Friday, December 30, 2011

NFC east battle concludes this weekend

Stuck at the airport Denver,CO- As I sit here at gate b22 waiting for my flight back home for NYE, I am watching a lot of sports on ESPN as I try to kill time. The biggest event this weekend is not the coming of a new year, but more so what will happen in the NFC East. Will the Cowboys or the Giants prevail?

Both teams had chances to pull away with the division. The Giants started the season 6-2, clear front runners for the NFC East crown, and potentially playing for first round bye. This was followed by the usual November/December collapse where they were a blocked field goal away from potentially losing 5 straight.

On the other side, Dallas had a chance to pull away with the division lead after passing the Giants in early December. Head coach Jason Garrett literally iced his own kicker, and lost to Arizona in OT. The Dallas D has not been what we all thought it would be after a phenomenal first half, and blew a 12 point lead with 5:31 to go against the Giants.

Now it all comes down to this final game in week 17. This is a playoff game for both teams. This game will come down to who posses the ball last. We all know that Eli Manning can perform in the crunch, and Romo has proved to posses a "clutch gene," however coaching and defensive issues have prevented the Cowboys from being a lock in the playoffs. This is going to be the game of the week, and I think the Boys will be focused, and determined to make the playoffs.

Keys to the game:

Its going to come down to how QBs Tony Romo and Eli Manning play. Although the running game will be a factor, both of these teams can put up numbers through the air more so then on the ground.

Each of the teams have some the leagues best pass rushers. DE/LB Demarcus Ware and DE Jay Ratliff (Both probowlers) will be key in creating pressure and cause Eli to be flushed from the pocket. For the Giants, rookie Jean-Pierre and probowler Justin Tuck will be doing the same on the other side of the ball.

Finally, how well can the Dallas secondary match-up against a very talented receiving core for the NYG. Still very much underrated WR Victor Cruz had an explosive November, but cooled off in December. He did torch the Jets D for a long TD reception. CBs Terrance Newman and Mike Jenkins will have their hands full. Going to need to disguise coverage and depend on the front 4 to get some pressure on Eli.

Dallas will make the playoffs this year and win by a score of 28-27

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NJ Rolls, Wins Third Straight

Petr Sykora notched two goals, and Zach Parise added one as the New Jersey Devils win their third straight and collect points 40/41 in a 3-1 victory over Buffalo. Elias had a two point night with two assists bringing his season total to 30 points (17A 13G). Brodeur played a solid game in net stopping 21 of 22 shots and added an assist to Sykora for the first goal of the game. Thomas Vanek added a power play goal in the third to make it 3-1.

Game Notes:

Devils penalty kill stopped 3 of 4 attempts to lead the NHL with a 93% PK.

Sykora netted two making him tied for 4th on the team with 10 goals this season.

Thomas Vanek has scored in his past 5 games against the Devils.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Photo Taken by Joshua Kelsey
The newest craze since Planking has become bigger than anybody had ever imagined. Millions of fans have jumped onto the Tim Tebow bandwagon, including me. I love this guy. He just goes out and plays the game of football. Never complains or whines. He's got the rest of the team believing, while the rest of the world is Tebowing. I'm sure you've heard plenty about him and his 7-1 record this season, which has the Broncos a game up on the Raiders with just 3 games left. The Broncos aren't a huge threat to make a deep postseason run, but hey at this point, can you really count them out? The defense is playing like one of the best in the NFL and as we all know "defense wins championships". I'm certain there are plenty of haters out there and rightfully so as he is changing the game as we know it; however, for all people that can't accept the fact that Tim Tebow is a great quarterback. Just remember that the Broncos don't care what you think, cause all that matters is that he's winning football games.
Photo Taken by Stephen Siciliano

For all of you that have gotten Tebow fever, I have included a couple of pictures of Tebowing at its finest.  The picture above is self explanatory, while the one on the left (Jeff Cassel) is taken in front of the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fish Reel In Buehrle, White Sox Nation in Mourning

I was sitting at my computer today when I saw the news: Mark Buehrle, long-time ace of the Chicago White Sox, signs deal with Miami Marlins. As much as Sox fans knew this day might come, it still hurts. Mark was more to the team and the fans than a regular pitcher, and though Buehrle no longer pitching on the South Side makes sense for him and the organization, it still leaves White Sox Nation in mourning.

Mark Buehrle has created his share of special moments for White Sox fans to forever treasure. No one on the South Side will ever forget his 9 inning, 1 run performance in the world series in 2005. Nor will anyone forget the no hitter he threw against the Texas Rangers in 2007. Then, on July 23rd, 2009, Mark produced his most magical moment to date in the form of a perfect game. It was the 18th perfect game in the history of major league baseball, and it was saved by "the catch" shown here. As stated before, these are moments that White Sox fans will remember forever. But it is not Buehrle's flashy plays that endear him the most to Sox fans.

People outside of Chicago probably do not know much about the history of Mark Buehrle. They probably do not know how he got cut from his high school baseball team in his sophomore year, or how he was not drafted until the 38th round (thats right, 38th) by the White Sox. The guy does not have overpowering stuff, as his fastball has never, in recent memory, broken 90 mph. So how has Mark found so much success, and why do White Sox fans love him so much? It is because of his workman-like approach to the game, consistency, humble demeanor, and sense of humor. Buehrle hasn't ever missed a start due to an injury. When he plays, you know what you're going to get out of the guy: 6-8 innings, 2-3 runs, quality starts. You never hear a negative word out of Mark's mouth; by all accounts, he is a great teammate. In these ways and more, Buehrle really has a lot in common with his fans, South Siders who put in a long day's work, look down upon unnecessary flash, and play to win. We, as South Siders, are what Ozzie would call "grinders," and we see so much of ourselves in Mark Buehrle, the little guy who beat the odds but stayed true to his roots and upbringing.

Even as Mark continues to age, I'm sure he will do well in Miami, a city that more suits the LeBrons and Wades of the world than the Buehrles. He has a solid career ERA of 3.83, and will go to a much more pitcher friendly park than the bandbox that is U.S. Cellular Field. The move makes business sense. The Marlins are flush with cash (for now) and the Sox are strapped for money after last season's debacle. Despite everything, Sox nation will miss Mark Buehrle. One thing we have, though, are some pretty awesome memories of a guy that truly was a South Sider at heart. Best of luck Mark Buehrle.

San Diego State to the Big East? I Guess it's Official - Conferences Have Nothing to do with Geography Anymore

I posted the title as my Facebook status yesterday and one of our writers, Hardu, had a few ideas for the Collegiate Sports Conference known as the Big East - "The Transcontinental Conference... or just the Continental Conference."

Last night it was announced that the Big East Conference will be adding five schools. The University of Central Florida, Southern Methodist University, and Houston from Conference USA will be added for all sports while Boise State University and San Diego State University will be added as football-only schools. Navy may also join the conference soon but nothing is official yet.

These moves come after Syracuse and Pittsburgh have notified the Big East that they will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. West Virginia University plans to leave the Big East for The Big 12, but are currently in a lawsuit with the Big East for violating bylaws.

The Big East has been scrambling to add schools so that it in two years, it can retain it's automatic qualifier status - meaning the champion of the Big East automatically earns a Bowl Championship Bid, which allows them to play in one of the more "Prestigious Bowls" such as the Orange Bowl. Boise State has had a good team for the past four years including an undefeated season but has not been able to consistently obtain a BCS Bowl Bid.

Before conference realignment, The Big East Conference stretched as far west as Cincinnati, Ohio and as far south as Tampa, Florida. Now, the School Stretches as far southwest as San Diego, California, as far south as Houston, and as far Northwest as Boise Idaho. The Big East is really no more in my mind. As Hardu suggested, it might as well be the Transcontinental Conference. Or if Canadian Universities in the NCAA such as the University of British Columbia, the Big East could be renamed "The North American Conference."

In my opinion, it is sad day when geography has nothing to conferences anymore. And this maybe just the beginning; As more and more schools transfer from weak conferences, such as The Big 12 and the Big East, to stronger ones, such as The Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference, there may end up being two super-conferences.

The NCAA failed to recognize this early enough and it is too late to stop it. If The University of Texas, which has the biggest market in Collegiate Athletics, and the University of Oklahoma transfer out of the Big 12, that will begin the massive realignment into the two conferences as the Big 12 schools will be sent scrambling - and sadly there are really no viable replacements that are not in strong conferences already except for Rutgers University and the University of Connecticut.

Rutgers and Uconn could also begin a massive realignment. If West Virginia leaves, those two schools will be powerhouses of The Big East, as far as the market goes. They have already stated that they are a package and if they move, both schools would have to go to the same school - whether that would actually occur. Both have expressed in the Big Ten and the ACC, even though more interest has been expressed in the ACC. However, they are not actively pursuing transferring conferences - only "interested."

The future of college sports looks somewhat bleak. This radical realignment may not happen today, but it will probably happen sooner or later. But for generally good "Basketball-Only Schools" and "smaller schools" they future looks even worse as they will be passed upon when applying to transfer conferences. In the end, if radical realignment starts to take place, the NCAA must break it up and completely realign conferences themselves based on geography like it was before all of this started to happen. aaahhhh the good ole' days.......

Week 14 NFL Predictions

Ah yes, it is indeed week 14! Only 1/4 of the season remains, and there are a lot of keys games this week. Let's check em out

Cleveland takes on Pittsburgh on Thursday night football. Should be a good match-up with Cleveland having one of the better secondaries in the NFL and BIG Ben coming off a very strong performance to defeat the Bengals last week. Pitt needs the win, since Baltimore plays a very weak Indianapolis team. Steelers win 17-14

One of my favorite match ups this week is Houston vs Cincinnati. The Bengals need a win to stay in the very close wild card race in the AFC and still have a slight chance of catching up to either Pitt or Baltimore with some key losses. Houston pulled off a surprising victory over Atlanta last week with third string QB T.J Yates at the helm. The leagues number one defense and rushing attack still makes them a very strong team, lots of credit to Wade Philips. Houston continues to win games and wins this week 27-24

Minnesota vs Detroit is a meaningful game for only one of these teams, and that is of of course the Detroit Lions. After starting 5-0 the Lions have dropped off significantly. Suh their top DE is still serving his 2 game suspension and are coming off a tough 31-17 loss to New Orleans. I see them rebounding against the lowly Vikings. Lions on top 31-21

New Orleans vs Tennessee is quietly a great match-up simply because no one has been paying attention to the Titans this year. They are 7-5 and in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Chris Johnson is finally playing up to his potential, and Matt Hasselbeck has been working with the receivers that he has had without No. 1 option Kenny Britt. Drew Brees and the Saints are looking for a fifth straight win tonight, and vomited on the Detroit D last week. The Saints keep rolling 45-34

Philadelphia vs Miami is not that intriguing, but if I were Andy Reid, I would not want to play the Dolphins right now. They are hot, and are looking to keep winning games, despite their lackluster season. Miami wins 28-27

Kansas City vs New York Jets. The Jets season hangs in the balance, and the chiefs have been super streaky this season. Mark Sanchez and the Jets do capitalize when they reach the red zone and are 5-1 at home. It is tough to play at Metlife Stadium and the Jets have everything on the line. Jets win 30-17

New England vs Washington has blow out written all over it. New England looks to keep pace in the AFC and retain that number seed going into the playoffs. Pats win it 34-10

Atlanta vs Carolina is also a must win for the Falcons who are coming off a gut wrenching defeat to Houston last week 17-10. The Falcons won last time and gave the Panthers a heavy dosage of Michael Turner. Falcons will have to lose this one on their own. Should be a win for the Falcons 31-20

Tampa Bay vs Jacksonville is a battle for instate supremacy. TBay has the better of the two offenses, which is not saying much. Jacksonville struggles greatly to score TDs with only 14 in twelve games....Tampa wins in a low scoring affair 17-7

Indianapolis vs Baltimore is a game that is being overshadowed by the Andrew Luck controversy in Indy. Frankly, If I were Luck I'd be the most excited kid in the world if I knew that Peyton Manning was going to be my mentor. I'd take a back seat and watch and still get paid millions of dollars to watch one of the best QBs ever do his thing. Early playing time is nice...but look what happened to Ryan Leaf of Jamarcus Russel. Any who, Baltimore should crush the Colts, even without the future HOFer Ray Lewis.

Chicago vs Denver is made so much more intriguing because of Tim Tebow. He just refuses to lose! It will be fun to watch how he does against one of the better defenses in the league, and to see how Urlacher and Co. handle the option offense of the Broncos. I'm going to get shot for writing this in Colorado, but Chicago wins it with Colorado State Alumni QB Caleb Hanie at the helm. Chicago wins 24-23

San Francisco vs Arizona should be an easy win for the 49ners. Alex Smith has blown up this year into everything we all initially thought he could be, and Frank Gore is just a BEAST! Plus Arizona had no right winning last weeks game vs Dallas. Niners win 37-20

Oakland vs Green Bay is not looking to bright for the Raiders. After a successful start, they are heading into a very tough match up versus the still undefeated (knock on wood) Packers. Aaron Rodgers had a key last minute drive to set up the game winning 37 yard field goal for Mason Crosby to win against the Giants. The Packers can use this to their advantage, and they know that no matter what, the Packers are always in every game. Packers roll 45-24

Buffalo vs San Diego is a must win for both teams. Both sit at 5-7 and they both got off to such hot starts. And of course they are both still in the playoff hunt. One of these teams dreams will die (baring a tie) and I think the Chargers will come out victorious 28-27

New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys. This is my favorite match-up of the week, not only because of my loyalty to the Cowboys, but also because of its implications. The Giants are one game back of the Boys and both teams suffered heart breaking losses last week. Dallas should walk into this game extremely confident, because they won that game against Arizona. On the flip side, Eli lead the Giants down the field for a TD to tie the game against the best team in the NFL right now, so they should also walk into Dallas with a large amount of confidence. The deciding factor to this game will come down to the QBs. Can Romo shrug off his December struggles, and can Eli prove he is a big time player. This is only the first meeting between the two teams and Dallas needs some separation heading into the last 1/4 of the regular season. Dallas wins in a nail biter 34-33

St. Louis vs Seattle was a sweet game to end the season last year, but only one of these teams can realistically win the NFC west. Lynch and crew keep rolling win by a large margin 34-7

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thank You

December 6th marks the One Year Anniversary for The Point After. This blog was created when Brendan Garrity and I were discussing just a simple way to express our love for sports. It has now grown to 16 writers and over 23,000 views in just one year. I would like to thank each and every writer, because their insight has been invaluable. They have helped this blog grow to what it is today and I am proud to say that these writers will carry The Point After in the future. I would like to think that we have created a solid message throughout the blog, in that we offer material and opinion that can't be found everywhere else. That was the ultimate goal, because if you just want the cold hard facts you could just go to ESPN. 

Brendan and I want to congratulate all of our writers for all of their hard work. We have reached out to different schools as well as areas around the country in hopes that we can become more than just a bunch of Villanova students. We have writers from Rutgers and UC Boulder, as well as High Schools in New Jersey. Our product only becomes better when we can reach more and more people while keeping our message intact.

Looking back at the year, I simply just think about how this all happened. Brendan and I were simply chatting on Facebook when we thought it'd be a good idea to just start a blog. He created a sample one that night and boom, we're in business. We quickly added writers (David Straple and Joe Balcom), who we felt comfortable with in terms of sports knowledge. They represented two of our best friends and go-to sports people. All of the sudden, we had people asking us to join The Point After. I was simply flattered by all of the offers and saw the opportunity to grow, so we accepted them into the family. Today we stand at 16 writers, but I expect more to join in the near future. We would love nothing more than to get people from outside of the Northeast and into the Midwest, South, and West.

So this is my Thank You to everybody from the The Point After. I would like to give a special Thank You to Anjali Soni, who came up with the name for the blog and was the key designer to the layout. She was instrumental in the initial output and is a key part of the blog. She may not be a writer, but she is simply vital to our operation. Secondly, I would like to thank the writers who have been willing to comment and offer their opinions on the controversial topics in the sports world. The blog would be nothing without the writers.

Last but not least (actually most), I would like to thank all of you, the readers. 23,000 views in one year are not a joke. We couldn't have asked for a better group of readers, who have been instrumental in our growth. Whether it is comments or suggestions, our readers have played a key cog to our development. Thank You so much for everything that you have given us. If you have any ideas, please feel free to email us at or personally at 

Thank You very much for everything and I hope that you have enjoyed the past year. Keep reading and sharing and I promise you that we will get better. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marlins sign Reyes for 6 Years, 106 Million Dollars; What's next for the Mets

Before the weekend started, Metsblog ( began to report that the Marlins may have set a deadline for former New York Mets Jose Reyes to sign a long-term deal with them before they retracted their offer.

Well, those rumors have appeared to be true. Late Sunday night, it was reported that Reyes signed a six year, 106 million dollar deal with the Miami Marlins (formally the Florida Marlins).

The Marlins, set to open a state-of-the-art ballpark in Miami this year, are looking to fill seats. Last year, playing at Landshark Stadium, the Marlins had to close the upper-deck halfway through the season because they were losing money by keeping it open for the few fans that sat there. In addition to signing Reyes, the Marlins signed former San Diego Padres Closer Heath Bell to a three year deal.

So what does this mean for the NL East? There could be a possible power shift. The Philadelphia Phillies, the 2011 NL East winning team ended the season and went into the playoffs with a lackluster offense - it does not help that on the last play of their last playoff game before being eliminated, Ryan Howard suffered a major leg injury and will out to start the regular season. The Braves, 2011 NL Wild Card winner, will probably keep improving. With great young pitching including Jair Jurrens and Kraig Kimbrel as well as good young hitting, including Freddie Freeman and Martin Prado. They may be the new favorites to win the East. Then come the Nationals who will have their young star Stephen Strasbourg back and are built on young talent.

The Marlins are still busy. Before they signed Reyes, they planned on submitting an offer to free agent first baseman Albert Pujols, star of the 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

So what do they Mets do? With the division mostly improving and the Mets payroll decreasing, is now the right time for a fire sale? In my opinion, yes, now is the time. Starting Pitcher Johan Santana should be healthy again next year, if he can prove that he can stay healthy, the Mets should try to trade him and offer to absorb some of his salary. Next, First Baseman/Second Baseman/Third Baseman/Left Fielder Daniel Murphy really only has a spot on the Mets at second base, but that's where he has received season ending injuries these past few years. His offensive production is very beneficial but his defense at second base is extremely subpar. They could possibly get a lot in return if they trade him to a team looking for a Designated Hitter (in the American League) or a utility player. Lastly, David Wright. Most mets fans may not agree, but after losing Reyes, the Mets chances of competing for the next few years have drastically decreased. If Wright, with the new dimensions at Citi Field, can prove that he can hit for power again, his trade value will soar and then the Mets need prospects.

The Mets have to think of the future. The Phillies are an older team and have a lot of money locked up in veterans. They may be considerably worse in three years when those same players are still on the books. The Braves may not be as successful in the future due to payroll. Lastly, the Nationals may improve but in three years, if the Mets farm system can bring up some good talent, they may be able to compete. The time for the Mets to compete in the division is not now. But in three years, the National League East may look very different....

Friday, December 2, 2011

More on the Eagles and NFL Disciplinary Actions

As I forget to mention in my last post, as I was disappointed with DeSean Jackson, I was by far, most disappointed with the lack of discipline by Eagles lineman, Trent Cole. As depicted in the bottom left of the picture, late in the fourth quarter, as Seattle was winding down the clock, left Tackle Russel Okung, Seattle's sixth overall pick two years ago continued his aggressive style of play against Trent Cole as he had been doing the whole game. Okung played until the whistle even though Cole was nowhere near the play. Angrily, clearly after the whistle, Cole flipped the 310 pound lineman who landed awkwardly on his hip.

Not only was a penalty not called for clear unsportsmanlike conduct, but Okung is now out for the year after tearing his pectoral, located in the shoulder, on the play. Seattle's main strategy for the past two years had been to build up the offensive line. Hence why they drafted Right Tackle James Carpenter (a projected second round pick) late in the first round this year. By doing so, they passed up on Andy Dalton, quietly having an impressive rookie season. Okung who has been plagued by injuries was finally healthy.

Okung, compliments of Trent Cole, will now join fellow rookie starters Right Guard James Moffitt and Right Tackle James Carpenter on the injured reserve. The Seahawks main goal this year was to build chemistry on the offensive line and get Marshawn Lynch going. After a terrible start, the offensive line had clicked and Lynch has been at a remarkable pace. If the Seahawks goals were to compete for the championship, they would not have signed Tarvaris Jackson. But, now they can only hope the chemistry will still be there next year as only the 25 year old center, Max Unger and Left Guard and veteran presence, Robert Gallery remain.

As for Trent Cole...Pete Carroll is calling for fines. But is that enough? Seattle rookie linebacker, K.J. Wright was fined $15,000 for apparently striking him in the neck, even though it appears like it was in the upper chest. Grossman was able to play the rest of the game. That is just one example. Nkadamakong Suh is currently serving a two-game suspension for stomping on a player. That player was able to play the rest of the game. What angers Pete Carroll as well as myself, is that no flag was called.

I am not a big fan of the fines for questionable late hits among other reasons. On the contrary, one of the major reasons why I like the NHL is because of the loose restrictions. Hits, Fights and other aggressive actions are apart of the sport. But, this is not hockey. The NFL has to enforce the rules it has. The NFL has to act like if Okung landed the wrong way and landed on his knee, (which along with a hamstring plagued him all last year) and his playing career ended because that was a possibility. As stated earlier, this isn't hockey. You can't fight someone and in hockey, if an injury occurs in hockey, it is all on the player. This injury did not occur during play and there was nothing illegal Okung did to deserve this.

In closing, Trent Cole has to be reprimanded simply because this is the NFL and in today's age when they are passing new rules seemingly everyday to protect its players, this is unexceptable. Trent Cole displayed no discipline and in my view, committed a penalty that was worse than anything Suh has ever done. Granted part of this is my Seahawks bias, but the NFL should take a deeper peek into this when reviewing the all questionable plays earlier on next week.

The injury takes at least six months to recover from, meaning Okung may not be ready for training camp if he suffers any setbacks.

Breaking Down The Eagles-Seahawks Thursday Night Game

As a Seattle Seahawks fan, nowadays, it is a rare occasion when I am able to watch the Seahawks live on TV out here on the East Coast. But, Thursday night was the first of two consecutive games in which the Seahawks will be on national television.

So, Thursday night, on the NFL Network, two of the 4-7 teams, the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8) visited the Seattle Seahawks (5-7) squared off. The Eagles were trying to salvage a season which started with so much promise. The Seahawks were trying to establish some consistency in what is becoming a top rushing attack, credit Marshawn Lynch who led the NFL in rushing in November.

To say that this game was dominated by the Seahawks was an understatement. LeSean McCoy was the Philadelphia Eagles team on Thursday night. The Eagles as a team looked unmotivated and unprepared. Vince Young, playing for the injured Michael Vick, was clearly butting forward his best effort - but that did not turn into competitive statistics as he threw four interceptions.

Early in the first quarter, after a monster gain through the air on third down, the Seahawks had the ball on 1st and 10 on the Eagles 20 yard line. Marshawn Lynch, the running back for Seattle, got the carry and appeared to run into a wall and disappeared for a minute, but then reappeared as he cutback and found the endzone. Lynch would carry the ball 22 times for 148 yards and two rushing touchdowns. In addition, Tarvaris Jackson, the Seattle Seahawks starting Quaterback, ended 13-16 with one touchdowns. The Seahawks as a team had no turnovers - a rare occurrence. Their defense intercepted Vince Young four times, and scored 21 out of their 31 points off of the turnovers, including a 77 yard interception return touchdown for Seattle Linebacker, David Hawthrone.

As far as the Eagles go, their statistics and highlights are not as pretty. LeSean McCoy had another great game as he had 17 carries for a 84 yards and a touchdown against a very strong Seahawks run defense. As mentioned, Vince Young, the Eagles quaterback had four interceptions but two out the four were not really his fault. Although, the two that could be considered his fault were balls that should have been thrown. DeSean Jackson several times showed absolutely no effort or motivation. Early in the game, Young was looking for Jackson. Jackson, who never bothered to look back at Young continued to jog his route. The Eagles would punt. Later, LeSean McCoy broke into the secondary. He came up on Jackson's side, but Jackson made no attempt at a block. If Jackson made the block, McCoy could have cut back and possibly scored.

So, what have we learned from the "[2011] Dream Team?" A simple concept; You can't build a football team like a fantasy football team. After the shortened off-season, the Eagles appeared to be a great team on paper:
-QB: Michael Vick
-RB: LeSean McCoy (So far no fumbles on the year; Also the leads leading rusher)
-WRs: Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson
-CBs: Nmandi Asamough, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; Asante Samuel

Not to mention Jason Peters, who could be the best Left Tackle in football, among others. But the Eagles have struggled all year long. Despite acquiring several players through free agency and trades, they only acquired raw talent. They failed to create chemistry. With the addition of Rodgers-Cromartie and Asamough, the Eagles overcrowded the cornerback position with two many big names. Samuel reportedly wanted to get out of Philly, but regardless, he is still there. They also failed to take care of their own. I do not approve of how DeSean Jackson has acted in his contract year. But, the Eagles handed out contracts to several free agents without showing any form of interest in resigning several players on their team who were worthy of new contracts.

The Eagles will find themselves in an interesting position this offseason. They could use some help on the offensive line but there is not a position that desperately needs help. Asamough has not panned out and several players are unhappy. It is almost a given that DeSean Jackson will not be back. In my opinion, the Eagles must evaluate every player and coach and decide who to keep and how to dump. Because, if the Eagles roll the same team out in August of next year, the end result may very well be similar to this year's.

As for the Seahawks, they have really hurt their draft position, so look for another blowout against the Rams on Monday Night Football, next Monday at 8:30PM on ESPN.

Andy Reid: End of an Era?

Boulder, CO - After tonight's loss to the Seahawks, Andy Reid and the Eagles are in a bad situation. Now sitting at 4-8, the Eagles are off to their worst campaign since 2005 when they went 6-10. Only one other time did the team fail to reach .500, which was in 1999, Reid's first year as head coach. With only 4 games remaining this season, there is a chance that this could be the worst year for the Eagles in the past decade. This could have repercussions that go beyond just a losing year, but potentially costing Andy Reid his job.

"We're almost like a dream team" quoted Vince Young before the start of the season, but tonight it looked as if the entire team was asleep as Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks ran all over the Eagles defense. It was almost sad to watch what happened in the 4th, as Young threw his fourth pick of the game for a TD. At that point, you could feel that sense of hopelessness fall over the Eagles sideline. Young sagged his head, and Reid stood expressionless. Who can you blame for this team, which has some of best talent in the league, not winning games? Vick was bothered by injuries, Young is the back-up, the defense played alright, so that just leaves Reid.

Andy Reid has had a fantastic career in Philadelphia. 13 year head coach with a 122-80-1 record (.604), 7 division championships, and took them to the Super Bowl in 2004 (lost to NE). He is the longest tenured coach in the NFL, has won 2 NFL coaches of the year awards, and is only 53 years old. He still has a lot of coaching left in his tank, but fans are looking at this from the "What has he done for me lately" perspective. "Fire Andy Reid" was the chant that some fans were already saying, and maybe they have a good point. In the end it will be the owner's choice, Jeffrey Lurie.

He did while battling issues off the field as well, and deserves to be commemorated for what he did in Philly. Despite his great success in the past, if the Eagles finish that last quarter of their season going 0-4, than Andy Reid will be gone after the season is over. They close out with @Miami, NY Jets, @Dallas, and close out the season versus Washington.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Nets and Dwight Howard

Let me start off by just saying, the Nets are in deep trouble. We can start calling them the Brooklyn Nets, as Jay-Z will be taking the team out of the best state in the country (NJ bias) in a year. Regardless, the Nets may have a better group of owners, but they certainly can't match that on the court. The team is simply built to fail right now. In a very tough conference with a large group of superstars, the Nets can finally claim they have one; however, they have really nothing past Deron Williams.

Taking a look at the roster, there's only one other guy than Deron Williams that I'd even like to have on my team: Brook Lopez. The 7-foot Center averaged just over 20 points a game with 6 rebounds. That's a lot of production from a 5, even with a lower than normal rebound rate. After Williams and Lopez, you've got a bunch of bench warmers that have been forced to start and play big minutes. The team clearly needs other options in order to compete.

Then there's Dwight Howard, who is entering his walk-year where the Magic will try and resign the worlds greatest Center. Howard is a difference-maker on both ends of the floor and can simply out-jump, out-rebound, and out-muscle every single player in the league. Howard will get a max contract without a doubt, but the Magic may choose to trade him if they don't believe they can resign him. This is where the Nets can finally make a difference for their future.

Deron Williams has expressed his desire to test the market next off-season as a free agent, and he too, will get a max contract. The Nets desperately want him to stay, but they simply don't have enough pieces to convince him they can contend. Therefore, a trade for Dwight Howard makes complete and total sense for the Nets. The only problem is if the Magic are ready to trade Dwight Howard and if they do, will it be to the Nets? The Lakers have shown interest and they can offer draft picks, as well as a combination of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom. The Lakers know Kobe Bryant's window is closing , so they are willing to do whatever it takes to get Kobe Bryant a playmaker in the paint that can win a couple of championships.

Although Bynum/Gasol/Odom are all big names and big-time players, I think the Magic would be better off trading with the Nets. It makes no sense for the Magic to get an aging Gasol or Odom when it's clear they couldn't compete with a roster headed by those players. The Nets can offer Brook Lopez, 2 1st round picks (definitely better than the Lakers 1st rounders), and a bunch of players that the Magic can basically hand-pick from the Nets roster. The Nets are willing to trade anybody other than Deron Williams if it means getting Dwight Howard. Pairing the two will provide an incentive to free agents to come and play in Brooklyn and potentially compete in 2013.

The Magic are desperately trying to get rid of Hedo Turkoglu's 3 year, $35 million deal, and the Nets have enough cap to absorb it. The Lakers on the other hand couldn't do that, playing in favor of the Nets. I expect this deal to happen eventually and probably in March (the proposed new trade deadline for the shortened season).

It's going to be a wild couple of weeks in the NBA, as teams gear up for the season starting on Christmas. No official roster moves can be made until December 9th, but teams can start talking to agents today at 9 AM Eastern.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 13 NFL Predictions

Boulder, CO - Sorry all, had to take off last week to deal with some family and personal stuff, but here are my week 13 NFL predicitons! BECAUSE ITS TUESDAY

Philadelphia vs Seattle - Seemingly a meaningless game, but the Eagles still have a very outside chance at the playoffs, and they need a win here in Seattle. Marshawn Lynch has been tearing up in the last 4 weeks with one TD in each game. Eagles on top 33-30

Carolina vs Tampa bay - Cam Newton faces another lackluster defense, and he will probably tear them up. Cam gets the win on the road 27-17

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - A lot falls on this game. Andy Dalton and the Bengals try to continue their dream season, and need a win here to stay in the hunt for the division title. Can't see Dalton beating the Steelers just yet though (although Polamalu is banged up). Pittsburgh wins in another close game 24-21

Atlanta at Houston - Schuab is out, Leinert is out, so who does the texans turn to? T.J Yates? Atleast they have the leagues best rush offense, so I expect a lot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Atlanta has struggled this year on the road too with losses at Chicago, Tampa Bay, and barely escaping the Seahawks. It'll be fun to watch. Atlanta wins 38-21

NY Jets vs Washington - Every game is a playoff game for Rex and the Jets. Mark Sanchez needs to get his act together too in the first half of the game, and make better decisions. Jets win 24-10

Indianapolis vs New England - This game used to be exciting....Patriots dominate them 31-7

Oakland vs Miami - Miami almost beat Dallas, and continues to play spoiler down the stretch. Carson Palmer and the Raiders are tough to beat these days, even without McFadden. Oakland win 20-13

Denver vs Minnesota - Are you on the Tebow wagon yet? I am! I love this kid, plays with the most heart I have ever seen from a young quarterback. Plus the Denver D can effectively manhandle the mediocre Minnesota offense. Denver wins 10-3

Tennessee vs Buffalo - A must win for Buffalo to stay alive in the AFC wild card picture. Circle the wagons? Probably. Bills win 30-21

KC vs Chicago - Bears are struggling without Jay Cutler at the helm, and back up QB Hanie out of CSU just cant get the job done. Hard times in Chicago after promising start. Orton goes back to his old home, I'd like to see him win. Upset alert KC wins 27-20

Green Bay vs NY Giants - Green Bay keeps rolling. Giants keep falling. Green Bay blows them out 49-24

Baltimore at Cleveland - Colt McCoy coming off a big win, and Baltimore is easily the most inconsistent team on the road. Baltimore stands tall and wins 30-13

Dallas vs Arizona - Dallas can get some more separation this week from the Giants with a win. They control their own fate. Dallas win 35-20

St. Louis vs San Francisco - San Fran lost to a very good Baltimore team, and was held to only 6 points offensively, their worst showing all season long. Easy win, and they clinch their first division title since 2002. SF wins 21-10

Detroit vs New Orleans - Drew Brees is just too damn good sometimes....seriously. Staffords finger is still bothering him too, plus they will be without leading pass rusher Suh for a two game suspension. All the odds are against the Lions. Saints own them at home 45-21

San Diego vs Jacksonville - Both teams have practically nothing to play for. Rivers is a whining QB now, and he'll probably throw three more INTs. Jacksonville wins 21-20

Monday, November 28, 2011

Texans, Bears in Difficult Situations

A glance at the Bears and Texans records shows two football teams in great position to make a postseason run. Both teams, however, lost their starting QB's and may struggle to even make the playoffs. The Bears (7-4) are fighting for a wild card spot, but lost to the Raiders yesterday, as Caleb Hanie filled in for Jay Cutler, who is out for at least the regular season with a broken thumb. The Texans are in an even worse position, as their starting and backup QBs are now out for the season. Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are done and now Gary Kubiak has to lean on rookie T.J. Yates for a playoff push.

Currently, the Texans are tied for the best record in the AFC at 8-3, holding a conference record tie-breaker over New England and Baltimore. The Texans don't seem as scary anymore though with their top two quarterbacks on the shelf. Houston has one of the best rushing attacks in all of football, but it will take more than that to beat quality opponents in January. Andre Johnson is back after a six-week absence, but can he succeed with Yates? Even as the #1 seed right now, Houston still isn't secure in the playoff race. Just 5 games remain, but there is a real possibility that the Texans will be playing for the division in Week 17 against Tennessee.

Houston has ATL, @CIN, CAR, @IND, and TEN left on their schedule. The Titans (6-5), who stand just two games back, have @BUF, NO, @IND, JAC, and @HOU remaining. I can't see T.J. Yates and the Texans beating Atlanta, Cincinnati, and even Carolina, so I believe Houston goes into the Tennessee game at 9-6. If Tennessee can win 3 of their next four, which I think they can do as long as they run the football the way they did yesterday, they will go into Houston with a chance to steal the division from the Texans. This division is all of a sudden up in the air as the injury bug is to blame for the Texans. Houston must run the ball successfully to win, so it will be interesting to see how defenses play against an unexperienced QB. I expect a lot of blitzes and 8-man fronts in order to force Yates into making a play.

Up North, the Chicago Bears saw their playoff hopes take a slight fall yesterday after losing to the Raiders. The Bears are still in good position, but I didn't like what I saw out of Hanie. We all know that Hanie can move around the pocket with the ball and make throws on the run, but he struggled yesterday, completing just 18 of his 36 attempts for 254 yards. He did throw 2 touchdown passes, but also had 3 interceptions. The Bears are best when they can run the ball and control the game. They ran the ball very well yesterday, with Hanie, Forte, and Barber all rushing over 50 yards; however, Hanie can't turn the ball over 3 times and expect to win.

The Bears realistically need to get to 10 wins in order to make the postseason via the wild card. The Lions and Falcons both are at 7-4, while the Giants play the Saints tonight in hopes to join the group. The Lions have a tough schedule as they have New Orleans and Green Bay still left. I see the Lions finishing at 9-7, a game short of the playoffs. The Giants have a very rough schedule, playing the Saints, Packers, and Cowboys twice in their last 6. They need to go 4-2, but I don't think they can do it. The Giants must steal one from the Saints or Packers for a shot at the Wild Card. The Falcons are in the best position of the four right now and I fully expect them to make the playoffs. The Falcons will get to 10 wins and could even win the division by beating the Saints in a few weeks.

That leaves the Bears muddled among these teams. The Bears must win three games to make the playoffs, which is feasible. It'll be tough for Chicago to win the smallest of games with Caleb Hanie behind center, but I'm sure he'll put in a lot of work again this week in hopes to put together a couple of wins. The Bears have winnable games remaining on the schedule, even with the Packers game looming in Week 16.

My Playoff Predictions as of Today:


1. Patriots
2. Ravens
3. Raiders
4. Texans
5. Steelers
6. Bengals


1. Packers
2. 49ers
3. Saints
4. Cowboys
5. Falcons
6. Bears

Monday, November 21, 2011

NFC Playoff Picture Week 12

Week 11 isn't completely over yet, but it is for the NFC. Their were two major headlines from yesterday's NFC teams: the Giants falling to the depleted Eagles and the Chicago Bears losing Jay Cutler for the rest of the regular season. Both stories affect the rest of the season drastically, as the Bears looked great in their victory against the Chargers and the Giants gave the Eagles a glimmer of hope. Last week I had 9 teams in the NFC competing for the 6 playoff spots, but Tampa Bay's comeback hopes fell short against the undefeated Packers. Tampa Bay is out in my books, leaving eight real possibilities.

I will not be listing the toughest remaining opponents this week, but if you click on each team name, it will direct you to their team page on ESPN.

Note: As I said last week, the teams are ranked based on their likelihood to make the playoffs. Each percentage takes into consideration the remaining schedule, % chance of winning division, and % chance of a wild card spot.

1. Green Bay Packers (10-0) - The Packers held on against the Bucs and the offense looked great in doing so. The defense is a little suspect, giving up a lot of opportunities to an anemic Buccaneer offense. This team is still the best, but it'll be a tough road to the Superbowl.

Chances of making playoffs: 100%

2. San Francisco 49ers (9-1) - The Niners can officially clinch the division next week with a win and Seattle loss. San Francisco is in great position to get at least the #2 seed in the playoffs, which will give them a bye in the first round. If Green Bay loses, the 49ers could push for the top spot.

Chances of making playoffs: 100%

3. New Orleans Saints (7-3) - New Orleans had a bye this week and their playoff prospects took a small hit because of the Falcons victory. The Saints have proven they can win big games and they have a few of them coming up soon. They must take care of business against the Falcons in Week 16, which will basically give them the division.

Chances of making playoffs: 95%

4. Chicago Bears (7-3) - I wanted to move the Bears down just because of Cutler's broken thumb, but just take a look at their schedule. They should be fine with Caleb Hanie behind center, as they will focus on getting Matt Forte the ball. Hanie will need to limit mistakes and play it safe. He showed us last season in the NFC Championship game that he can play, but he doesn't have to be a hero. The Bears are the favorites in 5 of their remaining 6 games and if they go 4-2, they'll be just fine.

Chances of making playoffs: 90%

5. Dallas Cowboys (6-4) - Here's the first change in the playoff picture compared to last week. The Cowboys were able to survive a scare from Washington as Graham Gano missed a 52 yarder in overtime giving the Cowboys' Dan Bailey an opportunity to win the game with a 39 yard field goal. It was a big win for the Cowboys, who play in three days against the Dolphins at home. Miami is hot, so it won't be an easy game.

Chances of making playoffs: 70%

6. Detroit Lions (7-3) - The Lions had another huge comeback against the Panthers, as they ended up with 49 points (35 coming in the 2nd half). Detroit had to win that game, so credit Matthew Stafford and company for coming up big when they were down early to Carolina. The schedule is not on their side, but the Lions should be fine if they get to 10-6.

Chances of making playoffs: 50%

7. New York Giants (6-4) - The loss last night was inexcusable. The Eagles were without their best player (Michael Vick) and best receiver (Jeremy Maclin). The Giants cannot win games if the put up just 10 points. Their defense is good and held the Eagles in check most of the night, but the offense needs to do better than they did yesterday. The Giants play the Saints and Packers in the next two weeks. A split would be a great result, putting them in position again in the division. If they lose both, they will likely go to Dallas down at least 1 game, maybe even 2.

Chances of making playoffs: 50%

8. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) - Atlanta must get to 10-6 in order to think about the Wild Card and probably 11-5 for the NFC South. Beating the Titans was a good start and the schedule is very favorable. Atlanta has a realistic shot at the playoffs, but they cannot afford to lose many more games.

Chances of making playoffs: 43%

Those are my remaining 8 playoff contenders. As you notice, there's a little bit of probability left which will be distributed to the new 9th place Playoff Picture team.

9. Philadelphia (2%) - Really helped their chances with a win versus the Giants, but they must win out. Their hopes rely heavily on what happens next week against New England. A win there and then we'll talk about moving them up to the "contender list", but for now they're safe here.
10. Tampa Bay
11. Seattle
12. Washington
13. Arizona
14. Minnesota
15. Carolina
16. St. Louis

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Devils Finally Begin To Kick It Into Gear

No start could be as bad as the 9-22-2 record that the New Jersey Devils posted on December 23, 2010.

However, the start to the Devils' 2011 season was alarmingly similar to their start to the 2010 season. Granted, the record is much different. Following a dominant victory in Buffalo on Wednesday night and another pivotal win tonight against the Florida Panthers, the Devils find themselves at 10-7-1. Needless to say, the record has improved significantly. But, prior to the game in Buffalo, their season statistics were very similar to last year's.
Before the win in Buffalo, the Devils offense had been dormant. They had put up four goals in just two games, three goals in the games and in the remaining five games, they were held to under two goals. It all added up to a goals per game average of about 2.50 heading into Buffalo. A very similar GPG was the reason why the Devils had such a horrendous start last year.
But, after scoring five goals in Buffalo, the Devils offense may have finally begun the click. The goaltender for the Sabres had a 6-0 record, a 1.76 Goals Against Average and a .942 Save Percentage. All of those statistics are very hard to beat. And, on Wednesday night, the Devils scored five goals in a rout. The Devils had a power-play goal and a shorthanded goal in the contest.
Tonight, the Devils scored four goals. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Devils had a two power-play goals and nearly had a short-handed goal, as Dainius Zubrus scored literally right after the Lightning power-play expired. The puck crossed the goal line about a half of a second after the power-play ended.
Can the Devils go for three straight? It is possible. They will face a good Florida Panthers team in Miami on Monday. But, the Devils have the momentum, scoring nine goals over two games - none of which came empty-netted. They are getting great team play from several players including the 35 year old, Patrick Elias, the longtime Devil, David Clarkson and the 21 year old rookie, Adam Henrique who has ten points over his last nine games.
The Devils have gotten this far based on one aspect of the game - defense. In order to win games, the defense must remain consistent. They kill off an unprecedented 95% of their powerplays including all six against the Lightning tonight. After a rocky start, the 39 year old future hall of famer, Martin Brodeur has been very solid over the past several games. Not to mention, his backup, Johan Hedberg is putting up very solid numbers himself.
To summarize, New Jersey cannot expect to win if they do not maintain a consistent offense. Martin Brodeur is still a good starting goaltender but the is no longer the top goaltender or even a top ten goaltender in the league anymore. He is maybe a top eleven or twelve option. Also, he does not start nearly as much as he used to and the backup goaltender, Hedberg will continue to have a somewhat big role on the team. They Devils may have finally turned the page on the lackluster offense that has plagued them for the past thirteen months. The Devils are currently tied for the eighth playoff seed. Stay tuned to see the New Jersey Devils can continue to score goals and win games.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Note: The Houston Astros to the AL West

The Houston Astros are about to be sold to new ownership, but that's not the only big change they'll be making in the next couple of years. According to multiple sources, the MLB has told the Astros that any sale of the team will require the team to switch to the American League West in 2013. The Astros have a long history in the NL, starting in 1962, but they are on their way to the DH. This will even out the leagues, giving both the AL and NL fifteen teams each. The AL West, which contains the Rangers, Angels, Mariners, and Athletics, will finally get a fifth team. Additionally, the NL Central will go down to five teams, aligning them with the rest of the MLB.

Although this seems to make sense, there are a lot of things that will change because of this decision. First of all, simple math will tell you that interleague play will be occurring every single day starting in 2013. It may actually even out the playing field, as more teams will play similar schedules to their divisional opponents.

The part that probably bothers me and the Astros the most is the fact that they will be playing 1/3 of their games two time zones away. That will start games at 9:00 Central time for Astro fans. The Texas Rangers have to deal with this every year and you hear little complaint from them, but it is still a factor for TV ratings. The Rangers are probably ecstatic about this move because it puts them close to a divisional opponent and creates a natural state rivalry between the Dallas/Arlington and Houston regions.

The Astros will have to change the dynamic of their team completely, as many of their decisions will have to factor in the switch to the DH. I think it is a huge change for them, because they have always thought that if a guy didn't have a position, they should get rid of him. At the same time, they should be happy that they can start anew somewhere else in the MLB. The Astros have struggled mightily the past few years and really haven't been good since Carlos Beltran left the team 7 years ago. This could give them a boost as an organization and fan base, because it really couldn't get worse than it has been recently.

AFC Playoff Picture

After taking a look at the NFC Playoff Picture earlier in the week, I will now delve into the AFC. The AFC is much different than it used to be, as the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots are no longer as dominant as they used to be. The Colts have been a mainstay in the AFC playoffs for a decade, but hey, you lose a guy like Peyton Manning and you're team will not be nearly as competitive. With that being said, there are just 4 teams that I can safely say are out of the playoffs. The entire AFC West is up for grabs, while the two Wild Cards will probably be produced from the AFC East or North. Tonight, the Jets play the Broncos, which will is a very important game for both teams. The Jets need to avoid losing their second straight, while the Broncos hope the Tim Tebow show has only begun.

I will use the same structure again, ranking each team in order of the likelihood they make the playoffs.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) - Picking a top team was almost impossible. There is no team that is definitely into the postseason even after ten weeks, but the Steelers are the closest to it. The Steelers have lost two to the Ravens, but they will probably be okay considering the rest of their schedule. Winning 4 of their last 6 will get them in easily, and I think they will do that.

Chances of making postseason: 95%

3 Toughest Games: @KC, CIN, @SF

2. New England Patriots (6-3) - The Pats are in good position considering the Jets and Bills aren't playing their best football right now. They have the inside track to the AFC East crown and have a cake-walk of a schedule. The Patriots lost a game to the Steelers, so it will be an interesting race to get home-field advantage in the AFC.

Chances of making postseason: 95%

3 Toughest Games: @PHI, @DEN, BUF

3. Houston Texans (7-3) - The Texans would have been the first ranked team here, if it weren't for the injury to Matt Schaub. With Mario Williams and now Schaub out for the season, this team will have to regroup dramatically. Good news is that Andre Johnson will be back in action in Week 12 (after the bye) against Jacksonville, providing new QB Matt Leinart a go-to option. With Arian Foster and Ben Tate leading the most talented running attack in the game, the Texans will hold off the Titans for the AFC South title.

Chances of making postseason: 90%

3 Toughest Games: ATL, @CIN, TEN

4. Baltimore Ravens: The Eagles are definitely the most disappointing team this season, but the Ravens are probably the most confusing. After demolishing the Steelers in Week 1, they travelled to Tennessee and were doubled up 26-13. Blips like that happen, so I discounted it as a one-time thing. Then the Ravens went out and beat the Jets and the Texans in consecutive games, before losing to the Jaguars in Week 7. To make matters even worse, the Ravens beat the Steelers again in Week 9 and then followed it up with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. No team has been so up and down as the Ravens this year. The combined record of the teams they beat is: 31-26 (counting the Steelers twice). The record of the teams they lost to? 11-16. Not good to see from a team that many picked to play in the Superbowl. With their struggles against bad teams, the Ravens should be in the postseason, as long as they can split with Cincinnati and take care of the other winnable games. The Ravens need to win 4 more games at least to contend for the Wild Card, with 5 necessary for the division.

Chances of making postseason: 75%

3 Toughest Games: CIN, SF, @CIN

5. New York Jets (5-4) - The Jets are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Patriots and look destined for the Wild Card race. With so many teams in the race, the Jets will have a tough time beating out the likes of the Ravens/Steelers, Bengals, Bills. The Jets have an okay schedule remaining, but winning tonight is a must. Rex Ryan & Co. will need to win 5 of their last 7 to get to 10-6.

Chances of making postseason: 60%

3 Toughest Games: @DEN, @PHI, NYG

6. Oakland Raiders (5-4) - Somebody's gotta win the AFC West right? The Raiders are in the best position to take the division considering the other three teams are all a game back from Oakland in the standings. The schedule isn't favorable, but it's not going to take a great record to take this division. A 9-7 record will probably do it, which the Raiders have the ability to do. There are two fairly soft games on the schedule, starting this week against Minnesota.

Chances of making postseason: 40%

3 Toughest Games: CHI, @GB, DET

7. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) - The surprise team of the AFC, the Bengals have a tough road to the playoffs; however, if the very good Cincinnati defense can keep dominating, Andy Dalton can lead this team to victories. Cincannti gave Pittsburgh a fit last week and the Bengals look to do so again against the Ravens on Sunday. The remaining schedule is tough, but it will be interesting to see if the Bengals can stick around in the playoff race. They seem to win the games that they are expected to and compete in those they are underdogs. That's the recipe of a solid football team that can catch fire at any time.

Chances of making postseason: 40%

8. Buffalo Bills (5-4) - The Bills quickly won the hearts of America in the first three weeks, knocking off the Chiefs, Raiders and Patriots. Since then, the Bills are 2-4 and have been blown out the last two weeks by the Jets and Cowboys. The Bills need to win 5 of their last 7 in order to have a shot at the Wild Card and it doesn't seem likely. Miami has really played better of late and unfortunately for Buffalo, they play the Dolphins twice more this season.

Chances of making postseason: 25%

3 Toughest Games: @NYJ, @SD, @NE

9. Tennessee Titans (5-4) - The Titans are playing better as of late, mostly due to the emergence of their running game. The offensive line and Chris Johnson did not play well the first half of the season and the Titans struggled to move the ball down the field. Johnson has put up better numbers as of late, but do they have enough to catch the Texans? The Titans have a better chance of hoping the Texans falter without Schaub, but at least they have a shot.

Chances of making postseason: 20%

3 Toughest Games: @ATL, NO, @HOU

10. Denver Broncos (4-5) - You could put the Chargers or Chiefs here too, but I'm just going by remaining schedule. The AFC West is really a toss up at this point, but the Broncos have won 3 of 4 and have reason to believe in themselves. John Fox has really gotten the running game going with the Tebow Option playbook in full effect. The Broncos have a tough game against the Jets tonight, followed by an important divisional matchup next week against the Chargers.

Chances of making postseason: 20%

3 Toughest Games: NYJ, CHI, NE

11. San Diego Chargers (4-5) - The Chargers can't seem to ever come through, despite putting together one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Rivers has played awful the past few weeks, but I expect him to get better. Still it's a longshot they make the playoffs based on their inability to win close games.

Chances of making postseason: 20%

3 Toughest Games: @CHI, BAL, @DET

12. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) - The Chiefs have lost their most talented players on both the offense and defense (Charles and Berry), but they were able to win some games in October to bounce back. They face the improbable task of winning with a backup quarterback, now that Matt Cassel is likely out for awhile. The Chiefs will need to run the ball better and open up the passing game with their talented receivers, but it's highly unlikely they make the playoffs.

Chances of making postseason: 20%

3 Toughest Games: @NE, PIT, GB (Also have games against CHI and NYJ on the road)

So there are the 12 teams that I give a chance to make the playoffs. The AFC West will be an interesting race, as will the Wild Card race. It's going to be a fun seven weeks and there is a lot to look forward to. Here are the last 4 teams ranked based on the probability they make the playoffs.

13. Jacksonville
14. Miami
15. Cleveland
16. Indianapolis

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NFL Week 11 Predictions

Well, I had a crappy week...only going 7-9. I think I got them this week though. Here they are

Thursday Night

NYJ vs DEN- Run the ball 50 times against this team, and it will likely get you nowhere. Rex Ryan will probably blitz every play. I mean why not? Make Tebow throw the ball, and its almost a gimme game. With that being said, Jets win in a low scoring affair 17-10.


DAL vs WSH- Not quite a "must win" game for the Cowboys yet, but if they lose, it will be much harder to keep pace in the playoff race. Romo and Murray are on fire, and hope to see this continue. Always a good match-up, and especially tough at FedEx field. Cowboys win 28-13

JAC vs CLE - Honestly who knows? Which Jaguar team will show up to play on Sunday makes all the difference. I see a strong dosage of MJD coming, and a Jaguar win. 24-20

CAR vs DET - Rebound game for Detroit? Not so fast. Stafford is a key part to this teams success, and when he plays poorly, the entire team plays poorly. I think Cam "the Man" Newton tears up Ford Field, and squeak by the struggling Lions. Panthers win 35-21

TB vs GB - Battle of the Bays! Ha, not quite that funny, and I don't think Tampa will be laughing at the end of this game...Green Bay will annihilate the Bucs winning 44-10.

BUF vs MIA - Great divisional match-up. Buffalo is staring to fall off the map after their very hot start, and Matt Moore is starting to heat things up in Miami by really embracing this spoiler role. Suck for Luck? Nope, not on Sunday. Dolphins win 19-16

CIN vs BAL - This had the makings of a great divisional game, but with Baltimore playing so inconsistently, and the Bengals proving their might with a tough loss in Heinz field it could go either way. I give Baltimore the home field advantage, and they take it in a close one 27-24

SEA vs STL - Ah yes, I remember when this game was actually meaningful on week 16 last year. Too bad it will not be the case this year. Marshawn Lynch is on a tear (look at this beast!), and Pete Carrol and company will keep handing him the ball. Seattle wins 24-10

ARI vs SF - I don't know why I think the Cardinals will upset the 49ners in this game, but I do. Frank Gore it hurt (but not out), and the Cardinals offense is playing surprisingly well without starting QB Kevin Kolb. Candlestick or not, Cardinals win 28-17

TEN vs ATL - Matty Ice needs the W after the failed conversion on 4th and 1 in OT last week. And where the hell has Roddy White been all season long? Same goes for Chris Johnson who finally broke the 100 yd rushing mark last week for only the second time this season. Was his hold out worth it? No..... Falcons win 27-20

SD vs CHI - San Diego on the decline, Chicago on the rise. That simple. And I think it is time to start putting Jay Cutler into the elite QB status? Bears win in a shoot-out 35-28.

PHI vs NYG - Possibly one the most underrated rivalries in all of football. This game almost never seems to disappoint the fans and will be a high scoring deep ball throwing affair. How will Philly do without the presence of Desean Jackson, and Vick with some broken ribs? I see the Giants winning 31-21, but still...Go Philly (never thought I'd say that)


KC vs NE - Strange match-up for the reason that NE is so heavily favored, and they should be. Patriots win in roaring fashion 41-17

Let's see how accurate I am this week

Villanova Survives La Salle

The Explorers seems to give Villanvoa fits every single season. La Salle plays so tough, despite finishing near the bottom of the A-10 year after year, and nothing changed this time around. Villanova trailed as much as 11 points in the first half last night, before going on a 6-0 run to finish out the half down just 5. Villanova rallied down 5 with under a minute left in regulation, sending the game into overtime. In overtime, the Wildcats controlled the period and finally sent the Explorers home with a 76-69 loss.

The story of the game was fouls. Villanova attempted a whopping 41 free throws (making 34 of them), which allowed them to stay in the game. Dominic Cheek was 12-14 from the line, while Maalik Wayns connected on all 10 of his attempts. The Junior duo combined for 40 points (18 and 22 respectively), as the Wildcats improved to 2-0.

This game overall was pretty hard to watch, as both teams shot under 40%. Villanova made just 4 of 23 three point attempts and committed 20 turnovers. The game cleaned up a bit in the second half, as both teams started putting the ball in the basket more often. Here are the five things I was thinking about after the Villanova win.

1. Dom Cheek and James Bell are the keys to this team. Yes, Maalik Wayns is the unquestioned leader of the team, but these two players are great defenders and are out there on the floor for pretty much the entire game. Cheek played 41 of the 45 minutes, while Bell was in for 38. Although both thrive on defense, they are counted upon to deliver on offense. They must improve their three point shooting, but they are most effective in the mid-range game or cutting towards the hoop. Overall, positive signs by both of these big guards.

2. Mouphtaou Yarou needs the ball more. Mouph didn't play in overtime, but he played an outstanding game. He needs to limit his turnovers (4 last night), but he showed his improved offensive touch. He only took 7 shots, which disturbs me, because this guy should be getting the ball 12 times a game minimum. He has a solid post game and he even displayed the jumper he's been working on over the summer. He scored 10 and brought down 14 boards, which is his second double-double in as many games. Mouph can improve slightly on defense, by keeping his hands up and by maintaining his balance on pump fakes; however, the future is bright for the Junior.

3. JayVaughn Pinkston needs to slow down. I have a feeling that Pinkston is just too amped up, after missing all of last season. He missed a wide-open dunk, the front end of a 1-and-1, and committed 3 turnovers in 20 minutes. He's got a big body, but he moves so quickly that he can create matchup problems regardless who is guarding him. Pinkston simply needs to relax. Stop settling for jumpers, go to the hoop and go up strong. He's trying to do too much and is struggling. There was one instance when Pinkston was standing near the baseline at the three-point line, where he received a pass from Maalik Wayns, as a defender rushed out to contest a possible three. Pinkston had Bell wide-open near the top of the key if he just swung the ball around, but he decided to dribble around the defender and he coughed up the ball. Just a fundamental basketball play. He's got a ton of potential, so there is no doubt he'll play better, but he's still rusty.

4. Darrun Hilliard is a smart player. Down 2 with under a minute to play, Hilliard stole an inbounds pass and drove towards the basket for the game-tying layup. Hilliard just seems to contribute heavily to the team with both big and small plays. I love the way he's playing defense and how he is not a tentative player. If he sees a lane, he'll go straight to the hoop. One sign that I look for in Freshman is maturity on the court and smart decision making. Hilliard has passed the test so far, though there is a long way to go. There was one play in overtime where Wayns had the ball stolen from him and La Salle was on a fastbreak. Hilliard was the only defender left and he contested the shot by just running in front of the player. The Wildcats were up 7 at that point and many times you will see players try and block that layup. It often ends in a foul or even an And-1, which stops the clock and allows the Explorers to score without wasting time. It was a good defensive contest without fouling. I look forward to seeing him play more and more this season.

5. Maalik Wayns worked hard on his shot this off-season. Even though he made just 5 of 16 shots, turned the ball over 3 times, and committed four fouls, Maalik Wayns was the best player on the court. He made a number of big-time plays, such as his three pointer with about a minute to go in regulation to pull within 3. The previous play was a putback slam by LaSalle, so the momentum was with the Explorers. Additionally, Maalik finally found ways to get to the line. He drove to the hoop at will at times and made La Salle defenders try and make plays, which usually ended with Wayns sinking a couple of free throws. Wayns also corralled 9 rebounds to go with his 4 assists. I'd like to see him run more of a traditional pick and roll with Mouph considering both players have improved their jumpers, but that will come with time. We're watching a star in the making at Nova and I can confidently say he's the most talented player to wear Villanova across his chest since the Foye/Lowry days. (Yes, he's more skilled than Scottie)

Monday, November 14, 2011

NFC Playoff Picture

Each team has about seven games to play, which is a ton of football; however, the playoff picture is surprisingly shaping up in the NFC. There are just a ton of teams that have played themselves out of the playoffs in just nine games, as 7 of the 16 teams have 6 or more losses. None of those teams really have a shot at the playoffs now, but football is a crazy sport and anything is possible. I have ranked all 16 NFC teams based on the likelihood they make the playoffs.

1. Packers (8-0) - No surprise here. The Packers play tonight, but the Vikings stand no threat to the undefeated Packers.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 100%

3 Toughest Games: @DET, @NYG, CHI

2. 49ers (8-1) - San Francisco has won 7 straight after losing in overtime to the Cowboys in Week 2. The NFC West contains three of the worst teams in football, so this race is over. The Niners are in the playoffs and will look to lock up a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 100%

3 Toughest Games: @BAL, PIT, @SEA

3. Saints (7-3) - With the Falcons deciding to go for it on 4th and inches from the NO 30 yard line in overtime yesterday, the Saints control their own destiny. The Saints are destined for another postseason, even though the Falcons have just 4 losses.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 95%

3 Toughest Games: NYG, DET, ATL

4. Bears (6-3) - Chicago looks unstoppable right now, as they demolished the Lions in a huge game yesterday. The remaining schedule is favorable, but more importantly, the Bear defense isn't allowing anything to opponents. The Bears won't be able to catch the Packers, but the Wild Card spot is definitely attainable and they should be playing in the postseason.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 85%

3 Toughest Games: SD, @OAK, @GB

5. Giants (6-3) - Despite losing to the Niners, the Giants are still in control of the NFC East. They have a tough schedule ahead of them, but they have something the Cowboys don't have: a proven, clutch QB. The Giants are the favorites to win the NFC East, but it won't come easy.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 65%

3 Toughest Games: @NO, GB, @DAL, @NYJ (I had to put the Cowboys in there, due to the magnitude of the game)

6. Lions (6-3) - The Lions better get Stafford healthy and start scoring some points or they'll be watching the postseason on their couches. The Lions got off to a hot start, but haven't been able to maintain that streak. The Lions will obviously have to get into the postseason via the Wild Card, but it'll be very difficult to do so.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 50%

3 Toughest Games: GB, @NO, @GB

7. Cowboys (5-4) - The Cowboys are starting to put together some W's, but still remain an underdog to get into the postseason. The best shot they have is through the NFC East Division Title, because there are just too many teams fighting for those Wild Card spots. They pulled within one game of the Giants yesterday after demolishing Buffalo. The Cowboys do control their destiny somewhat, as they have 2 games against the Giants later in the season.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 50%

3 Toughest Games: NYG, PHI, @NYG

8. Atlanta (5-4) - The Falcons needed to beat the Saints yesterday, but they at least are in position to make a late season run. The next few weeks pose winnable games, but they do have an uphill battle towards the postseason. The Falcons must beat New Orleans in Week 16 if they want to win the division, but it's much more realistic that the Falcons get the Wild Card.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 40%

3 Toughest Games: @HOU, @NO, TB

9. Buccaneers (4-5)- The Bucs keep digging themselves in holes, losing three straight games to quality football teams. The good news in Tampa Bay is that they have four games of the remaining seven that they should win. The other three will be very tough games and realistically the Buccaneers must go 6-1 at the worst in order to make the playoffs. That will be extremely tough to do.

Chance of Making Playoffs: 14%

3 Toughest Games: @GB, DAL, @ATL

Those nine teams are the contenders for the playoffs as we speak. Green Bay and San Francisco are locks for their divisions in my mind, with the Saints very likely to win the NFC South.

Here are the remaing teams in order of their "likelihood" they make the playoffs.

10. Eagles (1%) - The Eagles can win the division still, but it ain't gonna happen.
11. Washington
12. Seattle
13. Arizona
14. Minnesota
15. Carolina
16. St. Louis

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NFL predictions

Howdy all, its time for some Thursday night NFL action. So pumped to watch some football tonight...oh wait...I can't since its on NFL network. Thats a moot point, thanks to atdhenet.

Here are my predictions for this weeks NFL match ups.

  1. Oakland vs San Diego. I'm taking San Diego in this 35-21. VJ is on a tear coming off a three TD performance last week, and Rivers is still trying to prove his worthiness of being an elite QB
  2. Buffalo vs Dallas. Being a Dallas fan I am biased, but gotta go with the Boys in this one. Dallas understands the urgency of winning games with the Giants pulling ahead, and the coming of the Demarco Murray era is underway. Dallas wins 24-17
  3. New Orleans vs Atlanta. Atlanta has been so sketchy this season. Matty Ice is not quite what we all though he would be, but he has had his big moments this season. Atlanta wins in a close one 24-23.
  4. Pittsburgh vs Cincinnati. Really? The Bengals are 6-2 and atop of their division? Who would have thought that...This will be a true test for the Bengals. They win in a tight match 27-24 one a game winning FG for bonus points
  5. St. Louis vs Cleveland. St. Louis still looking for that offense showing, and Cleveland is not that threatening either. Rematch of 2009 national championship of Bradford vs McCoy. I'll take the rams 17-3
  6. Jacksonville vs Indianapolis. Its been a long long long long time that Indianapolis has played Jacksonville with a worse record (1994). Sorry Indy, Jags win 35-10
  7. Denver vs Kansas City. Tim Tebow has another shot to prove his NFL worth. Broncos win 21-20.
  8. Washington vs Miami. Second coming for Reggie Bush? I'd like to see that, but never know what is going to come your way with Shanahan at the helm. Washington win 27-20
  9. Arizona vs Philadelphia. Mike Vick and the Eagles still have a lot to play for, and Arizona has been skeptical on defense aside from Patrick Peterson. Philly wins in a blow out 44-21
  10. Houston vs Tampa Bay. I like this game. Houston has the best running game in the NFL with 155.5 ypg on the ground. DT Albert Haynesworth just got picked up off waivers by the Bucs. Houston wins 31-24
  11. Tennessee vs Carolina. Cam the Man Newton will take over this game. Carolina wins 28-14
  12. Baltimore vs Seattle. Never know with Joe Flacco, but he did have a decisive TD pass to Torrey Smith to win the game in a very unfriendly Heinz Field. Baltimore wins 31-10
  13. Detroit vs Chicago. I love this match-up. Chicago defense had a huge game against Philly, and Detroit needs to get back on track. Stafford and Co. are 4-0 on the road, but I expect that streak to end here. Chicago wins 24-21
  14. New York Giants vs San Francisco. Jim Harbaugh has done wonders with this 49er team. The question will be if Frank Gore can carry the team against one of the league top run defenses. Giants win 17-14
  15. New England vs New York Jets. Sunday night football has a great game. New England just loss to the other New York team, but I can't see Brady's Bunch losing two in a row. Patriots win 27-17
  16. Minnesota vs Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers is a beast of a football player and Minnesota relies to heavily on Peterson to put the ball in the end zone these days. I want to see Minnesota run the ball all day, but do no think it will be enough to handle the high octane offense of the Packers. Green Bay wins in a blow out at Lambeu 42-14
Let's see how this plays out

Forget Paterno

The Penn State scandal is getting even more and more attention as more information comes out. If you haven't heard yet, Joe Paterno was fired last night, but students/fans rallied in his support. Even with all this happening, I don't even care about Joe Paterno, because I had the displeasure of reading this: Sandusky Grand Jury Presentment. I warn you, these stories are bothersome and is not for everybody to read. Some of these stories are flat out disgusting and disturbing. You probably won't get through all of it, but I recommend taking a look at it.

After reading what Sandusky did, I haven't changed my view of Penn State. Not as a school or an even in an athletic standpoint.  I guess Joe Paterno can take some blame for not doing more, but still this doesn't concern the "legacy" of Paterno. More focus should be shifted twoards a horrible human being that victimized under-priveleged boys. The scandal has nothing to do with sports. So please stop talking about how Penn State's football team will be different without Paterno or how Paterno's legacy was changed. We should really be trying to help the victims and their families. Sorry it took so long to figure this out, but let us hope that justice will be served. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not So Happy Valley

Over the past few days, State College, Pa. could be described as anything but "Happy Valley." The football program is in a state of disarray after it was released that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted on charges of sexually abusing eight boys in a 15-year span. Since that report from, the number of reported victims has increased significantly.

In light of this scandal, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley has taken a leave of absence in preparation of defending himself in court, while vice president for finance and business, Gary Schultz, has vacated his position and returned to retirement.

While the two were aware of Sandusky's actions in 2002, they apparently did not know the full extent of them.

How does this happen under the watch of one of the most revered college football coaches of all time?! A man in Joe Paterno that has spent over six decades in Happy Valley not knowing of a serious crime within his program? Is it not the responsibility of the head coach to know his team better than anyone else? This would lead me to believe that Paterno was willing to save Sandusky's reputation so the Nittany Lions could win football games.

To add to all this, Joe Paterno announced today that he is retiring at the end of this season. First saving Sandusky and now making the remaining games all about him? Sounds like a very egotistical move.

How can the NCAA crack down on tattoo parlors and have no penalty for the Penn State football program? The message they are sending is that money is more important than morals. These boys were violated by people they thought they could trust.

For just one day, can morals take precedence over money and winning football games?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Midseason Notes

Now that all teams have played at least 8 games this season, we have officially reached the midpoint in the season. This season has a lot of interesting storylines all around, but here are the five things I'm looking forward to most for the rest of the season.

- Can anybody beat Aaron Rodgers and the Pack?

The Pack are halfway home without a loss, but I don't think they can go undefeated. They are clearly the best team in the NFL, but they play too many close games to go undefeated in my mind. Do I think they can? Yes of course. The Packers are battle-tested and have overcome key injuries. This team is damn good and is the favorite to repeat as champs.

- Who will win the AFC West?

It seems as if nobody wants to win this division. A week after the Chargers gave away a victory to the Chiefs, Kansas City lost to the winless Dolphins. The Broncos are somehow only 1 game out of first place after defeating the Raiders, who have struggled to click after the addition of Carson Palmer. This division is completely unpredictable at this point, but as hard as it is to say, the Chargers are still the best team among the four.

- Will the Bills or Lions fall back to Earth?

The Bills (5-3) are tied for first place right now, but only time will tell if it lasts. They have a winnable game against the inconsistent Cowboys this weekend, as well as another game against the Pats and Jets each. The Bills need to win 5 more games at least to make the playoffs and I don't see it happening.

The Lions, on the other hand, are 6-2 and looking as good as ever. If the Lions can keep Matthew Stafford upright, this team is destined for the playoffs. This game coming up against the Bears will be crucial, as it would secure a head-to-head tie-breaker over Chicago.

- Are the Bengals legit?

Cincinnati has benefited from an easy schedule, but they've taken advantage of every opponent. It's no joke to go 6-2 in the NFL, no matter who you're playing. The road ahead will be tough for the Bengals though, as they have important division games against the Steelers and Ravens. The Bengals need to win 11 games to make the playoffs, as it will be a four horse race for the two wild card spots.

- Who will win the "Suck for Luck" race?

The Colts are leading the race, but ultimately, do the Colts need Luck? It wouldn't hurt to start grooming a stud QB behind Peyton Manning, but the Colts may have more pressing needs. The Dolphins want him badly, but they've actually been quite competitive the past month. In the end, I think the Colts will probably have the worst record, but the Dolphins will do whatever they can to get that first pick away from the Colts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

NFL Week 9 Predictions


NYJ@BUF: New York Jets 27, Buffalo 24

SEA@DAL: Dallas 16, Seattle 14

ATL@IND: Atlanta 24, Indianapolis 10

MIA@KC: Kansas City 17, Miami 9

TB@NO: New Orleans 24, Tampa Bay 23

SF@WAS: San Francisco 24, Washington 13

CLE@HOU: Cleveland 14, Houston 13

CIN@TEN: Cincinnati 20, Tennessee 14

DEN@OAK: Denver 20, Oakland 17

NYG@NE: New England 31, Giants 24

STL@ARI: St. Louis 17, Arizona 13

GB@SD: Green Bay 27, San Diego 17

BAL@PIT: Baltimore 17, Pittsburgh 16

CHI@PHI: Philadelphia 27, Chicago 20

Projected STANDINGS:

NFC East:

  1. NYG 5-3
  2. PHI 4-4
  3. DAL 4-4
  4. WAS 3-5
NFC North:

  1. GB 8-0
  2. DET 6-2
  3. CHI 4-4
  4. MIN 2-6
NFC South:

  1. NO 6-3
  2. TB 4-4
  3. ATL 4-4
  4. CAR 2-6
NFC West:

  1. SF 7-1
  2. SEA 2-6
  3. STL 2-6
  4. ARI 1-7
AFC East:

  1. NE 6-2
  2. NYJ 5-3
  3. BUF 5-3
  4. MIA 0-8
AFC North:

  1. BAL 6-2
  2. CIN 6-2
  3. PIT 6-3
  4. CLE 4-4
AFC South:

  1. HOU 5-4
  2. TEN 4-4
  3. JAX 2-6
  4. IND 0-9
AFC West:

  1. KC 5-3
  2. SD 4-4
  3. OAK 4-4
  4. DEN 3-5