Baltimore Ravens Looking Solid in the 2015-16 Season

July 14, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The Baltimore Ravens were good last year, but not good enough. Despite a big playoff win on the road in Pittsburgh, the Ravens season ended at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. This year, though, the Ravens look a little better than the Pats do. In fact, the Ravens may have the best squad in the AFC.

That’s thanks in a large part to a core group of players that aren’t going anywhere, including quarterback Joe Flacco (who is still enjoying his Super Bowl XLVII payday). The recently re-signed Justin Forsett leads a solid corps of running backs, and the defense remains a top-ten squad – which could be enough to get the job done.

Losses in the offseason

The Ravens traded DT Haloti Ngata to Detroit and OL Gino Gradkowski to Denver, both for picks. They lost WR Torrey Smith, OLB Pernell McPhee, TE Owen Daniels, S Darian Stewart, LS Kevin McDermott, and QB Tyrod Taylor to free agency. They also cut RB Bernard Pierce, WR/KR Jacoby Jones, LB Ryan Jones, and NT Terrence Cody.

Despite all the losses, the team remains in pretty good shape. The Ravens saw Justin Forsett emerge as a legitimate starter last year, so they won’t regret cutting ties with Pierce. Plus, the Ravens already proved that they could live without Ngata when Timmy Jernigan stepped up during Ngata’s PED suspension last year.

One spot to watch is tight end. With Daniels gone, the Ravens have a bit of a gap there. The wide receiver situation isn’t ideal, either, but the Ravens’ strong draft will help them overcome the issues. All in all, the Ravens are a remarkably complete team considering the number of players they’ve lost this offseason.


The Ravens did extremely well in this year’s draft, snagging three great players (Florida WR Breshad Perriman, Minnesota TE Maxx Williams, and Iowa DT Carl Davis) with their first three picks. All three of these players could make an impact right out of the gate. Williams and Perriman, in particular, will be players to watch. If they perform as expected, they’ll fill two of the biggest holes in the Ravens offense.

The Ravens also drafted Kentucky DE Za’Darius Smith, USC RB Javorius Allen, Texas Southern CB Tray Walker, Delaware TE Nick Boyle, Tennessee State OG Robert Myers, and Georgia Tech WR Darren Waller.

The Ravens un-drafted free agent signings were:

OLB Darius Allen (Colorado State – Pueblo)

OL Darryl Baldwin (Ohio State)

DE/OLB Brennen Beyer (Michigan)

WR DeAndre Carter (Sacramento State)

T Blaine Clausell (Mississippi State)

LB Trey DePriest (Alabama)

C Nick Easton (Harvard)

OL Kaleb Johnson (Rutgers)

QB Jerry Lovelock (Prairie View A&M)

RB Terrence Magee (LSU)

P/K Justin Manton (Louisiana-Monroe)

OLB Cory Morrissey (Iowa State)

S Nick Perry (Alabama)

OL De’Ondre Wesley (BYU)

CB Julian Wilson (Oklahoma)

WR Cam Worthy (East Carolina)

Free agents

The Ravens didn’t poach any superstars from other teams this year, but they did make some free agent signings. They inked QB Matt Schaub, CB Kyle Arrington and S Kendrick Lewis. Arrington should be a solid addition to the Ravens’ secondary.

The players the Ravens managed to keep were more important than those they gained. They’ve managed to re-sign RB Justin Forsett, which was key. They also re-signed K Justin Tucker, OG Jah Reid, DE Lawrence Guy, DT Chris Canty, DE Christo Bilukidi, S Will Hill, S Anthony Levine, and LS Morgan Cox.

Season outlook

The Ravens look to be one of the best teams in the AFC. Unfortunately, a couple of other contenders are sitting right in the same division. The Ravens remain the favorite to win the AFC North, but don’t be surprised if the Steelers or even the Bengals manage to steal it away (you’re allowed to be surprised if the Browns do).

Once out of the division, though, the Ravens have to feel good about their Super Bowl hopes. The Patriots and Broncos just aren’t the same teams that made their respective Super appearances, and the Steelers and Colts, while good, don’t quite have the roster that Baltimore does. Nothing guarantees a Super Bowl appearance (or even a playoff spot), but the Ravens have to like their chances at least as much as any team in the AFC right now.

NFL 2014-15 Divisional Playoffs Predictions and Preview

January 09, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Last weekend’s Wildcard games are in the books. I hope my readers enjoyed a couple of them. I didn’t do all that great in my Wildcard Weekend Prediction blog. I went 2-2. I thought that the Indianapolis Colts vs the Cincinnati Bengals game and the Baltimore Ravens vs the Pittsburgh Steelers game were the best of the four. The lack of offense (especially from Arizona) in the Arizona Cardinals vs the Carolina Panthers game had me bored to death. The Dallas Cowboys vs the Detroit Lions game was decent, but the refereeing controversy hurt the game.

Let’s briefly discuss each game in further detail. In the Arizona vs Carolina game, the game was pretty lopsided. How does a team put up just 78 yards, or so? I thought that Arizona was better than that. The Panthers made a ton of mistakes as well (botched a punt, interceptions, and was giving Arizona chances, but Arizona just had tough times capitalizing. My advice to Coach Bruce “We can win the Super Bowl with Drew Stanton” Arians is to not be so cocky about your backup QB situation.

In the Baltimore vs Pittsburgh game, I don’t know where to start. The Steelers did not have Le’Veon Bell. Well, it looked like to me that the coaches, from Head Coach Mike Tomlin on down, had no answer for that Baltimore pass rush. No one on the Steelers coaching staff could figure out adjustments?

