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The Steelers played a lackluster game in a 26-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.   The defense was ineffective against the run giving up 157 total yards and not getting any sacks or turnovers.  Those two things were lacking in the defense last season in 0-4 start, and too many penalties, but a couple on the Ravens touchdown drive in the 3rd quarter were questionable.   The offense did not score a touchdown and had 3 turnovers.  The Steelers didn’t play a clean game and they have address some problems.   Such as cut back on turnovers and penalties on offense, and force turnovers on defense.   They are 1-1 and have a 10 day break before taking on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night at the Bank of America with kickoff  at 8:30 P.M.

74

There is a lot of blame to go around with the Ray Rice situation.   Rice’s behavior is the main factor, but not the only one that people are talking about.  Roger Goodell is taking a lot of heat for it, and during an interview with CBS Noriah O’Donnell he didn’t see the video before it was shown on TMZ Sports. He said that the NFL could not get hold of the video, and lot of people don’t really believe that.   Blame should also been given to the New Jersey State Police,  Atlantic City Police, and the District Attorney for not pursuing the case.   The Ravens organization should have punished Rice in the first place, and Owner Steve Bisciotti wrote a letter of apology to shareholders for not taking action ahead of time.   There is a lot of blame to go around and they have been calls for Goodell to resign or fired by the owners.    Everyone should be blame for not punishing Rice in February for what he did.

Early this morning, TMZ Sports released a video showing Ray Rice knocking out his fiancé, in an Atlantic City casino this past February.  Within a few hours  his contract was terminated by the Baltimore Ravens.    He was indefinitely suspended by the NFL, and there have been a lot of discussion did NFL see the video beforehand.   Some people think NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign, and a possible cover up into the matter.   I have not seen or ever want to see the video, but Rice’s behavior is so appalling that the Ravens had to do this.    Will Ray Rice get a second chance in the NFL, and some current and former players went on social media to say he should be banned for life.    Personally,  I don’t see him getting any second chances anytime soon.   His NFL career could be finished and has no one to blame but himself.

Here are my NFL Week 2 Picks

Steelers defeat Ravens

Dolphins defeat Bills

Redskins defeat Jaguars

Cowboys defeat Titans

Cardinals defeat NY Giants

Patriots defeat Vikings

Saints defeat Browns

Falcons defeat Bengals

Panthers defeat Lions

Buccaneers defeat Rams

Seahawks defeat Chargers

Raiders defeat Texans

Packers defeat NY Jets

Broncos defeat Chiefs

49ers defeat Bears

Colts defeat Eagles

It was a tale of 2 halves for the Steelers against the Cleveland Browns this afternoon.    They dominated the Browns in the first half, but let them back in the game.  Shaun Suisham made a 41 yard game winning field goal to give the Steelers a 30 to 27 win over the Browns.   Ben Roethlisberger had an outstanding game throwing for 365 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked 4 times during the second half.    Le’Veon Bell rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown, plus Antonio Brown had 5 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown.   Markus Wheaton had a great game as well with 6 catches for 97 yards.    LeGarrette Blount scored a  touchdown and proved he is a good short yardage/goal line running back.   The defense had a great first half with 3 sacks, but didn’t finish the job.  They gave up 100 yards to Terrance West, and Brian Hoyer had a great 2nd half.   Special Teams had a great game with Suisham making 3 field goals including the game winner, Brad Wing had a good day punting, and loved the fake punt pass from Robert Golden to Antwon Blake.   However the Steelers have to finish teams off and that is something they have to learn from this win.    They have four days to get ready for the Baltimore Ravens this Thursday night at M&T Stadium with the kickoff at 8:30 P.M.

 

The NFL Season is almost here, and for the third straight year I will be making my NFL Season predictions. (here are my picks from 2012  http://noodleofnam.blogspot.com/2012/08/2012-nfl-predictions.html and 2013 http://noodleofnam.blogspot.com/2013/09/2013-nfl-predictions.html ) Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think! Are you ready for some football!?

 

AFC East

New England Patriots 12-4
Miami Dolphins 9-7
New York Jets 8-8
Buffalo Bills 6-10

 

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
Baltimore Ravens 9-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
Cleveland Browns 4-12

 

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts 11-5
Tennessee Titans 10-6
Houston Texans 8-8
Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11

AFC West

Denver Broncos 12-4
San Diego Chargers 11-5
Kansas City Chiefs 8-8
Oakland Raiders 4-12

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
Dallas Cowboys 9-7
New York Giants 7-9
Washington Redskins 7-9

NFC North

Green Bay Packers 12-4
Chicago Bears 10-6
Detroit Lions 9-7
Minnesota Vikings 5-11

NFC South

New Orleans Saints 12-4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
Atlanta Falcons 8-8
Carolina Panthers 3-13

 

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks 13-3
San Francisco 49ers 9-7
St. Louis Rams 8-8
Arizona Cardinals 6-10

 

 

