Tag Archives: Week 1

“Too Good to Be True?”

Joe Flacco (pictured above) and the Ravens gutted out a major Week 1 victory on the road against the highly touted New York Jets. Will Flacco play better next week against AFC North rival, Cincinnati?

  At the end of  Week 1 the Pick’em challenge scoreboard reads: 

TheSportsKraze:   8                      CV3:  9 (realize Chad picked the Ravens to win by 1 last night) 

The marquee matchup of this Week 1 of football was the Monday Night Showdown in New York between two big time contenders in the AFC, the Jets and the Ravens.  Both of these teams are considered favorites not only within their respective divisions, but in the conference as a whole.  Each team had outstanding off seasons, bringing in key acquisitions to squads that already made the playoffs last year.  The Jets picked up Antonio Cromartie, LT, and Jason Taylor.  While the Ravens brought in two big time receivers in TJ Houshmandzadeh and Anquan Boldin.  There is one major concern though in my eyes that could hold both of these teams back from Super Bowl glory…  

Isn’t there a show called Monday NFL Quarterback?  Last night was not an example.  

Mark Sanchez was absolutely horrific last evening.  Now I realize the Jets are generally a run first team.  A team that likes to play old school, smash mouth football.  Winning games with a strong rushing attack and superb defense.  And that is fine, even though the League is in the midst of the pass happy era.  A team could still win with an average passing game if they had a superb defense and rushing attack.  Well the Jets without question have the tools defensively.  I mean wow did they put on a show last night.  But how about the former USC Trojan in the pocket?  

Sanchez went 10 for 21 for 74 yards.  This is not pee wee football.  This is the NFL.  A quarterback should be throwing for nearly 74 yards a quarter.  Now I realize that he was playing against the vaunted Ravens defense and all of jazz.  But Mr. GQ was playing in front of a big time home crowd with many weapons at his disposal such as Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Shonn Greene.  He also has former Steelers number 1 receiver, Santonio Holmes at his disposal (hopefully soon).  Also, I realize that Mark is still just in his 2nd year.  Maybe he could be entering the Sophomore slump?  Well not really, considering he did not have a big time rookie year, so it would not be considered a slump.  My one major suggestion for Sanchez is to start throwing to his tight ends more.  I realize that Dustin Keller let him down on last night’s big 4th down play late in the 4th quarter in one of the most bonehead plays I have ever seen.  But give the guy a break.  He had just been summoned by Ray Lewis, the ultimate hitmaker.  A reliable tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend.  Sanchez better improve fast, or this team will not have a prayer at making a run deep into the playoffs.  They will be able to survive on their defense in most games, but against tough contenders like the Ravens, Sanchez will have to perform better than last night.  

Now speaking of young quarterbacks.  The Ravens have a young gun of their own at the helm in Joe Flacco.  Now I will admit, I was thoroughly disappointed by the former Delaware stud last evening.  When you look at Joe, you just feel like he has the look of a big time NFL quarterback.  He possesses that  big time NFL “swagger,” for lack of a better term, which is so hard to explain to somebody who is not a fan of the game.  Last night, Flacco went 20 of 38 (which isn’t horrible), for 248 yards.  He did throw an interception as well.  Now, by no means, was Flacco as bad as Sanchez.  But I along with most football fans hold higher expectations for Joe.  We expect him to do more out there each week than Sanchez.  Partially because he has to with an aging Ravens defensive core.  And in all seriousness, this guy has arguably the most weapons around him of any QB in the League.  He has 2 big play receivers in a Anquan Boldin (now a big play guy and no longer a possession) and Derrick Mason.  He has the 2nd best possession receiver in the game at his disposal in TJ Houshmandzadeh (after Wes Welker).  Todd Heap is a very seasoned tight end who has always been a major threat in the passing attack.  Plus he has a monster 3 headed rushing attack to fall back on in Rice, McGahee, and McClain.  The guy has no excuses.  And sure his team escaped last night against a very tough team on the road.  For this team to make a Super Bowl run, he will have to play much better.  I recommend Flacco develops a deep bond with his new possession guy in TJ Houshmandzadeh and continues to work on his chemistry with tight end Todd Heap.  

Both of these quarterbacks have the luxury of playing on teams with big time defenses and solid rushing attacks.  But in today’s game, you have to at least demonstrate a mediocre passing attack to advance deep into the playoffs.  Who would you rather have at QB, Flacco or Sanchez?  Which of these teams could make a run to the big game?  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.  

-TheSportsKraze  

“NFL Week 1 Predictions”

In one of the top matchups of Week 1, Darrelle Revis and the vaunted Jet's defense look to contain an extremely talented Baltimore Raven's offense.

