Friday, December 30, 2011

4th and Goal

Thought the title is fitting. This is it. The end of 2011. Whether you dun goofed earlier a lot this year or really made it a memorable one, it's almost time for 2012. Time to look back, reflect for a bit, and look forward to the promise land. 2012 brings new hope, new chances, and new dreams. Kinda corny, but I really don't give a sh--.
As we move into 2012, dreams will be made and lost on Day 1/365. The NFL regular season comes to an end, there will be a few playoff spots open and the playoffs won't be set in stone until the final game, and arguably the biggest of the day, between the Cowboys @ Giants is played. So here are my picks for Week 17. Last week I got 2 picks wrong, so let's see if we can keep this going. All the bottom you'll see the teams that I have going into the playoffs. And here's to 2012. Cheers \_/

LIONS vs Packers
The Packers are still wondering whether or not to even play Aaron Rodgers and who can blame em? The Lions have one of the best defensive lines and Suh will likely get to the quarterback more than once. With the first round bye and home field advantage locked up for the playoffs, along with a perfect season gone, no reason for the Packers to play with a purpose. I say Lions take it by less that 10.
Titans vs TEXANS
The Texans are a bit banged up offensively, with their 1st and 2nd string quarterbacks out, and Andre just coming back from injury this week. There should be limited action for Foster this week, so look for Tate to take most of the load in the running game. Meanwhile, CJ2K is nowhere to be found. Sucks to be you if you drafted him. Texans win at home.
Colts vs JAGUARS
The Colts will lock up the number one pick in next years draft with a loss, and that's exactly what will happen. The Colts have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, and the Jaguars have the NFL rushing leader in MJD. Look for multiple scores from MJD in this rout.
JETS vs Dolphins
Jets need a win and more in order to get into the playoffs. I see them winning this game, with a big game from Mark Sanchez. The Dolphins have nothing to play for, and now with their star RB Reggie Bush out, either Matt Moore goes off for 300 yards and 3 scores, or the Jets win. Yeah no, Jets win this one.
BEARS vs Vikings
Da Bears. The Bears had their playoff dreams gone when they lost RB Forte to injury, and with shaky quarterbacks on the roster, the Bears still have a silver lining in pleasant RB Khalil Bell. Bell has had double digit fantasy point performances his last 2 games, and will probably carry the team to a victory over the AP-less Vikings. Jared Allen will get a few hits on the QB, so you have that to look forward to Vikings fans.
Take Drew Brees out of the equation, and Brady would be needing less than 200 yards in order to break Dan Marino's record. He's having a great season, but is looking at limited action this week. Look for him to sit perhaps after the second half, but still I have the Patriots winning at home.
Panthers vs SAINTS
Coach Payton has said that the Saints will go about business as usual for this game. So I'm calling it right now, all out shoot out. You have the ROY in Cam Newton going up against the should be MVP in Drew Brees in the Big Easy. Look for double digits on both sides, and expect big gains from these players fantasy wise. The biggest toss up for me this week, I have the Saints by 7.
Redskins vs EAGLES
The Eagles had nothing to play for last week, but they played their hearts out. The awesome tandem of Vick and McCoy proves for a lot of Sportscenter Top 10 moments, and look for even more as the Eagles play at home for week 17. The Redskins have nothing going for them this year, and with bad defense against an explosive offense, Eagles are taking this. What a season, dream team!
49ERS vs Rams
With this win, the 49ers could clinch the first round bye, and that's probably what will happen. Their awesome rushing defense goes up against a tough Action Jackson. After that, the Rams have no QB with Bradford out, and a bad defense overall. While the 49ers starters sitting towards the end, they should have enough to lock up the first round bye. Welcome back 49ers football.
Seahawks vs CARDINALS
This not so thrilling matchup provides some star players playing for nothing, except bragging rights. Anyone hear a Cardinals fan? Didn't think so, but they will win this week. Last week I called Larry Fitz for a big game, and it didn't happen. Hopefully that changes this week. My fantasy league is counting on it!
Buccaneers vs FALCONS
The Falcons are hosting the Bucs in what could determine whether the Falcons finish 5th or 6th. While Ryan and Turner should be benched after 30 or so plays, the Falcons have enough depth to hold on to the win. While the Bucs had a promising year coming with an exciting QB/RB duo, look for them to get a few scores this week, but the inevitable loss.
RAVENS vs Bengals
Ravens have said to be treating this like a playoff game, and why not. They can finish anywhere from 2nd, 5th, or 6th in the seeding and determine whether the Bengals get into the playoffs or not. Flacco will need to have a decent game, and the defense will have to contain the Bengals passing game. While the Bengals won't just move over, it should be a defensive game that I have the Ravens winning 20-14.
STEELERS vs Browns
QB Ben Roethlisberger has been listed as probable for this game, but has been said to be limited to 25-30 snaps this game. With a win, the Steelers would also win the AFC North crown and a first round bye. The defense should be coming out and hitting hard against a poor Browns offense, and while Peyton Hillis has been looking good lately, it will probably will not be enough. Steelers win on the road.
Chiefs vs BRONCOS
TEEEBOOOOW. The mile-high city is riding high on the QB out of Florida, riding him all the way to an AFC West title. The Broncos have the control of their own destiny in this matchup, but it will provide to be an interesting one as you have former Broncos QB Orton on the other side of the field. Both quarterbacks will play aggressive, but the Broncos seem to have a slight edge. Given the Broncos have given up back-to-back 40 point games, one was against the Patriots and the other was from 2 pick-6's via Tim Tebow. I don't believe in God. I do believe in Tim Tebow. Broncos win in Denver.
CHARGERS vs Raiders
A interesting AFC matchup that has pro-bowl QB Rivers at one side and start RB's in McFadden and Bush on the other side. The Raiders can still make the playoffs, but I don't see that happening. Rivers should find Gates and Floyd in the endzone in this week 17 win.
Cowboys vs GIANTS
Thank god for flex scheduling, amirite!? The grand daddy of em all, well at least week 17, has the NFC East title, playoff implication, and a nasty rivalry all in one game. You win, you're in is what coaches will be telling players this week. Great matchups all around, from Romo vs. Manning to Ware vs. Pierre-Paul. With Romo playing with a bad hand and the Giants defense getting better every game, including a huge win last week, Giants should edge out the Cowboys, not without a few punches being thrown in the mix.
With these wins holding up, you have the AFC with the Patriots and Ravens getting first round byes. The Jets would be at Texans and Steelers at Broncos during Wildcard weekend. On the NFC side, the Packers and 49ers would have first round byes. Falcons would take on the Saints in New Orleans, and the Giants would host the Lions. Happy New Year, and let's go GIANTS!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's R Time