Playoffs

NFC Wild Card

Green Bay vs Tampa Bay

Philadelphia vs Chicago

NFC Divisional Round

Seattle vs Philadelphia

New Orleans vs Green Bay

NFC Championship

Seattle vs New Orleans

AFC Wild Card

Cincinnati vs Tennessee

Indianapolis vs San Diego

AFC Divisional Round

Denver vs Tennessee

New England vs San Diego

AFC Championship

Denver vs San Diego

Super Bowl

Denver vs New Orleans

Super Bowl Champions

Denver Broncos

 

 

 

NFL MVP – Peyton Manning
NFL Passing Yards Leader-  Drew Brees 5,234 yards
NFL Touchdown Passes Leader- Peyton Manning 48
NFL Rushing Yards Leader- Matt Forte 1,673 yards
NFL Receiving Yards Leader- Calvin Johnson 2,032 yards
Receiving Touchdowns- Demaryius Thomas 15 TD’s
Rushing Touchdowns- Marshawn Lynch 14 TD’s
Sacks- Robert Quinn 21
Interceptions- Brandon Boykin 9
Rookie of the Year- Sammy Watkins

So there you have it. Those are my 2014 NFL predictions. If you agree, disagree, or think I’m crazy let me know!  But remember, these aren’t anything official, just predictions. And if any of us did have the actual answers Vegas would go broke!

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Okay so I had to simply call this the “Receivers Edition” instead of “Wide Receivers Edition” because I am including Tight Ends as well. We will look at upcoming milestones in Receptions, Receiving Yards, and Receiving Touchdowns. So lets get to it! (once again barring unforeseen circumstances).

Receptions

1,000

Andre Johnson- Currently at 927 receptions, Johnson has had 100+ receptions the past two seasons, and will become just the 10th player in NFL history to achieve 1,000 receptions in a career.

900

Jason Witten- The 9 time Pro Bowler has been an important piece to the Dallas Cowboys offense during his 11 seasons with the team. The Tight End is just a few games in need of reaching the 900 mark. (879 career receptions)

Anquan Boldin- Boldin thrived in his first season in San Francisco. Boldin’s 85 receptions last season has currently put him at 857 career receptions.

Larry Fitzgerald- His career low in receptions was 58 during his rookie season. Since that time he has currently racked up a total of 846 catches.

Wes Welker- When you get to play for quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning like Wes Welker has, then you are going to get your number called quite a bit! Welker is currently at 841 career receptions.

Steve Smith- Smith had 64 receptions last season, which is exactly the amount he needs to reach 900. Will definitely get his chances in Baltimore as he will be their new primary threat.

800

Brandon Marshall- Possibly part of the best wide receiver alongside Alshon Jeffrey in Chicago. No reason to think he (and for that matter Jeffrey) will not keep it. Marshall has had 100+ receptions the past two seasons, bringing his career total to 712.

Rest of The Field

700

Roddy White- 685 career receptions

600

Calvin Johnson- 572

500

Greg Jennings- 493

Dwayne Bowe- 472

Heath Miller- 466

Will They?

Antonio Gates is currently sitting at 719 receptions. He has only reached 80+ receptions twice in his career, but recorded 77 last season

Jerricho Cotchery- Now will be the apparent No.1 Receiver in Carolina, Cotchery may have a shot at reaching 500 career receptions this season. (437 career receptions)

Receiving Yards

Reggie Wayne- Before a mid-season injury last season, Reggie Wayne achieved the 1,000 reception milestone. Had he not gone done with an injury, Wayne would have been within an arms reach of reaching 15,000 this season. But it is a safe bet that he will get to 14,000 as he currently sits at 13,566 career receiving yards. (But don’t knock him just yet on reaching 15,000 this season either!)

Andre Johnson- If consistency continues, Johnson will reach both the 13,000 and 14,000 receiving yard milestones. Currently at 12,661 career receiving yards, Johnson posted 1,407 yards in 2013 and 1,598 in 2012(and has recorded 1,500+ receiving yards in 3 of the last 6 seasons).

Steve Smith- Will see a rejuvenation in Smith career this season with a fresh start in Baltimore. needs 803 (12,197 career receiving yards) to reach the 13,000 yard milestone.

Will reach 12,000 (may have chance at 13,000)

Larry Fitzgerald- 11,367 career receiving yards

Anquan Boldin- 11,344 career receiving yards

Welcome to the five digits (and more!) club (10,000+)

Jason Witten- 9,799 career receiving yards

Roddy White- 9,436 career receiving yards

Wes Welker- 9,358 career receiving yards

Calvin Johnson- 9,328 career receiving yards (I think he will reach 11,000 as well as I have gone on the record to say Megatron will record 2,000 receiving yards this season http://kcsportsninja.com/can-calvin-johnson-crack-the-2000-receiving-yard-mark-in-2014/ )

Antonio Gates- 9,193 career receiving yards

Brandon Marshall- 9,050 career receiving yards

9,000

Marques Colston- 8,337 career receiving yards

8000

Vincent Jackson- 7,362 career receiving yards

Greg Jennings- 7,344 career receiving yards

Touchdown Receptions

90

Larry Fitzgerald- 87  career TD Receptions

Antonio Gates- 87 career TD Receptions

*Note* If both match their career highs (13) they will reach 100 career TD Reception milestone in the process.

70

Steve Smith- 67 career TD Receptions

Calvin Johnson- 66 career TD Receptions

Anquan Boldin- 65 career TD Receptions

Marques Colston- 63 career TD Receptions

Will He?

Andre Johnson has 61 career TD Receptions but has only record 9 in a single season once.

60

Brandon Marshall- 57 career TD Receptions (If continues trend of past two seasons of having one more TD than previous season, 11 in 2012, 12 in 2013, then 70 may also be reached by Marshall)

Greg Jennings- 57 career TD Receptions

Roddy White- 55 career TD Receptions

Vernon Davis- 53 career TD Receptions

Will They?

Vincent Jackson has 52 career TD Receptions, but has had one less TD in each of the past three seasons (2011- 9 TD Receptions, 2012- 8 TD Receptions, 7 TD Receptions)

Jason Witten- Had 8 TD Receptions last season. Only had one other season with 8 or more TD’s in a season (9 in 2010)

50

Wes Welker- 48 career TD Receptions (With Peyton Manning as his QB, had career best with 10 TD Receptions last season. Perhaps may reach 60 as well if he continues build off that)

Rob Gronkowski- 42 career TD Receptions

Jimmy Graham- 41 career TD Receptions

Dez Bryant- 40 career TD Receptions

Will They?

Dwayne Bowe- Has 44 career TD Receptions and his career high is 15 in a season (2010). His rookie season(2007) he had 7. But in his five other seasons, Bowe has had 5 or less TD’s

Heath Miller- 40 career TD Receptions. Will need career year. Most ever recorded in a single season is 8 (2012).

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/

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After starting off with milestones that will be reached this NFL Season, now it is time to take a look at milestones that will be reached by running backs this year (again barring unforeseen circumstances).

Rushing Yards

Steven Jackson- May be in a reduced role, but a couple of good games will put him at the 11,000 yard milestone (currently has 10,681 rushing yards)

Adrian Peterson- In my opinion, Peterson is the best running back since Barry Sanders. Currently stands at 10,115. Will easily reach 11,000 mark, but if he goes “All Day” like he did in 2012, then maybe we will see him even reach the 12,000 rushing yard milestone!

Frank Gore- All Gore really needs is one nice big gain to reach the 10,000 rushing yard mark. Very likely too also reach 11,000. (9,967 career rushing yards)

Chris Johnson- Not only will CJ2K reach the 8,000 mark, but will most likely reach and surpass the 9,000 yard mark as well. (7,965 career rushing yards)

Marshawn Lynch- Lynch should have no problem reaching the next milestone in his path (8,000 yards) as he currently stands at 7,389. If he continues to goes into “BeastMode”, he may very well likely reach 9,000 career rushing yards as well.

Matt Forte- Will reach 7,000, but looking at his past two seasons (2012-1,094 yards, 2013- 1,339 yards) could just as likely reach the 8,000 yard mark as well.

DeAngelo Williams- Has averaged just over 805 yards the past three seasons, will have no problem reaching 7,000 yard mark (6,627 career rushing yards)

Will reach 6,000 and have shot at 7,000

Jamaal Charles- 5,823 career rushing yards

LeSean McCoy- 5,473 career rushing yards

Will They?

Maurice Jones Drew should reach the 9,000 mark (8,071 currently) but injuries and production level have slid the past two seasons. (803 rushing yards in 2013)

Willis McGahee is also another candidate to possibly reach the 9,000 yard milestone (8,474 career rushing yards.) But his role the past couple seasons have been reduced, leading to lower production. (731 yards in 10 games played while starting in 9 in 2012, 377 yards in 2013 while playing in 12 games but starting in only 6).

Ray Rice- Production slid dramatically last year, rushing for only 660 yards in 15 games (had 1,100+ in the four seasons prior) and will miss two games due to off field incident. Next milestone is 7,000 as he currently sits at 6,180 career rushing yards.

Rushing Touchdowns

Adrian Peterson- Currently has 86 rushing touchdown. Never had a season with less than 10, had four season with 12 rushing TD’s, and his career best is 18 in a single season. Look for Peterson to reach 100 career rushing touchdowns this season!

Maurice Jones Drew- Will reach 70 (currently at 68 rushing TD’s) possible he reaches 80, (has had three seasons of 12 or more rushing TD’s)

Marshawn Lynch- has had 12 rushing touchdowns in two of the past three seasons (11 in the other). “BeastMode” reaches 60, and will also hit the 70 mark.

Will Reach 50

Arian Foster- at 45 career rushing touchdowns, but if he is 100% has a legit shot at 60 (has had two seasons of 15+ rushing touchdowns).

Will They?

Willis McGahee- has 65 career rushing touchdowns, but has not had more than 4 in the past three seasons.

