Tag Archive | "NFL"

New Orleans Saints

NFC South: Saints Come Marching Back!

New Orleans Saints

The NFC South is one of the newer divisions in the NFL, but one of the most successful, evenly matched and certainly one of the most fun to watch.

Every team in the division has played in a conference championship and every one has played in a Super Bowl.

Since 2002, when the division was formed, every team has won the division at least twice, so it’s a very evenly matched division.

In terms of entertainment value, from a fan’s perspective, the NFC South has some of the most exciting and wide-open, pass-happy offenses to watch.

By the way, did you see where Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton said Tampa Bay secretly believes starting quarterback Josh Freeman can’t play, and that they are grooming rookie Mike Glennon to take over pronto?

“Josh Freeman has proven to me that he can’t play,” Tarkenton said in a radio interview with WDAE.

What do you think? Is Josh Freeman bogus? I mean, the guy did throw for over 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last year.

And can the Saints, with newly returned coach Sean Payton, break Atlanta’s stranglehold on the division? Will they at least finish better than last year’s 7-9?

Here is what I think, based on training camp and preseason film, as well as extensive interviews with league sources.

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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40% Off Fleece Fabrics

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The coupons are good through August 21, 2013.

Source: About.com


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Adrian Peterson

NFC North: Packers To Rule Again

Adrian Peterson

The four teams of the NFC North, the oldest division in the NFL, have been beating on each other for a long time, ever since the Vikings joined the league in 1961.

This is the famed “black-and-blue” division with some of the oldest and most tradition-soaked teams in the league and, not coincidentally, the winningest.

Then, there are the Lions. the only team in NFL history to go winless in a 16-game season. That was in 2008 . Remember quarterbacks Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky?

History won’t quite repeat itself this year, as the Lions will again be bad, but not that bad.

The NFC North has some of the best players in the league, in Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson, the league’s MVP last year, just to name a couple.

Still, I think only the Packers have a legitimate shot at making it to the Super Bowl this year. Here is my preview of the division and predictions. Who do you think will win the division this year?

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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Colin Kaepernick

NFC West: Stacked With Talent, Loaded For Bear

Colin Kaepernick

The NFC West has had its ups and downs, for sure. This is a storied division that has produced eight Super Bowl trophies, between San Francisco and the St. Louis Rams.

Yet it was also the first division in NFL history to produce a champion with a losing record. That would be Seattle, who finished 7-9 in 2010. The Seahawks accepted the division trophy with their heads down and eyes averted.

That won’t happen this year. The division is stacked again. If you’re a gambling man, you probably know bookmakers from Las Vegas to Bangkok have made the 49ers co-favorites, along with the Broncos, to win the Super Bowl.

But, it’s a long season and training camp injuries are already taking a toll on a lot of teams. If Colin Kaepernick goes down, as he well could with all the dangerous scampering he does, could the Niners make it to the Big Tamale again?

What about Seattle? Is Russell Wilson for real, or just a one-year wonder? Can Sam Bradford lead the Rams to a contending spot, and will the new-look Cardinals amount to anything at all this year?

Dude, I got the answers to these questions and more right here. Comments are welcome and, incidentally, bring excellent karma.

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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Cowboys Celebrate

NFC East: Who Wants It Most?

Cowboys Celebrate

The NFC East is what former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle must have had in his head back in the old days when he and the team owners were working to achieve what was a new word: Parity.

The four teams in the division are so close, you could barely thread a Tony Romo spiral between them and yes, that even includes Philadelphia. A break here, a break there and even the Eagles could contend for the division title this year, not that I think they will.

There are some writers out there even predicting that all four teams in the division win at least eight games.

But, then there is the downside of parity, its synonym: Mediocrity.

These are all potentially good teams and there are some outstanding individual players, but none of these teams in my opinion are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. I don’t see any of them winning more than 10 games.

Oh, you disagree Mr. NFL Expert? You’re probably a homer.

In any case, here is the division preview and my unerring predictions.

Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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Blaine Gabbert

AFC South: Can Houston Bully its Way Into NFL Nobility?

Blaine Gabbert

The Houston Texans have been trying to shoulder their way into that tight circle of the NFL’s elite teams the past couple years, but the big bullies keep pushing them away, mocking them with insults and telling them they don’t belong yet.

Could this be the year?

Will the Colt’s Andrew Luck run dead up against the sophomore jinx or will he continue to blossom into a star quarterback?

Can Tennessee do anything to get its fans excited again?

And what about Jacksonville? Could the Jaguars be competitive in the Southeastern Conference?

A lot of questions in the AFC South this year. Yo, check it out, I have all the answers – and informed predictions – right here.

Dare to disagree if you have the stomach for it!

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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Baltimore Ravens

AFC North Will Have a New Champion This Year

Baltimore Ravens

You NFL old-timers and purists probably know that the AFC North is the only division in the NFL that isn’t tainted by a charter team from the original American Football League (AFL). Just pure, undiluted NFL. Almost.

The Bengals were an AFL expansion team, but Paul Brown allowed that only with the condition that the Bengals would join the NFL after the two leagues merged and became the NFL in 1970.

Believe it or not, the division has produced only two Super Bowl champions: The Steelers have won six in eight appearances and the Ravens have won two, including the most recent one.

It’s a competitive division: Only the Browns had a losing record this past season. The other three teams had a combined 28-20 record, with the Steelers breaking even at 8-8.

The division will have a new champion this year. Here are my AFC North previews and predictions. Don’t be alarmed, and speak up if you’re feeling frisky.

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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Monday Morning Manager: It’s Biogenesis D-Day

Today could be one of those days in big-league history that will be long remembered. Major League Baseball is reportedly ready to suspend several players in the ongoing Biogenesis investigation.

Alex Rodriguez is likely to come off the disabled list, but nobody is sure if he’ll go to the New York Yankees’ active roster or to the suspended list for a long, long time.

Several news sites are reporting that Rodriguez will be one of a dozen-or-so players suspended on Monday, just as he’s finally ready to come off the disabled list for the New York Yankees. It’s been an interesting game of cat-and-mouse between Rodriguez, the Yankees and MLB in the past few weeks as the timetable has meshed between A-Rod’s rehab, the investigation and a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Rodriguez has behaved in public as if there’s nothing wrong at all, saying he is ready to join his teammates and that he feels great.

Other players on teams in pennant races — such as Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta and Texas’ Nelson Cruz — are also likely to be suspended. But Rodriguez has vowed a fight, and it’s likely that MLB will let Rodriguez play while he appeals a long suspension, perhaps one that could keep him out until 2015.

And we’ll likely finally get a bit of resolution today.

On to this week’s Monday Morning Manager:

WHO’S HOT

Jason Heyward, Braves: He’s coming alive as Atlanta is pulling away in the NL East, winning 10 in a row. He was 10 for 27 in the last seven days with two homers and eight RBI, but still is languishing at .235 with 10 homers and 31 RBI on the season.

Jose Fernandez, Marlins: Becoming one of the best stories of the year on a last-place team. He handed the Indians their only loss in the last 10 games on Friday, shutting them out and striking out 14. He’s 8-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings.

Chris Perez, Indians: He’s returned to dominant form since coming off the DL on last June. He’s given up two earned runs since then in 16 appearances, with two wins and 10 saves.

WHO’S NOT

Josh Johnson, Blue Jays: Toronto made three huge additions to its pitching staff in the offseason, and none have gone as planned. The worst of the bunch has been Johnson, who fell to 1-8 with a 6.60 ERA  after the Angels battered him last week.

J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays: Don’t mean to pile on here, but Toronto’s battery is woefully uncharged right now. Arencibia has two hits in his last 10 games and his average has slipped to .212.

Chris Carter, Astros: He’s just an extra H from a famous football Hall of Fame player, but this Carter didn’t have as good a week as the former NFL receiver. Carter, the Houston left fielder, is 1 for his last 21 and is at .213 with just two of his 19 homers since the All-Star break.

TOP 10

1. Atlanta Braves (67-45, last week unranked)

2. Boston Red Sox (68-45, last week No. No. 72)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (66-45, last week No. 3)

4. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-44, last week No. 4)

5. Detroit Tigers (64-45, last week No. 5)

6. St. Louis Cardinals (65-45, last week No. 1)

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-49, last week No. 5)

8. Cleveland Indians (62-49, last week unranked)

9. Cincinnati Reds (61-51, last week unranked)

10. Texas Rangers (62-50, last week unranked)

BOTTOM 5

26. Chicago Cubs (49-62, last week unranked)

27. Milwaukee Brewers (47-64, last week No. 27)

28. Miami Marlins (43-67, last week No. 28)

29. Chicago White Sox (40-69, last week No. 29)

30. Houston Astros (36-74, last week No. 30)

Source: About.com


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Peyton Manning

AFC West: Broncos Stuck Their Neck Out for Peyton Manning and It’s Paying Off

Peyton Manning

You NFL history buffs probably know that the four teams currently in the AFC West have been there since 1970, when the old AFL West became the new AFC West when the AFL and NFL merged.

Of course, the Raiders were then in Los Angeles and the Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs.

Hard to believe now, with Oakland’s current woes, that the Raiders have the best all-time record in the division at 430-316-11. They’re now the long-time doormats.

Right now, the Denver Broncos own the division, and they are likely to be the owners again this year.

Here is my preseason preview of the AFC West, in descending order. Comments are welcome, as always.

- Getty Images

Source: About.com


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Larry Csonka

Can Anyone Break Patriots’ Bullying the AFC East? Not This Year

Larry Csonka

The AFC East is one of the NFL’s storied divisions. Remember 1972 when the Miami Dolphins went undefeated? Some veterans of that team say the ’73 team was even better.

Remember the 1968 New York Jets, with Joe Namath, Emerson Boozer, Don Maynard? Their Super Bowl win over the highly favored Baltimore Colts cemented Namath’s cocky reputation and brought legitimacy to the old AFL. If the Jets had lost, would the NFL look like it does today?

Or how about those great Buffalo teams with Jim Kelly at quarterback, Thurman Thomas at running back and other greats like Bruce Smith and James Lofton? They went to four straight Super Bowls. Of course, they lost them all, but they ruled the regular seasons for all those years.

Now, it’s a division that’s been completely dominated and steamrolled by the New England Patriots, who have won 10 of the past 12 division titles. The Patriots are the mighty U.S. fighting forces in full combat mode; the rest of the division is a tiny, third-world militia cowering before New England firepower.

This preview and analysis of the AFC East is the first in a series of eight such previews, leading us up to the season opener on September 5. Comments are welcome.

- Getty Images

 

Source: About.com


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