Monday, January 30, 2012

NLL Game Balls and Power Poll #4

Please visit Buffalo Stuff to read my weekly National Lacrosse League Power Poll and Game Balls

This week(Jan. 30)

Prior Weeks
Week 3 (Jan. 23)

Week 2 (Jan. 16)

Week 1 (Jan. 9)

Friday, January 13, 2012

NFL Divisional Round Picks

After a 3-1 wild card weekend, I am feeling pretty good heading into this weekend. All four matchups can easily be toss ups, but after breaking them down, I think we can forecast the winners.

New England vs. Denver, Saturday at 8 p.m. on CBS
Yes, I understand the Patriots won the regular season matchup with a lopsided final score. Fact is Denver shredded the Patriots on the ground in the first half, but Denver fumbled the game away in the second half. New England’s defense is the worst in the NFL and the Broncos offense is much more efficient. I like the Broncos passing game against Pats D. Add to this that Tom Brady does not do well under pressure, expect the Broncos to bring the house at him with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. New England has lost their last three playoff games and in each, the offense has been awful. Back-to-back home playoff losses only add to the pressure on the Patriots who haven't defeated a team that finished with a winning record this season.
Denver 17, New England 14

New Orleans v. San Francisco, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on FOX
The 49ers are the best defense in the NFL, but the Saints have the most dangerous offense in the league. I don’t think the Saints will hang 600 yards on the Niners as they did last week vs. the Lions. RB Darren Sproles will be the X-factor in this game. If Drew Brees can find him in open spaces, he will have a big day. New Orleans has struggled against the power run game and Frank Gore will be looking to get a lot of touches. This may turn into a shootout and San Francisco just won’t be able to keep up. Drew Brees can’t be slowed down, even if the field is not in top shape.
New Orleans 34, San Francisco 24

Baltimore v. Houston, Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS
These two teams had a great game in the regular season with Baltimore winning with a strong fourth quarter. That game also featured Matt Schaub, not T. J. Yates. The Ravens defense is too skilled and disciplined to allow a third string QB to beat them. Baltimore has struggled lately in the playoffs, but that was on the road. Ray Lewis wants another ring and will not let his boys settle for anything but a strong home showing.
Baltimore 21, Houston 16

New York v. Green Bay, Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on FOX
Three weeks ago, this would have been an easy pick: Green Bay. The Giants have been playing outstanding football the last month. QB Eli Manning has looked like an elite signal caller and his WRs have made huge plays. The Giants defensive line has played big during this stretch as well. The Packers have been the best team in the NFL all year and QB Aaron Rodgers has been light years ahead of defenses in 2011 and will put a lot of points on the board. The Packers defense is not strong and give up tons of yards so if it is a battle of offenses, I have to side with the discount double check.
Green Bay 38, New York 31

Friday, January 06, 2012

Wild Card preview

Before we take a look at what is going to happen this Wild Card round, lets take a quick review of how my predictions from August panned out:

I correctly forecast the Buffalo Bills at 6-10 (yes, I will pat myself on the back, especially after not wavering during their hot start).

Preseason predicted AFC Playoff teams:
1- San Diego (ok, I did drink the kool-aid on Norv Turner. Never again.)
2- New England
3- Baltimore
4- Indianapolis (this was pre- Manning surgery)
5- Pittsburgh
6- Houston

Preseason predicted NFC Playoff teams:
1- Green Bay
2- New Orleans
3- Dallas (I should have known Romo and a Ryan brother would fail me.)
4- St. Louis (This may have cost Steve Spagnuolo his job.)
5- Atlanta
6- Detroit

Baltimore 20, San Diego 17

Green Bay 35, New Orleans 31

Green Bay 24, Baltimore 20

I am sticking with my conference champions and Super Bowl teams. How they get there will be a different story.

Cincinnati @ Houston
For the first time in the Super Bowl era, two rookie QBs will be starting. Although Cincy’s Andy Dalton has been the starter since day one and Houston’s T. J. Yates is the third starter for the Texans this year, the Texans get the nod. Houston has a stronger defense and a better running game. The Bengals defense will struggle to keep Arian Foster in check. Houston 24, Cincinnati 14

Pittsburgh @ Denver
Pittsburgh took their regular spot in the playoffs, this time as a wild card while Denver limped into the playoffs despite winning the AFC West by default. It seems kind of silly for a 12 win team to have to go on the road to play an eight win team, but we did see a seven win Seattle team defeat a much better New Orleans team last season in the Northwest. History will not repeat itself. Pittsburgh’s defense is too disciplined and will force Tim Tebow to beat them with his arm which he is not able to do. Big Ben is hurting, but we have seen him be spectacular in the postseason so the Steelers are the pick. Pittsburgh 16, Denver 6

Atlanta @ New York
Atlanta had a very good season with a balanced offensive attack. New York struggled a bit late in the year, but started to gel at the right time. The last time they did that, they won the Super Bowl. QB Eli Manning has been playing like an elite signal caller and the Giants will ride his arm to the next round. New York 28, Atlanta 24

Detroit @ New Orleans
This will be the most exciting game of the weekend. Well, if you like defense, you may want to divert your eyes. Drew Brees and Matt Stafford combined to pass for more than 10,500 yards and 87 TD passes. Whichever defense makes the first stop (as in a punt, turnover or field goal) will win. I think I trust the Saints defense just a little more. New Orleans 45, Detroit 38

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Game Balls and Penalty Flags- Regular Season Final

The 2011 NFL season is in the books and the playoffs await. But, before we look at the matchups, lets honor some outstanding performers and of course condemn some others.


Eli Manning, QB NY Giants: Manning showed he is one of the best in the league as he put his team on his shoulders going 24 of 33 for 346 yards three TDs and no picks.

Victor Cruz, WR NY Giants: Great find by the Giants personnel department. A fantastic season capped by six catches for 178 yards including a 74 yard score to start the game.

Rob Gronkowski, TE New England: The Amherst native completed the greatest statistical season by a TE with eight grabs for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He set NFL records for yards and TDs by a TE this season.

Drew Brees, QB New Orleans: Brees passed for 389 yards and five TDs as the Saints end the season on an eight game win streak. Brees set records for passing yards with 5,347, 468 completions, and completing 71.6 percent of his passes, breaking his own 2009 NFL record 70.6 completion percentage.

Matt Flynn, QB Green Bay: The Packers sat soon-to-be MVP Aaron Rodgers and his back-up did his best discount double check with 480 yards and six TD passes. Flynn wins the 2011 Matt Cassel award as some team will grossly over pay for him to be their starter next season.


Rex Ryan, Head Coach NY Jets: If Rex is going to run his mouth in March that the Jets will win the Super Bowl, the least he could do is actually make the playoffs. The Jets under achieved and that rests with the head coach. They needed a win against the division rival Dolphins and laid a collective egg.

Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator Dallas: Ryan's defense was awful down the stretch and failed to keep the Giants out of the end zone in crunch time. Eli Manning and co. racked up over 450 yards of offense against Ryan's swiss cheese D.

Stevie Johnson, WR Buffalo: One step forward, eight steps back for Johnson. He keeps saying he is going to be more disciplined, then pulls another stunt to throw off his team. Johnson scored a TD only to show a "Happy New Year" sign on his undershirt drawing a flag. Then, he was benched for violating a team rule essentially put in place because of him.