Kansas City certainly hopes so.  Also the Chiefs made a solid pickup in getting Thomas Jones.  Now the KC boys have a pretty strong 2 headed running back attack in Jamaal Charles and the savvy veteran Thomas Jones.  Matt Cassel has potential to be a solid quarterback.  He has put up numbers for a couple of years now.  Guys like Dwayne Bowe, Chris Chambers, and the rookie out of Ole Miss, Dexter McCluster really need to step up.  It was embarrassing how anemic this team’s aerial attack was last year considering they have an arm like Matt Cassel to work with.  With an enthused running attack, possibly the passing game will fall in line.  Demorrio Williams, Corey Mays, and Glenn Dorsey will have to bring the defense back to respectability though if this team wants to sniff contention in the West.  I will state this team has some potential to do some damage with an outstanding rushing attack and possibly a decent aerial attack.  But can the defense hold up?  This will decide if the Chiefs win 4 games or 8 games.  Do not be surprised if this team makes a little noise though.

Denver Broncos (2nd):  Mike Shanahan is now coaching in Denver.  The former legend is now with another team.  Josh McDaniel is fully in the saddle now.  There will be no offseason conflict or jabbering with Jay Cutler.  It is strictly football in Denver for Josh and the Broncos.   Denver, a team that dominated the late 90s, have not made an appearance in the playoffs since 2005.  The Mile High Boys are thirsting a return to playoff football.  Due to a few late season collapses, this team has just fallen short for the past 4 years.  Kyle Orton will once again be at the helm.  And despite heavy criticism during the duration of his 4 year career, he has dramatically improved each season and is coming off the best year of his career.  So he is not a quarterback that is going to put a team on his back, but he can help a team win ball games.  Denver was a middle of the road defensive team last year, and a pretty strong offensive power led by the typical tough Denver rushing attack.  Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter once again proved that Denver can always run the ball no matter who the backs are.  Expect this attack to be even better this season.  But also expect Cutler to have a much tougher time passing the ball this year.  There will be no instances where he can count on a guy to make 21 catches in a game.  The Brandon Marshall soap opera is over, but guys like Eddie Royal, Gaffney, and Stokley are all solid.  They will all three have to step up in a big way though to give this team a chance at contending.  Lastly, the defense will be solid.  Led by the guy with the coolest name in the NFL, Elvis Dumervil, do not expect an amazing defense, but expect a respectable one.  So the Broncos are an AFC Wild Card bubble team.  I have them finishing either 8 and 8 or 9 and 7.  But I do think the playoff drought continues into a 5th year.

San Diego Chargers (1st):  Expect a 5th straight West title to come back to San Diego.  This team is the best on paper, and should have no trouble conquering the division again.  Phillip Rivers has turned into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.  Expect another big year from a guy that throws to the outside of the field better than any other QB in the game.  LT will be missed though from a rushing standpoint.  I do think Darren Sproles is game to take on the challenge.  But is Mike Tolbert ready to step into the number 2 role?  As I have mentioned many times before, the NFL has become a game where you must have 2 running backs ready to compliment each other every game.  Will the Chargers be able to do this?  Vincent Jackson has emerged as possibly the best deep threat in the entire AFC.  Due to some offseason troubles (DUI), nobody is sure when he will be suiting up though.  But between Jackson, Gates, and Phillips amazing passing ability, you better believe this aerial attack will be outstanding again.  Do not be surprised if there is another top 5 passing performance in San Diego.  Last year, the Charger’s defense was just good enough not to lose them games.  With the loss of Antonio Cromartie, I do not see where the defense really improved.  I do expect them to possibly fade a bit as a defensive unit which could cost them some games.  Can Shawn Merriman save the defense singlehandedly?  Once again I see the Chargers winning the division, but possibly in less dominant of a fashion.  Maybe they will only win 10 or 11 games this year.  Look for LT to seek redemption come playoff time on the franchise that he once put on his shoulders.

So I got the Chargers winning the AFC West for a 5th straight year.  Overall, I think this is a fairly weak division, where the team at the top did not improve.  The Chargers will still be good enough to bring home the divisional title, but do not be surprised if the Chiefs turn some heads this season behind their outstanding rushing attack.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze