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Richard Sherman made the biggest play in the NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers after deflecting a pass that ended up being intercepted by teammate Malcolm Smith. Sherman’s heroic performance sent the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl, but it was what he said in the post game interview that will be remembered the most.

“I’m the best corner in the game.”When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you’re going to get. Don’t you ever talk about me.”

Reporter Erin Andrews proceeded to ask who was talking about him, Sherman responded,

“Crabtree. Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’ll shut it for you real quick. L.O.B.”

Sherman had been mic’d up after tipping the pass intended for Crabtree telling him “hell of a game, hell of a game” which you can watch and hear the entire exchange right here and see for yourself as to why Sherman did what he did after the game.

From my own perspective, Sherman was actually being classy (though his post game rant may be debatable) and even extended his hand out to Crabtree, who responded by pushing Sherman away by his face mask.

The riff between the two supposedly goes back even prior to the 2013 NFL Season when they reportedly exchanged words at Larry Fitzgerald’s charity softball game. Sherman has not forgotten, nor has he forgiven Crabtree for his actions. During his appearance on the show “American Muscle” Sherman implied it is not something he is going to forget,

“I hope to play [Crabtree] every year for the rest of my career and choke him out. There’s not much else I can say about the subject. Nobody will understand it but him and me. That’s all that needs to [be understood].”

Whether you like Sherman or not, these statements are going to be great business wise for the NFL. First off, the Seahawks and 49ers are currently two of the best teams in the league today. Second, both teams play each other twice a season as they are in the same division. That is going to give the NFL a golden opportunity to cash in on this feud between Sherman and Crabtree by putting both match ups between Seattle and San Francisco in prime time. Even if both teams are struggling, each will be hungry for blood, and you can bet that Sherman will have something to say that will draw attention (positive or negative) to NFL fans that will have them tuning in, and in turn create profit for the league.

 

My piece on Richard Sherman: http://kcsportsninja.com/how-i-and-others-can-relate-to-richard-sherman/

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185

Over/Under

1. Colin Kaepernick throws 25 TD Passes

Over/Under

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2. AnQuan Boldin has 1,200 receiving yards

Over/Under

3. Vernon Davis has 13 TD Receptions

Over/Under

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

4. Frank Gore has 10 rushing TD’s

Over/Under

5. San Francisco wins 12 games (12-4 in 2013)

 

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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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After re-signing wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, the Philadelphia Eagles now look at DeSean Jackson as less essential for the team’s future. Jackson has become worried regarding the uncertainty of his future in Philadelphia, as both sides are growing frustrations with one another. Nevertheless, one thing Jackson will not have to worry about is whether or not teams will be calling about his services! The following link shows a list of five would be potential teams that would be interested in trading for Jackson and why they would possibly make the move to acquire him http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2014/03/desean_jackson_trade_rumors_5_teams_that_should_try_to_make_a_trade_with_the_eagles.html

 

I will also provide quick points and examples of why those same teams would be potential landing spots for Jackson.

Cleveland Browns- Josh Gordon emerged as a top premier wide receiver in the NFL last season. Still, the Browns cannot rely on Gordon to constantly carry the load and DeSean Jackson would give Cleveland arguably one of the best 1-2 punches in wide receivers in the league. This would also give fans in Cleveland something to cheer about if they are somehow able to land Jackson!

San Francisco 49ers- Even though the 49ers were able to re-sign Anquan Boldin, San Francisco is in need of another deep ball threat as they are thin on talent at the receiving position. Michael Crabtree is still coming off an injury, and there is no guarantee Crabtree will be the same again. Jackson would immediately upgrade the 49ers receiving core and fill out the depth chart quite nicely for San Francisco.

New York Jets- What is a better way for the Jets to surround a young Geno Smith even with new acquisition Eric Decker? DeSean Jackson! If the Jets get Jackson, this should be the trial and error run to prove if Geno Smith can be the quarterback of the future for New York with this kind of talent surrounding him.

Oakland Raiders- If there is one tradition that is known about the Oakland Raiders dating all the way back to the Al Davis days, is their love and need for speed. With Jackson’s 4.35 40 speed, he would definitely fit right in that “need” or more accurately “want” of the Oakland Raiders. Jackson would also serve as a nice complementary for newly acquired receiver, James Jones.

Carolina Panthers- After losing both Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell, the Panthers are left without a number one and two receiver. Do not be surprised if the Panthers make a huge run and try to trade for Jackson. Out of the five teams listed, I would have to say Carolina would be the most likely to really make a push to get Jackson in a trade based off the lack of talent a wide receiver alone. Followed by San Francisco with their lack of depth at wide receiver.

 

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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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With the Super Bowl being at MetLife Stadium there will be a lot discussion that another cold weather city could get the game if there are no problems this Sunday night. Chicago could host the game because the city has enough hotels room to host both teams. Washington D.C could do that without any transportation problems. Green Bay might host the game, but is Lambeau Field large enough to host over 70,000 fans there. Seattle has a large enough stadium and have the facility to do so. However, with new dome stadiums in Atlanta and Minnesota on the horizon, and with San Francisco opening Levi’s Stadium next year it will be tough to for a cold weather city to get a Super Bowl. BTW, as far as Pittsburgh getting a Super Bowl that is nothing but a pipe dream.

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

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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.

After watching four outstanding Divisional playoff games the teams are set for Conference Championship games next Sunday.

AFC: New England VS Denver The Patriots ran for over 200 yards and six touchdowns versus the Indianapolis Colts. Tom Brady didn’t have his usual brilliant game but they won over the Colts 43 to 22. Denver struggled over the San Diego Chargers but won 24 to 17. Peyton Manning got over the hurdle of losing last year’s Divisional game to the Baltimore Ravens. This will be the fifteen time that Tom Brady will take on Peyton Manning, and it will be the four time they will face off in the playoffs. Also, it will be the third time they competed for the AFC Championship and a Super Bowl berth on the line.   The Patriots have the running game and the Broncos defense is suspect against the run. Bill Belichick’s defense has stop Peyton Manning in the past and this one will be no different. Patriots

NFC: San Francisco VS Seattle The 49ers won over the Carolina Panthers 23 to 10. Their passing game came to life against the Panthers defense today, and that has to continue against the Seahawks defense. Anquan Boldin had a big game and Frank Gore had a great game running the ball. The 49ers have to have a balance offense to keep the Seahawks off balance. The Seahawks have to continue to run the ball with Marshawn Lynch who had 140 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 23 to 15 win over the New Orleans Saints. Russell Wilson has to get the passing game going with or without Percy Harvin.   Both defenses are going to ready for this game and points will come at premium.    Seahawks

What is going to happen in the NFL Divisional Playoffs starting this Saturday afternoon?

Seattle VS New Orleans: The Saints proved they can run the ball and play well on the road last Saturday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. They were blown out they last time they were at CenturyLink Field. Seattle has a better defense and the Saints can’t stop Marshawn Lynch.  Seattle

New England VS Indianapolis: The Colts had an amazing comeback versus the Kansas City Chiefs, and Andrew Luck proved that he can win in the playoffs. However, the Colts don’t have a running game to take the pressure of Luck. Tom Brady can take advantage of the Colts secondary. LeGarrette Blount gives the Pats a running game they didn’t have for most of the season, but unlike Stevan Ridley there are no fumbling problem with Blount. Patriots defense have held it together despite numerous injuries. Solid Special Teams, and give credit to Bill Belichick for keep the team together despite injuries and other controversies.  Patriots

Carolina VS San Francisco: The Panthers defeated the 49ers earlier in the season at Candlestick. Cam Newton is coming into his own as quarterback and a leader. Wide receiver Steve Smith is supposed to be healthy and needs to make big plays in the passing game. The Panthers defense has been outstanding all season. Colin Kaepernick had a big game running and throwing the ball. He gave the Packers defense fits last week. Frank Gore needs to have 100 yards or more rushing, and Michael Crabtree needs another big game, but it will be tough against Panthers defense.  49ers

Denver VS San Diego:    The Chargers went up to Invesco Field and defeated the Broncos late in the season   Philip Rivers played a solid game versus the Cincinnati Bengals.    Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown give the Chargers a 1-2 punch in the running game.  Their defense shut down the Bengals running game and sacked Andy Dalton twice and forced 4 turnovers.     Peyton Manning  had an MVP season, but has been haunted by past playoff failures including losing last year’s Divisional Playoff game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.    The Broncos have a good running game lead by Knowshon Moreno and that takes the pressure off of Manning.    Broncos defense has been weaken by the season ending of linebacker Von Miller.    Broncos

As Wild Card weekend approaches you may be thinking to yourself “Who will the Patriots be playing next weekend? Will there be any upsets?” Well think no more, as I have all the answers for you right here.

