Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Peyton Manning (pictured above) will make his anxiously awaited debut as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos in his first real NFL action in over 20 months.
By Josh Kramer
The NFL is back in full force after Wednesday night’s opener between the Giants and Cowboys. It is still odd to me that an NFL game was played on a Wednesday, but life goes on. Keep in mind that the last three times the Giants and Cowboys have played each other in their opener, one of the two NFC East rivals has gone on to claim the Lombardi Trophy. Let’s hope the real referees return by then.
Two seasons ago, I created a pick’em challenge with one of my good buddies (CV3). Last year, we added two new players (CB and DC) to increase the competition level of the second annual “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.” In year three, we have replaced last year’s cellar finisher (DC) with a new player (BD) that will surely be in the hunt.
The participants this season are as follows:
BD-Brien Dulle: A life-long sports fan that has lived all of his life in Cincinnati. Growing up as a sports fan in a tough city for professional teams (Bengals and Reds), Brien never developed strong allegiances for any one particular team. This unbiased vantage point gives him a much broader range of the sporting world. His opinions from sports have been greatly influenced by the likes of individuals like Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Ryen Russillo, Tony Kornheiser, and Michael Wilbon whom he listens to daily.
CB-Craig Baker: A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge: An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
TSK (two-time defending champion)-Josh Kramer: Founder/Editor-in-Chief of “TheSportsKraze,” former ESPN intern, current Sunday columnist for the popular SNY Network Blog “It’s About The Money,” and writer for fantasy sports website DraftDay.com.
Rules of the Game: This is how the game works. We will pick every game each week (outside of the Thursday night games or dare I say Wednesday night games). Whomever gets the most cumulative games right at the end of the regular season wins. No spreads. Just straight up pick’ems for the most parity filled professional sports league in America. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged AFC, Andrew Luck, Arizona Cardinals, Art Modell, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Marshall, Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshawn Lynch, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rob Horton, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Could Robert Griffin III (pictured above) help transform the Redskins from a pretender into a contender? Our very own Jeremy Powers thinks so.
By Jeremy Powers
The football season is upon us. Put a smile on your face.
Tonight, the Giants travel to the Jerry Jones Dome to revive the rivalry that received plenty of media attention as is typically the case this offseason.
I can’t wait to see which teams will take a step back and which teams will rise from the ruins and contend for a playoff birth. Let’s look at a recent example, shall we.
Last season, Tampa Bay stepped back from a ten-win season in 2010 to a 4-12 record and a last place finish in the NFC South. Ouch, talk about the opposite side of the spectrum. The Bucs were a pretender last season.
Cincinnati, who won four games in 2010—reached the playoffs with rookies leading the way on offense. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green made a formidable duo and the Bengals defense was stout all season long leading the team to a 9-7 record. The Bengals were a contender last season.
This season I expect some of the same parity that we see every season in the NFL. I see a few teams emerging as playoff contenders and some teams falling straight into the depths of their respective divisions.
The Washington Redskins were 5-11 last season. Drafting Robert Griffin III is a huge upgrade at quarterback over Rex Grossman and John Beck that will result in two more wins minimum. Not to mention the addition of Pierre Garcon as a big-play threat. Washington’s defense is quite impressive on paper as well. Playing in a 3-4 base defense, the Redskins linebackers will lead them as veteran London Fletcher powers a group that also starts second-year guy Ryan Kerrigan, and All-Pro Brian Orakpo. I think the Redskins get to 8-8 this season, which puts them in the hunt for a wild card spot. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged A.J. Green, Andy Dalton, Brian Orakpo, Buffalo Bills, Chan Gailey, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Drayton Florence, Fred Jackson, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jeremy Powers, Jerry Jones, John Beck, Lee Corso, London Fletcher, Mario Williams, Miami Dolphins, Mike Munchak, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC South, NFL, Pierre Garcon, Rex Grossman, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Kerrigan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennesse Titans, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Are Jay Cutler (pictured above) and the Chicago Bears poised for a big year in 2012? Our very own Wesley Kaminsky thinks so.
By Wesley Kaminsky
The NFL off-season always seems too long, doesn’t it? In an off-season dominated by Tim Tebow and the New York Jets, it’s that other team in New York who are the reigning Super Bowl champions. They shocked the NFL world a season ago, getting hot at the right time, beating the likes of the Packers, 49ers, and then eventually the Patriots. That takes guts.
With teams such as the Packers, 49ers, Bears, Saints, and Falcons, just to name a few, the NFC is becoming a powerhouse. I didn’t even touch on the NFC East.
In the AFC, the Patriots look like the clear-cut team to beat, as they added more weapons to an already lethal offense and revamped their defense.
Can the Ravens finally get over the hump? Will Peyton Manning return with a vengeance?
These questions will be answered in due time. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC, Alex Smith, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Weeden, Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Carson Palmer, Chicago Bears, Christian Ponder, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers, Greg Schiano, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Jamaal Charles, Jay Cutler, Jeff Fisher, Joe Flacco, John Skelton, Julio Jones, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Kolb, Leslie Frazier, Mario Williams, Matt Flynn, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matthew Stafford, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Vick, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Oakland Raiders, Pete Carroll, Peyton Hillis, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III, Roddy White, Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Payton, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Super Bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins, Wesley Kaminsky
Photo courtesy of thesportsvmi.com. Will Cam Newton (left) and Andy Dalton (right) be able to avoid the infamous “Sophomore Slump?”
