Category Archives: NFL

My Super Bowl Prediction

By BJ

I may have only gotten half of the conference championship picture right, but did you really pick the 49ers over the Saints and the Giants over the Packers?

And I’m glad I didn’t get in a post on the conference championship previews like I intended. I went with an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl. (Hey, one play in either game could’ve made that happen.) But enough about trifles, on with Super Sunday.

Super Bowl XLVI

Tale of the Tape: Week 9 – NY Giants 24, New England 20. This game was won without Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks, who should contribute big in the Super Bowl. So what points to the Pats having any shot in the rematch?

First, what won’t happen. ESPN’s Dan Graziano stated that Brandon Jacobs needs to come up big for the Giants to win. Sorry, Jacobs is not the X-Factor. Despite 72 yards and a touchdown against the Pats in the first meeting while filling in for Bradshaw, Jacobs will take a backseat with limited touches. He has under 25 rushing yards in three of the last four games – all wins.

Similarly, Ron Gronkowski, who should otherwise be able to tear up the Giants’ D, is not at 100% with a nasty ankle sprain suffered at the end of the game against the Ravens. Reports of him trotting in practice without a limp say very little about his condition. He had his walking boot removed on Tuesday and might not be well enough to beat the secondary for his customary long, over the middle routes. I can see under 60 yards and no scores for the behemoth tight end, which gives Brady one less target to throw to.

Speaking of Brady, he’s coming off his worst game of the season and his first without a single touchdown pass, snapping a 35-game streak. But he’ll bounce back with what I expect to be a flawless effort against the team who gave him his only Super Bowl loss four years ago. If he doesn’t–and let’s not forget the Giants made Aaron Rodgers look like a QB playing in his first playoff game in the divisional playoff game–the Giants cap one of the most impressive postseasons in history.

MVP: Tom Brady – In a high-scoring affair, the only one I can see taking this away from the franchise QB is Wes Welker, who had 9 catches for 136 yards in the two teams’ first meeting. (Santonio Holmes won MVP honors two years ago with 9 catches for 131 yards and 1 TD, albeit the game winner with under a minute left.) However, Welker has been held to under 60 receiving yards in 4 of his last 5 games and Gronkowski is hobbled so the obvious choice would be Brady, whose optimal game–wait for it–could go north of 350 yards and 4 scores.

New England 31, NY Giants 28

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NFL Playoff Predictions

By BJ

Wild Card

AFC

Houston over Cincinnati – These two teams actually met in Week 14 with the Schaub-less Texans scoring the game-winning touchdown with two seconds left at Cincinnati. Now that this game will be on Houston’s turf and rookie Andy Dalton having postseason jitters, the Texans won’t have to dig themselves out of a hole this time.

Pittsburgh over Denver – The Broncos are the worst team in the playoffs, not only by record, but in my eyes, they’re not even the best team in their division (they’d lose at home to San Diego if they played this week). Tim Tebow has come down to Earth and will close out the season with four straight losses. He’ll finish the 2011 season 7-5 as a starter, but more importantly, 0-3 against playoff teams by an average deficit in the first two contests by 26.5 points. Kyle Orton was 1-1 against playoff teams in the first five games. Steelers by 25.

NFC

New Orleans over Detroit – The Saints took care of the Lions at home in Week 13, 31-17, and the score this time around should be similar. Both QB’s–both 5,000 yard passers this season–will put up big numbers, but the record-holder will rack up the touchdowns and the W.

NY Giants over Atlanta – If the right Giants show up, they should win a close one. They may have home-field advantage, but they have an NFC playoff-worst 4-4 home record.

Divisional

AFC

Baltimore over Houston – The Ravens took care of Matt Schaub and the Texans 29-14 in Week 6. It won’t get any easier with T.J. Yates at the helm.

New England over Pittsburgh – The Steelers beat the Pats 25-17 in Week 8, but so many things scream about as an aberration or a red flag. NE: Tom Brady was held to under 200 passing yards; Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker combined for 133 receiving yards and no touchdowns. None of that will happen again. Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball a season-high 50 times, although that may happen again if Isaac Redman has a game anything similar to what he had the last time out against New England. The new starter had seven carries for just 11 yards; Rashard Mendenhall went 13 for 70. The Pats, along with the Saints, roll into the playoffs as the hottest team, having scored at least 27 points in each of their last eight games – all wins. Oh, and this time it’s in Foxborough.

