THE BIG FIVE: WHO WOULD BE YOUR NEXT BIG FIVE?

 

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    When it comes to Heavy Metal, there are so many subdivisions and styles.  These styles and subdivisions are constantly changing and adapting to changes in society and mingling between the lines of Mainstream and Underground.  As a teenager, I grew up in the eighties during the initial rise of Heavy Metal Music to the forefront.  During my early dabbles in the Metal Music community, I became enamored with the Thrash wave which was the beginnings of “THE BIG FIVE.”  Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and Testament quickly became my favorite bands.  I could not get enough of this music and of course, like a drug I became addicted.  Don’t get me wrong, the depths of my Metal likes goes far beyond The Big Five.  Pantera came to the forefront much later but they quickly became one of my favorites.  

     I was always a Glam Metal fan as well.  I also have become a fan of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, DIO, and Faith No More.  My Metal Catalog grows larger everyday.  In the days of new technology and the ability to listen to all of your favorite bands on outlets such as Pandora, Amazon, ITUNES, Satellite Radio and such, we as a society have been spoiled.  I am probably one of the rare fans that still enjoys buying the CD and reading the lyrics and admiring all of the cool artwork i the albums jacket.  There is no secret who the “Big Five” in Metal is.  This leads me to my next question…what bands would make the next Big Five??

     Well, as much as I am a fan of the original Big Five, my Metal List would not be complete without the mention of OVERKILL!!

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     Overkill has been one of my Favorites since Day One.  Overkill is cut from the same mold as The Big Five.  I also cannot deny the local connection as OVERKILL hails from the “Ironbound”, Newark New Jersey.  Overkill has a ton of material, and unlike the other previous big five, they never went mainstream.  Overkill can Thrash with the best of em.  They are extremely good live and they are also very talented.  Overkill would definitely make my next Big Five.

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     The Metal Community would never be the same if it were not for Pantera.  Pantera was the one band that came during the rise of Alternative Metal and the fall of Thrash Metal.  Pantera is just one of those bands that you could never stop listening too.  With the screeching vocals of Phil Anselmo, the dominant double bass drums of Vinnie Paul, the power bass chords of Rex Brown, and the dynamic guitar artwork of Dimebag Darrell.  Pantera was one of the best bands ever during their heyday and they definitely make the next list.  Who knows how far Pantera would have went in popularity and notoriety had Dimebag not been murdered.

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     Lamb of God is like Pantera on steroids.  Many people do not think that Lamb of God could possibly belong on a list like this but I will fight anyone on that assumption.  Lamb of God has some of the most talented musicians today.  Lamb of God has taken Thrash Metal at its core and really branched out to make an amped up version.  They are always one of the largest draws today for a live show.  Lamb of God has some of the sickest Pits known to man.  Ashes of the Wake put them on the map and Wrath solidified their place on this list.

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     Tool makes this list.  Tool is really not a Thrash Band but they combined the Thrash style with the Progressive Style.  Anyone that has never heard the band Tool, I highly suggest a hardcore listening session.  Tool is just one of those bands that has non-stop action and keeps the crowd on the seat of its pants.  Maynard, the vocalist, is one of the greatest Power Metal Vocalists of today.  Tool is definitely in my next Big Five.

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Image  Killswitch Engage and Sevendust round out my next Big Five!  Both of these bands infuse the old Thrash Metal sound with the new age hooks and progressive styles of todays music.  I am sure I forgot a few bands and maybe left some out.  I will give an honorable mention to Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold.  I highly suggest Metal Church also.  The new Metal Church album “Generation Next” is phenomenal and may be one of the greatest albums of 2013.  Stay tuned for more Metal News and talk.  Don’t forget to check out the new season of That Metal Show.  There are so many awesome stories going on in the Metal World.  I also highly suggest the new Metallica Movie…Through the Never.

 

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NFL: THE NEW FLAG LEAGUE

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     On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers were holding a 20-17 lead, late in the Fourth Quarter.  The Saints were facing a crucial 3rd Down and -2 at the 49ers 35 Yard Line with only a few minutes left in the game.  So as Drew Brees dropped back to pass on the third down, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked Brees causing Brees to fumble the ball and San Fran recovered the fumble.  However, the referee called Brooks for a personal foul because it was a blow to the “Head or Neck” area.  At this point, the Saints retained possession and ultimately went on to win the game.  Now according to Mike Florio of ProFootballtalk.com, a league source said that the call was “absolutely the correct call.”  Ok, I am not uneducated to the letters and laws of the game.  I totally agree that there should be protection for Quarterbacks from vicious hits to the head especially in a day where concussions have been so deeply studied and researched.  However, there has to be some kind of middle ground.

     The rule states that no player may hit a Quarterback in the head or neck in a vicious matter.  However, there is some discretion that is given to the referees to make an interpretation if the play was in a vicious manner with an attempt to hurt.  Well, take a look at the replay in real time and you barely realize that Brooks arm makes contact with Drew Brees neck.  Then look at the replay in slow motion and you can see a totally different outlook.  As Brees drops back to pass, Brooks storms through the line and absolutely levels Brees.  As he takes Brees down, his right arm comes across Brees Chest and as Brees falls back, you can see that the momentum of the play makes Brees neck bobble into Brook’s arm.  Seriously take a look at the play numerous times and you can see Brooks who is much taller than Brees arm actually go in a downward motion where his arm actually makes firm contact with Brees chest.  The arm does only contact the neck on the momentum of the downward fall to the ground.

     Ok…now there are two ways of looking at this play.  Under the letter of the law, the call was technically correct.  But in my mind, it was a horrible call.  You have to take a look at the risk/reward factor of playing in the NFL.  Injuries are apart of the game and no matter what the league does to try and limit these injuries, they will always happen.  Also, another problem is the uneven playing field and inconsistancy of these calls.  This game featured Drew Brees, one of the “premier” Quarterbacks in the NFL.  However, what would the call have been if the Quarterback was Christian Ponder of the Minnesota Vikings?  Let’s face the facts here, this play ultimately decided the game.  The 49ers had a win and it was taken away.  This is actually a play that could ruin the 49ers chances of not only winning the Super Bowl, but also even making the playoffs.

     I know this will never happen, but I wonder what Drew Brees would actually say if he was interviewed about this play off the record.  Drew Brees is a constant professional and I am sure that he is an honest God-Fearing Man.  In my opinion, Brees would probably say that it was a close call but it was also a good play at a critical time in the game that actually decided the fate of the outcome.  Now, imagine if the shoe was on the other foot?  What if this play was on Colin Kaepernick and the Saints were winning the game.  Yes, in the Saints minds it would be a totally different light.  Now, this is just the most recent play of this nature that has had these kind of outcomes in big games.  I am in no way stating that there should not be protection of Quarterbacks and any players on the field from being intentionally injured.  Just like the rules regarding running Backs or Wide Receivers from getting tackled at the knees.  Another type of play that has come into the limelight is the horse collar tackle.  Yes, the league has put rules in place to protect many players from certain injuries.  But Please!!!???  This is the NFL folks.  The NFL, the game of MEN.  Injuries are a part of every sport.  When these young talents enter the League, they do so knowing that there is always a chance that they may be injured.  I mean, the Sports World is not above life.  Look at the two Head Coaches that have suffered heart attacks this year…John Fox (Denver) and Gary Kubiak (Houston).  I mean, they say that 70% of heart attacks are caused by stress and what more stressful job is there in the Sports World than being a Head Coach.  A Head Coach of any team in any sport has one duty.  “WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP”, that is it.  WIN<WIN<WIN.  When a sports team does not win, the coach loses their job.

     I will also argue, that if we want to protect the Quarterback then where is the protection for other positional players such as Defensive Lineman (from chop blocks), Offensive Lineman (Knee Tackles), etc.  There needs to be consistent parameters put into place to make the league run as a better system.  There also seems to be a pass interference call on almost every deep ball that is thrown and not caught.  Let’s face it, holding happens on almost every play in the NFL on both sides of the ball.  The point that I am trying to make is that there needs too be rules.  There needs to be systems put into place to protect players from injury.  There is obviously a great deal of time being devoted to the research of head injuries and concussions alike.  Just last week, Tony Dorsett came out and says that he suffers from post traumatic chronic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition caused by head injuries that has been linked to depression and dementia.  Yes, there are serious issues in Today’s NFL.  Ten years ago, the sack that occurred in yesterday’s game would not have been a penalty.  The collarbone is connected to the neck bone.  Watch the video…Brooks actually makes contact to the collarbone which in turn hits the neck bone.  So, as Mike and Mike said on the morning show, the NFL Defenses must now practice “SAFE SACKS” lol.

     In conclusion, the NFL is not going to take the foot off of the pedal in protecting Quarterbacks.  There are going to be more controversial plays to come that may also decide outcomes in important games.  What I think the league must look at though is the letter of the law and does the hit occur with an “Intent to Injure” or was the hit made and then after momentum was the player put at risk.  These hits take place in real time and I think that it has been proven that once a player is throwing their body with all of their might at a moving target, that it is almost impossible to let off the gas.  Ditrty Players are a part of every sport.  There are tons of dirty players in the NHL.  Do I think that Brooks hit was dirty?  Absolutely not.  Do I think that Brooks intended to hurt Brees?  Absolutely not.  Drew Brees is 6 Feet Tall at best and Brooks is 6 Foot Five.  What is the NFL going to do now…institute height restrictions for different games such as they do at theme parks that state a person must be a certain height to attend a ride.  I just think that these calls are a joke and there needs to more parameters to get these calls right.  I think if any one saw that play in slow motion, including the Saints coach, you would have the opinion that the hit was not vicious, did not hit the head, and only hit the neck due to the momentum of the play.  Finally, Brooks did not purposely go at Brees neck.  Well, this has been my rant of the week lolStay tuned for more of The Bird’s Musings…

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NFL WEEK 11 EARLY GAME NEWS AND NOTES

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     There were 8 Early Games to begin Week #11 in the NFL.  The first big story was the Suspended Game in Chicago between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.  There was extremely dangerous weather, including flash flood and tornado warnings.  After the game resumed, the Ravens lead the Bears 10-3 with Eight Minutes left in the half.  In Detroit, the Steelers jumped out to an early lead on behind Ben Rothelisberger’s 2 TD Passes.  However, Detroit remaining true to form let the dogs out on the Steelers.  Matt Stafford had 327 Yards Passing in the first half.  Calvin Johnson is having another huge game with 6 Receptions for 179 Yards and 2 Touchdowns.  Detroit leads the Steelers 27-23 with less than Seven Minutes in the half.  Matt Stafford and Ben Rothelisberger have combined for over 670 Yards Passing thus far.  And Antonio Brown and Calvin Johnson have 13 Receptions for 326 Yards and 4 TD’s.

     In Buffalo, the Bills are 2 Minutes away from blowing out the New York Jets.  The Bills are beating the Jets 37-14.  The Jets came into this game needing a win to maintain pace in the Playoff Race.  Geno Smith had a horrible first half with only 100 Yards Passing, 3 Interceptions and was sacked 4 times.  E.J. Manuel has been more than efficient with 20 Completions for over 240 Yards and 2 TD’s.  At Houston, after it was announced that Gary Kubiak would coach from the Press Box,  the Raiders are beating the Texans 28-23 with 7 Minutes to play.  At Cincinnati, the Bengals are beating the Browns 41-20, despite Andy Dalton not reaching the century mark in passing.  At Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers on their way to their Second Win of the Season, are blowing out the sad luck Falcons.  Vincent Jackson has 10 Receptions, 165 Yards and a Touchdown.  Tampa’s 3rd String Running Back Brian Rainey has 162 Yards Rushing in his debut, after Doug Martin and Mike James both went out with season ending injuries.

     However, the most exciting game of the early games has definitely been the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles, trying to win their first Home Game since September of 2012, jumped out to a 24-0 lead.  Nick Foles, looking more and more like the Eagles Quarterback of the future, had almost 300 Yards Passing.  He also rushed for almost 40 Yards and a Touchdown.  LeSean McCoy, rushed for over 70 Yards and 2 Touchdowns.  However, there was a scary moment in the first half when McCoy went down with an apparent hamstring injury.  He left the field and his return was questionable.  I must say, it did not look good for the Eagles at that point.  Meanwhile, in the Second Half it seemed like the Eagles let off the gas and let the Redskins back in the game.  The Redskins scored two touchdowns and two-2 Point conversions to make the game close at 24-16.  With 3:27 minutes left, they got the ball at their three yard line.  It appeared that RGIII would lead the Redskins all the way back to tie the game as they got into the red zone with less than a minute left.  However, Brandon Boykin picked off a pass in the end zone intended for Pierre Garcon, and the Eagles escaped with a 24-16 Win.  This was the Eagles first Home Win in 413 Days!!!  Wow!  And now, as we speak the Steelers have stormed back to lead the Detroit Lions 37-27.  And as Stafford is sacked, the Lions lose 37-27.

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    So to recap, it was another whacky early beginning to Week #11.  Tampa upsets Atlanta.  The Steelers upset the Detroit Lions.  The Bills upset the Jets.  Oakland upsets Houston.  The Eagles hold on to beat Washington.  The Bengals destroy the Browns.  And Arizona beats Jacksonville as expected.  The late games will see the New York football Giants face the Green Bay Packers.  The 49ers will face the New Orleans Saints.  The San Diego Chargers play the Miami sinking Fish.  The Minnesota Vikings (Pirates) play the Seattle High Flying Seahawks and Baltimore continues their game against the Bears after being suspended because of weather.  And of course, could there be a better late game than tonights Sunday Night game between the Denver Broncos (8-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0).  The game will pit the League’s best Offense against the League’s Best Defense.  I am so looking forward to watching this game…and as Terrell Owens used to say…”Getcha Popcorn Ready!!!!”  Stay Tuned.  Check Out INTHENEUTRALZONE.COM for all the up to minute highlights.

NFL WEEK #11 PICKS

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     Week #10 of the NFL season went nothing the way experts and analysts alike had predicted.  My picks this season have been average at best.  However; I never quit until the “Fat Lady Sings.”  My Fantasy Team has also underperformed up to this point and right now I am on the Outside Looking In.  Nonetheless, I am not throwing in the towel.  At 4-6, I have 4 games left until the playoffs.  Last season I was 4-6 and then won 3 Straight to go 7-6 and make the Playoffs.  I actually ended up in the Championship and came within 4 Points of winning the whole entire thing.  There are many similarities in this season for my team as last season.  Without writing a book, I had the 8th Pick of the Draft back to back seasons.  My Running Backs have been average at best both years due to injuries and poor drafting.  Megatron has carried my team both seasons.  And my last pick, the very last pick of the draft was a key contributor to my team.  Last year it was a Kicker; this season it is Josh Gordon.  Anyways, I am still in this thing folks.  Ok…on to more important matters and the real NFL Season.  Here are my Week #11 Picks:

 

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ATLANTA FALCONS (2-7)

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1-8)

This game is a Pick Em.  Both Teams have had extremely disappointing seasons.  First of all, the Buccaneers have lost their 1st String Running Back Doug Martin and 2nd String Running Back Mike James to season ending injuries.  Tampa’s Franchise Quarterback Josh Freeman was cut after an addiction problem.  The team also lost star Wide Receiver Mike Williams for the season.  The Buccaneer’s only bright spot has been a defense that cannot do it all without any resemblance of an offense.  Likewise, the Atlanta Falcons have been extremely frustrating to fans and analysts alike.  Many people had picked the Falcons to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.  In the offseason they added All-Pro Running Back Steven Jackson to an Offense that already included Matt Ryan “Matty Ice”, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez.   Well, Julio Jones is out for the season with an injury.  Roddy White has missed most of the season due to various injuries.  Steven Jackson scored a Touchdown on his first play from scrimmage in game one and left the game injured.  He only returned in Week #9 and has been non-existent.  This leaves Matty Ice and Tony Gonzalez.  Unfortunately they are not Super Human.  Comparing the offense and defenses; Tampa is ranked 31st in Total Offense, having only scored 146 Points for an average of 16.2 Points Per Game.  Tampa is 30th in Pass Offense, 15th in Rushing, and 5th in Time of Possession.  Atlanta is not much better on Offense at 14th in Total Offense, 24th in Points with 186 Points for a 20.7 Average, 6th in Passing Offense, and Dead Last in Rushing.  Tampa is 14th in Total Defense while Atlanta is 25th.  Atlanta is 6th in Points allowed at 251 and 4th in average giving up 27.9 Points Per Game.  Tampa is 20th in Points allowed and 18th in average with 23.2.  Matt Ryan has thrown 16 Touchdowns compared to 10 Interceptions.  Tampa is going with rookie Mike Glennon who has thrown only 9 TD’s and 4INT’s.  This game is really dull on the outside but the Division Rival Aspect should rear its head.  I am taking Tampa to get their second win only because they are at home and the final score will be 20-17.

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NEW YORK JETS (5-4)

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BUFFALO BILLS (3-7)

The New York Football Jets are Second in the AFC East behind the Patriots and come into the game a 1 Point Favorite against the Division Rival Buffalo Bills, who are dead last.  The Jets are 8th in Total Yards allowed giving up roughly 326 Yards per game.  The Bills are 19th giving up 356.  The Bills and Jets are 16th and 17th respectively on offense.  So, the Bills have been disappointing as far as not competing.  In New York, Geno Smith continues to shine.  However, the Jets still are ranked very low in Passing Yards per Game.  Both of these teams can run the ball as the Bills are 7th in Rushing Yards and the Jets are 9th.  So, with two Top Ten Rushing Teams, we should expect a running game with both teams jockeying for Time of Possession.  The Bills keep losing Quarterbacks while Geno Smith has been a mainstay all year for the Jets.  Smith has 8TD’s/13INT’s and only 1800 Yards Passing.  However, he has contributed 172 Yards on the Ground with 3 Rushing Touchdowns.  However, Smith has been a game manager.  Another tough Divisional Game here and expect frigid temperatures.  The Jets will win on the road and keep pace with the Patriots as they win 17-10 in a low scoring affair.

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DETROIT LIONS (6-3)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-6)

At first glance one may think that this is an error.  It looks like no one proofread this game.  However, it’s true.  When is the last time the Lions were leading their Division at this point while the Steelers were in dead last place.  Well, that’s the exact scenario that we have here in Week 11.  The Detroit Lions have the 6th Ranked Offense rattling off over 410 Yards Per Game.  They are 3rd in the league in Passing and 21st in Rushing.  Matt Stafford continues to mature as a Quarterback.  Megatron has been better than Megatron if that can be possible.  Stafford almost has 3,000 Yards Passing already with 2,836.  He has also tossed 19 Touchdowns while only 7 Interceptions.  Of course, his favorite target Calvin Johnson continues to be an absolute beast with 53 Receptions for 904 Yards and 9 Touchdowns while missing almost two full games.  Then add Reggie Bush to the mix who has 623 Yards Rushing and 2 TD’s, and another 343 Yards Receiving and 2TD’s.  On the other hand, Detroit is only 24th in Defense while the Steelers come in with the Tenth Ranked Defense.  So, why are the Steelers so bad.  The Steelers are better than average on Offense at 15.  Well the answer lies in one easy word: Turnovers!  The Steelers are 31st in Turnover Ratio at -11.  This is not a recipe for success.  They really are putrid on Offense when you look at the numbers.  They are 11th in Passing Yards compared to 27th in Rushing.  This game is being played at Pittsburgh, which is the only reason that I am hesitating on my pick.  The Lions are favored by 2.5 on the road.  The Lions have an opportunity to add to their Division Lead and keep pace in the NFC.  I am going Detroit to win the game and cover as they beat the sad Steelers 34-21.

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WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-6)

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-5)

I always promise not to be a homer and favor my team.  This should be another Division Smash Hit.  The Eagles rolled on the Skins in Week #1, but that was the first time we saw Chip Kelly’s Offense.  Nonetheless, the Eagles Offense may be even better now.  There is definitely more balance.  Nick Foles is trying to become the second Quarterback this season to toss 20 touchdowns without an Interception.  Oh yeah, guess who the other QB was?? If you said Peyton Manning you were right.  The Eagles are 4th in Total Offense averaging 413 Yards per game while the Redskins are 5th with 410.  Wow, thats extremely close.  The Eagles are 2nd in Rushing with 153 Yards and the Skins are 3rd with 151 Yards.  Finally, the Eagles are 9th in Passing while the Skins are 10th.  So on paper, these two teams are very close on Offense.  Washington has been a tad bit better on Defense at 27th while the Eagles are 31st.  The Eagles are 31st against the Pass, however they are 14th against the Run giving up 110 Yards on the Ground.  The Redskins like to pound the ball with Alfred Morris.  The Eagles have a positive Turnover Ratio at +2 and the Skins are Even.  This game will be a knock em down beat em down type Division Battle.  This time the Game is in Philly.  The Eagles are Favored by 4 Points.  I am taking the Eagles to win and cover at home, their 1st Home Win in 13 Games!!!!  The Eagles will win 35-27.

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-5)

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-5)

This game is one that I am having a hard time to read.  Both of these teams come in 4-5 and are in Third Place in their respective Divisions.  Miami is coming off a loss on Monday Night to the Winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  They are also still going through the controversy regarding Incognito and Martin.  This story was the largest one on sports networks everywhere this past week.  San Diego is only favored by 1.5 Points.  The Chargers have been very inconsistent.  The Chargers are 7th on Offense while Miami is 30th.  Miami is 20th on Defense and San Diego is 29th.  Both of these teams are in must win situations.  I was leaning towards the Chargers, but now I am taking the Fins to win at home 20-17.

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CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-5)

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-4)

The Bengals are first in the AFC North while the Browns are Second.  During the early part of the season, fans and experts had written off the Browns as they traded their Franchise Running Back Trent Richardson.  They also lost their starting Quarterback Brian Hoyer.  However, somehow the Browns have been able to stay afloat.  The Bengals are so much more Balanced this season as they are 8th on Offense and 4th On Defense.  The Browns are 5th On Defense, which is truly unbeleiveable while their Offense has struggled.  The Bengals are 7th in Passing as Andy Dalton is having a career year.  Dalton has 18TD’s/13INTS, almost 3,000 Yards Passing and is completing over 60 Percent of his passes.  The Bengals also have over 900 Yards Rushing and 7 Touchdowns from the combination of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovanni Bernard.  The rookie Bernard is averaging over 4.0 Yards per Carry.  Brandon Weeden has over 1100 Yards Passing and 5 TD’s.  Richardson has been a bust so far.  Josh Gordon leads the Browns in Receiving once again with 35 Receptions, 626 Yards, and 3 TD’s.  The Bengals are favored by 6.5 Points at home.  I am going to take the favored Bengals to win the game as well as cover as they beat their Rivals 27-17.

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OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-6)

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-7)

I find it hard to believe that the Texans are favored by 9 Points against the Raiders.  The Raiders have been much better the past few weeks.  The Texans are really playing horrible.  They lost their star Running Back Arian Foster.  The Texans do boast the Number One Defense in the League.  I am taking the Texans to win but they will not cover.  Final Score Texans 24-Raiders 20.

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (5-4)

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-8)

Jacksonville managed it’s first win of the season this past week.  They are still the worst team in the league however.  The Jags are 32nd in Offense and 28th in Defense.  The Cardinals are in 3rd place in the West behind the 49ers and Seahawks.  Arizona is ranked 13th on Defense and 13th on Offense.  You cannot get more balance than this.  The Cardinals are also a turnover machine on Defense.  Jacksonville comes back down to earth as the Cardinals win and cover the eight points 28-10.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-0)

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DENVER BRONCOS (8-1)

One would have to say that the Kansas City Chiefs are America’s Team at this point as the only undefeated team in the league.  However, the Denver Broncos have maintained pace as they only have one loss.  The Broncos are still the League’s Number ONE Offense.  Peyton Manning has been absolutely lights out.  Manning has an incredible 33 Touchdowns/6Interceptions and 3,249 Yards Passing.  The past three games he has played on two sprained ankles.  Manning is having a season for the ages.  Obviously, the only thing stopping Manning from a trip to the Super Bowl is his health and the Chiefs.  The Chiefs at 9-0 are the other story of the season.  Andy Reid has brought a last place team to first.  The Chiefs are the best team as far as Turnover Differential.  However, Reid’s run stops tomorrow.  The Broncos, who are favored by 7.5 Points, will win and give the Chiefs their first loss of the season.  Denver wins 38-24.

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MINNESOTA VIKINGS (2-7)

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-1)

The Seahawks are the Best Team in the NFC.  The Vikings are one of the worst.  The Seahawks continue to dominate on both sides of the ball.  Russell Wilson is becoming one of the best Game Managers in the League.  Marshawn Lynch is an absolute beast on the ground.  The Vikings are using their third Quarterback.  Seattle wins big as the cover the 12.5 Points.  The Seahawks win 42-10.

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (6-3)

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (7-2)

The Saints are 3 Point Favorites on the Road in this one.  The Niners are still awesome on Defense.  Drew Brees is on a Hot Streak. The Saints win big at home 34-27.

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-4)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (3-6)

The New York Football Giants are playing the Packers who are still Aaron Rodgerless.  The Eagles beat the Packers pretty easily this past week.  The Giants are 4 Point Favorites.  However, I see the Packers beating the Giants 24-20.  The Giants remain in the basement in the NFC Least.

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-2)

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (6-3)

When is the last time the Patriots were underdogs??  That has not happened too often the past few years.  However, they are playing the hottest team in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers.  The Panthers have been absolute beasts the past few weeks.  They are playing stellar on offense and defense.  I am going to take the Patriots to beat the Panthers 27-24.

That is a wrap of this week’s games.  Stay tuned for my Fantasy Advice and also my next installment of the Top Lists of NFL by Position.  Thanks once again to Intheneutralzone.com.  Happy Sunday Everyone!!!

 

NATIONAL METAL DAY 2013

Image     Hey folks…Today is National Metal Day.  Looking back at 2013 so far, the greatest loss to the Metal Community this year was the passing of Jeff Hanneman (49 Years Old), the famous guitarist in the band Slayer.  I remember I was at work when I heard about the passing of this great guitar player.  It was very sad news as Slayer has always been one of my favorite Metal Bands.  Slayer’s latest album “The World Painted Blood”, may have been their best ever produced album and Hanneman was responsible for writing most of the material.  As a veteran Metal Head, this is a very special day for me as well as many of you.  Of course, I will spend my day jamming all of my favorite bands and enjoying the Music that has been the soundtrack of my life.

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     For any Def Leppard fans, I highly recommend their latest release of Viva Hysteria in Las Vegas.  This deluxe set includes 2 Live CD’s from their performance in their Vegas Rock Stand as well as a DVD of their entire Hysteria album live.  I am a huge Def Leppard fan and have always been enamored by their Greatness.  However, these past few years their sound quality has not been as good as Joe Elliot seemed to have lost his voice.  Well, I must say that this performance is truly epic.  First of all, I remember when Hysteria was first released.  I probably listened to the album 30x the first day I purchased the CD…lol.  I also remember reading the jacket and admiring the artwork.  When Hysteria was released, the Band hit a Grand Slam.  This album was highly anticipated as it took over three years to produce.  “Viva Hysteria” is the Hysteria album in its entirety.  Well, from the opening song “Women” to the final tune “Love and Affection” this is the best Def Leppard has sounded in forever.  Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen are brilliant as is Drummer Rick Savage and Rick Allen their bassist.  However, the biggest surprise on the album is how good Joe Elliot sounds.  Its almost like he is a new person.  Trust me, this is a must see performance for any Metal Fans.

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     Megadeth and Iron Maiden both continue their World Tours.  Megadeth, after taking a break to do the “Countdown to Extinction Live” Tour is back on the road promoting their latest album Super Collider.  They even hooked up with Iron Maiden on a few shows out west this past summer and fall.  One show had Death Angel, Testament, Overkill, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth.  Now, that must have been some show!!  Anyways, Iron Maiden continues to be beasts on Tour, even at their ripe old age.  Bruce Dickinson has to be one of the most energetic Front Men in Metal, even to this day.  Dave Mustaine has signed up for an opportunity to do a solo album with an orchestra.  I am so looking forward to that.  Also, Bassist David Elleffson has released an autobiography.  I have not read the book yet; however, I am planning on picking it up very soon.  Some other good books that came out recently is Rex Brown’s new book which chronicles the end times of Pantera.  

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     Avenged Sevenfold (AX7), recently released their newest album “Hail to the King.”  For those of you that are not familiar with any of Avenged material, I highly suggest purchasing some of their albums.  In reality, it was going to be hard for AX7 to out due their past album “Nightmare”, which was a multi-platinum giant.  However, the Band has managed to go one step further.  Their latest release, “Hail to the King” is a masterpiece.  The first leg of their tour went across the nation and they also had guests Device, Five Finger Death Punch, and Def Tones.  They are now currently touring Europe.  “Hail to the King” sold a very impressive 159,000 copies during the first week of release.  The album stormed to Number #1 on the Billboard 200 as well.  Of course, there are many naysayers that feel that Avenged Sevenfold is not original an that they steal riffs from other great bands.  I have to disagree totally.  Although many of the new songs on the album mirror other great bands such as Guns N Roses, Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden, the production level is top notch.  And may I ask, what is wrong with creating material that is driven from some of the greatest Metal Bands ever.  The album also has a Black Sabbath feel to it at some points.  At any rate, this was a great release, and along with Volbeat, these are my two favorite albums of 2013 so far. 

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     Speaking of Black Sabbath, the Grandfathers of Metal released a new album in 2013 called ironically, “13”.  Well, as far as the album goes, the material was probably some of their most dynamic since back in the DIO years.  Everyone has their favorite Black Sabbath lineup, mine is surprisingly with Ronnie James Dio at the helm.  Dio in my mind is a way better vocalist than Ozzy.  Ozzy may be a better stage presence, however I like music for the lyrics and vocals.  So, I am more of a fan with Sabbath with Dio.  However, their best albums have come from the classic lineup of Ozzy, Geezer, Iommi, and Ward.  Their new album goes back to the roots of Sabbath and has an extremely dynamic sound.  The band was able to make Ozzy’s voice appear like he was 21 again.  I love the new album, if you have not heard it pick it up!

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      The popular Christian Metal band, Stryper has also released their first new album in fifteen years.  Their new album is titled “No More Hell To Pay.”  Michael Sweet has always been one of the greatest vocalists to take the stage.  Stryper has some awesome material and this album is their heaviest in years.  To me, this album goes back to the roots, like their well known track “To Hell With the Devil.”  I have sampled the album and I give it an 8/10 rating.  Michael Sweet has not lost a step and the rest of the band is at the top of its game.  Oz Fox is brilliant with his guitar playing.  Although Stryper has always fit in the Progresive Metal category, this album is a more classic metal sound.  The guitar work is excellent and there are many impressive riffs.

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     Metal Church has also released a new album titled “Generation Nothing.”  This may sound crazy, but in my opinion this is their best Metal album ever.  Although, this is the band’s 3rd Lineup, I feel that this album is top notch from start to finish.  Every song on the album could easily be a hit.  Seriously, check out this one, I promise that you will not be disappointed.  The opening track “Bullet Proof” is a thrash style punk metal riff that rips open the album.  “Dead City” and “Generation Nothing” are hard anthem type Metal songs.  Then the Fourth Track, “Noises in the Wall” uses a ton of bridges, hooks, and even has some unique change ups, kind of like Metallica used to do in their early albums.  My favorite two songs on the album are “Suiciety” and “Hits Keep Coming” which are both hard and fast and rock your core.  The finale’, “The Media Horse” portrays a realistic viewpoint on how the media of today has stained American Life.  Metal Church is underrated in my mind and they are one of the forgotten thrash metal bands of the eighties era.

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    In conclusion, I would like to take a close look at the icon Tim “Ripper” Owens.  Most people recognize Owens as the vocalist that took over for Rob Halford of “Judas Priest”, when Rob left the band.  This is true, and the movie Rockstar was loosely based on the story of Tim Owens.  However, Tim Owens is much more than just “that guy.”  Tim Owens was born in 1967.  He is currently a solo artist, but he also does some guest appearances with “Beyond fear” and “Charred Walls of the Damned.”  He has also recently done work with “Dio’s Disciples” and Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force.”

     Tim Owens began his stardom in the British cover band “British Steel” a tribute band that did Judas Priest cover songs.  In 1996, Owens went from a fan to being the Lead Singer of Judas Priest.  He was actually nominated for a Grammy Award for the song “Bullet Train” from the album Jugulator but lost to Metallica’s Better than You.  In 2003, Halford reunited with Priest and Owens quickly jumped into the band “Iced Earth” as their lead singer Matt Barlow.  His career with Iced Earth was short lived and included two albums.  I am a huge Iced Earth fan and although I love Matt Barlow, I must say that the band sounded at its best behind Owens.  Tim has started his own cover bar named Tim Owens Tap House, which is a World renowned Eater and Music Bar and Restaurant.  The bar is currently located in Akron, Ohio.  Tim Owens is a legend, just because of his story and the way he became famous.  Not to mention, he is an incredible talent as far as a vocalist.

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******ROCK ON METAL HEADS!!!! HAPPY NATIONAL METAL DAY….KEEP THE METAL ALIVE!!!  Stay tuned for more great posts…until next time Y!

NFL WEEK #10 PICKS

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     It’s hard to believe we are already at Week #10 in the NFL.  Every NFL season has it’s share of injuries; however, 2013 seems to be much more devastating to teams as far as the amount of injuries as well as the caliber of players that are being injured.  Let’s take a look at some of the Season Ending Injuries, just on the Offensive Side of the ball.  So far, Reggie Wayne (WR), Doug Martin (RB), Julio Jones (WR), Miles Austin (WR), Jermicah Finley (TE), Randall Cobb (WR), Brandon Gibson (WR), Dustin Keller (TE), David Wilson (RB), Da’Rel Scott (RB), Mark Sanchez (QB), Jeremy Maclin (WR), Plaxico Burress (WR), Malcolm Floyd (WR), Sidney Rice (WR), Sam Bradford (QB), Mike Williams (WR), Kevin Walter (WR), Spencer Ware (RB) are all out for the season with injuries.  These are all important pieces to their team’s offense.  

     The following Quarterbacks have missed extended time due to injuries: Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Mike Vick, Terelle Pryor, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Brian Hoyer, E.J. Manuel, Kevin Kolb, and Thad Lewis.  There are also many Key Season Ending Injuries on Defense.  Of course, the most devastating injuries have hurt the Indianapolis Colts (Reggie Wayne), Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Roddy White, Steven Jackson), Tampa Bay Bucs (Mike Williams, Doug Martin), Miami Dolphins (Brandon Gibson, Dustin Keller), and the Saint Louis Rams (Sam Bradford).  Injuries are a part of the game, but this season seems to have many more than usual.  These injuries have also hurt many Fantasy Teams throughout the nation.  Let’s preview Week #10’s Match Ups and we will pick our winners and losers.

 

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-8)

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TENNESSEE TITANS (4-4)

     Ok, the Jacksonville Jaguars have not come close to even sniffing a win so far this season.  The Jaguars will almost certainly get the First Pick of the Draft in 2014.  The Jags are 32nd in total offense with 2,292 Yards.  They are the only NFL team that is averaging less than 300 yards per game at 287 YPG.  They have also scored a league low 86 Points for a 10.8 Point Average.  The Jaguars have turned the ball over 15 times with 12 INT/3 Fumbles.  In contrast, they only have 8 Takeaways.  Their -Seven Turnover Ratio is tied for twelfth.  Jacksonville is 25th in team defense.  So add their pathetic offense with their horrible defense and they have a recipe for failure.  Tennessee on the other hand has the 7th Ranked Defense, only having given up 2,722 Yards.  The Titans are Eighth in Points Allowed (167) and Ninth for Points Per Game (20.9).  Tennessee is 28th In Team Offense.  So how do these two teams match up?  The Titans are 13 Point Favorites at home.  Jake Locker has been hot as of late and has a 91.0 QB Rating.  This is the Thirteenth Best Passer Rating which is not bad for a second year QB.  Chris Johnson had a breakout game last week with over 150 Yards Rushing and Two Touchdowns.  He is currently 12th in League Rushing.  I  am taking Tennessee in this one and they will cover.  Jacksonville is just that terrible.  Tennessee wins 24-10.

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PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-5)

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GREEN BAY PACKERS (5-3)

     The Packers come into this game only favored by one point at home.  Green Bay is missing their best Player and Leader Aaron Rodgers (QB) who is a perennial MVP and who always gives Green Bay a chance to win.  The Packers are also missing their best Wide Receiver, Randall Cobb who is out with a knee injury.  Senaca Wallace will be taking the snaps.  Rodgers has thrown Fifteen TD’s and only 4 INT.  Wallace in his limited action was 11 for 19 and 114 Yards, 0 TD’s/1 INT.  Meanwhile, Green Bay is 5th in Total Offense and 3rd in Points Scored Per Game.  The Packers have scored 232 Points, good enough for Fifth in the League and they bolster a strong rushing attack with Eddie Lacy.  Lacy is Eighth in Rushing with 596 Yards on the Ground and 4TD’s.  Green Bay is 11th in Total Defense and Fifteenth in Points Allowed Per Game with a 23.1 Yards Per Game Average.  Philly comes into the game  with the Leagues Second most potent offense with 3,719 Total Yards, only 20 behind Denver.  The Eagles have also scored 225 Points for an average of 25 Points per Game.  However, the Eagles are dead last in almost every Defensive Category.  Quarterback Nick Foles is coming off a career day as well as tying a league record with Seven Touchdown Passes.  Foles has a 127.4 Passer Rating, 1,028 Yards Passing and 13 TD/0 INT.  Expect Foles to come down to earth a little bit, but the Eagles will win the game pretty easy on the Road.  I am going with the Eagles 35-20 in a route.  The Eagles Defense will score a Touchdown in this game as well.

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BUFFALO BILLS (3-6)

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PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-6)

     No one would have predicted that both of these teams would be as bad as they have been.  The Steelers and Bills both came into the season with high hopes.  Buffalo is Twelfth in Total Offense; however they are only averaging 21 Points Per Game which is 21st in the League.  Pittsburgh has been even more abysmal on Offense scoring 19.5 Points Per Game which is 25th in the League.  The Steelers are 23rd in Total Yards.  The Steelers are Eight in Defense though, while the Bills are near the bottom at 28th and have given up over 26 Points Per Game.  This game will not be a pretty one.  The Steelers are favored by a field goal and I say the Steelers will win and cover, 20-13.  However, the Steelers have come on a little too late and will not be making a playoff run.

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OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-5)

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NEW YORK GIANTS (2-6)

     The Oakland Raiders were manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Nine, despite coming into the game with the Eighth best Defense.  The Raiders will also be without running back Darren McFadden, who will be out with an injury.  The Giants are only 26th in Total Offense and Tenth in Team Defense.  Eli Manning is having his worst season of his career and the Giants lack a strong running game.  The Giants are favored by a Touchdown.  Neither  of these teams are playoff contenders and both are sloppy on both sides of the ball.  The Raiders and Giants are also two of the most penalized teams in the league.  I am going to take Oakland with the upset as they beat the New York Football Giants, 24-17.

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SAINT LOUIS RAMS (3-6)

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INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-2)

     The Colts lead the AFC South with a record of 6-2.  Yes, the Colts have lost a key weapon in Reggie Wayne; however, they do have more talent surrounding Andrew Luck than the previous year.  Andrew has not needed as much “luck” this season.  The Rams are dead last in the NFC West, and have lost franchise Quarterback Sam Bradford for the season.  The Colts are in the middle of the pack with the 18th Ranked Defense and 24th Rated Offense.  However, the Colts are Eighth with a 26.8 Points Per Game Average and they have been multi-talented through the air and ground.  The Colts traded for running back Trent Richardson early in the season and he has yet to shine.  Colts Defensive End Robert Mathis leads the league with 11.5 Sacks.  The Colts have also beaten the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans, all teams with winning records.  The Rams have been pretty bad.  The Colts are favored at 9.5 Points at home.  I say the Colts win but fail to cover, 21-14.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-1)

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ATLANTA FALCONS (2-6)

     This line surprises me.  The Falcons have been the most disappointing team this season as they were many experts pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  However, poor Quarterback Play from Matt Ryan and injuries have shut the Falcons down.  Marshawn Lynch has been an absolute beast for the Seahawks and is Fourth in Rushing in the NFL with 726 Yards and 6 Touchdowns.  Russell Wilson has a 98.9 Passer Rating with 1,800 Yards Passing, 15 TD/6 INT.  Seattle is 11th in Total Offense and Fourth in Total Defense.  The Seahawks have given up only 16.6 Points Per Game.  The Seahawks are only favored by 4 Points??? Something does not add up here.  Seattle goes to 9-1 as they clobber the injury riddled Falcons 34-17.

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CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-3)

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BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-5)

     My how things change in a year.  The Ravens, fresh off of their Super Bowl win are second to last in the AFC North, while the Bengals are at the top.  The Bengals are Fourth in Offense and Sixth in Defense.  Andy Dalton is 4th with 2,587 Yards Passing and 16TD/10 INT and a 92.0 QB Rating.  The Bengals also have 961 Rushing Yards as Ben Jarvius-Green Ellis and Giovanni Bernard have been the Lightning and Thunder.  The Ravens have definitely dropped off on both sides of the ball, mainly the Defense.  They are however sixth in Total Defense.  Every time these teams get together there is a rivalry.  The Bengals are only favored by 1.5 Points on the Road.  Andy Dalton throws 4 TD’s and the Bengals beat the Ravens 35-20.

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DETROIT LIONS (5-3)

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CHICAGO BEARS (5-3)

     The Lions and Bears are both 5-3.  The Lions beat the Bears in their first meeting in Detroit, 40-32.  The Lions are coming off a bye after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the last 14 Seconds in week 8.  Calvin Johnson (Megatron) had 329 Yards Receiving in that game.  Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson on the same field has created mismatches all over the field.  The Bears are also hungry.  They lost Jay Cutler and have the league’s 14th Ranked Offense.  Detroit has the Sixth Ranked Offense.  Matt Forte has done it onb the Ground though with over 700 Yards and 7TD’s.  Calvin Johnson is 3rd in Receiving, despite being injured almost two games.  This is another rivalry game.  They are calling this a Pick Em, but I say Detroit wins big again, 35-27.  

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CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-3)

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SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (6-2)

     The 49ers and Panthers are both hot.  This game will pit two young Quarterbacks, Cam Newton vs. Colin Kaepernick.  This game will feature two veteran Running Backs with Frank Gore vs. Deangelo Williams.  This game will feature two old school receivers in Steve Smith vs. Anquan Boldin.  And this game will feature two good defenses.  The Niners have Five Straight Wins after two losses to the Seahawks and Colts.  The Panthers have Four Straight wins after starting 1-2.  The Niners are favored by two field goals.  I am taking the Panthers in an upset on the road, 24-21.

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HOUSTON TEXANS (2-6)

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-4)

     The Cardinals have been one of those inconsistent teams.  However, their Defense is extremely good.  The Houston Texans on the other hand have been horrible.  More Pick Sixes than any team in the league.  The Cardinals are favored by three points and are at home.  The Cardinals win 24-17.  Arian Foster will not play in this game which hurts the Texans chances.

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DENVER BRONCOS (8-1)

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SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-4)

     The Broncos role after their bye week.  Peyton Manning, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno and the Receivers all come up big.  The Broncos are only favored by 7 Points.  However, the Broncos annihilate 49-32.

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DALLAS COWBOYS (5-4)

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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-2)

     In the Sunday Night Matinee, the High Powered Cowboys go on the Road to the bayou.  The Saints are having a comeback year, while the cowboys are the best team in the NFC Least.  The Cowboys are nursing a few injuries.  Drew Brees has the Cowboys Number as of late.  The Saints win 35-31 in another thriller.

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MIAMI DOLPHINS (4-4)

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-8)

     The Bucs officially put their Franchise Running Back, Doug Martin on injured reserve.  This team will go the rest of the way with rookie QB Mike Glennolen and RB Mike James.  Tampa will fire their coach any week now, regardless of what the analysts are saying.  The Fish rise again as they beat the Bucs, 24-10.

*******STAY TUNED TO MY BLOG FOR MORE METAL AND SPORTS NEWS YET TO COME.  ALSO….

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