NFL 2014-15 End Of Regular Season Review

January 01, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The 2014-15 NFL Season is over. What a crazy season it was. Off the field issues just dominated the news. Every time NFL fans turned on a sports channel, they hear about domestic violence, child abuse, and the like. NFL fans heard about investigations, debates over conduct policies. There were lively debates among pundits and fans on social media as to whether Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson should play. I thought ESPN turned into CNN .

Of course , there was some great playing on the field also. Let’s not forget that. There was also a bit of drama, much of it manufactured. The New England Patriots shook off a rocky start to the season, and wound up the #1 seed in the AFC. If my readers remember, after that Kansas City Chiefs game on Monday Night Football, ESPN’s Trent Dilfer said, “The New England Patriots are not good anymore.” “They’re weak.” All the pundits (NFL Network , all the ESPN shows, the Boston media) wanted Tom Brady benched. They said Brady was declining, and he should be traded. Again, the Patriots are the #1 seed.

Even the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks got off to a somewhat rocky start. However, for the last five or six weeks, they’ve looked just as good as they ever had. QB Russ Wilson is awesome, and even HE had to deal with some manufactured drama. When WR Percy Harvin was traded to the Jets, there were some Seahawks players who were not happy with the move, namely Marshawn Lynch. Well, according to a Bleacher Report by Mike Freeman, there was fear that Harvin (who already was getting into fist fights with teammates) would start an anti-Wilson faction. The reason was because some of the black players thought Wilson was not “black enough.” ( I thought that it was ridiculous. Their defense wasn’t healthy at that point (they were 3-3), and they weren’t playing well. Now, they are, and look very formidable

The Cleveland Browns still manage to mess things up. They were fighting for their playoffs lives in week 15, and then they start Johnnie Manziel? I am stunned. From listening to Manziel’s remarks, and hearing Browns Owner reaction, it sounds like the Browns have a case of “buyer’s remorse.” Well, Manziel has a past as far as being a partier. Manziel partied hard in college, and had a penchant for being somewhat irresponsible. He got suspended in college for 1/2 a game because of signing autographs. He had character issues. Why does everyone think that Jameis Winston is likely going to fall on Draft Day? Why the Browns drafted Manziel, I don’t know.

Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys on winning the NFC East. I’m glad to see that the team got the December monkey of their backs. I have always liked QB Tony Romo. I always felt that he was the scapegoat for the Cowboys going 8-8 or not doing well in the playoffs. Hey, he’s thrown bone headed INTs. However, all QBs have, but Romo can’t play defense. It’s very hard to blame all of the past failures on Romo when his team has had terrible defenses, offensive lines, and a meddling owner in Jerry Jones. However, with RB Demarco Murray’s incredible year, and the defense under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli coming together, less pressure was put on Romo. The team is much more balanced. We’ll see what happens in the playoffs this weekend.

Not all is bad in the AFC North, asthe division sent not one, not two, but three of its teams to the playoffs (sorry LeBron James ). The embattled Baltimore Ravens got the #6 seed as they beat the Cleveland Browns on Week 17, and got the needed help when the San Diego Chargers lost. The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals on Week 17 to win the AFC North Title. The two teams had secured playoff spots in the previous week (Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Bengals upset the Denver Broncos.). All three teams play this week, but I find the accomplishment in and of itself awesome.

The AFC West was a one team division. The Denver Broncos showed their dominance. Yes, the Chargers started out great, but when they ran into tough teams (Patriots, Broncos), they fell apart. The Oakland Raiders were a mess, and Kansas City and their inconsistant play caused them to miss the playoffs altogether.

I want to discuss Denver and how they have been looking lately. When they played against the Rams, something didn’t look right. Peyton Manning didn’t appear to be the Peyton Manning I have come to know. I saw the Rams were hitting him and knocking him around, but something seems wrong. It was not just him. It was the entire team. They had a hard time with the hapless Raiders
The Broncos nearly lost to the Miami Dolphins at home. They lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. I know they’re more physical on defense, and they are more of a complete team with C.J. Anderson as the bell cow RB. Peyton Manning is still the one driving the car, so to speak.

Of course, the day after the season ended was “Black Monday.” I dread this day. I may not like the team or the coaches, but I take no joy in seeing folks losing their jobs. Families are affected, and have to move. These coaches are human beings, after all. As a blogger, it is fascinating to see what the fired person and what the team do next, nonetheless.

The ax has fallen fast and furious. The New York Jets fired GM John Idzik and Head Coach Rex Ryan. The Jets owner should fire himself. What a joke of a press conference. Mr. Idzik should have been fired. Coach Ryan was hamstrung by decisions made by Idzik. The San Francisco 49ers and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh have mutually parted ways, and Harbaugh is now the Head Coach of the University of Michigan.

The Atlanta Falcons fired Head Coach Mike Smith. I think Smith’s clock mismanagement against the Cleveland Browns sealed his fate. The Chicago Bears fired Head Coach Mark Trestman and GM Phil Emory. The Bears also fired both the offensive and defensive coordinators. QB Jay Cutler may or may not be traded. Why he was given that contract, I don’t know. Jay Cutler is Jay Cutler. He will always attract folks with his physical skills and his huge arm. However, he doesn’t have the brain to be a great QB like Brady or Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. Cutler never will. Anyway, the Bears are cleaning house. Doug Morrone of the Buffalo Bills just opted out of his contract, so the Bills need a new head coach.

I want to end this by saying that I hope that everyone at and all of you readers had a great holiday season. I want to wish everyone, especially my editor, Eric Gargiulo, a Happy New Year. If you are going out to celebrate, don’t drink and drive. That being said, I hope that 2015 will be a great year for everyone. Thank you for reading my blogs and I hope to have more in the new year.

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NFL 2012-13 Post Season Championship Sunday Review

January 24, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

On January 20, 2013, the NFC Championship Game (San Fransisco 49ers at the Atlanta Falcons), and the AFC Championship Game (Baltimore Ravens at the New England Patriots) have been played. The NFC and AFC representatives for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on February 3, 2013 have been decided.

The two teams going for all the marbles are the San Fransisco 49ers for the NFC, and the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC. We NFL fans will be treated to, or bored by (depending on ones point of view) the “Harbaugh Bowl,” as the 49ers head coach is Jim Harbaugh, and his brother, John Harbaugh, is the head coach for the Ravens.

Aside from this, for two whole weeks, the talking heads at ESPN and NFL Network will be heaping praise on the (thankfully) soon to be retiring MLB Ray Lewis of the Ravens. Fans will be subjected to a two week retirement party for Lewis, and the glorification of Ravens QB Joe Flacco as an “elite” QB, besides the aforementioned hoopla over the Harbaugh brothers and their father, Jack.

In this blog, I will be giving a quick recap of both games, and grading them with the star system (DUD to 5 stars (*****). I will also give a general commentary.

Here it goes.

