Tag Archives: Tennessee Titans

“NFL Draft First Round Recap”

In the biggest surprise on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans selected Jake Locker (pictured above) with the 8th overall pick.

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books.  It only took a little over 3.5 hours, but it is was well worth it.  The always exciting event started with a bang with the introduction of a record number of invitees to the actual event (25), and this year’s Hall of Fame Class.  Following the introduction of all the players, Goodell took the stage to some loud and pronounced boos.  As if nobody saw this coming.  People in New York are generally unforgiving to begin with.  With the current state of the NFL, I was surprised that the boos did not last even longer.  Either way, Goodell handled it well.  He and the owners want football too.  I think we will have it come September. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 2-15-11”

Jimmer Mania has taken the nation by storm. I will admit that I am finally jumping on the bandwagon. There are two key questions though. Is Fredette Adam Morrison Part II and can anyone "Teach Me How to Jimmer?"

I have been getting hungry all day and now it is time to quench that hunger with the typical Tuesday “Food for Thought.”  So much going on.  So much to talk about it.  Lets jump right into the main headlines.

Teach Me How to Jimmer

Jimmer Mania has taken the country by storm.  I will admit that I am about a month late.  But I am finally jumping on the Fredette bus.  Let Jimmer Mania reign.  Sue me for being a month behind the times.  I am not easily sold on guys like that this playing in the smaller conferences.  But after witnessing how Mr. Fredette “Put the team on his back” against Utah on Saturday, I am finally sold.

The real question though is Jimmer going to become Adam Morrison Part II?  The two have eerily similar numbers. 

Fredette:  27.3PPG, 4.3APG (assists), 3.4RPG (rebounds), 1.4SPG (steals per game)

Morrison (his junior year):  28.1PPG, 1.8APG (assists), 5.5RPG (rebounds), 1.1SPG (steals per game)

In addition, both guys take 19 shots per contest.  It is kind of scary honestly how similar their numbers are.  But I am going to go with my gut on this one.  Jimmer may not become a star in the League, but he will become a very solid player.  The kid is able to create his own shot much easier than Morrison could and he also D’s up at a much higher level.  If you are not sold on Mr. Fredette, check this video out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqX_b_Bu4hI  (Teach Me How to Jimmer)

Captain Cardinal Controversy

St. Louis Cardinal’s legendary manager Tony Larussa is at it again.  This time he is calling out the MLB Player’s Union.  He claims the Union is pressuring Cardinal star Albert Pujols to hold out for a record-setting contract.  Either way, could you really blame the guy?  Pujols is the unquestioned best player in the game.  It would be hard not to expect some sort of record pay-day.  But that is besides the point here.

I am not a fan of Tony Larussa.  I never have been.  I understand that the guy has won the World Series with a team in both Leagues.  I realize that he is the longest tenured Coach in any of the Big 4 sports (now that Sloan resigned).  And he has accomplished many other great things.  It does not mean I like the guy.

He took a blind eye to massive steroid usage on his Oakland Athletic’s teams in the late 80s, early 90s.  I am not saying he is the only one who turned a blind eye.  But it is blatantly obvious that he condoned this on his teams.  In addition, he is the biggest micromanager in all of baseball.  Let me repeat. 

Larussa=Micromanager

People wonder why the American public’s interest in Major League baseball has been steadily declining and moving towards the NFL over the past decade.  I give you exhibit A.  People hate long and boring games.  Micromanaging creates this type of ball game.  Just thank Mr. Larussa for being one of the main contributors to this problem in baseball today.  In addition, he had a DUI incident back in 2007.  Had a very controversial incident with Twitter in 2009.  And last summer, he ran his mouth, fueling the fire with NL Central rival, Cincinnati.  I never got to thank him for this.

Either way, Larussa needs to put a plug in his mouth.  I really hope Pujols does not sign tomorrow.  It would serve Larussa right having the future of Albert Pujols hanging over his head all season.  Maybe thinking about Albert Pujols would make him think twice about batting his pitcher in the 8 hole.  Since apparently he knows something that the rest of baseball doesn’t in batting his pitchers 8th.  Guy must be a genius.

Philly Tag Usage

Today was a big day for franchise and transition tagging across the board in the NFL.  No city was more active though than Philadelphia.  Michael Vick, coming off a phenomenal season, was franchised tagged.  And Pro Bowl Kicker, David Akers was transitioned tag.  Now this is all good and well.  We already knew Vick would be the Eagle’s QB next year.  But what team will Kevin Kolb be suiting up for next season?

