NFL Picks – Week 4

 

You know I would feel bad about how the picks have gone this season (now 7-10 on the year) if my picks weren’t doing better than most!  It has been a messed up season to this point, anyone covering the NFL will tell you that.  But you just have to ride this out if you bet the league.  All things balance out

 

Baltimore at Buffalo

Buffalo +3.5

Turmoil.  The Ravens have the big distraction this week of the bar fight.  I believe the betting public will be sky high on the Ravens because of the blowout win against the Texans, and low on the Bills because they lost to the Jets and the Jets are terrible right? (could be and maybe should be 3-0)  So part of this line could be Vegas baiting you into taking the Ravens.  Don’t take the bait.  The Bills have shown a lot of fight in their 3 games this season and aren’t about to start quitting on the season.  Not yet.  They will, but not this week.  Also, the defending champs will always have a target on their backs.  Love the Bills here.

 

 

Chicago at Detroit

Chicago +3

Love the Bears here.  Both good teams, but the Bears matchup pretty good with the Lions.  Charles Tillman should make Matt Stafford a little nervous when looking to Calvin Johnson, and now he will be without Nate Burlson on the other side so this isn’t looking good for the Lions.  The Bears are really good, and I’m while I’m willing to be patient with some of my preseason predictions like the Seahawks missing the playoffs, I already know that having the Bears finish last in this division was a HUGE mistake on my part.  I’m not ready to say they’ll over take the Pack in the division, but they’re at least going to give them a hell of a run.  Both teams are for real, but the Bears getting points here is a little ridiculous.  I believe this should be a pick’em.

 

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland

Cleveland +4.5

You think they’ll lose that chip they had on their shoulders last week?!  No they won’t.  All the momentum in the world right now for the Browns, and the Bengals are coming off an emotional high last week at home in a comeback win against the Pack.  Add to this, in division games are ALWAYS tough.  To go on the road and beat a team in the same state as you and have something to rally around is just asking too much in my opinion.  The Browns are primed for another upset, but just take the points here in what should be a tight, low scoring game.

 

 

New England at Atlanta

Atlanta -2

As I type this, it’s actually only Atlanta -1.  But the bets have already gone big on the Falcons, so I’m saying this gets to -2.  Still take the dirty birds.  The Falcons are going to be a desperate football team, and the Pats are actually lucky to be 3-0.  They could easily be 1-2.  Their schedule has been the easiest in all of football through 3 weeks.  The Falcons might be only 1-2, but the teams they lost to are a combined 6-0, and both loses were on the road so….yeah, those aren’t exactly bad loses.

 

 

Miami at New Orleans

Miami +6.5

And speaking of those 2 teams the Falcons lost to…not really shocked by either teams record.  I didn’t think the Dolphins would win the first game in Cleveland, but since that win I’ve had a feeling about the fish that they were better than we all thought.  The Saints really didn’t look good until last week.  Now that doesn’t mean the Dolphins will win and the Saints aren’t good.  But the point is that 6 points just seems like too many.  This could be the same type of game for the Dolphins that the 49ers game in Detroit was a few years ago.  Both teams had great records going into the now infamous hand shake game.  The Lions were the team everyone bought heading in (undefeated) and the Niners were just a nice underdog having a cute little season to that point but were going to come back down to earth.  We were all VERY wrong.  This game has the same kind of feel.  Joe Philbin is a good coach, Ryan Tannehill is better than most realize, and both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas are running the ball real well.  Take the fish getting points.

 

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NFL Picks – Week 3

 

I had a 3-2 week, but I’m still only 5-7 on the season.  Unacceptable and as I bitched and moaned about in my college picks I can’t get much for a bounce so far this season.  Actually its not so much about getting a bounce, as it is having all the bounces go against me.  Such is the life of betting sports.  Colin Cowherd’s new thing when making his picks is “we’re betting beer and smokes money, your cable bill is on you….get a job!”  Couldn’t agree more!  Don’t bet what you can’t lose.  But bet your life on these picks….

 

Arizona at New Orleans

Arizona +7

I’m shocked at this line, but then again I’ve been shocked by a lot of lines I was wrong about this season.  But the Cardinals are still for some reason getting underrated by Vegas, or perhaps the public and Vegas is just having fun at their expense.  Anyway, you wouldn’t think these 2 would have a low scoring, defensive struggle but I kind of expect it this week…at least defensive struggle compared to how these teams used to play.  Saints offense is struggling a bit out of the gates despite their 2 wins and the Cardinals have a lot of weapons but don’t have a run game to support Carson Palmer, but they have talent all over the field on the other side of the ball.  Cardinals may not win, but I love them getting 7.