Of course, I had forgotten about the “bad Steelers” that can pop up, and that is what happened. This is the same Steelers team who lost to the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, and New York Jets. The Steelers played scared. Now, Let’s not shortchange the Ravens. They played a great game. QB Joe Flacco was relaxed in the pocket, and made some excellent plays. RB Justin Forsett gashed the Steelers defense like a knife through butter.

As for the Bengals vs Colts game, I thought it was a really good game. Even though they were at home, the Colts defense did a great job. They put a lot of pressure on Bengals QB Andy Dalton, and even stopped the Bengals running game. Colts QB Andrew Luck had a good game . I loved that TD he threw when he was being tackled. He demonstrated terrific arm strength.

I know that folks are making hay over QB Andy Dalton and Coach Marvin Lewis, as the Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. Dalton didn’t play that badly in the game. He also didn’t have a couple of his main targets either.Even so, I don’t know if Dalton freezes at playoff time, or gets too intimidated by the big moment. The Bengals need to deal with this. My problem with Lewis is that in many cases, he’s too conservative in his play calling.

Now, to the Lions vs the Cowboys game. Before I discuss it, let’s get to the refereeing controversy. I’m not going to rehash it, because it’s been replayed to death. However, the NFL has an image problem concerning the refereeing, in my opinion. The NFL will fine players, coaches, and even owners for criticism of the game officials. Why then, when referees make obvious mistakes, does the NFL just make apology statements after the fact? They don’t punish the refs. Oh, sure, low scoring refs during the regular season don’t get to work the playoffs. Well, look what happened last weekend. That’s the best the NFL can do?

I am not saying that the Detroit Lions lost because of the bad call. I am saying that the NFL has to do better concerning their referees. The NFL can’t give incompetent referees a huge amount of rules to memorize and enforce, and then when said referees screw up on a national stage, act as if the officiating is above criticism. The NFL can not issue apology notes after the horse has run out of the barn, so to speak.

As for the game, it was a good game. If folks paid attention, the Cowboys almost gave the game away. The Lions, especially Ndamukong Suh, just pounded on that Dallas offensive line. Dallas QB Tony Romo was getting sacked and hit. Lions QB Matthew Stafford was having a great day. After halftime, the Cowboys came out of their stupor, and took control.

The Lions secondary were making a ton of penalties. Tony Romo had a great second half, with a pair of TDs. What really hurt the Lions was not that screwed up referee call , but their head coach and his failure to go for it on 4th and 1. He didn’t trust his own team to get a first down? Anyway, it was a good game. The lesson that the Lions and other teams can learn is that teams need to make sure they play THEIR game, and don’t make dumb penalties so you don’t have to worry about a referee making a “wrong call.”

Now that I’ve reviewed last weekend’s Wildcard games, I am going to discuss my predictions for this weekend’s divisional round games. On Saturday, January 10th, the New England Patriots (1) will host the Baltimore Ravens (6), and the Seattle Seahawks (1) will host the Carolina Panthers (4). On Sunday , January 11th, the Green Bay Packers (2) host the Dallas Cowboys (3) , and the Denver Broncos (2) host the Indianapolis Colts (4). The respective winners advance to their respective conference championship.

All four of these games are very exciting. There’s a ton of drama involved in all four of these games, both on and off the field. There are injuries and grudges involved. Who needs a soap opera, when you have the NFL? Anyway, as I said, I was 2-2 in my prediction column last week. I hope that I can do better. So without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2015 NFL Divisional Playoff games.

AFC Playoff Divisional Game
#1 New England Patriots vs #6 Baltimore Ravens
Network : NBC
Kickoff : 4:35PM EST

Analysis: Is everyone ready for the actual game to start? I certainly am. To paraphrase Led Zeppelin, “Hey. Baby, have you heard the news?” “The Baltimore Ravens are back in town?.” ( Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker: I mean, the world is out. “Here come the big bad Ravens.” “The Flacco has Brady’s number.” “Tom Brady can’t play anymore.” Well, let’s see. how many teams with a winning record did Baltimore beat this season? One? Now, counting the Steelers,two? The Patriots have an 8-3 record overall vs Baltimore. The media would have you believe that the Patriots are the #6 seed.

As for the game, the Patriots offensive line is going to have to have a stellar day against that Ravens pass rush to protect Tom Brady . Fortunately, the team earned the bye week, and it sounds like the Patriots will have Sebastian Vollmer and Dan Connelly back. The Patriots need to spread the Ravens out, something the Steelers failed to do. The Patriots have to use some uptempo offense to keep Baltimore honest . One difference for the Patriots offense is the presence of TE Rob Gronkowski. The weak Ravens is going to have to account for him. The Patriots needs to be patient with their running game also.

The Ravens are going to depend on their defense to try to limit the Patriots from scoring. QB Joe Flacco is very effective with the deep ball. His main target, Torry Smith, has drawn 17 DPI calls, so the Patriots secondary needs to be careful. Flacco is also great at drawing DPI calls with his other receivers. RB Justin Forsett will be a factor, so DT Vince Wilfork and the Patriots defensive line have their work cut out.

Prediction : This should be a great game. I am expecting a fairly physical game. Even though many folks in the media have treated Baltimore as if THEY were the #1 seed, I think their playoff run ends here. Winner : Patriots 27-17

NFC Playoff Game
#1 Seattle Seahawks vs #4 Carolina Panthers
Network : Fox
Kickoff : 8:15PM EST

Analysis : This game is going to be a defensive struggle. I don’t expect to see a lot of scoring in this game. I expect the audience to be loud, being that they are the 12th Man. I wish all fan bases were that enthusiastic. Anyway, these two teams have met three times, with the Seahawks winning all three. What’s interesting is that the Panthers had lead all three into the fourth quarter.