It's time to dedicate an entry to my alma mater with a recap of the year and a small preview of tomorrow's bowl game. As they get ready to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, my Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4) get set to play Iowa State (6-6). Being a Rutgers fan was a nice surprise this year, as we were picked to finish last in the pre-season polls and finished a win away from a share of the Big East Championship and a potential Orange Bowl bid. Unfortunately, the Scarlet Knights lost their final regular season game at UConn due to awful rushing and bad defense. It wasn't a horrible year though, as we had two overtime wins against conference opponents, a good win against Pitt who at the time had the nation's leading rusher in Graham.
The loss against West Virginia was a sloppy one, a game played on October 29, 2012. I remember it as part of Halloween weekend, and it was to date the only day it snowed in the year. I would say we got around 6 inches, and it made for very sloppy playing conditions. This game was the big return of paralyzed Rutgers player Eric Legrand, accompanied by his teammates, out of the tunnel which was an awesome moment. The grounds crew had to plow the end zones after every drive. During one punt you had like 5 players falling just because the field was so slippery. The best win though came at our final home game. I went with some friends and the feel was electric, the fans came out on November 19 in full force, pom poms at hand, cheering on the Scarlet Knights. The 20-3 win over Cincy had us at the cusp of a championship. The MVP of the team, without a doubt, and today was named the Maxwell Club Tri-State Player of the Year, WR #6 Mohammed Sanu. This guy's been awfully impressive all year long, and will no doubt be at the NFL level soon.
Looking over at Iowa's 6-6 record, they had a decent record the the schedule they faced. With the final polls,  you see that Iowa faced 7 ranked teams, it's the kind of thing that happens when you play in the Big 12. Started out 3-0, so things looked promising. Then a loss to the Longhorns at home, and a loss to the would be Heisman winning QB in Griffin III and the Baylor Bears. The worst loss was a 52-17 blowout by the Mizz Tigers, but the best win was arguably the biggest upset of the year, a thrilling 2OT against Oklahoma State, a win that probably kept us from watching LSU vs. OKS at the National Championship game. Not very impressive numbers for either team, so this game should be close at least for most of the game. Rutgers is technically playing at home and has one of the nation's best defenses, while Iowa really only has the running game to their advantage. I think Rutgers takes this game, and gives coach Schiano a 5-1 bowl record, with a final of Rutgers 28, Iowa 17.RU RAH RAH!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Aloha, Pro Bowlers

The participants of the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl were revealed Tuesday night, with some great picks and some awful snubs.

