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!!!

 

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

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I don’t know about anyone else, but I love having Thursday Night Football. I remember when we didn’t even have Sunday Night or Thursday Night Football. That is ancient history now. Anyways…here we are already…Thursday Night Week #7.
Thursday Night Football keeps us sports diehards interested as well as entertained. It also keeps Fantasy Football Owners busy, especially when the Bye Weeks arrive. Week #6 was another crazy week in the NFL. The Patriots last minute win, Jacksonville making Manning look human, Seattle’s Dominance, and many more unexpected moments.

So…let us take a look at Tonight’s Matchup

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(5-1, First Place Division)
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(3-3, Third Place Division)
Arizona is 5.5 Point Underdogs to the Seattle Seahawks at home. Arizona is coming off a 32-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, while the Seattle Seahawks beat the tough Tennessee Titans to take the Division Lead. Arizona has played tough on Defense, but their offense remains inconsistent. Carson Palmer is the Quarterback but he has not shown well. The Cardinals also lack any kind of Running Back.
On the other hand, Seattle comes into this game as the most dynamic on offense and defense. They are ranked close to the top on both sides and Marahawn Lynch is running over people. Russell Wilson has picked up where he left off last year. Seattle seems to be an early favorite to go far in the NFC playoffs. Arizona at 3-3 is still very much in this. However, I see the Seahawks winning this game on National TV in easy fashion. My pick…Seattle 24- Arizona 17.

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Stay tuned as I will have the rest of my Week #7 Picks as well as my next installment of Top Positional Players/Teams Post 1990. The next will be the Top 10 Defenses post 1990. We know the 85 Bears, 72 Dolphins, and the Steel Curtain Steelers were some of the best all-time, but there are also some very good defenses that have played since 1990. This should be an interesting piece. Enjoy your Thursday Night Folks…And I will See you Soon.

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WEEK 4 FANTASY START EMs/ SIT EMs

So here we are…Week #4 of the NFL Season…the First Bye Week. This is when your bench and reserves come in handy. The Packers and Panthers are on a bye so for those of you that have Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton…it’s time to take your backup QB for a Test Drive.

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Ok…so here are my Week 4 Fantasy Start Ems and Sit Ems.

Start
QB-Peyton Manning, Matt Stafford, Ben Rothlisberger, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo

RB-Bilal Powell, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Demarco Murray, Jamal Charles

WR-Calvin Johnson, Any Denver Receiver, DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Denarius Moore

TE-Jason Witten, Julius Thomas, Antonio Gates

K-Steven Gostikiwski, Matt Prater, Matt Bryant

D-Seattle, Chicago, Baltimore

SIT EM

QB-Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Matt Cassel

RB-CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, Rashard Mendenhall

WR-Miles Austin, Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes, Victor Cruz

TE-Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels

K-Randy Bullock

D-New York Giants
****Good Luck to all of my Fantasy Friends**** Until Next time…

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NFL WEEK #3 PICKS

    Wow, this NFL season has been exciting so far to say the least.  There have already been many story lines that have been written and there are many more to come.  First of all…after the upset on Thursday…Andy Reid and the upstart Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0.  Thursday Night’s game was special for Reid, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles for Fourteen Seasons, and this was his first game against his old club.  Even making the night more special, was the retirement ceremony of Donovan McNabb’s Number at Halftime.  Remember, It was Andy Reid that took Donovan McNabb with the third pick in the 1998 Draft…amidst much criticism.  No one can forget that day when over 100 members of the Eagle’s Dirty Thirty made their way to New York City and proceeded to boo radically when the Eagles drafted #5, as Donovan refers to himself now.  The majority of Eagles fans that season thought they should draft Ricky Williams.  Well, the rest is history.  Donovan McNabb (Love him or hate him) is the best quarterback to ever suit up for the Eagles in history.  He holds just about every passing record, including wins and playoff games and wins.  The only thing that escaped Andy Reid and his protege, #5 was a Super Bowl Ring.  And that folks is the only reason that Andy Reid is now the Head Coach of the Chiefs.

     Anyways…Andy Reid received much praise by the Philadelphia Faithful, much to the dismay of the National Media, who had hoped for the usual drama that occurs surrounding this city and it’s sports lure.  Remember, Santa Claus…J.D. Drew and the Batteries…The horror stories of the Philadelphia Fans.  Well, Philly showed the Nation that they can play with dignity and that the fans could show restraint.  However, the Eagles Offense was also restrained…as Michael Vick reverted back to the Vick of old, the turnover machine.  It is pretty ironic that the Eagles were playing under such a big microscope and with Andy Reid present in the building, Vick appeared to be the same Vick as last year that struggled in Andy’s porous offense and the offensive line looked like swiss cheese once again.

     Ok, there have been many more story lines in the NFL already.  We had Peyton Manning and the 7 TD Performance in Week 1.  Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns star running back traded to the Indianapolis Colts, just two weeks into the season.  The Manning Bowl with Peyton coming out on top.  The Seattle Seahawks completely annihilating the San Francisco 49ers at home on a Monday Night in the “LOUDEST STADIUM” today.  The slow start of Tom Brady and the Patriots.  The  list can go on and on.  That is why there is a sixteen week season and byes, as well as the playoffs.  And just like the past few years, this league is anyone for the taking’s thus far.  So here we are…it’s that time again.  THE BIRD vs SAVAGE.  So far, THE BIRD is winning the points total as far as record against the spread.  However, Aaron took the Chiefs to win outright on Thursday, while I took the Eagles with a final score of 31-27.  My…oh my…how wrong was I.  The Eagles had better learn to play defense soon or else they will be 2-14 like the Chiefs last year.  I am scared to watch the Eagles next game, next Sunday at Denver.  Anyways, without further a due…here are my Week #3 Picks:

1) San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans- The Chargers are underdogs on the road, despite their past week beating of the Eagles.  The Titans are favored by three points.  Philip Rivers does look composed and more focused this season.  The Chargers passing game has been the strength thus far.  However, The Titans have a good secondary and they can play the run well also.  Antonio Gates can be a beast, but I am going to go with the safe pick this week with the Titans winning the game and beating the spread.  Just a hunch.  Titans-20-Chargers-16.

2)  Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings- The Browns just traded their star running back and are starting their third string quarterback.  I would say this is a team in much disarray.  The trade is a move that signals that they are already giving up on this season (wusses).  In contrast, the Vikings still feature Adrian Peterson, the best running back in the game.  The Vikings are favored by seven and I can see this game getting ugly if they can get an early lead.  Vikings win and beat the spread.

3)  Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots-  The Patriots are far from the team that many of us are used to.  Tom Brady has been un Brady like.  The Patriots have not been sharp and are barely winning games.  The once potent offense has disappeared and there are many question marks.  In my mind, there is no doubt that the loss of Wes Welker hurts this team.  I mean, you can say all you want about Edelman…but he is not WELKER.  The Buccaneers still have not totally shown their true colors.  Doug Martin can pound the ball and Josh Freeman has two very talented receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.  However, there has been talk that Freeman is requesting a trade.  This cannot be good for the morale or the locker room.  The Patriots have to come out firing sometime and I feel this is the week.  Patriots win and beat the spread.

4)  Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens-  Despite the losses on defense for the Baltimore Ravens, this game should be a very close game and it will probably come down to turnovers.  The Texans are stronger this season with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster and they have been better in close games.  Although the Texans are favored by 2 Points…I am not ready to give up on the Ravens.  Baltimore wins at home and gets their swagger back.

5)  Saint Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys-  The Cowboys are favored by 3.5 Points.  However, the NFC East is 0-5 outside of the Division.  The Rams have shown that they can put up some offense and also have a good secondary.  If the Cowboys are going to win they will have to run the ball with Demarco Murray.  The Cowboys do present some matchup mismatches with Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Murray on offense.  All four players are good in traffic and are good after the catch.  I am going to stick with the law of averages and take the Rams in an upset.

6)  Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints-  The Saints have been much more consistent this season and still run that high octane offense.  Their defense is also much improved.  Drew Brees is due for a breakout game and Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham should be able to stretch the weak secondary of the Cardinals.  It is also still unknown if Larry Fitzgerald will play in this game.  The Saints are favored by 7.5.  The NFL is much more close these days so I am going to take New Orleans, but they will not beat the spread.

7)  Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins-  This game is so hard to get a beat on right now that its a Pick Em.  The Redskins have yet to get their offense in sync as of yet, while RGIII continues to heal from his offseason surgery.  Alfred Morris did have a nice game in Week 2 so look for the Skins to try and control the clock, especially against the pass happy Lions.  Matt Stafford has many weapons at his disposal with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.  The Lions also bring it on Defense all day.  I would love to pick the Lions, but I see this as a dire game for the Skins in front of their home crowd.  The Redskins win this one in a nail biter.