Frank Gore- Has only had 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season once, which is exactly how many he needs to reach 70. Still, Gore has been consistent the past three seasons with 8 rushing touchdowns in 2011 and 2012, and 9 last year, so good chance he reaches the 70 mark.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis- After 13 and 11 rushing touchdowns in 2010 and 2011 respectively, Green Ellis has only 13 rushing touchdowns total in the past two seasons. But sitting at 42, it would probably be a safe bet that he will have at least 8 rushing touchdowns this year to reach the milestone of 50 career rushing touchdowns.

DeAngelo Williams- with 46, looking at statistics, should hit the 50 mark as he has averaged 4 touchdowns the past two seasons.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/rush_yds_active.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/rush_td_active.htm

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A big part that measures a player’s success is any and all milestones they reach throughout their career. With the 2014 NFL Season quickly approaching, many players are in reach of big milestones. And barring unforeseen circumstances, the following milestones will be reached by the following players

Passing Yards

Tom Brady

3 time Super Champion Tom Brady is knocking on the door of 50,000 career passing yards. Brady currently stands at a career total of 49,149, and it should take about four games at the most to reach the 50,000 yard mark.

Philip Rivers

Rivers will need a good portion of the season to hit the next big career milestone of 35,000 passing yards, with a current career total of 32,369.

Ben Roethlisberger

Roethlisberger will need less games to reach the 35,000 mark than Rivers (34,105).

Tony Romo

It may just take one game for Romo to reach 30,000 (29,565), but would probably make a couple interceptions in the process ;)

Quarterbacks that will reach 25,000 mark

1. Aaron Rodgers- 24,197

2. Jay Cutler- 23,937

3. Matt Ryan- 23,472

4. Joe Flacco- 21,545

(Matthew Schaub currently has 24,254. While he is in Oakland where there is currently heavy QB competition, Schaub should receive a chance and in the process may reach the 25,000 milestone)

Quarterbacks that will reach 20,000 mark

1. Matthew Stafford- 17,457

Touchdown Passes

Peyton Manning

Manning is currently 2nd all time for most career passing touchdowns with 491. Not only will Peyton reach the 500 mark, but will also surpass Brett Favre (508) for most all time!

Will They?

Both Drew Brees and Tom Brady have 363 and 359 career touchdown passes respectively. May be a stretch to think Brady will reach 400 mark, but Brees needs just 37 and was one TD Pass shy last year of having three consecutive seasons of 40+ touchdown passes.

Quarterbacks that will reach 200 mark

1. Aaron Rodgers- 188

Quarterbacks that will reach 100 mark

1. Andy Dalton- 80

(other notables Josh Freeman-80, Matt Cassel- 93, David Garrard- 89, Jason Campbell- 87, Kyle Orton- 83

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_yds_career.htm

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_td_career.htm

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73

In 2006, under then new-NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode during a game.

In 2013, Brandon Meriweather was suspended for two games for “repeated violation of the NFL’s helmet-to-helmet policy.”

In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended for two games for knocking his then-fiancé unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

Does this not add up to anyone else? Let me get this straight: Rice was given the same punishment for knocking a woman unconscious on video as Meriweather was for tackling violations? And received a lesser suspension than Haynesworth, who’s violation was against another man and during a game when the man had protective gear on? Haynesworth’s suspension, at the time the longest ever for an on-field incident, was appropriate; Rice’s suspension is shockingly and disgustingly light. I am outraged, irate, infuriated… there aren’t enough words for my level of disgust at Ray Rice, the NFL and those supporting this wife beater.

We have all seen the video of the Ravens running back carrying Janay Palmer’s lifeless body out of the elevator and laying her carelessly on the floor. Ever the gentlemen, he makes sure to pull her feet out of the way so the doors could close. It wasn’t made public, but Atlantic City Police have said they have video of Rice actually punching Palmer unconscious. Think about that for a moment — Rice took his fist and hit his fiancé, who he supposedly loves, in the head so hard that she was out cold. But of course that doesn’t render the same punishment as Haynesworth using his foot to hit another man who was wearing protective equipment.

What might even make the light suspension worse is that it was handed down by Roger Goodell, the man who is supposedly “cleaning up the NFL.” Apparently cleaning up the NFL doesn’t refer to those who abuse women, only those who smoke pot, take performance enhancing drugs or hit other men too hard during games.

The first time I saw the video I gasped in horror. Rice’s attorney described the incident as a “minor physical altercation.” I’d like anyone to look at the video of Rice dragging Palmer’s limp body out of an elevator and tell me there was anything “minor” about it. That any lawyer would dare to use such a word—minor— to describe what Rice did to Palmer is utterly degrading to all women.

Adding insult to injury, the Baltimore Ravens released a statement a few days after the video went public, in which Coach Jim Harbaugh said, “The two people obviously have a couple issues that they have to work through, and they’re both committed to doing that….They understand their own issues. They’re getting a lot of counseling and those kinds of things, so I think that’s really positive.”

Wow. Bad grammar aside, are you $a*!@#(%&;@#! kidding me?! This isn’t “a couple [of] issues,” it is violent abuse that is indicative of the man Ray Rice truly is. Do we think this is the first (or last) time he has done this? Statistics tell us that it is likely not: Most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18-24, 76% of females ages 25-34, and 81% of females ages 35-49. Palmer standing by his side, and even marrying him, after the incident does nothing to change what happened. Sadly, many women stay with the men who abuse them, either because they confuse abuse with love, they believe he “won’t do it again,” or because they are scared to leave because they fear for their safety or they are afraid to be alone.

As a female football fan, I’m insulted and disgusted that Rice was given such little punishment for his violent crime. I’m offended and sad that his lawyer would call the exchange “minor” and I’m further offended that the Baltimore Ravens organization, players and some fans are standing up for this wife beater – because that is exactly what Ray Rice is.

Despite saying he was “taking responsibility for his actions, Rice rejected a plea offer that would have spared the running back jail time in exchange for completing probation and undergoing anger management. Instead, he pleaded not guilty—not guilty to something that is on camera. In a move that says far too much about our society, Rice was accepted into a program for first-time offenders that will clear him of charges in as few as six months if he stays out of trouble and attends regular counseling.

I am sad that the only consequence for Rice knocking a woman out cold is a two-game suspension. No jail time, no probation, not even a fine. I am sad for Janay Palmer, even if she isn’t sad for herself. I’m sad that, yet again, violence against women goes underpunished. I’m sad that a man was let “off the hook” because he can run with a ball. And I’m sad that talent and money outweighs violence.

I hope no one cheers for Ray Rice in his first game back; I hope the Baltimore fans turn their backs when he is announced; I hope they boo him when he gets handed the ball. But, sadly, history tells us that if Rice does well on the field, all will be forgotten and forgiven. In fact, this week it was reported that “Rice gets warm reception from fans at practice.” Applauding a guy that is so tough he knocks out his girlfriend in an elevator where she had no where to run. They should be ashamed of themselves

I, for one, will not forget. I hope others do the same.

No Rice.

Domestic Violence Statistics*

*Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) of the Department of Justice (DOJ), both government agencies.

Read More of Jennifer at Real Women Love Sports

The NFL 2 games suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for assaulting his wife at an Atlantic City Casino had triggered a lot of opinions.  Female members of the sports media have been telling it like it, but they have been subjected to a lot of negative comments on social media.  Sam Ponder of ESPN tweeted about objectification and disrespecting women online, but she was subjected to mean-spirited comments, and they verbally attack her newborn baby.  Stephen A Smith who also worked on ESPN talked about women provoking violence on herself, but he has since apologized for saying that.  Michelle Beadle ripped Smith for his take on the subject, and talked about her own experience in abusive relationship.  Beadle was subjected to angry tweets from men for having an honest opinion on this issue.   Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio talked about this issue and took calls from listeners.   She was subjected to name calling and insults, and that is not right.   Some men are afraid of women who have strong opinions, and who work in the sports media.    They type mean-spirited insults and name calling that in poor taste.   I hope we have a mature conversation on this issue, but after this week it is not happening any time soon.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended by the NFL for two games for an assault on his wife at an Atlantic City Casino.  There have been a lot of controversy about the league decision and it is bad for business. There is no excuse for his actions, and his wife should have not apologized for the incident.   In my opinion, Rice should have received a full year suspension for his actions.  The NFL has a big female fan fanbase, but this incident is a cause for concern among them.   How should the female fan base react to this suspension? The NFL should have a set policy for domestic abuse and DUIs and the punishment should be a one year suspension, and that should be a deterrence against these crimes.   I had the chance to listen and read many opinions on this matter, and it is clear that the perception is the NFL is not doing right to their female fan base.    Keith Olbermann of ESPN believes that the NFL doesn’t care about their female fanbase, but want their money.    How does the NFL justified this punishment it can’t because in the long run it will hurt the female fanbase, and it will hit them in the pocketbook.

717

 

Over/Under

1. Torrey Smith has 3 100+ receiving yard games? (had 2 100+ yd games last en route to 1,128 receiving yards in 2013)

Over/Under

2. Terrell Suggs records 80 tackles (recorded 80 in 2013, tying a career high)

Over/Under

DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO

3. Marlon Brown will have 8 TD Receptions (7 last year in his Rookie Season)

Over/Under

(Photo by AP Photo)

4. Joe Flacco will have 25 TD Passes? (Had 19 in 2013, 22 in 2012 Super Bowl Season)

Over/Under

5. Baltimore wins 10 games? (8-8 in 2013, 10-6 in 2012 Super Bowl Season)

 

It is never too early to start talking about football! With less than three months to go until the start of the 2014 NFL Season, interesting stories have and will continue to build until the season finally commences! So with that out of the way, lets take a look at some scenarios and either “Buy” or “Sell” them actually happening this upcoming NFL Season!

Buy or Sell

1. Dallas Cowboys Will Make The Playoffs?

2. LeSean McCoy Will Repeat As NFL Rushing Leader?

3. Eli Manning Will Have a Bounce Back Year?

2013 Stats: 3,818 Passing Yards, 18 Touchdowns, 27 Interceptions (most in league in 2013, as well career worst) 69.4 QB Rating

4. Nick Foles Will Continue Success From Last Season And Be Eagles Next Franchise Quarterback?

2013 Stats: 8-2 record, 27 Touchdowns (only 2 interceptions), league best QB Rating of 119.2

5. Calvin Johnson Will Have at Least 1,500 Yards Receiving?

2013 Stats: 14 Games Played, 1,492 Receiving Yards, 12 TD Receptions

6. One of The Following Head Coaches Will Lead Their New Team To The Playoffs?

  1. Bill O’Brien- Houston Texans
  2. Jim Caldwell- Detroit Lions
  3. Mike Pettine- Cleveland Browns
  4. Mike Zimmer- Minnesota Vikings
  5. Lovie Smith- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Ken Whisenhunt- Tennessee Titans
  7. Jay Gruden- Washington Redskins

 

7. At least One of The Following Head Coaches Will Be Fired After The Season?

  1. Rex Ryan- New York Jets
  2. Mike Tomlin- Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Marvin Lewis- Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Jason Garrett- Dallas Cowboys

 

 

8. Drew Brees Will Throw For 5,000+ Yards For The 4th Consecutive Season?

9. Jadeveon Clowney Will Win Defensive Rookie of the Year?

10. Johnny Manziel Will Start a Game For Cleveland?

11. There Will Be QB Controversy For The New York Jets Between Geno Smith & Mike Vick?

12. The New England Patriots Will Win The AFC East For The Sixth Straight Season?

13. Peyton Manning Will Throw 50+ TD Passes?

2013 Stats: 5,477 Passing Yards (NFL Record), 55 Touchdown Passes (NFL Record), 342.3 Passing yards per game (league best), 115.1 QB Rating

14. Richard Sherman Will Have at Least 8 Interceptions For The Third Consecutive Season?

15. The Seattle Seahawks Will Repeat As Super Bowl Champions?

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As the NFL Schedule was released yesterday, one of the many talked about subjects were key match ups during the 17 week long regular season. I compromised 10 games that are out of division, match ups that are a must watch as some may and will hold playoff implications and positioning, another chapter being added to rivalries, and rematches with one team looking for revenge! Without further ado, here are my 10 must see (out of division) games to watch this 2014 NFL Season!

 

Week 1 

Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers

The Seattle Seahawks begin their Super Bowl title defense against the Green Bay Packers. The last time these two teams met, it ended in controversial fashion when an Hail Mary attempt appeared to be intercepted in the endzone by then Packers Safety, M.D. Jennings. It was then when then Seahawks Receiver Golden Tate made a desperate yet obvious last ditch attempt to persuade the replacement officials that he was the one in full control of the ball when coming down with it. The call was ruled a touchdown and ironically a few days later Tate admitted he pushed off a defender (which would be offensive pass interference) before “catching” the ball for the game winning touchdown. Thankfully just two days later, the original referees ended the “2012 NFL Referee Lockout” by coming to an agreement with the NFL.

Week 2

Indianapolis Colts vs Philadelphia Eagles

Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck has already cemented himself as the next franchise Quarterback for the Colts. The Eagles are hoping they found theirs finally for the first time since the Donovan McNabb era in Nick Foles. Foles made a quick mid-season impression and lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a division title last year.

Week 3

Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos

Super Bowl 48 rematch! We know Denver will be looking to avenge its embarrassing performance against Seattle when the Seahawk defense picked apart Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense en route to a 43-8 Super Bowl victory. Will the Legion of Boom continue where it last left off from its dominance in the Super Bowl, or will Peyton Manning and the Denver offense finally have an answer for the “12th man”?

Week 4

San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagle will be heavily tested early on in 2014, as they face another Super Bowl contender, San Francisco 49ers, in Week 4. Colin Kaepernick has come close to a Super Bowl ring twice. In 2013 he and the 49ers were defeated by the Ravens in Super Bowl 47, and lost in last year’s NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. Foles will look to prove he is the future and answer the Eagles problems, while Kaepernick is trying to solve the problem of getting over the hump en-route to a Super Bowl ring.

Week 7

Denver Broncos vs San Francisco 49ers

In what could have been the other possible Super Bowl 48 match up, perhaps finally we will get a glimpse into what might have happened this past February had these two teams met for the Lombardi Trophy. Would Colin Kaepernick have “Kaepernicked” his way to a Super Bowl victory, or would Peyton Manning defied his critics and ended up winning his 2nd Super Bowl? I guess this will be the closest way in finding out the answer to that question…..for now!

Week 8

New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay Packers

In what is sure to be a quarterback clinic, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have combined for 2,067 passing yards (Rodgers-879, Brees- 1,188) 19 touchdown passes (Rodgers 9, Brees 10) and 211 points totaled between the two teams when these two meet. (Rodgers has won 2 of 3 matches against Brees)

Week 9

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos

Chapter 16 of the classic “Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning” rivalry. New England hosted Denver last year in the regular season where the Broncos jumped out to a 24-0 lead before the Patriots made a huge comeback to win the game. Unfortunately for Brady and the Patriots, New England was not able to go into Mile High Stadium and capture the AFC Championship two months later against Manning and the Broncos. Though both quarterbacks are nearing the end of their respective careers, they will still have plenty to play for and much to prove.

Week 10

New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers

Two different style quarterbacks, both of whom produce big numbers and positive results. While Drew Brees is a protocol “gun slinging” and “pocket presence” quarterback, Colin Kaepernick gets it done not only through the air, but on his legs, via the ground game. This mid-season match up could give early indications of playoff positioning, and for these two championship contenders, positioning means everything!

Week 13

Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots

Another match up where Tom Brady will be facing an elite quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. While Tom Brady may not have as many weapons as Aaron Rodgers and this is not the same New England teams from year’s past, Brady’s experience and leadership begins to take stride around this time each season. Rodgers will be no slouch either as he already has a Super Bowl trophy and like Brady, has his sights set on another one!

Week 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs Seattle Seahawks

A potential playoff preview, it will be interesting to see how these two teams offenses generate against each other. The Seahawks, led by Russell Wilson, will have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield with Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Jermaime Kearse as down field threats. The Eagles counter that with Nick Foles at quarterback with what also might be now the most dynamic backfield duo in the entire NFL after obtaining Darren Sproles to complement LeSean McCoy. Even though Philadelphia lost DeSean Jackson, they will be getting Jeremy Maclin back and Riley Cooper has emerged as the Eagles No. 2 Receiver. A definite must watch battle between these two high tempo, fast paced offenses!

With that said, are you ready for some football!?!?!?!?!

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Ever since NFL prospect Michael Sam publicly came out as a homosexual, news media gathered all around praising him for his bravery in being able to be comfortable with himself. While I too am glad he feels confident enough (and for the record I am a supporter of Gays and Gay Rights) I do not get why we have to make such a big deal out of it. Nor should it be. (Check out my article I wrote on Michael Sam after he came out right here http://kcsportsninja.com/michael-sams-sexuality-should-really-not-be-that-big-of-a-deal/

Former NFL Star Deion Sanders made a statement in regard to Michael Sam and homosexuality in the NFL

“He’s not the first gay guy in the NFL! He’s the first one to come out, let’s get that straight. Every team I’ve played on, there was someone…we always knew. But he was cool. That was our boy. We had to look out for him. Every team I’ve played on – five different teams – there was someone gay in the locker room.”

For Deion Sanders to say that obviously means there were and are no distractions going on in the locker room regardless of sexual preference. In other words, it is not, nor should it be that big of a deal! Everyone should be comfortable enough to accept themselves for who they are, whether it is race, sexuality, or their upbringing. Be happy and proud of yourself for who you are, but at the same time you do not need to make a big deal out of it, and neither should the public or news media. It is 2014, and as Doris Roberts character Marie from “Everybody Loves Raymond” once stated in an episode “Hello I’m queer and now I’m here”. Deal with it people, whether you like it or not, we are all different, but at the same time we do not need to flaunt our personal lives to the world in hopes to be accepted. All that matters is if you are a good person, then you will be accepted by most sane and rational people in this world!

 

To read the rest of the article on Deion Sanders issuing a statement of homosexuality always being in NFL Locker Rooms, check it out here to get a better understanding and perspective on the whole issue, go here http://www.towleroad.com/2014/02/sanders.html

 

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Star Running Back  Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, has been arrested on assault charges. The charges stemmed from a domestic dispute Rice and his fiancee had in an Atlantic City Casino. While the matter at hand is still under investigation, Rice is to have allegedly struck his fiancee that rendered her unconscious, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office wants to make sure that  “all appropriate charges are considered”.

The Atlantic City Police Department said “Rice and Palmer (Rice’s fiancee) both struck each other.”  The video shows the end result after the altercation between Rice and Palmer, with Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee around the casino hotel coming out of an elevator.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/downashore/Atlantic-County-Prosecutor-taking-over-Ray-Rice-assault-investigation-after-video-shows-him-dragging-limp-fiance-out-of-Revel-elevator.html

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Ray Rice is a Super Bowl Champion and one of the most popular members of the Baltimore Ravens. He has been active in the Baltimore area via of his anti-bullying campaign. However, his popularity has taken a big hit with an off the field incident. Rice and his fiancée Janay Palmer were both charged with assault in an Atlantic City Casino. There is a video of Rice dragging her out of the casino.  However, if he is charged with a crime the NFL could suspend him for violating the Personal Conduct Policy.   The Ravens could also cut him for violating a moral clause in his contract without any salary cap hit.   Rice was coming off of sub-par season and now he is dealing with a serious matter that could hurt his football career.

NaVorro Bowman ( San Francisco 49ers)
               Christian Petersen/Getty Images
145 Tackles, 5.0 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble Recoveries, 2 Interceptions (1 returned for a Touchdown), 9 Pass Deflections
Levi Brown ( Pittsburgh Steelers) IR
           Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Started in 4 games for the Arizona Cardinals before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers and suffering a season ending triceps injury.

Dan Connor ( Carolina Panthers)

          Handout/Getty Images
Played in 6 games total (1 with NY Giants 5 with Carolina Panthers) recorded 4 Tackles
Jack Crawford (Oakland Raiders)
  Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Played in 15 games while recording 8 Tackles
Robbie Gould ( Chicago Bears)
   Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
26 of 29 on Field Goal Attempts, Made 11 from 20-29 yards, 7 from 30-39 yards, 7 from 40-49 yards, 4 from 50+ yards, (58 longest of 2013-14 season and of career) 55 of 56 on Extra Points, 123 Points 

Tamba Hali ( Kansas City Chiefs)

  Harry How/Getty Images

 46 Tackles, 11.0 Sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble Recoveries, 1 Interception (returned for a Touchdown), 1 Pass Deflection

Jordan Hill ( Seattle Seahawks)

PHOTO: KPUG/DOUG LANGE
7 Tackles, 1.5 Sacks in 4 games played.
Gerald Hodges ( Minnesota Vikings)
 Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America
5 Tackles in 11 games played

Josh Hull ( Washington Redskins)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

14 Tackles in 11 games played

Sean Lee ( Dallas Cowboys)

Ray Carlin/Icon SMI

99 Tackles in 11 games, 1 Fumble Recovery, 4 Interceptions (1 returned for a Touchdown), 6 Pass DeflectionsMichael Mauti ( Minnesota Vikings)

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

12 Tackles in 14 games played
Matt McGloin ( Oakland Raiders)
  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In 7 games, went 118 of 211 on pass completions, 1,547 yards, 8 TD, 8 INT, 2 Fumbles (1 lost)
Derek Moye (Pittsburgh Steelers)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America)In 7 games played, caught 2 receptions for 20 yards, one being a TD Reception!

Jared Odrick ( Miami Dolphins)

Photo via Allen Eyestone/Palm Beach Post

43 Tackles, 4.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 2 Pass DeflectionsRich Ohrnberger ( San Diego Chargers)

               Photo Credit: San Diego Chargers’ Website.Played in 13 Games (Named starter in one)

Paul Posluszny ( Jacksonville Jaguars)

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

161 Tackles, 3.0 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery, 2 Interceptions (1 returned for a TD), 9 Pass Deflections
Chaz Powell ( New York Giants) Practice Squad
 via espn.go.com
No Stats

Andrew Quarless (Green Bay Packers)

   Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

32 Receptions, 312 yards, 2 Touchdowns

Michael Robinson ( Seattle Seahawks)
         Al Bello/Getty Images
Played in 9 games, 0 rushing yards, 2 Receptions for 27 yards
Evan Royster ( Washington Redskins)
   Jason Miller/Getty Images
Played in 10 games, 0 rushing yards, 1 reception 3 yards, before suffering ankle injury
A.Q. Shipley ( Baltimore Ravens)
   Brad Mills – USA TODAY Sports
Played in 16 games (starting in nine)
Mickey Shuler ( Atlanta Falcons) Practice Squad
      (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
No Stats
Devon Still ( Cincinnati Bengals)
           Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
In 10 games had 7 Tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 3 Pass Deflections. Suffered season ending elbow injury
Nathan Stupar ( Jacksonville Jaguars)
      via Stupar’s Twitter
In 12 Games (5 with San Francisco, 7 with Jacksonville) recorded 10 Tackles
Andrew Szczerba ( Atlanta Falcons) IR
     via espn.go.comNo Stats

Phillip Taylor ( Cleveland Browns)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America
26 Tackles, 2.0 Sacks, 1 Pass Deflection
Johnnie Troutman ( San Diego Chargers)

AP Photo/Paul Spinelli

Played in 14 Games
Cameron Wake ( Miami Dolphins)

   Jim Rogash/Getty Images37 Tackles, 8.5 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery. Also recorded a safety against the Cincinnati Bengals to win game for Miami Dolphins

Stefen Wisniewski ( Oakland Raiders)

picture via pittsburghsportsreport.com

Played and started in 14 games
Michael Zordich ( Carolina Panthers)
 USA TODAY Sports
Missed season with ACL injury

All stats come from player profiles via espn.go.com

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They have been rivals since the days of coaching against each other in the Pac-10 Conference. One used to coach at Stanford, but was also a 15 year NFL quarterback. The other flamed out in two previous NFL coaching stops, but was a big success at the University of Southern California. Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll will be coaching against each other again. This time the stakes are for the NFC Championship, and a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. In 4 years, Carroll has taken the Seattle Seahawks in from mediocre to the best record in the NFL this season. Harbaugh in his 3 seasons had led  the San Francisco 49ers to three straight NFC Title game appearances and last year’s Super Bowl where the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens 34 to 31. Both coaches down play the rivalry but it is there. Their coaching styles are as different as their personalities. Harbaugh is fiery and intense just like he was when he was player. Carroll is a rah-rah college style player’s coach.   Both teams are very physical and have young quarterbacks Colin Kapernick for the 49ers and Russell Wilson for the Seahawks.  These two teams are a great reflection of each coach, and this game will be a tough physical matchup.

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