Tag Archives: Toby Gerhart

“NFL Week 13 Predictions”

Welcome to Week 13.  We are entering the final quarter stretch.  3 of the AFC

Can Big Ben (pictured above) lead the Steelers to a huge victory over their divisional rival Baltimore on Sunday Night despite foot injuries?

Divisions have ties at the top.  The NFC West leader has a record of under 500.  Plus the Vikings and Cowboys, 2 of the preseason favorites have a combined 7 victories.  Parity.  The NFL has it.  And you got to love it.

Here is a look at the Pick’em Scoreboard.

TheSportsKraze:  103                         CV3:  107

I still got a ways to go to catch Mr. CV3.

TheSportsKraze Picks:

Saints at Bengals:  The defending Champs head to Cincinnati to take on a struggling Bengal’s team.  This team has self destructed, and all parties involved are already looking towards next year.  The Saints are perhaps involved in the best divisional race that the NFC has to offer.  Expect Drew Brees and the phenomenal Saint’s aerial attack to pick apart a depleted Bengal’s secondary.  Saints by 10 on the road.

Bears at Lions:  Da Bears head to Ford Field to take on the 2 and 9 Lions.  These are two teams heading in very different directions.  The Bears have won 4 straight games and appear to really be coming together both offensively and defensively, while the Lions have lost 4 straight.  In addition, the Lions have not even really looked competitive the past couple of weeks.  It may be freezing in Detroit, but the Bears are going to continue rolling behind their stellar defense.  Bears by 7 on the road.

49ers at Packers:  Green Bay is doing all they can to keep up with Chicago and remain in the playoff picture while the 49ers have vaulted themselves back into the NFC West race.  After starting out 0 and 5, the 49ers are now 4 and 7, and just 1 game out of 1st place.  The 49ers have not really wowed me any respect all season though.  And with Frank Gore going down for the season, they will struggle in the tundra that will be Lambeau on Sunday.  The Packers need a win in a big way to stay in the playoff hunt and they will do just that in front of the home crowd.  Packers by 3 at home in a freeze bowl.

Jaguars at Titans:  Who would have thought that the Jaguars would be sitting atop the AFC South come December?  I know that I did not.  Jacksonville has looked very sharp lately, despite coming off a tough 4 point loss in New York last weekend.  The Titans on the other hand have dealt with much inner turmoil and are currently on a 4 game losing skid.  Well that skid ends this week as Jeff Fisher gets his team hyped, and lights a fire under Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, and the entire Titan’s offense.  The race in the AFC South could involve 3 teams down the stretch.  Titans by 6 at home.

Broncos at Chiefs:  Times have changed.  And in a hurry.  The Broncos are now the AFC West bottom dwellers while the Chiefs sit at the top.  The Chiefs sport the best rushing attack in the League while the Broncos sport one of the worst.  In a cold weather atmosphere, running the ball efficiently is the key to success. The Chiefs are able to do this while the Broncos cannot.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones will be the difference in this game.  Chiefs by 7 at home.

Browns at Dolphins:  The Browns are playing good football.  Yes I said it.  The Browns are actually a team that can go out and beat most teams in this League.  Peyton Hillis, a former 3rd stringer at Arkansas (granted he was behind Darren McFadden and Felix Jones) is turning into one of the best backs in the League.  The Dolphins on the other hand are coming off a big time victory over a tough Raider’s team.  Conventional wisdom would point towards the Dolphins winning this game considering they are playing at home.  Oddly enough the Dolphins are just 1 and 4 at home this season.  Maybe the distraction of that South Beach Basketball All Stars has hindered their performance?  Whatever it is, I am taking the Brownies on the road by 3 in a great game.

Bills at Vikings:  The Bills have played very strong football lately and really should have beaten Pittsburgh last weekend.  The Vikings played better than they have played in a month in Washington last Sunday.  My gut is telling me to pick Buffalo in this one, but logically, I am thinking to go with the home team.  Expect Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, or whomever the Vikings throw in the backfield to have a field day.  Vikings by 3 at home.

Redskins at Giants:  This is a good old-fashioned NFC East throwdown.  In the division that sports the best rivalries in the NFL, there are no gimme games.  Sadly this year, the Giants appear to be far superior in every facet of the game.  I fully expect the Giant’s extremely balanced offensive attack to shred a Redskin’s defense that is lacking in all sorts of ways.  I got the Giants by 9 at home.

Raiders at Chargers:  After a very slow start, the Chargers leapfrogged the Raiders last weekend in the suddenly very competitive race in the AFC West.  Since a major victory in overtime over the Chiefs on November 7th, the Raiders have just looked abysmal.  The Chargers on the other hand have looked awesome since Halloween in winning 4 straight games.  And you better believe that the Chargers are looking for some payback from an October loss to the Oakland boys.  The Chargers will exploit a weak Raider’s running defense which will open up the pass for one of the best QB’s in football, Philip Rivers.  Chargers by 9 at home.

