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Super Bowl Everything Part One

January 31, 2014 in Superbowl 48, Uncategorized

Are you tired of weather forecasts, Richard Sherman and ex-NFLers on radio shows peddling everything from sports drinks to web sites? I know I am. With time now being counted down by hours instead of days, the excitement for Super Bowl XLVIII is rising in the city that never sleeps, as well as around the football world. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:20 on Sunday night and with little time to talk about the game remaining, let’s get down to the important facts, the ones that actually mean something about the game that all of this nonsense is centered upon.

As a writer, blogger or whatever they are calling people like myself these days, it is hard to come up with “new information” or facts about a game of this magnitude. Most of what matters has been written or is left over from previous games. With that in mind, I have gone through article after article on web site after website and selected the best of the best facts about the game and the teams and mixed them in with my own research. Here is a compilation of what I deem the most important stats and facts about Super Bowl XLVIII. And if they aren’t important to you, I at least hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Part one will deal with the game and some about the teams. Part two will have facts and stats about the teams and some of the more notable participants. Enjoy!

Let us first look at some facts about the game itself.

But—As a Ravens fan, let’s have one last look back—–shall we:flaccocelebratesindenver

Last year's Super Bowl featured several distinctions.  The AFC North is now 3-0 during Super Bowls against the NFC West. Jacoby Jones' two touchdowns made him the second player in the history of the Super Bowl to have two scores of 50 or more yards; Washington's Ricky Sanders is the other (XXII). Jones' 290 combined yards were a Super Bowl record. The Ravens were the 21st Super Bowl champion that did not trail at any point during the game. San Francisco became the first Super Bowl team to have a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers during the same game. More than 164 million people watched the game, making it the most-seen television program in history.

Last year’s game was also the first game to be interrupted by a power outage but Super Bowl X was interrupted when a blimp crashed into the Orange Bowl, as the Cowboys & Steelers played—oh wait— that was a movie called Black Sunday!

Feb. 2 will be the first Super Bowl to be held in the New York metropolitan area. Miami and New Orleans hold the record, each having hosted 10 games. Thirty-three of the 48 Super Bowls either have or will have been held outdoors. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., built on the site of the demolished Giants Stadium, will become the 22nd different stadium to host the game.

Teams that play their home schedule in an indoor facility are 3-3 during Super Bowls, but, for the fourth straight year, both conference champions (Seahawks, Broncos) played outdoor home schedules.

The NFC representative (or the pre-merger NFL champion) has won 25 Super Bowls, three more than the AFC (or pre-merger AFL champion). The NFC has won four of the last six games, as the Ravens ended the NFC’s three game winning streak last season.

Teams that are the home squads for the game — the team with jersey choice — are 20-27 during Super Bowls. The Broncos are that team this year, as the AFC representative is the home team for even-numbered Super Bowls.

With the jersey choice, Denver will wear its orange jerseys, with which it is 0-3 during Super Bowls. Teams that wear white jerseys have won eight of the last nine Super Bowls and are 29-18 in the Big Game. As the home team, the Broncos will also occupy the sideline closest to the main television camera (bottom of the screen) and their logo will appear in the end zone on the right-hand side of the field.

This year's game will mark the fourth meeting of top seeds since the current playoff and seeding system went into effect in 1990. In 1991, Washington beat Buffalo (XXVI), and Dallas beat the Bills two years later. After that game, it was 16 years before top seeds met again, with New Orleans topping Indianapolis (XLIV).

Super Bowl XLVIII pits the top offense team in the NFL this season vs. the top defensive team in the league in 2013. The last and only other such occurrence since the 1970 merger featuring the No. 1 total offense (yards gained) versus the No. 1 total defense (yards allowed) was Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 1 in yards allowed) dismantled Rich Gannon and the top ranked Oakland Raiders offense (No. 1 in yards gained).

This will be the fifth time since the AFL and NFL merged that the league’s top-scoring offense played the top-scoring defense in the Super Bowl, the first since the Buffalo Bills(top offense) and New York Giants(top defense) met to close the 1990 season.

Denver was first in scoring offense this year, tallying an NFL record 606 points. Teams that have led the league in scoring are 10-8 during Super Bowls. Of the next eight teams on the all-time scoring list, not one went on to win the Super Bowl.

Does defense win championships—you be the judge!

Led by Richard Sherman, Seattle's defense and its "Legion of Boom" secondary finished the regular season ranked first in total and scoring defense. It ranked first in points per game allowed, yards per game allowed, passing yards per game allowed and total takeaways. It was seventh in rushing yards per game allowed. However, getting to the top spot did not happen overnight. Seattle's defense has shown great progression since Pete Carroll took over as head coach. The unit ranked 27th overall in 2010, improved to ninth in 2011, fourth in 2012 and first in 2013.

The Denver's defense was maligned during the first 14 games, giving up 26.6 points and 371.5 yards per game. But in the past four games, including two in the postseason, the Broncos have turned stingy, allowing just 15 points and 268.5 yards per game. Sounds eerily similar to a defense in Indy about seven years ago when the Colts "D" was horrible in the regular season but amazing in the playoffs. In the AFC Divisional round that year, Manning and the Colts failed to score a TD but still beat the Ravens in Baltimore behind five field goals.

Teams that have topped the scoring defense chart, as Seattle did in 2013, have won 12 of 15 Super Bowls. This is the fifth matchup of such teams, with the top defensive team winning three of the previous four games, the exception being San Francisco's 55-10 win against Denver during Super Bowl XXIV in New Orleans.

The difference between Denver's points scored and Seattle's points allowed is the largest gap between opponents in Super Bowl history. The Broncos scored 606 points in the regular season, while the Seahawks allowed 231 points, for a differential of 375 points. The next closest differential involves the 1984 Dolphins and 49ers, with a point differential of 286 points.

A Flip of the Coin:

large_83333_Super-Bowl-48-Gold-Flip-CoinTeams that win the coin toss are 22-25 during Super Bowls. Ever since deferring the choice became an option, Super Bowl coin-toss winners — including the Ravens last year — have elected to defer during three straight games and four of the last five. … NFC teams had won 14 consecutive coin tosses before New England and Baltimore won the last two flips. Teams that score first are 31-16 during the Super Bowl.

 

By the way, In 47 Super Bowls, heads has turned up 24 times and tails 23.

Teams that lead at halftime are 35-10; two games have been tied after the first 30 minutes: Super Bowl XXIII (Cincinnati-San Francisco, 3-3) and Super Bowl XXXIX (New England-Philadelphia, 7-7). Bronco fans are hoping their team leads when Bruno Mars takes the stage Sunday night. Denver is now 14-1 all time in the postseason when leading at halftime, including 5-0 in AFC title games—but—the one loss– Super Bowl XXI, when the Broncos led the Giants 10-9 at halftime before losing 39-20.

Special Teams & Turnovers Always a Key:

The teams that have had the greater time of possession are 35-12.

There have been nine kick-return scores throughout Super Bowl history, including three by members of the eventual winning team (Desmond Howard, XXXI; Jermaine Lewis, XXXV; Jacoby Jones, XLVII).