Are you ready for some football?..

Well the NFL is back in the flesh tonight baby.  So I am going to give you my Week 1 Prediction breakdown.  And for those of you who are College Football Fans, I will be picking the major games as well in the very near future.

But let’s get something straight about this pick’em scheme.  I am not a gambling man.  So I do not pay any attention to the spread.  I am going to pick straight up winners with a predicted margin of victory.  So take it as you will.

In addition, joining me on my NFL Predictions each week will be a lifelong friend, Chad Vordenberge, aka CV3.  Chad is an avid sports fan, who has innate expertise pertaining to the NFL.  We will be competing all year.  He has the honor of being the first official guest ever on “TheSportsKraze.” Here is a write up about him:

CV3 Bio: While I love just about every sport, even soccer, the NFL is my favorite and I pay very close attention to it all year long. With some football experience I look for more than the average fan when it comes to picking winners. I pay very close attention to offensive and defensive schemes and how they match up against one another among many other aspects of the game. I look forward to picking each weeks winners along with the knowledgeable Kraze this season. We are in for a treat this season with a lot of top and emerging teams that could make a run for the Super Bowl. There are some old faces in new places this season that might shake a few things up along with some talented rookies. This season should be an interesting one for NFL fans everywhere.

Week 1 (TheSportsKraze picks):

Vikings at Saints:  Saints by 7 in a shootout type of atmosphere.  Remember that the defending Super Bowl Champion has won their opening contest for 10 straight years running now.

Panthers at Giants:  G-Men by 7 in an old school smash mouth struggle that is won on the ground.  Look for some great running schemes and blocking during this affair.

Steelers at Falcons:  Falcons by 3 in a game where the Steelers really miss the lack of Big Ben on the field.  Dennis Dixon will have some “rookie” like struggles on the road (I know he is not a rookie).

Browns at Buccaneers: Buccaneers in a rumble of some pretty weak sides all around by 6.

Broncos at Jaguars: Broncos are always tough early in the year even if they may be in for a down season.  A very close 3 point escape.

Colts at Texans:  In perhaps the marquee matchup of Sunday’s games, I got the Colts  by 7.  Never sleep on Peyton Manning finding  a way to win on the home or on the road.  The Colts are not ready to give up their AFC South Crown yet.

Dolphins at Bills:  I got the Dolphins by 10 against a Bills team that lacks a passing attack.  Do not be surprised to see CJ Spiller break off a long run at some point though.  The kid is electric.

Lions at Bears:  Bears by 6 in a game that will demonstrate that the Lions are improving.  They just are not quite there yet.  But also enjoy getting to watch Peppers and Suh on the same field for the first time.

Raiders at Titans:  Titans by 3 in a down to the wire type of atmosphere.  The Raiders have the makings of a team that could sneak out 6 wins.  Ultimately though, in this game, as will happen in many, their lack of a big time receiving threat will come back to bite them.

Bengals at Patriots:  Welcome to a first place schedule Cincinnati fans.  I guess things could be worse, and you could have to go up to Gillette Stadium during the bitter cold of November, December, or dare I say January.  But my brain is telling me Patriots, but my heart has the Bengals winning this one by 3.

Cardinals at Rams:  Cardinals by 10 in a matchup of a declining Arizona squad and a woeful Rams team.  If only the Rams could have Albert Pujols suit up.  At least there would be excitement for football in St. Louis again.

49ers at Seahawks:  49ers by 6 in a back and forth affair.  Many are declaring San Francisco the favorite to win the NFC West.  And I will admit, I have jumped on the bandwagon.  A very solid defense led by the stud Patrick Willis, and a capable offense led by Alex Smith, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis will be too much for Seattle.

Packers at Eagles: The post Donovan McNabb era will start with a loss sadly for the fighting city of Philadelphia.  I got the Packers running away with this one in perhaps the most lopsided affair of the week.

Cowboys at Redskins:  I know the Redskins made a great off-season pick up in acquiring Donovan McNabb.  And we are all very excited to see what he can do.  But the Cowboys have been aware of all he can do and more now for years.  I got the Boys by 10 as the Redskins inner turmoil proves to be too much of a distraction against the much more talented team out of Dallas.

Ravens at Jets:  I know the Ravens are becoming a very popular Super Bowl pick with the newly acquired TJ Houshmandzadeh out of Seattle.  And I will admit, they have as good of a chance as anyone.  But my pick to win the Super Bowl this year is the Jets.  And I got Rex Ryan and the Jets by 3 at home in a fantastic Monday Night Opener.