Chiefs Colts

The Colts faced the Chiefs in week 16 of the regular season, a game in which they won 23-7.

Everyone and there brother are writing the Colts off in this game, and it makes absolutely no sense to me. The Colts have beaten tough teams this season (SEA, DEN, KC, SF,) and have lost games that will leave you scratching your head (STL, MIA). But three of the five Colts loses came after they lost Reggie Wayne for season, which sent the coaching staff back to the drawing board to come up with new ways to move on offense. The Colts may be the most over looked team in the playoffs that could do some very serious damage.

On the other hand the Chiefs may be the worst 11-5 team in NFL History. They have lost to every good team they have played this season (Denver twice, San Diego twice, Indy). They only have ONE win against a team that is over 500, and that was against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that struggled at the start of the season. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Alex Smith does not play to win games, he plays not to lose them. And if you play like that in the NFL Playoffs, you will lose. Indy wins 27-14.

Chargers Bengals

 

(start at 20 seconds)

When the Chargers and Bengals met in Week 13, The Bengals came away with a 17-10 win. But The Chargers were able to contain Dalton, holding him under 200 passing yards and forcing a turnover. Philip Rivers threw for over 250 yards in the same game.

Andy Dalton has struggled in the postseason in his career. He is 0-2 with 4 interceptions and a QBR of only 48.5. Dalton threw 4 interceptions last weekend against the Ravens, making his interception total come to 20 for the year. The Bengals escaped last weekend with a win, but that was only because the Ravens offense was terrible all year, and especially in that game. If Andy Dalton turns continues to turn the ball over and give his opponent a short field, they will lose. And I think Andy Dalton will do just that this game. Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers high powered offense will take advantage of these opportunities and win this game. San Diego wins, 23-17.

Saints Eagles

This may be the hardest game to call for me. On one hand, the Saints have struggled on the road this season. They have lost in New York, New England, Seattle, and Carolina. All of those teams have either a cold weather climate, or a hostile playing environment, and in some cases both. The weather on game day in Philadelphia is expected to be clear, and with a high of 31 degrees.

But on the other hand the Saints have the second ranked passing offense behind Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham. The Eagles come in to this game with the worst passing defense in the league. If the Saints were playing in the Super Dome, I would not be questioning the outcome of this game for one second. The Saints would win, because they are the more talented team and they are led by a seasoned veteran and future Hall of Famer, Drew Brees. And for that reason, and that reason alone, I pick the Saints to win this game, even though they struggle on the road. There is just too much talent on this team and I believe that most of these “on the road” problems are in the players heads at this point. Sean Peyton will be able to help rid of some of those problems and coach this team to victory. LeSean McCoy will have a huge game on the ground, but the Saints will still win 28-21.

Packers 49ers

A rejuvenated Packers team will host the 49ers at Lambo field on Sunday. I said it before Aaron Rodgers returned and I will say it again, the Packers could very well be the Super Bowl Representative from the NFC, and I stick by that. Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense will have another week working together under their belt by the time they face San Francisco, so they should look smoother than they did last week against Chicago. The Packers defense should be able to contain Kaepernick and the miserable 49ers passing offense that ranked 30th in the league. The 49ers should, and will hurt the Packers with their run game but that will not be enough to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Packers win 27-24.

If this scenario plays out, it would leave the Patriots facing the Colts next weekend in New England.

 

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Week 17 is only a day away and there are still four playoff spots up for grabs. The Cowboys and Eagles will face off in the NFC East to see who will take home the division crown and will sneak into the Playoffs. But that is not the only NFC division that has playoff berth implications. The Packers and Bears will battle to see will reign supreme in the NFC North and find their way into the Playoffs. In the AFC the Dolphins, Ravens, Chargers, and Steelers all still have a shot at the final wildcard spot. Who will make it? Well here is your answer via game by game breakdown.