By Josh Kramer
Last year was declared the “Year of the Quarterback.” It easily could have been called the “Year of the Tight End” as well. To be a contender these days in the NFL, it all starts with the quarterback position. Without a solid player under center, a team can kiss the Lombardi Trophy goodbye before they even play a down. Here are five quarterbacks that have the most to prove heading into the 2012/2013 season.
5. Andy Dalton/Cam Newton
I have a tie at the five-spot. While Cam Newton received the vast majority of the national media attention, there was another pretty good rookie quarterback in Cincinnati. Both rookie stars not only met expectations, but they exceeded them. This resulted in both booking a trip to the Pro Bowl. In the NFL, it is widely speculated that there is a thing called the sophomore slump for quarterbacks. Two recent quarterbacks that come to mind who were victims of this so-called sophomore slump are Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan. Expectations are high in both Cincinnati and Carolina where most fans are saying playoffs or bust. Will Dalton and Newton be able to handle the hype in year number two? Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, John Elway, Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan, New York Jets, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Tebow
Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Eric LeGrand (center) realized his dream yesterday. Despite his paralysis, Eric LeGrand is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
By Josh Kramer
Sports can invoke every type of emotion imaginable. In terms of the NFL yesterday, it invoked some good, some bad, and some sad.
LeGrand signing is grand
Remember who Eric LeGrand is? Here is a quick refresher. LeGrand is a former defensive tackle from Rutgers University who was severely injured in a game against Army on October 16, 2010 that left him paralyzed. LeGrand was always a class act. Sometimes the worst things happen to the best people. Though only 21-years-old, LeGrand took the paralysis as a challenge, not as the end of the world. LeGrand never let the severe injuries get in the way of his dreams. It is very fitting that on the date 5/2, LeGrand, who sported the number 52 at Rutgers, realized his dream. Most college football players across the country can only imagine playing in the NFL. Very few get the opportunity. Yesterday, former Rutgers coach and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano helped LeGrand reach his dream. LeGrand is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Continue reading
Posted in NFL
Tagged Anthony Hargrove, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Eric LeGrand, Greg Schiano, Jonathan Vilma, Junior Seau, Kurt Warner, New Orlean's Saints, NFL, Roger Goodell, Rutgers University, Scott Fujita, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Will Smith
Photo courtesy of bostonherald.com. Rex Ryan (pictured above) is not the happiest of people as we begin 2012. Has he learned any lessons over the course of the past year?
By Josh Kramer
2012 has already begun with a bang. Football, football, and more football. Plus some hoops and hockey among other things sprinkled in. Who else is in BCS Heaven and hyped for the NFL playoffs? Here are the items that have caught my attention
Rethink your priorities Rex
–Rex Ryan has admitted to possibly not having the “pulse” of his team this season. Maybe he should have thought about this type of thing before running his mouth. Rex Ryan has quickly become one of the most villainous figures in football. If you are not a fan of the New York Jets, you are not a fan of Rex Ryan. There are not too many people who are neutral towards Rex Ryan. Every sports fan has a pretty definitive stance regarding the New York football coach. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged AFC, BCS, Big Ten, Brandon Jacobs, Charles Barkley, Citizens Bank Park, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Jon Gruden, Michigan State Spartans, Mike Brown, Nebraska Cornhuskers, New York Jets, New York Rangers, NFL, Ohio State Buckeyes, Philadelphia Flyers, Raheem Morris, Rex Ryan, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, St. Louis Rams, Steve Spagnuolo, Super Bowl, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Urban Meyer, Winter Classic
Photo courtesy of coacheshotseat.com. Can Les Miles (pictured above) pull a rabbit out of his hat and lead his Tigers over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night?
By Josh Kramer
Halloween is always a wild time for obvious reasons. It is the one time of year where you can dress however you want and go unnoticed. This weekend though, was highly noticeable in terms of the wide world of sports. Saturday night was arguably the best night of College Football we have had all year. Sunday was full of thrills and surprises. And the Fall Classic had its first Game 7 since 2002.
Here are the events to keep an eye on this week.
5. So a month of games are gone. That is a shame for sure, but at least some progress was temporarily made. The insanity and chaos that I witnessed at the end of last week into this weekend demonstrated to me that we have a very good shot of at least having a partial season. Both sides want to make this deal happen. It is just a matter of getting over the 2% conflict. If I had to guess, I would say we will be seeing the game’s biggest stars by January. This is a bummer in that the Christmas lineup was set to be epic. Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged AFC, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Baltimore Ravens, Big 12, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Green Bay Packers, Jimmie Johnson, Kansas State Wildcats, Les Miles, LSU Tigers, NBA, NCAA Football, New England Patriots, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, NHL, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Phil Kessel, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Sprint Cup Chase for the Cup, Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, World Series
Former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden (pictured on the far right) has become a key member to the ESPN Monday Night Football Crew and the ESPN NFL Team in general. He is already rising to the pinnacle of the NFL Analyst Game.