8)  Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals-  The Packers are favored by a field goal.  However, they will be missing their starting running back Eddie Lacy, Safety Morgan Burnett and Cornerback Casey Hayward.  Green Bay does have all of the hoopla and star power on offense, however if any team has a Front Seven that can neutralize Aaron Rodgers and the passing game its the Bengals.  I am taking the Bengals to win as home underdogs.

9)  New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers-  The Giants were just embarrassed by the Broncos at home.  They are only favored by 1.5 Points on the road.  This tells me that the consensus is that this Giants team is lacking the dominance it once had in the NFC.  If Carolina can get a consistent rushing game against the Giants and take pressure off Cam Newton, he could be in for a big day.  I am taking the Panthers to beat the Giants in easy fashion.

10)  Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins-  The Fish are finally getting some recognition around the league.  Miami is actually favored by a field goal at home.  Atlanta will be without their star tailback, Steven Jackson, for at least two weeks.  They have also not been protecting Matt Ryan the best.  The Dolphins are playing two dimensional football and they still pack power on Defense.  They are good at rushing the passer and should be able to neutralize the Falcon’s Air Game.  The Dolphins win this one and beat the Spread.

11)  Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers-  The Niners are favored by 10!!  Wow, ten points.  The Colts just upgraded their rushing attack to go along with Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne.  The Niners are coming off that ASS KICKING.  I really feel that the Colts are underrated.  Nonetheless, the Niners will win the game but they will not cover.  They win by six or seven tops.

12)  Jacksonville Jaguars @ Seattle Seahawks-  The Seahawks are favored by 19.5 Points.  Right now, the Seahawks look like the best team in football and the Jaguars are definitely the bottom feeders.  Seattle has a balanced attack with Marshawn Lynch at Tailback and Russell Wilson behind the Gun.  However, the true strength of this Seahawks team is their DEFENSE.  There will be at least five turnovers in this game and possibly three defensive scores as the Seahawks demolish the JAGS.  Seahawks win 41-10.

13)  Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets-  The Jets are favored by 2.5 Points at home.  If this game was on the road the Bills would be favored.  The Jets have not shown me anything this season and Rex Ryan will be done before the season in my opinion.  The Bills have yet to get going with their power running game.  CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson have only been a little above average.  The Bills continue to struggle with their passing game as well.  However, this could go either way so I am taking the Bills to win on the road.

14)  Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers-  This game should be a grind them out type of Sunday Night Football Game.  The Bears are really impressive as Jay Cutler continues to work magic with Brandon Marshall.  Matt Forte is off to his best start of his career as far as overall numbers.  The Steelers have been inconsistent thus far and Rothlisberger looks out of sync.  I am going Bears to win 24-17 as they are favored by two.

15)  Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos-  What more can we say so far about the Broncos besides they are the toast of the AFC.  They are favored by 15.5 Points.  Despite how good the Broncos are playing right now, the Raiders are a much improved team and I do not see them getting blown out.  Denver wins but does not cover.

****THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS….STAY TUNED FOR THE SAVAGE AND HIS WEEKLY PICKS******

And as I close, I wish all of my followers and fans alike good luck with Fantasy Football this week.  Week 3 is usually the week where teams either start to falter or take off.  We shall See.  LeSean McCoy already had a huge game as did Jamal Charles.  What other running backs will enjoy success?  Sunday is right around the corner.  And also, stay tuned as I will continue my series on TOP 20’s, this time picking the TOP 20 Running Backs from 1990-2010.ImageImageImageImage

NFL WEEK#2 RESULTS

     Ok…so the NFL never ceases to amaze me.  Week #2 was a much tougher week for both THE BIRD and SAVAGE.  I went 6-8 with my weekly picks to end with a record of 18-14.  The SAV went 5-11 to rise to a two week record of 13-9.  There were many surprises in Week#2.  Let us begin with the Thursday Night game with the New England Patriots barely edging the underdog Jets by a score of 13-10.  When was the last time the Patriots were held to less than two touchdowns…I cannot remember.  The Upstart Kansas City Chiefs pulled their record to 2-0 with an absolute stunner against the favored Dallas Cowboys.  The Arizona Cardinals put up a wall against Mega-tron and the Decepticons…I mean the Detroit Lions.  The Lions were able to put up some impressive numbers, however the Cardinals were the victors in the end.  In a game that was being billed as a possible NFC Championship matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the SanFrancisco 49ers…Seattle made many people eat crow.  The Seahawks not only beat the 49ers…they mad minced meat of them in a route.

     Now let us go to the other side of the NFL…The FANTASY realm.  My Fantasy Team dropped to 1-1 after a big Week #1 win.  Week#2 saw my team struggle and despite another huge performance by Peyton Manning, there was No ONE MAN SHOW this time.  In fact, my team was crushed.  There were not many bright spots in the loss for me.  My Starting Running Back scored a touchdown on his fourth touch of the game and never returned…can you say OUCH!  The status of Steven Jackson for Week#3 is still unknown, but we will get to that later in the week.  Alfred Morris had over 100 Yards Rushing and a Touchdown and Calvin Johnson almost put up 30 Points.  However, the rest of my team struggled mightily against last years Champion Will McCarthy.  His team blew up as his two running backs and two receivers all put up over 20 points and Marshawn Lynch went over 30.  His Defense and Kicker even scored over 10 points each.  However, THE SAV ended with the week high of 185 Points.  He had Six Positions score over 20 points and DeSean Jackson scored over 30.  Who would have saw The DEUCE DROPPERS beating the ECHO BEACH ASSASSIN in a week where his number one pick Drew Brees only put up 20.  Oh well…that is why they call it Fantasy Football.  Fantasy enables each and every one of us to enjoy the NFL, regardless of what our teams did in the real world.  Well, Savage went 2-0 in this respect as his Miami Dolphins got the win, while my Eagles disintegrated before our faces.  Well, well, well, do not look now but Thursday is a HUGE game for the Eagles already.  They will face Andy Reid and the Chiefs and their old field general, Donovan McNabb’s Number will officially be retired.  This will be an enormous local event as well as national.  Stay tuned for more analysis on Thursday’s game and the rest of Week #3 action.  

     In conclusion, let us round out Week #2’s Fantasy Winners and Losers.  Phillip Rivers, Sam Bradford, Michael Vick, and Ryan Tannehill were all winners at Quarterback.  Knowshon Moreno, Marshawn Lynch, and Darren McFadden were winners at Running Back.  Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and Randall Cobb dominated the receiver position.  Meanwhile, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham showed why they are still key veteran tight ends.  Sebastian Janikowski and Dan Bailey at the Kicking position and the Denver Broncos Defense were also winners.  However, the weeks biggest stars were Aaron Rodgers at QB, Doug Martin at RB, DeSean Jackson at WR, Julius Thomas at TE, and Nick Novack at Kicker.

     Savage made me eat crow by Starting Dez Bryant who completely went off.  The biggest losers of Week #3 were Jason Witten, Josh Freeman, David Wilson, Mark Ingram and Mike Williams.  I need a better strategy as far as Start-Em/Sit-Ems.  Oh well, that’s why Football like all other sports is a game of inches.  I will have an official report on the BIRDS forthcoming, and some questions and answers that I gained from watching the second game of the season in this NEW HYBRID OFFENSE.  For now, I say Good Riddance…I may have been knocked down a notch but I will GET BACK UP!  LOOK OUT! 

NFL WEEK #PICKS/FANTASY START-EMS/SIT-EMS

     I love this time of the year…the weather changing, the hustle and bustle, children back to school, and of course NFL Football.  Put the shorts and tank tops away and break out the hoodies, jerseys, and gym pants.  Hello folks…it’s already WEEK #2 of the NFL Season and are you ready for some football?!!!  On to the important stuff, Week #1 saw me go 10-6, while Savage went 8-8.  Not bad results for the first week which in my mind is always the hardest week to gauge.  The Thursday Night Game of the Week between the New York Jets and New England Patriots was a little bit of a disappointment as far as the results and the game action.  Not only was the game action boring…it was an un New England like performance.  So on one of the rare times that “The Savage” and I had agreed on a pick…we were both stunned by a poor performance and as a result we start out Week #2 at 0-1.  Oh well, you cant win them all.  Nonetheless, we have a ton of games left to analyze and pick for this week so onto the picks:

1)  San Diego Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles-  The Chargers are coming off a meltdown at home and losing to the Texans at home after going up by three touchdowns.  The Chargers come into this game against the Eagles as 7 Point Underdogs on the road.  In contrast, the Eagles are coming off a fresh upset of the Washington Redskins on the road where Chip Kelly’s “Oregon Spread Offense” was showed off for the whole league to see.  The Eagles were also better on defense especially against the run.  I know it’s early but I am a believer in this Eagle’s high powered offense and the skies the limit.  Take the Eagles to win and beat the spread…the final score should be like 34-21.

2)  Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens-  The Cleveland Browns are 6.5 Point Road Dogs in this one.  Cleveland is still very far away from being a competitive team in this league, with the one bright spot being Running Back Trent Richardson.  The Browns are also without their Number One Receiver for another week due to his suspension.  Baltimore on the other hand comes off a Week 1 Thursday Night Loss to the Denver Broncos.  Peyton Manning dismantled the Ravens Defense, which was supposedly “not going” to be affected by the loss of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Carry Williams.  The Ravens are still the Defending Champions and will be playing with a chip on the shoulders.  The Ravens win big and cover in front of their home town fans.

3)  Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans-  The Titans are 9 Point dogs on the road to the Texans who pulled off a monster comeback against the Chargers on Monday Night Football.  For some reason, the Titans are one of those teams that do not have a lot of stars but they play a good system and seem to be in many games.  The Texans on the other hand are perennial playoff favorites and have a balanced offense with Arian Foster and Matt Schaub.  The Texans have not been great against the spread lately and J.J. Watt, their Defensive Stud was shut down week one.  I am taking the Texans to win the game; however they do not cover.

4)  Miami Dolphins @ Indianpolis Colts-  The Colts are only 2.5 Point favorites in this one.  Andrew Luck continues to grow as a Quarterback and Reggie Wayne is back to his “stud” status at the receiver position.  If the Colts could just build a better running game they would be better contenders in the AFC.  The Fish are much improved and their offense showed flashes this past Sunday with Brian Hartline going over 100 Yards and a score.  This game could go either way but I am taking the Dolphins in the first upset of the week as they beat the Colts outright.

5)  Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills-  The Panthers are one of those teams that does not have a true identity.  Yes, they have a decent rushing attack and D’eangelo Williams is carrying the load by himself for the first time in his career.  Cam Newton is one of the Top Quarterbacks in the League and after a down year last year, looks poised to take his game to the next level.  Steve Smith is still one of the best outside receivers in the NFL.  The Bills have that potent running game, but the Panthers Defense is good against the run.  CJ Spiller was held down in Week One.  Look for the Panthers to expose the Bill’s secondary.  The Panthers are favored by a field goal on the road in this one and I say they win and beat the spread.

6)  Saint Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons-  The Falcons are favored by 6 at home in this one after a tough loss to Division Rival New Orleans last week.  The Falcons have a potent offense and the addition of Steven Jackson has made them even more dynamic.  I am not worried about Atlanta’s Offense; however, their defense is somewhat suspect especially against the pass.  They do not defend tight end well and the Ram’s boast an up and coming beast in Jared Cook, who had 140 Yards receiving last week.  The Falcons are one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year, but I am going to take a risk and go with another upset as the Rams win in close fashion.

7)  Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers-  The Redskins were exposed and out of sync against the Eagles in their Monday Night Loss on National T.V.  RJIII definitely looks rusty.  That injury that he had was no small gaffe.  It will take a few more weeks for the Redskins Offense to Gel.  I do, however, believe that Alfred Morris will have a better game running the ball as Green Bay has one of the weakest Run Defenses in the League.  The PACK will come out slinging.  Aaron Rodgers gives this team hope each and every week.  Look for big games from Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb.  Green Bay can spread the Defense in many ways.  Green Bay wins this game and beats the 7 Point Spread.

8)  Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs-  The Chiefs were impressive their first week under new head coach Andy Reid.  They held the Jaguars to two points, one measly safety from a shutout.  The Chiefs are balanced on offense and defense.  They run the ball well and Alex Smith can manage a game with the best of them.  The Dallas Cowboys beat the Giants in a shootout Week#1.  Dez Bryant was quiet; however, Jason Witten continues to be an absolute beast at the tight end position.  I know that Andy Reid does not coach the Defense, however in his fourteen years with the Eagles they were horrible against defending the Tight End.  Maybe he does have better Linebackers with this Chiefs squad.  Nonetheless, Dallas beats the Chiefs taking the points.

9)  Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears-  Here is a huge Division Rivalry game early in the season.  The Vikings boast Adrian Peterson, arguably the best offensive player in the NFL.  However, Christian Ponder is still making mistakes that first year quarterbacks make, turning the ball over early and often.  The Bears on the other hand beat a Bengals team that was favored at home.  The Bears Defense is back as always.  Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall remind me of the Peyton Manning/Marvin Harrison connection of old.  The Bears are favored by 5.5 Points.  I say the game will be close till the fourth quarter, but after a few turnovers the Bears will run away with this game…final score 34-17.

10)  New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers-  The Saints are only 3 Point Favorites on the road in this one.  In their week one win against the Falcons, the Saints showed me that they are back.  Sean Peyton has this team jacked up and they are on a mission.  Tampa, despite their young weapons on offense, is not ready to take the next step.  The Saints behind Drew Brees win and win big.

11)  Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals-  It’s hard to believe that the Lions are only 1.5 Favorites in this one.  I mean, the Lions were a force in Week #1.  The addition of Reggie Bush makes an already explosive offense even more explosive.  Megatron was shutdown in week number one, but just like Dirty Dancing, you can’t keep Baby in the corner.  Calvin Johnson should have a huge game.  Matt Stafford has more weapons than ever and this team could be special this year.  The Cardinals are better with Carson Palmer, but I still see weakness, mainly at the running back position.  Rashard Mendenhall is not the answer, that’s why the Steelers let him go.  The Lions win and beat the spread easily.

12)  Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders-  This is hilarious.  How funny is it to see the lowly Raiders as favorites.  Well, they are playing the joke of the league, the Jaguars.  Oakland is favored by 5.5 and that seems to be a safe bet.  The Raiders are better than last year.  Their defense is much more improved and they have a young offense.  Take the Raiders, trust me…The Jags may lose 16 games this year.

13)  Denver Broncos @ New York Giants-  The Manning Bowl.  Peyton vs Eli.  Older Brother vs Younger Brother.  Maybe the Best Quarterback of the past two Decades vs. Mr. Consistent.  The only thing that Eli can boast and actually its pretty big…2 Super Bowl Rings to Peyton’s 1.  However, Peyton Manning is on a mission and will definitely have a good chance of going to the big dance as the Broncos are definitely the best team in the AFC.  Denver beats the 4.5 Spread and beats the Giants by a Touchdown.  Both Quarterbacks have a great game and there are lots of hugs to go around at the end of the game, maybe even some tears.

14)  San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks-  The Seahawks are favored by 3 and this can only be the fact that they are at home.  The Seahawks are still a force and will have a decent year.  However, the 49ers are making me look dumb as they continue to defy the odds.  I was still not a believer, even after their amazing run last year.  Well, Colin Kapernick looks like an absolute stud and the 49ers continue to play solid in all phases of the game.  I am taking the 49ers to win and upset the Seahawks.

15)  Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals-  The Bengals were defeated in week number one, despite a great offensive show.  They are however the better team.  They are favored by Seven.  I say the Bengals win but they will not cover in this all out Division Rivalry.

*****OK…So Fantasy Football Round 2.  I am sure many people were hitting the waiver wire after week 1 to try and pick up a diamond in the rough.  We had Julius Thomas (TE-Denver), Jared Cook (TE-Rams), etc. who were snatched up in most leagues, even eight team leagues where the talent pool is better.  So, we will do this week’s must starts and sits.

QB-  Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Matt Stafford—–RB-  Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Reggie Bush—WR- Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Wes Welker—TE- Julius Thomas, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis—K- Matt Bryant, David Akers, Phil Dawson—Defense- Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens.

Must Sits:

QB- Christian Ponder, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton—RB- Chris Johnson, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson—WR- EJ Green, Dez Bryant, Golden Tate—K-Josh Scobee, Nick Novack, Jay Feely—Defense- Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Saint Louis Rams.

***OK, There is Week #2 Picks.  Stay tuned for Savage and his picks to come.  Have a great Weekend and Enjoy the Games!!!!ImageImage

NFL WEEK#1 RESULTS AND FANTASY FALLOUT

     WEEK #1 OF THE 2013 NFL SEASON IS IN THE BOOKS.  IT WAS A WEEK THAT SAW THE MOST CLOSE GAMES ON OPENING DAY SINCE 1970.  THE WEEK BEGAN ON THURSDAY EVENING, WHEN PEYTON MANNING PUT ON A SHOW AGAINST THE REIGNING SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS.  PEYTON HAD 400+ PASSING YARDS AND TIED A LEAGUE RECORD WITH SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS.  THEN ON SUNDAY, ADRIAN PETERSON WITH ANOTHER HUGE TOUCHDOWN ON THE FIRST DRIVE OF THE GAME.  WE SAW THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS BLOW OUT THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS.  NOW DONT GET ME WRONG, THE JAGS ARE DEFINITELY THE DOORMAT OF THE NFL.  HOWEVER, ANDY REID WAS IMPRESSIVE IN HIS DEBUT.  THE PATRIOTS BARELY GOT BY WITH A TWO POINT WIN AGAINST THE BUFFALO BILLS.  THE PATRIOTS ARE BANGED UP AT TIGHT END AND SEEM TO LACK THE STAR POWER THAT THEY USED TO HAVE.  THE MIAMI DOLPHINS SMOKED THE CLEVELAND BROWNS, WITH A SOLID OFFENSIVE/DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE.

     SEATTLE WAS BARELY ABLE TO BEAT THE CAROLINA PANTHERS, DESPITE A SOLID 300 YARD PASSING PERFORMANCE BY RUSSELL WILSON.  THE BEARS BEAT THE BENGALS DESPITE A HUGE GAME BY WIDEOUT A.J. GREEN WHO HAD 9 CATCHES FOR 162 YARDS AND TWO TD’S.  JAY CUTLER AND BRANDON MARSHALL CONTINUED THEIR CHEMISTRY AS MARSHALL WENT OVER 100 YARDS ONCE AGAIN AND SCORED A TD.  THE DETROIT LIONS BEAT THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS BY TEN POINTS IN A GAME THAT SAW REGGIE BUSH RUSH FOR 90 YARDS AND CATCH FOUR PASSES FOR 101 YARDS AND A SCORE IN HIS DEBUT.  MATT STAFFORD CONTINUED HIS ARM SLINGING AND CALVIN JOHNSON WAS PRETTY MUCH SILENT IN THIS ONE.  INDY BEAT THE RAIDERS AS ANDREW LUCK MANGED THE GAME IN PROLIFIC FASHION.  THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS UPSET THE ATLANTA FALCONS AS MATT RYAN AND DREW BREES BOTH THREW FOR 300 YARDS.  HOWEVER, THE SAINTS DEFENSE WAS IMPRESSIVE IN STOPPING THE FALCONS HIGH FLY OFFENSE.  

     THE 49ERS EDGED THE PACK BY A TOUCHDOWN AS COLIN KAPERNICK HAD A CAREER DAY THROWING FOR 412 YARDS AND THREE TOUCHDOWNS.  ANQUAN BOLDIN HAD THIRTEEN RECEPTIONS FOR 208 YARDS AND A TD WHILE VERNON DAVIS ADDED SIX FOR 98 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS.  AARON ROGERS HAD 333 YARDS PASSING, BUT THE 49ERS WERE JUST TOO MUCH.  THIS GAME SHINES A LIGHT ON GREEN BAY’S WEAKNESS ON DEFENSE.  THE RAMS SAW JARED COOK CATCH SEVEN BALLS FOR 141 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS AS THEY BEAT ARIZONA.  IN THE DALLAS/GIANTS GAME, ELI MANNING THREW FOR 450 YARDS PASSING AND FOUR TOUCHDOWNS, BUT ALSO HAD THREE INTERCEPTIONS.  TONY ROMO HAD A DECENT GAME AND DALLAS WAS ABLE TO ESCAPE WITH A KEY DIVISIONAL WIN.  THE EAGLES UPSET THE REDSKINS BEHIND THE NEW HIGH FLY “CHIP KELLY” OFFENSE.  LESEAN MCCOY WAS A BEAST.  HE RUSHED FOR 184 YARDS AND A TOUCHDOWN.  MICHAEL VICK WENT TURNOVER FREE.  AND FINALLY, AFTER BEING DOWN 28-7, THE HOUSTON TEXANS STORMED BACK TO BEAT THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS IN THE LAST GAME OF WEEK #1.

     OK, SO AS FAR AS AARON SAVAGE AND MY PICKS, WEEK #1 SAW MY RECORD BEGIN AT 10-6 WHILE AARON WENT 8-8.  STAY TUNED FOR OUR WEEK #2 PICKS AND ANALYSIS COMING LATER IN THE WEEK.  WEEK #1 SAW MANY CLOSE GAMES, A FEW UPSETS, AND ALL IN ALL WAS A GREAT FIRST WEEK.  EVERYBODY IS HAPPY TO SEE THE NFL BACK.  I THINK THE BIGGEST SURPRISES IN MY OPINION WAS NEW ENGLAND BARELY BEATING BUFFALO, THE SAINTS UPSETTING ATLANTA ON THE ROAD, THE RAMS BEATING ARIZONA, THE JETS UPSETTING THE BUCCANEERS, AND THE EAGLES BEATING WASHINGTON ON MONDAY NIGHT ON THE ROAD.

     NOW LET’S VISIT THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WORLD.  OBVIOUSLY, THE PLAYER OF THE WEEK WAS PEYTON MANNING WITH HIS HUGE PERFORMANCE ON THURSDAY WITH 450+PASSING YARDS AND SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS.  HE WAS ONE OF MY MUST STARTS.  ANQUAN BOLDIN HAD A HUGE GAME WITH 13 RECEPTIONS, 200 YARDS RECEIVING AND A TOUCHDOWN.  A.J. GREEN FROM THE BENGALS PUT UP 164 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS.  REGGIE BUSH HAD 98 YARDS RUSHING AND 100 YARDS RECEIVING.  ANOTHER HUGE PERFORMANCE WAS COLIN KAPERNICK FROM THE 49ERS WHO HAD OVER 400 YARDS PASSING AND THREE TOUCHDOWNS.  SURPRISINGLY, ONLY SHANE VAREEN AND LeSEAN McCOY WENT OVER 100 YARDS RUSHING IN WEEK#1, ALTHOUGH MANY BACKS HAD BIG GAMES INCLUDING THE UNANIMOUS NUMBER ONE PICK A.P. WHO HAD 78 YARDS RUSHING AND A TOUCHDOWN.  FINALLY, JASON WITTEN HAD THE BEST START AT THE TIGHT END POSITION.  

     THERE WERE ALSO SOME FANTASY DUDS.  I HAD CALVIN JOHNSON AS A MUST START AND HE ONLY ENDED UP WITH FOUR RECEPTIONS AND A LITTLE OVER 40 YARDS.  CJ SPILLER HAD A QUIET GAME AS DID MIKE WALLACE FROM MIAMI.  I HAD PEYTON MANNING ON MY TEAM AND I STILL BARELY WON MY GAME AS THE REST OF MY TEAM WAS QUIET.  MY NUMBER ONE RUNNING BACK ALFRED MORRIS DID NOT REALLY MAKE AN IMPACT.  THERE WERE MANY OTHER DUDS OF THE WEEK.  THE JAGUARS WERE THE WORST AND MJD, MAURICE JONES DEW WAS NON-EXISTENCE.  STAY TUNED LATER IN THE WEEK WHERE I WILL GIVE YOU MY MUST STARTS/SIT-EMS.Image

NFL WEEK 1 PREVIEW/PICKS

     SO HERE WE ARE FOLKS…THE BEGINNING OF THE 2013 NFL SEASON KICKS OFF TONIGHT IN MILE HIGH DENVER.  THE GAME WAS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BE A HOME GAME FOR THE DEFENDING CHAMPION BALTIMORE RAVENS…HOWEVER THERE WAS A SCHEDULE CONFLICT WITH THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES WHO REFUSED TO CHANGE THEIR GAME TIME.  JUST LIKE LAST YEAR, I WILL HAVE MY WEEKLY ANALYSIS INCLUDING WINNERS AGAINST THE SPREAD.  AARON SAVAGE IS BACK AGAIN FOR HIS SECOND YEAR AS MY WING MAN.  LAST SEASON WAS EXTREMELY CLOSE, WITH ME SLIGHTLY EDGING HIM OUT ON TOTAL RECORD.  ANYONE WHO BETS FOOTBALL, ESPECIALLY NFL AND COLLEGE KNOWS HOW HARD PICKING ON A WEEKLY BASIS CAN BE AND THERE ARE ALWAYS UPSETS.  THIS PHENOMENON IS WHAT MAKES THIS SPORT SO POPULAR.  IN RECENT YEARS, THE NFL HAS BECOME A BETTER LEAGUE WITH MUCH MORE PARITY.  THE FUNNY THING IS…I CAN REMEMBER DECADES AGO WHEN THE NFC SEEMED TO WIN EVERY SUPER BOWL YEAR AFTER YEAR.  IN FACT, THE NFC WON THIRTEEN STRAIGHT SUPER BOWLS BETWEEN THE EIGHTIES AND NINETIES THROUGH 1998, WHEN THE DENVER BRONCOS FINALLY WON FOR THE AFC.  THE BRONCOS ACTUALLY WON TWO STRAIGHT BEHIND JOHN ELWAY AND TERREL DAVIS.

     TONIGHT THE DENVER BRONCOS TRY TO BUILD ON THEIR HISTORY AS THEY EMBARK ON A SEASON WITH MUCH PROMISE.  PEYTON MANNING IS THE NEW ELWAY.  THE BRONCOS DO NOT HAVE A “TERELL DAVIS” TYPE RUNNING BACK AS THEY ARE A UNIT BY COMMITTEE.  HOWEVER, THE BRONCOS ARE DEEP AT RECEIVER WITH DEMARYIUS THOMAS, ERIC DECKER AND WES WELKER.  WELKER HAS MULTI 100 YARD SEASONS, DECKER CAUGHT 13 TOUCHDOWNS LAST YEAR, AND THOMAS HAD 1,400 RECEIVING YARDS AND 10 TOUCHDOWNS.  THEY ALSO HAVE A YOUNG ENERGETIC TIGHT END IN JULIUS THOMAS.

     HERE ARE MY PICKS FOR WEEK #1 IN THE NFL BEGINNING WITH TONIGHTS REMATCH OF LAST YEAR’S AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WITH THE BALTIMORE RAVENS ON THE ROAD AGAINST THE DENVER BRONCOS.  I WILL ALSO PROVIDE A FANTASY ANALYSIS WITH PLAYERS TO START AND SIT.  STAY TUNED FOR AARON’S PICKS TO FOLLOW:

1)  BALTIMORE @ DENVER (-7.5)- SINCE WHEN HAS A SUPER BOWL CHAMPION BEEN AN UNDERDOG IN THE FIRST GAME OF THE NEXT SEASON?  WELL ACTUALLY, THIS IS QUITE COMMON IN THE NFL.  BALTIMORE IS STILL A POWER TO RECKON WITH IN THE AFC.  HOWEVER, LOSING LINEBACKER (AND UNQUESTIONED LEADER) RAY LEWIS AND SAFETY ED REED.  THEIR DEFENSE IS STILL STRONG, BUT THEY ARE MISSING VETERAN LEADERSHIP WHICH IS SO KEY IN THE NFL.  IN CONTRAST, THE DENVER BRONCOS ARE COMING OFF A TOUGH LOSS TO THE RAVENS IN THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER PEYTON MANNING STOLE THE COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR WITH AN OUTSTANDING YEAR.  THIS YEAR, MANNING IS EVEN HEALTHIER AND BOASTS A POTENT OFFENSE WITH THREE QUICK STRIKE RECEIVERS.  DENVER WILL ALSO RUN THE BALL AS THEY ALWAYS HAVE A BETTER THAN AVERAGE RUNNING GAME…ESPECIALLY WITH A TOP NOTCH OFFENSIVE LINE.  ITS EASY TO GO WITH THE FAVORITES WEEK 1…HOWEVER ITS A CRAPSHOOT.  NONETHELESS, IM GOING DENVER TO WIN BY 10 POINTS TO BEAT THE SPREAD.

2)  NEW ENGLAND @ BUFFALO (-9.5)-  THE PATRIOTS ARE THE MOST CONSISTENT TEAM OF THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS.  TOM BRADY IS A CLASS ACT AND EVEN BETTER MAGICIAN WHEN IT COMES TO THE PASSING GAME.  BRADY ALWAYS GIVES THE PATS A CHANCE TO WIN A GAME WITH HIS TALENT.  HE PLAYS WELL WETHER THE TEAM IS AT FULL STRENGTH OR NOT.  THE PATRIOTS HAVE A BALANCED RUSHING GAME.  BUFFALO ON THE OTHER HAND CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE EVERY YEAR DUE TO THE LACK OF A PRO BOWL CALIBER QUARTERBACK.  THE BILLS WILL RUN THE BALL ALL DAY BEHIND CJ SPILLER AND FRED JACKSON.  THEY ALSO HAVE A PRETTY GOOD DEFENSE.  HOWEVER, IN THE END THE PATS ARE WAY BETTER.  THE PATRIOTS WILL WIN AND WIN BY DOUBLE DIGITS.

3)  TENNESSEE @ PITTSBURGH (-7)- THE STEELERS HAD AN OFF YEAR LAST SEASON.  I MEAN, THEY WERE NOT HORRIBLE BUT THEY GOT AWAY FROM STEELER FOOTBALL.  ISAAC REDMAN IS THEIR STARTING RUNNING BACK.  THEY DID GET BETTER ONCE AGAIN ON THE OLINE.  THE TITANS STILL HAVE X FACTOR CHRIS JOHNSON R2K.  JOHNSON HAD A COMEBACK SEASON LAST YEAR AND IF HE CAN REMAIN HEALTHY, THE TITANS COULD SURPRISE PEOPLE.  BEN ROTHELISBERGER GETS THE ADVANTAGE AT QUARTERBACK OVER SOPHOMORE JAKE LOCKER.  THE STEELERS ARE FAVORED BY A TOUCHDOWN.  I AM PICKING THE TITANS TO WIN THIS GAME IN AN UPSET BUT IT WILL BE CLOSE.

4)  ATLANTA FALCONS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3)- HERE IS AN INDOOR GAME THAT COULD BECOME A MAJOR SHOOTOUT.  BOTH OF THESE TEAMS HAVE AWESOME QUARTERBACKS, DYNAMIC RUNNING BACKS, AND DEEP RECEIVING CORES THAT ARE DANGEROUS.  RODDY WHITE AND JULIO JONES MAY BE ONE OF THE BEST TANDEMS IN FOOTBALL.  THE SAINTS ARE LEAD ONCE AGAIN BY PERENNIAL PRO BOWLER AND FORMER MVP DREW BREES.  THEY ALSO HAVE A VERY GOOD RECEIVING CORE.  THIS WILL BE THE TOP GAME OF WEEK #1 AND I AM TAKING THE SAINTS TO WIN AT HOME.  THEY ARE THE UNDERDOG, BUT I THINK HOME FIELD STEALS THEM A WIN.

5)  TAMPA BAY @ NEW YORK JETS (-3.5)- GENO SMITH HAS BEATEN OUT MARK SANCHEZ FOR THE STARTING QUARTERBACK POSITION ON THE JETS.  I HAVE ALREADY BEEN ON RECORD AYING THE JETS WILL FINISH 6-10 AND REX RYAN WILL BE GONE.  THE BUCCANEERS ARE ALSO A TEAM WITH A DYNAMIC OFFENSE.  THEY ARE LEAD BY QUARTERBACK JOSH FREEMAN, RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN, AND WIDE RECEIVER VINCENT JACKSON.  TAMPA COULD MAKE SOME NOISE IN THE NFC THIS YEAR.  THIS WILL BE LOSS NUMBER ONE FOR THE JETS AS THE BUCS WIN BY AT LEAST A TOUCHDOWN.

6)  KANSAS CITY @ JACKSONVILLE (-4)-  THIS MARKS THE DEBUT OF ANDY REID AS THE HEAD COACH OF THE CHIEFS.  HE INHERITS A PRETTY DECENT TEAM WITH THE CHIEFS WHO BOAST A STUD RUSHING ATTACK.  WHAT IS THE OVER/UNDER ON THE FACT THAT ANDY WILL STILL TRY TO PASS THE BALL MORE THAN RUN.  THE OVER IS INFINITY.  REID IS STUBBORN AND WILL BE NO DIFFERENT IN THE AFC.  HOWEVER, THEY ARE FACING A JAGUARS TEAM THAT MAY JUST BE THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE.  MY MONEY IS ON FAT REID AS THE CHIEFS DEFEAT THE JAGS IN EASY FASHION AND BEAT THE SPREAD.

7)  CINCINNATI @ CHICAGO- THIS COULD BE ANOTHER EXCELLENT MATCHUP.  BOTH OF THESE TEAMS HAVE ABOVE AVERAGE OFFENSES MATCHED BY STELLAR DEFENSE.  THE BENGALS MAY HAVE THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE AFC WHILE THE BEARS ARE ALWAYS AT THE TOP YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT.  I AM GOING CHICAGO ONLY BECAUSE THEY ARE HOME AND THEY HAVE A GRINDING RUSHING ATTACK WITH MATT FORTE.

8)  MIAMI @ CLEVELAND (-1)-  THE FISH ARE PRIMED FOR A BETTER SEASON AS THEY TAKE TO THE FIELD BEHIND SECOND YEAR STARTER RYAN TANNEHILL.  THE FISH ARE ALSO STARTING A NEW RUNNING BACK WITH LAMAR MILLER.  MIAMI DOES HAVE A GREAT DEFENSE THAT CREATES TURNOVERS.  CLEVELAND IS ONE OF THOSE TEAMS THAT JUST NEVER GETS GOING.  THEY HAVE TRENT RICHARDSON IN THE BACK FIELD BUT NOT MUCH OTHER STAR POWER.  MIAMI TAKES THIS ONE WITH EASE…TOUCHE AARON.

9)  SEATTLE @ CAROLINA (-3.5)- MANY EXPERTS HAVE THE SEAHAWKS GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL THIS SEASON.  THE HAWKS ARE LOADED ON OFFENSE AND HAVE THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE NFL.  THEY ARE SUPERB AT CAUSING TURNOVERS.  CAROLINA IS GOING TO BE BETTER AND THEY HAVE A STAR QUARTERBACK IN CAM NEWTON.  NONETHELESS, I AM GOING SEATTLE AND THE POINTS.

10)  MINNESOTTA @ DETROIT (-5)- DETROIT OPENS AT HOME.  MATTHEW STAFFORD NOW HAS ANOTHER SECRET WEAPON ON OFFENSE IN REGGIE BUSH.  BUSH AND HIS ABILITY TO ELUDE WOULD BE TACKLERS SHOULD MAKE CALVIN “MEGATRON’S” GAME JUMP TO AN EVEN HIGHER LEVEL THIS SEASON.  JOHNSON IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE BEST RECEIVER IN THE NFL AND REMEMBER…HE ONLY CAUGHT FIVE TOUCHDOWNS LAST SEASON.  I SEE THAT NUMBER DOUBLING THIS YEAR.  LIONS WIN BY A TOUCHDOWN AT HOME.

11)  OAKLAND @ INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5)-  THE RAIDERS WILL LOSE FOURTEEN GAMES THIS YEAR.  ITS ASHAME BUT THE RAIDERS ARE GOD AWFUL EVERY YEAR.  THIS YEAR WILL BE NO DIFFERENT.  INDY ON THE OTHER HAND HAS DECENT PLAYERS ON DEFENSE AND ANDREW LUCK CAN REAK HAVOC WITH HIS RECEIVERS.  THEY CAN ALSO POUND THE BALL.  INDY BY TEN.

12)  ARIZONA @ SAINT LOUIS (-4.5)- ARIZONA HAS A NEW QUARTERBACK CARSON PALMER.  THEY ALSO HAVE A NEW RUNNING BACK IN RASHARD MENDENHALL, THE FORMER STEELER.  THE RAMS ARE UP AND COMING.  I HAVE TO GO AGAINST THE GRAIN HERE AND SAY ARIZONA WINS ON THE ROAD OUTRIGHT.

13)  GREEN BAY @ SAN FRANCISCO (-4.5)-  I CANT BELIEVE THE SPREAD IS THIS HIGH IN WEEK 1.  BOTH OF THESE TEAMS ARE PLAYOFF BOUND AND EITHER OF THEM COULD VERY WELL MAKE THE SUPER BOWL.  AARON ROGERS LOOKS TO CONTINUE HIS DOMINANCE WHILE COLIN KAPERNICK LOOKS TO PROVE THAT LAST SEASON WAS NO FLUKE.  THE NINERS TRADED ALEX SMITH DUE TO THEIR CONFIDENCE IN KAPERNICK.  I SAY NINERS WIN BUT THEY DO NOT COVER AS THIS ONE GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE.

14)  NEW YORK GIANTS @ DALLAS (-3.5)-  THE GIANTS ARE STILL THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE NFC EAST.  HOWEVER, THE REDSKINS HAVE IMPROVED TREMENDOUSLY.  THE COWBOYS CONTINUE TO RIDE THE COAT TAILS OF TONY ROMO.  I FEEL THAT THE MAIN PROBLEM AND REASON WHY THE COWBOYS CANNOT AND WILL NOT MOVE FORWARD IS TONY ROMO.  HE IS OVERRATED.  THE G-MEN COME UP BIG IN BIG D…GIANTS WIN BY A TOUCHDOWN.

15)  PHILLY @ WASHINGTON (-3.5)-  I HAVE THE EAGLES GOING ANYWHERE FROM 6-10 TO 9-7 DEPENDING ON HOW WELL THEY CAN START THE SEASON.  THEY ARE UNDERDOGS IN THIS ONE.  HOWEVER, I FEEL THAT THE BIRDS ARE MORE PREPARED AS RGlll HAS BEEN INJURED THIS PRESEASON.  I AM GOING EAGLES ON THE ROAD.

16)  HOUSTON @ SAN DIEGO (-4)-  LAST BUT NOT LEAST.  HOUSTON WILL WIN THIS ONE GOING AWAY.  THE TEXANS ARE SO DYNAMIC AND BALANCED ON OFFENSE.  HOUSTON WINS THIS GAME EASILY.

OK…SO THOSE ARE MY PICKS.  AARON WILL PUT HIS IN LATER IN THE WEEK.  IN TONIGHTS GAME HE HAS DENVER BEATING THE RAVENS 28-24.  SO THAT MEANS HE HAS DENVER WINNING BUT NOT COVERING.  WE SHALL SEE MR. SAVAGE.  YOUR DEBATE ON FACE BOOK HAS NOT DONE VERY WELL.  YOU KNOW WHO HAS OWNED YOUR ASS!!!!! ANYWAYS…EACH WEEK I WILL HAVE A LIST OF START-EMS/SIT-EMS.

START-EMS

QB- PEYTON MANNING, TOM BRADY, JOSH FREEMAN/RB- ADRIAN PETERSON, STEVEN JACKSON, DOUG MARTIN/WR- CALVIN JOHNSON, BRANDON MARSHALL, WES WELKER/TE- BRENT CELEK, VERNON DAVIS, JULIUS THOMAS/K- JUSTIN TUCKER, PHIL DAWSON, STEVEN GOSTKOWSKI/DEFENSE- PITTSBURGH, INDIANAPOLIS, HOUSTON

SIT-EMS

QB- MICHAEL VICK, GENO SMITH, CHRISTIAN PONDER/RB- DEMARCO MURRAY, CHRIS JOHNSON, RYAN MATTHEWS/WR- SANTONIO HOLMES, DEZ BRYANT, DESEAN JACKSON/K-JOSH SCOBEE, NICK FOLK, NICK NOVACK/DEFENSE- OAKLAND, BUFFALO, JACKSONVILLE.

****NEWS AND NOTES****

DO NOT FORGET TONIGHTS GAME AND TO PLUG IN ANY STARTERS YOU MAY HAVE IN FANTASY FOOTBALL.  THIS IS SO EXCITING THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.  I EXPECT HUGE GAMES FROM CALVIN JOHNSON, PEYTON MANNING, STEVEN JACKSON, AND MARQUES COLSTON.  WHAT DO ALL OF THOSE PLAYERS HAVE IN COMMON?? THEY ALL PLAY FOR DA BIRD (TEAM MEGATRON)…MY TEAM.  ANYWAYS, GOOD LUCK THIS WEEK AND I WILL PROVIDE A RECAP OF ALL OF THE SCORES AND HIGHLIGHTS GOING FORWARD.  YES I AM MUCH MORE FUN THAN ESPN…C’MON…THE BOTTOM LINE IS SOOOO BORING.  ONCE AGAIN, THANKS TO ALL MY FANS FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF MY BLOG.  I AM COMING UP ON 4,500 FOLLOWERS.  I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!ImageImage

NFL 2013 KICKOFF: EARLY PREDICTIONS AND FANTASY NOTES

      THURSDAY NIGHT KICKS OFF YET ANOTHER NFL SEASON.  I DON’T KNOW ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE…BUT THIS IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF THE YEAR.  AS SEPTEMBER ROLLS ON, THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SEASON IS WINDING DOWN, NHL AND NBA TRAINING CAMP ARE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, AND THE NFL IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!!!!  THIS IS THE VERY BEST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR MANY OTHER REASONS…MOST NOTABLY THE FALL WEATHER AS THE LEAVES BEGIN TO FALL TO THE GROUND.  COOL WEATHER IS HERE.  FOOTBALL IS HERE!

     OK, SO 2013 HAS MANY QUESTIONS FOR THE NFL JUST LIKE ANY OTHER YEAR.  THIS WILL MARK THE FIRST SEASON IN FOURTEEN YEARS, THAT THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES WILL TAKE THE FIELD WITHOUT ANDY REID AS THE GENERAL.  FOR MANY EAGLES FANS, THIS IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE SEASON ALREADY, DESPITE HOW THE TEAM WILL FINISH.  FORMER OREGON DUCKS COACH, CHIP KELLY IS THE NEW BOSS.  HE BRINGS EXCITEMENT AND TENACITY TO A TEAM THAT HAS UNDERACHIEVED THE PAST FIVE SEASONS.  ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE THAT STICKS OUT IS THAT CHIP KELLY IS NOT AFRAID TO RUN THE BALL.  MANY EXPERTS AND ANALYSTS BELIEVE THAT THE LACK OF A RUNNING GAME LEAD TO THE EAGLES DEMISE.  NO MATTER WHAT THE REASONS WERE, WE HAVE A FRESH START NOW.

     HERE WE ARE TWO DAYS BEFORE THE START OF THE SEASON AND I WILL BOLDLY GIVE MY EARLY PREDICTIONS FOR THE PLAYOFFS AND WHICH TEAM WILL ULTIMATELY WIN THE SUPER BOWL.  LET’S START WITH THE NFC EAST.  THE NFC EAST IS NORMALLY ONE OF THE TOP DIVISIONS IN FOOTBALL, BUT NOT THIS YEAR IN MY OPINION.  MY MONEY IS ON THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS TO WIN THE DIVISION AT 10-6.  THE REDSKINS ARE A STELLAR DEFENSIVE TEAM AND THEY HAVE A DYNAMIC OFFENSE WITH RGIII AND ALFRED MORRIS.  THE GIANTS WILL FINISH SECOND AS THEY CONTINUE TO GO BACKWARDS AFTER THEIR RECENT CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS.  THE GIANTS GO 9-7.  ELI MANNING SOMEHOW ALWAYS RALLIES THE TROOPS AND THIS TEAM DOES WELL DOWN THE STRETCH.  NEXT WE HAVE THE DALLAS COWBOYS.  DALLAS HAS BEEN PICKED TO WIN THIS DIVISION BY MANY EXPERTS YEAR AFTER YEAR, BUT THIS YEAR WILL BE NO DIFFERENT.  TONY ROMO IS ON HIS LAST LEG.  JERRY JONES NEEDS TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.  THIS TEAM CONTINUES ITS POOR REGULAR SEASON PLAY AND THEY GO 8-8.  FINALLY, WE HAVE THE EAGLES.  CHIP KELLY AND THE BIRD’S OFFENSE WILL SHOW QUICK STRIKE ABILITY.  LESEAN McCOY IS DUE FOR A MONSTER YEAR.  I JUST DONT SEE THEIR DEFENSE BEING A STRENGTH YET.  IT WILL TAKE THIS TEAM A FEW YEARS TO GEL AFTER THE COACHING CHANGE.  THE EAGLES ROUND OUT THE NFC EAST AT 6-10.

     THE NFC CENTRAL SEEMS TO ALWAYS BE A MYSTERY EVERY YEAR.  THERE ARE GREAT RIVALRIES HERE.  ONCE AGAIN, I AM GOING WITH THE PACKERS TO WIN THE DIVISION AT 12-4.  THE PACK IS STILL STRONG ON DEFENSE AND ANY TEAM THAT IS LEAD BY PERENNIAL MVP AARON ROGERS AT QUARTERBACK HAS A CHANCE TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP.  THE CHICAGO BEARS WILL GIVE THE PACKERS A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY AS THEY FINISH AT 11-5 AND TAKE ONE OF THE WILD CARDS.  THE BEARS ARE STACKED ON DEFENSE ONCE AGAIN.  LIKEWISE, JAY CUTLER AND BRANDON MARSHALL WORKED MAGIC LAST YEAR THAT I DO NOT SEE GOING AWAY.  THE LIONS ARE ABOUT TO TAKE THEIR FIRST MAJOR STEP FORWARD.  MATT STAFFORD AND CALVIN JOHNSON ARE BOTH BEASTS AT THEIR POSITION.  THE LIONS JUST MISS A PLAYOFF SPOT AND GO 9-7.  THE VIKINGS ROUND OUT THE NFC CENTRAL AT 7-9.  ADRIAN PETERSON, THE NUMBER ONE RUNNING BACK IN 100 PERCENT OF FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFTS WILL HAVE ANOTHER MONSTER YEAR.  HOWEVER, HE CANNOT CARRY THIS TEAM ON HIS BACK ALONE.  THE VIKINGS HAVE BECOME MEDIOCRE ON DEFENSE AND DO NOT TAKE AWAY THE BALL LIKE THEY USED TO.  ALSO, CHRISTIAN PONDER DOES NOT HAVE MANY RECEIVER THREATS TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE.

     THE ATLANTA FALCONS WILL TAKE THE NFC SOUTH ONCE AGAIN.  MATT RYAN IS BECOMING A STUD AND THE FALCONS GOT BETTER ON OFFENSE BY SIGNING FREE AGENT RUNNING BACK STEVEN JACKSON DURING THE OFFSEASON.  THE FALCONS WILL GO 12-4 AND HAVE THE TOP SEED IN THE NFC.  THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS WILL COME BACK STRONG THIS YEAR UNDER HEAD COACH SEAN PEYTON.  THE SCANDALS ARE BEHIND THIS TEAM AND BOASTING DREW BREES AND HIS OFFENSIVE WEAPONS MAKES THIS TEAM EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.  THE CAROLINA PANTHERS HAVE A TON OF TALENT, BUT THEY ARE NOT READY TO MAKE THE NEXT STEP.  THEY FINISH AT 8-8 AND FAIL TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.  WE CAN SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS.  THEY HAVE A LOT OF TALENT WITH JOSH FREEMAN AT QUARTERBACK, VINCENT JACKSON AT RECEIVER AND DOUG MARTIN IN THE  BACKFIELD.  HOWEVER, THEY STILL ARE FAR FROM THE LEVEL THAT THEY WERE ON DEFENSE WHEN THEY WON THEIR SUPER BOWL.  REMEMBER, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS AS TAMPA GOES 6-10.

     FINALLY, WE HAVE THE NFC WEST.  SEATTLE GOES 11-5 TO TAKE THE DIVISION.  THE 49ERS FINISH 10-6 AS THE SEAHAWKS ARE ABLE TO STYMIE THE NINER’S OFFENSE.  THE 49ERS GO 9-7 AND ARE A DISSAPPOINTMENT.  THE CARDINALS GO 6-10 AS WELL AS THE RAMS.

NFC EAST- WASHINGTON REDSKINS (10-6)/ NFC CENTRAL- GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-4)       NFC SOUTH- ATLANTA FALCONS (12-4)/ NFC WEST- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5)  WILD CARDS- CHICAGO BEARS (11-5)/ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-6).

   OK…NOW THE AFC.  THE AFC ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE HARDER TO PREDICT THAN THE NFC.  THE AFC CROWN WILL ONCE AGAIN GO TO THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS.  NEW ENGLAND IS TOO GOOD AND EVERY YEAR THEY ARE ABLE TO SUSTAIN KEY LOSSES AT KEY POSITIONS AND REPLACE THEM WITH YOUTH.  TOM BRADY IS STILL THE MOST CONSISTENT QUARTERBACK IN THE LEAGUE.  THE PATS FINISH 11-5 AND TAKE THE DIVISION.  THE MIAMI DOLPHINS KEEP SAYING THAT THEY ARE ON THE BRINK EVERY YEAR.  HOWEVER, THEY LOST REGGIE BUSH AND ALSO LOST THEIR BEST TACKLE JAKE LONG.  THEIR DEFENSE STILL COMES TO PLAY EVERYDAY BUT NEVER ENOUGH.  THE FISH GO 8-8.  THE BUFFALO BILLS ONCE AGAIN LACK THE KEY INGREDIENT TO BECOME A PLAYOFF TEAM AT QUARTERBACK.  EJ MANUEL WILL BE GOOD IN A FEW YEARS BUT NEEDS TO SEASON.  THE BILLS GO 6-10.  THE JETS ARE ON THEIR WAY OUT AND SO IS REX RYAN.  THEY ARE JUST NOT THAT GOOD ANYMORE.  JETS FINISH 4-12 AND RYAN IS GONE.

     THE AFC CENTRAL WILL SEE THREE TEAMS GO 10-6.  THE BALTIMORE RAVENS, CINCINNATI BENGALS, AND PITTSBURGH STEELERS WILL ALL WIN TEN GAMES.  THE RAVENS WIN THE DIVISION BY WAY OF HEAD TO HEAD COMPETITION.  THE RAVENS HAVE JOE FLACCO AND ARE THE RETURNING CHAMPIONS.  THE BENGALS WILL BE MUCH BETTER AS WILL THE STEELERS.  UNFORTUNATELY, THE CLEVELAND BROWNS WILL BE IN THE BASEMENT AGAIN.  

     THE HOUSTON TEXANS ONCE AGAIN TAKE THE AFC SOUTH BY GOING 10-6.  THE TEXANS ARE STILL A STRONG TEAM, BUT I EXPECT A FEW UPSETS.  THE INDIANNAPOLIS COLTS GO 9-7 AND JUST MISS THE PLAYOFFS.  ANDREW LUCK HAS ANOTHER GREAT SEASON AND BUILDS ON HIS SUCCESS FROM LAST YEAR.  THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS ARE THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE AND THEY ONLY WIN THREE GAMES GOING 3-13.  TIME FOR A CHANGE THERE.

    THE DENVER BRONCOS ARE THE TOAST OF THE AFC.  WITH PEYTON MANNING AND THE RECEIVING CORE AS WELL AS A BONAFIDE DEFENSE, THEY ARE FOR REAL.  THE BRONCOS WILL GO 13-3.  THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS WILL HAVE A GOOD SEASON BY GOING 9-7, NOT BAD FOR ANDY REID’S FIRST SEASON AT THE HELM.  THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS CONTINUE THEIR DOWNWARD SPIRAL AS THEY FALL TO 6-10.  THEY ARE DUE FOR A COACHING CHANGE.  AND WHAT CAN WE SAY ABOUT THE OAKLAND RAIDERS…HORRIBLE.  THEY FINISH 2-14.  

AFC EAST- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-5)/ AFC CENTRAL- BALTIMORE RAVENS (10-6)/ AFC SOUTH- HOUSTON TEXANS (10-6)/ AFC WEST- DENVER BRONCOS (13-3)                           WILD CARDS- CINCINATTI BENGALS (10-6), PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-6)

SO HERE IS MY FINAL PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS.  IN THE NFC, THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS BEAT THE CHICAGO BEARS AND THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS BEAT THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS IN THE WILD CARD ROUND.  THE DIVISION ROUND SEES THE ATLANTA FALCONS BEAT THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS AND THE SEAHAWKS UPSET THE PACKERS ON THE ROAD IN LAMBEAU.  THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP IS THE ATLANTA FALCONS VERSUS THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS.  THE ATLANTA FALCONS REDEEM THEMSELVES FROM LAST YEAR TO GO TO THE SUPER BOWL.  

THE AFC PLAYOFFS GO LIKE THIS.  THE BALTIMORE RAVENS BEAT THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS WHILE THE BENGALS UPSET HOUSTON IN THE WILDCARD ROUND.  THE DIVISIONAL ROUND SEES THE BRONCOS DESTROY THE BENGALS AND THE PATRIOTS TAKE OUT THE RAVENS.  THIS MAKES THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP THE BRONCOS VERSUS PATRIOTS.  THIS GAME IS EXTREMELY CLOSE AND DOWN TO THE WIRE BUT THE BRONCOS COME AWAY A WINNER.  FINALLY, IN THE SUPER BOWL, THE BRONCOS BEAT THE FALCONS.  MY PREDICTION FOR LEAGUE MVP IS PEYTON MANNING.

FINALLY SOME FANTASY NOTES.  A LOT OF DRAFTS SAW RUNNING BACKS GO OFF THE BOARD EARLY AND OFTEN.  IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE…WIDE RECEIVERS CAN BE JUST AS GOOD IN PPR LEAGUES.  I SAY CALVIN JOHNSON TAKES THE MOST POINTS FOR FANTASY THIS YEAR.  DREW BREES, PEYTON MANNING, AND MATT RYAN ALL HAVE HUGE YEARS.  ADRIAN PETERSON AND MARSHAWN LYNCH TAKE THE NOD AT RUNNING BACK.  THE BEST TIGHT END THIS YEAR WILL BE JASON WITTEN.  ITS GOING TO BE ANOTHER EXCITING YEAR FOLKS.  STAY TUNED TOMORROW AS MY BUDDY AARON SAVAGE JOINS ME ON THE “RED ZONE” AS WE SHELL OUT OUR WEEK #1 PICKS.  LAST YEAR WAS FUN AS I BEAT AARON BY A SLIGHT EDGE.  LET US SEE HOW THIS YEAR WILL GO…..Image

FANTASY FOOTBALL: THE THRILL

The year was 1963. The place was New York City’s Milford Plaza Hotel. A limited partner of the Oakland Raiders, Wilfred Winkenbach and Bill Tunnell, the Raiders former public relations manager, along with a reporter Scotty Stirling created what would become the first Fantasy Football League. Who would have known at that time that this interactive virtual reality competition would become such a phenomenon.

Fast forward to 2013. The Internet has transformed Fantasy Football from a Cult Obsession into a mainstream phenomenon. Today an estimated 28 Million People play in some type of Fantasy Football League, and the virtual league garners an estimated 800 Million Dollars in revenue on a yearly basis. Business men, office leagues, Internet leagues, friends, even athletes themselves take part in this growing Icon.

Today, more women than ever are even joining the craze. As more and more people are involved the sport continues to become more popular. There are anywhere from 4 Team Leagues to 12 Team leagues. There are some leagues that become keeper teams where a team is drafted and the owner keeps certain players on a yearly basis and drafts to improve. As far as money goes…the average fee for a league today is $150.00 dollars which goes towards league dues, transactions and such and then the pot is divided however the league commissioner sees fit. There is even a group of Wall Street Titans, an exclusive group that competes for a Million Dollar Pot.

So, the past few weekends heading into this weekend kicks off the new year with the all important Draft. Drafts are done numerous ways in different ways and is the way that team owners build their team. It used to be that running backs were always going in rounds 1 and 2. Today you see more leagues going with the philosophy to draft the best player available. Draft orders are determined a number of ways. The most popular draft creation happens by the “old” picking the name out of the hat.

The part of Fantasy Football that makes this phenomenon so fun is the fact that every Sunday and every week it gives people a chance to enjoy the NFL in a different way…even if their favorite team is not competitive. Yes, the money is lusted for and the ultimate goal is to win the championship, but really there is more to this than those two outcomes. It actually gives people the chance to act like general managers and make transactions to better their teams, just like in real life.

I myself had not played fantasy football for five years until last year. I decided to join my old neighborhood league and figured it would be fun to interact with people that I had not saw in years. It turned out…I had the last pick I’m the draft…#8. I still was able to draft a pretty solid team and I was hoping that Peyton Manning, who I got in the fifth round would come back to old form. Well…true story. I started out 0-3 and came back to come one win away from the championship. Not only did I win a nice chunk of change, but I was able to have fun with my friends.

It was week six. I was 2-4 and things seemed bleak. I told my best friend that I was about to quit the league. Just like in real life…it’s not over until the fat lady sings he said. And he was right. I finished the season 7-6 and made the playoffs. I then came three points from winning the Bowl. So that should be incentive for anyone who ever gets down on their team to stick with it. You never know what can happen.

Well, as people spend the next few days having their drafts, keep in mind that although this virtual competition does require some skill and knowledge, a lot of leagues are affected by the injury bug. Who will be this year’s detrimental injury? Who will be the first player taken in most drafts? Who will be the number one quarterback? These questions and more will be answered this weekend in many homes, sports bars and offices this weekend. Most leagues have the annual draft day party where large amounts of food and alcohol are consumed.

As we head into another year of Fantasy…just remember this is a game and it is supposed to be fun. And as I say goodbye today, I wish everyone good luck in their draft and be smart. Don’t cheat. And just have fun and be safe!!

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