The Carolina Panthers are on a hot streak. QB Cam Newton and the offense have been doing well in the past few weeks. So has the Carolina defense. The defense suffered a huge blow when one of their top defensive players, DT Star Lotulelei broke his foot this week in practice. That won’t help in trying to contain either Seattle QB Russell Wilson or RB Marshawn Lynch.

As for the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, they’re getting players back from injury. That will only help them. This is a dangerous team, especially at home. The Seahawks have the #1 ranked offense. Wilson and Lynch will be lethal weapons by themselves.

Prediction: I do expect the Panthers to put up a fight in the early part of the game. The two teams are very familiar with one another. However, I think this game is a very easy call. I think the Seahawks will win this game rather easily. Winner: Seahawks 24-10.

NFC Divisional Playoff Game
#2 Green Bay Packers vs #3 Dallas Cowboys
Network : FOX
Kickoff : 1:05PM EST

Analysis : This is a battle of two teams where something has to give. The Green Bay Packers are 8-0 at home. Their opponents, the Dallas Cowboys, are 8-0 on the road. There is one thing that could be the deciding factor. No, I am not talking about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) and that ugly sweater either. I am talking about the calf injury to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay Packers have been lights out at home. They are undefeated at home this season. To be fair, the team nearly lost to the hapless New York Jets, and the mediocre Minnesota Vikings, and the eventual #1 seed in the AFC New England Patriots. However, they hung on and won. One of the main reasons is Aaron Rodgers. No one can underestimate his value. That’s why his calf injury is troublesome. He can play from the pocket, but what makes Rodgers awesome is his mobility. Sure, LB Clay Matthews, RB Eddie Lacey will have an impact on this game, but not like Rodgers.

As for the Cowboys, Tony Romo doesn’t have great performances when the weather is under 40 degrees. As the Packers run defense is not all that great, I suspect that RB Demarco Murray will be used quite a bit. The Cowboys may be down several defenders as well, as a couple of them are in the concussion protocol.

Prediction : I would pick the Packers outright if Rodgers were 100 percent. I am not sure how this game will go. I’m on the fence, to be honest. Winner : I am going with the Packers, because Rodgers is just that good. Packers 30-27

AFC Divisional Playoff Game
#2 Denver Broncos vs #4 Indianapolis Colts
Network : CBS
Kickoff : 4:25PM EST

Analysis: This should be a good game. The two QBs , Peyton Manning (Broncos) and Andrew Luck (Colts) will be forever linked. Peyton Manning was drafted by the Colts in 1998, and then released by the Colts in 2012 over injury/contract concerns. In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Colts drafted QB Andrew Luck. Now, the two face each other in the playoffs. The two are 1-1.

Denver has looked just alright going into the playoffs. It sounds like the bye week helped lots of banged up players, including Manning (thigh) recover. I’m expecting this team to come out looking a lot better. They’re the #3 defense. DB Aqib Talib has been doing well as of late. It will be interesting to see if pass rusher DeMarcus Ware will show up in the playoffs . I think the Denver offense will be much better, especially with a more balanced offense.

The Indianapolis Colts need to protect Andrew Luck if they want any chance of winning the game. They played well against the Bengals, but this time, they’re not at home, and this Broncos team is way better than the Bengals. The Colts defense must challenge the Denver receivers. They must do what the Patriots, the Rams, and other teams have done. Don’t be so afraid of the Broncos.

Prediction : I think that the Colts are over matched in this game. Playing at Denver is also difficult with that crowd noise. The Broncos are significantly better than the Colts, and I am thinking that the Broncos will win this comfortably. Winner : Denver 35-17.

NFL Jerseys on

NFL 2014-15 Season Q3 Analysis

November 26, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

I want to start by wishing everyone at, and all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving weekend. I hope that everyone has a wonderful time with their families and friends, including their four legged ones. Be careful traveling, and if you decide to go shopping on Black Friday, please be safe. There are enough nutcases out there, so don’t get into a fight over a TV. It’s not worth it.

In speaking of Thanksgiving, the NFL 2014-15 season has just 5 more weeks to go. In horse racing terms, the 32 teams have hit the top of the stretch. It’s after Thanksgiving, when the proverbial whips start to appear, and we fans see which teams are real playoff contenders or pretenders. As four weeks have passed, some teams have put themselves in a position for a playoff push, while others took steps backwards. Of course, there were teams that were never in contention, and will wind up finishing up the track. Many reasons why include drama and ineptitude.

In this blog, I will be discussing the events of the third quarter of the 2014-15 NFL Season. I will delve into the playoff front runners. I will be looking at teams fighting for wild card spots. I also will be discussing some crazy off field issues as well.

Again, I will be using the “Thumbs Up” and ” Thumbs Down” literary device. I hope my readers will enjoy the blog. Without further ado, here is my analysis of the third quarter of the 2014-15 NFL Season.


The Baltimore Ravens:

Watch out for the Baltimore Ravens. The team has been on a roll. They’ve been on a hot winning streak lately. They’re on the outside looking in, as the 7th seed. The team has a pretty favorable schedule, and should they qualify for the playoffs, they won’t be an easy foe. Former North Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith has been lights out. After a shaky start to the NFL season, QB Joe Flacco is starting to adapt to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system. Needless to say, the Baltimore Ravens have a very good defense, led by Terrell Suggs.

The Green Bay Packers:

What can you say about MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers that hasn’t been said? He has been awesome. Before last Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field against the Vikings, Rodgers and the offense put up 50 plus points a game against the last two opponents. LB Clay Matthews has been terrific playing both inside and outside linebacker. I realize the team has some questions on defense, but so far, Dom Capers, Packers Defensive Coordinator has been doing a great job.

This Sunday’s tilt on November 30th against the AFC East leading juggernaut New England Patriots should be an awesome game. I’m very excited to see how Coach Bill Belichick game plans against Aaron Rodgers and that high powered offense. I wonder if Packers WR Jordy Nelson is going to be covered by Darelle Revis. I can’t wait to see what Packers Coach Mike McCarthy comes up with to try to out coach Belichick. Of course, can the Packers defense stop the Patriots offense led by Tom Brady?

The Arizona Cardinals:

I remember the days when this team was a joke. Well, not anymore. Over the years, they started getting talent and started to improve. The Cardinals, under QB Kurt Warner, made it to SB43 and gave my Steelers a run for their money.

Now, under (ironically) former Steelers Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians, who is now the Cardinals Head Coach (my pick for Coach of the Year) , the Cardinals are 9-2, and leading the NFC West. Now that QB Carson Palmer is out for the season due to his ACL injury, it remains to be seen how far QB Drew Stanton can take them.

Nevertheless, this is a good sign for a franchise that was 5-11 when Arians took over in 2012. They were 10-6 last year and missed the playoffs. Barring a collapse, it looks like the team will make the playoffs this year. How far they will go without Palmer is anyone’s guess. I am very happy for Bruce Arians and his success.


The Denver Broncos

I give Denver a mild “Thumbs Down .” QB Peyton Manning had a string of games (New England, Oakland, Rams) where he had thrown multiple interceptions. In the past few games. The Broncos have been starting games a bit slow, and have been having trouble running the ball due to issues on the offensive line and injuries to their top running backs. Having C.J. Anderson helps that issue.

The Broncos have been 2-2 in their last 4 games. They’ve had some injuries to key players, some of whom should be back in the coming weeks, so that’s why I don’t give them a total thumbs down. Don’t worry. They will be fine.

The Pittsburgh Steelers:

Why are the Steelers here? The Steelers have yet to understand that every game is important. I hope they have learned that while on their bye week. How on earth do you lose to the hapless New York Jets? That team had ONE WIN!!! Never underestimate ANY opponent!

The Steelers nearly blew it again against the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. However, they managed to win that one. The team has to be prepared for all your opponents, no matter what their record is. No team is going to roll over and lay down just because you are the Pittsburgh Steelers. They get paid also.

The NFC South:

What a mess in the NFC South. Does anyone want to win the division? The Saints blew a chance to have sole possession of first place in their loss to the Ravens. They are tied with the Atlanta Falcons (both at 4-7). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2 games back in last place with a 2-9 record. The Carolina Panthers are in striking distance at 3-7-1.

What has happened to this division? The Saints can’t win on the road or even at home. The Saints used to be unbeatable at home. What’s happened to QB Drew Brees? The Falcons are a dumpster fire. The Panthers have no physicality. The Bucs have a great rookie receiver Mike Evans. The idea that a sub 500 team from this division is going to make the playoffs really rubs me the wrong way, as there will be teams will good records that will miss the playoffs.

Coaches on the Hot Seat:

It’s also that time of year when discussions of which coach might or might not be getting fired start warming up. I have a few that I suspect will be gone. I also sense that there will be some General Managers that will be on the outs. Mind you, I am just speculating.

It looks like Rex Ryan, the head coach of the New York Jets, is going to be out of a job by year’s end. I honestly think Coach Ryan’s season has been undermined by the ineptitude of GM John Idzik. Idzik is a cap guy. All he cares about is keeping spending down. I mean, I know that Ryan is a defensive guy. However, he did lead the team to two straight AFC Championship game appearances with Mark Sanchez as quarterback, so Ryan has success as a head coach.

I realize that lately the team’s been mediocre, this season has been a disaster. Hard to put it all on Ryan when he doesn’t have much of a team. The team signed Eric Decker, when Emmanuel Sanders was available. The team left the secondary cubbard bare, and the QB position is nonexistent. Geno Smith has just been named the starter. What a joke. Rex Ryan is a “dead man waking,” so to speak.

The Jets organization wouldn’t let him discuss his visit with his ailing father, the legendary Buddy Ryan. ( ) How petty is that? If/when Ryan goes, I think Idzik needs to go also. The entire Jets organization needs cleaning up from top to bottom. Will owner Woody Johnson do it? I don’t think so. I would dump Idzik over Ryan.

The New York Giants have been a dumpster fire as well. I am thinking that this will be coach Tom Coughlin’s last year with the team. I don’t see the team putting in a lot of effort. The new Offensive Coordinator is not very impressive. The defense can’t get a pass rush. In this past Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, QB Tony Romo had all day to throw.

I also feel that GM Jerry Reese needs to go also. The reasons are bad draft picks, outside of Odell Beckham, Jr. and bad trades. Both Coughlin and Reese have done great things for the Giants, but I think it’s time for them to go. As patient as the Mara family is, I am not sure if they will get rid of Reese.

Mark Trestman, head coach of the Chicago Bears, needs to go. Wow. I am still wondering why the Bears dumped former coach Lovie Smith. Smith got the team to a Super Bowl, and in what would be his last season, a 10-6 record, and he’s gone? What has this Trestman guy done? He’s been a disaster.

The once vaunted Chicago Bears defense is playing like the Bad News Bears. They can’t cover anyone. They gave up over 50 points to the blood rival Green Bay Packers, and to the New England Patriots the prior week. The offense has playmakers, but QB Jay Cutler is so erratic, and I am being kind. I don’t see that team being inspired by him at all, or even wanting to play for him. Trestman need to go.

Miscellaneous (DC issues, player safety inconsistency, clock management):

I realize that this is getting long, so I will wrap this up with a few items that deserve a huge “Thumbs Down.’ I will start with the issue of player safety involving Detroit Lions Center Dominic Raiola and New England Patriots rookie LB Zach Moore. After last Sunday’s game, Raiola admitted that he dove at Moore’s knees in retaliation for the Patriots going in for a score instead of taking three knees. ( ) Raiola was not punished by the NFL. The NFL may not have seen a need to fine him, but I do wonder why the same NFL is so quick to fine players 10 grand for uniform violations, 100 grand for not having the right headphones, but won’t fine a guy who ADMITS he tried to take another player’s knees out. This is coming from a league that emphasizes player safety? Right.

Mr. Raiola, your Lions had 60 minutes to stop the Patriots from scoring. The Lions were the #1 defense right? You boasted in the article that you were “playing football” when you purposely dove at Moore’s knees. Well, what were the Patriots playing, solitaire? You and your team got beat. No need for the cheap shot. Your defense had chances to stop the Patriots and didn’t do it. Just be glad that the NFL looked the other way.

Looks like the Nation’s Capitol is going to have gridlock on its NFL team. What a mess. I mean, Coach Jay Gruden announces to the world that RGIII is basically a project. I was stunned. Look, I was tired of hearing RGIII throwing his teammates under the bus, but Gruden really pulled the trump card.

Now that RGIII has been benched for Colt McCoy, it will remain to be seen what the future brings for RGIII. Will owner Dan Snyder trade him? Will RGIII ever regain the promising talent he had? Stay tuned. This is far from over.

I have to say something about that clock management mess in Atlanta. Coach Mike Smith, another coach who I think is gone, had one of the most idiotic explanations after the game. I mean, he was afraid that Cleveland would use a time out, so that’s why he called timeout? I just shook my head.

That is exactly what you want the other team to do. You want them to start burning their timeouts. I could not believe that Mike Smith handed that game to the Browns like that. Owner Arthur Blank should have come down to the field and fired Smith on the spot.

I hope my readers enjoyed the blog. I’m looking forward to the post – Thanksgiving push to the playoffs. I think the last few games will be very interesting. Each game gets a little bit bigger. Enjoy the holidays and the games. Feedback is welcome. See you next time.

NFL Shop on

NFL Super Bowl 47 Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

February 05, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Well, February 3, 2013, which was Super Bowl Sunday, has come and gone. The NFL 2012/13 season is over. That means it is the beginning of the off-season where trades, releases, and mock drafts begin. It also means that we NFL fans have to wait about six months for the new season to start, so let’s start tuning into hockey, the NBA, or MLB.

For me, I am starting to get Derby Fever. I will be watching all the Kentucky Derby prep races, and waiting patiently for Paynter to make his first start as a four year old. Is it the first Saturday in May yet?

Anyway, back to Super Bowl Sunday, where in the Super Dome in New Orleans, LA, Beyonce performed a half-time show at the Super Bowl, and reunited her former group, Destiny’s Child. During breaks in the game, there were plenty of those Super expensive Super Bowl ads, and, of course, the game itself was played. A new champion was crowned, and it was the Baltimore Ravens.

Since the production of the Super Bowl is such a huge operation with the game, the ads (some people watch the game just for the ads), and the half-time show, I decided to do a blog about the entire experience, writing about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the entire Super Sunday.

Hopefully, you will enjoy this.


Concerning the Game: Overcoming a bad start, and nearly letting the game get away from them, the San Fransisco 49ers, lead by QB Colin Kaepernick, made a furious come back in the second half to get within several points of the Ravens.
Some people with the tin foiled hats will say the blackout (more later) helped them, but nonetheless, it was a great comeback, especially for Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, even though he didn’t complete the comeback, has nothing to hang his head about. He is the real deal. He shook off the early jitters, and lead that team down the field for scores. This young man is going to be the future.

Joe Flacco for the Ravens did a wonderful job as QB for the Ravens in the game. He was very much in control in the game.

Jacoby Jones’ 108 Yard Punt return was so awesome. Anquan Boldin was lights out as well, when he made those clutch catches.

Ed Reed and Ray Rice getting rings. They are about the only members of the Ravens with any kind of class.

No more Ray Lewis on the field. Good riddance.

Concerning the Ads: The only commercial I liked was the Budweiser ad. It was the one where the farm hand was feeding the baby Clydesdale, and three years later, the two are reunited. It was so awesome, I cried. Great ad.

I also liked The Rock’s “Got Milk” ad. That was funny and cute.

Concerning the Half Time Show: Beyonce was lights out. No pun intended. Great performance. I really enjoyed her music. She put on a fun, energetic show. Seeing Destiny’s Child up there was real cool too. I also loved the stage settings.

The BAD:

Concerning the Game: The 49ers wasting their timeouts. I know that this is a huge game for Kaepernick, but he has to know when to take a time out, and when not to take a time out.

The 49er’s play calling at the end, when they were trying for the go ahead score. Why didn’t they run the ball a couple of times? That was just a mess.

Seeing Ray Lewis get abused. Oh wow. I could not believe it myself. Some of those 49ers RBs and WRs just went by Lewis as if he wasn’t there. Lewis just could not make the tackles.

Concerning the Ads: The rest of the ads were just stupid. There weren’t any other ads I liked.

Concerning the Half-Time Show: The ripping off Ace Frehley’s (original KISS guitarist) “shooting fire/rockets from the guitar” trick.


Concerning the Game: The black out was bizarre to say the least. I am glad that , at least for me, it didn’t affect the outcome. Let’s face it. BOTH teams had to wait for the power to be restored, so I don’t buy that the Ravens could have lost,etc.

The referees were horrid on both sides. It did seem to me that the replacement refs got into these regular refs’ bodies. Man, were there some terrible calls, and no calls. This one call in question was a defensive holding call near the very end that I think should have been called against the Ravens was not. Nevertheless, the refs just stunk up the place.

People say Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the worst NFL commentating team. I got that beat. It is Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Oh dear. These guys were horrible all night long. Simms said about that controversial no call that he got confused everytime he saw it. Simms is supposed to know what is going on in the game he played in for over a decade. What a buffoon.

Jim Nantz just killed me when he said that ever since Ray Lewis announced his retirement, Lewis has had a “ROUGH MONTH” because the media has brought up the Atlanta murder case he was involved in in 2000, and the deer antler charges, etc. My jaw dropped.

What did Nantz expect? Not every person in the media acts like ESPN and kisses Ray’s butt, and forgets that the slaying of those guys never happened.

The duo’s announcing and call of the game was horrendous. They called Joe Flacco “elite” after every throw, it seemed. Very annoying.

No imagination in giving someone else the MVP award. Joe played an awesome game, but I though Anquan Boldin or Jacoby Jones should have gotten it. Why is it (most of the time) the QB?

The automatic crowning of Flacco as elite. Slow down. He has the same amount of rings now as Peyton Manning (who IS elite). Flacco is a very good QB. He had nice stats in the playoffs, and the SB, but whoa a little bit.

Concerning the Ads: Nothing.

Concerning the Half-Time Show: Nothing.

Well, that is my review of Super Bowl Sunday. Congrats to the fans of the Ravens. Enjoy your parade on Tuesday. Your team played a very good game, and deserved to win.

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 Super Bowl 47 Recap and Thoughts: Inside The Wheelhouse

February 04, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Super Bowl 47 in my final edition of the 2012-2013 NFL weekly thoughts blog here at the CCB!

– The 2012-2013 NFL season has been a lot of fun to cover this season (with the exception of a “Super Storm” interruption in late-October/early-November) as I looked forward to recapping the games here on the CCB every week. The National Football league once again has proven why it is the very best sport in the world right now after delivering on another exciting Super Bowl finish. I’m already looking forward for September to come back around so I can enjoy Football yet again!

– There are two reasons why San Francisco is not Super Bowl 47 Champions right now. First off you can’t consistently play from behind in a playoff atmosphere. A veteran team like Baltimore won’t let you get back in the game like a younger team such as Atlanta would as we saw in this year’s NFC Championship Game. San Francisco lacked intensity in the entire 1st half and it came back to hurt them in the 2nd half.

Second I believe San Francisco isn’t Super Bowl 47 Champions right now because they just didn’t get it done in the redzone. The 49ers would put together great drives, notably in the 1st half and then stall once they got to the redzone. You cannot be a Champion if you can’t take full advantage of great opportunities. San Francisco did not take advantage of great opportunities and therefore they watched the Ravens celebrate as Super Bowl Champions.

– Baltimore proved to all of us something that I have been harping on for quite sometime now. Momentum wins Championships. The Ravens continue the trend of being the “hottest team” in the playoffs to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy at season’s end. Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens on becoming Super Bowl 47 Champions.

We all knew the Ravens were a good defensive unit but we also knew the offensive side of the ball was lacking a bit for Baltimore. Well Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell fixed that at the right time in the season and now they are Champions of the National Football League. Say what you will about this team but they deserved it and they earned it. They showed the national stage what it’s like to have the “heart of a champion.”

– Lastly I’d like to finish up my final “weekly NFL thoughts” blog by thanking Eric Gargiulo for giving me the stage yet again to write a weekly NFL blog for the Camel Clutch Blog and to you the reader for enjoying the ride all season long with me. Thank you all for a great NFL season and congrats once again to the Baltimore Ravens on winning Super Bowl 47!

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NFL Super Bowl XLVII Prediction and Preview

February 01, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

I want to start this blog by saying thank you to my readers for reading my NFL blogs throughout the 2012-13 NFL season. I have enjoyed the NFL season, and I have enjoyed writing about the games, and some of the controversies. I also thank my editor, Eric Gargiulo, for giving me the platform to speak my mind.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, the NFL 2012-13 season and post-season ends this Sunday on February 3rd. We are finally at the Super Dome in New Orleans, LA. The biggest game, the one game that all 32 teams want to play in and win, the Super Bowl, will be played.

The two teams that are going for the Lombardi trophy are the San Fransisco 49ers for the NFC, and the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC. The two teams are now preparing for the Super Bowl, and are taking part in all of the Super Bowl week hoopla. Of course, the two teams have to deal with peeps wanting SB tickets, and such.

However, for the winning team, it is all worth it, especially when they are holding that Lombardi in their hands, and the confetti is raining on their heads, and QUEEN’s “We Are The Champions” is blaring from the stadium’s speaker system.

In this blog, I will be discussing some of the NFL tidbits that I have been reading about on the Internet, and on ESPN. I then will discuss both teams in the Super Bowl and which team I think will win.

I will start with just a few of the tidbits.

The first one is the big deal over the Harbaugh brothers facing each other. I understand that two brothers never coached against each other in the Super Bowl. I got it. I just think it is a little much. I watch the Super Bowl to hear about the PLAYERS. I don’t care about the coaches all that much, except during the game if they call a bad play. I mean, we had to have their PARENTS have a press conference too?

Let’s examine 49ers WR Randy Moss’s claim that he “is the greatest WR of all time.” I read that, and nearly fell of my chair. Seriously, dude? I guess Moss never heard of a guy named Jerry Rice, who also played for the 49ers and other teams.
Moss tried to defend his comment by saying that Rice had “Two Hall of Fame QBs throwing him the ball.” Wow. Randy.

Earth to Randy Moss. You had all the talent in the world to be better than Rice. However, after that sensation rookie year with the Minnesota Vikings, you got yourself into some off the field trouble. You also developed that, “I play when I want to play.” attitude. Rice never had that attitude, as he always worked his butt off. Besides, Rice’s work speaks for itself.

Oh, Mr. Moss. You had a second chance to save your career WITH a Hall of Fame (once he retires) QB named Tom Brady, but you eventually messed THAT up.

The last tidbit will be short and sweet. Hall of Fame RB Marshall Faulk made comments this week that he will never get over losing SB XXXVI to the Patriots because of Spygate. Mr. Faulk, dude, move on already. Can’t live in the past.

John Tomase, the author of that Boston Herald article claiming the Pats filmed the Rams walk-through said the article was incorrect. The Boston Herald apologized for the article. Unfortunately, the facts I just mentioned interfere with the good sob story that Faulk is telling.

The Patriots are not even IN the Super Bowl this year. I am just starting to think this dead issue is being brought up on purpose just to take shots at the Patriots, just for the purpose of trying to discredit them.

Well, that is the end of the tidbits during Super Bowl week. Let’s talk football, and I will give my pick for the Super Bowl.

What: Super Bowl XLVII
Where: Super Dome in New Orleans, LA
When: February 3, 2013 on CBS
Kickoff Time: 6:30pm EST

Teams: San Fransisco 49ers (NFC) vs Baltimore Ravens (AFC)

My Analysis:

NFC Representative: San Fransisco 49ers
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Starting QB: Colin Kaepernick

How they got here: As the #2 seed, they defeated the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round after their bye week, and then they beat the #1 seed Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.

Their Main Storyline: QB Colin Kaepernick leading the team to the Super Bowl after taking over the team from original starter Alex Smith when Smith (who had the highest QB rating in the NFL) got knocked out with a concussion.

AFC Representative: Baltimore Ravens
Head Coach John Harbaugh
Starting QB: Joe Flacco

How they got here: As the #4 seed, they defeated the Indianapolis Colts at home in the Wild Card Game, and went on the road to defeat both the #1 seed Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round Game and the #2 seed New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Their Main Story lines: Joe Flacco needing to back up his claim that he deserves a 17 million dollar plus contract, and that he is “outplaying Peyton Manning.” Ray Lewis’s retirement party that has been lasting forever, and now hearing about these allegations about his alleged use of deer antlers juice.

Of course, for both teams, we are inundated about the news that the Harbaugh brothers are playing each other.

What the 49ers must do to win:

1. Stay focused, and don’t let the Ravens Defense intimidate you..

What I mean is that the Ravens like to play physical, and they use that to their advantage. The Ravens like to intimidate the receivers by hitting them really hard. If they get 15 yards, it doesn’t matter. If one watched the AFC Championship game, Patriot receivers were dropping balls left and right. Part of it was bad execution, but a lot of it was the fear of being hit. The Ravens try to get inside your head defensively.

2. Run the ball.

Yes, the Ravens are a tough defense. Yes, NT Ngata is getting better. However, the 49ers have a tough runner named Frank Gore. Don’t be afraid to run the ball. The 49ers have to keep that defense honest. Also, in spite of all the praise the Ravens defense is getting, they ARE getting old.

3. Do Not Let Ray Rice or Torrey Smith have a big day, and pressure Flacco.

I am a Rutgers graduate, so I can tell you that Rice is special. Don’t let him have a big day. Keep him contained. Be careful if he is used in passing situations as well. The secondary also needs to keep an eye on WR Torrey Smith. That guy will burn you. Ask Champ Bailey.

As for Flacco, his offensive line has been shuffled, and they have done a lot better protecting him. However, this 49ers defense is no joke. How Justin Smith will play with his injured triceps will be the wild card. However, this 49ers pass rush has the ability to get to Flacco. They will need to get to him, as Flacco does have a great long ball in his arsenal.

What the Ravens must do to win:

1. Contain Colin and the Pistol Offense.

The Ravens defense has to be aware of where Colin Kaepernick is at all times. This is why the pistol offense is hard to stop, as it is hard to tell if Colin is going run it himself, hand off the ball to the RB, drop back and throw, or run, and then throw. Somehow, the Ravens defensive line has to force Colin to be one dimensional, and force him to be a pocket passer. They also need to shut down Michael Crabtree, as he is Colin’s favorite receiver.

2. Special Teams need to be Special.

In the Denver game, special teams let 2 scores happen. One on a punt return, and the other on a kickoff return. Even in the Patriots game, special teams let several big runs happen that gave the Patriots good field position. This can not happen in the Super Bowl. The players have to make a tackle, and stop the runner.

3. Joe Flacco- I’m from Missouri. Show Me.

OK, Joe. You finally lead your team to a Super Bowl appearance. In your five years in the NFL, you have lead your team to the playoffs, and won a playoff game. Congratulations.

You have declared yourself the best QB in the game, and now you and your camp want a 17-20 million dollar a year contract based on your belief that you are “outplaying Peyton Manning.” This blog is getting long as it is, or I’d go off about how you are not in Peyton’s LEAGUE as a QB (or Brady, Rodgers, Big Ben, Brees), but that’s another blog for another day.

Well, Mr. Flacco. As the expression goes, “I’m from Missouri. Show Me.” Let’s see if you can lead this team to the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy, and your first as a SB winning QB. If you do that, then the discussion can begin as to whether you are an “elite” QB, and whether you deserve a huge contract.

So Joe, go out there and lead the team to victory. No stupid interceptions. No fumbling the ball.

My Pick for Super Bowl XLVII:

Well, the coverage I do watch, a lot of it has been focused on Ray Lewis and these Deer Antlers juice allegations. I don’t hear a lot about the game, and who will win and why. I am honestly very disappointed that all the attention that is being focused on Ray Lewis, and his retirement, and the Harbaughs.

I would like to hear about Torrey Smith, and how he got through the season as his brother passed away earlier this year. How about hearing about some of the 49ers players besides Moss? This game should not be about the crying, Bible flaunting, self promoter Ray Lewis.

I guess that is a good thing. I can make my pick without hearing a lot of the experts.

I would be surprised if this game is a high scoring game. You have two teams with two tough defenses. I mean both offenses can be explosive, but I think the defenses are going to decide this game. I can see this game being a defensive struggle that will put me to sleep. I saw these two teams play against each other, a preview of the Harbaugh Bowl, on Thanksgiving in 2011 on NFL Network, and I turned it off after the first quarter. Bored me silly. If either team gets up to 30 points, it will be a miracle.

I think San Fransisco is the better team, but in my experience of watching this game, it is the hottest team, the team on a roll, that comes up with the Lombardi.

The winner of Super Bowl XLVII is The Baltimore Ravens by a score of 21-13.

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 Super Bowl 47 Predictions and Preview: Inside The Wheelhouse

January 31, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The final game of the 2012 NFL season is finally upon us as Super Bowl 47 is finally here. Two teams remain as the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers and the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens will battle it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy this Super Bowl Sunday. Two brothers will make history as for the first time ever it will be an all-Family bowl edition of the greatest sports game of the year. With that being said here is the preview & predictions for Super Bowl 47:

Super Bowl 47:

Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

In recent years it hasn’t been this difficult to predict who will win the Super Bowl like it has been this year. Both of these teams certainly have their strength’s and weaknesses to make a strong case to be crowned Super Bowl Champions for the 2012 NFL season. Let’s take a look at each team this season before we get to who will be celebrating in New Orleans on Super Bowl Sunday.

The NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers have had a “banner year” in the NFL and have knocked off some of the top teams (New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers to name a few) in the NFL this season. The Niners got those victories in a pretty convincing fashion and rested on what they know best: defense. San Francisco’s defense is one of the best in the league and the old adage of “defense wins championships” certainly rings true to this Niners squad.

San Francisco made a pretty bold move halfway through the season when they switched starting quarterbacks from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick when Smith went down with a concussion. The move was highly questioned in the beginning, because you never see a top team make a drastic move such as that, but the Niners proved us wrong and showed us why Kaepernick was the right choice to be the starting QB for this team. Kaepernick has been nothing but extraordinary for San Francisco taking them to the Super Bowl as he has shown the ability to really open up this Niners offense, something Alex Smith just couldn’t do.

Since about Week 1 of this season I praised this team as being the “most complete team in Football” and they proved why on a weekly basis that they deserved that moniker. Defensively they were a solid unit who would shut down any team and now their offense has been able to catch up with their defense as being just as explosive. San Francisco deserved the right to be playing in New Orleans this Sunday for the Vince Lombardi trophy.

As for the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens it is a season of triumph and tribulations. They dealt with a decent amount of injuries to their defense that made them look inferior to many top AFC teams all season long, their offense was struggling severely and they just didn’t look like a team that should be competing for the Vince Lombardi trophy in February. Throughout the season in my weekly recap blog I criticized the Ravens as being one of the worst 8-2 teams in the league and that it was a miracle they were in first place of the AFC North.

Then the Ravens, like the 49ers, made a pretty drastic move midway through their season when they replaced Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron with former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell. The move was very gutsy by the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff and proved to be the thing that this team needed to get them over the hump. While Baltimore “limped” into the playoffs, this team quickly became this year’s “momentum driving team.”

In 2010 it was the Green Bay Packers, in 2011 it was the New York Football Giants and in 2012 it is the Baltimore Ravens. What two of those three teams have in common is that they won the Super Bowl that season and allowed their momentum to carry them to the Vince Lombardi trophy. Being the “hottest team” at the “right time” certainly has its perks and the Ravens are hoping to capitalize on just that this Sunday.

These teams are pretty evenly matched in that their defenses are very good. The 49ers are the “new kids on the block” when it comes to top NFL defensive units while the Baltimore Ravens are the “old dogs” who are looking to end this defensive unit era (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, etc.) on the highest of notes. While the 49ers defense will be amazing for years to come this is the “swan song” for this Baltimore defensive unit and they will put it all on the line in the Superdome. For that reason I am calling it even on the defensive comparisons.

Offensively is where these two teams have their differences. Colin Kaepernick has been very solid in his minimal chances as a starting quarterback in the National Football League. He has certainly made his mistakes but has overcome the adversity to rise back to the top. But while Kaepernick has been good, Joe Flacco has been that much better.

Flacco has had a QB rating of 114.7 throughout the playoffs accumulating 8 TDs, 0 INTs and 853 yards passing in each of the 3 playoff games he has played. These stats in the playoffs are very reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers in 2010 and Eli Manning in 2011, two quarterbacks who led their teams to the Vince Lombardi trophy at season’s end. Joe Flacco has been insane this postseason and the sole reason why the offense has the edge over Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.

Due to that reason and the fact that Baltimore has been “red hot” at just the right time is the reason why I am picking the Baltimore Ravens to win Super Bowl 47. They are playing with the very dangerous “house money” and know that “they weren’t supposed to be here” on Super Bowl Sunday. Those are very dangerous cards to be playing with and that’s why I like the Ravens to get the upset over San Francisco in the Super Bowl.

I believe Joe Flacco will carry this team offensively and earn a moment that will be very comparable to the journey Eli Manning has taken in his NFL career. Both of those players have had to prove a lot of people wrong throughout their time in the league and Joe Flacco will be able to put the most ultimate “resume builder” on his career highlight reel to prove why he deserves to be in the conversation with some of the league’s best quarterbacks. Say what you will about the man but I will look forward to seeing one of the league’s all-time greats, Ray Lewis, end his career hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Prediction: Ravens 27 49ers 23

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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!

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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

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