Many see this guy starting somewhere.  I have never really understood what all the hype was regarding Mr. Kolb.  But I do know he will forever be a backup in Philly as long as Michael Vick is alive and well.  This guy must have some sort of ability though.  I mean, Kolb was the Eagle’s original starter last season until an injury gave Michael Vick the ability to flap his wings and fly away with the job. 

Now this is all hypothetical talk though in that he will not be going anywhere if a new collective bargaining agreement is not formed.  But say a new CBA passes.  Where will Kolb end up? 

The frontrunners are as follows:  Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, and Miami Dolphins.

The sleepers are as follows:  San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings

And my dark horse is none other than the Cincinnati Bengals.  Carson Palmer’s house is currently on the market.  The guy has stated that if Cincinnati does not trade him, he will retire.  And believe me, the Bengals are not planning on having Jordan Palmer be their starter come September.  So why not pick up Kevin Kolb?  It is just a thought.  I know it is a longshot, but I would not be utterly shocked if it happened.

Just some “Food for Thought.”

Let me hear your thoughts though.  Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“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 1 Fun”

Arian Foster stole the show in Week 1 rushing for 233 yards and helping the Texans shock the Colts (Foster is now number 23).

The first Sunday of the NFL season is always unpredictable, wacky, fun all in one.  It is always a weekend filled with excitement.  Full of mysteriousness.  And most of all, full of people sitting on their couches all day.  Following this enigmatic day, the scoreboard reads: 

TheSportsKraze:  8               CV3:  8 

There were few storylines that really caught my eye on the weekend.  

-Who is Arian Foster?  

First of all the Houston Texans monumental upset of the Indianapolis Colts.  Going into the 17th matchup of these franchises, Houston was 1 and 15 all time against the defending AFC Champion Colts.  When was the last time you can remember Peyton and the Indianapolis offensive juggernaut losing in Week 1?  And how about the pass happy Texans getting the job done on the ground.  When looking at some initial statistics you would be astonished.  Matt Schaub, who threw for over 4700 yards last season threw for 107 today, not to mention he threw an interception.  Peyton Manning threw for 433 yards and 3 TDs.  But the real story of this game.  How about Mr. Arian Foster?  The guy just blew up rushing for 233 yards (2nd most all time in an opener behind OJ Simpson) and 3 TDs.  Foster is a 2nd year running back out of Rocky Top (Tennessee) that rushed for 257 yards and 3 TDs all year in his rookie campaign.  Well he just ripped the heart out of the defending AFC Champs on Day 1.  Could the Texans be on the verge of breaking the Colts stranglehold on the AFC South this year? 

-The Steelers take care of business without Big Ben. 

Pittsburgh won their first of four games without their starting quarterback today over a very tough Falcons team.  Rashard Mendenhall and Hines Ward came up big for the Terrible Towels and took care of Week 1.  I will admit that I thought that the Steelers would lose this one without Roethlisberger.  But with inspired play from Ward and Mendenhall on the offensive side of the ball, and Bryant McFadden leading the charge on the defensive side of the ball (15 tackles today, 12 solo), this team could survive this month-long stretch in decent shape. 

-Welcome back Michael Vick? 

This was the best Michael Vick has looked in years.  The guy played inspired football and almost brought the Eagles back against a very tough Packers team.  Starter Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion in the 2nd quarter, and the electric Michael Vick came to the rescue for the fighting city of Philadelphia.  He rushed for over 100 yards and threw for 175.  Should Vick start over a healthy Kolb next week?  Coach Reid definitely has some thinking to do.  It was nice to see the playmaker back in action bringing back some of the memories of the old glory days (in a weekend where his alma mater took their worst loss in school history). 

-Are the 49ers a pretender? 

Many, including myself picked the 49ers to win the ultra weak NFC West.  Well today, they took a good old-fashioned butt whooping from a divisional rival.  San Francisco came out smoking but then had a rough end to the first half and continued to get worse as the game progressed.  Frank Gore’s rushing attack was non-existent.  Alex Smith threw 2 interceptions.  And I could go on.  Vernon Davis was the only bright spot on the day for the 49ers.  Where is that amazing defense we have been hearing about all off-season and theat newly improved offense?  Are the 49ers contenders or pretenders? 

-Blinded by the hype? 