Packers Bears

With the return of Aaron Rodgers, I believe the Packers will roll over the Bears. The Bears were just blown out by the Eagles 54-11. And it is hard to pick which was worse for the Bears, their offense or defense. The Bears only gained 257 total yards against a poor Eagles defense. They also surrendered 514 yards to the Eagles offense. The Bears turned the ball over twice, once on a Jay Cutler interception and once on a lost fumble. I do not see the Bears Swiss cheese stopping Aaron Rodgers enough to hold the Packers under 30 points and I do not see Cutler leading the Bears offense down the field enough to contend with that. Packers win 31-20. It will be interesting to see how Bears fans and management react to Mark Trestmen’s decision of not leaving Josh McCown at Quarterback after Cutler returned.

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Cowboys Eagles

As you may know Tony Romo has been placed on IR with a Herniated Disk in his back. The Dallas defense cannot stop a nosebleed. They have the 27th worst rush defense in the league, and the 31st ranked pass defense in the league. The Eagles have the 1st ranked rushing offense, which is led by All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy. The Eagles also have the 9th ranked passing attack led by the emerging Nick Foles. Every single thing points to picking the Eagles to win this game, but for some reason I feel like they choke this one away and King Neck Beard (Kyle Orton) leads the Cowboys to a miracle win. Cowboys win 27-24.

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Jets Dolphins

Sources are saying that Rex Ryan will likely be back as coach of the New York Jets, and I think that will fire up this Jets team. Tannehill is not good when he is under pressure, the Bills showed us that last weekend. The Dolphins allowed a season high 7 sacks to the Bills last week. And now the Dolphins have to work on stopping a very good Jets front 4 led by Mo Wilkerson? That will not happen. The Jets are playing with nothing to lose, and the Dolphins are playing with everything to lose, and I think that will be too much for this Dolphins team. Jets win 17-13, crushing Miami’s playoff chances.

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Ravens Bengals

Joe Flacco is not listed on the Ravens injury report with his knee injury, an injury that hobbled him against the Patriots last week, but that does not mean he is still not feeling it. The Bengals are a under the radar team that is still playing for the 2nd seed in the AFC. They have two talented outside wide receivers in A.J Green and Muhammad Sanu and Andy Dalton has been playing well as of late. And to put the icing on the cake, the Bengals are playing at home, where they are 7-0 this season. Patriots fans will not have to worry about playing the Ravens in the playoffs this year, as the Bengals will knock the Ravens out of playoff contention with a final score of 21-17 Bengals.

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Chiefs Chargers

This game means absolutely nothing for the Kansas City Chiefs. They have locked in the 5th seed in the AFC, and are no longer in contention for the AFC West, as the Broncos have already sealed it up. The Chargers have already beaten the Chiefs at Arrowhead this season, and now the Chiefs have nothing to really play for. Chargers win 28-21.

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Steelers Browns

As promising as the Browns season has started equals how bad it has ended. The Browns have no fight left in them and at this point could be playing for a higher pick in the upcoming draft. Steelers win 31-14.

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So that puts the San Diego Chargers, The Green Bay Packers, and the Dallas Cowboys all in the playoffs. Lock all these picks in with anyone who will bet with you, and you will come away from Sunday like a bandit.

*A few other interesting match ups to watch this Sunday are the Arizona Cardinals vs the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cardinals are the hottest team in football, going 8-1 over their past 9 games, and I bet they go 9-1 over their past ten games with a win over San Francisco this weekend. Now that leaves us with the New Orleans Saints vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to decide the fate of the Cardinals. If the Saints win, they are in, if they lose they are out. Luckily the Saints are at the Superdome where they are 7-0 on the season. The Saints will beat the Buccaneers which will leave the 11-5 Cardinals (if they beat San Francisco) on the outside looking in while the 8-7-1 Packers (if they beat the Bears) will be in the playoffs. Interesting how that works, huh?

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The Associated Press has reported that Missouri Tiger standout and San Francisco 49er rookie linebacker Aldon Smith was charged with driving under the influence in Miami. Smith broke the 49er franchise record for sacks recorded by a rookie with 14 and has made a strong case for Rookie of the Year and was nominated alongside Andi Dalton, Von Miller, Cam Newton, and Patrick Peterson for the award. Fans have a chance to vote for Rookie of the Year until Tuesday, January 31st. The DUI charge will most definitely hurt Aldon Smith’s chances of receiving the award. There is a good chance that Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who was charged with a DUI in 2011, will have no comment.

