Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rob Gronkowski (pictured above) and the New England Patriots will redeem themselves on February 3rd with their fourth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
By Josh Kramer
It has been 208 days since the New England Patriots and more specifically Wes Welker let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers. For those of you in need of a refresher, back on February 5th in the house that Peyton Manning built (Lucas Oil Stadium), the New York Giants once again shocked the New England Patriots in a very closely contested Super Bowl game. That was then though and this is now. America’s most popular sport is just five days away from its official kickoff. Who is ready for some football?
AFC East Champion: New England Patriots
I am sure you are all shocked at this pick. New England has only won three straight divisional crowns and qualified for the playoffs eight of the past nine years. People are already comparing this year’s squad to the greatest team to ever grace the gridiron, but fail to win the Lombardi Trophy (2007 Patriots). With Brandon Lloyd added to the mix, it is hard to say these comparisons are all that far-fetched. However, it should be noted that the defense has some flaws, and the offensive line will have its fair of struggles due to the absence of Matt Light (retirement), Brian Waters (possibly retirement), Logan Mankins (ACL tear), and Sebastian Vollmer (back injury). Luckily for New England, the Jets appear to have taken a step backwards with the acquisition of “God” Tebow, and the Miami Dolphins appear to just be a horrible team (Hard Knocks has provided clear evidence of this). Buffalo is improved, but does not have nearly the firepower to stick with New England throughout the duration of a grueling 17-week season. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith, Andre Johnson, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arian Foster, Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Lloyd, Brian Waters, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Darren Mcfadden, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Ed Reed, Eli Manning, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, James Harrison, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Joe Montana, Jon Beason, Kansas City Chiefs, Logan Mankins, Luke Kuechly, Mario Manningham, Matt Light, Matt Schaub, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Rob Gronkowski, Robert Griffin III, San Diego Chargers, Sebastian Vollmer, Steve Young, Super Bowl, Terrell Suggs, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Troy Polamalu, Wes Welker
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Andre Ethier (pictured above) was a main reason for the Dodgers solid start in 2011. The real cause for LA's mild success though by the end of the season was Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp.
By Josh Kramer
We have hit the 15th week of “Throwback Saturdays.” It has been fun taking a trip down memory lane every Saturday. What was happening on April 28, 2011? How about on April 28, 2010? Let’s find out.
One year ago..
Loan Bright Spot in Dodgertown
Here is a snippet..
The Los Angeles Dodgers have not exactly had a story book season thus far. Really not much has gone right on or off the field. Surprisingly though, the team has not completely flopped. Or at least not yet. Sitting at 13 and 13, they are still in 2nd in the NL West. With a run differential of -16, they are not exactly competitive every night. They either win big. Or they lose big. A weak run differential normally catches up with a team as they get a couple of months into the season. So the odds do not look to be in LA’s favor.
But there has been one lone bright spot in Dodgertown. That bright spot is not Kobe Bryant, though his courage and amazing toughness is a shining light in that city. Say hello to Los Angeles Dodger’s star right fielder, Andre Ethier. Ethier has been simply phenomenal this season, and is a main reason why the Dodgers are currently playing 500 baseball. Without him, the entire ship may have already sunk on this season even just 26 games in (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Alex Smith, Andre Ethier, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Clayton Kershaw, Indianapolis Colts, Jamarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mario Williams, Matt Kemp, NFL Draft, NL West, Reggie Bush, Sam Bradford, Steve Young, Vince Young
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (pictured above) continues to shock the world with his winning ways.
By Josh Kramer
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Tim Tebow? Yet again NFL headlines are being dominated by the one and only Tim Tebow. The Tebow phenomenon has become one of the most unexplainable storylines in all of sports. Nobody, including myself, believe this guy has any business being a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Yet he keeps winning.
That is all Tim Tebow does. He wins. Just the way he does it, absolutely blows your mind. Tim Tebow has become the LeBron James of the NFL. He is rapidly becoming the most well-known figure in the sport. Though he constantly dominates the tabloids in a similar fashion to the King, the Gator God is by no means one of the game’s elite players. He by no means is even an above average player. But he is still a mega star to say the least.
