Thursday, September 13, 2012

Around the NFL

     Robert Griffin III vs. Andrew Luck: No, these two did not face off this week, but they will always be compared, because they were taken #1 and #2 in the draft this past spring. In their NFL debuts, RGIII outperformed Luck by a mile. Under the lights in the Superdome, Griffin had the highest passer rating in the NFL this past week in a 40-32 win. Luck, however, struggled against the Bears with 3 interceptions in a 20 point loss.

     Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Carolina Panthers were a popular pick to take over the NFC South last year after their upstart season in 2011, but the Buc's defense put on a show vs Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. A team that was third in the league in rushing yards this past season went for a whopping 10 yards on the ground against Schiano's new and improved defense. Ronde Barber played with renewed energy, adding to his career sack & interception totals that are approaching record levels. Wins like this only add to the notion that the Buccaneers' quit on Raheem Morris last year. 

     Peyton Manning: The Hall of Famer came out of the gates full throttle with the Broncos on Sunday Night, throwing for over 250 yards and 2 TDs in a win over the Steelers. Any prior questions about Peyton's abilities have been answered now, and the rest of the league better be watching out for the comeback player of the year.

     Stat of the Week
     Trent Richardson: 19 carries for 39 yards. The revolutionary workout warrior, 5-9 230 lb beast averaged 2.1 yards per carry in his debut last week. This baffles em, because Alfred Morris, rookie 6th round draft pick out of Florida Atlantic, had 96 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. I know it is all subjective, but it makes you wonder when a guy that had average stats in college does so well in his pro debut. 

Notable Injuries
     A number of injuries occurred during the games last week, including an ankle sprain for Cardinals QB John Skelton, a non-throwing shoulder injury for Titans' QB Jake Locker, a mild concussion for Jets CB Darrelle Revis, and a strained hamstring for Ravens FS Ed Reed. Each of these players are critical to their team's success (or lack thereof), so fans should keep watch for the Thursday practices and the game time decisions.

Literally Sports Game of the Week
     Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers: Easy pick for game of the week, as this is not only one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL, but it has playoff implications, and could quite possibly give the 15-1 Packers an 0-2 start to this season. Cutler, with Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, and Alshon Jeffrey, is now equipped to battle Rodgers, whose receiving core features Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley. Think back to last year: before Caleb Hanie came in at QB and ruined the season, the Bears were 7-3 and riding a 5-game win streak. Look out Cheeseheads, Da Bears are on their way. My pick: Chicago wins, 31-27.

Plays of the Week
  1. RGIII's first touchdown
  2. Tracy Porter's interception, similar to this interception that happened against Peyton Manning.
  3. Peyton Manning's 400th career touchdown pass, another one reminiscent of a past game
  4. David Akers showing off the huge leg.
  5. Randy Moss, its comeback season, and he's back.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012-13 NFL Season Preview

     This season looks like it will be more of the same. Patriots, Packers Ravens, 49ers, Saints, Texans, Lions, Steelers, and Broncos. I expect all of those playoff teams to be playing in January once again. There are a few teams that have a chance to improve big time: the Panthers, the Bears, the Chiefs, and the Eagles. For the past few years, the NFL has been promoting "The Year of the Quarterback," and this year expects to feature even more passing than last year. Adrian Peterson is a game-time decision for the week as he continues to recover from knee surgery, Trent Richardson had arthoscopic surgery a few weeks ago, MJD just finished up a holdout situation, and Arian Foster has gone vegan. Meanwhile, the quarterback crops are only getting stronger. Roethlisberger has gotten healthy, Peyton is healthy again, Schaub is back in the Texan's line-up, and another great group of QBs were in the draft this year, headlined by Andrew Luck & Robert Griffin III.

     As far as this season's outcome, I have a hard time believing that this season will not be all about the Patriots and Packers. They were, on paper, the two best teams in the NFL last year, and they improved their defenses in the offseason. I am a firm believer that Tom Brady will retire from this league as the greatest to ever take the field, but the Super Bowl jinx is no myth, and the Patriots' fans can expect another dissapointing ending to their season. The Packers, behind the arm of Aaron Rodgers, are primed for another run at the title, but the Lions and Bears will have a lot to say about that. The teams at the bottom of the league do not look to have enough firepower to overcome the perennial winners, but the other playoff teams certainly do.

     Now, for the playoff predictions. NFC North: Packers. NFC East: Eagles. NFC West: 49ers. NFC South: Saints. Wildcard: Bears and Lions. AFC North: Steelers. AFC East: Patriots. AFC West: Broncos. AFC South: Texans. Wildcard: Ravens and Jets. NFC Championship: Eagles vs. Bears . AFC Championship: Texans vs. Steelers. Super Bowl: Steelers vs. Eagles. Champion: Philadelphia Eagles. Michael Vick, after years filled with injury, jail time, and scrutiny, will carry the Philadelphia Eagles to their first ever Super Bowl win. Expect Vick to find a way to survive this season, and the "dream team" to make alot more big plays on offense.

     This NFL Season is definitely shaping up to be a wild one. Randy Moss is back, Vick is healthy, the Saints JUST got their players back, and Tebow Mania has moved its way up to the most populated city in the USA. Good luck football fans, the NFL Season is officially here. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?