Starting with the AFC, Brady and Roethlisberger were great picks as they are up there in terms of yards and touchdowns, as well as leading their teams into the playoffs. Rivers was a bit of a head scratcher, as he has too many interceptions, and I personally would have picked Tebow or Flacco even, instead of Rivers. The running backs are lead by Ray Rice out of Rutgers, who's the NFL leader in yards from scrimmage and tied for the AFC lead with 10 rushing touchdowns. The league leader in rushing yards, MJD got the nod, as well as Texans RB Arian Foster. Welker and Mike Wallace, who are in the top 10 in receiving, got the starting picks for the Pro-Bowl. The standout TE from New England, Rob Gronkowski, who set the record for touchdowns for a TE in a single season, will also be starting. The defense is where there are a few mis-picks in my opinion. You have Pittsburgh and Houston being the 1-2 leaders in terms of statistically being the best defenses in the AFC, and you only have Troy Polamalu and CB Joseph there, now there is something seriously wrong. Denver, though, got some great guys in with Bailey, Dumervil, and Von Miller. Revis and Ray Lewis have become standards in setting a pro-bowl roster it seems. New England is sending the most players into the Pro-Bowl with 8 for the AFC.
The NFC is also a bit mis-picked. The quarterbacks are perfect, though, as you have MVP candidates in Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees leading the way, with Eli Manning as the extra reserve. Stafford is a player that might have been snubbed. RB's were also picked well, as the NFC rushing leader in McCoy getting the starting job, with injured RB Forte finishing second, and the 49ers Frank Gore finishing third. I would have picked Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch over Forte, since Forte has been out for weeks, and Skittles has been a powerful RB that seems to make the highlight reel every week.  At wide receivers, you have brand name players in Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson starting, but missing is Giants WR Victor Cruz, who was not on the starting ballot because of being injured early in the year. Cruz is in the top 5 in receiving in the league, including a 99 yard reception in week 16. At tight end you have Saints standout Jimmy Graham and future hall of famer Tony Gonzalez as the reserve. On defense, you have 4 of the 5 league leaders in sacks getting into the Pro-Bowl, except for LB Aldon Smith from San Francisco. He really needed to be elected. He as 14 sacks and is a big reason the 49ers are the best rushing defense in the NFL. The league leader in tackles, London Fletcher, is also missing from the list. No Rams love on this ballot. The 49ers lead the NFC charge with 8 players headed to Hawaii. The Pro Bowl takes place the week before the Superbowl, January 29, 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Oldie But A Goodie

With the NBA season in full swing now, the typical players are making the headlines. From LeBron dropping 30, to Griffin's sick dunk, to Howard's tough block. How bout some love for a two time MVP, seven time all star, 3 time all-nba first team, and my favorite player in the NBA, Steve Nash. This guy is scary good, almost averaging a double-double for his career to go with Nashty passes and a .900 career FT percentage. So he doesn't dunk, and doesn't get crazy blocks. What he does do is crazy crossovers, pinpoint passing, clutch scores, and makes every player around him better. The MVP point guard was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but grew up in Canada. He always loved sports, and was highly involved in soccer and ice hockey, but didn't start playing basketball until he was eight. From there he went to St. Michaels University school where he nearly averaged a triple double for his senior year. After high school, Nash went to Santa Clara University and would later be drafter by the Suns. After two seasons with the Suns, Nash went to Dallas but returned to Phoenix in 2004, and has been there ever since. He's had great seasons with players like Stoudemire and Nowitzki, but there's no player like Nash. He does so much for the team and for his community, always involved in charity's and bettering the Phoenix community, that makes him my favorite player. He'll play injured, he'll play in the clutch, and he'll play until the clock reads zero.
Nash has also brought us some thrillers, particularly some playoff games against the Spurs and the Lakers. Nash won his MVP's in back-to-back years (2005-06), joining the exclusive club with names like Larry Bird, LeBron James, and Michael Jordan. This two time MVP does so much for a team in terms of numbers and leadership that it often goes overlooked. Along with being a gifted basketball player, Nash also had the opportunity to play soccer for the National Canadian Team. Although he declined the offer, he has done great strides in Major League Soccer too, as he helped bring the expansion Vancouver Team to life, and holds a strong interest in becoming a minority owner of a Premier League team, preferably his favorite team, Tottenham Hotspur. He's also trained with the New York Red Bulls and hosts soccer charity games with superstars like Thierry Henry and Kaka.