Another team that thoroughly disappointed was the Cincinnati Bengals.  This team looked to still be playing a preseason game until the 3rd quarter of this one.  And a Patriots team, that definitely has a chip on their shoulder due to the talk of the Jets being the favorite in the AFC East, steamrolled Cincinnati.  The only bright spot for the Bengals on this day was Chad OchoCinco and glimpses of a big time aerial attack.  Sure Carson threw for 345 yards.  But what happened to the smash mouth, run first Bengals (now I realize they were behind so they needed to throw).  Palmer threw the ball 50 times today.  Cedric Benson only had 15 carries.  The real show in this game was the reunited amazing connection of Wes Welker and Tom Brady.  These guys picked up right where they left off following Welker’s knee injury.  The best slot receiver in football had 8 catches and 2 TDs.  Are the Patriots a Super Bowl contender? 

-Is Chris Johnson Superman? 

Chris Johnson picked up right where he left off at the end of last year.  On this day, he led his Titans to an easy victory over an overmatched Raiders team.  Johnson compiled 142 rushing yards and 2 TDs.  And once again broke loose for a big time run of 70+ yards.  The guy is outstanding and looks to only be getting better.  The rest of the League needs to beware of Chris Johnson. 

-Can Roy Williams catch a break in Dallas? 

So in one of the most sloppy games I have ever seen in my life, the Redskins began the Mike Shanahan/Donovan McNabb era with a victory over the rival Cowboys.  The Redskins went 0 and 6 in the vaunted NFC East last season and were ecstatic to get that monkey off their shoulders in Week 1.  Since the arrival of Williams in Dallas, things have progressively gotten worse as he went from being a big time pick up to a guy that fans in Dallas booed consistently.  Once again Roy had a modest evening, of 3 catches for 21 yards, but on the last play of the game, he had appeared to come up with the catch that probably would have won the game for the Cowboys (barring an extra point attempt).  Roy’s heart had to be pounding.  Then he and the rest of Cowboy nation saw a yellow flag on the field.  Alex Barron, the Cowboys 6th year (1st with Cowboys) offensive tackle out of Florida State, had done the unthinkable.  Against a weak, 3 man Washington rush, he blatantly held Redskin linebacker Brian Orakpo.  So Roy’s heroics are already all but forgotten.  Sorry Roy.  Mine as well jump on the Miles Austin bandwagon with the rest of America. 

So these are just a few stories from an amazing opening Sunday.  The NFL is back in the flesh baby. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze 

“Leinart vs Young Part?”

Vince Young shocked the world in January of 2006 when he defeated Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and the mighty USC Trojans. Last night, he once again showed why he owns Matt Leinart.

Last evening, America got to witness a familiar sight.  A blast from the past.  Matt Leinart and Vince Young were once again competing on the football field.  Different times with much different personnel, but a very similar result.  Now I realize it was just a preseason game, and it is hard to judge much from these “pretend” games as many like to call them. But Young once again demonstrated why he has, and will most likely continue to be, the better pro quarterback than Leinart.

I will admit, I, along with most of the rest of the America (outside of Texas), was all about the Matt Leinart and the USC bandwagon 5 years ago.  I figured there was no way that Vince Young, and a very strong Longhorns team could beat the seemingly “professional” (little did we know) looking team out of USC.  The Trojans were invincible.  Outside of a minor hiccup against Notre Dame (USC still won the game), there never appeared to even be a chink in the Trojan armor.  I was very surprised when Young finished 2nd in the Heisman Voting that year ahead of Matt Leinart.  But who really cared?  Leinart was projected to be the better pro QB by the Mel Kiper’s of the world and was on his way to a second consecutive National Title.  Or so we thought…

Welcome to the 2005 BCS National Championship.  Seemingly a home affair for the heavily favored Trojans in Pasadena.  USC was leading late in the game and Matt Leinart was putting up another strong performance.  But the real story of the game was the amazing play of Vince Young.  The guy accounted for 467 total yards of offense, which is a mark that has never been touched by another player in a BCS National Championship game.  Not to mention he led his team to 41 points against a very tough USC defense.  How didn’t this guy win the Heisman Trophy, I, and many other people wondered?  Either way, late in the 4th, Young scampered into the end zone past a diving Frostee Rucker to secure the stunning upset victory for Texas.  It was the end of a Trojan dynasty.  And little did we know, not only was this the beginning of the end for the program, but it was also the end of Matt Leinart as we knew it. 