In the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. However, the 49ers, lead by QB Colin Kaepernick, bounced back with 2 TDs. Matt Ryan, quarterback of the Falcons, didn’t waiver, and also lead his team to score 2 TDs, to keep the Falcons in front 24-14 at the half.

After the half, the 49ers pretty much took over. In the third and fourth quarters, the 49ers offense scored a TD. The Falcons, both offensively and defensively, had no answer in the second half. There was also some strange play calling also. QB Matt Ryan suffered a sprained AC joint as well in the game.

Final Score: 49ers 28 Falcons 24

Rating: **1/2 (2 1/2 Stars) – The game was fine. There were some exciting moments when Kaepernick got the 49ers back in the game. The Falcons and their failure to respond just took some of the life out of the game.

In the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots were held to a field goal in the first quarter, and that ended any scoring in that quarter. The Ravens offense kept running the ball, and had Flacco throwing when necessary. Nevertheless, the Ravens did score a touchdown, and the Patriots scored 10 points, and the Patriots lead at the half by a score of 13-7.

Both defenses looked pretty good at this point, but then the second half came.

In the second half, the Ravens just took over the game, both on offense and defense. The Ravens took off the handcuffs, and let Flacco throw, and Flacco just picked apart the Patriots defense. Flacco had a solid game overall, but that Patriots defense made Flacco look like Joe Montana. I mean, did the Patriots defense know how to make a tackle?

The Ravens defense surely knew how to make a tackle and more. They shut down New England’s offense. New England’s offense had their own problems. They could not take advantage of the good field positions. They could not take advantage of penalties called on the Ravens defense. They had critical drops.

They could only manage 6 points in the second half, and were just beaten by a better team.

Final Score: Ravens 28 Patriots 13

Rating: * (1 Star) This was a terrible game. It was so boring. I wanted to change the channel a few times.

Now, a little commentary on the entire weekend.

Overall, I just thought the games were just average to below average. That being said, it is good to see new QBs going to the Super Bowl. I don’t plan to watch much of the hoopla though.

I want to address some of the silliness that has come from the fallout of the AFC Championship game. It is the legacy of Tom Brady. Seriously? The man’s legacy is pretty secure. He is still a first ballot Hall of Famer. He lead his team to 7 AFC Championships, etc. People questioning it do not make sense.

Besides, it’s not Brady who got worse, it is the team.

Of course, the chorus of “the Patriots have not won anything since Spygate” came up. Let me simplify it for you. Since the team was punished for the incident, why haven’t they stopped winning? They are still winning games in the regular season. They’re still a Super Bowl threat every year. They still win playoff games.

The last two Super Bowls they lost were by a combined margin of 7 points. Why weren’t they absolutely destroyed by the Giants. I AGREE the practice was shady, but the logic about them not winning is faulty.

It is sad to see TE Tony Gonzalez of the Falcons (Chiefs also) retire without getting a shot to be in the Super Bowl. Gonzalez is a great guy off the field, and a great guy on the field. He’s a team player. I really wish the sports media would glorify him, and good players who are good people like him.

Before the Ravens fans, and Ray Lewis apologists jump on me, I believe in redemption. The Bible commands it. I am just saying that it would be nice to see someone like Gonzalez get some attention. That’s all.

That is all I have to say about Championship Sunday.

Right before the Super Bowl, I will have a Super Bowl blog.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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AFC and NFC Championship Games Recap and Thoughts: Inside The Wheelhouse

January 21, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from the Championship Round in the National Football League playoffs!

– I’ve said it all season long and I’ll say it one more time since they are the NFC Champions: San Francisco is the most complete team in the NFL this season. Offensively and defensively they get it done. The Niners dealt with a great deal of adversity in the NFC Championship Game and overcame it to comeback & win the game; San Francisco deserves to be playing in Super Bowl 47.

– Heartbreaking loss for the Atlanta Falcons as the game was in their control for a good percentage of it. Silver lining in this is if Atlanta were to win the NFC Championship they may have gone into Super Bowl 47 without Matt Ryan. This season was a step in the right direction for Atlanta and now they can continue building forward for the future. Matt Ryan will eventually lead this team to “the big game.”

– Baltimore is this postseason’s “feel good story” heading into Super Bowl 47. They are peaking at the right time and can carry on the latest tradition in the NFL by being the best team to win it all at the right time. Joe Flacco has really stepped his game up since Jim Caldwell became the offensive coordinator and Baltimore is looking like a dangerous team right now.

– What happened to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game? Tom Brady is supposed to be “lights out” with the lead heading into halftime at home (was 67-0) but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. This is not the way New England wanted to end their season and now you have to wonder whether or not the Patriots “window is closing” heading into the 2013 season.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at

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AFC & NFC Championship Games Predictions & Preview: Inside The Wheelhouse

January 18, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

It’s the final four of the NFL with a spot in Super Bowl 47 on the line. This is what these four teams have worked for all season long and now their dreams can become a reality should they get the big victory this Sunday. We are one step closer to New Orleans and Super Bowl 47 but before we get there we must preview the upcoming AFC & NFC Championship Games for this Sunday:

AFC Championship Game:

(2) New England Patriots vs. (4) Baltimore Ravens

It’s a rematch of the 2011 AFC Championship Game as the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens meet once again at Gillette Stadium with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. This will obviously be Baltimore’s chance to avenge last year’s tough loss to New England and it will be the Patriots chance to prove once again that they “own” the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots are heavy sports betting favorites on the books. It should be a really good matchup as a trip to the Super Bowl hangs in the balance.

To me, this year’s New England Patriots team is much more “complete” then the team from a year ago. That team went to the Super Bowl and now this team could very well have the same fate should “history repeat itself” with a victory against Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game, again. The Patriots are looking really good in all facets of the game currently as their defense has improved a lot from a year ago and their running game is really putting it together allowing the offense to really spread things out. I’m not sure if this is a Super Bowl winning team just yet, but they are certainly making a really strong case for that title should they advance on Sunday night.

As for the Baltimore Ravens they are clearly (now) this season’s Green Bay Packers of 2010 and New York Giants of 2011. Reason why I say that is because they have “peaked” at just the right time in this season and have proven all the doubters wrong to get to this point. Baltimore looks to avenge their AFC Championship Game loss from last season against the Patriots and looks to defeat this team for the 2nd time in the 2012 season (Baltimore beat New England in Week 3). This is a team with a ton of emotional momentum heading into Foxboro on Sunday night and I really like how they have rallied under the notion that each game could be the last of their leader, Ray Lewis.

When I think about this game it’s really hard to pick a winner to represent the AFC in New Orleans at Super Bowl 47. Last season I picked the Baltimore Ravens to win as they were my preseason AFC Champion in 2011 and they ended up losing (thanks to a missed field goal from Billy Cundiff) to New England in the AFC Championship Game. This season I am going to take the New England Patriots simply because I believe they have really put it together from last year. They are a better team then they were when they played in Super Bowl 46 and I believe they will once again be crowned AFC Champions for the 2nd consecutive year in a row.

