NFL

New York Football Giants Impressive Day 1 in Free Agency

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After Tom Coughlin got a on year extension, signed Ben McAdoo to be there offensive coordinator, they were set with there coaching staff. Next stop; Free Agency. Today marked day one of the NFL’s free agency, an impressive one for the Giants. Things that needed to be addressed for Big Blue were and are going to help in the improvement from a 7-9 record and a +/- of -89. The Giants made a total of 6 signings, just on the first day, and all are players that expect to have an impact on the team.

There was a total of 6 players New York signed. 3 new, 3 players resigned from last season. Running-back Rashad Jennings, from Oakland, defensive-end / outside-linebacker O’Brian Schofield, from Seattle and guard Geoff Schwartz, from Kansas City are the 3 newcomers. Jennings, the most recognized of the 3, was very impressive last season. He came into the season as Darren McFadden’s backup and as soon as DMC got injured he never looked back. He had over 1,000 total purpose yards, averaged 4.5 yards per carry and in 199 touches did not fumble the ball a single time. When Jennings took over the starters job last season, he had 4 out of 5 games with over 100 all purpose yards and scored TWICE in the one game during that stretch where he didn’t. NYG was 29th in rushing yards per game last season and Jennings is looking to vastly improve that mark. O’Brien Schofield may have been a bit of a question mark, a player not many people know about. He simply didn’t get a lot of burn in Seattle but the two prior years in Arizona, in 27 games, 9 of which he started, he had 8.5 sacks which is very respectable. He’s versatile, and I’m sure Jerry Reese took that into account as he’s played LOLB, ROLB and defensive end as well. Schwartz, is much of the same. He’s versatile, but has started more games than Schofield in his career. He’s mainly a guard, has played both positions and has also played at the right tackle position.

The 3 guys who were resigned by Big Blue were safety Stevie Brown, running-back Peyton Hillis and corner-back Trumaine McBride. Headlining these 3, just like Rashad headlined the new guys, is the ball hawk Stevie Brown. Coming off an ACL tear in which made him miss all of the 2013 season. He got a 1 year, $3 million dollar deal and it could reach $4 in incentives. In 2012, in just 11 starts, Stevie was spectacular. He had 76 tackles, was 2nd in the entire league in interceptions with 8 and forced 2 fumbles as well. If Brown can achieve that type of play in 2014, the loss of Ryan Mundy in free agency won’t loom large for New York. I’m also a big fan, of NYG’s starting left corner while Corey Webster was hurt, Trumaine McBride. McBride started 11 games last season for the Giants and had 2 INT’s but had 15 pass deflections, which was 15th in the entire National Football League. Suring up the secondary was big for New York in there pursuit of a Championship. The final signing, which was actually the first of the day, was Peyton Hillis, the one time Madden Cover star who has obviously suffered from the curse since. In limited time, Peyton was average, but reliable for small yardage downs. He spot started when the backfield was totally injured last season and he will be in a similar role coming into 2014.

All in all day 1 was a success. I can’t forget to point out wide-receiver Jacoby Jones is visiting the G-Men on Wednesday which in all likelihood would shut the door on Hakeem Nicks coming back. New York is also completely in play in bringing back Jon Beason, who was fantastic in New York last season, and Justin Tuck who has been a captain of this team since he was drafted out of Notre Dame. If New York lands all 3, boy would you have to think NYG would have one of the better overall free agency runs of all teams.

All things Super Bowl 48

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We have finally made it. Through our fantasy struggles and yelling at our television sets because our favorite teams we’re getting blown out. But despite all that, it’s time for the biggest event of the season…The Puppy Bowl. I think it’s fair to say the best 2 teams in our league this year made the Super Bowl and I for one am very happy with that.

This game has all the makings of an all-timer. One of the all time great QB’s coming off the greatest statistical season ever and his high powered offense. A defense anchored by a bully of a secondary lead by a cornerback who catches ‘ducks’ for a living. A skittle eating beast who you rarely see get brought down by one tackler. 

As cliche as it may sound, defense does help you win championships and it does in fact get you to where you hope to end your journey at every seasons beginnings. But that being said, defenses can only do so much with a mediocre player at the helm of your offense. For Seattle, that’s what Russell Wilson has been of late. In his last 5 games he hasn’t thrown for greater than 215 yards and no more than a touchdown in any of them. I’m not saying he’s not talented, but I think he’s the biggest beneficiary of his team around him. It’s so cliche of me to put the spotlight on the QB but for this team, they’re great in every other facet of the game. Great running game, great physical defense that can stop the run and can put 8 in the box and have each corner play man to man and win their match-ups.

