Posts Tagged ‘Lions’

 

New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense ended the year on a strong note. They went into the Superdome in a “win and your in” game and obliterated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-17. The game was highlighted by Drew Brees masterful performance against a fairly formidable Tampa secondary. Brees threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, while adding another one threw the ground. This was just another day at the office for Brees. The Saints captain threw for over 5,000 yards this season with 39 touchdowns. On a national scale, New Orleans was only second to Denver with 307.4 yards per game. This bodes very well for the Saints as the Eagles have allowed the single most passing yards to opposing teams in the NFL. 

            With all that being stated, New Orleans will have a ton of problems on Saturday night in Philadelphia. For starters, the Eagles are 7-1 ever since Nick Foles officially took over the starting role for Chip Kellys offense. Foles numbers have been scary good. Foles has thrown for almost 3,000 yards this year, but that’s not where he has shined the most. This year, the former Arizona Wildcat threw 27 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. With a mix of speed and possession reivers expect the Saints pass defense to have their hands full. 

            The problems only get worse for New Orleans. The Saints come into this game with the 19th ranked rush defense in the league. That’s not a terrifyingly bad number, but it does leave them towards the bottom of the NFL in that category. The real problem is the fact that the Eagles have the number one rushing offense in the league. Lesean McCoy led the NFL in rushing this year with a career high 1,609 yards from scrimmage with nine touchdowns. He also added 539 yards in reception yards with another two scores.  McCoy has been an absolute monster this year. With his ability to use his feet and turn on the speed in any weather, he has the ability to change the entire game in one play. His best game came in week 14 against the Detroit Lions. Despite beyond terrible conditions due to snow, McCoy put up 217 yards on the ground and added two scores.

            Speaking of snow, that will be bigger than any challenge the Eagles will be able to bring. With a blizzard hitting the east coast, the conditions will be less then ideal for a dome team like New Orleans. The Saints have struggled mightily away from the Superdome recently, losing for out of their last five on the road. In a week 15 game in Edward James Dome, against a middle of the road St Louis Rams defense, New Orleans came up completely flat. While Brees did throw for 392 yards, he committed three costly turnovers, including two red zone interceptions. The fact is this team is just not as good on the road.

            No matter who wins this game should be a shootout. With that being said, the Eagles should win this game.  With the expected temperature for the game forecasted to be about 18 degrees Fahrenheit, the Saints aren’t going to know what him them. New Orleans may keep it close, but at the end of the day, Philadelphia should end up in Seattle next week.

Final Score- Philadelphia 28 New Orleans 17

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With Robert Griffin III being shut down for the remainder of the season, Kirk Cousins has gotten a chance to put on an audition for other teams. With a franchise quarterback like RG3 and a lack of draft picks, there is no reason for the Redskins to hold on to the former Michigan State leader. In his first two games, Cousins has thrown for 578 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He has avoided pressure well and made some very impressive throws. With all that being said, he are three potential suitors for Cousins

Cleveland Browns- It is no secret that Rod Chudzinski and Norv Turner like to throw the ball. They shipped Trent Richardson out of town so they can focus entirely on the pass game. However, in order to have an effective passing game you need to have a good quarterback. Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden don’t scream efficiency. While Brian Hoyer played well in his limited time, the sample size is too small to make any realistic judgments about his skill. With potential superstar receivers in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, along with an already impressive defense, Cousins could be the last piece before Cleveland can seriously envision going back to the playoffs.

Houston Texans- Despite one of the most disappointing years for a team in NFL history, the Texans still have a strong core. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and JJ Watt are all top 10 players at their respective positions. The main issue has been under center this year. Matt Schaub has completely imploded and Case Keenum has shown he’s not a starter in this league. To make matters worse, it looks as if both Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota will be staying for there senior seasons. With a new head coach set to come in, a new quarterback would be very beneficial the new regime. With a mix of veteran leadership and young talent, Cousins could be the perfect guy to shoot the Texans back to their initial projections.

Denver Broncos- Now I know what everyone is thinking. Why does Denver need a quarterback when they have the legendary Peyton Manning having one of the greatest seasons ever? With all that being true, Peyton is going to be 38 next season. He has also been fighting through two bad ankles for a good portion of this year. At the height of those injuries, Manning was playing fine, but noticeably worse than at the beginning of the year. If Denver wins the Super Bowl this year, it may not be crazy for Peyton to consider going out on top. Bringing in Cousins creates an insurance plan for when Manning finally hangs it up. The drop wont be as bad and Denver can remain a top team in the AFC with this pick up.

What do you guys think? Should the Redskins trade Cousins? If so, where? Leave a comment below with your reactions/suggestions

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Could the end of an Era be on the horizon? According to a report by Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer, New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan will coach his final game as a Jet next Sunday in Miami. Glazer tweeted on Sunday that Ryan told his players in a team meeting on Saturday night that he will be fired after the season ends.

Ryan requested of his players to fight for him in the last two games of the season and the players have seemed to respond. The New York Jets played one of their strongest games of the season, defeating the Cleveland Browns 24-13. The defense came up huge on multiple occasions and the offense look fairly competent, moving the ball fairly well against a strong Cleveland defense.  With one game remaining for the Jets upper management to change their mind, here are three reasons why New York should hold on to their once beloved coach.

                                                                        He is Respected

            Players like to play for Rex Ryan. This has been a fact ever since 2009. Multiple players, both on and off the Jets, have come out and said if they could have any head coach they want Rex Ryan. This nearly became a problem in 2011. After going 8-8 and missing the playoffs, it seemed as if the Jets locker room was in total disarray. Players not giving it their all, being selfish, and getting in fights seemed to be a common occurrence. It was at this point that Rex stepped up and not only demanded the adoration of the players, but the respect. The players have seemed to respond to this properly. Despite the losing, there has not been another report of dysfunction or lack of discipline in the locker room. Rex also showed this week the give and you shall receive policy. After a Geno Smith was pushed after running out of bounds, Ryan exploded at a referee for not immediately throwing a flag. Ryan then ran over to a scuffle that was breaking out between players and broke it up. One of the keys to being a good head of anything is to be respected and with Rex Ryan there is respect.

He Did The Best He Could

Coming into the season, expectations were at an all time low for the New York Jets. Coming off the worst year in his tenure, dealing with a Quarterback controversy, and having a difficult schedule, Ryan and the Jets seemed doomed to have a terrible year. However, this has not been the case. With the average prediction was 4-12 for the New York Jets final record, New York took that all in stride and put together a pretty impressive year. The Jets are 7-8 going into the last game of the year. That 7-8 record includes wins against the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and the then formidable Atlanta Falcons. In addition to this, the Jets possess a top 10 defense, a top 5 pass rush, and a top 6 rushing attack.

The area in which New York has struggled the most is in the passing game. Despite having the 30th worst passing offense in the NFL, the question must be asserted, how much can you blame Rex? New York has a second round rookie quarterback under center. To make matters worse, that quarterback has no receivers to throw to. Stephen Hill has been a disappointment, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley have been off the field half of the year with injury issues, and Kellen Winslow was suspended for PEDs. With all that being stated, none of these receivers are stars to begin with. Holmes, who is supposed to be the #1 receiver, has only had one year where he had over 1,000 yards receiving. You cant expect to have a better than 30th ranked passing game when you don’t have better than 30th ranked receivers.

Who Else Is There?

            Despite all of the positives, New York still hasn’t made the playoffs in three years. This is typically long enough of a time span for a team to decide to pull the plug on their head coach. However, who are they going to hire? Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, and Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton are the three hottest names on the market right now. All of these guys are defensive minded coaches. The defense has been very good to this point, so what need is there to replace one established defensive mind with a less established one?

Another name brought up has been Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell. Bevell did wonders with Russel Wilson over the past two years and has created one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. This could be an intriguing higher, but is it worth it? Yes, the offense would receive an improvement, but without proper upgrades, that improvement has a ceiling. Furthermore, the defense would take a tremendous hit with Rex no longer in the fold. With the weak free agent market this year, the cost would outweigh the benefit of replacing Rex.

As WFAN host Joe Beningo pointed out, the New York Jets seem to be stuck in a rut. They hire a coach; he exceeds expectations in his first year and then disappoints and gets fired. First Herm Edwards, then Eric Mangini, and now it seems Rex Ryan will be joining that club. The Jets need to resist temptation and keep Rex. He took a team that no one gave a chance to and may have them end up at .500. In reality, Rex may be getting a pink slip, but he might actually deserve an extension.

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The Yankees made a big free agency splash this week, and it wasn’t to bring back star 2B Robinson Cano. The Yankees reportedly signed CF Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year, $153 million deal. While on the surface it seems like the Yankees win this move, by gaining a star CF while stealing the Red Sox’s most valuable free agent, Looking closely tells us another story.

While Ellsbury has been good in his time in Boston, he hasn’t been the superstar the Yankees are expecting him to be, or better yet, paying him to be. Ellsbury is coming off a year in which he hit .298, had an OBP or .355 and slugged .426 while hitting 9 home runs and driving in 53 RBI, and stealing 52 bases. All while playing very solid defense in a park that’s difficult for many players to field in, in Fenway Park. Seems like a player you’d want, right?

Well, yeah, but not in the capacity the Yankees want. In the past 4 seasons, Jacoby Ellsbury has missed 264 games. Nearly 2 out of 4 seasons, lost. Ellsbury has reached the point where he has been red flagged as injury prone in the baseball community. Ellsbury just turned 30 in September. Meaning Ellsbury’s body has become injury prone in his 20, the time when he’s supposed to hit peak performance. Now he’s 30 coming off another season in which he was hurt. Granted, he only missed 28 games, a relatively healthy year for him.

But the Yankees are giving 7 YEARS? To a guy who’s now turning 30? At the back-end of the prime of his career? If Ellsbury’s body has suffered this much damage in his 20s, how much more can his body withstand? Not 7 years, or at least 7 fully healthy productive years that the Yankees are paying for. Plus, they gave him $153 million dollars. Presumably, instead of the neighborhood of $200 million for Cano over 10 years.

The Yankees reportedly would only offer Cano 7 years at $180 million. While I wouldn’t give Cano 10 years at $200 million+ he wanted, I’d rather pay the extra 3 years and $80 million or so to take Cano from Seattle. Cano’s 31 and 10 year deals to guys on the downside of their career never work,  but getting 7 really good years out of Cano, who never misses a game, plays at a premium position, providing stellar defense and hitting, and wins the head to head matchup at 2B every single game you play, is worth way more than the $27M difference in pay the Yankees would give Ellsbury over Cano.

All the while, the Yankees had Brett Gardner slated to play CF. He is coming off a year in which he hit .273, had an OBP of .344 and slugged .416, while hitting 8 home runs and driving in 52 RBI while stealing 24 bases. Sound familiar? Well those numbers are pretty comparable to Ellsbury, and they come from a guy who’s played over 145 games 3 out of the past 4 seasons. Now, the Yankees have a crowded middling outfield with immovable expensive pieces such as Vernon Wells and Ichiro, who now don’t even have pronounced roles on the team.

I know it’s all early speculation, and we can’t predict Ellsbury getting hurt again and not living up to his deal, but after taking a hard look at the deal, I can’t be happy as a Yankees fan at the end of the day.

GRADE: C

Gary & Avi go over the game from Sunday night. From the conditions, to Peytons Arm, to the finals calls.

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#10 Desean Jackson – Going against a strong DEF is why he is just #10, but he has a good QB and is a great WR.

#9 Josh Gordon – JAX defense isn’t that bad but Josh Gordon is getting thrown to all the time giving him the opportunities he needs to capitalize.

#8 Jordy Nelson – He is going against DET but also has Matt Flynn and not Rodgers. He is a talented WR and looks like he can flourish this week against a second rate DEF.

#7 Antonio Brown – He is a personal favorite of Big Ben and seems like he isn’t turning the jets off anytime soon. Look for a score and a bunch of targets from this guy.

#6 Alshon Jeffery – Going against MIN, if they cover Marshall someone is going to open and it’s gong to be this guy.

#5 Demariyus Thomas – At the end of the day he is a Peyton Manning favorite right now and that means MONEY.

#4 AJ Green – Going against SD isn’t a shoe-in but when you have hands like Green you can do a lot against a second rate DEF.

#3 Dez Bryant – They have been connecting well lately together QB-WR here. Dez is playing a weak secondary and has a great QB throwing to him. Expect a show with this boy.

#2 Brandon Marshall – MIN again is the weakest DEF in the league and Marshall is one of the top WR in the game! Seems like he drops another good day this week.

#1 Calvin Johnson – Is this really a surprise? He is a beast and that’s really it. Nobody stands a chance against him to cover him unless you double team him or shadow him with a zone and that just leaves open the other WR and Bush.

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In a season full of surprises, disappointments, and overall shocking moments, the amount of injuries in the NFL seems to be taking a back seat in terms of press coverage.

After 8 games, 45 players had suffered season ending ACL tears alone. In terms of shock value, these injuries have range from mild (Reggie Wayne) to disturbing (Dustin Keller). Furthermore, the players being lost to these injuries aren’t just backups and role players (not that that’s a consolation), but star players and crucial pieces for teams. Reggie Wayne, Sam Bradford, Maurkice Pouncey, Geno Atkins, and Jeremy Maclin are just a few of the players that have been lost to the knee injury this year.

With all the focus on concussions recently, people are missing the fact that there is a new epidemic of injuries spreading now. In comparison to the 45 this year so far, there were 32 ACL tears all of last year in the NFL. Teams and doctors are having a difficult time isolating the exact cause of the recent outbreak.

One hypothesis offered was that the plague of injuries is caused by limited practice time. The amount of conditioning required by an NFL to have his body sustain all the hits of a 16 game regular season is extremely strenuous and difficult. With training camps and practices being cut shorter and shorter for “safety purposes”, they may be inadvertently causing an even bigger problem.

A second hypothesis offered also flips the NFLs new safety rules on its head. Some believe that these injuries are being caused because players are lowering there helmets in order to avoid fines. The NFL has a rule now that invokes a $15,000 fine for helmet-to-helmet hits. This hypothesis ignores the even further penalties and fines that are handed out for hitting the Quarterback.

No matter what the cause may be, all signs point to the NFLs new rules as being a reason for the recent outbreak of ACL injuries. Ironically, the NFL invoked these rules to try to increase safety. This plan seems to be backfiring with terrible consequences.

#10 Eddie Lacy – He has talent bottom line. Not an AMAZING match up but he has potential to have a great week.

#9 Alfred Morris – There is a chance they come out with a big lead and put the game to bed early and then the sophomore will get his touches. #8 Demarco Murray Back in action with Romo. Let the play action be with you.

#7 Trent Richardson – BREAK OUT WEEK. When you play STL you usually have your breakout week as an RB unless you are MJD than you do it against DEN and SF.

#6 LeSean McCoy – Shady was lucky with a 30 yard TD reception. Love him or hate him, he has a rough match up this week but is a talented back.

#5 Marshawn Lynch – Going against ATL play action will be a part of Russell’s game. Clearly games are too close without his proper utilization.

#4 Chris Johnson – Going against JAX means garbage time and clock killing that’s where CJ2K comes in.

#3 Knowshon Moreno – Going against SD and having a passing game like DEN has seems like he is always poised for a good week.

#2 Reggie Bush – CHI is surprisingly friendly against the run. This PPR monster should keep up the good work.

#1 AP – Welcome to the top of the list again. Going against WAS on primetime seems like you are in for a gift of a week.

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Gary’s picks

DAL 31 MIN 20

TEN 17 STL 14

CAR 28 ATL 21

NYJ 27 NO 24

KC 24 BUF 10

SDG 31 WAS 17

OAK 24 PHI 10

SEA 27 TB 7

BAL 14 CLE 13

NE 20 PIT 17

IND 31 HOU 16

GB 35 CHI 24

Zevs picks

BUF 31 KC 21

DAL 35 MIN 17

TEN 28 STL 21

SDG 42 WAS 10

CAR 31 ATL 28

NYJ 21 NO 14

OAK 17 PHI 3

SEA 25 TB 17

CLE 35 BAL 21

NE 35 PIT 21

HOU 28 IND 21

GB 31 CHI 28

Orens Picks

DAL over MIN 35-17

STL  over MIN 20-17

CAR over ATL 30-14

NO over NYJ           31-24

KC over BUF           26-20

SD over WAS 23-20

OAK over PHI 17-13

SEA over TB           21-17

BAL over CLE        20-14

NE over PIT            27-19

IND over TEX         27-24

GB over CHI 27-21

Daniels Picks

KC over Buf 42 – 35

ATL over Car 10 – 7

Dal over Min 28 – 3

NO over NYJ 28 – 10

Ten over Stl 14 – 10

Was over SD 35- 28

Oak over Phil 21- 17

Sea over TB 42- 3

Bal over Cle 14 – 10

NE over Pit 17 – 10

Ind over Hou 28 – 17

Chi over GB in OT 38 – 35

Avis Picks

KC 24

BUF 13

ATL 20

CAR 31

MIN 17

DAL 28

NO 34

NYJ 23

TEN 17

STL 13

SD 24

WAS 28

PHI 27

OAK 20

TB 9

SEA 31

BAL 23

CLE 17

PIT 21

NE 24

IND 28

HOU 14

CHI 17

GB 28

Jeremys Picks

CAR 24 ATL 21

DAL 31 MIN 16

NO 38 NYJ 14

TEN 21 STL 10

KC 24 BUF 7

SD 38 WAS 31

OAK 28 PHI 27

SEA 35 TB 9

CLE 17 BAL 14

NE 21 PIT 20

IND 35 HOU 17

GB 34  CHI 17

As we hit the half way mark of the NFL season, its time to start giving out progress reports. Were going to give grades to teams based on their performance on offense, defense, and overall play.

Chicago Bears

Offense:
B
The Bears offense has been surprisingly effective under new coach Marc Tressman. Before tearing his groin muscle, Jay Cutler was having one of the better seasons of his career. Cutler has so far thrown 12 TD, 7 INT, and has thrown for over 1600 yards. Matt Forte has come back from an awful year last year and has been one of the most productive backs in the NFL. Brandon Marshall is on pace for another 1000 yard receiving year. In addition, Alshon Jeffrey has been having a break out year and Martellus Bennet has proven to be a very good signing for this team. Look for this team to keep up the solid production under an offensive minded coach.

Defense
C-
Mixtures of injuries and disappointing seasons have plagued the typically feared Chicago defense this year. They lost two of their top defensive lineman in Henry Melton and Nate Collins. Julius Peppers, DJ Anderson, and James Anderson have been non existent this year. The retirement of Brian Urlacher has clearly hurt this team on and of the field. LB Lance Briggs and CB Charles Tillman have been bright spots, but the rest of this team (particularly the safeties) has looked atrocious.

Overall
C
While the offense has looked impressive, the defense has looked the exact opposite. Poor play and disappointing special teams have plagued this team this year. Look for the Monsters of the Midway to disappear in the second half of the season.