Tim Tebow will give you the opposite of what King James will get you. He plays awful for well over three quarters. and then brings out his best in the fourth (Lebron gives you three great quarters and then his worst in the fourth). The real question is would you prefer three quarters, or one? Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, Andre Ware, Danny Wuerrfel, Denver Broncos, Eric Crouch, Florida Gators, Jason White, Lebron James, Merril Hoge, New York Jets, NFL, Rex Grossman, Ron Dayne, San Diego Chargers, Steve Young, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady
Photo courtesy of LakersTopbuzz.com. Derek Fisher (pictured above) is the President of the NBA Players Association. If there is any hope of an NBA season in 2011/2012, we better start seeing more of him along with other NBA player representatives and fast.
By Josh Kramer
We just witnessed the best NFL weekend of the year by far. College Football was also very exciting. And we are hitting the end of September, which means the end of the MLB regular season. There is so much going on and so much to talk about. Here are the main items that have caught my attention.
Is no news good news?
I have always been a firm believer in the expression, “No news is good news.” Generally, when one stays out of the news, one is staying out of trouble. People thirst to read and hear about controversy. Bad news is what normally engulfs the news in our society.
Well today is the 89th day of the NBA lockout. And I must say that the second professional sports lockout of the year has been far more quiet than the first. As you are all more than aware, the NFL experienced the longest lockout in the history of the League, spanning over 136 days. And for nearly all 136 of the days, there was immense coverage by all of the sporting networks. That has been far from the case regarding the NBA lockout. Mainly we have just been hearing about players looking to lock down lavish contracts overseas. Has all hope been lost on the 2011/2012 NBA season? Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Brett Favre, CBA, Derek Fisher, Indianapolis Colts, Joe Montana, Michael Vick, MLB, NBA, NCAA Football, NFL, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Steve Young
Packer's Cornerback, #38 Tramon Williams (pictured above) has been outstanding all year long, and especially in the playoffs. With 3 interceptions in the postseason already, look for him to add to that total on Sunday.
We are getting closer to Dallas people. To be exact, we are just over 2 weeks away from the big game. The NFL is America’s most popular professional sport. And the Super Bowl is the culminating event. It has been another phenomenal year full of stellar on the field play, injuries, on/off the field issues, #4 shenanigans, and upsets galore. Plus there is the looming issue with the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).
Well now we are down to the NFL’s version of the Final Four. We have already heard our very own Wesley Kaminsky’s outlook for the two Conference Championship Games. Now it is my turn. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC Championship, AJ Hawk, Ben Roethlisberger, Brad Smith, Brett Favre, Brian Urlacher, Charles Woodson, Chicago Bears, Clay Matthews, Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Heinz Field, James Jones, Jay Cutler, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Briggs, Mike Tomlin, New York Jets, NFC Championship, NFC North, NFL, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene, Steve Young, Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Tramon Williams, Troy Polamalu
Can my Preseason Super Bowl Pick pull off the unthinkable and shock the Patriots in Foxborough? LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured above) will be a key to the Jet's success on Sunday.
Our very own Wesley Kaminsky has already given his predictions for this weekend’s slate of NFL games. Now it is my turn. Last week had some great football games, highlighted by the shocker in Seattle. Marshawn Lynch’s run was arguably the greatest rushing attempt I have ever witnessed in my life. After making a play like that, you had to believe that destiny was on Seattle’s side.
This week the matchups appear to be even better. Lets take a closer look. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC East, AFC North, Anquan Boldin, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Derrick Mason, Ed Reed, Green Bay Packers, James Harrison, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Hasselbeck, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Seattle Seahawks, Steve Young, Super Bowl, Todd Heap, Tom Brady, Troy Polamalu
I will admit that I am utterly shocked. Quite frankly, I am dumbfounded. Anybody in the baseball world who says that they are not surprised is lying to themselves. Who in April saw this coming? Who even at the beginning of October saw … Continue reading
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.
Posted in NFL
Tagged Adrian Wilson, Alex Smith, Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals, Chris Wells, Donnie Avery, Frank Gore, Golden Tate, Joe Montana, Justin Forsett, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Laurent Robinson, Leon Washington, Matt Leinart, Michael Crabtree, Nate Burleson, Nate Clement, NFC West, NFL, Patrick Willis, Pete Carroll, Sam Bradford, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Stephen Jackson, Steve Breaston, Steve Young, Takeo Spikes, Ted Ginn Jr., Tim Hightower, TJ Houshmandzadeh, USC, Vernon Davis