These match-ups Seattle is seeing tonight, is a different animal. Let alone one of the greatest, if not the greatest QB of all-time, the weapons surrounding him are incredible. Welker, Thomas times 2, Decker and company are the best group in the business. Even with that crazy air attack, they can still ground and pound with Knowshon Moreno who had 1,500+ all purpose yards and 13 touchdowns. In my personal opinion, as great as Peyton and his supporting cast of WR’s and TE’s are, Denver’s running attack will win the game tonight. Yes, you just got a preview of my winner, but you have to try and avoid continuously throwing at Seattle’s secondary. They are as good as they are advertised to be. 

Let’s be serious: Beast-mode is going to eat. Maybe the leagues quietest super star will not go down without putting a stamp on the game. That’s why I focused my attention on Rus earlier. It’s going to be put on Wilson shoulders to go out and win the biggest game of his career. Denver has a defense you can exploit and if you control the clock they’re beatable. Third down throws that decide ball control are going to be CRUCIAL in Seattle’s success. 

As the time ticks away and we get closer to the game, the more exciting I’m becoming. Yes, I do hope Peyton get’s his second ring because he’s unfairly treated due to not having more than one championship. But, if that doesn’t happen, all I ask for is a great game. Who wants to see a blowout in the Super Bowl? Not me, I can tell you that for damn sure. Yes, I intentionally forgot to mention the weather factor. Onto my picks!

Denver – 27 vs. Seattle – 24

Super Bowl MVP – Peyton Manning

Key Players for each Team

Denver

  • Offense: Knowshon Moreno / Julius Thomas
  • Defense: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 

Seattle

  • Offense: Russell Wilson
  • Defense: Linebacking Crew / Earl Thomas

NFC Wild Card round – Matchups and Picks

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We are finally here ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for the NFL playoffs. I’ll start with the NFC Wild Card games.

(3) Philadelphia Eagles; 10-6 vs. (6) New Orleans Saints; 11-5

The division winner Eagles have been a lot of fun to watch this year. Philly started 1-3 and ended up winning 7 out of there last 8 games including there Week 17 match-up with Dallas for the Division. Winning 6 more games then last year, was due, in large part to all the personal changes for Philly all over the field. Head Coach Chip Kelly brought his system from Oregon to the pro’s and found a QB, 2nd year man Nick Foles who fit the scheme perfectly. Foles sets NFL record for best TD-INT ratio in single season; 27 TD’s to 2 INT’s. This game will, presumably, be about the offenses. The Eagles were second in the NFL in Yards per game, while New Orleans was fourth. Philly was first in total rushing yards while New Orleans was second, only behind the record breaking Broncos, in passing yards. The Eagles also finished fourth in total points while the Saints finished tenth. Drew Brees had his fourth 5,000 yard passing season, nobody else has ever had more than one. One significant difference between the 2 high powered teams recognized for the offenses, the Saints have played very good defense this season. They gave up the fourth fewest points in the league (304) and fourth in opponents total yards per game (305.7) vice-versa too the Eagles who gave up the fourth most opponents total yards per game (392.7). Have I forgot to mention LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy was the league leader in rushing yards, had over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and set the Philly record for yards from scrimmage? Well then, there’s that.

This is going to be a tough matchup with a lot of different dynamics going into it. Two of the best offensive minded Head Coaches in football squaring up, one of the best pass defenses in football against the best running game the NFL had to offer this year, a new QB on the block who had a 7 TD game earlier in the season versus one who’s never won a road playoff game but has a Super Bowl ring. Who knows what the weather in Philly is going to be and if it’s snowy, I think the game will be won in the trenches and who can run the ball the best.

One thing to note – Philly (4-4 at home) / New Orleans (3-5 on the road)

Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

 

(4) Green Bay Packers; 8-7-1 vs. (5) San Francisco 49ers; 12-4

Oh boy, another great Wild Card matchup we have on our hands. All the more intriguing now that arguably the games best QB is back, healthy, and winning games on 4th downs to win a division. That would be the bad man himself, Aaron Rodgers, who just so happened to convert three 4th down conversions on the final drive of the game, avoid an all out blitz on the final offensive play for Green Bay and find Randall Cobb deep down field for a Touchdown, yeah that Aaron Rodgers. But he’s not the only one playing in this game. Green Bay’s offense, along with San Francisco’s are both almost back to full strength. Both teams missing guys to IR; Finley for GB and Manningham for SF but the last few weeks have been weeks that both teams have gotten healthy. Green Bay, most notably, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb and for San Fran Michael Crabtree just adding to the 49ers passing attack. The 49ers defense was stout, once again this season finishing giving up the third least points (272); one of only THREE teams who gave up less than 300 points all season, and the fourth least yards per game (316.9). San Fran’s defense was also second in the entire league in giveaway/takeaway’s with a take-away difference of 14. In contrast, the Packers defense is a liability. They’re in the bottom half of the whole league in most major defensive categories. The Packers don’t really turn the ball over that much either on defense so there game plan is really heavily relied on there offense.

The key to this game in my honest opinion, is Number 7 in red, Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers ranked 30th in Passing yards per game at 183 per game and Kaep completed an average 58% of his throws this season. Granted, Colin is going into the playoffs playing solid football. He hasn’t turned the ball over in his last three games (6 TD’s, 1 rushing) has completed over 60% of his passes in all 3 of those games and has a QB Rating of 108 or higher in all three. Last year, postseason included, Colin played some great football, which we all thought would translate into this regular season, but he’s been nothing that flashy as all the media expected him to be. For Green Bay, they need a healthy Eddie Lacy. Lacy has been a beast, more than likely to win the Rookie of the Year, and would only help Aaron Rodgers if Eddie was eating good. The site will be Lambeau field and I do not believe the Packers fans will leave unhappy.

Pick: Green Bay Packers

NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

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After week 1, here are my power rankings for the entire league.

1. San Francisco 49ers; 1-0 – Kaep, Boldin & Vernon showed how good they can be together. Not to mention one of the best defenses in the league.

2. Denver Broncos; 1-0 – Best offense in the NFL, IMO. Just think, 5 games from now this great team gets back one of the best pass rushers in the entire league in Von, SCARY.

3. Seattle Seahawks; 1-0 – Defense held Cam Newton to a career low 163 yards, that’s scary good. Probably the best secondary in the league, solid offense.

4. Houston Texans; 1-0 – 1 half of football they looked like the worst team in the league, 1 they looked like the best, be consistent. Don’t forget, a healthy Ed Reed is on his way back. 

5. Atlanta Falcons; 0-1 – Great regular season team, but struggles on the offensive line an issue going forward?

6. New England Patriots; 1-0 – Brady with so many young weapons snuck by Buffalo, let’s see how long they can get by with the weapons they have.

7. Green Bay Packers; 0-1 – Aaron Rodgers and the high powered offense will be just fine, I sometimes worry about there defense outside of names like Matthews and Raji.

8. New Orleans Saints; 1-0 – 5 Sacks, high powered offense, are they becoming more of a balanced team? Sean Peyton’s impact might be the spark they needed.

9. Cincinnati Bengals; 0-1 – Very good defense, weapons everywhere on offense, Cincy will be just fine, depending on the play of Andy Dalton.

10. Indianapolis Colts; 1-0 – The Colts went out and got Andrew Luck some more weapons in Hayward-Bay and Bradshaw, the Colts offense can be very scary.

11. Chicago Bears; 1-0 – 4 new offensive lineman and Cutler did not get sacked week 1. The addition of Martellus Bennett and the Cutler to Marshall threat week in and week out can be deadly.

12. Baltimore Ravens; 0-1 – Wholesale defensive changes also can’t state enough how they just gave Boldin away for a SIXTH round draft pick. Flacco and the Ravens have a lot to prove.

13. Philadelphia Eagles; 1-0 – Chip Kelly’s offense in one word is impressive. The pass rush seemed to show up week one and the secondary was making plays, could be a scary team.

14. Washington Redskins; 0-1 – RG3 looked like RG3 in the 2nd half and Alfred wasn’t putting the ball on the floor as much, but I worry about there defense a little, I don’t see the Super Bowl predictions they were getting, they need to show some more.

15. Dallas Cowboys; 1-0 – New look offense, a lot of dink and dunk passing game. Also, there defense forced 6 turnovers so that might be a big improvement from last season.

16. Detroit Lions; 1-0 – Reggie Bush might be the answer? Some pressure taken off Calvin and Stafford with the addition. Suh needs to keep his head on straight as he just got the highest fine in NFL history due to an in-game incident.

17. New York Giants; 0-1 – Eli had 450 yards, 4 TD’s, 3 WR’s with 100+ yards but 6 turnovers? 2 by David Wilson who was benched after only 7 carries. O-Line and LB’s seem to be big concerns for NYG this year.

18. St. Louis Rams; 1-0 – The new look Rams have a very nice passing attack in Sam Bradford’s year he needs to step up. Jared Cook would have had 3 TD’s if not for the Honey Badger. They can be a nice little team.

19. Miami Dolphins; 1-0 – Already Mike Wallace complaints? Miami wins, he catches 1 ball and complains about his role in the offense, could be trouble.

20. Kansas City Chiefs; 1-0 – Alex Smith played solid in his debut, Charles played decent but the defense had 6 sacks and hit Blaine Gabbert 10 times and held him to 121 yards on 35 pass attempts.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers; 0-1 – Nothing really went right besides Polumalu’s top 10 play. Losing Pouncey on that line could be devastating to a team that’s already having issues with the Running Backs.

22. Tennessee Titans; 1-0 – This is the year Jake Locker must show what he’s made of if he wants to prove he’s a starting QB, 1-0 is a good start.

