Items by

The Philadelphia Eagles Look To Keep A Promise Alive On Wild-Card Weekend

Published: January 8, 2010

commentNo Comments

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys stomped the Eagles just seven days ago to capture the NFC East crown. They not only beat the Eagles down for this accolade, they shut down Philadelphia’s high powered offense completely with a 24-0 shutout victory. They are extremely confident they can repeat the feat in the first playoff game ever in their new stadium.

Game Of The Week

What To Watch From The Eagles

The Eagles have had a hard time running the ball consistently all year, especially between the tackles. Fullback Leonard Weaver has been a pleasant surprise, and is headed to the Pro Bowl. Philadelphia is hoping aging and oft-injured running back Brian Westbrook will provide a much needed spark on the ground. All of the Eagle backs catch the ball well.

Donovan McNabb long ago cemented himself as one of the great quarterbacks in Eagles history, yet he still is lacking a championship that will make his career legendary. He has been his usual efficient self this season, and came out recently with a rare quote saying the Eagles would win Saturday. Not known as a brash talker, Eagles fans had to be both surprised and pumped up to hear their team’s leader make such a proclamation.

DeSean Jackson is the team’s Pro Bowl wide receiver and most electric player. He leads the team with 12 touchdowns, nine came off receptions. Eight of those touchdowns came off plays of 50 yards or longer, tying an NFL record with Devin Hester and Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch. He is bookmarked by exciting rookie Jeremy Maclin.

Pro Bowl tight end Brent Celek could be a big part of the final tally. He led the team with 76 catches this year, and scored eight times. He poses a serious problem for the Cowboys average strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and Dallas might have to ask free safety Ken Hamlin to take that assignment instead.

Trent Cole is the Eagles’ Pro Bowl defensive end, and probably their best player. He leads the team with 12.5 quarterback sacks, and is third on the team in tackles. He needs to play big, because Philadelphia has an assortment of mediocre linebackers playing behind him.

Asante Samuel may be the team’s Pro Bowl cornerback, but Sheldon Brown helps make the duo one of the best tandems in the league. Samuel has a league leading nine interceptions, while Brown has six. Veteran safeties Quintin Mikell and Sean Jones have provided steady play at safety all season.


What To Watch From The Cowboys

The Cowboys can run the ball down opposing teams’ throats all day. Running backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice both average well over five yards per carry, and starter Marion Barber piled up 932 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. With over 2,100 yards and 14 scores on the ground as a team, they present big problems to the Eagles’ front seven.

Quarterback Tony Romo had one of the best seasons in his young career this year. He tossed just nine interceptions versus 26 touchdowns, and gained 4,483 yards in the air to a receiving corp not many thought much of heading into the 2009 season. His critics point to his not yet winning in the playoffs, so this game is a big moment for him. Another loss could have fans almost forgetting all he has done so far.

The Cowboys defense has come together at the most critical time, and has played excellent football lately. They are looking to carry this momentum into the playoffs, and perhaps lead the team to a title. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is their star and perennial Pro Bowler. He has 11 sacks and forced five fumbles. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is also headed to the Pro Bowl, and he tallied an impressive six sacks from his position. He will pose an immense problem for backup center Nick Cole, who is starting for the injured Jamaal Jackson.

Dallas has been a mess in their kicking game this year. Nick Folk had a meltdown, and was replaced by Shaun Suisham. Suisham was cut by the lowly Washington Redskins himself this year because of poor performance. The Eagles have Pro Bowl kicker David Akers, and that could be the difference the Eagles need to pull out a win.

Head coach Wade Phillips was purportedly on the edge of job security this season. Even with a division title in hand, he might not be out of the woods yet. Owner Jerry Jones expects titles, and Phillips may still need a deep run in the playoffs to ensure his return next year.


Quarterback : Slight Edge Eagles

Running Back : Definite Edge Cowboys

: Slight Edge Eagles

Offensive Line : Slight Edge Cowboys

Defensive Line
: Slight Edge Cowboys

: Definite Edge Cowboys

Secondary : Slight Edge Eagles

Special Teams : Definite Edge Eagles

Coaching : Edge Eagles

I picked the Eagles as my NFC Super Bowl team before the season, so no reason to back out now. The memory of late Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will loom large, and it will be evident the team misses him. I expect McNabb to pull the team through in the end to honor him, much like the team has done most of the season.

Eagles 34    Cowboys 31

Read more NFL news on

The Cincinnati Bengals Should Win On Wild-Card Weekend

Published: January 8, 2010

commentNo Comments

New York Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Jets are crested with bravado right now, thanks to their effervescent head coach Rex Ryan. They are also a week removed from easily kicking the Bengals all over the field at the last event to ever take place in the Meadowlands.


What To Watch From The Jets

Thomas Jones is a running back that leads the charge in the team’s offensive game plan. He has carried the team much of the season, since their passing game has mostly been impotent. The ten year veteran has averaged a steady 4.2 yards per carry on a career high 331 attempts. His 1,402 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground are also career high marks.

Jones caught a career low 10 passes this year, but has averaged nearly 30 throughout his career. He is perhaps a weapon the Jets can use in the passing attack, since the Bengals may disregard him in this area.

Rookie Shonn Greene spells Jones, and has been very impressive. He has played 14 games, but has been used in just five games with frequency. He has still piled up 540 yards at a average of five yards per carry. He hasn’t been used in the passing game at all, but he helps keep the Jets churning forward.

The Jets rank first in the NFL in rushing first downs, total rushing plays and yardage. This speaks very highly of their offensive line. The unit is strongest on their left side behind guard Alan Faneca and center Nick Mangold, and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. All are Pro Bowl players.

Darrelle Revis is a shutdown cornerback, plain and simple. He is the guy who will be assigned to shadow Chad Ochocinco, forcing the Bengals to try to find their offense elsewhere. Veteran Lito Sheppard bookends the Pro Bowler, and Dwight Lowery is one of the top third cornerbacks in the league. This is the group who will have to carry the team, and allow Ryan to crowd the line of scrimmage with his blitz schemes.

David Harris is the teams star on the front seven of the defense. Harris has piled up 126 tackles, six sacks, two interceptions and forced two fumbles, but will be playing on a tender ankle. Sione Pouha has done a respectable job replacing injured Pro Bowl nose tackle Kris Jenkins, which helps to allow Harris and fellow inside linebacker Bart Scott to excel.

The Jets have a pair of average safeties, and can be exploited up the middle. If Harris isn’t able to play to his capabilities, the Bengals will punch the ball up the Jets gut all day.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has struggled mightily this year, throwing 20 interceptions. Yet he is the only rookie quarterback starting in the playoffs.Though Sanchez has had a lot thrown at him by opposing defenses this year, Bengals coaches Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer will be looking keep him off balanced all game.

What To Watch From The Bengals

Running back Cedric Benson was the nicest surprise to happen for the Bengals this year. He has churned out a career high 1,251 yards despite missing three games and most of a fourth. If he is going good, it enables quarterback Carson Palmer to methodically pick apart defenses in a controlled and well balanced attack.

Ochocinco is the Bengals main receiving weapon, and has stepped up his game after the team lost fellow wide receivers T.J Houshmanzadeh before the season, and the late Chris Henry during the season. He leads the team with nine touchdowns, and has caught 72 balls. He should keep Revis busy all day.

The Bengals offensive line was thought to be a huge question mark before the season began, so they drafted tackle Andre Smith with the sixth overall pick in the first round. Smith, however, has appeared in just six games and started once. Right guard Bobbie Williams was perhaps the only known commodity for this unit coming in, but the group has been quietly excellent all season.

Though neither the Jets nor Bengals rush the passer particularly well, Cincinnati has an excellent pair of cornerbacks in Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph. Both have six interceptions each and have defended 44 balls combined. They set the tempo of the Bengals defense.

The Bengals have an issue at the free safety position. Chris Crocker missed last week because of an ankle injury, and his replacement Tom Nelson hurt his knee replacing him. Though the Bengals safeties are good at defending the run, none are considered excellent pass defenders. Jets tight end Dustin Keller could be in line for a huge game.

Quarterback : Definite Edge Bengals

Running Back : Slight Edge Jets

Receivers : Even

Offensive Line : Edge Jets

Defensive Line : Edge Bengals

Linebacker : Edge Jets

Secondary : Even

Special Teams : Slight Edge Bengals

Coaching : Even

The Bengals can basically rely on their passing attack more. Both teams are run heavy offenses with excellent cornerbacks on defense. Expect it to be a standstill in the trenches, because both teams should be able to have some success. The key will be if the Bengals can create more turnovers, perhaps scoring off of one.

Bengals 27  Jets 17

Read more NFL news on

NFL Picks on the Last Week of Jim Zorn as a Washington Redskin

Published: January 2, 2010

commentNo Comments

Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills

The Colts are playing it safe heading into the playoffs, but they need to try to get a little work in on a Buffalo team looking to head home at the final gun.

Colts 27   Bills 13

New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings

The Giants are embarrassed right now, so they either show pride or get ready for an offseason of hell in the Big Apple. The Vikings are flat, and are getting pushed around in the trenches. I expect the Giants to win here.

Giants 31   Vikings 23

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Both teams have their vacation plans set as soon as this game ends, but the Falcons want to end theirs with a winning record.

Falcons 34   Buccaneers 17

San Francisco 49ers @ Saint Louis Rams

The Niners should beat up the Rams with the run, hopefully proving Saint Louis needs to use the first pick of the draft on Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

31   Rams 10

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

Plain and simple: Pittsburgh needs to win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

Steelers 30   Dolphins 20

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

The Saints have lost their mojo, while the Panthers are showing us much too late why some thought they once had playoff aspirations this season.

Saints 27    Panthers 23

Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions

Both teams have little to play for, except the Bears need to show why Lovie Smith deserves to retain his job as head coach.

Bears 38    Lions 16

New England Patriots @ Houston Texans

The experienced Patriots are quietly rolling into the playoffs with momentum, while Houston will be playing out of desperation to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

Patriots 34    Texans 30

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns

Two teams with no plans after this game, except for maybe a change of head coaches in Cleveland.

Jaguars 26    Browns 17

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Both teams need to treat this game as a measuring stick for their Super Bowl hopes. Dallas runs the ball really well. Marion Barber averages 4.2 yards per carry, while Felix Jones and Tashard Choice average well over five yards per attempt. Philadelphia, on the other hand, struggles to run the ball consistently. If the passing game isn’t clicking in Philly, they are beatable.

Cowboys 31   Eagles 30

Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks

The only reason to watch this game is to watch Titans running back Chris Johnson set the NFL record for all purpose yards in a season, and hope he can gain 225 rushing yards to break the NFL record of 2,105 rushing yards in a season.

Titans 28   Seahawks 14

Washington Redskins @ San Diego Chargers

The best thing about this game for Washington fans is it is the last for head coach Jim Zorn as part of their team. The Bolts will roll on as the hottest team in the NFL right now, and Norv Turner can give Zorn a hug of recognizable pity for being a failed head coach under Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Chargers 37    Redskins 17

Baltimore Ravens @ Oakland Raiders

The Ravens need this if they want to keep playing. The Raiders are the most unpredictable team in the NFL, so the good version could show up and destroy Baltimore’s dreams.

Ravens 34    Raiders 19

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos

Denver is fighting for the playoffs, and they will try to take their frustrations out on a pesky Chiefs team who has shown marked improvement each week.

Broncos 27    Chiefs 23

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals

Game Of The Week

If you like passing offense, then tune into this game. Green Bay’s quarterback Aaron Rodgers has 4,199 yards and 29 touchdowns passing, while Arizona’s Kurt Warner has tossed for 3,722 yards and 26 touchdowns so far. Both teams are headed to the playoffs, so they might have some fun chucking the ball all over the gridiron while trying to stay healthy.

Packers 45  Cardinals 38

Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

The Jets still have playoff hopes, though they may be null and void by the time kickoff comes.The Bengals have already won their first division title since 2005, and second since 1990. I’m thinking the Jets show some heart in their last game in the Meadowlands. Maybe they can finally look for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains now?

Jets 30     Bengals 24

Power Rankings

1. Indianapolis Colts

2. New Orleans Saints

3. San Diego Chargers

4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. New England Patriots

6. Green Bay Packers

7. Dallas Cowboys

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. Minnesota Vikings

10. Denver Broncos

11. Baltimore Ravens

12. Arizona Cardinals

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

14. New York Jets

15. New York Giants

16. Miami Dolphins

17. Tennessee Titans

18. Jacksonville Jaguars

19. Atlanta Falcons

20. San Francisco 49ers

21. Houston Texans

22. Carolina Panthers

23. Chicago Bears

24. Cleveland Browns

25. Buffalo Bills

26. Oakland Raiders

27. Seattle Seahawks

28. Detroit Lions

29. Kansas City Chiefs

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31. Washington Redskins

32. Saint Louis Rams

Read more NFL news on

Same Ol’ Favre, Different Day: This Week’s NFL Picks

Published: December 25, 2009

commentNo Comments

All the newborns recently crawled out from under their rocks to chastise Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress for wanting to upgrade his team’s performance by benching the media deity Brett Favre in last weeks 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Favre, of course, butted heads with Childress and refused to come off the field. Business as usual for a guy who has always put himself before his team. A selfishness that has reared its ugly head on the Vikings sideline a few times, not once, this season.

Childress has reportedly wanted to lift Favre from a few games this season, because the quarterback chooses to play the game he desires and not within the framework of the entire team. A move that caused Mike Holmgren to go gray faster and get out of Green Bay away from the frustration that comes dealing with Brett Favre.

The same Favre who threw Javon Walker under the bus for wanting a pay raise, even though he was a few years fresh off a $100 million contract he signed.

The same Favre who cried that the Packers tired of his love for turnovers a few months after he threw away the Packers chances to win the NFC Championship with another of his trademark ill-advised passes, and wanted to start Aaron Rodgers instead. He retired in a hissy fit.

When he tried to return to Green Bay, they didn’t want him so he went on a media blitz with his reporter buddies to disparage the Packers. Though it temporarily worked, it is clear now that Packers general manager Ted Thompson made the absolute 100 percent correct call by committing to Rodgers.

The same Favre who realized the New York Jets couldn’t carry him to a Super Bowl, so he quit on them. It is just a few weeks away when we will see him throw away a game in the playoffs in Minnesota, then blame someone else and probably quit again.

The Vikings cannot be shocked that he is creating turmoil in their locker room. That is his Modus operandi. They knew they were hiring a self centered egomaniac who has generally been a clubhouse cancer throughout of his career.

His fans point to his consecutive starts streak, as well as his touchdowns and passing yards thrown. Never do they point to the fact he averages almost two turnovers a game for his career, and has won one Super Bowl that was from Desmond Howard and the defense carrying the Packers to victory.

The way he is talked about in abated breath by his followers, one would think he has won more Super Bowls than Terry Bradshaw or Joe Montana combined.

Through all his easily found faults, there is a respect that he has earned. Though he has played in a era where the league is geared to carrying the quarterback by adjusting the rules to ensure their success, he has achieved a level of play few others have come close to in his time. The records in his back pocket do not lie, and his one Super Bowl ring is more than several other legends of the game.

The one thing he does best is be a media whore. His name is mentioned every 15 minutes on ESPN, as if it were by contractual obligation. Every time he retires, the network runs a huge banner announcing it on a continuous loop as if the end of the world was commencing.

He has smartly used his media connections to bend at his will. When Childress tried to take a stand to get Favre to play within the framework of the team, he had his buddies vilify the coach fresh off a contract extension and bring into question his job security for having dared question their exalted leader.

So sit back and enjoy his perpetual circus. It is same old defecation, different day when it comes to Brett Favre.



Now on with this weeks picks.


San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans

I think Chris Johnson will go nuts, but the Bolts will win because the Titans won’t be able to stop Rivers from throwing to all his weapons.

Chargers 30 Titans 28

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints

Now that the Saints finally lost a game, they can relax and concentrate on getting to the Super Bowl only.

Saints 38 Buccaneers 17

Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins

This is going to be a pretty good game. The Dolphins running game versus the Texans passing attack.

Dolphins 26 Texans 24

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers

The Pack is going to crush the Hawks.

Packers 37 Seahawks 20

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants

I think if the Jints play like they did last Monday, Carolina is in for it.

Giants 27 Panthers 17

Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns

I just never pick the Raiders right. They are bizarre.

Browns 26 Raiders 16

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots

Both teams need this, but the Pats got the experience.

Patriots 31 Jaguars 23

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals

I think the Bengals better clinch the AFC North now.

Bengals 40 Chiefs 27

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Game Of The Week

The Ravens need to win to stay in control of their playoff destiny, but the Steelers have owned them recently and are still alive to defend their crown. Can you say all out battle? I can.

Ravens 27 Steelers 24

Buffalo Bills @ Atlanta Falcons

Neither team is playing after next week, so they should have little heart showing.

Falcons 27 Bills 19

Saint Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

The only fun fact here is that the Cardinals used to play in St. Louis and the Rams used to play in nearby Los Angeles. That’s it.

Cardinals 41 Rams 16

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

You gotta give Niners head coach Mike Singletary credit that his team went down swinging, even though they aren’t getting consistent quarterback play.

49ers 28 Lions 17

Denver Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles

Broncos safety Brian Dawkins has had this game circled on his calender all year. Philly, however, is on a mission for the late Jim Johnson.

Eagles 31 Broncos 23

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts

I keep thinking the Colts will lose, but they don’t.

Colts 23 Jets 17

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

The Redskins showed no heart last Monday. Dallas will win.

Cowboys 30 Redskins 17

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

Expect the Vikings to handle the underachieving Bears so that they gain gain some momentum heading into the playoffs.

Vikings 34 Bears 21



NFL Power Rankings

1. Indianapolis Colts

2. New Orleans Saints

3. San Diego Chargers

4. Minnesota Vikings

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Green Bay Packers

7. New England Patriots

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. Dallas Cowboys

10. Denver Broncos

11. New York Giants

12. Baltimore Ravens

13. Arizona Cardinals

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

15. New York Jets

16. Miami Dolphins

17. Tennessee Titans

18. Jacksonville Jaguars

19. Atlanta Falcons

20. San Francisco 49ers

21. Houston Texans

22. Buffalo Bills

23. Carolina Panthers

24. Chicago Bears

25. Seattle Seahawks

26. Oakland Raiders

27. Cleveland Browns

28. Detroit Lions

29. Kansas City Chiefs

30. Cleveland Browns

31. Washington Redskins

32. Saint Louis Rams

Read more NFL news on

The Best Washington Redskins Not In Canton

Published: December 24, 2009

commentNo Comments

The Washington Redskins have played under the shadows of our Nations Capitol since 1937. Since that time, there has been 26 members of the team that have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

There should be more.

Here is a list of the most deserving players in Redskins history still awaiting the call from Canton.

Begin Slideshow

The Washington Redskins Will End The New York Giants 2009 Dreams

Published: December 19, 2009

commentNo Comments

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins

The Giants couldn’t be facing their longest divisional rivals at a worse time. The Redskins finally rid themselves of the incompetent Vinny Cerrato, replacing him with Bruce Allen. Bruce is the son of Redskins legendary Hall Of Fame head coach George Allen. The Redskins players will be playing for their 2010 jobs, knowing Allen will be looking to get rid of more dead weight in the organization.

The one chink in Washington’s sound defensive armor is they can give up long passes. New York’s Eli Manning should look long often to his young receivers. The Giants really need this win to keep afloat in their division, but the NFC East has a long history of bottom dwellers ruining the playoff hopes of their known foes.

Some rivalries are just historical for many reasons. The 61 times the Redskins have defeated the Giants is the third most wins they have had versus any other team. The Giants 88 victories over Washington tops their list of head to head victories. They have faced each other just twice in the playoffs, splitting a victory for each. Both wins propelled the victor into the NFL Championship game.

Perhaps the most famous game between the two is the Redskins 72-41 win in the 1966 season. Both of the Giants quarterbacks, Gary Wood and Tom Kennedy, threw for more yards than Redskins Hall Of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen. Though the Giants quarterbacks threw for three touchdowns, they also tossed five interceptions. Jurgensen threw three touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Giants out-gained the Redskins by 48 yards and had nine more first downs, but their committing four more turnovers cost them. Safety Brig Owens returned both a fumble and an interception for a touchdown. Factor in running back A.D. Whitfield’s three touchdowns, Hall Of Fame wide receiver Charlie Taylor’s two touchdowns, and cornerback Rickie Harris’ 52 yard punt return for a score, and one can see why the 113 points scored that day is the most in NFL history.

With the Giants record currently sitting at 7-6, a loss would virtually bury all hopes for the post-season. While the 4-9 Redskins playoff hopes died long ago, they won’t be playing with nothing to lose under the watchful eye of the newly hired Allen. Expect this game to be closely contested like many others have been in the past.

Redskins 24  Giants 20



Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints

The Cowboys need this game to stay in the playoff hunt, and so the coaches have a better chance of keeping their jobs in 2010. The problem is that they are facing the undefeated Saints who are intent on reaching perfection.

Saints 41  Cowboys 30



Chicago Bears @ Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens now control their playoff destiny, thanks to the Jaguars losing Thursday to Indianapolis. Expect the Ravens veterans to cajole the team to victory this week.

Ravens 27  Bears 21



New England Patriots @  Buffalo Bills

The Patriots have looked almost dull the last month, which does not bode well for a team trying to gain momentum into the playoffs. The Bills have played much better football after they changed coaches. If New England doesn’t win this game, especially in sound fashion, then no one will be looking for them to go far into the post season.

Patriots 27  Bills 17



Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

The Cardinals are very good on the road, and the Lions are fresh off a game they got blown out in. This is a match up of one team who as Super Bowl dreams against a team looking forward to 2010.

Cardinals 41  Lions 17



Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs

The only question here is who will play with pride and who wants the better draft pick.

Chiefs 27  Browns 24



Atlanta Falcons @ New York Jets

The Falcons season is over, but the Jets are still hanging onto playoff hopes by a thread. Expect the Jets to win the battle in the trenches, because they will want it more.

Jets 24  Falcons 20



Miami Dolphins @ Tennessee Titans

If you love smash mouth football, then tune into this game. Both teams rely on the run to win, but Miami has a slightly better defense. Tennessee needs Chris Johnson to explode and carry them to victory, something he has done a great deal of this year.

Dolphins 27  Titans 21



Houston Texans @ Saint Louis Rams

Both teams are making plans for next year. The Rams may play their rookie quarterback again, but Houston is the better squad.

Texans 34  Rams 13



San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

The 49ers still have very slight playoff hopes, but the Eagles are looking to win the NFC East and gain momentum.

Eagles 26  49ers 17



Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos

The Raiders are like a yo-yo. You never know which team will show up. Denver needs this to keep up on the heels of the red hot Chargers.

Broncos 31  Raiders 17



Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers

Game Of The Week

The Bengals come into this game with a heavy heart over the recent death of teammate Chris Henry. Though they have a hold on their division, they did not play well last week. A death in the family either inspires a team to rally or crumbles them completely. Facing the Chargers days after Henry dying makes the Bengals task even harder. San Diego has won 16 straight games in December. A streak I think stops now in memory of Henry.

Bengals 34  Chargers 30



Green Bay Packers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Packers have been playing good football lately, while the Steelers have not. The defending champions will not be easy to beat, because they are mad at their recent performances, but Green Bay can win if they have some semblance of a running game.

Packers 27  Steelers 24



Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Seattle Seahawks

This is a battle of the two 1976 expansion teams. Much like then, neither team will go to the playoffs this year.

Seahawks 27  Buccaneers 14



Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers

Panther fans may be witnessing the end of the John Fox Era. The team has played poorly all year, and a change of head coaches may be eminent. The Vikings are coming off an impressive drubbing of a very good Cincinnati team, and look to keep the ball rolling forward into the playoffs.

Vikings 37  Panthers 20



Last week I went 12-3, and am 130-59 overall.


NFL Lucubrations

The NFL news this week, besides the unfortunate death of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry, is how the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints are both closing in on accomplishing undefeated regular season records. Both teams have stated they will attempt to close the deal at full force, though the Colts rested several key defensive players throughout the entire game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Thursday.

Both teams have good defenses, and excellent quarterbacks. What separates the Saints from the Colts is the offensive line and running game. Indianapolis has not run the ball well often this year, and have relied on the arm and brain of quarterback Peyton Manning. New Orleans uses Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell as their primary runners, but lately the versatile Reggie Bush has provided them an extra excellent weapon in their deep offensive arsenal.

If these teams end up staying undefeated and meeting in the Super Bowl, the Saints would probably be slightly favored. Though Miami Dolphins great Mercury Morris is hoping this does not occur, so he can keep breaking out the champagne, this match up would help the NFL greatly. It has been a mostly mediocre season, thanks to all the rule changes and constant replays, so a Saints versus Colts battle would truly help wash out the stale taste of the 2009 season.


NFL Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. San Diego Chargers
5. Philadelphia Eagles
6. Cincinnati Bengals
7. New England Patriots
8. Denver Broncos
9. Dallas Cowboys
10. Green Bay Packers
11. Baltimore Ravens
12. Arizona Cardinals
13. New York Giants
14. Miami Dolphins
15. New York Jets
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Tennessee Titans
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
19. Atlanta Falcons
20. San Francisco 49ers
21. Houston Texans
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. Buffalo Bills
24. Chicago Bears
25. Carolina Panthers
26. Kansas City Chiefs
27. Washington Redskins
28. Detroit Lions
29. Oakland Raiders
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
32. Saint Louis Rams

Read more NFL news on

A 2009 Collection of NFL Lucubrations

Published: December 11, 2009

commentNo Comments

Here is a compilation of thoughts I wrote during the season so far. Some stats were updated, but most entries were left alone to serve as time capsules of each week.

This might be one of the most mediocre seasons the NFL has had in recent memory. After ten games, there were 14 teams over the .500 mark. Of those teams, four of them have a winning percentage of .600 or less. Most teams have been struggling to stay healthy on the eve of the league thinking of shortening training camps and extending the seasons.

What has been the most obvious flaw in the game the NFL pushes out today is poor fundamentals. Even after the league has revamped their rule books to cater to a group of mostly average quarterbacks and players who rely on kill shots over proper tackling technique, you are left still seeing sloppy football games each week.

Offensive linemen, who hold every play, are now less important to protecting the quarterback than the NFL. The hit zone on the quarterback has now shrunk to the coffee can strike zone of baseball so that points can be put up on the board with much more ease. Even special teams has been effected by changes from a group of men largely consisting of guys who haven’t put on pads since school yard days.

Though it is understandable the NFL is trying to progress with society, the failure to hold onto old school principles has helped the game suffer to the point it now resembles basketball with a helmet. To show further example, many players go out on Sunday without hip or thigh padding, because they rather protect up high where most end up head hunting.

The NFL probably doesn’t see this, much like they did not see their game stagnating in the 1960’s. This allowed the fourth version of the American Football League to gain a following and then later force a complete alignment between the two leagues. Other previous leagues that competed against the NFL had forced the NFL to merge some of those defunct leagues into theirs, but not all teams like the AFL did.

Now the United Football League has just completed their first season with an overtime championship game. The difference between the UFL and other leagues that competed against the NFL in the past is that the UFL is being almost marketed as a minor leagues for the NFL by some. The UFL refers to itself as a complimentary addition, though they have several rules that are different. Their overtime rule is like the college rule, where both teams get a chance to play offense.

The UFL might now have a chance to survive with the NFL shortening training camps. There will be even more excellent football players available after the NFL makes cuts faster—many will happen because of the lack of opportunity; many will get less time in camp or exhibition games. Then there is the chance the NFL players could strike after 2011, much like they did in 1982 and 1987. The NFLPA is advising cut players from going to the UFL, which echoes the same message the league gave to players when they jumped to the AFL in 1960.

If the UFL plays this smart, much like the AFL did in the 1960s, they could offer much needed competition to the perceived fat and lazy NFL. Perhaps the UFL can go a step further and enable the defenses to play less inhibited, unlike the castrated version of defense in the NFL. If the 2009 season keeps wafting along in a uninspiring waddle for the NFL, fans will begin to look more into the other option. Much like they did for the AFL only 40 years ago. The timing of the AFL anniversary and the UFL inception is no coincidence.

Perhaps some of you readers will find this installment of Lucubration tinged with unrealistic hope for more well-played football, and perhaps even a few will nod in agreement on some avenues that were attempted to be taken. The ones that are skeptical need only look at the 12 teams in the NFL that were born in other leagues. The AFC itself houses only six teams that have just played in their league alone, though the Bengals franchise is still considered an AFL franchise on paper.

Some say more is better, and this can apply to professional football, too. The UFL should continue applying wrinkles to their game to attract fans. One suggested wrinkle is to apply some old school playing that the NFL once lived and breathed on. It can work, much like how the AFL once showed the NFL that lots of scoring can bring in fans. It did.

As another Sunday approaches for the NFL, one cannot help but recall certain themes that have transpired thus far. The days of parity appear to not be in play this season. With the Rams, Lions, Chiefs, Redskins, Browns, Raiders, Titans, and Buccaneers all struggling, as well as the Dolphins, Seahawks, and Panthers all with just two wins as well, it has become a case of the have and have-nots. The list of have-nots may be the deepest in recent memory for the league. Will things change after the new collective bargaining agreement on the horizon? That is one tune waiting to be composed.

Matthew Stafford, of the Detroit Lions, has had a rookie season that can best be described as trying. Both he and his team have struggled all season, which was expected by all observers.

There was a time this season some thought Stafford would be shut down for the season as he struggled with a knee injury. Stafford kept plugging along, and has taken his lumps all season long behind a porous offensive line that does not allow the team offensive balance with a consistent running game.

Coming into a game against the lowly Cleveland Browns, Stafford had thrown 12 interceptions against six touchdown passes in the seven games he was able to get on the field and play. Though the numbers may seem unimpressive to some, others feel the rookie has shown great promise thus far.

Stafford showed an even bigger glimpse at his abilities when he set an NFL and Lions record of five touchdown passes in a game by a rookie as the Lions won 38-37. It also ties the franchise record, which was set by Gary Danielson in 1978 against the Minnesota Vikings.

He got the ball rolling forward for his team late in the first quarter with his team down 24-3 by finding rookie running back Aaron Brown on a 26 yard pass play. He added two more in the second quarter, including a 75 yard heave to wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

With the Lions’ defense playing better in the second half, he added two more with each being a one yard toss to his tight ends. The second was was the most important, because it was with no time left on the clock and secured the Lions an important second win of the season.

Stafford still shows fans that he is a rookie. He did throw two interceptions and was called for intentional grounding while attempting to throw out of the end zone, which resulted in a safety. Now up to 20 interceptions this season, fans realize it may take Stafford a few more years of playing experience—to go with solid drafts to upgrade the surrounding talent—for him to truly show why he was the first player drafted overall this year.

Still, Lions fans have to be happy for the win and the prospects of their young quarterback’s future. Though fellow rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has gotten more press, due mostly to his playing in the media heavy New York City, it is easy to say Stafford has played better so far.

Though Matthew Stafford might not win the Rookie of the Year Award this season, he is in the record books already. How much further he can delve into both the leagues and his team’s record books remains to be seen, but plan on it being fun to watch.

After watching Jay Cutler toss his eighth red zone interception in 16 games a few weeks ago, I had a few thoughts. None of Jeff George, because even George didn’t pull stunts like that. I actually began to recall my questioning Chicago gambling away their future for Cutler. If you recall, the Bears gave up two first round and a second round draft pick for his services.

Please consider these words from Broncos legendary player Karl Mecklenberg, “I have gotten to know Jay through the Broncos and golf tournaments, and he is a child still. He is more concerned with himself than the team, and when McDaniels came in, he came in with a system that wasn’t going to throw as much, and Jay saw that and put McDaniels in a tough place where he had really no choice but to get rid of him.”

So, what you have here is another diva who puts himself before his team. A child who would rather pad his statistics over winning. This is what the Bears traded away their future for.

Then there is the old “Sid Luckman Curse.” Luckman is the last great and perhaps even good quarterback to play for the Bears. Luckman, a Hall of Famer, retired in 1950, and is STILL the franchise’s leader in passing yards with 14,686 yards. Think about that. Luckman played in a run first era where it was a lot harder to throw the ball with the ten yard chuck rule, let alone the way offensive linemen had to block.

Since 1979, receivers have the luxury of the five yard chuck rule and blockers are allowed to extend their arms and hold on virtually every play. It is also easier to play quarterback because they cannot be hit too high, low, or hard. Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers had 14,974 yards passing in 71 games coming into this season. This is just a small example of the long line of inept quarterbacks that have followed Luckman in the last 60 years for the Bears.

I am not ready to label Cutler a complete and utter failure yet for the Bears. His receiving unit is nothing special, and his offensive line is pathetic. He is also young, so there is a lot of room to grow and mature. Chicago better hurry up and get him some blockers at least, or Cutler might soon have irreparable damage to his body and fragile ego.

Was anyone really shocked to see Brett Favre fumble, then throw away the game for the Vikings against the Pittsburgh Steelers? It was about time if you ask me. We are talking about the NFL’s All-Time Turnover King. No player has thrown away the ball more in history than Favre, and he is just three fumbles away from tying Warren Moon for the record of most fumbles ever.

With 315 interceptions and 158 fumbles, and counting, the Steelers decided to just let Brett be Brett that week. When you do that, you will win more than lose to him. Just be ready for the inevitable mistake. With a career average of about 1.7 turnovers for every game he has played, it is a sound strategy.


Watching Larry Johnson bubble over with frustration, you have to wonder what is the big deal is. Is it his homophobic remarks, his rant on his new head coach, or his bemoaning the loss of cash? Johnson, some may say, had his mind destroyed along with his body with all those carries several years ago.

Some may recall former Chiefs coach, Dick Vermeil, calling his character into question once. Johnson, a coaches son, realizes his career is coming to an end and that he will never again command the salary he currently makes. He stands to lose $600,000 this week, not exactly chump change.

Though his comments were not politically correct, this still is America. Freedom of speech and expression is a right. Taking his money hurts, but watching his career end has to gouge him deeper. If he does latch on with another team next year, he will be a part-time back with a pay rate showing such a role.

The mess in Washington DC has gotten a lot of publicity lately. Talking heads are now trying to goad the gullible Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, into a retread hire like Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, and even Mike Holmgren.

The issue is compounded by the fact the team just probably lost All-Pro offensive tackle Chris Samuels forever because of a spine issue. Things will get so ugly this year that Snyder may finally be forced to fire Vinny Cerrato. Out of the embers of hell a miracle can occur.

There are a few teams at their lowest right now. The Redskins, Bills, Buccaneers, Raiders, Rams, and Lions are certainly in that group, but perhaps no team has looked as lost as the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns’ ownership seems to be taking a tremendous gamble on coach Eric Mangini. Mangini quickly pulled the hook on quarterback Brady Quinn after a few weeks, even though Cleveland traded up to get the kid out of the green room in 2007.

Now Quinn has sold his house as the trade deadline approaches. There has also been word floating that Mangini might trade Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs. Mangini never came across as a coach with a plan while with the Jets, so it will be interesting to see if he actually has one or is just trying to establish his ego. After seeing recently traded wide receiver Braylon Edwards contribute immediately with the Jets, you have to wonder if the gamble on the coach is smart.

For those of you not glued to ESPN listening to the Favre Diary, there has been a few other things going on in the NFL.

One big subject might be to hold an Exclusive Poll on which NFL head coach will be fired first. You could toss in a few others, but this is my five, in no particular order, who I think are on the hot seat.

1. Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins: He wouldn’t even make a good offensive coordinator.

2. Eric Mangina, Cleveland Browns: He, as I said the day he got the job, was a mistake to hire.

3. Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack is rebuilding, which takes time. Yet, he has been in Jacksonville a long time. Most coaches don’t last that long with a team these days, so he makes this list almost by default.

4. Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett should go first, but Jerry Jones loves this guy enough to call him a future head coach. Let him try in the UFL before the NFL, Jerry. Word is that the ‘Boys are hot for Mike Shanahan right now.

5. John Fox, Carolina Panthers: Another coach on one team a long time. His team is really not performing well right now, so perhaps his sand glass is running empty in Carolina.

You may have noticed I spelled Eric Mangina’s name wrong, but maybe you didn’t? This name was given to him by me when he was running the Jets. Retread hires are an unknown generally, but this one had disaster written all over it. Mangina seems to have a predication for neglecting the trenches. This is something Cleveland does not need right now, and the top brass should accept the full brunt of the blame.

Brady Quinn was handed the starting job, and did little. Derek Anderson replaced him last week, and gave lesser results. Anderson was a Pro Bowl player two years ago, which also happened to be the last time running back Jamal Lewis was effective. There happens to be a reason for this theme.

The Browns’ offensive line has stunk the past two years. If the team had Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown together in their backfield now, I doubt the results would be much better. Though I never saw Quinn as a top flight NFL talent, he certainly cannot be blamed. That applies to the season Anderson had last year. If no one is blocking or catching with any consistency, you just will not win many games. Mangina might go into next year as coach, but they may as well get rid of him now if he does not build their trenches in the 2010 draft.

The Tennessee Titans are without a win so far. This is not what was expected from a team that had such a long and dominant stretch last year. Though I did predict a last place finish for them this year, which many disagreed with me on, I certainly wonder what will happen to their season if they fail to win Sunday in Jacksonville.

The Titans will face the Colts and Patriots the next two weeks before facing the Jaguars again. Losing this week will give Jacksonville confidence to come into Tennessee and win again. If the Titans are 0-6 at that point, who knows what the morale of the team will be. Jeff Fisher has, perhaps, his most daunting task ahead of him so far in his 17 years as head coach of the team.

Did Jim Zorn get hold of the Denver Broncos playbook for 1983? Watching the Redskins struggle with the Saint Louis Rams, it seems so.

While Washington barely won in spite of Zorn’s inept play calling, it was a victory so shallow that the most loyal of Redskins fans sent boos cascading down onto the field after the final gun. Hopefully, the reactions sunk into Zorn enough to understand where he is at.

The Redskins play in the NFC East, not the AFC West. The weak finesse style of play Zorn seems to want will not work in Washington’s division. The West Coast system may work in other divisions, but it has never produced a champion out of the rough NFC East.

This is a division known for being won by the strongest, not the prettiest. Though some of the mashers who became champions out of the division were deemed pretty by some after successes, usually the champion limps into the playoffs having battled some of the NFL’s best teams which happen to reside in the NFC East as well.

The inadequacies of Zorn’s offensive philosophies shone brightest under the spotlight of scrutiny on the teams final drive. As the Redskins clung to a 9-7 lead with the game clock winding down, they found themselves inside of the Rams 10-yard line. It was first down, and critical the Redskins to score a touchdown to put the game out of reach.

Zorn then resorted to calling a series of plays that were both ludicrous and baffling. The first play was an attempted shovel pass that was incomplete, and was destined to go nowhere. Then it was fourth and less than a yard. Zorn decided to go for it.

Conventional wisdom would mandate either a sneak play from quarterback Jason Campbell, or a run up the middle with running back Clinton Portis. Zorn elected to do neither. He called a sweep play with Portis that went nowhere, and caused the Rams to acquire possession of the ball.

Luckily for Zorn, the Redskins’ defense held the Rams from moving the ball. The game ended in favor of the Redskins, though it was viewed unfavorably by many of their fans. Going into Detroit next week, they may find refuge on the opposing team’s field. Hopefully, Zorn will also left have some pages of his playbook in Washington as well.

Many pundits of the NFL say that a head coach usually gets a pass in their first year on the job. Zorn is now entering his second season, and his offensive scheme is as ineffective as it was last year. If this season continues on as it has started, it would be hard to imagine him back for a third season.

The NFL Rules Committee is out of control. Last year, we saw a defensive player getting a fifteen yard penalty for hitting Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan as he was releasing the ball. The reason for it? Putting too much weight on the quarterback.

Most know the quarterback has had many rule changes since 1979 to make his job obscenely easy, but now it is quite clear that the NFL quarterback is no longer a football player. They have become a media image full of unworthy hype and adulation.

I guess, the powers that be decided to change the definition of a touchdown. Most saw rookie Louis Murphy catch a ball in the end zone. He came down with both feet, and had full control of the football. Murphy then landed on his elbow, which is considered down and makes it a dead ball. Though, that should not matter, because the ball itself is supposed to be dead once it crosses the goal line.

The thing was that Murphy then lost the football after crashing down to earth. The new rule states it is an incompletion, not a score. This is perhaps the dumbest new rule farted out of the bowels of the committee, though the new rule on only having two players form a wedge to block on kickoffs is pretty darn close as well.

When does enough become enough for this group trying to justify their paychecks? These rules all subtract from the game, and proves that not all busybodies contribute positive contributions. Perhaps, in these lean economical times, it would be prudent to disband this insipid council for at least a decade so the players can play football with the little rules left that allow them to do so? This is not the NBA, though Paul Tagliabue tried to make it so.

Let us remember the Houston Oilers.

Bud Adams started the franchise in 1960 with the fledgling American Football League. Adams put together an excellent team quickly, some with hard work and some with good luck.

His big move in 1960 was signing Billy Cannon away from the clutches of the NFL.

Cannon was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with the first pick of the draft, and he was the first pick of the AFL as well.

Adams signed the LSU legend and 1959 Heisman Trophy winner on the field after LSU won the Sugar Bowl.

Future NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle was the general manager of the Rams at that time, and he tried to force Cannon to sign with his team. Adams took the NFL to court and won.

Another of the many key signings that season was of future Hall of Famer George Blanda. Blanda had washed out of the NFL and did not even play football in 1959.

He joined the Oilers and immediately became the team’s leader, helping them win the first AFL Championship when he hit Cannon for an 88-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.

Blanda led the Oilers to a second consecutive championship in 1961 and was named the AFL Player of the Year.

He tied the record of seven touchdown passes in a game the next season, as the Oilers reached a third championship before losing to the Dallas Texans in the longest championship game in professional football history.

Blanda also set a record of 42 interceptions thrown in that 1962 season.

Though the Oilers would reach the AFL Championship in 1967, losing to an Oakland Raiders team that now had Blanda on their roster, the team never won a championship game again.

Many great players played for the Oilers, and several are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Blanda, Earl Campbell, Ken Houston, Elvin Bethea, Mike Munchak, Warren Moon, and Bruce Matthews are just a few players that played for the Oilers and are now enshrined in Canton.

I have also included many Oilers in my Crazy Canton Cuts series. Robert “Dr Doom” Brazile, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Curley Culp, Jim Norton, and Bob Talamini are Oilers whose profiles can be found on Charley Hennigan is a player I will be profiling in the future.

Despite their legacy, as well as being the first professional sports team to win a championship in Houston, the team relocated to Nashville, Tenn. before the 1997 season.

They changed their name from the Oilers to the Titans just before the 1999 season.

The timing of the name change worked out well for Adams, as his team went on to Super Bowl XXXIV but lose to the St. Louis Rams. It is the only season that the franchise has won the AFC Championship.

To learn more about the Houston Oilers, I encourage you to visit this site

Read more NFL news on

Your 2009 NFL All-Rookie Team

Published: December 4, 2009

commentNo Comments

It may be early still, but I am going to name my 2009 NFL All-Rookie Team.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit

The Lions’ first-round draft pick set an NFL rookie record with five touchdown passes in one game, which also tied a team record. He leads all rookie quarterbacks in attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and passing yards per game.


Running Back: Knowshon Moreno, Denver

The Broncos first-round draft pick leads all NFL rookies with 688 yards so far.


Running Back: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

The Eagles second-round draft pick has 528 rushing yards while playing a part-time role much of the season until recently.


Wide Receiver: Percy Harvin, Minnesota

The Vikings first-round pick does a bit of everything. He has 42 receptions, 91 yards on 11 carries, and five touchdowns.