 

Green Bay at Cincinnati

Cincinnati +3

Getting 3 points at home…ok.  The Bengals have a MUCH more complete team.  On a neutral field or in Green Bay I would love the Packers in this spot.  And I know the Bengals are on a short week, but they just match up well with the Pack.  If I’m Jay Gruden this is the week I really look to dominate the middle of the field with Gresham and Eifert.  The Packers simply will not have an answer for them.  They didn’t look that good on Monday night, which is why I believe they’re 3 point dogs here.  Take the Bengals getting points.

 

St.Louis at Dallas

St.Louis +3.5

As you know, I love the Rams and was shocked they didn’t cover that spread last week.  Came close, but a brutal start couldn’t be overcome.  But its a similar matchup this week against the Cowboys.  Lots of talent, but the Rams have them beat on the lines.  And AT&T stadium (I THINK that’s what it is now called) isn’t as tough of a stadium to play in as the Georgia Dome is.  I do think the Cowboys win a tight game, but it will be a tight game.

 

Buffalo at NY Jets

Buffalo +2.5

Bills win this game outright.  I know the Jets will have had 10 days off, that is definitely an advantage.  But man alive is Geno Smith inaccurate.  And the Bills defense is pretty good.  They aren’t great, but they will give Smith as much or more trouble than the Pats defense did.  And I love E.J. Manuel.  He won’t have a good statsistical game this week, the Jets D is still the Jets D.  But he will make some throws, more than Smith, to get the Bills a win on the road.

 

Chicago at Pittsburgh

Chicago -2.5

I found out something about the Steelers on Monday night…they’re bad!  Like REALLY bad!  The Bengals didn’t play well, yet the Steelers were even worse.  Then you have the Bears who have looked great in 2 games thus far and yet the betting public seems to be sleeping on them still.  They don’t trust Jay Cutler.  Well I do this season and the reason isn’t because I’m a Marc Trestman homer.  But it is because Cutler has an offensive mind helping him run the offense in Trestman.  Cutler looks great, and to my surprise their defense has been ok (although 30 points at home to the Vikings isn’t a great sign).  They won’t need to be great vs the Steelers.  I’m one of the very few Roethlisberger supporters, but he has next to nothing to work with on offense.  Bears win by at least a field goal.

 

 

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NFL Picks – Week 2

 

Basically week 1 was like someone bashing my mouth repeatedly with a baseball bat.  Could I get a bounce?!  Vincent Jackson gets tackled by his shoelaces, otherwise the Bucs cover.  Eli Manning has the ball down 6 with timeouts and over 2 minutes on the clock and for once he doesn’t come through.  The Ravens are controlling their game vs the Broncos.  Dallas Clark drops a TD pass right before half, then to start the 3rd quarter Wes Welker’s drop on 3rd down goes undetected and the Broncos go on to route a game that they should have been almost out of by that point.  Nothing went right.  I’m due for a big one, hopefully this week.

 

Cleveland at Baltimore

Cleveland +6.5

Probably 7 or higher by the kickoff.  I’m calling Vegas BS on this one.  They want you to take the Ravens.  Cleveland looked awful last week, and now they’re on the road.  Meanwhile the defending champs looked terrible so they’ll be pissed off and just blow the doors right off the Browns right?  I’m saying its BS.  The Browns have a good defense, and while the Ravens defense will be better it won’t go from awful to the 2000 edition in a week.  It will take time.  Plus, division rivalry, these games are more often than not tighter than expected.  I think this one will be a slug fest, and the Browns keep it close.

 

St.Louis at Atlanta

St.Louis +6.5

Another 6.5, I feel better about this one than the Browns.  The Rams are good, and the Falcons while I have them winning the Super Bowl this season I believe will struggle in the regular season.  They should win this game, but it will be very tight if they do.  The Rams are better on the lines, better on D, and Sam Bradford has a lot of weapons to play with.  Love the Rams in this spot. If you must bet bigger on one game than the others this week, I would suggest the Rams +6.5 is the best bet.

 

Tennessee at Houston

Tennessee +9.5

Again, in division just like the Browns/Ravens game, and the Titans aren’t ANYTHING flashy, but they’re great on the lines and that is a big key.  They can push you around and while Jake Locker isn’t great, if a guy has time to throw he is going to make some plays.  Add to this, I don’t like Matt Schaub’s lack of killer instinct.  He isn’t the type of guy that believes in crushing a team when he has them down.  Its a lot of points to give, so take them.

 

Detroit at Arizona

Arizona +1.5

Colin Cowherd let it slip on yesterday’s show that this will be one of his picks today and I really agree.  The Cards are a team that a lot of people love despite there loss on the road last week.  If you read my stuff you know how high I am on the Rams so that isn’t what I personally would consider a bad loss.  I like the Lions a lot this season, but this is a spot where they haven’t shined even 2 years ago when they were a playoff team.  The Cards match the Lions talent, which few teams do.  And even though he is technically a rookie coach, I’ll take Bruce Arians at home over Jim Schwartz.  Take the points, or take the Cards outright.

 

San Francisco at Seattle

Seattle -2.5

I have to pick the Sunday night game don’t I?!  Heavyweight tilt, and yes I know I don’t have the Seahawks going to the playoffs.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’ll be tough team, especially to start the season.  Didn’t think they would get the win in Charlotte, but Russell Wilson can cover up a LOT of warts.  With 1 big throw he took them from a loss to a BIG win when you consider how tough their schedule is early.  Less than 3 points I like the Seahawks.  Toughest place to play in the league, Kaepernick won’t be able to dominate the Hawks defense like he does the Packers, and Wilson could have a field day with the Niners secondary which of course is the weakness of their elite defense.  Could be wrong here, because I do think it will be a tight game, but I think the Seahawks win a close one by a field goal.

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups

It’s in the game, and so were we

 

So today the good people at Electronic Arts, who have been responsible for me wasting hundreds of thousands of hours over the last 21 years, are set to release NHL 14.  No big deal, from the few ad’s I’ve seen it really doesn’t look much different than the last 6 have been.  But in this game they will feature “NHL 94” mode.  They can try to fix it up anyway they want, try and let kids believe that is how it was in 94.  But no matter what they do, it will never be the original.

 

Now to you, the original may mean terrible audio, graphics, unrealistic play.  For me, it was going to battle with my friend Tyson Lowrie as we attempted to bring the Cup home.  SHOT GOT REAL.  You don’t have succesful Cup runs using the likes of the Senators, Sharks, and Whalers in 94 without being dead serious about it.  If you’re wondering why those were the teams used, it’s simple.

 

You can’t play with a team like the Canucks.  Bure, Ronning and Linden would just snipe all day and Kirk McLean would stop everything in site.  If one of those 3 were to go down with a severe concussion for a period, Geoff Courtnall was there to pick up the slack.  And there was no getting around that blueline, Lumme and Babych allowed the forward group to apply a high pressure forecheck all game long.  So you don’t play with the Canucks and you play with the awful teams and put in the work to really earn it.

 

We would need to do our own scouting reports on our opposition.  I’m not saying that EA Sports analyst Ron Barr was on the take, but he failed to give us any real in depth scouting reports.  And for whatever reason, we always seemed to run into the same official every single game.  Playoff game, exhibition game, he was there.  Never did catch his name.  And man alive was he corrupt.

 

I don’t know how many times Lowire and myself would be screaming about the non calls.  I especially was never one to hide my emotions.  I chewed the guy out over several non calls, and even when we would finally get ones to go our way I would still be reminding him of his incompetance.  “I guess so stripes, I f***ing guess so!” after just about every single call that actually did go our way.  Needless to say that we were indeed “in the game”.

 

But you had to be.  Playing with a teammate isn’t like playing alone.  When you play 94 alone it isn’t exactly challenging weather you’re 10, 20, or 30 years of age.  But when you’re a team it is a whole different animal.  It takes time to get the right chemistry, agree on line combos, put together a game plan, which one of you will bring the beer, which house you are playing at, if you’re younger then which mom will let you stay up later, if you’re older than will girlfriends be understanding of the sacrifice it takes to win a Cup…or 2, it just isn’t as simple as crushing shots and playing a game…although that is very much so a part of it.

 

When you play a playoff game at home in 94, you need to understand that it is VITAL to get your fans into it.  You need to keep them energized with a lot of big hits and high tempo play (actually, the crowd only cheers big hits and every save and since you don’t really want to allow shots on goal, you just have to run around and smoke fools all game).  Gotta get that peak db level up to ear shattering levels.  There is no real reason you need to do this, but since they have a crowd meter it seemed pretty important.

 

Another struggle, was finding enough ink in pens to write down the password if the time came where we had to shut it down for the night, mid playoff run.  A 16 character password left the hand cramped and of course if you didn’t double and triple check it you ran the risk of it being 1 mistake away from total disaster and losing everything you had built up.  A Jay Feaster offer sheet wasn’t anywhere near the disaster that writing down the wrong password to recover your playoff was.

 

But while this all sounds like work, and it was, there was always that reward.  Setting up one timers to not only win OT games, but sweep Stanley Cup finals.  Todd Elik, Andrew Cassels, Sylvain Turgeon, Kelly Kisio, were all great hero’s up front.  The netminding of greats like Peter Sidorkiewicz, Jeff Hackett, and Frank Pietrangelo really were the backbone’s of many great victories.  And the d-men…well….they really did nothing but lay good hits and sometimes knock out star players, only to make miraculous recoveries from what appeared to be severe concussions and play the next period.

 

I GUESS it will be cool to have 94 mode in NHL 14, but it will be nowhere near what it was.  Racking up hours upon hours of playing (and drinking) for the grand prize of hearing the crowd roar 3 times and players look as though they’re having a seizure as they hold something grey that looked basically nothing like a Stanley Cup for maybe 10 seconds…never once giving it to any other of the 4 players on the ice (for some reason, goaltenders failed to show any emotion upon the ultimate victory).  So worth it!

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups

NFL Season Preview – Predictions

 

Ok, so I wrote a little bit on every team, and now I’ve run out of small banter to lead off these season preview pieces, so lets get on with it.

 

AFC wildcard

 

Houston – While I don’t think they win the division, they will get in the dance and I believe they’ll be a threat once they get there.  They haven’t been tested, and in the last 8 or 9 years its the teams who are tested that win the Super Bowl.  So this could be a good thing for the Texans.

 

Cincinnati – I feel like these are 2 easy picks, but every year nearly half of the playoff teams didn’t make it in the previous year.  Bengals fans will not accept another one and done though.  The wildcard will be fine I’m sure, but once they’re in they had better start showing progress.

 

NFC wildcard

 

Atlanta – VERY similar to the Texans.  Being tested in the regular season could be huge for this team.  I really believe that one of those 2 teams is going to the Super Bowl.  In fact, I will be picking one of them to go to the Super Bowl….maybe even win it.  I do believe this team took a big step into the elite of the NFL last season.

 

St.Louis – This was TOUGH to pick.  Tampa, Detroit, Washington, Seattle, Dallas, Minny, it will be a dog fight for this spot in my opinion.  Of course injuries will happen, and things will go wrong for a few teams early that will leave them disheartened like what I believe happened with Detroit last season.  I’m a big fan of what Jeff Fisher is doing in St.Louis and believe they make the jump this season.

 

AFC Championship game

 

New England at Denver – It is just so tough to pick against these 2 teams.  I do love the Ravens this season more than most, but I feel like they bow out.  Indy is just too young.  Same with the Bengals.  And I just do not like Matt Schaub to take the Texans anywhere.  That leaves Tom and Peyton….one last time in the AFC title game.  We got robbed of it last year (although we got a great story that everyone got sick of), but we will get it this year with a little Wes Welker sub plot.  Love it!  Should be a great game if both teams are healthy, and either could win if that’s the case but I have to go with the home field advantage.

 

NFC Championship game

 

Atlanta at Green Bay – I thought hard about the 49ers, but I just feel like Kaepernick is going to take a bit of a step back this season and that it is just so damn tough to go back to the Super Bowl these days, so they get bounced at home in divisional round, perhaps by the Falcons who probably should have beat them last year in the championship game.  Meanwhile the Packers are coming into the season a bit under the radar but if Eddie Lacy can stay healthy and they get him established that will be a HUGE addition come January.  Remember, when they won in 2010 RB James Starks stepping up was a very vital piece to the puzzle.  However, I just like the Falcons to be this year’s Ravens, Giants, Packers, etc, etc.

 

Super Bowl

 

Denver vs Atlanta – This one will be a shootout.  2 high flying offenses in a dom….oh wait, its in New York in what is expected to be brutal weather.  Let’s hope that isn’t the case.  This would have the makings of a classic Super Bowl, not to mention it is the rematch of Super Bowl 33…check that, XXXIII.  If this is a regular season game in Denver OR Atlanta, I’m picking the Broncos.  And I LOVE Peyton Manning, always been a huge fan of his.  But we have seen just too many times him try to do too much in big games and it coming back to bite him.  Again, I feel like the Falcons are just going to be that team which nobody is expecting to do much to start the season and will be that sleeping giant going into the playoffs, and Matt Ryan is the latest QB to make the jump from great to elite.

 

League MVP

 

Andrew Luck – Last year I took Tony Romo….ugh….seriously I actually did that.  I need to make up for that.  But I still love going off the board a little bit and Andrew Luck is a little off the board.  People like him, but I don’t think they realize just how special this kid is.  If the Colts make that jump this season and win the division and end up 12-4 or 13-3 like I believe they could, then he’ll get all the love for that.

 

Offensive Player of the Year

 

LeSean McCoy – Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, on and on and on.  So many choices that are safer than McCoy.  So why him?  Simply, Chip Kelly.  That offense is going to put BIG points on the board, and I really believe Shady is going to fit perfectly for that system.  He runs the ball great, he is a great reciever out of the back field, he is in his prime, and he was great for Andy Reid despite limited use.  It is a hunch, but I like the ingredients here for McCoy to have a huge season.

 

Defensive Player of the Year

 

Ndamukong Suh – YEP!  2nd year in a row I’m saying this and like the Romo pick last year it was humiliatingly horrific!  But it makes more sense this season.  Hearing that Suh is in phenominal shape, as is Nick Fairly.  Ziggy Ansah has looked terrific in the preseason, so that defensive line is really primed for a big season and if they do, it will be Suh who shines the brightest.  Easily the most talented DT in the NFL, he just has to stay focused.  If he can, he’ll get a lot of attention for an award like this.

 

Offensive ROY

 

Tavon Austin – I’m expecting BIG things out of this kid.  I don’t care how small he is (and make no mistake he is SMALL), he is just difficult to catch.  I believe he will be the featured guy right out of the gate in St.Louis and the big reason they’ll make the playoffs this season in the very difficult NFC.  A little like Chris Johnson for Jeff Fisher and if you recall in his rookie year the Titans went 13-3 because Jeff Fisher used him so well.

 

Defensive ROY

 

Barkevious Mingo – I simply love this kid and I believe the media will too.  Cleveland will have a very good defense this season, and Mingo while he has huge talent, will have that talent enhanced by what is around him.  When the Browns are hanging around in the wildcard hunt in the AFC come December it will be largely because of their defense, and Mingo will be looked at as the biggest reason that defense is so good.

 

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups

 

Inside the war room

 

That’s right, the war room…otherwise known as my living room (except for the one leauge where I am the commissioner which is an in person auction…and the last one that I did at the college).  Shot gets REAL (spell check?)  You have no clue what its like if you’re not in the moment.  Butterflies in your stomach, beads of sweat dripping down (I don’t have AC in my house, plus that room at the college…are you freakin kidding me?!?  25-30 dudes in a small room with no AC and its +26 out?!  Sweat everywhere), it is as intense as something nowhere near serious gets.

 

Now, I fully understand everyone’s favorite topic is THEIR fantasy football team, and nobody likes hearing about someone else’s fantasy football team.  I get that, I’m a guy who prides himself on reading people and I try not to be annoying, or in your face, or bore anyone.  Totally get that….

 

But then on the other hand, this is my website….AND YOU WILL READ EVERY DAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY!!!  And no, I didn’t just rip off the movie “The Wedding Singer”.  Let me now take you back (its like I’m taking you on a trip…free of charge….you’re welcome) to the first draft I did this year.  August 15th the “Travis Henry’s Kids” league held their auction.  Big leauge, and the first time participating for “The Zit Remedy”.  I knew all eyes would be on me, afterall this site has over 6 readers a week!  Clearly, people know who I am.  But I’m not proud of what happened that night.

 

I started out strong, snagging Bills RB C.J. Spiller in the 1st round, 9th overall.  Solid start.  I followed that up with a selection of TE Jimmy Graham in round 2.  Early for a TE, but Graham was far and away the top TE available in drafts this season.  So I felt good.  But then….disaster struck.  3rd round, I let an old flame talk me into a 1 night stand I knew I would regret…yet I decided to get in that bed anyway.  Darren McFadden.

 

I selected him with the top pick in my keeper league in 08, he busted until I traded him during the 09 season.  I took him last year in a draft that I in fact won, but it had little to do with “Run DMC”.  Well that slut reared its ugly head in this draft in round 3.  I saw him there, and I just couldn’t look past all the times he let me down, all the headaches he caused, he just looked so damn sexy!  I had to do it, just one more time.  Ugh!  Here we are weeks later and I have a feeling of emptiness….on my roster because one RB spot is occupied by a guy who sucks (on the field I should point out, not elsewhere).

 

The next draft was the big one for me.  I am the commissioner of this draft.  It is an IDP league, it is a keeper league, we select players through an auction with a 25 dollar cap, not a draft.  It is known as the “Kelly Kapowski Fantasy League”.  I guess so.  Now, yesterday I spoke about the Zach Sudfeld mistake, but for the most part I felt good about this one.  I wanted Adrian Peterson, Alex Smith, Zach Sudfeld, Robert Quinn and Chandler Jones.  Got them all, added them to my team that I spent 2 years rebuilding (no joke, spent 240 dollars doing it…wish this was part of the joke).

 

I won that money back last year with my rebuilt team and then some showing true grit and determination in finishing 1st place overall in the regular season.  However, the team known as “Mav & Goose” is getting a Peyton Manning type playoff reputation.  Save the worst for last.  Total choke job by my guys in the first week of the playoffs and my championship ring total remains at 1 (and yes, I bought myself a ring because I’m sweet, obviously).

 

Next on the docket was “Lloyd Fantasy League”.  Let me tell you something commissioner Thomas Miller….that is an oxymoron.  There is no such thing as a “Lloyd fantasy”.  You should know this, clean up your act!  Anyway, “Bayside High” walked into this draft as the defending champ.  And we got to have 2 keepers so I made sure Adrian Peterson and Megatron would still be hanging out at the Max this season.  Felt real good about this draft, and now the pressure is on Bayside to repeat as league champs but as we all know the hardest thing to do in sports is to repeat.

 

Finally, last week was a tough one.  The 20 team, Lakeland College draft.  Splitting the team with Tyrell Ochwar wasn’t easy.  A lot of internal debating, it really was a Jerry Jones/Jimmy Johnson type of working relationship.  Making matters worse, we didn’t pick until 18th overall.  Making matters even worse than that….did I mention how freakin hot it was in there?!  A GD sweat box!  Terrible!  Explanation point!

 

But we made it work.  At 18, we went with the old reliable vet Maurice Jones Drew, or as his friends call him MJD.  We really made chicken salad out of chicken shot (damn spell check).  In a 20 team league, attention to detail is important.  Things got dicey when I had to bail with 5 rounds left in the draft.  T.O. wasn’t in good shape as the 6th and 7th beer went by the wayside he was running on fumes.  But he managed to hold it together and we walked away as satisfied as owners can be with such a bad break.  It will be up to the players on the field, but we feel with good ownership there should be a trickle down effect that shows up on the field.

 

So maybe now you understand?  If you don’t play, you don’t understand the type of pressure that come with owning and running fantasy football teams.  They may call it “fantasy”, but as I said earlier….shot gets REAL (damn I hate spell check).

 

Follow me on twitter where I will tell you everything that goes on with my fantasy teams because I know you want to hear about them @TJ_Soups

NFL Season Preview – NFC East

 

I know what I’ll never make the mistake of again….thinking Tony Romo can play in a big game!  I am LATE to that party, half the people have either gone home or passed out, the alcohol options are very limited, but I made it nonetheless.  Campbell time as a few of my so called friends would say (they’re HORRIBLE people).  That doesn’t mean however I don’t like the Cowboys to possibly make the playoffs.  Romo tries to do too much in big games but when he’s relaxed he is one of the best QB’s in football and that team is one of the most talented teams in the league.  It will be tough to get by a Redskins team that is improving, a Giants team that has 2 rings and is always a threat, and an Eagles team that has a very innovative new head coach.

 

9191. NY Giants

Last year I didn’t like them coming off a Super Bowl win, this year I love them after not making the post season and being overlooked by a lot of people.  Manning is in his prime, JPP is an elite defensive end, David Wilson I love to have a break out season, and of course Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the game.  They don’t have the most talent in the league, but more often than not Coughlin gets what he needs out of his guys to either get them in the playoffs, or get them to a Super Bowl.  Just too much to love about the G men this season not to have them winning this division.

 

im5xz2q9bjbg44xep08bf5czq2. Washington Redskins

Very shocked at how great this team was down the stretch.  It is just incredible what can happen in this league when the team gets the right QB.  It is just like having a great goaltender in hockey, once you get that guy it just lifts the rest of the team to another level.  The Redskins defense was terrible in the first half last season, but when RGIII really started to roll, so did they.  Now I do believe that RGIII will struggle at some point this season.  Not because of the injury, but because of the tug of war that will likely go on between him and Shanahan over Griffin wanting to run and Shanahan wanting him to stay in the pocket.  I expect a similar season, though a tougher out if they make the playoffs, but they won’t win the division.

 

4063. Dallas Cowboys

The league is just so much better when the Cowboys are great, and this team just can’t seem to be great.  Good…but not great.  But they have those ingredients you need to be great.  Nobody is talking about how great this defense could be with Monte Kiffin now running the show.  That is a sleeping giant in my opinion this season.  Bruce Carter is a guy they need to stay healthy, but if he does you will find out just how good he is.  On offense a true number 3 WR has to emerge this season (don’t sleep on Cole Beasley), and DeMarco Murray must stay healthy.  They have the ability to win the division….but won’t.  Not until Tony Romo figures out how to relax in big games.

 

9604. Philadelphia Eagles

Just too many holes on this team and not much to trust other than LeSean McCoy.  I don’t like their defense either.  Lots to love about how they’ll play though.  I don’t expect them to exactly like Chip Kelly’s Oregon teams were, but the offense should be enough like that to make all their games entertaining.  DeSean Jackson will bounce back with a good season, and if Mike Vick goes down as we all expect he will, Nick Foles looked very good in the preseason with this offense so they should be ok.  Little side note…the Eagles play the Redskins in week 1, the over/under is set at 50 as I type this.  That game will be a freakin shootout.  Just sayin….

 

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NFL Season Preview – NFC North

 

The battle here isn’t for first, its for second.  The Packers are going at least 10-6 and probably 11-5.  They’re simply better than everyone else.  But the Vikings, Bears and Lions to me are very evenly matched teams.  If the Lions can get their heads straight then I believe they could easily be a wildcard team.  The Vikings go as Adrian Peterson does.  And the Bears will miss Brian Urlacher on the field, but maybe even more so off the field.

 

dcy03myfhffbki5d7il31. Green Bay Packers

Safe bet here, although the Lions do have a ton of talent.  But I simply won’t be the guy who bets against Aaron Rodgers just to be “that guy”.  They won’t really miss Jennings, they won’t really miss Driver.  If I were Mike McCarthy and Tom Clements I would be looking to establish a legit run game with rookie Eddie Lacy.  They can throw it all over the field and run up the offense, I get that.  But a great run game helps their defense and that D needs all the help it can get.  They’ll win the division, but the bigger question is weather or not they have another Super Bowl run in them.  In the NFC it will be very tough….but they’ll be in the hunt.

 

cwuyv0w15ruuk34j9qnfuoif92. Detroit Lions

There is no reason that defensive line shouldn’t be one of the best in football starting this season.  3 first rounders used on it now in the last 4 drafts, the Lions have trouble moving away from a position once they start drafting it.  At least when they finally got it right at WR, they got it right in a BIG way (no pun intended).  The problem is that outside of Calvin Johnson, they don’t have a lot of established weapons on offense.  They need to start using Brandon Pettigrew more in my opinion.  He is a great blocker, I get that.  But they need guys elsewhere.  Reggie Bush will probably catch 100 balls this season, but they need to spread it out more, and they NEED this defense to finally play up to the level it is capable of.

 

172270420133. Minnesota Vikings

Ain’t no way Adrian Peterson does THAT again!  Simply one of the greatest seasons in NFL history.  But now they’ll need to get some big throws from Christan Ponder, and they made sure he would have weapons at his disposal when he dropped back to make those throws.  This is a big season for Ponder, the jury is still out on weather or not he’s got the ability to be a franchise QB.  I like him better than most, and of course bad fantasy QB means bad QB to a lot of fans out there which simply isn’t the case.  Ponder COULD be a Joe Flacco type….but he COULD also be a Kerry Collins who had a few great seasons but basically was just an OK QB.

 

3644. Chicago Bears

Pretty good team I have finishing 4th in this division, but someone has to.  I’m a BIG believer in Marc Tressman going into Chicago and making that offense one of the best in the NFL.  Where I’m not a big believer is in their aging defense.  Last season to start the year, Charles Tillman was amazing, but that kind of production from DB’s never holds up.  Julius Peppers is still in the mix, but he’s now going into his 12th season if you can believe it.  They’ll put points on the board, and I’m not saying they’ll suck, but I just think they’ll finish last in this division.  But after the Packers, I think its pretty even with the Lions, Vikings and Bears.

 

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NFL Season Preivew – NFC South

 

Maybe the most underrated division in football the last few seasons.  True, only 2 times has a Super Bowl champion ever come out of this division, but there is no weak link.  The Falcons took a step last season and now must be considered among the elite teams in the NFL.  The Saints will be much improved this season now with Sean Payton back and the bounty gate mess not serving as a massive distraction like last season.  I like the Bucs a lot and think they would be a playoff team in the AFC, and the Panthers have the talent to be a playoff team, I just question weather or not Cam Newton can become a good leader.  If he can, they’re in the hunt too.

 

9071. New Orleans Saints

Yes, I have them 1st over the Falcons.  Maybe I just feel adventurious this season, picking a lot of teams to win divisions that most don’t.  But make no mistake, this will be a HIGHLY motivated Saints team this season.  I’ve always felt they’ve had the talent to be a very good defense, and now Rob Ryan will take his shot at making them a very good defense.  Meanwhile the clock is now ticking on Drew Brees.  34 years old, sure he has a ring but this is the type of guy who isn’t satisfied with just one.  The offense is great, the defense could be great, their head coach is back, they’ll be highly motivated, and they don’t wear as big of a target as the Falcons will.

 

2992. Atlanta Falcons

Yes, they’ll wear a pretty big target.  Not one like the 49ers or Broncos will wear, but big enough to take the division title away.  This would be the 5th year in a row that the Saints and Falcons will have alternated division wins.  However I do love this Falcons team, and they will be in the playoffs as a wildcard team.  That offense should be even better now with Stephen Jackson replacing Michael Turner.  The big question is weather or not that defense can get them to the Super Bowl.  If they play the way they did in the first half of last season, it is.

 

10463. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Again, I really like this team.  I like Greg Schiano as their head coach, I like what they have on defense, I like the talent they have surrounding Josh Freeman on offense, and I like Josh Freeman and don’t really get why so many people think he’s on the QB hot seat down there.  Mike Glennon isn’t the answer, at least not anytime soon.  Freeman has ALL the tools to be the type of QB that can take a team to a Super Bowl.  As I said above, this would be a playoff team in the AFC, but they’ll be in tough to be that in the NFC having to face this division.  However, the ingredients are there to make it happen.

 

f1wggq2k8ql88fe33jzhw641u4. Carolina Panthers

The biggest difference between the Panthers and the rest of the division is that I trust Drew Brees, I trust Matt Ryan, and I even trust Josh Freeman as leaders more than I trust Cam Newton.  Time to grow up here Cam.  If he does, then the sky is the limit for him.  Enough with the Superman BS, make a play and get your ass back to the huddle.  If I’m saying that, I can only imagine what the coaches and a veteran like Steve Smith would say to him.  Meanwhile that defense was quietly one of the best in football last season and I have no reason to believe that won’t continue.  Luke Kuechly is ELITE, and a healthy Jon Beason would be scary.  Like the Bucs, they probably are a playoff team in the AFC.

 

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NFL Season Preview – NFC West

 

Well this is without a doubt the best division in football, which is mind blowing when you think about the fact that the Seahawks won it just 3 seasons ago with a 7-9 record.  It was the joke of the NFL.  Jeff Fisher essentially picked the Rams over the Dolphins job because the NFC West was a lighter division.  Look at things today, and the NFC West is a slug fest, while the AFC East is a cake walk!  You could make a case for any of these 4 teams winning the NFC this season, that’s how incredible it is.

 

179945520091. San Francisco 49ers

For the 3rd year in a row the Niners will be division champs and are once again a serious threat for the Super Bowl.  No Crabtree will hurt, and Kaepernick will have some struggles this season.  There is no way he won’t, nobody had much film on him last season, and in season it is very tough when something new like the pistol comes along (look at the wildcat in its first season), but they’ll still win the division with a 10-6 or 11-5 record.  If they are better than that in this division it will be incredible, but then again if any team in the league has the talent and coaching to do that it is the Niners.

 

10292. St. Louis Rams

Yes, ahead of the Seahawks.  I’m a big believer in what the Rams are doing.  LOVE Jeff Fisher.  Don’t love but like Sam Bradford and now he has Jake Long protecting him and a highly talented playmaker at his disposal in rookie Tavon Austin, not to mention Chris Givens being a great deep threat.  And that defense is going to be elite sooner rather than later, especially the defensive line.  Quinn, Brockers, and Long could be scary good.  Big talent in the secondary as well led by veteran Courtland Finnegan.  I really believe this team will give the Niners a run for their money as division champs this season.  Won’t win it, but challenge.

 

pfiobtreaq7j0pzvadktsc6jv3. Seattle Seahawks

Yep, 3rd and I almost put them 4th.  I LOVE Russell Wilson, and he is the type of QB who can cover up a lot of warts a team may have, but I just think they have too many to cover up.  I don’t believe in Pete Carroll, I think they have way too many guys with character and off field issues, and the division is so tough that if things started going wrong I could see this team imploding.  I don’t for a second deny how much talent this team has, but there are just WAY too many off the field issues in that locker room.  The 05 Bengals were amazing and everyone’s Super Bowl pick the next season, and the off field BS caught up with them.  I’m saying the same thing happens here.  I just made a lot of friends hate me….

 

kwth8f1cfa2sch5xhjjfaof904. Arizona Cardinals

Man I’ll tell you, I have them finishing last in this division but I think this team is competing for a playoff spot until at least week 16.  Peter King last I heard was going to predict them as a playoff team.  Carson Palmer is without a doubt the x-factor, and I’m not a big enough believer in their run game or offensive line to put them higher than this, especially now with 1st round pick Jonathan Cooper out for the season.  But they should put points on the board, they already have a very good defense, and Bruce Arians was a great hire as head coach so needless to say I’m a fan of what the Cardinals are doing.

 

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