Prediction: Patriots 30 Ravens 21

NFC Championship Game:

(1) Atlanta Falcons vs. (2) San Francisco 49ers

The NFC was a very tough conference in 2012 and these were without a doubt the two best teams in it. It only makes sense that both of these teams battle it out for the NFC Championship crown and the right to play in Super Bowl 47. Both of these teams have a lot to prove come this Sunday as there are questions on whether or not either team can get it “done” with the right to play in New Orleans on the line. We will get our answer in the Georgia Dome this Sunday afternoon and one team will be left standing with no more questions to plague them in 2012.

All season long I have questioned the ability of this Atlanta Falcons team and whether or not we can consider them “for real.” Unlike prior seasons in Matt Ryan’s career they have proven me wrong in 2012 and deserve the right to be playing for the NFC Championship crown on Sunday afternoon against the 49ers. With the “monkey” off of Matt Ryan’s back (by getting a playoff win), a clear picture to Super Bowl 47 within their grasps, it will be up to their franchise QB to final reach the next level and get Atlanta to the Super Bowl. But before they do such they will have to go through a very tough 49ers team.

Unlike the Atlanta Falcons, I have praised the San Francisco 49ers all season long. I have believed since Week 1 that this is the best fundamentally sound team on both sides of the ball in the National Football League. We already knew that they had a tremendous defense and their offense got better after they handed the “keys” over to then-backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick when Alex Smith went out with an injury. If the San Francisco 49ers want to keep this amazing season going they must get the victory Sunday afternoon against the Falcons on the road.

I believe this NFC Championship Game will be a hard fought game that won’t be decided until the final moments of the 4th quarter. Both of these teams are extremely good offensively and defensively with either one being a strong contender for the Vince Lombardi trophy should they advance once Sunday is in the books. But for me I need to keep riding what I’ve been saying all season long and that’s the San Francisco 49ers are the best team in Football in all facets of the game. It’s been a long time coming but I like the “red and gold” making a return trip back to the Super Bowl.

Prediction: 49ers 28 Falcons 25

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook:

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AFC & NFC Championship Games Picks & Preview

January 18, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

My fellow NFL fans, we are almost there. The Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3rd is almost here, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. On that day, the NFL will crown a new Super Bowl Champion in Super Bowl XLVII.

That being said, this Sunday, January 20, 2013, besides the date being KISS lead singer/rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley’s 61st birthday, there will be two Conference Championship games to determine the participants in the Super Bowl. One game will determine the AFC representative, and the other will determine the NFC Representative.

Of course, one of those teams will be “rocking and rolling all night, and partying every day” in the Big Easy after battling each other for the proverbial 60 minutes.
The vanquished team will hit “rock bottom,” as the birthday boy, Paul Stanley would say.

Championship Sunday starts with the (2) San Fransisco 49ers coming into the Georgia Dome to face the (1) Atlanta Falcons for the NFC Conference Championship. The AFC Championship will is played next features last year’s participants, the (4) Baltimore Ravens going up to Foxborough to face the (1) New England Patriots. Both should be awesome games, no matter the winner.

Let’s examine these games a little bit, and like I have been doing, I will give my picks. I have not fared very well this post-season for some reason, but quoting Paul Stanley again, I “got to choose” a team that I think will win.

Here we go.

2012-13 NFC Championship Game
Sunday, January 20,2013, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.
3:00pm EST
(2) San Fransisco 49ers vs (1) Atlanta Falcons

Winner is the 2012-13 NFC Champion, and will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.

This game should be a pretty good game. I am still undecided as to who will definitely will win this game. However, I think overall, that this game is more interesting than the later game.

The Falcons finally got the proverbial monkey off their backs with their first playoff win under the Head Coach/QB combination of Mike Smith and Matt Ryan respectively. Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, arguably the best TE ever, finally won a playoff game. The Falcons, though, nearly coughed up that game against Seattle by letting the Seahawks come back, and even take the lead late.

I know that Matt Ryan has a lot of weapons, and the team has home field advantage. The defense is doing very well, even though John Abraham has been hobbled by a bum ankle. However, the fact they nearly blew the Divisional Round Game gives me pause.

The 49ers have a dynamic, young QB named Colin Kaepernick leading the charge. That young man is going to be a match up nightmare for the Falcons defense. Not only is Kaepernick a threat to run, but he is judicious with the ball, and has great chemistry with WR Michael Crabtree. Colin will also spread the ball around to other receivers such as WR Randy Moss. RB Frank Gore is also a threat.

The 49ers also have a great defense. Justin Smith, who is working through a torn triceps keeps that defense going. Smith’s leadership helps other guys such as Aldon Smith just overpower opposing offenses, much like what happened to Green Bay in the Divisional Round. If the 49ers defense play like they did against Green Bay, Matt Ryan and the Falcons are in for a long day.

My pick: The Falcons strength is their offense, and the 49ers’ strength is their defense. I am going with the old adage, “defense wins championships,” and therefore, my pick is the San Fransisco 49ers.

2012-13 AFC Championship Game
Sunday, January 20,2013, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.
6:30pm EST
(4) Baltimore Ravens vs (1) The New England Patriots

Winner is the 2012-13 AFC Champion, and will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl on February 3, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.

This game is going to be, as WWE announcer Jim “JR” Ross would call it, a “slobber-knocker.” This is going to be a rematch between last years participants, the Ravens and the Patriots.

Most NFL fans remember in that first AFC Championship Game, the Patriots won 23-20 thanks to then Patriots DB Sterling Moore stripping the ball from the hands of then Ravens WR Lee Evans. If Evans had held on to the ball, it would have surely have been a TD that would have won the game for the Ravens.

Kicker Billy Cundiff, then of the Ravens, missed a chip shot FG at the end of the game that would have tied the game up, and the Ravens went home. The Patriots went on to the Super Bowl where they unfortunately lost to the New York Giants again, thanks to another lucky catch by then Giants WR Mario Manningham (normally Manningham would have dropped that pass).

Well, the two teams meet again on Sunday. Some of the players on the Ravens ran their mouths on Twitter and in the press. Some in the Boston media, and the talking heads on ESPN pretty much conceded the game to the Ravens. There is also the specter of LB Ray Lewis retiring, and the Ravens trying to have him retire a champion ala the 6 Time Pittsburgh Steelers did with RB Jerome Bettis.

There are a lot of dynamics to this game, but the way I see it this:

In the previous week, in the Divisional Round, the Ravens did a great job against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They shut him down during most of the 2nd half. Keep in mind though that the Ravens, on both defense and special teams, gave up 35 points to the Broncos.

Flacco, even though he did play very well, and in my last blog, I did praise him a lot. However, please keep in mind he can still be inconsistent. There have been times where those huge lobs have gone for TDs, but they have also been INTs. The team also needs to give Ray Rice the ball.

The Ravens defense is aging. Let’s face it. Yes, Ray Lewis is making tackles, but most of them will be 7 yards up the field. Suggs is doing alright, but he has been nicked up. It is possible that the Achilles injury is slowing him down a little. Ed Reed is Ed Reed, but without Webb, the secondary is a bit suspect.

The Patriots defense has really improved, especially from last year. The front line with Vince Wilfork, Chandler Jones, and Rob Ninkovich (who can play anywhere on the field) is awesome. They are hard to penetrate with a run game. The secondary, which has been leaky, has improved when Aqib Talib joined the team, and when the team put Devin McCourty at safety. The defense just has to be aware of Ravens WR Torrey Smith, and WR Anquan Boldin (even though Boldin can disappear in games at times).

What else is there to say about the Patriots offense? ESPN has made a huge deal about Rob Gronkowski’s absence. The team suffered only one loss since his absence. It is sad he broke his arm again, albeit in a different spot, but the team has been able to adjust. When you have Brady, Belichick, and Josh McDaniels running the offense, I think the team is in good hands.

My pick: This will be a close game, I think. I think the Patriots are going to be much more balanced, as they have a running game with Vereen, and Ridley. The Ravens are definitely not going to be intimidated, and Flacco has played well against the Patriots.

However, I do not see the Patriots being afraid of the Ravens either. My pick is the New England Patriots.

So there you have it. I am picking a New England vs 49ers Super Bowl.

Next week I’ll be back with a review.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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NFL 2012-13 Divisional Playoffs Review & Commentary

January 15, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Well, my readers, the NFL Divisional round games for the 2012-13 post season are in the books. The weekend’s games were much better than the previous weekend’s Wild Card games by a mile. There were a lot of great plays, and the games were pretty high scoring games. Of course, there as a little drama as well.

I watched the games on Saturday, January 12, between the Denver Broncos vs the Baltimore Ravens, and the San Fransisco 49ers vs the Green Bay Packers in their entirety. On Sunday, January 13, however, due to illness, I only was able to watch the first quarter of the game Atlanta Falcons vs the Seattle Seahawks, and the last 5 minutes of the New England Patriots vs the Houston Texans.

That being said, I saw enough of the highlights of both the Falcons and the Patriots games to make this particular blog a general commentary on the weekend’s games, instead of an in depth analysis. I hope that my readers will forgive me, and will enjoy this commentary instead.

Before I get started, I am going to admit that the NFL games in the post season are harder to pick than in the regular season. Last week, I was 2-2. This week, I really swung and missed. I went 1-3. I think the sports gods are telling me to stick with picking the horses.

Let’s start this commentary by going over the results. In the Saturday games, the Baltimore Ravens pulled a stunning upset of the favored Denver Broncos in double OT by a score of 38-35, and the San Fransisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers by a score of 45-31.

On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons finally won their first playoff game in the Head Coach Mike Smith/ QB Matt Ryan era, when they just squeaked by the Seattle Seahawks by a 30-28 score, and the New England Patriots once again defeated the Houston Texans resoundingly by a score of 41-28.

As a result of these games, in the NFC Championship Game, the Atlanta Falcons will host the San Fransisco 49ers, and in the AFC Championship Game, the New England Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens. The Championship Games will be aired Sunday, January 20, 2013. The winners of each game will advance to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3, 2013.

Let’s start with the Denver/Baltimore game. I am not a fan of either team, especially the Baltimore Ravens. However, I feel as a journalist, I have to give credit where credit is due, and praise Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Flacco played a wonderful game, especially with his deep ball. He and his receivers, Jacoby Jones, and Torrey Smith had amazing chemistry. Flacco really is coming into his own as an awesome QB. Ray Rice, RB out of my alma mater Rutgers University, had a solid game as well.

The Baltimore Defense and Special Teams gave up 35 points, but they did not give up. They did make plays when it counted the most. Retiring LB Ray Lewis had 17 tackles in the game. The pass rush was lacking a good part of the game, but they eventually did get to Broncos QB Peyton Manning, sacking him, and causing a fumble. They also got him to throw a game killer INT.

As for Denver, I have to just say congratulations on a good season. However, John Fox had me shaking my head. He must come from the Marty Schottenheimer school of “play not to lose.” There is also a reason why Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator, is not a head coach anymore either. I mean, that Broncos defense that was ranked 5th in the NFL, and was touted by the talking heads as being so tough never showed up.

I mean, what happened to the secondary? People say Ray Lewis is “old.” I am no fan of Ray Lewis, but why are people saying Champ Bailey (who is no spring chicken) just had a bad game? Do people watch the games? Bailey showed the whole world that he got blasted by those Ravens receivers. Bailey was showing his age. So far in the playoffs, Ray Lewis has 30 tackles. I can’t believe I am defending Ray Lewis, but people have to stop giving certain players passes.

What happened to the vaunted Von Miller, and Elvis Dumervil, while we are talking about the Denver defense? I hardly heard their names. That defense as a whole was awful in the game. Luckily for Denver, they got 14 points from the special teams unit, and 21 points from the offensive side, or this loss would have been horrid.

Back to Fox, what was up with the play calling? You had two time outs with 30 seconds on the clock at the end of regulation, and you don’t let Peyton Manning chuck it down field for at least a shot at a field goal? That was just crazy. The clock management was awful.

As for Peyton, two picks, and the second one that he threw across his body, that was awful. Peyton looked alright out there. However, on that second pick, he should know more than anyone not to throw that. However, he again is one and done. I don’t know if the cold affected his arm or what, but he is now 9-11 in playoffs.

The 49ers/Green Bay game was awesome. I think that Colin Kaepernick grew up, and became a star right in front of our eyes. I missed part of the game due to watching the Ravens/Broncos game, but I found out about Colin’s pick six. However, it didn’t faze him, and he led the team to a TD, and the rest was history.

Kaepernick has great chemistry with WR Michael Crabtree. The two work well together. No, I am NOT going to call them Montana-Rice just yet, but the tandem is one to watch. Kaepernick is very judicious with the ball. He doesn’t take off running, and seems to know when to run. He also doesn’t run where he risks getting hurt.

The Packers on the other hand, appeared to be out of sorts. The offensive line has to be dealt with. Aaron Rodgers, as good a QB as he is, can not keep taking these beatings. The Packer organization needs to draft offensive line.

The whole team seemed to be puzzled on how to stop the 49ers from scoring, and on how to score against them. Rodgers made some ill advised throws that he usually doesn’t make. The Packers defense, as much as several members are touted by the media, were just gashed by the 49ers’ offense.

I never would have thought that the Packers, two post seasons in a row, would be blown out. On the other hand, the 49ers were just beasts.

Well, if there is any consolation to Packers fans, the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. I saw the first quarter of this game before becoming ill, but I saw enough of the replays to make a comment.

Even though I am not a fan of either team, I am happy for Tony Gonzalez, who’s the main TE for the Falcons. He has been a great player for so long, and he has finally won a playoff game. Gonzalez is also considered a great person off the field as well.

That being said, even though the Falcons won their first play off game under Head Coach Mike Smith and under QB Matt Ryan, how it all happened made me still a little hesitant to totally buy in. In the first quarter, they started well against Seattle, building a 10-0 lead. Yes, Seattle’s CB Richard Sherman made some plays.

Now, even though the team won 30-28, some things bothered me on both sides. Going into the 4th quarter, the Falcons were up 28-7. I understand that there is a lot of pressure to win their first playoff game. I get that. However, what I question was the Falcon’s organization’s mental toughness. They started to get tight, and Seattle came back, and got a lead of 28-27 for about 15 seconds when Matt Ryan made some throws, and got the team into kicker Matt Bryant’s field goal range.

Here is where it gets crazy for the Seahawks, on the first FG attempt which Bryant wound up missing, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called timeout to “ice” the kicker. Well, that wound up being a mistake because on the second try, Bryant made it, giving the Falcons a 30-28 lead.

The Falcons win after the Seahawks recover the on side kick, and QB Russell Wilson throws a Hail Mary, but Falcons WR Julio Jones catches it.

The Falcons survived a huge scare. How does a team allow another to come back on them like that. Always keep the pedal to the metal. Don’t worry about people saying it’s “running up the score.” The other team has a defense, it’s their job to stop you.

The last game between the New England and the Houston Texans was pretty much what I expected as far as the outcome. This was the only game that I picked correctly. Thank you Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the gang. At least I got one right the whole weekend.

Congratulations to Tom Brady for passing Joe Montana for the most playoff wins. Brady now has 17, and Montana had 16.

We all know about Brady’s greatness, and that he had terrific stats in the game, so I don’t have to go over that. However, on the other side of the ball, I don’t know what to do with Matt Schaub of the Texans. He is a good, solid QB. I don’t know if I would label him “elite.” Right at the kickoff, Texans Daniel Manning ran a 94 yard return, only to be caught by FS Devon McCourty. Instead of punching it in for a TD, on the replay, I could see Schaub was skittish in the pocket, and threw the ball into the stands, and the Texans settle for 3 points.

The Patriots just dominated the Texans on both sides of the ball, despite the slow start. Unfortunately, Danny Woodhead injured his thumb, and Rob Gronkowski re-broke his arm. Woodhead is expected to play in the AFC Championship game, but Gronkowski is going to need surgery, and will miss the playoffs. However, the team seemed to be able to make the adjustments.

The Texans may have to look into getting more explosive players on offense, and defense. LB Brian Cushing’s injury hurt the team on defense. The team needs more offense besides Foster and Johnson.

As I said previously, the Patriots will face the Ravens for the AFC Championship Game. This will be the first time since Denver and Cleveland, when two teams have faced each other in the AFC Championship game back to back.

Well, that is my commentary. I hope you enjoyed it.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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NFL Divisional Playoffs Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

January 14, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from the Divisional Round in the National Football League playoffs!

– I had my doubts about the Baltimore Ravens but it certainly appears that they are “peaking” just at the right time heading into the AFC Championship Game this week. Joe Flacco really stepped up for the offense when the defense needed his help against Denver and is flashing signs of him being a top NFL quarterback. There is still a lot of work to be done but for Flacco to carry the offense the way he did versus Denver will be a career highlight. Now he needs to finally get that AFC Championship Game victory.

– Disappointing “one and done” exit for the #1 seed Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round. I was skeptical about this team based off of their weak schedule at first but eventually hopped on the bandwagon when they were playing flawlessly to end the season. For a team that is supposed to have an amazing defense their secondary failed Denver all game long against Baltimore. It was a tough break for the Broncos and of course Peyton Manning as they had this victory within their grasps.

– In case you had forgotten, the San Francisco 49ers proved once again that they are one of the best all-around NFL teams in the game today. Offensively they have really improved with Colin Kaepernick under center and their defense is always “rock-solid” for them. From an NFC perspective I always felt like this was the team to beat in 2012, as they are a very hard to defeat simply because this team adapts very well to their opponent.

– Another season, another NFC Divisional round exit for the Green Bay Packers in consecutive years. They looked very strong in the 1st half but their defense was unable to make adjustments in the 2nd half to contain Colin Kaepernick and the explosive Niners offense. This team is always on the brink of being considered “Super Bowl contenders” but it appears that in consecutive year’s at-least that their defense just isn’t getting the job done. I’m interested to see how Ted Thompson and the Packers front-office continue to address their defensive issues (and running game issues) in the offseason.

– For a #1 seed the Atlanta Falcons needed this victory pretty badly. Throughout Matt Ryan’s career we have questioned whether or not Ryan can get it done or not. He finally did this past Sunday and got that playoff victory he has been looking for. Now with the playoff victory in his rearview we now will see whether or not the momentum can carry over versus San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.

– Tremendous season for the Seattle Seahawks this year. They made a lot of people, including yours truly, into believers and have nothing to hang their head on. While they may have not achieved their ultimate goal of being Super Bowl Champions completed, I really like this team heading into next year. I look forward to seeing what Russell Wilson and the Seahawks can do in the 2013 season.

– New England continues to prove that they will be the “old dog” of the AFC until further notice. This team played great on both sides of the ball and they are looking like a more complete team then they were last year, when they made it to the Super Bowl. The Patriots didn’t make mistakes in this game and looked simply flawless against the Texans. They will once again have a chance to play in the Super Bowl next week.

– Another season of disappointment for the Houston Texans as the window of success maybe closing for this team right now. Many of us, including myself, have waited for this team to put it together and make the Super Bowl but they continue to fall short the last two seasons. I really believe a lot of that falls on the shoulders of quarterback Matt Schaub who simply does not look like a “big game” QB in these very important games.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL 2012-13 Divisional round picks & preview

January 11, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Well, last week’s playoffs games gave NFL fans a couple of things. One was a huge reason to NOT expand the playoffs to more teams. I mean, with the exception of that Green Bay/Vikings game, the quality of the other three ranked from horrid to barely passable.

The other thing NFL fans got was a lot of drama, from Ray Lewis’s drawn out retirement to the debate over whether Robert Griffin III should have stayed in the game due to his knee being in poor condition. I just hope that Griffin’s career is not compromised, and the upcoming games this weekend are a lot better.

That being said, let’s examine this weekend’s games. These are the Divisional Round Games. The winners advance to their respective conference’s Championship Game. On the NFC side, it is the Green Bay Packers taking on the San Fransisco 49er’s on Saturday, and the Seattle Seahawks taking on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. For the AFC, on Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens try to take down the Denver Broncos, and on Sunday, it’s a re-match between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots.

These games at a glance should be a lot better, as far as quality. Packers/49ers should be awesome, and the re-match between the Texans and the Patriots should be really intriguing.

Well, I went 2-2 last week. I hope to do better this time around, so here are my picks for the Divisional Round of the 2012-13 playoffs.

AFC Divisional Round Playoff Game
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO
Time: 4:30pm

(4) The Baltimore Ravens at (1) The Denver Broncos

The Ravens are flying into Denver, and have to deal with that altitude, and that Denver defense. They also have to deal with a one Peyton Manning. I admit that Ray Lewis has lifted the Ravens up before, and the team has the mighty Ed Reed on defense. However, I just do not see Joe Flacco out-dueling Peyton Manning in this game.

I did a little research and discovered that Peyton Manning has a 9-2 win-loss record over the Ravens. Most of the time, he wins against the Ravens. I don’t see a different result here either, even with the bye week. Unless a miracle happens, I think it is safe to say that Ray Lewis’s 17 year career ends in Denver.
Bye Bye Birdies.

Prediction: Broncos 35 Ravens 10

NFC Divisional Round Playoffs
Saturday, January 12, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Fransisco
Time: 8:00pm

(3) The Green Bay Packers at (2) The San Fransisco 49ers

This game should be awesome. The Packers are rounding into form when they won SB45, and they are facing a 49ers team with a very good QB in Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers beat the Packers earlier this year in Lambeau, so we will see what happens at Candlestick Park.

This game has been hard for me to call. The 49ers have been without the services of Justin Smith, one of their main defensive players. Smith suffered a triceps tear in the Patriots game. He will be in this game, but the team will pull him out if he is ineffective.

I think the Packers come in and beat the 49ers, because Rodgers is just outstanding, and Charles Woodson is back as DB. Clay Matthews seems to be over his hamstring issues. I just don’t think the 49ers can hold off the Packers in this game.

Prediction: Packers 30 49ers 20

NFC Divisional Round Playoffs
Sunday, January 13, 2013 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia
Time: 1:00pm

(5) The Seattle Seahawks at (1) The Atlanta Falcons

Well, here is the game that I am having a hard time calling as well. Last week, I really thought the Redskins had a chance to knock off the Seahawks, as the Seahawks were not that good of a road team. However, the Seahawks won, and once again, the Seahawks have to fly back to the East Coast to face the #1 seeded Atlanta Falcons for a 1pm game.

Can the Seahawks do it again with their rookie QB Russell Wilson leading them? Can the Seahawks defense be as effective without the services of their best defensive player, DE Chris Clemons, who tore his ACL and meniscus in the Wild Card game against the Redskins? Can the team overcome the traveling to the East coast a second week in a row?

For the Falcons, QB Matt Ryan and his flock started the season red hot. However, they have been hot and cold later on in the season. The Seahawks are probably the worst team the Falcons could have drawn as far as match-ups.

Can the Falcons overcome that pass rush and secondary of the Seahawks? As the Falcons were the #1 seed in 2010, but got destroyed by the Green Bay Packers, can the team overcome the pressure of being the #1 seed, and finally win a playoff game to quiet their critics?

Prediction: Seahawks 28 Atlanta 21

AFC Division Round Playoffs
Sunday, January 13, 2013 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Time: 4:30pm

(3) The Houston Texans at (2) The New England Patriots

This is a rematch from earlier in the regular season when the Patriots just slapped the Texans silly by a score of 42-14. This was the game where Texans WR Andre Johnson said that it was the team’s “biggest game in their history,” and the team walked into Gillette wearing those Letterman jackets. Of course, the Patriots showed those Texans that the Patriots were there for business.

As most NFL fans have seen, the Texans have not been the same since. The team eventually lost their presumed hold on the #1 seed, and fell to the #3 seed. In the Wild Card round, they barely got by the Cincinnati Bengals. That earned the Texans a trip to the #2 seed, the New England Patriots.

When asked about the rematch, there was some interesting comments coming from two of the Texans most high profiled players. When asked about the blowout, RB Arian Foster said, “We owe them one.” Later, QB Matt Schaub said, “We will give them all they can handle.” Of course, from Foxborough, the Patriots gave their usual buttoned up comments about the playoffs, and were being overly complimentary of the Texans as usual.

I expect this game to be closer, as far as the score. Judging from the Wild Card game, the Texans, even though they were offensively moving the ball well, they were getting mostly field goals. Their defense kept that team in the game.

However, that game should have been a blowout. QB Matt Schaub better worry about his own playing, because he still has not shown me that he could go toe to to with the likes of Tom Brady.

On the Patriots side, that offensive line must protect Brady, and keep an eye out for that J.J. Watt. They have to neutralize him like last game. Of course, the Patriots have done very well against defenses run by Wade Phillips, the defensive coordinator of the Texans. One other thing to note is that the key players that the Patriots did not have in the first game, they have now. They are Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

Patriots Defense must not give up the big plays, especially that play action that the Texans offense likes to do. They have to contain Arian Foster, and look out for that Owen Daniels. Pretty much overall, the defense has to make sure the Texans do not get a good sized lead as the Texans are built to be frontrunners.

Prediction: Patriots 35 Texans 21

I hope you have enjoyed this article. I hope that I have done better this time.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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NFL Divisional round preview & predictions – Inside The Wheelhouse

January 10, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The 2012 NFL season is now down to just 8 remaining teams, all whom are vying for a spot in their conference’s championship game. But for that to happen they must beat their opponent in the NFL Divisional Round this Saturday and Sunday. When the dust settles there will be just 4 teams that remain with a spot in Super Bowl 47 that much closer. Let’s take a look at this weekend’s NFL Divisional round games:


(1) Denver Broncos vs. (4) Baltimore Ravens

If you enjoy “old school” NFL football than this game is for you. If you are looking for an “offensive explosion” of a game than don’t even bother to tune into this game because that’s not what you are going to get. The Broncos and Ravens have two of the most impressive defensive unit’s in all of Football and you are going to get these defenses to play on such a high level knowing that the AFC Championship Game is in their grasps.

Denver enters this game as the “hottest” team in the NFL that nobody is talking about. Call it disrespect, call it getting lost in the Western part of the United States, but for whatever reason the Denver Broncos aren’t being looked at as the serious Super Bowl contenders I believe they should be. Denver hasn’t lost a game since October 7th (against the New England Patriots) as they have won their last 11 games. They have the most momentum in the NFL currently and hopefully the first-round bye layoff won’t affect this team against Baltimore.

As for the Baltimore Ravens they are playing on pure emotion right now. This team loves Ray Lewis and they want him to exit the National Football League in-style with a Super Bowl ring. Their defense played the best I have seen it all season long against the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round and I expect they will try to do that again versus Peyton Manning. If the Ravens offense can get to the same level as their defense was playing last week then we could potentially be looking at an upset in the AFC Divisional round.

The deciding factors in this game will come down to both team’s quarterbacks. Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterback’s to ever play the game so how he tries to manipulate this tough Ravens defense will be something I will closely be looking for in this game. As for Joe Flacco it’s all going to come down to consistency, for all things considered he was solid against the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round but now he takes on a tough defense in the Broncos and is on the road, two things Flacco has a tough time dealing with. As for the final in this one I like the Broncos to get the victory and advancing to the AFC Championship Game.

Prediction: Broncos 24 Ravens 14

(2) New England Patriots vs. (3) Houston Texans

There is something to this game for both of these teams. It’s something more then the winner getting the opportunity to play in the AFC Championship Game. For both of these teams they can make a strong statement to rest of the NFL or avenge one of the worst losses in franchise history. This game has the chance of either being a compelling matchup or just a blowout at the hands of the “old dogs of the AFC.”

New England has been in this position before. This will be the 2nd time in 3 years that they will be playing a team they blew out in a primetime matchup in a playoff game. The last time that happened it was the New York Jets in the 2010 NFL Playoffs and the Patriots got shocked by a team that they dominated weeks prior to their playoff rematch. New England will look to prevent “lighting from striking twice” in this game and proving that they are as dominant now as they were we they destroyed Houston weeks prior.

For Houston on the other hand they are being looked at as a team that cannot compare to the New England Patriots. Many people were wondering if Houston would be able to finally hang out at the “big boys table” against the Patriots and the Texans walked on the field of Gillette Stadium only to get destroyed by New England. The Texans have a lot to prove in this one and need to show the league whether or not they deserve to be one of the best AFC teams in consecutive years.

This game is a tough call because part of me wants to pick the Houston Texans (they were my AFC Super Bowl pick) in avenging their horrible loss at the hands of New England nearly a month ago, but you cannot stop the Patriots right now. New England hasn’t looked consistent as of late but this is the New England Patriots we are talking about. They have been here many-a-times before and the 1st round bye layoff doesn’t affect them like it would other teams, in-fact it makes them better. Once again, New England heads to the AFC Championship Game.

Prediction: Patriots 42 Texans 14


(1) Atlanta Falcons vs. (5) Seattle Seahawks

Here we go again, the Atlanta Falcons are a #1 seed in the NFC and they are playing one of the most dangerous, if not the dangerous team in Football. Its déjà vu all over again as the Falcons played the hottest team in 2010 (Green Bay) and in 2011 (New York Giants) in the playoffs. So I suppose if this trend can continue then it’s a foregone conclusion that Seattle wins the Super Bowl, right?

The focal point of the Atlanta Falcons will be, of course, Matt Ryan. In Matt Ryan’s playoff career (3 games) he is 0-3 and hasn’t thrown for more then 199 yards in those games. So the preverbal “monkey is on the back” of Matt Ryan in this one and he needs to get it done on Sunday or this will plague him for yet another season.

Seattle on the other hand is one of or the hottest team(s) in the NFL depending on how you look at it. The Seahawks are getting it done offensively and defensively as they have “peaked” at the right time in the season. Should history repeat itself then we all know those teams who “peak” at the right time typically hold up the Vince Lombardi trophy at season’s end.

Keeping in mind history is how I am going to make my predictions for this Sunday’s game. Seattle is red-hot and Atlanta has playoff history flaws. Until proven otherwise there can be no way I bet against the Seattle Seahawks right now and pick Atlanta in the playoffs with Matt Ryan as their quarterback. Sorry Atlanta.

Prediction: Seahawks 21 Falcons 13

(2) San Francisco 49ers vs. (3) Green Bay Packers

It’s a Week 1 matchup that has plagued the Green Bay Packers for most of the 2012 NFL season. It’s also a Week 1 matchup that solidified the San Francisco 49ers as being “for real” as a top team in the NFC and the NFL. Now these two teams will battle it out again, this time in San Francisco, for the right to play in the NFC Championship Game. Two historic franchises, one spot, talk about a compelling NFL Playoff matchup.

All season long I have praised the San Francisco 49ers as being one of the best teams in Football. At points in the season they were the best team in Football as they looked extremely strong on both sides of the Football. There was no bend and there was no break in how good this team was or is. If the San Francisco 49ers were a movie script many people believe that it will end with confetti and celebration in the Superdome but first they have to go through one of the best in the NFC.

For Green Bay this isn’t necessarily how they envisioned their 2012 season. They have battled adversity from injuries (Charles Woodson, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews to name a few), tough losses (Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings) and even referees (the “Fail Mary vs. Seattle). But this is what Green Bay likes to do, battle through adversities. There are some correlations to the 2010 Super Bowl season right now but for that to continue Green Bay needs to beat San Francisco to keep the “quiet momentum” going.

The best thing about this playoff matchup is that they are two completely different teams then they were back in Week 1. At that time Green Bay was playing with problems while San Francisco was nearly flawless. Now Green Bay is playing flawless while San Francisco is playing with problems. It’s going to be a fun matchup but I like the Green Bay Packers avenging their Week 1 loss and advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

Prediction: Packers 24 49ers 21

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 31, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 17 in the National Football League!

– Tampa Bay closes out the 2012 regular season with a nice win against a not-so-competitive Atlanta Falcons team in Week 17. I’ve said it all season long and it’s only fitting that I say it again, Tampa is a good team and one that people should look out for in 2013. Really like what they accomplished this season, would’ve loved to seen them compete for a playoff spot in the final weeks.

– Not the way Atlanta wanted to end the regular season I’m sure but now they can look towards the playoffs and hope that the defensive injuries they suffered on Sunday aren’t that bad. Not sure what to think of this Falcons team heading into the playoffs but I’ll tell you this much, they don’t look like a #1 seed team.

– Buffalo has the right pieces as we saw in their win against the Jets in Week 17 but they need to fix some of their weaknesses (quarterback & head coach) before they can be competitive in the AFC East next season. Tough year for a team many people liked as a “sneaky pick” in the AFC.

– Perfect way to end the Jets regular season and if you thought their regular season was a circus act, wait till the offseason takes place. I believe it was Terrell Owens who once said: “get your popcorn ready.” I know I will.

– Sure Baltimore “mailed it in” during the Week 17 game but I really liked what I saw from the Bengals. Cincinnati kept their momentum going for the playoffs and I hope it helps them in postseason play this season. Amazing that a 6th seed could be the favorite over the 3rd seed in the playoffs but it may be possible for the Bengals.

– While I understand you want to rest your starters and save them for the playoffs, not sure if I agree with treating it like a preseason game in Week 17 especially for the Ravens. Baltimore has been so inconsistent lately that they needed to keep that good momentum going from their big win against the Giants in Week 16 and they didn’t, could hurt them versus Indianapolis next week.

– All season long I said the Bears were the best “smoke and mirrors” team in the NFL. Their record showed they were an “elite” team but when they played against “elite” teams they would be outclassed. Sure they got 10 wins and sure they won games when it counted at the end but they won’t be seeing any games past Week 17. I really wonder how this team will look in 2013.

– The Detroit Lions should’ve never been a 4 win team this season and a top 5 draft pick franchise going into the 2013 NFL Draft. Detroit is a better caliber team then they possessed all season long and if Jim Schwartz can’t get it done with this talent then it’s time to let him go. It will be a very interesting offseason for this franchise heading into 2013.

– Tennessee beat Jacksonville in Week 17 and there defense scored 4 times on Sunday. Good way to end this horrible season for the Titans and I wonder what there direction will be heading into 2013. Will CJ2K be back? I think he should.

– Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

– The best story of the 2012 NFL season was Chuck Pagano beating cancer and the Indianapolis Colts making it into the playoffs. This team clearly got motivated by their cancer battling head coach and rallied behind his spirit to play another game past Week 17. Indianapolis can be that “very dangerous Football team” starting next week.

– This is not the way you should be entering the playoffs. Houston entered Week 17 with the #1 seed and walked out as the #3 seed. Instead of having home-field advantage and having a week off, they now will be stumbling against the Bengals in the Wild Card round (again). I wonder if this team will ever be able to put it together when it matters the most.

– Extremely strong way for the Panthers to finish their season as they won 5 of their last 6 games, including 4 straight games and finished the season 7-9. It appeared that Cam Newton was a “late bloomer” this season as it took him some time to get back to the way he played his rookie season. Carolina is once again a team to look out for in 2013.

– Overall this is a very disappointing season for the New Orleans Saints. They entered the year with a ton of controversy due in-part to “bountygate,” but were still considered by many as a NFC “elite” team. Instead New Orleans struggled all season long, finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. It was a very tough season for the NOLA.

– The most disappointing team in the 2012 NFL season may be the defending Super Bowl Champion, New York Football Giants. New York gets huge victories over San Francisco & Green Bay, was at one point 6-2 on the season and then finished the year 3-5 to miss the playoffs. The Giants looked like an “elite” team at multiple points in the season even to the extent that they were considered the best team in the NFL and now they will be watching the playoffs from home. They should be very thankful they share the same city with the New York Jets!

– What is there to say about the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles season that hasn’t already been said before? Tough year and it’s time to move on from this current era. How this franchise handles this offseason could be very telling for seasons to come in Philadelphia. Since the “dream team” moniker was self-given to them, the Eagles have gone 12-20 in both seasons, pretty sure that’s a nightmare Vince Young.

– Steelers get the win in Week 17 and mercifully end their 2012 regular season. This isn’t what Pittsburgh was hoping for and now there will be many offseason questions to deal with. Similar to their in-state rival Philadelphia Eagles, there will be a lot of changes this offseason that will dictate the future of this franchise for years to come.

– Cleveland has a lot to work on for sometime and I hope the next person to run this franchise can get them onto some winning ways. There is definitely talent to build on in Cleveland; it just comes down to what this franchise does to put around some potentially young franchise players.

– If you’ve read this blog throughout the season then you know I’ve been very leery of the Denver Broncos. Their lack of schedule strength bothered me when it comes to them playing in the playoffs but I’m starting to turn the corner on it not affecting them after all. The Broncos could very well be the AFC representation in Super Bowl 47 right now. A lot is “clicking” at the right time for Denver.

– Congrats to Kansas City on winning the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now the real question is whether or not they draft Geno Smith to be their quarterback. Personally I think that could be a huge mistake but they have plenty of time to think that over now.

– At one point it looked like the Patriots would have to play in the Wild Card round as the three seed but now they can sit at home next week and rest up for the Divisional Round. A well rested Patriots team is of course, a very dangerous playoff team. It almost seems like it’s too good to be true that we could get Denver (Peyton) vs. New England (Brady) in the AFC Championship Game again.

– I’m sure this isn’t the way Miami wanted to end their season but I do think this team is headed into the right direction right now. A couple moves in the offseason could have them competing for Wild Card playoff spots next year.

– Thanks for the memories Norv Turner. I will miss writing about you and wondering if you will be fired…every…regular…season. I have been doing these blogs for Camel Clutch Blog now for (I believe to be) 4 seasons, so that tells you how I long I’ve speculated Norv would be let go.

– The Raiders have taken steps forward the last couple years and now they have taken, yet again, dramatic steps back. I don’t know when this franchise can be turned around because right now it really looks bleak.

– Congrats to the San Francisco 49ers on winning the NFC West and getting the #2 seed in the NFC. In my opinion this team is the #1 seed in the NFC and I really like their chances to make Super Bowl 47 this season. When you have a really good defense and an offense that keeps getting better, good things will happen.

– Dear Arizona Cardinals, you know what to do during the offseason. Go get yourself a quarterback, you know, a real quarterback or you will have a very upset franchise wide receiver named Larry Fitzgerald. Sincerely yours, common sense.

– The Seahawks get the victory but I’m not sure it’s the way they wanted to head into the playoffs. Seattle struggled for most of this game and didn’t look as dominant as they have been in recent weeks. The Seahawks will still be a tough team to beat come playoff time but I wonder if they are losing their “luster” a bit, it’s something to definitely keep an eye on next week versus Washington in the Wild Card round.

– The St. Louis Rams really ended this 2012 regular season very strong. They were competitive against really good teams in their division, San Francisco & Seattle (even getting a big win against the 49ers this year) and they are improving heading into 2013. The defense is young and very talented but their offense seems to be lacking at the moment. I really hope Sam Bradford can be “the guy” for this St. Louis team in 2013 because I really like what I am seeing from the Rams right now.

– What a miracle season for the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. Nobody and I mean NOBODY saw this team as a playoff team, let alone a playoff contender this year. If you were like me you probably saw them as the last-place team in the NFC North. Well now they take on Green Bay in the Wild Card round and have nothing to lose because they weren’t “supposed to be there.” Oh and dear NFL, don’t forget to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award this season!

– I’m sure this isn’t the way Green Bay wanted to end their season but not getting a first-round bye may be what this team needs. In 2010 they had no first-round bye and won the Super Bowl. In 2011 they had a first-round bye and got crushed in the divisional round. The Packers will be healthy against the Vikings, know what they need to do to stop Minnesota and will thankfully be home in a playoff game. I still like the Packers as a “quiet” pick right now in the NFC.

– Add Washington to the list of Indianapolis and Minnesota as surprise teams making the playoffs in 2012. Weeks ago this team was “left for dead” by their own head coach and now they are the 2012 NFC East division champions. No telling what this team can do come playoff time because like the Vikings, they “weren’t supposed to be here.” It’s the playoffs and as we have learned the last two seasons, anyone can win the Super Bowl.

– It almost seems fitting that Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys end their season like this. I really wonder how this team will look on Week 1 in 2013. A lot of major changes could be coming the way of this Dallas Cowboys franchise.

– Many thanks to you the reader and of course Eric Gargiulo for allowing me to blog after every week throughout the 2012 NFL regular season. It’s a job I have enjoyed here since 2009 and am glad to have another regular season under my belt. Stay tuned for my Wild Card predictions blog later this week and my Wild Card round thoughts blog a week from today!

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