Stryper’s latest studio album is achieving huge success worldwide as well as here in America. “No More Hell to Pay” reached 35 on the American Top 200 Billboard Rankings, and 6 on the Top 200 Rock Albums. The latest hit even hit #2 on the Christian Rock 200 Chart.
The new album includes the bands original line up of Michael Sweet (Vocals), Oz Fox (Guitar), Tim Gaines (Bass) and Robert Sweet on Drums. This album is receiving not only positive reviews from the Christian Metal community, but also in the mainstream metal community. Eddie Trunk voted the album #9 in the Top Ten list of 2013 releases.
No More Hell to Pay starts off with the first track “Revelation” which really shows the musical talent of this band. In one of my past blogs, I ranked Michael Sweet in my Top 5 Vocalists of all time. This may seem a bit high but I challenge any true metal fan to listen to his material. His voice is even better today than Thirty years ago…it’s really amazing. Michael Sweet even performed for the legendary band Boston for Nine years, prior to reforming Stryper.
The title track, No More Hell to Pay is iconic in nature as it really drives home the message that we are not doomed to Hell if we as Christians just trust in Jesus Christ. Track 4 is a cover song of Jesus is Just Alright. This song truly shows Oz Fox’s talents on the Guitar. I would put him right up there with the other great glam metal bands of the eighties…Mick Mars, CC Deville, Vivian Campbell and others.
For any music fan that is not familiar with the Band Stryper, I strongly suggest you pick up a new copy of No More Hell to Pay. I would be willing to bet that when you do you will want to hear more of their material. My personal all time favorite is To Hell with the Devil…their best song up until now. The new album is some of their heaviest and tightest material to date. I can’t wait to see them live! Metal Heads…rock on and keep the music ALIVE!!!!!😊
So here we are…three days before Professional Sports most Prestigious Day. It has been awhile for me so bear with me as I get reacclimated to the fantastic world of blogging. One thing I have always enjoyed during my writing career is that there is no right or wrong. What we have in writing is a matter of opinion. Some people use educated analysis when forming an opinion as the proponderance of facts is supplied in order to prove a point. Still, some people chose bias as a way of forming opinion and their way is the only right way. And then there are those people in the middle who neither have facts or a rooting interest. One thing is for sure no matter what category you may fall into. History will be made on Sunday, February 2ND. There will be a winner and loser in the Super Bowl. It may be true that the best team wins. In fact, the better team may lose. Nonetheless, whichever team wins will be the team that makes more plays than the other.
Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II saw the illustrious Green Bay Packers take the first two crowns. Of course, they were the legendary Vince Lombardi’s final games as an NFL coach. There is no coincidence that the title now bears the great name of Vince Lombardi. In Super Bowl III, the great Joe Namath, quarterback of the New York Jets, predicted a victory over the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts. The GREAT Johnny Unitas was on the sideline as backup Morrow would begin the game. After an injury that forced Morrow to leave the game, Johnny U would enter the game trying to lead a come back. The come back would fall gallantly short and Namath’s prophesy came true.
Over the past 42 Years, the Super Bowl has evolved and has bested itself each year as far as the greatest sporting spectacle in Professional Sports. During the past 42 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls with a 6-2 record. The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers are second with 5 wins (San Francisco-5-1/Dallas-5-3). Dallas and Pittsburgh lead the pack with Eight Appearances a piece. The Buffalo Bills have the most consecutive appearances with Four, of course losing all four. The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings lead the Super Bowl with a record Four Losses. Buffalo and Minnesota are both 0-4, while Denver is 2-4. In all, 28 (18 Franchises) different teams have appeared in a Super Bowl, including teams that have shifted cities. The Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions are the only four teams to have never appeared in a Super Bowl. The NFC leads the way with 25 Wins to the AFC’s 22 Wins.
The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers have Eight Appearances in the Super Bowl, which is an NFL record. With the Denver Broncos advancing to the Super Bowl in 2014, this will be their Seventh Appearance. With a win this Sunday, the Broncos will take their Super Bowl record to 3-4. Their first two wins came in their last two Super Bowls behind the arm of Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks are playing in their Second Super Bowl. They lost their first Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005. Well, here we are Nine Years later and they will be trying to even their record. As we look at the big dance, let us take a look at how both teams got to this point.
DENVER BRONCOS (13-3, 1st Place AFC WEST, BYE, HOME FIELD)
The Denver Broncos began the 2014 Season with a 9-1 Record and ultimately became the First Seed of the AFC Playoff Teams. The Broncos, were lead by Peyton Manning in only his second season, as he set NFL records with 5,477 Yards Passing, 55 Touchdowns and a 115.1 Quarterback Rating. Denver comes into the Super Bowl with the leagues highest scoring offense, with 7,317 Total Yards and 606 Points Scored, which was good enough for an average of 37.6 Points Per Game, exactly ten points more than the second leading scoring offense of the Philadelphia Eagles, who averaged 27.6. The Broncos also averaged 457 Yards Per Game, an insane number in today’s NFL.
Meanwhile, Denver was less than the middle of the pack with the league’s 19th Ranked Defense. Along with Manning’s incredible passing resume, running back Knowshon Moreno had 1,038 Yards Rushing (12th), and had 10 Rushing Touchdowns. The Broncos prolific offense also featured Demariyus Thomas and Eric Decker with over 85 Receptions, 1,200 Yards Receiving and 11 Touchdowns each. Add Slot Receiver Wes Welker and all-pro Tight End Julius Thomas, and Denver was a recipe for disaster for any Defense. During the regular season, the Broncos faced 6 Playoff Teams, winning each game except for losses to the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. Of course, they shook that monkey off their back by beating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (13-3, FIRST PLACE NFC WEST, BYE, #1 SEED
The Seattle Seahawks were not a surprise this season, like they were in 2012. The Seahawks boasted the League’s Number One Defense while they were Seventeenth in Offense. The Seahawks were lead by sophomore Quarterback Russell Wilson and Running Back Marshawn Lynch, while boasting a ferocious Defensive Attack. The Seahawks were also led by the TWELTH MAN, the fans in Seattle as they are referred to.
The Seahawks faced Five Playoff Teams but also split wins against both the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, who just missed the playoffs by default. In both of their playoff wins, the Seahawks scored 23 Points and gave up 15 and 17 respectively. So one would say, wow this is a very dangerous team.
Ok, so now I will give my early predictions and the reasons why I feel the way I do. Super Bowl 43 features the Two Number One Seeds in each Conference, the first time this has happened in 20 Years. In 1993-1994, the Super Bowl featured the Dallas Cowboys against the Buffalo Bills, both Number Ones. This game will also feature the league’s best offense (Denver Broncos) vs the league’s best defense (Seattle Seahawks). So, one would say which can stop each other, two immovable objects. The Broncos Defense was less than spectacular, while the Seahawks Offense was less than average. So, when looking at these two trends, one of these teams have to give.
Peyton Manning, no matter how great of a Quarterback he has been in the regular season, will always be judged by how he performs in this Super Bowl. He is trying to become the first Quarterback to win two Super Bowls with two different franchises. If Manning wins, he goes to 2-1 in Super Bowls and Solidifies himself as one of the greatest passers of all-time. If Manning loses, he becomes another Dan Marino. A Quarterback that has all of the stats, but cannot win the big game. All of the pressure is on Manning in this game.
Secondly, Turnovers will be a huge factor in this game as they always are. Super Bowls are not always pretty as everyones nerves are on high alert. The Seahawks have the better Defense and were better at creating turnovers in the regular season. And also, don’t forget the Special Teams Game. With the Super Bowl traveling to New York (OMG…I am so sorry) I meant New Jersey, this will be the first cold weather Super Bowl in forever. Of course, earlier this week, there was talk of moving the game to another day. However, it looks as if the Game will take place when its supposed to. This factor plays into Seattle’s favor. Seattle is a better suited team for the cold weather. Let’s face it…Peyton Manning will admit that he is no fan of cold weather. However, another Manning, Eli has won two Super Bowls, playing in a predominately cold climate.
Run the Ball. Everyone will be focused on Peyton Manning and the high flying Denver Offense. However, don’t forget that the Broncos can pound the rock. But so can Seattle, with the Number One Bruiser Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is built for this game. Nonetheless, Knowshon Moreno will be going back to his home town so he will have enough to play for. John Fox vs. Pete Carroll. These are two very genius coaches. Fox has never won a Super Bowl and neither has Carroll. However, neither is no stranger to the Big Stage. Fox took the Carolina Panthers to one drive of beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl years back. Carroll coached USC to all of those National Championships.
As we look to Sunday, there are so many factors and stories, as there is ever year this time. The Super Bowl is the Super Stage. Everyone is on the Pedestal. When one looks at this matchup, you would have to agree with the very low point spread. The Denver Broncos are favored by only two points. They say Defense wins championships. However, Seattle had better put up more than 23 points to beat the Broncos. My gut says the Seahawks eke out an upset. My brain however, says definitely Denver and Peyton. This game will be decided on the field, not on paper or by statistics. So without further a due….
MY EARLY PREDICTION…the 2013 NFL SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS…the DENVER BRONCOS. The Broncos win this game 28-23. The Broncos will not put up more than 30, however they will score just enough to beat the Seahawks in a very close and competitive game. If this was any other team or Quarterback besides Peyton Manning, my bet would be with Seattle. There is no way that I can bet against Manning after the marvelous record setting season that he has produced. Manning wins and retires…just a hunch. Well there ya have it folks, my preview and pick. So as we get closer to Sunday, I look forward to all of your ideas and analysis. Till the next time, this is THE BIRD, signing off. Oh, and on a side note, good luck to all of the participants in the WING BOWL tomorrow back in PHILLY.
Well Folks I was 2 out of 4 on my picks. Thats not too good of start for this year’s Playoffs. However, all of the games were competitive and we even saw the second biggest comeback in the history of the NFL Playoffs. Well there are ten things that I took out of the wild card round.
1) Dome Teams can win in the cold weather. The Saints beat the Eagles at the Linc so that may be the most overrated theory in Football.
2) Home field Advantage and a Division Win does not necessarily mean that the home team will win. Philly, Cincy, and Green Bay all lost at home.
3) The final score is not over until Andy Reid is your coach.
4) Even though the Eagles lost to the Saints, there is a a bright future for this franchise and this team definitely was able to capture the entire Football Community from the depths of the river below the Walt Whitman Bridge.
5) Even good Quarterbacks can struggle in big games and Defense and the Run are still the major keys in winning a playoff game.
6) Andy Dalton is not the answer at Quarterback for the Bengals…they have too much talent around for him to not succeed.
7) Having a good Kicker that can consistently kick the ball into the end zone for a touchback is underrated. Chip, please let Henry stick to Golf.
8) Frank Gore is still the spoon that stirs the 49ers Drink.
9) Andy Reid lived up to his biggest criticism once again as far as Clock Management. Also, the fact that the Chiefs started out 9-0 and are bounced out in the first round shows that its not how you start, but yet how you finish that matters in the NFL.
10) I am so sick of hearing Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels voices. Please NBC, its time for the changing of the guard.
So the first round of the NFL Playoff’s are in the books. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and San Diego Chargers as they live to see another week. Meanwhile, players in Green Bay, Philly, KC, and Cincinnati are packing their stuff from their lockers and its off to the Golf Course. How many days is it till spring training??? Just Kidding. Anyways, the playoffs are off to an exciting start and Im sure there will be much more excitement. Meanwhile, back on the ranch, The Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots all lie in wait as they study their prey. Stay tuned as later in the week I will have my picks for the Divisional Round. In the meantime, Happy New Year to all of my fans and thanks again to INTHENEUTRALZONE. If you are looking for a good website with a good mix of sports blogs, check it out sometime. Also, I want to thank all of you as my blog has went over 9,000 Views!!! Till next time droogies…ROCK ON AND GET READY FOR WEEK 2 of the NFL’s greatest show.
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
DENVER BRONCOS (13-3, AFC WEST CHAMPIONS, HOME FIELD 1st ROUND BYE)
Ok…we will begin with the Denver Broncos. In 2013, the Broncos set all kinds of offensive records. First of all, Peyton Manning ended his season with 5,477 Yards Passing and 55 Touchdowns which both set NFL records. The Broncos amassed 7,317 Total Yards of offense which was 1st in the league, almost 700 yards more than the Philadelphia Eagles who were second. During the season, the Broncos averaged an unheard of 458 Yards Per Game, and a ridiculous 37.9 Points Per Game for 606 Points. Denver only finished 19th in total Defense, but who cares when your team is putting up close to 40 Points a game. The Broncos were first in passing offense and fifteenth in rushing. Peyton Manning has weapons at will in this system so its almost impossible to focus on stopping one player. Look at these incredible stats: Demariyus Thomas-13 touchdowns, Knowshon Moreno-13 Touchdowns, Julius Thomas-12 Touchdowns, Eric Decker-11 Touchdowns, and Wes Welker-10 Touchdowns. D.Thomas and Erick Decker each had over 80 Receptions and over 1,200 Yards Receiving. So, if one were to look at the Broncos going into the playoffs, they have to be the team to beat.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4, AFC EAST CHAMPIONS, FIRST ROUND BYE)
The New England Patriots may have had their quietest 12 Win Season. New England had the 7th Best Overall Ranked Offense and 26th Ranked Defense. Tom Brady once again eclipsed 4,000 Yards Passing as he threw for 4, 343 Yards, 25 touchdowns, 11 Picks, good enough for an 87 Passer Rating. Legarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley each rushed for over 700 Yards a piece giving New England a great 1-2 Punch. However, the Patriots may have been even better had they not lost their all-pro Tight End Steve Gronkowski. Their 4 Losses came to the Jets, Carolina, Miami, and Cincinnati. The Patriots must always be feared at this time of the year, especially at home where they will enjoy at least one home playoff game. Julian Edelman, who took over for Wes Welker had a really good season catching 105 Passes. New England has to always be in the hunt every year at this time so I will not say anything negative about this team.
WILD CARD WEEKEND
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS ( 11-5, 2ND AFC WEST, WILD CARD TEAM)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-5, 1ST PLACE AFC NORTH)
This matchup will be the first playoff game of these 2013 NFL Playoffs. The Chiefs started out as the hottest team winning nine straight games, but have come back down to earth lately. Obviously, two of their losses came to the Denver Broncos. The Chiefs have dominated most of the league, but they have lost twice to the Broncos, twice to the Chargers, and once to the Colts, the team they are playing this weekend. The Chiefs rely heavily on the ground game with Jamaal Charles, which is an epiphany for first year coach Andy Reid, who refused to run the ball in Philly. The Chiefs are only 21st in total offense. However, they were the best team at creating turnovers. The Chiefs can be a good team but they will struggle if they cannot win the time of possession. The Colts on the other hand are the quiet beasts of the AFC. They are in the middle of the pack both offensively and defensively. Andrew Luck had a solid sophomore Season and has quieted his critics. Luck had a solid 23 TD Passes and only 9 Picks. He also threw three game winning touchdowns. He had an 87 QBR which was as good as Brady. The Colts have played well against the competition. They have beaten San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Kansas City all playoff teams. I feel that the Colts are the dark horse in this years playoffs. Now to my picks. I think the Chiefs have had an excellent year and it was good to see Andy Reid have some success. However, there run will end Saturday in Indy. The Colts have a way of playing big in big games and that trend will continue. The Colts win the game 27-23.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (9-7, 3RD PLACE AFC WEST, WILD CARD)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (11-5, 1ST PLACE AFC NORTH, HOME PLAYOFF)
So all of the hoopla on the last week of the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers crying that they were robbed. Well no matter what the circumstances, the Chargers won five straight games down the stretch and thats ultimately how they made the playoffs. Philip Rivers career has been revived. Rivers threw for over 4,400n Yards, had 32 TD Passes, and a 105.5 Rating. The Chargers are ranked 5th In Total Offense and 23rd in Defense. The Bengals come into this game with a chip on their shoulder though. The Bengals had their own quarterback story with Andy Dalton. Dalton had 33 TD Passes of his own, 4,200 yards. He also threw 20 INT though and has a propensity to turn the ball over in key situations. The Bengals counter with the League’s 3rd Ranked Defense and 10th Ranked Offense. So, the Bengals are one of the more balanced teams in the NFL. Normally I would pick an upset here, but I feel that the Bengals have had enough negativity the past few years. The Bengals win in the cold 20-13. The Chargers are a team that could upset but I do not see this happening in the cold weather. If this game was in San Diego, I may be going the other way.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (13-3, 1ST PLACE NFC WEST, HOME FIELD, BYE)
The Seahawks have had a magical season. And their motto all along has been the twelfth man (the fan). Their only three losses came to Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Arizona. Arizona And San Fran are Division Rivals so this is expected in a season. The Colts have beaten five playoff teams. Seattle however, has the best Defense in the league and have only given up over 14 Points Per Game. Their Offense at 17 is in the middle of the pack. However, Russell Wilson has that intangible attribute. He reminds me of a young Donovan McNabb. A ton of talent, not always great but gets the job done. Seattle also relies heavily on Marshawn Lynch who is a beast at Running Back. The Seahawks enter this post season as the team to beat in the NFC.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (12-4, 1ST PLACE NFC SOUTH, BYE)
Many people are shocked that the Panthers even made the playoffs, let alone getting a first round bye. However, the Panthers have been extremely consistent. They were 1-3 and looked to be heading nowhere until they went on an 8 Game Winning Streak. The Panthers have been an all around team. The Panthers have also beat some stiff competition. They beat the Patriots at home. They also went 1-1 against the Saints. They also beat a very stingy 49ers team. Carolina, not surprisingly, comes into the playoffs with the 2nd Ranked Defense behind the Seahawks. They have only given up 15.1 Points per game. They only have the 26th ranked offense but this number is skewed due to stats. Cam Newton has become one of the undisputed leaders on the team. The Panthers will be dangerous and tough to beat.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-5, 2ND PLACE NFC SOUTH, WILD CARD)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10-6, NFC EAST CHAMPIONS, HOME PLAYOFF)
Wow…who would have saw this coming. I am a die hard Eagles fan and I did not see them winning eight games this year. Chip Kelly has breathed new life into a franchise thats starving for a championship. The emergence of Nick Foles as the starting Quarterback has been an extremely fun process to watch. LeSean McCoy has become the best all around running back in the league. He set team records for rushing yards and all-purpose yardage. He also won the NFL Rushing Title. He id definitely the team MVP. Nick Foles had the best Quarterback Rating in the NFL at 119.2. He had 27 TD Passes/2INT. Foles has become a leader on the field. The turning point for me in the Eagles Season was a few weeks back in a driving snow when the Eagles looked like a machine and the weather did not slow their high powered offense down one bit. The Eagles come into this game against the Saints with the 2nd Ranked Offense, only to Denver. Moreover, even tho their defense has been poor at times, they are giving up an average of less than 20 points in their last nine games. Linebacker Michael Kendricks and Cornerback Brandon Boykin have become stars in front of our eyes. Ok, then we have the Saints. Well two words, Drew Brees. Brees threw for 5,162 Yards and 39 Touchdowns. Brees is a master at picking defenses apart. His Tight End Jimmy Graham could also be the team MVP with 15 TD Receptions. The Saints also bolster an extreme defense and they are very underrated. The way I look at this game is the team that turns the ball over more will be the loser. The game time temperature is supposed to be less than 20 Degrees. This creates a distinct advantage for the Eagles. If the Saints were to win this game, it would be Drew Brees first ever away playoff game. As mentioned, this game will come down to the turnover. The Saints are the better and more experienced team, but the Eagles have shown they can beat adversity. They have also braved the harsh weather in a few games this season, most notably the Lions game and come out on top. My mind says the Saints win this game but my gut says the BIRDS. The Eagles win their first playoff game under Chip Kelly 37-33. High Scoring is a definite.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (11-5, 2ND PLACE NFC WEST, WILD CARD)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-7-1, 1ST NFC NORTH CHAMPIONS)
Well this game looks like a dud on paper but these teams always play each other tough. Aaron Rodgers is back, but I think the Niners will pull the upset of the Wild Card Round. Niners win 17-14 at frigid Lambeau.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
I cannot remember an NFL Season that has entered the final week of play with so many questions unanswered and so many open Playoff Spots to be had. The AFC Playoff Picture is a little more clear than the NFC, but not by much. In the AFC, the New England Patriots have clinched the AFC East, the Cincinnati Bengals are the AFC North winners, the Colts the South, and Denver Broncos the West. The only other team that has clinched a playoff birth is the Kansas City Chiefs. No seeds have been clinched and home field advantage is still there for the taking. So there will not be many players resting this week, or at least any whose team has a significant opportunity. The Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Diego Chargers are all vying for the sixth and final playoff spot.
The NFC picture is even more clouded. Not one Division has been clinched thus far in the NFC, and only the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers have clinched playoff births. The Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, and Arizona Cardinals all go into Week #17 needing a win to lock up the final 3 Playoff Spots. And here we are, the second week without a Thursday Night Game, making Sunday the Number One Story of the year. 2013 still has a few days left and Sunday will be a significant day in many team’s 2013 Season. There could not be much more hype going into a final weekend of a regular NFL season.
There are also many side notes as we enter this final weekend. Peyton Manning has a chance to add to his league record 51 Touchdown Passes. The Eagle’s Running Back LeSean McCoy goes into the weekend in search of the rushing crown and is only 50 yards shy of an Eagles Team Rushing Record. It was announced just today that the Packer’s Aaron Rodgers will make his first start, after missing seven games due to a collarbone injury. The Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo suffered an injury Sunday that many are saying is season ending, but you and I both know the media drama monster that the Cowboys propose. This should be one of the most memorable final weekends in NFL History. So now with out further a due…my picks.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (11-4, 1st Place NFC South)
ATLANTA FALCONS (4-11, Last Place NFC South)
This game is a microcosm of how the 2013 NFL Season has transpired. The Falcons were many experts picks to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. My, my, my how wrong were they. The Carolina Panthers lead the Division with one game to play and either need a win or Falcons loss to clinch the Division. However; if for some reason the Panthers are upset by the last place Falcons and the New Orleans Saints can win, then the Saints take the Division Title. On paper, this game is a huge mismatch. Cam Newton has been stellar at Quarterback for the Panthers and has turned an abysmal start of the season into a tremendous run in the past two months. Newton has lead the resurgent Panthers to the brink of a Division Win and a First Round Bye. The Falcons would love to play spoiler in this one. Every time I have picked against the Panthers this season I have been wrong. So, I am changing my pattern and I am taking the Panthers to win the game and the Division. They will win in comeback fashion 23-17.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (7-7-1, 2nd Place NFC North)
CHICAGO BEARS (8-7, First Place NFC North)
Here is a head to head contest where winner takes all and the loser goes home. Its hard to believe that the Packers are a 3 Point Favorite in this game on the road. The only reason that this game means anything is that tie that the Packers had a Month back. If not for that tie, the Bears would have won the Division by default. But that is a what if scenario that does not exist in the NFL. The Bears were completely humiliated on Sunday Night Football last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers on the other hand had another comeback win behind back up Quarterback Matt Flynn. In order for the Bears to win this game, they will have to do a better job with their deep passing game. Also, the Eagles were the first team to neutralize Running Back Matt Forte. The Bears have the worst pass defense which does not bode well against a hungry Aaron Rodgers. I have said numerous times that the Packers are the dark horse sleeper in the NFC if Rodgers could somehow come back. Although Aaron Rodgers is back, and I do think this will make the game close, I am taking the Bears in an upset at Soldier Field. The Bears win the game 31-28.
HOUSTON TEXANS (2-13, LAST PLACE AFC SOUTH)
TENNESSEE TITANS (6-9, Second Place AFC South)
The first meaningless game on my docket. Well, it will not be meaningless if the Titans can beat the Texans at home, which would give the Texans the league’s worst record and the first pick of the 2014 Draft. The Texans are the NFL’s most disappointing team. Their defense has been ranked #1 almost all year, however, they turn the ball over and give up loads of points. The Texans are favored by 7 in this game. I am taking they Titans to win this game outright 17-14.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-11, LAST PLACE AFC NORTH)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-8, 3RD PLACE AFC NORTH)
The Steelers are favored by 7 in this one at home. The Steelers have avery slim chance to make the playoffs but many things would have to go their way. However, despite the ramifications, the Steeler’s coach said this week that they will not lay down. I expect the Steelers to come out and play Steeler Football as they best the Browns 24-21.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-12, LAST PLACE NFC EAST)
NEW YORK GIANTS (6-9, THIRD PLACE NFC EAST)
Ok, so this Division Rivalry comes into Sunday with absolutely no meaning. There will not even be bragging rights in this one as both teams were eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago. However, this is still a Division Rivalry and these games always have some type of meaning. I do not see the Redskins just crawling in a whole and throwing in the towel. In fact, last week they almost beat Dallas, which would have played the playoff spoiler. The Giants look like they gave up months ago, which is not like a Tom Coughlin run team. Nonetheless, the Giants are favored by three at home. I take the Redskins to beat the Giants, handing them their first ten loss season in ten years. The Redskins win handily 27-14.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-7, SECOND PLACE AFC NORTH)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-5, FIRST PLACE AFC NORTH)
So here we are, the last week of the season and the Super Bowl Champion Ravens are still in contention. However, they need a few things to go their way. The Bengals on the other hand, are looking to lock up a top seed and a first round bye. If the Bengals can win and the Patriots somehow lose, they would get the second Seed. This is a huge game for a team that was highly rated coming into the season. The way that the NFL has been this season is crazy. So because of that fact, I am taking the Ravens to upset the Bengals who already have a playoff spot locked up. A win by the Ravens could possibly set up a game the following week in the wildcard round as a rematch. The Ravens win 20-17.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-11, THIRD PLACE AFC SOUTH)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10-5, FIRST PLACE AFC SOUTH)
The Colts who are favored by 11.5 Points at home in this game against the hapless Jaguars have been quiet beast in the AFC. The Colts have beat the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs all of who are top Playoff Teams. The Colts are also in search of a First Round Bye and a win would go pretty far in helping their cause. I say that Andrew Luck does not need any luck and they beat the Jags 34-20.
NEW YORK JETS (7-8, THIRD PLACE AFC EAST)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (8-7, SECOND PLACE AFC EAST)
The Miami Dolphins come into this Divisional Game needing a win to have a shot at the playoffs. The Dolphins beat the jets in New York last month, but have been extremely inconsistent. The Dolphins need a win and a few other teams to lose to make the wild card round. Ryan Tannehill has been superb most of the year but his playing status is in question due to an injury. The Dolphins are favored by 5. Although, it would be a nice conclusion for Rex Ryan and the boys to get to .500, the Fish win this game and sneak into the playoffs. The Dolphins win 23-20.
DETROIT LIONS (7-8, THIRD PLACE NFC NORTH)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-10-1, LAST PLACE NFC NORTH)
Wow, a month ago the Lions had a comfortable lead on the NFC North and looked like a playoff lock. However, this team has totally collapsed. They have one of the most potent offenses in the league but cannot put teams away. The game a few weeks in Philly in the snow really seemed to be the turning point. The Lions were 7-5, beating the Eagles and well on their way to 8-5. Now, three straight losses coupled with Packers and Bear’s wins has knocked them out of playoff contention. The Lions are favored by 5 in this one but not much matters. The biggest story will be if Adrian Peterson can come back from that horrifying injury and finish out the season. The Vikings win 27-20.
BUFFALO BILLS (6-9, LAST PLACE AFC EAST)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-4, FIRST PLACE AFC EAST)
Once again, another game with huge playoff implications. The Bills have been a door mat for the most part this season. The Patriots need a win to lock up home field advantage and a bye in this one so Im sure Bellicheck will have the troops ready. The loss of Gronkowski has put a weakness in the Patriots armor. Even though the Bills have had some upsets this season and have a chance to play spoiler, I see the Pats winning this one and locking up a Bye. The Patriots win 28-20.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-11, LAST PLACE NFC SOUTH)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-5, SECOND PLACE NFC SOUTH)
Wow, the two bottom feeders of the NFC South have a chance to play spoiler against the Saints and Panthers. Well, I do not see this happening this week. Drew Brees is on a mission this season. He is tired of hearing about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He wants to show the NFL that he is still a force in the league. The Saints roll over the dead Bucs 38-21.
DENVER BRONCOS (12-3, FIRST PLACE AFC WEST)
OAKLAND RAIDERS ( 4-11, LAST PLACE AFC WEST)
The Broncos go up big in the first half and rest their starters the rest of the way. A win gives the Broncos Home Field throughout the playoffs and a week 1 Bye. The Raiders have struggled against good offenses all year and the Broncos are averaging 38 Points per Game. Peyton adds to his record stats and the Broncos are well inn their way. Broncos win 35-24, as the game is much closer after Denver decides to rest their starters.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (11-4, SECOND PLACE NFC WEST)
ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-5, THIRD PLACE NFC WEST)
The Cardinals have to be kicking themselves for playing in the toughest division in football this year. They have an extremely respectable record at 10-5 and may not make the playoffs. The 49ers already have a playoff spot locked up and still have a shot at the Division. If the Niners win and Seattle loses the Niners can win the Division. The Cardinals can only make the playoffs with a win and Saints Loss. The Niners take this one and make the Cardinals the best 10-6 Team to not make the playoffs in forever. The 49ers 21-16.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-4, Second Place AFC WEST)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (8-7, THIRD PLACE)
The Chiefs have locked up a playoff spot and really cannot move up or down in the standings as they will be the Number 1 Wild Card Team. However, the Chargers can sneak into the playoffs with a win and thats exactly what I see happening. The Chargers win 28-24 at home and sneak into the playoffs.
SAINT LOUIS RAMS (7-8, LAST PLACE NFC WEST)
The Rams have tread water ever since Sam Bradford went down with an injury. They have a chance to finish with a .500 Record. The Seahawks have been very dominant and are favored by 11.5. However, my story has the Rams upsetting the Seahawks at home and giving the 49ers the Division Crown. With an Eagles win against the Cowboys that would set up a Seattle Philly game in Philly in the Week One Wildcard Round. Call me a homer, I don’t care, thats what I see happening. The Rams win 20-17.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9-6, FIRST PLACE NFC EAST)
DALLAS COWBOYS (8-7, SECOND PLACE NFC EAST)
In August, if somebody would have told me that the Philadelphia Eagles would be playing on the last Sunday of the Season against the Dallas Cowboys, for a chance at winning the Division I would have said they were nuts. However, here we are. The Eagles have completely matured and bought into Chip Kelly’s System in year One. The Cowboys have been inconsistent as usual. They do have that potent offense but their defense has been weak. This game will be completely different than the one in Philly where the Cowboys won 17-6. Since that game, the Eagles have won six games and are rolling behind a confident Nick Foles. Tony Romo came up lame in the last game and there is a chance he does not play. In my eyes, it does not matter if he plays. The Eagles win the NFC East and beat the Cowboys 45-31. There you have it my picks. We shall see what happens. No matter what the outcome, Sunday will matter up until the last buzzer during the Eagles Cowboys game. Thats what makes the NFL the best.
This will obviously be a hypothetical post as Tom Brady is one of the Greatest Quarterbacks to ever grace the fields of the NFL. However, I can see a ton of similarities between Tom Brady and Nick Foles, the Eagles starting Quarterback in just his second season. Tom Brady was a Sixth Round Pick out of Michigan, and he was picked #199 in the 2000 NFL Draft (6th Round). That first season, Brady was the Fourth String Quarterback and saw barely any NFL action. However the rest is history. In 2001, Tom Brady took over as New England’s Starting Quarterback after star Drew Bledsoe went down with a terrible injury. Brady never looked back. Brady was like a surgeon on the operating table as he won game and game after game for the Patriots to the NFL’s amazement. After a wild and crazy post season, Brady became the youngest Quarterback to ever win a SuperBowl as he took the Patriots to a win against the heavily favored Saint Louis Rams (Greatest Show on Turf) NFC Team.
In Tom Brady’s first year as a starter for the Patriots, during the Super Bowl Run, he put up above average stats. He completed 264 Passes out of 413 for a 63.9 Completion Percentage, threw for 2,843 Yards, had 18 Touchdowns and 12 Interceptions. Then in the Playoffs, Brady lead the Pats to wins over the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers on to their way to a Super Bowl Win Against the Saint Louis Rams. In Fact, that year was the season when the “famous tuck rule.” came into existence after a game in the snow between the Patriots and Raiders. The Pats then went on to defeat the Rams 20-17 in the Super Bowl.
Ok, so lets look at Nick Foles and his journey so far. There are many similarities between Foles and Brady besides the fact that Foles was a 3rd Round Pick. In 2012, Foles saw limited action behind Michael Vick although he did show some signs of talent. However, on December 23rd, Foles broke his hand and was placed on injured reserve. Now onto the 2013 Season. This is where my Tom Brady comparison becomes more realistic. Going into the 2013 season, Michael Vick (20 Million Dollar Quarterback) was the unquestioned starter in Chip Kelley’s new high powered relentless offense. Mike would be the man and had a chance to resurrect his career. However, eerily similar to 2001 when Drew Bledsoe went down with a freak injury, Vick went down in 2013. Foles took over and has not looked back despite missing two games due to a concussion. Foles, like Brady in 2001, has become the unquestioned leader for the Philadelphia Eagles, and has lead them back to an opportunity to win the NFC East Championship, after beginning the season 3-5.
Foles threw 7 Touchdown Passes against the Oakland Raiders in October and thats when he took off. If you look at his stats, they are actually better than Brady in his 2001 Season. With one game to play, Nick Foles has a 118.8 Passer Rating, which would put him in the Top Ten Quarterback Ratings for a season of all-time. Foles has thrown 25 Touchdowns and only 2 Interceptions. He has 2,628 Yards Passing, which could easily be over 3,000 had he not missed those two games due to a concussion. Obviously, you cannot put Foles on Brady’s level as Foles has a ton of work to do. However, their careers mirror one an others. Both Quarterbacks have strong arms and are accurate with the football. Both Quarterbacks are leaders and show poise in the pocket. Both Quarterbacks are loved by the ladies. Tom Brady is 6’4″. Foles is 6’6″. Brady weighs 225 Pounds. Foles weighs 243 Pounds. Both Quarterbacks have many similarities.
That second year, 2001, when Brady took over for star Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, he took the league by storm. In 2013, when Nick Foles took over for star Quarterback Mike Vick, he has taken the league by storm. Obviously, Foles has a ton of work to do before he can be compared to Brady. However, this season is eerily similar to 2001. Next Sunday will be a huge day in the life of Nick roles as he has a chance to lead his Philadelphia Eagles to a Division Crown and 3rd Seed in the Playoffs by beating Division Rival Dallas Cowboys. We cannot predict the outcome, but it seems that Foles is following a similar path as Brady. The rest is yet to be written…but this has been a great story and could go along way to the development of the next quarterback prodigy. We shall see. Until next time, keep enjoying the NFL.
I want to have a little fun today and I hope to get some participation and feedback. This is one of those posts that will require audience participation so please pay attention. Throughout the history of music, including all of the adaptations and changes, the concept of “cover music” has become a huge part of the art. First, we have the typical “Cover Bands” that travel the circuit of bars and clubs and play all of the people’s favorites week to week. We also have the traditional cover band, bands like “Youthanasia” (Megadeth Cover Band), that form and play everyone’s favorite band’s full catalogs. Some of these bands mix in some occasional original material and some choose to stick to their idol. “Cover Music” is and always will be an important part of the music industry. And then finally, we have those bands that will mix in an occasional cover song or two on their studio albums. Furthermore, some bands take it to the next level and release “Full Length Cover Albums” featuring different songs from bands ranging from the classic sixties, to modern day, and some even cover Holiday Favorites or even other music categories such as rap, pop, and R&B.
Through the years, there have been many great bands that have chose to release these full length “Cover Albums.” Before Guns N Roses demise, they released a cover album called “The Spaghetti Incident” which was an album that consisted of mostly punk rock and classic hits from the seventies and eighties. A few years back, Christian Heavy Metal band Stryper released the album called “The Covering”, which featured some Heavy Metal Classics, Hard Rock Classics and even one new song of their own. I must say, for any true Rock N Roll Fan, this is a must listen as this album is incredible. Stryper covers a wide range of material and they nail every song. Just this past year, Anthrax released an EP Cover Album named “Anthems” which featured music from AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Journey, and others. I was not aware of this, but during Joey Belladonna’s hiatus from Anthrax, he formed a Journey Cover Band in New York City, playing all of the clubs and pounding out all of the Journey Hits. “Anthems” is another must hear for any metal fan. You actually get a greater appreciation for a band when they go outside of their “comfort” zone. Anthrax and Journey??? You are saying to yourself…how could this be any kind of success. Many others would expect an epic fail. Well, Anthrax kicked ASS on this album and it was one of the best releases of 2013.
Ok, so let us get to my purpose of this post. I thought it would be fun to look at some high profile bands and the songs that you as a music fan would love to hear covered by other bands. Many bands that cover music choose to pick songs that the audience is familiar with so that it may get more airplay. I am one of those old school metal fans that would rather hear rare songs covered. I think it makes the whole idea more fun and interesting. I would like to take a look at some high profile bands of today and yesterday and form a list of cover songs that would be good for the wave of the future. This is all for fun folks, so if you disagree or have your own opinions please join in. I want this to be a fun exercise.
Ok, the first band that I would like to focus on is Metallica. Metallica, part of the BIG 4, is one of the most popular Metal Bands to ever grace the music scene. Numerous Metallica songs have been covered throughout history by many bands. There are even a few Metallica Tribute albums that have been released featuring material from a wide range and variety of bands. Metallica has covered many songs themselves. Some popular Metallica covers include “Whiskey in a Jar” and “Turn the Page.” Also, “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg.” So this brings me to my next question…if there was any Metallica song that you would want to hear covered by another band, what would that song be?? For me, this is a very difficult choice because I have so many favorite Metallica Songs. Many have already been covered. I always like to look at underrated songs when I pick my choice. Well due to the circumstances of Metallica’s popularity and the large amount of songs that have been covered in the past, I have to go with one of my personal favorites. I would love to hear “The Shortest Straw” covered someday. “Shortest Straw” appears on the AND Justice For All album.
Pantera has always been one of my favorite all-time bands. Pantera is another band that has a large group of cover and tribute bands so many of their songs have been covered by once again a wide variety of bands. Avenged Sevenfold covered “Walk” a few years back. This is another hard choice for me because there are so many excellent Pantera Classics. For me, the song “Hollow” has always been a huge song that makes you realize that life is short. In essence, for the band this song was actually a premonition in a cruel way, as Dimebag Darrell was murdered and this song very well could be about him. So for me, due to the circumstances and the power of this song, I would love to hear it covered. Another Pantera song that I would personally love to hear covered, an underrated but very heavy song, would be “The Great Southern Trendkill.” This is actually the first Pantera song that I heard.
Alice In Chains has always been one of my inspirations as far as bands go. Layne Staley definitely died too young, but the band has truly recovered and are very successful today. This is again another hard choice. There are so many great Alice In Chains Classics old and new. “Man in the Box” would be the obvious song that people would probably want to hear. For me, I think it would be so cool to hear a band cover “The Rooster.” That song brings chills down my spine.
For me, Guns N Roses has been one of my all-time favorite bands. The artwork from Appetite For Destruction is engraved in my brain like it is 1987 again. Guns N Roses is one of those bands that you always say to yourself…what could have been? I have many favorite Guns N Roses songs that I enjoy hearing and they never get old. However, the one song that always made a lasting impression on me and is my personal favorite is “Its So Easy.” I even look at bands today that may be able to pull this cover off and I feel that Avenged Sevenfold could be the perfect choice. If anyone is reading this and is friends with the band, tell them that would be an awesome addition to their next album.
For those of you that have never heard Typonegative…you have no idea what you are missing. Typonegative was one of those Metal bands that shared many styles and meshed them together to form an awesome sound. I would say that Typonegative was a clash between gothic/dark metal and progressive. Former lead singer, Peter Steele, who has passed away was an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Typonegative was short-lived and I wish they were still around because they were quite a band to see live. The song I definitely would love to see covered is “Christian Woman.” This song is an awesome tune that will bring chills to your spine.
Growing up in the eighties and nineties, Fuel was one of my favorite bands. Fuel has since disappeared; however, they are returning shortly as they are in studio working on a new album. There are many personal favorites that would be awesome to hear covered. Some of these include ‘Shimmer”, “Bittersweet” and “Bad Day.” However, if I had to pick one song that would be extremely fulfilling to hear covered it would be “Jesus or a Gun.” I even think the perfect band to cover this would be BuckCherry.
When everyone thinks of the most popular Glam Metal Bands of the Eighties, they think Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Stryper etc. However, growing up, my personal favorite was RATT. RATT had an excellent set of musicians, Warren Demartini may be one of the most underrated guitarists of all-time. When you think RATT, the two songs that come to mind are “Round and Round” and “Lay it Down.” But if i would want to hear one of their songs covered it would definitely be “Body Talk.” When I hear Body Talk the adrenaline rush I get is amazing. Just listen to the song and it immediately brings me to the scene in Karate Kid, where the main character is in his fast car with the girl.
Wow, this for me is the most difficult of all because Megadeth is my all-time favorite band. I own every album, DVD, book, and tons of merchandise. I even own a Dave Mustaine signature guitar. All my fans know my fascination with Megadeth, so this would definitely be my hardest to pick. However, I do have a song in mind that is underrated. It may not be one of their greatest hits, but it surely kicks ass with Megadeth’s throttle tempo. Its a song that has always done it for me. The song is called “Scorpion”, and its off of The System Has Failed album. I have never even heard this song live but I always request it at every live show that I attend. Maybe someday, some band somewhere will bring this track to the forefront.
What fun would this post be without me including a local band. Overkill in my mind makes the Big 6, behind Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Testament. Overkill has never went mainstream and has been pounding out aggressive thrash metal for over 30 Years. Overkill has had many successful albums as well as singles. For me, I would love to hear the song “Solitude” covered. Solitude is featured on the album Horroscope, one of Overkills greatest pieces. Solitude is as close to a ballad as you can get from one of Metal’s pure thrash kings.
Metal Church, another 80’s Thrash Giant, just released Generation Nothing, which I voted as my #1 Metal Album release of 2013. Metal Church, through all of the lineup changes has always been an awesome metal force in the metal community. As I look at their catalog, there are so many songs that I would love to hear. However, the song that comes most to mind, is the self-titled “Metal Church”. The song Metal Church is heavy before its time and I could see a band like Lamb of God cranking the song up as if it were on steroids.
Ok, my list could go on and on forever. I could probably write a novel of all the music that I would love to hear covered. However, I would be grey and old by that time. Oh yeah thats right…I am old. Anyone that remembers these bands is an old head lol. So, what are your favorite bands? What songs would you love to hear covered. Cover Music will continue to be an important part of the Metal Community forever. As I am writing this, many other tunes are coming to mind. Iron Maiden-Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, Stryper-To Hell With the Devil, Motley Crue-Too Young to Fall in Love, ok…stop Bird…you are getting off track. Ok, so we are seven days from Christmas, what albums have you asked for this season. In my next post, I will feature some of the most anticipated album releases of 2014. Until next time…enjoy your Thursday. ROCK ON and LONG Live METAL!
Ok…I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my fans a safe and Happy Holiday Season. Without my fans, I would be an epic failure. A special thank you goes out to the website INTHENEUTRALZONE.COM for promoting my site. I urge every sports fan to check out their material…great stuff. So the NFL Season is down to two weeks and the playoff picture still remains a puzzle. In the NFC, no team has clinched a Division as of yet and only the Seattle Seahawks have clinched a playoff birth. The AFC story is not much better. Only the Indianapolis Colts have clinched their Division and the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos have clinched playoff births. At 11-3, the Broncos and Chiefs are tied for the Division lead and it comes down to the last two games.
In the AFC, New England Patriots (10-4), Miami Dolphins (8-6), Cincinnati Bengals (9-5), Baltimore Ravens (8-6), and San Diego Chargers (7-7) are all vying for the final 4 Playoff Spots. The NFC Picture is even more up in the air. The San Francisco 49ers (10-4), Arizona Cardinals (9-5), New Orleans Saints (10-4), Carolina Panthers (10-4), Chicago Bears (8-6), Green Bay Packers (7-6-1), Detroit Lions (7-7), Philadelphia Eagles (8-6), and Dallas Cowboys (7-7) are playing for 5 Playoff Spots. In the AFC, a win this week by the New England Patriots and a loss by the Miami Dolphins would give New England the AFC East Title. A Bengals win and Ravens loss would allow the Bengals to lock up a playoff spot and clinch the AFC Central. Obviously, the Chiefs and Broncos both control their own destiny, however the Broncos have the inside track to the Division crown as they beat the Chiefs twice. So a preliminary Playoff Picture in the AFC could look like the following: Denver Broncos (13-3) First Round Bye, New England Patriots (11-5) First Round Bye, Indianapolis Colts (10-6), Cincinnati Bengals (10-6), Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) Wild Card, Miami, Baltimore, or San Diego last wild card.
The NFC Playoff Picture has become a crapshoot. Let us just say that the Seattle Seahawks win their remaining games and go 14-2. Here are the other scenarios. In the NFC East, an Eagles win and Cowboys loss Sunday will see the Eagles clinch the East and render the last game between the two teams null. However, if both the Eagles and Dallas win then the final game of the season would decide the Division. Obviously two Dallas wins and two Eagles losses gives the Cowboys the Division. The NFC North is a 3 Team Battle between the Bears, Packers, and Lions. The Bears have the inside track, however if they lose to the Eagles on Sunday it will be very interesting. The dark horse and sleeper is the Packers. If they can somehow sneak into the playoffs and get AARON Rodgers back they could make some noise and be a very dangerous team. The 49ers control their destiny and if they win out they will definitely make the playoffs and could still steal the Division CROWN if Seattle slips.
This week will go along way to determining the playoff berths in the NFC and AFC alike. However, it probably will not be until next week until most Divisions and seeds are decided. Let’s look at some of the key statistical races as we finish the season. Peyton Manning has wrapped up the Passing Touchdown Title as he has 47 with 2 games left to play. There is a pretty good chance that he will break Tom Brady’s single season record of 51 Touchdowns as Denver is still trying to clinch the Division and possibly a bye. Barring a total collapse, the Eagles Nick Foles will win the Passer Rating Title in only his first starting season. Right now he sits at 117.0 and if he can stay there or higher it, he will make the Top 10 of all-time single season passer ratings. Peyton Manning has 4,811 passing yards and Drew Brees has 4,500 so it comes down to these two for the yardage crown.
The Receiving Yardage Crown will come down to the Lion’s Megatron (1,449) and Josh Gordon (1,467). Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson all have over 90 Receptions so one of these players will naturally win that category. The Saints Jimmy Graham has 14 Receiving Touchdowns and appears to be the runaway favorite there. The Eagles LeSean McCoy has 1,343 Rushing yards and will clinch the rushing title with two more decent games. Other challengers are the Chief’s Jamaal Charles and the Bear’s Matt Forte. Jamaal Charles has 18 Touchdowns (11 Rush/7 REC) so he will win that battle. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles battle for the All-Purpose Yards Crown. Matt Forte is also there. And Mathis of the Colts appears to have locked up the Sack Title…he has 16.5 so far. In conclusion, good luck too the Fantasy Players still alive for the Championship. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your week.
I cannot believe that its already week 15 of the NFL Season. It just seems like yesterday that I was watching that first Thursday Night Game with Peyton Manning throwing 7 Touchdowns on Opening Night. This season has been a gut wrenching one for many successful teams and some unlikely teams have dominated the league. For instance, the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets that were all playoff teams last year will miss this year’s Dance. The Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, and New Orleans Saints have been surprise teams. If these teams make the playoffs they will be a force to reckon with. As we get close to the close of the season and the start of the Post Season (Playoffs), we will quickly analyze this seasons winners, losers, MVP Favorites, key injuries, Super Bowl Contenders or Pretenders, and a look at the teams that are on the bubble fighting for a playoff spot. But first, lets look at this weeks match ups and I will give you my picks.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-10, Last Place NFC EAST)
ATLANTA FALCONS (3-10, LAST PLACE NFC SOUTH)
Okay, so this is a meaningless game between two of the worst teams in the league. Washington and Atlanta are both tied for the worst record in the league behind the Houston Texans (2-10). So yes, as far as the playoffs there are no implications here. However, whatever team loses will go a long way to deciding next year’s NFL Draft. The Washington Redskins, have been a major disappointment this season. Some people will say that the injury that RGIII suffered last season is an injury that really takes two years to come back from. I am not buying that. The Redskins are actually ranked Ninth in Total Team Offense (17th Passing/2nd Rushing). They are 23rd in Total Team Defense, however they are dead last in points allowed with 407, which is 31.3 Points allowed per week, terrible. The Falcons were many people’s pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Ouch. What a bust. Atlanta is 4th in points allowed so I sense a similar theme here. Atlanta also lost their best Wide Receiver, the dynamic Julio Jones to a Knee injury and their second wide out, Roddy White has missed a ton of time. Also, Steven Jackson their offseason signing at Tailback missed the first seven weeks. Also, Matt Ryan has been very inconsistent. Nonetheless, this matchup is important for both franchises. The Redskins are 6.5 Point Road Dogs at the Dome in Atlanta. For some reason, I see this as a trap game if there is such thing between two bad teams. I see the Redskins winning in an upset 27-24 on the road.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (9-4, 2ND PLACE NFC WEST)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-9, 3RD PLACE NFC SOUTH)
The San Francisco 49ers are behind Seattle in the standings, however they need this game more than Seattle needs a win. The Bucs on the other hand are just finishing out another poor season full of disappointment and injuries. As good as San Francisco has been this year, their Offense is ranked 28th Total in the League. However, they are in the middle of the pack as far as team scoring at 12th (24.3 Points Per Game.) San Fran has the 4th ranked Defense behind the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, and Houston Texans. The 49ers bread and butter is their defense and they rely heavily on their running game and creating turnovers. With the 49ers favored by 5.5 in this one, I would say this could be a trap game. Nonetheless, Tampa is just too bad and has been plagued by injuries and controversy. I am taking the Niners to win fairly easily by a score of 27-10.
ARIZONA CARDINALS (8-5, 3RD PLACE NFC WEST)
TENNESSEE TITANS (5-8, 2ND AFC SOUTH)
The Arizona Cardinals are holding on for dear life in the playoff race and basically need to win out to have any hope of making the playoffs. They trail Seattle (11-2) and San Fran (9-4) in the Division. So the only way they have a shot at the playoffs is to leapfrog the 49ers, which will take 3 wins and 49ers 2 Losses. The Titans have been a weird team this season as they are lacking a true identity. However, they have played spoiler to a few teams. The Cardinals are favored by 2.5 in this one and I say they will win due to the playoff implications. Arizona has the 5TH ranked Total Team Defense, which is amazing because Seattle, San Fran and Arizona are each in the Top 5. The Cardinals have only been average on Offense but they bring it on the Defensive side. Arizona wins 20-13.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-3, 1st PLACE NFC SOUTH)
SAINT LOUIS RAMS (5-8, LAST PLACE NFC WEST)
The New Orleans Saints have played above expectation this season. Their Defense has turned it around and their offense is…well their offense is LETHAL. They have the League’s 6th Ranked Total Offense and are averaging 26.4 Points per Game, which is good enough for 7th. Drew Brees has only been overshadowed by Peyton Manning. Brees has a 106.5 Rating with 33 Touchdowns (2nd NFL) and 4,107 Yards (2nd NFL). Star Tight End Jimmy Graham has 14 Touchdown Receptions, which leads the NFL. On Defense, End Cameron Jordan is 4th in the league with 11.5 Sacks. The Rams lost Franchise Quarterback Sam Bradford for the season after Eight Games, so they actually have played above expectations as well due to the circumstances. The Saints win 35-21.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-2, 1ST PLACE NFC WEST)
NEW YORK GIANTS (5-8, 3rd PLACE NFC EAST)
Well, this looks like a huge mismatch on paper. The Seahawks are the First Seed in the NFC and the Giants are hanging onto playoff hopes by a thread. The Seahawks as mentioned every week are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL as far as offense and defense. They are 12th in Total Offense and 1st in Total Defense. However, they can pound the ball and are 3rd in Rushing behind the Eagles and Redskins. The Seahawks live and die with their Defense and also the 11th Man (FANS). The Giants are 7 Point Underdogs at home. I cannot bet against the Giants in December and near the Playoffs. The Giants upset 20-17 as Eli Manning keeps the Giants slim playoff hopes alive.
CHICAGO BEARS (7-6, 2nd NFC NORTH)
CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC NORTH)
The Bears are only favored by 1 on the road in this one which tells me something. The experts do not have much faith in the Bears at this point in the season. They are tied with the Lions but talk about a team with no true identity. ANd there is the Browns. They have a terrible record, however, they have been in every game. Their star receiver Josh Gordon leads the league in Receiving after serving a 4 Game Suspension. Thats absolutely ridiculous. And he is doing this with below average Quarterbacks, the latest being Josh Campbell. The Bears really need this one but I say the Browns upset the Bears at Home, 27-24.
HOUSTON TEXANS (2-11, LAST PLACE AFC SOUTH)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (8-5, 1st PLACE AFC SOUTH)
The Houston Texans are the league’s biggest disappointment along with the Atlanta Falcons. They are trying to become the first NFL team to lead the league in Defense and have the worst record. Starting Quarterbacks have thrown 8 PICK SIXES. The turnover has been Houston’s own worst enemy. Indy on the other hand is playing consistent ball behind second year quarterback Andrew Luck. The Colts have also shined on Defense. They are favored by 5.5 in this one and i see them winning as well as covering as they play for a top seed in the AFC Playoffs. The Colts beat the Texans 32-21.
BUFALO BILLS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC EAST)
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-9, 3RD PLACE AFC SOUTH)
The Jaguars were the laughing stock of the AFC, and the NFL for that matter for most the season, however they are on a role lately lead by a resurgence in their running game with Maurice Jones-Drew and they are also playing much better defense. The Bills have been absolutely brutal against the spread. I am picking the Jaguars to win this one outright 20-13.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-3, 1st PLACE AFC
MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-6, 2nd PLACE AFC EAST)
New England Patriots/Miami Dolphins games always seem to be very entertaining. This game pits the Division leading Pats against the 2nd place Fish. Miami has been hot as of late and will be playing in front of the home crowd. Miami needs this win much more than the Pats. Also, losing Rob Gronkowski for the season was a terrible blow to the Patriots Offense. Tom Brady has not had a Brady Like Season. Its been more like the Brady Bunch in New England. The Pats are favored by 2 in this one. Miami upsets the Pats by a score of 20-17.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5, 1st PLACE NFC EAST)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-9-1)
The Eagles are coming of their epic instant classic win against the Detroit Lions, last sunday in the snow. What an awesome game to watch both live and on television. Nick Foles continues to show improvement each week. In my opinion, it was an absolute feat for him to throw some of the balls he did last week in that weather. He is definitely becoming a fan favorite in Philly. With his play he has also garnered some much deserved MVP credit. The Eagles have already performed above expectation. At this point, the Eagles control their own destiny. If the Eagles can win out, they win the Division and host a home playoff game. Nick Foles has 20 Touchdown Passes and only 1 Pick and continues to lead the league in passer rating. LeSean McCoy, who comes off an Eagles season game rushing record is the leader in yards from scrimmage in the NFL. McCoy has been compared to Barry Sanders. The Vikings have been a huge disappointment and now start Chris Ponder at Quarterback. The Eagles are favored by 5.5 in a game that Adrian Peterson will likely miss. I am taking the Eagles in an onslaught 45-17.
NEW YORK JETS (6-7, 3rd PLACE AFC EAST)
CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-4, 2nd NFC SOUTH)
Up until last weeks loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers were the NFL’s hottest team. The Panthers had won 8 straight games. They play a ferocious relentless type of defense and Cam Newton is another MVP candidate. The Jets however, have been extremely disappointing. I see this as a trap game. The Panthers are favored by 11.5 Points. I say the Panthers win 24-20 but do not cover.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-3, 2nd PLACE AFC WEST)
OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-9, LAST PLACE AFC WEST)
The Chiefs have come down to earth, losing three straight after winning nine straight. It makes perfect sense, tho. For the first ten weeks, the Chiefs were Number One in Turnover Differential. In their three straight losses, they have lost the Turnover Battle. However, after the Broncos lost on Thursday, this is a perfect game for the Chiefs to rise back up and keep on the trail of the Broncos. The Raiders are having another poor season. Chiefs 27-Raiders 21.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-6-1, 3rd NFC NORTH)
DALLAS COWBOYS (7-6, 2nd NFC EAST)
The Packers are like Jekyll and Hyde without Aaron Rodgers. The two time MVP has missed the past four games. The Packers are barely hanging in there. Dallas on the other hand is trying to keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC EAST. However, the Cowboys have been dead last in total Team Defense all season n and have not been much better in points allowed. The Cowboys do have a potent offense that can keep up with any team. The Packers are 6.5 Point Dogs on the Road. I say the Cowboys win big 45-27.
CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-4, 1st PLACE AFC NORTH)
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-8)
The Bengals are trying to play for seeding at this point as they almost have the Division wrapped up. Don’t get me wrong yet, this is not over yet. The Bengals are facing a fierce rival in the Steelers. However, the Steelers are not the same Steelers in 2013. There is no swagger. The Bengals are favored by 2. I say the Steelers upset the apple cart at home and win 17-14.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-6, 2nd AFC NORTH)
DETROIT LIONS (7-6, 1st NFC NORTH)
The champs are back as the Ravens are hot behind the resurgent Joe Flacco. However, the Lions after their loss to the Eagles are in a must win so that they can win the Division. The Lions win this game as Megatron goes off once again. Lions 34-Ravens 24.
Winners- Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks.
Losers- Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay, Minnesota.
MVP FAVORITES- Nick Foles, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles, Calvin Johnson.
Key Injuries- Julio Jones, Sam Bradford, Mike Vick, Doug Martin, Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler.
Contenders- Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Carlina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers.
Pretenders- New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals.
Bubble Teams- Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys.
Until Next Time…This has been your host DA BIRD. Enjoy your Sunday of Football and Good Luck to all of the Fantasy Football Playoff Teams.