He's a team leader who, as Charles Barkley once put it, he doesn't have it in his cards to win an NBA Championship. With weak offensive players put around Nash for this season, I highly doubt they make the playoffs, and guarantee that they won't win the championship this season. He has only a handful of years left in him, with his prime well behind him, but it happens to even the greatest of players. Sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Move Over Marino, Cool Brees Coming Through

Coming into the Monday Night Football Game, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints needs 305 yards to break Dan Marino's 1984 record of most yards in a single season, which currently stands at 5,084. Prior to this season, the 27 year old record was thought to be unbreakable, with Brees coming within 15 yards of breaking the record 3 years ago. Now all he needs is 305 yards in front of what is sure to be a sold out crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to etch his name into NFL History. Along with a record breaking performance potential, the Saints have a chance to clinch the NFC South by beating the Atlanta Falcons, who currently trail the Saints by 2 games with 2 games to go. Brees is having an MVP type season, throwing for 4,780 yards to go with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. This shouldn't prove to be an easy victory, and Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have already clinched a playoff berth with a 9-5 record and have a dynamic QB-WR-RB trio. Their first meeting resulted in a 26-23 Saints overtime victory.
Currently ranked first in yards and second in points scored in the league, the Saints are undefeated at home and hope to keep up with the 49ers to potentially get the number two seed for the playoffs. With passing targets that include star TE Jimmy Graham and a returning-to-form Colston, the QB should have no problem getting the 305 yards along with multiple scores in the Monday Night Football game. I have a bit of a soft spot for this particular record, not overlooking previous records like Newton's passing of Manning's rookie record or Cruz's NFL tying 99-yard pass in Week 16. I drafted Brees the last two years as my QB in fantasy football, so it brings me a lot of joy to see him have an MVP year and the potential to break Marino's record.
Look for Drew Brees to lead the Saints to victory, as well as break one of the longest standing records in NFL history, Monday night live from New Orleans, 8:20 ET.

Christmas Day Picks

We've been waiting all year long for this. It'll be a shortened season, but who gives a F---. The NBA is back, and we've got 5 great games for tip off. Big stories for the year include the signing of Chandler to the Knicks, Paul's trade to L.A., and the Heatles going for round 2 of their run. Already dubbed as the favorites, the Heat look to rebound after last year loss in the NBA finals. Rose has admitted that he hasn't forgotten about last year, and Kobe has been vocal about the lack of management in the loss of Odom and the miss for CP3. As we look forward to the NBA Christmas day games, we look forward to the season long, never ending drama of "As the NBA World Turns".

Teams in CAPS are the teams I have winning.
Celtics vs. KNICKS
Tipin it off in the capital of the world, as we have the Knicks showing off their brand new player in Tyson Chandler to go along with Amare and Melo. And while the Boston three party comes to crash New York's party, we're in new york, they've got an electric offense, and they didn't go quietly last season. I've got the Knicks taking this high scoring affair.
HEAT vs. Mavericks
The rematch of the NBA Finals last year, as the Sith battle the Jedi for control of the galaxy. Where have I seen this before? Anyway, James and Wade, and the third wheel, go into Dallas to face Dirk and the defending champions. The camera will be focused on James as those banners go up, and look for James to take control of this game. An aging Mavs squad won't keep up with the flaming Heat, so I've got the Heat winning, say by 10.
BULLS vs. Lakers
It's the showdown of MVP's in a Hollywood showdown. D-Rose and crew face Kobe in what should prove to be the game of the day. The Lakers, who recently lost Odom, look to prove that they are L.A.'s A-Team, while Rose goes out to prove that his number last year were no fluke. I have them as the NBA champs, and my pick for tomorrow. Too much depth for L.A. to handle. Bulls are taking this.
Magic vs. THUNDER
Whether D12 would remain in Orlando during the post lockout was up in the air every single day. To my surprise, they never gave him up, and now they have 1 season left before he becomes a free agent. That means they must be able to show they can compete with the best in the league. Enter Thunder. This young, exciting team features the high flying antics of Durant and the dominating defense of Surge I-block-ya. With a playoff atmosphere in the arena, look for Durant to overcome the Defensive P-O-Y and his magic in O.K.C.
CLIPPERS vs. Warriors
Here's one of the more exciting teams in the league with Griffin making the jams, even more now that they added Paul and give Kobe a run for his money. While the Warriors do have a good team, the Clippers will simply over match them in this Golden State matchup. Now let the dunks begin!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Picks