After watching the second year, of the extremely entertaining ESPN Special, entitled, “QB Camp,” I got to give the former NFL Head Coach and current ESPN analyst some major props. Jon Gruden is a great football analyst and a real asset to the ESPN/ABC Team. So what if the guy does not look particularly comfortable in the flashy ESPN suit attire. The man knows football inside and out. He is vastly entertaining. Plus, he does not cross the line by being inappropriate, yet he also also does not cross the line by being too boring either (maybe he should teach Charles Barkley how to do this). Continue reading
Could the days of Jim Tressel (pictured above) and the trusty sweater vest be over in Columbus? Don't count on it.
There is so much going on in sports right now. NCAA Basketball madness all day. MLB Spring Training. NFL Labor Negotiations. NBA Basketball. And I could go on. It is time to delve into some of the major headlines today.
Tressels Sweats it Out in the Sweater Vest Continue reading
Posted in Miscellaneous
Tagged ACC, Andre Dawkins, Big Ten, Brett Favre, California, Devier Posey, Duke Blue Devils, Eli Manning, Elite 8, Final Four, Jim Tressel, Kyle Singler, Kyrie Irving, March Madness, Mason Plumlee, Michigan Wolverines, Mike Montgomery, Miles Plumlee, MLB, NBA, NCAA Basketball, New York Giants, NFL, Nolan Smith, North Carolina Tar Heels, Ohio State Buckeyes, Ronde Barber, Spring Training, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terrelle Pryor, Thad Matta, Tiki Barber, Tom Coughlin
Perhaps the biggest snub from the Pro Bowl this year was Aaron Rodgers (pictured above). Look for Rodgers to make a statement in leading the Packers to a huge victory over the Eagles on the road.
The NFL playoffs start today. Where did the regular season go? For many it has been over for months, and for a chosen few, it still may have another month left to go.
Here is a look at the final Pick’em Scoreboard.
I was down by 5 games heading into Week 17. I finally caught the expert that is CV3 in the end though. It was a very fun challenge. More of you will have to get involved next year.
After already getting picks from our very own Wesley Kaminsky yesterday, I am now going to give some picks of my own.
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
The defending champs head to the rainy city to take on an under 500 Seattle team. Yes I said it, the Seahawks are under 500. They won just 7 games this year, and they have home field in the first round of the playoffs? Sorry New York and Tampa. You got shafted. Seattle is a typical 7 win team. They really do not do anything especially well. Get ready to watch Drew Brees run circles around the League’s 27th ranked secondary. This one will not even be close. Saints by 14 on the road as they look to keep their hopes of repeating alive.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
These two teams are polar opposites in every sense of the word. They both are very good at their craft though. The Jets will pound the ball on the ground at you all night, while the Colts will air it out with the best of them. The difference in this one will be the Jets ability to defend against the pass. The Colt’s on the other hand are unable to stop the run. I realize that Indy has home field advantage. I realize that they are led by arguably the best quarterback of all time in Peyton Manning. But it will not be enough on this day. The Jets were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl. And I have them taking care of business. Indy will get shocked at home today as the Jets exact some revenge from last year’s AFC Championship Game. Jets by 3 in a great game.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs
KC rides their two-headed rushing attack of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones every week. They run the ball more effectively than any team in the League. Baltimore on the other hand has had one of the League’s scariest defensive units for over a decade now. Now I do realize that the Chiefs only dropped one home game all year. The Ravens on the other hand finished 5 and 3 on the road. Yet this team is just absolutely loaded in every sense of the word. They have playmakers on both ides of the ball, that I do not see KC being able to keep up with. It has been a great year for the Chiefs and they vastly exceeded expectations. But the Ravens have won 4 games in a row, and do not appear ready to lose this week. The difference will be the experience of the Raven linebackers and their ability to shut down KC’s lethal rushing attack. Baltimore by 3 in a very ugly physical game.
Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
This may be the most intriguing and highly anticipated matchup of the entire weekend. All year Michael Vick has been a “running” headline. How do you contain the guy? The Eagles are full of playmakers. Jackson, Maclin, Celek, McCoy, and Vick are some of the League’s best and most exciting players at their respective positions. But the Packers have some playmakers of their own. Do not sleep on Charles Woodson anchoring the secondary and Clay Matthews reeking havoc all over the field. Lastly, Aaron Rodgers has not gotten love this entire year. Talk about a Pro Bowl snub. Look for this guy to continue his hot streak and absolutely shred the Eagle’s mediocre secondary. I love watching the Eagles play. But the Packers were my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Well I got them winning this one. Packers by 1 in the most exciting game of the weekend.
So there you have my picks. Enjoy the two days of NFL games leading up to the NCAA Championship Game on Monday.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Aaron Rodgers, AFC, Baltimore Ravens, Brent Celek, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, DeSean Jackson, Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs, LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, New Orlean's Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFC, NFL, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Playoffs, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Thomas Jones, Wild Card