23. Arizona Cardinals; 0-1 – Carson Palmer is going to be such a big improvement at the QB position and finally Larry Fitz has someone competent throwing him the ball. The explosiveness with Peterson & Tyrann is going to be fun to watch.

24. Carolina Panthers; 0-1 – Cam coming off his worst passing performance of his career, needs to break out of the slump he had last year. At least they didn’t take out any adds claiming to win the Super Bowl this year.

25. Minnesota Vikings; 0-1 – Christian Ponder just isn’t very good, at all. AP is going to see A LOT of 8-9 in the box if he continues to prove he can’t be productive at the QB position.

26. San Diego Chargers; 0-1 – They looked like the best team in football for 1 half and than the wheels fell off. Phillip Rivers continues to show his blemishes in the fourth quarter of games ( Pick 6 to Brian Cushing for the tying score ).

27. New York Jets; 1-0 – The Geno Smith era is upon us. The defense will be solid, as always, but everything lies in the rookies hands. He didn’t look ready in preseason and played a solid game week 1, time will tell about the Jets. 

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 0-1 – The Darrelle Revis era started with a loss, even though they should have pulled out the win. Josh Freeman will be under the microscope, this is his make or break year. Especially how he got his captainship voted off by his team.

29. Buffalo Bills; 0-1 – Almost pulled off a W vs. New England and the rook EJ Manuel was impressive in his debut. Buffalo has a nice little team, but they’re very young.

30. Cleveland Browns; 0-1 – The pieces they have gotten in drafts and Free Agency the past few seasons but Brandon Weeden to be blunt, isn’t very good at all.

31. Oakland Raiders; 0-1 – I like the move to Terrell Pryor at starting QB and Darren McFadden is finally healthy out of the backfield they can have a nice little offensive team.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars; 0-1 – The Jags, even with there new helmets, are the bottom feeders of the league. Gabbert is the worst in the NFL, there defense isn’t very good..Tank for Bridgewater. Why not bring in Tebow to help your ticket sales tho?

Week 3 PR’s coming next week. Comment / leave ya opinions! 

Giants review after Week 1

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Well, simply put, turnovers ruined the New York Football Giants week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. If you expect to win games where your offense turns the ball over on six different possessions, than you’re seriously delusional.

We will start with the offensive side of the ball, which is what the Giants did Sunday night before turning it over on an Elisha Manning INT on the first play of the night. Matter of fact, the first three Giants possessions ended in turnovers. Getting passed that, the G-Men actually outgained Dallas by 147 total yards (478-331), had 184 more passing yards (428-244) and better 3rd down efficiency than Dallas. But that only tells half the tale. Eli threw for 450 yards passing, but threw 3 interceptions and 1 in the fourth quarter, under 2 minutes in the game that was taken for a pick 6 by Brandon Carr. Another positive from the G-Men offense was the receiving core. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle all went over 100 yards receiving while Dallas lead pass catcher ended with 72 yards. But, last years first round draft pick David Wilson was a liability to say the least. He fumbled twice on just 7 carries and couldn’t protect Eli for the life of him in pass protection. The loss of Andre Brown really hurt the Giants because they didn’t have anyone to turn too after Wilson and thus, 50 total rushing yards by the completion of the game. The Giants passing attack looked dominant at times, but the turnovers ruined that all and thus did not score as many points as Dallas.

Onto the defense, that actually played pretty well. The Dallas defense scored 2 different scores and after the first 3 turnovers the Giants gave away, all on there side of the field they only gave up 10 total points. The defense hit Romo 6 times, had 2 sacks and what was most impressive was the secondary who had to matchup with the likes of Witten, Bryant and Miles Austin. Yeah, Witten and Austin had 18 catches between the 2 of them but only 140 yards so they weren’t getting chunks of yards and Dez had 4 catches for just 22 yards. It was also a great sign too see TT24, Terrell Thomas back in the Giants secondary again, after missing the past 2 seasons with ACL injuries. He had 7.5 tackles, played good in coverage and had a nice pass deflection on a blitz in the 2nd half. The pass rush continues to be the Giants glue though. They need the pass rush to get to the QB to give the LB’s and secondary a chance to make plays on the balls. The linebackers may be the concern this season for the G-Men. Losing our best pass coverage backer in Michael Boley may hurt seeing how Herzlich plays better at the line of scrimmage or in Zone, not so much in man.

All in all, minus the turnovers, I believe the Giants outplayed Dallas but those turnovers are part of the game and the Cowboys came out victorious. All I know is, with Big Brother Peyton coming into Metlife Stadium next week, Eli and crew better cut down the turnovers because if Peyton can possess the ball for 15 more minutes than the Giants, like Romo and his offense did, it’s going to be a very, long afternoon for Giants fans everywhere.