Chargers at Chiefs:  Chargers by 7 in the first game of the post LT era.  Though the Chargers have many issues with resigning players, holdouts, etc, they are still a little bit too tough for an improving team out of Kansas City.

Week 1 (CV3 Picks):

There are a lot of good match-ups on the schedule for this opening weekend in the NFL. There may be a few surprises this season with some top teams struggling and some young teams flourishing. I am excited to see how things play out over these very important first couple weeks of the season. Here are my picks for semana uno.

Saints over Vikings by 3- Will be tough to beat the Saints in what is possibly the loudest stadium now that the RCA dome is gone. Vikings are the better team if AP holds on to the football. Its hard to pick against Favre even at his age but the atmosphere will make the difference in this high scoring matchup.

Bills over Dolphins by 3 (Buffalo will make the field goal)- Buffalo’s defense will play better than Miami’s. Plus, C.J. Spiller will sniff out the endzone, maybe multiple times.

Titans over Raiders by 9- Chris Johnson is already a star, Michael Bush will establish himself as a better version of Brandon Jacobs (although he may not play week 1, look out for him). Raiders have more promise now that Jamarcus is gone but not enough to hold Chris Johnson to under 100 yards.

Bengals over Pats by 3- I’m waffling back and forth on this one. Both quarterbacks have shown that they are capable of last minute drives to win games, this will be close. If the Bengals O-line holds, the Defenses will be the difference in this game. 

Bears over Lions by 6- Lions have a lot of fire-power with Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Jahvid Best, and Matthew Stafford but the defense is now the question. Can Suh help the Lions get back on track? Probably not, they need more than just one stud on D to help their team.

Giants over Panthers by 10- Quarterbacks will make the difference in this game. 

Falcons – Steelers TIE! Not this time. Steelers over Falcons by 6. Dennis Dixon will be a pleasant surprise. Also, the Steelers will not be run all over and Polamalu is back healthy. Plus, the Steelers are at home.

Browns over Bucs- Battle of who can make fewer mistakes. Having Holmgren as president will start a turn around in Cleveland, but not a complete turn around.

Broncos over Jags by 3- Bronco’s defense is missing a lot with Elvis out of the building but Dawkins and Bailey are capable of making the plays to keep them in the game. Orton is looking good and Tebow might show up in a few wildcat plays. If MJD has a great performance the Jags can win. 

Colts over Texans by 3- Look for this be a tight one. In their last four games the Colts have outscored the Texans by only 14 points, total. Schaub had more yards than Manning last year and the Colts have to deal with a beast in Andre Johnson. Houston is more than capable of hanging with the big dogs, however, I still have to go with the Colts on this one because of the experience in the organization and, Peyton Manning.

Cards over Rams by 10- Cards on the decline and Rams on the incline, should meet somewhere in the middle. With an even running game, only because Stephen Jackson doesn’t have an O-line to block for him yet, the Cards will win out with a better passing game and stronger defense.

Packers over Eagles by 8- The Packers had a great defense last year and their offense is borderline scary to any opposing defense. Rodgers has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and I believe he is ready to handle that responsibility. The Eagles are not a scrub team but there has to be some transition from McNabb and Westbrook to Kolb and McCoy.

49ers over Seahawks by 14- Mike Singletary has a terrific defense this year with P Willis continuing to lead the league in tackles. Expect Seattle to have trouble getting any type of offense going in this one.

Cowboys over Redskins by 10- The Cowboys have not lived up to their Superbowl expectations in recent years but with a healthy backfield and a solid defense they will go a long way this year.

Chargers over Chiefs by 9- I do not like the guy but Rivers knows how to lead that offense, even without Vincent Jackson. The Chargers, another team with high expectations, should control the Chiefs in this game. The one positive side for Chiefs fans is their rushing game with Jamaal Charles in the backfield who finished last year strong. 

Ravens over Jets by 1- Wow, football fans are going to be treated to an amazing game to  kickoff Monday night football. Two top teams with a lot of expectations. These two are very similar in the way they approach a game with a stingy D and tough rushing attack. Look for Sanchez to be the deciding factor in this game. It’s now time for him to take control of a game rather than manage it. Between Sanchez and Flacco, look for Cool Joe to lead his Ravens to a victory.

So there you have my picks along with CV3’s.  I will keep a running tally of my accuracy versus CV3 for the year.  Please provide your picks in the comments and we can compete and see who is the most accurate picker over the course of the season.

Get ready for Week 1 of the 2010-2011 NFL season folks.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze