Subscribe

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: http://youtu.be/qJi3DSROkJs). 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 Amazon.com

NFL 2015 Wildcard Predictions and Preview

January 02, 2015 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Happy New Year. Now that the 2014-15 NFL regular season is over, the second season starts. By “second season,” I mean the playoffs, or the tournament. However you want to say it, twelve teams have qualified. This is the most exciting part of the season for me. I love the post-season. The drama gets more intense. The games get much more bigger, and each play is huge. I love writing about the post-season.

The twelve teams that made it to the post-season are, starting with the AFC (listed by seeding, the New England Patriots (1), the Denver Broncos (2), the Pittsburgh Steelers (3), the Indianapolis Colts (4), the Cincinnati Bengals (5), and the Baltimore Ravens (6). On the NFC side, the following qualifying teams are the Seattle Seahawks (1), the Green Bay Packers (2), the Dallas Cowboys (3), the Carolina Panthers (4), the Arizona Cardinals (5), and the Detroit Lions (6). Congratulations to all of these teams for earning their way into the playoffs. One of these teams will be your Super Bowl Champion. They all have interesting story lines. Can the Seahawks repeat? Can the Patriots break through their ten year drought? Can the Steelers win one in memory of the legendary Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll, who died before the 2014-15 NFL season began?

In this blog, I will be discussing these storylines and more, as I will be analyzing this weekend’s playoff games. NFL fans all know this weekend as Wildcard Weekend. The games for this weekend are Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh on Saturday. On Sunday, Cincinnati takes on Indianapolis and Detroit goes to Dallas. This weekend’s games look very interesting, so without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2014-15 post-season Wild Card games.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

#5 Arizona Cardinals at #4 Carolina Panthers
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
Network : ESPN
Kickoff: 4:35PM EST

This game is going to be a defensive struggle. At first, it looked like Arizona was going to waltz through their schedule and land the #1 seed. After all, Coach Bruce Arians had that team rolling, despite some injuries, especially on the defensive side Problems came when starting QB Carson Palmer went down with an ACL tear. Yes, Palmer had a nerve issue earlier in the season, but backup Drew Stanton was able to hold the fort. The ACL tear to Palmer meant that Stanton was the starter. Well, on a Thursday Night Football game, Stanton went down. Now they are down to Ryan Linley. The team still has a very good defense, and they still have WR Larry Fitzgerald, but I don’t know what they’re going to do with their QB in this game against the Carolina defense.

In speaking of the home team, the Carolina Panthers, is this the best the NFC South could do? I know the entire division stunk up the joint, but to have a 7-8-1 team in the playoffs? Of course, a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team won their division and won a playoff game. If you think this is bad, wait until the NFL expand the playoffs. It will be even worse.

Despite not winning their last 6 previous games, the Panthers were able to string together two wins at the end of the regular season, and wound up with the division. I am not sure how QB Cam Newton will handle a very good defense like Arizona. I am expecting Arizona’s Patrick Peterson to intercept Newton. I don’t expect RB Jonathan Stewart to have a great day against that Arizona defense. Newton will have to be Superman to win this game.

Prediction : Even though Arizona will be hamstrung by the QB, I think they’re the better team. I think they have the better coach in Bruce Arians as well. WINNER : Cardinals 24-10

#6 Baltimore Ravens at #3 Pittsburgh Steelers
Stadium: Heinz Field
Network: NBC
Kickoff: 8:25PM, EST

One of the greatest rivalries in the NFL starts up again in the playoffs on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. These teams just hate each other. It shows in the press and on the field. This is personal. As a football fan, I love it. I love the intensity of these two teams. The fan bases hate each other too (not really, but you get the idea).

Let’s discuss this matchup. Many pundits have called Baltimore “the most dangerous team in the playoffs.” Let’s see. They have an excellent defensive front. With the recently suspended Haloti Ngata returning, that part of the defense will get better. Their secondary is not their strong suit. Remember, the team no longer has Ed Reed or Ray Lewis. On offense, the Ravens. Despite all this, the Ravens ended the regular season 8th in total defense. ( http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/position/defense) I still wonder how that Baltimore defense let Philip Rivers and the Chargers march down the field and score that last minute game winning touchdown on their home field.

Let’s look at the Ravens offensively. Their quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense ranked #12 in Total Offense. ( http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total) From my observation, the Baltimore Ravens offense was feast or famine. One week, Joe Flacco was kicking butt and taking names, like he did against the Tampa Bay Bucaneers (the same Bucs that beat the Steelers at Heinz Field). Another week, he looks like Joe Who, as he did against the Houston Texans.

Are the Ravens a formidable opponent? Yes. I take them very seriously. I respect all teams here. I’m not sure that they’re all that “dangerous.” As for the game, they’ll give the Steelers fits. I’m expecting a lot of bull rushing from that defensive line, especially from DE Terrell Suggs. I’m expecting the Ravens to turn the Steelers into a one dimensional team in a hurry. I expect Flacco to launch his bombs and hope that either Torry Smith or Owen Daniels catch it.

As for the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, they have the #18 ranked defense. ( http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/position/defense) What has helped the team on that side of the ball was the brief return of DE Brett Keisel (put on IR due to injury) and the return of LB James Harrison (much to the dismay of Commissioner Roger Goodell). The defense is much more energetic. Harrison is playing at a high level. The secondary is a bit worrisome. Sometimes DB William Gay comes through, and sometimes he makes bone headed mistakes. Who knows when Ike Taylor and/or Troy Polamalu will be back.

On the offensiveside of the ball, the Steelers are #2 in total offense. ( http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total) Yes. I can’t believe it myself. Ben Roethlisberger has had a banner year. Ben threw for 4952 yards. He had 32 TDs and 9 picks. Antonio Brown stamped himself as one of the top WRs in the NFL with 1698 receiving yards and 13 TDs. Le’Veon Bell had a great season as well. Bell ran for 1361 yards and 8 TDs. I don’t know why it took so long for Roethlisberger to buy into offensive coordinator Tod Haley’s system, but I am glad to see awesome results.

As for the game, the Steelers defense needs to attack that Ravens offensive line as LT Eugene Monroe may or may not be able to play. Joe Flacco must be made uncomfortable. RB Justin Forsett must not get going either. Steelers special teams must play well in this game. They can’t let the Baltimore Ravens offense have great field position.

On offense, as the Steelers will likely not have Bell, The team better hope Dri Archer can get some sort of running game going. Ben Tate will likelybe used in pass protection, it appears. I’m going to guess that Ben will be using a lot of short passes and play action to neutralize the pass rush.

My Prediction: This could be a fairly low scoring game. I expect a defensive struggle. This will be nasty. The referees will be involved. I promise you that. Regardless, some folks are making a fuss about the possibility of rain. I’m of the mind that the best team overcomes any condition. The two teams split their regular season Even WITH Bell, they had a hard time running the ball against the Ravens in both matchups. Overall, the Steelers are the better team. WINNER : Pittsburgh 27-23

January 4, 2015

#5 Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts
Stadium : Lucas Oil Stadium
Network : CBS
Kickoff : 1:05 PM, EST

At the beginning of the season, the season, the Cincinnati Bengals were the hottest team around. They were kicking butt and taking names. QB Andy Dalton got a huge contact. Pundits claimed the team to be a Super Bowl team. The first four games certainly proved that to be true. After all, the Bengals were 4-0, and the big bad Patriots were done, finished, kaput, at least according to the talking heads.

That was until Week Five, on Sunday Night Football, when the two teams flipped the script. The Bengals became the Bungles, and the Patriots turned back into the holy terror they usually were. Ever since then, the Bengals became a fairly uneven team. They got blown out against the Indianapolis Colts, 27-0. They managed to sweep Baltimore. They got manhandled on Thursday Night Football by the Cleveland Browns. They were leading the Steelers at home until Big Ben got his offense moving. Even though the Bengals upset the Denver Broncos, on a Monday Night Football game, they went back to not doing well in the big game as they lost the AFC North Title to the Steelers.

The Indianapolis Colts are a great offensive juggernaut. That is not a surprise, given the fact that Andrew Luck is their QB. Luck has great chemistry with WR T. Y. Hilton, WR Reggie Wayne and his other weapons . Luck is a strong, smart QB, and has very good mobility. That being said, the Colts are not all that great on defense. Their best pass rusher, Robert Mathis, is out for the season. He was to come back after a suspension, but tore his Achilles while training privately. A team with a good running game can gash that defense line (Patriots RB Jonas Gray ran 201 yards on them.). The Colts secondary is decent.

As for the game, I am expecting a fairly high scoring game. Since it is in Indianapolis, I’m thinking that the Colts will play better. Andrew Luck and his receivers will have a field day with that fast track of a field. The Colts defense appears to be built to win with a lead. Andrew Luck will provide it. Yes, they did come back against the Chiefs last year, but again, it was at the Lucas Oil Stadium, and Chiefs Coach Andy Reid can be out-coached at times.

The Bengals have a very good defense. I am not sure they can stop Andrew Luck. In the regular season meeting, they gave up 27 points. The offense was not helping either that day. I am not all that confident that the defense can stop Luck on Sunday. No one, as of this writing, is sure if star WR A.J. Green is going to be able to play in this game, so that puts even more pressure on QB Andy Dalton to win the team’s first playoff game in 23 years.

My Prediction : The big question is whether the Cincinnati Bengals can go into a hostile environment and win a playoff game. Twenty three years is a very long drought. I’m not all that optimistic. The Bengals defense somehow have to get to Andrew Luck. They have to hit him constantly. The one weakness of the Colts appears to be that offensive line, as Luck gets hit a great deal. Luck throws a few picks, so guys like Reggie Nelson could have a good day if the defensive front can do something.

Andy Dalton can not make stupid throws. He must take care of the ball. I know he may be playing with or without a couple of targets, but if he has to rely on Gio Bernard, then he has to do that. WINNER : Indianapolis 35-28

#6 Detroit Lions at #3 Dallas Cowboys
Stadium :
Network : Fox
Kickoff : 4:40PM, EST

This game should be a great game. The Dallas Cowboys finally got a couple of monkeys off their collective backs. They did not go 8-8. They also didn’t collapse in December, and qualified for the post-season for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys won the NFC East as well. Now that they are in the playoffs, let’s see how far they will go.

Their opponents, the Detroit Lions were in the running for the NFC North title. They even were in the running for the #1 defense. However, they stubbed their collective toes, as the Seattle Seahawks are the #1 defense, and the Green Bay Packers are at home, getting ready for their divisional round opponent. The Lions also dealt with injuries to key players, such as RB Reggie Bush and DE Nick Fairley. However, the team qualified, despite all that.

As NFL fans know, DT Ndamukong Suh was initially suspended for this Sunday’s game because he walked backwards onto the injured calf of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. NFL Appeals officer Ted Cottrell reduced the punishment to $70,000. What saved Suh was that he had not been disciplined in 32 weeks. I think he was punished because of his past. His excuse was ridiculous. He said that his feet were freezing, and he could not feel Rodgers’ leg. He didn’t realize that his body was going up?

That being said, the fact that Suh will be in the game will change the dynamics of the game. Suh, whether you like him or not, is a game changer. That Dallas Cowboys offensive line is now going to have to account for Suh. I’m guessing that a TE will be used for max protection. With QB Tony Romo’s back condition, the last thing Cowboy fans want to see is Suh sacking Romo. Suh will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. I also expect to see quite a bit of play-action to slow down the Lions defensive front. I expect WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten to have a good day. I think the Dallas defense will be put to the test, but I think Rod Marinelli will have them prepared.

As for the Lions, QB Matthew Stafford needs to step up. He has to do better against teams with winning records. I know Calvin Johnson has been his main target, but Stafford needs to learn more about spreading the ball around. Golden Tate is another good target. The running game needs to step up. The cornerstone of the Lions going into the game is the defense. They have a very scary defensive front. They need to get to Tony Romo. The Lions need to interfere with his timing with Witten or Bryant.

Prediction : When Ndamukong Suh was initially suspended, I thought this was going to be a blowout by Dallas. I thought it was going to be easy sledding. Well, now that Suh is IN the game, I’m forced to rethink this. I’m still thinking that the Cowboys are the overall better team, as they’re the most balanced of the two. The fact that Suh is playing makes me think that this will be a closer game. Could an upset happen? It’s possible, but not likely. WINNER : Dallas 37-27

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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.

NFL Shop on Amazon.com

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

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn

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

Check out Jeff Peck’s wrestling podcast “The Still Real to Us show” which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and www.wrestlechat.net

“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow

RG3 in DC Robert Griffin III Washington Redskins Novelty Maroon T-shirt

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn

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

Check out Jeff Peck’s wrestling podcast “The Still Real to Us show” which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and www.wrestlechat.net

“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow

RG3 in DC Robert Griffin III Washington Redskins Novelty Maroon T-shirt

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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.
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

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn

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

Check out Jeff Peck’s wrestling podcast “The Still Real to Us show” which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and www.wrestlechat.net

“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow

RG3 in DC Robert Griffin III Washington Redskins Novelty Maroon T-shirt

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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

NFL Mens Peyton Manning The Eligible Receiver Adult Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck Tee

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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.

NFL Mens Peyton Manning The Eligible Receiver Adult Short Sleeve Basic Crew Neck Tee

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

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.

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/therealjeffpeck

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn

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

Check out Jeff Peck’s wrestling podcast “The Still Real to Us show” which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and www.wrestlechat.net

“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow

Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III red/white football jerseys

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com