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NFL 2014-15 Season Q3 Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

THUMBS UP:

The Baltimore Ravens:

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

The Green Bay Packers:

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

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

The Arizona Cardinals:

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

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

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

THUMBS DOWN

The Denver Broncos

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

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

The Pittsburgh Steelers:

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

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

The NFC South:

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

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

Coaches on the Hot Seat:

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

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

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

The Jets organization wouldn’t let him discuss his visit with his ailing father, the legendary Buddy Ryan. ( http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/26/jets-wouldnt-let-rex-talk-about-buddys-health-situation/ ) How petty is that? If/when Ryan goes, I think Idzik needs to go also. The entire Jets organization needs cleaning up from top to bottom. Will owner Woody Johnson do it? I don’t think so. I would dump Idzik over Ryan.

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

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

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

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

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

I realize that this is getting long, so I will wrap this up with a few items that deserve a huge “Thumbs Down.’ I will start with the issue of player safety involving Detroit Lions Center Dominic Raiola and New England Patriots rookie LB Zach Moore. After last Sunday’s game, Raiola admitted that he dove at Moore’s knees in retaliation for the Patriots going in for a score instead of taking three knees. ( http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/23/lions-dominic-raiola-admits-going-at-a-patriots-knees/ ) Raiola was not punished by the NFL. The NFL may not have seen a need to fine him, but I do wonder why the same NFL is so quick to fine players 10 grand for uniform violations, 100 grand for not having the right headphones, but won’t fine a guy who ADMITS he tried to take another player’s knees out. This is coming from a league that emphasizes player safety? Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Super Bowl XLVIII Predictions and Analysis

January 31, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

It is finally here. The last game of the 2013/14 NFL Season, before the NFL moves into the off season, has finally arrived. Super Bowl XLVIII which will emanate from Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on February 2, 2014 will kick off at 6:30PM, EST. Viewers, and NFL fans, I am sure, have been bombarded with wall to wall coverage, and I am sure they are looking forward to the Super Bowl ads(I already saw one), and the Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers Half time show (they couldn’t have gotten the three living members of Led Zeppelin?). I am sure people are looking forward to the game as well.

This year’s edition of the Super Bowl features two teams who couldn’t be any more opposite. Representing the AFC, are the Denver Broncos, led by QB Peyton Manning. Representing the NFC, are the Seattle Seahawks, led by QB Russell Wilson, but known more for their “Legion of Boom,” defense. The Broncos have the NFL’s #1 Offense, and the Seahawks have the NFL’s #1 Defense. This should be, on paper, a pretty interesting game, as to how the Seahawks defense will try to stop Manning’s prolific offense. On the other side, how will Peyton Manning try to outwit the defense of Seattle. Tons of strategy will be going into this game, for sure.

I hope that this will be a great game. I hope that the referees do not become a storyline concerning either team. That being said, I am going to analyze this game, and make my prediction.

The Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks got to the “big dance” by getting the #1 seed, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That “12th man” certainly came into play all season, and even though the “Hawks” lost one game at home, it was not a question they played way better at home. In the playoffs, they defeated the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round. In the NFC Championship Game, they defeated their NFC West rivals, the San Fransisco 49ers.

The big question mark I have about this team is that they are not at home. Can they play in that atmosphere, where they won’t have their “12th man?” Can Russell Wilson step up to the challenge? Will CB Richard Sherman have a big day despite all the distractions concerning his speech? At the press conferences, the man was STILL apologizing. The media needs to chill, in my opinion. How will the oft-injured Percy Harvin play? Will Harvin be a factor? Can they get Marshawn Lynch going. I

If the Seahawks can put up some points, and keep it close, perhaps they can have a shot. Russell Wilson needs to step it up in this game. The defense needs to pay attention to what Manning is doing. They also have to be aware when they are jamming Manning’s receivers. Depending on how the game is called, they have be aware that the receivers, like Decker, and Welker, will beg for a flag, instead of trying to catch the ball. Can’t commit a dumb penalty.

The Denver Broncos:

The Broncos got to the Super Bowl, like the Seahawks did, by getting the #1 seed. QB Peyton Manning obliterated NFL records for passing, and the offense set new offensive records. Great. Peyton and the Broncos get plenty of carrots as a reward. In the playoffs, the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers (who had one of the stupidest game plans ever) in the Divisional Round, and beat the New England Patriots (whose defense let Peyton go up and down the field at will) in the AFC Championship Game.

The big question mark I have about this team is can they do what other “high scoring” teams in the past (1990 Bills, 1998 Vikings, 2007 Patriots) could not. Can they win on Sunday? Looking at their past two games, they scored 26, and 27 points. That is interesting. Of course, the media has been yammering about the weather, and how it will affect Peyton Manning. Well, I had no idea that Peyton Manning was the ONLY player on the field. It is true that he has a poor track record, when the temperature is under 40 degrees, but this is football.

If the Denver defense can continue to play like they did in the playoffs, and if Welker can hang on to a ball or two, the team definitely can win this game. Of course, when you have Peyton Manning, you always have a chance to win. I also expect the other receivers to have good games. Knowshown Moreno’s health is a concern, but I expect that there will be some sort of a running game. The Broncos should prepare for a physical game.

My Pick: Well, in my opinion, this is a game where I think it will get very physical. Can the Denver Broncos, a team that is basically a finesse team with a decent defense, defeat the Seattle Seahawks, a team that is a throwback to teams with a hard nose running game (and throw when needed), and play tough defense? Can Peyton Manning cap off a great year with a second Super Bowl ring? What will become of his legacy if he doesn’t?

Can Russell Wilson become the second QB of African American descent to start and win a Super Bowl since Doug Williams of the 1987 Washington D.C. Super Bowl winning team? Can Peyton Manning do what Kurt Warner failed to do (won with the St. Louis Rams in SB36, tried to win SB43 with the AZ Cardinals, but lost to the Steelers), and win two Super Bowls with two different teams (won SB41 with Indianapolis Colts and is trying to win with 2013 Broncos).

As you can see, there is a lot of history on the line. I think it all comes down to the experience. Broncos Head Coach John Fox, while not a Super Bowl winning head coach, has been to the Super Bowl as head coach of the Panthers, who lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl 38. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has never been to the Super Bowl. Yes, Carroll has several National Championship wins, but that was in College at USC. This is the big time. Peyton Manning, and Wes Welker (rather infamously) both have been to the Super Bowl, so they have an idea what to expect. Very few, if any of the Seahawk players or staff have Super Bowl experience, maybe one or two.

My pick to win the Super Bowl: I have picked against them all post season, and I have been wrong. Well, might as well go with the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join’em.” The Denver Broncos will be your Super Bowl XLVIII Champions.

Personal Note: I honestly don’t care who wins this game. I have no dog in this fight. If both teams could lose, I would be very happy. However, there has to be a winner. Of the two, it is the lesser of two evils, so I guess I’d like to see the Seahawks win. I am just not a Peyton Manning lover, and I never have been, and never will be. The deification of the guy by ESPN and NFLN makes it worse.

[ad 1Before I get the asinine, “that’s because you like Brady, or Big Ben,” comment, I am sorry to disappoint some, but there are a lot of “great” artists, athletes, etc., that I just never liked.Perhaps that subject will be for a future blog. Look, I recognize that Peyton is an awesome QB. I just am not a fan of his. He never appealed to me as a player, and I have seen him play in person.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, and the 2013-14 season.

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

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Time For Peyton Manning To Take Accountability

November 26, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

It’s time to be accountable. Peyton Manning must take accountability and accept the much deserved criticism for his play last night and throughout his career in the clutch. Denver Broncos fans have much love and admiration for Peyton Manning because frankly he saved the masses from the Tebowmania that swooping through Denver. Manning was everything that Tebow wasn’t; a Super Bowl winning QB, a proven NFL star, a pocket passer, a man who could throw a football, someone who was respected by offensive players, a viable offensive threat, need I go on?

Peyton Manning has been given a pass during his short time in a Denver Broncos uniform and throughout his entire NFL career. The Colts dared not criticize their savior or hero and fans and media alike in Denver have been avoiding the same. Peyton Manning will go down as one of the greatest Quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, regardless if he doesn’t win another championship. But, Manning although brilliant in the weekly game plan, should also be remembered as a man who is mentally soft, high maintenance and folds under the pressure of big games and high expectations.

No need to look at the stats when the proof is in the pudding. Need examples? Go to a home Broncos game at Sports Authority Field. As a season ticket holder, I cannot remember at any time where John Elway would ask the home crowd to shut up during an offensive series. Maybe a handful of times at the goal line with the game on the line could that be an acceptable request. Is Manning really incapable of running an efficient offense at his home stadium unless it is silent? This is a game atmosphere and fans pay top dollar to watch one of the proudest and most successful franchises in NFL history, I’ll be damned if I’m going to shut my mouth so that you can pretend its training camp or practice.

Peyton Manning cannot perform at a high level in cold weather. That is a problem when football is a COLD WEATHER GAME!! Manning owns a 3-6 record when playing in temperatures below 32 degrees. In those games, Manning has a touchdown-turnovers ratio of 9 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. What is Manning and the Broncos to do if they play a cold weather game from now until February? Manning needs to toughen up and bare the elements, rather than fidgeting with his gloves, worrying about personal comfort and other variables outside of his control, just as his teammates who have sacrificed their bodies and careers for his health, his wellbeing and the success of the team.

Peyton Manning let his team down last night when they needed their leader to show some guts and drive the ball down the field in overtime. Bill Belicheck literally slapped the face of Peyton Manning by deferring the ball in overtime and choosing to play with the wind at their backs. Belicheck and the entire nation knew that Manning couldn’t do these things: play in cold weather, with a glove on his throwing hand, into the wind and in a game where he ultimately had to be the best player and carry his team to victory.

Manning failed his team when they needed him most. Go ahead and blame the receivers for not catching the overthrown balls or the balls thrown behind them. Go ahead and blame Holiday for causing DRC’s injury or for muffing punts. Go ahead and blame Wes Welker and Tony Carter for the miscue in overtime. I’m putting my blame on the leader and true captain of the team. As a Bronco fan you should too, instead of continuing to give him a pass because he beat Rex Grossman in the Super Bowl.

Roberto Padilla is a Radio Talk Show Host in Denver, Colorado. He is originally from Springfield, Virginia and has been in Denver since he was moved as a young child during the Redskins Super Bowl XXII season, one that saw the Redskins defeat the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII. You can follow Roberto on Twitter @RealRobertoNFL or send questions and feedback to [email protected]

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ESPN Films 30 for 30: Elway to Marino Review

April 26, 2013 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Before I get into my blog, I apologize for not having a regular blog. Without going into details, life has been throwing some curve-balls at me, and I just have not had the time. I believe that things are calming down, so I can blog more frequently and regularly. I want to thank my editor, Eric Gargiulo for his patience.

Now, let’s get to the blog. To my fellow NFL fans, tonight, April 25th, is the first round of the three day event we all look forward to, the NFL draft. We get to see which prospects get picked to start their NFL careers, and we also get to see which teams trade to move up or down in the draft.

I love the NFL Draft, especially the first round, which is tonight, April 25th, as I write this. There is a lot of drama and intrigue. I tend to go back and forth between NFL Network and ESPN as far as coverage. Of course, there is coverage on social media also. I do hope that the main networks stop the practice of “tipping” the picks. What I mean is that when “X” team makes the pick, or is about to, the networks show the likely pick on the phone with the head coach or owner. I mean, I like being surprised.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what the 2013 draft class does on the field, and what legacy they leave.

That brings me to my blog. On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, ESPN aired from ESPN FILMS and NFL FILMS as part of their “30 for 30″ series, “Elway to Marino,” which discussed the famous 1983 draft class where six QBs went in the first round. The film discussed Dan Marino’s fall to #28 to the Miami Dolphins, and John Elway’s refusal to play for the Baltimore Colts.

I will be giving a review of the film, and then I will be making my own personal comments, so I hope my readers will enjoy it.

THE MOVIE ITSELF:

I thought the film was fantastic. I highly recommend sports fans to watch it, not just NFL fans. This was a great analysis of wheeling and dealing on the part of the the other teams who really wanted John Elway. It also was great showing the ineptness and dysfunction of the Baltimore Colts. Elway, Marino, and former Colts General Manager Ernie Accorsi were interviewed for this film to offer their insights.

The film is told with the help of Marvin Demoff, who represented both Marino and Elway. Demoff had notes on the entire transaction of each QB. I thought that was great. His notes revealed some very interesting revelations. One of which was that 49ers coach, Bill Walsh offered to trade Joe Montana to the Colts for Elway. That revelation was pretty shocking to me, being a huge Montana fan.

Marvin Demoff starts off by revealing that he was a lawyer, but then got into the business of representing athletes. He started by representing Dan Marino, QB out of the University of Pittsburgh. He then started to represent the highly touted QB from Stanford, John Elway. Both men didn’t mind that they were represented by the same agent.

Holding the first pick in the 1983 Draft was the Baltimore Colts. John Elway was being promoted by the media as the #1 pick in the draft. Elway’s father, Jack was his high school coach. The Elways balked at the idea of John Elway playing for the Colts. Their reason was that the Colts head coach at the time, Frank Kush was not a coach that John would want to play for, as Kush was a strict disciplinarian. The Elways were not fond of the Colts Organization whose Owner Bob Irsay had just fired the GM, and hired Ernie Accorsi immediately as Accorsi was the Vice- GM.

A couple of months before the draft, the Elways and Irsay and other Colts officials met, and there was an agreement made where John Elway would not be drafted by the team, and Elway would be traded.. The Elways’ excuse was that John was from California, and did not want to play for a cold weather team. In his interview, John said it backfired on them because it gave him (John) the image of “sunshine boy, blond haired, California kid.”

As for Marino, his issue was that there were teams that were more interested in what he did on and off campus, than what he did on the campus gridiron. One team even interviewed his teammate as to whether there were any drugs in the room. In his interview, he said he realized he had a bad year.

Up to the draft, viewers get to hear what Ernie Accorsi wanted for Elway, and it was pretty steep. The Colts wanted ‘3 #1s and 2 #2s. Many teams, including the Patriots and the Cowboys tried to make deals, but Irsay, who jumped in the middle of things, said no.

At the draft itself, when it was time to pick, the Colts Accorsi picked Elway right away, about a minute after the Colts were “on the clock.” Obviously, that gave none of the teams any chance during the 15 minute period to make any deal. Elway was the “property” of the Colts. During the first round, the Colts did have a chance to trade Elway’s rights if the price was right.

The film then shows which prospect got picked by which team, and such. The film goes back to Marino’s plight, as he watches several other QBs go before him. In his interview, Marino discusses how he thought he thought he would be going to this team, or how he was surprised that so and so went to that team, as the picks went on.

There were some head scratchers. The Kansas City Chiefs took QB Todd Blackledge with the 7th pick. The guy was just alright. People also thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would take the hometown hero, Dan Marino, but the Steelers stuck to building the team through the defense and took Gabe Rivera. The New York Jets needed a QB, but took Ken O’Brien.

In the meantime, as the draft progressed, as teams tried their best to convince the Colts to accept their offers for Elway’s rights, Bob Irsay kept refusing, so the teams picked whomever they felt fit their team..

As for the two main characters, Marino eventually slid all the way down to the 28th pick, and wound up being the face of the franchise for the Miami Dolphins. As for Elway, no deal, and Demoff wrote in his diary that the Elways were crushed.

On the day of that first round of that draft, John Elway made an announcement. He had decided to play for the New York Yankees, as he had been playing in their farm system.. He decided to play baseball, rather than play for the Colts.

Viewers then are told the story about how Elway gets a call a couple of days after the draft, and is told to get dressed, and get packed as he has to go to Denver, because Bob Irsay made a deal to trade him to the Broncos. Elways states in the interview that he sneaked out of the house, got on the plane, and then landed in Denver, and finally signed papers. The deal was made. John Elway was a Denver Bronco.

Isray traded Elway away for a song. For Elways’ rights, Denver had to give up quarterback Mark Hermann, the rights to offensive tackle Chris Hinton and a first-round pick in the 1984 draft, which ended up being guard Ron Solt. Ernie Accorsi was furious, and he said that he resigned immediately as he did not want to be part of it.

The film concludes with the other teams facing the consequences of their choices. For example, Gabe Rivera only played 6 games for the Steelers while QB Terry Bradshaw suffered a career ending injury. The Jets Ken O’Brien was just alright, even though he had an 8-7 record against Marino. The Patriots QB Tony Eason led them to Super Bowl XX, but he wasn’t tough enough to last in the NFL, as he was very frail.

The Bills did get the great Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who at first balked at playing there, and played in the USFL. After the USFL closed, Kelly did report to the Bills, and led them to four straight SB appearances, the only QB to do that in NFL history.

During the end credits, both Elway and Marino talk about what they are doing in retirement.

Overall, this was an excellent film which I’d highly recommend.

MY PERSONAL COMMENTS

I just want to quickly comment on the main characters. To me, the draft is kind of like a yearling sale. Horse buyers are spending hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions on a thoroughbred yearling that they don’t know if it can run. It was the same thing with the draft. Teams are spending MILLIONS on players who have yet to play a down in the NFL. Heaven forbid they screw up, especially at the QB position.

That being said, I can understand why Marino fell so far, especially with the drug use rumors. Of course, sometimes teams need to look into rumors themselves instead of believing what everyone is saying. I mean, yes, Rivera looked promising to the Steelers, but he went out drinking and driving, and never played again. I just would have gone ahead and picked Marino. Bradshaw was on his way out anyway. Nevertheless, Dan Marino had a Hall of Fame career with Miami. He lead the Dolphins to one Super Bowl appearance, but got destroyed by the 49ers. who were led by Joe Montana.

As for Elway, I don’t usually like power plays to get what you want, but considering that the following year, the Irsay’s moved the team out of

Baltimore in the dark like cowards, I think the Elway family had a good grasp of what kind of people the Irsays were like, and what kind of organization the Colts were.

Therefore, I cannot really blame John for refusing to play for them. It was all for the best anyway, as Elway became a legend in Denver, and took the team to 5 Super Bowl appearances, winning 2. Like Marino, Elway is also a Hall of Famer.

As for Bob Irsay, I found the guy to be a stubborn jerk. I don’t know if it were because of pride or ego, but I could not understand why if other teams were offering him the moon for Elway, he refused to consider them. I also got the impression that Irsay wanted to hold on to Elway’s rights just because he could. I also got the impression that Irsay wanted to do things his way, or the highway.

What really turned me off was after turning down all those offers, Irsay trades Elway to the Broncos for peanuts, behind Colts GM Accorsi’s back. Was it a power play? I just thought that was a cowardly move, and I just didn’t like Irsay at all.

Well, that was my review, and my personal commentary on the film. I hope you enjoyed it.

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

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NFL 2012-13 Divisional Playoffs Review & Commentary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Divisional Playoffs Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mile High Expectations

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

More than 48 hours after the Denver Broncos hit a Rocky Mountain Low, the Broncos and their faithful are still trying to shake off the cobwebs after being blindsided by the upset the Baltimore Ravens pulled off Saturday in double overtime at Sports Authority Field.

After the game, fans and media members had many questions as to how this monumental collapse, hiccup, choke or however you wanted to label it happened to what seemed like a dominant and complete Denver Broncos team. The offseason acquisition of Peyton Manning in what was the equivalent of winning the free agency Powerball set the stage for the organization and fans alike to expect an improvement to a club that went 8-8 and won a home playoff game with Tim Tebow at quarterback. Surely having a future hall of famer, a SuperBowl winner and arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game behind center would make the Broncos not only repeat playoff contenders but vault them up to Super Bowl contenders along with the Patriots and 49ers.

I venture to say that the Denver Broncos did not choke against the Ravens but rather overachieved this season and gave the organization and fans promise for the next two to three seasons. Peyton Manning made his return from multiple neck surgeries and a full season of inactivity to typical Manning form during the regular season. Manning not only legitimized this Broncos offense that was stagnant a season ago, he changed the culture of the whole team and they responded with a different attitude. No longer were the Broncos hoping to overcome deficiencies on offense and wait for miracles like last season, this team believed they could beat anyone and that they were one of the elite teams in the league.

Looking at the 2012 rankings the Broncos seemed to be very well rounded on both sides of the football. Offensively with the addition of Manning the Broncos ranked fifth in the league in passing at just under 284 yards a game while their top rushing attack from a year ago was a modest 16th with 114 rushing yards a game. The latter statistic can be attributed to losing McGahee during the season and having to go with a running back by committee with former first round draft pick Knowshon Moreno and rookie Ronnie Hillman, neither who could be a viable threat to any team who fielded a half decent run defense. Defensively behind stud second year linebacker Von Miller, the defense improved upon last year’s strong performance as Jack Del Rio worked magic with this crew and ranked third in the league against the run and pass.

The Broncos benefited from a relatively easy schedule this season with no fault of their own. To their credit they beat everyone they were supposed to beat this season and stole a game in week 15 against the Ravens on the road. In five games played against teams who qualified for the playoffs this year the Broncos managed a 2-3 record with losses to the Texans, Falcons and Patriots early in the season. The Broncos survived an embarrassing first half performance against the Chargers in week 6 to recover and finish the season on a league high 11 game win streak.

Did that 11 games win streak set-up everyone in the Mile High City, the NFL, fans and media members to drink the orange and blue Kool-Aid and label the Broncos as odds on favorites to win the Super Bowl? I say yes as even Las Vegas odds makers bought into the hype by opening up the betting early in the week giving the Broncos -9pts against a Ravens team who seem to always pull off a road upset on a yearly basis in the playoffs. Denver sports radio hosts, newspaper writers and fans alike yapped their mouths all week on how the Ravens would get blown out again similar to the week 15, 34-17 humiliating home loss they suffered earlier to the Broncos. Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and the defense were just too old and couldn’t stop anyone was their reasoning. Add to that Joe Flacco hadn’t proved that he could lead his offense to score any points in the air and that Ray Rice would be shut down by the vaunted Denver defense. Finally Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense would impose their will and run and pass on the defense without any difficulties. How did that turn out for the Broncos?

Offensively the Broncos received a reality check. While both DeMaryus Thomas and Eric Decker had nice seasons, neither are in the caliber of top ten NFL receivers, nor could they be looked upon as a franchise receiver like Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, etc. Decker is very inconsistent and untrustworthy with his hands and Thomas, although with that huge frame, hardly has game breaking speed to create open lanes for Manning to throw to. The Denver tight ends were serviceable at best and the running game was average to say the least. Had the quarterback not been Peyton Manning, this offense would have been even worse than last season with no McGahee in the lineup for the latter half of the season.

Defensively the team was exposed to some heartbreaking news: Champ Bailey can no longer be regarded as one of the best corners in the game. Champ will no doubt be a first ballot hall of famer but he was out classed on several occasions by Torrey Smith who is a speedster wide receiver who made Champ look like he was 40 years old out on the field. On top of Champ Bailey being owned by Torrey Smith, you have Rahim Moore making arguably the worst defensive play in Denver Broncos history getting caught looking for an interception in the final minute of the 4th quarter up by seven. Rather than play deep cover 3 coverage and keeping everyone in front of him, Moore tried and failed miserably to get an interception and whiffed worse than any of the players the Colorado Rockies threw on the field this past spring.

With all the decencies that were exposed by the Ravens this past Saturday the Broncos have many positives to build upon for the 2013 NFL season. Peyton Manning will have a year of familiarity with the offense and its personnel, free agency will be more pleasant with an angry and hungry hall of fame quarterback to attract players who want to play in a dynamic offense, aggressive defense and win the weakest division in the NFL. Fear not Mile High City, the opening act was just a taste of what is to come for this team. This story will end with a happy ending for all who stick around to see its finish.

Roberto is a Radio Personality for Denver’s Mile High Sports Radio AM1510/FM 93.7. Follow Roberto on twitter @RobertoDenver

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NFL 2012-13 Divisional round picks & preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Broncos 35 Ravens 10

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Packers 30 49ers 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Seahawks 28 Atlanta 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Patriots 35 Texans 21

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

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

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NFL Divisional round preview & predictions – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

AFC:

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Broncos 24 Ravens 14

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Patriots 42 Texans 14

NFC:

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Seahawks 21 Falcons 13

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

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

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

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

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

Prediction: Packers 24 49ers 21

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

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NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

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

“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

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