Panthers at Seahawks:  The Panthers are probably the worst team in  football.  They are in the midst of a 5 game losing streak, and do not appear to be making improvement in any facet of the game.  They can’t pass the ball.  They struggle running the ball.  And you better believe that they cannot stop the run.  The Seahawks on the other hand have not been much better in getting blown out the past two weeks. Call me crazy but I am taking Carolina on the road.  They are bound to win again sometime.  Panthers by 1 in Seattle. 

Falcons at Buccaneers:  Two of the NFC’s best will link up in Tampa this weekend.  The Bucs are coming off a tough loss to a very good Baltimore team and are looking to make a statement to the rest of the NFC.  And I will admit that their chances to pull off the upset improve dramatically in getting to play at home, but the Falcons appear to be just too strong all around to drop this one.  The Falcons are looking to remain atop the Saints in the NFC South and will put on a great performance in Tampa.  Roddy White will have a huge day against a weak Buccaneers secondary.  Falcons by 7 on the road.

Rams at Cardinals:  The Cardinals have lost 6 straight games and in the words of Derek Anderson, “This isn’t funny.”  Derek is right, but sadly for Arizona, they are playing a Rams team that continues to improve each week.  Even with Arizona at home, I got the Rams behind rookie Sam Bradford to keep rolling.  The NFC West is wide open folks.  Rams by 3 on the road.

Cowboys at Colts:  In September, this appeared to be a big time matchup where one of the NFC’s best would get to take on one of the AFC’s best.  Sadly, the Cowboys did not pan out the way people expected.  In addition, due to a plethora of injuries, the Colts have struggled more than people expected as well.  Well expect those struggles to end.  Peyton does not ever lose 3 games in a row.  Though I think this will be a very close and high scoring affair, I got Indy by 3 at home.

Steelers at Ravens:  What a matchup this will be.  It is almost as good as the Monday Night Affair.  The NFL got it right in scheduling the night games for this week.  This is probably the best combo of Sunday Night/Monday Night games we will get all year.  Both teams are rolling at the moment and are living large on their stellar defensive units.  Earlier this year, Pittsburgh fell in a very close game against the divisional rival Ravens.  You better believe that they still have that loss on their mind as they head into Sunday Night.  Expect the Steelers to play inspired football behind a banged up Ben Roethlisberger.  Steelers by 1 on the road.

Jets at Patriots:  This may be the best matchup of the entire season thus far.  These two teams realize the importance of this game in gaining a divisional title and possible home field advantage.  Both squads are extremely familiar with each other and have been rolling.  The Patriots have been winning behind an electric offense while the Jets have been relying on their great defensive unit and the timely big play offensively.  The Jets beat the Patriots at home earlier this season by 2 TDs.  Due to home field advantage and a chip on their shoulder from the earlier defeat, I got the Pats by 1 at home in a thriller.

CV3’s Picks:

Saints over Bungles by 16
Bears over Lions by 3
Pack over Niners by 10
Jags over Titans by 3
Chiefs over Broncos by 14
Dolphins over Browns by 1
Vikings over Bills by 17
Giants over Skins by 12
Chargers over Raiders by 2
Colts over Cowboys by 21
Rams over Cards by 7
Panthers over Seahawks by 8
Falcons over Bucs by 10
Steelers over Ravens by 10
Patriots over Jets by 14

This is just a great slate of games.  The AFC will be much clearer after this weekend.  The two night games are especially exciting though as both teams at the top of the AFC East and AFC North lock horns for divisional supremacy.  Can Rex Ryan outsmart the ultimate coach in Bill Belichick?  Who will survive the physical struggle that will ensue in Baltimore this weekend? 

He could go all the way..or could he?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“NFC North Preview”

Aaron Rodgers was once Brett Favre's understudy as shown in this picture. Then Aaron took Brett's spot as the Packers quarterback and is now trying to take Brett and the Viking's spot atop the NFC North.

 To finish off my division by division breakdowns, we have the NFC West.  This division has become a  two headed monster.  There are two very good teams at the top, one mediocre squad, and a very weak team at the bottom.  When Brett Favre officially announces his return, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, the Vikings and Packers will begin duking it out for divisional supremacy.  Lets get ready to rumble in the NFC North.

 NFC North:  Bears, Lions, Packers, Vikings (alphabetical order)

 Detroit Lions (4th place):  Detroit’s suffering will continue for at least another year.  This team has only won 2 games over the course of the past two years and has not won more than 7 games in a season since the year 2000.  It has been a brutal last 10 years.  Well expect this year to be pretty typical for the Lion’s faithful.  This team had the worst defense in the League last year and an almost equally as bad offensive attack.  Lots of weight will placed on 2nd year quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Can he live up to the lofty expectations?  Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the game.  It is a shame that the Lions cannot really give him another solid receiver to play alongside.  Guys like Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson have not been able to cut the mustard.  From a rushing standpoint, they still have Kevin Smith, who will hopefully be fully recovered from a devastating Week 14 ACL tear (last season).  They also have rookie Jahvid Best.  Do not expect too much from this duo though due to lack of an offensive line.  Defensively it gets worse.  There is really not one player of note on the entire unit other than recently drafted Ndamukong Suh.  Lions’ fans better pray this guy gets signed, lives up to the hype, and is ready to be an instant leader for this team on the defensive side of the ball.  That is a lot to ask of a rookie.  Do not expect the Lion’s

to win more than 5 games this year.

Chicago Bears (3rd place):  Da Bears!  Yes Chris Berman is in the Hall of Fame, but the Bears still do not have the look of a contender sadly.  No matter how excited Chris Berman can get people when talking about the boys out of the windy city, the team is not ready to be a force yet.  The Bears have not been to the postseason since 2006, and do not count on that streak ending this year.  This team suffered without Brian Urlacher last year defensively, and did not do much with the newly acquired Jay Cutler from an offensive standpoint.  Though the Bears finally added a complement to Matt Forte in Chester Taylor, this does not appear to solve the rushing issues.  This team was near the bottom of the League in rushing yards last year, and though Taylor should help a little, these guys do not really compliment each other well in that they each have a very similar style.  I just hope for the Bear’s sake, conflict does not arise between Forte and Taylor.  The receiving corps has not improved either.  This team is still lacking a number 1 threat for Jay Cutler to use his “super” strong-arm to throw too.  So do not expect this team to put up a flurry of points on a weekly basis.  Defensively, the unquestioned leader is still the man with “swag,” Brian Urlacher.  Urlacher along with Lance Briggs make up one of the League’s best linebacker duos.  Also, the addition of Julius Peppers to the defensive line should make an instant impact.  If Urlacher can stay healthy, expect this team to be much better defensively than they were last year.  The secondary did do a solid job against the pass so hopefully with Peppers rushing the opposing quarterback, their jobs can be even easier this year.  The Bears will be a decent team.  But do not expect them to sneak into the playoffs.  I am predicting 7 or 8 wins due to the lack of offensive stability. 

Green Bay Packers (2nd place):  The Cheesheads may be disappointed with another 2nd place appearance, but count on this team to roll deep into the playoffs.  I have them cruising all the way to the Super Bowl.  It will take this team time to gel and it will help when Favre tires down the stretch for the Vikings come playoff time.  This team is led by a lethal offensive attack.  Aaron Rodgers has become one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the League hands down.  They got a great duo at receiver in the up and coming Greg Jennings and the seasoned veteran Donald Driver.  Hopefully Driver is healthy after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on both of his knees this off-season.  But luckily for the Packers, they have young guns James Jones and Jordy Nelson waiting in the wings.  Not to mention they have a very solid tandem of receiving tight ends in Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee.  I also forgot to mention that though this team lives on the pass, do not sleep on Ryan Grant pounding the rock.  The question is who can complement Grant down the stretch?  Possibly the seasoned veteran Ahmad Brooks or the Florida product DeShawn Wynn.  Offensively, this is the only question mark this team has if any.  Defensively the Packers number 2 defense of a season ago will be led by the linebacking trio of Nick Barnett, AJ Hawk, and Clay Matthews.  This the best linebacking trio in the League in my eyes.  They are young, tough, and very fun to watch.  Lastly, you have 2 very strong veterans in Charles Woodson and Al Harris anchoring the secondary.  Good luck scoring points on these guys.  Neither AJ Hawk nor Clay Matthews has really entered their prime yet.  There is lots of upside.  The Packers have the best combination of offense and defense in the entire NFC. 

Minnesota Vikings (1st place):  This team came up just short of making an appearance in the Super Bowl last season.  They are determined to go one step further this year and bring a Super Bowl title back to the twin cities of Minnesota.  And why shouldn’t they be confident?  They have a great core group of guys returning.  Minnesota also possesses both a great offense and defense.  Last season, the Vikings became a pass first offense.  I think Brett Favre is the only player in the League that could make a team that has the one they call “All Day” (Adrian Peterson) a pass first team.  Brett can still really play and put on quite a show last season.  And I fully expect him to put up great numbers again this year.  Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian are a great trio of targets for Favre.  All 3 are young and have a ton of upside.  Look for Favre to be slinging the ball all over the field again this year.  My question is will Sidney Rice be healthy?  Either way the passing attack will be lethal.  Then of course the Vikings do have the luxury of handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who has the ability to turn any play into a big time play.  If AP starts fumbling again though, who is the next guy in? Ryan Moats or the rookie Toby Gerhart?  This team does not really have a sure-fire compliment for Peterson nor do they really need one.  As long as Peterson stays healthy, it will be paradise in the Minnesota backfield.  Then from a defensive standpoint, this team stops the run with the best of them.  Guys like Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Pat Williams are absolutely outstanding.  They not only stop the run, but they pressure the quarterback early and often.  Then in the secondary, the addition of veteran cornerback Lito Shephard should help turn this unit from average, to pretty good.  Big things will also be expected from the outstanding cornerback Antoine Winfield, and their injury prone safety, Madieu Williams.  All I can say is, watch out, because this Viking’s team will be scary.  Do not be surprised to see this team roll deep into the postseason.

So the NFC North should have a repeat champion in the Minnesota Vikings.  But do not sleep on the Green Bay Packers, who I think could overtake the Vikings come playoff time on their way to making an appearance in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1997.  Both of these teams are very strong in nearly all aspects of the game.  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze