Tag Archives: matt ryan

Enjoy The NFL Season, Because I Won’t

It's going to be a long season for my Giants.

So football’s back… woo-hoo!!! But I don’t care really.

Yeah I’m bitter about my Giants I can’t lie, that’s what happens when you have your top defensive end act salty over not getting a new deal, you lose half of your team to injury in the preseason (its and exaggeration but losing 3 DB’s including your best one Terrell Thomas, your starting middle linebacker, his backup is not fun) and your division rival just bought half of the NFL including your best receiver. Also the fact that your GM just stood there and did nothing about any of this. Not that I’m salty or anything.

The Eagles offseason has put them ahead of the pack as the team to beat in the NFC and the NFL as well. Their acquisitions including Nmandi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown and Jason Babin help to strengthen a team that won 10 games last year and could have them in prime position to knock over the defending champion Packers.

What you may have forgotten about the Packers is that they won the title last year with a depleted unit as well. starting running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley as well as several others suffered season ending injuries early in season and jeopardized the Packers playoff chances. Aaron Rodgers suffered two concussion last year as well and misses a game due to his injury. Yet they overcame those injuries to steamroll their way to the playoffs and eventually a Super Bowl crown. Now with everyone back healthy how can they not be primed for a second straight run?

That last paragraph gives me hope for the Giants but not really. Especially when the team that we share a stadium with is getting all of the buzz in the city of New York. Whether its Rex Ryan’s mouth, Mark Sanchez on GQ, or obtaining Plaxico Buress the Jets have remained the talk of football in New York and with good reasoning. The Jets have made two straight AFC title games under Ryan and are on the cusp of finally making it to Super Bowl this year… that is if they can’t beat the Patriots.

Nmandi Asomugha was one of Philly's many big splashes.

The Patriots did some retooling themselves after their 28-21 loss to the Jets in the playoffs this past January. They rescued Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth from poor situations in Cincinnati and Washington and Bill Belichick is working them into his system and despite some early concerns about their inability to learn the schemes you know both will be ready and that the Patriots, and Tom Brady will be in line at the top of the heap of the AFC.

So who else has a shot at Super Bowl 46 this year? who’s going to be fun to watch? Who’s not worth our time and who is dead in the water?… well I think I just named the basis for my blog today now didn’t I?

AFC

DON’T EVEN BOTHER WATCHING

Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton and AJ Green could hook up to be a great combo in this league… just not this year. Dalton has targets in Green, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Greshiam but the Bengals have no defense to speak of and little depth.

(Side Note: how does Marvin Lewis still have a job? the Bengals have perennially underachieved under him and have had a string of poor behavior from their players. Yet he’s still there without an inkling of heat underneath his seat. Maybe Mike Brown is cheap but he can’t be stupid. If Lewis doesn’t get it done this year or next he’s got to go… right?)

Jacksonville Jaguars: you get on this list for firing your QB 5 days before the opener. That and having no real receivers to speak of after Mike Sims-Walker left for St. Louis and very little on defense. Hi Jack Del Rio, welcome to the hot seat.

Buffalo Bills: name me three Buffalo Bills… don’t worry I’ll wait.

DEAD IN THE WATER

Miami Dolphins: Reggie Bush looks like a new man, Cameron Wake is a top 10 defensive end in the league and the tandem of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are one of the best in the league at defensive back. So why are they on this list? Chad Henne is their starting QB… no need to elaborate, let’s move on.

Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselback is a good replacement until Jake Locker is ready to take the reins and Chris Johnson is in the fold again after signing a huge extension. Yet in a division with the Colts and Texans who made strides to get better in terms of depth , the Titans have a ways to go to catch up.

TRENDING UP

Denver Broncos: I have and always will like Kyle Orton. He is a capable starting QB with enough sense to lead a team to the playoffs. John Fox has made a lot of smart decision this offseason when it came to figuring out a better defensive scheme to make that poor unit better but his best decision was make Orton the starter. Tim Tebow as much as the fans love him is nowhere near ready to be on the field as an NFL starter. Hell Brady Quinn looked better than him this preseason… BRADY QUINN! As much as the fans were calling for Tebow and that John Elway loves him they all need to wake the heck up. Tebow Is not a starting QB in the NFL right now, if you start him you hurt your teams chances at making the playoffs and the Broncos can become a player if their defense holds up.

This is not how the Colts envisioned seeing Peyton Manning.

Oakland Raiders: Yep you’re reading that right. Even with the loss of Asomuha on defense the Raiders have more than enough up front to be scary led by Richard Seymour. My biggest concern with them is if they can score enough points. They have a ton of speed with Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Darren McFadden but can it be utilized by any of their QB’s?

Cleveland Browns: they’re not ready to compete this year, but I have a feeling that Colt McCoy and Joe Haden will give teams fits on both ends of the ball. I know Cleveland is wary about expectations but 9-7 isn’t crazy to me.

THEY CAN GO EITHER WAY

Indianapolis Colts: this isn’t just because Peyton Manning will miss the time due to his neck injury it’s because I don’t trust their wide receivers to stay healthy, their secondary to be effective and their front 7 to be consistent. However, if Manning does come back slinging it like he does then none of this will matter.

Kansas City Chiefs: this team would be a contender if someone other than Matt Cassel was their QB. He’s not bad by any means but I think he inhibits them offensively. As for the defense… hey Glenn Dorsey… DO SOMETHING!!!

San Diego Chargers: they’re in good hands with Philip Rivers but consistency on offense worries me. Also can Shaun Phillips make enough plays on defense to make them forget about Shawne Merriman?

EITHER GET IT DONE OR BE DONE

Houston Texans: If they don’t breakthrough this year then it’ll never happen. Peyton’s injured, the Titans and Jags are rebuilding and the Texans stand on the cusp of a divisional title if they can actually man up in big games (hi, Matt Schaub). With Wade Phillips running the defense they should improve and actually be marginally good against the pass. But it really it comes down to this; we’ve been saying now for the last two seasons that this is the year for the Texans… I’m not saying it. Either get it done or start over.

THE ONLY FOUR THAT MATTER

Baltimore Ravens: the only thing that worries me about them is Joe Flacco. After last postseason in Pittsburgh Flacco looks frightened of the moment to me and that could be an issue going down the stretch. Does he have the fortitude to lead the Ravens in late game situations or is he just an average QB? This year we’ll find out.

New York jets: no excuse not to make it all the way this year. they have the experience, the players and the coaching, now they’ve got to get over the hump.

Pittsburgh Steelers: so, you think Dan Rooney is happy that this offseason is over? James Harrison, Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall gave him heartburn with their off the field issues and left a stain on the Steeler logo. Well now that it’s over and football is all that matters the focus is there and Mike Tomlin won’t let it slip. The league’s best defense can lead the Steelers back to the promise land and make everyone forget about a forgettable offseason.

New England Patriots: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after a postseason loss to a divisional rival and all offseason to think about it? yeah, get scared.

NFC

CHANGE THE CHANNEL

Washington Redskins: their starter is Rex Grossman, they have no one to run the ball, and they have no real secondary… Washington is counting the days until the Capitals are back.

Good luck with this Washington.

San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith is still their QB…

THERE’S A CHANCE BUT NOT A GOOD ONE

New York Giants: no depth, no chance. Also… STOP TURNING THE DAMN BALL OVER ALL OF YOU!!!!!!

Carolina Panthers: very young, very raw, but very talented. Give them time to gel and check back next year or the year after.

Minnesota Vikings: Donovan McNabb’s number one receiver is Percy Harvin, Jared Allen is coming off of a poor season and needs a bounce back badly. Sounds like it’ll be a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson this year.

UMMM… I COULDN’T EVEN TELL YOU

Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo is in a make or break year for his career. If he can’t get to the playoffs this year and go deep then the Cowboys will look for a new QB to lead the team in 2012. The problem is does he have everything he needs to succeed around him. who’s the team’s number one running back? Can Dez Bryant step his game up and compliment Miles Austin on the outside? Can their secondary stop anybody? Will Jason Garrett strangle Mike Jenkins by year’s end? I would hate to be in Romo’s position right now.

Arizona Cardinals: Now we get to see what the big deal is with Kevin Kolb. If he’s all that he’s cracked up to be then the Cardinals will contend. If not then Ken Whisenhunt will be feeling a little fire under his seat.

Seattle Seahawks: all of these offseason moves to improve your offense and the best you can do at QB is Tavaris Jackson? Maybe they should’ve resigned Hasselback.

YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID… VERY AFRAID

Detroit Lions: if Matt Stafford can stay healthy… IF… then look out. This is everyone’s chic pick to be the breakout team in the NFL and it’s not hard to see why. The main reason is Ndamukong Suh who is becoming the best defensive player in the NFL leading a defensive line that once it gets Nick Fairley back will be one of the best in the game. However, it comes back to Stafford. He has shown in limited action that he can be a really good QB and can put lots of points on the board with Calvin Johnson. His health decides their season; if he’s healthy then they’re in the playoffs, if not… wait until next year.

St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford almost lead them to the playoffs throwing to Danny Amendola… the defense has been together for a solid three years under Steve Spagnuolo’s complicated scheme and is getting it down to a science… the other three teams in the division are trying to figure themselves out in all areas while the Rams are set in there’s… if they don’t win the NFC West then it’ll be a huge disappointment.

It's now or never for Houston.

(Side note 2: remember the 2009 NFL Draft where Aaron Curry was the next great NFL linebacker, Brian Cushing was a stud, Rey Maualuga was a huge playmaker in the making and James Laurinaitis had concerns that he wasn’t fast enough to be an effective NFL linebacker? Guess who has become the best young middle linebacker in the league? Yep the slow kid from Ohio State who won two Butkis Awards in college. You know I wonder if scouts actually watch college games sometimes.)

THE ENIGMA

Chicago Bears: Is the defense set? Yes. Is Jay Cutler mentally ready to lead this team after the controversy from the NFC title game? I don’t know. Cutler has always been mercurial and hasn’t seemed like the greatest leader in the world but it’ll tested more than ever this year. he has to have a strong year under center and make very few mistakes and do so without a clear cut number one receiver, no respectable tight end and an agitated Matt Forte. If he can keep it all in line then the memory of him on the sidelines while his team struggles for yardage in the biggest game of the year will be a memory.

THE FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR THE PLAYOFFS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, Josh Freeman, Josh Freeman… oh and LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams and a revamped defense looking to bring back the Warren Sapp days. Their out to prove that last year was not a fluke… and they will.

New Orleans Saints: they couldn’t get over the Super Bowl hangover until it was too late. Plus the fact that they lost to 7-9 Seattle in the playoffs still hurts. Expect them to come out lighting it up from day one with nothing but a Super Bowl on their minds.

Atlanta Falcons: Hi Matt Ryan, welcome to Alex Ovechkin’s world. You play for one of the best teams in the league and you have matched all of your hype except in one area… you can’t get it done in the playoffs. You’ve been twice and gotten beaten up both times. Last year you ran into a smoldering hot Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and you couldn’t keep up with them. Well guess what Matty Ice, now you have an issue. You’re in your 4th year in the league and are considered an elite QB, so guess what were all expecting you to do now? that’s right, win when it matters. You can win all of the regular season games that you want but if you can’t win the close ones or get to the playoffs and win there then we don’t care. Your mission is to win the NFC South and make a Super Bowl run and nothing less. If you can’t do that then you’ll be sitting next to Ovechkin having a beer and wondering what more do you have to do to make your team elite.

THE CHAMP

Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews had 17 sacks last year, mostly on a broken leg… he’s healthy now… every QB in the league just got scared.

THE MIAMI HEAT

Philadelphia Eagles: Vince Young said that they were a super team and with the moves that they made how can you deny that claim? Young, Cromartie, Asomugha, Babin, Brown, Steve Smith and a cast of thousands joined the Eagles within the span of two weeks and expectations catapulted the Eagles to the top of the NFC class. Paper does not make a champion, but it does create some fun banter. Can this team finally gain short yardage with Brown and LeSean McCoy? Can the offensive line protect Michael Vick? With the new additions to the secondary will they be able to stop the pass? We won’t know until week 1 and even then we need more proof. The City of Philadelphia has been all about big name acquisitions this year with the Phillies getting Cliff Lee, the Flyers obtaining goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and now the Eagles with, well everyone. Can they make the title game? Sure. But they have to gel first and get all of their parts in order.

Yep we're still here.

Funny enough… I think that they will, but they won’t win. The Eagles vs. The Patriots sounds like a great matchup for Super Bowl 46 and The Patriots sound like a good winner. The Patriots have lost their swagger from previous years and it shows in their games versus the Jets, Steelers and other in previous years. They are still one of the top teams in the league but they needed to get kicked in the rear to get it together. The Jets provided them with that spark last year and it will carry over into this one.

Well I hope the Patriots enjoy their title run, the Jets enjoy contending, the Eagles enjoy the hype and the Packers enjoy their title defense. I won’t enjoy any of it thanks to the gloomy outlook that the Giants are facing this year. Oh well, it could be worse, I could pick the Bengals to win it all again.

AFC EAST- PATRIOTS

AFC NORTH- STEELERS

AFC SOUTH- TEXANS

AFC WEST- CHARGERS

AFC WILDCARDS- JETS, RAVENS

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP- STEELERS VS. PATRIOTS

NFC EAST- EAGLES

NFC NORTH- PACKERS

NFC SOUTH- SAINTS

NFC WEST- RAMS

NFC WILDCARDS- FALCONS, BUCS

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP- EAGLES VS. PACKERS

SUPER BOWL- PATRIOTS VS. EAGLES

MVP- DREW BREES

DPOY- NDAMUKONG SUH

OPOY- BREES

COACH OF THE YEAR- RAHEEM MORRIS

OROY- MARK INGRAM

DROY- PATRICK PETERSON


The NFC Is Just As Good As The AFC

Matt Ryan and the Falcons might be the team to beat... in the NFL.

Maybe we should start rethinking this whole AFC is better than the NFC thing.

Think about it. A few weeks ago the top 5 on the NFL all hailed from the AFC. The Ravens, Steelers, Jets, Pats and Colts were all in our top 5 in some order with the Titans and Dolphins in the mix as well.

The Falcons, Packers and Bears were all after thoughts and the Giants, Eagles and Saints we we were iffy about. Now? Who wouldn’t take the Falcons and Bears over the Jets or Ravens?

After Sunday it’s become clear that the power in the NFL is just as big in the NFC as it is in the NFC. The Falcons sit atop the league at 9-2 in a loaded division with the Saints at 8-3 and the surprising, yet well playing, Buccaneers at 7-4 and they each play again in the last five weeks. With the Saints hard charging and the Bucs getting tougher with each week, the Falcons have no room to breathe easy.

However neither does the rest of the conference. With Matt Ryan behind center the Falcons have lost only one game at home in his two plus years in Atlanta… once. If the road to the Super Bowl does run through Atlanta then we should just pencil the Falcons in right now.

Problem is that they haven’t played the Bears and that rejuvenated defense that is playing like it’s 1986. Julius Peppers and company have a overshadowed a terrible offensive line that hasn’t gotten better. Yet it doesn’t matter. What they did to Mike Vick and the Eagles attack was mind bending. Four sacks, a pick that was Vick’s first all year and shutting down LeSean McCoy in a dominant performance that may finally have skeptics believing that the Bears are really good.

The Bears defense has turned them into a contender

Also, Jay Cutler is playing efficient, smart football… yeah, I just wrote that. He’s finally realizing that he doesn’t always have to go for home runs on every play. He threw for four touchdowns yesterday with no picks and no bad passes. His steady play gave Chicago’s defense room to be as aggressive as it was without having to worry about his mistake-prone ways.

They have a date at the end of the season with the Green Bay Packers who seem to have righted the ship after an early rough start due to a rash of injuries.

Aaron Rodgers is playing like the best QB in the league and that 3-4 defense les by Clay Matthews is looking like one of the league’s best heading into the home stretch.

The Packers hold pressing wins over Philadelphia and New York and go on the road to Boston to take on the Patriots in late November. Despite the loss on Sunday to Atlanta the Packers are still in great position to get a nber two seed in the NFC and a central division title.

The normally strong NFC East will come down to two enigmatic yet dangerous teams in The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

The Eagles have looked in good in spurts, dominating Indianapolis, Atlanta and the Giants while looking terrible versus Tennessee, Chicago and Washington.

The offense has become the strong point of the team with the big play capabilities of Jeremy Maclin an DeSean Jackson and Mike Vick is an MVP front runner. The problem lies with their game to game consistency.

After destroying Washington on Monday night they almost let the Giants win a game that the Eagles should’ve won by 14 and then came the Chicago game where the Bears physically dominated them for four quarters and left the Eagles scratching their heads.

As good as they’ve been the Eagles need to put together consecutive good efforts if they want to go further than just a NFC East title.

Then there’s the 7-4 Giants who at one point were considered the best team in the NFC before injuries and the annual second half swoon kicked in. As good as they’ve looked the main issue for the Giants is turnovers… and lots if them.

They lead the league with 30 on he season which has overshadowed top 5 offensive and defensive units which have played outstanding throughout the season putting up points and getting to the quarterback (occasionally injuring them. They also lead the league with 5 injured QB’s at their hands.)

Unfortunaely that’s 7 well qualified teams for only 5 open spots (thank you pitiful NFC West). The race for the last two spots in the conference should be exciting as every team plays against each other in some fashion with Giants facing the Packers and Eagles, the Packers against the Bears and the Saints, Bucs and Falcons all with a game left against each other. It makes for some very exciting football down the stretch as the beat are goin against the best in the last 5 weeks.

Don’t sleep on the AFC however. This weekend the two main attractions in he league are on Sunday and Monday night as the Steelers go to Baltimore to face the Ravens and the Jets head to Gillette Stadium to play the Pats. Those two games should begin to decide the seeding in the AFC which seems to have its top 2 set with along the wildcard with the South and West a mess and seemingly non important.

However the rest of the season belongs to the NFC. The most intriguing and exciting teams and games will feature the conference that we all saw as an afterthought but might be the ultimate power in the league.

After ten weeks we thought we has the league all figured out. The AFC was the king and should’ve rolled to another Super Bowl victory. Then Tennessee fell off Baltimore, Jacksonville and the Jets fell to the best in the NFC in their stadiums and here we are wrong as ever. Hey it happens, I mean I did pick the Bengals to win the Super Bowl.


Full Exposure

The Overrated dont last long at number one coach.

Congratulations Ohio State, thanks to Wisconsin you have been exposed as a fraud. The soft schedule and lack of a true early season road test all came to head this weekend in Madison as the Buckeyes got beaten up by the Badgers 31-18 in their first and only week as the nation’s number one team in the country.

The game was over before it truly began. The Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead thanks to a kickoff return by David Gilreath and two John Clay scores. In fact the Badgers running attack is what really did Ohio State in. James White, John Clay and the Badgers offensive line completely controlled the line of scrimmage and pushed back the now overrated defensive line of the Buckeyes  for 184 yards on the ground and Clay become the first runner in 30 games to gain 100 yards on the Buckeyes.

So once again the Buckeyes fail in a game of great importance for their program, OSU should be used to it by now. However Buckeye faithful keep those chins up, because you have plenty of company in the house of frauds this week in both the NCAA and NFL. This weekend was the weekend of the exposed as many teams that we thought we really good were really overrated and their performance showed it.

OHIO STATE

Not to beat a dead horse but Jim Tressel your play calling is quite suspect. Look at the second quarter drive with the Buckeyes inside of the Badgers 10 yard line down 21-0.  Three runs, one up the middle, one QB option and a wildcat formation with Dan Herron at the QB position. Three plays, no points. I guess Tressel forgot about that 6’3 receiver named Devier Posey that he has on the outside and forgot that throwing the ball in that area is a neat option.

However, what really irks me about Ohio State is the lack of fixing the problems that they already knew existed. The special teams was horrible versus Miami and coach said that he would take a big look at it. Guess it wasn’t too good a look after the Gilreath touchdown that put the Buckeyes from behind from the beginning of the contest.

Personnel isn’t the problem it’s the way they play the game and that falls on the coaching staff. The fact that the Buckeyes don’t have a reliable short yardage runner or an intermediate passing game falls on Tressel. You can only live so long with Terrelle Pryor running options and chucking the ball downfield all game.

NEBRASKA

So much for that revenge against Texas.

Well, there goes the Taylor Martinez for Heisman talk and the talk of Nebraska looking to avenge that loss to Texas last year. Texas came in and punched the Huskers in the mouth and sent them off to the Big Ten with a not so lovely parting gift.

As talented as Martinez is the Huskers relied on him a little too much during their first few games and their lack of offensive depth showed as Texas slowed them to a standstill and built up an insurmountable 20-3 advantage.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gee, thanks Steve Spurrier. After I give you all of those props for closing out the defending national champs at home. You go on the road and can’t hold a 28-17 fourth quarter lead against the SEC’s perennial underachiever in Kentucky.

How does a defense that kept Alabama in check let Kentucky rack up 401 total yards? How does Stephen Garcia go from looking like he turned the corner to throwing two costly picks and the offense struggling with 4 turnovers after running over the Crimson Tide? Take back what I said last week.

NEVADA

I mean I didn’t expect them to get to the Fiesta Bowl, but I did expect them to set up a good undefeated matchup with Boise State in Reno in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately Colin Kaepernick and company couldn’t get that dominant run game going and now we get to not talk about Nevada again for awhile.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

I mean it’s not their fault that the entire team seems as though its injured, but to lose a ten point lead in Washington after dominating most of the game and then to come home and lay an egg like they did?

This isn’t the work of a Super Bowl contender. The Packers should have done a better job looking for a backup to Ryan Grant so their running game wouldn’t be abysmal. Also Mike McCarthy’s game management right now is starting to rival Les Miles in Baton Rouge. Maybe they exchanged notes or something.

THE CHICAGO BEARS

I guess that Giants game wasn’t an aberration, that offensive line is poor. Matt Forte is back to being that unproductive running back that teased us with an awesome rookie season. I can’t blame Jay Cutler for being a burden to this team, its every area but the quarterback position this year. He’s probably wishing that he didn’t hurry back from that concussion.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS

Funny story; after watching the Philadelphia Eagles jump to a 21-0 lead with Kevin Kolb slinging the ball all over the Falcons I sent my buddy Scully a text that said that Atlanta was trash, he responded by saying that, you’re only saying that because we’re (the Eagles) are winning. After further review this is not so.

Who do I have to yell at to get us going?

The Falcons can’t defend the pass. Kolb and company turned the game into a track meet and ran all over the field against these guys. They don’t seem like they have the personnel to keep up with speedy playmakers.

Also, this is a horrible road team. Forget the Saints win for a minute, the Falcons in the Matt Ryan era are two games under .500 and routinely come out flat. If they want to win the NFC (which they won’t) then they have to get more focused on the road.

THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Ugh. It doesn’t get any uglier than this team. Contract disputes, lack of a running game, an immature and volatile quarterback and a defense that underachieves like no other.  Watching the Chargers on Sunday made me realize how truly dysfunctional this team is. They seem to lack leadership and direction.  They were constantly out of position on defense and the offense couldn’t get a continuous flow going.

With all of that said they still may win the AFC West because the Chiefs may have finally come back down to earth and no one in that division really has any consistent game plan week in and out to make that next step. Still the Chargers are no threat to go anywhere this year, well except Norv Turner. He might be fired in three weeks.

See Buckeyes you weren’t the only contender that laid an egg this week. So cheer up as you and the rest of these teams watch your game film and wonder what went wrong. Also watch as you get passed by every other team in the standings and miss out on another title shot. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Buckeye in the last four years it’s that no one gives an underachiever a shot, especially when they get it wrong by overrating you to begin with.