There have been eight safeties throughout Super Bowl history but the one Arizona recorded three years ago was the first not credited to a player (holding in end zone). The same thing happened two years ago, when the Giants scored first on a New England end-zone flag.

Only one player has intercepted three passes during a Super Bowl: Oakland's Rod Martin (XV vs. Philadelphia).  On 13 occasions, a Super Bowl interception has been returned for a touchdown; Green Bay's Nick Collins was the most recent player to do it, two years ago against Pittsburgh, to help the Packers surge to a 14-point first-quarter lead during Super Bowl XLV.  Only one player has done it twice during a game, Tampa Bay's Dwight Smith, during Super Bowl XXXVII. All 13 scoring interceptors have played for the eventual winning team.

There have been 27 different coaches — be they head or assistant coaches — that have won Super Bowls with at least two different teams, including current Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees and ex-Ravens assistants Wilbert Montgomery, Jim Caldwell, Milt Jackson and Russ Purnell.  Former Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and current offensive line assistant Todd Washington are two of 19 people who have won Super Bowls as both a player and coach. Cavanaugh is the only player in league history to have won Super Bowls with two different teams who did not play during either game. Three years ago, Caldwell became the sixth head coach (Indianapolis) to appear in a Super Bowl during his first season with a team.

Old School vs. New School:

Speaking of the QB’s, much has been made about them and the weather, especially some guy named Manning. In the playoffs, Peyton Manning is 0-4 in games with a kickoff temperature under 40 degrees and the only game in Russell Wilson's NFL career when the kickoff temperature was under 40 degrees was at MetLife Stadium, Week 15 against the Giants. In that game, Wilson completed 66.7% of his passes for 206 yards, one TD, one INT and a passer rating of 86.3

Four games is a small sampling size, Manning has a career record of 8-11 playing outdoors with the temperature below 40 degrees, with 30 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He is 1-2 this season with losses to the Patriots and San Diego Chargers in night games and a win over the Titans in an afternoon contest.
Manning has a record of 85-35 outdoors when the temperature is 40 degrees or above, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of better than 2-to-1

What about the wind—-Both Manning and Wilson performed well in the wind this season. In their three windiest games of the season, the two combined to throw 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions012314-sports-super-bowl-denver-broncos-peyton-manning-seattle-seahawks-russell-wilson

More Manning—If Peyton should win a second Super Bowl MVP award, he would become the sixth player to win multiple Pete Rozelle Trophies, following Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is an age difference between the two starting QB’s– Manning (born March 24, 1976) and Wilson (born Nov. 29, 1988) will set a record when they both start Super Bowl XLVIII. The age difference of 12 years, 250 days will be the greatest ever for a pair of Super Bowl starting quarterbacks. Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLIII set the existing record of 10 years, 253 days.

Experience Matters?

Four players in Super Bowl XLVIII (all Broncos) have played in a previous Super Bowl. Of those four, Peyton Manning is the only one to have won the Super Bowl. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in Super Bowl XLIII with the Cardinals, recording five tackles and two passes defensed. Jacob Tamme primarily played on special teams with the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Wes Welker played in two Super Bowls with the Patriots (XLII, XLVI), losing both to the Giants. The Seahawks do not have any players with Super Bowl experience. Teams without any players with Super Bowl experience are 2-5 (since Super Bowl II)

Former Atlantic Coast Conference referee Terry McAulay, an NFL official since 1998 and a referee since 2001, will referee the Super Bowl for the third time (XXIX, Eagles-Patriots; XLIII, Steelers-Cardinals). The rest of the all-star crew is composed of Carl Paganelli (umpire), Jim Mello (head linesman), Tom Symonette (line judge), Scott Steenson (field judge), Dave Wyant (side judge) and Steve Freeman (back judge). Earnie Frantz will be the replay official.

How Close?

A record 11,985 points were scored during the 2013 season, with games averaging 46.8 points, the highest average in NFL history (46.5 in 1948). In all, 1,338 total touchdowns were scored, surpassing the league-wide  record of 1,297, which occurred last season.

The Broncos and Seahawks are two of 11 teams to score at least 400 points this season. That total surpassed the previous record of nine in 2008 and 2012. Those 11 teams combined for a .668 winning percentage, and nine qualified for the playoffs.

If what we saw this season in the NFL is any indication of how the Super Bowl may turn out, then we are  likely in for another good game. This yearin the NFL, games continued to be “thisclose”, as 68 percent were within one score in the fourth quarter and 123 of 256 games (48.0 percent) were decided by seven points or fewer, the fourth-most of any season in NFL history.

Four points or less has decided five of the last six Super Bowls. From 1983 SB XVIII until SB XXXII in 1997, the NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls by a 19.7 point margin of victory. The NFL instituted the salary cap in 1995, which was intended to allow smaller market teams to be more competitive with large market teams. The team with the larger population had won the last 13 Super Bowls prior to the salary cap, and 19 of the first 28 Super Bowls (67.9 percent) before the 1995 season.

According to the latest census estimates, only 270 more people lived in Seattle than Denver on July 1, 2012, making Seattle 0.04 percent larger than Denver.

Super Bowl=$$$$$

NFL allocates 35% of all Super Bowl tickets to the teams that are playing in the Big Game. The AFC team gets 17.5% and the NFC team gets 17.5% of the tickets. If a Super Bowl stadium seats 70,000 persons, then both teams in the game are allocated about 12,000 tickets apiece. The majority of these tickets are put into a lottery drawing for season ticket holders. On average, a season ticket holder for a team that gets into the Big Game will have about a 10 percent chance to buy a pair of tickets at face value, which this year starts at $800.00.

However, the actual average price (ticket brokers etc…) for a ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII is $2,646, which makes it on average, the second-cheapest Super Bowl of the past eight years. The cheapest game came last year when the average cost of a ticket to see Baltimore play San Francisco was $2,380. The average price of a ticket over the past 48 hours is $2,246, according to Seatgeek.com. The $2,646 number above is the average price of all tickets sold overall.

Wanna take the whole family and enjoy a suite—MetLife has 220 suites, which cost between $25,000 and $35,000 on a normal game. But this is no normal game. Suites for the Super Bowl are selling for a small fortune. The NFL listed them at $400,000 and up for a 30-person suite. It's a dollar figure that might seem astronomical to the average fan. One suite today was listed at $675.000.

This year's Super Bowl will pay out a record $92,000 per man to the winning team and $46,000 per man to the losers.

Thirty-second television advertisements are costing companies in the neighborhood of $3.8 million to $4 million.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy is made of sterling silver and is created by Tiffany & Co. It stands 20.75 inches tall, weighs 107.3 ounces (about 7 pounds) and is valued at $25,000.

And in case you've think you've seen it all in the Super Bowl—-Think again! The following have YET to happen during the big game:  a scoreless first half, shutout, overtime game and punt return for a touchdown.

We will certainly get much more in depth the rest of the weekend here on Fanspeak.com and on the Fanspeak Radio Network. Check back tomorrow afternoon for an article breaking down the most important match-ups of the contest and of course, don’t miss my two part in depth game preview and prediction article starting in Saturday. Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. I will break down the Big Game on the Super Bowl edition of the Friday Football Frenzy.

The notable sources used for these facts came from my own research, as well as articles written by Joe Platania  from Press Box On Line. Platania does a great job of breaking down the Super Bowl media guide.  I always reference and use NFL.com, NFL Communications and ESPN Stats & Information. Prop Bet information came via the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas.

 

Tuesday NFL Rewind

January 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

My thoughts on this week in the NFL, plus some on the National Championship:

 

1.  Last night’s game was great.  But we should have expected that the way the season has gone.

From the opening weekend with Georgia at Clemson, through the SEC season and the week of the BCS bowls this season has been amazing.  What do we have to look forward to now?  A playoff finally in 2014-15.  College football has to be at its highest peak in years after how great this season was.  Starting from the Manziel controversy to the Winston controversy and all the action in between.  I joke about those guys.  To see an unranked team to start the season come seconds from winning the BCS title following a 3-9 season is unreal.

As for the game, I should talk about that.  Congratulations to the Seminoles who battled back from down 21-3 with a Heisman winning quarterback who looked lost most of the first half.  But when it mattered Winston stepped up and made the plays on the final drive.  His post-game interview wasn't pretty but that final drive was.  How good is Mario Edwards also on the other side of the ball?  Now that they have rings could guys like Winston and Edwards debate challenging the NFL draft rules and try and enter?  They are ready now but unfortunately it is too risky at this point.

And what a season by the Auburn Tigers.  Gus had the Tigers rolling on both sides of the ball and had a great FSU defense lost versus Nick Marshall and Tre Mason.  Then everything changed and the Seminoles took over.  Once Kermit Whitfield returned the kick for the FSU touchdown and finally the lead many had to think that Auburn was done.  But Marshall and their struggling offense went right down the field.  Tre Mason once again was impressive as I was ready to see if Winston could hand his Heisman over to him but Winston had the final drive and Malzahn and Tigers were out of miracles.

2. Before I get the NFL I want to mention the coverage of last night’s game.

Usually I think ESPN way over it does it in these situations and I thought going in this was the case again.  But last night was different.  Musberger and Herbstreit to me as a play by play/ color guy team are second to only Doc Emerick and Ed Olczyk in all of sports so I figure I would watch the game with them.  But quickly I found myself switching back and forth with the other ESPN channels.  I loved the TitleTalk show the had on the old deuce with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill as rolling analysts came in and were able to give their thoughts.  From Van Pelt and Russilo to Paul Finebaum and David Pollock it was a great watch.  Solid analysis but also funny at times.

I have to add that everyone's hero Tim Tebow joined the crew for awhile as well.  His football analysis was pretty good but he will just need to work on his delivery over time.  But I think he was outshined on the show by another Heisman QB, Johnny Manziel.  I thought Manziel was a great add and seemed a natural on the set.  Maybe his celebrity run of the last 12 months helped him, but if his pro career is a bust he has a media job for sure.  The coaches’ channel was great also as ESPN had coaches breakdown each play right after it happened and then also predict the play based on the formation.  Overall ESPN did a very solid job last night.

3. I have had a couple days to think about the craziness that happen in the wild card round and the most impressive to me was not Andrew Luck and the Colts comeback, but the 49ers win in Green Bay.      colinkap

I know the Packers were 8-7-1 but Aaron Rodgers was back and he did his job as we expect.  But I was really impressed with the Niners overall play and now do think they can beat the Panthers and eventually go into Seattle and win.  What a game Michael Crabtree had at Lambeau bringing back memories of Plax Burress in the freeze.  I didn't expect the impact that he has had coming off the major injury but it sure makes the defending NFC champs a tough out.

Then again this team had two major concerns going into the playoffs to me.  One was stopping the passing game of their opponents.  Rodgers was great in defeat but now San Fran gets Cam Newton and a less dangerous pass attack.  Newton has been great this year but he isn't and doesn't have the weapons Rodgers has.  Plus, we expect this game to be a hardnosed game fought in the trenches like their regular season battle.

As for the second concern, that had to be if Colin Kaepernick would show up.  I have been critical of him in the past but I liked the way he played Sunday.  A couple of bad tosses but many times he was able to take off and make it look easy.  Can he do this in Charlotte and possibly in Seattle?  Huge question marks that will decide if the Niners return to the big one.

 

4. As for Luck and the Colts.

Obviously any time a team comes back from 38-10 it is impressive although my Maryland guy Frank Reich did it twice.  As much as I want to credit Andrew Luck a lot of the credit has to go to the Chiefs players dropping like flies in Indy.  And not only regular guys, Pro Bowl guys like Jamaal Charles and more importantly Brandon Flowers.  The game changed when Flowers went out and Luck and Hilton did take full advantage.  It was tough watching all the commercial breaks while Chiefs players lied on turf.  I have a good feeling that Reid, Smith and the wounded would have gone home victors if the in-game injuries were not as bad.

But Luck does deserve credit for making it happen in the end.  Now he moves onto New England to face Brady and the Pats.  Can the Colts carry the momentum and take down the Patriots?  Does Belichick have the cameras ready to take shots of the Colts play calls?  I think both are a good possibility.  At some point the Colts are going to have to have some kind of running game.  I think Trent Richardson is a lost cause but maybe Donald Brown can help Luck out.  We will have to wait and see.

5. The coaching search seems a lot more wide open than past seasons.

Two teams right away zeroed in on guys and locked them up in Houston and Tampa.  But the other teams are all over the place with interviews.  Well actually it seems like a few guys are interviewing everywhere.  Washington is halfway through interviewing every coordinator in the NFL and now may check out college coaches like James Franklin.  Their process has been a show but that had to be expected based on their past.

Detroit seemed like a lock for Ken Whisenhunt but we will see and with the Chargers still in it who knows how long their search will take.  Minnesota is looking at everyone other than Chris Kluwe for their vacancy.  The Bengals have a head coach but their assistants are wanted everywhere after 3 straight playoff disasters.  Everyone says Cleveland is a mess so they look at Josh McDaniels who pissed off everyone in Denver in his only coaching gig?  The Titans had a coach then didn't have a coach after they couldn't decide on the future of the staff.  Seems like they have zeroed in on one of the 15 guys the Redskins have talked to.  I still think a shocker is coming to the coaching carousel.  Maybe an older Gruden, Cowher, Saban or someone like that.

 

 

Playoff Impact of Week 12:

November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

AFC East:

-The Patriots win over the Broncos with the Dolphins and Jets losing all but wraps up the division for New England. The Patriots have a great chance to end up as the number two seed in the AFC, something that seemed unlikely to start the year. The Dolphins and Jets are still both in the playoff picture, but with the Jets really struggling offensively it is tough to see them stringing together enough wins. The Dolphins may have a better chance for that 6th spot, but losing a tough one on Sunday really hurts their odds.

AFC North:

-The Bengals were off this week and things got a little closer in the division as the Ravens and Steelers both won. The Bengals have a two game lead currently on both teams (though the Ravens hold the tie-breaker on Cincy). For the Wild Card race the Steelers and Ravens are considered two of the favorites given their experience and coaching. They face off Thursday night which could really hurt the chances for whoever loses that game.