In 3 years as the Trojan starter, Leinart threw for over 30 TDs and less than 10 INTs each year.  He also completed over 63% of his passes, won a National Title, and won a Heisman Trophy.  Vince Young also was a starter at Texas for 3 seasons.  In his first 2 years as the starter, he threw for 18 TDs and 18 INTs.  Very modest numbers to say the least.  But he was still finding ways to lead the Longhorns to victories.  Do realize that he rushed for a combined 2,074 yards in these first 2 years as the starter as well.  He was not your prototypical NFL pocket assassin.  As a senior though, his game began to gel on all cylinders.  He threw for 26 TDs and only 10 INTs.  He also rushed for 1,050 yards and 12 TDs.  The man was doing it all.  Looking reminiscent of Michael Vick at Virginia Tech.  Well the BCS National Championship Game marked the end of an era for Leinart.  And apparently the beginning of a new era for Vince Young. 

Come April 29th, 2006, NFL Draft Day. Mel Kiper had been stressing for months what a great class that was coming out.  Guys like Reggie Bush, Mario Williams, AJ Hawk,  and how there were 2 can’t miss QB prospects.  The draft started out with a major debate as the Texans took defensive end Mario Williams rather than “Heisman Trophy” winner Reggie Bush (appears to have been the right decision now).  Following this, Vince Young was the 3rd overall selection, while Matt Leinart fell to 10th overall.  I was in disbelief.  Leinart had the look of a big time NFL quarterback and had all the tools.  He was 6 foot 5, had a strong-arm, a pocket presence, and had that Tom Brady like moxy, or so it seemed.  Vince Young reminded me of Michael Vick.  And  guys like Michael Vick could get teams victories in the League, but guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were the pocket guys that could bring teams Super Bowls.  Sure Vince Young would be fun to watch I thought, but Leinart would be the one hoisting up the Lombardi Trophy in a February within the next few years.  Boy was I wrong.

Now I will admit that neither of these guys have panned out to be superstars.  But it appears Young just needed some time to adjust to the pro game and is slowly but surely becoming a solid NFL quarterback.  Leinart on the other hand, not so much.  For Leinart’s career, he has played in 29 total games over a 4 year stretch, throwing 14 TDs and 20 INTs.  His passer rating has been a very subpar 70.8.  Young on the other hand has played in 45 games, throwing for 32 TDs and 39 INTs.  His passer rating has been an also subpar 72.3.  But he is a guy on the rise.  A guy who brought Tennessee back from the dead last season.  Leinart on the other hand has not shown any signs of improvement.

Will Young continue to soar into a star in this League while Leinart’s career continues to fizzle out and end in the near future? Or will these guys continue to compete for many more years to come in the NFL? 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

TheSportsKraze

“AFC South Preview”

Superstar quarterback Peyton Manning is looking to lead the Colts to a 9th consecutive playoff appearance.

Though I would love to talk about the TO Show arrival in Cincinnati, I will hold off and continue with my NFL Divisional previews.  This is another division where 3 teams could easily win 8 or more games.  A division that features a Colt’s team looking for redemption, a Titan’s team looking to continue to roll, and a Texan’s team still trying to get over the hump.

AFC South:  Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans (alphabetical order)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4th place):  I do see the Jacksonville boys ending up in the divisional cellar for the 3rd consecutive year.  This team is not terrible by any means, but playing in the AFC South is no easy task.  The Jaguars feature a middle of the road offense and a fairly sub par defense.  In this division, a weaker defense will get lit up by a team like the Colts.  Jacksonville has still not adjusted to the new look “pass first” NFL.  Garrard is a decent quarterback, but Jacksonville has not shown enough confidence in the guy, which in my eyes has led to him struggling the past couple of years.  Do not expect to see Garrard have an over 100 passing rating as he did in 2007.  Now Maurice Jones-Drew has developed into one of the League’s elite running backs, but there is no compliment for him.  There is no dual running back threat, plus the receiving corps is not the best, led by Mike Sims-Walker.  Do not expect to see this team come out victorious in shootouts with teams like the Colts.  Then on the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars feature one of the League’s weakest secondaries and do an okay job at stopping the run.  Can Daryl Smith at linebacker lead this unit to respectability?  You better believe the loss of savvy veteran John Henderson is going to hurt.  I do not expect this team to win more than 7 games, but I could see them stringing together 5 or 6 victories.