There are so many story lines that could occur heading into this year’s  Super Bowl.  You could have an all Harbaugh brother coaching in the Super Bowl with Baltimore’s John versus San Francisco’s Jim.  You could have a rematch of Super Bowl XLII with the Giants versus Patriots.  You could have a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV with the Giants versus Ravens.  Finally, you could the relentless defense of the 49ers versus the high octane offense of the Patriots.  Any of these match ups will have to be talked about for two weeks leading up to the “Big Game”.

Will the home teams survive Championship weekend or will the road teams pull off upsets?  Let’s break these games down to see who will be in Super Bowl XLVI.

#2 Baltimore Ravens @ #1 New England Patriots

The Ravens arrive in New England after barely hanging on at home against the Houston Texans.  Ed Reed has basically called out his quarterback, Joe Flacco, and said that he has to play much better for the Ravens to advance. Offensively, Flacco needs the running game, Ray Rice, because the Ravens passing game is will not be enough to carry the offense.  When they do pass, they must hit Torrey Smith on vertical routes and if that is not open then they need Anquan Boldin to make plays in traffic.  Defensively, the Ravens are having a hard time putting pressure on the quarterback.  They are going to have to figure out how to get pressure on Tom Brady from the nickel defense.  Being in nickel forces Ray Lewis to be a blitzing linebacker because he won’t be able to cover the tight ends of the Patriots.

New England comes into the Championship game after blowing the wheels off the Denver Broncos.  This game, as all Patriot games, rests squarely on the arm of Tom Brady.  They will go no huddle and force the Ravens to show their hand and it will be up to Brady to dissect what he sees and throw it to the biggest mismatch which will usually be on one of the tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.  Coach Belichick will do something creative on offense to make either Ray Lewis or Bernard Pollard cover one of the tight ends.  If New England can get to 30 points it is going to be hard for the Ravens to match and turn them into a desperate offense.  That desperation will help the leaky Patriot defense play pass and make the Ravens offense one dimensional.  If the game is close, the Patriots can not allow Ray Rice to control the game.

Breakdown – If the Ravens can figure out a way to control the middle of the field and handle the spread offense it could be a long afternoon for Brady and the Patriots.  If the Patriots can clamp down on Ray Rice and stop the lead plays the Ravens like to run and take away the Ravens vertical and flag routes it will be hard for the Ravens to move the ball.  Winner: If this was the 2001 Ravens defense taking the field I would feel a lot better for the Ravens chances, but it is not.  Tom Brady and his offense will be too much for the Ravens on this day.  Patriots by double digits.

 

#4 New York Giants @ #2 San Francisco 49ers

The Giants come to the bay area after dismantling the Green Bay Packers.  This team barely made into the playoffs and now they are the most dangerous team in the playoffs.  Ahmad Bradshaw has come back and made this offense go.  The Giants entered the playoffs as worst running team in NFL but, in the playoffs, they have run the ball more effectively than any team left.  Eli Manning is making all the right decisions in the passing game and the defense is healthy again and wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks.  Eli not has one play making wide receiver in Hakeem Nicks but has found another in Victor Cruz.  The Giants’ defensive front four is the best front four left in the playoffs.  The Giants don’t need to blitz to get to the quarterback and have been able to stop what little rushing they have seen.  They Giants will learn from their earlier loss to the 49ers just as learned from the loss to the Packers.

The 49ers host the Giants after a fantastic game and, especially, finish in beating the New Orleans Saints.  The 49ers is one of most tough minded teams in the NFL.  They are relentless and they are not going to beat themselves.  Alex Smith proved last week that he is able to bring a team back late in the game, which is something no one had seen until last week.  I stated the Giants have the best defensive front four but the 49ers defensive front four is a very, very close second.  The Smith bookends, Justin and Aldon, who both came from the University of Missouri are dominating the line of scrimmage for the 49ers.

Breakdown – If the Giants can stuff the running game of Frank Gore and make Alex Smith try and beat them with anyone not name Vernon Davis it could be a long night for the 49ers.  If the 49ers can keep the game close into the 4th quarter, not beat themselves and rely on the best kicker in the NFL this year it could be a long trip back to New York for Eli and company.  Winner: I didn’t think the Giants would beat the Falcons, I didn’t think the Giants would beat the Packers and I don’t see how the Giants are not going to win this game.  Giants by 4-6 with a defensive stop on a driving 49ers to end the game.
And there is your Super Bowl match up, Giants versus Patriots.  Agree?  Don’t agree?  Tell me why below.  Went 3-1 last week with Giants messing me up.

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