AFC South:

-A Colts loss and Titans win puts Tennessee within two games of Indianapolis for the division. Currently the Titans are in the lead of the 5-6 teams for the wild card spot. Given some of the issues in Tennessee it's tough to say how good of a chance they have to hang on for the rest of the year. The Colts loss hurts their chances of a first round bye in the playoffs.

AFC West:

-Both the Broncos and Chiefs lose close ones yesterday. After the Chiefs earlier loss a Broncos win would have all but sealed up the division. Now Kansas City can retake the division lead with a win over Denver next week. The Chargers kept their playoff hopes alive with stealing a win over the Chiefs.

NFC East:

The Eagles are off, but lost ground as the Cowboys beat the Giants to get into a tie atop the division at 6-5. The Cowboys currently have the head-to-head tie breaker and are now 4-0 in the division. In addition to the Eagles beating Dallas at the end of the year, they need the Redskins to beat Dallas the week before to ensure a tied division record. While the Giants had a shot to win this game and stay in the playoff picture, they are really in a bad spot now at 4-7 with 3 division losses.

NFC North:

-The Packers had to turn to Matt Flynn today and battled back to help them get a tie against the Vikings. Unfortunately they weren't able to pull out the win as both the Lions and Bears lost. The Packers remain in 3rd place in the division as they get ready for their Thanksgiving day game against the Lions. With both the Lions and Bears losing it looks it's beginning to look like there will only be one playoff team coming out of this division. The Lions won both head-to-head games over the Bears so they have a nice advantage in case these two teams remain tied at the end of the year.

NFC South:

-The Saints won Thursday night to remain atop the division and the Panthers had a come from behind victory over the Dolphins to remain just a game back. The Panthers are also atop the wild card standings and control their own destiny for the playoffs. The Panthers and Saints face off twice between weeks 14-16, and that should really decide the division race.

NFC West:

The Seahawks were off, but have a comfortable lead so even with a Cardinals win little changes out West. For Arizona though their big win over the Colts, keeps them right in the thick of the wild card race. If Carolina and Arizona ends up tied the Cardinals hold the head-to-head advantage and could knock them from the playoffs. The 49ers play tonight against the Redskins. If San Francisco wins they will maintain their sixth spot for the wild card based on their head-to-head win against Arizona. It looks to be a very hot wild card race down the stretch between these three teams.

NFL Top 10 Breakout Players for 2013 (So Far): Wilkerson and Moreno top the list

November 21, 2013 in NFL Observations, Uncategorized

By Guest Writer PJ Moran:

 

Top 10 Breakout Players

 

Every year in the NFL there are multiple players who have huge jumps in their performances from prior seasons, and 2013 has been no different. Some of these players are building off of impressive past seasons, while others came out of absolutely nowhere. Without further ado, here are the top ten breakout players midway through the 2013 NFL season:

10. Vontaze Burfict

Back in 2010, no one would be surprised to learn that Burfict would be one of the league’s best linebackers by age 23. He was named an All-American after his sophomore year at Arizona State and was projected to be a high first-round pick. But then he lost all motivation, got into trouble off of the field, and had one of the worst combines in recent memory. His struggles led to him going undrafted, but the Bengals decided to take a flier on him. It might turn out to be one of the best decisions the team has ever made. Burfict is tied for the league lead in tackles this year with 90, and is getting better week to week. With Rey Maualuga now injured, Burfict will be asked to do even more on the field, and he should not disappoint.

 

9. Philip Rivers

I know; this one is a little questionable. Rivers has already made four Pro Bowls in his career and has led the Chargers to the playoffs four times. But after two awful seasons in 2011 and 2012, everyone around the NFL thought that Rivers was done. But with a new head coach and different weapons around him, Rivers is back in rare form. He is sixth in the league in passing yards, fourth in touchdown passes, and second in QBR among quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. But more importantly, he has the Chargers in prime position to make a run at a wild card spot.

 

8. Alterraun Verner

Even the not-so casual fan might not recognize this name, but there is a good chance that Verner will find himself in Hawaii after the season. This fourth-year cornerback out of UCLA is one of the main reasons that the Titans boast one of the best defenses in the league. Verner is tied for the league lead in interceptions with four and is tied for second in passes defended with 13, and he has done so while matching up against other team’s best receivers. He almost single-handedly won the Titans’ game against the Jets, where he intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.

 

7. Justin Houston

Justin Houston is not exactly a no name, as he was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate last year. But no one thought he would be this good in 2013. Houston is a half-sack off of the league lead with 11, and is a major reason that the Chiefs have the league’s best record at 9-0. He is third in the league in quarterback hurries and seems to be in the backfield on every play. Yes, Houston does play on the league’s best defense and might not even be the best pass rusher on his team (Tamba Hali). But Houston’s impact has been undeniable, and he might as well book his plane ticket to Hawaii for his second Pro Bowl.

 

6. Louis Vasquez

If you need some general background on Vasquez, he is the right guard of the Denver Broncos. And he might be the most underappreciated player in the NFL. Vasquez came over in the offseason from the Chargers to find the Broncos offensive line in shambles. Ryan Clady was lost for the season due to injury, as were the top two centers on the depth chart. But Vasquez has been the anchor of the line, and the Broncos offense has seen results. Peyton Manning has been given enough time to pass for otherworldly numbers, and the running game has emerged as a legitimate threat to defenses. Vasquez might not deserve all of the credit for the Broncos offense, but he definitely deserves a lot of it.

 

5. Antonio Brown

Coming into the season, it was uncertain who would take over as the leading receiver for the Steelers after the team lost Mike Wallace in free agency. Antonio Brown had a 1,000-yard season in 2011, so he was the favorite to win the job despite physical concerns. Now halfway through the season, it seems ridiculous to think that there were any doubts concerning Brown. He leads the league with 61 receptions and is ninth in receiving yards. The Steelers may be struggling as a team, but Brown has nothing to do with that. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2011 as a kick returner, and now he can expect to go back this year as a wide receiver.

 

4. Jordan Cameron

If this list were comprised four games through the season as opposed to eight, then Cameron probably would have been at the top of it. In this first quarter of the season alone Cameron had 30 catches, 360 yards, and 5 touchdowns. He has crashed down to reality since then, but there is no doubt that he is now among the elite tight ends in the league. He still remains in the top ten in the league in both receptions and receiving touchdowns, and he has done so with three different quarterbacks under center for the Browns. Cameron is still only 25 years old, so if he can get a dependable quarterback throwing him the ball then his potential will be limitless.

 

3. Robert Quinn

Last year in his sophomore season, Quinn quietly notched 10.5 sacks for the St. Louis Rams. This year he is already at 10 sacks at the halfway point, and it has not been quiet at all. Quinn has emerged as a star pass rusher, and with Chris Long opposite him the Rams have the best defensive end combination in the league. His 10 sacks are good enough for fourth in the league, and his 4 forced fumbles are tied for the most. Quinn’s coming out party came against the Seahawks on a Monday night, when he sacked Russell Wilson three times in the first half. That performance was no fluke, as Quinn’s combination of speed and power is very real. The scary thing is that he is only 23 years old, so Quinn should be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks for years to come.

 

2. Knowshon Moreno

Finally! This is Moreno’s fifth year as a member of the Denver Broncos, but for the first time in his career he has been the player the Broncos envisioned when they drafted him twelfth overall in 2009. Ironically, this was the year when preseason expectations for Moreno were at an all-time low. The Broncos drafted Montee Ball to be their running back of the future, and Ronnie Hillman was supposed to get a bulk of the carries. But Moreno won the starting job because of his pass-blocking skills, and he has not turned back since. In addition to keep Peyton Manning upright, he has rushed for over 450 yards and leads the league with 8 rushing touchdowns. Moreno has also been a weapon in the passing game, catching 29 passes for 287 yards. Manning has undoubtedly been the MVP of the Broncos, but their offense would not even be close to where it is today if were not for the contributions of Moreno.

 

1. Muhammad Wilkerson

Coming into this season, Jets fans had practically nothing to be excited about. The offense had no identity, and the leader of the defense (Darrelle Revis) was traded away. But after nine games the Jets are 5-4, and Wilkerson has been the key reason for their success. Normally it would be unrealistic to give a defensive end the majority of the credit for a massive team turnaround, but Wilkerson actually has been that good. The third-year pro out of Temple had two promising years to begin his career, but he has advanced leaps and bounds in his third season. Even as a 3-4 end, he already has 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and an interception. But stats do not show his real value. Wilkerson is in the backfield on virtually every play, whether it be a pass or run. Wilkerson’s progression is not quite equal to J.J. Watt’s from last season, but he is not as far off as you might think. He is already the second best end in football behind Watt, and is emerging as one of the best overall players in the league as well. If Wilkerson’s domination is news to you, then start paying attention.

 

 

Week 9 NFL Power Rankings – Chiefs Remain #1

October 29, 2013 in NFL Power Rankings, Uncategorized

Week 8 of the NFL Season was filled with exciting finishes, which leads to more shakeups to the standings.

So after 8 weeks, here is Fanspeak's Week 9 Power Rankings:

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week #1):    

It wasn't the prettiest win by the Chiefs, but they remain undefeated, and continue to show a strong defense and a good offense. They might not be as high-powered an offense as some teams out there, but with a defense like the one they have got they can go very far this year.

2. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week #2):    

The Colts were on bye this week, and it will be interesting to see how they do without Reggie Wayne this year, but right now this team deserves a spot at the top. Their defense is playing much better than anyone expected, and could get a boost this week if 1st round pick Bjoern Werner can return from injury.

3. Denver Broncos (Last Week #4):              

The Broncos were down 21-7 against the Redskins mid-way through the third quarter, but they responded with 38 unanswered points. The Broncos defense played better with Von Miller back so this team could be getting stronger for the 2nd half of the season.

4. New Orleans Saints (Last Week #5):

The Saints came off their bye with a big win over the Bills. This offense is one of the best in the league and their defense is playing much better this season. If they keep playing like this, it is going to be awfully tough for anyone to beat them in the NFC.

5. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week #3):

The Seahawks nearly blew their advantage for the number 1 seed by losing the Rams who were without their top QB. The Seahawks offensive was exposed in this game and is going to be a real issue going forward until Okung comes back from injury.

6. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week #6):

The 49ers destroyed the Jaguars in London, and have now reeled off 5 straight wins as they head into their bye week. On the other side of the bye they face the Panthers at home before a tough road game against the Saints.

7. Green Bay Packers (Last Week #7):    

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked smooth on the road Sunday night. No injuries, no problem for this team. They definitely have the "next man up" approach working for them.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week #8):

The Bengals decimated the Jets defense, and won this game in a blowout. Since their early season miscues versus the Bears and Browns the Bengals have been pretty close to perfect these past couple of games. Andy Dalton has the offense rolling and Cincy looks to be well in control of the AFC North.

9. New England Patriots (Last Week #9):

.The Patriots won again, but they continue to look bad doing so. While a win is a win, you wonder if team can consistently do it against some of the better teams they will face.

10. San Diego Chargers (Last Week #10):

After a week off, the Chargers head to Washington to face the struggling Redskins. They should be able to put up points but will need their defense to shut down RG3 and Alfred Morris if they want to win on the road.

11. Detroit Lions (Last Week #13):

What a huge come from behind win for the Lions. Matt Stafford showed guts by taking the last second play into the endzone instead of spiking the ball. Now at 5-3 the Lions have a week to rest as well.

12. Carolina Panthers (Last Week #19):    

Cam Newton and company looked sharp on Thursday night and have a winning record, which has been rare for the Panthers these last few years. So where do they go from here? They now host Atlanta and hope to get another win to keep pace in the NFC.

13. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week #11):

The Cowboys had a crushing come from behind loss in Detroit. The defense certainly let them down in this one and star WR Dez Bryant needs to stay under control to not cause more issues for this team.

14. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week #15):

After a bye week the Ravens travel to Cleveland where they SHOULD get a win. But this year the Ravens have been playing so inconsistently, who knows.

15. Chicago Bears (Last Week #16):        

The Bears had a week of rest, but now will have to rely on Josh McCown against the Packers this week with Cutler still out.

16. Miami Dolphins (Last Week #14):        

The Dolphins had a great chance to upset the Patriots, but they made some crucial mistakes down the stretch. They have now lost their last four games and blown chances to win the last three of those. The offensive line still remains a serious problem and the team will now be without Brandon Gibson for the rest of the season. The good news is Lamar Miller finally had a strong game and the defense continues to play well.

17. New York Jets (Last Week #12):

Talk about a let down. Not only did the Jets not follow up the Patriots game with a win, but they just got completely blown out by the Bengals. The AFC East is struggling so they could still end up 2nd in this division, but this team needs to find greater consistency.

18. Tennessee Titans (Last Week #20):        

Jake Locker got another week to recover on the bye, so it will be interesting to see if he and the Titans can get back to their winning ways for the 2nd half of the season.

19. Buffalo Bills (Last Week #18):

The Bills kept it close early, but the Saints and Drew Brees were too much for them over 60 minutes. It will be interesting to see how this team fares once Manuel returns in the coming weeks.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week #17):

No matter which QB is in lately for the Eagles, they all seem to be struggling, especially rookie Matt Barkley. Yet another season that Michael Vick can't stay healthy and on the field and it costs the Eagles.

21. Houston Texans (Last Week #23):    

The Texans had a week to rest but now face division rivals Colts and will be starting QB Case Keenum again. He looked decent in his last outing, but wouldn't bet on them against the Colts.

22. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week #26):

After an embarrassing loss versus the Seahawks, the Cardinals responded with a good strong game and a win over the Falcons. This team still has a number of issues to fix, but they have some real talent on this roster.

23. Oakland Raiders (Last Week #28):

The Raiders got their 3rd win on Sunday against the visiting Steelers. In a stacked AFC West, this probably may not be their season, but they may just have something to build on.

24. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week #21):

The Cardinals beat the Falcons easily on Sunday, yikes! Shocking season for a NFC favorite.

25. New York Giants (Last Week #29):

Don't look now but the Giants have won 2 in a row. And in a very weak NFC East, that may just mean something. They are on a bye this week and it will be interesting to see how the 2nd half of their season plays out.

26. St. Louis Rams (Last Week #25):

Rams defense looked great on Monday night and almost got an upset over division rival Seahawks, as it came down to the last seconds. Would have been interesting to see if having a healthy Sam Bradford would have helped them pull out the win.

27. Washington Redskins (Last Week #24):

We all knew the Redskins would lose in Denver, but the 4th quarter was just ugly. Washington was actually in a position to win with a 21-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter, but 38 unanswered points, off several turnovers, makes it impossible to beat Peyton Manning and Co. So now they come back home and will have to play much better offense to keep up with Philip Rivers to get a much needed win against the Chargers.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week #22):

The Steelers had won two in a row and had a great chance of making it three, but a broken play and two missed field goals put them back into the loss column. The Steelers just don't seem to have the total depth to play 60 minutes of football each week and it's costing them.

29. Cleveland Browns (Last Week #27):          

The Browns played the Chiefs tougher than anyone expected, but they still couldn't pull out the win. This team is in a serious rebuilding mode and is looking to see what players are part of their future the rest of the way. It could be a long season for Browns fans, but the good news is they have a pair of first round picks next year.

30. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week #30):

Christian Ponder was back under center, and that did not do much for the Vikings chances as they lost big on Sunday night to the Packers. This team is going no where this season no matter who is under center. See Jaguars description as to the good news for the Vikings in May.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week #31):       

Rough outing for the young Mike Glennon and the Bucs on Thursday night against the Panthers. Glennon shows flashes of promise but overall looks like a rookie.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week #32):

Still bad, really bad. Good news is a lot of College QBs are looking really good for that #1 pick.

 

 

Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.

July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

I feel with what has taken place with Aaron Hernandez, it’s time for someone to just write the blunt truth about these NFL players….STOP BEING AN IDIOT! Take this offseason for example, you have Evan Hernandez of the Chicago Bears arrested twice, Maurice Jones Drew alleged assaulting a man, Pacman Jones allegedly hitting a woman, Josh Brent killing his teammate with drunken driving, then violating his parole earlier this week by smoking marijuana, then to top it off you have Aaron Hernandez being charged with first degree murder.

WHAT IN THE HECK IS WRONG WITH PLAYERS TODAY? You make millions of dollars, or high six figures, you are worshipped, you are part of that community, you are a role model for christ sake! Do one of three things, one be in the gym, two be in the film room, three be with your family and good friends. Stop thugging around at the club scene, and the bars. Stop toting around guns, because you think that’s cool. Stop drinking, and driving. Stop the drug use of all kinds. If you have demons, go to therapy or talk to someone who will listen. Stop putting yourself up on ESPN, and in the papers showing the world just how stupid, and worthless you really are. You have all the god given talent a man could ask for, you have the bank account, you have such a bright future just stay at home. Nothing good ever happens after 2 A.M., and the NFL players of today continue to prove that to be a justified theory.

Aaron Hernandez Arrest and Release Open Thread:

June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Aaron Hernandez has been arrested in connection to the murder of Odin Lloyd and has subsequently been released by the New England Patriots. With the news piling up against Hernandez it appears the Patriots have made the right move to distance themselves in this situation, but what do you think?

Should the Patriots have kept Hernandez under contract and supported him until after the verdict of the trial, or did they make the right move releasing him?

What does this mean for Patriots going forward?

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

May 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Staff Writer Matt Pearce:

In case you missed it, here is the NFL Transaction Tracker again!  Unlike last week, there is more then one move that is worthy of being discussed here.

LB Brian Urlacher retires

Another great NFL career has come to an end this offseason.  Urlacher joins Ray LewisMatt BirkRonde Barber, and others to call it quits after last season.

Drafted 9th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher played his entire career, 13 seasons, with the Bears.  In these 13 seasons, Urlacher had 1,353 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries, and 22 interceptions in the regular season.  In 6 career postseason games, Urlacher had 55 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions.

Urlacher was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2005 but he will be remembered more for his season in 2006.

That year, Urlacher led a stout Bears defense that took the team all the way to the Super Bowl despite a sub-par offense.  His most memorable game that season was in a Monday Night Football games against the Arizona Cardinals in Arizona.  The Cardinals jumped out to a big lead but Urlacher and the defense fueled a comeback victory.  In this game Urlacher had 25 tackles and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

The Bears had a 13-3 regular season record and made it to Super Bowl XLI against the Indianapolis Colts.  In the game Urlacher had 7 tackles but that wasn't enough to stop the Colts as the Colts won 29-17.

In March, the Bears announced that they wouldn't re-sign Urlacher, who was a free agent this offseason.  There never were many rumors about Urlacher signing anywhere.  The only real rumor was that the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos had displayed interest in him.

Even then, either the teams weren't very interested or Urlacher just didn't feel their offers were good enough and wanted to stay having played with the Bears his whole career leading to his retirement announcement.

What Urlacher will be remembered the best for is being the face of the Bears defense for the last decade and in an era where many well-known players leave in free agency, Urlacher stayed with the same team for his whole career.

Oakland Raiders sign DB Charles Woodson

While Urlacher stayed with one team throughout his career, Woodson is returning to the team that drafted him back in 1998.

After becoming the only primary defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, Woodson declared for the 1998 NFL Draft and the Raiders took him 4th overall.

While with the Raiders, Woodson made it to XXXVII but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  In the previous playoffs, Woodson was part of the infamous "Tuck Rule Game."  Woodson hit New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and appeared to force a fumble which was recovered by the Raiders.  When the play was reviewed, it was ruled an incomplete pass despite looking like a fumble.  The rule that overturned the fumble is called the "Tuck Rule" and was eliminated this offseason.  This call cost the Raiders the game as the Patriots kicked the game tying field goal later on that drive and then won in overtime.  The Patriots went on to win Super Bowl XXXVI.

In 2006, Woodson signed a 7 year deal worth a maximum of $52 million with the Green Bay Packers.  Woodson would become one of the leaders of the Packers defense and was an important playmaker for them.

With the Packers, Woodson was able to do something he couldn't with the Raiders, win a Super Bowl.  The Packers made it to Super Bowl XLV. However, in the first half, Woodson broke his collarbone and wasn't able to return to the game.  The rest of the team was able to finish the job though, winning 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This offseason, the Packers released Woodson due to his salary cap number and his age, 36.

Charles Woodson
The Oakland Raiders have signed DB Charles Woodson.

As a free agent, there wasn't much of a market for Woodson until recently.  In the end, it came down to the Raiders and the Denver Broncos for Woodson.

Denver cornerback Champ Bailey said on the radio that there was "no friggin way" that Woodson would pick the Raiders, a re-building team, over the Broncos, a Super Bowl contender.

The reason that Woodson chose the Raiders was that it meant a lot to him to finish his career in Oakland.

His contract with the Raiders is a 1 year deal.  He has a base salary of $1.8 million with a signing bonus of $700,000 and his contract can reach a maximun value of $4.3 million.

It is unclear what role Woodson will play with the Raiders.  Woodson had been a cornerback his whole career but moved to safety last season due to his age and the decline in his skills.  We will have to wait and see where Woodson lines up during training camp for the Raiders to see what position they view him as and how they plan on utilizing him.

San Diego Chargers sign DE Dwight Freeney

One of the most surprises events this offseason, in my opinion, was that it took this long for Freeney to get a contract.  Yes, he is 33 years old and veterans haven't had much of a market this year, but he has averaged 9.8 sacks per season in his 11 seasons.

Even with that, it took a torn ACL from the Chargers 1st round pick last year, Melvin Ingram, to get Freeney his contract.  While Ingram only had 1 sack last year, he was a top pass rushing prospect in last year's draft and, he was expected to start this year as the Chargers let Shaun Phillips walk in free agency.

Freeney's contract with the Chargers is for 2 years and is worth about $13.35 million when incentives are added in.  Without incentives, the contract is worth about $8.75 million.  He received a signing bonus of $3.25 million and is guaranteed $4.75 million.

Last season, Freeney had to transition to a 3-4 defense after playing in a 4-3 defense his whole career.  In the 3-4 defense he was a standup OLB instead of a DE with his hand in the dirt like in a 4-3.  He struggled with this transition recording only 5.5 sacks in 14 games which is the second worst season of his career sack wise.  The worst was in 2007 where he only played in 9 games and had 3.5 sacks.

Interestingly, the Chargers also play a 3-4 defense.  Freeney's signing with a 3-4 team signifies the limited market that he had.  He would have preferred to go to a 4-3 team but he didn't have the opportunity or just didn't like any of the offers he received from these teams.

The Chargers will use Freeney as a situational pass rusher which will get the most out of him.  Since he is 33 years old, Freeney will be slowing down and won't be able to play a whole game.  Having him as a situational pass rusher will allow Freeney to put his hand in the dirt more often as the Chargers will be in sub-packages when he is in the game.  Most of the time, these sub-packages involve four lineman which would work to Freeney's strengths.

Due to Ingram's injury, the Chargers had to go out and find a pass rusher as they had nobody to start opposite of Jarret Johnson who is a great run defender but doesn't offer much in terms of pass rush.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals waive/injured WR Javone Lawson.
The Arizona Cardinals sign WR Charles Hawkins.
The Baltimore Ravens sign DT Cody Larsen.
The Baltimore Ravens sign WR Gerrard Sheppard.
The Carolina Panthers waive/injured TE Logan Brock.
The Chicago Bears cut DT Andre Fluellen.
The Chicago Bears sign CB Maurice Jones.
The Cleveland Browns waive TE Garret Hoskins.
The Cleveland Browns cut S Eric Hagg.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Ryan Rau.
The Cleveland Browns cut RB Robbie Rouse.
The Cleveland Browns sign WR Michael Edwards.
The Cleveland Browns sign DB Kenronte Walker.
The Cleveland Browns waive QB Thaddeus Lewis.
The Cleveland Browns sign WR Tori Gurley.
The Dallas Cowboys sign CB Malik James.
The Dallas Cowboys cut CB Dustin Harris.
The Denver Broncos waive RB Mario Fannin.
The Green Bay Packers sign WR Alex Gillett.
The Indianapolis Colts sign LB Caesar Rayford.
The Indianapolis Colts waive LB Jake Killeen.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive DT Jeris Pendleton.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign FB Toben Opurum.
The Kansas CIty Chiefs sign S Malcom Bronson.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign S Quintin Demps.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut CB Justin Glenn.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut CB James Rogers.
The Minnesota Vikings cut OT Mark Jackson.
The New England Patriots sign K David Ruffer
The New England Patriots sign WR Mark Harrison.
The New Orleans Saints waive DE Braylon Broughton.
The New Orleans Saints cut DE Greg Romeus.
The New York Giants re-sign WR Ramses Barden.
The Oakland Raiders cut P Bobby Cowan.
The Oakland Raiders cut QB Kyle Padron.
The Philadelphia Eagles waive RB Miguel Maysonet.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign TE Will Shaw.
The San Diego Chargers cut LS Kyle Nelson.
The San Diego Chargers cut OT Kevin Haslam.
The San Diego Chargers sign OT Max Starks.
The San Francisco 49ers waive P Anthony Santella.
The Seattle Seahawks sign TE Darren Fells
The Seattle Seahawks cut LS Adam Steiner.
The Seattle Seahawks waive QB Josh Portis.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR Justin Veltung.
The St. Louis Rams sign TE Zach Potter.
The St. Louis Rams sign OT Terrell Brown.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut LB Willie Moseley.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut WR Chris Denton.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Terriun Crump.

 

Should the NFL Consider Longer Seasons?

May 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Guest Writer Brian Sprowl:

 

The NFL is looking to maximize its product by making the games worth more than the already are. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the possibility of shaving off two of the league’s annual four preseason games in favor of a longer regular season or expanded playoffs on Tuesday, May 21st at the NFL’s spring owners meeting. Fans have long expressed their nonchalant feelings towards the preseason due to the fact that the games don’t count and the best players aren’t playing for long periods of time. While the league wants to keep the fans happy, having a longer season by adding games to the regular season or the playoffs might not sit too well with players and coaches.

The current setup of the NFL schedule works perfectly for both coaches and players. Although fans don’t like the preseason, the preseason is very important for coaches because they get to evaluate talent in real game action. The current four game schedule of the preseason gives coaches an adequate amount of time to make decisions about the roster before the regular season begins. Also, a four game preseason gives the coaches the opportunity to iron out any wrinkles they might have schematically. Expanding the regular season could upset players because it means more ware and tear on bodies that are already going through war on a weekly basis. So most players would prefer that the current format of the regular season and the playoffs stay the same.

Ultimately, this is a situation where one side is bound to lose. If the current ways are kept in place, then casual fans will have to continue sitting through four potential mediocre games every August. However, if things are changed, then coaches and players will both suffer, which could result in a product on the field that wasn’t as good as before. The best course of action in this situation might be to just leave things as they are.

 

 

NFL Power Rankings

May 16, 2013 in NFL Predictions, Uncategorized

1. San Francisco 49ers-

-The 49ers were top to bottom the most talented team in the league last year. While the loss of Dashon Golston will hurt, the additions of Anquan Boldin, Eric Reid and Vance McDonald should all add impact this year. The 49ers best move though, may have been the signing of kicker Phil Dawson, which should solidify a problem area for them last season.

2. Seattle Seahawks-

-The Seahawks were one of the best young teams already, and went out and added guys like Percy Harvin and Cliff Avril. The RT situation is still a concern, and the health of ends Chris Clemons and Michael Bennett is a bit up in the air, but other than that this team is pretty well stacked.

3. Denver Broncos-

-The Broncos improved their defensive backs, defensive tackles, offensive line, running backs and on top of that added Wes Welker. The loss of Elvis Dumervil still is problematic, but other than that it was the perfect offseason.

4. Green Bay Packers-

-The Packers made some improvements to their defense, but the added focus to the ground game and offensive line should be what really makes a difference this year. Health will be another factor for Green Bay as they suffered some serious injuries last year that did hold them back.

5. Baltimore Ravens-

-The Ravens suffered some big offseason losses, but were able to replace most of them with a few key signings and a strong draft. The big question surrounding them is still how do they replace Anquan Boldin. He was by far their best receiving option and bailed out Joe Flacco on quite a few plays.

6. New England Patriots-

-The Patriots remain one of the best teams in the league, but the health of Rob Gronkowski and the loss of Wes Welker will loom large this season. They should likely run away with the East, but once they face off with some other top teams they might come up just short.

7. Atlanta Falcons-

-The Falcons are primed for another SB run as Tony Gonzalez is back and the team brought in Steven Jackson on offense. The oline has some question marks and the defense isn't perfect, but they definitely have the talent to make a serious run.

8. Houston Texans-

-The Texans defense kind of collapsed down the stretch, but they should be healthier and deeper this season. With another receiver weapon in the fold and some depth across the board their offense should be improved as well.

9. New York Giants-

-The Giants December collapse led to them not getting a chance to defend their title in the postseason. The Giants should be a bit healthier this year, and should be fighting for the East title once again. The Giants offseason was modest, but could be an upgrade for this season. At the very least they are a far deeper team, and should be more able to handle a couple injuries.

10. Indianapolis Colts-

-There is no doubt that the Colts overachieved last year. While typically that would be cause to believe they will fall back down the standings, that probably isn't the case for Indy this year. All of their 2nd year guys (not just Andrew Luck) should be improved this season. Also, between free agency and the draft the Colts really bolstered their offensive line and defense.

11. Washington Redskins-

-The Redskins didn't lose anything in free agency, but they really didn't gain anything either. The big issue for them is their health. If RGIII is 100%, then they should be able to repeat as division champs. If he's anything less than 100% (and that includes being able to run like he did last year) it could be more of a wild card spot they are fighting for. Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis, Brian Orakpo, Brandon Meriweather, and Adam Carriker are other key injuries to watch as well.

12. Cincinnati Bengals-

-The Bengals should have no more excuses after they added both another receiving threat and a runner in the draft. The big question is can Andy Dalton come up big when it matters most. If he continues to develop, the Bengals have the talent to win the division. If it is more of the same, they should still be able to fight for a playoff spot.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers-

-The Steelers may have lost a couple of key free agents, but they are getting more talent back from injury. As long as they don't get injured as much as they did last year (which would be tough to do), they should be in the playoff hunt all year. 1st round rookie OLB Jarvis Jones could also make a big impact this season, which if that occurs the Steelers could be a big threat.

14. New Orleans Saints-

-The Saints have wisely spent their resources on their defense and offensive line which both failed them last year. With their coaching staff back in full, and the drama of the Bounty gate scandal behind them, New Orleans should be a pretty big threat, though they still appear to be behind the Falcons.

15. St. Louis Rams-

-The Rams continue to look like a promising young team. Sam Bradford should have a strong line and plenty of weapons to choose from, how he develops though is still an unknown. Defensively the Rams are poised to be pretty good, though their safeties are shaky.

16. Miami Dolphins-

-The Dolphins were one of the biggest spenders in free agency, and made some big moves in the draft as well. How those acquisitions will pan out is up for debate though. The biggest question marks for the Dolphins going forward is their offensive line play and running game. If those two areas hold up and produce positive results this team could make a serious run. If they are below average all the money spent on receivers will likely be for naught.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-

-Tampa Bay is definitely a team on the rise, as they have two talented receivers one of the best young backs in the game and a really strong offensive line. They also have a strong rush defense, and a revamped secondary that potentially could be one of the best in the league. Tampa lacks a consistent pass rush, and is still unsure with what they have in Josh Freeman. They should be in the playoff hunt, but fall just short.

18. Dallas Cowboys-

-The Cowboys weren't able to add much talent outside of the draft, and while they definitely improved many of their early picks were projects or reaches, which doesn't bode well for a playoff run.

19. Chicago Bears-

-The Bears just missed the playoffs last season and could be in the same boat this year. Chicago did prioritize the offensive line and adding weapons for Jay Cutler, but it might not be enough. The loss of Brian Urlacher's leadership on defense could be a factor as well, though his play had noticeably declined.

20. Kansas City Chiefs-

-The Chiefs should be a much better team this year, and could make a bit of a playoff run. In a weak AFC West they definitely have a chance, but they could end up just short this year as it may take some time for so many new faces to get on the same page.

21. Minnesota Vikings-

-The Vikings success last year was tremendous, but they will need Christian Ponder to step up if they hope to repeat it. They face a tough schedule, and it's tough to believe that Adrian Peterson can replicate his amazing season from a year ago.

22. Detroit Lions-

-The Lions drafted a lot of potential this past April, but they might not get a lot of immediate production from this group. Add in the remaining holes along the offensive line and receiver corps and you could have another last place finish for the Lions.

23. Buffalo Bills-

-The Bills took their quarterback of the future in E.J. Manuel this past April, but it is likely to do little to help them this season. Their offensive line suffered some losses that they didn't replace and they could still use another pass rusher on defense.

24. Carolina Panthers-

-The Panthers fixed their front four, but they still have secondary questions on defense as well as gaping holes on the offensive line and receiving corps behind Steve Smith.

25. Tennessee Titans-

-The Titans fixed their offensive line, but they still have some defensive needs. The real issue though will be the performance of Jake Locker. If he doesn't develop any further, they could be looking at a top ten pick.

26. Cleveland Browns-

-On paper the Browns should be a much improved team, but a big question remains at quarterback. In addition serious holes at CB, WR, TE and LG could make it tough on the Browns. The fact that they play 6 games versus the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals doesn't bode well either.

27. Philadelphia Eagles-

-It could be rough going for the Eagles as they transition to the Chip Kelly offense. Though they have some weapons, the lack of a quarterback will likely keep Philly in the cellar for another year.

28. San Diego Chargers-

-The Chargers offensive line may be the worst in the league and their rushing situation is still a question mark. To make matters worse 2012 1st round pick Melvin Ingram suffered an ACL injury and is likely to miss the season.

29. Arizona Cardinals-

-The Cardinals could be a team with a lot of promise, but it's unclear if they've fixed their line enough and Carson Palmer is probably not the answer. Defensively they gutted much of their secondary, and they are going to be without their star ILB D. Washington for the first 4 weeks.

30. Oakland Raiders-

-The Raiders are in total rebuild mode (as they should be) and it figures to be a long season for the Oakland faithful. Matt Flynn may keep them in some games, but that defense is just atrocious.

31. New York Jets-

-The Jets haven't even gotten to mini-camps and they have lost arguably their top quarterback in David Garrard who was forced to retire due to injury. Though the Jets made a few minor moves to stop the bleeding, it figures to be a rough year in New York, especially if Mark Sanchez goes into the season as the starter.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars-

-It figures to be a rough year in Jacksonville as the Jaguars made zero effort to upgrade their quarterback spot. The offseason has been ugly for the Jaguars as they've shed poor contracts while not really adding much talent. One of Jacksonville's few talented players, WR Justin Blackmon, is suspended for the first four games of the season. Defensively the lack of a pass rush will likely be the teams undoing as well.