NFC

Green Bay over NY Giants – The Giants lose by 3 to an (almost) undefeated team in the regular season, then beat them in the playoffs. Sound familiar? The Pack will be at home for this one, unlike that Week 13 scare, but this could be closer than most people think.

New Orleans over San Francisco – It’s too bad the best defense in the NFC never faced the Packers or Saints. The best offense they faced all season was the Lions in a tough 25-19 win. The 49ers also have the lowest-scoring offense out of all the NFC playoff teams, and they won’t be able to keep up with the Saints, who will put up points.

Conference

AFC

Baltimore over New England – The Pats are the popular pick to make it to the Super Bowl, but their No. 1 seed in the AFC has been padded by an absolutely weak strength of schedule. They’ve played just three playoff teams all year and have gone 1-2, including a 25-17 loss to defensively-stout Pittsburgh, their lowest points scored all year. The Ravens sneak into Super Sunday.

NFC

Green Bay over New Orleans – The Packers won the season opener against the Saints 42-34. Expect another shootout from the previous two Super Bowl winners and the same victor in what should be the most entertaining game of the playoffs and the real Super Bowl matchup.

Super Bowl XLVI

Green Bay over Baltimore – While the Ravens deserved this trip to Indianapolis, this game is a mismatch. The best offense they faced all year was the Chargers, who blew them out 34-14. This one could get that ugly, as the Packers repeat as champions for the first time since the Patriots did it in 2005.

MVP – Aaron Rodgers – I could see Jordy Nelson stealing this away with 100+ yards and a couple of touchdowns while Rodgers holds it to under four touchdown passes or not without a couple of turnovers. But the obvious choice is Rodgers, who hoists the championship belt (aka the Super Bowl MVP award) for the second time in a row, joining Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw as the only players to do so and capping the greatest season ever for a quarterback.

Injustices Across Sports Pt. 2

By BJ

College Basketball

Last Sunday, suspensions were handed down to the players involved in the Cincinnati-Xavier on-court brawl that ended the game early. The most egregious act came from Cincinnati’s best player, senior Yancy Gates, who sucker-punched an opposing player a la LeGarrette Blount.

Blount, if you remember, was also a senior in 2009 and sucker-punched an opposing player immediately after a season-opening loss

Blount

to Boise State in 2009. His punishment? Suspended for 10 games. Blount went undrafted in the following year’s NFL draft but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he became the team’s primary back in Week 7.

With that precedent, I would’ve liked to see Gates suspended for the rest of the season (at least 23 games) but would’ve found 20 games reasonable, roughly the same number of weeks Blount missed before returning right before the season ends and the playoffs. His punishment? Suspended for six games, along with two teammates.

That is an absolute travesty, considering how unlike with Blount’s

Frease - the martyr.

victim, Kenny Frease did not provoke Gates before the hammer punch, and he was immensely bloodied. What also isn’t mentioned is how Gates punched a second Xavier player in the face but received the same suspension that two others got, including one who stomped Frease on the ground, and just two more games than two Xavier players got, all while Gates is the only player to throw punches.

It sure is nice to be coddled with superstar treatment. To mitigate the

Gosselin before and after.

backlash of the short suspension, Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin offered tough words, saying that no player would automatically be allowed back on the team after serving their suspension; rather, Cronin would have to be fully convinced that the players were remorseful. What a load of bull. That’s about as unbelievable as saying Kate Gosselin didn’t have any plastic surgery done on her face. The players will be back asap, and if not, for a very short time that won’t make up for what the true suspension should be.

In the first game since the brawl, Cincinnati handled Wright State by 20; then-No. 9 and 8-0 Xavier lost to Oral Roberts by 22 at home. Got to love how karmic justice works sometimes.

NFL

Tuesday, James Harrisonwas suspended one game for his vicious

The hit.

helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless QB Colt McCoy that left him with a concussion. Yes, it was the first suspension arising from a play on the field, but in comparison to Ndamukong Suh‘s two-game suspension for stomping and Harrison’s rap sheet, again, we have a suspension that falls far short of the crime.

One fan made a comment that rings so true. He said that the worst Suh could’ve done with his stomping is bruise the fallen player’s arm; Harrison could’ve, and likely did, give someone long-term brain damage. The linebacker has recorded his fifth flagrant hit on a quarterback, making him and Suh among the league’s dirtiest players.

The unsurprising response from Harrison: it shouldn’t even have been flagged, he appealed the one-game suspension, which he lost and he’s not going to change the way he plays. I fully expect Commissioner Goodell to push the envelope the next time Harrison goes dome-first on a defenseless player. And there will be a next time.

Favre: What Should I Do?

By Chris Le

“Brett Favre” takes a page from LeBron and asks us — the fickle, judgmental masses — what he should do to please us.  This commercial is a start.

Harrell to Play in CFL

By Bryan Jeon

After setting the Division I record for career touchdown passes (134), Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell went undrafted in April’s

Sacked.

Sacked.

seven-round NFL draft. Guys like Purdue’s Curtis Painter, West Texas A&M’s Keith Null and Fresno State’s Tom Brandstater did get drafted. A workout with Cleveland proved fruitless, meaning he didn’t have the stuff to unseat unproven Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson from the depth chart.

A system player, no doubt. Too small? He’s 6’3,” 205, the same height but about twenty pounds lighter than the three drafted QB’s. It’s tough to say how he’d play out in the bigs, but don’t expect a couple of dominant years in the CFL before being picked up by an NFL team.

If his career turns out to be anything similar to Timmy Chang‘s from Hawai’i, this is the last we’ll hear of Harrell. Chang hardly played two years of CFL, throwing for one touchdown and seven interceptions, was dropped by two teams in six months and is currently out of the game. Good luck with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Graham.

Favre Sets July 30 Deadline

By Bryan Jeon

What’s with all the Brett Favre hate? I can’t find a single person who’d want him on his team, let alone Vikings fans.  I mean, what’s the reasoning? That Favre will  only give you one year, when the Vikings should be building on Tarvaris Jackson, who has improved each year? That Favre is a has-been who doesn’t know when to quit? His completion percentage, touchdowns and QB rating last year are all up there with his career averages. I would be confident handing the ball to Favre every game. And quite frankly, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, Coach Childress and Adrian Peterson are all cool with Favre’s arrival, if that were to happen. So why aren’t you?

The 39-year-old future Hall-of-Famer has been practicing three times a week with the local high school football team,

Why dont you want me?

In yo' face, haters!

but his biggest concern is whether his arm can last him through the entire season. With the surgery successful and his velocity back to NFL-speed, I’d wager Favre plays through for one final year.

[From the AP] [The other day] he tossed a deep pass to a college receiver who dropped by to work out. The pass split the receiver’s hands and hit him in the face.

“He’s a senior from Southeastern Louisiana, so I put a little more on it,” Favre said with a smile.

Yes, the Vikings won their division last year, but to get to the next level (and the reason why they lost to Philly in last year’s opening round), they need a better passing game. Zero TD passes and giving the other team one on an interception return ain’t going to win you a playoff game. And hey, if he goes on the bench for whatever reason, at least you’ve got a leader and a mentor for Jackson, who could learn a thing or two from the great one.

Lay Off Hochuli

By Chris Le

It was one of the dumbest calls I’ve seen in a while. Not to mention costly on the part of the San Diego Chargers, who effectively lost the game. It was even dumber than DeSean Jackson’s brain fart one yard away from pay dirt.

But Ed “Hercules” Hochuli’s missed call on a Jay Cutler fumble doesn’t deserve the wrath it has been given. The rule itself most definitely is worthy of reproach—but not Hochuli. It’s time to let him off the hook for making a human error that has happened a hundred times before.

Hochuli, voted by NFL coaches as the best referee in the league in 2008, was man enough to admit the blown call and immediately apologized to Chargers Coach Norv Turner. I’m sure no one wanted to overturn the call more than Ed himself. So let’s give the guy a break.

The fact that this “demerit” might cost Hochuli a chance to ref in the postseaon is an overreaction, particularly with one as decorated as Ed.  He’s not a good referee; he’s a great one. So these idiots who are showering hate emails on him need to get a life.

On second thought, Hochuli might want to get a life too since he’s answering each and every one of those emails.