Wide Receiver: Austin Collie, Indianapolis

The Colts fourth-round draft pick has been a huge help towards the Colts undefeated season. He leads all rookies with 43 catches and has four touchdowns already.


Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit

Despite missing two games, the Lions second first-round draft pick leads all rookie tight ends with 30 receptions and has two scores.


Tackle: Michael Oher, Baltimore

He has started in all games, mostly at right tackle, for Baltimore this year, including a few at left tackle when incumbent Jared Gaither was hurt. He shut down All-Pro Jared Allen one game, and has been largely spectacular most of the season.


Tackle: Eben Britton, Jacksonville

The second-round draft pick has started in every game he has played, missing one from injury. He and first-round pick Eugene Monroe should bookend each other for a long time.


Guard: Louis Vasquez, San Diego

Despite missing Week’s Two and Three from injury, this third-round pick has started every game and is a big part of the Bolts’ resurgence.


Guard: Andy Levitre, Buffalo

The second-round pick has started all games for the Bills, and recently showed his versatility by moving to left tackle to replace the injured Demetrius Bell for awhile. He and fellow rookie guard Eric Wood, the first-round pick who started every game until he broke his leg Week 10, should anchor the Bills’ trenches for years.


Center: Alex Mack, Cleveland

He has struggled at times, but his future appears bright. He has started every game for the Browns so far.


Defensive Tackle: Roy Miller, Tampa Bay

The third-round pick has 25 tackles and two sacks so far.


Defensive Tackle: Terrance Knighton, Jacksonville

The Jags’ third-round draft pick leads all rookie defensive linemen with 29 tackles.


Defensive End: Matt Shaughnessy, Oakland

The Raiders’ third-round draft pick has 16 tackles and two sacks.


Defensive End: Everette Brown, Carolina

The first-round draft choice has 15 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 1.5 sacks.


Outside Linebacker: Brian Orakpo, Washington

The Redskins’ first-round draft pick leads all rookies with seven sacks, which is also the 12th most in the league.

Outside Linebacker: Brian Cushing, Houston

The first-round pick leads all rookies with 99 tackles, which is the fifth most in the league. He also has recorded a safety, three interceptions, 1.5 sacks, and defended 12 passes.

Middle Linebacker: James Laurinaitis, Saint Louis

The Rams’ second-round draft pick is second amongst all rookies with 85 tackles, which is the 12th most overall. He also has two interceptions and a sack.

Safety: Louis Delmas, Detroit

The Lions’ second-round pick is third in rookie tackles with 61 tackles, and he has a sack, interception, and touchdown off of a fumble recovery.

Safety: Jarius Byrd, Buffalo

The Bills’ second-round draft pick is leading the NFL with eight interceptions.

Cornerback: Jacob Lacey, Indianapolis

The undrafted free agent, along with third-round pick Jerraud Powers, might be the most valuable rookies to the Colts. Both were thrown into the starting lineup after injuries decimated the secondary.

He is fifth amongst rookies with 56 tackles, Powers is fourth with 58, and he has an interception and 11 passes defended.

Cornerback: Vontae Davis, Miami

The first-round draft pick has two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and he and fellow rookie Dolphin CB Sean Smith appear to have the starting jobs locked up for years ahead.


Kick Returner: Percy Harvin

He has two touchdowns already, which leads the NFL, as does his 29.8 per return average.

Punt Returner: Quan Cosby, Cincinnati

The undrafted free agent is second in the NFL with 30 returns, and third with 335 yards. His 11.2 yards per return leads all rookies.

Kicker: Ryan Succop, Chiefs

The seventh-round selection leads all rookies with 65 points, and has missed just four kicks, one from being blocked, all season.

Punter: Kevin Huber, Cincinnati

The Bengals’ fifth-round choice leads all rookies with 54 punts for 2,453 yards, as well as 18 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Now on with my Week 13 picks.

I went 8-5 last week, dropping me to 109-50.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons

Both teams are in desperation mode right now. A loss will cripple their playoff hopes. The difference is that Atlanta is hurting at quarterback and running back right now.

Eagles 34, Falcons 17


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

The Bucs are not a great team, but their coaching issues are a big part of the problem. Carolina has underachieved all season.

Some Panther fans are happy that Matt Moore may start at quarterback this week, while others think it won’t matter.

Moore is an unknown X-factor, due to his throwing only 69 balls in three years. A toss up, but thinking promising Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman will get the win.

Buccaneers 17, Panthers 16


New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Miami has had some positives this year. They got their young quarterback playing experience, and witnessed the rebirth of running back Ricky Williams. Unfortunately, the Patriots will be too much to handle for the ‘Phins.

Patriots 26, Dolphins 16


Saint Louis Rams @ Chicago Bears

Running back Steven Jackson is beat-up and hurting, but the Rams keep giving him the ball. A big reason is that he is their only weapon, and he is second in the NFL in rushing yards right now.

Chicago is in a turmoil of their own, and fans are calling for massive changes from the coaching staff to the roster. This is a game where Bears QB Jay Cutler steps up.

Bears 23, Rams 17


Detroit Lions @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals need this win bad to maintain a hold of the AFC North. Detroit should consider shutting down prized rookie Matthew Stafford for the year because he is beaten up.

Bengals 27, Lions 13


Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are undefeated for a few reasons besides talent. They are reliant and never quit. Titans QB Vince Young has rallied the team to five straight wins, with running back Chris Johnson a big reason behind it.

If Johnson gets off in this game like he has been doing all season, the Titans have a good chance to deal the Colts that first loss of 2009.

Titans 26, Colts 24


Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Raiders have recently shown a little improvement on offense after a quarterback change. It still isn’t enough to deal with an angry and desperate Pittsburgh team clinging to playoff hopes.

Steelers 31, Raiders 13


New Orleans Saints @ Washington Redskins

I expect a very good Redskins defense to keep this close, but Washington can never close out a game because of terrible coaching.

Saints 26, Redskins 20


San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns

The Bolts are missing three starters on defense, but they have good depth. Their offense has been on fire lately, and will be too much for the worst team in football.

Chargers 41, Browns 9

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Denver is still very much in control of their playoff destiny, but they need to keep winning to stay ahead of teams nipping at their heels. Kansas City is not one of those teams. The Chiefs are trying to finish strong, so it won’t be an easy win for Denver.

Broncos 23, Chiefs 17

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

After losing their last three games, Houston has pretty much buried their playoff hopes. They either rally this week or go home.

Jacksonville was absolutely horrible last week in their loss to the 49ers, and this inconsistency has been the theme of the young team all year.

Texans 27, Jaguars 24



Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Dallas needs this win to keep a game ahead of the Eagles for the race to the NFC East crown. If the Giants lose this week, they are pretty much done. The Jints have failed to dominate the trenches lately, and Dallas needs to take advantage of that.

Cowboys 31, Giants 23

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

The Niners still have faint hopes in winning their division, while Seattle does not. San Francisco is better in the trenches, and they should ride running back Frank Gore’s back to victory.

49ers 27, Seahawks 20

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals

Game Of The Week

This is a scrum that sees two record-setting quarterbacks with a Super Bowl ring in their resumes. Minnesota has an excellent defense, so Arizona must run the ball well to give balance to their offensive attack.

The Cardinals have a good defense themselves, and both can be explosive on special teams. The sharpness of Cards QB Kurt Warner will be key.

Cardinals 38, Vikings 34

Baltimore Ravens @ Green Bay Packers

This will be a very fun game to watch. The biggest weakness of the Ravens is pass defense, while passing is the Packers offensive strength.

The Packers have a good defense, but their offensive line is the key to this game. Baltimore has a very good front seven, and that should make the difference.

Ravens 27, Packers 23

NFL Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Indianapolis Colts

3. Minnesota Vikings

4. New England Patriots

5. Cincinnati Bengals

6. San Diego Chargers

7. Dallas Cowboys

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

9. Philadelphia Eagles

10. Denver Broncos

11. Baltimore Ravens

12. Green Bay Packers

13. Arizona Cardinals

14. Atlanta Falcons

15. Tennessee Titans

16. New York Giants

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

18. Miami Dolphins

19. San Francisco 49ers

20. Houston Texans

21. New York Jets

22. Seattle Seahawks

23. Carolina Panthers

24. Chicago Bears

25. Kansas City Chiefs

26. Oakland Raiders

27. Buffalo Bills

28. Detroit Lions

29. Washington Redskins

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

31. St. Louis Rams

32. Cleveland Browns

Read more NFL news on

Buffalo Bills Need to Lay Off the Turkeys This Year

Published: November 26, 2009

commentNo Comments

Yo! I jus wanna says for furst off dat I wishes yous alls a deelishous dead bird day, capeesh?

Let me intoduece myself too dose of yous dat dont know me.

I iz 7thStoneFromDaSun. I am 3rdStoneFromTheSun’s cuzin, whos yous all know as JW now.

I usually post my procrastinashuns on anothur sight, but since my cuzin iz on a train right now and kant pick, I iz takin ova wit his blessin.

I iz postin our pix for your football games twoday, but givin my insites as too why, sence we agree on the choices.


Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions

Yo, da Lions got dat eeloosive win las weak. Hope dey enjoy it, cause it mite be a minute befour they get one again. They will be starting Culpepper and Johnson mite not play. Not good, capeesh? Expect Ryan Grant to runfor over 100 yards. Dis mite be da game to eat wile its goin on.

Packers 34 Lions 16

Oakland Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys

Da Raiders are da most crazy teem in da game. Dey can kill da Eagles and beet da Bengals, but kant beat nobody else. Dallas has ben horruble on offense da past too weaks, so they iz prime for defeet. What Raiders teem shows up is da issue too gamble on.

Cowboys 20 Raiders 13

New York Giants @ Denver Broncos

Denver has been sinkin faster dan da Titantic da past few weaks. It ain’t az much a souprize as da winnin streak was, capeesh? Da G-Men looked like dey righted the ship last weak after a month of losin. Dis iz a game both teems need to stay alive, so it could be da best game of da day. Problem iz dat half on da cuntry might be asleep in a turkey coma by halftime.

Giants 27 Broncos 26

OK, I gots to go delivur dis bird to my Auntie Rossetta Madonna Scappelleeto. She iz a Saint, capeesh? Den I iz lookin for a fine lady too let me eat wif at her house. If ya got a extra seat at yer tables ladeez, I will help yous wash da dishes. I iz not only a good lookin good fella, I iz a gentilman.



I leave you wif sum babble 3rd sent me on a text message :

News comes out of Buffalo that Mike Shanahan recently spent several hours talking to owner Ralph Wilson. I personally cannot see him working in Buffalo.

He was said to be lined up for the Dallas Cowboys job in 2010 after the Cowboys fall short again and cost Wade Phillips his job as head coach. I can see that over Buffalo for a few reasons.

Dallas has a lot of talent, but lack imaginative coaching on offense to win the big one. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has been mostly terrible, and owner Jerry Jones needs his head examined if he still consider Garrett the head coach of the future for the Cowboys.

Firing Garrett after this season is the right move. He might need to go to the UFL or college to learn his craft some more, because he is not NFL talent. Shanahan would represent a huge upgrade, since he is a head coach who likes to play the role of offensive coordinator.

Phillips could even stay on as defensive coordinator, a role he assumed in Denver while Shanahan coached quarterbacks from 1989 to 1991, and where most observers feel is his best place on the gridiron.

Buffalo might be appealing to him because he could be both the general manager and head coach, something he most likely could not do in Dallas under the megalomaniacal Jones.

There is talent in Buffalo, but it appears the team is years away from putting a roster ready to compete in their division.

Though the 57-year-old Shanahan has experience coaching in cold weather cities, the ready made roster of the Cowboys may too hard to pass up. Then there is the notoriety of coaching the Cowboys as opposed to the Bills from a marketing standpoint.

Give Buffalo a lot of credit for getting a early jump on their search for a head coach. It speaks well to their fans, and shows that the 91 year old Wilson still has a thirst for victory.

There may be quite a few jobs open in the NFL for 2010. Some teams that might have openings are the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, and Carolina Panthers.

Cleveland and Tampa Bay may just get a new general manager, however, considering their head coaches are in the midst of their first season on the job.

The line of experienced coaches with the credentials of Shanahan willing to coach is short, and may only include Mike Holmgren. Holmgren might prefer to be a general manager at this stage of his career, so that makes the list even more sparse.

Whatever Buffalo does with their emanate opening, it has to be a wise selection. Fans saw promise when Hall Of Fame Bills legend Marv Levy returned for a few years as general manager.

When Levy left in 2007, the team has failed to progress. Shanahan would be a big get for Buffalo, so talking him into it now is the right thing to do. It remains to be seen if Shanahan feels that they are right for him too.

Read more NFL news on

Matt Stafford Sets Record In Lions Last Second Win

Published: November 22, 2009

commentNo Comments

Matthew Stafford, of the Detroit Lions, has had a rookie season that can best be described as trying. Both he and his team have struggled all season, which was expected by all observers.

There was a time this season some thought Stafford would be shut down for the season as he struggled with a knee injury. Stafford kept plugging along, and has taken his lumps all season long behind a porous offensive line that does not allow the team offensive balance with a consistent running game.

Coming into today’s game against the lowly Cleveland Browns, Stafford had thrown 12 interceptions against six touchdown passes in the seven games he was able to get on the field and play. Though the numbers may seem unimpressive to some, others feel the rookie has shown great promise thus far.

Stafford showed an even bigger glimpse at his abilities today when he set an NFL and Lions record of five touchdown passes in a game by a rookie. It also ties the franchise record, which was set by Gary Danielson in 1978 against the Minnesota Vikings.

He got the ball rolling forward for his team late in the first quarter with his team down 24-3 by finding rookie running back Aaron Brown on a 26 yard pass play. He added two more in the second quarter, including a 75 yard heave to wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

With the Lions defense playing better in the second half, he added two more with each being a one yard toss to his tight ends. The second was was the most important, because it was with no time left on the clock and secured the Lions an important second win of the season.

Stafford still shows fans that he is a rookie. He did throw two interceptions and was called for intentional grounding while attempting to throw out of the end zone, which resulted in a safety. Now up to 14 interceptions this season, fans realize it may take Stafford a few more years of playing experience, to go with solid drafts to upgrade the surrounding talent, for him to truly show why he was the first player drafted overall this year.

Still, Lions fans have to be happy for the win and the prospects of their young quarterbacks future. Though fellow rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez has gotten more press, due mostly to his playing in the media heavy New York City, it is easy to say Stafford has played better so far.

Though Matthew Stafford might not win the Rookie of the Year Award this season, he is in the record books already. How much further he can delve into both the leagues and his teams records books remains to be seen, but plan on it being fun to watch.

Read more NFL news on

Next Page »