My first blog, and its a special one. A Christmas Eve edition. Tomorrow means big implications for some playoff hopeful teams, and then there are teams that are trying to "Suck for Luck" (sup Colts). Two great games include the Big Apple Bowl (Giants vs Jets), or the Big Easy Battle between the Matty Ice and Breesus. Let's just hope we all get what we want for Christmas tomorrow, so lets go BIG BLUE!
I have the winning teams in bold.
Browns vs. RAVENS
Ray Rice. He should run circles around this defense. With 20 carries, there's no doubt they win. I wouldn't expect much from Flacco, especially now that one of his WR's is out. Browns have no offense, and the Ravens have one of the league's best defenses. 
BRONCOS vs Bills
Is it Tebow Time? Not till there's 5 minutes left in the 4th. But I wouldn't wait that long. Tebow should have a good game, and coming off a humiliating loss last week, the Broncos defense should look sharp against a struggling offense. Expect Fitzy to get big yards, but still suffer a loss. 
Buccaneers vs. PANTHERS
It's time for the rookie of the year to make more highlights. Like Brady to Moss 4 years ago, its Cam to Smith all day.  And after an embarrassing offensive performance last week, the Bucs won't get that to change this week. 
CARDINALS vs. Bengals
Kolb has been rules out for this week, giving John Skelton the start. That's proved great for Larry Fitz, who gets more looks his way during Skeltons' starts. Expect Fitzgerald to get over 100 yards in this Week 16 win.
RAIDERS vs. Chiefs
Dolphins vs. PATRIOTS
The Patriots are coming off a great win against Jesus Tebow, and since they're playing at home against the Fins, this should be gg. Welker is questionable, but with targets like Ochocinco, Hernandez, Branch, or Gronkowski, Brady should have no problem finding the endzone more than once this week.
GIANTS vs. Jets
By far the game I'm most excited to see. The Big Apple Battle. The MetLife Matchup. *Insert Pun Here*. After days of smack talk, one team will come up and one will shut up. I really see this as a shoot out, with Manning having a career year and Sanchez being stellar at home. I see Manning slipping by Revis Island and Sanchez eating dirt multiple times, courtesy of JPP & crew. 
Roethlisburger out. Start Batch. I lol'd. But Steelers should win. They're at home. They've got a reason to play. And with the best defense in the league and other playmakers on offense, Pittsburgh will beat out the offenseless Rams. 
Jaguars vs. TITANS
This was a big tossup for me. It really comes down to what MJD can do, while if CJ2K shows up. Will we get the 200 yard threat, or the 5 fantasy point running back no one wants to bench, you know, because he maybe decides to show up this week. Titans win by less than 2 possessions. 
VIKINGS vs. Redskins
Ponder is having a great year, expect for the big number of interceptions. Despite their record, the Vikings can still go head to head with a top 5 team and fight hard. Even more so, Peterson will be back this week. Highlight reels gonna highlight reel. 
Chargers vs. LIONS
Down by 3 scores. Comeback and win. No, its not Tebow Time. It's just Stafford's way of saying this team never gives up. The Silver Lioning came up big last week in the game winning block. With great offense and a big play defense, the playoff bound Lions will win big in Detroit. 
EAGLES vs. Cowboys
The Dream Team is back. No, not the Heat. Talking about the Dream Team in Philly. Vick is looking better than ever, and McCoy is always a big play threat. CB Samuels is out, so their defense will be a bit bad vs a resurgent Romo. Another NFC East shootout. If you've got an offensive weapon on fantasy football for either team, you should be good. Let's go Felix Jones!
49ERS vs. Seahawks
49ers already have the NFC West. It's all cruise control here until the playoffs. They might rest some players in the second half, but they still will beat out Skittles and co. It won't be a huge margin though, since we're at Qwest Field, home of the 12th man. 
Bears vs. PACKERS
They finally lost. To the Chiefs. So they are beatable. Not this week though. After losing Forte weeks ago, Marion Barber is doubtful this week. So there goes that offense. And while Rodgers was held to a season low 22 fantasy points, he should be good this week. Expect an early benching from Rodgers and other starters, but a Weeks 16 win nonetheless. 
Falcons vs. SAINTS
Drew Brees needs 305 yards to break Marino's record. Excpet about 350. It's the Saints at home, with an NFC South Title in reach. While the Falcons have looked great the last few weeks, Brees, Graham, and Colston will find a way to beat you. Saints by 10. check em'