Tennessee Titans (3rd place):  Who cares if Jeff Fisher and the Titans are suing Lane Kiffin.  Doesn’t it seem like everyone wants a piece of USC right now?  This team has a strong offensive attack that features possibly the best mix of run/pass in the League.  This is a differentiating factor that this team has in their repertoire.  They can both run and pass the ball, and not just do one or the other in desperation.  The Titans got off to a horrific start last year and fought their way back into contention behind the former Texas Longhorn, Vince Young.  Expect this team to wake up from hibernation much earlier this year.  We all already know about the Chris Johnson show.  Last year’s League leader in rushing yards.  Also, we know that this team has a compliment for Chris in Lendale White.  Lendale  truly pounded  the rock on the goal line reminiscent to how the old bus (Jerome Bettis) used to do it in Pittsburgh in the 2008 season.  Maybe Tennessee will return to this tactic if Chris doesn’t score from 70 yards out every game?  But this team is definitely lacking a number 1 receiver.  Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are solid, but neither is ready to be a number 1 receiver on a playoff team.  Also do not be surprised to see former USC standout Damian Williams making some noise at the 3rd receiver spot towards the end of the season.    But the real question is can this team’s defense hold their opponents in check?  Most directions point to no.  The loss of their defensive leader Keith Bullock will really sting on a defense that was already reeling.  I feel that overall team defense and the lack of a number 1 receiver will cost this team a playoff spot barely.  I see them finishing 8 and 8 or 9 and 7 though, but coming up just short.  Next offseason they will need to get a number 1 receiver and improve the defense to really make a run at this thing.    

Houston Texans (2nd place):  For a 4th consecutive year, I see these boys falling just short of their 1st playoff appearance in franchise history.  I feel like this team is definitely good enough, but drawing the NFC East is the deciding factor that will prevent them from advancing on.  The Houston Texans have a fairly punishing defense led by DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing (Cushing will miss the first 4 games due to suspension though).  Easily one of the top 5 linebacking units in the League though.  They also have guys like Mario Williams on the line who can really play.  Do not be surprised if this team finishes in the League’s top 5 at stopping the run.  The question is can their secondary do as well as their front 7?  Offensively, this team has developed into one of the League’s elite.  They fit the League mold of being a pass happy team.  They have one of the most dangerous aerial attacks in the NFL led by their superstar Andre Johnson and quarterback Matt Schaub.  This guy may be the best receiver in the  AFC or the entire NFL.  Can Kevin Walter step up as a big time number 2 threat to relieve some of the pressure off of Andre?  I feel the play of Walter in the 2 slot could really make or break this team’s playoff chances.  He needs to produce much better than he did last season.  The Texans also have a solid running back in Steve Slaton, but will truly miss the production of Ryan Moats.  Though this is a pass first team, it is truly a mystery who is going to step up and be the 2nd back.  If Brian Cushing was not suspended for the first 4 games, and they were not matched up against the NFC East, I would have this team finishing 10 and 6 or 11 and 5 and easily claiming a Wild Card.  I think they are very close to the Titans and they should finish within a game of each other.  But I do see them coming out 9 and 7  and falling just short of the playoffs.

Indianapolis Colts (1st place):  The boys from Indianapolis will make the playoffs for the 9th consecutive year.  The legendary career of Peyton Manning will continue to roll.  This team still has the capability of putting up big numbers offensively, though last year the flash seemed to have disappeared.  The Colts really did not blow opponents out, but did just enough to win.  And believe me, Indianapolis was fine with their 14 and 2 finish and appearance in the Super Bowl.  Their plus 109 point differential was only 5th in the League, even though they had the most wins.  I mean who really cares though?  Peyton Manning does as good or a better job than any other quarterback in managing the game and spreading the ball around to all of his targets.  He does not necessarily have the best targets anymore, but in Michael Jordanesque fashion, he turns them into stars.  Guys like Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark have really reaped the benefits.  Who had ever heard of Garcon or Collie before last year?  Joseph Addai is one of the League’s best running backs at doing what he needs to do to help his team win. He will not blow you away with his numbers, but he will do just enough.  Also look for Donald Brown to carry more of the load than he did last year as he enters his 2nd season in the NFL.  Then you look at the Colt’s defense and you have guys like Bethea, Session, hopefully a healthy Bob Sanders, and I could go on.  The Colt’s defense last year typically bent, but did not break.  And was a key in the 14 win season.  Expect more of the same style this year. Also do not sleep on stars like Dwight Freeney and Gary Brackett.  This is a solid defense that has the luxury of playing on a team that features Peyton Manning offensively.  There are no dramatic changes to this team from last year’s AFC Champions.  These guys are just tough and they know how to win.  Never question Peyton Manning’s ability to win games.  Expect to see these guys make another deep run in the playoffs.

So there you have it, another year with the Colts on top.  But also do not sleep on the Texans susprising some people and sneaking into the playoffs.  If they did not have to play the NFC East this year, I would definitely have the Texans as a Wild Card team (sadly they play the NFC East).  Should be a fun year in the AFC South.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze