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NFL Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Questions

September 24, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Week 3 recap, Week 4 questions

  • I have absolutely no clue what the deal is with the Dallas Cowboys. After an ultra-disappointing start to the season against the 49ers, the Cowboys trounced the Titans and then this past Sunday they spotted the Rams a 21 point lead before winning and moving to 2-1. Now all of a sudden the Cowboys head home to face a Saints team that one can argue is underperforming with the best of them this season. The Cowboys need to continue to give the ball to Demarco Murray. Murray is an above average back but there has been too many times when the offense gets pass happy and forgets about the simplest way to control a game. It’s not an unrealistic discussion that the Cowboys could be 3-1 after Sunday.
  • Let me just say that there are moral victories in sports for some, however, there are not moral victories if your name is Peyton Manning and/or you play for an elite team. I have read and talked to too many people since Sunday’s game “Oh, it was a moral victory for the Broncos’” “Oh they did better than the Superbowl!” “Oh, third time’s a charm!” Cut me a break. We are talking about the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history and a Broncos’ team that is 28-7 in the regular season since Manning has taken over. Manning has now lost again to Seattle for the second time in 2014. It doesn’t matter that this game was in Seattle where the Seahawks are near unbeatable. Manning has now lost again to Seattle. Moral victories are for when your team is 0-15 and you’re facing the best team in the league and you only lose by 10 instead of 30 like you were supposed to. I also want to comment that it’s laughable to me that there are discussions currently about how the overtime rules should be changed again just because Peyton Manning didn’t get the ball in overtime. Denver’s defense looked pretty stellar in the 3rd and 4th quarter, couldn’t they hang on for one more drive?
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally making the right decision and it only took 2 months to get there. After surprising a few folks (I honestly don’t know how this was a surprise) the Jaguars took Blake Bortles second overall in this year’s draft. With the spotlight on them, the Jaguars then foolishly announced during the preseason that Chad Henne was the starter and that Bortles would see no action this season at all. What were they thinking? The Jags have been good for all of 2 quarters this season (Leading 17-0 against Eagles in Week 1). Did they really think another season of Henne would be alright? Thankfully the Colts were obliterating the Jaguars bad enough that they reversed their poor decision and gave the ball to Bortles. Roughly 10 seconds after the game was completed, Bortles was named starter for the rest of the season. I’m not saying that this team would be 3-0 right now with Bortles as the quarterback but surely this offense would have been run better without Henne under center.

Questions for Week 4

Can the Detroit Lions make up their minds of what exactly they want to do every week? For the last few years, under Jim Schwartz, the Lions have been the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL. They have adopted that same style of play under new Head Coach Jim Caldwell. One week it looks like Lions fans should book Superbowl tickets and the next week they should be preparing for the #1 pick in the draft. Week 1 this season saw the Lions destroy the Giants. Week 2 saw them lay the biggest dud of the week (arguably) against the Panthers and then Week 3 they beat Aaron Rodgers. That’s the same Aaron Rodgers who is lifetime 9-1 against them! If it doesn’t get more frustrating for the Lions, they head to New York to play the Jets who are the AFC version of the Lions! I don’t think either team will know what to do with the other one this coming Sunday.

My Guess: The Lions go full dud mode against the Jets during the game, Jets win.

Are the Dolphins really going to quit on Ryan Tannehill already? I felt the Dolphins made the right move in 2012 by drafting Ryan Tannehill at #8 overall. Tannehill was the 3rd quarterback taken that year in the top 10 (Luck #1, RG III #2) and he was supposed to provide an instant upgrade for the team. He hasn’t been that bad (16-19 W/L record, close to 8,000 career passing yards and more touchdowns than interceptions). When the Dolphins lost to the Chiefs this past Sunday, Head Coach Joe Philbin was asked if Tannehill would remain the starter and to my amazement he didn’t refute or try to dispel any controversy. Is Philbin going to really go with Matt Moore? Joe Philbin is all but finished with Miami after this year (the Dolphins looked awful off coming off the Jonathan Martin fiasco last season) unless there are great strides in the win department. Benching Tannehill might just speed up the process and make Philbin the first mid-season termination this year in the NFL.

My Guess: Tannehill is not benched and starts, Dolphins defeat the Raiders.

Bold Prediction for Week 4: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win of the season. The Steelers are notorious for playing down to their opponent’s talent. Sure they destroyed a good Carolina Panther team last Sunday but typically the Steelers always get into these ugly “trap” games with a lesser opponent and the result is always 50/50. Even if the Steelers do win, it’s more of an 18-15 slugfest kind of an ugly game instead of a landslide victory. I like the Buccaneers for the upset here. Plus, we are talking about a Steelers team that is depleted at linebacker and just signed retired veteran James Harrison to try and fill a void.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 4: The Bears continue to bury the Packers this season with a win on Sunday. Something’s not clicking for the Packers and I can’t figure out what it is. The have faced some very stingy rush defenses to start the year in Seattle, Detroit and the Jets. Facing these defenses has caused Eddie Lacy to not be able to return to his rookie year form yet. Don’t forget that the Packers were a giant comeback away from being 0-3. The universal “sexy” pick for the Superbowl this year is not looking so hot right now.

Recap from Questions and thoughts from Week 3

Doug Martin starts and plays the entire game Thursday but Bucs lose to Falcons and go to 0-3RIGHT AND WRONG – Doug Martin did not suit up for the game against the Falcons………and it wouldn’t have helped anyway. Buccaneers were humiliated on national TV losing 56-14 to the Falcons.

Texans win easily, move to 3-0. – WRONG – Oh boy. I made a case last week for the Texans to benefit from an easy schedule to start the season. Did someone send my piece to the Giants for that week? You can’t even use the Texans missing Arian Foster as an excuse (backup Alfred Blue rushed for a respectable 6 yard per carry average). The Giants had full control of that game from the opening kick to the end to get their first win and hand the Texans their first loss.

The Arizona Cardinals upset the 49ers to become 3-0 – RIGHTThe 49ers have been the worst 2nd half teams in the NFL this season. They have been outscored 52-3 in all second half play through 3 games. Blame referees all you want but this is horrendous offensive play for a team that simply isn’t playing up to their talent. And I know, I know, “The 49ers were 1-2 last year and made the playoffs”. Last year was last year and this defense is missing a lot of key components and the offense looks pedestrian at times. I’m starting to think that they will be in the middle of a huge mess by the time Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith return.

Ravens over the Browns. —RIGHT — Although the Ravens did need a last second drive by Joe Flacco and a time expiring winning kick, the Browns still fell in defeat.

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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!

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 979espn.com!

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 www.979espn.com

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeffPeck979ESPN

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NFL Week 16 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 24, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 16 in the National Football League!

– Congrats to the Falcons on clinching the #1 seed in the NFC and having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Personally, I believe while it’s a tremendous feat, they may be the weakest #1 seed in the NFL playoffs in some time. Their passing offense is great but their run game and defense can be shaky depending on the week. Let’s see if the ATL can make me eat my words yet again this season.

- Congrats to Calvin Johnson on breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record! Can we now say that the “Madden Curse” is done?

– Quietly, the Green Bay Packers are continuing to emerge in the NFC. While it is the Titans, they kept the momentum going throughout this one. Things are getting interesting for the Pack…

– At least the Titans put 7 points on the board and weren’t shut out…right?

– New Orleans gets to play spoiler against Dallas and can at least have a .500 record should they win next week. Nice to see the Saints giving it a shot and being competitive with nothing left to play for.

– What are the Cowboys doing!? They need to win these games and they are going through the same problem they always have this time of the year. Next week will be very interesting as the Cowboys will play for the NFC East division crown in Week 17 for the 2nd straight season.

– Congrats to the Indianapolis Colts on clinching a playoff berth this week. Better yet, Chuck Pagano will be returning to this playoff team very soon. Great story this year in the National Football League, I love that Chuck Pagano and the Colts are proving anyone can beat the odds.

– One more loss and the Chiefs clinch the #1 overall pick!

– Well at least Miami has a chance at a .500 season next week; they could be a sneaky pick in the NFC East next season.

– Buffalo needs to fire Chan Gailey at the end of the season.

– San Diego beats the New York Jets in Week 16; this is monumental because it could be Norv Turner’s last win as the Chargers head coach.

– So Tim Tebow gets flack for telling the coaching staff to not put him in the “Wildcat formation” after he was passed over for the 3rd string quarterback and people are complaining? Tebow has been a good solider for this Jets team all season long and when we look back on his tenure with this team the Jets could’ve really affected his NFL playing career based off of the way they handled him. He gets brought along basically to sell seats and not play, yet people have a problem with him removing himself from the “wildcat!?” C’mon man.

– Big win for the Redskins and they keep on rolling. It’s all on the line in Week 17 for them as they take on Dallas for the NFC East crown. The playoffs begin (and could end) next week for the ‘Skins.

– Fitting way for Andy Reid’s potentially last home game as the head coach of the Eagles to end like that.

– How about the Cincinnati Bengals this season? They force Roethlisberger to make a crucial interception in the final minute of the game, make a huge offensive play to set up the field goal and win it. That was a franchise achieving moment for the Bengals and their fans to knock out their rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

– I wonder if we could see any changes in the offseason to this Steelers team. They are getting older, the window is getting smaller and the coaches may not be gelling. Interesting times for this Steelers franchise and it could’ve been prevented had they won today.

– St. Louis is quietly ending their season very strong right now. This is another team that could enter 2013 as a surprise team in the NFC West. With the exception of Sam Bradford (the jury is still out on him), I like what is going in St. Louis.

– Tough to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to end their season like this. Really had high hopes for them at the midway point of the season.

– Carolina beats Oakland and this Panthers team continues to play well at the wrong point in the season. At least someone is probably keeping their job in Carolina, for now.

– Want to know how bad the Raiders are? Matt Leinart was the backup after Carson Palmer got hurt. How come they just didn’t bring Terrelle Pryor in to see what they got?

– A win-is-a-win but New England cannot be playing like this with less then two weeks to go until the playoffs. They played shaky against San Francisco last week and lost. They played shaky this week and almost lost. Hopefully it’s just a bad stretch for the Patriots so they can get it out of their system now and not in the Playoffs.

– If Jacksonville beat New England with Chad Henne as the Quarterback in Week 16 would that have saved him from the (rumored) incoming “TebowMania” next season?

– Minnesota needed this win and they got it. The Vikings are stepping up at the right time and didn’t need Adrian Peterson to pile on the rushing yards to do it. They win next week and they are in, it’s that simple.

– Houston is playing extremely sloppy at the wrong point in the season. It amazes me that they still have a chance at a First-Round bye next week.

– Denver is the only consistent team in the AFC right now and it’s coming at the right time with the playoffs nearing. I just hope that the Broncos weak schedule doesn’t come back to haunt them like it did for New England last season.

– Who saw the Cleveland Browns having 5 wins this season? They have a chance at 6 next week and amongst Browns fans that would be overachieving.

– Well they may have been struggling lately but they got a crucial win in Week 16 against Arizona. Lovie’s job as head coach is safe for at least this week; if they fail to beat Detroit in Week 17 or make the playoffs then it could be franchise-changing times in Chicago.

– Arizona really needs a quarterback and I don’t think Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez is the answer.

– All of us left the Ravens for “dead” and got proven wrong in Week 16. This is the type of win a team needs at this point in the season when they have been struggling and the Ravens got it. I still am not a huge believer in their playoffs chances but the win was really encouraging.

– I cannot believe there is a large probability that the Giants don’t make the playoffs this season. At times they have played like the best team in the league and in recent weeks they have been extremely inconsistent. The defending Super Bowl Champions need A LOT of things to happen next week, including for them to defeat Philadelphia of course, for them to make the playoffs.

– The Seattle Seahawks are proving to the NFL that they may just be the team to beat come January. What a huge win for the Seahawks against one of the best teams in the league, the San Francisco 49ers. This team is gaining momentum at the right time and we all know what that means come playoff time…

- Injuries and inconsistency in the last 6 quarters could be coming to haunt the Niners at the wrong time in the season. The fact that they may not have a first-round bye in the playoffs is extremely surprising and it’s possible that this team could be underachieving. Hopefully that changes once January hits.

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 979espn.com!

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 www.979espn.com

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeffPeck979ESPN

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“LIKE” The Bower Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bowershow

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NFL Week 15 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 18, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 15 in the National Football League!

– Very solid win for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Philadelphia Eagles in the final Thursday Night game of the season. No game is an “easy win” for any team and the Bengals needed to get the “W” at any cost. Now they are in the driver seat of playoff positioning with just two weeks to go, a win against Pittsburgh could all but close the door for them to play past Week 17.

- Was hoping to see some more from Philadelphia against Cincinnati on Thursday, but I didn’t. The Eagles needed something encouraging as this season slowly comes to a close for Eagles fans. Amazing to see how far this franchise has fallen since the “dream team” comment.

– Talk about a “statement win.” This is the win Atlanta has been looking for all season long and it has come at the right time with just two weeks to go until the regular season closes out. Watch out for the Falcons, this could finally be their year.

– New York needs to stop play inconsistently and needs to stop now. The Giants are self-imploding and finding a way to back out of the playoff competition. New York entered Week 15 the 4th seed in the NFC playoffs and they walk out Week 15 as they 9th seed in the NFC Playoffs currently; rough loss for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

– Enter this season there were a lot of people out there who doubted the Green Bay Packers. They believe this would be the Bears season to capture the NFC North and it looked that way for most of the season. Since their loss to New York a couple weeks back the Packers have really turned it around by capturing the NFC North division and they are quietly emerging as a scary team entering the playoffs.

– Since Week 10 the Bears have gone 1-5 in their last 6 games. If they can’t make the playoffs with Arizona and Detroit on their schedule to close out 2012 then we can all say “good-bye” to Lovie Smith in Chicago.

– No RG III, no problem! Washington is now your new NFC East division leaders with two weeks to go and they made the right move to sit RGIII against a poor opponent in Cleveland. I will be shocked if Washington is not playing past Week 17 this year, I have really enjoyed watching this team grow in recent weeks.

– Does Nick Saban really want to return to Cleveland? Not sure if a loss like this entices a big-time College Football coach to leave his very cushioned job.

– The NFL needs to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award. He is single-handily putting this team in playoff position with just two games to go. While Minnesota does sit in the 6th spot currently I will be very surprised if they can hold onto it. But then again, nothing should surprise us about this Vikings team.

– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think Sam Bradford is the answer in St. Louis.

– Miami beats Jacksonville in a meaningless game in December, nice to see who the best team in Florida is.

– Can this season end any quicker for Jaguar fans? This team looked so much fun to watch a couple weeks ago and then they reappeared to what they always were…

– Welcome back to the NFL, Drew Brees. Where was this type of play the last couple of weeks when they needed it?

– Very tough to see how poorly this Bucs team has collapsed in recent weeks. They were so much fun to watch and a very dangerous team if they continued to be in playoff contention. I just continue to hope they are building forward for next season.

– I’ve been very critical of the Denver Broncos not beating good teams this season. Technically the Broncos beat a playoff clinching team in the Baltimore Ravens but did they really come off like a team playing past Week 17? I’m still not completely sold on this Broncos squad, sorry Denver.

– How is it that the Baltimore Ravens are a playoff team this year? Amazing how quickly this team has fallen in the last month or so.

– Loved seeing the Houston Texans bounce back after that rough Monday Night showing against New England in Week 14. They are the AFC South division champions yet again and are in the driver seat for that 1st round bye in the AFC playoffs. Maybe that Monday Night loss to New England is what this young team needed to get them back to focus.

– Indianapolis could’ve made the AFC South very interesting with just two weeks to go but that won’t be the case now. If I’m the Colts I just focus on preparing myself for the playoffs in these last two games. Indy can be a very scary team if they play their cards right because they weren’t supposed to be a playoff team this season.

– Seattle is the most dangerous team entering the playoffs right now. I have no issues with them running up the score on their opponents because they should never back down from their competitive nature. That Week 16 game against San Francisco is going to be very fun to watch.

– Fire Chan Gailey and consider looking into another starting quarterback. Buffalo has potential; they just need the right people to tap into it before this current crop disbands.

– How did Arizona get the win against Detroit!? Are the Lions really that bad this season?

– Do you believe me now Detroit Lions fans? Fire Jim Schwartz.

– Where was this Panthers team at the start of this season? Another solid week for the Panthers and I’m sure they are hoping this is something they can build off of in 2013.

– Can’t you just fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith now? I really wonder if the next person in-charge keeps Philip Rivers around in San Diego for much longer…

– Huge win for Dallas and this is exactly what they needed with two games to go. It’s a big victory that can carry this team for the final two games. While they may not be the “media darling” that the Washington Redskins are right now, do not sleep on the Cowboys.

– The Steelers have found a way to back out of the playoffs and now it doesn’t look so good for this team with 2 games to go. They need to beat Cincinnati in Week 16 or they can all but kiss their 2012 season goodbye, should be a very interesting game next week.

– Oakland wins 15-0, congrats on not being the worst team in the NFL this season.

– All Kansas City has to do the next two weeks is play worse then Jacksonville and the #1 overall pick is theirs! Been a while since I wrote something positive about Kansas City…then again, do you consider being the worst team in the league honors necessarily positive?

– So San Francisco beats New England in a matchup that many people believed (including me) put the best team in the NFC against the best team in the AFC. So does that mean the 49ers are the best team in the NFL? I think so.

– New England did not look like New England in the 1st half but bounced back pretty loudly in the 2nd half. It looked like it was the Patriots game to lose at one point in the 2nd half as they were dominating the 49ers throughout their comeback but it just wasn’t meant to be. This loss is something the Patriots needed to motivate them and keep them on their toes with just two games left in the season.

- Well at least Tennessee got to play spoiler at some point in their season…then again it was the New York Jets.

– As weird as it sounded that the Jets were in playoff contention going into the Monday Night game, it made a world of sense when they went out there and performed like that against Tennessee. The fact that this team had a shot at a playoff spot was a shame.
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NFl 2012-13 Season: Getting Close To The Stretch Drive

November 29, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Before I get started, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I apologize for my absence from this blog. I had recent gall bladder surgery, and I am happy to report that it went well. My recovery is going very well. I think I am ready to write a bit more, and I want to thank my editor, and blog owner, Eric Gargiulo for being such a wonderful, and understanding editor.

Now that I am back, I am ready to comment on where the 2012-13 season is after about three-fourths of the season has now past. This is a somewhat sad time for me. It signals the impending end of the regular season. I also have to realize that the playoffs will make January go by quickly, and after the Super Bowl, no more NFL till training camps in August. Waiting six months will be agony.

This point of the season is also when the experts start talking playoff scenarios. That is the fun part. Many scenarios are a little confusing, but some are pretty simple. It makes every game from Week 13 (which starts Thursday, 11/29/12 with Saints at Atlanta on NFL Network) on more important.

Let’s discuss some of the good, the bad and the ugly at this point in the NFL Season. If this were a horse race, the teams are going around the clubhouse turn. During the last 5 games, teams fighting for playoff position will be set down for the drive, and others will be just positioning for the April Draft.

The Good:

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s Season Coming Off A Fourth Neck Surgery:

I admit that I was never the biggest fan of Peyton, but since my beloved WWE Superstar Edge was forced to retire due to his own neck issues, how can I not root for Peyton to do well? He has uplifted the Broncos to be an overall better team. His playing the QB position has been awesome.

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s Leading the NFL in Rushing Coming Off an ACL Tear:

Much like Peyton Manning, people were wondering when Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in November of 2011, if Peterson would be the same RB as he was. Well, Peterson did more than answer the bell. He is leading the NFL in rushing. Peterson is awesome, to say the least. If Manning and Peterson could somehow share the Comeback Player of the Year Award, that would be sweet.

Tom Brady and The Patriots Force Themselves Into The Conversation As One of The Top Teams In The AFC:

The so called “World Wide Leader,” ESPN, and their talking heads were all over themselves pushing the Texans, and the Ravens as the best teams in the AFC. By their records, those teams should have been pushed, even though the Ravens got away with a few lucky breaks in a few of their wins (Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers).

One team, the defending AFC Champion Patriots were sort of forgotten, and were dismissed due to their close losses early in the season. Lately though, the Patriots have dismantled the Colts, Rams, and ESPN favorite, the Jets, and put the Patriots right back in the discussion of one of the best teams in the AFC.

The Indianapolis Colts Supporting Their Head Coach, Chuck Pagano:

As someone who lost her father to cancer, (RIP) I know all too well how the disease destroys families. This story of the Indianapolis Colts , from top management leaving the light on in Coach Pagano’s office, to the players and cheerleaders shaving their heads is very touching. It is a great story of love, support, and dedication. The team’s record of 7-4, and being on the verge of a playoff spot is nothing short of miraculous.

The Rise Of Young Quarterbacks:

The NFL is seeing an array of young QBs taking over the NFL. From the dynamic Robert Griffin III, to the Colts rookie sensation, Andrew Luck, to the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick, fans are being treated to the next generation of QBs. I think it is great, as one day, the “old guard” will be retiring, and the NFL will need new blood.

The Bad

The Number of Players Being Caught With PEDs:

This is really a shame. I mean, why do players need to take drugs to enhance their performance? Recently, Patriots DE Jermaine Cunningham, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, and his teammate, fellow CB Brandon Browner were nailed with four week suspensions for PEDs. Don’t these guys realize that when they take these drugs, and get caught, that they HURT THEIR TEAM? It really makes me mad.

The NFL’s Hypocrisy On Player Safety:

This item could be a blog of it’s own. Anyway, in their match up against the Ravens at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders was hit in the head/neck area by Ravens S Ed Reed. The referee, at least, felt the hit was in the neck/head area, and threw the flag for the 15 yard penalty. Reed was suspended one game for being a repeat offender over the past three years. ESPN and others had a hissy fit, and Ed Reed appealed. The suspension was overturned, and Reed got a slap on the wrist with a 50,000 dollar fine.

The hypocrisy is that the NFL ruled Reed a “repeat offender.” Well, why then did they reverse their decision? It could not have been because ESPN’s talking heads lost their marbles over the fact that Reed would have lost 430,000 dollars of his salary? It couldn’t have been that Ed Reed is one of the network’s “Golden Children?” “Mike and Mike’s” Mike Greenberg gave the excuse that Reed could not tackle due to the torn labrum. Well, what in the heck is Reed doing playing then?

My point is, if Reed was deemed a “repeat offender,” then he should have been punished like one. The NFL backed down because he was Ed Reed. I shudder to think what would have happened if this had been one of the Steelers, particularly James Harrison. If a suspension was given to Harrison as a repeat offender, one should have been given to Reed also. The heck with what a bunch of crybabies at ESPN say.

The Ugly:

Happy Trails To You:

This is more geared to coaches/GMs that I am SPECULATING that may be fired after the season is over. I mean, from watching them after all these weeks, it appears to me that the respective team owners MAY want to make some changes.

The Carolina Panthers:

When I saw earlier this season that the Panthers fired their GM, I had a feeling that Coach Ron Rivera may be on borrowed time. I had heard that in previous interviews for other teams in the past, he had not interviewed well. However, he was given a shot here. I think, IF he is fired, the team needs an offensive coach to help out Cam Newton. The team may want someone to smooth out Newton’s attitude also. Cam is not used to losing, and his poor attitude needs to be straightened out.

The Dallas Cowboys:

That goofy petition to President Obama aside, I do agree with the sentiment of the group that Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones needs to step aside as GM, and let someone else “buy the groceries,” as former Cowboy coach Bill Parcells once said. I am sort of on the fence as to whether Jason Garrett keeps his head coaching job. The Dallas Cowboys have been overrated, in my opinion, for years. They haven’t done anything in over 15 years. I know Jones loves his team, but he can’t interfere in everything.

The Kansas City Chiefs:

This is another disaster area. I don’t know what the Chiefs will do. There are people not happy with Scott Pioli, the current GM. I am sure Head Coach Romeo Crennel will be gone at the end of the season. I am sure KC will be drafting a QB. I would dump Pioli also.

The New York Jets:

Wow. What to do with this dumpster fire. Owner Woody Johnson keeps insisting that the team is “not a circus.” I don’t think it is either, because that would be an insult to circuses. Circuses are well organized, and fun to watch. This team is unorganized, and not fun at all to watch. I mean, this team is the “butt” of all jokes.

Seriously, this team has been so bad this year. I admit that a couple of their big weapons, CB Darrelle Revis, and WR Santonio Holmes wound up on IR, and their bringing in QB Tim Tebow has not worked out as hoped, but something is really wrong.

I don’t see Rex Ryan being fired. I would not fire him. After all, his first two years, the Jets DID go from being an OK team to being one game away from the Super Bowl. Last year, and this year has not gone well, but Ryan has not forgotten how to coach. Of course, this is the same team who fired Eric Mangini who had the Jets at 9-7.

I WOULD fire GM Mike Tannenbaum. He’s the one who largely put the team together.
However, what the Jets do is another thing altogether.

The Philadelphia Eagles:

I had a very sad feeling that this year was not going to be a good year for the Eagles, and especially for Head Coach Andy Reid when Reid’s son Garrett died at the team’s training camp on August 6th of this year. I know that people grieve differently, and some people throw themselves into work, but I just think losing his son had to weigh on him as he coached. Owner Jeffery Lurie’s edict of the team needing to make the playoffs didn’t help the situation, in my opinion.

However, as the injuries to star players like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, etc piled up, and the defense not being what it should, leading to Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s firing, and his replacement Todd Bowles’ failure to make the defense better, it does look like Andy Reid will be coaching his last year with the team.

What will happen with star QB Michael Vick, I don’t know. As for Reid, if he wants to coach next year, trust me, he won’t be unemployed for very long.

Well, that is my review at the three quarter pole, so to speak. The 32 teams are rounding the far turn. When they hit the stretch, we will have to see who winds up with the Lombardi in February. Like the Kentucky Derby, it is a long stretch, from now (Week 13) until February 2, 2013, but like in horse racing, anything can happen.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/giopontifan

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Fantasy Football Week 12 Sleepers and Busts

November 25, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

It is easy to start your fantasy football studs but what about the sleepers? The sleepers are where you can pull off the upset and here are a few you can start with confidence this week to help seal your playoff hopes.

The easiest thing for me to do is to write a start/sit blog and drop the obvious names. But what good is that to you? You already know you need to play your studs. But unless you are incredibly lucky this season, your lineup isn’t perfect. You need to fill in some holes and whether you go to your bench or your waiver wire, that player could make or break your playoff aspirations in week 12. That is why I did the dirty work and went through the player histories, the stats, the injuries, and the trends to find you sleepers at every position for this critical week.

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars – Colin Kapernick is the hot name on most expert’s sleeper lists this week but for me it is Henne. The matchup is much more appetizing than Kaepernick’s and I think that the risk is much lower with Henne. The thing that most people forget about with Henne is that he was actually to come on a bit last season before he went down in Miami. He had a great game last week and has a real chance to shine in this new offense. The Titans are the 25th worst ranked team against QBs in standard scoring leagues. Even Christian Ponder managed 21 points on the Titans. I love Henne as a super sleeper today if you need a sneaky start at quarterback.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants – Normally a guy with the pedigree of Nicks is not someone you’d call a sleeper but 2012 is a much different year for the Giant. Once a top five receiver in fantasy football, Nicks is now ranked number 15 overall on ESPN’s projections for this week. Nicks has owned the Green Bay Packers in previous matchups. Nicks averages 21.5 fantasy points per game in his career vs. the Packers with 5 TDS in only 3 games. Nicks managed close to 30 fantasy points in their last meeting. The Giants are going to need to air it out and Eli is going to look for his go-to receiver in big situations. The Packers are also without Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews on defense. Look for Nicks to get back on track in a big way against the Packers at home.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons – Turner is like Nicks in that he is a guy that I normally wouldn’t call a sleeper, but again things have changed in 2012. I see Turner on a lot of benches on Sundays but this is the week you want to play him. Turner is currently ranked 16th overall coming into Sunday. So why do I like the big man this much? Most importantly, he has owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Turner averages 14.4 fantasy points a game and in 7 games has scored 6 TDs with an average of 4.58 a clip. Turner ran for over 100 in their last meeting and scored 29.2 standards points in fantasy. The Falcons will look to slow down the vaunted Tampa Bay air attack and Turner is likely to see more work than usual. I know all about Tampa’s improved rush defense but they aren’t unbeatable. Their first game allowing 1 yard to the Panthers this season have given the Bucs a much more misleading rushing stats defensively than deserved. I love Turner to get in the end zone today. Don’t be scared, start the Falcon!

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers – Remember the days when you wouldn’t start anyone against the Baltimore Ravens defense? Me too but those days are over and it is time to start playing your studs with confidence against John Harbaugh’s bunch. Alexander is currently ranked 20th overall by ESPN experts and I think that is ridiculous. Do you think he is going to have a better day than Mike Wallace, Michael Crabtree, and Julio Jones? I do. The guy is on a roll with three TDs and 230 yards in his last two starts against two pretty darned good defenses. These same Ravens were torched by Carson Palmer two weeks ago. Like the Bucs I think their defensive stats are a bit misleading thanks to some lights out games against the Chiefs and Browns. Alexander was top five in wide receiver scoring last week and number two behind Calvin Johnson two weeks ago. I love him this week as a sneaky play over some of your usual suspects.

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders – I was torn between Myers and Tony Moeaki at the tight end position but after careful consideration I am going Myers. Myers has emerged as a top target in Carson Palmer’s air attack in Oakland. Former Bengal Carson Palmer will be returning to Cincinnati and look to pour it on against his old team. Lucky for Myers the Bengals are awful against tight ends, 28th against TEs to be exact. Myers has three TDs in three weeks and is poised to add at least one more today on the road.

Carolina Panthers, defense – The Philadelphia Eagles are awful…just absolutely awful. After struggling with my drafted Steelers defense earlier this season I have started playing defenses on the wire every week. The last two weeks I have started the Cowboys and Redskins against the Eagles and they have each put up monster numbers. What will be different about this week? The Eagles won’t have LeSean McCoy and will be playing a fired up Panthers team on Monday Night Football. As an Eagles fan this is scary, as a fantasy football player this matchup is fool’s gold and you would be a fool not to take advantage of it. FYI – I was able to grab the Panthers defense off of the wire earlier this week in four out of four leagues.

Bust Alert – Here are a couple of busts that are hot names this week that I think you need to sit if you have better options.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers – Every fantasy football writer and blogger I have talked to or read this week is hot on Kaepernick except yours truly and resident CCB fantasy writer Jeff Porrini. We both feel that he has bust written all over him. One thing that everyone seems to be forgetting is that this is a huge and I mean huge revenge game for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have had this one circled for months after being upset in last year’s playoffs. The Saints are generally regarded in fantasy circles as a bad defense but that is a misleading myth. The Saints were terrible early on but they have played much better in recent weeks against quarterbacks. So we are looking at an inexperienced QB going up against a rejuvenated defense looking for revenge. I’ll stay away from that QB every time.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants – As a Bradshaw owner I was tempted to play him until I started doing some research. For one, he still missed practice time this week even after a bye week. That concerns me. Two and most importantly, the Packers have owned Bradshaw in past matchups. A big part of that is that the Giants needed to throw to keep up with the Packers scoring but that doesn’t explain Bradshaw’s measly 3.82 yards per carry in five games against the Packers. In those five games Bradshaw has only scored 1 TD! I know the Packers are missing some key players but this is a guy who never did well against them when they were fully healthy. Let’s not even get into the vulture situation with Andre Brown. Beware of Bradshaw. I benched him for Ronnie Hillman (also a risky play). Hope you have some better options as well.

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 12 Pickups

November 20, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Fantasy Football owners in need of a starting running back or quarterback may be in a lot of luck this week. Searching for solid pickups on the waiver wire in Fantasy Football Week 12 is never easy, yet a few injuries have presented owners with some interesting options late in the season.

Quarterbacks

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars - Henne is coming off a career game but how much of this was the Texans sleeping on the Jaguars or is Henne really that good? Henne never impressed me in college and was somewhat of a bust in Miami. However, there is a chance that Mike Mularky could be the difference here and maybe, just maybe Henne has grasped this offense. I’d probably pick him up and wait a week just to see how consistent he is but he is certainly worth a shot after seeing what he did to arguably the best defense in the NFL.

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams - You are probably thinking that I have lost my mind but keep in mind a few things here. One, your options are limited anyway if you are looking at a QB right now. Two, he has a really great run of matchups down the stretch. Three, he has had double digit weeks every week going back to week 5 and that includes some big games against some decent defenses. That Tampa Bay matchup in Week 16 could be a real sneaky play if you are weak at QB entering your championship game.

Wide Receivers

Santana Moss, Washington Redskins - Moss has had 4 TDs in his last four games and yet he remains on the waiver wire in just about every league I am in. He doesn’t get much action but when he does, it usually results in a score. Whether Pierre Garcon is on the field or not, Moss will continue to be a go-to guy for RG III. Expect the Redskins to play spoiler down the stretch with Moss earning himself a few more scores as the season closes out. That said, he is certainly as boom or bust as it gets with a lot of boom lately. I know Blackmon is the hot name this week but I’d rather go with the consistent scorer than the guy who has had one great game all year.

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars - Blackmon finally broke out this weekend with over 200 yards on the NFL’s best defense. Is this a fluke or is it for real? I am certainly not going to put him in my lineup over consistent starters this week but he is certainly worth a shot. I had him on a few teams coming into the season but dropped him after it became apparent that the Jags offense was every bit as terrible as it was last year. A backup QB usually doesn’t give a wide receiver like Blackmon that much of a boost but when your backup is replacing Blaine Gabbert, everyone gets a boost. Pick him up this week, see how he follows up this weekend, and start playing him next week if the ride continues.

Running Backs

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos - I’d probably say that your best bet on the waiver wire this week period is Hillman. Willis McGahee is out up to 8 weeks and Hillman is expected to get the lion’s share of the load during his absence. Hillman should get plenty of opportunities in that high impact offense making him my number one target on this week’s wire. I may wait a week before I start him just to see how they use him in Denver, but you won’t be able to snag him if you wait until next week.

Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville Jaguars - Parmele got the start Sunday in Houston and rushed for 80 yards on 24 carries. Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to return soon so Parmele certainly isn’t going to be anyone’s long term answer. However, the Jaguars get a very run-friendly Tennessee Titans defense this week. I may give him a shot in my 16-team league if I can get him (I am just decimated all over the place by injuries) although I still wouldn’t touch him anywhere else. In other words, temper your expectations, but grab him if you’re desperate.

Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles - As a Philadelphia Eagles fan I can tell you that it is getting really ugly in Philadelphia. The starting QB is out, the coach is clueless, and now they are likely to miss their star running back next week. Brown has been hot and cold so I have no idea what you are going to get here. The only plus is that you have a coach that enjoys going against conventional wisdom in every situation. What would you expect the coach to do without his star RB? You’d expect more of a passing game. With Andy Reid, look for more runs against the Panthers than all season.

Tight Ends

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders - Myers continues to be a reliable target for Carson Palmer in the pass-heavy Oakland offense. He is coming off of double digit targets this past Sunday and a score. Myers will go up against one of the worst defenses against tight ends in the NFL in the Bengals. The Bengals have given up three TDs to TEs in their last four games. Look for Myers to make it five in five.

Defense

Carolina Panthers, Defense - After several disappointing weeks playing the Steelers defenses I decided to start playing defenses off the wire and it has made a huge difference. Look no further than the Carolina Panthers if you are looking for a solid wire play this week. The Panthers get the Philadelphia Eagles this week who have now given up back to back mid-high double digits to defenses. It isn’t going to get better as the Eagles will probably be playing without LeSean McCoy. Look for a big day from the Panthers defense in Philadelphia.

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NFL Week 11 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

November 20, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 11 in the National Football League!

- Buffalo looked really good against Miami on Thursday Night, you got to feel bad for the Bills because had they played this way most of the season then they could’ve lived up to their potential.

– How disappointing has this Dolphins team been the last 3 weeks? One minute they look like a potential playoff team and the next they are backing out of any playoff possibilities. There has to be a big concern when it comes to Reggie Bush right now, I really don’t understand what has happened to him these last couple of weeks.

– Not sure if we learned anything about Atlanta this week being that they barely beat the Arizona Cardinals coming off of a loss. Atlanta is no doubt going to be a playoff team but how far they advance is up in the air right now.

– I really enjoyed Arizona at the start of the season and was really hoping they could give a team like San Francisco a run for their money in the NFC West but as we all know now, we were sadly mistaken.

– Once again the Cincinnati Bengals are quietly impressing people and moving up the standings in the AFC North. While I like what I see as of late they are still far away from making it back to the playoffs for the 2nd season in a row.

– I wonder who the Kansas City Chiefs will draft with one of their top 3 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft? And more importantly who will be their head coach to make those picks?

– Similar to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dallas Cowboys have quietly become one of the hottest teams in the league in recent weeks. I’m starting to get the feeling that we could see another Week 17 where the NFC East could be decided between the Giants and Cowboys.

– Cleveland gave it a great shot, but once again they have a tough time closing out the lead against a NFC East team this season. I still like this team’s growth heading into 2013 and beyond.

– Green Bay gets a much needed tough win against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. It wasn’t the greatest game the Packers have played this season but a win is a win and they head into Week 12 with a chance to really tighten things up in the NFC North.

– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know how the Lions can bring Jim Schwartz back next season. This team is too good to be playing this bad, especially when the offense had their chances and never got in rhythm against Green Bay. If this continues on into 2013 then people will be questioning whether or not Matthew Stafford is “the guy” in Detroit as well.

– Houston still proves they are the best team in the AFC but they need to be blowing out teams like Jacksonville and not playing catch up all day into Overtime. It was a win for the Texans but not the prettiest of wins.

– Jacksonville is still horrible but I think they are onto something with Chad Henne actually starting at QB. Even if Gabbert is hurt the Jaguars need to start Henne from here on out.

– Of course the Jets win this week after everyone write’s them off! It may just be a Week 11 win to all of us but to the Jets organization it may have just save Rex Ryan’s job heading into 2013.

– Some weeks I like what the Rams are doing and then they have a week like this against the lowly New York Jets. Not sure what to think of this team right now, they could be a surprise team in 2013 if they get things together. Hopefully this young team is learning from these losses.

– RG III gets the “Captain” nod heading into this week and he lives up to that honor by going 14/15 for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns while running on 12 attempts for 84 yards. You read that right.

– Andy Reid doesn’t make it till the end of the season now, right? If Philly keeps having games like this I can’t see this franchise keeping Reid as the head coach. It clearly looks like this Eagles team has just given up on the 2012 season.

– Who has been my favorite team to watch the last 4-5 weeks? If you’ve been reading these blogs or listening to The Bower Show then you know it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This team is going to be a major “underdog threat” if they make the playoffs.

– The Carolina Panthers are the NFC version of the New York Jets thanks to what we presume is a locker room filled with issues right now. Thankfully Cam Newton doesn’t have a backup QB who is as popular/gets a lot of press like Tim Tebow does. Could the Jets trade Tebow to Carolina in the offseason? (I’m kidding, or am I?)

– Don’t look now but here comes the New Orleans Saints. I believe if this team can get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers then there is no stopping them from making a playoff spot. Who would’ve thought you’d say that with 6 games to go this season?

– You would’ve figured that after all these years of losing the Raiders organization would be in better shape then they are but they are not. While Carson Palmer may be playing really well I wonder if it’s worth giving Terrelle Pryor a shot to just see how he can play as a starting QB. What do you have to lose at this point?

– No shock here: Denver gets the win over AFC West rival San Diego. While it’s a victory for the Broncos I would’ve liked to seen a little bit more overall dominance. For whatever reason it seems like this team loses steam come the 4th quarter, may be something to keep your eye on as the season wraps up.

– Unlike Andy Reid I still believe Norv Turner finishes the season out with the Chargers. What’s the point of firing him now after you keep him on after last season’s debacle? Also it appears this team hasn’t given up on Norv Turner yet, while Andy Reid’s Eagles certainly have.

– The New England Patriots reminded us all why they are still the New England Patriots in Week 11. Dear Bill and Tom, thanks for the reminder!

– Welcome to the NFL rookie! How’d that butt whoopin’ taste? Sure looks like we may have to pump our brakes on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts after that tough Week 11 loss now doesn’t?

– Baltimore’s victory over Pittsburgh was the stereotypical Ravens game during the “Joe Flacco era.” The Ravens come off a huge victory against Oakland and then follow it up by barely beating an injury depleted Steelers squad. This type of game is what constantly holds this team and Joe Flacco back from ever being those “Super Bowl contenders” so many fans/analysts believe they can be.

– There aren’t high hopes in Pittsburgh right now without “Big Ben” at QB. But what we saw Sunday Night is that despite their injuries the Steelers will give it everything they got to win the game. I wouldn’t be so quick to count this team out of the playoffs just yet.

- The San Francisco 49ers are the most complete team in the NFL, hands down. This is the team to beat in the NFL right now.

– Week-after-week I bash the Chicago Bears for not getting that “statement” or “battle tested” win. They had a huge opportunity to get that win against the 49ers and failed to do so in Week 11. I don’t believe this team to be “for real” until proven otherwise and I believe them to be nothing more then a “Super Bowl contender” at the present moment.

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 11

November 15, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Your hopes and dreams are coming near a conclusion. Are you a fantasy football playoff team? Are you a spoiler? Do you really have no idea what you are? Well very much all in a season’s work for many Fantasy owners. Week 11 brings (finally!) the end of bye weeks, some serious QB injury issues, and some tough match ups. The time is surely now to separate men from boys, and winners from losers.

As for me, another fantastic week last week had me finish at 4-0 in my leagues, and I am currently the top points guy in 3 of those 4, and in the last league, well just a TD from the lead. I am currently fielding a lusty record of 26-14, and while I am cruising with big points, no playoff spot is yet locked and nothing is safe. This week some key players will have the bye, guys like Adrian Peterson and the suddenly red-hot Chris Johnson to name a few. Also QBs like Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler have concussion issues, which not only makes it tough for owners of them, but owners of their main WR targets and RBs. This is a challenging week, get that bench ready, and get ready for some Shark advice, and let’s try and get through this together.

It has been a good news and bad news year here with the start/sit/ Last week I showed a little lack of guts, which so isn’t me, and tweeted how I really should have advised against Doug Martin, but oh what hell would be raised, I mean he was sensational 2 straight weeks. Well the difference here, he played a real tough run defense. Alright so I have to go back to “stick with your stars” but remember, Doug Martin was not a huge production guy early. So I am back to going with the gut feeling. Yes, we all want to be right, but sometimes we need to venture out and swallow some pride to get there. So, take a read, and adjust accordingly, it’s go time people!

Quarterback

Start

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints: Yes, I am at that point. However, with injuries and bye weeks playing a roll, Palmer looks like a great bet against a poor defense at home. In his last 3 weeks he has popped for 9 TDs and close to 1,000 yards. If you’re in that pinch, feel safe with Palmer here.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Break up the Lions! Despite a tough loss last week, this offense is playing much better, including Stafford who in his last 3 is averaging about 300 yards, and also has 6 TDs in those 3 weeks. When you play Aaron Rodgers, you have to pass often, and Stafford is improved, so use him.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs: Don’t buy that hype you saw Monday night from the Chiefs defense. It was a trap game and the Steelers were just flat. Dalton and his Bengals need wins and they will come ready. 8 TDs in his last 3 looks good too. The Bengals can gain ground while the Steelers suffer with key injuries, so it’s a huge game for them right here.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No I am not a Cam Newton supporter, but it is hard not to like him against Tampa and the leagues 32nd ranked pass defense. He has been a bit better of late, and should service well here if needed.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers: Oh so obvious! Yes, I know, but I deserve an easy one right? Just a few weeks back, on the road, he torched them for 309 yards and 3 TDs in a wild second half comeback. This time at home the Broncos should be more in control, and Manning will have another solid day. Yeah, like you’d bench him anyway.

Sit

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins pass defense is nothing special, but just on a hunch by the numbers on Fitz the last 4 weeks: 0 TDs 3 TDs, 0 TDs, 2 TDs. If you can follow the pattern next up is 0? Make sense? He is always hard to trust anyway, so try and do better.

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys: A few weeks back many of us were going after Weeden, and he was becoming a bye week darling. Since then he has gone 2 straight without a TD and awful QB ratings. On the road in this stadium against this rejuvenated defense won’t help that cause.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Despite all of their troubles, the Eagles defense is still 10th in pass yards allowed. Griffin has slowed a bit of late throwing just 4 TD passes in 4 weeks. His team as a whole is been on the down swing, and the Eagles really need to save face against a team they usually do well against. May not be a total shut down, but I don’t see evidence that says he can go nuts either.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears: He has passed his concussion tests so he should play, but how well? The Bears defense has 19 INTs and are 5th in fewest yards allowed. This defense has to be extra good also if Jay Cutler is out, so expect a lot of hard times for Smith.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: I am not so much afraid of a poor Redskins pass defense, but I would like to see what the rookie has before I bank on him. A lot of “experts say to grab him, fine get him if you want, but wait before throwing him in there.

Running Back

Start

CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: What is a Fantasy for Spiller owners? Well having Fred Jackson out of the Bills line up. While some are questioning, Spiller was jacking up huge numbers when being the go to guy, and still did well in a time share. Almost 7 yards per touch not good enough? It should be, and it will be. Spiller does it against any team, and this is a game he should be real busy in.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts: Ridley’s surprising season had a nice return over the last 2 weeks. He has scored in each and had over 100 yards in one and close in another. For the year a hefty 4.7 yards per carry, and enough help in that backfield to rest him and keep him strong. The Colts do little against the run, so despite Brady lighting it up regularly, Ridley should still get his here/

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets: The Jets run defense is brutal and Jackson is coming off a nice game against the 49ers. Jackson runs better on the turf at home, so you can do much worse with some big backs on a bye week.

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: Again? I have been ripped for recommending Bush lately, but if he can’t get off the skids against this defense, then he better find a new job. All fumbles aside, I predict a resurgent beast mode here.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Maybe head coach Romeo Crennel learned Monday that when Charles has the chance he does pretty good. 100 yards and a TD against the Steelers is a pretty good outing, and at home he should get more looks and find some success, if his team can stay in this one.

Sit

Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are tough to run on, and McGahee seems like he has dipped his hands in grease lately. A few more fumbles and we may be looking at a time share here. McGahee has done very little the last few weeks, so look elsewhere.

Carolina Panthers RBs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Yes the pass defense stinks, but the Bucs make up for it with the number 1 run defense. Besides it’s not like we have any clue who the featured guy will be each week.

Alex Green, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: Wake me when this supposed sensation breaks out. 3.1 yards per carry and still no TDs since all of you gobbled him up when Cedric Benson went down. He is just a bad, bad option.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals: Tell me you still trust a guy that had just 15 yards on 12 carries, against the Saints! Yeah keep looking.

Steelers RBs vs. Baltimore Ravens: No, the Ravens aren’t that tough anymore against the run, but we really have no idea how or why they use any of their backs, and with Byron Leftwich at QB, the Ravens will gladly stack the line to slow down the Steelers ground game.

Wide Receiver

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Bad knee, concussion, poor offense, Madden Curse, oh yeah and 19 catches for 336 yards and a TD over the last 2 weeks. Yeah, I would say he’s back. Roll with Mega-tron.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots: Andrew Luck takes over for Peyton Manning in this long time rivalry. As for Wayne he is first in catches and second in yards this season. Now if he could get some TDs huh! He is still huge without, so use him.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos: They may have finally found a down-field speed threat. 5 catches for 134 yards last week, including an 80 yard TD, and now had 8 for 195 in 2 weeks. Denver has a good defense, but they can’t cover everyone every down. This is a sweet sneak pick here.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets: Ho hum. He came back from injury last week to a mere 11 catches and 102 yards. He is always an injury risk, but boy when he is on the field he sure does get it done.

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers: I know he may not have Cutler, and is playing a very tough defense, but the Bears have wised up, and do what they can to get him the ball. He is in the tops in the league in catches, yards and TDs and while many are looking around, he has been a quiet but deadly MVP type player. You just can’t bench him no matter what, he’s just too good right now.

Sit

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: Don’t laugh. Some people will be trying this. He’s been getting better, but please not in this one.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders: Sure, he has TDs in 2 straight, but in the last 3 games, the catches are 5,4 and 3. When Jimmy Graham is healthy he is usually option 1, and the Raiders don’t stop TEs well. You may need him, but don’t get too excited.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 18 catches and 0 TDs in 4 weeks. Please tell me you aren’t using him.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns: Only 2 grabs last week, and now may be seeing some Joe Haden. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have become the top 2 options, and Miles is doing average work of late.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears: Some nice work the last 2 weeks with 3 TDs, in fact it’s just good enough to earn him the match up with Charles Tillman. I feel Tillman has that advantage.

Tight End

Start

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders: When we hear the phrase “man-crush” do we all picture Drew Brees thinking about Jimmy Graham? I know I do. He’s had 20 catches and 4 TDs since returning healthy in 3 games. He is a beast.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have a terrible pass defense, so someone has to go off here. Why not Olsen, who had his first 100 yard game of the season last week?

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns: 33 grabs in the last 3 weeks is crazy work. He also has added about 260 yards to it. He is a wonderful check valve for the otherwise brutal Tony Romo.

Sit

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: If you’re still using him, please stop reading this.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Yes, he has 5 TDs this year, but 3 of them were against New England, so I guess not here? Maybe?

Dustin Keller, New York Jets at St. Louis Rams: They are still fairly stingy in letting up TDs, something Keller only has 1 of this year. This offense is a mess right now.

Defenses I like this week:

St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals

Defenses I don’t like:

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

So here is the juice for Week 11. Go out there and play your best, and we will see you all for Week 12!

I have now joined Twitter, so if you would like to ask any questions or need any advice feel free to reach out to my personal account, @JPshark71.

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9 Fantasy Football 2012 Second Half Trade Targets

November 08, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Struggling fantasy football players are entering into crunch time this week with the start of the must-win season. Now is the time to shake up your team with a trade and here are just a few struggling players you may want to target to turn your team around and start that comeback.

I am not a big fan of fantasy football trades. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was over-trading. I have taken a much more conservative approach in recent years and it has made a huge difference. My top strategy is targeting players who are not performing up to expectations. Most of these players still have the skills but for whatever reasons, they aren’t living up to their ADP. In the right situation, you can easily take advantage of a frustrated owner by buying low and gambling that these ex-fantasy football studs will get their swagger back.

The key to all of this is buying low. Are you going to trade your first-round pick who is delivering for someone’s first-round pick that isn’t? Of course not, but if you can snag one of these first-round picks for a nifty package or a late rounder you can have yourself a killer team at just the right time in the season.

Now a few of these players have been mentioned in the biggest busts blog I did last week on the CCB. So why would I target these fantasy duds? These guys were duds due to their ADP and lack of production. Getting these guys on the cheap presents a whole new game for some of these fantasy disappointments. As always I am looking at potential here but there are reasons these guys under-performed in the early weeks and I believe that those issues will be solved in most cases going forward.

Check out these fantasy football studs that started out slow but for various reasons I think will turn it around and you should target as the trade deadline approaches. Remember. You don’t want to mortgage the farm but a desperate owner may give you these guys at bargain basement prices if you play your cards right.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants – Cruz started out slow but turned it up big time in the second quarter of the season. Fortunately for you he has crashed hard in recent weeks which could put him on the trading block. He has had back-to-back duds which could cause his owner to panic. Why should you trade for a guy that has only 90 yards and zero TDs in two weeks? One, he has a fantastic schedule down the stretch. Two, Eli Manning is going to break out of his slump. He always does. According to stats he has the fourth best WR schedule the rest of the way. Target him immediately!

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions – I have been trying to snag Stafford in several leagues in recent weeks with mixed success. Stafford was a first or second round pick going into the season but hasn’t been able to match the TDs he had last year. Those low TDs have somehow opened up Stafford to critics that have labeled him as a bust when in fact he has actually had decent numbers. Now is the perfect opportunity to target him after his worst statistical game of the season. He has some very generous matchups down the stretch. He does have the Falcons and Bears in the final two weeks but there is a good shot that the Bears at least sit their starters. I love his upside going forward and I think you’re going to get the best buy for your buck on him now, before he torches the Vikings this week.

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints – Graham is another guy I have been trying to target in leagues. Here is the deal on Graham. Graham isn’t having a bad season at all. The problem is that owners took him very high and have been paying for it since. They have a great TE but they are likely struggling in other areas, areas that you may have some flexibility with. Graham is back and healthy so he isn’t going to be easy to acquire. But if you can find the right owner struggling and you have the depth to give up to make the deal happen, you need to give it a shot and do your best to grab this guy.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans - Don’t look now but CJ2K is actually starting to put it together. He’s had double digit games the last four weeks, including 3 TDs in his last 3 games. I traded for him in one league and got him at an absolute bargain. Most Johnson owners are looking to deal him immediately and I’d capitalize on it if I were you. One or two weeks would have been a fluke but he is now consistent for four straight. He does have a bye week next week which for an owner, may give him or her even more incentive to deal now. I really like his upside going forward.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – Megatron is generally regarded as one of if not the biggest bust of the fantasy football season. So why would you want to trade for him? It’s a mirage! Watch the Lions games and you’ll notice that Johnson is constantly being tackled down at the 1 or 2 yard line. Johnson won’t get stopped short every week! The injury is a concern but if he played through it last week I think he’ll be fine for the remainder of the season. Like I mentioned with Stafford, he has a great schedule down the stretch. If you can get him at a bargain, you need to run as fast as you can to your computer and make the proposal immediately.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – One of the biggest sources of frustration early on this fantasy season has been Cam Newton. It really shouldn’t have been a surprise as Newton’s numbers started to slide last season but it would appear that Cam is starting to get it together. His numbers aren’t great but he has had double digit games the last three weeks. He has Denver, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Kansas City coming up which are all dream matchups for a quarterback. According to current stats he has the sixth best QB schedule the rest of the way. Was he as good as his effort in Washington? No but he also isn’t as bad as his effort against the Seahawks. I’ll take the guy in the middle with a couple of big games sprinkled in there.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – I am a Julio owner and I’ll be honest with you, I’d part with him for the right price. As a savvy owner, I would only part with him for a monster deal but not all Julio owners are built the same. This whole home vs. away factor for Julio has been a source of frustration all season for owners, although he did post nice numbers last week at home. I love this guy and I think there is potential for this guy to tear it up as the season progresses. Unfortunately for his owners, some disappointing weeks may have put them into a win-now position. That is a great position for you to take advantage of. Target those Julio owners in trouble.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys – Here is a guy that I drafted late on two teams who is putting up either the best or second numbers on my team. Austin is extremely underrated as most fantasy players see Dez Bryant as fantasy gold for the Cowboys. This perception allowed Austin to drop in most drafts and will allow you to acquire on the cheap. Austin also happens to have the fifth best WR schedule down the stretch. He’s coming off his first game in weeks under double digits so now is the time to make your play for Austin.

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers – Jordy owners are probably screaming as they read this about what a bust he has been for them and I get it. But, Jordy is going to come back. Once he comes back he is going to start putting up those numbers his owners hoped to see all season. He’s on a bye this week and will have a lot of rest before his next game. Now this is a gamble because you never know if the Packers are being coy or not with injuries here. The upside here is huge and you can probably snag him well below value at this point in the season. Other than the Bears in Week 16 he has some incredibly enticing matchups down the stretch. If you can’t budge Calvin Johnson’s owner, Jordy’s would be the next proposal I send out.

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